Book Review: Passport by Sophia Glock

Join me on a journey through a young girl’s discovery of the truth with TBR and Beyond Book Reviews! Get the full tour schedule here!

About the Book:

An unforgettable graphic memoir by debut talent Sophia Glock reveals her discovery as a teenager that her parents are agents working for the CIA

Young Sophia has lived in so many different countries, she can barely keep count. Stationed now with her family in Central America because of her parents’ work, Sophia feels displaced as an American living abroad, when she has hardly spent any of her life in America.

Everything changes when she reads a letter she was never meant to see and uncovers her parents’ secret. They are not who they say they are. They are working for the CIA.

As Sophia tries to make sense of this news, and the web of lies surrounding her, she begins to question everything. The impact that this has on Sophia’s emerging sense of self and understanding of the world makes for a page-turning exploration of lies and double lives.

In the hands of this extraordinary graphic storyteller, this astonishing true story bursts to life.

MY REVIEW:

Passport is a fun, quick journey through just a few months of author Sophia Glock’s life. As she struggles to fit in in school, navigate first crushes, sibling rivalry, and more, she learns that there is something truly unique about her parents and the role they play in the world. At times poignant and funny and at times dark and sad, Passport is a journey through life and what it means to find yourself in the middle of the world.

3.5/5 stars.

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About the Author:

Sophia Glock is a cartoonist who lives in Austin, TX.

Sophia’s comics and cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, Buzzfeed, Narratively, MUTHA Magazine, and Time Out New York. Her work has also been featured in various anthologies including, Ink BrickSuspect Device, Quarter Moon, DIGESTATE, Rabid Rabbit, and Kilgore Quarterly. Her collection of comics Born, Not Raised was selected to be included in The Society of Illustrators Cartoon and Comics Art Annual 2016 and her short comic The Secrets in My Mother’s Nightstand was shortlisted for The Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Web Comic of the Year in 2016.

In 2008 she was a recipient of a Xeric Foundation Grant for her comic, The Deformitory. She is also the author of The Lettuce Girl, SemiSolid, Over Ripe and Passport: Fig. You can pick up her mini comics at indie-friendly stores across the country, or from Bird Cage Bottom Books.

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Review: The Secret Garden on 81st Street

Join me on a journey through one of my favorite gardens in this updated version of a timeless story with TBR and Beyond Book Reviews! Get the full tour schedule here!

About the Book

The Secret Garden with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy, this full-color graphic novel moves Mary Lennox to a New York City brownstone, where she and her very first group of friends restore an abandoned rooftop garden…and her uncle’s heart.

Mary Lennox is a loner living in Silicon Valley. With her parents always working, video game and tech become her main source of entertainment and “friends.” When her parents pass away in a tragic accident, she moves to New York City to live with her uncle who she barely knows, and to her surprise, keeps a gadget free home.

Looking for comfort in this strange, new reality, Mary discovers an abandoned rooftop garden and an even bigger secret…her cousin who suffers from anxiety. With the help of her new friends, Colin and Dickon, Mary works to restore the garden to its former glory while also learning to grieve, build real friendships, and grow.

My Review

To say I adored this retelling would be putting it lightly. The Secret Garden has been a favorite story of mine for a long time, and this updated version retails all the joy, heartache, mystery, and love of the original, while giving it a modern twist. Our updated Mary is living a life of detached luxury before her parents are killed in a tragic accident and she’s moved to New York City to live with her mysterious uncle Archie. Instead of Archie, she meets the people who surround his life – his housekeeper, his cook, the mysterious Ben and Dickon, and eventually her cousin, Colin. Together, they discover the garden on the roof, abandoned since the death of Archie’s husband, a relic of a time of love and hope that doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

Author Ivy Noelle Weir updated this story with more than just a location, eliminating some of the darker parts of the original story, giving Archie a husband instead of a wife, and Colin now has anxiety instead of his hunched back and other illnesses. All of these changes help streamline the story and make it more accessible to younger readers – the people who are the target audience for this book. The illustrations are simple but vibrant, and it’s a truly beautiful way to tell the story of a forgotten garden brought back by love.

