Friday, July 3, 2015

#writingprompt Summer Writing Camp #4

Summer Writing Camp #4

I was blog hopping today and came across a blog game known as Summer Writing Camp at the Journey to the Finish Line blog. The goal is to write a story using the prompt that was provided. The deadline for this posting is July 17th but I thought I would work on it today. So here it goes. Here's the prompt and below it is the short story. 

Di knew better than to let her sister fall asleep in her lap while reading a story to her. Dangerous, strange things could happen in her sleep. Usually it was stupid stuff like the time she floated up to the ceiling and licked the paint until her tongue was swollen. Or the time she decided to walk the goldfish and feed the dog in the bathtub with his food underwater. It never failed. Something, uncontrollable would happen and her little sister was the cause of it all. You see, her four year old sister didn't know any better. I mean how do you control a magical being who doesn't understand how to tell the difference from her imagination and reality? 

Di slowly pushed Su away from her and slid out of the bed. Her little sister whimpered then fell back to sleep. She hoped whatever she facing in her dreams wasn't dangerous this time. Di looked at the book she had just read to her sister. Every time she had read a book to her sister Sue would dream about it and then she would have to face it in the real world. Thankfully she had chosen a simple book to read. What could go wrong with a book titled Raindrop, Rainbow? 

Suddenly lightening struck the neighbor's house and thunder roared through the sky. Di ran to the window. Flashes of gold and red flickered in the clouds. Shadows danced in the clouds with every burst of thunderous lighting. A large creature with wings roared as what looked like knights fought it in the clouds. Di picked up the book and flipped through the pages. She was quite certain the book didn't say anything about dragons and knights. She turned her gaze upon her sister. She didn't are wake her sister before the dream was over. The last time she did that the house exploded and she was grounded for three months for interfering with her sister's magical journey. She was her sister's guardian after all. As the eldest sibling it was her duty to make certain her sister completed her entire training. 

Di turned back to the window and watched the firemen try to put out the neighbor's house with...what the...with a hose full of chocolate syrup? The house was on fire with green flames? What kind of fire was that? The dragon roared above her head. She had just turned her head in time to see the dragon descend upon her house with it's nostrils flaring! Su laughed as her spirit rode on the back of the dragon. The dragon blew seltzer water all over Di. She shook her hands downward with a gasp. Her  entire body drenched from head to toe.  

"That's not funny," Di yelled at her sister as the dragon passed the house by. 

"Ah, your no fun," the ramboncious young girl teased. 

"How are you going to explain that," Di yelled pointing to the neighbor's yard. 

"Oh, that. Well...uhm....I don't know. You figure something out."

"Why you," Di yelled then jumped out of the window onto the yard. Marshemallows and M&M's fell from the sky. "Droplets of chocolate and marshmallows. Of course, it would be ...." A lightening bold of thick, nacho cheese collided with the tree. She jumped off and ran across the yard. The rain grew thicker but this time it was pouring down gumdrops so fast and thick it hurt every time the rain fell upon her. 

THIS WAS GOING TO BE A VERY LONG NIGHT...........At least this time she would enjoy tasting the rain.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Who Are The #Shawnee: A Tale of Two Chiefs #NativeAmerica #Ohio


The very word unifies them as a nation. Yet in all of Shawnee history, the only time they ever came together as one people was when there was a threat against all Shawnee people. The Shawnee have always lived an independent lifestyle. To be an adult Shawnee meant you could live wherever you wanted without the need to answer to anyone.  This allowed the Shawnee the freedom to settle anywhere which is why when the settlers began to explore the wilderness it was very easy for them to run into a Shawnee.

One of the problems the Europeans faced with the Shawnee people was the idea of political unity. The Europeans' concept of leadership was completely different than the Shawnee. They were coming for a culture where monarchy was the rule of the land. This meant everyone obeyed one leader. To the Shawnee this was a foreign concept. While they did have chiefs, they could leave the chief's leadership if they disagreed with the chief. So when a chief makes an agreement with another he is speaking for his village but if a person does not agree with the comprise he or she is free to leave without any political repercussions. The Europeans had expected if a compromise was made with a Shawnee chief then it was to be followed by all Shawnee. In the Shawnee's eyes, the compromise was made only with his or her village not the entire nation. The cultural differences in this belief often mistakenly lead the Europeans in conflict with the Shawnee.

