Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Wisdom of Our Inner Voice

Although Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston was published in 1937, and largely dismissed for a variety of political reasons, I fell into the story as if it had been written for contemporary times. Janie Crawford, a black woman, “saw her life like a great tree in leaf with the things suffered, things enjoyed, things done and undone. Dawn and doom was in the branches.” (Chapter 2)  She is a woman who listens to her inner voice, struggles to actualize her self through the quagmire of relationships with men, women and society.

Through her sufferings and triumphs, Janie survives and grows into a rich, yet imperfect human being, a woman who begins to understand the world through the poetry and wisdom of her inner voice. Politics may change and influence how a work of rare beauty is critiqued, but like the protagonist Janie, the realization of what lies on the written page is always in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Read the First Book in the Bully Dogs Series for FREE

To celebrate the release of my new middle grade fiction book, A Penny in Time, I am offering the downloadable eBook version of Bully Dogs (1st book in the series) for FREE (save $5.95).

A Penny in Time is the 3rd book in the Bully Dogs series and tells the story of Fran's friend Dusty. Bully Dogs (the 1st book in the series) is all about Fran learning to stand up for herself with the neighborhood dogs who chase her to school everyday and her peers in sixth grade who make life at school difficult.

Choose the format that works on your device (including Kindle, ePub for iPad and Nook, PDF for reading on a computer, and more).

To receive your free eBook discount code, simply join my mailing list* below:

After you confirm your email address, you will receive an email with specific instructions on how to get  your FREE eBook! Happy reading!

*About My Mailing List: Every month or so (sometimes less), I email information about my books, research, inspiration, news and upcoming events. I respect your privacy and never rent or sell the email addresses on my mailing list.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father Time

Sadly, it is an unfortunate fact of life that children are ungrateful. By definition, a mother and father exist solely for the sake of the child, to provide for the child until he is able to care for himself. As former children ourselves, we understand that a child has no real understanding of and no appreciation for the sacrifices a parent makes to benefit, enrich and please her. To a child, a parent is not a person and has no ownership of life outside of the child’s orbit. This makes the parents the focal point of the child and they are the world the child inhabits until the child reaches adulthood.

An awesome responsibility. By the time we are parents, most of us have forgotten what it is like to think and feel as a child. You know that you cannot live on love alone and that there is no money tree, no tooth fairy, no Santa Claus; someone has to provide the means to make expectations come true. In an ideal world, both mother and father can do this for their children and the children would appreciate their efforts; realistically, children take for granted that they are entitled to be taken care of, and the parents go about the business of child rearing without much acknowledgment for their efforts.

In my book A Penny in Time, the main character, Dusty, is dealing with the harsh reality of her parents divorcing. Her world is turned upside down, all expectations a jumbled mess when she can no longer relate to her father, who seems to have found another life that only marginally includes her. He cannot understand her unwillingness to be happy for him in his new relationship. He does not perceive any difference in his love for his daughter, despite the fact that he is not physically present in her daily life.

His daughter lives with her mother in the house that has always been home, and she does not lack for the comforts that she had when her father lived at home. In his eyes, it is reasonable that he should rebuild his life and he is entitled to be happy, too. But that is not how Dusty sees the situation; she is hurt and angry that he has effected such drastic changes in her life, that he is not there for her emotionally, or physically present in her life.  Dusty’s father is not a bad person, nor is he irresponsible; he is simply making choices as a man and not solely as her father. But for Dusty, his decisions and her reaction will impact her life significantly. In her desperate need to be love and loved exclusively, she will make some very unwise choices as a young woman.

No, Dusty does not appreciate all that her father has done for her, and that he loves her for who she is, his daughter. He does everything humanly possible to make things right with her, except acknowledge her insistence that he exist solely as her father. And though he does not see his behavior as rejecting her, Dusty feels he has relegated her to a lesser status, making her a not-very-important person in his life.

I am not saying that Dusty’s father has no right to a life of his own, a relationship and future, but I do want to emphasize that his decisions, because he is a father, will never be just for himself; whatever he does will in some way influence Dusty’s life, for better or worse. I know how true this is, because as a child, I felt the universe rip and the stars fall from the sky into a black hole when my father walked out. I did not care that his life was filled with demons and he could not cope with it; I only knew that he left me. I am an adult now and can appreciate what he endured as a stunted human being, but as a child, I only knew that I was no longer as important to him.

So what would an ideal father be like? A man modeled after the television version of Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver?  No, I do not think so; but the ideal father would be a man who is not afraid of the intense relationship of father and child, a man who does his absolute best to be the best parent he knows how to be and then goes another step to show by example that he cares about his child, his wife, his family. I truly think there are a lot of ideal fathers out there. And you know who you are! Although you may not get a card, or a call or acknowledgment, this is my shout-out to all of you real fathers out there. Happy Father’s Day!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What to Do if Your Kid is Being Harassed by a Peer (by Annie Fox)

I found this helpful article recently on parenting expert Annie Fox's blog with specific information on how to help your kids if they are being bullied.

What to Do if Your Kid is Being Harassed by a Peer
by Annie Fox, author of Teaching Kids to Be Good People

My email from teens lessens on weekends. This may seem counter-intuitive since kids have more time to connect with friends. But school is where most of the social garbage gets dumped and spread around. 

If you read your teen’s texts (I don’t recommend this unless you’ve got real cause for snooping. If not, please respect healthy boundaries.) you’ll mostly find innocuous blips of conversation. But sometimes your child’s circle of friends—and frenemies—can be intentionally cruel and toxic. That’s when parents need to be aware of what’s happening. Our job is to to help kids manage their intense emotions while teaching them appropriate ways to respond to friends who aren’t acting like friends.

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