“Vedette”: A Short Story Now Available

In September and October, I wrote a couple of blog posts on how I’d written a story for a contest after losing a very special sheep, the ewe that brought the rings down the aisle at my wedding. I had her in mind as I crafted the tale.

Continue reading ““Vedette”: A Short Story Now Available”
Guardian, Part 2

Guardian, Part 2

It’s been difficult to sit down and write the continuation of my last blog post because I’ve known what it has to be about. I cannot compose another blog post until I write about this. I have told some of these stories on Facebook, on Twitter, but not here. For some reason, writing it here, admitting here that it happened, makes it even more real than I want it to be. It wasn’t what I planned Part 2 to be, but this is how it turned out.

On September 20, two days after posting Guardian, one of my best friends collapsed during a CrossFit session and died of cardiac arrest. He was three days older than me and seemingly in the best shape of his life.

His name was Rob, and he was one of my teammates during my Indiana FFA State Officer year. Each of us played a role on the team, both in an official capacity and as a team member. Officially, he was stationed by the flag as the reporter, writing stories and taking pictures that would inform others about the FFA. As a team member, he was our encourager, whether he was sitting up late to help us with speeches or giving us directions over the phone when we became lost on a back road. He dreamed up crazy ideas and persuaded us to follow him in implementing them. Rob encouraged us to be ourselves and saw potential in everyone he met.

The last picture Rob and I took together, on the stage at Purdue University’s Elliott Hall of Music after the final gavel tap at the 2016 Indiana FFA State Convention. I had just finished up my year of teaching agriculture and was six days away from leaving for New Zealand. Funny how you never know when a picture is going to be the last one.

And, in some ways, he was a guardian.

Continue reading “Guardian, Part 2”
Sheep Make Everything Better

Sheep Make Everything Better

DSCF1032ALast week, I ran to my recently established sheep pen to find a little ewe, two hours old.

Jumping up and down a bit, I climbed in and checked if she’d eaten. She was a healthy lamb, friendly and enthusiastic.

Five minutes after taking this photo, I nearly collapsed and relied on great support to make it back to the car and eventually to my bed. I slept for four hours with no dreams, unusual for me.

But after that, I had a little lamb to visit. I named her Dahlia, after the flower. Her mother’s name is Daisy, and the dahlia flower is in the same family as the daisy.

Plastic chairs sit right next to the sheep pen so that I can watch the three amigos live life and browse peacefully through the hay. Continue reading “Sheep Make Everything Better”

Comic Relief in the Greatest Story Ever Told

Comic Relief in the Greatest Story Ever Told

Every story has an arc.

The arc begins with an introduction of the story’s characters, place, and time. As it curves upward, we discover hopes and desires and challenges to those hopes and desires. A conflict is created. The conflict rises to a climax, and then the story falls to a resolution.

Along the way are literary elements such as hyperbole, imagery, theme, and comic relief.

These are found in The Greatest Story Ever Told, the climax and resolution of which we remember every Easter.  Continue reading “Comic Relief in the Greatest Story Ever Told”

I Believe in Story

Island Ponies by Bethany Legg
Island Ponies by Bethany Legg

I believe in Story.

Not always the one that begins, “Once upon a time…”
But many times, yes.

Story transcends what we can understand.

Words weave together a waterfall of logic and emotion.

Songs bleed soulfully into darkened hearts to bring them light.

Paintings portray painful pasts.

Architecture’s elevation echoes over upturned faces, giving a glimpse of something beyond this world. Continue reading “I Believe in Story”

“The Quiet of Sound” eBook Preview

“The Quiet of Sound” eBook Preview

I’ve just posted a short story eBook on my online store, and I wanted to give you the chance to read the first part on my blog! The story is complemented well by eight full-color illustrations by nikitagarets from fiverr.com.

So, without further ado, let’s meet Lara….

BandSitting on her father’s shoulders, Lara could see right to the stage. Levi stood there, drumsticks crossed, ready to tap it out. The singer raised his fist in the air, and her brother’s sticks flew, 1, 2, 3.

Then he slammed on the snare, one beat, and the bass and the guitar entered, loud and furious. Sixteen beats, and Brennan, the singer, drew close to the mike, smiled and sang.

Lara had the song memorized and started singing along, moving her head from side to side. There was the bridge, then back to the chorus, and the song ended slowly and softly, a huge contrast to the way they had started.

That was how they did things, her brother’s band. Lara always called Levi weird. Her parents called it talented, along with some other stuff she didn’t really understand: great musicality, unmatched sense of internal rhythm, and so on and so on. But he had formed this band, and now they were famous, and it was pretty cool. Continue reading ““The Quiet of Sound” eBook Preview”

Four Characteristics of Substitute Teaching (We Just Make It Look Easy)

Substitute teaching is hard.

And fun.

And agitating.

And rewarding.

I’ve had one to two classroom jobs each week since I started subbing, but I was recently asked to be a temporarily permanent substitute teacher for the seventh and eighth grade science classes, carrying the courses until the end of school. With my science background, the principal thought I would be a great fit. I was supposed to go down to the school Monday to pick up a textbook and some lesson plans, but a wasp sting, a swollen right hand and subsequent drowsiness from the Benadryl that saves me from severe reactions prevented that. I went down Tuesday instead to pick up the books and looked through them that night. I didn’t care for them much, so decided to just go with the flow and ask the students what they’re interested in. Continue reading “Four Characteristics of Substitute Teaching (We Just Make It Look Easy)”