September 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

September has been a better month for me. It’s not been so tumultuous, and I am enjoying the peace I am experiencing. I know though that I have several important decisions to make, but in the meantime, I am going to savour the peace.

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

“The Giblin Guide to Writing Children’s Books” by James Cross Giblin

Though the latest reprint of this book is 2005, I was using it in a course as recently as 2017. I only skimmed it back then, but took the plunge this month to read it as a book study. Read more about it on my Mount TBR 2021 post.

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Read more about this book below.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“Escape to Reality” by Mark Cullen with Ben Cullen

You may have seen him on TV or heard him on the radio, but have you read any of Canada’s most famous and loved horticultural expert’s books? In this collection of short essays, Cullen (with the occasional piping in of his son) writes about everything from the value of a gardener’s work to how to think like a plant.

Consider this:

“Experience tells us, according to <Peter> Ladner, that local food reduces our dependency on oil. A Canadian study on ‘food miles’ estimated that sourcing fifty-eight food items locally or regionally rather than globally could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about fifty thousand tonnes annually. That is the equivalent of removing almost seventeen thousand vehicles from the road.”

“Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer

This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read in my life! My book club partner and I took our time over it, savouring it over several weeks. 

There are just too many fantastic learnings to mention here, so I will leave you with this video about “the honourable harvest”.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

None

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

I haven’t been writing every day.

Read related literature to my writing.

Not done.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month. These are the two that I analyzed:

“Why I resigned from my tenured position teaching climate science in college” by Heather Short

Why I like this:

-it’s a timely piece, and it mentions several things I have been thinking about lately

-it’s an expert’s point of view

-it’s a mixture of facts and opinion

Favourite quote:

‘Teaching this to an 18 year old is like telling them that they have cancer, then ushering them out the door, saying “sorry, good luck with that.”’

“On Sept. 30, I hope people will do more than just take the day off” by Andrea Johns

Why I like this:

-it’s written from the perspective of a Mohawk woman

-it’s another timely piece, written as a reflection on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

-it offers solutions

Favourite quotes:

“It’s great to, again, have a holiday that recognizes the legacy of the residential school system. But there’s a lot of things that are tied to the residential school system: socio-economic issues and missing and murdered Indigenous women and land and economic inequalities.”

and

“I hope that people won’t just take the day off, like they would treat it like any other holiday, going to your cottage on potentially unceded Indigenous territories or spending the time not engaging with … the history of residential schools.”

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

“Woodland Dreams” by Karen Jameson; illustrated by Marc Boutavant

What I like about this book:

-every creature gets a unique, descriptive name: Big Paws, Velvet Nose

-repetition: every refrain starts with “Come Home…”

-sparse and poetic text is a delight on the tongue

-unique rhymes, e.g., schemer/dreamer

“Butterflies are Pretty Gross” by Rosemary Mosco; illustrated by Jacob Souva

-breaks the fourth wall

-very humorous (I’ll never think of breakfast in the same way)

-plenty of tongue pleasing alliteration (deliciously disgusting, pretty peculiar)

-fascinating facts presented in an interesting way, e.g. read about the sneaky Alcon Blue caterpillar

Special shoutout about the “little senses” series, written for those who are very sensitive, e.g., those on the autism spectrum. I read “It Was Supposed to Be Sunny” by Samantha Cotterhill. A girl adapts to not having her birthday party work out exactly as she wants to with the gentle help of her mother.

Submit one story to a contest per season.

I placed eighth in the first round of the latest NYC Midnight contest, which gives me 8 points. Yay! I submitted my second story. This time I got mystery, which I have never written before, but it was fun writing outside of my comfort zone.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

Suzanne Simard on her book “Finding the Mother Tree”. (Guelph Arboretum)

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

Not done

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I did this.

Blog at least twice a month.

Not done

Weekly treasure:

One of my local blue jays

Challenges:

HaikuforTwo:

I wrote three.

100 day challenge:

Read two chapters of a book a day. 

I didn’t do this, but I intend to get back to it, as there are two library books I wish to complete.

How was your month?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

August 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

This was another challenging month for me with a lot of soul searching, but I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Here are my results:

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

“The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

In my third attempt to read this book, I finally succeeded! I don’t know why I didn’t finish the first two times, because it really is a wonderful book. Perhaps I just got distracted? Anyway, to read more about my impressions of the book, see the entry below.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben 

This quote sums up the book and the feeling that you will leave with after reading it:

“When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you no longer can just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.”

I believe the book should be required reading material in school.

Apparently also there is a related movie.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Written by a poet, Nezhukumatathil weaves her story into observations of nature. A delightful read!

Favourite quotes:

“And so, I ask: When is the last time you danced like a superb bird of paradise? I mean, when was the last time you really cut a rug, and did you mosh, bust a move, cavort, frisk, frolic, skip, prance, romp, gambol, jig, bound, leap, jump, spring, bob, hop, trip, or bounce?”

and

“It is this way with wonder: it takes a bit of patience, and it takes putting yourself in the right place at the right time. It requires that we be curious enough to forgo our small distractions in order to find the world.”

“Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku” by Natalie Goldberg

I started this when I was on vacation in July and finished it upon returning home. Part history, part travelogue, I really enjoyed journeying along with Goldberg. The book motivated me to write several haikus about what happened on my vacation, and I wrote them in the book, so the book has become a keepsake.

“The Comfort Book” by Matt Haig

I loved this book so much that I bought it after I read my library copy. So much deliciousness here!

Example:

“…one of the most common feelings among people was the feeling of not fitting in among people. The comfort, then, is the weird truth that in one sense we have most in common with others when we feel awkward and alone. Isolation is as universal as it gets.”

and

“I used to worry about fitting in until I realized the reason I didn’t fit in was because I didn’t want to.”

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Very sporadic.

Read related literature to my novel writing.

No, I didn’t do this.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month. These are the two that I analyzed:

“My greatest pandemic discovery has been finding the wild in the city” by Andrea Curtis

What I like about this essay:

-Evocative language:

“We’ve also slipped down the side of steep embankments, threaded our way over boulders, passed ancient washed-out bridges, dodged storm water outtake pipes, graffitied underpasses and fjorded frozen streams.”

