Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Banned Books

September 25 through October 1, 2016 is Banned Books Week.

Banned books on display at the LeClaire Community Library
We’ve all read banned or challenged books. You would be surprised by some of the titles that people/organizations have tried to have banned - many of them are very well known and loved books. Also, the list of banned and challenged books is llllooooonnnnnggg! Your favorite books might be on the list. Mine is.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees our right to read and write whatever we want (it’s called freedom of the press.) The first Amendment also guarantees the right to protest against something you find disagreeable (it’s called freedom of speech.)

Ironic, isn’t it? The First Amendments supports both sides of this argument. It says, “Go ahead, and complain. It’s your right.”  But it also says, “Tough luck, Chuck. Our citizens can read or write whatever they want!”

Libraries across the United States of America are displaying some of the books that have previously been banned. They’re reminding us of our rights as Americans—something we can never take for granted. They’re inviting us to expand our minds, and challenge our own thoughts and ideas. That’s important. Keeping it real, folks.

"If all books were banned and you could
save only one, what would it be?
One of my all-time favorite books, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, published in 1967, has been banned and challenged because of gang activity (the rich kids verses the poor kids), underage smoking and drinking, and family dysfunction. Seriously. What teenager could possibly relate to that? (Sarcasm Alert! Sarcasm Alert!)

Maybe we could have learned about real life from the late 1960’s family sitcoms.  My Three Sons, perhaps? No. That family was a blended family. For shame! The Andy Griffith Show? No. That show had a town drunk and Opie didn’t have a mom.

How about music? Well, Mrs. Robinson by Simon and Garfunkel was big in 1968. Seduction of a younger man by an older woman was the theme of that song. That won’t do at all. How about Lady Madonna by the Beatles? It’s about a woman on welfare who has one night stands with all her kids in the house. Riigghhtt!  I’m sure all those TV shows and songs had no effect on society. Certainly no mirror of society.

Yep. This one is on the banned list too.
You can see my indignation is for real.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself,

P.S. If it weren’t for the First Amendment, there would be no place for Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, etc.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reading: An Introvert Just Doin’ Her Thang

Being a reader is something that I do not take for granted.  I’m not sure at what age I became a “good” reader.  I remember being in the “middle reading group” in elementary school. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember the groups were named after birds.  You know: The Blue Bird Group – they were the top readers, The Red Bird Group, and the poorest readers: The Buzzards Group—(not really their name).   And like all kids, I envied the Blue Bird Group. 

I have a distinct memory of my third grade teacher (nasty ol' Miss Brown) making a big stink over me mistakenly using the word ‘kids’ in a sentence when the text said  ‘children’. It went something like this:  The text sentence:  The children ran outside.  What I read out loud:  The kids ran outside. I remember she made me read that sentence several times until I finally realized my mistake. (I know now, as an experienced teacher, that those kinds of word substitutions do not change the meaning of the text, nor is it the end of the world if a kid can understand the meaning of the passage even if using an incorrect word.)  Geesh lady, take a chill pill.

I think sixth grade might have been the year that I stood up and took notice of literature. My teacher that year read many books to our class that I considered “risky.”   I wrote in a previous post about The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton and how that book changed me.  That may have been the beginning of my love of reading.  This particular school year was an all-out whole language paarrtayyy.  We got together in small groups and wrote extra chapters for The Outsiders, and then made the book into a play.  I remember my friend, Connie, was talked into being the lead female, Cherry Valance, because she had the best clothes of all the girls in our class.  We also wrote a newspaper based on the events of that story.  It Was All Good.  No taking turns reading out loud up and down the desk rows that year.  Mrs. Juanita Jackson (my teacher) knew what was what when it comes to engaging kids in reading.

When I was in junior high, I was put in an accelerated reading class.  This class literally was a speed reading course.  After reading a text that flashed on the screen-- I’m not talking computer screen, I mean reach-up-and- grab-the-handle-pull-it-down silver screen-- fired from a slide projector, we had to complete a comprehension quiz before moving on.  Oh, man did I love the status of that class and I was determined to stay above the line that would send me back to the regular reading class. The cool thing about this class is that I didn’t have to read out loud in front of the other kids. --  Because whenever I had to read out loud you could just forgggedddabout comprehension at that point!

I’m rather confused and disoriented when I’m in a crowd. (My husband often leads me through them.) I don’t do well with small talk. I’d rather just sit back and talk with one or two people- and even that’s difficult sometimes.  I get overwhelmed in unfamiliar surroundings.  I often observe rather than participate.  I like to people-watch. I like quiet. I am an introverted person.

It seems that introversion and a love of reading go hand-in-hand. My fellow employees at the library are all self-confessed introverts who would rather not be part of unorganized social situations. They’re all readers (of course) and they’re all cat people. (But that’s a different story.)

