Florida Presbyterian Homes has named resident Barbara H. as the Wellness Star for October 2019. And it’s her love of storytelling that helped her to win this award.
When you first meet Barbara, her captivating stories keep you engaged. It’s a skill she’s had since her youth. In fact, Barbara’s entire family, both mother and father, would sing and tell stories. She has fond memories of sitting on her father’s lap while he sang and told stories about living in the mountains of North Carolina. Even in the car, when the radio wouldn’t pick up a signal, members of Barbara’s family would tell stories and sing together for hours. As a young adult, Barbara spent time singing in church and school choirs, eventually singing lullabies to her own children when they were small.
According to Barbara, storytelling can be sung or spoken. Different stories appeal to people in various ways and the storyteller uses their own finesse to deliver the story whether speaking or singing. Barbara has performed storytelling at churches and schools. She writes many of her own stories, but never tells stories about her personal life. Barbara also uses folk songs and folktales in her storytelling. “I can make people laugh and cry with the same story,” said Barbara. “Storytelling can make a person recall the past and also think about the future. It’s an emotional and spiritual experience.”
In the 1990s, a professional storytelling organization was started in Bartow and later moved to Lakeland. Barbara was named as president of the Polk County organization. While the local storytelling group is no longer in Lakeland, Barbara reports that the state of Florida Storytelling Association is still around today.
Storytelling is a part of wellness that focuses on the emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of wellness, which are all very important to a person’s well-being. When asked what wellness means to Barbara, she says, “good health means body, mind and spirit combined.” Barbara’s unique gift of storytelling blesses all those who come in contact with her. May she continue to share her gift of storytelling for many years to come.
Congratulations, Barbara, for being awarded with the October 2019 Wellness Star!