Through My Writing – Shelley David

Through My Writing

 Shelley David

                I started an uphill journey 2 ½ years ago, a lifelong yearning to become a nurse. After completing the Certified Nursing Assistant course in January 2011, I began the prerequisites for the nursing program the following spring at Metropolitan Community College. My first two classes were chemistry and algebra. On the second day of classes, I became more overwhelmed than I imagined I ever would and decided to drop the classes, ending my dream to become a nurse. I felt completely devastated. No matter how hard I tried, however, I could not get over the strong urge to fulfill this crazy desire. Something inside was tugging at me, telling me to not give up. I decided to take the college plunge, one more time. It is what I needed to do, for my sanity, for peace. I will never satisfy my inner soul until this true calling is accomplished.

Learning is much more fun for me, now, than it was when I was younger. The fact that I have hiked up the “mountain of life experiences” gives me a huge advantage. I love to learn, and I love to read, two things I never desired in my younger years. Thankfully, I am still climbing the mountain; I will never stop growing and learning. At my age, I have reached the point where I am confident that I can complete my wish. Right now, I am exactly where I need to be. Regardless if I complete this nursing path or not, my college experience has been life changing.

The writing class I am in, now, has taught me that I can speak for those who cannot. Words are powerful; they can build up, and they can destroy. With social media overtaking our world, young people are drawn into a place where words are power. Sadly, so often, they use the power given to them in destructive ways. Through my writing, I want to improve the lives of others, not tear them down. My words can be small drops in a lake which ripples of hope to all who read them.

God has placed me here, in this class, for a purpose. I have discovered what a joy it is to write, and as a nurse, I appreciate how influential writing will be in my position as a health-care provider. It is therapeutic; it is healing, and it can bring hope to a hurting world. That is what creates change; that is my mission.

Weather Change – Brad Ashford

Weather Change

Brad Ashford



Watching summer change to fall is a favorite event of mine. At home, in Omaha, this event occurs, generally, in the last couple of weeks in October. However, in Ely, Minnesota, where we have a summer cabin, it happens now at the end of September.

Fortunately, I am at my cabin, now, watching as the wind is shifting from the South to the West. A strong wind is blowing in and the gray white bank of clouds rushes across the horizon. White caps dot the normally becalmed expanse of lake a few hundred feet in front of my deck. The maple trees are already a deep red, and the birch are topped off with a deep gold hue. The contrast with pine and spruce is dramatic.

Maybe, most notably, the loons have left the lake. Their distinctive call is our church bell and street light. As a child, I remember awaking to the church bell in our neighborhood and returning home with the street lights. The loon, though not synced to Greenwich Mean Time, signals the morning, warns us of inclement weather, and portends the rising of the moon. I am told they are off to South America. Good luck.

I am blessed, as I get to see this whole change of nature happen again, in a few weeks, at home in Nebraska.


Game Changer by Kim Justus

In 1995, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. I was thirty-five years old, in the best shape of my life, and had just gotten a clean bill of health with an annual physical. The incident resulted in the need for a craniotomy, where a metal clip was strategically placed to stop the bleeding. The blood seeped into various parts of my brain, so once inside, a massive cleanup was required. Back then, micro-neurosurgery was a relatively new technique. Prior to that time, the most likely outcome was death. Given the same circumstances, odds for survival are only slightly better now.

Continue reading “Game Changer by Kim Justus”

One Meaning, One World by Cecilia Hiebner

How can I show my Spanish students the various similarities all languages share? In Spanish we say paz, in French one says paix, in Italian you see pace, in German one finds as frieden, and in English the translation is peace.  These words differ in spelling and in pronunciation, but all contain only one definition that the entire world understands. “This is amazing!” I tell them.

