Just: Five Minute Friday

Dear Daughter,

It feels like just yesterday I was cradling you in my arms for the first time. All those years of waiting were finally over. You were perfect in every way. The moment I heard your voice and saw your wrinkled nose I knew that you had filled a hole that we didn’t know existed. I felt peace and knew that God had just given us the missing piece. Our family was whole.

It’s been a year of being blessed by your presence.

Your smile is contagious. Your words are brilliant. Your personality is the perfect mix of Daddy and I.

It was a year of firsts for you. How exciting it was to watch you knock over those milestones like you owned this world. You’re growing so quickly and while I celebrate every first for you I also remember that this is the last time I will see my own child complete these tasks.

God has been so good to us.

He has faithfully delivered our family from illness and death. This year he has restored and fulfilled promises. And you, my big one-year-old, were our gift. God knew when he made you that we would need that infectious smile to get us through some of the scariest times we faced. He knew that your strong hugs would chase away fears and quiet anxiety.

You are truly a blessing and I can’t imagine our family without you.

Happy First Birthday!

The Ameri Brit Mom

**This post was written in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt of the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other encouraging writers and their posts about the prompt.

FMF-Square-Images-Round-5-1

Humpty Dumpty (Poe Style)

Prompt-9

As a new technique I am going to rewrite a nursery rhyme in the voice of a legendary author. This was way more fun than I thought it could be. I’m still laughing at how easily Poe’s voice seemed to connect to a nursery rhyme.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Humpty Dumpty revised (in the voice/style of Edgar Allan Poe)

On a dark and dreary night upon a high wall of the city sat a man.

His soul still broken from the death of his lover.

Atop the city’s great wall he sat peering into the distance

Hoping one day to glimpse his bride.

She was taken too soon.

As the cloud of night grew thick and gathered about him

The young man wrestled with the notion of sleep.

Could he finally quiet his soul?

Would rest be upon him?

Or would he forever be tortured by visions of Lenore?

With heavy lids he began to sway.

And from the wall with great force he fell.

On horses did men from the kingdom come.

Rushing through the streets with doctors

Clearing the path through bystanders to attend to the man.

No one was able to revive his shattered body.

Not the king. Not his knights.

Because Lenore came down and woke him from his slumber.

And forevermore he danced with his bride.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Valentine Recap

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It was a very festive time in our house. But in the midst of the busy schedule and endless to-do list we made time to appreciate the people in our lives that mean the most to us.

Here’s a look at 3 events that we participated in last week.

IMG_3931

1. Random Acts of Kindness Week Ornament Drop

At the elementary school my daughter attends they focused on doing acts of random kindness. This was promoted with spirit-dress week and the end-of-week project.

For this project the students created an ornament with a positive message to be delivered to someone of their choice. They were to take a picture with their ornament and let their teacher know who they chose and why that person was selected. My daughter’s teacher challenged the kids to choose someone they don’t know very well.

Instantly, our daughter thought of our next door neighbor. She’s a single, middle-aged woman who tends to keep to herself. Whenever we have the rare opportunity to see her we wave and smile. Aside from doing yard work or shoveling snow at the same time we haven’t had many opportunities to interact with her.

Following our daughter’s lead, our whole family went next door and delivered the ornament. The neighbor was so grateful and let our daughter know that it made her lonely Valentine’s Day so much better to receive that gift.

 

2. Classroom Party

Weeks ago my daughter and I scoured Pinterest for the perfect Valentine’s Day box. Then, using my Cricut and a few supplies from Michaels we put together a pretty cute unicorn-themed box. With her craft skills she used blank heart-shaped notecards, stamps, and stickers to create homemade valentines cards for every member of her class.

I had the opportunity to attend her class party on Friday afternoon. My job was to bring healthy snacks for the class. Oh Joy! helped me out with a blog post about a healthy snack craft. My daughter and I used Thursday night to prepare our cupid-stricken oranges. These were a big hit in the classroom.

 

IMG_3921.jpeg

3. Speed Dating in the Library

This last event I can take absolutely no credit for having put together. The librarian at my school put lots of planning and energy into the idea, but I have to share because it was so awesome.

On Valentine’s Day my classes reserved the library to pick out new independent reading books. Instead of turning them loose to select books on their own our librarian organized a speed dating session. Students were exposed to an array of books and got to know the one’s that caught their eye.

After the process was done they were to check out the book that they connected with the most. Many of them also took pictures with their books in a photo-booth themed heart. I snagged some of my teacher friends to jump in with me for my photo.