-Unexpected discoveries:

‘In his beautiful book about walking called The Old Ways, the British naturalist Robert Macfarlane calls unofficial urban paths, the ones trodden but not formally marked “desire lines.”’

-A thoughtful takeaway

“Hearing the voices from my family’s past 50 years later felt like coming home again” by Gayle Belsher

A couple of discoveries:

-The essay starts with a few facts.

-The essay mentions how the author’s journey links to the pandemic, which I am seeing is a common topic now in creative nonfiction essays.

Overall I am starting to see patterns, and I am going to try such techniques as peppering facts in my creative nonfiction essays.

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

These are the two that I analyzed:

“This Pretty Planet” by Tom Chapin and John Forster; illustrated by Lee White

The book is based on a song, so it’s not a surprise that the text is musical. Short and sometimes rhyming text make it easy on the ear; the illustrations also make it easy on the eye.

Favourite part:

“You’re a garden

You’re a harbour

You’re a holy place.”

“Peace” by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul; illustrated by Esteli Meza

What I liked:

-beautiful and creative rhyming pairs, such as correctly/directly

-peace explained in a child friendly way: “Peace is pronouncing your friend’s name correctly

-animals are featured in the pictures, and the author’s note explains how peace also affects animals

Submit one story to a contest per season.

Not a good month: I got five rejections. However, I am planning on repurposing two of those stories.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

I didn’t do this.

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

I’ve been working my way through a course about marketing writing.

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I have dropped out of one of my critique groups due to scheduling conflicts. However, I still continue meeting with my first critique partner weekly.

Blog at least twice a month.

I’ve completed this task.

Weekly treasure:

The birds that have been coming to my bird feeder have provided a lot of comfort. How many sparrows can you see?

Challenges:

HaikuForTwo

I wrote four!

100 day challenge

Read two chapters of a book a day. This works well for me, and I will continue it.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

July 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

Admittedly summer always throws me off schedule. I forgot that last year in the midst of the “summer that wasn’t” due to the restrictions of Covid-19, our planned trip to Germany had to be cancelled and there was little to do until we discovered the beach in August, where we went once a week, which at least provided a mini respite from the sameness of it all.

The upside of that summer was that I was much more productive, or at least that’s how I remember it. This summer though, I seem to have fallen into the natural summer rhythm of spontaneity verging on chaos. 

We managed to have a one week socially distanced family cabin vacation up in the Muskokas. Bliss: swimming, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, even one session of archery. Not only that, but I was able to read like I haven’t read in a long time on rainy days. Alas, I lost that momentum when I returned home, due to a series of unexpected visits. Not that I am complaining, but the dizzying speed of reentry change sometimes has my head spinning.

Now on to how I did with my revamped resolutions. 

Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

I read “The Global Forest: 40 Ways Trees Can Save Us” by Diana Beresford-Kroeger. See the next category for a description.

Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“The Global Forest: 40 Ways Trees Can Save Us” by Diana Beresford-Kroeger.

I don’t think that the title is accurate—more like “40 Ways Trees Play a Part in Our Lives” or something similar—but certainly the book is bursting with fascinating tree facts and stories. I read the book in short bursts, two chapters a day, following the pattern I used in the 100 day challenge. It works!

Quote:

“…most trees are not naturally solitary. They are community dwellers. The community for the tree is the forest. Inside the forest all mother trees get the greatest protection possible.”

“The Well-Gardened Mind: The Restorative Power of Nature” by Sue Stuart-Smith

I read this as part of a book study with one of my critique partners. Well researched and well written, the book is a delight to read. So many benefits of gardening and nature including even the use of them in trenches during WWI. Who knew? 

Quote:

“It is one thing for gardens to provide respite from war but quite another to create them in the very midst of it. Yet this is what happened during the long, drawn-out fighting on the Western Front. Pretty flowers may seem trivial when shells are dropping all around, but in that landscape of utmost devastation, the beauty of nature especially of flowers, provided a psychological lifeline in a way that nothing else could.”

I see parallels to this in these Covid-19 times, with there being an uptick in interest in gardening.

Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“H is for Hawk” by Helen Macdonald

I tried to read this before, but I never did finish it despite its luscious language. This time I took it slowly, reading about 5 chapters per week and then discussing them with my book club partner, and I am really glad that I did it that way. I think the book is meant to be savoured, lingering over the descriptions.

After her father passes away, Macdonald trains a goshawk. She intersperses her experiences with that of T.H. White, who also wrote a book about training a goshawk.

So much to love in this book, but I’ll leave you with this quote:

“Of all the lessons I’ve learned in my months with Mabel this is the greatest of all: that there is a world of things out there—rocks and trees and stones and grass and all the things that crawl and run and fly. They are all things in themselves, but we make them sensible to us by giving them meanings that shore up our own views of the world. In my time with Mabel I’ve learned how you feel more human once you have known, even in your own imagination, what it is like to be not.”

Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

I didn’t do it every day, but I did work on my writing here and there. I did a lot of planning for my novel I am working on too.

Read related literature to my writing. (I need to figure out an actual number.)

No, I didn’t do this.

Analyze two creative nonfiction essays per month.

These are the two that I analyzed:

“The fashion industry’s ‘plus size’ label shames women to fit an unhealthy standard” by Laura Sang

What I liked:

-a doctor who treats eating disorders uses her own experience in having to wear plus sized clothes due to Covid weight gain to talk about the damage the fashion industry is doing

-a call to action, eye opening

“How does a book addict part with his collection?” by Arthur Chapman

-totally relatable

-intersperses personal experience with general experience

Overall, I enjoyed both, but nothing stood out for me.

Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

These are the two that I analyzed:

“Wanted! Criminals of the Animal Kingdom” by Heather Tekavec; illustrated by Susan Batori

-I love the structure of this very humorous picture book; it makes it memorable. (Wanted for; criminal activity; rap sheet; FYI)

-Good beginning: “Creatures all over the world are turning to a life of crime, chaos and corruption.” 

-Everybody gets a cool, catchy name: Ms. Jagged Jaws, Copy Cat, Big Bad Mama

“Ocean Speaks” by Jess Keating; illustrated by Katie Hickey

What I like about it:

-First page grabs you right away: “The beach was a blanket of squishy, soft sand, and Marie wanted to feel it under her feet.” 

