Category Archives: Lois’ Contest
I smiled as I hung up the phone from my conversation with my sister, Nancy…the universe really can be quite generous at times. Not only would I be able to sneak away for a coveted weekend with her in St. Louis but on my return flight to Denver International Airport I would be able to see my cousin, Clark.
Clark was the youngest in a group of cousins separated by only a few years. Most of us were born between 1952 and 1958 but he was the straggler, arriving in 1963. As a child, Clark was known as the ‘pest’, the five year age gap glaringly obvious to those of us over the age of eight. In time, he outgrew us all, reaching 6’-7” in stature and obtaining a doctorate’s degree in mechanical engineering. As a kid he had designed a rubric’s cube with an extra row and column to make the game a bit more challenging. My method was to simply pull off the colored squares and place them where they all matched if I got stuck. Perhaps this is why he has a mathematical theory named after him and I do not. In contrast to his height and intelligence was a child-like naiveté and gentleness that was endearing.
As children our paths crossed every year or so when the sisters (our mothers) reunited in Alliance, Ohio or St. Louis, Missouri. When the reunion was in St. Louis, the three sisters and nine cousins would gather together for a ride on the river boat named the Admiral. It would mosey up the Mississippi river for a leisurely afternoon while we danced to music, played cards and pinball machines or just wondered around the boat taking in the scenery. Our encounters have been less frequent in recent years; weddings and funerals or an occasional conference here or there, so the chance meeting at the airport was a welcomed surprise. Clark would be in Denver for a two hour layover as he waited for the flight on the last leg of his epic journey. After several weeks in Ethiopia, he was returning home to his eight-month pregnant wife and two blond haired, blue eyed, pre-school daughters. Accompanying him were four new family members, Elsa, Yeshi, Sintayehu, and Kasanesh. What began as a simple desire to relieve the plight of an orphaned child grew into the adoption of four teenage girls from Ethiopia. The five sojourners had trekked across the world enduring grueling hours on airplanes and endless waits in airports as they moved closer towards their home in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Clark and his family
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Knorr is a licensed architect in Colorado and has been the principal of an architectural firm for over 20 years designing homes. She is also a practicing spiritual director and writer. Anne has written and lectured about the connection between architecture and spirituality and offers workshops and retreats on the topic. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband where she enjoys hiking the trails near her home.
We love heroes. They are people who demonstrate gallant, selfless and audacious behaviors to help others and we’re as proud of them as if we knew them personally.
A first-generation Greek-American, I was schooled in the great heroes of Grecian myths and history: Homer, Plato, Socrates, Zeus and his family of amazing, often-mischievous children, to name but a few. I took it for granted that heroes existed, fictional and real. I knew I had heroes in my family: a father who, at age nine and parentless, came to America to work. He demonstrated a work ethic and code of honor for his children to follow; a brother, an Air Force belly gunner, who died in the Pacific. Surely, he was my hero. And a mother who epitomized all that was good and pure in helping others. Yes, I knew people I considered heroic.
But I had never known my heroic grandfather, a Greek-Orthodox priest, until forty years after his death. Call it kismet: I was in Berchtesgaden, Germany touring the salt mine where Hitler manufactured fighter planes deep underground. Hitler’s summer home, “Eagle’s Nest,” was visible from where I stood. I wandered into a tiny cemetery and stopped short. On each large tombstone was a portrait of a German soldier in uniform. The swastikas leaped out at me. With three brothers in that war, one lost and another wounded, it was still too real and painful. Hitler was a crazed demon to the little girl who saw her mother dressed in mourning black, weeping for the oldest son she would never see again, for the two she might never see again. I stared at the grim faces of Nazi soldiers and officers, chilled to the bone though a hot July sun beat down on me.
“Incredible,” I said to an American tourist from my bus, “that we can see this so many years later and still be affected by it.” He nodded silently. We exchanged names: his was Jacob. He asked the nationality of my last name and I told him it was Greek.
Jacob smiled. “I’m Jewish. If it weren’t for a Greek Orthodox priest in Athens who sheltered my parents from German soldiers, I wouldn’t be here!” I had the strangest feeling that I knew the answer to my question when I asked if he knew the priest’s name.“Father Nicholas,” he replied.
It was my grandfather!
