Saturday, January 11, 2014


Have you read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story? In the book, Donald Miller explains how our lives follow the same path as a protagonist within a story. This concept was revolutionary to me.

I had just discovered the elements of story through Teaching the Classics (yes, my early education was sadly lacking) and had begun to analyze simple stories based on these elements. (You can follow some of our parent-child literary analysis book club discussions under the Book Detectives tag.)

Very soon after, I took a short workshop titled The Bible as the True Story of the World wherein we talked about how the Bible as a whole, rather than piecemeal stories, followed the very same elements of story. This was the moment I began to realize that story was a truth about creation, and that God as our creator had indelibly written the concept of story and creativity onto our very souls. (I’m exploring the topic of biblical story in greater detail this year while reading The Drama of Scripture: Finding Our Place in the Biblical Story. More about that later.)

You might well imagine then what sort of epiphany I experienced while reading A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. Yes! Of course!

p. 31

I wanted it to be an easy story. But nobody really remembers easy stories. Characters have to face their greatest fears with courage. That’s what makes a good story.

p. 58

We get robbed of the glory of life because we aren’t capable of remembering how we got here. When you are born, you wake slowly to everything… The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. What I’m saying is I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given—it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.

p. 59

I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.

p. 68

If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation… If the character doesn’t change, the story hasn’t happened yet.

I wrote my post Billboards a while after that, a year and a half ago. A year and a half ago. This is the moment when that well-known motivational quote, “A year from now you’ll wish you had started today,” starts beating me down like a relentless sledge-hammer.

But my story is not over. Life is a staggering gift. And I’m answering the call to adventure.

This is my year of discovering my STORY. In faith. In art. In writing. In health. In relationships. In home. In adventure. In gratitude. In celebration. In reading. In learning. In thoughts.


The STORY of one ordinary, extraordinary LIFE.

And I’ll share my story journey here at Mt. Hope Chronicles.

That doesn’t mean for one second that I am not full of fears. In many ways I am terrified of Monday, the first day of 40 days of my Storyline Productivity Schedule challenge, starting with a free week of life coaching.


Big picture:

  • My call to adventure is mundane, prosaic compared to other people’s adventures.
  • Failure. Failure to get started. Failure to persevere.


  • I won’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. This likely sounds ridiculous to most of you, but the truth is that I simply cannot get out of bed in the mornings. It’s as if I am in a different world and no brilliant reason or motivation that I came up with the night before makes one iota of difference to me. I would blissfully sleep from midnight to 10 am every single day. I require a lot of sleep in general, and I simply find being in bed a lovely place to be.
  • I won’t be able to control distractions. Control anything, really. Lack of control is a big issue for me. I hate that I can’t control my environment or myself, and the feeling of being out of control is terrifying.

I’ll let you know how my week progresses!



For more reading about heroes and the elements of story:

::  The Heroic Journey 1: Every Story is the Same Old Story @ Write at Home

Somebody is living in the world of the common day. Ordinary day-to-day life. He’s not comfortable there, something’s… off. Then it happens: He gets an invitation, in some way, to enter a different world. Go on an adventure. A quest.

Thus the journey begins — wait. Not so fast. It’s usually the case that the person, now recognizable as the hero, rejects the call to adventure. He’s unsure of himself, even though deep down, he knows this is what he’s been waiting for.”


Have you answered a call to adventure?


Meghan said...

Hey Heidi, I'm a first-time commenter and really looking forward to hearing more about this. The book left a major impression on me as well, especially the discussion of how our kids need to be invited into a story by their parents, instead of away to a more interesting story somewhere else less ideal.

Briana Almengor said...

Wow, how you echo my thoughts and feelings! I have not read the book, but will put it on my wish list. It sounds rather intriguing and like it could be a good fit for the season I'm in right now. I am in the transition between leaving things behind and starting things anew. I am in "limbo land", restless and wrestling with much I have accepted (or never really did) as the way it should be, the role I should play as stay at home wife, homeschool mom, small group leader's wife, etc, etc.

Yet desires gnaw at me for more, and not in the "God is not enough" kind of more, but like I may not be pursuing something He's made me for. I run to the scripture, "He WILL fulfill His purpose for me" often and in this season especially.

I have always wanted to write, be in ministry and speak. I have the same exact fears as you do and probably more...yes, one more...the fear that I am self deluded in thinking I have something to offer AND the fear of influencing others. I do and don't want influence all at the same time.

"He who is faithful with little..."? Well, I don't feel I have been all that faithful with little, but I don't know if that's just the perpetual critic who lives within me.

Can you hear the internal struggle? the back and forth? It's annoying and exhausting; yet, here at Mt. Hope Chronicles, I think I have found a co-sojourner with these struggles.

So, I am commenting I think for the first time on your blog even though I have followed off and on for many years.

Thank you for putting yourself out there, for continuing to fight to write, to obey what God prompts you in your spirit to do. That's all He wants anyway, right? For his kids to trust Him and obey.

Looking forward to watching you and cheering you on in your journey, and hopefully taking a few steps of my own.

Heidi said...

Meghan~ Thanks for leaving a note. Yes, the suggestion that we invite our children into our stories and make them excited for that adventure with us is a BIG IDEA. :)

Briana~ YES. "The fear that I am self deluded in thinking I have something to offer AND the fear of influencing others. I do and don't want influence all at the same time. "He who is faithful with little..."? Well, I don't feel I have been all that faithful with little, but I don't know if that's just the perpetual critic who lives within me." Again, YES. Both of those are very big struggles that I wrestle with. Who am I to have anything to offer? And I have not been faithful in the little things, why should I be given more? I also loved your blog post about writing and sharing as you figure things out, as you go through the process, rather than when it's all been figured out and completed. Thanks so much for sharing!

Melanie said...

I have read so many of your homeschool posts and have always appreciated the detail and care you give to sharing info with your readers:) Just wanted to say bravo for digging in and being brave and embarking on this new adventure! Can't wait to hear how God reveals himself in this journey.

Danielle said...

One of my favorite books. I so resonate with your words and fears, especially about control. Wish I could drop everything and join you in your pursuit. I did download the schedule and hope to examine it on the weekend.