Book details pain and joy of pursuing a dream – The Fayette Tribune

Posted: Thursday, December 17, 2015 6:00 am

Book details pain and joy of pursuing a dream

By Terri Schlichenmeyer
For The Fayette Tribune

Fayette Tribune

A snazzy red sports car just wouldn’t do it.

A torrid love affair was also out of the question, as was a wild roadtrip via convertible. No, when you reached That Certain Age, there was no crisis – just a dream that called to you, and you had to find it. Then, as Lauren Kessler describes in her new book “Raising the Barre,” you had to do a grande jeté into it.

When her husband said he was taking a business trip to Paris and didn’t invite her along, Lauren Kessler decided that was okay. Instead, because three weeks solo was too delicious to waste, she devised a plan.

Kessler boarded a plane, too, and flew criss-cross-country to catch The Nutcracker in as many cities as she could. She’d loved that ballet since she was five years old; it made her want to take lessons then, and become a ballerina. She’d seen more than 20 productions of it, and she wanted to binge on more.

But then the unexpected happened: Two days after arriving home from her mission, Kessler claims that a voice “whispers in my ear: Dance The Nutcracker, it says…. Take a chance.”

But even for a middle-aged woman in excellent physical shape, that was easier said than done. Kessler first had to decide why she felt a strong “restlessness” to dance a role in the nearly-century-old ballet. She hadn’t been at a barre since she was 12 years old. And then, “who would allow me to dance in The Nutcracker even if I could?”

But someone agreed to at least think about it, and Kessler had nine months to get herself in shape before official rehearsals – a sort of “prep for the prep for the real work.” She signed up for classes meant to get her physically ready; traveled to Utah for a fitness boot camp; and learned what to wear, where to stand, and how to dance again. And through it all, she says, “It occurs to me that I could fail at this. It also occurs to me that not trying would be the bigger failure.”

Throughout this slice-of-life story, author Lauren Kessler makes it clear that she’s tackled other challenges so that she can write books about them. Even so, knowing that this was not just a lark, “Raising the Barre” is a nice surprise.

In taking readers through a grueling, painful trip that may (again: may) garner a spot in a ballet she adored, Kessler proves that ballet – and, really, seizing any dream worth having – isn’t as easy as it looks. You may even see yourself in what she endures: The doubts, aggravations, and triumphs, especially, but also in the journey itself. And for sure, you’ll laugh, too, because Kessler keeps readers on their toes with plenty of self-deprecating humor.

You don’t need to be an aspiring ballerina to love this book. You don’t need a dream, either, but you’ll understand it better if you do. And, of course, because you do, “Raising the Barre” is a book to leap for.

(The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books. Email her at [email protected].)

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Thursday, December 17, 2015 6:00 am.

Pat McAfee Gives Foster Kids Books To Build A Dream On –

Whether he’s punting, making a tackle on special teams, or distributing books to some special kids, Colts punter Pat McAfee always goes the extra yard.


The official spokesperson of Books for Youth, a statewide program launched by the Colts and Indiana DCS in 2006, McAfee sees his role as more than just the handoff guy. 


“I get a chance to meet these foster kids from around Indiana, who are so excited just to get anything, but then we’re giving them books, giving them something to read, and something to do, and something to claim ownership over. It’s just an awesome night that Cargo Services sets up fantastically with the Colts,” he said.


He also likes to leave them with some words of encouragement. Because dreaming big and working hard is something McAfee knows a little about.


“A couple kids were interested in becoming chefs. Another girl was really good at math. Another kid plays football. I’m just here to tell them that they can do whatever they want to do if they just work hard at it. They’ve got to do well in school first, read these books would be even better, and then dream as big as possible and go make it happen.”


With help from its sponsor, Cargo Services, the Books for Youth program has distributed 800,000 age appropriate books to 7,500 foster kids across the state of Indiana.


Doris Tolliver of the Indiana Department of Child Services said having something to call their own is especially important for these kids.


“Foster youth often times have to leave everything behind. So, to have a brand new backpack and have it full of books and various school items, it’s a great thing to be able to do. And it’s theirs. So, not only are we promoting literacy, but we’re giving something that is their own that they can take with them.”


 Steve Fugate from Cargo Services has seen the impact of that first hand.


“So, when they get a backpack full of 25 books, it’s a sense of ownership. ‘Hey, this is mine.’ And it really is. And you can just see it. We’ve seen it over the years, ‘Hey, this is mine and nobody can take it from me.’”


The ideas generated, doors opened, and dreams created are also theirs. And no one can take those away either. 


“What if somebody just gets into a book here and becomes the next author or something like that? It’s giving opportunity to kids and hopefully making their Christmas and holiday season much better,” said McAfee.


You can support the Books for Youth program and give the gift of reading by bringing new or gently used books for kids birth to 18 years old to this Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans. Books and monetary donations will be collected outside each gate of Lucas Oil Stadium.


You can also make a donation year round by texting BOOKS to 243725.


