The Babies and the Stories

Hummingbirds make such wonderful mothers. Six years ago, the hummingbird who raised two nests right outside my door was a good example. When one of her babies turned out to find it more difficult to learn to fly, she spent hours one afternoon patiently teaching the little one. The green hummingbird raising her babies in our oleander right now is another good example. First, before she ever laid her eggs, she completely moved her nest from the windchime/mobile to the oleander tree when she realized the first place was not safe. Now we’ve noticed that because the sun beats relentlessly on the babies in the mornings, she sits on them for protection even though they are now big kids. We expect them to fly away any day now. Here she is shielding them from the sun.

Last week I told you that Kana was enjoying a manuscript box, but Tiger would lie down in it when Kana wasn’t there.

I think I forgot to mention that my daughter gave me Storyworth for Mother’s Day. I had never heard of it before. Every week for a year I get a story prompt mailed to me. The idea is these stories are all about my life. As soon as I email one back, my kids get the story dumped in their inboxes. I am allowed to include photos if I like. And if I hit send and regret something I can easily edit it. At the end of the year, the kids will get books of “the story of my life.” Why is this different from creative nonfiction and memoir writing? These stories are geared for my kids and (hopefully someday) their kids. Some of the stories are already part of family legend, but now they will be written down in a permanent form. If I don’t like a particular prompt, I can change it out, but so far each one (I’ve done four) have been fruitful lines of enquiry ;). I’ve written about my first memory, most memorable birthday, favorite trip, and a time when I was brave. I’m not saying I wouldn’t share any of these on this blog, but not today, folks.

It’s a genius idea that I wish I had thought of before these people did hah. The reason it’s genius is that it’s got to be a money maker as it’s pricey. But I kind of think it’s worth it because who does this anyway? And keeps it up for a year? You could do this completely on your own. But will your loved ones keep writing those stories every week? They will if they know you paid for the subscription!

Make it a fine week!!!!


Filed under #amwriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Family history, Memoir, Nonfiction, Writing, writing prompt

66 responses to “The Babies and the Stories

  1. You are so lucky to have a hummingbird family. At my last house, the last two years, a bird built a nest next to the screened porch in a cherry laurel. Neither time the eggs hatched. I could never figure out with was wrong. She’d sit on the nest for 2 weeks or so and then nothing. No mama and no babies. Just empty nest with 2 eggs.

  2. A marvelous update, Luanne. It’s fun keeping up with your hummers. I’m working on an epilogue for my newly-accepted (pub date to be decided) novel, so I’ve been away from the blogisphere for awhile. Have a wonderful week!

  3. That sounds like a great idea. I got my mother to write down some of her life story before she died, but it’s only a part of it – something like this is a great way for someone to do it. I’m glad the hummingbird babies are doing well, I hope they fledge successfully soon.

    • They are just so cute. And to clarify, the mama only sits there in the mornings when the sun is so intense. That’s how we know it’s the sun which is quite harsh here.
      I’m so glad you were able to get your mother to write down some of her life story. What a wonderful treasure for you! Storyworth really is a good idea because it breaks it all down into pieces that most people would be able to respond to. Today’s prompt is asking me what my perfect happiness is so I can be a little more “philosophical” in this one. I like how these are showing different facets of a person.

  4. That is so cool about the hummingbirds–and yes, that story idea is a genius idea! I wish I had had more stories from my mom and grandparents.
    The geese I see at the park seem to be good parents, too. 😀

  5. What a wonderful gift with the storybooks!!! You will have so many stories compiled by the end of the year!!! I think the addition of photos is also great!

  6. Thank goodness for boxes! What would our cats do without them? ;-D
    Storyworth sounds marvelous. I agree it would be difficult (unlikely?) to keep up such a project without structure/support/incentive – what a lovely gift, to you and your children. 🙂

  7. Amy

    I love that idea! I rarely if ever write about my childhood on my blog because it would involve other living people (some of whom I would have not very nice memories of), but I’d love to be prompted to write things for my kids and grandsons. Lucky you!

  8. One of my Texas cousins is doing Storyworth, a gift from her son!

  9. The weekly prompt sound like a great idea, Luanne. Your kids will cherish what you have written.

  10. Storyworth sounds great! You will be giving your kids something to value for a long time. It saddens me that as my dear aunts and uncles have passed away, the many stories are then gone, since my cousins don’t often recall them. As for hummingbirds, we had a nest made on top of a bulb in the string of lights on our patio. So cute to see the mom sitting on the eggs, but they were suddenly all gone, and we suspect a local crow. This food chain thing does nothing for me!

    • Oh that is so sad!!!! They didn’t fly away without you noticing? I’m not surprised about the nest built on the bulb because the nest we had six years ago was built on a glass ball on a hanging ornament. It’s kind of ingenious because nobody can creep up on them. It’s only a flying predator that can get them.
      I hear you about the aunts and uncles. It’s so frustrating to see the lack of interest so many people take in the previous generations.

      • We don’t actually know what happened to the hummingbird family, but there was just no sign of the eggs or the mother in the space of 24 hours. No cracked eggs on the patio beneath or anything! I love reading about your family history. My mom spent five years doing a family history with photos and summaries, and she finished it just about a year before the Alzheimer’s began. Such a gift to our whole family! I must say that I so appreciate your attention to animals. Another inspiring facet of your inner person!

        • How odd! So they were just eggs. I don’t suppose the mother could move them. What a treasure to have your mothers research! I was reading the poem that I picked out to memorize and recite in fifth grade today and the whole idea of it was being kind to animals although couched in fun imagery and not didactic.

