Jeris Hamm has a short story in the March issue of The Kids' Ark magazine entitled "Even the Wind Obeys".
Cheri Thacker's Project
Subject: A Project Close to My Heart
Two mornings...two men...two murders. Did hate motivate? This might sound like a tag line for a novel, but it's the question my new project seeks to answer. Tomorrow, I will interview
Donny Butts, the son of a 61-year-old African American Sunday School teacher who
was a victim of a hit-and-run last July. Allegedely, 18-year-old Matthew Whit
Darby didn't even apply his breaks. This crime bears a striking resemblance to
another black man that was beaten and then run over by a group of white
teenagers a year earlier in Jackson, MS. A hate crime has been ruled out by the
D.A. in the Butts case, whereas 6 men have pleaded guilty to a hate crime in the
My project, Highway310.com will compare and contrast the two cases, discuss the issue of racism in Mississippi today, and follow the
Matthew Darby trial set for July. I hope you will indulge me this one email seeking your support of this project. Please visit and subscribe to
Highway310.com if you would like to follow and support this project. You can also follow me on Twitter @CheriLThacker for updates and postings.
Cheri L. Thacker
Cheri's short story, “The Butterfly Wish”, will come out
on Sept 22 (Fall 2012 issue) in Mused-the BellaOnline Literary Magazine.
According to their website, BellaOnline is the second largest women’s website in
Here is a link to their Summer 2012
Won 1st place in a writing contest from Southwest Writers International bi-monthly contest. Story is about a memorable character and I wrote about my high school senior English teacher.
Nina's devotion was just accepted for publication in Mike Littleton's book, "God Meets Needs"! It won't be out until early December, Congratulations.
ALSO Nina Haines' book is out:]
Flying Backwards: Jon's Story of Ultimate Healing from Mental Illness [Kindle Edition
To order book click here...
Cathy will be speaking to the Central Church's women's writing group at their August meeting! They mentioned seeing my articles in the Commercial Appeal. I will be speaking on balancing family and writing and also my personal writing process.
Cathy Cantu in the Commercial Appeal. Kindergarten Teachers Watch their Gardens Grow
By this time of year, students of all ages are settling into a routine at school. Kindergartners, especially, have gone through major changes in the last few months. And so have their parents. They are glad their 5-year-olds are ready for some independence but reluctant to let go of leisurely time spent sculpting play-doh and aligning army men in the sandbox. When I had babies and toddlers, some days seemed to pass at a sluggish pace. It was an endless cycle of messy high chairs, exploding diapers, and horrific fits at the grocery store. And sometimes it was the kids who threw fits. To me, kindergarten may as well have been the prom because they both seemed so far away I could scarcely imagine it. But as inevitable as kids learning to talk and then to talk back, the time for kindergarten arrived. On my son’s first day, I stooped at the door of his classroom to give him a kiss, relishing the thought that I might have a little more time to myself. But a funny thing happened. As he walked away and the flashing lights on his Batman tennis shoes became dimmer with each step, I realized I wasn’t ready to let him go. I wasn’t ready to give him up to a teacher that he would be with more than me. Moreover, I didn’t even know this woman I was handing my child off to. I worried that she might get impatient because he usually ate his lunch slowly. And sometimes he couldn’t remember the difference between a “b” and a “d.” But my apprehensions were quickly soothed. His teacher was a gentle, caring lady whose patience far-exceeded my own, and she made every child feel special. Twelve years later she’s still at his school, plugging away, enlightening little minds on the tricks of telling time and counting money—and often pulling baby teeth after class. There’s only one reason she spends year after year nurturing little ones—she loves it. A kindergarten teacher is like a gardener who starts fresh every season with newly planted seeds. She enriches the soil with creativity, coaxes her seeds to bloom, and prunes with purpose. She spends time on her knees, cultivating the blossoms who flourish in fertile soil and toiling with the ones who struggle among the rocks. Every year on the first day of school, a kindergarten teacher probably notices a little boy who meanders into her classroom looking as if he might cry. She takes his tiny hand and feels his small fingers curve cautiously around hers. More than likely it has been many years since that first boy walked into her classroom, and she knows from experience that a red popsicle usually cures the jitters. Like a gardener, she knows there’s promise in every seed, a remarkable story waiting to unfold. She doesn’t know yet the particular qualities that make the little boy unique, but after some tears, crises and crumpled paper, she’ll figure it out as she always does. She