Category Archives: Brook

A Tradition in Black and Gold: Writing Me

‘Tis the season of hayrides and pumpkin pies, costumes and candy corn, drifting leaves that turn into falling snow and crisp mornings with flannel sheets and chunky sweaters that lend way to days full of tradition. What does the word tradition make you think of? What does it make you feel? Is there a tradition you partake in every year, or one from your childhood that stands out?

Take the word TRADITION and tell us what it means to you.

Go where your words and recollections take you. A few lines, or dozens, in whatever form moves you, write as your heart responds to the prompt.

Starting today {and below!} we will feature our own writers. After that we would love to feature you {yes, YOU!} and your piece here on the Bigger Picture Blog. We would love to encourage and support our community in this writing exercise, and we hope you all will join us!

There are two ways to get involved:

1. You can write your own Tradition piece, grab our Writing Me button {above} and post onto your blog any time. Link up here to join in our community.

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2. Be one of our guest writers and have your post featured on our blog! Complete this form and we will email you with a feature date and information for submissions.


Today’s post comes to us from Brook


How many years does it take to build a tradition?

I always thought a tradition needed to be started from ancient ancestors, and because of that reason I didn’t think my family stood a chance.

Growing up we didn’t have many lasting traditions, sure we went to the grandparents every Christmas and Thanksgiving, and we ate the recommended dose of turkey and sweet potatoes. However, as I got older, work and school made it harder and harder to keep up the tradition. And over the years, as grandparents and parents passed away, the traditions passed along with them.

So, when I said “I do” I not only vowed to love and cherish my husband, but to also create one tradition. Something we could count on come heck or high water. A tradition that stayed in place no matter where we all were, or how old we became, it would still remain.

Little did I know that traditions can’t be concocted like a recipe in a cookbook. The ‘ol “just do it, you’ll like it” phrase was said one too many times and my plans failed miserably. I thought a Halloween party would be fun {ended up being too much work, and the hubs isn’t into matching costumes}, a kitchy family photo sounded like fun {but we all know how that turns out} and Fourth of July celebrations made E scream in fear.

I learned the hard way that traditions are organic and they can’t be manufactured. They come from spontaneous life events that are so freaking awesome you just want to do them over and over and over again without the “just do it you’ll like it” bargaining.

It was then that I realized we’ve already created one tradition, it started on our wedding day, and has never changed.

Our love…for the Hawkeyes.

Yeah, it all started with a kiss to the Iowa Fight Song and it has been going strong ever since.

Every Saturday for the past ten years our family has bled black and gold. We tailgate, we watch the game and we cheer as loud as we can, because we are Hawkeye fans.

When it comes to traditions, I always anticipated something a tad less sports oriented. Especially since no one in my family watched football, I wasn’t even a Hawk fan until I started attending the U of I and even then I only went the games to socialize and look cute in black and gold.

It wasn’t until I was married that the Hawkeye tradition grew and blossomed. Now our children have been brain-washed by the Iowa Fight Song, and One of the first words both boys’ said was Hawkeyes.

It’s in our blood now, this tradition of football and sportsmanship. Of cheering a team whether they are good or bad, because for us it’s more than just a ball and a field. It’s family time, fun time and a tradition to hand down from generation to generation.

I’m even saving some Hawkeye onesies for those future grandchildren.


The word is “Fight! Fight! Fight!
for IOWA,
Let every loyal Iowan sing;
The word is “Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,” Until the walls and rafters ring (Go Hawks!)
Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer, for IOWA Come on and cheer until you hear the final gun.
The word is “Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,” Until the game is won.

Playing Dress Up with Your Writing: Creative Inspiration

I zip up my black leather boots, grab my red cape, and place the gold head band gently in my hair. I’m now WONDER WOMAN, able to defeat evil with my magic lasso and my super mind controlling powers.

Oh, how I love, love, love Halloween.

Yes, my friends, some people love Christmas with its twinkly lights and smell of evergreen, some find that Valentine’s Day is where their heart lies, but for me Halloween has captured my heart and will never let go.

Because there is no other day when you can just “be” someone else.

Throughout the years I’ve dabbled in many Halloween personas I’ve been Barbie, a clown, a cop, Twiggy {the super model}, Carrie {horror movie Carrie not Sex and the City Carrie}, Little Orphan Annie, Scully from the X-Files, a ladybug and last year WONDER WOMAN. Oh, so many options to be someone else from the funny, sexy, scary and super. It’s so magical and empowering.

All these personas got me thinking, what if incorporated some of them into my everyday life. Need a little courage pretend you’re a superhero, need to solve a sibling dispute grab your badge and lay down the law, and need a little singing and dancing to make the day brighter channel the star of Broadway musical. The options are endless.

And maybe just maybe my writing could use a Halloween makeover. In my writing I stick with what I know, memoir. Yep, I pretty much just write about myself.

All. The. Time.

It’s time to try something new. To grab a different costume off the shelf and transform my writing a little, if even for a moment. Which is why many months ago I participated in one of our FICTION Writing Circles. Yep, you read that right FICTION. Talk about the complete polar opposite of what I usually write.

Not only that but the genre was horror, oh snap. My favorite!

Even still it was hard. I struggled, and felt uncomfortable. I didn’t quite know how to write dialogue, and it’s difficult to write something that you haven’t experienced first hand. However, with the helping hand and supportive voice of Jade I was able to put the first tiny pieces of a horror story together.

Will it evolve into something bigger like a short story a novel? I hope so, but if not I had fun just playing dress-up for the day.

How about you? Are you ready to play Halloween dress-up?

All it takes is five minutes. You can …

Write a post.

Compose a poem.

Snap a photo.

Or sketch  drawing.

Pop over to our Facebook page for today’s spooktacular prompt.

I promise it won’t be too scary. Bwhahahahaha…

A Writer’s Voice: Creative Inspiration

On Friday in this space, Jade talked about finding your voice. The one you express when the pen hits the paper, but what about that inner voice?

As a writer I often have this inner voice that is a constant monologue that starts in the early morning hours when the sun peeks through the dark all the way till the wee hours of the night when my head hits the pillow.

What you don’t have a voice in your head?

Ok this is awkward.

Perhaps it’s me or maybe it’s a writer thing.

My mind looks at a sunset and doesn’t see a sunset. Instead it sees

A cascade of color illuminating the morning sky.

My brain is constantly forming prose with flowy adjectives, and searching for a story in the everyday.

It’s a writer’s blessing and a curse, for the writer’s mind is hard to just “turn off” and it can become difficult to just play outside with your children without composing a story.

During every waking hour my inner writing voice is fighting to be free. Trying to find a way out of the confines of a mind so full of words and prose it’s about to explode.

So I write, I let it out every chance I get. Whether it’s in the shower {bath crayons are a writer’s dream}, at a restaurant on a cocktail napkin or even spoken into a cell phone voice recorder.

Those little scraps of paper and notes on bathroom walls become blogs posts and my voice – a writer’s voice – screams from the rooftops and it is finally heard.

Jade said finding your writing voice is something that can’t be learned it just needs to be found, and I bet if you listen closely you just might hear it whisper to you.

Perhaps it’s time to turn that whisper into a yell.

And let your writer’s voice be free.

Head over to our Facebook page for today’s prompt.

All it takes is five minutes.

You can …

Write a post

Take a photo

Compose a poem

Sketch a masterpiece

And let that inner voice be free.