Theresa Boedeker: Laughter, and more laughter. Watch little kids, and they laugh multiple times a day. They find pure joy in such little things. Adults, though, may go all day without laughing. My tag line is, “We all need a smile, perhaps even a laugh.” I am hoping to bring forth laughter from listeners.
Besides laughter, I want listeners to hear the stories I tell on Life as it Comes and leave inspired to search for humor in their own every day and ordinary lives. Let go of perfection and realize that often the embarrassing situation, that mistake, or unpleasant experience can, in time, become a humorous story or a pleasant memory. What camping trip do you remember the most? The perfect one or the one where it rained the whole time?
It is up to us how we view our life and experiences. We can retell our stories and find the good and the lessons learned. Or we can tell retell our stories and focus on the negative and what went wrong. We can be the victim or the learner and conqueror.
LifeLetter Cafe: Tell us about the power of storytelling – when did it first show up in your life?
Theresa Boedeker: Stories appeal to humans. God uses stories – the bible is one big story detailing God’s love and faithfulness towards us. Jesus told stories. Nathan’s story about a sheep changed David’s heart. We are drawn to stories in many forms – books, TV, radio, YouTube, and news. Stories have power to change our life. They remind us who we are, where we come from, and where we are going. God kept reminding the Israelites where they came from by retelling the story of his rescuing them from Egypt.
Stories can teach us many things, like how to act, compassion for others, to keep trying, and that hard times come to all but eventually end. They can change our perceptions, teach us to overcome, that we are not alone, about other cultures, and remind us that emotions and humanness are universal.
I was a painfully shy, quiet child and teen with no sense of humor. I talked very little, but one summer I found myself at camp telling a long story to my cabin mates. I was half way through, when I realized the girls were listening. I could feel them waiting for the next line. When I heard the girl’s laughter, I realized for the first time in my life that I could tell a story and make people laugh.
Over time I started telling more stories, improving my delivery, sense of humor, and timing. I also started writing funny real life stories during college and graduate school. Over time I completed quite a few stories. Some of them have appeared on Life as it Comes.
I find stories flow from me. When I am talking to someone, it isn’t long before I am telling them some funny story. I find laughter and stories are a way of connecting with others.
LifeLetter Cafe: To be able to laugh – one has to become quite familiar with pain and disappointment – how about in your experience?
Theresa Boedeker: Pain and disappointment can highlight the importance of laughter and the blessing it is. I have been in the pain of childbirth, confined to a bed for months with a broken back, and caring for a dying person. In all those, the release of laughter has been a gift. To see some humor helps the situation become more bearable. It also changes our perspective a bit. I find that laughter helps us see through the pain and situation and provides hope.
I find that sometimes if I am not laughing, I would be crying. Laughing in the midst of hardship helps me realize that things could always be worse, which makes me thankful that things are not.
I have spent many hours laughing with my dad over life, instead of crying and complaining. Not only do I feel better when we are done, but I feel better able to face the situation. I find if I can laugh at myself and the situation, it has less power over me. It also helps me see myself and others a little differently—often with more grace.
I have had my share of trials – a younger brother unexpectedly dying, nursing my step-dad the last 8 weeks of his life, tending my sister after a serious motorcycle accident, battling infertility, my parents divorcing, and losing my dad two years ago. The biggest hardship was when a school bus turned into our car and landed my husband, five-year-old daughter, and me in the hospital for two weeks, and then sent us home to the confinement of our house for months. It took years to recover from the constant pain, the head injury, the PTSD, the depression, and never ending doctor visits.
Laughter helped pull me through. Provided glimpses of the sun at the end of the tunnel. God gave us the gift of laughter to relieve stress, connect us, express pure joy, improve our mood, and encourage one another. As Christians, we know the ending of the story and who wins, and that alone should make us laugh more often.
“Showing can be a louder preacher than telling.”
– Theresa Boedeker –
LifeLetter Cafe: How do you weave your faith into Life As It Comes?
Theresa Boedeker: While I don’t talk about faith and God, I am sure a person could listen for a while and realize I probably have Christian values and faith. As a writing teacher, I tell my students to show more than they tell. Showing can be a louder preacher than telling. I can write a post about not being so busy and caught up with trying to do everything, or I can tell a humorous story about a frazzled, over committed lady who is trying to do it all. The story is subtler, but it is preaching, nevertheless.
An always busy person can listen to that story and have a light bulb moment, while someone without an over commitment problem listens to the same story and better understands her over committed friend. When we can laugh at our own foibles, and those of others, we are developing understanding with each other. It is easier to say ‘me too,’ when everyone is laughing at the silliness of the over committed lady, than it is to say ‘me too’ during a serious lecture about over commitment. It seems once we can start to laugh at our self, it is easier to change.
On my podcast, I show my faith, more than tell my faith. I have had subscribers say that the story was outlining the Christian choice, even though I never mentioned God or faith. So listeners are picking up on it.
LifeLetter Cafe: What traction are authors gaining with pod casts – are they on the rise in general terms of growing an audience.
Theresa Boedeker: Podcasts are on the rise. More people are starting and producing them. It seems when pod casters do content or focus on topics that resonate with their listeners, their audience grows.
Podcasts are a different way of interacting with your audience than written articles. The subscriber gets to hear your voice, your opinions, some of your personality.
The beauty of pod casts is that you can do two things at once. I can clean my bathrooms and listen to a podcast at the same time. They are also portable and can be taken anywhere. When we read we have to pay attention and just read, but pod casts allow us to listen and do something else.
LifeLetter Cafe: What kind of listener feedback is coming your way – what encourages you the most?
Theresa Boedeker: I have had good feedback. Listeners say they can relate to my stories, that my stories remind them of their own experiences, and that they find the stories funny. All this encourages me and makes me want to tell more stories.
LifeLetter Cafe: What is your favorite podcast/story?
Because they are so varied, it is hard for me to pick one, but my three current favorites are: The Art of Spraying, The Toilet Paper Mystery, and Mother of the Bride Dress. My husband’s favorite would be Front Yard Spectacle. My son’s, Have You Ever Pulled a Theresa? I find that different stories tickle the funny bone of different people. A listener favorite is Finding Embarrassment at the Dollar Store. Some listeners told me they laughed so hard they cried during Front Yard Spectacle.
Life as it comes can be heard at my website, i-Tunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud. All past episodes are currently on my website.
This interview first appeared at Life Letter Café for 7 Question Sunday