Family Stories


Do you remember when:

You were a six month old with colic? You kept your parents up at night with your screams of pain, and your screams of abandonment when they put you back to bed?

You looked up in complete and helpless love at your Dad who fixed your toy?

You hit your sister so hard she cried, and you were sent to your room in a self-righteous huff?

Your mom clapped like you were an Olympic platform diver when you peed in the potty?

Yeah. Me neither.

Oh, they all happened, I’m sure of that. But I was too young, or too distracted to bury those little slices of life into my brain. The only reason I know about them? I was told. And not just once, but many times over.

Oral traditions that pass along memories are important parts of life. They tell us who we are. And it reinforces family identity. I belong, and there are stories to prove it. Those vignettes from long ago are my ID card, proving that I’m a member of the “Ryan Tribe.”

No matter how many stories are remembered, there are some that just get lost in the cracks of time. Because of that, some families start tracing their roots on ancestry websites. My uncle wrote a fairly detailed family history of my mom’s side of the family, all the way back to Ireland. My brother interviewed my Dad a few years ago, and recorded the sessions on CD. It’s all an attempt to remember who we are, and where we belong.

If we know our past, we know ourselves.

The same thing is true for our heavenly family. Our Father knew how much we needed to hear the stories about them too. Thousands of years ago, he inspired the Prophet Joel to urge everyone to remember the wonders God had done: “Tell your children about it in years to come, and let your children tell their children.” (Joel 1:3) And in Deuteronomy 11, Moses tells the people; “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands…teach them to your children, talking about them as you sit at home.”

The bible contains the story of our spiritual family. It’s our extended-family album, with narrative of our famous, and not so famous ancestors. Were you there when Adam and Eve messed up? Were you there when Elijah was caught up in a whirlwind? Did you meet Jabez, and hear him speak his prayer? Of course not. But we know all about them, because we’ve been told. And we can revisit and refresh those memories again and again.

We should tell our children the stories of their lives. They need to be told, and repeated again and again. But we can’t Β forget to include the stories of their spiritual family too. The bible provides them with another ID card. It proves that they, along with all of us, are blessed members of “God’s Tribe.”


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68 thoughts on “Family Stories

    • Hi Leslie! Thank you for commenting here, it was fun to see you name pop up!

      Thank you too for your support here and on Facebook. When I think I just can’t write again, or what I have is not good, I remember that you are reading it. It makes me feel better. Really!

      What a shock that Dallas won, right? πŸ™‚
      Have a great Monday,

  1. Yes, Ceil, our stories need to be told. I save all my posts from 2 Encourage in a file on my computer. They are my spiritual memoirs that I hope one day my children and grandchildren will want to read.

    • Hi Pam! What a great idea! If your family wants to know what your life was lived for, all they have to do is see your blog. Your faith always shines through.

      You will be a wonderful inspiration for years to come.
      Have a great Monday,

  2. I love hearing stories of long ago! Especially when looking back we can see how God was working everything for His purposes.
    I hope you have a lovely week.

    • Hi Lauren! I’m with you. I like the stories my aunt and my Dad tell. It gives me such a glimpse into their lives and times. And faith is always a part of it in some way. I have been very blessed.

      I hope you have a lovely week too!

  3. I love this so so much Ceil. You are absolutely right. What a beautiful way to look at our family’s tribe and our spiritual family’s tribe!

    And for those who do NOT have a family’s tribe full of life moments that linger in love, they will always and forever belong to and be adored in- their Heavenly family.

    • Hi Chris! Thank you for your supportive comment. And you make a good point about those without supportive families. They are enfolded into God’s Tribe by virtue of their birth. And I pray that they will have loving and caring friends who will encourage them too.

      Thanks for stopping by today!

  4. Great post, Ceil! I love remembering the stories (ones that I can) of my childhood. Since I was the baby out of eight, I have many brothers and sisters to reinforce them and remind me of them numerous times throughout the years. I wouldn’t trade them for anything πŸ™‚ Have a great week!

    • Hi Debbie! Sounds like you had a blast in your family life! What fun that is. And the stories only get funnier and more poignant with age. It’s such a bonding ritual too. Just like our love of the stories in the Bible. Those bind us together too.

