Journaling

Incorporating a Character Journal Into My Story

Blog Post Header with the words My Heroin's Character Journal Captures Her Journey by Denise M. Colby

Some writers write a character journal for their characters to help them see things from their character’s perspective. But for me, I wanted my heroine to actually have a journal in my story. Not quite sure why, but capturing her journey through a journal stuck as I brainstormed my scenes.

Do you write in a journal? 

If you do, do you ever worry about someone reading what you wrote?

My heroine gets handed a journal upon her start as a teacher.

Character Journal cover created for my story by Denise M. Colby

In it, she’s instructed to write down the events of her days to capture what happens as a female teacher who moves West to teach in small pioneer towns.

Olivia finds her journal to be a close confidant. She enjoys documenting her observances about the places she’s been and the people she meets. Given that it’s 1869 and traveling by train across the country is a new and unprecedented event, the importance in capturing the momentous occasion is not lost on her.  

She’s also very protective of her book. It never leaves her side and she would never leave it out so that someone could read it. But even if they did, she is very careful what she writes, never putting to paper her own thoughts and opinions, just in case someone else might read it and pass judgement on her. 

See judgement stings and her fear of being judged stems from…well…I don’t want to give too much away.

I write prayers in a journal almost every morning.

Some entries are one full page. Others are short paragraphs. I sometimes wonder what someone would think of my shortest entry. 

“Dear God. Help me today.” 

Yes, I admit. I have written it just like that. 

I’ve been writing down these prayers for so long, I don’t think about it anymore. It’s really between me and God, and the benefit of writing the words weighs more important than the fear of someone reading it and judging me.

And see, that’s what happens to Olivia in her character journal. Over time and with a few encouraging words from one of her pupils, Olivia’s heart slowly changes and her journal changes right along with her. It’s been exciting to flush out her journal entries so that the reader can see this change.

Olivia's Character Journal with entries from 1869 as I imagined them for my story, by Denise M. Colby

I even created a small diary in Olivia’s hand, so that I could think like her and feel what it might’ve been like all those years ago to have a small diary to write down words that could be read one hundred fifty years later. What she was doing was historic in 1869. 

Which was why I wanted to create a character journal for her.

Something that captured all these historical events – Traveling across the country, coming west to teach in a one-room schoolhouse in order to make a difference in the life of a child, and for herself as well.

I wonder, in real life, how many of them kept a journal? And if they had any idea that we would be reading what they wrote so many years later?

This is why the act of writing in a journal is so precious to me. Over at A Slice of Orange (an outside blog I write for), I wrote a blog post on how a handwritten note can be a gift, one that lasts forever. Journals can be that type of gift.

I’m excited to finish editing Olivia’s story and her journal entries. If you’re interested in learning more about my stories check out my Going West Series page.

History

Harriet Bishop, First Public School Teacher in 1847

I love history and in my one-room schoolhouse and schoolteacher research for my book, I found an article titled Harriet Bishop, Frontier Teacher by Zylpha S. Morton through the Minnesota Historical Society. Harriet traveled by herself to Minnesota in 1847, leaving her family to go live in a community smaller and more rural than anything she’d ever lived in, all to become a teacher.

Blog Title with the words Harriet Bishop , one of the first public school teachers; 1847; History; Writer's Research by Denise M. Colby

Men were teachers of choice in the East, but as the West expanded the opportunity arose for women.

She was sent by a board, that actively sought ought opportunities to bring women teachers to these rural areas. The thought was women would have a greater impact on their students.

This board, National Popular Education, was organized in Cleveland on April 7, 1847. The aim of the board was to “advance the cause of Popular, Christian Education in our country” by encouraging well-qualified “Female teachers” to take positions in the remote West.

Their first class of twenty-six young women, received prep training in New York State before being sent out to parts unknown. This prep training school was led by Catherine Beecher (sister of Harriet Beecher-Stowe)—the teacher whom I reference in my novel (I’ll share more about her in a future post). Harriet Bishop was from the first graduating class of this organization.

Harriet Bishop was also one of the first to volunteer to go to a small settlement outside of what we now know as St. Paul, Minnesota.

A place that had five stores, a dozen families, and about 36 children.

Room and board was furnished by one family who had four children in return for free tuition. She had to bring her own schoolbooks, as the nearest bookstore was over three hundred miles away.

According to Morton, Harriet’s preparation included “a review of the common school subjects, in addition to lectures on domestic economy, health of children, punctuality, truth and honesty in the schoolroom, diet, how to avoid sectarian jealousy, how to deal with party politics, and how to meet petty gossip”.

