Sunday, October 29, 2017

JOIN: Celebrating Truth In Writing


Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


Somehow in the last week or two, I discovered the Chicago Humanities Festival and that two authors I admire, Erika Sánchez and Jason Reynolds, would be speaking on the same day. I convinced a teacher friend to go with me and we had an amazing time. Both of these writers are remarkable and it was an honor to hear from them.

They are more than writers, they are activists. Their words make a difference. 

I took lots of notes but a few stand out to me. Erika said, "You have permission to write what you want to write." I love that! Sometimes I need permission to write my stories. Even when I know I have to write my truth...it's still important to know that it's not just okay, it's important. She also talked about stories people think or believe about other people and how we can prove the narrative wrong. 

Jason Reynolds brought me to tears. I heard him speak on a panel at NCTE last year in Atlanta. His words resonated with me and were just as impactful this afternoon. He commented that, "Real recognizes real." And he explained that he rights reality for young adults because they need it. Too many young people don't see themselves in books and stories or have adults who care and see them. He said, "We don't talk about anger in a real way in this country." How right is that? Too many people would rather pretend anger - or any other emotion - doesn't exist. They'd rather sweep it under the rug or pretend it's not happening instead of just talking about it. But kids need people who will be real with them and talk about the good and the bad of life. I'm so glad we have his books and that they can help adults and kids have conversations. 

Finally, Jason talked about writing. He gave some advice to a young woman who stood up and asked about writing. He said, "You know what makes writing special? The difficulty. Easy or hard, all that matters is are you gonna do it or not?" Yes! Writing is hard...but as much as I complain about it, I love it and I'm doing it. 

What are you writing? What are you celebrating? I'd love to hear about it!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

JOIN: Celebrating Our First MDA Walk


Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


This weekend I'm celebrating because we participate in our first Muscular Dystrophy Association event! My husband was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy in 2011 and even though his grandmother also has it, it was a shock to him and to us. 

He thought his life was going to significantly change and he wondered what it meant for him but he's lucky to still have a lot of use of his muscles. A few months ago he announced that he wanted to participate in the MDA race this weekend, he told his story, and he started collecting donations. We are lucky to have an amazing support system and he raised over $2000. Not just that, look at all of our friends and family who came out to support and walk with us today! It felt really great. 
This shows the power of telling a story. For a long time, Chad didn't want to tell his story. He didn't want people to know he was dealing with this disease or to think of him differently because of it. But by telling his story, he felt more empowered, he inspired others, and he raised awareness. And in participating in the event today, he connected with others who have Muscular Dystrophy. I'm so proud of him and happy to be on this journey with him!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

JOIN: Celebrating Family, Friends, and Books


Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


So much to celebrate this weekend but I'm going to focus on three that stand out! 

1. The biggest celebration is that my parents and my aunt are home! They were on a once-in-a-lifetime, month-long trip to Europe. It was fun to follow along on their adventures but we missed them and are so glad to have them home. 

2. My seven-year-old is in a mother-son book club! We had our first meeting this weekend where all the boys talked about Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was so cute and they seemed to love it. One of the discussion questions asked who they would take with them on a trip like Charlie takes Grandpa Joe. He stuck his thumb at me and said, "This one." And then he explained it was because I'm really nice. Aw!

3. On the writing side of things, I pulled the book The Productive Writer off of my shelf and remembered how much I loved it when I read it a few years ago. I definitely need to share it in one of my READ posts so I'll be doing that here soon.