Quote Pondering Sunday

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway


Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

-Virginia Woolf


10ish Things I Learned Over the Weekend

20180915_085949.jpgI was honored to be able to attend the Indiana State Literacy Association (ISRA) Fall conference. I used to be heavily involved with this organization when it was still called ISRA (Indiana State Reading Association).

The main reason I wanted to attend was because Pernille Ripp was the keynote speaker. I was not disappointed in either her keynote or her breakout session. She is a unique educator and reading warrior and a seventh grade English teacher.

Here are some highlights!

Her keynote was full of great educational wisdom and in the fashion of a true writer, she used her unique voice and uttered several funny statements.

  • Pernille was able to live in the United States with her mother on 3 occasions in her childhood. When she was 18 she moved to Wisconsin where she said,

I met a boy.

That boy introduced me to a much better boy.

Thank God!”


  • She started teaching in 4th grade (Like me!) and she said, “I graduated college with my fictitious lesson plans.” This made me laugh because it is true! I know in college we learn the whole process but my lesson plans never look like the ones from college in the “real teaching world”
  • “I know the student through the stories that we share.”
  • “If I know the books you like I know you more deeply as a person.”
  • Reading needs to be fun.

We cannot say that reading is the most important and then not give them time to read!


To Create Readers We Need:

  • Inclusive libraries – kids read more when they are surrounded by books. Even if the school library is right outside your door, that sometimes is too far. You need books in your room.
  • Sacred time to read
  • Exploration of self and reading identity
  • Choice to discover what they like or dislike
  • Relevant and meaningful work
  • Building a community of readers


The question that stayed with me:

How do we protect the hope of readers?


Her breakout session was about picture books and how to use them in the classroom. She reads a picture book to her 7th graders on the first day of school to kick the year off correctly.



My Amazon cart and library holds are going to be busy bees!!

If you have the chance to hear her speak, do it! She is inspiring and heartwarming.


Who is a professional you would love to hear speak?


26 Questions

Thank you to This, That, and the Other for posting these questions on his blog!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

1. Share your profile pic:

2. Who are you named after?

Debbie Reynold’s movie character Tammy

3. Do you like your handwriting?

Sometimes. I write differently with different pens. I get compliments on my handwriting which makes me snicker.

4. What’s Your Favorite Lunchmeat?

Butterball Deli turkey –  thickly sliced

5. Longest relationship?

It will be with my husband.

6. Do you still have your tonsils?

No, they were removed when I was 4 because I couldn’t eat because they had grown so large.

7. Would you bungee jump?


8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?


9. Favorite ice cream?

Coconut without nuts

10. What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their shoes! ha ha Usually their smile – or lack there of.

11. Football or Baseball?

White Sox!!!

12. What color pants are you wearing?

You all lucked out! Usually, I am in a dress – today my pants are army green.

13. Last thing you ate?

Pork tacos from a little family owned Mexican place

14. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?


15. Favorite smell?

Bleach – it’s very clean!

16. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?


17. Hair color?

Dark blonde -all natural

18. Eye color?

Blue or green depending on my mood

19. Favorite food to eat?

Pizza or bread

20. Scary movies or happy endings?


21. Last movie you watched?


22. Favorite holiday?

Hands down – Thanksgiving

23. Beer or wine?

Both, but usually Jack.

24. Favorite day of the week?

Sunday – usually a slower pace

25 Three favorite bloggers you want to learn more about?

HubCity Girl

The Introverted Christian

Chuck Wendig

26. Added info you didn’t know you wanted

I like the random little lines of text that are added in books or articles. The footnotes if you will! It is the reason I liked Abundance of Katherines by John Green.


How would you answer these questions?

Pick them all! Pick one! Pick three!

Happy writing!

Fusing My Life Bubbles

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was supposed to be moving to a new house this weekend.

Now I am not.

The circumstances are out of my control, BUT I cannot get past the fact that THIS move was supposed to be smooth. It was supposed to be an easy transition with little strife and stress.

I have moved too many times in the last 4 years. With those moves and life changes comes reflection. I love freewriting and use it as a technique often when I am stuck or just don’t know what I want to write for that day’s writing session.

