The Three Frilly Goats Fluff for the March Madness Writing Contest!

You may have noticed my blog has been a bit quiet over the last few months! I haven’t meant to neglect it, but between doing LOTS of storytelling programs and workshops, completing final proof-reading/edits of my 4th children’s book which is headed to press, and getting ready for the arrival of my little one ANY day now, it has been a bit of a whirlwind. Thankfully, things have finally begun to settle down (the calm before the storm I guess!), and I’ve been able to devote a few days to writing! Oh, how I missed it!

You may recall that I entered the Susanna Leonard Hill Holiday Writing Contest back in December. I had a lot of fun with that and got some great feedback on my story. So when I saw her next challenge seeking Fractured Fairy Tales for the March Madness Writing Contest, I was excited to dive in! The cool part is I’ve had the idea for this story in my head for a long time. In fact, I already had it outlined as a storytelling stage show and some time ago commissioned an artistic friend of mine to develop the costume pieces for it. I’ve just been looking for the right moment to get it out there!

Of course the challenge with this contest is that I had to tell the story in 400 words or less. This required some significant cutting and removing character lines and development that I desperately wanted to keep, but hopefully the essence of the story can still come through!

At any rate, below is my story of The Three Frilly Goats Fluff. I hope you enjoy it. I look forward to your thoughts/feedback. And of course, if you’re interested in the more amplified staged/storytelling version for your school, library, etc; please let me know!


Trippity-trop – Fluffy’s hooves clacked across the bridge.

“What are you doing on my bridge?” growled the troll living underneath.

“Aren’t you ugly!” said Fluffy. “With that big nose and baaaaad breath, you’ll never attract a girlfriend! Anyway, Mama thinks I’m crossing to find sweet grass, but I’m going to meet the billy goats! They are much cuter over there!”

“Too bad you won’t make it. I’m going to eat you!”

“Wait! My sister’s about to cross. She doesn’t care about billy goats. She’s plumper than I am. She’d make a better meal.”

“Alright, go! But if she doesn’t come, I’ll eat you on your way back.”

Trippity-trop, Muffy’s hooves clacked across the bridge.

“What are you doing on my bridge?”

“Aren’t you uneducated! Only dim-wits speak so rudely. You’ll never find a teacher with that baaad brain! Anyway, Mama thinks I’m crossing to find sweet grass, but I’m going to study with the Goat Guru.”

“Too bad you won’t make it. I’m going to eat you!”

“Wait! My sister’s about to cross. She doesn’t care about learning. She’s plumper than I am. She’d make a better meal.”

“Alright, go! But if she doesn’t come, I’ll eat you on your way back.”

Trippity-trop, Puffy’s hooves clacked across the bridge.

“What are you doing on my bridge?”

“Is someone having a baaad day?” said Puffy. “Why don’t you tell your mommy so she can make you feel better?”

“Mommy? I don’t have a mommy.”

“Don’t have a mommy!? So no one ever sang you lullabies or kissed your boo-boos?”

“No, but it sounds wonderful! If I had a mommy, I’d never leave her side.”

“Mama sent me to find sweet grass, but I’m going to pick her a bouquet!”

“Can I help?” begged Troll.

“Sure! Then we’ll take it to Mommy!”

“Won’t Mommy be afraid of an ugly, stupid troll like me?” he inquired. But Puffy didn’t hear him.

They finished picking the flowers, then Puffy pranced home. Troll followed nervously.

“What beautiful flowers!” cooed Mommy. “And who’s this? . . Don’t be shy. . . What a handsome troll you are! So smart, so lovable!”

Troll never returned to his bridge again. He stayed with Mama Goat who kissed his boo-boos and sang him lullabies every night.

An Interview with Dani Duck

This month I was interviewed by illustrator, writer and blogger Dani Duck. She asked some great questions about my work as a storyteller and writer. You can find the interview at the following link:


And be sure to check out her blog as she interviews lots of fascinating people in the world of writing!


December Highlights

The month of December was a lot of fun, sharing Christmas and Winter Tales at a variety of schools and libraries and also sharing multicultural tales at a smattering of hospital Christmas parties. Below I’ve posted some photos from one of the shows and also shared a few of my top moments from the month of December.

Here they are in no particular order:

1) After a school performance of “The Mitten” for pre-K and Kindergarten students, a little girl called out to me and said, “You’re the best storyteller in the world.” While I’m quite sure I have a long way to go for that to be true, it’s nice to be the best storyteller in this child’s world for this moment. What a blessing!

Fox and Rabbit wait eagerly to see what Mouse will do next.