understands that some of her tiny shoots bloom easily, with all the colors of God’s rainbow, but some take longer, often spurred by patient appeals, Kool-aid, and a few cheesy Goldfish. She plans projects and pow-wows, and every year she teaches her apprentices how to be gardeners themselves. Scooping dirt with chubby fingers, they’ll carefully tuck bean seeds into white styrofoam cups and faithfully watch for little stems to appear. Then she’ll explain how to step back and watch them grow, just as she lovingly steps back and watches her students grow. They tip-toed through her garden gate as tots, peeking their heads through the door like sprouts through dirt, and they will seem to wave good-bye at the end of the year all grown up. Velcro shoes will give way to carefully tied sneakers, and the stick people they used to draw will have fingers and clothes and cowboy hats. She thinks of students she has nurtured through the years, adding by tens and learning shapes with sprinkles of humor and the fertilizer of praise. They are now young ladies and men. With her, they learned to make their letters—and years later, they’re learning to make a difference. After ten months of tending, she’ll hug the same little boy who was so nervous the first day of school. She’ll take his tiny hand on the last day and feel his fingers now curve comfortably around hers. They will share an unspoken bond, and she’ll know that he takes a little piece of her with him as he leaves her garden.
Cathy Cantu 5minutesforthefrazzledom.blogspot.com
HER NOVEL JUST WON SECOND PLACE AT THE BLUE RIDGE MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE.
Just announced his new e-Book, The Shepard . It will debut Monday, March 26th at www.amazon.com for $1.99. If you have a kindle you will not want to miss the opportunity to read this book. It gives you first hand information on shepards in biblical times as well as into the present. Let's support our member and congratulate him.
James and Susan collaborated on a short story and just received news that it has been accepted by Tough Lit V for publication in their next issue. 2012
2011 WRITING PROMPT WINNERS
First Place: Gary Fearon
Second Place: Alan Bradshaw
Third Place: Annette Mastron
We want to thank everyone who participated. You did a great job.
BARBARA RAGSDALE'S STORY ACCEPTED
Congratulations BARBARA. We are so happy for you and proud for you..
Barbara's short story about caregiving was accepted by Chicken Soup for the Soul, and will be published in their book due out March, 2012.
We congratulate Linda. This is her message. FYI. I submitted to Mustard Seed Ministries last January, and since I did not get an immediate response, I thought they had tossed my devotional. I received an email last week that it will be published around November 19. Title, "Overcoming Failure," in case anyone would like to read.
won the Writing for the Ages award at the conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Congratulations Jeris. We are so proud of you!
The title is "Listening for the Music.Just wanted to let you know I received a check today from The Secret Place. I sent a devotional in on 5-25-2011. Immediately when I emailed it, I received one of the computer generated emails to let me know it was received, but I heard nothing more till today. So, they said I could reuse it a year from now, but just wanted to let others know it takes a long time to hear back.
Doyne Phillips, Shannon Milholland and daughter, Susan Reichert went by the animal shelter to drop off CCWriters donation from the books
sold of newest anthology book.
Thank you from CCW member Betty RosserCCWriters and the administrators have really helped me in setting up and learning more than I ever have about my blog page and facebook. We also have a terrific class; I enjoy being there. Thanks you all.
Encouraging words about CCW from Alan Bradshaw.As our members know, one of our regular exercises involves spontaneous writing based on three words. Recently the words were wait, renew and strength. Our own Alan Bradshaw came up with the following, and we wanted to share them with you. We're gratified to know our meetings are a source of inspiration, and we're grateful to Alan for his kind words.)
Renewed in spirit by the presence of my wife, I am greatly appreciating a new group of friends. As we wait for the instructions from our leader there is laughter and fun. Even more friends have now arrived as we gain strength through our numbers. This reminds me of what Paul preached in Ephesians about what body we are all part of. This Christian Writers' Group ... What a gift from God.
Cathy Cantu's Article published in Memphis Newspaper 7-15-2012
Confessions of a Real Mom
I’m not nearly the mother I dreamed I would be. I’m too frazzled to be a room mom. I detest cooking. And since I have anger management issues, I yell at the umpires in middle school softball. But I’ve recently discovered a mecca for brilliant parenting advice. It’s a place where you’ll find tips from more obsessive supermoms crammed into one space than in the dressing room on “Toddlers & Tiaras”—the self-help shelves at Barnes and Noble.
