Ready, Set, Go!

It’s been planned for months. I’m “ready”

House is cleaned.

Laundry is done.

Make ahead meals are made, and in the freezer, ready to just heat and eat for my husband, Bill, and daughter, Shantel, I know, I spoil them way too much….

Everything’s “set”

All that’s left… is just, to “go”

And on Thursday, that’s just what I’m going to do… ūüôā

I’m taking a much-needed,¬†girlfriend vacation. I will fly to New York, where I will spend several days with my Frissy, hanging out¬†in Manhattan. What’s not to love about that..? And, if that were not enough for anyone of sound mind…¬†On Saturday, we will be joined by our other BFF’s, Megs, and Audrey…¬†MORE FUN…!

On Sunday, Megs, Audrey, Frissy, and I will have a picnic in Central Park and spend a lazy afternoon watching people, catching up, and laughing the time away, until evening when we will attend a Shinnyo Lantern Floating For Peace Ceremony, from 7-8 pm, in Central Park. We will have the opportunity to decorate, build, and float a lantern with our wishes for peace on them. How beautiful is that?

Then, on Monday, we will all make a trip to Vermont.¬†We will spend five fun-filled, beautiful days, in a beautiful house, on the most spectacular property, among the beautiful¬†changing leaves of Vermont!! OMG, I just can’t hardly wait. We will cook, drink wine, talk, hike, stay up late and drink more wine, and laugh, laugh, laugh… cause that’s what we do on girlfriend vacations… And THIS is going to be the BEST girlfriend vacation EVER… ūüôā

We will return to Manhattan on Friday, and¬†have a few more “play” days together there before Megs and Audrey have to leave.

I’m staying on with Frissy, and we will continue the girlfriend fun until I have to leave on Wednesday, October 2nd. But I won’t be sad, because Frissy will be coming back to her second home, in Scottsdale, in November, where we will all meet up again for even more fun times here in beautiful Arizona… ūüôā

So,¬†watch for a future blog post where I will share photos of our girlfriend vacation. But, right now, I’m “ready, set, and all that’s left for me to do….is¬†just¬†go…”

Stay Tuned!

Bumps In The Road

My cousin, Kathy,¬†a Nurse Practitioner who works in Orthopedics,¬†has a blog I follow at www.bloomingburghboomer.com¬†. This week¬†she¬†shared that she¬†was having some challenges keeping up with her running exercise program due to¬†hip pain she is experiencing, and talked about how that affected her whole daily routine…¬†At the end of her post, she asked her readers¬†“how do you handle bumps in the road“? That question brought to mind¬†an article I was given when our daughter, Shantel, first started attending The Foundation For Blind Children after she lost her sight, due to cancer,¬†at the age of two. I want to share that article here so Shantel will always have it, and for any of my readers who might find it useful.¬†I’ve read¬†this article so many times over the years and it always helped me put things into perspective. While this speaks of raising a child with a disability, I think the same principles can apply to many other life situations… See what you think.

Welcome to Holland“, by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability. To try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel, It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.¬†Michelangelo’s David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, that day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland!?” you say. What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s¬†slower paced¬†than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills, Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt’s.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

September is Childhood Cancer Month. I dedicate this post to all who have fought cancer, and to those who are still fighting… Share the awareness, pray for a cure until this too is just a “bump in the road” and not a life¬†changing event¬†.

Stay Tuned!

Sense of Humor

I posted a while back that my daughter, Shantel, is taking what I think is a fabulous class, “The Art of Storytelling”. She doesn’t really like the class because a lot of the stories they read are folktales, myths, or stories about make-believe¬†things… Because Shantel is totally blind, it’s always been hard for her to grasp stories about things that aren’t real. That’s the reason when she was in grade school and¬†the Harry Potter books were all the rage, Shantel had no interest at all in getting them in a brailed¬†version or even on a CD. When she was in high school, she really struggled in her language art class when they were studying things like Dante’s Inferno, because again, too many things she just could not relate to at all… It’s hard to imagine something that isn’t real like a flying dragon etc. when you’ve never seen even a picture of a dragon…

Yesterday, each of the students in Shantel’s storytelling class were¬†assigned¬†the story they will tell to the class. The instructor had them begin practicing¬†to tell their story by¬†having the whole class all stand in front of the classroom wall, all at the same time, and tell their story to the wall. So,¬†no one was paying attention to what the other students were saying because, they were busy telling their own story to the wall.¬†This exercise was the first step in getting the students comfortable with just¬†telling their story out loud, before they begin telling their story to an audience next week.

