Saturday, September 28, 2019

#MustReadIn2019: Fall Update

I'm always hesitant to show up for these updates because I rarely have made the progress I intended. (see blog post, Why I should Stay Away from Reading Challenges).

But in the interest of accountability, here I am with the four books I've completed listed in blue.

Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford - read this with two friends who I meet with virtually for a book club, a wonderful wintertime read

A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord - so glad that I finally got around to this. I immediately passed it to my niece who's teaching 3rd grad this year.

 Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard - one of the ARCs I picked up at NCTE.  You'll cheer for Robinson, the scrappy heroine of this story.

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart - also picked up at as an ARC, so happy to add this one to my completed list. I've yet to meet a book by Gemeinhart that I haven't loved!

On my list, but still unread: 
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Matylda Bright and Tender by Holly M. McGhee
Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
Looking Back by Lois Lowry 
Wonderland by Barbara O'Connor (this one is autographed)
The Size of the Truth by Andrew Smith
The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck 

So what have I been reading recently instead of my #mustreadin2019 booklist?
  • Two books selected by our summer tween book club: Breakout by Kate Messner and The Explorers by Katherine Rundell
  • Newbery possibilities: New Kid by Jerry Craft, Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, and The Line Tender by Kate Allen (my newest "favorite" book)
  • The global read aloud for middle grades: The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
 Until our final update . . . happy reading (even if you're not reading from your list)!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Slice of Life: Why I Should Stay Away from Reading Challenges!

It's fall and that means it's time for an update to my #mustreadin2019 list. I've been dragging my feet because, well, I'm behind a bit. I tried to scale back my list this year by choosing only 12 books, one for each month. That's a realistic goal, right? Except I've only read four of the twelve books on my list and this is September, the ninth month of 2019. So why am I behind on the list of books that I selected to read this year?

  • I get easily sidetracked by organizational/self-improvement books (ever hopeful that this might be my year to finally get my act together).
  • I'm always distracted by middle grade Newbery possibilities.
  • I belong to two book clubs: one I've belonged to for more than twenty years and the other one is a book club with two friends who have moved away (we get together and chat about our books on google chat or when we can't get it to work, we just do a three way call). 
  • I have ARCs from NCTE and from our local indie bookstore that I still want to read.
  • I lead a middle school lunchtime book group. We met twice during the summer.
  • I love reading books about spiritual growth.
  • I'm working on the KCLS 10 to Try Reading Challenge, (7/10 completed).
  • And I have a steady stream of picture books that I request based on blogger friends' recommendations.   

Perhaps it's too difficult to decide what I'll read in a given year when I know there will be so many new books that will lead me astray, books that jump off the library shelf into my arms, and constant recommendations from bookish friends. So maybe next year will be my year of no book challenges. I'll just meander from book to book, giving in to whatever tickles my bookish desires. 

And yes, I promise to post my pitiful #mustreadin2019 update soon!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Poetry Friday: The Scarecrow

Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the World for Kids
is hosting this week's round-up of poetic goodness.
Laura's post celebrates her newest book, "Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle" and includes a chance to win a copy of the book,
a nonfiction rhyming text about animals getting ready for
and surviving winter. Claudine Gervy's lush illustrations
are the perfect accompaniment for Laura's rhyming couplets.
It's dangerous when your local indie bookstore knows your reading preferences so well that they can point you to your next unforgettable read. But that's exactly what happened when I stopped by Island Books this past week and opened to the first page of The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry with gorgeous illustrations by The Fan Brothers (Terry and Eric).
 The first lyrical words captured this lover of fall:
"Autumn sunshine.
Haystacks rolled.
Scarecrow guards the fields of gold."

And so the story unfolds of scarecrow and a special friend. The beautiful language reminds me of another picture book favorite, Owl Moon. It may make you think of friends who, like Scarecrow's friend, became "friends ... right from the start,". 

This is a book that deserves a spot on your bookshelf and it's sure to find a spot in your heart too!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Slice of Life: Number Fun

Some weeks I'm in search of a slice. This was one of those weeks, until I noticed something my brother posted on Facebook about Palindrome Week (actually it's ten days of palindrome fun).

