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1. Illustration Friday Nature


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2. BOBBEE BEE: FIGHT LESS; LOVE MORE

parents_0002 by Creflo Dollar In the midst of counseling sessions, I have discovered that many married couples have never received instruction in conflict resolution strategies, they resort to settling their differences by fighting.
Here are four fighting styles to avoid with dealing with conflicts or problems. Many couples begin their marriages eager to live the fairy tale they've read about, watched on the big screen, or listened to while dancing to their favorite love songs.
Movies, books, and songs can paint a picture of martial bliss that has very little to do with REALITY. In REALITY, when a couple says "I do" and attempts to live out their fairy tale of a happily-ever-after marriage,it isn't long before REALITY sets in, and they realize life is not a fairy tale.
It takes a tremendous amount of work and effort, by both parties, to achieve martial bliss.

FOUR IMPROPER FIGHTING STYLES




eskimo kiss cartoon

The Eskimo Style In this case, one or both spouses freeze up after an argument and ignore the situation altogether, hoping time will take care of it.

parents_0003They withdraw emotionally and nurse their wounds.

This is more commonly known as the silent treatment.
As a result, one or both parties become bitter because a mutual resolution is not reached.

The Cowboy Style

This is the "shoot 'em up an' leave 'em for dead!" style.
In the heat of passion, couples tend to say things they do not mean, words can hurt, causing a lot of damage to a marriage and severely limiting any chances of reconciling differences.
cow
 
The Houdini Style
When conflict arise, one or both parties become escape artists.
He or she does not like conflict and will avoid it as much as possible.
Rather than face an issue head-on, this individual will just leave.
Often this spouse will turn to destructive behaviors such as drinking, excessive shopping, sitting in front of the television for hours, or overeating. He or she will do whatever it takes to avoid dealing with the situation. The World Boxing Association StyleHere we have one or both parties handling conflicts with their fists.

He or she may begin to deal with an issue rationally, but anger often takes over, and the individual becomes physicallly abusive. 

This spouse may be an abuser who is in need of counseling.
No matter what situation you may face as a couple, realize that fighting is not the best way to resolve conflict. Pray about it and seek God's wisdom in every circumstance.
From Winning in Troubled Times: God's Solutions For Victory Over Life's Toughest Challenges by Celo Dollar.


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3. Painting from life

 
Painting in the yard today. Some with iPad and some with these new fangled things called water colors. 

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4. ~HaPpY EaSteR~

©the enchanted easel 2014

just a quick sketch of a cute bunny...with his little pinwheel flower. :)

hope everyone has/had a happy and blessed Easter!

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5. To Answer A Question....

I've been asked twice today and, YES, I am open to paying job offers.

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6. About Suzanne Lieurance, author of 'The Locket: Surviving the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire'

Thank you for following the virtual tour for my historical novel, The Locket: Surviving the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire from Enslow Publishers. Although the tragic event that is the basis for this book happened over 100 years ago, I think it is important for children today to know and understand what life was like for the garment workers in New York City back then.

Obviously, this book was designed for classroom use as a way to supplement the regular social studies textbooks when it comes to helping students learn about events in American history. But I think readers enjoy the book mainly because they get to know and like the main character, Galena, an eleven-year-old Russian-Jewish immigrant, who lives in New York City with her family and works at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory with her older sister, Anya. 

When I visit schools across the country I sometimes talk to students about using real events in history as the basis for creating fictional stories. I even have a workshop about this, so I can guide students to choose historical events to research so they can create fictional characters who witnessed these events.

I love to visit schools, libraries, and bookstores to talk about my writing and my books. I particularly enjoy helping teachers and school librarians see how they can use nonfiction to help students write better fiction. Teachers and librarians can find out more about my school visits at my website at http://www.suzannelieurance.com

If you’re a teacher, librarian, or a parent who homeschools, download a free Educator’s Guide for The Locket here now.

Here are a few short reviews of the book:

"The author has done a wonderful job on character development and the description of the fire in the factory was compelling."
"The fictionalization of a real historical event and the dramatization of early labor issues involves reader[s] in a fast-paced, gripping story hard to put down."
"This book will serve to inform readers on the working climate of the time as well as the struggles of immigrants to conform to a new country and new society."
"Woven together in perfect compatibility, the historical background and fictional plot give readers a clear insight into Jewish immigrants and ritual . . . and unfair labor practices, and there is excellent foreshadowing of the fire."
". . . brings American history to life through fictional characters and historically accurate plots."
". . . an insightful story that will appeal to young readers as well as providing them with a clear understanding of the working conditions at the time . . . a very well written book that will relate well to many young readers."
-----------------------------
Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She is a former classroom teacher and was an instructor for the Institute of Children's Literature for over 8 years.

