Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2018


When I was in Catholic elementary school, the nuns gave us holy cards as presents or rewards.   A holy card is smaller than a playing card.   It usually has a picture on one side of the Holy Family, a saint, or an angel; and is either blank or has a verse or prayer on the other side.   One is supposed to keep it near to remind the believer to pray or trust in the faith. By the time I finished the 8 th grade, I had acquired a stack of these. I still own some from those days, and I use them as bookmarks in my Bible and my books of devotions. In high school and college, I used a holy card as a bookmark in the textbooks of my most difficult classes. When I taught school, my specialty was Remedial Reading, English, and ESL, all subjects that required the students to read on a daily basis in my classroom.   Since I could not hand out holy cards in a public school, I gave the students bookmarks I bought at school supply stores.   If money was tight, I assigned a classroom contest where

Note to Self: How to Write Gooder

I belong to a writers’ critique group that meets once a week. I’ve been at it now for seven years, but the group has been around for twenty. Amazing, isn’t it? We swap pages and give each other feedback on our writing.   Some of us are published, but all of us are writers. I have learned more from being a member of this group than from any class I have ever taken on the subject of being a published writer. Here is what I have learned (the hard way) that might help other aspiring writers. 1.     Get into the practice of formatting your manuscript pages in a professional manner. Type it in Times New Roman, 12-point font, and double space it with a one-inch margin all around. Indent your paragraphs. Learn to type in a header with your name and the title of the manuscript, and number your pages. 2.       Study how to use all punctuation correctly, especially the use of the semicolon and the quotation marks. Become an expert at it (or as near an expert as you can be.) 3.  

Big Daddy Dreams

          While driving my grandson home from kindergarten the other day, he announced he will one day be a daddy.           Snarky is a proud genetic trait in my family, so I didn’t rein it back. “Shouldn’t you learn how to do addition, make your bed, and finish high school first?’           “Don’t you want me to be happy?”   He snapped.             (Obviously the snarky gene has not skipped a generation.)           He was buckled into his car seat in the back so we had to look at each other through the rear-view mirror.   “Well, of course, I do. I’m just saying you’re very, very young to be thinking of marriage.”           “I want to get married to a woman one day and have lots and lots of kids.”           I suppressed the need to tell him that “lots and lots” might not be something to mention to “a woman” on their first date. Instead I said, “Well, I am very happy for you, but what brought this on?”           “I want to grow up and be the best daddy in the whole wi

Leaving the Nest: Life After the High School Graduation Announcement

          It’s that time of year when my mailbox is full of graduation announcements.   All those grads have plans: off to college, the military service, or the workforce.           Even those who aren’t doing any of those things, have plans of their own. They plan on living rent-free off Mom and Dad while they take a year off to “breathe” and explore their options.   They have “creative talent” and need room to develop it further.   They were “flooded” with options but felt rushed and needed time to choose from among the multitude.           I understand.           Not everyone has a clear view of what comes next after high school, not even those packing for college, the military, or the new apartment.   They too have their share of doubts.           I’ve seen some college students speed through their classes, anxious to get the degree and start their careers.   I have also seen some meander their way, semester after semester, including summers, taking courses with dubious