I’d love to see some of your Valentine’s Day crafts and boxes. Comment a picture or description below.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Favorite Story Types

Prompt-8.png

When it comes to reading and writing my favorite story type is the one in which the protagonist must confront himself. Some sort of inner conflict causes the main character to engage in a battle in these types of stories. These are the ones where a misunderstood character rises to the challenges of his life.

Weaknesses are clear from the beginning and the protagonist must overcome the main obstacles of maturity or self-doubt in order to be the hero of their own story.

I love reading the tales penned by authors like Frederick Backman, Mindy McGinnis, Emery Lord, JD Salinger, Markus Zusak, and Kiera Cass to name a few.

 

We Were the Lucky Ones: A Book Review

Title: We Were the Lucky Ones

Author: Georgia Hunter

Publisher: Penguin Books

Copyright Date: 2017

*Setting for book challenge: Eastern Europe (Poland)

51rfdcdTlPL

World War II begins with the German invasion of Poland.

The Kurcs were a wealthy, Jewish family rooted in Radom, Poland, when the news breaks about the war. One-by-one the war takes members of their family and all the Kurcs can do is hope for the best–that one day the war will end and they will be reunited as a family.

Ganek and his wife end up in Siberia in a concentration camp.

Mila’s husband is taken without a “good-bye” and she is left to raise their baby on her own in the ghetto.

Addy tries to make it home from France, but is prevented from entering his homeland.

Jakob must protect the woman he loves from meeting the same fate as her family.

Halina uses her wit and strong personality to survive under the new regime.

Based on true events in the author’s family history this novel is one of resilience and impossibility. So often, we read stories about the casualties of war, but We Were the Lucky Ones gives away in its title that this family may have been broken for a time, but hope is restored in many ways.

As I read about events that this family endured I was shocked. I am a history teacher and I consider myself fairly educated on the war era, but I really had no idea what it was like to actually be under the persecution of the Nazis. I felt anger as I learned about the way the Kurcs were disregarded and forced in to ghettos. I was anxious as I read about Jews being coerced to dig their own graves knowing that when their shovel emptied the last of the mound their final breath was soon to follow. And don’t even get me started on the cruel acts against children.

But as heartbreaking as these events were I do believe it is necessary to educate ourselves on these things.

Hitler didn’t start with death camps.

It was a long process that began by planting seeds of hate and isolating groups of people.

Thank God that the Kurc family was one of the lucky families. That every member was spared from the fate that over 6 million others endured is a miracle.

I listened to a podcast while reading this book where the author admits that she took some creative license when it came to the thoughts, feelings, and words of her ancestors. But it is evident that an immense amount of research went into this story. It teeters on the verge of non-fiction, but she states in the podcast she didn’t feel comfortable calling it anything other than a novel because of the way she had to fill the gaps with what cannot be found in the act of research.

This was an emotional read, but so worth it. We all need to be reminded of the past and oftentimes that makes us uncomfortable.

Over the course of 2019 my goal is to Read the World. Check it out!

Reading Challenge 2019 (2)

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

Build: Five Minute Friday

FMF-Square-Images-Round-5-3.jpg

I’m getting my butt kicked by my February schedule.

Can you relate?

For some reason I keep double-booking myself even with my efforts to keep a bullet journal. There just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. That’s why it is even more important than ever to build into that schedule some time for me.

A few months ago my husband and I agreed on an arrangement that allowed both of us ample time to focus on our hobbies. On an ideal day, we would each get ONE HOUR to ourselves. For him, it would look like a run to the gym or a drill session with five basketballs. For me, that time would be sitting in front of the computer like I am right now and allowing myself some time to write.

Now, it doesn’t happen this way every day.

There are days when my kiddos interrupt that time and days when my husband never makes it out the door. But, our goal is to make this time a priority every day.

As parents it can be so easy to lose ourselves. I could spend over half a day cleaning messes or changing diapers. But one thing I’ve learned after six years of this gig is that I am a much better mom when I’ve taken some time to focus on  me.

I am thankful for a husband who is supportive and encourages me to take that time.

I am grateful for a daughter that understands when Mom is writing she really needs to be left alone.

This ONE HOUR trade-off with my husband has helped to curb my anxiety and given me a renewed sense of purpose in writing. I’ve taken time to dream again. I’ve taken steps toward reaching that dream. And I’ve begun feeling more accomplished than ever.

How do you build time for yourself during the day?

*This post is part of the Five Minute Friday prompt for the week. Be sure to check out the link in order to see other positive writer’s explore the same word prompt.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Supporting Archetypes

Prompt-7 (1)

Every story has ONE protagonist. Sure, there are stories out there told from the perspective of multiple characters, but every reader connects to a single character more than the others. They root for their success above anyone else’s.