-Length of sentences: 

“Shoes off.

Socks off.”

-Great comparisons:

“The ocean stretched out before her, like a big blue mystery.”

“The waves were talking to her, whooshing up to her toes and sighing away again.”

-The power of threes: “forests and farmhouses, boulders and bird calls, wheat fields and waterfalls” 

-Plenty of alliteration: “plotting every point on paper”

Submit one story to a contest per season.

I have already done this.

Attend one writing webinar per month. (flexible)

Not done

Work on one lesson of a writing course per month. (flexible)

As a challenge from the library, I signed up for a course at LinkedIn Learning. It turned out to be facilitated by the writer of one of my favourite craft books, which is “Wired for Story”. Sweet!

Attend a writing group session per week. (flexible)

I met most weeks, but not every week.

Blog at least twice a month.

Not done.

Weekly treasure:

Doesn’t our campfire look like a starry sky?

Challenges:

HaikuForTwo

I wrote two.

100 day challenge:

Read two chapters of a book a day.

Done

How’s your summer been going? Do you feel like it’s been more like a “normal” summer? I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a comment.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

June 2021 Bookish Resolutions

It’s hard to believe it’s July already.

June was a tough month for me. I’ve always felt that I’ve been operating in life with a smudged map, but this month I’ve felt like my map has completely blown away. So I’m trying to embrace a sit spot for a little bit of a think instead of rushing off on my next adventure. This is particularly challenging for impatient me.

When one of my critique partners sent me this blog post about goal setting, one particular line stood out to me: “Goals are amazing but unless our goals map to growth, we’re simply writing a to-do list.” Yes, that’s definitely what I feel like. I am checking off my to do list instead of growing, so I decided that I am going to revise my bookish resolutions to reflect growth.

That’s why this month’s blog post will contain not only my goals from June but also new goals.

Old goal: Read 24 books this year for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

I’m certainly failing this challenge. None read this month.

New goal : I’m still going to pursue this challenge. At the end of the year, I may simply need to cull some of the books that I had hoped to read.

Old goal: Read 12 nature related books this year to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

I could put “the river” by Helen Humphreys in either this category or the next. Whichever one, I love this book! 

Humphreys writes about a small part of the Napanee River where she has a waterside property. She writes about its history, what she has found there, the animals and plants there.

I do disagree with Humphreys’ belief that the river is indifferent to her despite her love for it. I believe if you love nature, it will love you back, just maybe not in a “human” way.

So many things to ponder, but I’ll leave you with a couple: 

“The British naturalist and writer Roger Deakin once said that watching a river is the same as watching a fire in the hearth. Both are moving and alive, and the feeling from watching both them is a similar one.”

and

“The river has pushed its banks many times. Does it have memory of this, or a reach beyond itself that it can feel, that it remembers? What does it feel its true size is? Does the river have a kind of consciousness?”

New goal: I’m still going to pursue this challenge.

Old goal: Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

“Bluets” by Maggie Nelson

I listened to this book in audio form, because that was the only way I could without buying it. I’ve never taken to audiobooks, and I still don’t appreciate them, despite the fact that one of my primary modes of learning is auditory. Perhaps I miss the tactile sensation of turning pages. Also, I don’t know how people can multitask when they are listening to an audiobook. If I do this then I am constantly stopping and rewinding, because I have missed something. Finally, I love to write down quotes of my favourite parts, and this is hard to do when you are listening to something.

Well anyway, I love the book. There are 240 prose poems all related to the colour blue. Apparently half of westerners’ favourite colour is blue, and that includes me, so I enjoyed all the snippets of blue information—such as learning about the “blue” people (Tuareg), and that indigo blue was originally the “devil’s dye” until it was made holy, and that the colour of the universe was accidentally declared as turquoise—interspersed with philosophy and poetry.

You can read more about it in this article:

New goal: I will continue with this goal.

Old goal: Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

My summer writing challenge, as set by my daughter, is to write a novel, but I confess we have slacked off lately. I need more motivation to do this.

New goal: Continue with this goal, but find a way to actually do this. Ideas?

Added goal: Read related literature. I need to figure out an actual number.

Old goal: Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week.

Favourites:

“Collectively Speaking” by Chelsey Clammer

So much to love in this essay, especially the term “a resilience of women”

One of my favourite quotes:

“As an editor, I hold people’s stories. As a trauma survivor, I help those stories find their voices. Because it’s the experiences I’ve had that guide me in encouraging other survivors to find a voice. It’s the editor in me that helps to shape that story into something tangible—something we can see. Read. I give feedback about specifics. The mechanics. But as a female trauma survivor, I hold. Help. It might look like I’m by myself, but I’m never alone. I’m holding people’s stories. Guiding, even, the therapeutic activity of crafting a voice for your experience. I’ve read about so much trauma—have seen the ways so many people have survived to tell the story of those who haven’t.”

“The Glass Sliver” by Robyn Fisher

I can totally relate to her experience.

Favourite quote:

“Sometimes, this whole caregiving thing does seem like a wilderness experience. I mean, you got your sandwich, your canteen, your first aid kit. You even got your map and compass. But you’ve never been on this trail before, it’s all new to you. And last night’s storm washed part of it away, so the map does not resemble the path anymore. You’re bushwhacking now, hoping you’re not too far off the trail, and the way will show itself soon.”

“Le Pen de Amazon” by Helen K. Hedrick

Hedrick writes an essay using a choice of words from the book she is reading. I love this idea!

“The Birds: June is for Juncos” by Leanne Ogasawara

“Until the pandemic, I had always considered myself to be a city person. I never thought much about ecological issues until I came back to the US in mid-life. To be sure, Japan was not perfect in terms of the environment–not by any means. But I think it is safe to say that in Japan nature is not held as “standing reserve.” Rather than seen merely as a resource to be used, nature and the seasons are something to which people in Japan strive to be attuned. Deep listening is an especially humbling act, as the ephemeral and transient quality of sound demands attention and focus.”

New goal: Add in some analysis. I will analyze what I like about two creative nonfiction essays per month, which I hope will inform my writing.

