My Sister and Me: Honey Bee

sometimes my sister is like honey

sometimes my sister is like a bee

sometimes my sister is like honey, so sweet, that she makes every day feel like a treat.

but sometimes my sister is like a bee, buzzing around from here to there constantly making trouble everywhere.

I suspect that all of the buzzing, the noise, the fuss and irritation is how the honey becomes her magical creation.

so I celebrate my sister with all of her dizzyingly, bombastic, giggling, laughing, crying, sarcastic …fantastic

for i can plainly see that without my sister there is only me

and wouldn’t it seem sad to be just a bee with no honey or just honey with no bee.

my sister and me 🍯🐝

Old Man McDonald and His Farm

Old Man McDonald had a farm
and on that farm, sat a great big house where he lived with his wife,
her brother, seven children and his mother.
He hoped they would stay safe from harm. (storm)
Old Man McDonald had a farm with chickens, cows, and acres of corn.
It was once small but grew to more than 100 acres strong.
He hoped it would stay safe from harm. (locust)
There was a big red barn where a tractor was stored.
There was a second barn where his prize calves were born.
He sure was responsible for a lot,
He hoped it all would stay safe from harm. (thief)
Old Man McDonald had a farm.
And for a long, long time, it did stay safe from harm.


Autumn is the time when not just leaves but rain also falls.
It comes down on the cows,
It comes down on the chickens and the acres of corn.
Rain makes the crops grow big and the animals strong.
But it had been a long time since rain fell on the farm.
The stalks of corn didn’t grow very tall
In fact, they remained abnormally small.
There was no rain in the summer and no rain in the spring.
The farm started to look like a pitiful thing.
Old Man McDonald had a farm,
in a town going through a drought
that was doing great harm.


Old Man McDonald went to the bank for an emergency loan.
The bank had a program that the farm qualified for.
The program was designed
to help farmers get through the hard times.

He submitted all the paperwork and filled out all the forms.
He really needed this help for the farm to go on.
He applied and was denied. The help was denied.
He told them of the struggles his family had known
and of the late nights, the early morns.
He told them that his corn production was way, way down
and that if he didn’t get help,
he wouldn’t be able to feed the chickens and cows.
Old Man McDonald had a farm,
a drought and no loan.
His hope for no harm to his farm was almost gone.


How could this be that he could not get a loan
from a program that he certainly qualified for.
It must be a mistake or some cruel trick
this made absolutely no damn sense.
But it was no mistake and it wasn’t a trick
this is just how the bank treated a certain percent.
For a certain percent of farmers who are Black,
discrimination against them was a well-known fact.
And even though that type of discrimination is illegal
the system was designed to be slow
in enforcing laws that protect Black people.


Old Man McDonald had a farm
but now it’s gone
along with the chickens, cows, and acres of corn.
The big red barn where his tractor was stored
the second barn where his prize calf was born.
It once was very large but now is quite small.


He sold it off
so that his family could continue on.


Old Man McDonald had a farm
he sued the bank for discrimination
and although it was not easy
eventually
he won.

Of Pressure and Responsibility

One definition of the word RESPONSIBILITY is, “the opportunity or ability to act independently and make decisions without authorization.”

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted this for myself. My earliest memory is sitting on the porch of our house in Oakland, CA at 2 years old, watching my older brothers skate around the block. They would disappear in one direction and magically reappear from the other direction. I wanted to do that too!

Years later, I’m in the 2nd grade and I decide to ditch school for the first time. Me and a buddy climbed over the fence at recess and ran down the street to the neighborhood corner store. The plan was to get some candy and then run back to school before recess was over… and we did it! We ran to the store, got that candy, ran back to school, hopped the fence and were back before recess was over enjoying our candy and relishing in our adventure.

I yearned to be free to move, think, say and be. The responsibility of being “grown”. I believed that responsibility came with a healthy amount of freedom. Freedom of movement and the ability to self-actualize.

One definition of the word PRESSURE is, “force that you produce when you press hard on something. If you are experiencing pressure, you feel that you must do a lot of tasks or make a lot of decisions in very little time, or that people expect a lot from you.”

When a friend of mine, Jimmer, was a kid, he pretty much did whatever his parents told him to do. On occasion he would choose to do the opposite, however those occasions were rare. One such occasion was when he was 5 years old.

He was walking thru Toys-R-Us with his father looking for some parts to dress up a bicycle they found near the garbage of their apartment complex. His father was very excited to make the bike look brand-new. Meanwhile some toys on another aisle caught Jimmer’s attention so he wandered off…unbeknownst to his father.

From a distance Jimmer hears his father excitedly calling his name. Jimmer walks towards the sound but as he gets closer, his father’s voice moves further away so Jimmer changes directions. Sometimes the voice is on the next aisle over, other times its aisles away. Perhaps this is a game, he thinks to himself.