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Tina Chippas is a founder of the North Palm Beach Writers’ Consortium to support advanced writers to seek publication. She has been published in educational texts and professional periodicals and journals. Tina currently resides in South Florida, where she is working on her next novel and writing a column for a southern Florida newspaper, Condo News. You can read her essays and views on various topics as well as flights of fancy tales about her dogs on condonewsonline.com/ Tina’s new book, Affair in Athens, will be published by Oaklight Publishing under the name “Matina Nicholas,” within a few months.
Please LIKE Lois’ New Facebook Author Page.
We are often told to build an author platform, increase our fan base, work for name recognition, get our names on one of those talented author lists. Easier said than done. But if you have what it takes – are a skilled writer with an Inspiring story to share – read on. Tales2Inspire™ is a true “Authors Helping Authors” project/contest. Not only is it FREE to enter, but it delivers – perhaps even more than it promises.
Today I am highlighting THE VOICE, one of last year’s winning tales, by Dr. Stan Cupery. His story is a true medical miracle about an infant abandoned at birth on cold basement floor of an deserted building. The story begins with details of the secret birth, its discovered and the rescue of this baby. You can read part of his story here (but you will have to hold your breath for the ending, when Dr. Cupery’s ‘tale’ is published in the Tales2Inspire anthology).
Won’t you take the time to leave Stan a comment. He is one talented author who deserves recognition!
Visit Tales2Inspire if you think you’ve got an inspiring story to share.
And please visit me on Facebook & give me a thumbs up if you like what you see.
Issue 9 SOUTH FLORIDA WRITERS ASSOCIATION SEPTEMBER 2012
IT PAYS TO BE A MEMBER OF SFWA
By Cami Ann Hofstadter
In the spring, members got an email about a writing competition at www.tales2inspire.com, and although SFWA cannot “vouch for” any of the many items it forwards to members, I decided to take a chance.
When I went to the website, I was particularly drawn to the theme by Lois W. Stern, the creator of the competition, “Authors Helping Authors.” Also, I liked the big choice of genres in which you could submit, so I made the “leap” and submitted my story titled A LEAP OF WORDS.
You can imagine how excited I was when I came in a finalist but more than that, I was so gratified by all the “side-benefits” this has given me. Not only does Lois’s website generate a lot of traffic (try tales2inspire in one of the search-engines and you’ll see what I mean) but, in addition to the tales, she has also posts a radio interview of us authors. And I get an “emblem” to put on my own soon-to-be-built website to include among my other writers’ credentials. So check it all out by going to the authors’ page at www.tales2inspire.com/AUTHOR_TALES.html and watch a video or go directly to the ON THE AIR sign for the radio interview. You can also check out the other services Lois offers; all in the true spirit of authors helping authors.
More than all this, don’t miss your chance to participate in the next competition!
Deadline is December 28, 2012 and by March 15, 2013 we’ll know who among SFWA members is a Finalist or Winner for the
Tags: "authors helping authors project", "authors helping authors", "building an authors platform", "CREATOR OF THE TALES2INSPIRE CONTEST", "inspire others with the power of your words", author, Lois W. Stern
A friend recently asked me, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” She wasn’t talking about jumping out of airplanes or climbing Mount Everest, but the subtle things we do or don’t do because we’re afraid, such as letting go of a relationship that doesn’t work any more, speaking up to voice an opinion, changing careers or simply singing Karaoke. With more days behind me than in front of me, (unless of course I beat the odds and live past 100), now seemed as good of a time as any to start living from my heart and push past some fears that were limiting my choices. I was reminded of a quote by Martin Luther King Junior, “Courage faces fear and thereby masters it.” Inspired, I decided to launch into the second half of life with a willingness to master some fears.
First on my list of fears to conquer was to ride in an Arabian horse show on my daughter’s horse SBA Sensational, otherwise known as Al. We’re not talking the low-key, local fairgrounds type horse show, but the kind where fancy horses and riders with trainers attend. Easy enough, I thought. I can do this. After all, I’d been watching my daughter compete in horse shows throughout her junior and senior high school years and figured I had a pretty good idea of what to do. As a seasoned trail rider, how hard could it be? The scary part for me would be riding into an arena to be judged on my performance and compared with other accomplished riders – a situation I normally tried to avoid at all costs. Three days before the big event my anxiety mounted and an old whiplash injury flared up. The muscles in my neck and shoulders were so tight I pinched a nerve resulting in a slight tingling sensation down my left arm that continued into my hand and fingers. The throbbing headache at the base of my scull didn’t appear until the night before the show. Maybe my body was trying to tell me something? Well, vanquishing fear was not for wimps, and I certainly was no wimp!