And for every special edition Blue backpack sold in the Colts Pro Shop, one is donated to the program.


Visit for more information.

Dream Team VI book 2016 Rio Olympics ticket – BusinessDay


Nigeria’s U-23 side, Dream Team VI qualified for the men’s football tournament of the 2016 Olympics to be staged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, following a hard fought 1-0 victory over host Senegal in the semi finals of the 2nd Africa U-23 Cup of Nations.

Midfielder Etebo Oghenekaro ensured Nigeria became the first team to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. The Warri Wolves midfielder converted a penalty midway into the second half to secure victory for the Dream Team against a determined Senegal side, cheered on by an expectant home crowd.

Hearkening fully to the charge by NFF President Amaju Pinnick that they should take no prisoners, the wards of Samson Siasia tightened the rearguard and refused to be intimidated by the host team’s perfect record in the campaign and the chants of their fans in the stands.

Senegal dominated for large periods of the game, and had a perfect opportunity to go into recess leading the tie, but Ibrahima Keita shot tamely into the hands of goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel from the penalty spot.

The Dream Team VI came out in the second half determined to launch more onslaughts, and got their own penalty award in the 72nd minute. Stand in captain Oghenekaro Etebo made no mistake from the spot.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, the host fought hard for the equalizer but had to give in to their first defeat at the championship after Elhadji Pape Diaw headed wide from a Moussa Wague free-kick on the stroke of full time.

Victory meant Nigeria, 1996 champions and 2008 runners up but missing from the last Olympics in London, will be one of Africa’s three flag-bearers at the tournament in Rio de Janeiro next year.

In Saturday’s final, the Nigeria U-23 will take on the winner of the second semi final between Algeria and South Africa, at the same Stade Leopold Sedar Senghor in Dakar.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, was ecstatic: “We thank God for this victory. It is more special and much more exciting because neither of our teams qualified for the football tournament of the 2012 Olympics in London.

“We want to thank the Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports for all their support. We also want to appreciate the players and their officials for their tenacity and patriotism.”

Zeal founder hopes to reignite zest for dream jobs, with new book – The Dominion Post

Zeal CEO Brook Turner was inspired to write a book by seeing many young people miss the chance to foster their talents and passions because they were encouraged to play it safe when making life choices.


Zeal CEO Brook Turner was inspired to write a book by seeing many young people miss the chance to foster their talents and passions because they were encouraged to play it safe when making life choices.

Brook Turner is living his dream and helping thousands of young people do the same. Now he has written a book to help others get back on the pathway toward their dreams. 

The 35-year-old Aucklander is the chief executive of youth organisation Zeal, which has entertainment and training venues operating in Wellington, Auckland, Hamilton, and a new Kapiti branch underway.

He was in Paraparaumu this week to unveil plans for the local Zeal, and speak at tonight’s district council Youth Shout Out Awards.

His book Plan A: Why You Lost Your Dream and How to Get it Back, was launched on December 3.

Working with youth showed Turner that younger Kiwi teens often had big dreams about what they wanted to do with their life. However negative talk, negative perceptions of the world, and adults’ expectations began to whittle them away from their mid-teens.

“We cut down the dream too soon and don’t give the young people the chance to go after that.

“We exchange risk and dreams for safety and comfort and consumer-driven thinking where what we earn is who we are.”

Turner was just 21 when he and a group of young people founded Zeal 15 years ago. It now provides facilities used by 50,000 young people a year and 100,000 online.

His book is written especially for 18 to 30 year olds, but would apply in any age, he said. It provides a pathway that guides readers to refocus on their aspirations, and provides a good dose of practical guidance.

“There’s plenty of kids that want to be rock stars, but that’s a surface level dream … the real thing is they are in love with the music and the art, and I can list 20 vocations to do with music.

“We talk about key skills, flexibility and reprioritising – a lot of people want to reach their dreams by flying first class – but the pursuit of dreams is an economy class journey – it’s a complete test of the will and it’s hard work.

“But the only way of failing’s by quitting.”

The book is self-published, and available through 

 – Stuff

A book lover's simple dream – Mondoweiss

Last year, I read about 100 novels, and all of them were in PDF format. So far this year I have finished 152 novels (plus about 10 nonfiction books), all of them also in PDF format. If you have tried to read an entire book that’s in PDF, you know it’s very awkward for pleasure reading. (Yes, I know a lot of foreigners love their Kindles, but we don’t have them or even many iPads here in Gaza. Try reading books on your laptop or mobile phone. But even if I had one of the new digital devices made just for reading, I am pretty sure I’d prefer a paper book.)

I don’t want to read books this way, but I have no other choice. In Gaza, we have no free library where people can check out books. We have two bookstores, but it’s beyond my budget to buy as many books as an avid reader like myself could consume. It helps that I have a good friend who also loves to read; we make sure that when we buy books we select different ones so we can exchange them.