Lieurance has written over two dozen published books and her articles and stories have appeared in various magazines, newsletters, and newspapers, such as Family Fun, Instructor, New Moon for Girls, KC Weddings, The Journal of Reading, and Children's Writer to name a few. She offers a variety of coaching programs via private phone calls, teleclasses, listserv, and private email for writers who want to turn their love of writing (for children and/or adults) into a part-time or full-time career.

Connect with Suzanne on the web:


Watch the trailer: 



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7. Captain Canuck Webisode 1 - Happy Canada Day!

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8. Teens' Top Ten Nominees 2014 and Book Review Musings

Celebrate Teen Literature was on Thursday, and YALSA announced this year's nominees for Teens' Top Ten. This is a teen choice list, selected by participating teen book groups throughout the country, and their top 25 titles are this year's nominees. Starting in August, any teen can vote online for their favorite nominee and the final Top Ten will be announced during Teen Read Week in October.

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9. My author website HACKED!


 Guys, my Ellenoh.com website has been hacked. Please do not go there!! It has been infected with very bad malware.  Fortunately, my blog is hosted on blogger and I never moved it to my website. I always thought that was a pain but now I'm very grateful because my blog is safe.

I would gladly hurt the person who did this to me. Also, if you see any emails from ellen@ellenoh.com - DON'T open for now!! Delete! Everything has been compromised and it's a huge mess. I'm real sorry guys!!

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10. Free tickets to see Andrea Davis Pinkney!

2014 Arbuthnot Lecturer Andrea Davis Pinkney

Andrea Davis Pinkney (image courtesy of Scholastic)

ALSC and the University of Minnesota Libraries, Children’s Literature Research Collections (CLRC) would like to remind the public that tickets for the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture featuring Andrea Davis Pinkney are available.

The lecture, entitled “Rejoice the Legacy!,” will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Willey Hall on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. A reception and signing will follow the event. Required tickets are free for the lecture and must be obtained through the University of Minnesota website. To learn more about acquiring tickets, please visit the 2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture website.

The May Hill Arbuthnot Lecture is sponsored by ALSC. The lecture title honors May Hill Arbuthnot, distinguished writer, editor and children’s literature scholar. Each year, an author, artist, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature is selected to prepare a paper considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children’s literature.

* * *

2014 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture With Andrea Davis Pinkney
University of Minnesota Libraries, Children’s Literature Research Collections
Saturday, May 3, 2014 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (CDT)
Minneapolis, Minnesota

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11. Wondercon ’14: 20th Century Fox Presentation

Maze RunnerFox pictures have a number of exciting movies coming out this year, spanning a number of different audiences.

Guest moderator Ralph Garman introduced the first movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2. Director Dean DeBlois and surprisingly Jay Baruchel (voice of Hiccup) took to the stage. After showing a completed first five minutes of the movie (which looked fantastic by the way) DeBlois elaborated that this second film of what is to be a trilogy takes place five years after the first movie, showing how our characters and the village have both grown and learned to make living with dragons part of their daily lives. “We also see that Stoick (Hiccup’s father) has changed from seeing his son as an embarrassment, to becoming an overly proud dad that has high hopes for his son. Hiccup can’t deal with these aspirations.” And we’ll be introduced to a new villain, Drago Bludvist, and how he plans to put a permanent wedge between the humans and dragons. How to Train your Dragon is coming to theatres June 13th.

Following next, Ralph Garman introduced the cast of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes to the stage. Director Matt Reeves, Keri Russell, Gary Oldman, and Andy Serkis. “This movie follows years after the virus is released from the first movie and humans are extinct, or that they are thought to be,” says Matt. “We see that Caesar now is the leader of his tribe, and he has a family; a wife, one teenage son and a new baby.”

As it later introduced into the film that humans are still alive, it creates a conflict between the two species and inside Caesar himself. “Caesar is an ape, but he also had a human dad,” explained the director. “And he knows how it is to lose someone you love, so he’s empathetic to the survivors. He has to walk a fine line between his feelings and keeping his tribe together. And we see how there was a possibility that two could have lived together, but of course we all know what happens. That’s not a surprise.”

After watching the short movie clip they show us and listening to the discussion of the internal struggles on both the important parties of the movie, it’s difficult to decide who you want to root for. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will be seeing theatres this July 11th.
Based off the widely popular young adult book by the same name, Maze Runner is what I see as a futuristic Lord of the Flies. This movie adapted by James Dashner’s book has all the makings of the next Hunger Games, by which I mean futuristic technology set in a forest setting, and the murder of teenagers. The movie does have some exciting action shots for those who like to run and fight, thrown in with a lot of CGI.

