Saturday, November 25, 2017

Dangers in the Desert is live :D

It ships in time for Christmas :D

It's Christmas break, and the Queen is still missing...

Maylee and Rafi trek through the Sinai desert on camelback, 
headed for Cairo—but they aren’t the only ones looking for the Queen. Danger is waiting for them 
amongst the pyramids, and a secret society that teeters on the edge of good and evil might just 
take them down. Or, it might be their only hope. 

In the meantime, Smith is still in Montana—but with the click of a mouse, the world is a very small place. 
The shield between Smith and his data trackers is only as thick as his Internet security, and with the 
college students on vacation, his TOR blanket is pretty thin. 

On top of it all, Johann Barker left a trail of clues behind him 
when he died—clues that point to a secret far more personal 
than the missing Queen. Amjad and Jerome must find all 
the clues, decipher the code, and face a familial 
shock that tests their integrity. 

One thing’s for sure, they’re going to have to 
work together to find the Queen, but in this 
game of intrigue, it’s hard to know 

who they can trust. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Overview of my talk at TEDxPlano 2016

Do Hard Things: Applying Krashen's Input Hypothesis to Personal Growth and Achievement

You can't microwave success. There is no shortcut, no easy way to reach your goals. It's going to take a lot of hard work, discipline, and consistency. What you can do, however, is reframe the way you think about success and failure and create a systematic pattern that allows you to maximize your efforts. 
Stephen Krashen's Input Hypothesis deals with second language acquisition, but we can apply this language principle to other areas of our lives as we tackle doing hard things. Three simple symbols provide the formula for success: i+1
In the TED talk, we take a look at what both the i and the 1 mean in the context of our goals, but we really focus on dealing with the discomfort and insecurity that comes as we acquire new habits and skills, incorporating those into the person we are. 
I share some personal experiences and some embarrassing stories in the talk which I won't spoil here for you. I had several comments from members in the audience and from those who saw the video on YouTube who were able to identify with the awkwardness that comes in between "I can" and " I must stretch." But they all agreed that the rewards on the other side of  growth far outweigh the discomforts!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

For George

He is one of the few people who sees life from thirty feet in the air. His forearms are darkened from long days at the stern, and he carries the salt-water breeze in his eyes, even when he looks away from the ocean. Waves slap the belly of his boat, but he stands unjolted, for he is not only part of the ship, but its heart.

He leans against the prow with his arms bent, fingers loosely intertwined, and with a Carleton curled between his lips. The wind teases the smoke out into the open where it gets lost among the turquoise hills and valleys. 

As he looks over this cool desert from his perch, he can spot the spiny metal strip that lurks below the surface. It is the backbone of a monster who, face down, engorges itself on the blood of the earth that lies miles deep into the ocean floor. As fierce as any known by seafaring Greeks, this underwater monster, the ocean rig, would shred his boat if he ventured too close to where the thirsty metal breathes.

These waters have shown him many great and terrible things, but none truer than a reflection of himself. Indeed, when he looks into the waves, the man he sees there is noble, honest, and ever-growing with the tide. Mirrors show the man only as he is today, but the ocean...the ocean conjures both the past and the future in its dimensions and creates an outline of the soul.

He flicks the butt of the cigarette into the water, straightens, and walks away. The time has come to find his place on the shore, to quit the space where birds fly and join his feet again to the gravity that calls us all. He looks to the water and it winks at him. Of course he'll be back. His home address isn't in street names and numbers, but shifting coordinates of degrees as he chases the sun as it dips daily into his ocean.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Bridge

His every footstep landed heavy, choices stamped in cement too hardened to notice them. Below him snaked thousands of blank eyes, souls rushing through life at the pace of heavy traffic. The melody of rubber against concrete silenced the dull thud of progress as he walked the tightrope between now and his destiny. 

He looked at his feet as he walked, the only flash of color in this world of gravel gray. See, the sun was shining brightly that day, but he shut his eyes against the glare instead of embracing the light; he found its brilliance to be as blinding as its absence at night. And onward he plodded, his heartbeat the drum line, the shuffling of his feet keeping rhythm in this fatal dance. 

A bird soared above him, stamping her shadow upon the ground a little brokenly, like frames in a moving picture. As he walked, two semicircles fogged up the lower half of his glasses, proof of the warmth of his ruddy cheeks. Broken glass, green and silver shards of last night, littered his path and he crunched over it, half hoping it would hold fast rather than give way to his undecided stride.

He reached the center of the bridge and stopped. The swooshing of drivers whizzing by was perfectly balanced here, a comfort he rarely found elsewhere in his life. A horn blared somewhere in the sea of painted metal below him, pop can sized cars with tiny angry drivers. A man in a crane with a highlighter yellow hat shaded his eyes against the sun as he shouted orders to those below him, words that couldn't swim above the city sounds.

He placed his hands on the railing and felt decision weighing in his gloved hands--cold, hard, and definite. He pulled one leg over the rail, then the other. In that moment between rock and air, he never felt so unsure of anything in his life. Irony laughed at him holding on so tight right before he had planned to let go. The wind pushed at his back and black words warning of icy bridges scolded him as he felt his feet slip on the cold metal. 

His heart was beating faster now, a dance with steps that he couldn't outrun. He saw a finger point up at him from a child on her way to school. Her mother's mouth turned into an "O," and he watched as she covered her daughter's eyes with her hand, a shield blocking his radiating pain. He turned his head to look behind him, but no hand was there to pull him back--only the sun caressing his face, the breeze whispering along his ear, and the stringent railing holding fast on the brink of life and death. 

He wondered if he had it in his heart and in his pride to climb the hardest path back to the other side. If he could live with himself knowing he had almost committed suicide. If could trust himself to live knowing he had chosen it. He saw his own shadow looming far below him, flickering over the hoods and roofs of cars that passed below. In that shadow he saw a coward too afraid to hang on and too afraid to let go.

He had gone that day to the bridge to find balance. To hear the wooshing of cars equal. To have the light behind him and his own shadow before him. Ask anyone who has walked such a tightrope, balance requires great strength. A constant shifting, a fight by the second. He released the grip his right hand held on the bridge. Determined, he swung himself around to face the light and to climb the most difficult four feet of his life. His life.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

3 Things You Must See at Glacier National Park

Click here to see the video of Glacier National Park with Diamond Wilson and Jay Wilson

1. The Wildflowers 

The mountainsides and valleys are fragrant with wild roses, bear grass, and wild lupines.  Breathe deeply of the crisp mountain air, and catch a whif of the roses while you're at it.

2. Iridescent Glacier-Green Waters 

Finely ground silt in glaciers flows into rivers and lakes as the ice melts and blends into the water supply. The water is often so clear it is difficult to guess the depth of the water. Oh yeah, it's pretty chilly too!

3.  Ancient Glaciers - Giant Ice Formations that Flow 

 Great snow drifts under pressure eventually turn to ice and re-crystallize forming powerful glaciers. These glaciers move consistently, undaunted by thousands of feet of rock that lie in their way.  They cut almost impossible valleys and canyons, leaving large lakes with mountains that seem to grow right out of the water. Rock layers are exposed as the glacier erodes the formations, slicing the earth and baring the layers that formed it.