FIVE Most Important Stories

I celebrated a birthday earlier this month—in Disney World! What did you get for your last birthday? My friend Sharolyn recently celebrated her 57th birthday with an MRI which sadly and shockingly revealed stage 4 pancreatic cancer. There is no way to prepare for a diagnosis like this and even with an incredibly optimistic outlook, she is now living with a sense of extreme urgency for telling some of her stories. I share Sharolyn’s email with her permission and with the hope that my thoughts for her might also help others get started on this important storytelling journey.


I’ve followed you for years, and taken several of your classes.. you’ve help me learn to tell stories and not just scrapbook. But I don’t know how to begin “my” story and I need to get working on it. Because, recently, on my 57th birthday, I had an MRI that led to the discovery of the reason for the dull pain I had been having in my gut... a “mass” in my pancreas, and after biopsies, I was officially diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

Now. Don’t get me wrong, I have every intention of being in the 3% 5-year survival group, but I have to face reality too. I am a mom to 2 grown children and grandma to 6 amazing “little ones” (ages 14 to 6), and I want to be sure they have stories, that I may not be around to tell them. And, not just photos... but I’m having a hard time starting, and I wonder if you can point me in the right direction , where do I begin? What might be most important to them? What if I can’t find a photo to go with a story? Thank you for being you... thank you for reading this... thank you for any advice you may have to share... and thank you if you wouldn’t mind , for any prayers you may lift up for not only myself, but my amazing family and support and care team. 

Love, Sharolyn

As I prayed for Sharon, thoughts and ideas came quickly. I captured them and then spent a few days pondering and refining my notes. In today’s episode I share with you the FIVE stories that I believe may be most important for Sharolyn (and YOU) to document and share.

FIVE Stories.

  1. Birth Stories

  2. Love Stories

  3. Faith Stories

  4. Stories of Change

  5. Challenge Stories

The episode opens with the words of David Paull. David’s work with behavioral science and storytelling can help you better understand how to craft narrative’s that will resonate with the people you love.

Here’s the LINK to Harris III interviewing him on The Story Podcast—and, I have a hunch you’ll want to hear more.

The Story Podcast is one of my favorites.

In addition to spending time with these types of stories, I also recommend that you start an online family tree that can be shared with loved ones. Here are the three of the most useful and most used resources …

I also mentioned the annual RootsTech conference as a place where you can learn much more about discovering and documenting family histories and personal stories. Learn more HERE.

❤️ IF you have thoughts and ideas to share with Sharolyn and others, feel free to leave a comment below.

Typewriter photo by Neel on Unsplash