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Don’t underestimate the possibilities.

Yesterday Arden and I witnessed another Nick miracle.  I took a picture.  Over the weekend I had been playing Bananagrams with friends.  It is a game where lettered tiles are used to spell words.  Nick was struggling to pick up the tiles.  We searched the internet and discovered that there is a similar game with thicker tiles called Appleletters by the same company.   It was created for younger readers.  We ordered the game.

It arrived on Tuesday and Nick spent over 3 hours making words with his new letters.  He loved it and was very proud of himself.

I thought back to when he was in elementary school.  Many of the school district professionals firmly told us that we were being unrealistic to insist that pre-reading skills were on his Individual Education Program, his IEP.  Somehow we just knew that reading was a possibility for Nick.  He was 17 before he began reading, many many years later, but each year we would fight with the “professionals” about what we wanted in his school program.

Not only can he read, he can spell.  Those two skills are not always in equal balance in people.  He enjoys making words, it is fun for him.

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Recently it has been popular to say that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve excellence, particularly in a sport.  I believe that it takes many hours to develop any skill.  Very few of us are naturally talented, most of us work hard to learn things.

My cousin Debby Applegate earned the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her biography of Henry Ward Beecher.  It is called “The most Famous Man in America.” Beecher said, “We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.”

It is important to keep working on things.   Nick is tenacious and has worked hard to learn and to accomplish skills.  I am very proud of him.  His stubborn unwillingness to quit can be frustrating at times when I have wanted to move on to something else, but he has taught me to keep on trying.  He is a great example.

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One Comment

  1. Kudos to Nick! I’ve watched that look of fierce and abiding concentration on his face many times. He never ceases to amaze me with his tenacity! Way to focus, Nick!

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Announcing that I have finished a book with the working title of “The Fairy Fort.” I am currently pitching it to publishers. Keep checking back to watch the progress of my newest novel.

Here is a quick glimpse of the story.

Sarah Doherty is an 18-year-old living in rural Ireland at the tail end of the Great War. Plagued by severe epilepsy, she is protected by her parents and lives a sheltered, secluded, lonely life. The Fae, local Irish fairies, interfere with her life. She falls forward a century in time through the local fairy fort of standing stones. She had a seizure in 1918 and woke up in 2020. The 21st century world includes life-saving prescriptions, physical comforts and the independence and freedom she seeks. The locals are welcoming and Andy Mclaughlin, a handsome young historian, is intriguing. She doesn’t want to return home.

Then a letter arrives from Boston divulging the story of Sarah and Andy’s lives that are deeply entwined in the previous century. They are not yet in love but as they seek to verify the letter through online resources, they feel a growing obligation to their unborn family and to each other. What would happen to their posterity living in Boston if they don’t return to 1918? Even if they do make it back, her parents can never know what happened to her or that would change everything.

This Young Adult time-travel romance explores the question: Do we have the freedom to make choices or is free will an elaborate illusion?

This is my third book. I love reading time travel romances. I am an advocate for epilepsy awareness because my 43-year-old son has intractable epilepsy. As a genealogist specializing in Irish research, I live part of the year in the village where the story is based. I wrote the book to help young adults understand that difficult situations can change your life. Sometimes miraculously.