Tag Archives: reading

GRATITUDE ATTITUDE 2017 #4

After a day of starting the transition into Christmas season, giving “thanks” comes much easier than when one was a youngster. One is thankful when one can climb the step-stool ladder and not fall. Thankful that when the knee pops, it still manages to stand strong enough to not let one fall off said ladder. Thankful that the inversion board can remind the spinal cord what shape it should be retaining these days. Thankful for a walk-in tub to spend a relaxing hour – – – well almost an hour. Thankful for note from a former student that makes one cry happy tears. Thankful that God is in His heaven and all is well with one’s world.

“And do not imitate this world, but be transformed by the renovation of your minds, and you shall distinguish what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”~Rm 12:2

Except for devotions, I’ve taken a couple weeks off from “renovating” my mind with “educational, inspirational, motivational” challenging materials. Instead, I’ve been just reading for fun. Reading magazines. Reading fluff books. Reading newspapers. Working a couple puzzles here and there. Reading the back of the Oreo cookie package. (Yes, to all my students and teacher friends who are wondering – I still eat the occasional Oreo…..or two…or three…sigh)

I’ve never figured out why I go in spurts like this. It is as if there is some inner “messenger”, that pings me that it is time to: “READ SERIOUS” “READ FLUFF” “READ-THE-STUPID-BOOKS-THAT-CRITICS-RAVE-OVER” “READ NOTHING” (Well – I am thankful that last one hasn’t happened for a long time, but it has happened periodically in my life.)

But as I was typing that last sentence, I realized that “thankfulness” is ultimate renovation of the mind. Every morning when I wake up, I take a few minutes to stretch (trying not to let the critters know that I am awake because they are very distracting when they are bouncing on me) and express my awe at seeing this world anew all over again. That simple act changes the lens of the eye, making everything brighter – clearer – almost unblemished. Not an easy thing in this world these days.

Thus, while I am thankful for many things tonight, I am especially thankful for the “renovation” of my mind. It is part of the reason, I call this series the “Gratitude Attitude”. Gratitude is an attitude – – – IF we let it be. Thankful for the long line ahead of us for it gives us time to pray for those in front of us. Thankful for the lack of money because it helps us notice the pennies in our pocket. Thankful for the challenges that seem way too hard to accomplish because it makes us question, focus and hopefully – pray.

“You are from God, children, and you have conquered them [challenges/worldly spirits], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”~1 Jn 4:4 Aramaic in Plain English 

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10 Book Challenge

Labor Day.  Big party was yesterday at the daughter’s.  Took lots of pictures.  Got my needed hugs and kisses from the Grands.  Today’s plan…dogs to lake…read book…write a little…pray a little more… and just laze around.

Got the first two things started and then made the mistake of checking FB because I had some pictures to share with the daughter.  One of my friends sent a challenge:  “In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They do not have to be the “right” books or great books of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends including me, so I can see your list.”

hopalongI was not tagged – shame on this friend who knew I would love this challenge, but I tagged myself because I loved this idea.   Seeing as how I really didn’t have anything major planned.  Seeing as how the husband was off “laboring” on Labor Day.  Seeing as how books have entirely ruled my life from the time I discovered words on my childhood area rug that said:  Hop-a-Long Cassidy in big white letters (if memory serves, mine was a brown rug – but then again – that is memory for you).  I thought, “This would be a quick and fun thing to do”.   HA!

Hmmmmm….not so quick but definitely a great pursuit for the introspective Jewish month of Elul.  Because – just how do you limit it to 10 books?   I have since thought of at least 5 more books, I should have liked to squeezed into the original “ten”.  Must be Common Core is sinking into my logic – 10 doesn’t necessarily mean 10 – right?  

1. bibleBible (where would my soul be without it?  I read it everyday.  2 chapters of the OT, 5 psalms, 1 chapter of Proverbs, 2 chapters of NT and assorted side tracks into Daniel, Isaiah, etc.)


2. ifjesuscameIf Jesus Came to My House by Joan G. Thomas (1st book I remember reading over and over)

 


3. black like meBlack Like Me by John Howard Griffin (read it in Jr. Hi. and sent me on a quest; took the 1st ever Black Studies classes offered on OSU-Cols campus, read tons more favorites (Malcom X, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Native Son, Fredrick Douglas, Langston Hughes…oooh where do I stop???)


4. Edgar Cayce the Sleeping Prophet (found on the self of the Loudonvillecayce Library when I was working there as a page and started me on my own spiritual quest outside of my parents’ faith…and all books by Cayce, Ruth Montgomery, Authur Ford, Jane Roberts, etc)

 

whitman
5. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Thank you, Mrs. Robinson, for this one, the research paper I wrote on his life and all the poetry books that I devoured after that.)


6. atlasAtlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and all her books (changed my politics a little more and challenged my faith since she was writing from an atheistic bias)

 


7. Dialogue with the Devil by Taylor Caldwell handed to me by a stranger downloadin the Whitehall Library in Columbus who said I needed to read it (then I preceded to read every book she wrote, including her autobiography Growing Up Tough which I read portions of for our 8th grade autobio unit)

 

akiane8. Akiane Kramarik: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry (Added depth of thought on SOOOOOO many levels)

 


9.blessingsThe Path of Blessing by Rabbi Marcia Prager (continues to add so much depth of thought behind Rabbi Yeshua actions and words, even though she is not Christian, she is His child.  Thanks to my good friend who didn’t tag me for recommending this book)
10. And all classics – Children – Young Adult – Adult (doesn’t matter) – any genre (doesn’t matter) – after all – that is why they are called classics.

It got me thinking about how much reading has meant to me and continues to mean to me.  When my mom developed Macular Degeneration, we got her books on tape via the library.  She had a hard time operating the tape recorder, but she loved listening to me when I would read to her.  I read her newspapers, books, magazines and letters that my kids sent via e-mail.  It would make her laugh or cry or start a discussion that would last in my heart for many years.

Reading is like that.  It builds and elicits memories on so many levels.  Movies that exist in our heads.  New lands to visit.  New time periods to learn details that we never knew from the history books.  Emotions that we had forgotten.  Dreams to seek – as a child – an adult – a senior citizen.  Reading is all that and probably much more than I have remembered.

I love this Jewish month.  It is appropriate that school starts in this month as students start the long road of reading for knowledge, wisdom and discernment.  I love challenges.  I love a book challenge.

Wisdom is supreme:  therefore get wisdom.  Though it cost all you have, get understanding.  ”  Prov 4:7

Light Bulb Kinda Day

“Let it go, let it go…”

Okay – now that you all have THAT song running through your head, you are hearing what I hear every time I’m babysitting at the Grands. I haven’t even seen all the movie – yet – but I sure know the songs and can at least fake singing most of them as we journey home from Montessori school every day. That being said – it is also my whole curriculum right now for teaching the Grands to read.

“The essence of teaching is to make learning contagious, to have one idea spark another.” ~Marva Collins

We been supplementing the reading program at school off and on this year, and the eldest has been resisting most of the way. After all – when there are tadpoles, toads, dragonflies and half decayed spiders to be found – who wants to read? The bike, the pool and endless forts to create are much more fascinating than reading. But “Frozen” has tipped the scales, and today – I watched the light bulb go on inside that little head. Anna – Elsa – snow – let it go – let it go –

.“There is a brilliant child locked inside every student”” ~ Collins

This quote decorated my room the last few years of my teaching career, but it had been the lynch pin of my teaching techniques ever since I read Marva Collins’ books and learned about the Collins Method (a very intense curriculum focusing on the classical style of education) Basically, Collins (who was born in AL the same year my parents were graduating high school) moved to Chicago as a young teacher – and started her inner city school which required signed contracts not only by students but also with the parents.

“Determination and perseverance move the world; thinking that others will do it for you is a sure way to fail.” ~ Collins

We all have teachers who have touched our lives in a good way or bad way. What most people don’t realize is how often students touch a teacher’s life as well. Because of those students, every year is new and different – curriculum basically outlines the year, but the particulars are determined by the group of students in the room. “Frozen” fulfilled the “particular” this year. Just as “Fault in Our Stars” worked this spring when I was helping some 8th grade students understand theme/character analysis/etc. Sing a song – fill in missing words on a song sheet – retell the story – make predictions – hypothesize a theme – giggle – tickle – and then sit back and watch them start to vibrate with the excitement of understanding.

“Mr. Meant-to has a friend, his name is Didn’t-Do. Have you met them? They live together in a house called Never-Win. And I am told that it is haunted by the Ghost of Might-have-Been.” ~ Collins

I often think that is how Christ must have felt as He told his parables. Stories that He used to turn on a light bulb for those who were in the crowd. As I read the WORD, I realize He is still turning on the “Light” bulb for me. The same techniques work – sing a song – retell the story – write a few things – hypothesize a theme – and suddenly – the lightening strikes my dense brain. Today, the Grands shared their lightening with me, and I remembered exactly why I love teaching.

.”If Abraham Lincoln were enrolled in public schools today, he would probably be in a learning disability program. Lincoln didn’t learn to read until age 14. No one should rule any child out of the educational picture,” Collins told Ebony magazine.

http://www.biography.com/people/marva-collins-5894#the-collins-method&awesm=~oGQiQn4dmhGJnq