Loves to Read.

Loves to read

Loves to read

The picture is a selfie a young gal I know who loves to read.  It amazes me with all the television and internet that reading books is still very much alive and well.

Soon snow will cover the lawn where she sits and Halloween will be the first of the fall and winter holidays, but I am confident she will find a warm spot, break open the pages of a book and slip away into the words of the writer.

 

 

Christmas Comes Early for Writers

You can’t turn on the television at this time of the year without seeing a glut of advertising for back to school sales. If you’re like me and your kids are grown, you may be tempted to tune the ads out, but don’t! If you’re a writer, a crafter, an artist, or work from home in any capacity, this is the time to shop smarter for yourself.

There’s no better time than now to restock your home office. Back to school sales provide the perfect opportunity to save money on computer paper, pens, notepads, and almost anything you need (or want) for your office. Been thinking of getting a chalkboard for the kitchen to write down those grocery items as they pop up? Hoping your laptop can last until the Black Friday sales? Do you really want to be waiting in line at Best Buy at 4am on a freezing Black Friday in hopes that you’ll be one of the lucky few to grab that half-price laptop? Now is the time to check out prices. It’s also a great time for artist and crafters to stock up too. Scissors, glue, colored pencils, tape, and chalk are priced right.

While you’re out there tracking down bargains for your office and home, you might consider picking up a few extra basic school supplies like pencils, paper, and folders to donate to your local school. With all the cutbacks to education funding, teachers are buying many classroom supplies out of their own pockets. A recent study by the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA) revealed that public school teachers spent 1.6 billion dollars of their own money for classroom supplies and gear in the 2012-2013 school year. That’s double the amount in previous studies.

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai

Thanks for stopping by,

Deborah

 

From the Heart – Thanks for the Derriere Kick, Ladies! by P.A. Moore

Last Sunday, Montana Women Writers sponsored a free heart information event at our local community center, with Dr. Betty Kuffel presenting medical information and many of us reading from our books. We didn’t get a large turnout, given it was the last day of Winter Carnival, but the gathering gifted me with an epiphany.

A year ago, I returned to my criminal law practice and since then, I’ve felt overwhelmed, stressed out, and, at times, hopeless, as I yet again face uphill battles for my clients, expectations from my family to provide them with the same level of care and concern, and a pervasive sense that there’s no end in sight for my legal career – ever.

On Sunday, for the first time, I read a scene from Courthouse Cowboys wherein I’d met a young, disabled client at Deer Lodge State Prison fifteen years ago. He’d pled guilty to a murder he didn’t commit, and the judge sentenced him, at age 18, to 100 years in prison. His parents hired me to try to get his guilty plea reversed and take the case to trial.

As I stood before my fellow writers, nerves wracked me. I opened my iPad to my book and uttered the first line of the scene. As I read along, I felt stronger, not only in my voice, but in my soul.

My heart sailed back to 1999 when I’d met this bruised and battered kid. On that day, I’d had the same feelings about my law practice as I do today – stress fueled by fear of failure, heart strings tugged in a thousand directions, the urge to quit mixed with maternal guilt piling rubble on my back.

Yet when I finished reading, my purpose in trying to help these scattered, damaged, prisoners crystallized.

Not much has changed in the system since 1999. Kids born into families of violence, addiction, and mental illness too often become batterers and addicts, their brains impaired from head injuries and substance abuse. They lack impulse control, which simply means they act without thinking. Most pick up their first offense as children, add arrests into adolescence, and land in prison by their early twenties. There they suffer more beatings, more exposure to drugs and disease, bleeding them of faith, trust, and hope.

I give them legal advice, sure. I file papers, go to court, and consult with them in jails throughout Montana. But mostly I do what all Moms do: I smile, I listen, I ask them about their lives, and often I share parts of mine, where I, too, have screwed up.

On Sunday, after I sat down, I remembered why I spend my days in the bowels of the criminal justice system. I do it because I give my clients a glimmer of hope, peppered with a bit of faith and trust. And maybe, lifted by hints of promise, helped by the grace of forgiveness, they can find freedom from custody and the past, and a future steeped in peace. 

So, thank you, ladies of Montana Women Writers, for that gentle kick in the derriere. By listening, you restored my hope.