The Next Right Thing Launch!

Exciting bonuses are here for your preorder!


Preorder the book and then use the order number to get the bonuses here:


February Reflection

It is the last day of February which means it is time to reflect. Last year it was FIB – uary so luckily that was not the case in 2019.

In February, I participated in INCOWRIMO which is a letter writing challenge. The challenge is set up to send a letter every day but I didn’t. I wrote several and received responses back. It was nice to get real mail again. I missed my stationary collection I used to have but used my fountain pens a lot.

In February, I reconnected with my old home. It was great to drive around Kokomo and think about the great memories I experienced there. If you would like to read that post you can here.

In February, I connected with a writing/teaching friend from Twitter in real life. We met at a local Panera and talked writing and poetry and teaching. We are planning a writing meeting soon.

In February, I connected with more readers on the blog! I am now at over 1000 followers and am super excited. I also posted a survey to better serve my readers. I commented on posts that spoke to me and had some lovely conversation in comments and on Twitter.

In February, I connected with other writing communities through #write28days and IWSG. I was active with my Storyaday Superstars group every day. I did not attend my in real life writing group.

At the beginning of February, I attended a coaching training and enjoyed talking with other coaches and educators from the region. I was able to hand out my business cards for the first time which was exciting.

In February, I emailed several authors I admire. I also didn’t hesitate to send messages to people who wrote pieces I enjoyed.

Yesterday I met some of my husband’s family which was lovely. I was able to go to a cute coffee shop which was a bonus.

In February, I became a part of Emily P Freeman’s Book Launch Team. The book is released on April 2! I just received the full book yesterday and cannot wait to dig in.

In February, what happened? One thing is I feel more connected to people. I facilitated a Workshop Wednesday this month which was fantastic. There was lots of sharing and great discussion about checks for understanding BUT the next day was difficult because I was tired and felt depleted. I have to figure out some strategies to have that not occur.

Moving forward I have new exciting changes that are coming. I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers March Blog Challenge. I will continue to write daily and to submit short stories.

Writing Prompt: How would you finish the sentence starter: In February…

Gate A-4 + Writing Prompt #SOL19

This week I reread Gate A-4 by Naomi Shihab Nye. You can read the story at the link below.

I have a deep love for Nye’s work. I was introduced to her poem Secrets at the Writers at Work conference many years ago by educator celebrity Laura Robb.

The setting of the story is the Albuquerque Airport which I have actually been to. It is the backdrop for the story but also allows the conflict to play out in a natural organic way. I do find the lack of compassion from the flight agents disturbing but I feel it is purposeful for the pacing of the story. Another peculiar detail is the four hour delay. That seems long with no explanation.

One of the main themes of this piece is connection. The connections we have to people and how food plays a part. Food has a way of spanning all kinds of voids including language barriers.

When I was young my cousin from Germany would visit us every summer. For the first few summers I didn’t speak much German and he didn’t speak much English yet we were inseparable. Food played a big part of daily life in my Oma’s house and was a connector for us. Meals were always all together.

Lines I love from this story:

“Such an old country tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.”

“This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”

There is power in such a short amount of words. I love the idea of home and being rooted. I think as I get older I think more and more we are rooted to other people more than places. At least this seems to be in the case in my experience.

This story is about one event – what happens in the delay of the flight and how this woman who speaks no English brings a gate full of people together with cookies that bridge a gap of apprehension and prejudice.

As a teacher I see both of these lines being great springboards for quickwrites. I plan to use quickwrites for some of my #SOL19 posts for the Two Writing Teachers March challenge. If you would like more information about this challenge click here. I also will reference Linda Rief’s Quickwrite book. I have been a fan of Linda’s for a long time. I was honored to meet her in person many years ago. I even have her first quickwrite book which she autographed for me.

Writing Prompt: Write for 3-5 minutes using the lines from the story Gate A4.

Here are my quickwrites from these lines:

“Such an old country tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.”

Carrying a plant as you travel seems to be a cumbersome activity in reality but I like the metaphor. As we travel away from home it is nice to have a connection to home. Now it is mostly through communication with the cell phone. I have had the experience of being connected to loved ones by letters when cell phone service is not available. Connection to home is people. Yes where we sleep is important. Sleeping in our own beds is usually a sentiment of what we miss when away. Plants are different in different landscapes. They can sometimes be transplanted and sometimes they die. Plants thrive where they originate from. Some plants don’t do well when you take them out of their natural habitat. Are people are the same way? Some can be transplanted and do well. Some are so attached to where they originate they cannot live anywhere else. I am not that person.

“This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”

Apprehension of people can be dissolved with cookies and compassion. We are not lost on each other we can find the place we are more alike than different. Who knew it could be a gate in an airport in New Mexico.

What are your thoughts about these lines?