4.5/5 stars!

Get your copy here:

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About the Author

Ivy Noelle Weir is a writer of comics and prose. She is the co-creator of the Dwayne McDuffie Award-winning graphic novel Archival Quality (Oni Press), the upcoming The Secret Garden on 81st Street (Little, Brown for Young Readers), and her writing has appeared in anthologies such as Princeless: Girls Rock (Action Lab Entertainment) and Dead Beats (A Wave Blue World). She lives in the greater Boston area with her husband and their two tiny, weird dogs.

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Review: Edie in Between (+ Giveaway)

Magic + Romance + Destiny + Fighting Destiny all crash together in this great new read!

Check out the whole Tour with TBR and Beyond Tours!

Content Warnings: Parental death.

A modern-day Practical Magic about love, loss, and embracing the mystical.

It’s been one year since Edie’s mother died. But her ghost has never left.

According to her GG, it’s tradition that the dead of the Mitchell family linger with the living. It’s just as much a part of a Mitchell’s life as brewing cordials or talking to plants. But Edie, whose pain over losing her mother is still fresh, has no interest in her family’s legacy as local “witches.”

When her mother’s teenage journal tumbles into her life, her family’s mystical inheritance becomes once and for all too hard to ignore. It takes Edie on a scavenger hunt to find objects that once belonged to her mother, each one imbued with a different memory.

Every time she touches one of these talismans, it whisks her to another entry inside the journal—where she watches her teenage mom mourn, love, and hope just as Edie herself is now doing. Maybe, just maybe, Edie hopes, if she finds every one of these objects, she can finally make peace with her loss and put the past to rest for good. But this journey to stake her independence from her family may actually show Edie who she truly is…and the beautiful gifts that come with being just a little different.

Tinged with a sweet romance with Rhia, who works at the local occult shop, Edie in Between delivers all the cozy magic a budding young witch finding her way in the world needs.

Get Your Copy Here!
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Giveaway (US Only)
One winner will receive a finished copy of Edie in Between and some swag. The giveaway starts on August 23rd and ends on August 30th.
ENTER HERE

Five Reasons You Should Read Edie in Between

I weirdly love all books that have anything to do with magic, especially family magic. There isn’t much I won’t read in this genre, so I was SO excited to be picked for this book tour. So, without further ado, here are five reasons you should add Edie in Between to your TBR!

Grief is a thing we all are experiencing

While we’re not all experiencing grief in the same way, the last 18 months have made it very obvious that we’re feeling and managing grief in so many ways. For Edie, she’s grieving the loss of her mother, doesn’t know her dad, and grieving the loss of her home. It’s a lot. Edie’s journey is something you will find yourself in if you’re experiencing grief in any way.

Friends become family

There are two people in her life that she’s not related to, but are closer than family: Tess and Rhia. Their friendships (and friendship +) ground Edie when the magic she’s tried to deny her whole life becomes something she can’t fight any longer. Trusting her friends with who she is – all of who she is – is a risk she has to take to survive.

Magic. Magic. Magic.

Edie comes from a long line of witches, even if she doesn’t want to admit it. From the very first page, we see how magic is part of Edie’s life, even when she wants to ignore it. While she’s said she’s not interested in the “family business,” the family business isn’t done with her. Magic seeps from the pages with a slow burn that keeps you coming back for more.

Magic woods.

The perpetual woods. I want to live there. Read it and see how wonderful it is!

Full Circle

Edie in Between comes full circle as it explores grief, first love, power, corruption, hate, hope, and everything in between. This is a book that feels complete, but you still want more when it’s over. It’s a lovely journey through what it means to be more than human in a world where magic is very real and very much not understood. Is magic something you’re just born with? Can it be learned? Is it a little of both?