After all the students had plenty of time to tell their story to the wall several times…they returned to their seats and the instructor went around the room and had each student stand up and tell the class how telling their¬†story to the wall felt¬†for them.

When the instructor got to Shantel and asked her how telling the story to the wall felt, Shantel said she just smiled and said “It really didn’t make me feel any different at all because I’m used to talking to a blank space…” Shantel said the whole class erupted in laughter. ūüôā That’s our girl!

Shantel’s¬†always had a beautiful sense of humor.¬†I can honestly say,¬†as we’ve traveled our journey with Shantel after her loss of sight, it was always her¬†“sense of humor” that shined through, even in the toughest of times, and that’s what¬†helped me cope the most.

Stay Tuned!

Family Tradition

Our little Katie, Bill’s daughter, my step-daughter, and her boyfriend, Josh, just got engaged this past Sunday. We are so happy and excited to welcome Josh into our family.

When my husband, Bill, asked me to marry him, he gave me¬†a beautiful diamond and ruby engagement ring. Bill told me later that he had my engagement ring made, and that¬†he helped design the channel setting,¬†picked out the diamonds, and even had the ruby’s special ordered. I was so touched at the effort he put into having my ring made just the way he wanted it to be for me. Bill proposed to me beside the Chapel in the Rock, in Sedona Arizona, just as the sun was coming up over the mountains…

When Bill and I married, he gave me the wedding ring to match the engagement ring.

When Bill and I were married 10 years, he bought me another beautiful wedding set as well as a 10 year anniversary ring that I had welded together. Bill took me to the Redwood Forest and presented the new wedding set and anniversary ring to me.

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So, since I didn’t want to wear two sets of wedding rings, I decided to give our little Katie the wedding set her dad had made for me. I let her know she could do what ever she wanted with the rings, i.e. wear them, store them, or pass them down to her daughters when they got old enough to appreciate them.

Katie and I have always had a special bond, and when I gave her my wedding set, she cried, as did I, and said she loved them, and would always keep them in the family.

On Sunday, when Katie called to say Josh proposed to her, she said he used the engagement ring my husband, Bill, had made for me… This is that ring.

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Katie said she and Josh decided they wanted to get married using the wedding set I gave her. Then, just as Bill and I did, they will get a new wedding set for their ten-year anniversary, and pass the wedding set I gave Katie down to one of their daughters when they get married… I was so touched, and of course,¬†I cried… I told Katie I thought that would be a beautiful way¬†to keep her dad and I a part of their lives, and hoped her marriage, and anyone who wears those rings in the future, will be as happy and Bill and I have been.

Congratulations Katie and Josh.¬†We love you, and thank you for¬†making this¬†a beautiful “family tradition“!

Stay Tuned!

Mom’s Reunion With Beau

I mentioned in an earlier post that my husband, Bill, our daughter, Shantel, and I were going to take my mother out to my brother, Danny, and his wife Bea’s, new home they just had built so we could all see their new home and mom could see her¬†beloved dog Beau, who lives with Danny and Bea and their little dog, Daisy…and Beau’s stuffed froggie girlfriend… ūüôā

So, the day began with a trip across the desert from Phoenix to the town of Maricopa:

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It was a very rainy day and even the desert floor was soaked,

Once we arrived at Danny and Bea’s house, the first order of business was to get mom out of the car safely…

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Then, we entered into Danny & Bea’s beautiful home. Oh my, I’m so happy and proud for them. This is a kitchen to die for:

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Danny and Bea are the perfect hosts, making sure everyone had drinks, and everything they needed, to feel welcomed…