The last item in the training course was considered necessary because it was said that as soon as a young woman set foot in the new West, some man would promptly woo her from her profession and make her his wife. It seemed to help because by 1858 (10 years later), the board had sent 481 teachers to the West and only 75 had married.

Another tidbit from this article — it turns out the pupils who attended the schools were the ones who entered into matrimony. They made the claim that school and the lessons they learned in running a household helped them find a mate.

I’ve used some of this history in my story.

My heroine, Olivia Carmichael, goes west to teach through one of these organizations. She just happens to go way further west…all the way to California.

She too has to live with families of students for her room and board, and learn how to live in a more remote area.

But more on that later—this post is about Harriet and to acknowledge what she was known for — the first public school teacher in the area.

Old black and white photo of Harriet Bishop one of the first public school teachers in 1847
This photo can be found in the Wikipedia entry on Harriet Bishop

She had a lot of courage to leave her family behind (with the mindset of never seeing them again). In digging around further, I’ve learned she stayed in the St. Paul area for the rest of her life and was instrumental in starting many charities and fundraisers. She married, divorced, and petitioned to get back her legal maiden name successfully. She also wrote a few books, too.

She made an impact on her community and her students.

Like all the teachers I know today.

For Fun

Sharing My Disney Mugs to Spread Some Joy

Blog Post Title Graphic with 8 Disney Mugs in the background and a bow in front with the words #disneymugs = joy by denise m. colby

Who knew I had that many Disney mugs in my cupboard and it would be so much fun to post a different one each day? And did you know #Disneymugs was an actual thing?

The idea came from a friend, who had posted about her morning coffee, her missing Disneyland and her mugs from her trip. I had one similar and joined in with her that morning. And then something clicked. 

With us all homebound, I saw how people were sad to not go to Disneyland or not be able to go anywhere for that matter. I pulled out a mug I hadn’t used in a long time, put my tea in it, then took a picture of it and posted it. People commented and fun interaction ensued. The next day I choose a different one and I knew I wanted to keep sharing. It seems so small, but in that first post, I found something that added much needed cheer to my day. And it seemed to do the same for others.

And as it turned out, I had way more Disney mugs than I thought! And I wasn’t using them!

When I picked the hashtags, I didn’t know #Disneymugs was a thing. Nor did I know #mugshots was, either. It was just something I thought would be fun, especially with all of us home self-quarantining ourselves. A little way to be creative and change up the routine each day.

And my friends liked it and joined in.

Who knew I could get so much joy out of selecting a new mug to use every morning. And taking a picture to share. And then having it sit on my desk all day and make me smile every time I looked at it.

Oh the joy that comes from the little things, right?

Some of our mugs are really old. To the point I have no idea where or when we got them. With others, the memory is burned into my brain because of how we came to acquire it, whether it was on a special trip or to celebrate a specific event.

Whatever the occasion, it’s been fun to reach way back into my cupboard and actually use all of them.

So without further ado…

…here is our family’s collection of Disney mugs: 

Do you have any of these? or see a favorite?

Our current favorite is the Baby Yoda one, which is a brand new addition. We gave that one to my husband for his birthday.

Hope this gives you a little bit a cheer, much like the cheer I’ve felt in putting it all together.

Blessings,

Denise

Word of the Year

Courage To Be Thankful During Difficult Times

blog post header titled Courage to Be Thankful During Difficult Times by Denise M. Colby

This blog post is about thankfulness. Several blog posts right now are covering the topic of COVID-19 and the Coronavirus. I myself have found it challenging to write something without addressing the elephant in the room. And thus, why I decided to share how I’m trying to focus on finding ways to be thankful (and the one phrase that started all this!)

When the peace of Christ rules in our hearts, thankfulness overflows. Even in the darkest of times, we can praise God for his love, his sovereignty, and his promise to be near us when we call. Psalm 145:18

So let’s get started! The other day something struck me that I wanted to share.

I was really thankful we had three bathrooms for the five adults in our house.

And then my mind went to: I was thankful that the other four in my house were boys and not girls, and thus we used less toilet paper.

Oh, the silly things our minds go to, right?

But it got me thinking…what else am I thankful for in these challenging times? I found I could rattle off quite a bit of things.

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

 

Here’s my list:

Family dinners every night.

That my family likes each other enough to want to hang out together, even after being around only each other for longer than three weeks.

Technology to connect with others outside our family unit.

