Sunday, September 28, 2008

Call for personal essay submissions for book

posted: September 26, 2008
Submission Deadline: November 29, 2008

Book Title
29 GIFTS: How to cultivate a daily giving practice that will ignite your energy for life
by Cami Walker and the Community

Book Description
29 Gifts is the story of how founder, Cami Walker, healed from a major illness by taking an unusual prescription from a South African medicine woman. The remedy? Give 29 gifts to others in 29 days. Midway through Cami's 29 days of giving, after seeing many miraculous changes in her life, she launched a website encouraging others to take the 29 Gifts Challenge and share their stories about how it impacted their lives. Six months and 1,765 committed givers later, Cami was contacted by a major publisher and decided to say YES to their request and write a book. The book is scheduled for release Fall 2009.

In addition to Cami's inspiring personal story, 29 Gifts will also include a collection of 29 personal essays from others about the Healing Power of Giving.

Authors whose stories are chosen for publication in the 29 Gifts book will receive a one-time payment of $200.

Selected contributors also get a brief bio at the end of their story and a link to their profile page. On your profile page, readers can learn more about you, leave comments for you about your story, and link to your website.

How to Submit:
1. SIGN UP for the 29 Gifts Challenge at

2. Give away 29 gifts in 29 days. Your gifts can be ANYTHING given to ANYONE -- smiles, kind thoughts, old sweaters, cans of soup, spare change...

3. Write and submit a story that is 2,500 words or less about how it impacted your life to focus on giving for 29 days

4. Email your story in the BODY of an email to (NO ATTACHMENTS, please)
*Put STORY in the SUBJECT LINE of your email
*Include your FULL CONTACT DETAILS: first and last name (as you want it published in your byline), phone number, mailing address, email address and the link to your profile at the TOP of your email and the story below that.

Submission deadline: November 29, 2008

NOTE: You MUST be a member of the site (i.e. have a profile on the site) to be considered for the book.

If you haven't signed up at yet, DO IT NOW and start your giving because story submissions for the book are due 11/29/08!

1. Write in present, active tense.

2. Use a lot of sensory detail that helps stimulate all five senses.

3. Use conversational tone, as if you are sitting down and telling the story in person to your best friend.

4. Tell the story of the gift(s) you gave, but also communicate how it impacted you. How did you feel about yourself after offering the gift(s)? Did the gift(s) change your perception about something? Did you receive something unexpected in return? Was there an evident impact on the recipient of the gift(s)?

Please direct any submission-related questions to:
*Absolutely NO phone calls please.


Please pass this along to anyone you feel might be interested!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

September Nights

I can't get over how cool the weather has turned all of a sudden. It doesn't seem normal for NC. But then again, Fall always sneaks up on me and surprises me. Next thing you know it'll be Christmas. Especially if I get lost in all the meteor showers in October and November eh?

I was outside tonight... we live in a neighborhood now, which comes with it's inherent set of complicatons. I suppose it's only natural that there's more trouble and drama in a place where there's a high concentration of people. But even so, at night, it's quiet, crazy quiet. We're far enough away from the highway that we barely even hear the traffic at night. All you hear are crickets getting ready for the harvest. The air has an unmistakable quality to it - the humidity that hung heavy over us all summer has been replaced with the crisp clarity that always preceeds winter.

Tonight, there's not a cloud in the sky, just eons of stars as far into eternity as the human eye can see, and farther than the human mind can fathom. I saw a shooting star and was so awed that I forgot to make a wish. It's just so damned beautiful out there. So undefined, and yet, so perfectly clear.

I should have wished on that star - I should have wished I was the September night sky.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cross Posted from EVERYWHERE else I blog...

I am hosting a shoe drive for Soles4Souls, which distributes shoes to people in need. Basically, I'm collecting "gently used" or new shoes (of any size, color or style) and shipping them to their warehouse in Alabama to be distributed.

The organization distributes both within The US, and to other countries.

I'll be collecting through October 19th, and I'd really appreciate it if you had any to donate. The website says I'm supposed to suggest that anyone who donates shoes also donate $2 to cover my shipping cost, however, if you'd like to donate shoes without the $2, that's totally cool too, I'll cover the difference in shipping.

If you'd like to donate some shoes, please message me or email me at!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I never did like coming up with a title...

I'm having one of those days where I feel like I'm just banging my head into a wall. It's so frustrating to not be able to accomplish things I really want to accomplish.

So here's one of the stories (just one, otherwise it would be yet another unbearably long post lol!)

