So, what is a starnado, and why did starnado make the cut as the name of this blog? After asking my colleagues for ideas and getting responses like “johnsiedoesbikesandteachin” I decided to ponder ideas on my own. Honestly, my favorite idea was “jackofall” since I do often feel as though I am a jack of all trades, master of none. Continue reading
Last week I posted about finally finishing my children’s book “Have you seen my charger?” . This week I would like to share a little poem from my Nana.
Betty Gaskell (Fluegge) was my Nana. My maternal grandmother and I miss her dearly. Nana had many gifts, but did not always show them off. I am not sure if this was humility or a lack of confidence, but I do know she was a far better artist and poet than I would have known. Had I not overseen her drawing later in her life at a 4th of July celebration, or had my mom stumble across this poem after her passing I am not sure some of her skill would have ever been shared. Maybe she wanted to stay private, but I think it is too good not to share.Continue reading
It took a couple years of intermittently working to write the story, find an illustrator, find a way to publish, and then get the courage to finalize the project. I am excited to share that my first book is complete! Physical copies have arrived and Print On Demand (POD) is available for ordering your own copy.
So what is the story!?
While visiting with family in northern Michigan people kept losing track of their phone and tablet chargers. It started to feel as though each time we sat down together someone was asking, “Have you seen my charger?”. I felt compelled right then to grab a pad of notebook paper and start rhyming out lines to go along with the situation taking place. It is becoming a question asked more often, “Have you seen my charger?”. Common replies seem to be “No”, “Yes, on the counter”, or “Where did you leave it last?”.
As the lines started to flow out and family members kept adding their own input, a short story was quickly developing. For the character in the story the search for a charger takes them on a journey. In searching, they find something even more valuable than the charger they were looking for in the first place.
After several tweaks and edits to the manuscript “Have you seen my charger?” is more than just a common question, it is also the title of my first book.
How can you get your own copy? Great question! There are two main options for purchasing your own copy. Book Baby’s BookShop and Amazon.com Even searching for the book, or my name, on Amazon boosts the status of the book. Please consider at least giving it a search or clicking the Amazon link.
BookShop sends 50% of the sales back to the author.
Amazon sends 13%. Amazon does have a much larger reach and you could add the book onto an order quite easily.
The price is actually set below the BookBaby suggested price. I would go even lower if the cost of printing allowed since I think the message of the story is worth spreading.
There are several people I will not be able to thank enough for helping this all finally come together, but I will try.
Illustrator Tracy Burnett took the manuscript and ran with it, really bringing the words to life. I am very thankful for her willingness to take a chance on the story and work through all my short-comings as someone publishing their first book. I asked a lot of Tracy and she helped make it work. Without her there literally would not be a physical copy of the story.
My family. I am blessed to have two loving families to belong to. A big thanks to the Skalecki/Haggerty side for inspiring this situation. A big thank you to the Johns family for building my confidence to continue after the initial story was written.
A special thank you to my wife and kids for listening to the story and helping with feedback. Also thank you for patience as a “quick project” stretched into multiple hurdles to overcome and a lot of new learning taking place. Also, thank you for believing in the book enough to self-publish. Another spot which could have stopped the process, but I am thankful the book is now complete.
Thank you to Kevin Kammeraad for meeting up with me at Panera Bread and encouraging a complete novice like me to find an avenue to create a finished book.
Thank you to my teachers. I recently found a few papers I had written in high school… I would say looking back that writing is not necessarily a natural gift, but I know I would lack an ability to express my thoughts through writing without their guidance. This includes my colleagues as an educator. Several of you have encouraged me to “do hard things” or build my skill set.
The process from notebook in a cabin living room to printed book was riddled with obstacles to overcome. Perhaps another blog post will help explain how each these challenges added meaning to the project overall. Peace.
