A Leap of Faith

Grade school in retrospect is like looking through a kaleidoscope of tumbling images.  Memories fall chaotically around each other as I turn and turn that little cylinder filled with 24 crayon colors, autumnal fragrances, VCR’s, and Christmas pageants.

I remember standing in the school sanctuary, afternoon light floating in from above, as my first grade class tried to sing on key to the tune of “Lamb of God.”  We were doing our best, although the transition from recess to organized singing significantly slowed down the efforts of our ever patient teacher.

When you are singing in a group, especially a group of 6-year old kids, it can be a real challenge to find your voice.  You may think that you’re hitting those notes but in fact are probably, most certainly not.

Fortunately, I happened to be standing next to one of my friends whose talent for singing was already beginning to show, and I was spared the erroneous pride of success.

This friend of mine would continue to pursue and develop her talent throughout grade school.   We even played in the school talent shows together; me, on my harp, and Ashley with her voice.

I’m slightly giddy to say that Ashley Kisner has continued her singing into high school and now performs and produces her own music.  Is this a shameless plug?  Yes, yes it is.

Sure, her voice may sound like the voice of a very hip and cool angel, but I’d like to focus on her determination.  There are not that many first-graders who know exactly what they want to do with their life — and then stick to it for 13 years.

Sometimes it’s hard to find your own voice when there are so many others searching for their own.  If we go back to the sanctuary that day, all those years ago, when my class was trying to sing the same notes at the same time, little did I know that there was a greater voice inside of all of us.

For some of us finding our voice may not be as straightforward as having an actual (fantastic) singing voice.  My hope is that from Ashley’s story of self-determination, it might inspire some of you to take a leap of faith.

Pursuing your dreams is a terrifying and exciting adventure.  However, with faith, courage, and determination we may all one day overcome the precipice of fear, free falling into the full expression of our own unique voices.

Although we have gone our separate ways some of Ashley’s recent work has caught my attention and I’d like to bring to all of yours today.

Below are two links.  The first is of her official website and the second is a sample of her Christmas EP that is coming out over the holidays.

Check it out! If I didn’t say so already, she’s very talented 😉

http://www.ashleykisner.com/

https://soundcloud.com/ashley-nicole-kisner

Have a great day! 

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi

This Thanksgiving, remember today’s refugees

When the holidays come around it’s often easy to focus on the festivities and the food. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. Not only from the holiday perspective, but also from an international perspective. Interesting article.

Global Public Square

By Alice Farmer, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Alice Farmer is a children’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch who has done extensive research on unaccompanied migrant children around the world. The views expressed are her own.

This week kicks off one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Millions will set out for Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates how refugees from religious persecution found freedom in a new land. I’ll be one of those traveling. And while I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends, I’m not looking forward to the hassle: long flights, cramped seats, and the difficulty of finding a taxi at 3 a.m.

Of course, I’ll be travelling legally, with the right paperwork. Most of us can’t imagine how much harder it is to cross international borders if you can’t get your papers in order. Yet millions of people fleeing war and instability, or fearing…

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1920s Murder Mystery Round 4 of Clues!!!

Round 4 is finally here! John doesn’t have a clue in this round. Sorry :p

I’ll be putting the conclusion up pretty soon! Thanks for your patience!!

Setting and Story
Characters
Round 1 of Clues
Round 2 of Clues
Round 3 of Clues
Conclusion

Round 4

 

Alberto:  “Wait!” cries Al, “there’s something in Robert‘s hand.”  When no one volunteers to touch Robert’s body, Al steps up to pry the piece of paper from Robert’s already stiffening grip.  The note is written in Robert’s handwriting and reads as follows: “Warning: Do not dissolve the brick in a gallon of water.  Do not place the liquid in a jug away in the cupboard for twenty days.  If one does so it will turn into wine.” There is something on the back too, a name?  However, it is smeared and beyond legibility.

Elizabeth: Elizabeth takes a closer look at the note and sees faintly the light resemblance of the letter ‘t’ She looks about the room and wonders who Robert was referring to.