I’m not saying extroverted people don’t read. They do.  I’m just saying that for me, reading is a natural part of who I am, as much as being introverted is who I am.  I contend that extroverts read more for information and introverts read more for entertainment. Do you agree? Disagree?

What are your reading habits and preferences? Do they align with your personality?

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

God’s Good Grace and meeting Goals

First, I need to apologize for this post being late today. I’ve tried very hard to make a concerted effort to have my thoughts and ideas posted by 8:00 AM, Central Daylight Time, every Wednesday. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen today.

This past weekend Tim and I had the opportunity to visit our Son and Daughter-in-law at their home in northwest Iowa. They live nearly a six hour car drive away from us, so we don’t get to see them as often as we would like.

Every time we visit, I’m always overwhelmed with pride at the life they’ve created for themselves way up in the “Arctic of Iowa.” (While it’s beautiful there in the summer, the winters are long and hard – much more so than our southeast Iowa location.)

They have a lovely home, furnished and decorated with things they’ve created themselves. Nate is a woodworker (remember, he made my office desk), and Kiley is the queen of creative home d├ęcor. She used to write for a magazine and actually published articles about some of their frugal, yet creative projects. I think she could have a whole blog on just that topic - creative, frugal living.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to a pet shop in the Des Moines area. (We were all in the area for a wedding on Saturday.) Kiley was in need of a rat. Yep. A rat. She works at a nature center and one of the pet rats died and since she was in a city that actually had pet stores, she bought one for work. She buys rats as part of her job responsibilities…

 Any who, she got the wrong color of rat- it needed to match the picture by the cage at the nature center- because she said she had to rescue it from the pet store. The little rat actually hid in her purse while she paid for it. The pet store man asked if they needed a box for the rat, Kiley said no, that she had a cage ready, and put the rat on her shoulder as we walked out of the store. The rat happily slid into its pretty little pink and purple jungle gym type cage for the two hour ride home.

We went to Nate’s church on Monday morning because he had some obligations to take care of. He and Kiley are both active in their church. As a Mom, I can’t be more thankful that my children and their families trust in God to guide their lives. I’ve seen good people lead their lives in an apathetic way, and it’s just not. Not bright. Not beautiful. Not appreciative. Not thankful.

I learned that my son, Nate, is an excellent instructor. He has exceptional skills – due to massive training and a gift from God- in his profession. He shared his knowledge with me and Tim. We were impressed by his abilities. As a teacher myself, I was impressed with his ability to teach. Many people have great skills in life, but not just anyone can teach what they know.

I loved this past weekend. Nate and Kiley have reached some of their goals, but they are nowhere near finished.  Hard work and trusting in God’s grace have lead them this far. It’s going to be exciting to see what He brings to them next.

Until next time,
Be Good to Yourself,

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Back Porch Revival: A Journal in Photos

Dallas Clark and Ashton Kutcher  worked together to create the Native Fund. It's an Iowa charitable organization that helps Iowans in their time of need- typically due to natural disasters like floods or tornadoes. (See link below.)

The Bethard boys. 
Tucker Bethard sings his country single "Rock On" 
as his brother CJ sways to the music.
I think it's sweet that Tucker wore a Farm Strong Iowa t-shirt, 
while CJ wore his brother's Rock On tee, each supporting the other.

Cowboy Troy doing some country rappin'  and Big Kenny showin' off his guns!

Big And Rich put on a fun and crazy show. 
They definitely got the crowd pumped up for Thomas Rhett and Blake Shelton

Kinnick Stadium was packed and rockin!
The artists played a great mix of county and rock. 
I was surprised to hear them all play covers of other artists, but it worked! The night was electric!

When I found out Thomas Rhett was scheduled to play at this event I was so excited. He was the act I wanted to see over all the other performers.  My favorite part of the night was when he sat down and played the drums while singing Cake By The Ocean By DNCE. Even though it's not his song, it  (he) was fantastic!  Unfortunately, my picture did not turn out very well.  Every picture I took after dark of the jumbo looked blurry.  Bummer

We sat right next to a beer tent at about the 50 yard line. At two different times during the night, I saw armed police, with guards carry FULL  grocery bags (the re-usable kind) out of the back of the tent... and, no, they were not full of beer! BIG $$$$ was spent on the drink that night. This picture was taken at about 9PM of the empties along side the tent closest to my seat.

Our seats were not great, but we didn't care. We had a blast!
Happy 33rd Anniversary to us!
We got married on Saturday, August 27, 1983.
Wow! How time flies! 

The Native Fund: Iowans Helping Iowans

Iowans helping Iowans. I like it.  The fund raiser was one to remember. Top Notch.

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself and listen to some music!