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Posted July 17, 2009

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

After reading my Bible this morning I picked up, "The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale. I'd read it several times in the past but always enjoyed going through it again and rereading the sections I'd highlighted.

What leaped off the pages was a story that took place during a time of recession similar to the one we're experiencing in 2009: "Each student was expected to pour positive thinking into the atmosphere of office, business establishment or home. He was to turn the energy of his thinking upon "plenty" ideas rather than upon "lack" ideas and thus to counter with thought-vitality the negativism expressed all around him.

"These business people studied, learned and applied the simple principles of the law of abundance. They thought creatively, they helped each other, they shared with God and man, they worked creatively and thus they set the immense force of positive ideas against the dismal defeatism everyone was talking."

How interesting, I thought. How appropro for today's recession.

Laying the book down, I dressed and left to begin my day. I was the visiting author at Chattanooga's Northside Neighborhood House. CNNH was begun in 1923 by Mrs. Rose Longgley and Mrs. Emily Page Schlessinger. Every day, they walked along the Tennessee River and saw families living in shacks. When they asked the women what they might do to help, warm bedding was requested. Rose and Emily came to the conclusion that the children should be kept busy and taught to be useful.

Now, children's after school activities included completing homework, working on academic-based computer programs, tutoring in reading, and free time focusing on developing social skills and self-esteem.

As I was setting up, a cotton-top haired boy peeked behind the partition.

"Are you the visiting author today?"

I grinned. "Yes!"

"Good, I'm working on a story and I'm having writer's block."

I chuckled. He looked like he was in the fifth grade. "No kidding! Every now and then I have that too. Well, I'll see what I can do today to help you."

I'd made dummy picture books for each child and cut pictures out of old magazines to help them with a story idea. I'd put together these packets along with glue sticks for the younger children and journals for the older kids.

I took them to the computer that was set up with my website and showed them the story about how I wrote and sold my first "turtles" story. The pictures of me scuba-diving off Maui with the giant turtles was a great visual for the children. There were lots of interesting questions.

When I asked them if they knew about rhyme, one girl said, "Is that like rapping?"


I explained to the older children about journaling and gave them their very own journals which were contributed by a friend.

When I clicked on my "Boy's" page, I spoke about the article I wrote about kids writing and winning awards for their stories. There was a picture of a boy walking across the Tivoli stage to accept his award during the Southern Writers Conference held in Chattanooga last spring. One young man raised his hand and told us he'd won two writing awards and had been to the Tivoli during the conference to accept his medal. He was on his way to becoming a writer!

How exciting!

Later, I was able to share more about the writing process with one of the teacher assistants who was interested and needed to know where she might send her work.

I walked away feeling such joy about sharing with these absolutely darling children who were so eager to learn. And, the best part, I no longer had a trace of writer's block!

(If you would like to "share with God and man" and work creatively by contributing to Northside Neighborhood House, you can go to their website http://www.nnhouse.org/ and do so online. You are sure to be wonderfully blessed!)

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Email to....:vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com