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While we waited for the delicious lunch to be set out( ham, scalloped potatoes, and green beans, with homemade cake for dessert)… mom and Beau just couldn’t get enough of each other…Beau cried, and cried, and when Beau couldn’t stand it anymore, he jumped right up in mom’s lap… mom was worried he wouldn’t remember her…

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After the reunion with mom and Beau….nothing else seemed to matter to mom, but still there was much to see… like Danny and Bea’s little dog , Daisy, who has to hold her cookie treats¬†in her mouth, until Danny goes and sits on their bed with her to eat it so Beau won’t steal it from her …

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Even as mom tried to eat her lunch, Beau sat right at her feet:

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Thank you Danny and Bea for a lovely lunch and tour of your beautiful new home…

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Well done Danny and Bea… Well done.. Congrats on your beautiful new home. It is just beautiful… and mom said to us on the way home… It really has dwindled down to the precious few hasn’t it…? Well, Bro, I guess it has… Love and¬†hugs Bro, love & hugs…

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Stayed Tuned!

Happy Birthday Mom

Today was my mother’s birthday. She turned 87 today. I arrived at the Care Center with a card and some money to put into her account at the Care Center, so when she goes to Wal-Mart, or has her hair done, she always has enough money to cover those expenses…

I stopped at the store, on my way to the Care Center, to pick up something chocolate for mom, because she LOVES chocolate. I found these chocolate frosted, brownies…

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When I went into mom’s room, she was literally just getting out of bed…I showed her the chocolate treat, and gave her the card… she couldn’t wait to get dressed so she could go to breakfast and get back to have her¬†chocolate treat…, Yes, Mom, “you do have to eat your food first”. I bet this sounds familiar to lots of us baby boomers.. ūüôā

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I stayed with mom through breakfast. Then, I had to go, but reminded her Bill, Shantel and I would pick her up at 12:00 noon tomorrow and take her to my Bro, Danny’s new home for lunch, and an opportunity for mom to see her beloved dog, Beau, who still lives with Danny and his¬†beloved ”¬†stuffed frog girlfriend”… see earlier posts..

Later in the afternoon, mom called me to say other family members came to visit her, and some, who live¬†out-of-state, ¬†sent her flowers ( you know who you are)… Thank you to them, for helping make mom’s special day special…¬†Mom said she really appreciated their visits and presents.

All in all, it was a very Happy Birthday for Mom..

Thank you to all family members, and extended family members, who helped make Mom’s 87th Birthday something she really¬†appreciated.

Stay Tuned !

Our 25th Anniversary

Bill and I spent the day taking a trip down memory lane. So what better way to do that than to start at the beginning of the lane and walk forward to our life as it is today.

Our very first apartment was a tiny little furnished one bedroom, right in the heart of Tempe Arizona.¬†And, more specifically, right in the middle of ASU college town…I will leave all that to your imagination…

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We signed a six month lease so we had no choice but to suffer it out…

But, finally, we were able to move to Mission Springs Apartments, offering one, and two bedroom, furnished apartment floor plans. We decided on a two bedroom so we would have room for our kids.

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The window to the right of the door was my Katie’s bedroom. She would sit in her room for hours talking on the phone with the window cracked open.. I smoked back then and would be sitting on the porch smoking and I could clearly hear everything Katie was talking about to her friends…mostly about things she shouldn’t be doing… When I would give her redirection about what she shouldn’t be doing…she would look at me with wide-eyed¬†wonder as to how I always knew what she was up to… Hey, I think every mother has the right to use what ever comes their way to try to help their child not go astray…

Fast forward: My Katie¬†moved out of our home…then one day, after church, my father came up to Bill and I and asked us if we would consider moving in with them because they were on a fixed income and couldn’t afford to live in the little two bedroom house they had and still afford to travel like they wanted to back and forth to Pennsylvania… Bill and I didn’t hesitate to accept the offer to help them because we were foot loose and fancy free then and were able to do a lot of traveling ourselves…we took a cruise to Hawaii, we traveled back east to visit family, we spent many weekends in our favorite of all places… San Diego… So, of course we agreed to move in with them and share expenses. This is the house on Navajo St that we shared tighter. We were all VERY happy with the arrangement we had. We all loved the house and the freedom we had to travel…