My kids are friends with this other kid, I'll call him "K" since he isn't mine and I don't feel it's right to spread his business all over the net :)

He is a troubled kid, I've talked about him before right? I don't remember. Anyway. He just needs people to show him something other than he's ever been taught. He's been raised by an ailing mother. His father has been absent his whole life because he's been too busy robbing banks and killing people and going to prison. He's lived in rough neighborhoods where he had to be 'tough' to survive. He resents his mother for some of the things he's been through, and for some of the things she did that, I'm sure, were things she felt were necessary at the time. Now he is 17 1/2, and terribly lost, and the path he's on will not lead to a happy or fulfilling adult life. Actually, I think he's headed toward a lifetime of incarceration if he's allowed to just fall through the gaping holes in society's support framework.

Truth is, since he's been spending time with us, he's opened up a lot, he's calmed down a lot, he's softened up a lot, and he seems like a big hearted kid who just needs some love, understanding and guidance. We, as a family, have been trying to provide all of this for him.

I've also talked to his mother, who is nearly as old as my mother. There's a generation gap between SHE and I, you can only imagine how vastly differently she and "K" see the world. And they don't talk. She just seems to make no attempt to give him what HE needs, because she's so dang busy giving him what she THINKS he needs. And she calls me all the time. Rather than talk to him or try to repair their relationship, she tries to pick my brain and find out what he's said here. Now, don't get me wrong, she's the mom, and I can identify with her, on that mother level. But if I stand a chance of doing him any good at all, I can't betray his trust by becoming his mother's spy into his life. SHE needs to open those lines of communication with him rather than use me.

Of course, I can't say that to her. Who the hell am I to question her parenting skills or presume to know a thing about their relationship, right? Well, at least that's what she's going to be thinking... unless I betray his trust and tell her the things he's told us.

Ugly damn cycle, and I am so conflicted as to how to handle things. I have to admit that I figure if she hasn't been able to connect with him in the last 17 1/2 years, there's probably little that's going to change in the short time he has left in her care. And if he has any hope of realizing the error of his ways, he's more likely to learn by example from us, rather than by waiting for her to become someone she isn't.

So, I feel like a bad person in a way, but I tend to lean towards not telling her anything, and thereby keeping his trust... But sometimes I feel like for every breakthrough we have with him (and there have been several breakthrough "light bulb moments") she turns around and does something with him that unravels it allbang head Pictures, Images and Photos

And I guess the question(s) I'm really struggling with: Am I over stepping some boundaries? And if I am, do my intentions make it OK? Or should I just back out of it entirely? And if I do just remove myself, is that fair to him? What's more important, respecting the boundaries or helping this kid?


Friday, September 5, 2008

McCain v Sleaster

McCain v Sleaster

William Sleaster, a student at Concord High School rose to ask McCain a question about gay rights and, ultimately dissatisfied by the answer he received from McCain, told the Republican presidential contender that he'd come looking to see a leader and didn't.

[The Rest of the Story]

I wish I had this kid's phone number - I'd text him a big fat ^5 for being unafraid to speak his mind, and for asking the hard questions, and EXPECTING AN ANSWER, without being intimidated by McCain.

Of course, McCain didn't give him any real answers, but we know his position on Gay Marriage and gay rights in general.

I just don't understand why we should value his opinion on any kind of marriage when he cheated on his crippled wife, then left and divorced her to marry his mistress.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Since Nova Died

Since Nova died, I have moved far far away from the world of poetry and writing. But some folks at 29 Days have visited here and read some of my poetry, and have really encouraged me to come back to it. It feels strange, even reading others' writing, it seems like a distant place now.

But today I was sent 2 links. The first was to a fellow blogger, Jane Pupyek. She is a published author (that which I used to want desperately to be) and on her blog you can find excerpts of her books, as well as reviews. I already wanted Tomato Girl before I'd finished reading the front page of her blog. But as I scrolled down I saw that another blogger was hosting a give-a-way: an autographed copy of Tomato Girl, and I want it!

Because you know, Scott got laid off, and even though he's got a job now, our finances are screwed well beyond the point of ordering a book I just can't live without!

Anyway, check out the reviews, and if you decide you want a free copy of Tomato Girl, leave Kathy at Bermuda Onion a comment and you'll be entered into her give-a-way. If, like me, you NEED a copy of Tomato Girl, you'll blog about her give-a-way and link back to her :)

Oh, the other link I got was to a poem on The Greensboro Review, written by Natasha Trethewey. Once you read it you'll know why it spoke personally to me...

Love y'all!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I did it!

I did it!

I mentioned in a prior post what a fiasco the 2007 Heart Walk was, right? Well today I got (yet another) email from the Charlotte Heart Walk organizers (form letter that goes out to all members) all but begging (in a rather panicked voice) us to send out 10 emails recruiting more walkers, thereby boosting our fundraising potential. Well, they've always sent out this type of email, but they've begun to sound deperate, which I'm sure they are, since the event has fallen so short of it's goal.

