SEDONA, Ariz. - It was during a life-changing motor home journey through America a decade ago that former Jamestown resident, Charlene Costanzo, started collecting what she calls ''touchstone stories.''
According to Costanzo, touchstone stories affirm life, remind us of our inner wealth and demonstrate the good in humanity. Her new book, "Touchstones: Stories for Living The Twelve Gifts," is a collection of such stories.
''We are all so much more powerful than we realize,'' said Costanzo. ''Stories about strength, beauty, courage, compassion - all of our inner resources - resonate with those qualities in us and bring out the best in us. They remind us that we are essentially good, competent and worthy. They also lift us out of a sense of doom and stir hope, which is so needed in today's world.''
Some of the stories in Costanzo's new book occurred while she and her husband, Frank, were on a tour through America, and she was reading and discussing her first book, "The Twelve Gifts of Birth," in schools, shelters, hospitals and prisons. A few stories, however, go back to when the couple were raising their family in Jamestown.
''Yes, in fact, three of them tell of incidences that happened while we were living in the century-old Victorian farmhouse at the corner of Summit and Ohio,'' said Costanzo. ''One involves an argument, another a sewer problem and another, a miracle involving a bird. Each one led to a valuable 'ah-ha.'''
Other touchstone stories show how:
A mother discovered deep strength when she chose to save the life of a dog
A destroyed garden led a family to see more beauty
A baseball team used imagination to win The World Series
An inner voice prevented a fatal accident
A type of near-death experience increased the author's faith
According to Costanzo, historically, touchstones were literal stones that were marked with a streak of real gold. Those touchstones were used to help people recognize true gold, make wise trade choices and build material wealth. Touchstone stories reflect the authentic wealth within all people. Recognizing and remembering this inner wealth can help us make wise choices that enrich our daily lives.
"Touchstones: Stories for Living the Twelve Gifts" is the fifth book in her inspirational "Twelve Gifts" series.
Costanzo now lives in Sedona, Ariz. and Winter Garden, Fla. Her previously published books include: "The Twelve Gifts of Birth," "The Twelve Gifts for Healing," "The Twelve Gifts in Marriage," "The Thirteenth Gift" and "A Perfect Name." In addition to publishing books, Costanzo leads experiential workshops, speaks about "The Twelve Gifts" and offers many self-help tools. Visit charlenecostanzo.com for more information.