A new beginning

Soon, some of you may be leaving home and heading off to college, jobs, the military…

new beg

If you had to leave the city you live in:

  1. What would you find hardest to leave behind?
  2. If you were to move to a new city, what would you do to connect with the community, or feel established in a new place?
  3. What city would you move to?

Don’t forget to answer ALL the questions!  Due Friday January 30, 2015

all the things


An attitude of gratitude

There are times when I find myself so stressed by the sheer number of duties on my to-do list that I must stop and make a conscious note of all the blessings in my life. Sometimes it’s hard and I am grumpy, so all I can come up with right then is something like “I am thankful my family is healthy.” While that is no small thing (a healthy family), in the heat of frustration or stress, it is a simple enough task to show gratitude for the life I have. One deep breath, one silent prayer of thanks, and on I go – perhaps my load has not been lightened, but my attitude has improved.  I am grateful for my healthy family.  I am grateful that I have running water, heat, a home in which to live.  I am grateful for the friends and family who make my life full and rich.  I am grateful for the ability to have a job I love.  I am grateful for this beautiful world in which we live and that I have been able to travel to so very much of it.  I am grateful for books.  I am grateful for pumpkins and chocolate and peppermint and other tasty treats.  I am grateful for health insurance.  I am grateful that I live in a place as beautiful as the Pacific Northwest.  I am grateful that I come from a place with a rich and wonderful cultural heritage and that I can visit home and see family and friends.  I am so grateful to have students who enrich my life.

What are you grateful for? As we head into the Season of Giving, stop for a minute to take note of that for which you are thankful. For this blog, I’d like you to make a list of 10 things, people, acts, etc. that you are thankful. But I encourage you to keep a Gratitude Journal – something in which you write down daily at least 5 things you’re grateful for. It’s amazing how much more beautiful and healthy our lives become when we truly stop to be grateful.

Due Friday 11/28

and the Wall came tumbling down

Check out the above video, which was the Google Doodle for 11/9/14 — the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  The Wall separated Berlin in two from 1961 until 1989.  The West was controlled by Germany, England, and the United States, while the East was controlled by the USSR.  The Wall existed as a physical symbol of the “Iron Curtain” between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc of Communist USSR.  The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was the beginning of the collapse of the USSR, and nearly a year later Germany reunified after 28 years as West Germany and East Germany.

Regular Blog Post:  Write from the perspective of a person in Berlin (could be a person in West Berlin or East Berlin; a soldier or a civilian; a child or an adult; or a visitor from elsewhere coming to West Berlin) immediately before the fall of the Wall.  You can write a description, a scene, a dialogue, or a poem.

Due Friday November 14, 2014

PS: I was 18 when the Wall fell.  My entire life up to that point was lived in a world where it was possible to build a wall to divide a city because political forces opposed each other (simplified reason).  The fall of the wall signaled an amazing new era.  It was a pretty awesome time to be 18!

NaNoWriMo Dare:  Include this person in a scene from your novel!

The dialogue from within…

You are locked in the broom closet of a hospital.  You overhear a conversation between two doctors.  Write their dialogue, including vocal inflection and other sounds.  Each doctor must speak at least four times.


Due Friday October 31

Six-Word Stories

Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway was challenged to write a story in six words.  The result: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”  One sentence, with a whole host of implications buried within those six words.  Why weren’t they worn?  Did the baby die?  Was there never a baby?  Whose baby was it/would it have been?  Maybe they were just really super ugly shoes…

As we prepare for NaNoWriMo and 15,000 words of creativity, why don’t you try your hand at brevity for a minute?  In six words exactly write three summaries of movies or books you love.

For example:     Rebellion, survival, fear: the Capitol controls. (Hunger Games)

                            Little man seeks treasure, Smaug loses.  (The Hobbit)

Write three six-word summaries and put the title of the book or movie in parentheses at the end.  If stuck for inspiration, try doing this for your summer read book, Stardust, and Eleanor & Park.

Due Friday October 3rd

This I Believe


In preparation for those dreaded college personal statements, I’d like you to work on a brief version now. What is important to you?  What makes you who you are and unique from others? Write a Personal Mission Statement reflecting your beliefs and values – remember to be brief (less than 200 words)!

Due Friday September 19, 2014