This magic aisle boasts hundreds of titles written by successful “real” moms instructing us slacker moms on the secrets of how to do everything from organize and delegate to go green and get rid of stubborn belly fat.
Those over-achieving ladies also usually write blogs with charming names like “glitzysupermom” or “marathonmomof7,” in which the overriding themes are “I’m OK. You’re OK. I’m just better than you, hon.”
They make me wanna crawl in a hole with my Cheetos and Ho-Ho’s.
The truth is, I’m intimidated by the mothering pros on book covers—the way they can run a corporation, communicate without screaming, make playdough out of dryer lint, and wear those skinny jeans. How do their teenagers turn out so perfect? If I were to try to implement their Five Easy Steps to Help Your Teen Express Herself, my daughter would probably respond by getting a Guns ‘N Roses tattoo and wind up on Jerry Springer.
If those pundits of self improvement, smiling at me from the bookshelves, are indeed as accomplished, confident, and slender as they claim, I probably couldn’t relate to them anyway.
I like a mom who, with frosting on her lips, fibs that it was Dad who ate the last piece of birthday cake. I can identify with the frazzled mom who wants to lock herself in her bedroom in the middle of the day after a horrifying trip to Walmart with two preschoolers and a sick baby.
I’ll bond with the mom who goes to the bathroom in the stall at Target holding a crying baby and her purse on account of there are no hooks on the door and who’s begging her toddler to get up off his hands and knees and stop sucking a receipt up off the floor. That’s the seasoned veteran I’ll listen to. She is real. She is an inspiration.
Give me a mother who threatens to tie her teenagers to the top of her SUV’s luggage rack the next time they mercilessly ridicule her for simply tapping her fingers off-beat to the radio. One who doesn’t bring weird vegetables for her kid to eat at playdates to impress the Oreo-packing moms and insist, “My son, Willow, would rather have raw okra than anything else in the world!” Puleeeeeeze. I guess he’s never had chocolate syrup then.
I don’t think I’d connect with an “I-can-do-it-all” female dynamo who writes self-help books about things like relieving stress and taking charge of your life. She would probably share her coping strategy with me instead of a gallon of Rocky Road. You can bet your sweet mac ‘n cheese she’d claim she doesn’t have cellulite either. That’s because she probably teaches 5 a.m. Extreme Spinning classes at the gym. I have an annoyingly energetic friend like that who posts all her athletic accomplishments on Facebook. She touts that she exercises because she likes to push herself—which sort of makes me want to push her down. Truthfully, I don’t have much time for exercise or social media—except to stalk my kids on it. An average mother can barely keep her head above water, much less find a working pen in her house and write a book.
As a matter of fact, “real” moms don’t write a lot of books. They’re too busy making dinosaur dioramas and scrubbing permanent markers off the carpet. They’re on their knees blowing bathtub bubbles and butterfly kisses, and pouring out anxiety and fear to the God of high fevers and brand new drivers.
“Real” moms are teaching their daughters how to stand up against the wave of public opinion and how to ride out the rip tide of teenage emotions. They are engrossed in their son’s school play, and they’re reveling in their daughter’s double-play. They’re teaching their kids to take baby steps and sometimes leaps of faith.
And there’s no where else they’d rather be.
So, to all my under-achieving sisters sloshing in the trenches of motherhood, it makes me feel better when you admit that you’re addicted to Reese’s Cups, that you don’t have all the answers, that a glass of wine makes you happy, and that you’re flying by the cellulite in your pants just like me.
And for the record, I most certainly did not eat the last chocolate bunny from the kids’ Easter baskets. It was Dad.
Doyne and I present to the Director of the Literacy Council her copy of our first anthology book which was dedicated to them.
Shannon's article "I'll Have What She's Having" has been accepted by the international organization MOPS ( Mothers of Preschoolers) for publication in their devotional due out Spring 2012.
Cathy Cantu in the Commercial Appeal
IF ANYONE HAS ANY NEWS THEY WANT TO SHARE WITH OUT GROUP, PLEASE EMAIL ME.