Have you ever felt ‘off’? Things you used to do with ease seem to take a lot of focus and effort. Or you are going through the exact same motions as before, but you don’t feel fulfilled like you used to. As much as you try to get out of a funk, nothing seems to get you back to where you know you belong. No matter how many times you try to recreate Unique Life Feels (ULFs), it seems you are not able to feel what you once did.Continue reading
Christmas Day is just inserted in the title because it is referenced later and it nicely abbreviates to CD. This abbreviation also happens to be the same for a Certificate of Deposit, which is really what this post is about.
I imagine most of us have likely been in the position where it is right before Christmas, a family member’s birthday, or a trip and the time to pay for the event is upon us before we have set aside the money needed to pay. With the convenience of the credit card, we charge the necessary amount needed to get through the event. If we are fortunate enough, we pay off the credit card balance before finance charges start to build. If we are like the majority of Americans, we now have more debt hanging over us.
What I would like to propose here is a way to relieve the financial burden of such scenarios, and in the process actually make a small sum of money. In essence this small sum is like paying yourself for exhibiting self-control related to finances and planning.
In this scenario I will be using actual numbers for account minimums and interest rates from my local credit union. Collectively, local credit unions have lower minimums and higher interest rates. Credit union vs. Bank is a whole different post someday…
Here we go! For the sake of minimums I will be using our credit union’s CD minimum of $500. This $500 would be money used for purchasing gifts for the Christmas holiday. (By the end of this post my hope is you can insert any life event using the same concept).Continue reading
I sit. I Listen.
I allow silence to surround.
With winter fading and spring awaiting,
no leaves on tree or ground.
With little wind the forest rests,
and invites me to do the same.
I close my eyes and rest as well,
and let the woods reclaim.
With mother nature all around it’s easy to let go.
Of all my stress and worry, right now I do not know.
And as I sit and listen to the stillness of the breeze,
my focus shifts to “Posted” signs, stapled to the trees.
They rustle and they rattle and break the peaceful quiet.
We have broken nature, though society denies it.
Nature is the great inventor of what was and is to come.
While we continue to abuse her, we become more numb.
What can a single soul like me do to help amend?
Certainly not turn away, ignore, or just pretend.
Nature needs us more than ever, this I truly know.
Our gifts alone can help or harm, destroy or let regrow.
Remove the “Posted” from the land, and also from your mind.
Nature is here to be protected, not destroyed by humankind.
I sit. I listen. I think of what could be.
For nature has already given all needs for you and me.
Last week in The Grand Rapids Press I found it interesting to find two articles which seem to pivot around the same idea. Article #1 titled “These toys can help kids have healthier minds, bodies” was written by a Harvard Health doctor and the list of toys to help a child’s mind includes: Blocks, drawing materials, dollhouses, cars, play kitchen, dress-up clothes.
For those of you who read this list and said “yeah right, any child would get bored with these.” you are not alone. Dr. McCarthy admits boredom might be the result of some of these toys, but she also points out that boredom might be a key piece to breeding creativity. “If they are constantly entertained, they will never learn to entertain themselves, and they will miss out on important opportunities to create and explore.”
Now just a few pages later in the same edition of The Grand Rapids Press is the article titled ” ‘Fortnite’ addiction is forcing kids into video-game rehab”. Whoa. In this article Jef Feeley and Christopher Palmeri give a laundry list of issues with kids being hooked into gaming, specifically Fortnite.Continue reading
There was a time in my life when I enjoyed getting mail of any kind. Packages, junk mail, bank statements, ads, and newspapers were a welcome addition to my mailbox. For me those days are numbered. I am getting tired of carrying junk mail from mailbox directly to the recycling bin.Continue reading
Today is giving Tuesday and if you are fortunate enough to give this year there is no shortage of options for where to send donations. This past week alone I have received an e-mail or a letter from a zoo, a food pantry, a church, nature preserve, and a school.Continue reading
What’s in a name?
William Shakespeare is perhaps the most famous person to ask this question in Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2: “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet”.
But my question is not referring to bridging a gap between disparate families. My question is different but perhaps just as complex.
What value does your name have?Continue reading