Old goal: Read 5 picture books per month

My favourites:

“I Talk Like a River” by Jordan Scott; illustrated by Sydney Smith

The main character is comforted when his father tells him that his stuttering is like talking like a river. Based on a true story.

“A Year of Everyday Wonders” by Cheryl B. Klein; pictures by Qin Leng

A year of firsts and a few seconds and some lasts.

“In a Garden” by Tim McCanna; illustrated by Aimée Sicuro

A rhyming picture book.

My favourite rhyme:

“In a garden

full of green

many moments 

go unseen.”

“A Thousand No’s” by DJ Corchin; pictures by Dan Dougherty

The main character gets a lot of “Nos” for her idea, so she asks for help.

New goal: Analyze what I like about two picture books per month.

Old goal: Submit one story to a contest per season.

I submitted a poem and a creative nonfiction essay to The Fringe Literary Contest.

I submitted a creative nonfiction essay to the Amy MacRae award.

New goal: Continue with this goal.

Old goal: Attend one writing webinar per month.

“Outside” virtual book launch—Sean McCammon with Susanne Ruder (New Star Books)

New goal: I’m going to be flexible about this.

Old goal: Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

I have been working on my American poetry course. 

New goal: I am going to be flexible about this.

Old goal: Attend a writing group session per week.

Now that it’s summer, one of my writing groups is only meeting every second week, so it may not be doable.

New goal: Meet when we can over the summer and revisit in September.

Old goal: Blog at least twice a month.

New goal: I will continue this.

Old goal: Weekly treasure:

New goal: I will continue this. It’s one of my favourites.

Challenges:

Old goal: HaikuForTwo

I wrote three this month.

New goal: Continue, as I love this.

New goal: I’m going to go back to doing something similar to the 100 day challenge where I break down some of the stuff I want to do on a daily basis. It helped me complete the German novel I wanted to read. Currently, I am reading a horticultural therapy related novel, two chapters a day.

It was good to reevaluate my goals and see what was working and what was not. How’s your goal setting going?

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour: “Only My Horses Know” and “Read Aloud Stories with Fred” Collection

Bonus! Leave a comment on this blog post, and you can enter a giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card. Just make sure that you click here to fill out this form (by July 15, 2021) to be eligible. And the more related blog posts (see calendar below) you leave a comment on, the more times you can enter. 

“Only My Horses Know” by Cinda Jo Bauman

I chose this book to review, because not only have I always loved horses, but also because there are a few important people in my life who have a mental illness. Many families are touched by mental illness, but it’s still a topic that there is much stigma around. Books can help.

I found the topic was discussed sensitively. I don’t know anyone who has bipolar disorder, but I could relate to all the stigma surrounding having someone in the family with a mental illness. Questions included “Would people make fun of me if they found out?” and “Will I get the same thing?”

The most poignant line for me was “My thoughts wondered how somebody could be here and gone at the same time.” I wonder how many other teens feel this way. I hope that they find their way to books like this and find comfort in the fact that they are not alone.

The focus of the story is how Kye and her parents cope with her mom’s mental illness, but there are also the subplots of Kye’s friendship with her best friend Joey and her training for the rodeo on her horse Kiwi, which together make the book an enjoyable read.

The book ends on a hopeful note. I don’t want to put any spoilers here, but the possibility of a horse therapy farm is discussed, and I, a student of horticultural therapy, found this similar concept thrilling. After all, there is not just one approach to a challenge in life.

If you want to hear Bauman talk about her book, click here to access a video. 

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

“Read Aloud Stories with Fred” by Fred Olds

I admire the fact that this book was written by a 91 year old. I hope that I am doing the same when I am that age.

Like all anthologies, I found that there were some stories that stood out for me. When I pull out my Hans Christian Anderson collection of stories I immediately flip to my favourites. Similarly, the next time I pull out Olds’ book, I will flip to “The Hobbling Hermit”, which brought tears to my eyes. A close second is “The Cheerless Chairmaker”. But then I love fairy tales, especially ones that are retold with a new twist.

Other people might find that their favourites are about a cross-eyed crow (my third favourite) or one of the other stories. And don’t forget the first story, written by author and publisher Margo L. Dill, about Martin Luther King, Jr. and racism, which I also enjoyed.

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Book Summary of Only My Horses Know

Life on a Montana horse ranch has always been the best for twelve-year-old Kylie Hannigan. She bonds with the horses, rides them with her friend Joey, and helps her mom train them. Plus she barrel races her favorite horse, Kiwi, and with plenty of practice and grit, they will definitely beat her rival Olivia this year.

But then, something starts happening with Kylie’s mom. She sleeps all the time, and Kylie has to do the chores, the training, and all the care for the horses–and it’s too much! At least it’s summer, so she doesn’t have to worry about school, and she can spend time talking to her favorite animals. One day, a strange-behaving horse with an even stranger name shows up for

training but is only ignored by Kylie’s mom. Training a difficult horse used to be a fun challenge Kylie could share with her mom, but that’s not even happening now.

Then her mom changes again, and she’s up doing everything—including cooking and cleaning in the middle of the night. Kylie still gets no rest because Mom thinks Kylie should be able to do it all, too. So when school starts and Mom’s behavior goes back and forth and back and forth, and then embarrasses Kylie in front of Joey more times than she can count, Kylie decides the only thing she can do is hide everything from everyone—accept her horses.

Kylie’s life spins out of control along with her mom’s. She can’t train for the barrel races with Kiwi or keep up with homework or talk to her best friend. What will it take to get her life back to the way it used to be? Or is that even possible?

Purchase Only My Horses Know on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to add this to your reading list on GoodReads.

About the Author, Cinda Jo Bauman

Cinda Jo Bauman lives in Central Illinois with her husband and dogs. During her high school years, she took every art class offered along with every child development class. After a class where she spent part of the day at a daycare, child development won out over art. Years of story time led to a love of children’s picture-books, which made her wish she had stuck with art. 

Flash forward to today, and she still loves children’s books! After researching and much study; learning about writing and illustrating children’s books, she joined the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and found her passion. Besides writing children’s picture books and middle-grade novels, Cinda also creates with cut paper sculptures and paints in oil and acrylic. She loves iris flowers and the color purple.

Only My Horses Know is her debut middle-grade novel.