And then of course I had to take today's numerical palindrome. 9/10/19 and relate it to my reading life.  I forced myself to do this quickly, so you'll notice I used the label "books I love" rather than "favorite books," which is far too difficult to determine. And if I made this list tomorrow, it's a sure thing that the books would be different. 

Nine poetry books I love:
 1. Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young selected by Jack Prelutsky
2. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Car by Kate Dopirak 
3. One Today by Richard Blanco
4.  Sketches from a Spy Tree by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
5. Autumnblings by Douglas Florian (and all the other seasonal books in the series)
6. Clackety Track by Sheila Brown
7. Jumping Off Library Shelves selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
8. The Great Frog Race and Other Poems by Kristine O'Connell George
9. The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury selected by Jack Prelutsky

Ten middle grade books I love:
 1. The War that Saved My Life
 2. A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
 3. The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner
 4. Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
 5. Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
 6. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate
 7. Gossamer by Lois Lowry
 8. The Seventh Most Important Thing by Shelley Pearsall
 9. One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt 
10. The Liberation of Gabriel King by K. L. Going 

Nineteen picture books I love:
 1. A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
 2. Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
 3. A Kite for Moon by Jane Yolen & Heidi Stemple 
 4. Vroom! by Barbara McClintock
 5. Owl Moon by Rosemary Wells
 6. Honey by David Ezra Stein
 7. The Maggie B. by Irene Haas
 8. Laura Charlotte by Kathryn O. Galbraith
 9. The Story Blanket by Ferida Wolff
10. Baking Day at Grandma's by Anika Denise
11. All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan
12. I Know Here by Laurel Croza
13. What is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack
14. The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant 
15. The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
16. Loving Hands by Tony Johnston
17. On the Night of the Shooting Star by Amy Hest

The last two on my list are brand new discoveries. That's what's wonderful about books, there are always new ones to love!
18. Pick a Pumpkin by Patricia Toht (just checked out from the library this week)
19. The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry (just discovered at my indie bookstore, Island Books, this week)

I'm forcing myself to stop this numerical madness and share this post about books I love. How about it? Let me know about the books you love in the comments.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Nudges

It's the first Thursday of the month
and time to show up with my friends 
for Spiritual Journey Thursday. 
I'm hosting this month and selected 
the word nudges for our theme.

I made the mistake of asking Irene who was hosting our gathering for September. She replied that there was no host and asked if I would be willing to host. And then of course, I got to pick a word/theme.

I chose nudges because it's a friendly, gentle word. And September is a good time for new beginnings, for starting over, and for listening to holy nudges that come our way.  

Holy nudges? Those are the times the Spirit whispers to us to be still, to reach out, to call (I'm old school and still love to hear the voice of a friend), to send a text or email, to write a note (and I still love getting real mail the old fashioned way), to listen with our heart, or to give our time to a fellow traveler. 

Sometimes a holy nudge comes to us from scripture -  "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." (Romans 15:13) When we feel despair at the state of our home, or our workplace, or the world, we can remember that we can be filled with joy and peace by the God of hope.

 Sometimes a much needed nudge can come from family or friends as we join together in a community of believers. Sometimes we are nudged by a podcast (as I was recently when I began listening to Emily P. Freeman's podcast, "Do the Next Right Thing"). And the podcast that provided a much needed nudge for me? #90 - Start with this Simple Rhythm. Click on the link to listen to the audio (it's only 18 minutes) or download the transcript if you'd rather read it. Emily tells us how she's currently creating room for her soul to breathe. And if you've read many of my past posts, you'll know that creating quiet time that includes prayer and scripture study is an ongoing quest for me. Emily's current practice follows the acronym, PRWRP and nudged me to a renewed effort for daily quiet time. You'll have to check out the podcast to learn more about Emily's five movement rhythm.

