Friday, November 28, 2014

November Blogging Challenge: "If I could save time in a bottle..."

Day 27

If you could bottle up the perfect day, what would it look like?

This prompt reminded me of that song by Jim Croce, so I used the title as the title of my post for today...well. for yesterday, as I'm running behind on this whole blogging every day thing.  I was doing well until grades and traveling and spending time with family took precedence.  I'm giving myself some grace, though, and not forcing myself to go back to do the posts I've missed.  But the prompt and the song come together beautifully.  Here's the song to enjoy.

My idea of a perfect day would be one I can sleep in on, wake up gradually in a comfy bed, look out the window to see a wonderland of white unbroken snow and grey flannel skies.  Yes, I know, I'm weird and enjoy the cold where I can bundle up in a warm house with a fuzzy blanket and a book or a laptop to while away the day. 

Another part of the perfect day that I'd love to bottle up is spending time with family around a table burgeoning with good foods and fellowship.  We'd spend the time chatting and telling stories while we ate of the bounty of God's graciousness in provision for us.  Several generations would be there to remind us of those who have gone before us, and we'd smile reminiscently--and sometimes sadly--at the memories of those who cannot be with us at the table, but we'd rejoice that One Day we'd get to sit at the Table with them once again.  

We'd share our blessings and our laughter.  We'd sing a table blessing, and the harmony would bring back the times spent worshiping together at church.  We'd look across the table at our relatives and see the history in each other's glances.  Some of us would amaze the others by our willingness to try a dish we would, normally, not eat.  Others would raise a glass in "cheers" as we thought about friends and family and those unable to be with us because they're gathering at other tables.  

We'd share a blessing for those not so fortunate as to be at home for a holiday dinner: the servicemen and women who are far away from home and family doing their jobs to protect our way of life; the homeless or hungry who would rely on the generosity of missions, kitchens, and strangers in order to have a bit of holiday cheer; the men and women who work in hospitals, police and fire stations, and other such places who might have to have their holiday meal another time because work schedules require them to do so.

The day would conclude with games and conversation and, then, hugs goodbye as everyone goes home.  Then I'd get to get comfy on the couch with a blanket again, with a book or a laptop or the TV tuned to some movie I've not seen in forever.

I'd definitely like to bottle up such a day, letting the sweet vintage age and mature until I needed such a reminder of times spent.  I'd uncork that bottle on a day I felt tired and sad and defeated and alone.  I'd let the bottle breathe and then pour it into a glass to sip on as I let the tired, sad, defeated, alone-ness melt away in the warmth of the memories held in my hand.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

November Blogging Challenge: Traditions!

Day 22

What family traditions are you are most grateful for?

Traditions are indeed how we keep our balance.  And if I am going to re-learn or put into practice the life lesson I'm most grateful for (see this post for that information), I need to experience some balance through tradition this year.

A family tradition I'm grateful for is celebrating the holidays with family.  It's not always the same way or the same place or even the same time, but we spend it together.  I enjoy the time spent cooking, planning, crafting, and sharing.  We eat, we talk, we play games, and we celebrate.  Work schedules or other family vacation conflicts have often meant that we don't do our celebrating on the particular day of the holiday, but we do always have a time we get together.

Friday, November 21, 2014

November Blogging Challenge: A book review

Day 21

Name a book you are thankful to have read and how it has inspired you to be better at what you do.

ISBN 1571103767
As a life-long reader, I have read any number of great books.  As a secondary English teacher, I enjoy teaching my students about the classics, having them read a plethora of various great literature, and trying to build within them a love of reading.

The one thing I don't know how to do, though, is teach my students how to read.  Secondary teachers are not taught how to teach a person to read. It was frustrating for me because I often come across students who are not reading at grade level or who have some gaps in their reading process.  So I began looking for some help.  I found it in this Cris Tovani book: Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?

It includes great strategies the secondary teacher can use right away with any kind of content to help her students to become better readers.  This book doesn't teach me how to teach reading from scratch, but it can--and does--help me to help my students where they are right now in order to help them move forward.  Our school used this book as a book study several years ago to help all of us teachers find ways to help our students.