Find out more about Cinda:

Cinda’s website is: https://kidsillio.com/

Cinda’s YouTube Channel is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spQ7Vyc-4ZA

Book Summary of Read Aloud Stories with Fred Collection

In this full collection of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, we have included all six stories from volumes 1 and 2, a bonus story “Looking Inside” by Margo L. Dill (only available in this collection), and a foreword by Margo also. Each story has an illustration to start the story along with a question for children to consider while the story is being read aloud to them (or older children can read to themselves). These stories are perfect for parents and grandparents to read to the children in their lives.

The stories are:

“Looking Inside” Join a kindergarten class as they learn about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and how he believed all people were the same on the inside.

“Ben and the Terrible Red Card” Ben is always getting in trouble at school, but he feels his teacher just misunderstands him. He’s trying!

“The Hobbling Hermit” The hermit’s feet hurt, and he takes out his grumpiness on his new housemate, a small, smart mouse.

“Sammy and the Cross-eyed Crow” Sammy lives in the jungle and talks to animals! What happens when he meets a crow who can’t fly straight?

“Ben and the Bully, Billy Bob” Here’s another Ben story, and this time, Ben’s in front of the principal’s office for a run-in with Billy Bob the Bully!

“The Cheerless Chairmaker” Fred Olds has written a new fairy tale with a poor, sweet chairmaker and a smart, savvy princess!

“Sammy and the Royal Rabbit” Sammy is back in the jungle with Jonathan the crow, and this time, he is visited by a rabbit who thinks he’s a king!

This is a very special collection of short stories by two experienced children’s authors. Don’t miss out on getting this collection today! 

Purchase Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Fred Olds

Fred Olds has crafted dozens of stories over the years and has been involved with various writing and critique groups. At the age of 92, he is a devoted husband and proud father and grandfather living in Central Illinois. After retirement from the Postal Service as an electronic technician, he finally has time to concentrate on writing. A true storyteller at heart, his first love is writing children’s books with an occasional murder mystery thrown in for a change of pace. Check out his kids’ short story books, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vol. 1 and then Vol. 2, and his first book for adults, The Hobo Who Wasn’t, an exciting detective story. He’s also the author of The Dog and the Flea: A Tale of Two Opposites and The Cat, the Mouse, and the Neighbors’ Dog, two books of the Perky Pet Problems picture book series.

About the Author & Publisher, Margo L. Dill

Margo L. Dill is the CEO and owner of Editor-911 Books in St. Louis, MO. She is also the author of the American Civil War Adventure Series with two books, Anna and the Baking Championship and Finding My Place: One Girl’s Strength at Vicksburg, for middle-grade readers. Her other books are That’s the Way It Always Happened and Maggie Mae, Detective Extraordinaire: The Case of the Missing Cookies, which are illustrated picture books, and she has a short story about kids learning about Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings in Fred Olds’s collection of short stories, Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Vols. 1 and 2. Her next book is for teachers and parents and is out in June 2021, It’s Not Just Academics: A Guide To Teach Kids’ Health, Communication, and Social Emotional Skills. She lives in St. Louis with her tween daughter and lively rescue dog, Sudsi. 

Find out more at:

Her website: www.margoldill.com

Editor-911 Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MargoDill.author.editor

Editor-911 website: https://editor-911.com/editor-911-books-1

— Blog Tour Calendar

June 7th @ The Muffin

Join us as we celebrate the launch of this incredible blog tour. Find out more about the authors, their touching books, and enter to win books for yourself. Become an active participant in the tour, and you can win a gift card.

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

June 8th @ Lisa’s Reading

Visit Lisa’s blog where she shares a guest post about clean, sweet, books and how to find them (and why kids will love them too).

https://lisasreading.com/

June 8th @ Pages and Paws

Come by and read a review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred

https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 9th @ Create Write Now

Mari shares a guest post today about tackling the stigma of mental illness.

https://www.createwritenow.com/

June 11th @ Pages and Paws

Come by to Pages and Paws again and read a review of Only My Horses Know

https://pagesandpaws.com/

June 13th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog

Join us at AJ Kormon’s blog where you can read a guest post about finding problems kids will relate to. A must-read post for children’s book authors!

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

June 14th @ AJ Kormon’s Blog

Join us again at AJ Kormon’s blog today where you can read a review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

June 15th @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Fred Olds about his book Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection.

June 16th @ Words from the Heart

Linda reviews the book Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 17th @ Literary Quicksand

Join Jolissa as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred Collection by Fred Olds.

http://www.literaryquicksand.com/

June 18th @ Words from the Heart

Linda shares a guest post about tackling Christian themes in secular books.

https://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

June 20th @ A Storybook World

Join Deirdra as she features Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

http://www.astorybookworld.com/

June 21st @ Lisa Haselton’s Book Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Cinda Bauman, author of the book Only My Horses Know.

June 23rd @ Bring on Lemons

Visit Crystal’s blog today where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

http://bringonlemons.blogspot.com/

June 26th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories

Join Linda as she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

June 28th @ Jill Sheets’ Blog

Visit Jill’s blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

July 1st @ What is That Book About

Michelle shares a guest post about following your dreams at 92. What an inspiring story!

https://www.whatisthatbookabout.com/

July 2nd @ One Writer’s Journey

Visit Sue’s blog where she reviews Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

July 6th @ McFly’s Book Bliss

Join Marisa as she reviews Only My Horses Know.

http://mcflysbookbliss.com/

July 9th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Join Wendi at her blog Strength 4 Spouses where she shares her review of Read-Aloud Stories with Fred and Only My Horses Know.

https://strength4spouses.blog/blog/

July 10th @ Shoe’s Seeds and Stories

Visit Linda’s blog again where she shares a guest post about finding a good critique group.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com

July 11th @ Strength 4 Spouses

Join Wendi again at her blog where she shares a guest post about the importance of communicating in families.

https://strength4spouses.blog/blog/

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour: “Zinger In The Woods”

The synopsis:

“Olive is searching for her missing dog Ginger, but the dog has fallen into a hole and is trapped. Along comes Zen, a homeless dog who helps free Ginger. Together, they make their way back to Olive.”

