Recently, I had the pleasure of taking a master writing class taught by Rick Bragg. I learned so much and afterwards, I asked the Pulitzer Prize winning author to sign my copy of one of his many books. He winked at me and asked where I am from. I said, “I’m from right here.” He signed my book, “Tonya, from right here.” Mr. Bragg has a wonderful sense of humor, but those words got me thinking about where “right here” really is…
“Right here” is so much more than a hometown. It’s a corner of time and space that belongs to a person. Today my “right here” is a very old house filled with dirty dishes and piles of laundry. It is a life full of unfinished projects, aging parents, and growing kids. It is a kitchen table full of bills to be paid and lists to be shopped.
I am learning to embrace the mess, even the laundry that seems to self regenerate minus a few socks every week, because it’s my mess. It’s my circus and my monkeys and my bills — everything in my “right here” is about someone I love. Most importantly, my “right here” is a life full of the love and laughter of my high school sweetheart and our three boys. It is a life unfinished with so much fun, so much promise and I thank the Lord for all of it, every day.
So, the next time I wish I was somewhere else; I am going to remind myself to be thankful for my “right here” because “right here” is where I belong.
Happy Halloween! Here is my entry to the Halloweensie writing contest- 100 word story for kids and here is the link to the contest:
Hot Dog! It’s Halloween
By Tonya Calvert
It’s dark under here
The family dressed me
What could I do?
I tried to run
They said, “Come Duke, it’s fun!”
So now I'm out here
Trick or treat?
All I see is feet!
This is wild
I’m a dachshund!
Not a child!
So here I am
Parading at night
Shadows and monsters
What a fright!
This is no fun!
They dressed me
As a hot dog ...
In a bun!
I want to bite an ankle
Maybe a knee
But candy corn just fell
And no one saw
Some days, I just need a little reminder that life is about the here and now. Some days, it’s ok to just be. Remember what matters. Be simple. Be honest. Be kind. Be present in your life.
Things I Did Not Do Today
Things were quiet today,
I don’t have a lot to say
I didn’t get married,
Thankfully, I didn’t get buried
I didn’t go far away in a plane,
Or across the country on a train
I didn’t even go across town in the car --
Sometimes, you just stay where you are
I didn’t see wondrous sights unseen,
I didn’t have tea with the queen
I didn’t appear on TV,
That really would not be me
But a little boy thinks I am the bomb,
Sometimes it’s enough just to be Mom
Welcome, Victoria Simcox. I have been very inspired by how this author relies on her faith in her writing.
Check out her series here:
~The Warble~The Bernovem Chronicles~ Book 1~
Find throughout these pages a message of friendship, hope, perseverance and faith.
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Twelve-year-old Kristina Kingsly feels unpopular in school. The other kids taunt and tease her. When she receives an unusual Christmas gift, she suddenly finds herself transported to the land of Bernovem, home of dwarfs, gnomes, fairies, talking animals, and the evil Queen Sentiz.
In Bernovem, Kristina not only fits in, she’s honored as “the chosen one” the only one who can release the land from Queen Sentiz’s control. But it’s not as simple as it seems. To save Bernovem, she must place the gift she was given, the famous “Warble” in its resting place. And she must travel through the deep forest, climb a treacherous mountain, and risk capture by the queen’s “zelbocks” before she reaches her destination.
Guided by her new fairy friends, Clover and Looper and by Prince Werrien, a teenage boy, as well as an assortment of other characters, Kristina sets off on a perilous journey that not only tests her strength but her heart.
Victoria's inspiration to write this story is her daughter, Kristina.
~Over 160 Reviews~
Although this is not typically my kind of genre, I stepped outside my box to experience something new. And, am I glad I did. The Warble is a pleasant surprise in that it's not just a tale of fantasy. It holds truth and real life principles that are steadfast in our real lives. The main character, Kristina, holds the pain of rejection from society or her peers. Through her suffering, one person sees her potential and offers her a gift in the Warble - an unsuspecting metal ball that is the key to her destiny through another world - one where Kristina is labeled 'The Chosen One'.
There are threads that point to God and his everlasting love in this book. The story parallels Jesus' return and his victory over a fallen world. Those that have the faith - will see it. Those that don't want religion thrown in their face don't have to worry because it's so slight all you'll uncover is a really good book that offers a story of good triumphing over evil.
Great job Ms. Simcox! I enjoyed this book and how it spoke to me on many different levels.
Victoria was born in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, to an Austrian immigrant mother and a Dutch immigrant father. She now resides in Western Washington with her husband and 3 children. Her other family members are, 2 Chihuahuas, named Pip and Win and 2 cats named Fritz and Hans. For 12 years, she home-schooled her children. Besides being an author, she is an elementary school art teacher. Victoria enjoys writing, reading and painting watercolors. Two of her favorite authors are C.S. Lewis and R.C. Sproul.
Face Book: http://tinyurl.com/h2qbsbc
Twitter:Twitter. It's what's happening.
Meet the real characters from Saylor on the Seashore.