That’s where the idea of a supporting character comes from.

Supporting characters are those that help us to see the protagonist better and function to bring out their qualities.

In her book, DIY MFA, Gabriela Pereiera explains a few archetypes of the supporting character. Those archetypes are the villian, the love interest, the BFF, the sidekick, the mentor, and the fool. It must be noted that not every character fits nicely into those categories, but can be under the umbrella of one.

My favorite supporting character archetype to write is the mentor.

I think the reason I gravitate toward the mentor is because this is a character whose wisdom and experiences help the protagonist to see reason. This character is helpful and is generally the type of person I would like to spend time with in real life. My current Work-in-Progress features a mentor character. He lends support and helps to showcase a softer side of a troubled protagonist.

The only thing I’ve had to be cautious of in the use of mentors is making sure that they don’t solve all the problems for the protagonist. Their purpose is to shed light on solutions, but ultimately the protagonist must learn from their selves how to overcome the conflicts of their tale.

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

We Escaped!


IMG_3891

1 Murder+3 Suspects+6 Friends+2 Strangers+60 minutes= a lot of fun and laughs (and a wrongly convicted murderer)

If you have never gone to an escape room you are missing out. Some of our friends had a Groupon for Lockology Columbus Escape Room and invited us to join them. It was a blast.  Aside from the slight panic I felt as I signed the entry waiver there was nothing scary about the event.

Once our party was gathered the creepy employee tasked with making us all nervous led us into a small office–the location of the murder.

A video explained our mission and the rules. Then, the door was locked and our one hour began. In order to unlock the door we had to name a suspect and find the combination to the door’s lock.

I can’t reveal anything about the actual case and clues, but I can tell you that it was tricky. In the end we guessed the wrong murderer, but did break out with the correct code. So we were 1 for 2.

Now, while I learned that I’m not quite cut out for the life of a CSI agent, I did enjoy the mystery of it all. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts where teachers have used the tactics of the Escape Room in their classrooms. I can see the appeal, and I’d love ideas for making this fit into my high school English or History curriculum.

I am very thankful for my friends and the chance to get away with them and share hours of laughter.

IMG_3892.JPG

The Ameri Brit Mom

 

 

Resistance

Prompt-6

This blog actually started in 2015 in response to resistance. I was going through emotional turmoil. In my trial I found myself filling journal upon journal with my thoughts. Then one day I decided to play around with writing some of these ideas on a blog site. Before I knew it friends and family were commenting with positive feedback. They helped me to feel like my words made a difference.

I had been a closet writer for a long time, but putting my work out there was scary.

Apart from 2017 when I was pregnant, I’ve been consistently posting on this blog ever since.

As a result, I’ve met so many awesome people and been encouraged in my journey to continue to write. My words are being read and do matter to people out there. And it’s for that reason that I’ve continued to come back day-after-day to this place.

The Ameri Brit Mom is a place where I can be real. I can leave the negativity at the door when I enter my writing space. My community is positive and make me a better writer every day.

I am so thankful that I overcame that resistance.

The Ameri Brit Mom

Where: Five Minute Friday

I’m snowed in for another day in Ohio. I would be going stir crazy if it wasn’t for the week I’ve had. Today I am thankful for more time at home.

On Tuesday I awoke to my 11 month old having a seizure.

SCARIEST FIVE MINUTES OF MY LIFE!

The moments that followed her seizure were even scarier than the event itself. She laid unresponsive on the floor and police officers, paramedics, and firemen paraded into my home. Nothing can prepare you for moments like this.

God was with us that day. She spent most of the day resting in the hospital and slowly coming back around. She was diagnosed with febrile seizures which were caused by the onset of a fever. We didn’t even know she was sick! The thing with these seizures is that oftentimes the episode is the first indication that something is wrong.

So, yes, I am counting my blessings on snow day #6. I’m happy to be home with my babies and to have my baby girl back to herself.

For my Five Minute Friday post I am writing a poem of thankfulness for God’s peace through all that I experienced this week. To join the FMF community or to check out their posts be sure to check out the site. This week the prompt is Where.

FMF-Square-Images-Round-5-2

In the middle of the battle you were there

Wrapping me in your arms of care.

Time stood still and I was scared,

But You were everywhere.

You brought peace and healing

In Moments when my heart was reeling.

 Hopelessness was all I was feeling.

Thank you, Lord, for intervening.

sisley family-2018-3389

The Ameri Brit Mom