Driving to Denver on the day of the show I could feel the cortisol coursing through my body and wondered if showing was really such a good idea after all. Thoughts whirled through my head – what if I embarrass myself, what if Al gets the wrong lead, what if I accidentally cut off another rider, or what if I can’t get Al to go into the show ring? I began to think, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?” is a ridiculous question and I’m no Martin Luther King Junior. Undeterred by my raging self-doubt, I exited onto Interstate 70 towards the arena. Once inside the building, I found the area where Al was stalled along with the other horses from my barn. A quiet tension filled the air as the grooms busily readied horses to be shown and riders put on makeup, pulled their hair into tight buns held into place with layers of hairspray, and pinned entry numbers onto their riding jackets. I stopped to check on Al who had been transformed into a beautiful creature, his mane neatly braided and eyes and muzzle highlighted with baby oil enhancing his chiseled Arabian face. As I gazed into his eyes and scratched his ears I tried to determine what frame of mind he was in, hoping he was relaxed and not in one of his stubborn, defiant moods.
Now it was my turn to be transformed. I headed to the dressing room where I traded my comfortable frayed jeans and T-shirt for tight tan breeches, a button down blouse, and tailored jacket. My worn clogs were replaced with tall black boots, and along with a velvet helmet and black leather gloves, the outfit was complete. With my hair slicked back and makeup in place, I felt like one of the Texans I’d seen (and made fun of) at the ski resorts dressed in swanky clothing attempting to blend in and disguise their lack of skill. Funny how fate has a way of reversing itself. A voice echoed across the loud speaker announcing that Adult Amateur Hunter Pleasure was the next class up and to please check in at the gate. So the moment of truth had arrived. I mounted Al outside the arena and along with four other riders awaited the cue to enter. We looked like clones of one another, each wearing the same riding uniform other than slight variations in color. The only marked difference was that Al fidgeted and pranced while the other horses stood quietly in attention with a calm rider on their back. Little did I know that this was an omen of things to come.
Katie, Al and Anne
When the gate opened, I took a deep breath, faced my fear and trotted into the stadium. So far, so good. We circled around the arena at a trot and I was beginning to settle into a rhythm when I heard my trainer barking orders from the side rail “Bridle him, bridle him, more leg, more outside rein.” I immediately tensed up, pulled on the reins and added pressure with my legs hoping Al would arch his body into a “collected” frame only to have him stop dead in his tracks and then begin backing up. We’re not talking a few steps, but half the length of the arena. Other riders veered around us to avoid a collision as I continued to coax him forward. This was not good. I was beginning panic and all I could hear was a distant voice instructing me, “More leg, kick him with your spurs, sit back.” I was mortified but finally managed to get him moving forward as the announcer called for the hand gallop, a gait we actually did quite well. For the remainder of the class my only goal was to finish without any other major mishaps. After a few more minutes of trotting and walking the class ended. Relieved, Al and I lined up in the center of the arena with the other riders in front of the ring steward. The judge made one final request as he walked past each horse, asking riders to back five steps. Standing in front of me he grinned slyly and said, “Well, I guess we know you can back up!”
Leaving the arena with my 5th place ribbon, I didn’t feel like I’d mastered my fear completely, but I certainly made some progress. My underlying fear of failure, which I certainly did with some flair, was lessened as well. A fellow rider with a wicked sense of humor asked if I planned to move forward next go-around. Fortunately, the following class was for beginner riders and Al out-performed the other sole contender to win first place. As my brother would say, “We were the best of the worst.” I like to think Martin Luther King Junior was sending a little encouragement my way. Perhaps a bit of his courageous spirit dwells in all those willing to face their fears, large or small.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anne Knorr is a licensed architect in Colorado and has beenthe principal of an architectural firm for over 20 years designing homes. She is also a practicing spiritual director and writer. Anne has written and lectured about the connection between architecture and spirituality and offers workshops and retreats on the topic. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband where she enjoys hiking the trails near her home. Click here to visit her website.
Beauty Without . . .
What’s Your Passion?