The Forgotten

 

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I remember it like it was yesterday…
the heavy scent of lemons,
squeeky floors,
hallways of gleaming lockers.

I had finally made it to grade 9!

I was soooooo nervcited. Image result for nervous emoticon

But as exciting and new as it was,
there was also a scary not so cool side too…
girls snickering at my “uncool” clothing,
dropping my books in the classroom,
getting lost in the maze of hallways.

And, of course, I knew no one…
I had no friends.

Now, I did eventually meet my “group”,
and although we weren’t the most popular we made memories,
watching out for each other,
getting in trouble together,
discovering what it means to be a true friend

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This year, my oldest stepped into highschool,
from homeschooling.

He knows no one.
He’s a gentle giant,
and doesn’t understand teenage social structures.

I feel like every day I’m throwing him to the wolves.

Maybe if I locked him in his room,
kept him at home until he is thirty,
He wouldn’t have to go through this…
I wouldn’t have to go through this.

But we do.
And the school bus picks him up each morning.
And I lay awake at night.

My son.

Not bullied,
but forgotten.

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Why do I tell you this?

Perhaps you know someone who is going to your school,
sitting by themselves for lunch
say hello
sit beside them
you’d be surprised at what you learn from a gentle giant.

Or you are the teacher and there is one in your class,
playing by themselves at recess,
nose stuck in a book because they are safe
find out their interests
help them interact with others.

Maybe it’s you,
at school,
at church,
at work,
take a chance,
find your tribe.

It may involve pain and discomfort,
but it’s worth it.

I challenge you to keep an eye out for not only the bullied, but the forgotten in your life. You know who they are…the ones your eyes pass over almost involuntarily.

If you like what I write I’m revamping my blog,
and will be discussing tons of my most embarassing teenage moments. :/

Image result for scriblerians karen deblieck

 

 

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How Could I Have Forgotten the Forgotten Door?

Vintage reads

What if people were always kind, not selfish? What if they were generous, never greedy? What if animals could sense the goodness in those people? Having no fear, they would approach the humans and enjoy their company. Even better, what if the animals and the people could communicate by signaling and receiving each other’s thoughts? All these what-ifs are the basis of the children’s science fiction novel, The Forgotten Door.

Forgotten Door

Written by Alexander Key and published in 1965, the United States and the Soviet Union stood nose to nose in the Cold War while every other nation held its collective breath waiting to see if we teetered into a full-fledged World War III. Man’s inhumanity to man had become all too obvious after two global wars in less than thirty years. Key uses this as background undergirding the immediate setting.

The Forgotten Door. I remember the title. I’m sure I read it at a young age, so it must have been shortly after its debut. Pieces of memory flash excitement; this was a good book. And my only other association with the familiar title was a sense of wistfulness…if only…

So I reread all 140 pages of it last week. How could I have forgotten The Forgotten Door? A boy who is stargazing in his world takes a step back, falls through a hidden door long forgotten by his people, and lands in our world.

starry night-sky-1469156_640Suffering from bruises and a concussion, Jon finds himself on a mountainside on Earth. A doe and her fawn lead him to a nearby road. He doesn’t understand the ugly attitudes in most of the humans he meets. His intelligence is light years above ours. He hears people’s thoughts and can communicate with animals. With help from one kind family and a ferocious dog, he tries to figure out how to get home. Except, as events progress, the family will need his help in order to survive. The story is filled with what-ifs, conflicts, and a happy ending—everything any fiction reader would desire.

Perhaps best known for Escape to Witch Mountain, Alexander Key (1904-1979) touches the core of the human heart. Most of Key’s books follow a similar format: the world may be evil, but there are good people who will help those in need. The grandson of a Methodist minister, Alexander Key apparently did not have a Christian faith. Others who write about him believe he was part of the Freethinker movement, a philosophy based on human reason and kindness. Yet he hints at a world created by intelligent design.

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Since I’m a devout Christian, why would I recommend a book written by a freethinker? Because of Romans 1:20. All humans recognize good and evil. God put that knowledge in them whether they acknowledge Him or not. The Forgotten Door and Key’s other books show the triumph of good over evil, which is enough of a start for me to share an excellent story with my grandchildren.

Now, I’m on the hunt for the rest of Key’s children’s novels still in print. Are any one of them your favorites?

Don’t Wanna

 

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“Don’t Wanna.”

The two words made everyone in the grocery line freeze in terror.
The three-year old stood,
feet planted apart,
hands clenched at her side,
head lifted in defiance.

This was a temper tantrum.

As a mother myself I knew the signs:
there was no stopping this train.
It had already left the station.

I was oh, so glad that it wasn’t my child.

But when I read my Bible the next morning a phrase hit me:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:14)

My train of thought went something like this:

I am a child of God.
What a comforting thought.
Father/daughter images of post bathtub snuggles,
and bedtime story reading fill my head.