There are several things I like about this book. I like the weaving-in of suggestions to improve your health naturally, such as through nature therapy, consuming superfoods, and using natural remedies. I like that Olive is a science geek. I also like the themes including teamwork and trust. In fact, my favourite line in the whole book is “To Open Your Heart You Must Trust.”

So how does the book end? Well, you’ll have to buy the book to find out. And if you do, you’ll be helping the authors buy books for children living in low income neighbourhoods, as they use 10% of proceeds to do that.

For a sample of what’s in the book, click here to access the book trailer.

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Be sure to check out some of the other blog stops.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

– Blog Tour Dates

May 10th @ The Muffin 

What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Join us on the WOW blog today and celebrate the launch of M.T. Becker’s book Zinger in The Woods. You can read an interview with the authors and enter to win a copy of the book too. 

https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/

May 11th @ Jill Sheet’s Blog

Visit Jill’s blog today to read a guest post on Having Writers Block by the authors of Zinger in The Woods, M. T. Becker.

http://jillsheets.blogspot.com/

May 12th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa today as she interviews M. T. Becker, authors of Zinger in The Woods.

https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

May 13th @ Editor-911

Visit Margo’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M.T. Becker.

https://www.editor-911.com/blog

May 17th @ AJ Kormon

Visit AJ Kormon’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post about Education by authors M. T. Becker.

https://www.ajkormon.com/blog

May 19th @ The Faerie Review

Visit Lily’s blog today to see her spotlight and review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

https://www.thefaeriereview.com/

May 20th @ Literary Quicksand

Visit Jolissa’s blog today to see her giveaway and review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com/

May 26th @ Beverley A Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M. T. Becker.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

May 28th @ It’s Alanna Jean

Visit Alanna’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Relationships by authors M. T. Becker.

http://itsalannajean.webnode.com/

June 1st @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog today for her giveaway and review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Being Enough by authors M. T. Becker.

https://worldofmyimagination.com/

June 2nd @ Beverley A Baird

Visit Beverley’s blog today to see a guest post on Social Issues by authors M. T. Becker.

https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

June 4th @ Author Anthony Avina

Visit Anthony’s blog today to see his review of Zinger in The Woods and interview with authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.authoranthonyavinablog.com/

June 5th The Good Book Nook

Visit Polly’s Instagram page today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

https://instagram.com/_thegoodbooknook

June 6th @ Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

Visit Linda’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

https://lschuelerca.wordpress.com/

June 7th @ Leslie’s Voice

Visit Leslie’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

http://lesliesvoice.com/

June 8th @ The Burgeoning Bookshelf

Visit Veronica’s blog today to read her review of M. T. Becker’s book Zinger in The Woods.

https://theburgeoningbookshelf.blogspot.com/

June 9th @ Carole Writes

Visit Carole’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.carolemertz.com/

June 10th @ Reading Girl Reviews

Visit Gina’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods by authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.readinggirlreviews.com/

June 11th @ Chapters Through Life

Visit Danielle’s blog today to see her spotlight and review of the book Zinger in The Woods by M. T. Becker.

http://chaptersthroughlife.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

June 12th @ Lisa’s Reading

Visit Lisa’s blog today to see her spotlight and giveaway of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Growing Food by authors M. T. Becker.

June 13th @ Teatime and Books

Visit Janet’s blog today to read her review of Zinger in The Woods and a guest post on Education by authors M. T. Becker.

http://www.teatimeandbooks76.blogspot.com/ 

About the Authors

Zinger In The Woods was retold by, husband and wife authors, Mark and Tiesha Becker. The former elementary school teachers decided to write a book after fostering three malnourished puppies. Zinger In the Woods reflects the lessons they learned from being parents, doggie parents, and teachers for over thirty years.

You can discover more about M.T. Becker on their website: www.live-grow-sustain.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56928518-zinger-in-the-woods

https://mtbecker.podbean.com/ and all the typical  podcasting sites

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zinger_el

Instagram:@zenandginger

Instagram:@m.t.becker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zinger.woods

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0851KXJVP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=zinger+in+the+woods&qid=1582734281&sr=8-1

iTunes https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/m-t-becker-podcast/id1449185558

Audible https://www.audible.com/pd/Zinger-In-The-Woods-Podcast/B08K6MBX41?ipRedirectOverride=true&overrideBaseCountry=true&pf_rd_p=2756bc30-e1e4-4174-bb22-bce00b971761&pf_rd_r=XSGWHAABZBSD9TZT0QG1

Six Degrees Challenge, June 2021: From “The Bass Rock” to “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows”

It’s time once again for the “Six Degrees” Challenge, one of my favourite challenges. Every month a book is selected as a starting point, and linked to six other books to form a chain. I love both selecting the books each month, as well as reading what others have selected. 

This month we are starting with “The Bass Rock” by Evie Wyld.

Once again I was unable to secure a copy of the first book in the chain, but it does sound intriguing.

From Goodreads:

“Surging out of the sea, the Bass Rock has for centuries watched over the lives that pass under its shadow on the Scottish mainland. And across the centuries the fates of three women are linked: to this place, to each other.”

Another book where the lives of women are interwoven—in this case two friends, Elena and Lila—is the Elena Ferrante book “My Brilliant Friend”. This book was a gift from my aunt who is usually spot on in her book gifts, but I admit that I didn’t really like it. I know that Ferrante has a lot of fans, but also that many are not a fan of this first book in the Neapolitan series.

Another gift from my aunt was the book called “Life after Life” by Kate Atkinson, and this one I loved. “What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?” A fascinating look at the many lives lived by Ursula Todd.

I’m not sure how many lives actually were lived by Ursula Todd, but I do know in one of the current books that I am reading “Bluets” by Maggie Nelson that there are 240 “propositions” (prose poems) that revolve around the colour blue.

Another current book I am reading is “Kitchens of the Great Midwest” by J. Ryan Stradal. All the stories are interconnected, and the character that binds them is star chef Eva. This book was recommended to me, but I am not sure I am going to finish it, as it is not at all what I thought it would be and I’m not enjoying it too much.

Another book that was recommended to me and that is on my TBR list is “Before We Visit the Goddess” by Chitra Divakaruni. This book is partially set in India and is about 3 generations of mothers and daughters.

