Still Life- A Poem

Still Life

A poem by Violet

firls in meadow

I’ll be perfect when
all that remains of me
are funny stories and
photographs with the right poses,
light accentuating the angles of my face.

Until then, remember that you’re under no obligation
to search
for that snapshot,
that moment when you couldn’t guess
that I don’t have it all together.

*****

Violet writes about the memory of times with friends. Sometimes pictures of your friends are better memories than the actual times with them. Friends can come and go. They can be nice sometimes and not so nice when they’re in a bad mood. She also suggests that sometimes you might pretend to your friends that you are okay when something is bothering you. Really good friends are the ones you can trust with your problems and expect them to be there for you no matter what.

From Make the Best of Your Teen Years- 105 Ways to Do It by Joseph Langen

Lindsey’s Story

butterfly

Before it happened I would have called my family normal. I had just turned fifteen and was on the honor roll. I had plenty of friends, girls and guys. I was busy with soccer and basketball. Somehow I found time to be on the soccer team this year. I hope I can keep up with three sports.

My mom is a nurse and works at an orthopedics office. She likes working there because she has a more regular schedule than nurses who work in hospitals. I try to help her as much as my busy schedule allows and she appreciates everything I do. Nothing like the horror stories I hear from some of my friends.

My dad works in an insurance office. Sometimes he has to work nights or part of the weekend, but he tries to be home with us as much as he can. He goes to most of my home games and likes to kick around a ball with me. He played soccer in college and always ends up telling me stories about when he played in the NCAA tournament one year.

Both of my parents are good listeners. Even when I do something to get myself in  trouble, they don’t jump down my throat but let me at least try to explain what happened. They don’t have to punish me. I feel bad enough when I disappoint them.

My brother Luke was born almost four years ago. I never thought I would have a little sister or brother. I felt embarrassed when I learned Mom was pregnant. I never thought much about my parents having sex, but here she was with a baby bump.

My parents were both excited when he was born. I wasn’t so sure about it. I was used to having all the attention and quite enjoyed it. Maybe my parents would forget I was there and spend all their time with the baby. I don’t think they knew how I felt. I tried to be cheerful, but in the back of my mind I wondered what it would be like having a baby around the house.

The nice thing about pregnancy is that you have nine months to get ready for a change. Our spare bedroom became a nursery. Baby furniture started to arrive. All my parents could talk about was whether the baby would be born on time.

He was and everything went fine. I didn’t look forward to him coming home from the hospital with my mom. When they finally arrived, I fell in love with Luke. I was not surprised that my parents just watched him by the hour as he goo-good or rolled around and even when he cried. What surprised me was that I did the same thing. I was fascinated by everything he did although he never did anything too dramatic.

I watched him learn to turn over, pull himself up on furniture, stand in his wobbly way, and finally take his first uncertain steps. I almost felt like he was my own baby and I never minded watching him when my parents had something to do.

One morning when he was about one and a half the house was very quiet, even after Luke’s usual wake-up time. My mother went into the nursery to check on him.

The next moment, I heard my mother scream and rushed into the nursery to see what was wrong. My mother held Luke tight and I could see that his face and hands were gray rather than pink. We rushed him to the hospital but it was too late.

We never learned why he died. The doctor called it sudden infant death syndrome, something that just happens to some babies. That was no comfort to any of us. All the joy had gone out of our house and an eerie stillness settled in, none of us with much to say to each other.

That was two years ago. Each of us carries Luke’s memory around and sometimes we talk about him, usually with at least a few tears. I will never forget him. I have continued with my sports but sometimes it’s hard to put everything into them. My parents avoided each other for a while and I wondered what would become of them and their marriage. They are talking again now.

What we were all left with was an appreciation for whatever amount of life we are given. None of us is ever tempted to take each other for granted. I am grateful for the time Luke had with us and for our having had him in our lives at least for a little while.

From Make the Best of Your Teen Years: 105 Ways to Do It 

Getting Rid of 4 Types of Stress for Ourselves and Our Teens

How to Get Rid of 4 Types of Stress for Ourselves and Our Teens

Stress has become such a pervasive component in our lives as Americans, that the American Psychological Association has developed a campaign called the Mind/Body Health campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to educate us about how lifestyle and behaviors can affect our health and wellness.

In the 2014 Stress in America Survey, the APA reports, “The average reported stress level of adults is higher than the level of stress they believe is healthy.” Disturbingly, the study found that our teenagers are also experiencing stress.

Excerpt from Dr Daemon Jones’s  article in EmpowHer- Read more 

How a Writing Program Commended by the White House Is Giving Immigrant and Refugee Teens a Powerful Voice

Ibrahim Shkara, a 19-year-old Iraqi refugee living in Portland, Maine was at the White House recently to receive an award from First Lady Michelle Obama on behalf of the Telling Room. The President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities recognized the nonprofit writing center for its effectiveness in promoting writing and life skills to migrant teens by engaging them in its creative youth development program, Young Writers & Leaders.

Excerpt from an article by Erin Callahan in AlterNet- read more

Life-changing’ trip inspires teen to help

Elizabeth Tichelman returned last month from a remote area of Fiji, where she volunteered as a teacher for three months.  - Contributed photos

When South Surrey teen Elizabeth Tichelman left the Semiahmoo Peninsula more than three months ago destined for a remote area of Fiji, both she and her mother, Tracy, shared a few tears at the airport.

After all, it was the first time the then-17-year-old had been away from home for any length of time, and she was venturing all alone to the other side of the globe, where she’d be volunteering among strangers at a small primary school.

However, the mild sadness Tichelman felt when she set out on her journey was nothing compared to what she experienced last week on the day she left Koroinasau Primary School, its 87 students and fellow teachers.

Excerpt from Melissa Smalley’s article in the Peace Arch News- read more

7 Ways to De-Stress and Totally Chill Out This Finals Season

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Stress — we all have it. Between tests, term papers, finding a date to winter formal, working a part-time job, and dealing with family drama, it’s amazing we get anything done. The American Psychological Association defines stress as “an emotional experience accompanied by predictable biochemical, physiological and behavioral changes,” and 80% of college students experience it daily.

Excerpt from Kate Dwyer’s article in TeenVogue– Read more.

Rachel’s Challenge: Creating a chain reaction of compassion

When Rachel Scott was a student at Columbine High School in the late 1990s, she drew an outline of her own hand on the back of a dresser and wrote these words: “These are the hands of Rachel Joy Scott and one day they will touch millions of people’s hearts.”

Excerpt from Michelle Wagner’s article in the Outer Banks Voice– Read more.