Beyond Boundaries · Essays and Tidbits From Nancy Bo Flood

Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: Street Art

September 10, 2019

Some stories are too big to put on paper or canvas. This week, we take a look at street art, art that involves the community.

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Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: American Sign Language

August 29, 2019

I am deaf. I cannot hear anything, not even my own voice. But every day I share my stories—what I am thinking, what I have learned, what worries me. I listen to others with my eyes; I speak with my hands, my whole face, my body language, too. American Sign Language is like speaking a silent song. Watch.

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Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: Tattoos

August 20, 2019

We tell our stories – we tell on ourselves – by the symbols we wear on our skin. Who are you?  Tattoo is how I tell you.  Look at my face.  Tattoo symbols tell you of my family, my heritage, my status.  Oldest daughter?  Youngest son of whom, a chief?  A warrior? What brave deeds…

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Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: Mime

June 25, 2019

Mime, speak without words! You will never hear my voice. You will never forget the stories I tell. Watch! The mime moves soundlessly across the stage, his back to us. He turns around. His face is white. His eyebrows are outlined black. His smiling lips are bright red. We watch as he climbs stairs where There are no stairs Opens a window Peeks in Surprise!

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Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: Dance

June 18, 2019

Dance speaks to everyone. Dance is spoken in many ways, in many places. Its language is universal. We tell our stories on ballerina tiptoes … with the stomping of leather boots or the leaping and collapsing of modern movements and shapes.  We tell our stories. Dance shouts when voices are silenced. Dance unites generations. Dance celebrates the sacred moments of life without words or speeches. Sometimes in solemn procession, sometimes in wild jubilation.

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Many Ways We Tell Our Stories: Carving

June 11, 2019

People everywhere love to eat. And there is something else we love and seek, another kind of nourishment. We love a good story. Everywhere and throughout the ages, people have created ways to tell their stories. This is the first in a series of posts that will describe the many ways of sharing story—through dance, song, poetry, tattoos. To begin—for thousands of years and to this very day, one way we tell stories is by carving them in wood, etching them in stone, or painting them on walls.

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Meeting the Piestewa Family

May 21, 2019

I was nervous about meeting the Piestewa family. I had sent the family a copy of my Soldier Sister, Fly Home. Lori’s Mom and Dad had been enthusiastic and supportive in every way. Now I wanted to ask them if I could dedicate the book in honor of their daughter. Lori Piestewa had been the first Native American woman to die in combat on foreign soil.

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Happy Mother’s Day!

May 7, 2019

For your Mother’s Day celebrations this coming weekend, consider a gift of First Laugh, Welcome Baby!. Think of the discussions you might have with your friends and family about baby-welcoming traditions the world over (presented in the back matter of our book), but especially the Navajo tradition that focuses on laughter, kindness, and sharing. Karl Barth said, “Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.” For the Navajo, laughter is prayer and healing. When a baby first laughs, the child is then fully human.

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Walking for Water

April 30, 2019

In March, I received a note from UNICEF USA, with my favorite video about access to clean water. I thought immediately of my poem in Water Runs Through This Book (page 40). Every time I read it, I feel a sense of how real it is for this child, these women, that water is life. For so many children walking for water means no education, no chance to learn, to rest, to play.

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Laughter and Word Play

April 23, 2019

Try a limerick. Write one with a friend, laugh a little, giggle, piggle. Choose two words: for starters, try moon and spoon. Make a list of real and nonsense words that rhyme:  doom, gloom, room, boom, ploon, groom, stoom, ploom. The only rule is—have fun!  Poetry often makes us laugh!

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April 16, 2019

Ages ago, I began as a tiny grain of sand at the bottom of the sea. Millions of other sand crystals surrounded me. The ocean’s water pressed and pressed until we cemented into stone…sandstone! You began as one tiny cell, as small as a grain of sand.

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When Water Weeps

April 9, 2019

Crying and Healing.  Water lets us weep. Crying helps our bodies clean away stress.  Our tears contain the chemicals produced by sadness or stress. Or if you are a flamingo, a whale or an Indian elephant, your tears will excrete excess salt, minerals, or oils to keep your eyes clear and your body healthy.

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