When a dear friend encouraged her to enter a writing competition, Grace Wulff took up the challenge and has now found herself as one of 55 writers featured in a new Canadian anthology, Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving.
The Vernon writer has had her story, The Christmas Ornaments, selected for inclusion in the just-released book, the fifth in a series of books designed to entertain, encourage and inspire.
Wulff grew up in Harrison Hot Springs and spent about five summers picking raspberries in the Fraser Valley.
“A precious lady I got to know as a teenager picking raspberries was a writer — she lives in Chilliwack and we have stayed in touch all these years,” said Wulff. “She is the one who told me about this contest and she has always encouraged me and said I should enter it.”
The only requirement for the story is that it had to be original and could be a short story or poem, fiction or non-fiction. Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving is an eclectic collection of true stories, short fiction and poetry. This anthology provides a diverse and multidimensional look at the traditions, teachings and values surrounding the birth of Jesus.
The founder of the New Hope group for widows and widowers in Vernon, Wulff is also resident chaplain at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. The Christmas Ornaments is a story about the gift of ornaments for those who needed it most, for those who were in hospital through the Christmas season. It is about the joy of giving, for those who created the ornaments and the ones who received them. The story was inspired by a fellow parishioner at Wulff’s church, Helen Pike.
“I sometimes ask my church for help, and there are churches and individuals in the community who help support me by donating things like quilts and prayer shawls,” said Wulff, who came up with the idea of a little gift that could be given out at Christmas to those needing a little boost. “I had seen this craft idea where we take old Christmas cards and cut them out in the form of a stocking and fill it with a book mark and a candy cane, and Helen makes the beautiful Christmas ornaments for people in the community and I have been including these with the little stockings.
“I just wanted a way to share Helen’s beautiful creations and I thought this would be a great way of distributing them — Helen wanted to give them away and that’s something that comes from her heart. Christmas can be so hard, especially for people who find themselves in hospital. I just want to encourage others, in words or in hospital. If we can be part of the encouragement, then that is what I want to do, especially when there is so much bad news out there. I love my work and I feel so grateful to be able to it.”
Wulff has always had a passion for writing and has published several books, including A Journey of Hope, in which she shares her journey of grief; Gifts for the Journey: A Hospital Chaplain’s Reflections on Life and the Life to Come is a booklet of stories she calls a gift of encouragement; A Guided Journal for Hope and Healing is a journal to bring healing and encouragement.
Christmas with Hot Apple Cider: Stories from the Season of Giving and Receiving is sold in both print and digital format. To see all the books in this series, go to http://hotappleciderbooks.com. The book can be ordered online or through Wulff’s web site at www.gracewulff.com. She launched the book Oct. 5 through her Facebook page, Grace Notes, Thoughts &Prayers.