But alas, it wasn’t. By the time he caught up to his father he knew he was in trouble. His father was angry… and scared. His father wasn’t afraid of anything, but something had scared him. Later, after enduring a long lecture about not wandering off, being responsible, and using your voice to speak up, none of which made much sense, Jimmer decided that he would never wander off again. Because what did make sense to him was that he did something to scare his father and he didn’t want that to happen again.

That day Jimmer unconsciously decided to limit his opportunities.

Accepting responsibility creates opportunities but succumbing to the pressure of having to be responsible limits your opportunities.

The intersection of responsibility, pressure and opportunity are multiple slices at the same coin. One person sees opportunity on the other side of accepting responsibility while another feels the pressure and chooses to avoid the responsibility. One person occupies a space of limitless opportunities while the other finds a world of limited opportunity.

That one decision which we make repeatedly throughout our lives determines how we walk through our life and how happy we are with it.

Go back to college Save money

Lose weight

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Get off your parent’s couch

Get in shape Vote

Pressure Responsibility Opportunity

Get Dirty (Book 1 Chapter 3)

Kelp isn’t a fast walker, so it takes a while, but he eventually catches up to Caiti. She is hiding behind a mound of rocks and when Caiti sees Kelp approaching, she tucks into her shell.
“Why did you run away?” asks Kelp. From inside her shell, Caiti responds, “You were laughing at me. Why didn’t you tell me I was all green?”
“I thought you did that on purpose,” says Kelp.
“Really,” says Caiti, “you think I’d do this on purpose? Really?”
Kelp just stares at Caiti. He’s afraid of saying the wrong thing but after a few uncomfortable moments, he says, “Have you tried to get it off?”
Caiti shakes her head, No.
“We should try,” says Kelp. “Maybe we can rub it off with some dirt.”
Caiti pops her head out of her shell. A small smile comes across her face. Kelp turns around and uses his back legs to kick dirt all over Caiti. She joins in and slides around in the dirt. Then with Kelp’s help, she flips over on her back and spins like a spinning
top. All that’s seen is a cloud of dust as Caiti and Kelp get lost in the dirt. As the cloud of dust settles, Caiti opens her eyes and looks at Kelp. They are both filthy and for now, she looks brown. “Did it work?” asks Caiti. “Am I still green?”
“Let me blow the dirt off first,” says Kelp. Caiti closes her eyes as Kelp takes a deep breath and blows the dirt off. Kelp makes the strangest sound as he blows. It sounds like the air is being let out of a balloon. It’s working though. The green is blowing off with the dirt and for the first time, we can see Caiti’s shining gray face. A hopeful Caiti asks again, “Did it work?” Kelp says nothing, but his smile says it all. “It worked?” yells an excited Caiti.

“Yes, it is working,” says Kelp. And with that, both Caiti and Kelp blow the dirt off different parts of her. They get lost in another cloud of dust and together the sound of air being let out of two balloons fills the air. Out of breath, they both stop blowing and collapse right where they are standing. All the blowing wore them both out but, Caiti is smiling again.

Caiti and Kelp are best friends and tortioses that live in the Mojave Desert. This excerpt is from the book entitled, Caiti and Kelp: A Green Day. Which is book one of volume one (Caiti Green).

Available now at https://t.co/vU91KeBoPE

Roadrunners (Book 1 Chapter 2)

Nearly three hours have passed, and the sun has risen over the Mojave Desert. Caiti and Kelp walk near some cacti where a few roadrunners are running, hopping and flying back and forth.
The Roadrunners stop in their tracks and their beaks hang wide open as Caiti and Kelp walk by. Caiti notices their reaction and assumes they’re impressed with her fancy hat, so she extends her neck and raises her head high into the air.
Out of nowhere, Squawk! The sounds of roadrunners laughter fill the air. Caiti and Kelp stop walking and turn back to see what’s so funny. The Roadrunners are all rolling around in the dirt, laughing. Two of them, Spig, and Twigs fly towards Caiti and Kelp. They land right in front of Caiti.
“What are you supposed to be?” laughs Spig. But before Caiti says a word Twigs chimes in, “She’s the first desert traffic light!”
“Green means go!” yells Spig.
“Green means go!” yells Twigs. Spig and Twigs dart about saying, “Go! Go! Go! Go!”
Caiti watches them and gets irritated. “Roadrunners are so dumb,” she says. “What does my hat have anything to do with a traffic light?”
“She’s wearing a hat too,” laughs Spig. “Kelp, shame on you for letting that traffic light wear your lunch on her head.”
Until now Kelp hadn’t considered that they would eat the hat for lunch, so he asks, “Is that our lunch?”
His question hurts Caiti’s feelings. “I thought you liked my hat. Why are you making fun of me too?”
“I am not making fun of you,” says Kelp. “I was not sure because, I like your hat, but I do not understand why you painted yourself green.”
Confused and hurt Caiti says, “Green?”

“Yes, green,” replies Kelp. “Green from your head to your shell to your toe.”
Caiti pauses as she considers what Kelp just said. She stretches out one of her legs and looks at it. Then she stretches out another leg. She stretches her neck out as far as she can to see her shell. Yikes! Caiti screams and runs off leaving them all standing there.