Presenting the movie were the director Wes Ball, author James Dashner, actor Will Poulter, and actor Dylan O’Brien (made famous by the series Teen Wolf). The author confessed that for his book a number of influences were the book Ender’s Game, the book Lord of the Flies, the show Lost, and his fear of mazes. “Remember in the Shining with the maze scene? Mazes creep me out. If you’ve ever been in a corn maze then you know.” The anticipated Maze Runner will be out September 19th of this year.

Moderator Ralph Garman introduced a last minute addition into the screening lineup. Coming out this fall is a spy movie called Secret Service. Its notable actors are Colin Firth (famous for many things including his portrayal of Mister Darcy in a BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) and Samuel L. Jackson who will be playing the villain in this movie. Its setting is somewhere in the U.K., and the premise is that it deals with an organization that is funded by private investors as to not be hampered by politics and bureaucracy. The action sequences appear to be a faster paced Avengers, and technology stolen by Spykids. Still a work in progress.

And finally, what the Arena seemed to be waiting the most for, Ralph Garman introduced X-Men: Days of Future Past. The extended trailer and snippet of the movie looked beautiful and action packed. Unfortunately as a last minute change up, director Bryan Singer didn’t show (for reasons I’m sure we all know), but in his stead we had writer Simon Kinberg. He elaborated on things in the movie spanning from the politics in the 70’s, art styles of the bleak future and bright past, and as well as the convoluted concept of time travel. “Even though in the original comic that the movie is based off of they had Kitty go back in time, we decided that Wolverine worked better. James Cameron really helped us with the idea of time travel and how it scientifically would work, so you’ll see a lot of that in the film.”

In part of his final words, Simon Kinberg also added that he hopes this movie will make up for the failures of the 3rd X-Men movie, which was based off of the Dark Phoenix comic arc. X-Men: Days of Future Past will be out May 23rd; Not soon enough.

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12. Nothing Rotten at the Rotten Tomatoes Panel

Rotten Tomato AudienceStill upset that that movie you absolutely loved got such negative reviews? Fuming that it got a pretty rotten status on Rotten Tomatoes? Posting an angry rebuttable on a message board will just illicit people calling you a “noob,” and perhaps some other more colorful names.

Returning to the convention is the always popular Your Opinion Sucks: Rotten Tomatoes Critics vs. Fans. The critics comprised of Tim Ryan, Christy Lemire, Scott Mantz, Alynda Wheat and Alonso Duradle, with Matt Atchity as moderator. Trolls and fans alike can argue with the panel of critics either for or against a movie of their choice, with the audience readied to voice their own opinions with paddles that say “fresh” on one side and “rotten” on the other.

This year, the movies ran the gamut of Ender’s Game, Black Hawk Down, Frozen, and even Grave of the Fireflys. One of the movies that shocked me greatly was when The Goonies was brought up, and half the audience gave it a “rotten” status. The critics too were torn with the movie: Half for it, and half against it. I thought though that the general atmosphere kept a fun and lighthearted vibe. This type of panel is known to create one or two heated debates that almost threaten the removal of somebody, but things remained rather civil.

Most memorable would have to be the first to voice their opinion; a small boy by the name of Gabe. The movie he so passionately argued for was Transformers, saying that the action was outstanding. He then proceeded to demonstrate the action sequences by making shooting motions with his hands and then bomb explosions, all of course complete with ample sound effects. Scott Mantz in particular tore into the boy (with good humor). When given his 30 second rebuttal, Gabe simply said to Scott, “You have no taste!” Gabe as it later turned out is the son of moderator Matt.

Most bizarre was the last person up to pose a movie argument. Standing at the microphone, in what I can only describe as a black muumuu with large red stripes running down the sides of it, was a man who wished to be called “master.” But we’ll call him Zack for this article. Zack wanted to argue against Star Trek: Into Darkness, going as far as to say that the movie was “the worst thing I’ve ever seen.” The crowd pretty much cried in uproar, with a few people in rotten agreement, including a couple of the panel members. What ensued was a discussion on how remakes on pre-existing Star Trek movies shouldn’t happen, alternate time lines, and action sequences. Definitely a fun note to leave the panel on.

It was enjoyable to hear the arguments that each person presented for, or against, a particular movie, even if some of them weren’t as sound as others. Thank you critics of Rotten Tomatoes for making an enjoyable evening of not-so-witty banter, and I can’t wait till next time.

