Tuesday, March 26, 2013

#ThankAWriter- Mo Willems

#ThankAWriter No.1 goes out to Mo Willems.

Dear Mo Willems,

This is a small thank-you.

I first heard of you on a library field trip, with my then-preschool foster daughter. The dragon lady at our local library read  "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus". I took delight in watching the story come alive for my wide-eyed daughter. But this thank-you reaches much deeper than that incident.

Last year, I came across a darling book at our local bookstore. "Amanda & Her Alligator" has become a family favorite. I overflowed with emotion the first time I read Alligator's words, "Why was I in the sale bucket?" and "Why did no one want to buy me?"

You see, both of my children are adopted from foster care and they have asked similar questions. "Why did I move fourteen times?" "Why did it take so long for me to be adopted?"

The first time I read your story to my children, they hung on pins and needles for Amanda's response.  Her answer echoed my own to Alec and Lora.
They can relate to Alligator's fear and sadness at being passed over in the "sale bucket" but know the value of family is found when you are meant to be together.

Thank you for writing this story, especially chapter four. It has blessed my family.

Smile, Donna Marie Tyree

Smile :) donnamusing

Sunday, March 24, 2013


"Spell the word, Bamboozle."

A big smile spread across my face as adrenaline pumped through my veins. Bamboozle was highlighted in my little book covered with yellow and black bees. I knew the word! My long hours of practice were about to pay off.

"Bamboozle. B-A-M-B-O-Z--- NO! I mean..."

Too late. The rules of the spelling bee sent me back to my chair. Crying. No, bawling- hysterically.
My little face rested in the crook of my elbow as giant sobs dripped pools of tears into my glasses. Even worse, snot flooded the top of my desk.

I told myself that it didn't matter what my classmates thought. I was going to die right there in that spot. They'd remember me as the girl who lost the spelling bee and cried herself to death.

I berated myself to a pulp. After all, I did know the word. I was just too excited and spit it out all wrong.

Life lessons kind of happen like that. You just know... And then, like a bug smacking into the windshield, life gets messy.

Mrs. Kelly let me cry. I needed to mourn, to grieve, to let it all out.

I'll never forget her. Her salt and pepper hair. Her permanent limp. Her classroom right next to the library. Her kindness.

Mrs. Kelly encouraged me to write. She encouraged me to write how I felt. "Just put it all in words," she had said. And so I did. And so I continue.

Years after this event, I worked as a waitress at Shoney's.
I greeted the aging couple in my section and quickly recognized her sweet face. "Mrs. Kelly!"
I cherish the grateful moment.

My age has doubled since thanking her for the impact she breathed into my life. I don't know if she really remembered me that day in the restaurant but I'll never forget her.

If I knew where she was, this is what I would write to her:

Dear Mrs. Kelly,
Thank you for your kindness to this snot-nose fifth-grader. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me, to speak words of blessing into my life. Thank you for helping me to realize that it is okay to cry and that losing the spelling bee was not the end of my world. Thank you for encouraging me to write.
Thank you for caring. You will always have a place in my heart.

Smile :) donnamusing

P.S. Bamboozle. B-A-M-B-O-O-Z-L-E. Bamboozle.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Coming Soon... Tarradiddles of the King

My husband's aunt, Caroline M. Reichard is chipping away at her new series, "Tarradiddles of the King" -a collection of charming stories based on her father's embellished stories.

We are all excited to read these long-awaited adventures.
You can read about the books and meet the author, here.

Might I humbly add that the creator of the cover art, is none other than the fabulous illustrator, Matt Tyree.

For more on Caroline M. Reichard: http://www.tarradiddlesoftheking.com/

For more on Matt Tyree: www.tyreeonline.com

If you are working on a beloved project, remember this:
"Continuous effort - not strength or intellegence - is the key to unlocking our potential."   ~ Winston Churchill

Keep working. Keep trudging. Keep dreaming.

Smile :) donnamusing

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Who doesn't love to curl up with a good book and nice hot cup of tea? Or disappear into another world while falling asleep?

I certainly do.
Although, I've learned that falling asleep while reading a traditional book is slightly less painful than with my kindle. Ouch.

Recently, thanks to the fortuitous happenstance of google, I have found my way to Nathan Bransford's blog. It's all his fault that I learned the painful lesson of kindle to chin...

Without further ado, I must point you to his blog today. I love "thank you" projects and here is a new one that I'm looking forward to taking part in. It's the #ThankAWriter project!

Here is the link to his blog where you can find all of the details:
#ThankAWriter Project

I may have to thank an English teacher, as well.

Go grab a pen and get to it! It's good to be thankful!

Smile :) donnamusing

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Day... Did you know?

Did you know that the traditional color of St. Patrick was actually blue? We "put on our green" to remember the shamrock that St. Patrick used to teach the Irish of the Holy Trinity. And, of course, Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle.

Did you know that the Chicago River is dyed green on St. Patrick's Day?  Hmmmm... I wonder what the fish think about that! Maybe they are Irish fish and don't mind.

Did you know that apparently everyone is Irish when St. Patrick's Day rolls around? Have you seen the merchandise based on, "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!"
Well, I really am Irish.
No, really, I am.
I am Irish and Indian, and a whole bunch of other stuff. ;)

Did you know that the first Irish Parade happened in America? Yep, in Boston- must've been all of us Irish-wanna-be-folks!

Did you know that each leaf on a clover stands for something? Faith, Hope, Love, and the fourth is Luck.
Interesting, my son found a five-leaf clover, and of course, I researched it. Irish legend says that anyone who finds a five-leaf clover will have abundant luck and financial success!

Did you know your odds of finding a four-leaf clover? 10,000:1 Pretty crazy, for every four-leaf clover, there are 10,000 three-leaf clovers.

Do you know how St. Patrick's day got started? It all started with a young fellow named Maewyn...
Here, enjoy this video, it's simple and fun. :)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Smile :) donnamusing

Thursday, March 7, 2013

May Your 'Wowwies' Be Behind You...

Mrs. D did an excellent job of not even letting Lora know that she was in therapy, as Lora would refer to her as, "my big friend, Mrs. D." On this particular day, they were decorating masks with feathers, stickers, jewels, and pom-pom balls.

Over the past four years, this little angel had been passed around twelve times. Lora longed for permanency, a forever mom and dad. Lora would tell her big friend how much she wanted to stay with us in our "wovewy" home. (her l's and r's sounded like w's)

While decorating masks together, Mrs. D said to Lora, "I know you are worried about having to leave this mommy and daddy. See this pile of pom-pom balls, let's pretend they measure how worried you are. Make a pile to show me."

With her tiny four-year old hands, she scooped up as many pom-poms as she could hold and moved them over to her side of the table, repeating this action until the entire pile rested in front of her.

Mrs. D acknowledged Lora's concern but then asked her, "What would happen to all that worry if the judge says you can stay forever?"

Again, those two small hands moved each pom-pom until every last one sat on the chair behind her.

Mrs. D asked, "What does that mean?"

"Mrs. D, it means that 'aw' my 'wowwies' 'wiww' be behind me," Lora replied.

About six months after this, we were able to tell them that they were, in fact, without a doubt, staying forever. That was the day those pesky 'wowwies' were put behind us. And what a beautiful day that it was.

I encourage you, the next time you are having a craft day with your kids- pick up a pom-pom ball and put it behind you. Take joy that your adopted child is yours forever. If you are still on the road to adoption, hold on tight, your day will come. One day your 'wowwies' will be far behind you, as well.

Smile :) donnamusing