June 15, 2013
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
I just love this book. It begins: “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” The speaker then tells her young rambler that sometimes “things can happen” but to just continue with her journey. There are marvelous and extraordinary sights and there are terrifying places. There are places where she might get hurt, or lost, or “in a Slump.”
Doesn’t this sound like life?
Sometimes she’ll be in a “waiting place” with other people just waiting for life to begin or continue or get better.
And sometimes she will fly high and then, just possibly, she will crash.
Sometimes she will be alone. “‘All Alone!’ Whether you like it or not, / Alone will be something / you’ll be quite a lot.”
Doesn’t this sound like life?
The speaker finishes with the admonition that “Life’s a Great Balancing Act” and if you do not mix your right foot with your left foot, you will succeed (well, 98 1/2% guaranteed to succeed).
What does this have to do with me?
And I’m excited, anxious, apprehensive, and eager to see the places I’ll go.
I have a new daughter-in-law and a new granddaughter, bringing my little family to two sons with their wives and two granddaughters who make the stars shine brighter.
Life is good!
May God bless you all.
Live where you fear to live.”
February 3, 2013
Today’s Sunday Challenge is about HOPE. For such a long time in recent years, I lived without HOPE. It was as elusive as the humming bird that occasionally visits my patio, hovers, and then disappears.
However, it is returning. I’m learning how to love life alone. I’m learning how to take chances. I’m learning how to observe and listen. At 62, it’s about time, don’t you think?
In two weeks, if all goes well, I will have the enormous blessing of holding my second grandchild. In two months, I will receive another blessing: my second daughter-in-law.
Life is good. Life is a blessing. Life can be HOPE.
August 15, 2012
I’ve ignored this page ….. partly because I do not know how to make individual posts to pages.
And it’s ironic because I aspire to write. I say that I write. Yet, I hide my words. I post pictures and sometimes add narrative; yet, I shy away from posting my words.
Some day …… some day, I might.
It’s been far too long since I’ve gone out with my camera … just taking pictures. I miss it. But life and its demands have taken my time captive. I’ve had some upheaval in my life recently, with an unanticipated move into single life and into a rental place after years of owning a home, then with the death of my beloved father, followed immediately after with my job in China, which ended just a few short hectic days before new new school year began. I have not had the time to just get in the car with my camera gear and go wherever the light leads me. It looks as if it will be quite some time before I can do that again.
I am thankful that I have a comfortable place to live. I am thankful that I have a job … a challenging, frustrating, sometimes fun, never boring job. Every once in a while, I feel as if I am making a difference in some teenager’s life.
I am also thankful for my family: my older son Jason, his wife (my daughter-in-law) and his daughter (my granddaughter), and my younger son Andrew and his girlfriend (whom I wish he would marry because I want to keep her but don’t tell him).
When I walked my little Cocker Spaniel the other morning, I was awed by the Moon and Venus. Even though I should have been leaving for work, I was driven to capture the breath-taking image. Unfortunately, I could not. But that’s OK, because when I look at this shot, I remember the warm (oh it was too warm for 4:45 AM) morning when my breath was taken away by the glory of the magnificent heavens. I remember being humbled and thanking God for the beauty of nature, both here on earth and in the sky.
By the way, here’s Sophie. I was feeling terribly lonely on a Saturday night two weeks ago and poked around on Craigslist. 22 years ago, I adopted my first Cocker Spaniel, a black & white named Rascal. Several dogs followed Rascal, but I’d always been drawn to black & white cockers. When I saw Sophie’s picture on Craigslist, I was taken. She came home with me the next day. She’s sweet-tempered, easy-going, well-trained, and quite lazy …the perfect companion for me. She is delighted to see me at the end of my day, she follows me from room to room, she snuggles, and she absolutely loves her morning and evening walks.
I’m thankful for my little companion, Sophie.
Months ago, I posted this quote (below). I need to take it to heart.
“May today be peace within. May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be… May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you… May you be content knowing you are a child of God… Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love. It is there for each and every one of you.” ~ St. Therese of Lisieux
My next door neighbor died a few days ago. At 40, this kind father of a 2-year old son, devoted husband to a beautiful woman, and non-smoker died of lung cancer.
And I am ashamed.
I am ashamed because I did not know him.
We shared a common wall for six years and I did not know him. He was an important person with an important position first in the state and then on a national level. Is that why I did not know him? Was I too timid to approach such an important man? But he was always friendly. Why didn’t I stop and talk?
I do not know his wife. In fact, I know very few of my neighbors and only on a surface level. I go about my busy life, giving a wave or smile to those passing by my condo. I intend to talk to them. I intend to ask about their health, their families, their interests.
I don’t even know the people I work with well. I utter pleasantries and try to not engage in the gripings; I heat up my lunch in the workroom and then retreat to eat and work at my desk. We do not meet for happy hour or a cup of coffee because of lengthy commutes.
What does it say about me that I talk more with people who live across the country or on the other side of the globe than with the people who live 10 feet from me.
Posted March 25, 2012
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~Mother Theresa of Calcutta
As an educator, I think that I’ve been looking at this from the wrong side of the lens. For years, I have been soap-boxing that we need to find out what business and college need our students to know and to teach it.
However, after posting and reading the comments here and on my Facebook page, I think we need to also look at the children. What do they already know? What, then, do they need from us to help them go forward?
My state and district have adopted the Common Core Standards which were developed to provide equity for our nation’s students and to prepare them for college and the workforce. http://www.corestandards.org/
There is one standard specifically related to the skill of using technology, and it’s under Writing: Production and Distribution of Writing progressing through each grade level, i.e., W.1.6 = Writing Grade 1; W.11-12.6 = Writing Grades 11-12.
The standard is worded in general terms and teachers can create assessments and activities that specifically meet the needs of the kids, but will they? I do not think so, for a number of reasons, primarily because of assessments.
Teachers are hyper-focused on the skills that are tested on the high stakes assessments because their own evaluations and sometimes pay are linked to increasing students’ test scores, in the name of accountability. There is little time to play with the creative activities that spark enthusiasm and curiosity because they “aren’t on the test.”
This results in tedious lessons that redundantly cover the same skills presented five years before. The students react in boredom and misbehavior, and their skills regress rather than progress.
I wonder if our students might be more successful if we look at where they are now and show them how to move to the next step. While keeping our eyes on the standards, I think we should also look at the student herself.
Of course, that might necessitate a smaller teacher to student ratio, rather than the typical 150 students – 1 teacher. But that is a topic for another day.