A ski vacation and a convertible BMW. These were the two material desires of my mom’s heart for as long as I can remember. It was discussed often enough that I knew even as a young child that she wanted these things and also that my dad always responded, “If I give her that, she won’t have anything else to want.” I was a young girl who wanted others to get what they wanted…perhaps because it made my heart happy to see others happy…perhaps because I thought it would eliminate (or at least lessen) the tension in the house caused by my dad’s sporadic, ragings. So you can imagine my delight when one year, on a day in early December, I--an awkward middle school girl--walked into our kitchen and overheard my dad and much older brother, Tim, talking quietly about Mom’s Christmas present and I heard something that told me Mom was finally getting a ski vacation to Colorado! My heart was beating so fast and I was jumping up and down in celebration. Yes! This is amazing! My dad and brother cut eyes at each...Read More
"I was appalled at my parents choosing to “tell stories” instead of opening presents Christmas morning. Were they joking?"
***This is a break from our story series. This is a special encouragement on incorporating story in to your holiday season.
Ever since we started this tradition, my life has been changed and my family more closely knit. Writing and revealing story, happy or sad, on Christmas morning perfectly illustrates the way the holidays are meant to be spent... ...READ MORE
***This is a break from our story series. This is a special encouragement on incorporating story in to your holiday season. "When I heard we were going to do this story for Christmas thing, it sounded like having to do more schoolwork when we were supposed to be out of school. Our first year, I was a seventh grader and mom helped me write a poem. The second year, last Christmas, I wrote my own story... ...READ MORE
***This is a break from our story series. This is a special encouragement for your holiday season.
6:45AM - June 13th, 2016 - Beginning to lose consciousness, I struggled to walk 10 feet in 10 minutes. I prayed, "Lord, please send someone to find me now." Every morning when I walked, there have been cars of people heading off to work. But not today. Over the crest of the hill, I could almost see our house, but there was no way to get there... READ MORE
In Queens, NY, Thanksgiving is when the cold begins to arrive. As I stepped out of our '72 El Camino, onto the gravel driveway, I looked around and saw quite a few of my family members were already here. <sigh> At 12 years old, here we are, another Thanksgiving at Aunt Edna’s. It would be the same old crew – my dad’s sisters and their kids, and some grand-kids. All laughing and telling loud stories and off-color jokes, waving their beer cans around in the air telling stories with wild gestures, just like every other holiday. I walked up the sidewalk in my orange and yellow dress that my mom had sewn, up the stairs and onto the front porch. I grabbed the broken handle of the storm door and the heavy wooden front door with its’ forever cracked glass windows was already open...READ MORE
November 25th, 1983 - It was Thanksgiving weekend and Mom and Dad thought it would be good for me to go. I thought so too but I had just turned thirteen and would be the youngest at the retreat. The thought of not going and later having to hear the great stories of this Youth Group adventure I missed was too hard to bare, but the weight of going along with High Schooler’s was also very dangerous. At thirteen, I didn’t quite fit in anywhere. Too old, too young, not a doctors kid, super jock or cheerleader.
We were heading off to Confrontation Point for the weekend and they gave our church group a half-price rate if we spent half the time...READ MORE
The summer of 1954, I was 12 years old. Growing up, I would walk up a giant hill of concrete streets to get to the top where the main highway was located. I would catch one of two buses to visit my Auntie Ann who lived in an apartment by herself. She was my Father’s sister, a school teacher and had never married. My Father had three sisters and he was usually at odds with them. I would visit all three of my aunts at different times and enjoyed their well ordered lives and nice homes. I had the impression that they felt sorry for me and that they thought they were doing me a favor by having me with them...READ MORE
In Kindergarten, everything was new, exciting but also a bit scary. Your mom or dad had to drive you to school in a car. In Ohio kindergarten you had to take naps and even go home earlier than everyone else. It drove me crazy being treated like a little kid. Why come to school and take a nap? However, the only cool thing about nap time is that my mat was next to Karen Cook’s. When the lights were out, she and I would pretend to be napping and look at each other and whisper. A time or two we touched hands. It was a pretty special time, I suppose...READ MORE
It was a bright crisp morning. I was excited as I dressed for the last day of school. I had organized a group bike ride. It wasn’t just any “last day of school”. It was my last day at Cascade Junior High and likely my last day in the school system that I had called home since 1st grade. My best friend had organized a surprise going away party just a year before when we were in 7th grade. All of my classmates had come and then we didn't move. That was a little embarrassing. But now as an 8th grader I knew that this really would be the end. We were definitely going to move during the summer but I kept it a secret. The week had been filled with convincing everyone that...READ MORE
In the summer of 1978, we had spent a cool weekend at my uncle’s farm. We often went several times during the spring and summer to help them with chores. This trip we shucked corn for freezing and strung and snapped green beans for canning. I sat on the front porch with the women working, miserable because the women would talk around me, conversations above my head and my 7 year old understanding. I had to sit there and work with very little fun to be had. After hours of shucking corn and snapping beans I was done while the women retreated to the kitchen to...READ MORE
In the spring of 1974, I was 10 years old and we had a morning P.E. class down on the grass practice field. It was a beautiful crisp morning with a brilliant blue sky. Coach Grossman was a gruff man and announced, "Boys, we are going to form up teams and play baseball today." I don't think he liked having to corral elementary kids as it took him away from his high school athletic duties. A sense of dread filled my stomach. Being a smaller than average kid and very awkward athletically, I knew I would be one of the last kids chosen...READ MORE
When we walked in, his office was huge. A mahogany desk at one end, a den like sitting area with 3 full leather couches and a big coffee table where we were sitting and then closer to the door, a ten-foot conference room table with chairs and a white dry eraser board with red trim, just as long long on the wall. “Sit down.” He said as he pointed to the leather couch. As I took my seat in the presence of King’s I still wasn’t breathing normally and there was no way I was going to speak. My biggest fear was saying something stupid.
I had worked really hard all year and was so excited about playing in the the big gymnasium that seated 7,000 and being part of the team. I had been playing as much as possible, even through Christmas break open gyms. One morning Coach Stearmen, while passing right by me said...READ MORE
It’s a hot summer’s Saturday; My M.O. is staying inside bound to my room, listening to my “prize” stereo system. The 1990 school season had just begun and I was not at all excited about returning to middle school for another year. Saturdays were mostly boring for me, as I had no close friends, or places to go. I did have a couple “friendly” kids in my neighborhood who would talk to me outside of school, but at school treated me like a stranger. I wanted to go for a ride on my bike, but needed a destination, otherwise, what would be the point. I knew of a boy near by, TJ Greene, who was harassed, and neglected at school. One of the lowly types, an easy target you might say....READ MORE
I loved playing basketball. I enjoyed being part of a team and exercising for a purpose. Since I was changing schools at the end of my ninth grade year I was not sure that I would be able to play in 10th grade. I had moved from a small town middle school to a big city school. I went from being one of 300 to one of 1,000 students in my class. I was not so confident that I was actually quite surprised to make the team....READ MORE