The grace and caring I’ve seen from all my kids’ teachers.

The nurses and doctors and first responders who brave this new virus every day.

The hugs and prayers I’m seeing in texts, Facebook, and other social media.

Finding 80% of the items on my list at the grocery store.

For all the workers who ensure that those items are on the shelves at the store (that includes those that make, package, deliver)

The price of gas dropping significantly. $2.49 the last time I gassed up and that’s LOW for California.

I can find and order what I need online.

Daily walks with my husband.

Journals to write down my thoughts and feelings and observances (see my previous post Journaling Through Challenging Times – Ideas, Questions, & Encouragement)

Finding something new to learn and having mental capacity to try it out.

Getting to projects at home, that I haven’t had time for.

Watching the creative content such as the SGN network (Some Good News) by John Krasinski. 

I love seeing the creativity that builds because of limitations. Sometimes we are too busy to think out of the box and that can limit us as well.

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote about strength, courage and confidence over a wooden crate background by Denise M. Colby

My word this year is courage.

I chose it to have more courage in my writing. To take risks. To say no to things that would interrupt me finishing my book. But I also felt courage was a good word for my faith, to open myself to God more with  Bible reading and prayer.

Who knew that this word would be so applicable to what we are facing right now. Courage to trust God. Courage to adapt and adjust to this new normal.

I found these other verses fit with the thankfulness in my heart.

 

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 106:1

and

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

and

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What is something that you are thankful for that is new during these difficult times?

I’d love to hear it.

Journaling

Journaling Through Challenging Times – Ideas, Questions, & Encouragement

Blog Title Graphic Journaling Through Challenging Times- Ideas, questions, and encouragement with photo of person writing in journal while sitting outside

I have found it challenging to sit and relax over the last week or so. I haven’t been interested in reading a book (which is rare for me), nor have I had ideas for writing topics floating in my head like I usually do. So when I picked up my prayer journal this morning I realized I had not written in it for over a week, and my thoughts and feelings had been cooped up inside of me and I needed to get them out. 

So I took a moment to write an entry. It wasn’t long, it wasn’t poetic by any means, but it helped me focus and a few things became clear to me:

Journaling our feelings, thoughts, and fears can be helpful for several reasons.

What we are experiencing is unprecedented and uncharted. There is no normal, routines are mixed up, uncertainty is present, and each day new data points are brought to light. And we need time to process.

Journaling through challenging times allows us to capture:

  • documentation for this unique moment in our lives (this is how history will view this time),
  • identifying our emotions and how we are dealing with everything (this is to help you process what is going on),

AND

  • freeing up space in our brains to do something else.

I’m a firm believer in writing stuff down. Journals can help document, store, and be a great outlet to think. Sometimes we keep things in our head and it spins around and around in ways that prevent us from being able to focus on other tasks.

I’d been blank for what I wanted to write about for my monthly blog post. After I journaled, an idea became quite clear. I love to journal. I love to document. I love to express myself with words. And I would love to help you be able to do that do.

You can write in a journal book (any would do) or just a piece of paper. (If you are interested in sample journal pages you can download here under point #1). You can also type in a google/word doc, or your notes app in your phone. 

Question prompts for journaling during these challenging times.

Remember there is no wrong way to journal. The importance is getting your thoughts written down.

  • Describe what is happening today, right now in the world.
  • How are you specifically impacted by what’s going on?
  • How does this make you feel overall? 
  • Are your feelings changing moment by moment, day by day? What’s the range of emotions you are feeling?
  • Who are you worried about? It’s okay to write it in a paragraph or list format right there in your entry, or write it to the side or on another sheet. There is no wrong way to journal.
  • What are you most disappointed about?
  • What do you miss the most?
  • What is something you are able to do because of this, that you normally don’t do?
  • What is something new you have learned (either about yourself or skill) because of this situation?
  • How is this history in the making?
  • Where are you getting your news? What resources are you checking regularly?
  • How are you staying in touch with people? Who are you staying in touch with?
  • Are you communicating differently than normal? What exactly are you doing differently? 
  • How are these differences impacting you?
  • What is something you want to remember, so you can tell your grandchildren years from now?

You could give yourself intervals to answer these questions every three days or once a week.

Knowing that our “normal” right now will last more than a month or so, our emotions and feelings will most likely expand, change, float, and bounce around our homes. My prayer is that this is helpful for you as well as a fun exercise to document this time in your life. 

Let me know in the comments, any additional questions you might’ve come up with during your journaling time, and I can add them to the list.