Ideally the leadership of a village was lead under two chiefs, the peace chief and the war chief.  The two did not come from the same division nor did they lead their people at the same time. Shawnee division were: Chillicothe (Chalahgawtha) [Chalaka, Chalakatha], Hathawekela (Asswikales, Sweickleys, etc.) [Thawikila], Kispokotha (Kispoko) [kishpoko, kishpokotha], Mequachake (Mekoche, Machachee, Maguck, Mackachack) [Mekoche] and Pekuwe (Piqua, Pekowi, Pickaway, Picks) [Pekowi, Pekowitha]. All villages had a council of elders that were like advisers to the chief. No chief could make a decision without seeking the advice of the elders. Council meetings were often held for three days. 

The Peace Chief

The peace chief came from the Chillicothe division. He was responsible for leading the village
in times of peace and only answered to the principal peace chief. The principal peace chief was the peace leader over of all the Shawnee. Each summer the village peace chiefs would travel to the principal peace chief's village for a great council. The position of peace chief was hereditary. It could only be passed from father to son. The principal chief was chosen from the independent village chiefs. A famous Shawnee peace chief was Chief Cornstalk.

The peace chief's wife was known as the female peace chief. She had the responsibility of overseeing the female duties of the village, ordering when to plant and sow the fields and scheduled the cooking for the feasts. Women had a strong voice in the tribal government because the Shawnee honored women more than men.

The War Chief

One of the most well-known war chiefs was Tecumseh.  

The position of war chief was not hereditary. After the war chief died any Kishpoko could compete for the position. The competitors were given men underneath their leadership for the duration of three seperate village attacks. They had to prove themselves by gathering a scalp from each attack and arrive home without any of their warriors killed or injured. Than the man who could do this three times was said to be chosen by Our Grandmother to replace the war chief. A war chief could only come out of the Kishpoko division since these were the warriors of the Shawnee nation. Tecumseh's father was the principal war chief until his death when Tecumseh was still a boy. Tecumseh was too young at that time to fight for his father's position.

The war chief led the village during the times of war. He was also responsible for training all boys to become warriors and strong providers. Whenever the village was at war it would be the war chief who was in charge and not the peace chief. You could always tell the distinction between the chiefs because a war chief always wore a red tipped tomahawk on his hip. The war chief, like the peace chief, also answered to a principal chief and travelled in the summer to the a great council. Another responsibility of the war chief was to ensure law and order in the village. He was the emissary sent to other tribes to speak on behalf of his village. So more often, the Europeans, when they were encountering a village leader it was not the peace chief they were speaking too but the war chief. The war chief would not make a decision without consulting the peace chief first. This is why they rarely made a decision when speaking to the Europeans about anything. They would have to take the information back to the village, discuss it with the peace chief and council then deliver the decision to the tribe or Europeans. The Europeans did not understand this and often grew impatient waiting for their reply.

Like the peace chief, the war chief's wife also served beside her husband in the leadership of their people. Known as the war woman, she was responsible for examining the captives. If her husband was about to attack a village or kill a captive and she disapproved she could speak up against it. He could not act without her consent if she decided to protect them.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

#ExpressYourself: #school pranks

Welcome back to the Express Yourself blog meme. This week I was asked to share with my readers the best prank I have ever pulled on someone. I'm not much of a prankster but I have had some pretty amazing ones that I managed to pull off when I was younger.

The best prank I think that I ever pulled off was when I was in fifth grade. My fifth grade class went to the annual science camp. All the girls were in one cabin and across from us was the boys cabin. The boys had pranked our cabin the night we arrived. So I and a few of my friends decided it was time for a payback. We also didn't like the class snob/bully and we decided to pin it all on her. I went to the boys and told them the girls were planning to put toothpaste on their doorknobs and window ledges. Once they believed me I went back to the girls and told them that the boys were planning to prank them. Everyone in my class was scrambling to out do each other's pranks. It was a huge mess. I may have out done myself because the teacher ended up calling social services and my mom, the CPS worker for the area, was sent out to investigate. I didn't own up to that one until we moved to Texas while I was in high school. She told me she knew it was me the entire time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

#SupernaturalTexas: Fort Davis Buffalo Soldiers

Supernatural Texas: Fort Davis

Welcome back to Supernatural Texas. Last week I introduced you to the four regions of Texas. The Lady of Wild Rose Pass , book 1 of my EspĂ­ritu de Tejas short story series, takes place in the Big Bend Region of West Texas between Fort Davis and Balmorhea, Texas. 

