What if constant change and adaptation is what “normal” really looks like? In Life Happens Taralyn and Teresa Clark explore life realities and provide much-needed information gained from decades of experience to survive and ultimately thrive in spite of life challenges.
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About the Author
A national award-winning storyteller who is passionate about using story as a vehicle to turn and heal hearts, Teresa Clark has spent over twenty years practicing her craft with at-risk youth, women, the aged, and families. Teresa has passionately advocated for storytelling on the local, regional, and national level both as producer and administrator. She is a storyteller, teacher, published author, researcher, blogger, and most importantly, a wife, mother, and grandmother.
Read an Excerpt
Life HappensHow to Succeed Through Any Challenge
By Teresa Clark
FamiliusCopyright © 2013 Teresa Clark
All right reserved.
Ironically, we both felt sucker punched just as Familius sent us the contract to share these stories with you. We didn’t come down with any life-threatening illnesses, but by the way we reacted to the insidious bugs waging war on our productivity and wellbeing, you would think we had. Admittedly, we had nothing more than colds. Yet, this book sat untouched for weeks as we both recovered because neither one of us could muster the fortitude to tackle the process in our weakened states.
As we lay in our sick-beds of affliction slipping in and out of cold medicine induced dreams of dancing hippos and spinning sea turtles, we independently expressed feeling ashamed of the effect a simple cold was having on us and thereby everyone around us. Then we began talking about this book, and about Stuart, the patriarch of our family. He has been waging war against chronic respiratory illness for nigh on ten years, and doubles as our hero. While a little cold has the power to knock us both flat on our backs, he has felt at least that uncomfortable every day since the onset of his illness. The weariness, sinus pressure, body aches, tickly throat, coughing, sneezing, labored breathing, and medicinal effects have been his constant companions. While we knew our colds would pass, he knows he’ll never feel completely normal again. Add unforeseen side effects, complications, surgeries, and never-ending doctor visits to the ongoing symptoms, and it becomes easy to see why we hold this man in such high regard. Stuart continues to work to support our family, to intentionally spend time with each of us, to serve in our church and community, and to bless the lives of others. We have never once heard him ask, “Why me?” He simply accepts his fate and moves on. This may sound a little warped, but what an incredible blessing his chronic illness has been for our family! We hope you’ll understand by the end of this book why we count his crucible of affliction as one of our family’s choicest blessings.
Okay, so we know something about living with a husband and father battling chronic illness. We also know a great number of people who deal with the same and worse, so what qualifies us to write this book anyway? Good question. We do not in any way believe we know more than you. We are well aware that every man, woman, and child has something to teach us. We know this because we are lovers of story! We believe stories are living, breathing things with power to instruct, uplift, enlighten, and bless. We know your story has power to teach us just as ours has power to teach you.
Because we know the power of story, we have spent decades collecting the stories of people just like us and just like you. People who face insurmountable odds yet somehow find a way to wake up every morning, keep a smile on their faces, and remain close as families in spite of situations making such closeness increasingly difficult. Taralyn’s thesis research with families facing adult-onset chronic illness was a direct result of her experiences at home, and substantiated six well-known characteristics of strong families (appreciation, effective communication, time together, spirituality, coping well with crisis, and commitment) and unearthed the important role of intentionally maintaining family unity via four key actions (telling family stories, establishing and maintaining a unified perspective, setting common goals, and an attitude of service) when faced with trying circumstances in family life. Similarly, Teresa’s story work has revealed seven key identity stories every family should know and share (creation, origin, sacred, shorthand, gratitude, success, and divine diversions). Read on to see how families intentionally and unintentionally use these tools to strengthen and lift each other. These stories may not be your stories, but we believe you will find the emotions and concerns hit home. It is our hope these stories will empower you to purposefully spend some time shoring up your own family identity to protect against your next sucker punch.
Excerpted from Life Happens by Teresa Clark Copyright © 2013 by Teresa Clark. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of ContentsIntroduction
Chapter 1: Define Family
Chapter 2: Sucker Punched
Chapter 3: Tunnel Vision
Chapter 4: Battling Demons
Chapter 5: Real-Life Angels
Chapter 6: Hidden Blessings
Chapter 7: It’s Still Us
Chapter 8: Moving Forward