The Garden Muse, part 3.

Jackson glanced at the golden tree in front of him. The leaves were almost a neon against the gray sky. His eyes flew back to the paper in front of him and his felt tipped pen skimmed across the page, adding the ridges of leaves. Wind tousled the browned leaves at his feet. After Yale, his mother had a plan B in Princeton. Somehow she had applied for him and the only time he needed to put a pen to...
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Global Links

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before, “Eat your peas. There are starving children in…” I don’t think anyone likes that type of reasoning. I sure don’t. And yet, there’s a nugget of truth in there. The things we throw away without much thought could be the difference between life and death for some people. But, how can you get these items to the people that need them? Global Links is a Pittsburgh-based, internationally-minded organization focused on bringing medical relief...
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The Garden Muse, part 2.

“I don’t understand it.” Jackson’s mother gripped a letter between her two perfectly manicured hands—skin so soft it almost felt slimy. Of course, that was Jackson’s personal opinion. Jackson ignored her and poured himself a bowl of cereal. He hadn’t even set the box of Lucky Charms before his mother’s hawk hand swooped in and yanked the bowl from in front of him. “I don’t think so, mister. Lucky Charms are not an acceptable dinner. If you eat like that...
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Roommate Tips

Sharing living space with anyone is an adventure. I only shared space with my family until I graduated from high school, and my only roommate up to that point had been my younger sister. In those days, hand-to-hand combat was an acceptable form (not in my parents’ eyes) of figuring out our differences. But then, enter the college years. In four years of college, I had a total of 8 different roommates at different times and time lengths. Each roommate...
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The Garden Muse, part 1.

For February, I’ve decided to share with you a four-part story. It’s a simple story that I wrote to a friend in a letter two years ago so it probably could grow more. But I hope you enjoy this story! —- “Son, I’ve enrolled you at my prestigious alma mater.” Jackson’s mother clicked across the floor in her low-heeled black pumps. Jackson hated those shoes. They announced her leaving and her coming, which in retrospect occasionally had its up sides—like...
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London Dream Achieved!

When I was fourteen, my family traveled to the United Kingdom. We ate fish and chips. We explored castles. We stared at Big Ben. And I got my picture taken, sitting between the paws of a lion in Trafalgar Square. It was a wonderful experience, but if I went back, I’d make it all about the writers who were born and bred Londoners. Or perhaps, I’d just visit every famous author’s grave site or home. Spot blue plaques that share...
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Homeschooled and Awesome: How Homeschooling Prepared Me for the Real World

Homeschooling is not for everyone. I’ll be the first one to say that. I’ve met many people who’ve been awesome at the free-form of homeschooling, and I’ve met those that claimed to be homeschool drop-outs because they realized the strict structure of public or private school was what they needed. The goal is to get a quality education. I thought I might take a moment to share some life skills that I obtained by choosing homeschooling. I say “choose” there because I...
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When Fear Sneaks Into My Lungs

Are you ever just so frustrated at your inability to not be afraid? I’m in my mid-20s, and I still sometimes wake in the middle of the night with my heart pounding monster steps in my ears. Do you still sleep with a teddy bear or some other beloved stuffed animal? My stuffed dolphin travels with me, and it’s caught more of my tears than I care to admit. There’s always something ahead that is scary. When I passed my...
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Lending and Doing Good: Kiva

In the past year, a couple of people have approached me, asking about how I find companies to volunteer with or donate money to. It’s often not the easiest process, and with all things, word of mouth is the best way to find out about those not-for-profits that are really changing the world bit by bit. Kiva is no exception. Both in that this non-profit organization is changing the world, and I heard about it from a friend. Here’s Kiva’s...
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Bathroom Embarrassments in the Dominican Republic

Oops upon a travel, I woke up in the Dominican Republic in a house where only Spanish speakers lived. Minus me. I woke that morning expecting Spanish fluency from myself. Rolling out of my bed proved difficult as my body seemed to have designs on a butterfly metamorphosis since my sheets tightly cocooned me under the mint green mosquito net. In the darkened room, I fumbled around for my flip flops. Sleepily, I wandered into the pink bathroom. Ignoring the...
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