~Nicholas Eskey

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13. BOBBEE BEE: YOU HAVEN'T LEARNT YOUR LESSON YET?

alg_adultery-485x400This article first appeared on BASN on Feb. 10, 2010. But due to the recent sex scandal involving New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger, we felt it was worth republishing.


"I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable." -- Tiger Woods.


By Eric D.Graham


NORTH CAROLINA (BASN) -- As Tiger Woods tries to deal with his promiscuity and possible divorce with his wife Elin, he is probably seeking advice from his agents, PR people, marriage counselors, and old golfing buddies. But I honestly believe he should just sit down and read the Book of Proverbs in order to gain a "little wisdom" about his current situation. The Book of Proverbs is one of the books of "wisdom" of the Old Testament that contains instructions for us to live by in our daily lives.


The instructions are practical and not complicated and easy to follow. For this reason, I recommend that the Book of Proverbs be required reading for every professional athlete, school teacher, movie star, business man, politician and student.


For instance, Chapter 10 verse 1 simply states: "A wise son makes a glad father but a foolish son is the grief of his mother."


This is quite simple, but so true.

tigerBecause one of the greatest sights in sports history was when Tiger was captured by the cameras hugging his father, Earl in a warm embrace with tears running down his face as he won his first Masters at 21 years old at Augusta.


Now, that was truly a picture of a proud father. But that memorable moment of sports history has been replaced with the painful expression on the face of Tiger's mother Kultida Woods as she leaves the airport while being harassed by paparazzi after her son's sexual affairs were leaked to the press.


Let's remember, there is nothing new under the sun.


So even though, we are discussing Tiger Woods scandalous affairs, the wisdom in the Book of Proverbs applies to you and I as well.


Let's continue.


Proverbs Chapter 5: verses (1-5) states: My son pay attention to my wisdom. Listen to my words of understanding. Be careful to use good sense and watch what you say. The words of another man's wife may seem sweet as honey. They maybe as smooth as olive oil. But in the end, she will bring you sorrow.


Now, former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick should have paid attention to these words before he lied under oath about those steamy text messages to his chief of staff Christine Beatty.


Kwame' Kilpatrick however is not by himself because former Tennessee Titans All-Pro (QB) Steve McNair, who was killed in a bloody murder suicide at the hands of his mistress Sahel Kazemi, also failed to listen to the wisdom in the Book of Proverbs.


For instance, Proverbs 5 (5-8) states: "She is on the way to death, her steps headed straight to the grave. She gives little thought to life. She doesn't even know that her ways are wrong. Stay away from such a woman."


Isn't it amazing how accurate these scriptures are?


Even in 2010, these scriptures paint a perfect picture, especially in the case of Tiger Woods.


Let's see what Proverbs says about Tiger Woods, who allegedly had unprotected sex with hardcore porn-star Joslyn James.


"Stay away from such a woman. Don't even go near the door of her house. Or you will give riches to others. And the best years of your life will be given to someone cruel.


Let's examine the word cruel.



Another word for cruel is merciless, cold-blooded, heartless, meanness, sadism, or savagery. Do you remember 1988 when, then, R&B Bad Boy Bobby Brown had a hit song entitled "Don't Be Cruel" with lyrics that sounded something like this:


"We used to hang out tough. Just kickin' around. We discovered a love that had never been found. You gave me your heart, I gave you my mind. But a true love affair we could never find. Although I want you bad, I can let you go. Cuz' there's a lot of girls out there that won't say no. Roll to the fact that I want you Jackie. I want you more than human eyes can see. But you had to start illin', tryin' to make a killin'.Thought about the dollars I make, And you were willin'."


Damn, that's prophetic.


cheatBecause Miss.Joslyn James had her own press conference with her attorney Gloria Allred demanding that Tiger Woods apologize to her face-to-face. Recently, Ms. James also appeared on Inside Edition reading all her private text messages that allegedly Tiger sent to her. She also made a shocking claim that she was pregnant with Woods' babies.


The first pregnancy, she claimed to have had a miscarriage. The second pregnancy, she claimed to have had an abortion.


Now, that's cruel.


Unfortunately, everybody, who's connected with Pro-golfer Tiger Woods, is trying to cash-in on his adulterous affair, lawyers, magazines, news programs, talk-show hosts, psychologists, photographers, sports writers and even rappers.


Yeah, rappers.


Recently, on FUSE TV's Hip-Hop Shop hosted by music journalist Toure', New York rapper Maino revealed that he has a new song entitled "Get 'Em Tiger" which he hopes to get one of Tiger's mistresses to appear in his videos.


