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Posts Tagged ‘family’


Every once in a while I come across a chance to own a piece of history. Nothing so spectacular as a handwritten note from Ben Franklin, or a scrap of the original Bill of Rights, but an original document penned by an Iowa farmer in the early 19th century.  His diary  is a one-way conversation with a bit of this country’s past. The words, however, move me in ways no history book ever has. Here are some excerpts from Josuah Penn’s life:

January 2, 1886 – “Took the sleigh into town today to fetch Rev. Gill. Mother is poorly.  The snow is piled so high that we almost didn’t make it back. Reverend is spending the night, possibly mother’s last.”

January 4 –  “Many turned out for the funeral today. The ground was cold and I wept on the inside so others would not see my pain as J.K. and Moss helped me prepare the frozen ground. Mother was beloved. It was good to my heart to see so many turn out on this dark cold afternoon. She is with the Lord, she is at peace at last.”

April 18, 1886 – “The rain! It runs in rivers down the roof shingles and floods the yard, overflowing the duck pond. The wagon wheels are dragged down with  mud until they stop solid and refuse to move anymore. Daniel and I have tried in vain to move them with the aid of the mules, but no good. We will try tomorrow.

August 10, 1886 –  “A new life! Another boy! I cannot express my joy at this wonder of beauty and sweetness! Hannah is well and resting after her long ordeal and my precious new son will be named Elijah, for her father. A parting and a new beginning within the span of half a year. The miracle of life brought full circle.”

On August 10 2011 , baby Elijah would be celebrating his  125th birthday. Yet as I read the joyful announcement of his son’s birth, the span of time melts and I am drawn into the celebration of a new life.  Words have power and when written down, they endure.  Joshua Penn is long gone, but his diary whispers his story to those willing to take the time to listen.

 

 

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Today is my birthday. There it’s out in the open. Another year older but not necessarily wiser. And when my family asked me what I wanted to do today my mind conjured up a picture of me lying in a hammock beneath a shady tree—reading.  Although I’m a writer, or maybe because of it, I find that with life such as it is now (mine anyway) there is rarely any left-over time to read—just for fun. Just for entertainment. Just to escape.

But I can’t complain. My wonderful clan treated me to  lunch, (my son gave my old Land Rover a badly overdue oil change) and my 11 year old daughter patiently tried to teach me how
to play a Sherlock Holmes versus Jack-The-Ripper game on Xbox. Even Gus-the Newfoundland gave me a present by letting me sleep in, rather than hike to the beach at the crack of dawn.

So, did I get to read?…sort of. At one point in my busy birthday I grabbed a book that has been sitting patiently on the dusty shelf for some time and disappeared into a room of the house little frequented by my family—the laundry room. Now don’t sneer, it’s a great place to find real peace and quiet (if you ignore the hamper.) So maybe it’s not exactly a hammock in a leafy glen, but at least it’s quiet.

And what did I read?  Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life by Sandra Beasley.  And a great read it was too!  Ifyou suffer from any type of food allergy this book gives you a generous dose of hope—and makes you laugh while you’re receiving it. Beasley takes a pragmatic approach to the topic by sharing her experiences in living
with numerous, potentially deadly allergies.  Both moving and downright hilarious at times, the author touches all the bases. I recommend reading it if you, or someone you love has food allergies—or if you’re like me and simply allergic to birthdays.

“Till next time….remember, before you criticize a man—walk a mile in his shoes, then when you criticize him you’ll be a mile away and you’ll have his shoes..!         Fantastically yours,  LC

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Now let me begin this blog with a disclaimer. I’m one of those people who shy away from the soapbox, and I save my “rants” for when Gus-the-Newfoundland has an “accident” on the livingroom rug. But sometimes something so low, comes along that I just cannot keep quiet. And like that pile of you-know-what sitting on the Mowhawk carpet, the book Go the F*** To Sleep stinks.

I mean REALLY..? This is considered funny? Entertainment?  “Pure Genius?”  Now for those of you mumbling into your sleeves “Oh come-on, lighten up.” I put the question. Where does taste leave off and the gag reflex kick in? Evidently anything Samuel L. Jackson (who I adore as an actor) reads aloud is considered good literature. But for god’s sake, would you invite Jules Winnfield to read your kids to sleep? I have experienced this book, seen the Sam Jackson video and watched the commercials ad nauseum. I suppose we’ll see the T shirt on the market soon. And all for one thing–the almighty… ( it rhymes with the bleeped word in its title).  Might I suggest instead, a book,  for all of you “parents who live in the real world.”  It’s called Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. 

Read it–to your kids and maybe… just maybe you’ll find that  those little people you spend so much time trying to avoid can touch your soul instead of getting on your last nerve.   

End of rant.  

Grab today–tomorrow is coming.   Fantastically your, LC 

“Death leaned over my shoulder and said “Live…I’m coming.”

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As a teacher, both public and private, I’ve used a variety of approaches and state guidelines in the classroom. From the day I passed through the doors of the College of Education I was “trained” to deliver a type of curriculum  practiced since the days of Aristotle.  I never questioned it–why would I? It was the way I had learned as a child and of course it is the “only” way to truly educate children–right? One method for all–and all for one.

That may be fine for The Musketeers, but do our children all fit neatly into those square holes society has waiting for them? A few years ago I decided to take my first grader out of the rat race and try the homeschooling scene. I mean I had two degrees in education so it should be a breeze.  Boy was I wrong. One of the first things I did was join a homeschooling group. This was in response to the wall of resistance that sprang up each time I told someone I was considering homeschooling. The “how will she socialize?” question rose up like a great ghoul–overshadowing all of my enthusiastic ideas and best intentions.  So, hence the Mom’s Meet-up at the park each week where I learned quite quickly that my carefully crafted curriculum was not real home-school at all. It was just a homemade version of the mind control practiced in pubic school.  The purists among us warming the bench were “unschooling.”

I must admit here that the term had an ominous ring to it. I mean unschooling–as in “unlearning?” I found myself inching down the bench as I gathered up plastic cups and crayons, flinging them into my tote.  Before I could make my getaway however, a nice young woman who had recently joined our group pressed a book into my reluctant hands. “Here.” She said. “Read this–I think it does a good job explaining the concept.”  The book was entitled The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World as Your Child’s Classroom.  by Mary Griffith

She was right–it did a very nice job explaining the concept. Now, I’m not saying that I’m a convert. My daughter attends a “virtual” school with a traditional curriculum (some habits die hard). But I can honestly say there are a lot of good thoughts and theories in this neat little book. Check it out on Amazon where you can “See inside the book” for a peek about the world of unschooling. If nothing else it may open your mind to another way to share learning with your children, and maybe learn somethings about yourself in the bargain.

Till next time…enjoy today, tomorrow is where it belongs.  Fantastically yours, LC

 

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