Writing Contest: Vivian Kirkfields 50 Precious Words

Hi everyone! On this beautiful sunny morning, I’m reflecting and taking a minute to slow things down. This was partly the inspiration for the story I’m sharing with you today. It was written for Vivian Kirfields 50 Precious Words contest. That’s right, you have to write a complete story using only 50 words. (I do love a good contest!) It is a story that speaks of the simple things in life combined with the love we have for our grandparents. I hope you enjoy it!


The best stones rest
in the shade of
the weeping willow.

Grandpa taught me so.


Elbow back.


My shoes shuffle the dirt.
A breeze whispers, "Try again".

I choose another.

Just like Grandpa used to do. 

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Hi everyone! It’s the month of heart candies, cute stuffed animals, and an excuse to wear lots of pink. It’s ALSO time for Susanna Hill’s Valentiny writing contest! The details – a child appropriate story that’s 214 words or under about being brave.

My story was inspired by my Grandma. My kids call her Gigi. I hope you like my story!


I cut out a heart,
sprinkle glitter and love.
A special surprise for my Gigi.

She's crinkled.
And wrinkled.
From years of 
laughter and smiles.

She's tough just like me.
Raised my mom by herself.
And never once made a complaint.

She always made sure,
to show us she cares
with squeezing hugs and
cheek kisses.

But now she's grown tired.
And slightly forgetful
about all the regular stuff.

She moved to a place
with grand-parents galore.
There's a sleep over every night!

So I'm bringing my card
with a picture of us
to show her how much I care.

But I stumble a bit-
my tummy does flips.
And I start feeling not so sure.

It's been a long time
since I've been to visit.
Will she remember me?

My mom holds me tight.
Sweeps the hair from my eyes,
and I turn towards room 214.

I take a deep breath
and try to be brave
as I slowly walk through the door.

"There's my sweetheart!"
my Gigi cries.
And hobbles right over to me.

She opens my card.
Tears form in her eyes-
and trickle down her creases.

With a squeezing hug
(and many cheek kisses)
she's my Gigi, and she loves me.

For more information on this contest, please visit Susanna Hill’s wonderful website!

The Grief In My Heart

In the quiet times, when I least expect, it finds me.

It tugs and pulls, and climbs up to the surface – gasping to come out.

It’s grief – and its different for each of us…but it’s there.

This year has been hard for everyone. Some of us have lost someone we love. Some of us haven’t been able to hug those that are still here. And all of us have struggled at some point with isolation, routine, and trying to stay positive for those around us.

But it’s hard! And in those quiet moments when I sit in silence, an unexpected companion shows up. And I let myself FEEL all that I’ve worked so hard to ignore this past year. And with a deep exhale, I cry. Because life is so different. But it’s OKAY to cry – to mourn how things were, what I miss, and what I’ve lost. I’m writing all of this to let everyone know it’s okay to cry. To let yourselves feel isn’t being weak – it’s being in tune with your emotions. It’s letting out what’s been hiding for a while. And maybe once it’s out, you can take a cleansing breath, and begin the day again. I hope that you can.

Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest

Hi everyone! It’s that time of year again for falling snow and cozying up by the fire. It’s also time for Susanna Hill’s Holiday contest. I love a good writing contest and this one’s always such a treat. This year it’s especially fun because the theme for this 250 word story is holiday helpers. I chose to focus on a special kind of Christmas helper. I hope you enjoy!

National Lampoon Christmas Vacation Clark Griswold Christmas Tree Squirrel
 ‘Twas the night before Christmas
 and all through the house
 not a creature was stirri -
 “Wait - what’s that noise?” Santa whispered and paused placing presents.
 Chitter, chatter. Squeak!
 “There it is again!” Santa froze and cupped his hand to his ear.
 Chitter, chatter. Squeak!
 “Oh no,” the jolly man groaned.
 “That sounds like a-
 Santa dialed the Christmas Tree Hotline.
 The switchboard lit up like Rudolph's red nose on a dark night.
 “We’ve got a code 57,” stated Santa.
 “Dispatching Elf Squirrel Division now, Sir.”
 Gears, Ginger, Twinkle and Bob set their Santa Map coordinates
 and dashed out through the frosty flakes.
 They reached the house and whooshed down the chimney.
 “So - ho happy you’re here,” said Santa.
 “Glad to help,” said Gears.
 They got to work while Santa snacked by the fire.
 The elves climbed the tree 
 the squirrel scurried higher.
 The elves swooped down from the star
 the squirrel hid deeper.
 Even Bob’s “never fail” tinsel lasso trick 
 “We’re doomed!” cried Twinkle.
 “Is it snack time?” said Bob.
 “Sweet sugar plums that’s it!” cheered Ginger.
 She set a trail of cookie crumbs down the tree.
 The squirrel sniffed.
 It crept closer.
 Crumb by crumb it climbed down and into the open carrier.
 “Thanks team,” said Santa and up the chimney he rose.
 The elves flew to the forest where
 the squirrel found the perfect pine.
 Meanwhile at another house-
 “Finally,” sighed Santa. “Peace and –“
   Chitter, chatter. Squeak!