Now, that's a low, down, dirty shame. But don't be surprised, however because that's exactly what the Book of Proverbs said that people would do. "Strangers will enjoy your wealth and what you worked so hard for will go to someone else."


Reportedly, if Woods' wife Elin Nordegren divorces him she could receive more than half a billion dollars.


Wow!!


Now that's some serious cash. Woods, who reportedly is "close friends" with NBA legend Michael Jordan, should have learned from his double-dealings which cost him around $168 million when his wife of 17 years Juanita Vanocy divorced him.


Woods, however is no different from any other man, who has cheated on his wife and felt that they would never get caught with his hand in the "cookie jar"


clintWhether it's Presidents John F.Kennedy or Bill Clinton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, ex-presidential candidate Gary Hart, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, or South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Because what is done in the dark, will come to the light.


The Book of Proverbs, however cleverly states it this way. "The Lord sees everything you do and he watches where you go. And an evil man will be caught in his wicked ways; the ropes of his sins will tie him up. He will die because he does not control himself and he will be held captive by his foolishness.


Tiger definitely was a fool. But regardless of whether, it was Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley, Pastor Jim Swaggart, or former NY Governor Elliott Spizer, all of them fell victim to beautiful women.


Their lascivious appetite for sex, however led all of them to pay for prostitutes in order to receive sexual pleasure.


In chapter 6 :( 25-26) the Book of Proverbs warned us about dealing with these seductive street walkers. "Don't desire her because she is beautiful. Don't let her capture you by the way she looks at you. A prostitute will treat you like a loaf of bread. And a woman who takes part in adultery may cost, you your life."


The last verse is a powerful one "A woman who takes part in adultery may cost you your life."


Ask NBA Hall of Famer, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, whether this verse is true?


Because on November 7, 1991, like Tiger Woods, he also held a press conference to announce that he was HIV-positive.


jeBut despite Tiger Woods' shortcomings and infidelities, the world shouldn't hate him. Neither should they hate Senator John Edwards. Or Talk-show host David Letterman.


Or Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, who also like Tiger held a press conference admitting his adultery.


For Proverbs states in Chapter 6 (30-35): "People don't HATE a thief when he steals because he is hungry. But if he is caught, he must pay back seven times what he stole and it may cost him everything he owns. A man who takes part in adultery has no sense, he will destroy himself. He will be eaten up and disgraced and his shame will never go away."


This is so true.


The shame and disgrace may never go away from Senator John Edwards or Tiger Woods.


Their images maybe tarnished in our eyes forever.


So, for the next politicians, business executives, CEOs, educators, athletes, religious leaders and all men in general (myself included), take heed to the wisdom given by the Book of Proverbs.


"Be faithful to your own wife......"


So simple, yet so true.


NOTE: It seems as if most of the men mentioned in this article have bounced back from their affairs. This includes Michael Jordan, who recently got re-married, Tiger Woods, who got his swing back plus a new girlfriend U.S. Skier Lindsey Vonn, and former South Carolina governor Mark Stanford beat out Elizabeth Colbert, Stephen Colbert's Sister, for Congress in South Carolina.


Eric D.Graham, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television, with a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies, is currently the Managing Editor of Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles appear daily along with his controversial cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at lbiass34@yahoo.com or go to www.bobbeethehater.blogspot.com

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14. AFTER THE BOOK DEAL

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The Internet is full of great advice about how to sell a book, but what about after the sale? When my first book came out, I found it was surprisingly hard to find answers to some basic questions. Like most authors, I learned most of the answers through trial and error. And so in anticipation of the launch of my new novel, The Night Gardener, I’ve decided to write down everything I learned so I don’t make the same mistakes twice!

AFTER THE BOOK DEAL is a month-long blog series detailing the twenty things I wish someone had told me before entering the exciting world of children’s publishing. Each weekday from now until MAY 20, I will be posting an article on a different blog. Many of these sites will also be doing Night Gardener giveaways, so please follow along and spread the word!

THE SCHEDULE: 

WEEK ONE: Before Your Book Comes Out 
April 21 – “Finding Your Tribe” @ Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
April 22 – “Do I Really Need a Headshot?” @ Novel Novice
April 23 – “I Hate Networking” @ Charlotte’s Library
April 24 – “A Night at the Movies” @ The Lost Entwife
April 25 –  “Giveaways!” @ Smack Dab in the Middle

WEEK TWO: Your Book Launch
April 28 – “Can I have Your Autograph?” @ Haunted Orchid
April 29 –  “Cinderella at the Ball” @ The O.W.L.
April 30 – “Being Heard in the Crowd” @ Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
May 1 - “The Loneliest Writer in the World” @ The Misbehavin’ Librarian
May 2 – “Shutting Out the Voices” @ Shelf Employed

