Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

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Reading Across America

May 24, 2017

At my new job there are various committees… one being Read Across America Day/Dr. Seuss’s Birthday (March 2nd). About three days before this fun event the committee met. I was just an interested party, not really a committee member. (Come to think of it, I haven’t been assigned to any committees yet…)

I came up with the grand idea to “Read” across America by finding a native-born children’s author from each of the 50 states and Washington, DC. Grand is the word. Little did I know what a monumental task this would be and not something I could just bang out in a day or two.

Over the course of most of March and April I searched and searched–mainly Famous Birthdays and Wikipedia, followed by Amazon. Four states: Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada had no readily available children’s authors born in their respective states. Arizona could a least claim the late great Barbara Park–author of the Junie B. Jones series–as having lived and died in Arizona.

I created and had laminated small posters with the state name, author, outline of the state (free from www.theus50.com), and an image of the book cover either from Amazon, Wikipedia, or the author’s website. I also created a blog. I hope to review all the books either myself or by students. I also hope someone from Alaska, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada will find my humble blog and let me know about their children’s book.

I also hope that authors of minorities and different genres chime in. I was a little worried it would be a list of “old, dead, white guys.” And sometimes those old, dead white guys weren’t without controversy: Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus, for example; he brought African American stories to the general public but he was white. (Ultimately, he was not included for the state of Georgia.) I did find some variety–graphic novels (El Deafo by CeCe Bell), poetry, Native American (Circle of Wonder: A Native American Christmas Story by N. Scott Momaday), biography (Rosa Parks by Eloise Greenfield), classics (Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder), and modern favorites (Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan).

Sadly, no merchant mariner books and authors were “famous” enough to pop up. Maybe that will be my next project!

I hope you enjoy this new blog!

Reading Across America Blog

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Merry Christmas 2014

December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

As the year winds down and we’ve just given thanks for all our blessings, we hope this finds you enjoying each day with your loved ones. It has been a year of new experiences and milestones for our family and we have much to be thankful for. the Chief will be heading out to sea just before Christmas so we will make the most of the month before he leaves.

The Chief brought his ship through the Panama Canal Again and is now “tramping” the Gulf of Mexico and up and down the East Coast. For the first time I got to drive to the ship terminal and bring him home. Our dads took the day to drive round trip with me and we got to tour the Chief’s engine room. Now my dad finally knows what the Chief does for a living—seeing it up close puts things in perspective! Glad we had the opportunity as it may not come along again with no set schedule or ports of call. We hope though that the girls will have a chance before the Chief retires.

T1 finished Middle School a straight A student and third place winner of the Regional Science Fair for her project on Engineering—Materials. She applied for and was accepted as one of the 2018 class of the CGS. It is hard to believe she has started high school. She continues rec league soccer, viola, bridged to Senior Girl Scouts, and has joined the drama club. She made 2nd alternate for Junior Regional Orchestra and earned a spot in the high school All County Orchestra. T1 is maturing by leaps and bounds and rising to the challenge of a demanding course load. Try as she might she hasn’t passed me in height (only 5’5 ½”) but she now wears size 9 shoes!

T2 finished 6th grade making Honor Roll all year and with a community service award. She made her debut as Mistress Josie Walker at the faire with our greyhounds. (In case you are wondering, the Chief will never get in garb and join us. Never.) T2 continues playing tenor saxophone and just earned a spot in the middle school All County Band, rec league soccer, Cadette Girl Scouts, and teaching herself Latin putting herself ahead of her classmates. This school year started off rocky with scheduling conflicts but she’s making the most of it (even if she still asks every now and then if she can be home schooled). She has joined the Debate Club and is putting her “passionate persuasiveness” to use. T2 got braces in August, is now back in glasses, and she has finally made it to 5’1”.

Me? Still doing great with my psoriatic arthritis. Still training and will have run three 5Ks this year—the Marine Corps Historic, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (got my personal best time so far!) and will run the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run on Dec. 14th. I am subbing more than ever and have added Clarissa’s two high schools to my list. Seriously, it is still babysitting. I am enjoying running the older Girl Scouts and watching these girls stick with it. I also started teaching a new version of my girls’ Bible Study on becoming women of God to a group of 7th-12th graders. It has been a revitalizing experience.

We had the trip of a lifetime in July with the Chief’s family—a Hawaiian island cruise. We celebrated FIL & MIL’s 50th anniversary as well as many other family milestones (the Chief’s 45th and my 40th birthdays). We also started planning BIL and L’s upcoming nuptials in 2015. We got to see where they grew up and to visit our Hawaiian o’hana—the Cs and Ms. Truly it was the trip of a lifetime full of so many memories.

The lessons we learned this year are it pays to have “connections” on a cruise ship (wink!), drag your children kicking and screaming to the teen clubs for their own good—and you’ll barely see them on board, our part in God’s story is being written and rewritten all the time—trust Him!, and Mele Kalikimaka is the right way to say “Merry Christmas!”

All our love,

SnipeWife, the Chief, T1 & T2
Crookshanks & Hedwig

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Musings of my Blog-iversary

December 9, 2014

So 11 days ago WordPress kindly reminded me that I have been masquerading as Snipe Wife for 4 years now. Wow. Hard to believe. I also now have 200+ followers. If you’ve read my blog long enough you know how I feel about at least 50 of those being robots or people who just want to hawk their own websites and having nothing to do with merchant marine affairs or anything else I post about. Really, WordPress, why can’t I click “delete” on some of these pointless follows? But 200 followers in 4 years is not bad for being an anonymous blog.

