Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

When I was in college, I worked at a popular Mexican restaurant. Every Friday night, I’d watch my friend who was a cocktail server maneuver around the packed lobby delivering drinks to customers who were waiting to be seated. One day I asked her, “How do you carry those trays of drinks through all those people with no accidents?”

“Easy,” she said. “When I worked at a breakfast restaurant and had to carry full cups of hot coffee, one of the waitresses told me, ‘Never look at the cup.’ That’s the trick.”

In other words, if you have faith in…


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

How many times have you been told to “focus on the positive” or “look on the bright side” or “count your blessings?” All of those things are important, and I try to do them as often as possible, but what happens when a negative thought or reaction creeps in? If we believe too firmly the advice above, we find ourselves feeling guilty or ashamed of our negative thoughts, and that brings our energy down even further.

That’s what I experienced this week. Something happened that was all kinds of good, yet my immediate response was to feel a bit slighted…


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

After a year of pandemic isolation, you would think I’d have had enough of silence. As someone who is always “in her head,” I feel like during all this alone time I’ve cycled through just about every thought a person could have related to our current predicament, not to mention the state of the world, and the future of all of humanity.

So, imagine my surprise when I was reading The Soul-Sourced Entrepreneur by Christine Kane and recognized myself in her passage about “input addiction.”

“Input demands the incessant, knee-jerk activity of ‘checking,’” she writes, and goes on to explain…


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

My book club recently reached a full consensus about a book: none of us liked it. In fact, four of the ten chose not to finish reading it. The conversation about the book was entertaining because whenever there’s agreement, people can speak freely, and some of their comments about how much they disliked the book were actually pretty funny. The writer in me, though, felt the need to defend the author now and then. Of everyone, I was probably the one who came closest to liking the novel. …


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

I just finished a World War II novel called Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Then I started watching the Masterpiece show Atlantic Crossing. People ask me often how after 30 years of researching, writing, and speaking about World War II, I could still be so interested in the subject. “Don’t you get tired of it?” they ask.

But how do you grow weary of a subject that encompasses the full range of human experience and emotion? A time period that brought out the absolute worst in humanity but also the best? …


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

I’ve written often about hope in this blog. As you know, I believe it’s nearly impossible to sustain a life in the arts without it. And hope is certainly what continues to get us through the aftermath of 2020. Interestingly, it is my relationship to hope that has undergone the most change for me in the past year and led to what I hope is the most growth.

My ever-practical husband often says to me, “Now, don’t get your hopes up.” He might be referring to a raise he might receive or a trip we might be able to take…


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

I got my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. I was both excited and nervous, which is exactly how I feel about the concept of life going “back to normal.” For a year now, I’ve complained bitterly about pandemic-imposed isolation, boredom, separation, and loss. I’ve longed for the things I miss, like eating in restaurants, listening to live music, or going to a party. I’ve learned to tolerate–but have never gotten used to–the feeling of one day bleeding into the next. I’ve grown to love and hate my own company. …


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

I heard mention the other day of the concept of “becoming a hollow bone.” I did a bit of internet research and found that Frank Fools Crow, a revered Lakota Holy Man, said in his work as a healer, he became like a hollow bone in order to be a source for all creation to flow through him and serve others. I’m not an expert on nor do I have lived experience with this practice or tradition, so I will say no more, but I will tell you why that image gave me hope.

We Americans are rugged individualists. We…


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

The historian in me thinks it’s important to mark the one-year anniversary of the pandemic. The writer in me would rather not. Maybe it’s insecurity — there are far better writers than me sharing their thoughts right now. Maybe it’s sensitivity — I’ve just started to bounce back from a really hard year and I don’t want to revisit the pain. Maybe it’s my forward-thinking nature which would rather focus on what’s to come.

One of the podcasts I follow has been doing short retrospectives on how we all reacted to the start of the pandemic, and I have to…


Photo Courtesy of Unsplash

I was conducting a virtual school visit with a fifth-grade class the other day, talking about my children’s books about World War II, each of which are inspired by real people I interviewed. I’d already explained to the kids I wasn’t alive during the war, so I was surprised when one boy asked, “Did you witness anything you’ve written about?” The word “witness” struck me, but since we were almost out of time, I went with the quick and obvious answer, “No, I didn’t witness the events because I wasn’t born yet. …

Teresa Funke

The world needs an army of creative thinkers, and you’re one. Ignite your inner artist/“Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life” www.burstsofbrilliance.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store