Monday, March 10, 2014

Animals from Left Field by Rachel Timmins

One morning when I was feeling a little fragile God suddenly began to show me a story to cheer me up. It was a simple story which made me laugh like a child. I typed the story and showed a variety of people who all enjoyed it for different reasons.

I had an idea that God intended me to write children’s stories, but though I waited on God in prayer it was about two years before another story came to me. When I write I often see the story unfolding in my mind with no clear idea of its ending. Sometimes the characters come to life with their own personalities without my efforts.

I decided to use animals as characters that were not the typical domestic or farm animals so that I could educate children a little. 

For two of the stories the characters and plot were inspired by celebrities.  I was wondering if that person were an animal would kind would they be?

One of the celebrities was Richard Hammond from the television program Top Gear.  Richard loves motorcycles and nature. He also likes a creature called a Honey Badger. He stated once that he would be a Honey Badger if there was another life after this one.  I decided to write a story about a Honey Badger who was in a motorcycle race in Africa where the animal is native.  I knew of another African creature called a Rock Hyrax.  They raced each other around a rough track, had an adventure and became friends.

The second celebrity was controversial journalist Julian Assange. Would he be a good guy or a bad guy? It may be hard to say, so I chose an animal with spots and white fur - a snow leopard. The leopard in the story was a journalist and the story fell into place.

The stories were printed into a small book which I illustrated myself. If you want to illustrate your work but can’t draw you could trace a picture, taking care not to breach copyright. Cartooning pens, pencils or crayons might work for the colouring and shading. Alternately you could use your own photography.

Children’s stories are a great opportunity for humour for adults as well as kids. For example, in one of my stories two hedgehogs were friends who hugged each other ‘very carefully’.

No theme had been planned for the collection of stories but it turned out to be ‘friendship’. All the stories had a positive ending while a couple also addressed more serious subjects like injury or death.  They are aimed primarily at children who are recovering from illness or trauma, so nothing truly upsetting occurs in any of the stories.

If you are considering children’s story writing, your goals/themes could include:
.  morality
.  humour
.  educational
.  healing / ministering
.  spiritual

If you have any ideas, write them down and let your imagination run wild creating a story around them.


I am an amateur writer and I have been involved in a writer’s group for the past four years. I have had devotionals and poems published in the anthologies, Penned from the Heart, Footprints magazine, The Mozzie, The Voices Project, and a travel article for the Sunday Mail. Poetica Christi is to publish a poem of mine in their upcoming anthology.

Many of my poems are cathartic or helpful to others relating to a background of abuse. As a Christian I believe God has healed me of trauma. I hope by writing to encourage other women to believe that healing is possible and that life is worth living.  Overcoming the past has been a long journey for me.


  1. Thanks for that Rachel. What a great testimony of how God can use stories to bring healing into our lives and the lives of others. May He continue to bless your writing as you minister to others.

  2. Thank you, Rachel, for sharing something of your writing journey and goals with us. I think your children's stories sound beautiful and so whimsical. Keep going! God bless.

  3. Thanks Rachel for sharing your stories with us. I particularly liked the idea of using unusual animals and of the two hedgehogs hugging (know that feeling at times). And I like your goal "I hope by writing to encourage other women to believe that healing is possible and that life is worth living."

  4. I Rachel,
    Thanks for sharing where your inspiration flashes have come from. It's fascinating. They sound a bit like modern 'Wind in the Willows'. Have you ever considered sending Richard Hammond your tale about the motorcycling honey badger? I'm sure he'd love it.

  5. Thank you everyone for your encouragements, you're such a nice gang of gals. I've taken Paula's advice and let Richard know. Hope he doesn't sue.....
    Blessings & Shalom

  6. Thanks for your inspiring blog, Rachel. It is so interesting to see how other people get inspiration and creativity.
    And yes it is a good idea for having goals for our writing. Mu instinctual goal was to tell my story to honour God. I guess that the more I've written I realise I want people to know God and His great restorative power. I want to release God from the box!

    1. that's wonderful Jo, you're a good woman

  7. Hi Rachel, I read your post with delight. I found myself thinking that every voice, every heart, every hand, every pen that is surrendered to God is a powerhouse of inspiration and blessing, regardless of (and sometimes because of) the troubles and tribulations endured. As you write stories of hope and encouragement for children, I can see that you are not simply obeying, but overtly embracing Jesus' words, 'Let the little children come unto me and forbid them not, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven'. Your love for Jesus overflows in your blog post as well.

    1. Wow, thanks Cathie, I hadn't thought of it that way. lovely. I'm glad it inspired you. Yes it is power from God when we write.

  8. What beautiful and unusual characters! The theme of friendship is important to young children. The way they view the world is totally influenced by relationships. Any story that shows the power of friendship has to be a winner. Thank you for your honest and inspiring post.

  9. That sounds like a fun and creative way to construct characters.

  10. That sounds like a fun and creative way to construct characters.