Today Joy DeKok is visiting with us. Joy started writing as a little girl. She carries a large purse so she can take her journal and an assortment of pens with her.
Joy lives on thirty-five acres of woods and field in Minnesota between Rochester and Pine Island. She’s been married to Jon for thirty-five years and they enjoy their many nieces and nephews. Their dogs, Sophie and Tucker, keep them company when they explore the land riding their John Deere Gator or while watching the many birds that visit their feeders.
She has seven books in print and is working on a novel series featuring main character, Olivia Morgan. Joy is also developing a writing group called, Write Yourself Strong, for hurting women.
Faith is a vital part of Joy’s life. When she was sixteen, Joy asked God to find her and He did.
Joy has a new book, Your Life, a Legacy. Joy took time to answer a few questions today.
How did you decide to write Your Life, a Legacy?
As a speaker, I needed to come up with topic choices. I also knew I needed to talk about things I truly believe in or the topic/s would fall flat. I’ve been a journal keeper for a long time, but as I shared with audiences, I realized our stories are more than journal entries – they are of great value –worthy of giving.
Who should read this book? Why?
At first I thought the topic would be best for men and women 40 years old on up. The other day, two young moms mentioned I should do a book for school-aged children so they could be shown how important the stories they are living right now are, and how their decisions impact their stories. There is healing power in writing our stories. I found several studies done by prestigious university professors showing how students who were struggling with their studies, the culture shock of being away at college, etc improved their grades and their lives by writing their stories and sharing them. Psychiatrists and psychologists agree. So do some doctors specializing in the care of the elderly. People enjoy telling their own stories and it’s good for them and those who read or listen. The simple answer: it’s good for you.
How would you like readers to use this book?
My greatest desire is for people who read the book or come to a Legacy retreat/seminar is that they will not only preserve their personal histories, but discover the value in who they are. Every life matters and when shared has the power to encourage, entertain, and teach.
You talk about satchel and steam trunk stories. Could you clarify?
A Satchel Story is the most important story of your life. This is the one you want to save and share more than any other. Steamer Trunk Stories are the other experiences that matter only slightly less. Using this system, Legacy Givers are always working on the story that matters most to them.
What discoveries did you make in writing Your Life, a Legacy, either about yourself or in the writing process?
I discovered how much the stories about the women who came before me, who are now gone, matter to me now. I can draw from their wisdom and learn from their decisions, mistakes, and successes. As a society, we often discard our elderly or those already gone as insignificant. This lie birthed a passion in me to urge men and women of all ages to preserve and share their stories now so this generation and those to come later, will have the benefit of their wisdom and life-knowledge.
In your book, you talk about the stories possibility making a difference in the world, even out into the future. Has this happened for you? How?
I’ve always heard that my great-grandmother was a stubborn woman and the same has been said about me. When I started asking more questions about her, I discovered a strong, compassionate, believing woman. She loved hard and deep and prayed the same way. Perhaps at times she was stubborn, but stories about her revealed she was steadfast and faithful. I pray the same will be said of me someday. She’s been gone for 44 years and the eye-witness stories of her life are changing not only my perception of her, but of myself. I will carry these discoveries into my stories and I will share them with the young women in my life. The world, or my corner of it, are changed when I share the past forward. When I speak I share this statement: The past can only have value in the future if we preserve it now.
I also believe the world is hungry for real-life stories. Reality TV is proof of that in a big way. We want to watch how people cope, respond, mess up, and succeed. On a much smaller level I’ve discovered that when I post a personal story on my blog, my reader ship jumps by at least 50%. And, they email their stories privately. I’m sometimes startled by the personal things people trust me with because I trusted them with mine. Trust is born between total strangers.
People want our stories. If we give them, it’s far more likely they will give theirs.
Joy, thanks for taking time to visit with us today!
Your Life, a Legacy can be found on Amazon.