      Have a good week too Debbie!

    • Hi Freda! What lovely coincidence! There is a lot of joy in looking back at the good times, and sharing the memories with our families and friends. It’s so important to remember where we belong and where we came from…both in the world and in the spirit!

      Thank you for your visit today Freda πŸ™‚

  5. Ceil,

    So true. We were not there for the history of Israel, but we go through so many of the same trials they did back then. The bible is still as relevant today, and will be 2000 years from now. We should be telling our kids; they should tell their kids, just as Moses and Joel encourge us to do. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.

    • Hi Kim! How is sunny California???

      We were encouraged by the prophets to tell the stories. They knew how powerful word of mouth was! And salvation is Good News, and a welcome, joyous story. I hope we will all ‘pass it on’ in our human and spiritual families.

      Great to see you here πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Ceil! Your post reminds me of all the things I’ve written in open spaces of my old bibles (and current), in hopes that someday my children and grandchild(ren) will be able to get a picture of my journey with Christ. My notes express the times of trials, the ah-ha moments of revelation, the strength and inspiration of the biblical characters’ lives, and the times of pure adoration and worship of the Lord.

    Thanks for sharing such an inspirational post.
    Many blessings to you my friend,

    • Hi Marilyn! I am sure that your children and grandchildren know your great devotion to God already. But what a legacy you will leave them in that Bible! All the hard times, good times and praise times. I know you will make a wonderful impact on their souls.

      Great to see you again πŸ™‚

  7. Teaching our children, telling them about their heritage as well as about being part of the Family of God is so important. They need to be told and retold so they don’t forget who they are and who they belong to.
    Great post.

    • Hi TC! I completely agree with your comment. Our stories are so important to know who we are, and to inform the generations after us. We can teach a lot through our lives and witness.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts about the post πŸ™‚

  8. Amen! (Ceil, We had vacation last week, although it was spent mostly on roofing the garage/shop, and I didn’t get to town to mail your book. I will definitely get it in the mail to you by tomorrow.)

    • Hi Mindy! Oh, no worries. I just got back from a five day trip to see my daughter and her family. Good for you for taking a break! That’s important.

      I’ll look forward to getting the book whenever it comes.
      Have a peaceful night,

  9. Do I remember answers: No, i was the perfect baby. No, because I’m not sure he did. No. I never had a sister. No. I think I was potty trained when i was born. I’m sure about #2 & 3. Definitely fibbed about the other two. πŸ™‚ The old stories carry so much weight and are so rich. We lose out when we fail to teach them. Good thoughts Ceil.

    • Hi Bill! Ah, you were the mythical ‘perfect baby.’ I thought it was all talk!

      Thanks for your supportive comments, I appreciate them! Not only are our stories powerful, the memory only takes hold if we tell them! So let’s not forget to speak our lives to our children.
      Have a restful night!

    • Hi Deb! You are so fortunate to have grandchildren who love to hear the stories…what a fun way to connect to them. And it does bless you right back, I agree! It’s fun to think about those times πŸ™‚

      Have a peaceful night,

  10. I love the part about sharing the stories of our “spiritual family” from the Bible as well as the human family on earth…what a wonderful heritage we have as children of God…the King of kings…joint-heirs with Jesus. He has all of our baby steps recorded in His book about us too. I’ll bet the angels all clapped their hands each time we took a step of faith into the unknown…they knew what we couldn’t see, and cheered us on to victory. I love this dimension of life. Thank you for reminding me.

    • Hi Pam! I love your comment! It just made my soul soar. Yes, the angels were clapping for us, and they still do. They love it when Jesus’ will is carried out on earth. How blessed we are to have such heavenly cheerleaders πŸ™‚

      Thank you for your wonderful images!
      Have a peaceful night,

  11. I agree–it’s very important that parents pass on those stories to their children. The problem is, many of them won’t want to hear those stories until they reach their 30s and 40s….that’s when they really start caring. As teens, they just roll their eyes!

    • Hi Stephanie! You make a good point about some children not wanting to hear the stories. Sounds a lot like the people who don’t want to hear God’s stories either!

