Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED AND YET…

Right? So much has happened since I last posted here… So much has happened. With you, with myself, with the world. Not all nice things, especially these last months, and yet – here we all are, still breathing, still creating, still ourselves (some more so than others).

The bad things WILL pass. They will. They always do. They make room for the good things, and then some other bad things, and some other wonderful things… it is life. Sometimes more difficult than other times, but always with a certain purpose. Do we know which purpose? Well, I don’t think I do, but if you do, feel free to share. (We might be better off not knowing though.)

I have chosen to be positive and optimistic. I have decided to battle negativity and pessimism. Why? So many reasons.

First of all, those of you who know me or have followed me a while ago, you know that about a year and a half ago I experienced a health issue which almost killed me, kept me nearly blind for almost a year, caused immense stress to my family and made me rethink and recreate my life. No, I have not changed my entire existence because my entire existence was not wrong to begin with. But I have not survived that to give up now.

Secondly, our kids are watching us and imitating or hating what we do and how we behave. If I want to see them grow up as persistent, proud, creative and kind people, then it is exactly what I must display – persistence, pride, creativity and kindness. No way am I going to be depressed, moping, negative, hysterical or irresponsible. At least never on purpose, as my daughter likes to say:).

Will this change me? Will this change other people? Will this change the world? Who knows! In my humble opinion, good people will remain good people, kindness will remain kindness, bigotry, sadly, will remain bigotry. For any of it to change, it requires a willingness to communicate, and this willingness may not have anything to do with crisis. It is a shift in consciousness. It is a decision. It is a choice. This is why I said I have chosen to be optimistic.

This moment in history will one day (soon, I hope) be exactly that – a moment in history.

Life has to go on. Let’s choose to make it a beautiful one!

2 Comments »

Questions help us think

Yesterday, I was asked by an experienced university professor about something I wrote in my book, The Question Mark Method. About the difference between learning and studying, and how to approach it in teaching.

The lady professor, a wonderful and esteemed colleague, stated she had never thought about it like that. At first she thought I was merely talking about little learners, but when I explained I teach all age groups and levels, she was puzzled. ‘Yes, I see. But it must be difficult teaching like that every time… it drains your energy to be so motivating and to try so hard every time…’

After a while, we agreed it was, but then again – we agreed it was not. Just lecturing and testing is NOT teaching. Teaching them (how) to (want to) learn IS.

This is a tiny book packing a lot of wisdom – for #teachers in all phases of their career – #nonfiction #tips by this here teacher trainer with 25 years of teaching #experience! Change the way you #think about yourself, your learners, your teaching and your #trainees! Simplify your work to let the #heart conquer over paperwork!

The Question Mark Method can be used by learners and educators. If I could tell you one crucial thing about it to instigate your interest, this is it – IT WORKS! It really does. It really, truly simplifies things!


*paperback Lulu.com https://bit.ly/2E27ltx
*e-pub Lulu.com https://bit.ly/2qzmYFs
*Apple Books https://apple.co/2LFY7aB
*Lehmanns Media https://bit.ly/2DZRwDB
*Amazon https://amzn.to/2RzJVUd
*Kobo Rakuten https://bit.ly/38oyvJ2
*Barnes&Noble https://bit.ly/359QJvF

Leave a comment »

You are who you are. Me – I’m a teacher.

I am a teacher. A teacher of English, to be precise. And I am proud to be a teacher. You can’t run away from it – you are who you are. These long days, during which I was unable to teach, I have missed it terribly – both my demanding learners and my wonderful colleagues.

I cannot begin to tell you how fulfilling it is when your learner, be it a child or an adult, masters something, understands something, learns something with joy and for life. I cannot begin to describe how it makes you grow as a person when a kid, in front of a full audience gathered for the final performance, tells you ‘you know, that blue stuff on your eyes does not look good on you’, or when a teenage girl tells you what she wants to be and then gathers the courage to tell her parents… Or when an adult person tells you they finally love learning.

I will always be grateful to those who discovered this in me, gave me my first shot, offered new opportunities and challenges. In these 25 years there have been beautiful, difficult and sad times, but it is what it is – love.

The greatest compliment I ever got was given to me by a young genius, a high-school graduate at the time, who said: ‘Do you know why I like learning with you? Because you always want to know what WE think, and not what the book says, and then you listen to our opinion.’

I’m a little bit late but still – happy World Teachers’ Day to all who are or feel like teachers!

#worldteachersday

Leave a comment »

Why I was away…

Some day I will tell you the entire story of the manuscript in the photo below, The Silver People. It was about 2 months after my SAH, burst brain aneurysm surgery, which I woke up from sightless, but kept writing and talking in both Croatian and English, sometimes simultaneously without knowing it. I cannot tell you the horrors our brains can create when afraid – when a simple path from your kitchen to your bathroom seems like heated lava spilling over Saruman’s orcs workshop in LOTR. The mind is a force of nature and we its minions. But faith, love and kindness are relentless, too. The mind is a force of nature.

So this is why I was away for a year. I’m coming back. I still have a lot to say and do.

#aneurysm #WorldMentalHealthDay

Leave a comment »

Trees, people and similarities

“The Forest of Trees had once been just a simple forest, a beautiful, rich one at that, until slowly but steadily, trees changed for some reason.

No two trees were alike and for hundreds of years their variety had been the source of joy and beauty. All the trees had something in common, yet each of them was unique. Their singularities were intricately woven into the tapestry of The Forest.