Final Thoughts

This book reminded me so much of some of my other favorites. Pick it up today and you won’t regret it. It’s a great read and a great book club read. 4.5/5 stars!

About the Author

After a career in undergraduate counseling, Laura Sibson pursued an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she’s not writing in a local coffee shop, you can find her running the neighborhood streets or hiking with her dog. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and their two sons. Laura is available for school visits, book clubs, workshops and conferences. She can speak on the process of writing and publishing to audiences from middle school into adulthood. With her background in one-on-one counseling, giving presentations and facilitating both panels and writing groups, Laura brings both warmth and professionalism to all of her endeavors.

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Review: Down to Earth

Soft, slow, and sweet, Down to Earth asks you to slow down and experience the unexpected.

Check out the full Tour with TBR & BEYOND

About the Book:

Counting by 7s meets See You in the Cosmos in this heartwarming coming-of-age story perfect for the budding geologists and those fascinated by the mysteries of the universe.

Henry has always been fascinated by rocks. As a homeschooler, he pours through the R volume of the encyclopedia to help him identify the rocks he finds. So, when a meteorite falls in his family’s field, who better to investigate than this rock enthusiast–with his best friend, James, and his little sister, Birdie, in tow, of course.

But soon after the meteorite’s arrival, the water in Henry’s small Maine town starts drying up. It’s not long before news spreads that the space rock and Henry’s family might be to blame. Henry is determined to defend his newest discovery, but his knowledge of geology could not have prepared him for how much this stone from the sky would change his community, his family, and even himself.

Science and wonder abound in this middle-grade debut about an inquisitive boy and the massive rock that came down to Earth to reshape his life.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. From the first sentence, it feels distinctly middle-grade, and it is. It’s slow and simple and immediately engaging. And I don’t mean slow in a bad way at all – the writing has a lyrical quality that demands that you slow down your eyes and read a little different than you might normally (I’m an expert skimmer/speed reader). Henry is complex and methodical, wanting to know whether or not he’ll be able to carry on his family’s legacy as a dowser, while also introducing the readers to his eclectic and entertaining family.

When something streaks through the sky one cold February night, Henry’s whole life changes before his eyes. There is something a little magical, a little mystical about the meteorite that crashes onto the hill behind his house.

As Henry learns more about the meteorite and how it changes his whole world, the reader is introduced to a town it seems like time forgot. Henry’s hometown is full of honest people who are a little resistant to change. The only even minor glimpse that proves that this book isn’t set too far into the past is a quick exchange about computers and email. Otherwise, Down to Earth could be set 50 years ago – or 50 years in the future.

Rating 4/5 stars. Well executed. Fun. Simple. I only wish it were a bit longer. I want to know what happens next!

Get your copy here:

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Betty Culley’s debut novel in verse Three Things I Know I True, was a Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Pick, an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominee, an ALA-YALSA Quick Pick, and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her first middle-grade novel Down to Earth, is inspired by her fascination with meteorites, voyagers from another place and time. She’s an RN who worked as an obstetrics nurse and as a pediatric home hospice nurse. She lives in central Maine, where the rivers run through the small towns.

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Review: They Met in a Tavern (And Giveaway!)

Ready for some Adult Fantasy? Jump in with “They Met in a Tavern” by Elijah Menchaca as part of the TBR and BEYOND TOUR!

Check out the full tour here!

About the Book!

The band is getting back together—and they really wish they weren’t.

The Starbreakers were your classic teenage heroes. Using their combined powers and skills, they were the most successful group of glintchasers in Corsar. But that all changed the day the city of Relgen died. The group went their separate ways, placing the blame on each other.

Brass carried on as a solo act. Snow found work as a notorious assassin. Church became a town’s spiritual leader. Angel was the owner of a bar and inn. And after overcoming his own guilt, Phoenix started a new life as a family man.

