Wolf Hollow: Uncovering Assumptions

When I held my second child, my first son, a thought struck me: When he grows up, there could be a war.

This innocent life in my arms and the horror of war were ideas that did not go together. I would hold two more infant sons, but the idea of war would not pass through my mind at those early moments of getting to know each other.

My oldest son never went to war. The other two, in varying capacities, did.

We seldom see ahead of time how things will work out. I’m glad I didn’t spend 20 plus years of each soldier son’s life wondering about their deployments. My assumptions would likely have been for naught.

A very good book leads us to a similar place. And Wolf Hollow is that very good book.

Placing the opening lines on the front cover was a masterful marketing touch by the publisher because the words draw us in. The proof is in the book’s status as a New York Times bestseller.

Here’s a portion of those first lines: “The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie. The year I turned twelve, I learned what I said and did mattered.”

Annabelle is the soon-to-be-twelve-year-old who lies to protect someone from a false accusation. She tells lies to produce truth. She also learns enough about war to fear someday becoming the mother of sons.

I waited for one character to change, but she didn’t. I thought another character would not change, but she did.

We have to be careful about our assumptions when we read fiction.

The society looked upon one character with regard. They shouldn’t have. They looked at another character with disdain. They should not have.

We have to be careful about our assumptions in real life too.

But the lesson about assumptions is not the only reason to read the book–even if you are usually not inclined to read in the young adult genre.

Author Lauren Wolk is a masterful character builder, and she exemplifies storytelling at its best. I stayed up later than I wanted to a couple of nights because I couldn’t put the book down.

Few books have engaged me that well. Others that come to mind include John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and Leif Enger’s Peace like a River.

Both books carried me to the very last word and left me with a sense of satisfaction. This book does the same.

All three books satisfy readers without sugar coating life or their imperfect characters.

Today we find ourselves in a world stamped with injustice. Annabelle inhabited such a world.

This book invites us into her world. The world of small community America during a big war, World War II. But the wounds of World War I still resonate.

Annabelle is a farm girl with two younger brothers who all live with their parents, grandparents, and a cranky aunt.

She meets bullies at school. She meets a strange man in the woods. She should fear one but not the other.

The book covers a matter of days. But by the end, Annabelle is a young woman. (She was a character I expected to change who did.)

Like us as we grow older, Annabelle learns things she wishes she could forget. She never will.

She will carry those things with her into her later years.

We will carry them with us too and be the better for it.

Photo Credit: Wolf Hollow Cover

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

One Way to Help Vets

It’s someone around you. Someone you sit next to at work or school or church. Your neighbor. The person in front of you in the store.

Or the homeless guy you see every day as you go to work. PTSD can happen to anyone. But it happens to veterans returning from combat in higher numbers than we may realize.

Between 10 and 31 percent of veterans returning from combat suffer from PTSD.

Only 50 percent of those vets and others with associated mental health issues get treatment.

What can we do to help? Hire and mentor a vet if you can. Joblessness is a huge problem for many veterans.

And donate to any of the various worthy programs that assist veterans.

Will You See One Vet? is a program you may not have heard of yet. It’s a program to help veterans in need get the dental care they can’t get from the Veterans Administration.

Dental care isn’t high on the priority list for a troubled and/or homeless veteran. But dental care affects our general health in bigger ways than we might think.

In 2016, two million people visited emergency rooms across America for dental related issues.

If you’re a dentist, you can volunteer at the website linked above. If you’re not, you can donate.

Veterans give so much for us. Here’s a way to give something back this Veterans Day.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Best of 2018: Real Help for Addicted Vets

Imagine an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. People sit in a group. My name is _________. I’ve been sober for three years. . . . I’ve been sober for six months. . . . I’ve been sober for ten years.

Then one stands and says, “I’ve been coming to these meetings and I’d been sober for two years, but this week I fell. I got drunk two days ago.”

Further, imagine that the other members tell this person he has to leave. He can no longer receive the help and encouragement of the group because he failed–once.

And because of this failure, he becomes homeless.

Continue reading “Best of 2018: Real Help for Addicted Vets”

More than One Way to Give Your Life for Your Country

He was helping me carry my packages to my car. I was buying some items for a church group donation. We were collecting for a men’s group home in a nearby town. Most of the men there are homeless veterans making their way back into their communities.
This man was a veteran from Iran. That caught my ear. I’d never met a veteran of Iran before. Continue reading “More than One Way to Give Your Life for Your Country”