In The NEWS
The Miracle Book… a treasure that has touched hundreds of lives
By Pamela Pavuk, Co-author
As the summer approached, my 82-year-old father and 77-year-old mother traveled across the country to spend time with me, my husband and my daughter. Shortly after they arrived, Mom fell and broke her hip. She suffered great pain, underwent replacement surgery the next day and ended up immobilized on a hospital bed in our family room for two weeks.
Over the years, whenever I’d had problems, my parents were always there for me. Now I saw that Dad, who had become blind in recent years, was frail and unusually dependent on Mom. And despite the trauma of the fractured hip, Mom was striving to meet Dad’s every need, reading aloud his daily scripture and newspaper, telling him his potatoes were “at 11 o’clock” on his plate. Likewise, Dad literally felt his way around our home to attend to Mom, bringing her food and medicine and staying at her bedside day and night to comfort her. Eternally optimistic, they regularly laughed at their struggles. I was filled with wonder at their ability to be so joyful, even as they faced significant adversity.
As I witnessed the strength of my parents’ commitment to each other after 60 years of marriage, it occurred to me that I had been taking them for granted, assuming their steadfast love would always be there for me. Where had I been all those years while they were growing so old? I realized how much I didn’t know about these two very special people in my life. I felt an urgent need to tell my parents how much I loved and appreciated them.
I had so many questions. It dawned on me that I could use them to demonstrate to my parents how important they were to me. That fall, every day after I came home from my job, I compiled a list of all the things I’d wondered about my parents. I planned to have the questions elegantly bound with lots of space for answers; my folks could fill in the blanks however they chose. The book would be a wonderful chance for Mom and Dad to share their memories, and a treasured keepsake for me and my family. I would present it to them at Christmas.
A beautiful tribute – too late
Contemplating the travels and travails my parents had experienced during 50 years as a minister and minister’s wife, and knowing how much the religious poem “Footprints” meant to them, I entitled my book of questions Tracing Footprints. On the day before Thanksgiving, proud to have finished the book before Christmas, I celebrated with a cappuccino at the local coffee shop. When I got home, I found a message on my answering machine. “Pam,” I heard Mom say, “your dad just passed away. He was waiting for me to serve pie when he laid his head on the table and passed on.” He died as gently, gracefully and peacefully as he had lived.
I was devastated with grief and riddled with guilt and anger at myself. I had waited too long. Now I would never hear from Dad, firsthand, about all the lessons he had gained. He would never tell me what life meant to him. Most of all, he would never hear from me how much I loved and appreciated him.
I stayed with Mom for a few weeks after Dad’s funeral and we talked about this man we both had loved so much. Amid all these thoughts and feelings, I realized there was a way to translate my grief, guilt and anger into something that could help others.
I spent months gathering information about writing life stories and about the publishing business. I also attended workshops at which I heard many unpublished authors talk about repeated rejections of their work. I got very discouraged. I began to think I should give up.
One morning I awoke at 4:30. Feeling low yet hoping for some miraculous answer while sitting at my computer, I typed the words “If I have a guardian angel, give me a clear sign whether to proceed with Tracing Footprints or to give it up.”
After about five minutes nothing had happened. I tried to delete the question from the screen and must have accidentally clicked on “print” instead. What came out of the printer ran chills throughout my body. All over the page were very distinct gray blotches that looked unmistakably like little footprints. Could it be my guardian angel, or maybe even Dad, reassuring me?
I convinced myself it had to be a freak accident. I awakened my husband and asked him what the blotches looked like. His immediate response was “footprints.” I awakened my 16-year-old daughter, Katie, and asked her opinion. She said “footprints.” I had my answer.
Now I was irrevocably committed to this project. Seeing my determination, my husband, Steve, began to help. After a few months, I had completed the original manuscript. The book was published under the title The Story of a Lifetime: A Keepsake of Personal Memoirs. Within a few months, The Story of a Lifetime was in more than 100 gift shops, and we were expanding daily. The next step was finding a company to represent us in different regions of the country. Finally, one agreed to help. Now we had a way to sell our book nationwide!