WEEK THREE: The Business of Being an Author
May 5 – “Back to the Grindstone” @ Word Spelunking
May 6 – “The Root of All Evil” @ The Compulsive Reader
May 7 – “Care and Feeding of Your Muse” @ Buried in Books
May 8 – “The Green-Eyed Monster” @ The Book Monsters
May 9 – “Death by 1000 Cuts” @ Waking Brain Cells

WEEK FOUR: Keeping Your Book Alive
May 12 – “A Cheering Squad of One” @ So I’m Fifty
May 13 – “This Part is Awkward” @ TBA
May 14 – “School Days” @ There’s a Book
May 15 – “Crowd Control” @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
May 16 – “Keeping the Magic Alive” @ Tif Talks Books

 

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15. Snack Time


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16. BOBBEE BEE: STAND BY ME


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17. A Spring Explosion from Peepy, James Thurber and Moi

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of staying at Thurber House, where humorist/author James Thurber spent part of his youth.

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It was a homecoming of sorts for me, having been the 2007 Thurber House Children's Writer-in-Residence. It was so wonderful to see my old friends (as in I've known them for seven years) Pat Shannon and Meg Brown . . .

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I stayed in the attic apartment, and since Pat had gifted me with a pack of purple marshmallow Peeps, it was only fitting that I blow them up in the microwave -- with an assist from James Thurber and Peepy . . .

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But first, this. Near Thurber House, in the Germantown section for Columbus, OH, is a most marvelous used/new bookstore, The Book Loft.
 photo IMG_5905_zps649f07cb.jpg  photo IMG_5908_zps92d8761d.jpg  photo IMG_5910_zps649df18a.jpg  photo IMG_5915_zps79ba19ca.jpg  photo IMG_5919_zps454cb049.jpg  photo IMG_5920_zps9c10b1f7.jpg  photo IMG_5906_zps0937ff34.jpg  photo IMG_5918_zps415b7841.jpg  photo IMG_5907_zps4da316d0.jpg  photo IMG_5909_zps105dfbfd.jpg  photo IMG_5912_zpsc643f1c2.jpg

And here's Thurber House . . .

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Here are some of the authors who have visited Thurber House . . .

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Now, in honor of Easter Peeps and Spring and whatnot, there's this . . .

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Want to see a video of Peeps being blown up in the microwave? Here's one!



===========================

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18. At the Dog House

Visiting friends with some visiting dogs
As well as the two of their own,
Was to be the receiver of licks gone amok,
The slobbiest ones I have known.

For canines get cozy the minute they sense
That you'll be both receptive and kind
And then they unleash their affection as if
You're the best friend that they'll ever find.

So it was an evening of nuzzles and drool
And tail thumps and smooches galore,
More doggie love given in one single night
Than I've ever been given before.

When we said our goodnights, with the dogs at the door,
We were not the attraction we'd been;
For to them, we had passed like a ship in the night,
Though their slobber was still on my skin.

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19. When You Behold The Green Skies...

Whisper Her Name!









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20. Rock the Drop: Recap #2

Thanks to the many authors who Rocked the Drop on Thursday! Crissa Chappell filmed this very cool drop video in Brooklyn!




And Conrad Wesselhoeft send in these pics after he dropped off a couple of books at a school and at a "Little Free Library." 




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21. Edible Gardening

Tiny scilla blooming

Tiny scilla blooming

It’s so hot outside! I’m not used to this thing called warm. It snowed Wednesday/Thursday during the week after all. I haven’t even dared put my winter coat away. But today it made it up to 73F (23C) and I had to bring my warm weather clothes storage bins up from the basement because I had nothing to wear. And as I type this I am barefoot. It is the first time I have seen my feet since October of last year. Crazy!

As you can imagine it has been a great weekend for gardening and this also being a holiday weekend I get one more day off tomorrow for more gardening. I wait and wait for so long and then a few nice days come and I want to be outside and do everything but everything can’t be done at once so it gets done bit by bit.

Yesterday I attended my first ever gardening class. It was two hours and focused on edible landscaping. The person who taught the class runs a business in the Twin Cities designing and installing edible landscapes. I was very excited about the class. I don’t feel like I understand the principles of design on a large scale, I totally understand the height and color and texture mixing in a single bed, but I was hoping for tips and ideas on yard-sized design like how to decide on wear to put paths and beds and how big to make them and what shape and then how to do that big picture so when I step out on my deck and look over my backyard I see a pleasing arrangement instead of “oh we need a new bed I guess we’ll put it here” willy-nilly creation. Though I admit there is something to be said for the organic development and continual evolution of that sort of gardening, I wanted answers so I wouldn’t find myself wishing I had put that shrub over there instead of over here kind of thing.