Years after their falling out, a new threat looms when bounty hunters attack the former heroes. Phoenix tries to reunite the Starbreakers before everything they have left is taken from them. But a lot can change in seven years. And if mending old wounds was easy, they would have done it a long time ago.

My Thoughts:

It took me about .2 seconds to remember this wasn’t a YA book (my normal review) due to some very colorful language at the beginning. But, after that, it was easy to settle in to the storytelling and life of the Starbreakers – after they have split up and gone their separate ways.

We never really talk about what happens after the heroes in all those YA books move on? What happens when the get a life, fall in love, get married, start their own families, etc?

The Met in a Tavern explores not only those questions, but a far more menacing one – what happens when the past comes back to haunt you – and wants you dead.

I’ll admit it took me a bit to get into this one. The story jumped back and forth between the present and the past quite a bit, and there are so many characters and narrators, it was hard to keep straight. I was reading a preview Kindle copy, and I think, like most fantasy, I would have had an easier time going back and forth in a paper copy as I tried to follow the story (ask me about attempting to read GOT on my Kindle first sometime. DISASTER).

But, at the end of the day? They Met in a Tavern has all the things I love about fantasy – magic, mayhem, complicated characters, unlikely heroes, adventure, and secrets that have to come to life. If you love a good fantasy adventure, this one is for you. There is enough open-ended at the ending to make a sequel possible, and I would definitely want to see what happens with the Starbreakers next, especially Snow & Angel, my two favorite characters (the disembodied robot head is also a lot of fun and deserves a novella of their own). This is one of the few books I wished was a series instead of a standalone, for sure. There is enough to explore that was introduced here to keep the world built for several books!

Final Verdict? 3.5/5 stars. Definitely fun and definitely worth reading.

Where to Find They Met in a Tavern

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About the Author:

Elijah Menchaca was born and raised in Bakersfield, California and has been writing and telling stories since he was five. After seeing his first short stories on his grade school classroom’s bookshelf, he knew he was destined for greatness. To chase that greatness (and a girl), he attended the University of Louisville where he minored in Creative Writing, discovered a love for Dungeons and Dragons, and got engaged.

Now, based in Ohio, when he isn’t exploring the world he’s created with more stories, he’s making new memories around the virtual table with his old friends, pondering the worlds of fantasy and superheroes on his YouTube channel, and playing the role of devoted partner to a woman far too good for him.

Website: https://elijahmenchaca.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhoenixAgent003
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCp0yc20uVdW1J4kFDbPy3Jg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phoenixagent003/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21157787.Elijah_Menchaca

Giveaway (US Only):

One winner will receive a finished copy of They Met in a Tavern. The giveaway starts on August 9th and ends on August 16th.

ENTER HERE!

Crossing Oceans…and Sometimes Not

Sometime last fall, this quote started circulating on social media, with this edit…

Stolen from facebook a year ago…

At the time, I think I even loved and “AMEN”d the edit. I mean, i get it. Do it. Cross the oceans. Brave the journey, be the person who loves big, who crosses boundaries, who is not confined to how other people think of you. Be bigger than the world. Love without restriction.

And to be honest, there is a giant part of me that still feels that way. I told a friend recently that my deep, unfiltered love of all people is at the core of who I am – and if loving all lands me at the gates of hell, I will be fine (the Christ I follow is a love-all kind of Savior, so I’m not too worried). I will love you without condition, without exception. I will believe in you, no matter how big or small or crazy or “normal” your dreams seem. I will be that friend. There are people in my life going through some horribly BIG things – family health, financial insecurity, crises of faith and community and hope – and I will cross oceans and climb mountains and drive miles and be there. Always. Forever. With no expectation they do anything in return. Those people know that they don’t have to respond to every text, answer any calls, or do anything. My love is not conditional.

BUT.