I look forward to reading your posts about nudges and being inspired (and nudged) by your words. Leave a comment with your link and I'll round up the posts later this evening. (Sorry, I don't know how to use Mr. Linky.) Thanks for participating and contributing to our Spiritual Journey First Thursday community. May you find many nudges to goodness coming your way this month. 

Ruth weighs in with a thoughtful reflection about nudges and the paths we take in life. 

Margaret discusses a little nudge in her thinking that's had a big impact as she has participated in a study group this year.

Carol lingered for a bit after yoga, observing her garden, and then gifts us with a double cherita that nudges us to notice the transitions in the seasons.

Karen shares a challenge she took on recently and the learning that occurred, all because she listened to a nudge.

Jan shares a sidewalk poem and wonders if we might be nudged to write more poetry if our sidewalks were filled with poems.

Tabatha and Irene dropped by to leave their comments. 

Thanks to all who dropped by to read and write and share their thinking for our September Spiritual Journeys. You can still join in. There's no hard and fast rule to post on any particular day.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Slice of Life: Never Too Old to Learn Something New

September, even when you're retired, is an awakening time of year. One of my rituals with my students was a weekly word of the week. Students loved reporting back as they saw and heard the word of the week on social media, in movies, in another teacher's classroom, or spoken by their soccer coaches. Something about becoming aware led to noticing which led to cementing that learning. 

When we finished the last season of "Vera", we started the series "Shetland" (recommended to us by a friend who also liked "Vera"). I asked my husband where the Shetland Islands were and he told me north of Scotland. I could have just googled them, but instead I went to our large atlas and found them. There's something very satisfying about using an atlas that google can never replace.

Here are two random facts cited recently in the Sunday comics:

Moments later I was surprised to see these facts reinforced in the "Ask Marilyn" column of the Parade magazine under the question "How high is Mount Everest?" 

"Imagine yourself on a plane in mid-flight. A common sustained altitude is about 35,000 feet. You know how that looks from a window seat. Well, the peak of Mount Everest is about 29,000 feet. So if you flew right over it, the summit of the mountain—complete with any climbers—would be only a mile or so beneath you!
By the way, the deepest part of the ocean (the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific) is about 36,000 feet from the floor to the surface. Imagine that!"

I don't know about you, but I had never heard of the Mariana Trench before (or if I had... I've forgotten, but that's a post for another week).

Which just goes to show that you're never too old to keep learning and you never know where you'll find your next new learning. You don't have to be in a classroom - your favorite TV series, or a comic, or a column in the Parade magazine can be sources for learning. Now get out there and learn something new this week!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Celebrating Summer!

I've gathered some words and pics to sum
up my summer celebrations:
three months of delight - 
special visits with family and friends,
savoring delicious foods,
and spending time outdoors.

Birthday celebrations:
A sixty plus year for Grandma
Birthday roses from a friend's garden  
 The Three Rees (retirees) together
for a birthday breakfast
followed by a walk in the Botanical Gardens.
Teddy celebrates his third birthday
with friends at a Virginia park. 

Jack and Kara up in a swing,
up in a swing so high! 
Outing to Harstine Island 

Family gathering in Sequim
Grandma's Best Boys! 

Cousins making merry!

Check out our family hike 
to the waterfall at Crescent Lake! 

Peonies, my favorite summer blossoms!
Anniversary flowers from Pike Place Market!

Farmer's Markets

Cousins meet up at Hogle Zoo
while visiting grandparents in Utah.

Robby, the charmer
Jack reads to Robby!
Robby shows off his planking skills!

Ready for church 

Three boys in a stack!
 Blueberry yuminess!
Morning play!

Seafair weekend and a Blue Angels sighting from my deck 

Teddy & Blake on the museum circuit
and visiting the National Mall!
Ready for church
Teddy & Grandpa making music

Scooter shenanigans!

Bidding farewell to the Lundells :(
is not a celebration. But we do celebrate 
 years of friendship and sharing a
pew with them on Sundays!
And since they love to travel, we know
they'll come back to visit.
Blue skies


Hikes with hubby,
our family hike to Crescent Falls, 
and a StoryWalk hike with Sara and the three grandboys!