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We were still living in this house when I was notified by one of my Katie’s friends, that she was concerned that Shantel was in danger… I contacted my Katie and told her about what I had been told…I asked her if she thought she was able to provide a SAFE home for Shantel.¬†To my surprise she said NO.¬†Long story short…(see earlier posts) Bill and I stepped up, and took guardianship of Shantel, which later lead us to adopting Shantel.¬†An opportunity, and ¬†decision, we feel blessed to have been given.¬†But, that decision meant we had to move, because ,this house was in an adult only part of Ahwatukee… So while my parents were away on a vacation…, Bill and I had to start looking for a house to buy in the family section of Ahwatukee, where we could raise Shantel… We could only hope my parents would be understanding when we had to tell them we needed to move out..

We looked and looked and found a home ,not far away, in a family¬†area that allowed us to raise Shantel. This is the first home we shared with Shantel… We purchased this home for $86,000 (keep that price in mind). We fell in LOVE with this house, and it was well within our budget. It was perfect and nothing needed to be done to fix it…We were a HAPPY¬† little family there.

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But, tragedy struck.., when Shantel was diagnosed with cancer…, and my parents came to us and said “let’s sell our homes and¬†buy a big house together and we will help you help Shantel … So we sold our home, and they sold theirs ,and we bought this split, four bedroom¬†¬†home, together where we had enough room for us all to spread out and also have room for guests…. And we thought we were all happy there until… we weren’t…When that blew up, ¬†seven years later,¬†we decided, out of necessity,¬†to split up, and go our separate ways…

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Then, Bill and I found this house, in the same neighborhood as the first home we purchased to raise Shantel in..,.which was just like the first home we had before my parents convinced us to move in with them… and that we would later regret….and, this was a REAL fixer upper, and we had to pay $132,000 dollars for the same house we had before the “big move that we paid only $86,000 for…¬†This is¬†where we moved after the split with my parents and where we lived¬†for the next 8 years.

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Bill and I spent thousands of dollars fixing this house up just to make it livable for us.. We actually paid this house off and planned to live there forever.¬†We were happy there until the HOA wouldn’t keep up their end of the deal and the neighborhood went into decay…That was when Bill and I made the decision to sell that home and move to an area that didn’t have an HOA. We sold that home in 2 days, and bought our current beautiful¬†home, in Chandler the next week… This is where we live now, and where we are celebrating our 25th anniversary:

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So after the trip down memory lane…what did we do..? Well, of course had to have lunch… We wanted to try a new place,¬† Sleepy Dog Brewery in Gilbert.

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Bill/Bro wanted to try their dark brews…so of course, I was the designated driver so he could taste their brews to his heart content… He had two¬†but he said they were well worth trying…

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This place is a cute local brewery, and throughout the place are signs that support the atmosphere they support for the people who come there…. like this:

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Or this that says ” Come, sit, stay…”

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The food was REALLY good, but NOT Weight Watcher’s friendly…Bill/Bro didn’t care…he said he was going to enjoy every bite…and he did!

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I, on the other hand, ordered a burger, but had remorse when I saw how much food was on the plate,,

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So…I had the self-control to take more than half of mine home,

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which Bill/Bro (who¬†knows, and agreed to be thrown under¬†the bus),¬†ate for dinner…,Because, after all, it is our 25th anniversary

All in all, as usual, when Bill and I are together…, we had a fun-filled time, and actually took this picture of ourselves… we were laughing¬†so hard,¬†because this was our 3rd attempt, and when we finally thought we had the camera right…we were already beyond the point of self-control,,,

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This was just a practice session to what will be our REAL celebration of our 25 years together which we already have¬†planned to celebrate in our favorite stomping grounds…San Diego California in July… after that, I will share more of our 25th Anniversary…

Stay Tuned!

