Four Ideas for Helping Children Learn How to Write Stories

- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

notebook and penSome of my grandkids live out of state, and we have great fun connecting each week for our online writing “class.”

Here are four ideas for helping children learn how to write stories:

1) Read the same book and then, via Skype, talk about the author’s ideas, writing style, etc.

2) If possible, watch the DVD “Writing Strategies” by Rock N Learn. (It features Marco the Pencil and covers things like how to brainstorm ideas, hook the readers, write effective dialogue, and much more.) Then help the kids put what Marco says into practice.

3) Ask the kids to write something every week in a journal.

4) Read author Tricia Goyer’s wonderful blog post  “6 Activities for Your Kids’ Writing Club/For Teens & Preteens.”

What suggestions do you have for teaching kids how to write stories … and how to help them love the written word?

Post © 2014 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Photo © Photodiane |
The Grandparent Connection

Visit Mary at She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.

Thank You! Offering a Prayer of Thanksgiving

“What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? … I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God” (Ps. 116: 12, 17).

Thanksgiving. Today, I’m making my lists and checking it twice, as I plan our traditional Thanksgiving meal—turkey, dressing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, all the sides, appetizers, and (of course) desserts.

Blessings. As I consider how I can express my thanksgiving to God for all His blessings, my family and friends come to mind. And I asked myself this question, What can I give back to God for the blessings He’s poured out on me?

Prayer. The psalmist expressed his gratitude by offering thanksgiving and prayers (Psalm 116:12). I agree–what a wonderful idea! So, in gratitude for God’s blessings in my life, I offer my thanksgiving and prayers for you—my family and friends.

I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I (ask) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe … (Eph. 1:16-19).

Happy Thanksgiving!

How can I pray for you this Thanksgiving? 


Sharing Family Stories at Thanksgiving

horn of plentyby Mary May Larmoyeux

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s a perfect time to share family stories.

As our family will enjoy turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving, we’ll recall not only God’s blessings, but also share some of our family’s favorite stories.

I’ll never forget a time long ago when my mom and dad were visiting for Thanksgiving while Jim’s and my kids were still living at home. We were sharing our blessings and my dad said he was thankful that he had a good wife. Mom couldn’t understand him. “What?” she asked. “You want a new wife?”

We all leaned back in our chairs and laughed, and a Thanksgiving memory was etched on our hearts.

When I think of Mom and Dad, I can still see them holding hands (even after being married for 50 years) and kneeling side-by-side at the foot of their bed to pray. I am very thankful for the parents God gave me!

What is one of your favorite family stories?

Post © 2014 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Photo © Photodiane |
The Grandparent Connection

Visit Mary at She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.


For Lovers of Genealogy and Family Stories

by Mary May Larmoyeux

3 generationsI just discovered Family Search, a wonderful free genealogy website created by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.

And I stumbled on info. about the Roots Tech 2015 conference, which has been called the world’s largest family history and technology conference. Although Roots Tech will be held in Salt Lake City (February 11-14, 2015), anyone can register for it online.

If you’re like me and love to tell your family’s stories, you might want to check out this website and conference.

Photo © Monkey Business Images /


Grandma’s Quilt

40-Day Challenge: Telling the Stories That Matter Most

Stories Shape History

Saving Family Stories

The Grandparent Connection


Visit Mary at She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.

Doubly Blessed by Veterans Day Stories

I hope you had the opportunity to celebrate Veterans’ Day this year. I did, and I experienced a double

Grandkids. I’m always blessed to be able attend special school programs with my grandkids. I’m especially grateful for the teachers and students that work hard to plan this kind of event.

As I listened to the kindergarteners sing some favorite patriotic songs, I felt proud to be an American. What a blessing to observe schools informing and encouraging our children to celebrate our country and honor our veterans.

Veterans. After my granddaughter’s patriotic program, I visited my grandson’s classroom. The teachers and students had invited a dozen or more veterans to serve on a panel where they were asked to address the students’ questions.

One by one, veterans shared their military experiences. I wish I could capture the blessings of that moment.