Speaking of stories about Indian women, one of my absolute favourites is “Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows” by Bali Kaur Jaswal. “Every woman has a secret life . . .” Yes, indeed, and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time reading about these ones.

So what’s the link between the first and last books? Both deal with the interweaving of women’s lives. In fact, all the stories have some sort of interweaving going on. What do you think? Have I made a nice tapestry out of this month’s selections? 

Do you want to join the fun? Click here to read host Kate’s selections, as well as to find the link to read other lists. Or maybe you’ll even join us next month, when the starting selection is “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves” by Lynne Truss.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

May 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

It’s been a weird month weather wise. We’ve had heat warnings along with snow warnings! During this chaos, I’ve been busy with a couple courses including “Writing Nature Essays” and “Foundations for Practitioners of Horticultural Therapy”, both of which I really enjoyed and highly recommend.

Now I’m looking forward to a break where I can play more in my garden and do some more reading.

-Read 24 books for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

Alas, I didn’t do any this month!  I am looking forward to catching up over the next few months.

-Read 12 nature related books to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

“The Nature Fix” by Florence Williams

So much goodness in this book. It’s hard for me to pick just a couple of quotes to give you, because there is so much to share. 

Instead I will share this: 

“Distilling what I learned, I came up with a kind of ultrasimple coda: Go outside, often, sometimes in wild places. Bring friends or not. Breathe.”

You can watch this video for a little bit more.

-Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

Unbelievably I didn’t read any this month, but I am ahead in this category anyway.

-Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Done!

-Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week.

Done! My favourites:

“Helping my mother clean out her closet, the year before she died” by Kandace Chapple 

I cannot imagine doing this!

Favourite quote:

“I couldn’t stand to clean out an entire closet, haul away my mother’s wardrobe while she still sat there, living and breathing. I wanted to hear my mother say this wasn’t happening. I wanted another summer with her under the crabapple tree and silver maple, where the branches had met above and grown together, cupping mother and daughter each season.”

“The Single Sentence” by Kandace Chapple

While writing an obituary, a single sentence Chapple writes about her mom changes her approach to parenting.

“Can You Tie My Shoe?” by Kris Martinez

Martinez writes how she chose alcohol over her life, but then decided on her life.

Favourite quote:

“…not every sixth grader knows how to tie her shoes. And we are not the only family who has been through a thing.

But thankfully, we survived.”

“Widow’s Walk” by Melissa Knox 

A stunning essay on grief!

“Shaping the Narrative” by Kelly Eden

In this braided essay, Eden compares her life to the essays she edits.

-Read 5 picture books per month

Done! My favourites:

“Different? Same!” By Heather Teckavec, illustrated by Pippa Curnick

Differences are shown in a group of animals but the group also always has something the same, e.g., they may all live in a different place but they also all have whiskers.

“The Hike” by Alison Farrell

Three friends go on a discovery hike. Lots of great labelled drawings too!

“Percy’s Museum” by Sara O’Leary; illustrated by Carmen Mok

Percy moves an discovers that his new house just isn’t the same as his old house until he starts exploring his backyard.

-Submit one story to a contest per season.

I finally submitted my story to CANSCAIP’s Writing for Children Competition.

Also I am participating in the Mix ’n’ Match Mini Writing Challenge

-Attend one writing webinar per month.

“Love Your Mother Earth” with Diana Beresford-Kroeger (Toronto Storytelling Festival)

“Song of the Universe” with Diana Beresford-Kroeger (Toronto Storytelling Festival)

-Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

I’m not doing well in this category at all.

-Attend a writing group session per week.

Done!

-Blog at least twice a month.

-Weekly treasure:

Challenges:

HaikuForTwo

I wrote one using two words from “The Nature Fix”.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

April 2021 Bookish Resolutions Wrap-up

-Read 24 books for the Mount TBR 2021 challenge.

I read two: 

“Dear Scarlet: The Story of my Postpartum Depression” by Teresa Wong

and 

“Der Erste Tag Vom Rest Meines Lebens” by Lorenzo Marone

Click here to read about them.

-Read 12 nature related books to enhance my horticultural therapy study.

I finally finished my first course, and with it my textbook written by Mitchell Hewson.

-Read 12 books that are either memoir, poetry, or soul books.

I read three.

“the lost spells” by Robert Macfarlane; illustrated by Jackie Morris

This, a companion book to “The Lost Words”, is meant to be spoken aloud. The pictures are as gorgeous as the words. This is one book that I will buy as gifts for people.

Click here for a taste.

“If I Knew Then: Finding wisdom in failure and power in aging” by Jann Arden

I love this memoir. Arden writes like she is talking to you as a best friend, which makes it a pleasurable read. A lot of the book is about embracing your cronehood—something I wholeheartedly agree with—but also about Arden’s past as the daughter of an alcoholic father and an alcoholic herself.

Favourite quotes:

On her dad:

“I am starting to forgive him for being absent, even for being mad all the time. I realize now that he wasn’t mad at us kids or at Mom; he was mad at his own life. “

and

“Sometimes the devil you don’t know isn’t as bad as the devil you do know, and I will never let anybody tell me any different.”

“The Reason I Jump” by Naoki Higashida

A fascinating, much needed, and rather poetically written look into the mind of an autistic teenager, written by a 13 year old autistic boy.

As someone studying horticultural therapy, I appreciated the following passages:

“… our fondness for nature is, I think, a little bit different from everyone else’s. I’m guessing that what touches you in nature is the beauty of the trees and the flowers and things. But to us people with special needs, nature is as important as our own lives. The reason is that when we look at nature, we receive a sort of permission to be alive in this world, and our entire bodies get recharged. However often we’re ignored and pushed away by other people, nature will always give us a good big hug, here inside our hearts. 

“…nature is always there at hand to wrap us up, gently: glowing, swaying, bubbling, rustling…You might think that it’s not possible that nature could be a friend, not really. But human beings are part of the animal kingdom too, and perhaps us people with autism still have some leftover awareness of this, buried somewhere deep down.”

Higashida also writes his own stories, and I really love his story called “The Black Crow and the White Dove”. 

I had no idea that the book had been turned into a movie!

-Work on my writing 15 minutes a day.

Done!

-Read 3 creative nonfiction essays a week. 