Oddly enough, all the beautiful years and shared experience hadn’t brought wisdom. In time, the trees became disagreeable and lost compassion or patience for each other. They started to push each other and over-shadow each other’s light. They stole each other’s humidity by extending their roots. Some scared away their neighbour’s treetop dwellers – birds, bats, squirrels and bugs, pretending that their branches only got caught up in their neighbour’s treetops due to strong winds. Branches grew winded at night, and then curled up to hide during the day. Veiled by darkness, they would stretch out their coils, steal and smash their neighbour’s fruit in sheer malice. In daylight, dried up twigs were discarded, thrown in the faces of other trees. Only the sun and the moon witnessed the conflicts.

The Forest War for territory was just as stupid and pointless as any other war in history. There was quite enough room for all the existent trees, their offspring and then some, not to mention all kinds of creatures scurrying and flying around. However, enough is never enough where bad blood is concerned, even when it is not blood at all.”

#sneakpeek excerpt from #TheForestofTrees

https://tinyurl.com/ybk2mgjd

http://amzn.to/2GI4Qwp

http://bit.ly/2FDOS4Y

https://apple.co/2DYRka9

Leave a comment »

A fun new children’s funbook!

It is funny how giddy I feel over this new project!

This is a special funbook edition of the story Winky’s Colours, prepared by the author who is also a teacher and a parent. Apart from the original story about Winky, this funbook is also filled with worksheets, riddles, colouring pages and wordgames, and all the illustrations are black&white. Have fun!

Winky is a little penguin who lives his life with a black&white family in nature filled with black, white and gray. All he dreams of are colours! So one day he decides to leave his home and go on an expedition to find colours. He will meet friends, face life-risking adventure and find more than he expected.
#childrensbook #learning

bit.ly/2Dbivyl

Leave a comment »

The Power of Words

“The power of words has always fascinated me. There are limitless possibilities in the use of only one of them. Its power stems not only from its lexical meaning, but also its historical connotations and changes, previous contexts, media and user, audience, location and timing. As is always the case with a superpower, a word can be used for good or evil, and alas, misunderstood or misused. But whatever the effect, the desired one or its complete opposite, effect takes place, and it makes a change or a difference, or both.

It never ceases to amaze me how many emotions and ideas can stem from just one word. When you see it, hear it or say it, regardless of whether its effect is immediate or delayed, it is simply unbeatable and irresistible. It’s like magic, and I do like magic, just like any other child trapped in an ageing body.

One such word, hidden within a bundle of other wonderful and horrible, yet all impressive words, as I read it in one of my all-time favourite stories, grabbed my attention instantly. It was ‘threshold’. Mind you, in the story I was reading, it was completely unimportant, and simply denoted the entrance to a house in a description. But to me, it was that word which stopped me from reading and forced me to pick up a pen and write this story.

The Threshold is about change, which is different for everyone, no more or less than we deserve. The threshold is always open, but what we choose to do with the door is our choice, and ours alone.”

(from the Foreword to The Threshold)

Leave a comment »

3 – 2 – 1 Me Challenge (my turn)

After an unusually lazy and inactive summer, at least blog-wise, for me, who better to give you a proper push than a hard-working editor, publisher, writer and female force – Claire Plaisted. This amazing lady has tagged me in this new blogger challenge, and knowing how tough she can be, I thought I’d better respond:).

Each time this blog is posted it is updated by the recipient in conjunction with the TOPIC stated at the end by the last person. For me, the topic given by Claire is HAPPINESS.

The rules of the challenge…

• Thank the selector
• Post 2 quotes for the dedicated topic of the day
• Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me Challenge’ and give them a topic/word

Number One – The Selector

Claire Plaisted, executive director of Plaisted Publishing, is a worldwide force in the writing world whom I have been privileged to meet through the Facebook group Awethors several years ago. She is a dedicated hardworker who perseveres in overcoming obstacles, acquiring new skills, constantly perfecting her work and that of others. Claire is a role model for lifelong learning and a family woman, too, and on top of it all – a kind lady. She writes stories, edits, promotes books, publishes a free magazine to promote indie writers, and organizes projects which involve other writers. One such project, which brought a lot of HAPPINESS to my life, was A Treasure Chest of Children’s Stories, an anthology in which Claire not only invited me to participate, but also allowed me to invite my goddaughter, Helena Čačić, a talented young writer, to join the forces and produce a wonderful story about a girl and a unicorn. This was Helena’s first published work in English and it makes the HAPPINESS that much greater. Thank you, Claire. Keep being your phenomenal self!

Number Two – Quotes

1. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” J.K. Rowling

This is possibly one of my all-time favourite quotes. It points to how much the key to our happiness lies within us, and how dwelling in self-pity never solves anything. All it takes is just a little flicker of light. Step by step, flicker by flicker, day by day, smile by smile.

2. “For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Those who know me know this – I will always try not to waste time on being angry, laying blame and dwelling over the issue. Better solve the problem as best we can and get on with our lives. No point in wasting time on rage.

Number Three – Three Bloggers

Elizabeth Horton Newton, who can be found HERE
DM Cain, who can be found HERE
Karen J Mossman , who can be found HERE

YOUR WORD IS… WISDOM. I hope you accept the challenge.

2 Comments »

Tearful and grateful

Still tearful over this latest review for The Forest of Trees. It is so wonderful to see how different readers find different characters to love in this story. It fills my heart with so much joy and gratitude. Thank you to all who read and review books. You may not know this, but your reviews are often the tipping point – either we keep writing or we give up and stiffle the stories within us. Thank you for encouraging my creative yawp!
https://amzn.to/2nS6dAo
#book #review

Leave a comment »

Review pause

Leave a comment »