That is not what the class was about. What I learned for my $20 was that I already know a lot more about gardening in all its aspects than I give myself credit for. I walked out of the class thinking, gee, I could have been the one up there teaching it. It was an amazing boost of confidence.

When class began I was really excited because the instructor had four books on the table about edible landscaping and I had read every single one of them. Let’s talk about these books and what’s in them! Let’s talk about permaculture! Let’s talk about sustainability! Those things were just barely touched on. We did talk a bit about soil and how important it is to always be working to make it better. She recommended a book called Teaming with Microbes by Jeff Lowenfels and noted that if you spend more energy improving soil you spend less energy growing plants. I have a request in at the library for book and am enough of a garden geek to be looking forward to reading it.

The instructor talked about observing your area and making notes about dry and wet and sun and shade, etc. Talked about

French sorrel returning to the herb spiral

French sorrel returning to the herb spiral

making a wish list and then researching and selecting plants. And she reminded us to consider the vertical: obelisks, trellises, arbors. She mentioned some of her favorite plants to use including glow-in-the-dark peppers, okra, and artichoke as well as edible flowers. She discouraged us from growing apples and blueberries because they are so hard. I am growing both and have great success with apples and no chemicals used ever, and blueberries, well, we’ll find out this year whether I have managed to keep the soil acidic enough to get fruit (I just bought a soil ph tester!). I did learn that if I don’t manage to make my blueberries happy, honeyberries taste a lot like blueberries and don’t require an acid soil. I am, however, determined to have success with blueberries even more so now since she was so discouraging about them.

And that was it. I didn’t take many notes because I already knew the stuff she was talking about. She showed us slides of some beautiful edible gardens around the cities but didn’t talk about how they were created. So I left disappointed because I didn’t get the class that I wanted, which wasn’t actually a realistic expectation anyway. But I was also happy because, gosh darn it, I sure do know a lot about gardening!

Finished raised bed

Finished raised bed

Today I actually got to put some of that knowledge to work. Well, sort of. We finished building our raised polyculture bed. It is 4 x 8 feet (1.2 x 2.5m), took 18 cinder blocks, ten 40lb (18kg) bags of topsoil and ten 40lb bags of compost to fill it up. It took another four bags of topsoil to fill the holes in the blocks full enough for planting in. We’ve not planted anything in the bed yet, it was enough to just get it ready today. Tomorrow is sowing day for the new bed as well as other parts of the garden.

Finally, I have come to the conclusion that I stink as a worm wrangler but I do excel as worm brothel madame. Pushing the old bedding to one side of the bin and putting new bedding in the other with fresh food and damp does not compel the worms to relocate like a worm composting website I read suggested. For the last two weeks I’ve been scooping out handfuls of compost and sorting through it for worms, putting the worms back in the bin on the new bedding side and the compost in a separate bin. It is slow, tedious work and I get worms in every handful some of them such tiny babies that they are hard to see. Before I resort to dumping the bin out onto a tarp, I will do more research to try and discover if there is a simpler, less work intensive method of separating the worms from the finished compost. Wish me luck!


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22. Becoming the Possible You

I’m reading two great books right now by Jean Houston: The Possible Human : A Course in Enhancing Your Physical, Mental, and Creative Abilities and A Passion for the Possible: A Guide to Realizing Your True Potential.

The premise of both is this: We’ve heard all our lives that we’re only using a tiny fraction of our brains, but then . . . we just accept that and move on. Why not instead retrain ourselves to use more of the hidden brain? Why not make the effort to access more of our potential in thought and behavior?

The thing I love about her books is she doesn’t make it hard. You don’t have to go to some boot camp of personality reconditioning where you sort out all your problems and your flaws and then sweat your way through getting rid of them.

Jean Houston’s books are relaxing. Her mental and visualization exercises are some of the best I’ve ever read and tried. I’ve turned other people onto her books, and they agree: it’s all so easy. And fun and (here’s that word again) relaxing. I’m into any self-improvement that makes me feel like I’ve been at a mental spa for half an hour, or even for five minutes. And some of her exercises take that little time.

One of my favorite visualization exercises of hers is walking up to a giant oak door that has a sign above it saying Room of the Skill. Deciding what skill you’d like to learn in there, then entering and feeling it in the air all around you. Maybe you’d like to learn to play the violin. You enter and violinness is already sealed into that room, and it starts seeping into your pores and you breathe it in and it sticks to your hair and it soaks into your bones.