How wonderful…
*smiling all proud like*

But wait…
*furrowed brow of confusion*
the Bible refers to me as a child...

A defiant,
hand clenching,
anger filled child!

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Hadn’t my own children just interrupted me that morning,
after I’d gotten knee deep into my work?

I had a plan,
a carefully laid out plan.
It was what I wanted to do.

But God said no.

And what was my first reaction?

Don’t Wanna.

In fact, that was my default setting.

My child, this direction.
Defiance.
But this will make you smile.
Hands clenched.
This will hurt for now,
but it will bless you later.

Feet planted.
I know that path is well worn,
but it’s not the one I want you to take.
Full. Blown. Temper. Tantrum.

How many gifts have I missed?
How many blessings have I ignored?
Because I didn’t want His way,
I wanted my own.

No matter that his gifts are good and perfect.
I’d much rather sit playing with my broken crayons,
then see the jewelled miracles and blessings he offers in the everyday interruptions.

Tonight my youngest comes running.
Tears marring her cheeks.
No physical marks,
only a battered heart.

On the tip of my tongue are the words:

Not now.
Too busy.
You’re fine.

Instead, I close my laptop,
and take her into my lap.
Yes, Lord.

Her feet nearly touch the floor.
A head covered in soft ringlets rests on my shoulder,
instead of under my chin.
How long until…

My child, this is a moment to take ahold of,
too soon it will pass.

I hold her close to comfort her,
just as my Father does for me.
Yes.

It’s Good.

No.
Perfect.

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When has an annoying “Don’t Wanna” moment turned into a blessing? Try to find moments in your day to transform your “Don’t Wanna” into “Yes”. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Remembering…

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It was the most memorable Remembrance Day (Veterans Day for those States side) that I ever had.

It was my first year as a teacher,
and my first large project.

For a change of pace the kids were not going to the cenataph this year as they had in the past.
Instead, since the beginning of November the students had been studying about those who gave so much.
Kindergarten students had carefully traced and cut out their small hands to make wreaths of red.
Older students had written poems and short stories.

The kids entered the gymnasium and sat in crooked rows–
the air thick with anticipation.

With a solemnity not normal for school kids they laid their wreaths and sang ‘O Canada’.

But the most memorable part was to come.

I took out a story written by one of my high school students
and I read.

It was a long story.

My throat got sore and someone brought me a glass of water.
My legs began to cramp and a chair was placed beside me.
The bell for next class rang.
But there was silence as 100 kids scootched closer…riveted.

When the final note of Last Post hung in the air,
the Thank You from those gathered in silence was palpable.

Still this wasn’t the most memorable part.

Years later I met up with one of my students in town,
and they told me how memorable that day was.
But more important, Remembrance Day had taken on more weight.

Something had clicked on that day,
an understanding of what these men and women had done.

How important freedom truly was.

And isn’t this what we want to impress on generations to come?

On this Remembrance Day those in Canada will be remembering the deaths of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

I want to thank all those who have served in the past and those who continue to serve.

Thank you.

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Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

Happy Anniversary!

 

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A year ago I went to the ACFW Indianapolis conference on an  adventure.
Finally I was going to meet the people who I had shared my heart,
and writing with.

Would they be as awesome as I imagined?
Would they laugh at my antics as much in person as they do online??
(that one was particularly important…lol!)

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I was a little nervous!

But as we met and mingled,
our nerves fell away and we found ourselves chatting like old friends.

It is hard to explain to those who have not experienced it,
but our projects–written, prayed and cried over–bound us together.
They became my writing family.
My closest friends, despite the distance.

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Friends that I’d met online,
(I know…creepy and unsafe…)
became my comrade in arms.

They understand writing until the wee hours of the morning,
wrestling with plot lines that won’t behave,
and caring so much for your story that it hurts your heart when it is rejected.

And our love crosses into our everyday lives:
we laugh,
mourn,
and rejoice together through all of lifes ups and downs.

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So join me in raising a glass of your favorite,
to my fellow Scriblerians.

Scribs…you rock!
May we spend many more years writing together!!!!

And of course…publishing many books. 😉

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!
I love you guys!!!!!!

Have you ever been surprised by friendship?? I’d love for you to share in the comments. 🙂

Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

The Inheritance

It had been ever so long since I read a lovely story complete with pure hearts and with villains who need only be shown the love of a kind soul to turn them from their wicked ways.
Does the above sentence sound a trifle old-fashioned? Such was the prose of the 19th century. While I wouldn’t want to limit my reading to Charles Dickens and Jane Austen and their contemporaries, I admit I weary of our more direct, slangy style of language in most modern novels.