Two the freewrites I keep coming back to are:

“What do I value in my life?”


“What are the critical attributes of a good life?”

Coupled with those questions are the ideas of what I value in a place to live. The thought that occurred to me is: Why do I keep coming back to this topic of life and home?

I keep writing about living and what I value but why?  Do I keep revisiting this topic because I think my answers or beliefs are in a state of flux and the answers will be different than last time? Do I deep down think that my ideas are somehow wrong?

I think the real culprit is I keep hoping there is an attribute I am missing. That there is something on the edge of my understanding that I cannot see yet and will be revealed to me when my mind is racing and the ink is flowing from my pen. There are many things that I do not understand about life. This fact has become abundantly clear especially the last few years.

Now I must find a new place to live. What do I want? The list seems simple enough:


A nice kitchen with a full-size gas stove

Some wood floors

Lots of light


Trees and a lake

At least 3 bedrooms

2 bathrooms



What is in your ideal living space?

It’s A Book Tour!


I was honored to be a part of the I’d Rather Be Reading Launch team for Anne Bogel from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I received an advanced copy of the book for being part of the team.

You can find the link to the book here: https://www.idratherbereading.com/


I love books, especially about books. If you are familiar with Anne’s writing and work or this is your introduction you will love this book.

The format is pleasing and is a collection of essays which can be read from cover to cover or in random order. Some of the essays are expansions from hints of stories Anne mentions on her podcast or her blog. One of my favorite chapters is The Books Next Door. I am completely envious of one of her houses situated next door to the library! The visualizations that are conjured in my head are exciting.

In Confess Your Literary Sins Anne talks about how people tell her their bookish secrets – books they have claimed to read or other book misdirections. My confession time: I was encouraged to read The Catcher in the Rye by a friend who recommended it to me. I had not read it and have made more of an effort to read classics that have been overlooked. I do not understand why people like this book at all.

There are loads of book recommendations sprinkled throughout this book and many of them I have read. Of course, many others are on my TBR list and some I even own copies of. Some are new and of course, are searched on Amazon and the library and are currently on my wishlist.

In the essay,  I’m Begging You to Break My Heart the writing is about books that make you cry. Where the Red Fern Grows is a classic that I love that is discussed as well as Me Before You and  The Fault in Our Stars. A more recent book that made me cry is Ms. Bixby’s Last Day which is a Young Hoosier Nominee for this year.

As I read this book I wrote in it and filled it with my annotations. Many of the notes are a simple YES! and others are snippets of words to remind me of a personal connection. It was FUN to read.

As a devoted reader all my life, Anne’s words and sentiments have encapsulated exactly how I feel,  which is not an easy feat.   The stories are heartwarming and funny and worth reading. There are no essays that I wanted to skip which is a rare occurrence for me to say that about an essay collection. Anne’s voice is a delight to read.

The book is not only a great read but also makes a great gift for any reader. It is the perfect book for any busy reader in your life. The format works for snippets of time and the size is great to pop into a bag and read on the go. It is also the perfect book for that warm fuzzy feeling curled up in your favorite reading chair with a blanket nearby and a nice beverage.

Pop over to any bookseller and get your copy!






Snow Cones, Swimming, and Turtles

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Labor Day Weekend

During the #Teachwrite twitter chat last evening I was reminded that it was really Monday and that Tuesday’s slice post would be needed today. The holiday weekends often throw my clock off as I know it does for many people. Coming to the page today I was really unsure what to write.

In addition to the #Teachwrite “meeting” with teachers,  I  also had my first Zoom meeting with the Superstars writers from Storyaday which is always enjoyable. The conversation is free form about writing and the September challenge. There is a specialness to talking with other crazy writers drafting short stories for the whole month. Short story writing is different than writing longer pieces and I don’t often get to converse about it.

The holiday weekend was good and full of loads of activities, especially outdoors. Luckily, there was less driving because there were no soccer games or practices to be shuttled to!

-The boys found a turtle in the backyard just before they got the golf cart stuck in mud on the hill.