The Next Right Thing Launch Team

I am super excited to announce I am on Emily P. Freeman’s book launch team. If you are not familiar with Emily check out her podcast here.

cover photo, Image may contain: text

The book is being released at the beginning of April. There will be exciting preorder bonuses you will want to get in on!

Within the next couple of weeks, you will be hearing more about the book and Emily’s words of wisdom.


Feb 24 – Weekend Coffee Share

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Today I am having my regular large mug of black coffee. What would you like to have today? This week was a little off for me. I hope yours was better.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you the work started with a scheduled E-learning day. There was some confusion with my role for a couple things the rest of the week – this is the problem with having multiple bosses. It all worked out.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was having trouble with my emotions this week. Intense feelings don’t bubble up all too often but for some reason the closer I got to work Thursday morning the angrier I got. I did a lot of cleaning that day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you WORKSHOP WEDNESDAY was wonderful. We talked about CHECKS FOR UNDERSTANDING and the conversation was professional and engaging. It was one of those days I really appreciate the people I work with and how hard they work.

If we were having coffee I would tell you I was able to get 4 submissions out this week. Two were little contests and two were publication submissions. I am really proud of the two stories I sent out. At the very least I hope to get some feedback from the editors.

If we were having coffee I would confess I did not go to my IRL (In Real Life) writing group this week. The week before I had a lot of contact with writers and I was really tired. It is not the greatest reason but it is the honest one. As emotion-filled as I was that day I also figured it was better for me to stay home.

It was a full week! What great things filled your last 7 days? I would love to hear about them! I am looking forward to the week coming up. I am hoping for some great writing sessions and interactions with people!

This post is inspired by Eclectic Alli and her Coffee share page


It is Friday! Today is the day I post in response to Kate’s word from It is also part of the challenge #write28days. You can find the landing page for these posts here.

JUST is a word about hidden agendas.

You often hear it to justify a verbal blow.

“It was JUST a question.”

“It was JUST a joke.”

Just is a word used to soften when feelings are hurt – intended or not – but usually, that is a lie. It is used to placate someone or to make them feel better which doesn’t often work.

It is a word to “Keep the peace.”

Just is part of the word JUSTICE. A word of fairness and truth. It is also part of the phrase “Just desserts” when punishment is rightfully given. Justice is served in that aspect I suppose.

I am not sure honestly where I stand about this word – but thoughts are swirling around in my head about it.

What are your thoughts about the word JUST?

Echo Cry

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In June I attended an amazing workshop with Jack Berckemeyer and his colleagues. One of the main components of their presentations was FUN. As I was listening I started a list of funny stories from my teaching career. 

Laughter helps you lose weight, live longer, and lower your blood pressure. Bring on the guffaws!

Echo Cry

William was an interesting student from the beginning. At 6 years old he was used to getting his way and manipulating his parents. In 20+ years of teaching, I have never seen a student turn the waterworks on and off so quickly. Large tears would roll down his face as he wailed.

As a newer teacher, I tried talking to him.

I tried getting angry.

I tried ignoring him (which then he only wailed louder).

I refused to give in to whatever he was resistant to doing. 

The classroom I was in that year had its own bathroom. One day in frustration with William’s crying I told him to pull himself together in the class bathroom. I didn’t want to send him out of the room. 

He wailed so loudly, and the echo of the small room amplified the sound so much the students could not hear anything I was saying. It was so jarring that at first everyone got quiet and then started laughing.

I looked at my students and said with a smile, “Well, that isn’t going to work.” 

Moving forward I continued to battle with this little one. Do you know what got him to stop?

In the middle of the wails I asked him out in the hallway away from 28 sets of little eyes, ” Do you get your way when you cry at home?”

“Yes,” or something that resembled this word through the crocodile tears and sound.

“Has it ever worked with me?”

“NO,” in between wails…

“Then STOP.”

And with that, he never tried it again.

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6 Word Memoirs

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Six- word memoirs are a go-to quick writing idea. Do not be disillusioned by their small stature though. They can be difficult to write. Practicing making your language concise is a trying practice for some authors no matter if you are 5 or 50 or somewhere in between.

Here are a couple of examples:

Lost in places where I belong.

I’ve waited in the wrong line.

Lost my mind. Gave up looking.

I’m forcing the puzzle pieces together.

More examples can be found here:

Teaching Idea:

  1. Use 6-word summaries for text students have read or you have read aloud.

Examples from Stellaluna

Image result for stellaluna
  • Fruit bat misses mom and birds.
  • Stellaluna has lost identity and mother.
  • Friends are different and the same.

2. Have students use the 6 words for their check for understanding for the day or a specific lesson.

3. Use as a recap of the most important thought of the day. Track them over time.

4. At the end of each grading period have students write a 6-word memoir of the most memorable thing. Reflect at the end of the year.

5. Another variation is to write an 18-word memoir from last year (2018) – what sticks out to you?

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