 

The Inheritance
Recently, I read The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott. I believe it was never published until 1997, nor was it discovered until 1988 in a collection of her personal writings. She inscribed it (with a smile and much fluttering of heart I would wager) with the words, “My First Novel Written at Seventeen.”
The prose is Victorian in nature, and I could easily picture a young Louisa – talented, idealistic, romantic – penning a tale of selfless love, kindness to the poor, and including an evil rival who still had the benefit of a guilty conscience. The settings are described in flowery language, yet even at seventeen, Louisa May Alcott could create word pictures with such clarity that you picture yourself standing beside the heroine, perhaps one of the house servants observing the goings-on of the aristocratic family whom you serve.
Introducing modern generations to the literature of Louisa May Alcott may take some doing. Our children (and we ourselves) may complain that “not much happens” in her stories. Yes, it’s rare to find anyone in a pitched battle of blood and guts, but life happens in her novels and many others of that era.

 

Louisa May Alcott courtesy of books4linda.blogspot.com

Louisa May Alcott courtesy of books4linda.blogspot.com

If you’ve never read books by Louisa May Alcott, or you would like to introduce them to your children, The Inheritance may be a good place to start. Like learning to swim, start in shallow water. The novel is relatively short (under 200 pages) and contains plenty of relationship conflicts. From there move on to the deeper water of her famous works.
I believe she is best known for Little Women because it portrays the life and the quiet courage of those who soldier on at home while their men are off to war. She teaches us that by God’s grace the human spirit triumphs over adversity.
Louisa May Alcott knew that God doesn’t always ask us to strive mightily and publicly to be icons of virtue in His eyes. And it takes more courage to be faithful in daily struggles than to make one heroic gesture in the heat of battle. Such are the qualities I want to groom in my own children and grandchildren.

 

Dear readers, you are welcome to share your thoughts on other classic stories that you find uplifting to the soul.

Anthony’s Challenge

We stood around, enjoying a couple of minutes of down time as we waited for the lunch rush to begin. I don’t remember exactly who said what, but a dare was issued for a guy-type, could-get-you-in-big-trouble escapade. Aaron’s face lit up, his eyes danced with mischief. I could practically see the wheels of his mind churning. He spouted a clever response that by the way his glance caught mine, clearly said he knew I would not approve.

file000527564214I didn’t disappoint. “Aaron,” I chided. “You wouldn’t do that.”

A huge ornery grin spread across his face as his fellow employees snickered.

“Nah, you wouldn’t do it,” Anthony further challenged, “not if Beth’s around. She brings out the best in us.”

“Ah, Anthony.” I was touched. Our eyes met, and his clearly said he meant it.

The lunch crowd poured in. The moment passed.

Although I was flattered, I wasn’t sure I considered myself deserving of the compliment. The brief exchange simmered in my mind over the next couple of days. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted those simple word to be true of me. I wanted to be the kind of person who brought out the best in people. Especially the impressionable young people I worked with each day.

I liked the thought that I was having a positive impact on these guys. Okay, liked doesn’t quite cut it. On the inside I was jumping with excitement. Could it be I was getting through to them? Maybe when they rolled their eyes at my comments, suggestions and what might at times be considered gentle nagging, the words were still finding a home in their hearts and minds.

You see, Aaron at 18 had moved three states away from home to be close to his girlfriend. Anthony and his young wife were parenting their first child, also a long way from family. Then there was John whose life had lacked sorely in the parenting department since he was a young boy. And Stephanie whose groom shipped out to basic training on their two month wedding anniversary, exactly two weeks after discovering that she was pregnant.3 guys walking

All were facing the very real world of adulthood. Some shifts found them eager to share the happenings in their lives—the good and the bad and the man-I-had-no-idea-it-would-be-like-this. Other days, silence and grunts told me things could be better.

I enjoyed working with this fun, energetic, adventurous group. Sure, the labels a tad mischievous, a bit rambunctuous, and more than a smidge ornery also applied. Some days their antics tried my patience, forcing me to use my I-mean-business tone. But most of the time, they brightened my day. I hoped they could say the same.

After all, isn’t that that we’re supposed to do? Bring out the good, the positive, the very best in those we live with, work with, those whose paths cross ours. Yep, we are.

Proverbs 27:17 reminds of this.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (NIV)

Not that we all—regardless of our age—couldn’t benefit from some sharpening, teenagers and young adults need, even crave, the impact of positive attention from adults. Not the nagging “Shape up or else and cut your hair while you’re at it!” kind of attention. They tgirl by treehrive on “Hey, how’s it going? What’s new in your life?” affirmation that says I care about you.

I no longer work with Aaron, Anthony, John or Stephanie. They’ve moved on, but I’ll never forget any of them.

New names and faces, situations and circumstances fill the daily shifts now. Each one represents a new opportunity to impact a life.

I challenge you, amid the busyness of life, to take time to see people and their needs then get involved in their lives.