Wednesday, November 30, 2011

young adult fiction

i wish there really were a wrinkle in time. i'd send my responsible self into one time zone and then i'd just read. i've been on a YA fiction kick lately and for starters decided to reread madeleine l'engle's series. one down, four to go. also, i'd been told that "hunger games" by suzanne collins was addictive, so i made sure to start it when i had a whole day to read. true, i couldn't put it down. now i want to read book two and three in that series as well. it's fun to be able to talk with the kids about what they're into...when new movies come and contrast the films with the novels.
no surprise here that i love books and always want to own them. then i remembered my lovely and oft neglected local library. (how do you spell savings? l--i-b-r-a-r-y c-a-r-d)give me another week or so and i'll have a new review for you...

Monday, November 28, 2011

how shall we then live?

i realized in a flash (the flash being a slow 20-year brew brought on by catalysts that spark in your mind like the northern lights and beg to be written down immediately) how i want to live. four words. each could be a novel (some are): simplicity, creativity, service, beauty. with a solid foundation in place, these are pillars i can continue to build upon.
as i continue constructing this framework, here are some of the many who've inspired me: hd thoreau, richard foster, madeleine l'engle, ralph waldo emerson, annie dillard, anne morrow lindbergh, francis schaeffer (hence the title), kathleen norris, dorothy day, st. francis, deitrich bonhoeffer, and jean vanier...
and you, my modern friends who have the courage to live intentionally, you know who you are. i salute you.
what have you found to be your Truest way of living?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

the great nut debate

"hazelnuts." "filberts." "no, i really think they're called hazelnuts." "i like to call them filberts." whatever you choose for a name, here's a recipe i think we can all agree on. last minute dinner party appetizer? no problem! start with cracked, whole nuts of the aforementioned nomenclature. chop in halves. shake together with olive oil, sea salt and fresh, chopped rosemary. bake 5 minutes at 425. add small pieces of already-cooked bacon and roast for 1-2 more minutes. garnish with rosemary sprig and serve while warm. end of debate!

vitamin D for the soul

"powells. fleece. hot chocolate. i love my city. colorful leaves. green. i choose to love my city". the man in seat 8A likely thought my mantra crazy as our plane landed in PDX. it's not that i'm ungrateful, it just takes a while to transition from reading by the pool to sideways rain. really, there's no place like home, but two days ago i was riding a red motorscooter down palm-lined streets in 70 degree weather. stop gloating, you might think. but really? you could eat a Thanksgiving Feast every week and still not get your daily dose of Vitamin D here in the northwest. i went for a walk today so i could eat (second mantra: "live to move, move to eat, eat to live.") and said out loud, "toto, we're not in palm springs anymore!" excuse me now while i go and put myself, in good company, into a tryptophane haze. vitamin D doses aside, how much do you love your city?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

to kindle or not to kindle?

i likely will not invest in a kindle because i am too much of a paper-cover-feel-and-smell-books person. i will admit to being old-fashioned in that way. however, i don't want to be an old-fashioned teacher. trying to realize the difference, i am asking the question, how do i integrate student kindle use in the classroom? with an increasing number of young adults asking, "can i just use my kindle?" i want to think this through well. my first thought is that textbooks are supposed to be free, so i feel as though i can't reasonably mandate that students read books that they will have to purchase while the rest of the class borrows the novel. i see a lot of positive uses for kindles and am trying to be open to furthering reading whatever the means. i would love it if you weigh in on what you think about reading, technology and student use?


it started with self-preservation as i noted with terror that the day after halloween fell on a school day. i declared to my students, in a somewhat flip tone, that november first would be officially known as "national love your teacher day" and informed them that they, not i, would be teaching. a few years of teaching has taught me that in the teacher vs. sugar crash battle i am rarely the victor. their assignment? to bring books they were reading outside of class. "please share the title, author, genre and read a sample paragraph. i'll sit in the back and be your student today" i said, having no idea what a rich dialogue over young adult fiction would ensue. we didn't want to leave. several minutes after it was time to go to lunch, we were still sharing book lists. this only increased as a very gifted highschool reader and author shared with our class this week. she loaned me a copy of "east" by edith pattou that i just finished, as well as "the hunger games" by suzanne collins (which i'm told is addictive). students are bringing me titles of series on notebook paper that they want me to read. and, on a recent trip to powell's, i decided it would be fun to reread madeleine l'engle's series starting with "a wrinkle in time." technically, you're never supposed to begin with "it was a dark and stormy night", but l'engle does and it's had me captivated since third grade. what are some of your favorite young adult fiction novels?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

let there be light

a friend of mine made beautiful luminaries for a recent event and sent me the meanings of the word. "luminary" can be defined as 1. a person of prominence or brilliant achievement or 2. a celestial body that gives light. etymology comes from the middle english/french "luminaire", latin "lumin" or "lucere" which means to shine. i hope you have such a person in your life, i know i do. as they put it, "let there be light!"

word wonders

an alert reader circled a new word in the paper for me. "extirpated" which i've just discovered means to "pull up by the roots" or "totally exterminate". in the vocabulary department, i was very proud of my symphony conductor for his use of "penultimate" in ordinary conversation last evening. and of my students for building their glossaries without asking if they would get extra credit for looking up more words than required by the assignment. that would force me, afterall, to extirpate some of their penultimate comments.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the "s" word

say this word in certain company and eyebrows go up. it's not what you think. the word? "sensual". granted, it, like many words, can be used in different contexts. but the way i intend it is to simply mean "sensory" (perhaps that would be a better choice). at any rate, i found it interesting that people are uncomfortable at times with enjoying their 5 senses. as with everything that can be taken to extremes i'm not talking about unhealthy levels of indulgence in any one sense. i just think that "sensual Christian" may not have to be an oxymoron if, as scripture says, God put everything here for our enjoyment. being able to turn it into an act of worship can mean everything from literal time to stop and smell the roses...or taste our food...or feel the wind on our skin...or really listen to the birds in the morning...or see the colors in the changing leaves. a great movie to watch on this subject is "babette's feast". how have your 5 senses impacted the way you experience the world? God? Others?