The hardest, toughest, scariest, best year I’ve ever endured: my first year as a 10th grade teacher (plus another sneak peek into Book 8)

“You’re gonna miss me, aren’t you, Mrs. Mercer?” a student asked me yesterday. “You big goober, of course I’m going to miss you.” But I didn’t say the first three words out loud. (At least I don’t think I did.) But I meant I would miss him, to my surprise. Back in autumn when I … Continue reading The hardest, toughest, scariest, best year I’ve ever endured: my first year as a 10th grade teacher (plus another sneak peek into Book 8)

Book 8 IS COMING THIS SUMMER! (I promise, really–just hang in there, friends)

Sorry I can't be more specific with the date. I need to finish this year of teaching in June. Then prep for and teach three weeks of summer school. Then move into our fourth house in just one year (a personal best [worst] for number of moves for us). Then finish editing Book 8 (all … Continue reading Book 8 IS COMING THIS SUMMER! (I promise, really–just hang in there, friends)

I used to think prom was a waste of time and money, but last weekend I realized why we need it (and a sneak peek to book 8)

My inner anthropologist compelled me on Saturday night to go to our high school and witness a cultural phenomenon called “walking out.” At proms in the west, this doesn’t occur. But here in Downeast Maine it’s the event of the year. Before the prom begins, the juniors (even though all grades were invited) link arms … Continue reading I used to think prom was a waste of time and money, but last weekend I realized why we need it (and a sneak peek to book 8)

They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)

My 6-year-old tried to play chess with me at their school’s STEM night last week. I didn’t realize he knew the rules, and it turns out he doesn’t, because he produced a secret weapon: a 6-legged spider he’d made out of clay in his class earlier. “This is spider-guy,” he announced. “And he can eat … Continue reading They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)

A surprising perspective of Godliness I’ve learned from teaching high school (yes, He’s still there)

They come into my room with complaints, always. It’s the nature of teenagers, and because I sit behind the desk I hear it all. Usually they march right up to me and express how annoying, or rude, or fake, or awful someone is. It's more important than lunch, more important than study hall, more important … Continue reading A surprising perspective of Godliness I’ve learned from teaching high school (yes, He’s still there)

Bethany wrote a song, guys! To accompany Book 5—”Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti.” Come listen and wear a sweater (because it gave me chills)

I hardly know how to write this post because nothing like this has happened before. I’m on the floor (because I was floored, literally) to receive an email from Bethany Cousins, a reader who’s become a friend (a side benefit I never realized that comes with writing: new friends!). She, with her husband (i.e. NuminousBand), … Continue reading Bethany wrote a song, guys! To accompany Book 5—”Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti.” Come listen and wear a sweater (because it gave me chills)

How an invasion of ladybugs brought down this pacifist and is making her rethink her stance on guns.

See this photo of our latest snowstorm? Look closer—see all the spots on the image when I turn on my camera's flash? Ladybugs. No, no, no—don’t start saying, “Oh, how sweet!” because they aren’t. Not one bit. They are everywhere. Hundreds, every single day, springing up in the oddest of places. Usually I find them … Continue reading How an invasion of ladybugs brought down this pacifist and is making her rethink her stance on guns.

Book 8 teaser: Your heritage doesn’t determine your legacy, and that’s a good thing.

As a 10th grade English teacher, I learn a lot about students from their writing. I read about divorces, neglect, drug use, alcohol problems, and misery. And I hold all of their words sacred. They’ve trusted me with them, and they could write about something easier, but they share what eats at them. They have … Continue reading Book 8 teaser: Your heritage doesn’t determine your legacy, and that’s a good thing.

How not to fill out a press release (but I feel obliged, so I tried anyway)

(I was sent this press release template in conjunction with being announced as a finalist. Having no idea what to do with it—marketing isn’t my strength—I’ve done my best to customize it. But as for sending it anywhere? Terrifying.) THE FLIGHT OF THE WOUNDED FALCON NAMED AS FINALIST (because I'm guessing my category was fairly … Continue reading How not to fill out a press release (but I feel obliged, so I tried anyway)

Can God, the master plot builder, write you and me a happy ending, even if we’ve messed up the story?

Recently a friend and I were chatting online about a most stupid and aggravating character (Young Pere in “The Soldier in the Middle of the World”). Those of you who are reading it know that Young Pere keeps getting caught up in his own ideas of how things should be. Despite warnings and promptings, he … Continue reading Can God, the master plot builder, write you and me a happy ending, even if we’ve messed up the story?