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The Stories We Tell

This tree stood out to me during a date night a couple of weeks ago. We were waiting for our table at a really cute spot in San Juan Capistrano, and we decided to walk around since we had some time.

He took me through the back part of downtown, with a trail that housed the train tracks, an adorable coffee house (he swears it has the best coffee!), and a cute museum. Strings of lights hung from across the walkways and lit up the surrounding restaurants and people as we walked. If it sounds romantic, it was. Where B resides is magical and I love every chance I get to explore where he calls home.

As we walked back toward our dinner reservation, he paused to tell me about the large tree you see in the photo above. The photo does not do it justice. I don't have B's gift of photography, but I wanted to capture it.

That tree has seen things. That tree, if it could talk, probably has stories to tell. The changes, the good, the bad and the ugly. I imagine that tree has seen broken hearts, new beginnings, proposals, children grow up to become adults and have families of their own and watch them introduce their children to the place they once knew.

I wonder what kind of storms it weathered. I wonder about the roots planted. How deep do they go for a tree that size? I wonder its age.

I look over at the man I have had the pleasure of getting to know these last 10 months. He is an excellent story teller. Full of details, he spares nothing. He paints a full picture for you as he shares verbal anecdotes and recall to memory the pieces of his life that he wants to share with you. Every time he talks, I can't help but stare at his light blue eyes. They are kind, yet still intense and focused. He pays attention to you when he speaks to you. I wish I was more like that when I told stories.

Not too long ago, I received some old photos of myself from my parents. They still all of the memories stored in the home I grew up in. My mom didn't want to give me all of them, but she allowed me to take home some. What a trip it was to see myself as a baby, toddler, in grade school and all of those awkward stages. I laugh at all of the weird hairstyles I had and my clothes. Oh my gosh. My clothes. What was I thinking?

There was even a photo of me from my senior year of high school, after I made it onto the Miss Diamond Bar Court at the age of 18. I was so proud of myself.

I think about that girl in the photo. She was wide eyed and a dreamer. I remember working really hard to earn my spot on the court because the year previously, in my first attempt ever competing in a pageant, I failed to place. I told myself that the next year I would absolutely place. I also told myself that one year, I would win and be crowned Miss Diamond Bar (and that did happen by the way. Miss Diamond Bar 2003.)

Every photo I have stared at has a story. Every memory I can recall has a tale attached to it. Some are hilarious. I love retelling of the antics my best girl friends and I experienced and cracking up hysterically. There are some sad stories. There are some stories of victorious achievements throughout my 40 years of life.

Then, there are the stories of what we have lived through. There are no photographs, but there are imprints left on the heart and in our minds. All the good and the bad, we get to retell.

As my kids and I stared at the photos of me as a child and a teenager, they giggled at the horrible haircuts and my questionable fashion choices…..but they also enjoyed the stories I told that revealed who their mama was and who she was becoming.

We all have stories to tell. Who cares if yours is not dramatic or trauma filled. Or maybe it is filled with hurts and hang ups and disappointments and loss. I don’t know. But I do know that I want to hear them. I want to hear of how you fell in love with your spouse.

I want to hear of how you came to know Jesus.

What breaks your heart?

What has been your biggest accomplishment to date?

What were you like as a kid? What did you hope to be when you thought of growing up?

We all have stories within us because life has shaped us. Our upbringings and our experiences reveal much to us. Our steps and our days are cared for and known by our Heavenly Father.

Keep sharing your stories and revealing parts of yourself. There are people who desire to know you. There are people who need to know that they can get through whatever they are going through, because someone else was able to.

I believe in telling our stories.

So go tell them.

Tiffany Rhea

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