[Osage, Iowa]

I always liked summer best.

It meant week-long stays at

Grandma’s

with trips to the

old fashioned soda fountain

and never ending

bike rides among

Iowa cornfields

and endless indulgence

in homemade baked goods

and Spring Park

and The Barney Park

and rides in Grandpa’s Plane

__

watching Andy Griffith

and Leave it to Beaver on TV Land

wandering the small town streets

so different from my suburban backyard

feeling so at home in

my childhood home away from home.

Continue reading “[Osage, Iowa]”

To Focus on Focus

The Newbery Award is the highest honor given out for excellence in children’s literature. It is given out annually–The Newbery Medal is given as the highest award and the Newbery Honor is given to a few runner ups.

Newbery_Medal
John Newbery Medal, front and back Source

When I was younger, my dream was to one day become a Newbery Award winner.

As a child, I was a voracious writer. I had this huge ledger book filled with unfinished stories and I was always adding to it, always coming up with new ideas. When I was around seven or eight years old, I wrote a story that was deeply rooted in my love and appreciation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series entitled, “Little House in the Hills” (you can really get a sense of how my creative juices were flowing there). When I was around thirteen and fourteen, I actually had the gumption to send my one completed manuscript to a local publisher in the Minneapolis area. The manuscript was kindly rejected with a note from the publisher stating that, while I had promise as a writer, “it just wasn’t what they were looking for.” It was, quite frankly, all for the best as the story itself was a bit on the shaky side. Well. A lot on the shaky side. Let’s just say that it’s safe to say that I’ve improved quite a lot as a writer since then…still, I can’t help but admire my younger self for her determination and drive.

Come high school, my desire to write quickly died away. I took one creative writing class in my freshman year of high school but after that, my dream to write–to become a Newbery Medalist–faded. I was heavily involved with the band program at my high school and was preoccupied with fitting into my friend group. I didn’t think I had time to write and, although I occasionally got out my journal to write lengthy entries about the goings on in my life, I no longer considered myself to be a writer. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that the writer within me reemerged. After breaking off from a serious and very detrimental long-term relationship, I was searching for a way to reclaim my life for myself. I had become so invested in my ex-boyfriend and the relationship that I had with him that I had really lost all sense of myself. Around the time of our break up, memories of the writer I used to be, the writer I dreamed to become, rekindled. I began to realize that writing was, indeed, a part of my identity–a part that I had the misfortune of rejecting for far too many years. With that in mind, I started to a blog–to force myself into the habit of doing one of the things I loved most again and often.

To write.

Still, though, throughout the rest of my college career and into my time in Thailand, I never once considered writing to be anything more than a hobby. A hobby that I happened to be really good at, but a hobby none-the-less. I strongly Continue reading “To Focus on Focus”

Free Stylin

I was nominated by Akanksha for the Free Style Writing Challenge. Here’s her post regarding the challenge.

This is an exciting challenge where you are given a topic to free write about…it is strictly free writing! NO EDITING ALLOWED! I’m always on the fence about accepting nominations of any sort (I have at least two posts that have been sitting in my draft folder for ages regarding awards), but this seemed really cool. Free writing is such a release and I think it’s a great exercise to share on the blog. Honestly, it makes me feel a bit vulnerable posting something that hasn’t been edited at all (oh my god, that sounds terrible; oh my god, their going to think I’m an idiot for writing that). But hey, we spend so much time trying to keep our guard up in this world that we forget vulnerability is a good thing sometimes. It is through vulnerability that we can allow ourselves space to grow.

Anywho, I was hesitant to nominate anyone for this…I didn’t for the last challenge I participated in.

However, I think I will this time. I’m curious to see what other people will do with Continue reading “Free Stylin”

Growing Up With a Pioneer Girl

About a month ago, my grandma called me up and said, “So, I saw on Facebook that you liked something about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography coming  (Yes, yes, I totally did) and was wondering if you wanted it for Christmas?”

Before she could even finish the sentence, I was furiously shaking my head, even though I knew she couldn’t see it over the phone.

“Um, yes! That would be a dream come true!” I answered excitedly.

“Alright, that’s what you’re getting,” she replied.

So, a month and a half before Christmas, I knew what I was getting from Continue reading “Growing Up With a Pioneer Girl”

A Tomato Tale

Growing up, I wasn’t much of a picky eater. I was fortunate enough to live in a household where family dinners were a common thing. Both of my parents enjoy cooking and are good at it (which led me to be incredibly spoiled when it came to food, so cooking isn’t exactly something that I thrive at…I’m trying to learn though!). As a result of my parents love of food and cooking, I was exposed early on to a wide variety of foods and liked most of them.

That being said, like every child, I had those certain foods that I absolutely abhorred. The worst of those foods was the tomato. The tomato, which has suffered throughout the ages from an identity crisis of the highest degree (the poor fruit that is constantly mistaken as a vegetable) was getting absolutely no love from me. I absolutely hated tomatoes and, as far as I was concerned, tomatoes hated me.

movie pic- britta
a much younger, tomato hating Britta

I liked ketchup and salsa and tomato sauce and tomato soup. I remember people asking me how I could like these foods that very clearly had tomatoes in
them, but refused to eat the fruit by itself. I guess there was something different about the tomato when it was mixed with copious amounts of sodium, high fructose corn syrup, and other goodies. Plain old tomatoes, though, were absolutely disgusting. The thought of eating them on their own made me cringe.

Tomatos were, simply put, to be avoided at all costs.

Until about three months ago. I don’t remember why I was eating a tomato in the first place, given my known aversion to them. Perhaps I decided to try one just for kicks. Tastes can change, after all. Regardless, I ate at tomato willingly for the first time in forever. Yes, I ate a tomato willingly. And I loved it. If my parents end up Continue reading “A Tomato Tale”