There are other parts of the visualization that are important to gaining the skill–and I urge you to read the books to really get the full power of them–but I really love just that opening image of It’s already here. You’re already getting it. You don’t have to wait.

I’ve mentioned before my experiments in getting over my fears by just postponing when I want to feel them. The Jean Houston books open up another way of becoming what she calls The Possible Human. And what we’ll call The Possible You.

Let’s say you believe you have certain personality and physical traits: you’re shy. You’re not good at sports. You get angry easily. You’re a slob. You overeat. Whatever it is, I’m sure you could make up a list of four or five things right now with no effort.

What if you just decided Not anymore? And what if you also decided that there didn’t have to be any steps in between now and that next thing. You could just stop what you were doing before and start doing the new thing right now, right away, just decide.

Years ago I read a story in some Norman Vincent Peale book about a salesman who was having a really hard time. He couldn’t meet his sales goals, he felt awkward and ineffective around people–he was, in short, a failure.

And he got tired of that. Got tired of constantly having to stress over his paycheck and his bills, got tired of feeling so inadequate at a job where he actually meant to do well.

So one night he came home from another unsuccessful day on the road and decided That’s it. Enough. He peeled off his unsuccessful suit and took a bath. And decided during that bath that when he stepped out, he was a new man.

He threw away the old suit. Went out and bought a new, successful one (not expensive, just new. Different). And without waiting to go through some 9-step program of becoming a successful salesman, he just was one. He decided. He started behaving the way a successful salesman already does. No explanation to people who saw the change, no need to announce it to the world, just Do. Go. Be him.

By the end of the year he was the top salesman in the region. It looked like magic, but it was really just change. Deciding and then changing–right away.

I’ve done that, too. There was a time in my life when I got really tired of feeling shy. It was making me feel bad in social situations and even just stepping out my door into the world. I didn’t like it. It was a bad habit I’d picked up somewhere in my childhood, and I’d acted like it was just the way things were for the next however many years.

But one day I just told myself, “I’m not shy anymore.” And then in every single situation from then on, I made all my decisions based on that new law. I’d smile at people. Be friendly. Laugh when I felt like it. Little moments all day long, every day, when I let myself be different than I had been for years and years.

And what was key to pulling that off was I didn’t feel the need to explain the change to anyone. I got to skip all the steps of changing a little bit one day, a little bit more the next. I was like that salesman taking a bath and coming out a new person.

If anyone did ask me about the difference, I’d just say, “I’m not shy anymore” and move on. People don’t really need more explanation than that. They’re usually too busy thinking about their own lives.

I’ve also done the experiment with physical skills like athletic pursuits. Instead of telling myself “This is hard! It’s going to take a long time to learn this,” I’ve practiced just already being good at it. Letting it come easily instead of going through the performance of pretending to myself it’s difficult.

So much of what we do when we hold ourselves back really is performance. It’s theater. We’re so comfortable in our role of being shy, awkward, bad at math, a bad cook, bad at sports, ugly, scared (fill in your own blank) we just keep playing that part without ever realizing it’s only a part.

But if instead you start picturing The Possible You, the one who looks a certain way, is confident, has awesome skills, is friendly and happy (fill in your own blank), and then you just go ahead and begin being that version of you, right now, no middle steps, no announcements to the world–isn’t that a much better way of evolving into the next stage of you right now? Isn’t it time? Why do you have to wait?

In a way, it’s reverse-engineering your life. You think about how you’d like to be when you’re 80 or 60 or 19 or even a week from now, and rather than just hope you’ll turn out that way, you go ahead and become that right now. Skip all the time and skip all the steps.

The only steps you really do need to take are behaving the way that version of you behaves. Every moment of every day. And that includes reading the books that person reads, spending time with the people that person loves to be around, maybe taking the classes that person takes to learn the skills he or she loves to have.

And it means changing the things you hear yourself say. Because your ears are hearing it and your brain is taking it in. When you make a new choice and hear yourself say, even if it’s in a whisper just to you, “That’s right, because I’m not shy anymore,” it solidifies that new Possible You that you’ve become. Not “are” becoming, but “have become.” Because you already did that the moment you decided.

Why have I written this entire essay? For a couple of reasons: I’m not shy anymore. I love sharing my experiments and experiences with others. I’m completely confident writing in public and letting other people see my work.

I wasn’t always that way. But then I decided.

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23. Can You Identify These Famous Animation Artists As Children?

We're entertaining ourselves on Cartoon Brew's Instagram account this afternoon with a series of childhood photos of famous animation folk. How many can you identify? Click on the images for the answers.

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24. Illustration Friday: Natural


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25. Natural

            Civilized Tarzan

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