Hi everyone! I hope everyone’s safe and sound and enjoying the Halloween season…its only a few days away. I’ve been getting in the spirit of things with a lovely writing contest from Susanna Hill. Here’s the link if you’re interested! https://susannahill.com/category/halloweensie-contest/

The details: write a story that contains the words skeleton, mask, and creep. The catch…it can only be 100 words. Challenge accepted!

I love writing contests because its a great way to be inspired and stretch my creativity. This one is especially challenging because of the required word count…hence HalloWEENSIE. I also love the community of writers. There’s so much talent out there and I love reading other writers works.

So here is my entry. I’ve been writing creepier things than usual. I hope you enjoy it! And thanks for visiting!

Watched Annabelle? Now dare to spend a night in one of these haunted houses  in India, India - Times of India Travel
 There is a house where shadows stretch
 and cloak the yard in darkness.
 Where rumors fly that evil lurks – 
 just behind the hinges.  
 But I am brave, unlike the rest.
 I creep up withered stairs.
 I grab the skeleton knocker 
 as I fidget with my mask.  
 A warning whispers through the wind –
 stay away from here.
 A shiver ices down my spine…
 I freeze over with fear.
 A quake rumbles beneath my feet
 I scream as the floor gives way!
 Now I’M the whisper of warning you hear-
 a prisoner,
 in the house 
 that no one visits. 
(The picture is called the House in Kundanbagh, Hyderabad found at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/travel/things-to-do/watched-annabelle-now-dare-to-spend-a-night-in-one-of-these-haunted-houses-in-india/as60292300.cms)

Why I Write

Thinking about this topic actually brings tears to my eyes. I love children’s books. The magic that happens when a child is read a story….seeing them go on an adventure, or learn to cope with something difficult, or begin to learn more about life, love and themselves in those few pages….it can only be described as magic.

I write because I want to help children and caregivers connect. I want story time to be something special, whether it’s heartfelt moment, or a learning opportunity told in a gentle manner. I think childhood is such a special and fragile time, and I would love to be even just a twinkle of positivity – and a reminder that imagination is a wonderful thing.

I’m not famous, or published. But I continue to write because these stories continue to call my name. And with the help from my wonderful critique partners/friends and writing group, I keep trying. I keep entering writing contests, and pitch parties. I’ve recently entered a contest to win a critique from a very amazing kid literature author. If you’re interested in entering, here is the link to the page. https://www.pbspotlight.com/

https://www.pbspotlight.com/pbcritiquefest This link will take you to the contest.

I keep trying because there’s something inside me that says, “Keep going.” Writing is part of who I am, and hopefully one day, I’ll be able to share my stories in book form. Because that my friends, would really make my heart happy.

Best wishes!

Fall Writing Frenzy Entry: Kill Them With Kindness


Steam whirled from the bubbling cauldron as Mandy swirled her spoon. She hummed as the day reeled in her head like an old movie…

…pictures of her helping students whipped through her mind. Her kind actions caught the attention of the coven’s leader Carly, the cruelest witch who cackled, “Don’t fool yourself. You’ll never be mean enough to be a great witch like me! You’re too sweet!”  

The other witches chanted, “Cotton can-dy Man-dy! Cotton can-dy Man-dy!”

Echoes of their jeers rose and floated through the field where she sit a spell with the crows and field mice.

“Never make a great witch, huh?” she asked as she leaned over the pot. She peered in to see her reflection. 

A glint glistened in her eye.

A sneer curled across her lips. 

“Guess I’m not so nice after all.”

