10 Clues Your Family’s Faith is Like a Fairy Tale

    by Sally Matheny 


     Once upon a time, there were parents who wished upon every shooting star for their kids to turn out okay. Shiny pennies were tossed into fountains and wishbones pulled, in hopes that their children would grow up to be joyful and productive citizens of the land. Imagine the parents’ sorrow and dismay when they did not.

     Is this your family’s philosophy? Are you sure? Check out these 10 clues to see if your family’s faith is like a fairy tale:


First Lines Make Lasting Impressions

by Sally Matheny

“My name is Sally.” Remember that famous first line? No?

     “My name is Ishmael.” How about that one? Even if you’ve never read Moby Dick, you probably are familiar with that first sentence. 


       Over the next two months, a class of teens will have my full attention as we indulge in the delicacies of creative writing. Today, the teens discussed the importance of grabbing readers’ attention in the first line or shortly thereafter.

        I read the first lines from several books to them. First, they told me the book they thought the line came from and second, they told me if it intrigued them enough to keep reading.

        See if you recognize what books hold these first lines:

1.   “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake.”

2.   “When I was in elementary school, I packed my suitcase and told my mother I was going to run away from home.”

3.   “The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold wet day.”

4.   “Grandchildren, you asked me about this medal of mine. There is much to be said about it.”

5.   “That Sam-I-am! That Sam-I-am! I do not like that Sam-I-am!

        Did you guess correctly? 1. Holes  2. My Side of the Mountain 3. The Cat in the Hat 4. Code Talker 5. Green Eggs and Ham

Words quote by twowritingteachers
         This is a fun activity to do with children of any age. Just choose books of which they are familiar. I guarantee most teens will fondly remember those Dr. Seuss books even if it has been ten years since they last heard them read aloud.

        My son recently got into watching trivia game shows. He’s nine and almost all of the questions are out of his realm of comprehension. However, he loves the challenge aspect. Noticing this I now have greater results when I quiz him on school subjects if I do two things. I use my best game show announcer voice and use the words “challenge,” “advance to the next level,” and “you won!” If I cut out pictures of cars, dishwashers, and luggage to present as “prizes,” I wonder will he find that fun or cornball. It’s a fine line, you know.

     The first lines of a book can have a lasting impression. So too, adults have the potential to influence a young life, just by what they say to them:

first thing in the morning,

first thing after school,

first thing after not being successful.

     Make your first lines positive and they’ll definitely have a lasting effect.

Photo by JanusCastrane

(*And by the way, when I was a child, one of my favorite books is Try Again, Sally. I wonder why.)



Pet Rocks are Pointless—Survivors have Purpose

by Sally Matheny
Survivors have Purpose
     Today is Pet Rock Day. I didn’t want a pet rock composition but when I initially began writing about the Relay for Life’s cancer survivors, I felt incompetent.  I can’t do cancer survivors justice because I’m not one.  Hard as I try to express their ordeals, I can’t even go skin deep where cancer is concerned.

Pet Rocks are Pointless

  But, pet rocks are pointless. Cancer survivors have purpose. Who cares about pet rocks? They have hearts of stone. Cancer patients feel fear, anger, and pain. Hopefully that's followed by love, comfort, and peace.


      I’ve experienced fear, anger, and pain. I know love, comfort, and peace. However, for those diagnosed with cancer, they quarry a new level of emotions from a different part of the heart—somewhere deep and previously untouched. A place the good health civilians have yet to discover.

     My desire is to tell those with cancer, don’t give up. You can do this. Sometimes they need to hear our cheers. Other times it's best for us to just be there and listen.  So, as much as my encouraging spirit wants to give a rally cry, I’ll refrain.  At least today.

     Today, I’m reflecting on the Relay for Life event we recently attended.  This year, we went especially to honor my husband’s sister, Susan, a survivor of thyroid cancer and amyloidosis.  Love and pride welled up as we watched her march around the track with her purple-shirted comrades. Seeing so many familiar faces brought bittersweet joy.  Some showed more battle-fatigue than others. Each clutched a purple balloon, soon to be released, to victoriously mark another year. As Susan neared the finish line, we met her with hugs and more balloons. The Relay for Life coincided with her 49th birthday this year. It was a wonderful evening for celebrating life.

Celebrating Another Year
      My family’s presence brought encouragement and support to Susan. We will continue to cheer her on in her journey the best way we know how. But all those, wearing shirts bearing the name SURVIVOR, will be the ones who understand best. Although each champion's path is unique, they’ve fought in that same valley called cancer.
      The bad news is 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will suffer from cancer.

      The good news is of January 1, 2014, there were nearly 14.5 million children and adult cancer SURVIVORS.  There is hope. Thanks to medical research, physicians, volunteers, donations, and definitely to prayer. Ten years from now, it's estimated the number of cancer SURVIVORS will increase to almost 19 million. (www.cancer.org)

       The best news is declarations of "cancer-free" and the discoveries of cures.    
       Friday, September 12 is Stand Up to Cancer Day. That’s better than Pet Rock Day because we can ALL participate. We  can volunteer, donate, and pray.

         How will you stand up to cancer?