  11. Storyworth sounds like a wonderful idea. Yes, if only you’d come up with it first, right? I’m recording my mom’s memories now, but it would have been fun to have those stories in bits and pieces through the years. Good for you, Luanne, for following through. <3

    • Good for you for recording her memories! So she’s talking and you’re audio or video recording? My uncle and my mother got my grandpa to do that by video when he was alive and I treasure that video so much. Additionally a social worker interviewed him for a long written interview and gave the family a copy. Such a blessing.

      • Those memories are priceless, and unless we record them, they’re lost. That’s awesome that you have those memories of your grandpa. My recording is just audio and I’m going to create a slide show with photos. I have a lot to do!

  12. Thanks for the update on the hummer family. How wonderful that you get to watch the family’s progress. Storyworth sounds like a great idea. I love that your kids will get books (i.e., a truly permanent record) at the end of the year. Happy writing 🙂

    • Thanks, Marie. I hope your writing is going well!!!! I will update on the hummers on Mondays post as there have been some developments 😉.

  13. Our hummingbirds haven’t arrived yet. They come when the Rose of Sharon bush blooms. Storyworth does sound like a good idea! (I got a kick out of your comment that the recipient of the gift will be motivated by the money spent on the subscription.) My dad was a teller of stories, so I have plenty from him. My mother’s came out when she wrote her family’s history and in casual conversation in her final years. Have a good week, Luanne!

  14. I wish we had hummingbirds around here. Such precious mothers!

  15. Hummingbirds are fascinating, like life in miniature. I’ve not heard of Storyworth and it sounds amazing. I bet your kids will adore your finished book!

    • Life in miniature. I like that. They are very much like us, in the way that cats and dogs can be. So interesting to see how tame they get so quickly. I am hoping my kids make my husband do Storyworth!

  16. I found a hummingbird nest last week while on my dog walk, but she seems to have abandoned it and I wonder if my peering at her caused her to leave it. On the other hand, the magpies next to the house are fledging six (!!) babies right now. It’s noisy, but I love it. And we have swallows nesting in a tree cavity again this year.

    I like that story-prompt into book concept. I suspect I could not get my uncle and aunts to do it, though.

  17. What a wonderful gift and yes, Luanne, why didn’t you think of it?? Hahaha. If only we would have!

  18. Storyworth prompts, interesting! Can you give me an example of two of the prompts?

  19. That story book offer seems interesting, and not so pricey if a couple of siblings share the cost. A great gift idea.

  20. I do envy you to humming bird babies. How delightful to watch. I didn’t get to see any of our Jay’s either. I’m certain they are gone now.
    I’ve never met a cat that didn’t like a box or many boxes. I think boxes were invented just for cats.
    Storyworth sounds like a great idea. I’ve been getting prompts weekly from Daily Om but many are not relevant. Yours sounds like a better idea. My daughter is always trying to get me to write down the stories I tell her and I’m hoping to do that but when they come out of your mouth, they take on a different life then when you are writing them. I’ve often thought I should keep a recorder handy and then transcribe them. My last husband’s mother told me many of her stories while in the nursing home. I would relay them to him and ask if he knew any of it. He did not and was not particularly interested. You are so lucky your daughter cares to read them. That is really not a bad price for the book.

    • Oh my. I just realized that I had responded to your comment! I’m so sorry! It was such a good one I probably wanted to devote more time to responding and then forgot. That’s my current memory! If you are interested in the Storyworth prompts I would be happy to send them to you if you send me your email. The more recent have been “what do you think is one of your greatest accomplishments” and “how did you decide when to have children” and “what is the best advice your mother ever gave you” and “what is one of the bravest things you have ever done, and what was the outcome.”
      I had bad news today about my cat Felix. He has a liver tumor and other issues. I’m still in shock. 🙁

      • So sorry to hear about Felix, Luanne. It’s hard to lose a pet which is partly why I no longer have any. No worries on the response time. I’m so frazzled that I’m not even getting here to read or write anything. I would love to get the prompts from Storyworth. Many prompts do not apply to my life which has been more out of sync with the rest of the world but they do give me plenty to think about. I’m at Would love to hear from you anyway. My son told me they had to sandbag up in Show Low yesterday. The monsoons finally did their thing.

        • Thank you about Felix. It’s especially hard on the heels of my grandcat dying and Pear is also really fading. We’re seeing a vet today: me, Felix, and Pear. I’m feeling very anxious!
          The monsoons have been crazy this year. The wind blew rain in around the door of my daughter’s apartment so that the living room flooded on the 3rd floor!!!
          OK, I will send you prompts. If I forget to keep doing it, just send me reminders if you think of it!!! XOXO

          • We are all crazy overwhelmed these days. No worries about the prompts. They will appear when they should or not at all. My kid in Show Low had quite the day with monsoon too. Very unusual. They had their kitties to the vet today too. Life is like that. Hope all ends up as well as it can. Hugs and hang on.

            • I am definitely crazy overwhelmed. You might be right. There is so much going on and so many hoops to jump through for everything and too much busy work and “paperwork.” Ugh. Big hugs back atcha, Marlene!

  21. All fascinating ….
    Kana is beautiful.
    Re: Storyworth: a couple of my writers are using it, and probably one of its attractions is that weekly requests to write come from their children. There develops a weekly habit of requesting, writing, and reading.

    • That is Tiger. She took over Kana’s box. As of now she has not given it back! Tiger is a tabico–a calico with tabby patches. She’s particularly cute and beautiful with a bit of a nasty personality hahaha.
      You nailed it about Storyworth. When I get the prompt email I feel like daughter is requesting the story from me :).

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