But, there is a but that the black and white leaves out. There are only so many oceans I can cross. The side of this gross over simplification of “Yes, cross the oceans and mountains for people who won’t do the same thing for you” is dangerous. It puts a lot of expectation on people like me – people who are and will gladly give more of themselves than is probably healthy – without ever feeling like they get even a little bit back. When you’re the one constantly crossing the oceans, there is an exhaustion that goes beyond just the normal. When you’re the one constantly climbing the mountains, you find yourself discouraged by the journey you often do alone.

There is only so much a person can give. And when you ask people and/or expect people to keep giving out of their exhaustion, you’re setting them up to fail. Boundaries mean that sometimes you cross the oceans for the people that cannot do the same for you, because they need you to show up in ways only you can. But, boundaries also mean sometimes you don’t. You don’t keep climbing mountains to be in the lives of people who don’t see any value in your climb, or who make you feel foolish for the climb itself. Boundaries mean that sometimes you stop at the shore and wait to see if anyone else willing to row the boat with you.

The complication of empathy in this is simple: I will climb the mountains and cross the oceans until I’m mentally, emotionally, and physically unable to do so. Sometimes the thing that keeps me going is knowing that, when I need those same incredible height scaled, you will do the same.

Review: Gold Spun

It’s time for another great Book Tour with TBR AND BEYOND BOOK TOURS! This time, I jumped deep into the world of Rumpelstiltskin in this fantastic retelling, Gold Spun, by author Brandie June.

Check out the Full Tour Here

About the Book:

Content Warnings: One mild scene of cutting for blood magic.

If Nor can’t spin gold, she can always spin lies.

When seventeen-year-old Nor rescues a captured faerie in the woods, he gifts her with a magical golden thread she can use to summon him for a favor. Instead, Nor uses it for a con—to convince villagers to buy straw that can be transformed into gold. Her trick works a little too well, attracting the suspicion of Prince Casper, who hates nobody more than a liar. Intent on punishing Nor, he demands that she spin a room of straw into gold and as her reward, he will marry her. Should she refuse or fail, the consequences will be dire.

It’s always been up to me to make sure we have a plan.

Nor, Gold Spun

My Thoughts

I am a sucker for a good retelling of any story, and this is a unique look at the Rumpelstiltskin story, with a fiery protagonist who might just be in a little too deep for her own good. From the beginning, Gold Spun lets readers know that this isn’t the straw into gold story you thought you knew. Instead, this is the story of fey and bartered kingdoms, of death and destruction and weird, unlikely alliances. This is the story of kingdoms on the brink of chaos and the unlikely people who might save them – or watch the world burn while they try.

When human Nor comes face to face with her first real faerie, she realizes everything she’s been told might not quite be accurate. I loved this description as she meets Pel for the first time, “I almost couldn’t believe it, but there he was. And he looked nothing like the monsters they flyers warned us about. he looked stunningly, painfully beautiful.” This chance meeting leads to an unlikely alliance, not quite a friendship, not quite anything more, that comes to head when Nor tries to use a small gift from Pel to get ahead in life, and instead finds herself stuck in a palace, with straw into Gold as her only way to freedom.

June is a talented writer who manages to weave the familiar elements of the folktale with a whole new adventure as the headstrong and action-oriented Nor finds her place among the elite – and has to decide whether or not she is willing to risk everything to help the future King, Caspar, see the world he has inherited beyond the castle walls.

Gold Spun is full of fun, action, and adventure. There is a little magic, a little romance, and a little forbidden obsession that just might destroy their world. The book ends of a cliffhanger, and I can only hope that I get the opportunity to catch up with Nor, Caspar, Pel and their warring kingdoms sooner rather than later.