What an honor to be surrounded by so many veterans who had served our country over the years. As I listened to the veterans respond to the student, I was touched by their stories. Many told of their captures and rescues, their lifelong friendships and brotherhood, and their commitment to and love for our country.

Do you realize just how many men and women have given up their lives fighting for America? I’m grateful for this needed reminder of the price of America’s freedom. And I’m thankful for all of the men and women who have served our country over the years. Thank you for telling us your stories. You inspire and encourage us.

As I offer my heartfelt gratitude to all American veterans, I also want to ask for their forgiveness. Please forgive our ignorance and lack of gratitude at times for the sacrifices you and your loved ones have made and continue to make for the sake of our freedom.

God bless you, and God bless America!

How did you celebrate Veterans Day?

What difference does a deadline make?

dreamstime_stopwatchby Mary May Larmoyeux

Do you have good intentions about your writing? But do you always follow through on those intentions? I don’t.

Once I read something that has stuck with me for years:  A goal without a deadline is a dream.  I really like that. Maybe because I identify with that statement so much.

When I first wrote about capturing our family stories, I said that I’d jot down at least six times when God intervened in a family situation and write about at least one of those things.

I considered my story journey that week a success because I actually made a list of a dozen times when God intervened in my family’s life, and I actually wrote about one of those things.

“When did you do that?” you might ask.

Well … right before writing this post. Although I finished at the last minute, I accomplished the goal. Why? Because I had a deadline: Finish before this post goes live.

Making and meeting a deadline truly is the difference between an idea and an elusive dream!

Here’s what a few people said about deadlines:

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.” —Nolan Bushnell

“A deadline gets a writer’s work done better and faster than any inspiration, if only because inspirations don’t always come, but the deadline is always there.” —A.A. Patawaran

And my favorite:

“I don’t need time, I need a deadline.”  — Duke Ellington

Story Journey Challenge:  I asked fellow StoryWriting Studio blogger Karen Jordan for some suggestions for writing family stories. “I’d encourage you to focus on your blessings,” she said, noting that some people are writing down a blessing a day on their social media networks this month.  “It really doesn’t matter where (or how) you begin to count your blessings,” she said, “but that’s always a great place to start telling the stories that matter most.”

So, how about carving out time this week to count your blessings? You may want to do this on Thanksgiving Day, or perhaps you’d rather brainstorm beforehand with friends and family about the blessings you’ve received this year. Karen is so right about counting blessings being a great way to find the stories that mean the most.

And you might just want to write a story about one of those blessings, and give yourself a deadline.

Post © 2013, 2014 Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Photo © Geoarts |

How to begin to tell your personal stories

Stories Shape History

Writing a Memoir?

The good ole days

8 Thanksgiving Promises

The Grandparent ConnectionPhoto and post copyright © 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Visit Mary at She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.

Hemingway App

notebook and pen

- by Mary May Larmoyeux -

Have you ever heard of the Hemingway App? I first learned about it on Daphene Gray-Grant’s blog, the “Publication Coach.”

The Hemingway App is an easy-to-use, online tool for editing. Here’s how to use it:


  1. Go to the Hemingway App.
  2. Notice the two buttons on top-right side of the screen: Write and Edit.
  3. Click on Write.
  4. Now delete the sample copy on the screen (“Hemingway highlights long, complex sentences …”) and replace with your own copy
  5. Click “Edit” and the see the online editor’s suggestions.

If you’ve used the Hemingway App before, what tips do you have for us?

Do you have another favorite editing tool?

Finally, if you live in the Central Arkansas Area, StoryWriting Studio blogger Karen Jordan and I will be doing a workshop on Friday, November 7, called Countdown to Christmas. We’ll share how to write special family stories and makes some unique Christmas gifts. For more information go to the Countdown to Christmas page.

The Grandparent ConnectionPhoto and post copyright © 2014 by Mary May Larmoyeux. All rights reserved.

Visit Mary at She is the co-author of The Grandparent Connection: 365 Ways to Connect With Your Grandchild’s Heart.


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