Special Needs

Raising a child with “special needs” isn’t always about what their “special needs” are, sometimes, it’s about your “special needs” as the mother of that “special needs” child.

When our daughter, Shantel, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two, our world came crashing down around us. We were not sure if our precious Shantel would live or not. Then, as we worked through her treatment plans, we found out she would live, but her best chance of survival depended on having both of her eyes removed, leaving her blind for life.

All that mattered then was that our precious baby girl was going to survive, and that we learn how to help Shantel adjust, and live, in the world without sight. My husband, Bill, and I decided right then and there that we would do whatever it takes to help Shantel not only live in the world without sight, but that she would be a happily independent, contributing member of society.

As we set out to meet each challenge of learning what Shantel’s “special needs” would be, and what the best approach was for meeting those needs on a daily basis, there were many times when the challenges overwhelmed us to say the least.

After we got through the initial shock of what needed to be done, and got through all the surgeries and treatment plans…,the first challenge was to help ensure Shantel learned how to move about safely in her environment.

This is a picture of our precious Shantel when she was in preschool at the Foundation for Blind Children (FBC). Shantel is the child in the back of the line with the cane.

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Not all the children at the FBC were totally blind, some had low vision or vision that was failing but not gone yet. At the time, Shantel was the youngest child ever to learn to use a cane at the FBC.

As time went on, we became more and more educated on how to meet Shantel’s “special needs”. We learned when we needed to push her and when we needed to back off and redirect her… But what we struggled with the most was learning how to cope with our emotions, frustrations, and the heartache of accepting what we could not change.

Along with my strong faith, my husband, Bill, family and friends, I found strength in¬†a poem.¬†It was given to me when Shantel was still in the hospital just after her surgery that removed her eyes. It’s an Erma Bombeck poem titled “The Special Mother”¬†I want to share it here so Shantel will always have it, and for anyone¬†who cares to read it.

The Special Mother by Erma Bombeck:

“Most women become mothers by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of handicapped children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of handicapped children are chosen?

Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

“Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

“Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia.”

“Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew.”

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, “Give her a handicapped child.”

The angel is curious. “Why this one God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God, “Could I give a handicapped child to a mother who doesn’t know laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But has she patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she’ll handle it.”

“I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has his own world. She has to make him live in her world and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But, Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.” God smiles, “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect – she has just enough selfishness.” The angel gasps – “selfishness? is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she’ll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a “spoken word”. She will never consider a “step” ordinary. When her child says “Momma” for the first time, she will be present at a miracle, and will know it!”

“I will permit her to see clearly the things I see…ignorance, cruelty, prejudice…and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life, because she is doing My work as surely as if she is here by My side.”

“And what about her Patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles, “A mirror will suffice.”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read that poem over the years. Every time I became overwhelmed, frustrated, or felt my heart breaking as I’ve watched my beautiful, Shantel, meet her daily challenges through the years, as she¬†makes her way through life…I would read this poem and have¬†MY “special needs” met…

Stay Tuned!

Keeping It Real

When I visit my mother at the Care Center where she lives, trying to keep a conversation real with her is a challenge that can take on a life of its own.

When I arrived at the care center this morning to visit my mother, I told her that my husband, Bill, and our daughter, Shantel, and I would come on Sunday at 12:00 noon to pick her up and take her with us out to see my brother, Danny’s new home. I told her we will have lunch at Danny’s house so don’t eat lunch at the care center on Sunday ( readers, hold this thought).

My mother will be 87 on Saturday. She has Parkinson’s disease which causes her to have trouble concentrating and understanding things. And, to complicate the matter, she is hard of hearing, not unlike all the other elderly residents in the care center…That said, perhaps you can try to picture how my visit and conversation¬†with my mother went today.