About the Author:

Brandie June loves storytelling in all sorts of formats, whether she is marketing animated movies or writing fantasy novels. Most of her early life she was on stage or at least as close to the front row as she could get. Initially an actor, she got her B.A. in Theatre from UCLA and branched out into costume design and playwriting, eventually getting her M.B.A. Her first stand-alone play, a dark comedy about Oscar Wilde, premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival to a sold-out run and won the Encore Producers Award. As a writer, she is especially passionate about fantasy and mythology, has published several pieces in anthology, and is a recent finalist with The Writers of the Future Award. Her debut novel, Gold Spun, is a fresh retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin tale through the miller daughter’s POV. Except now the miller’s daughter is a con artist and Rumpelstiltskin is a mysterious faerie with a dark secret.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.brandiejune.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/brandiejune

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thebrandiejune/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19793140.Brandie_June

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheOriginalBrandieJune/

Review: My Last Summer with Cass

I’m super excited to be a part of this fun book tour for My Last Summer with Cass by Mark Crilley. I’ve only recently gotten into graphic novels, but man, this one is already a favorite. It’s sweet and fun, and a reminder than some friendships live in our hearts and lives from our childhood into our own adulthood.

Check out the Full Tour Here!

Synopsis:

This One Summer meets The Edge of Seventeen in this poignant coming-of-age YA graphic novel about two childhood friends at a crossroads in their lives and art—from the author of Mastering Manga.​ Megan and Cass have been joined at the brush for as long as they can remember. For years, while spending summers together at a lakeside cabin, they created art together, from sand to scribbles . . . to anything available. Then Cass moved away to New York.

When Megan finally convinces her parents to let her spend a week in the city, too, it seems like Cass has completely changed. She has tattoos, every artist in the city knows her—she even eats chicken feet! At least one thing has stayed the same: They still make their best art together.

But when one girl betrays the other’s trust on the eve of what is supposed to be their greatest artistic feat yet, can their friendship survive? Can their art?

Something amazing always happened when we worked together.”

Meg, My Last Summer with Cass

I loved this book! It was such a fun journey through friendship, from the early years of Meg & Cass meeting and sharing summer fun to high school where they have gone their separate ways, and to college, where heartbreak might just bring them back together. After a change in her family, Cass leaves her small-town life behind to move to New York. Meg & Cass stay in touch, and Meg goes to visit her during high school. The silly partner in friendship she remembers has been replaced by New York City Cass, a sassy, sarcastic teenage artist living with her mother and trying to make art that matters to her. At one point, Cass exclaims, “Change is everything.”

Change is Everything.

This is a book about how we change, and how we stay the same. It is a story about how we live and love and hurt each other. It’s a story about how we find our way back to the friendships and people that really matter to us. After Cass & Meg have a falling out, can anything bring them back together? Can their love of art survive? What really makes a friendship, after all?

Maybe the books says it best: “Sometimes friendship isn’t just like a work of art – it is a work of art.”

My Rating 3.5/4 stars. Easy to follow, the art is beautiful, and the story weaves quickly. I actually would have liked it to be a little longer!

About the Author

Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment.

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My Last Summer with Cass is available today wherever books are sold! Here are some quick links just for you if you want to pick up a copy:
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When The World is On Fire…

I’d be shocked that it’s been more than a year since I wrote on this blog, but… 2020.

There is so much to say and so much not to say. I’ve written a couple blogs in my head. I’ve scribbled lots of thoughts down. I’ve wondered and wondered and thought and thought. But, now, as the winter days settle in and everything feels so different and so familiar at the same time, I am struck with one thought:

Be rain to a burning world, not wind.

It feels like the world is on physical fire. And it has been. Wildfires have ravaged continents and coastlines. The middle of the country has been burned and scorched. Places where wildfires haven’t cropped up, hurricanes and tornados and storms have destroyed and dismantled. There is devastation everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up.

The world is on emotional fire. Emotions are at a boiling point. Elections. Social Media. Protests. Hurts. Humiliations. Fear. Exhaustion. Uncertainty. Emotional fires have played out in horrible words spewed at those that think differently. Never has the ugliness of who we could be as a people been so apparent. We’ve lost the ability to be cautious with our words. We’ve stopped weighing their impact. We’ve gotten callous and horrible with each other, each so sure of our rightness we’ve stopped acknowledging we might be wrong. Words are pouring gas onto the fire, and the flames are raging.

