Thursday, April 19, 2018

I ran across this scribble today. I think I wrote it as a speech for Toastmasters several years ago. I thought it was appropriate to add to my blogspot today. The world is even more unsafe today than it was when I wrote this. Now we have arrived at a place where we can't believe our news media nor our government, where traditional values have been turned upside down, and everyone is believed guilty until proven innocent. We have to dig even deeper for "the good that remains in the face of all that is wrong with humanity."

14 Cows for America
I cried when I was reading this book to my Bluebonnet Book Discussion group.  They’re 2nd and 3rd graders.  They looked at me strangely, wondering why I was crying.  Then it hit me – they couldn’t understand why I was crying because they hadn’t lived through it.
They hadn’t seen the planes crash into the towers.  They hadn’t seen desperate people leaping from skyscraper windows or seen the unbelievable spectacle of the towers crumbling, as they imploded in a huge cloud of dust.  They hadn’t been among the entire mourning nation that witnessed 9/11.  They weren’t even born then.  No wonder they weren’t touched by this story, “14 cows for America.”
The world I grew up in had a specter hanging over it.  It was the specter of the mushroom cloud that my generation lived with.  The practice air raid drills in school terrified me at night, during the 50s.  We practiced hiding under our desks when we heard the air-raid siren – what a futile exercise that was!  At night when an airplane flew over, I would listen tensely for the whoosh of the bomb.  I thought I would be able to hear it and have time to scramble under my bed where I would be safe when it hit.  We were living near Richland, Washington then, and the Hanford atomic plant was an obvious target for whatever foreign threat might want to hit it.
Growing up in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, I was part of the generation the media called the “apathetic generation.” We had grown used to the mushroom cloud specter by then, and life seemed secure and predictable -- safe.  
I was in a classroom at the University of Oregon on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  Our world shook.  As I listened to the University bell tolling all afternoon, I wondered, “How could this happen in America?”  And then assassinations became a fact of life in America.  The Vietnam War, the protest movements, the race riots, the burning 60s --, of all those cataclysms, none frightened me in the way that 9/11 did.
On September 11, terrorism reached into our daily lives.  Nothing was safe – not the airlines or railroads, not the mail system, not even our jobs and financial systems, as the uncertainties of becoming a target for terrorists began to hit home.  Today we know we’re not safe.  Maybe we never were, but there was the illusion of safety, as I grew up.  These children, these 2nd and 3rd graders, still have that illusion of safety, but not for long, because their world is such an uncertain place, more uncertain than mine ever was.
Here is why this book touched me.  It is the story of a small Masaai village in Africa.  One of the sons of the village comes home from his studies as a medical student in America.  He tells his people about 9/11, about the planes crashing into the towers and the people dying.  The people in this small village want to do something to let America know they care about the tragedy.  In their village, cows are wealth.  They will give 14 cows to America! 
In a world where America seems to be a target marked for extinction by terrorists, there is a kernel of hope. In a world gone mad with suicide bombers and acts of terrorism in the name of religion, the kernel of hope is that people do reach out their hands to others.  We see it all over the world, as people reach out to help others, the victims of tsunamis in India, mudslides in Peru, and earthquakes in Haiti.  “14 cows for America” is symbolic of the good that remains in the face of all that is wrong with humanity.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017 Well, I have been busy -- but not writing regularly on this blog. Things I have been doing lately: Volunteer Library Director at the Gunter Library & Museum. I work five hours every Tuesday evening, 2:30-7:30. During that time I help patrons with whatever, order and catalog books, sort donations, provide a STEM class for 3rd-5th graders after school, develop and expand our tiny Maker Space. I work one Saturday a month 10-2. I spend a lot of time outside the library, going to relevant meetings, keeping up with the profession and books being published, finding activities for the STEM group, planning summer STEM activities, writing grants to help fund this non-profit library. I also write 3-4 articles for our online Friends of the Library monthly newsletter, the Gunter Gazette. I write a local history article, a gardening article, and a Library Update. I am a 20+ year member of Toastmasters International. For a recent Toastmasters Area Contest, I wrote a tall tale and entered the Tall Tale contest. I came in 3rd, so didn't advance. I liked my story well enough that I am finally doing what I once thought I would do after retirement: I'm going to see if I can get it published. I have sent the tale to my foster daughter who is a talented artist. I'm looking forward to her illustrations. Meanwhile, I have joined SCBWI to take advantage of their resources and networking for new writers. I also love to garden. I have several raised beds, the first of which I started about five years ago. Every year I expand a little more. Merrill still does the traditional garden, with large quantities of vegetables for freezing and canning. My small raised gardens are for small quantities that I can harvest and use for meals as needed. I gave one of my plots to my grandson Sean this year. He picked out the plants he wanted at the local nursery, among them, several cauliflower plants. Last Sunday he harvested his first cauliflower. What a proud young man he was -- I think he's hooked on gardening now! I'd like to say I will be blogging regularly, but I don't have a good track record! Goodbye until next time!

