Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Hat-Tip to Teachers!

This week I am not wondering, I flat-out know that my hat is off to TEACHERS!

They've been busy lately ….. on these weeks that precede the Labor Day weekend….
  • putting up bulletin boards
  • creating colorful doorways and welcoming signs
  • inventorying supplies 
  • re-stocking their classrooms
  • organizing, organizing, organizing
  • collaborating with colleagues
  • meeting new staff
  • taking student leaders on retreat to plan for the year
  • dreaming those nightmares where they oversleep on the first day of school
  • sighing at class lists that well exceed thirty
  • finding enough desks 
  • wondering where the summer went
  • planning, planning, and planning some more
  • hoping the weather isn't too hot those first few weeks back
but behind all this busyness…. and the worrying, wondering and thinking…. is their biggest gift …. their heart for kids…. translation...
  • their deep belief that all kids can succeed
  • their work ethic that keeps them trying and holding on even when the needs are so daunting
  • their willingness and ability to be flexible 
  • their way of always looking for good intentions
  • their salary measured by the smiles, the aha's, the small forward steps and little successes
  • their patience with setbacks, endless demands, and a culture that puts so much blame on the schools
  • their enthusiasm and willingness to be creative, adventuresome and silly
  • the energy they get from kids
  • their joy when students step up
I am grateful for teachers and their heart for kids.
I know their hearts will be broken open many times during this school year.  I hope that most of the time it is due to deep JOY.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dog Day Reads!!!

Each time I see one of these road-side libraries …. take a book or leave a book…. each exchange requiring nothing….motivated by a simple love of reading and books and sharing, I feel happy!  And this sweet one above gets the cupcake-with-cream-cheese-frosting-on-top prize.  I hope the wonderful someone or two on Lummi Island, Washington who created this are licking the frosting off their lips and fingertips.  A stain-glass window and driftwood handle …… WOW!

If you haven't read a good book or three to or with a child this summer, these Dog Days are the perfect time!  Get at it.

A good place to start is by checking out the Association of Library Service to Children's 2014 list of Notable Books.  This is always where I begin. They conveniently break their selections into four categories - Younger Reader (preschool to grade 2), Middle Readers (grades 3-5, ages 8-10), Older Readers (grades 6-8, ages 11-14), and All Ages (has appeal and interest for children in all the above age ranges).  These library specialists choose books of "commendable quality that exhibit venturesome creativity".  Doesn't venturesome creativity seem the perfect description for what kids should be up to in the summer?

Although you aren't likely to find any of the books on that list in the quaint road-side library in your neighborhood,  your public library or independent book store will surely have most of them.

We are taking our grandkids on a train trip for the next two days.  I hope this experience creates opportunities for venturesome creativity…. but I am headed to the library soon to have a few new books to tuck into our backpacks to insure that it does.

Happy Reading!  Happy Dog Days!

Monday, August 4, 2014


This sighting made me happy!  A restaurant on the Oregon coast….a sweet family of four enjoying dinner together conversing and laughing and watching the sea…..and then, as the dark took away the view and as Mom and Dad settled back to finish their wine, the girls each pulled out …… NOT iPhones or iPads or iPods….. but a book!!!  I wanted to do a dance and skip a jig!

I couldn't help it….I excused myself for interrupting and then told them how thrilled I was to see this and could I snap a photo please.  They were from the Netherlands traveling the USA this summer.  We congratulated them on their World Cup success and then my friend, who's grandmother was a cousin of Laura Ingalls Wilder, struck up a conversation with the one reading Little House on the Prairie, sharing stories her grandmother had told her.

I am wondering today why I have started falling out of the habit of always taking books into the restaurant with my grandkids….why I have my iPhone at the ready when they finish eating and get restless.  It's time to go back to books.  Yes, I keep a stack of books between their carseats but I need to schlep that bag of books into the restaurant like I used to.  I am grateful to this wonderful family for reminding me of that.