Abby Ackley



2016 was a year of extreme highs and devastating lows. It was a time for new and exciting opportunities as well as painful goodbyes. The sun shone brightly, but the wind howled bitterly, too. 2016 made me ask tough questions of humanity, of myself. Why does evil seem to win at an alarming rate? How could we let such atrocities happen? What is my place in this often cruel world? What can I do? How can I help?



The memory of climbing the steps of the school bus, looking down the aisle of seats packed with students, knowing not a soul, and hoping with every fiber of my being that someone would make room for me is still quite clear. Don’t worry. I haven’t continued to wake up in cold sweats over it. Those ended last year. Kidding aside, though, I think we can all agree that being a kid is difficult. From the school bus to the playground to the cafeteria, challenges abound.


Precious Lives

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. While the gentle breeze still contained a bit of a chill, it was warm in the sun. The crocuses and daffodils were beginning to appear, not just green stalks anymore, but colorful flowers, a sure sign of spring on the way.



This morning started out like any other as I arrived at school. While booting up the computer and pouring myself a cup of coffee, I reflected on the warm up question kids would tackle as they funnelled into my classroom in just a few minutes. We had been discussing the Enlightenment the past week with names like Locke, Rousseau, and Voltaire dominating the conversation. As I was about to put the question up on the board, I suddenly decided to rework it.

Flourish, Refugees

An Oppressive Cold

The car was on, heat blasting, as the dashboard thermostat read 11 degrees. I threw the bags in the trunk and ran back inside to get some respite from the cold. Why hadn’t I grabbed my coat before hurrying outside to start the car and wake it from its overnight freeze? I called upstairs to my daughter in my normal, frantic, is it really that time already fashion.


When Peace Seems Far Away

The kids dropped yet another ornament.

“Thank goodness they are plastic.” That refrain was on repeat in my mind.

“No, sorry babe. You can’t help Mommy hang these ornaments. These are from when I was a little girl and they are super fragile.”

Outwardly, I was smiling. Inwardly, though? Not so much. “Please, just leave me alone so I can decorate in peace,” was what I was actually thinking.

Flourish, Refugees


I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “justice” lately. Perhaps it’s because justice doesn’t appear to be done as readily as it should. It’s a notion that alludes more often than not as evidenced by this broken world in which we live.