Lily Ann Fouts
Painful Past

Making Meaning From Your Past – A Toastmasters Speech

Below is the transcript of a basic speech I put together for Toastmasters several months ago.  I plan to expand this speech and mix it up with some other stories and tell it wherever people are interested in hearing it!  If you know of any podcasts or radio shows or audiences who might enjoy an expanded version of this speech, definitely let me know.  I’d like to do a lot more speaking and interviews in 2017.
Making Meaning From Your Past
When I was a small child, my father moved away, visited sporadically, and each time told us he was never coming back. He put all the bills into my mom’s name and rarely sent support. My mom cared for us both physically and financially, but she wanted us to feel connected to our father. She helped us write letters to him and told us often that he loved us. Sometimes she drove us the several hours to his house so we could visit him on the weekends.

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Metal Skeleton

The Metal Skeleton in Mexico

What follows is a story from my childhood. The brief background: when my sister and I were six and eight years old, our mother kidnapped us (at our request) to protect us from our abusive father, who had won custody of us. We lived as fugitives for seven years. Five of those years were in Mexico. This story took place during our time in Mexico.

May 1990 – Pátzcuaro, Mexico

“Hey, what’s that?” I asked Rosy, pointing at a curious object propped up on our neighbor’s wall. It looked like a weird, flat metal skeleton. […]

The Research Behind Our Story

If you’re my age or older, you might remember a time during the 1980s when the pictures of missing children appeared on the sides of milk cartons. I remember sitting at the kitchen table and asking about those pictures and feeling very apprehensive that a scary stranger might try to kidnap me.

Not long after that, my picture was one of those on the milk cartons. Who knows—if you ever bought milk in those days, maybe you saw my face! […]

Where Are My Children? A Story Eerily Like Ours

Are you looking forward to the release of Seven Years Running? If you enjoy these types of books, I have a recommendation for you.

A couple of months ago, I read a book called Where are My Children? by Cassie Kimbrough. My mom read it recently, too. We have been talking about all the similarities with our own kidnapping story! […]

Behind the Scenes of 7YR: Our Book Writing Tools

It takes a lot of dedication to write a book. It’s a major undertaking! Co-authoring a book has its advantages, but also adds a new layer of complexity, especially when the co-authors live far apart, as my mom and I do. Are you curious about how we’re doing it?

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the writing tools my mom and I are using to co-write our book, Seven Years Running. […]

Uruapan, Michoacán, Mexico: One of My Childhood Homes

When I was a kid living on the run with my mom and younger sister, we spent about a year living in Uruapan, in the Mexican state of Michoacán.

Recently, memories of Uruapan have been flooding back as we polish up that section of our book, Seven Years Running.

Our favorite place in Uruapan was the National Park, called Parque Nacional Eduardo Ruiz, also known as Parque Nacional de Uruapan, where we often hiked along the beautiful trails through the jungle, along the crystalline Cupatitzio River. […]

A Sherlock Holmes in El Paso (New Book Excerpt!)

Hey, everyone! I’m excited to host my first ever guest post on the blog! This is a true story, written by my mom, Rhoda Friend. It will appear in the book we are co-writing: Seven Years Running. I’ll let you jump right in and enjoy. Take it away, Mama!
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It was my day to volunteer at the homeless clinic in downtown Spokane. My patient, a homeless man was describing his last meal—probably the first good meal he’d had in a long time, and he’d shared it with another down-and-outer. […]

2016 Goals

In last week’s post, I wrote my overview of 2015, looking back at what went well and what didn’t go so well. This week I share my goals looking forward to 2016. Following the basic format outlined by Chris Guillebeau, I write down the major goal categories and set several specific, measurable goals for each. So without further ado, here’s what I will attempt in 2016!  […]

2015 in Review

My 2015 started with a cold snap in Fort Collins, Colorado. Keith and I had just brought our motorhome to Colorado and we were still settling in, with the heaters all running full blast. The excitement of living in a great town and the prospect of soon finishing not one, but two books I’d had on the back burner for years filled me with hope for the new year. […]

The Glass Castle Book Review

Every now and then I read a book or watch a movie that brings back memories of my childhood, running from the cops.

While I was at the World Domination Summit I spoke with a literary agent about our current book project, Seven Years Running. The agent, who has worked with New York Times bestselling authors, encouraged me to seek out a publisher for our book.

“Lots of people think they have interesting stories,” he said. “But really they usually aren’t that unique. You really do have an interesting story.” He generously shared a few words of encouragement and advice. Then he asked, “Have you ever read The Glass Castle?” […]