2) After a library performance in which a young boy from the audience took on one of the roles in the story, I was speaking with his parents. I let them know what a great job he had done and how I felt that he showed great promise for drama and that it might be an activity for him to consider if it were of interest to him. His parents remarked that he had ADHD and had a hard time focusing. I would NEVER have guessed this from his on-stage performance where he stayed completely engaged and completely in character for the duration of the story. I certainly do not downplay his diagnosis in the least, but this reminds me that it’s important to help kids find the areas in which they have an interest and in which they excel as it may help them in more ways than one. I’m grateful that my programs can sometimes be an avenue for this.

3) At another library performance, I asked for volunteers and a young boy hopped right up to take on the role of rabbit in the story. As the story progressed and I needed more volunteers, he began to volunteer each member of his family. First his older brother, then his mother, then his grandmother, and lastly, his father! It was a small and rather shy crowd that day, so each of his family members ended up participating. The young boy was so involved in the story that he was “creating” it as we went along — coming up with ideas for what he thought should come next. When the program was over, he said, “Thanks for letting me act with you.” His grandmother had seen me perform two summers ago along with her older grandson. She came up to me and said, “Thank you so much for coming back here. I just know that God meant you to be telling stories. I was so excited to get over here and see you again that I could hardly wait.”  Talk about humbling! As a person who has struggled with vocation and wanting to fulfill my God-given purpose through what I do, it sure means a lot to hear someone say something like that. And it’s awesome creating family memories that will long be remembered!


A scene from “The Elves and the Shoemaker”



4) After the same performance as described in #3, a mother came up to me with her young son. She thanked me for the show and said that it had kept her son’s attention, which was hard to do. She then held out an ipad to him and said, “Is there something you’d like to say?” He pressed a key on the Ipad, and I heard it say, “Thank You.” It was then that I realized that the little boy was non-verbal. But it was amazing the way that technology had given him a voice and a way to communicate with me. Such a beautiful moment.

“Winter Tales” at Selover Public Library

Here are a few photos from my performance of “Winter Tales” at Selover Public Library. Actually, the program took place just down the street from the library in the Old Town Hall which is definitely a unique performance space. The stage is a bit narrow so I always have to exercise a bit more caution with that, but I love the feel of the space, and the community is always warm and welcoming. This was my fourth visit to Selover, and I look forward to the fifth!


A shot from “The Elves and the Shoemaker”


Bear would like a spot in “The Mitten”


I always receive a warm welcome from the people in Selover!


At the Intersection of Road Rage and Storytelling

The other day I was driving home from the grocery store, waiting to turn at a red light when a maroon car blew through the intersection and began to tailgate the car in front of it which was moving along at the speed limit. The driver in the maroon car became exasperated, waving his arms and making rude gestures, until he finally swerved into the other lane and zoomed past the “offending” car.

As I watched this scene unfold I thought to myself, “What is the matter with people?” The driver in the other car hadn’t been doing anything wrong, except apparently getting in this man’s way. Sadly, I had seen a similar scene unfold on Thanksgiving morning when a woman driver did much the same thing to the person in front of her. Just a little reminder of the prevalence of road rage these days.

The funny thing is as I sat at the intersection that day, pondering the sad state of humanity and shaking my head at this man, a story came to mind. The story is from the Sufi tradition and is commonly called The Dervish in the Ditch. It goes a little something like this.

Once there was a Dervish holy man who was walking along the road with his student. The holy man heard a sound and turned around to see a large chariot barreling toward them. It was clear that the chariot could see them, and yet it made no attempt to avoid hitting them; in fact, it was coming straight for them. At the last minute, the holy man and his student jumped into a ditch and narrowly avoided being run over. After they had climbed out of the ditch and dusted themselves off, the holy man looked up the road and called after the chariot, “May all your deepest desires come true!” His student turned to him in shock and said, “What?! How can you wish that their deepest desires come true? They nearly killed us!” The holy man looked at his student and said, “Perhaps if their deepest desires were to come true, they would feel no need to run people like you and I off the road.”

As I thought about the story, instead of feeling anger toward the exasperated driver, I found myself feeling compassion. When someone treats us, or others, unkindly, our gut reaction is to pay them back in kind. Exchange a few terse words or hand signals or race them down the road to make our point. How difficult it is for us to pay them back with a blessing! And yet, this is what so many of the great wisdom traditions of the world teach us to do.

When someone is unkind or hurtful to us, perhaps rather than going with our gut, we should stop and speak a blessing over them. Not only will it catch them off guard and possibly disarm them, it will help us to remember that perhaps the person’s anger or unkindness has a deeper root that we cannot see. A root that potentially comes from a place of profound unhappiness or woundedness. For as my dear friend and pastor used to say, “Hurt people hurt people.”

There is enough hurt in the world already. We don’t need to add to it. I’m thankful for the way that a story came to my mind that day to teach me that lesson and remind me that there is a better way. I hope that when put in a situation in which I am the “victim” and not just the observer, that I will have the grace to put that story’s lesson into practice.