The rewards of following my dream
Perhaps my greatest satisfaction is seeing and hearing how much The Story of a Lifetime has meant to its recipients. One woman said that her mother was so touched by the gift that she cried, realizing anew how much she was loved. A college student bought the book for herself to use for introspection and self-discovery. A group of adult brothers and sisters are delighted that their 91-year-old grandfather is regularly recording his memories and wisdom for them and their children. These kinds of stories are the true validation of what I envisioned at the start.
I am so glad I went where those little footprints led me. I am grateful to my parents for their living example that inspired me to do what then seemed farthest from my reach. What a wonderful gift their lives have been to me!
Mother’s handwritten accounts great gift
Neosho Missouri Daily News
By Valerie Praytor, Editor
(condensed for space)
I recently had one of those “Jack Benny” birthdays. Of all the presents I received one stands above all the others.
The “gift” had its beginnings in Ashland, Oregon. While shopping with several business associates I noticed a book called “The Story of a Lifetime”. The empty pages were waiting to be filled by someone with a desire to share their story.
I purchased the book because so many times during family gatherings tidbits of ancestral history would be revealed. Each person would remember a portion of the event or usually several people would remember the happening in several different ways. I didn’t want time to erode the precious stories that parents and grandparents had to tell.
The book was packaged and mailed off to dear, sweet mom in South Dakota.
During a recent trip home the completed copy was lovingly placed in my hands. After mom went to bed that evening, I read each of the 400 pages with awe and wonder, not noticing that night had turned into morning. It was evident that a great deal of time and intensity was spent in answering every question. Every page unfolded a path of a life defining the choices my mother made along her way.
Her childhood memories of playing Run-Sheep-Run, singing “Mare’s Eat Oats” and tasting great-grandmother’s baked beans were explained in such detail I felt as if I were there. Some stories were extremely hilarious, such as my grandparents having to drive the decorated “Just Married” vehicle home from the church because my parents took another car on their honeymoon. Others drew tears.
The final section of the book serves as a link between her past and my future. The preservation of our traditional family values, cultures and priorities are clearly defined. Answers to questions such as “What is the hardest lesson you have learned?” are meant to impart markers to assist her loved ones in finding the greatest potential as human beings.
I am so blessed to have such a record of her personal experiences, observations and philosophies. Her story in her own hand and in her own voice will be cherished for generations. I have made a commitment to place my memories in such a book for my sons because I know what a treasure such a tribute can be.
THE STORY OF A LIFETIME AWARDED THE FAMILY CHANNEL SEAL OF QUALITY
The Family Channel, a division of International Family Entertainment (IFE), has awarded its respected Seal of Quality to TriAngel Publishers’ unique gift book, The Story of a Lifetime: A Keepsake of Personal Memoirs. The book was a featured recommendation in The Family Channel Entertainment Guide in the Life Section of USA TODAY newspaper. Co-author Stephen Pavuk was interviewed on The Family Channel’s live interactive talk and interview show, Home and Family, hosted by Cristina Ferrare and Chuck Woolery.
The Family Channel Seal of Quality recognizes excellence in the entertainment industry, serving as a reliable guide to assist families in making positive entertainment decisions. Products are selected for the award of the Seal based on the following criteria:
• the content is of a wholesome and positive nature
• it is respectful of relationships
• it is entertaining, enriching and of enduring value
• it can be enjoyed by the whole family
Doug Symons, Vice President of Marketing for IFE, says, “The Story of a Lifetime is exactly the kind of product we had in mind when we established The Seal of Quality initiative.”
The Story of a Lifetime is a uniquely meaningful keepsake-quality publication which provides many benefits to both the giver and recipient. It:
• shows honor, respect and loving interest in life of recipient
• enables the telling of one’s life story and philosophies with ease
• passes along wisdom and knowledge gained from experience
• preserves special memories while instilling lasting appreciation for family history
• enhances personal growth and strengthens bonds with loved ones
• fills up quiet hours with an enjoyable, life-affirming activity
• creates a treasured heirloom for future generations
It is an incomparable way to show special people that we care deeply about their lives.