Saylor the Seagull
The idea for Saylor came from a scene I watched unfold at Carillon Beach. As I was walking with my family, we saw a small seagull get caught by a fisherman's line. The line was tangled around his foot. A crowd of beachgoers gathered to watch on the shore and a crowd of seagulls gathered in the sky above us. As the drama unfolded before my eyes, the story unfolded in my mind. Thankfully, the fisherman was able to free the little bird and both stories have a happy ending.
Piper the Sandpiper
The character Piper came from my many years of watching sandpipers on the beach. They're my favorite!
Big Blue Heron
In the story, Big Blue wears a fishing hook in his beak. The real Blue Heron that inspired the character was quite a "character" himself. He was stealing bait right out of the fishermen's buckets on the beach. All the while, the wildlife workers were trailing him, hoping to remove the hook from his beak.
Old Gray Pelican
There always seems to be a Pelican sitting on the post by the pier. I always imagine the Pelican is there to give advice to the other birds because he looks so old and wise.
[Based on a story told to my children by their Mee Maw. She insists that she was once frightened by a runaway lobster on the checkout counter at Publix. I always shake my head at her story because it just cannot possibly be true, can it...?]
At the grocery store, I sood in line.
I watched the lady in front of me, from behind.
She had a lobster in a sack.
I thought, eeeww...put him back!
She stood there tall and thin,
And smiled and said, “got a big pot to put ‘em in."
Oh! How his eyes opened wide!
He jumped and hopped all over the place.
The check out lady? You should have seen her face!
Me? I jumped back.
He was wild!
He might attack!
He climbed and ran and scurried.
Oh my! How he hurried!
He hopped onto the floor.
And scurried right out the door.
He ran and ran with all his might.
I watched him till he was outta site.
That lady in front of me; she was sad.
But me? Boy was I glad!
Almost the end of January seems like a strange time to be celebrating the New Year, but I confess I don't always feel excited about the New Year.
As the New Year approaches, I always feel like Charlie Brown as he was talking to Linus about preparing for Christmas, “I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I am supposed to feel.” That is how I feel about facing a new year.
As I packed up the Christmas ornaments this year, I finally realized why I feel this way. One thing I always hate to put away is the little plastic nativity my great grandmother, Momma Ruth, gave me when I was a little girl. It's a tiny thing I can hold in my hand, but that little plastic scene with the little plastic Jesus makes me smile. After all, the nativity, and the entire Christmas season is all about waiting, waiting for the birthday of Christ, waiting for Santa, waiting for guests.... it's all excitement and anticipation. I guess that explains the let down feeling when it’s time to put it all away.
I wanted to hold onto that feeling, hold onto the anticipation and wonder at what is to come. Now it is all over, all put away. Christmas is over and now the New Year looms ahead, full of uncertainty: my parents' declining health, my kids growing up, the world itself changing too fast. As I looked at my photo of that little plastic nativity, I realized I've been looking at it all wrong.
That little plastic Jesus was not made to leave the manger. That little scene isn’t made to change. Thankfully, the real Jesus grew up and saved the world. Thankfully, time didn’t stand still then and it doesn't stand still now.
As time moves on, there is nothing I can do to stop it. I can; however, hold onto that feeling of anticipation every day and see the New Year as a beginning rather than an end. I have faith in that grown up Jesus I believe in, and faith in the world that everything will work out right. I have much to be thankful for and excited about this year, so welcome 2017!
Growing up in my Strawberry Shortcake, Smurf-laced childhood, I never knew I was deprived of heroes. Princess-filled fairy tales ruled my imagination and made my little-girl heart swoon. They were mostly romantic stories of distressed damsels waiting to be rescued, but they didn't inspire me to do big things, to be brave. Then I grew up and had 3 boys and fell in love with superheroes.
Recently, as I sat between my boys watching Dr Strange (in 3D), it hit me: superheroes are cooler than princesses, way cooler. Many of them have overcome great odds, insurmountable disabilities, to exemplify courage and bravery. Dr strange is a brilliant doctor who suffers severe nerve damage in a car accident and learns to reclaim his life and purpose by controlling magic to defeat evil, becoming the Sorcerer Supreme.
Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider and then uses his newfound powers to fight crime in New York. He didn't sit around waiting to be rescued; he knew that "with great power there must also come great responsibility."
The leader of the X-Men and founder of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Charles Xavier, was accidentally paralyzed by his friend Erik (better known as Magneto). He does not let his disability hold him back. Professor X dedicated his life to helping others.
The Fantastic Four is a story about 4 young outsiders who are transported to an alternate universe where their bodies are changed, giving them super powers. Johnny Storm becomes the Human Torch, able to control fire. His sister Sue becomes the Invisible Woman. Reed Richards becomes Mr. Fantastic, able to stretch and twist his body. Ben Grimm gains super human strength as the Thing. The 4 team up to prevent Doctor Doom from destroying the Earth.
As a child, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), was blinded by chemicals. His disability led him to become a superhero. He uses echolocation to fight crime.
The princesses I loved growing up were sweet, pretty, helpless and naive. I was entertained, yet not inspired. These days, I still love a good fairy tale, although I prefer a stronger princess. In the end, I must admit I'd rather have a superhero.