I had started the blog with much trepidation but with amazing support from a fellow blogger. I spent the month posting on FaceBook my 30 days of thanks and posted them on Dec. 1st. I honestly don’t know which FB friend started that but for 4 years now I have continued the tradition.

Four years ago I suffered probably the second most traumatizing event in my life. If you read the last few entries on that list, I described a desperation and despondency; anxiety that would spiral out of control; a pain that would stick with me for years. The purpose of the list is to count your blessings. I don’t post on FB “If you love Jesus, you’ll repost this” pithy sayings and “challenges” … instead I was trying to list what I was more than grateful for, knowing the source of all the blessings in my life. My intent was to never stand before anyone and say “Thank God I’m not like that tax collector; look at what I do” (Luke 18:9-14). My intent was not to make anyone else feel bad they didn’t have fabulous baby sitters to make their lives easier or to criticize anyone else’s husbands who can’t stand in the Chief’s amazing shadow. But my attempt to just show, rather than “repost”, my gratitude was twisted in the brutal attack.

The following years I debated even doing the list but I felt it was important to write these blessings down, to show my children later so that they too could appreciate all that we have been blessed with to cultivate giving hearts in them. I would struggle and lose steam as the month wore on and I got closer to the anniversary of that trauma. I questioned whether posting such a list was vain and pithy and whether it made others uncomfortable. And yet as I read the daily posts of other friends who joined in, I never saw the same flaws in their lists. I was encouraged and uplifted by their thoughtful lists. I was much harder on myself.

Interesting that I saw a lot of 3-day and 7-day thanks challenges starting in the fall this year. I did not participate because I was going to make my 30 Days of Thanks again this year. And it was going to be different. I was going to truly focus of finding something that day that I was thankful for. I would make it less of a laundry list. Yes, I always started off with giving credit where credit was due–that wouldn’t change. But if I was thankful for a rainy day then I would thank God for that rain. Yes, I’m still thankful for my fabulous friends and babysitters and I can’t live without them but I was focusing on the little things, the things we really take for granted.

I didn’t necessarily post every day; instead toward the end of the month I posted every couple of days. Not because I lost steam or had doubts… I just wanted to think about the thing I was most thankful for.

I didn’t lose steam because I didn’t hear those brutal words anymore. There was a fundamental shift in letting it go. Letting go and trusting in healing God provided me. It wasn’t over night but it was so much better than the two years of pain that left me with generalized anxiety and the onset of psoriatic arthritis. The healing continued to evolve and my trust in God has grown.

I’ve even told total strangers on the merchant mariner wives FB that I write this blog. I haven’t given up on this blog, I just write when the mood strikes me. I’m less self-conscious about it … even coming to terms with creating boundaries with the Chief about his input. Four years… lots to be grateful for, lots of lessons learned. Lots of healing.

To my 200+ followers, real or not, thank you for sticking with me on this journey.

 

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Thankfulness 2014: Week 2

November 20, 2014

Nov. 8 Tonight I am thankful for the simple fact we are staying in tonight … nowhere to go … no one to see … and I earned it.

Nov. 9 I am thankful for Crook and Heddie needing to take a walk tonight and spending an hour with the Chief enjoying the leisurely pace. Actually I am thankful for that fateful summer day when we stumbled into Her Majesty’s Hounds’ tent and T2 lay amongst the puppies thus beginning our love affair with retired greyhounds 9 years ago. Cassie, Andromeda, and now the twins raced into our hearts even if briefly (Andie was our foster). Being part of HMH, taking them in for G week, and T1’s entrance project and now first research project are just some of the ways they add to our lives. What special and majestic creatures. Definitely a good night for a walk.

Nov. 10 I am thankful for the beautiful fall weather and colors. I love this time of year, always have. Dark greens and browns contrasting with flame reds and brilliant oranges. Warm jackets on sunny days. A time to begin to slow down and prepare to slumber and renew. I am thankful we live where we can experience the wonders of nature and the seasons (though I probably could do without winter if I’m being totally honest).

Nov. 11 Veterans Day I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy because of the men and women of the past, present, and future who serve honorably to defend those freedoms. There are so many to name just in my family and living where I do I have met some amazing service men and women and vets. Merchant mariners have served alongside our military in times of war as well, supplying our troops and risking their lives. Thank you, Veterans, and God bless.

Nov. 12 I am thankful for situations that scare me and challenge me to rise to the occasion. I am thankful to also have the opportunity to do so on my terms and not out of necessity. I can see how it would be so much easier to shelter and circle the wagons … but even though I am no longer young and dumb I still want the fullness of life. In the past decade I’ve probably grown more in the last three years than in the previous 7 … makes me really look forward to the next decade being even better.

Nov. 13 I am thankful for the warm blankets and shelter of the home we’ve built together as the weather turns a little colder today. It is not just a house. It is the memories, love, and shared experiences. I pray that we are good stewards of these blessings though we fall short.

Nov. 14 I am thankful for the members, past and present of the Piedmont church. When I think of my college friends, with only a few exceptions, it is these that I count. They are the ones who helped me reaffirm my faith, welcome me into their lives and homes, watched my relationship with the Chief blossom, got snowed in at our blizzard wedding, and invited us back to say God speed to an amazing family and still remembered us. And I love seeing and hearing what wonderful young men and women all the children I babysat have become. (Stop making me feel old, ok?) I know God guided me to where I went to college and to these people. Definitely a blessing. It was worth the round trip tonight and thanks to the Chief for driving!

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