Fort Davis, Texas is a small town located deep within the Davis Mountains with a rich Texas history. 
The story of Fort Davis, Texas begins with the Texans fight for Independence. 

Texas won their independence after Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. General Santa Anna, the Mexican dictator, was forced to sign a peace treaty with the Texans recognizing their claim of sovereignty. Soon afterwards, Great Britain, France and the United States recognized the new nation of Texas. All three nations warned Mexico not to go to war with the Texans. The Republic of Texas was much larger than the present day Texas. 

The Mexican government did not quietly accept defeat for very long. 

During the 1850's hundreds of families and adventurers wanting to strike it rich in the California Gold Rush descended upon the western portions of the United States. The main route to California went through mountains and areas where there were plenty of snow. Travelers who wanted to come west during the winter months needed a different route to take in order to avoid the hazards of snow and ice. In 1849, the United States established the San Antonio - El Paso Road that connected central and west Texas. Travel along the route was dangerous because the Comanches, Kiowas and Mescalero- Apaches would frequently attack anyone who travelled on the road. The Comanches and Apaches each had their own trails leading from their raid routes in Mexico to the San Antonio - El Paso Road. The frequency of the Comanche and Apache raids on travelers demanded the United States provide more protection for settlers. 

During the 1850's the United States Army established several forts along the trade routes in order to provide a consistent military presence throughout Texas. Fort Davis was established in October of 1854. The Comanches and Apaches continued to raid travelers until the Civil War. Fort Davis was abandoned by the US Army at the beginning of the Civil War. In 1861,  the Confederate Army reclaimed the western fort under the leadership of Col. John R. Baylor. The Confederate Army used their position to try to claim New Mexico as confederate territory. Their efforts failed. A year later they abandoned the fort and retreated to San Antonio. Fort Davis laid abandoned for the next five years. During this time, the Comanches and Apaches salvaged any wood they could find from the site for firewood. 

The United States Army returned to Fort Davis in June of 1867 where under the direction of Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt the military began constructing a new post. More buildings and facilities were added to the land in order to accommodate 600 men, officers and their families. From 1867 - 1885, Fort Davis was used primarily as the post for the ninth and tenth United States Calvary units. These units were comprised of black soldiers known as Buffalo Soldiers. Their main purpose was to fight the Comanches and Apaches. These units were very successful in their military exploits against the native populations. 

Fort Davis was abandoned in 1891. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

#LTW: The #Gifted Human Brain - It's all Biology

Welcome back to Lighting the Way. Last week we learned some gifted children are misdiagnosed because they do not exhibit characteristics that are often believed to be a part a gifted person's personality nor intellect. The main problem when trying to define who is gifted and who is not is that not all gifted exhibit the same quirks. Much of what we know today about the gifted population has been learned through brain research. 

Inside the Gifted Mind

The gifted mind is a very complex organ that has intrigued scholars throughout history. Mrazik and Dombrowski (2010) stated through much of history, scholars had believed a person’s intellectual ability was determined by their brain size. Educators and researchers have learned much about how the gifted brain works through current brain research.

The Cerebral Cortex

NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD (Asher, 2006) found IQ is not linked to the size of a person’s brain but how fast the cerebral cortex develops. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of a human brain that contains folded grey matter. The folded grey matter can be divided into four functional parts known as the temporal, frontal, occipital and parietal lobes. Zerhouni (Asher, 2006) found the cerebral cortex of students with superior IQ’s (130 and above) thickens more rapidly than their non-gifted peers. The relationship between a student’s IQ and the rapidly growing cerebral cortex varies with age, especially in the prefrontal cortex.

Prefrontal Cortex

The prefrontal cortex is the part of the cerebral cortex that covers the frontal lobe, which is located directly behind the forehead. Bruning, Shaw & Norby (2011) stated the frontal lobe is associated with executive regulation of learning, regulations of emotions and long-term memory functions. Zerhouni (Asher, 2006) found students with superior IQ’s may have prolonged thickening in the prefrontal cortex at an early age that allows for their early abstract reasoning, planning and other executive learning capabilities. Gifted children do not keep these abilities for long in their youth. Zerhouni (Asher, 2006) found gifted children’s cerebral cortex go through a thinning process that eliminates unused brain cells, neurons and any connections they could have made. Bruning, Shaw & Norby (2011) describe the brain’s process of discarding unused neurons as pruning. The pruning process continues in gifted children’s brains until the brain becomes more efficient during the teen years.