Khaled Al-Ostath (Photo: We Are Not Numbers)

Khaled Al-Ostath (Photo: We Are Not Numbers)

My friend and I are not the only people in Gaza who are in love with reading, but because of the scarcity of hard copies, most of us must read online or from PDF print out, rather than curling up with a book in our hands. This is a severe problem because we have electricity for less than eight hours a day, and when we do have power, typically it comes on after 11 p.m. If you fall asleep before then—which happens most of the time, especially in winter–you miss the opportunity to recharge your laptop, and you may not be able to read again until the next night.

In Gaza, there is a coffee shop called Cordoba that has a small library for its patrons. This coffee shop offers just a small collection of books. Most of them are in Arabic, and I have read just about all of them. So sometimes I print out a PDF and go to the shop to drink coffee and read off paper, like a normal person anywhere else in the word. I try to go to Cordoba for my book- reading “fix” once or twice a week, but it depends on how busy I am. There are times when I don’t go for weeks on end because I’m really busy with my volunteering and university work. But I get very book-hungry when that happens.

My university has a library, but the books it holds are out of date and there are few novels by popular authors. You can hardly find a book by William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens or Agatha Christie, and novels by contemporary writers like John Green, the author of “The Fault in our Stars,” are impossible to find.

The university library does carry a selection of books about reading and writing, and I have read all of them. For example, here’s an excerpt from Principles of Bringing Up Children, a Koran-based guide by Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini. In Chapter 72, “The Habit of Reading Books,” the author writes:

A good book always has a salutary effect on the mind of a reader. It will elevate spirit and thoughts. It will augment his store of knowledge. Books help in correcting moral ineptitude. Particularly in these days of mechanical existence, when people have hardly any time to attend meetings and symposia, the best source of acquiring religious and general knowledge are books that can be browsed whenever a person finds some time to spare. It is possible that the reading of books might have a deeper impact on the minds of the readers than other sources of acquiring knowledge.

I agree with the writer. Reading makes me feel alive. The more I read, the more I fall in love with new characters; it’s like I am making new friends. When I read I feel as though I can overcome my problems, my frustrations and my tendency to over-think my life.

In fact, in the summer of 2014—during that miserable time of shelling, bombardment and death—I read day and night. It was a way for me to cope. I was reading on my small phone; it really hurt my eyes. I vividly remember a nightmarish evening when I was reading a book called “Peace” by science fiction writer Gene Wolfe. It is the story of a man growing up in a small Midwestern town in the early to mid 20th century. The narrator, Alden Dennis Weer, relates his memories from childhood, early adulthood, middle age and old age. I was deeply engrossed in reading when suddenly a building nearby was hit by a ferocious rocket. The ground shook underneath my feet. I remember thinking to myself, “I wish this Alden fellow would come and see how the hell we live here!”

Although my desire to read is often thwarted, I feed my passion in many ways. For example, I post on Facebook quotes from books I have read. I constantly search the Internet for novels by new authors. I lead book discussions at my university. I look on YouTube for videos of authors reading their work. And I search for photographs of the great libraries in the world, such as the ones in London; Washington, DC; and Alexandria, Egypt.

I ask myself: Could I be lucky enough to visit these places one day? Or, because I am Gazan, will it forever be denied me to go overseas and experience the reality of these places? I yearn to have a decent library in Gaza and for a good environment in which to read. Is this too much to hope?

This post was originally published by the We Are Not Numbers project

New self-help book encourages people to dream big –

Author Brook Turner has written a self-help book encouraging people to do their best to achieve their dreams.


Author Brook Turner has written a self-help book encouraging people to do their best to achieve their dreams.

As Palmerston North native Brook Turner sat, listening about his friend’s job struggles during the global recession, an idea struck him – the idea of people not only losing their jobs, but also losing their dreams and career goals. 

So the past Milson School pupil wrote a self-help book encouraging people between the ages of 18 and 30 to chase their wildest career dreams. 

The book, called Plan A: Why You Lost Your Dream and How to get it Back, encourages people to follow their biggest life-long dreams rather than choosing the jobs which are safe and secure and second-best.

Author Brook Turner has written a self-help book encouraging people to do their best to achieve their dreams. The book is titled Plan A: Why You Lost Your Dream and How to get it Back.


Author Brook Turner has written a self-help book encouraging people to do their best to achieve their dreams. The book is titled Plan A: Why You Lost Your Dream and How to get it Back.

Turner, who has 15 years of social work experience, said he had seen young people choose “safe” jobs, rather than follow their dreams.

“I’ve done a lot of youth work with people who want to be artists or teachers and they have these big dreams, but people will tell them they need a safe job to fall back on.

“So they would focus on plan B rather than than their plan A dreams,” he said. 

His self-help book, which is in the body and mind genre, has principles, stories, exercises and an illustrative narrative to encourage people to dream big. 

“I want people to give 100 per cent, to never give up and to try hard and achieve their potential.”

He said that no matter how hard it got, people should give it their all and do their best to achieve their dreams.

 – Stuff