As usual, when I visit my mother on Wednesday’s, she likes for me to watch the Price is Right show with her in the activity center. Today, one of the prizes a contestant won was a motorcycle. The contestant was jumping up and down and screaming as she was so excited that she won the motorcycle. My mother looked at me and asked me what I would do if I were on that show and won a motorcycle? I said if I won a motorcycle I would sell it because I don’t ride motorcycles and have no desire to own one. My mother said “I don’t think anyone should ever ride a motorcycle, and especially not women.” Then she said “and if¬†everyone could see all the head injuries I saw when I was a nurse working in the emergency room, no one would ever ride a motorcycle.” I said “well, I think it is up to each person to decide what they want to do.” I said “your granddaughter, Chante‘, has¬†Stephen’s¬†(her late father)¬†motorcycle now.¬†She rides it,¬†loves it, and that’s her choice.” My mother glared at me and said “what is wrong with you? How could you let her do that?” I said “I don’t have any control over what she does.” At that my mother said “well you should have some control over what she does, your her mother!”

That’s when I realized my mother thought I said my daughter, Shantel, who is totally blind,¬†had Stephen’s motorcycle and was riding it. So, I said a little louder this time “mom, Shantel is blind, how do you think she could ever¬†operate a motorcycle?” At that my friend, Sharon, another resident who was sitting at the same table with us, looked at me and screamed “WHAT!!!, you let your blind daughter drive a motorcycle, what kind of mother are you?” She said “that’s a terrible thing for¬†you to do. Don’t you know¬†she could get killed?”

OMG, now¬†the other residents sitting at our table wanted to know who was driving a motorcycle blind? So I had to go back over the whole conversation I was trying to have with my mother, and explain that my blind daughter had nothing to do with this conversation or with driving any motorcycle…

Lucky for me, by the time I convinced the residents at the table my blind daughter was not driving a motorcycle, it was time to take mom to her Wednesday Catholic Church Service, so off we went. But the fun was not over just yet…

No, when I went to hug my mother good-bye, I said “Ok, mom, we will see you on Sunday, and remember, don’t eat lunch.” Mom just¬†stared at me and said “what’s happening on Sunday?” I just smiled and said “It will be a surprise mom, just don’t eat lunch.”

Lord help me with my mother, to just keep “keeping it real.”

Stay Tuned!

The Art of Storytelling

Shantel is taking this class in college because it fulfills a humanities requirement. She HATES the class but I LOVE it. I help her with her homework, because as usual, in the beginning of the school year, most of the handouts in her classes have not been brailled yet.

The description of the class says “Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by improvisation or embellishment. Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation, and instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters, and narrative point of view.

As the class progresses, each student will have many opportunities to present stories in front of the class. One of the things I think is excellent about this class is when a student presents a story, they are in charge of asking for just the feedback they need. For example, when you are first beginning to present stories, you might ask for just positive feedback…i.e. tell me only what I did right…Then, as you become more confident, you might start asking for more constructive feedback, i.e. tell me what I might do better. All this helps prepare the students for their final exam which is¬†presenting their story¬†in front of an audience at a school event. How cool is that? I would love that, but, Shantel…, not so much…

Storytelling became an actual profession in the United States in 1970. In 2010 the average storyteller’s hourly wage was $18.60. Who knew??? OMG, I think I missed my calling… ūüôā

Yesterday, Shantel (and I) had to read a story titled Wisdom, and answer questions about what the story meant. The story was about a young king who desired wisdom. The king called together his physician, philosopher, mathematician, storyteller, and fool. He gave them the challenge of writing the history of all mankind. He instructed them to leave out nothing of significance.

Many years later, when the king was in his midlife years, his staff presented him with volumes and volumes of beautiful leather-bound books that filled his library with the complete history of mankind. However, the king told his staff he was much too busy to read all those books and instructed them to condense them down.

Another twenty years passed before the king’s staff presented him with a few large books that they said were the condensed version of the history of mankind. But by then the king’s eyesight was failing him so he asked the storyteller to tell him the story of the history of mankind.

The storyteller said “They were born, they lived, they knew sorrow, they knew joy, they died, we learn.” I don’t know about you, but I¬†found that to be so profound. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all cut through all the drama in our lives and just keep life that simple…? I guess that’s what Shantel and I will learn as we continue to study “The Art of Storytelling.” ūüôā

Stay Tuned!

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