The world is on spiritual fire. Never has faith been so polarizing. So dividing. So filled with animosity and the “I’m right, and you’re wrong” rhetoric. My faith is under fire. Your faith is under fire. We are judged, and we are the ones doing the judging. Our brothers and sisters of color are fighting a hard fight, and their souls are weary. We are tasked with holding them up, strengthening them, and helping the world see their value and beauty.

The flames are lapping at our ankles, at our knees, at our bellies. We are consumed by hurt and division. We are enduring a literal plague. We are bullied for our choices (or lack there of). We are divided along party lines, along opinions lines, along color lines. We are stretched to the point of breaking.

We are begging for relief. Any relief. Fires eventually burn themselves out. At some point, there is nothing left to burn. But the cost is often too much. Life. Love. Hope. We can sit by and watch the fire burn, or we can do something.

So, what are you going to do? Be a welcome rain or a fanning wind?

Rain calms and cools. Rain heals cracked land and brings new life from dead soil.
Rain diminishes the flames as clear drops cover the burning embers.
Rain promises renewal, even when it’s torrential.
Rain clarifies. Clears. Restores.

Wind spreads the flames.
Wind sweeps the good and the bad up together.
Wind gives oxygen to the fire, makes it grow.
Wind helps things burn until there is nothing left to catch flame.

Both wind and rain are important in their own time. But today, I’m choosing to be rain. I’m choosing to lessen the flames and not stoke the fire. What’s your choice?

Dreams Aren’t Dumb

…nor are the Dreamers

Sometimes things just happen in life. They are unexpected and surprising and beautiful and challenging. One of those things happened to me and I’ve been struggling to try and put into words what the experience has meant…which is ironic for reasons you will soon read.

A random series of events and friendships about two years ago led to breakfast with a complete stranger – a bundle of passion and energy who had already launched a full-fledged production company in Bloomington and was looking to expand the education arm of their foundation. That man was John Armstrong. The production company was Pigasus (The Good Catholic; Ms. White Light). He was (and is) a chaotic bundle of energy, passion, and excitement. At the time, I didn’t know breakfast would change so much for me.

Fast forward to February 2018, and I took the leap and became a teacher. For the past few months, I’ve been teaching Intro to Storytelling for Kids at the newly-created Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre, and it has been life-changing. When I was first asked to be a part of this project, I was convinced it was a mistake – all the other instructors are actual experts in their fields, trained and confident. I am just a girl with a library degree who knows the power of story – and how your story is the most important, authentic thing you can give the world.

Now, two sessions behind me and missing my kids and my co-workers something fierce, I thought I would tell you what I’ve learned:

  • Everyone has a story – and they all matter
  • Teaching is just as much about listening as it is telling
  • You never know what you’re capable of until you step outside your comfort zone
  • You will find some of the best people in the world when you try something new
  • Friendships formed through the crazy experience of starting a school are real and will stand the test of time
  • You don’t have to be an expert to share your passion
  • You’ll only fail if you aren’t authentic
  • Actor kids and their families are the most encouraging, uplifting sort of folk
  • You’ll see yourself in every single kid you teach
  • You’re never done writing your own story

The tagline for Pigasus is “Dreams Aren’t Dumb.” And it’s never been more true in my life. I’m a dreamer: one who is pursuing her dreams in a bunch of crazy ways with a bunch of crazy people, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dreams aren’t dumb. But neither are the dreamers. The people willing to take risks, make mistakes, dream even bigger, and put their whole hearts into something. So, here’s to the BAFT dreamers: John, Eric, Zach, Kate, Emelie, Byron, Amanda… thank you for helping me build bigger dreams and keep reaching for the next amazing opportunity.