Monthly Archives: September 2012

The road to Nashville


I attended my first Midsouth SCBWI conference last week. Nashville is almost 9 driving hours from my home, but fortunately, there are all sorts of fun things to do on the way there. We spread out the travel to two days so we were able to do three of them: Closer to Nashville, we popped into the National Corvette Museum;  before that, a short tour (Frozen Niagra) in Mammoth Cave National Park; and a few hours into the first day, a two hour stroll through Conner Prairie.

Conner Prairie is an interactive history park that includes the 1836 Prairietown. A great place to do research for my work-in-progress set in 1850. I had questions answered on goats in Indiana, the size and type of subsistence farming and crops, where livestock lived, what barns looked like…

… what houses of that era looked like in Indiana, inside…

and out…

The Curtis’s house, Prairietown

… how people who needed help to live were taken care of…

Social services, Prairietown

what was available at the store, and much more. Priceless. Also a beautiful way to stretch your legs for a couple of hours!

We ended that second day at the “Live on the Green” free concert in Nashville, watching two great bands (The Dunwells and The Wallflowers). Great beginning to our destination.

Random Acts of Publicity–Tony Johnston


I’m joining Darcy Pattison’s Random Acts of Publicity Week with this post about children’s author and poet, Tony Johnston.

I discovered her haphazardly during a college visit with my youngest son. The college recruiter showed us a copy of The Harmonica because one of the professors there (Ron Mazellan) had illustrated it with beautiful mixed media. I later purchased it to give my son inspiration-towards-college. Only then did I read it and discover her evocative voice. Wow.

The Harmonica, by Tony Johnston (Charlesbridge, 2004)

Later, while browsing through my favorite online charitable bookstore’s bargain bin, I found a title by Tony Johnston. It was a no-brainer to click “buy” for that one. And when the book arrived, my instincts were proven correct. Once again, her evocative voice shone through with a message of peace and hope. This book was called Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace. One of my favorite lines is, “Broken child in a broken land, I dream you a safe shore.”

Voice from Afar: Poems of Peace, by Tony Johnston (Holiday House, 2008)

Coincidentally, or providentially, soon afterwards we were asked to put together a worship service on peace. I used five of Tony’s poems as a framework for the service. I heard the poems brought forth some tears. I’ll list the poems here in case anyone wants to use the same framework for either a worship service or a peace gathering. There is no specific God language (other than the language of peace), so it would be acceptable in a public school setting as well.

For the call to worship or the beginning of the gathering: “Let Us Weave,” page 32

Before lighting of a peace candle: “Among the Sequoias,” page 23

Before prayer or statement of confession: “Belfast,” page 22

Before a time for children: “Voice from Afar,” page 5

As a Benediction or ending of gathering: “If Only,” page 28

Go in peace!