Done!

Here are my favourites:

“We all have privilege to some degree. What we do with it matters.” by Taslim Jaffer

Favourite quote:

“As a brown Muslim woman, I have been the butt of jokes, the target of overtly racist comments and on the receiving end of microaggressions that prick like tiny needles but nonetheless leave scars. 

But I also go unseen in other situations. Like when I am fair enough to escape colourism or when my Muslim identity isn’t obvious because I don’t wear a hijab. Or, like in the case with the clerk casually referring to the “China virus,” I am not the racial group being targeted. 

In those circumstances, I am privileged enough to decide to say something or not.”

“I lost my mother. This is how I know when she’s with me” by Kandace Chapple

Do you have a sign from a departed loved one? When I see a feather, I associate it with my mom.

“The Covid-19 pandemic may be an opportunity to transform the way we live” by
David Suzuki

Favourite quote:

“In this moment of crisis, we should be asking what an economy is for, whether there are limits, how much is enough and whether we are happier with all this stuff.

Can we relearn what humanity has known since our very beginnings — that we live in a complex web of relationships in which our very survival and well-being depend upon clean air, water and soil, sunlight (photosynthesis) and the diversity of species of plants and animals that we share this planet with?

Can we establish a far more modest agenda for ourselves filled with reverence for the rest of creation?

Or will we celebrate the passing of the pandemic with an orgy of consumption and a drive to get back to the way things were before the crisis?”

“How Not to Get Kidnapped: a Suggestive Guide” by Meredith Town

I really enjoyed this hilarious essay.

“Gliding Toward the Sun, an Essay on Cross-Country Skiing” by Kandace Chapple

Favourite part:

“I skated two full strides and figured I was above water over my head. Few swam in these waters even in the hottest days of July because it would mean bringing out a souvenir leech between the toes. It was just as well. Lake Dubonnet is a lake’s lake—all business, no play. The shores housed a thick racket of brush and trees for birds and deer and coyote. The water bred mosquitoes and bluegill and bass. I loved the lake for its solitude. Not once had I come here to find I couldn’t hear the silence on the other side of the lake.”

-Read 5 picture books per month

Done!

My favourites:

“A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart” by Zetta Elliot; illustrated by Noa Denmon

A Black child explores his emotions over the year, and the emotions include joy, fear, anger, pride, and peace.

“Ten Ways to Hear Snow” by Cathy Camper; illustrated by Kenard Pak

On the way to her grandmother’s house to help make a meal, Lina discovers several different ways to listen to snow.

-Submit one story to a contest per season.

I am still working on my synopsis for the CANSCAIP contest.

-Attend one writing webinar per month.

“Fresh Stories for a New World: Finding Your Stories Through a Practice of Side Writing” with Karen Krossing (SCBWI)

Natalie Goldberg on her new haiku book (Geneen Roth)

-Work on one lesson of a writing course per month.

Alas, I did not do this.

-Attend a writing group session per week.

I attended at least one per week, usually two.

-Blog at least twice a month.

I didn’t blog twice last month, but I have already blogged three times this month.

-Weekly treasure:

My tulip that looks like another flower

Challenges:

100 days

I have done it! I have completed reading my German book! Yay me.

Since the 100 days challenge is not over, I have started a new book written in German, but even after the challenge is done, I’m going to keep reading one book I really want to read but find intimidating using the just two pages a day method.

HaikuForTwo

I wrote two, one from “the lost spells” and the other from “The Reason I Jump”.

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler

WOW Blog Tour: The Little Book of Big Knowing

“Easy-Peasy Joy.

Paying attention to what you like leads to a life of joy. Little by little, notice the things you like—the shiny, silver fish painting on the wall, the smell of honeysuckle on a summer’s day, lightning bugs at dusk, baking cinnamon rolls.

The world is full of delights that are here to please you. When you choose to notice them, your life automatically becomes happier. Easy-peasy joy.”

The is one of my favourite passages from “The Little Book of Big Knowing” by Michelle Sammons. It encapsulates what I have been trying to do lately in my life, and I find myself becoming happier as I follow this philosophy. 

The book is like a bar of chocolate; it’s meant to be savoured in small nibbles or perhaps, on tougher days, to be devoured in big bites. Some insights were reminders of concepts I have already discovered—like the passage above—and others introduced me to powerful new ways of thinking, like the next passage:

“What if there isn’t one right choice of how to live your life? What if there is not a giant door with a sign on it that reads The Right Choice—this way?What if finding your purpose, career, or mate is more about making little decisions every day that feel good and naturally shift you into a place of Soul-alignment?”

So I find myself now making more little decisions to move myself to where I want to go instead of fretting over the sometimes overwhelming big picture.

“…You have my permission to take what resonates and chuck the rest…” writes Sammons, which is a refreshing philosophy. You are sure to find something that soothes your soul in the book, and maybe like me will want to read the book again and again, whether in little chunks or big. I really hope that Sammons writes a follow up or two to “The Little Book of Big Knowing”.

Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

Be sure to check out some of the other blog stops including this guest post on mindfulness, which contains a thought provoking definition of mindfulness that really resonated with me. 

About the Book

The Little Book of Big Knowing is filled with tiny bursts of insight to nourish your heart, warm your Soul, and help you to remember your true self. 

If you find yourself asking big, deep life questions like, “What’s my purpose?” and “Why am I here?” then you’ll want to curl up with The Little Book of Big Knowing.

Three reasons why you’ll love this book:

• It includes gentle reminders of why you are here, who you are at your core, and why your dreams matter to more than just you.

• This book will help you to look at life in a light-hearted, joyful way. Consider it spirituality with a playful twist!

• And the best part is, the book is written in short bursts you can read in any order. So you can pick it up, read a little bit, put it down, and come back to it when you’re ready for more!

This book is perfect someone who wants a little dose of playful spirituality every day to remind them of the bigger picture.

 About the Author

Michele makes her home in Memphis, Tennessee, with husband Scott and chocolate Labrador, Dewey. The Little Book of Big Knowing is Michele’s first book, but probably not her last. You can discover more about Michele’s work on her website: 

https://www.michelesammons.com

Shoe’s Seeds & Stories

@Copyright 2021 Linda Schueler