She reached down and plucked a hat as black as an eclipse and placed it on her head.

“Thanks for your hat, Carly,” said Mandy into the pot as the last bubble popped and the liquid stilled. “Looks like you won’t be needing it anymore.”

She hummed as she skipped back to school…ready to unveil her newly discovered darkness.

A Seashell’s Journey: Summer Fun In the Sun Writing Contest


I love writing contests, and this one was a challenge for sure! In only 200 words, I had to write a Nonfiction or Informational fiction story with an arc, a beginning, middle and end. I usually write fiction and was excited and trying something new. I’ve included the contest website in case you’re interested in entering. Here’s my entry below. https://www.karengreenwald.com/contests

By Kelly Swemba
Deep in the dark, dark ocean,
a tiny mollusk is born.
It creates a shell from sand and chemicals in the sea.
When the time comes, the shell becomes empty.
If no one moves in, it’s free to
whirl and swirl through the salted blue.
A quick current carries the shell
up past a kaleidoscope of colors.
Echoes and whistles rattle through the turquoise waters.
The shell is greeted by a playful pod of dolphins.
With a gentle nudge, it twirls and swirls to find…
…a bale of sea turtles.           
They dance through the shimmering crystals then dive deep.
There’s a gurgling, a roaring and then….
Fast water pushes and pulls the tiny shell away from the turtles.
With a crash, a tumble, and many rolls, the shell washes onto a sandy surface.
The tide drifts away and the shell rests.
With cupped hands, a young girl lifts it from the shore.      
Her sun-kissed face moves close to the shell.
Her breathe is warm and she wears a sweet smile.
With a gentle kiss she whispers, “I’m returning you to the water.
Now you can be a home for someone new.”

MIXED: A COLORFUL STORY by Arree Chung is what we all need to read

Published: 2018

Age: 3-7

Themes: Accepting differences, love, understanding, community

Let me first say, I just discovered this book and it is WONDERFUL! I read it to both my 7 and 5, and they both enjoyed it for similar and different reasons. One, it’s a colorful tale that starts with the primary colors living in harmony until RED decides they are the best. The other colors disagree and then segregate. Until one day, a yellow takes a liking to blue, they MIX and make a new color they call GREEN. The story unfolds and new colors start mixing with non like colors and in doing so, make a more beautiful colorful world.

Why I like this story: To start, it can teach young children colors. For the older children in the picture book age group, there are opportunities for educating children about diversity and love. The first learning lesson is that the story is about loving someone despite the color of their skin in a way they can understand. I made sure ask questions as I read to my children.

For example, when the colors are segregated, I asked them how they looked. They both responded sad. Yes! The colors were happier together. Then in the story where yellow and blue mix, they make a new beautiful green color. I told my kids the color of our skin doesn’t matter. It’s what’s inside, how kind, loving and caring a person is that’s important. I gave them a real life example of my friend’s sister who married a man with a different skin color than hers. They had a baby with a beautiful new skin color all his own. This made sense. So not only does this book provide a cute colorful story, it provides an opportunity for parents to discuss the theme of love and diversity.

I highly recommend this book. Happy reading!

So we’re getting a puppy…

Shhhh….don’t tell my kids! That’s the first thing you need to know before reading on. And yes, after 7 years of not having a dog, we’re taking the plunge…because…take a look at this picture I call Exhibit A.

These fluffies belong to my kids. They took this after the dog finished their OLYMPIC GAMES. Yes, this is them…on the podium stand… receiving their “medals”. Now let’s move along to Exhibit B.

Here, the dogs are being taken for a walk. Yep, in a baby stroller because that’s the only way to walk a STUFFED ANIMAL. They love their dogs, and make sure that even in cold,winter like weather, their dogs get some fresh air.

These dogs are definitely loved, and luckily we live on a street with lots of dogs. My kids have pretty much adopted every dog as their own. This has tided them over for many years. But that only works for so long.

Seeing their love for animals, how kind and gentle they are with other dogs, AND and the fact that my husband and I have always wanted a dog led us to cdfinally deciding to get one of our own. Is this a good idea? Well, puppies/dogs are a lot of work, need a lot of care, but….they’re also really wonderful. I’m excited to see where this trail takes us and will post pictures when we pick up our new member in August (if everything goes according to plan).

I wanted to share something fun and light-hearted during this trying times. And what could be more light-hearted than getting a puppy!?!