      I still think it’s important to give them knowledge of their story both here and the heavenly one. The understanding and acceptance will come in time. I would wonder if I waited too long, they wouldn’t accept it because it would be a new concept!

      Great ideas here Stephanie. Thank you for your comment.
      Have a peaceful night,

  12. What a fun, and oh so enlightening post! I have some childhood *memories* that have been told to me. Two of my favorites:

    Evidently I knew all the names of the cars when I was 2. Mind you, there were a lot LESS cars back then (think Flintstone-mobiles??), so I was most likely NOT a child prodigy! Or, how about the time when my mother, just re-located to a new town because of my dad’s job transfer, had to hole up in a hotel room with me, and a terrible case of the measles (so bad they were in my eyes, and so the shades had to be pulled 24 hours a day!), for two weeks. Mom told me we were under quarantine.

    These stories are part of my past. And though I might not remember them, they are undoubtedly part of what has shaped me.

    You know, the spiritual legacy in my family is far and wide, too. Many generations past have been strong believers in the Lord. Though, of course, this does not automatically bring one to Christian faith, the prayers and witness of so many relatives in my life were highly influential in my meeting Jesus myself.

    None the least of which was my mom. Do you know that when she tells the *measles* story, she never forgets to tell how the Lord sustained her and kept her company through that most lonely and challenging time. She is the one who led me to the foot of the Cross when I was 3 years old.

    I hope to pass on the same legacy to the next generation. I want to tell my stories, as well as the stories of the people in the Bible. And, of course, I want to tell everyone about The Author of the Greatest Love Story Ever Told!! Funny, these things were on my mind when I posted today about turning 60…

    We have much to do, those of us who live in “God’s Tribe”!!


    • Hi Sharon! What a wonderful comment! Your Mom really went through the measles with you, didn’t she? Wow. Quarantine for two weeks? Yikes. And she remembers God sustaining and carrying her all the way through. That is just inspiring.

      Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you had a wonderful celebration πŸ™‚

  13. I’m all about family stories; in fact, that is why I started blogging. I hoped to leave a record of what stories I knew because all of our old ones had passed on and there was no one left to ask! (Well, I still have my mom, who claims she can’t remember all those things.)

    I hope someday my grandkids will read my stuff and realize Mimi was sold out to Jesus.

    • Hi Jerralea! I think that’s such a great idea. Maybe you told me this once before, because I remember thinking it was such a creative way to make memories for the next generation.

      I love the way you say you’re ‘sold out to Jesus.’ It made me laugh! Such a great way to phrase a soul that is totally given to God. Love it!

  14. I write a blog because there will be no-one to tell stories to beyond our son. I write because I ‘have to’ But also to leave a little bit of me behind.

    I’m certainly not comparing my little blog to the bible!!! But just as well that those who were able, left written accounts to be studied thousands of years later by the likes of yourself… Kindest blessings, Andrina

    • Hi Andrina! You are the third person to say that you blog for your family and the memory it will leave. I just never thought of that. I think it’s a great idea.

      I do’t think it’s the literary quality of our writing, I think it’s the love and care we have for our loved ones that makes it such great reading. Much like the prophets in the bible. All they wanted to do was to lift the heart and spirit of the faithful. So inspiring!

      Have a wonderful day my friend,

  15. Hi Ceil,
    My story of long ago reminds me of how my father told me stories from the Bible.
    I also remember my own not so nice stories from my past which, together with my father’s stories of the Bible, eventually brought me to seek the Lord.
    God bless you.

    • Hi Brenda! I know that our stories are powerful, the good and the not-so-good. Believe me, I’ve had my own scary stories. Thank the Lord he still loves me and thinks I’m wonderful anyway.

      Telling the stories of our mistakes and how we were led to God through them makes for a huge impact. Anyone can relate to being less than perfect. It shows that there is always a second chance with our Savior.


  16. How true Ceil! My family is always sharing stories of when we were growing up. When we get together, the little ones in the family love to hear about their parents and grandparents. I also have many in my family who are still in Norway. We communicate and share stories through email and on Facebook.

