I’m writing this for me, to help me grapple with what has been an uncomfortable struggle the past few weeks. If I am transparent, I’d like to pretend that I’m not struggling, that I’m simply peri-menopausal or hormonal, but deep down, I know that I’m lodged deep in a fog, and I seem to have lost my way a bit. I feel stuck and not only find it difficult to move forward, but frankly I don’t know how.
And I’m ashamed, embarrassed, angry with myself for feeling this way. I look around and see those with much greater woes gracefully moving through life with all the balls juggling effortlessly in the air with a certain artistic flair. My balls bounce around aimlessly, some darting directly into oncoming traffic, while others are lodged somewhere underneath the couch. There may be balls rolling around in the backyard that I didn’t even realize I was responsible for. I’ve forgotten how to juggle. And even if I remembered, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to juggle anymore. I think I’d like to leave the circus and float down a lazy river somewhere under a peaceful canopy of stately oak trees. I’m supposed to be a woman of great faith, so why am I not navigating this with great faith? Why am I struggling to lean into God?
Continue reading “Coming Out of the Mist”
This quarantine has given us the gift of time, and in that time, I’ve been contemplating some dreams that have gotten shoved to the side in the crush of busyness that has become everyday life for so many. They’ve gotten lost amidst the grocery lists, to-do lists, work, homeschooling, and so many other wonderful, worthy endeavors. In this time of quieter days and less harried schedules, though, these dreams have been springing up like the green shoots of new life that welcome this season, and I’ve been listening and praying that if this vision of mine is shared by God for me that He would give voice to the vision.
I love stories; I love listening to stories, and I love telling stories. This love is what led me to major in journalism in college. I longed to become the next Ken Burns or Charles Kuralt or the first female storyteller in this genre of journalism, but along the way, life happened, and I lost sight of that goal. Now, with YouTube and blogs, this dream is much easier to grasp. I am announcing the birth of a YouTube channel to accompany my blog where I hope to tell stories of inspiration and overcoming. So I invite you to join me on this journey. Some coming attractions are a series on anxiety, where my daughter and I share our journey with this debilitating disorder, a series on female small business owners, book reviews, and other educational content. It is much like my blog, a place where I share what I hope are valuable lessons that I’ve picked up on this sojourn through life. I hope you will join me. Welcome to Stickseeds, the Channel
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This is a special guest post. My daughter Annie’s short story 🙂
“Today is the day” said Scarlett.
Emily raised her head up, “What’s today?” she asked through a mouthful of goldfish.
Scarlett gasped, “It’s the Easter egg hunt today, and the golden egg will be mine this year! We are going to crush those puny kids!”
“Aren’t we too old to be doing stuff like that?”
Scarlett grabbed the closest thing to her, which was a pillow, and threw it at Emily. She fell down, picked up the pillow and threw it back. Scarlett pushed the static-y red hair out of her face after the pillow hit it. She got up, grabbed Emily’s hand, and ran down stairs. Continue reading “The Tragedy of the Golden Egg”
Air raids, shoot-outs, taxi holdups- nothing seemed to faze him anymore. Was he just keeping all his tears and screams pent up inside, or was he becoming so used to horrible things happening all around him that he didn’t notice anymore?
How do you discuss the horrible things happening in our world in a meaningful way with your children when they happen to catch a glimpse of the evening news? When your little one crawls into your lap and asks what will happen to the children fleeing their homeland in Syria, what do you say? When they begin to understand that a hurricane or tornado could rip their home or their lives apart, how do you assuage their fears? For my family, we often turn to well-written books that gingerly, yet boldly, address the horrors, evils, and ills that threaten to rip the very seams of our society in an age-appropriate, hope-promoting way. Alan Gratz’s Refugee is one of those books. Continue reading “Review of Refugee”
“He knew that a hero shouldn’t fear death, but where was the glory in dying for his country and never knowing it.”
I first came across Dean Hughes’s Soldier Boys as a student teacher when my host teacher selected it for a book club that met before school once a week. I knew as soon as I read the last page that this provocative title would be among the books I chose to teach in my own classroom. As I expected, it quickly became a class favorite with students fondly recalling the time in my class we read that World War II novel. The last time I taught the book I was expecting my now twelve-year-old daughter, so I was thrilled when she decided to read it for herself. This book opened the door to her love of historical fiction, and she has since gone on to devour every young adult novel she can find on World War II, the Holocaust, and other major historical events.
Continue reading “Soldier Boys Review”
This is a book review written by my 12-year-old daughter. She joins me now in reviewing her must-reads.
She glanced at her father’s beloved features from under her eyelashes. Etched upon his features was the terrible knowledge that the world as they knew it had changed and there was no going back.
Escape from Aleppo is about a girl named Nadia who lives in the peaceful town of Aleppo, Syria. Life is normal then civil war breaks out, and many people are forced to leave. Her family desires to leave, too. When a wall collapses, Nadia’s family assumes she’s dead and flees for Turkey. But Nadia is alive. Separated from her family, she struggles to find her own way to Turkey. This book is the story of finding her family and meeting and losing a few friends along the way.
“I can’t believe it,” Khala Lina growled. “They are destroying the very heart of Haleb….erasing five thousand years of history and culture.”
My favorite character in the novel is Basel. He likes to draw like I do and he’s resourceful. He reminds Nadia of her little brother, so Nadia takes care of Basel on their journey to Turkey. Nadia discovers through Basel that she loves her family, and they inspire her will to survive.
This book opened my eyes to the struggle in Syria. I didn’t even know there was a war going on in Syria. Nadia shows us that this war is splitting families apart. I learned from Nadia how to have a good attitude and to persevere in the face of hardship.
“I like colorful tales with black beginnings and stormy middles and cloudless blue-sky endings. But any story will do.”
It’s not unusual for me to choose a book for the kids and me to read based on the cover. Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan is no exception. The cover illustration of a contemplative gorilla sitting with his back to a grinning baby elephant glancing admirably at his large friend stood out from among the dozens of other books featured on the display of my local bookstore. The gold medallion placed prominently in the bottom left corner indicating it was a Newberry winner sealed the deal. My strategy did not disappoint.
The One and Only Ivan follows the story of Ivan, the mighty silverback gorilla, who is a resident of the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He, along with an elephant named Stella, a poodle named Snickers, and a cast of other animals was at one time the main attraction of this once-thriving mall, but unfortunately, Ivan and his pals no longer bring in the crowds. Mall owner, Mack, desperate to renew interest in the Big Top Mall purchases a baby elephant named Ruby, whose presence transforms Ivan from contented gorilla into an artist with a mission.
Continue reading “Review of The One and Only Ivan”
“If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”
My children and I picked out The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane because it was written by Kate DiCamillo. Having just read Because of Winn-Dixie and being fans of The Tale of Desperaux, we were eager to read the the next book in her catalog of excellent selections. We were not disappointed. Edward not only charms but also instructs, reminding readers that we are all a work in progress.
Edward Tulane is a china rabbit, created by Pelligrina for her granddaughter Abilene’s birthday. Edward, a beautifully dressed vision of rabbit perfection, is adored by Abilene, but Edward’s perfection ends with his appearance. He is a cold rabbit whose shallow preoccupations keep him incapable of love. Continue reading “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Review”