Saturday, June 30, 2012

Inspirational Quote Posters

The other day I made some inspirational quote posters to send off to my siblings at camp. Let me know what you think.

Friday, June 15, 2012

"The Penny"

The following story was inspired by a 1917 penny that we found in the register at the bookstore where I work. I did a little bit of research and learned that the first penny with Lincoln's face on it was made in 1909 in San Francisco, CA. The "wheat penny", as the penny with two stalks of wheat on the back is called, was in circulation from then until 1958 when a new penny was designed with the Lincoln Memorial on the back. The 1917 penny looked almost as good as any penny from the last decade. There was hardly any tarnish or deterioration. And it got me thinking, where had that penny been all these years to survive so? Perhaps it had lived the last twenty years within the cushions of a couch, or at the bottom of a garbage bin.

The Penny

Once there was a boy named Jacob who lived many years ago in a big city called San Francisco. The city had seen better days. Three years ago there was a big earthquake that shook the whole city. Jacob was only a little boy when it happened, but he remembered being scared as the buildings crumbled and streets cracked. Many people’s lives changed that day, but there was one building that was very strong, and it did not crumble to the ground: The United States Mint—the coin factory! That was where Jacob’s father worked.

Three years had passed and San Francisco was finally beginning to look like itself again. It was also time for the coin factory to start making coins again. In fact, it had a very special job to do. President Roosevelt wanted a new coin to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. So all the people at the coin factory got together, including Jacob’s father, and designed a new penny with a picture of Lincoln’s head on it. On the back side they put two stalks of wheat and the words “one cent.”

The day the new pennies were made, the whole town came out to celebrate. That night at home Jacob’s father handed him a little box with a ribbon on it.
“Open it,” he said.
Inside was the very first 1909 penny.
“Happy Birthday, son!” Jacob’s mother and father said.
“Whoa!” he said. “Thanks!”

Jacob loved his gift. That week, he carried his new penny with him everywhere. When he went to school, it was in his pocket. When he took a bath, he stored it in his shoe. He even slept with it under his pillow.

A few weeks after his birthday, Jacob’s mother asked, 
“How are you going to spend your penny, Jacob?” Jacob looked up at his mother with a surprised look on his face.
“I don’t know,” he said. “But it’s going to be something special.”

The very next day Jacob was walking down the sidewalk when he heard someone crying. It was Maggie, his next door neighbor.
“Hey, what’s the matter?” He asked. Maggie wiped at her eyes and hold Jacob that her kitten, Freckles, had run away. “I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again,” she said. “And I miss him so much.”
Jacob remembered that his parents had always told him it was good to be kind to others. Just then, he had an idea. He knew how he was going to spend his penny.
“Don’t be sad, Maggie,” he said. “Follow me.”

Jacob ran down the street, with Maggie trailing behind him. When they reached the Stationery Store, they went inside.
“How can I help you, kids?” asked the clerk behind the counter.
Jacob held up his penny. “I have a penny and would like to buy some crayons.” The clerk reached under the counter and pulled out three brightly colored crayons. “Here you go,” he said.
“Thank you!” the children said in unison as they ran out the door.

When they arrived at Jacob’s house, the two children ran inside. “Wait here,” he called to Maggie. He grabbed some paper from his mother’s desk drawer and laid it out on the kitchen table. “We are going to make signs!” he announced proudly. “So people know to look out for Freckles.” Maggie smiled and sat down to help Jacob. A quarter of an hour later, Jacob and Maggie admired stood up and admired their signs.

“Well done, children,” Jacob’s mother said, walking into the kitchen. Jacob smiled. He was glad he has used his penny for such an important cause. 

This is just the beginning of this penny's story. Where will it go from here?


Good stories energize me. I love reading engaging tales of life lived, truthful experiences and earnest quests. Maybe that's why when writer Donald Miller talks about "living a good story" I perk up. Honestly, I don't think I am living that good of a story in this season of my life. My monotonous routine leaves much to be desired, but I am still drawn to the idea of good stories.

When I was younger I used to write stories. They were mostly always for school, in those sometimes-fun joint Social Studies and English classes where it was required to write a story about a specific time in history. I loved it. In fact, I even wrote a very moving tale about the demise of Pompeii for my 7th grade science class. Much to my disappointment, I don't know where it went.

As Jo March would say, "Why, I have ten stories in my head right now!" So, I have decided to write some stories. Some of them may become larger tales, maybe even long enough to fill a book. But my goal for this summer is to just write. The first few will be things I have already started working on. I'd appreciate any feedback and criticism.
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