Blessings,

Denise

For Fun

Dating Lessons from WALL-E

Blog Title Graphic of Wall-E and Eve Dating Lessons from Wall-E by Denise M. Colby

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought covering a special Disney couple would be fun. Our family loves Disney movies and WALL-E is no exception. We’ve watched it several times and this last time, several things struck me about the way WALL-E and EVE find their Happily Ever After.

So I wrote down what I observed.

Yes, they are cute and all the antics are quite entertaining, but with three teenage boys in my house, I asked myself would I want them to follow WALL-E’s path to love?

 Approach a girl and she fires at you, ignores you and then breaks your things.

Show her something beautiful and she takes it and doesn’t give it back.

 Try to teach her to dance and she throws you against the wall.

 Be romantic and get no response. Zip. Zilch. Natta.

 Try to hold her hand and get hurt in the process.

 Chase her and she’ll carry you out of your world.

 Help her save her world and lose yourself in the process

 And then finally, she rushes to save you. And when she kisses you – the spark is large enough that your old self comes back again.

I love when Eve finally sees all that WALL-E has done for her and how it changes her view of him. We all want someone to see the true us and love us for who we are. WALL-E never wavers in his caring for Eve. He loves her unconditionally. And in the end, they both grow, open their hearts and find their Happily Ever After.

Romance stories are a lot like this. Our poor characters are pushed and pulled through some rough times, but in the end they change and grow, and they and their world are a better place because of that.

I’m just not sure I want to watch my boys go through all that in real life…well, maybe if they find someone who loves them as they are and brings out the best in them and they have a happily ever after. Then, maybe I would.

Happy Valentine’s Day Blessings!
Denise

 

Parts of this post was originally published Feb. 2018 on A Slice of Orange titled with the same name: Dating Lessons from WALL-E

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Word of the Year

Living 2020 Full of Courage

Every year I pick a word to represent my focus for the year. For 2020, my word sort of chose me. My word this year? Courage! To live 2020 full of courage.

I couldn’t be more excited to dive into this word and use it to encourage, guide, and direct my life this year. 

When I looked up the definition of courage, it was described as showing bravery in the face of danger, but as I dug deeper, I found that it is also about facing difficulties and fear.

I’ve been writing and editing my first novel for the past six years and it has been a journey. A wonderful, beautiful, sometimes frustrating journey.

But as I’ve entered contests and done more writing, I find I’m afraid to put my work out there over and over, to get feedback (no matter how encouraging), and it’s daunting to know there is more work that needs to be done and I don’t know fully what that is yet. I want to keep working on it and not give up, even though I wonder at times why I keep trying.

This is the courage I want to have in 2020.

For my writing:

  • Courage to finish my book
  • Courage to show it to others and pitch it.
  • Courage to say no to the things that take me away from my goals

But the word courage can be applied in so many areas of my life:

  • Courage to obey God and trust Him fully
  • Courage to have the conversations with my kids I want to have and sometimes don’t
  • Courage to take those moments and make them worthwhile
  • Courage to not miss the moments that can be fleeting

And so much more. In some ways it’s taking last years word, Purposeful, and having the courage to live it out in abundance.

As I look back over my blog, I realize I haven’t always written about the words I’ve chosen each year (I have on other blogs), yet this small decision to choose one word to focus on has reaped so many blessings for me and I’ve grown in all sorts of ways. In a way they sort of build off of each other. I might need to still talk about them. They become a part of me. And I still get encouraged when I see them – like my word for 2017, which I did write about – strength.

Also, when I choose my word for the year, I pick a memory verse as my theme. There are a few that I like for courage, but the one verse that fits my heart the best with this word is:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9

As you can see, the word strength is in this verse as well.

I also like to look up quotes with the word and loved what I found. I have quite a lot to inspire me:

Walt Disney Quote All our dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them with blurred photo of Denise M. Colby leaping in front of Dream sign
Vincent Van Gogh Quote What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything? with cursive writing in the background
Steve Jobs Quote And most important, have the courage to follow your own heart and intuition

So for 2020, I look forward to seeing how God will use this word to encourage me.

Is it to have courage to finish my book and pitch it for publishing?

To say no to things so I can have the time to work on my book and other things that are most important to me, such as my family?

Will I have courage to listen to God when he nudges me (which is exactly how writing my novel began)?

Whatever it is, I’m really looking forward to this year of courage.

If you’d like help in picking a word, this is a great website page with lots of ideas.

If you have a word picked out for the year 2020, I’d love to know what it is! Let me know if the comments below.

