True Colors (Guest blogger: Emma Knickerbocker – 12 yrs. old)

One of Emma's drawings (Not from her project. That hasn’t been graded yet.)

One of Emma’s drawings (Not from her project. That hasn’t been graded yet.)

So it`s first period at my school, and I`m sitting in Mrs. Zitkovich`s class, minding my own business and trying to focus over Martin`s and Billy`s usual “trying to beat Billy up” sort of thing. We’re working on this poem I love called “The Highwayman”, and I`m checking over my homework.

The bell rings, and we all sort of quiet down a bit, not that much. Mrs. Zitkovich walks in saying, “Take out your homework.”

After we check it over Mrs. Zitkovich says we`re going to have a choice of projects about “The Highwayman” and all of them but one include drawing! I decide right away that I`m doing a wanted poster, but then Mrs.Zitkovich convinces me to rewrite the poem with another character`s perspective, which includes drawing.

So I take it home to work on it.  Then I take it in to school, SUPER excited, and I hand in the paper. Mrs.Zitkovich takes a look at it with a questioning look. “Why didn`t you color it?” she asked.

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An Emoticons Bible Translation?

An emoticon with a smile. For more emoticons i...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to hate them but I’ve come to see their value. I’ve often told my kids that words are only a small percentage of how you communicate. For instance, saying “Sorry” can be either sincere or, with raised pitch in the middle of the word and elongated vowels, very sarcastic: “SoOOry.”

Greek and Hebrew don’t have emoticons, but they would have been helpful in interpreting the emotions or attitudes or reactions in the Bible. Here are a few examples I’ve thought of:

     In John 9, when the Pharisees were hounding the poor guy who had been born blind by continuing to ask him about Jesus, the man’s response was classic:  “Look!” the man exclaimed. “I told you once. Didn’t you listen? Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?"  😉
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Emma got a Scholastic Writing Award, and I had a pitty party.

Emma and the Golden Line from her short story.

Emma and the Golden Line from her short story.

Emma was one of 17 kids ranging from 7th grade to high school senior to be awarded honorable mention at Kent State University last night. We’re in the Northeast Ohio Writing Region for the Scholastic Writing Awards.  Nationally, more than 80,000 students participate. Fifteen percent get honorable mention, ten percent are given a Silver key and five percent are honored with the Gold Key Award. Emma’s friends, Alexandra Morar and Madison Lucansky, joined her on the ground floor with honorable mentions. Her friend Anna Sherman shot right to the top with a Gold Key award!  Kudos to their teachers, Joyce Zitkovich and Marli Brocker.

As the kids were walking up to read the Golden Line from their work that had been chosen by the judges (great idea!), I experienced a mixture of great pride and a tiny bit of envy.  Maybe envy isn’t the right word.  Basically I was feeling sorry for myself.  My daughter was getting an award for writing at the tender age of 12, and I hadn’t written anything that wasn’t a mandatory assignment until I was 39. If only I had the same encouragement that these kids have.  There are so many skills that I need to develop – so many circles of influence to help foster my dream.  If God really wants me to be a writer, why didn’t he get me started much earlier in life?

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Go for it!

I’m registered to go to the Christian Writers’ Conference near Indianapolis in a couple of weeks. I went last year for the first time and came away with some great insight. It’s hard to believe the difference a year makes.

It all started when my wife encouraged me to write a book about topic that weighs heavy on me. Check out my first chapter posted on this blog. I believe that church shouldn’t be a bore. Take a look at the Bible. Our God isn’t boring, so we shouldn’t be either. I’d never written anything outside of papers for school. But, I thought I’d give it a go. I was a bit scared but, as my Vanda reminded me, I’d just planted a church. What could be more scary than that? So I wrote the first chapter and had a few (very honest) friends critique it for me. They strongly encouraged me to write some more.

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