Caiti and Kelp are best friends and tortioses that live in the Mojave Desert. This excerpt is from the book entitled, Caiti and Kelp: A Green Day. Which is book one of volume one (Caiti Green).

Available now at https://t.co/vU91KeBoPE

The Burrow (Book 1 Chapter 1)

It rained all night long, but the rain clouds are gone now leaving a clear dark blue sky. Kelp waits outside his best friend’s burrow. “Caiti! Caiti! Are
you up?” he yells.
Coming from deep inside the burrow Kelp hears sounds that resemble things moving around and breaking. He yells out again, “Are you okay in there?”
Inside the burrow, Caiti is out of breath, she yells back, “Yep, I’m okay. I’m better than okay!”
A flower blooms right in front of Kelp. He looks at it, smiles and eats it. “If you are better than okay,” Kelp says with a mouthful of the flower, “why are you still inside instead of out here with me?” Kelp spots another flower which sprouted up near an opened
can of green paint. The flower is covered in the paint. Kelp devours it. Yuck! He spits it out and coughs as he
tries to rid his mouth of the horrible tasting flower.
“Are you okay out there?” shouts Caiti.
“Yes,” coughs Kelp, “would you hurry though? We have a long walk ahead of us.”
Kelp looks out into the distance. Although it’s early, most of the animals of the Mojave Desert have
started their day. He walks to the entrance of Caiti’s burrow. It’s dark inside and not much light gets in
which helps to keep it cool. Caiti is doing the best she can to keep a hat from sliding off her head. “I’m almost ready,” she says. “I have to make one minor change. Trust me, it’ll be
worth the wait.”
Moments later Caiti appears, and Kelp is speechless. He stares at her with his mouth wide open. Caiti is wearing a giant hat made of fruit and flowers and more fruit. Oh, and she’s green. Not just any green either. Caiti is the same green as the opened can of paint and the flower Kelp just ate.
Caiti smiles as she says, “So, what do you think? It was worth the wait, right?”
Kelp continues to stare without saying a word.
“Wow,” says Caiti, “your reaction is even better than I could imagine.” She walks in a circle so that Kelp
sees her from all sides.
“How?” says Kelp. He blinks a few times. “Why?”
He gets another word out as he twists his head to the side. “What?”
Caiti smiles. “You’re the best, Kelp. Let’s go! We have a long walk ahead of us.”

Caiti and Kelp are best friends and tortioses that live in the Mojave Desert. This excerpt is from the book entitled, Caiti and Kelp: A Green Day. Which is book one of volume one (Caiti Green).

Available now at https://t.co/vU91KeBoPE

The Importance of Structure

The day I saw past my own limitations was the day I learned about structure. I was stuck trying to write stories about things I dreamt of, however, I would never finish them. Those dreams were just interesting, exciting and sometimes invigorating moments, but moments are not complete stories. A complete story requires structure.

The need for structure was a major blind spot for me which is comical considering I knew the value of having structure. I served in the military right after high school. I got married soon thereafter and raised to two great kids. I worked in corporate environments for most of my adult life. All these things require structure to be successful.

Structure is to us what structure is to the house in which we live. It’s the framework on which everything else hangs

I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling and storytellers. I wanted to be a storyteller, so I wrote. I wrote stories when I was a kid. I made up stories for my children when they were kids. They’re grown now and I’m still writing stories, but I’ve never felt like they were complete. I’ve never felt like the written story matched the dream. That’s was until I stumbled across a book that talked about structure like it was a mathematical problem.

The book is titled, Save the Cat, and it’s by Blake Snyder. It’s marketed towards screenwriters and I’m no screenwriter but the parts about structure made all the sense in the world.

People would tell me I’m a writer and I would respond with “No I’m not. I’m just someone who writes.” But not anymore. Now I know how to structure my stories.

 “Writers write. Dreamers talk about it.”  Jerry B. Jenkins

A proper structure can benefit all aspects of our lives, from our families, and our careers, to our businesses and even our nation. So, if you’re missing the mark like I was, take a hard look at your structure.

Maybe it’s even time for you to write your story! I like to think that we all have at least one great story in us.

 

 Screenshot_20180920-093238

Check out my latest children’s eBook Series

Caiti and Kelp: A Green Day, A Simple Plan, The Spin Doctors, A Tortoise saves the Day

Will Caiti survive being bullied? Will Kelp overcome his fears? Animals don’t complain about the world, they adapt. This series offers an in-depth look into the lives of two young tortoises living in the Mojave Desert. We join them on a journey to satisfy their Basic, Psychological and Self-Fulfillment needs. The stories offer important life lessons for children of all ages although it’s written in a style appealing to 4-10 years old girls and boys. Parents, grandparents and caregivers alike will find that the lessons are useful to aid in discussing important issues kids are dealing with today.