Friday, August 14, 2015

I haven't been blogging in a while. I need to start writing regularly. Today is just a promise to talk next week about books I'm currently reading! Meanwhile, here is the NetGalley Challenge 2015. Challenge Participant

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review of The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater. Book 2 of the Raven Boys.

Like the first book in the Raven Boys series, I couldn't put it down. Each chapter seemed to draw me deeper into the action, just as it did to Blue, Adam, Ronan, and Gansey. We learn a lot more about Cabeswater and leylines in this book, and lots more about each of the characters. New players become part of the drama, extending our knowledge of the original characters. It becomes evident that far from being psychic onlookers, each of the residents in Blue's home are deeply involved in the action and have hidden many things from Blue. Again, we are left hanging at the end of the book with several unanswered questions.  How long must we wait for the next installment???  Yes, we will purchase this second book of the series for the library. This is an excellent extension of the story line. I expect this book to fly off the shelves. Publication date is September 17, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Age 70 isn't too old to start something new! Actually, becoming a staff writer for the new South Grayson Sentinel doesn't call on new skills. I wrote a weekly column about the Van Alstyne Library for sixteen years while I was Director of the Van Alstyne Library. What is new is that I won't be writing just about library subjects. In our first Sentinel issue, I wrote an historical article about Hilltop Haven, Gunter's local nursing home which is closing down after 65 years. My second article is an extension of that article. When the nursing home began as Home for the Aged, it opened in the existing building of Gunter Bible College which existed from 1903-1928. I'm writing an historical article on Gunter Bible College. I have some family stories connected to the College that I can include since my Father-in-law and Mother-in-law both attended the college and my Father-in-law also taught there. I'm looking forward to an opportunity to delve into history as I start this new phase of volunteering, writing regularly for a bi-weekly newspaper!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Updates 2012

It's been a long time since I posted to this blog. In the meantime, I've cruised to Alaska with my husband (August), attended the ARSL conference in Frisco (September), visited my Tennessee grandkids (December), adopted a puppy (January), helped the Gunter Library & Museum move into new quarters (Dec-Jan), and started a book discussion group at the Gunter Library (January). That's not all I've done, but it kept me busy. Now I'm wondering if I committed myself to too many things! After all, I'm supposed to be retired! However, on Mondays I'm involved with Toastmasters, on Tuesdays I volunteer at the Gunter Library, on Wednesdays I'm at church and sometimes help deliver Meals on Wheels or lead the book discussion group, on Mon-Fri my husband and I workout at the gym, Sundays are church days and grandkids are here. That leaves me Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for other things -- like cleaning house, shopping, reading, computing. Not bad, after all!

I'm reading Jean Carper's 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss. Keeping the body and mind active, eating healthy whole foods, and surrounding oneself with stimulation is supposed to delay or prevent age related dementia. I'm working at it!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beyond Method #12: Library Technology

Beyond Method #12: Last Dance: Evaluation. I finished!!!
1. My favorite exercises include Smilebox and Shelfari. I'll be using those most of all. i can use them personally as well as professionally.
2. My lifelong learning goals include trying to keep up with technology changes, even though they proliferate exponentially! Even though I retired in June, after 43 years in libraries, I will continue to be involved with libraries as a volunteer, and as a member of TLA. If I want to keep myself relevant to the daily changes in information technology, I need to continue learning through webinars like this.
3. One of the take-aways I really like is Skype an Author. This has such great possibilities -- why didn't I know about it sooner!
4. Improvements for the course? I like the self paced learning and the exercises to hold myself accountable for actually doing the hands-on learning. Improve by continuing to provide this kind of tech training.
5. Yes, I would definitely participate if you have a similar program.