    But only recently I was realizing that our spiritual stories aren’t always told. As I read in the Bible in the OT, I see that one man followed God and then his son turned away to idols. How important it is for us to share what the Lord has done in our lives and about who He is. The younger members of our families need to hear of His love and faithfulness. I know He has carried me through so many trials and without His strength I would never have made it. Yes, let us tell them all!

    Blessings and love,

    • Hi Debbie! Have you ever gone to Norway to visit your family? Wouldn’t that be fun! I agree that swapping stories is so much fun, and you learn so much about your loved ones that way.

      I like your comments about spreading our Bible family stories too. We all need to hear those, again and again. We weren’t there to experience those things, so it’s the only way to keep connected. Let’s keep proclaiming the Good News!

      Thank you for your visit today πŸ™‚

    • Hi Lulu! Aw, thank you! That’s so nice of you to say. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚ You are such an encouragement to me, may God bless you abundantly for that.

      Have a peaceful evening,

  17. Good point well made, Ceil. Thank you.

    A number of your posts could be collected together into a self-published book, Ceil. Did I ever suggest that to you before? If not, forgive me. I should have done so often before.

    God bless you.

    • Hi Victor! Thank you for the suggestion about a self-published book. It has crossed my mind to do an anthology of blog posts. I don’t think I’m ready for writing a book at this point.

      I’ll contact you to get some input on your experiences with it. I’d love to hear about your adventures in self-publishing.

      God bless you too my friend, and thank you for the encouragement.

  18. Ceil, this is so fine. Remembering who we are as a human family is one thing (of which I have dug into genealogy), but God’s story of our life in Him is why we read the Bible. It is all there, as well as how much He loves us.
    I just spent a week with my sisters and the stories we shared were wonderful. We laughed and cried and poked at one another for our silly way or some such. But it was great to be with them and remember our parents and grandparents. Sharing in earthly sisterhood is one wonderful thing, but sharing in the sisterhood under Christ’s umbrella is altogether beautiful. I am thankful that I have sisters in the LORD.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

    • Hi Linda! I know you have a wonderfully close relationship with your sisters. What a blessing that is! It’s great to keep those stories and silliness alive, and to pass them on to the next generation.

      I agree about the sisterhood in Christ. I think my friends are so wonderful because they all have faith. It’s really a wonderful bond that the Lord makes between his people. I have to remember to tell those stories too.
      Thank you for your visit today!

  19. Great post, Ceil! Because of technology we don’t have much of an oral tradition anymore, but I think it is so important! Our past and our histories, both our earthly family and spiritual family impact our daily life, and our future. Thank you for your kind words on my blog! Seeing your name pop up always brings a smile ! Have a blessed week!

    • Hi June! Good point about technology. It’s hard to keep those texts and emails and all that stuff. Oral tradition is so personal and immediate.

      Thank you for your kind words about my comments. It’s great to be connected to each other through our blogs. I love to make new friends in the blog community!
      Have a peaceful evening,

  20. Ceil, this is beautiful! Your post takes me back to my childhood days in Africa. We didn’t have TV then, after finishing our evening house chores, as children, we will gather together in our compound and sit on the mat for story time. All the kids loved it! We were like sponges, every word sunk deep in our hearts. And I can tell you, many of those stories help to shaped my character as a child. You’re so right, teach a child the right path and you will help them to navigate their life.

    Thanks for sharing my friend! Big hugs and having a wonderful day!
    Bless you πŸ™‚

    • Hi Shade! I had no idea that you grew up in Africa. What a wonderful tradition of storytelling! I could just imagine the scene the way you described it. I am sure you had so much respect for your elders, and loved to hear the stories they told.

      I really love that image of all generations getting together. What sweet memories they must be.
      Hugs right back my friend. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  21. Oh, how I love your heart. These are the things I think on during a day. Let us not forget to celebrate what He’s done for us. And I agree wholeheartedly with you on the family stories. I proudly share these family stories with my sons, who are now grown. I have always done this. I want them to know where they came from and what God has done. I want them to hear it so much that they they practically feel like they were there. It’s wonderful, because I can see they have a certain sense of pride in the people who came before them and how they lived their lives. It is a wonderful thing to pass onto our children. They need that. Wow. I just love you and your blog so much. I’m so glad you stopped by my blog to visit. It’s so wonderful to meet you!