For Fun

Disney Christmas: Two of My Favorite Things

Title Graphic for Denise M. Colby Blog Post Titled Two of My Favorite Things: Christmas and Disney with background pic of Disney Christmas Train Stocking Holders

My family has a huge affinity for Disney Christmas decorations. It’s fun each year to open up the tubs and go through everything as we joyfully pull them out to enjoy during the Christmas season. Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out where to put them all.

Disneyland is quite the magical place on its own. It’s even more magical to us (always has been and always will!).

See, we met at Disneyland and got engaged there. But that’s a story for another time.

Christmas in Disneyland is magical. My first Christmas in the park was in 1991 (hubby and I met in 1992). I was performing in the Christmas parade. My parents spent the day there watching me perform, so we could be together. In between parades, I was able to go into the park and eat with them.

It was a time I will always treasure.

Hubby and I spent many date nights before we were married in Disneyland and shared many new traditions at Christmastime. Our first Christmas married, we picked out candleholders for our tiny apartment.

Mickey and Minnie heads Candle holder
Ceramic Mickey & Minnie Candleholders

These are the first Christmas decorations we added to our household. We also picked out our stockings.

Mickey & Minnie Christmas Stockings purchased in 1995
We purchased these stockings our first year we were married (1995)

Getting Mickey and Minnie stockings was so fitting for us. We were able to find Pooh, Tigger, Pluto, and Goofy after our oldest was born so that we could have matching styles. It’s hard to believe these are over twenty years old now. They can hold a lot of stuff, and the heads help hold those items that stick out when it is filled.  

Pooh, Tigger, & Pluto Christmas Stockings
Pooh, Tigger, & Goofy Christmas Stockings

A few years after we moved into our home we picked out these stocking holders (see above photo) that include three parts of a train with several Disney characters inside. It’s so sturdy and never feels like it would tip over. It even plays music and a few arms wave back and forth (unfortunately said arms didn’t pack away well one year). Who knew that we would have three kids and all would be huge train enthusiasts. It’s so appropriate for our family and it’s still one of my favorite pieces to bring out each year. 

Mickey Santa Stuffed Doll
Mickey Santa

And what would Christmas be without Mickey Santa? I purchased this guy when I worked at the park. He isn’t the reason we celebrate Christmas (Jesus is that reason), but it’s still fun to dress up my Mickey bathroom in Christmas Mickey.

I also have these Mickey Christmas towels. I’m not sure where I found them or when, but I’ve had them a long time. They work perfect in making the bathroom be just a bit more Christmassy.

Mickey Christmas Towel
Mickey Christmas Towel

Some other pieces we’ve collected through the years include this figurine.

Mickey Figurine pulling a Christmas tree

And these candlesticks.

Mickey & Minnie holding presents candlesticks

I have a mini-tree that I hang these small wooden ornaments of Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald. I think my mom got them for me when I was in college. It’s one of the things I put out every year.

Tiny Christmas Tree with mini Disney wooden ornaments of Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald
My Little Disney Tree

So there’s a few of our Disney Christmas items. Our Disney Christmas items make me smile when I look at them, I hope they make you smile a bit too!

Merry Christmas!

For Fun

For the Love of Bookmarks!

Photo of a small sample of Denise M. Colby's bookmark collection
Some of my favorite bookmarks include: one I received from my Sunday School Teachers in 6th grade,
one made by one of my sons, one of my husband and I at a friends wedding, one from my sister,
one I made from our Beauty & the Beast show, and a few given to me by friends

I have a love of bookmarks!

There, I said it! I love bookmarks!

I sure have quite the eclectic collection of bookmarks, so I thought it would be fun to write about them.

I’m not sure exactly when I got my first bookmark, but I know I received a few as a kid, one in particular from my sunday school teachers (I think I was in 6th grade) They signed the back of it with a lovely message and the front of it reads “Remind me, Lord, that nothing’s going to happen to me today that you & I together can’t handle.”

It’s still one of my favorites, and I’ve kept it all this time. Not just because I like the graphics, but because of who gave it to me and the personalized message on the back of it. 

back of bookmark showing a personalized message from 1981
Personalizing a bookmark can make a lasting gift. This one is over thirty years old.

Some of my bookmarks are in books I haven’t picked up in a long time. It’s a pleasant surprise to find a book tucked away on a shelf and open it up and find bookmarks I’d forgotten about. Especially ones from my mom.

Each bookmark reminds me of someone or some event and they hold a special spot in a book that I wanted to remember (My Bible has so many bookmarks in it).