Continue reading “One Meaning, One World by Cecilia Hiebner”

The Broken Pottery Shop by Debra L. Hall

In a time when the world had lost the concept of forgiveness and had forgotten the meaning of love, a young girl named Rayna walked to the edge of sadness and there she took up residence in a rundown cottage, overgrown by tangled brambles. “It is better to be alone than lonely,” she reasoned. The humble dwelling had once belonged to a cruel man who, over time, had filled the rooms with broken dreams, shattered plans and mismatched cast-a-ways. Every nook and cranny was smothered in cobwebs and dark secrets. Gloomy shadows refused to give way to light. Rayna recognized the despair. It was the very likeness of her wretched past. She thought it a suitable home.

Continue reading “The Broken Pottery Shop by Debra L. Hall”

Farewell My Friend, Until We Meet Again by Kim Justus

I was a child who was told by a 2nd grade teacher that I was “not good at art.” I took that as gospel. I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler. In fact, it became the long running family joke.

In 1995, at age 35, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. At the peak of my game, I was knocked off the playing board altogether. I made a journal of the events during my 6+ month recovery. As my looks began to transform back to my “old self,” after being a “zipper head” due to the major craniotomy required, I longed to put the dreadful experience behind me. I just wanted to go back to “normal.” As an acquaintance said the other day, the only place she has seen “normal” is on a washing machine! That’s another story. I did the old fashion way of copyrighting, mailed my manuscript to myself, tossed it in a plastic storage bin, and moved on for over a decade. I thought, someday, I’d write a book about my incredible experience. In fact, my mom suggested once or twice a year that I “get right on that!” I wasn’t quick to act. Continue reading “Farewell My Friend, Until We Meet Again by Kim Justus”

Soap Ducks, Sore Backs & Succotash by Randy DeVillez

Soap Ducks, Sore Backs, & Succotash

by Randy DeVillez

I was an education major for a while in undergraduate school. Several situations led to my switching to a B.A. in English. The first event occurred when my Ed. Psych. teacher, delivering the same lecture two days in a row (not intentionally), while excitedly flapping his arms, spitting (due to his lisp) and drawing an imaginary bell curve in the air, executed a perfect face plant from the podium in front of the lecture hall, landing nose and chin into the lap of the pretty brunette sitting in front of me. Although I was envious, I was not impressed. I also knew I would have to endure other courses with him. The next week, my Introduction to Education instructor told us to bring a new bar of Ivory Soap for carving soap ducks the next class period. He also assigned me (an English-teacher-to-be) to shadow a physical education teacher at one of the local grade schools for my “field experience.” While I enjoyed my time with the coach and really liked him, I can’t say I was learning anything to help me teach college English.

When I thought of the tuition I was paying at a small private college to monitor kickball and carve soap ducks, I decided to switch to a liberal arts degree and double up on courses in my major. I skipped education classes and certification, figuring all the extra course work in my major and minor would help me get into graduate school and give me a better background for college teaching. In retrospect, the decision was a correct one, but my lack of training in education often surfaced during my thirty years in the classroom. I learned lessons experientially from my students and colleagues that I wish to pass on to anyone else following in my academic footsteps, anyone who is considering becoming a teacher.

ONE: Avoid giving your students a headache or backache. Continue reading “Soap Ducks, Sore Backs & Succotash by Randy DeVillez”

The Truth by Sierra Cammack

The Truth

by Sierra Cammack

When you’re looking for the truth, you have to be careful. Finding truth is like attempting to sail a boat through a violent storm, while you are not wearing a life jacket. You have to be careful not to go overboard, when your only support is a thin cord that tethers you to your mast. That tether is what you know for sure. It keeps you upright and provides some security. The raging storm? That’s what has been said, written, and whispered in hushed tones behind closed doors. It’s all the information, true and false, secret and widely known, that you are going to have to deal with. The wind and the rain are lies, pushing you off course and blinding you. The occasional finger of lightning that touches down in the distance is a truth that lights up your situation, so that just for a moment, you can see a bit further and a bit clearer. The thunder is encouragement, like a far away audience applauding, reminding you to keep going. You have to keep going. The storm is going to try and push you out to sea, but you have got to keep moving forward, guided to the answer by random flashes of light and your own instincts. After all, it is not the whole truth, if you settle for only halfway, and half a truth is not enough for me. Half a truth is still half a lie.