Mendobale: Mrs. Mendobale finally reveals her secret and slowly tells Elizabeth that Robert had taken up gambling.  His finances were in ruin and he had come to her for help and a loan.  When she refused, Robert pleaded with her not to tell his wife.  Naturally, Mrs. Mendobale had to tell Elizabeth and threatened to do so unless he did favors for her such as the grocery shopping, and even a few dollars to gamble and bring back to her.  Ever since his return from the war Robert had been growing steadily more impatient with their arrangement and threatened her with violence.  Mrs. Mendobale then took to carrying a heavy paperweight just in case.

Joe: Al has been looking at John strangely ever since the evening started.  “Hey, don’t I know you?” he says.  John looks about uncomfortably and tries to evade Al’s gaze.  “I’m pretty sure we’ve never met,” he mumbles and adjusts his collar.  While doing so a part of flesh can be seen and Al spots the unmistakable sign of the gangs.  Perhaps he had just gotten out of jail?

Lacy: Lacy breaks down crying into Elizabeth’s shoulder.  She admits to having been the one who was drinking before the party.  She had forgotten to leave the bottle in Al’s Rolls Royce and had stashed it behind the trash bin for later.  When she went to look for it later she had found it missing and suddenly realized that her wine bottle and murder weapon were one in the same.  Crushed and panicked, she engaged Al in her secret and the two worked it out that keeping this a secret would be the best for everyone.  Let’s just say that Al is no longer a part of Elizabeth’s Prohibition Support Group.

1920s Murder Mystery: Round 3 of Clues

Round 3 is finally here! Heads up, Lacy doesn’t have a clue in this round. Sorry :p

Setting and Story
Characters
Round 1 of Clues
Round 2 of Clues

 

Round 3:

 

Elizabeth: While the Kingsley household appeared to be at peace, it was indeed not.  Lurking beneath the thin veneer of civility lay a writhing snake of anger and malcontent.  Elizabeth and Robert were not getting along very well.  Ever since the car accident Robert had been acting flustered about every expense that Elizabeth racked up.  Of course these were necessary expenses.  To show Robert just how necessary they really were, she decided to throw him party.  This put him over the edge and hours before the guests arrived they had been fighting so intensely that Elizabeth almost didn’t hear the phone call from Al.

 

Alberto: It is revealed to the “party” group that Al is in fact a low ranking gangster who owns a speakeasy downtown.  He, like Lacy, doesn’t know who he works for and believes it to be the Chicago Outfit.  This was the largest gang association in the state and had a bad reputation for smuggling in alcohol among other things.

 

Mendobale: Mrs. Mendobale had been taking a precursor nap to the party that evening when she was awakened by Robert and Elizabeth’s fighting.  She poked her head out of her apartment door just in time to see Joe trudging up the stairs trailing dirt with his cardboard box.  He was muttering about the posh lifestyle of Robert.  Mrs. Mendobale thought this rather rude of Joe since Robert had invited him to see his high-end apartment.  It was a privilege no less.

 

John: John signed for the food delivery which had come unexpectedly early.  He remembers seeing Robert watch him as he placed the boxes by the Kingsley’s totaled car.  He had already been invited to dinner by then, so thought nothing of it, and took the elevator upstairs to join the party.  

 

Joe: As a side note, Joe brings up the order in which the guests had arrived with the food.  He can only remember a few people however and offers up this information: Lacy had come up first, and then maybe Al was last or second to last? He can’t quite remember.  Joe came up right after Lacy.

 

Loneliness

Fahad Hossain

“These autumn gardens, russet, gray and brown,
The sward with shrivelled foliage strown,
The shrubs and trees
By weary wings of sunshine overflown
And timid silences,–

Since first you, darling, called my spirit yours,
Seem happy, and the gladness pours
From day to day,
And yester-year across this year endures
Unto next year away.

Now in these places where I used to rove
And give the dropping leaves my love
And weep to them,
They seem to fall divinely from above,
Like to a diadem

Closing in one with the disheartened flowers.
High up the migrant birds in showers
Shine in the sky,
And all the movement of the natural hours
Turns into melody.”

Trumbull Stickney, Loneliness
Here’s another poem by the magnificent Trumbull Stickney.  He always seems to speak in the moment, yet from an observing stance.  It’s as if the past and present, in memory or retrospect, are not subject to the rules of time like the physical body is.  Have a lovely day, or night!!!