Well I believe that their lack of success this year has everything to do with the way it went last year, and the fact that this year seems to be headed the same way. The smaller teams have been made to feel totally discounted, unimportant, and passed over in favor of the big matching-shirt corporate company teams. It's all about the money, and while I fully understand that this is, in fact, a FUND RAISING event, I feel that they've shot themselves in the foot by taking this new tact.

Donors from previous years have very little confidence in them. *I* have very little confidence in them and even less motivation, and that's scary because this was my absolute life line for 2 years. But the way they treat us now, well, they aren't so muc making me feel like Team Nova doesn't count as much as inadvertantly saying that Nova and Alexis don't count.


So I responded to the email and gently, and as politely as possible, explained all of this to them. I don't know that I'll get a response, or if they'll hear what I said, but I've stood up for myself, and it feels good to have voiced my opinion, because ever since last year I've held my tongue.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


When I get overwhelmed, I get... sort of sad. I have been in some sort of insane whirlwind for a week or more, and honestly, I'm at a breaking point. People say the world goes crazy during the full moon, but mine always goes crazy when it's a new moon. It's a new moon.

OK so there's this kid -he's troubled. He's trouble. My husband and I have committed ourselves to trying to help him, and his mother. We never really "planned" to do it, it's just something that happened. It felt right, he needs us, he deserves a chance at something that, right now, he cannot even fathom for himself. Right now, he honestly envisions his future as an inmate. His father has been absent from his life, and has been in prison. THAT is his father-figure roll-model, and it has worked its way into his subconscious that THAT is all he can accomplish.

He got into my heart before I even saw him coming. My heart had decided that we were going to be there for him before my brain had a chance to object. My heart was committed (and Scott's too) before we had the chance to play out in our heads what all we might be up against, or what this effort might entail. It did not occur to me how much his past actions were going to hinder the effort. We never realized how much bad blood there was, following him around, that he/we would have to overcome.

It's been a long time since I saw someone I care about cuffed and shoved into a cop car. It's been a LONG time since I accepted a collect call from an inmate. And no matter how far back I try to remember, I have never been involved in the things that have followed him to my house and into my life. I find myself looking around and thinking, "What in the world is going on!?"

So he's been in trouble. He has a mouth and a temper that, I think, comes from never really feeling safe or having the knowledge that there was someone to protect him. His father isn't around, his mother has health issues, and I think he's just always felt alone, and like he had to be billy-bad-ass and protect himself. But he's a little skinny guy. So he's tried to prove how big and mean he is, and we're dealing with the aftermath, while simultaneously trying to show him the "right" way to handle things. Unfortunately, the rest of the world doesn't know we're trying to inspire him to change, so they're still treating him like the lippy punk he has always been, and, frankly, even though I can see that he wants (and is trying) to change, old habits die hard, and sometimes he IS the lippy punk they've known over the years.

Yesterday 3 adult men chased him down the road and threatened him. He "flashed a gun" (NOT a gun, it was a lighter!) to get them to back off, and peddled his bike as fast as he could to my house to get to a safe place. Unfortunately, they called the cops saying he had a gun. They arrested him in front of my house and he went to jail. (His mother was able to sign him out, and the lawyer feels fairly certain that since it wasn't actually a gun, and he was being threatened and chased by 3 grown men (who have extensive rap sheets for fighting, and public intoxication) that the charges will be dropped.)

Later that evening, before he got out of jail, the same men chased my son and threatened him. He was going to the store to run an errand for me. He wasn't near their home, he wasn't running his mouth, he didn't even know the men would be at the house where they were, as it is not any of them's home, nor is it a place they're known to spend time. He also was NOT part of what happened earlier in the day, because he had been at home all morning before all that went down.

Anyway, they chased him, trying to knock him off his bucycle, screaming threats about breaking his neck, etc... yes, 2 grown men, both near about the same age as I am. Kory called the police, filled out papers, and the men in question are going to jail as we speak. However, that's the 3rd time in a week that grown adult men have felt justified in chasing down and threatening and/or attacking young kids. It is only the first time that the grown men have faced any consequences for doing it.

Unfortunately, I know that all that has happened this week has been in reaction to this kid's past behavior. And it never ocurred to me that I'd be facing all of this crap and drama. I went with my heart, like I said, and it just never ocurred to me that all this would happen. I suppose I've lived a sheltered life, because in my world, grown men just don't attack little boys.

I'll be glad when they're in jail for communicating threats to a minor. And we'll continue to handle things the "right" way, until something gives. I just hope that it isn't my sanity that gives way. This just isn't the way I have ever lived my life.