Asher, J. (2006) Cortex Matures Faster in Youth with Highest IQ. Retrieved from National Institute of Health website:
Bruning, R. H., Schraw, G. J., & Norby, M. M. (2011). Cognitive psychology and instruction (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Butnik, S (May/June 2013). Understanding, Diagnosing and Coping with Slow Processing Speed. Retrieved from
Geake, J. (2009). The Brain at School: Educational Neuroscience in the Classroom. Retrieved from ttps://
Gross, G. (2013, October 21). Who is the gifted Child [Web log post]? Retrieved from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Anatomy of the brain. Baltimore, MD: Author
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012). Connectivism learning theory. Baltimore MD: Author.
Monru, J. (2013). High-Ability Learning and Brain Processes:How Neuroscience can help us to understand how gifted and talented students learn and the implication for teaching. Paper presented a the Research Conference, Australia
Mrazik, M., & Dombrowski, S. C. (2010). The Neurobiological Foundations of Giftedness. Roeper Review, 32(4), 224-234. doi:10.1080/02783193.2010.508154
Sword, L. (2011). I think in pictures, you teach in words: The gifted visual-spatial learner. Tall Poppies Retrieved from
Treffinger, D (Ed.). (2003). Creativity and Giftedness. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

#WUWA: Small Blessings

Small Blessings

It's been a busy week for me. I spent the majority of this past week Spring Cleaning our little apartment. Normally, I don't spend quite that much time cleaning. I tend to keep my house cleaning and still be able to stay on task by following the Fly Lady routines. I discovered her website years ago. Her routines and cleaning schedule has been a huge blessing for me. Unfortunately, I ended up ignoring my Fly Lady routines for almost a year and my house ended up needing a detailed Spring Cleaning. I'll be so grateful when that's over. I'm not quite finished with it yet. I still have the office and living room to do and then I will be done. Once everything is complete my house will be easier to manage. 

This past weekend, I was truly blessed. My husband and I visited several yard sales on Saturday with the goal of obtaining organizers to help with the organization of our home. We love to go yard sales. You can find some of the nicest stuff at great prices if you know where and how to look. We were at a yard sale when I saw a wicker baby buggy with a note inside. The note said FREE. Well I couldn't pass that up. It's perfect for all my childhood stuffed animals. The buggy just needs some tender loving care. The couple said they had bought it years ago at a yard sale in Georgia. They had carried it around with them for a very long time and no longer needed it. It still has the original fabric and pillows inside it. It won't be that hard to fix. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#ExpressYourself: Catching up with Allison

Welcome back to the Express Yourself weekly meme. I'm catching up this month with my weekly meme so there will be more than one topic of discussion on this post. This month we were asked the following questions.

June 1 - 5:

Q: Pick one of your 5 senses you find the most important.

A: The most important sense to me is sight. I am a very visually oriented person. I love anything to do with the arts. I love to read and write. I also like to explore the world around me. Humans depend upon their sight for so many things but most of the time we take that for granted. I learned not to take my vision for granted when I was child. I have a serious astigmatism that developed very quickly when I was a girl. It was hard to hide how thick my eyeglasses from when I was a child through my teenage years. Just look how thick and large those glasses are!

I'm so grateful that we now have the technology that will allow me to wear thinner lenses.

June 8 - 12: 

Q: You have 30 seconds to change your whole name. What is it?

A: Annabella Elisabeth McCord

June 15 - 19

Q:  You've been blindfolded and taken to a secret place. The blindfold has been removed. Where are you?

A: If I tell you then it won't be a secret. Darn it. I had it all set up so I could disappear from the world and get some things done. Fine! I guess I have no choice in the matter. I own a top secret time machine that allows me the capability to travel back into an alternative universe where all the characters of my books live. Ha! You only thought I wrote fiction. You didn't know it was real in an alternative universe. DID YOU? I'm in 1774 with Calico and Little Owl. AND NO YOU CAN'T BORROW MY MACHINE! IT'S MINE! ALL MINE!

June 22 - 26

Q: If you could learn one out of the norm skill. What would it be?

A: I want to learn how to ride on the back of a dragon. Seriously, who doesn't want to ride on the back of a dragon? Anybody have a dragon I can borrow?