Why write? Why stories? A book? Why this book?
My book is a response, an answer that helps me create my world the way I want it to be, one of beauty, peace, joy, love, and hope. Here's a glimpse into the heart behind it.
What prompted me to write a spirit book about nature?
Answer: Frustration with this world and its people. In my work and life, I preached that each was a divine creation, and I was losing this belief, and it was a trial that was breaking my heart. Prior to the election, I tried to get people to see eye to eye. As everyone knows, that didn’t happen. My reality was filled with angry people expressing horrible things toward me, about others, our country, and our world. Frankly, I had enough and decided that in my existence, I would create an alternate universe right in my own backyard.
I realized that if this world was going to become a friendlier and more positive place, I had to practice what I preached, put away the politics, set aside feelings of angry divisions, and find ways to reunite with God. I could not feel His presence in this type of world. He never left me, but I felt separated from Him. The political garbage during the election was souring my spirit and turning me against people I loved. It created hard feelings, and I realized that if there was nothing I could do about it, and if it was eating me alive inside, I had to release it. I retreated into my morning meditations filled with positive thoughts in my beautiful backyard. During this time, my book was born. As I wrote, the worlds I created took on a life, and I realized that life is a wonderful expression found in simple, everyday places.
It became a journey of me trying to find peace and step away from the negativity of the world. I realized that if I could not convince people to love each other through my sharing of what I thought were positive messages of truth, then I was just spinning my wheels and adding to the division. I knew I wanted us united, and recognized that politics made that impossible. So I left. (Yes, I still keep up; I vote, I act when I can, but I don’t share it anymore on Facebook because no one is going to change based on another person’s post.) I just wanted people to work together, live together, and love each other in perfect harmony. It reminds me of the old song: “I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony…” (except for the soft drink part).
How can I help people recognize we are all one? The answer arrived in the form of little stories. My stories have no politics; all of characters are good, and all endings are happy. Yes, this is my perfect world. If I could not create it one way, I would find another. Perhaps it’s a dream world, but at least it’s a pleasant dream, and the invitation is open for all who want to join me. You see, if we are all living in sweet dreams, then these dreams become real. The world becomes one living in perfect harmony. Within the complexities, we find the simple solutions help our earth and help each other. With this attitude, Mother Earth and her inhabitants can heal.
It occurred to me that the adults are pretty set in their ways, united in their divisiveness; they won't listen, but they can change through experience and sharing with children. Even better, we must reach the children. Maybe they will be able to succeed where we failed. We can once again see the good through their eyes and gain perspective that helps all of us grow together.
So, here is an overview of my book and what it’s designed to do.
Put down the phone.
Take the hand of a loved one.
Take a walk.
Talk about it.
Connect to each other.
“Put down that phone! Life is here with me now.” At an early age, our children are more connected to games, music, and virtual acquaintances than they are to those around them. Even worse, they are not learning to find the simple joys of inner peace and love because they are so caught up in the immediacy of cyber worlds, sitting on couches or hiding in their bedrooms with their gadgets. Sadly enough, many never enjoy the freedom of going outside to play, interacting with nature, or gardening with loved ones. They are stressed and in need of true social interaction, something that the computers in their pockets cannot replace. How can we provide our children the tools they need to deal with life and make the incredible contributions that are theirs to give? How can we help them know the beauty within each person and throughout our world? How can we ensure a sense of wonderment, which we may have lost ourselves?
We begin with the sweet stories found in The Spirit of the Tree and Other Backyard Tales: Connecting to Creation. These stories, along with the interactive extension activities, lead us to notice the beauty around us, experience a sense of inner peace, and bring these lessons to our children. We relax and build bonds founded on being together, in the moment, and strengthened by what is magnificent in our world. We then share lessons from the stories and our lives. We hold hands, read, talk, and explore, connecting generations to each other and to life, capturing it, embracing it, enveloping it, and letting it hug us back. There is no better place to start reconnecting with our world and each other than disconnecting from devices, reading together, and going outside—not just peeking outside, but being outside; it is precious time spent with the people we love in this incredible world we all share.
The Spirit of the Tree and Other Backyard Tales: Connecting to Creation has six special short stories, all of which have happy endings and sweet life lessons. Readers will meet trees whose wisdom brings wonderment, love, peace, and hope. They’ll meet children whose imaginations soar while playing in their yards, a cactus that comes back to life after lying in the dirt for ten years, and two birds who teach people how to get along. The book’s characters, situations, and settings are recognizable to any child anywhere and are written to encourage conversation.
All of the stories lend themselves to sharing thoughts with others, regardless of the age of the reader. An adult can read a story or part of a story to a child, look at the pictures, and then go outside to find those same plants, trees, critters and characters. The scientific principles and life lessons are written on two levels so that both adult and child can enjoy and gain something from the text. Some of the stories may trigger memories for sharing. The interactive section includes guided activities that promote strong relationships, with connections to nature and other people. Children and adults are encouraged to look for the natural elements from the stories and pictures when exploring the world around them and record their findings through photographs, drawings, and journaling.
I have always had a passion for nature and teachings that help people realize that all of us have something to contribute, and all of us are amazing beings that are a part of this miracle creation story. I also know that when many people create positive energy, only positive energy can exist. As a planet, the sole way we can promote this positivity is when we think it, believe it, say it, and do it. Children need to learn this, and adults need reminders. Our children will then use this positive energy for good (just look at what they have been able to do in recent weeks).
As an educator for 37 years, I have served as a principal at two alternative schools for at-risk youth and as an assistant principal at a middle school and a high school. I have also been a language arts teacher and an instructor, designer, and facilitator for Smart Start Summer Camps. My focus has always been on helping parents and children build relationships through simple stories and experiencing nature’s best together. I have reached many students in their most challenging moments by bringing them outside to feel peace or by sharing a story filled with hope. The remarkable results inspired me to develop stories that unite people through nature.
This book connects generations and encourages them to talk about our world through past memories, present experiences, or future adventures. The tales in this book could take place in any backyard anywhere on the globe. Welcome to a world where every character is good, and all stories have a happy ending. Welcome to a world where the reader becomes a participant in those same connections.
Welcome to a world where only peace, joy, love and hope exist.