-There was a lot of swimming. Friday night we went to a beach to celebrate my husband’s birthday. We buried our youngest in the sand and gathered rocks and small shells to make an art project. Sunday and Monday time was spent at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  We ran up and down the sand dunes, skipped rocks, enjoyed snow cones,  and swam in the water. Then there was more swimming in the backyard pool.

-Homemade fluffy buttermilk biscuits were made at 4 am Labor Day morning to accompany the gravy for breakfast.

-Lots of laughing and silliness as always when we are with the kids.

-There was time for naps – for everyone!

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write today but glad I showed up. This week is already busy and it is only Tuesday!

Sunday Surprise


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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com



A hummingbird came to say “Good Morning” on the back porch to my husband and me while we were drinking coffee this delightful Sunday.

We took it as a good sign for the day.

It was a precious moment that was not lost.

This detail will be injected into a story somewhere this month!

Happy writing!

Happy Weekend!


Hello September!

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September Goals:

I am going to try to keep September simple:

Write one story per day motivated by STORYADAY
Attend at least 1 IRL writing group meeting.
Post at least once a week on the blog.

I am starting some new writing projects and groups with 7th graders at work this month and I am super excited about the program creation and execution.

I have not been reading as much as normal lately. My reading diet has consisted of short stories and blogs mostly. Winter is coming though so I will have more time soon…maybe! ha ha

Goals that were publicly stated for August:

3 blog posts a week – Yes! Done.
2 articles on Medium – Yes! Done.
Revise 4 stories (at least) – Yes! Done.

Submit 5 stories– goal is to have 5 out at all times – Only submitted 3
Mine my notes in my GOOGLE DOCS – Yes, I also updated some folders. I need to get my notebooks under control. They are everywhere. I use them for different purposes but I feel I am losing things in them being scattered.
Go to writer group at least once a month – I went to both meetings

Artist Date Reflection

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A couple Sundays ago, I took myself on an artist date.

To be fair, it was not exactly planned as an artist date.  I did not purposefully carve out the time, it was slotted for me. Nevertheless,  I chose to make this time part of my creative process.

First on the list was to treat myself to a lunch of Indian food. I haven’t eaten and enjoyed it for years. I chose a newer restaurant that I had not been to before because the place I used to frequent in the same town, is no longer open. The new place has a lunch and dinner buffet on the weekends. To be honest,  I hate the buffet. What I order and what is comfortable for me is never on the buffet. I know this,  but I feel pressured. Since it was a new place I did not order off the menu. I was too shy. I did have delicious butter chicken and I tried a new dish but there no Naan so that was disappointing.

Next, I went to a park that has a 3 mile trail loop. I walked the path that I have run hundreds of times training and running races in the years previously.

The feelings I experienced were bizarre.  It was like being a stranger somewhere that used to be home. It was familiar,  but there were new parts which honestly filled me with anxiety. The park had installed new wooden plank walkways and there were new trees and foliage everywhere which was lovely. I did a lot of reflecting and sweating. While I walked, I  just listened to the woods and the water. I did listen to a podcast for part of the time but shut it off quickly to enjoy my surroundings.

Lastly, I visited a local coffee shop in the town where I live. It is a small chain but feels homey and writer-friendly. I almost didn’t stop though. I drove around the square twice before finally parking. I am glad that I did and did not allow my anxiety to grab hold. I didn’t write much myself but did record a lot of conversation between 3 friends that were meeting that will for certain end up in a story.

Part of what I learned is the fact I am dealing with some very real anxiety.  I  had to keep talking myself into keeping my plan and not go home. The moment of not going back is today. I am not sure who I have become. I forged forward and the feelings were not crippling but I sure didn’t like it. Everything was just off center. I kept having to talk myself into doing something that years ago I would have happily done – and have done numerous times.

At this point in my life, I am not comfortable in new places it seems. There was different anxiety at each place.

These new feelings are unwelcome but also preparation for the new life I want to be living. I have to get out sometimes don’t I? I have been ignoring the feeling of wanting to rush home.

I am uncertain as to the why of the anxiety. I can guess but I also cannot reverse it.

I am not exactly lost.

I will keep moving forward and reflecting and honoring how I am feeling and see where it takes me.