Photograph of bookmarks by Denise M. Colby used in social media post
Click on this photo to take you to a reader discussion on bookmarks I led on a FB takeover event

It seems I’ve become a collector of bookmarks through the years. Now I’ve become a bit more purposeful about it.

Four years ago, I was traveling with my then 8th grade son (the middle one) with his 8th grade class to Washington D.C. and New York. We were stopping at so many places, I wanted to have something from each place but didn’t want to spend a fortune. I have no reason to collect matches, and decks of cards is what my husband and I have collected together since we were married (and we weren’t on this trip together), so I wanted to find something else. 

Our first stop was at Gettysberg and they had one I liked so I purchased it. Then we went to the next stop in DC and I found another one. At stop number three all there really was was a bookmark and I liked it, so I bought it. Then at the next stop, there were bookmarks being given for free. And on and on. Maybe around stop four or five, I realized I had a thing going and became more purposeful in searching for bookmarks.

I was pretty much able to find bookmarks at every stop. Something small and inexpensive to collect on the trip. It was perfect. When I got home, I had collected so many unique and different ones and they all held meaningful memories – both for the place itself and the memory in purchasing the bookmark. I got pretty excited towards the end of the trip when I would find yet another one so I could complete my set.

Photo of Bookmarks collected by Denise M. Colby on her DC/NY Trip in 2015
I took all the bookmarks I collected on the DC/NY trip and entered them into the fair in the Collections category.

Throughout the years I’ve received special bookmarks from friends and family, along with custom photo bookmarks from weddings and events.

There really is quite a variety of types of bookmarks in my collection.

When I began this writing journey, I ended up with quite a few bookmarks from authors I met at different meetings, so I have a group of those too.

stack of bookmarks by authors I've met
Stack of bookmarks by authors I’ve met.

When my mom passed away last year and I wanted to have something people could take home with them. I remember another friend having bookmarks at her mother’s funeral, so I decided to make one to give away at my mom’s service. I found a quote in my moms journal and was able to create this special keepsake.

Photo of Bookmark created by Denise M. Colby (front and back) Beverly Marsh Memorial Service
This is the bookmark I designed for my mom’s memorial service.

I know I have way too many bookmarks, but it’s fun to switch them out and they are small enough they don’t take up a ton of room. I wonder what bookmark I will at to my collection next?

Do you have a favorite bookmark?

I would love to hear about your favorites! Share in the comments below.

Writing

It’s The One-Room Schoolhouse’s Fault

Blog Title It's the One-room Schoolhouse's Fault with pick of prairie flowers and a one-room schoolhouse by Denise M. Colby

I have this thing for historical one-room schoolhouses. I don’t know why. They are cute, inviting and have history that is yearning to be told. Ever since I visited the one-room schoolhouse in old town Sacramento during my oldest son’s 4th grade Sacramento trip, I have wanted to write a story about one. 

  • How specific some of the rules were.
  • How students were separated with boys on one side, girls on the other.
  • How each student had to stand at the side of their desk to speak.
  • How lashings were given for the most interesting infringements.
  • How a female teacher had different rules than a male teacher.
  • How for some of these students, it was the only education they would ever receive.
  • How children of all ages were taught in the same room.
  • How one measly stove in the center of the room provided heat.
  • How lunch was carried in a bucket.
Quote from Blog by Denise M. Colby - Maybe it's the influence of Little House on the Prairie, but i find the history of the one-room schoolhouse a little romantic

Maybe it’s the influence of Little House on the Prairie, but I find the history of the one-room schoolhouse a little romantic. And so, when I went on the same trip with my second son two years later, the same curiousness came back, a few characters formed in my head, and a story screamed at me to write it. 

So I did. 

My story is about a town across the river from Sacramento that has a brand new schoolhouse. This schoolhouse seems to want to match-make for its teachers. Their first teacher got married before she set foot in it. The next one, my heroine Olivia, wants to remain a teacher her whole life. But God, the one-room schoolhouse, and Bert the rooster, all have a different plan for her.

It will be interesting to see how long she lasts, and who else might come to teach at this match-making one-room schoolhouse.

Quote from Blog by Denise M. Colby - Who else might come to teach at my match-making one-room schoolhouse

To find out more about the story I’m writing, go to the Going West Series page of my website. Or click on this link if you’d like to see the photos of One-Room Schoolhouses I’ve posted. I’ve also created a Pinterest board about One-Room Schoolhouses  which has been fun to build.