    • Hi Topaz! I was so happy to meet you too! I love making new blog friends, and your blog home was so lovely πŸ™‚

      What a great service you did for your children. They have a respect for their family and their heavenly one. I just think that’s awesome. I hope I have done enough for my children, and that they take those stories and pass them along too.

      I look forward to getting to know you better!

  22. This is lovely Ceil. As I mentioned a while back, my children and I are reading The Story which is a novelization of the Bible. 80% of it is direct NIV translation and 20% of it is summarized. My youngest has the children’s picture book version, my oldest has the children’s novel, and I have the full version. Every week we read a chapter, discuss it and then our learning gets reinforced at church/Sunday school.

    What I love most about The Story is it really focuses on the “stories”/the heavenly family history as you shared here in this post. It makes us curious to want more, to discover more, to understand more.

    Our spiritual history is vital… it leads us to the freedom we have today in Christ.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Hi Jennifer! I really like the idea of the Bible as stories for children. It’s such a welcoming and friendly way to act as the doorway to faith. Imagine if we all started out that way! The Bible would be accessible and user-friendly.

      You are such a blessing to your children Jennifer. I know they pick up on your excitement for your faith. They will be faithful young people.

      You always inspire my friend.

  23. Hi Ceil,

    Thanks so much for your lovely post. I don’t know a lot about my family, especially on my father’s side as it’s just not talked about sadly. My mum though is a story teller, usually about funny or disastrous moments that the whole family know well after being told many times (LOL) I am so thankful for our Lord’s Word filled with stories that speak right into our hearts. Stories are definitely powerful, and do help us connect with a deeper sense of who we are.

    • Hi Anita! I know that not every family is the same. Maybe some hear from both sides, others don’t get any history at all. I am so glad that you can connect to your Mom’s history. It sounds like she is a pretty entertaining person!

      I agree. Stories are so vital to defining who we are as members of a human clan, and our heavenly one too.

      Have a wonderful Wednesday!

  24. What a wonderful truth this is! I hope we can pass it along to our children and grandchildren and beyond, for it is so important. Thanks so much for sharing and encouraging us! πŸ™‚

    • Hi Karen! I agree with you. We are supposed to pass along our heritage on earth, and our heritage in heaven. What beautiful stories there are in the Bible, and in our families. God is good.

      Thank you for your kind comment Karen πŸ™‚

    • Hi Susannah! Thank you for your supportive comments, I really appreciate it!

      Starting to expose our children to Bible stories at a young age really prepares them for faith later on. And our family history is just as important. It defines us as people, and reminds us that we are not alone. I love both!

      Have a wonderful Wednesday πŸ™‚

  25. Ceil, you definitely made me laughed because as I read your questions I was know I don’t remember that at all. You done a great job of illustrating the importance of sharing faith and family stories to all generations.

    • Hi Wanda! That’s great! Laughter is good for the soul, right?

      Thank you for your kind words about the post. I really appreciate your encouragement!
      Have a peaceful evening,

  26. I have been bringing up memories recently and realizing that I need to ask more questions of my dad so I can remember who I am and my legacy. We don’t want to lose sight of who we are so looking backward is important in order to move forward. I love that we are part of “God’s Tribe” and I know when there are grandchildren in the picture, I want them to learn God’s history and be able to apply it to their own lives. Blessings!

    • Hi Mary! It is fun to hear my Dad talk about his younger days, and about the early days of our family. I bet you will really enjoy your time with your father.

      I know what you mean about grandchildren. It’s so important to pass down that legacy when you can. Sometimes our children do not accept the faith they have been given, so that can be difficult. But when it’s possible, it’s a beautiful thing.

      Blessings to you too!

  27. Ceil: The stories of our childhood are important to us. Those of our children are very important to them. The stories of God and His power are important to every generation. Some of us have stories that should not be handed down to our children.

    • Hi Cecelia! There are all sorts of stories in our lives. I think you are right that not all of them need to be shared. But the stories of hope and faith need to heard by all our generations. And the works of the Lord in the bible too!


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