* Past and Present

Check out this terrific book by Group by Group on past and present ways to play, travel, and more.  This blog features great free materials for kids with special needs.  Here’s a snippet of a page from Past and Present.


“In keeping with the Unique theme for this month, we are talking about things from the past and things from the present.  Our book features several of our students and staff showing how things have changed from the past to the present.

It was really neat to compare the older pictures with the recent ones.  Check it out to see how much things have changed!”

via Past and Present — Group by Group

* Martin Luther King, Jr, man of faith

Today we celebrate the life of a great man of faith.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. remains an inspiration, a model of how to face injustice and hatred.  He guided my steps as a youngster in the civil rights movement, but it wasn’t until years later that I actually entered the kingdom of love he espoused.  How much more I treasure his words, now that I share his faith.

In his words:  “Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies (from Loving Your Enemies).”

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”


Dr. King knew that he was on a perilous journey, but he he did not count the cost.  In his words, “A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.”  We are all reaping the reward of his life’s costly mission.  Love, forgive, and fight for justice.

* Color Your World challenge

I’m already 14 days behind in Jennifer Nicole Wells Color Your World blogging challenge!  This had to be my favorite blogging challenge of last year, apart from anything to do with Cee (check out her outrageous orange here).  Fortunately, I am past those nightmares of showing up in some forgotten class where I have to take an impossible exam.  At least, I hope this won’t trigger those nasty dreams from my college years.  Nah, I’m good.

So here we go with almond, day 1.  I have just finished eating this delicious Greek yogurt with blueberries and sliced almonds.  OK, I always grimace when people share photos of their food, but this is a challenge, right?

almonds for breakfast.JPG


* Overcoming ADHD and more

Thanks, David Snape, for this post.  Colin’s mom writes poetry about her son’s battle to walk, keep up with his peers, and daily struggle with ADHD.  Check it out!

Originally posted on God is in your typewriter: My son Collin, a gifted student in the 2nd grade, won the county-wide haiku contest, beating out all students in the county up to 5th grade. Collin has been diagnosed with ADHD, a daily struggle for him. We have overcome, by the blood of the lamb and…

via For the God I love — David Snape and Friends – The place to show off your hidden talents

* Amazing 3D sidewalk art

Chris the Story Reading Ape features amazing sidewalk art.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  I especially appreciate that the artist uses a flimsy medium like chalk, gone with the next rainfall.  What a fascinating character.  Visit Chris’ site for LOTS of cool photos.

My thanks to the Vermont Varmint for sending me these photos and the following message: This guy continues to amaze people with his sidewalk 3D chalk drawings. Remember, these pictures are actually flat. Totally worthy of posting! This man is artistically talented beyond the visual boundaries of sight!!

via THE AMAZING CHALKMAN is back! — Chris The Story Reading Ape’s Blog

* Sharing my world

It’s time for Cee’s Share Your World challenge!  If you haven’t checked out her gorgeous site today, be sure to enjoy her photographs, tips, and other blogging challenges.  Now on to the questions.

If you lost a bet and had to dye your hair a color of the rainbow for a week, what color would it be?   Ooh, I’d love swaths of all the colors; that would be a perfect bet to lose!  But what does it say about us that the hair on the right is called a “rainbow afro wig” and related items are for clown costumes?  Just saying.


A clown wig?

If you could choose one word to focus on for 2017, what would it be?   Balance.  The correct balance between the important and the urgent.  Between my interests and those of others.  Between sleep and playing on the computer.  Between chocolate and kale.

What was one thing you learned last year that added to your life?  I learned more deeply that the opinions of others should not drive me, that I am loved just as I am, and that my identity is found in the how the Lord sees me.

If life was ‘just a bowl of cherries’… which fruit other than a cherry would you be..?  Oh pomegranate, pomegranate!  It’s my favorite fruit and the reason my next dental appointment will take longer.  Pomegranate juice has turned my teeth and nails pinkish.  No photos.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?   I am grateful for the beauty of snow, even with a layer of ice under it.  I look forward to working with my kiddos and maintaining their upward trajectory.  Love to teach and learn!

* Cabin fever?

A collective parental “aaargh” rippled across the area as schools remain closed tomorrow.  Another snow day.  Kiddos are rejoicing, for the most part.  Teachers are examining the number of remaining workdays.  Grocery stores must be shoveling produce.  Most of us have parked cars at the ends of our driveways, ready to slide onto the icy roads.

snow day 2.JPG

My dearest widower and I love being trapped in our cabin.  Last night we watched episodes of Black Mirror, a 21st century version of The Twilight Zone.  A bit depressing.  We’ve enjoyed a Korean zombie movie, Train to Busan.  Also a bit depressing.  Started Gilmore Girls.  Fluffy and funny.  Watched some of Legends, season 1, with Sean Bean.  One of those plots that can’t end well.  

I’ve just finished Leslie Wolfe’s Alex Hoffman series.  Now I have to wait for another installment, if there is one.  Boo hoo!  My current read reminds me of sci fi I read as a kid.  It’s Post-Human series by David Simpson, with lots of typical goodies, like time travel, end of world events, and the battle between AI and human intelligence.  I’ve whipped through the first book and it’s intriguing enough for me to keep going.  

The forecast is for temps to rise over 40 degrees by Friday, from the high 20s to the 70s.  We’ll say adios to snow and ice, close our cabin doors, and head back to work.  Until the next winter storm….

* Winter, southern style

Winter storm Helena is still breathing light snowflakes on us we settle back to survey the “damage.”  Here in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, schools in the area closed early yesterday in anticipation of an afternoon snow event.  I got stuck in the apocalyptic traffic snarls as parents snatched their kids from school and frantically shopped for enough bread and water to feed a Gulag of prisoners.  Why do southern folks eat like prisoners when it snows?  Grocery store shelves remained adequately stocked with everything except those two items.  Well, the sugar snap peas were also gone.  Bummer.  I headed for the chocolate aisle and smiled.  I must be the only one eating chocolate today.


You know that a forecast of a quarter of an inch of snow terrifies folks around here, so imagine our reaction to a potential 6 to 9 inches!  Horror!  The governor’s inaugural event was canceled and streets were brined.  The proactive salting of streets only started in the last decade here.  I’m not sure how effective that measure is, because in our locale, any winter event seems to start with rain, as the temperatures are loathe to drop below freezing.  Even the clouds fight desperately to hold their loads of moisture.  Yesterday they leaked rain and then sleet, possibly washing away all that brine, and it was near midnight when snow forced its way through.

My dearest widower and I stared through the curtains last night as the snow pinwheeled like blossoms under the streetlight.  No way were we getting 6-9 inches.  Maybe 2?  Should I have bought bread and water?  Nah, I ate some chocolate and prayed that no one would lose their power.

Here’s the view from our front porch this morning.  I parked at the edge of the driveway this year, ready to flee, because my dearest widower was in PT for a year after shoveling the driveway in our last icy debacle.

snowday 1.7.2017.JPG

I haven’t ventured onto the snow yet, worried about that treacherous layer of ice under the fluffy snow.  I see that a snowplow has barreled through, ruining a perfectly good sledding hill.  Oh well, you notice that no kids are around?  They’re probably too weak to crawl out; that bread and water diet is a killer.


* Christopher and me: update

It’s been ages since I updated you all on my tutoring sessions with Christopher, my nephew on the autism spectrum.  Christopher continues to work hard, flying in the house eagerly after a long day at school.  He has enough energy for both of us!

Great progress on vocabulary:  The number of unfamiliar words we encounter per session can be daunting, but with continual chipping away, using Quizlet and “natural” conversations, Christopher is steadily moving forward.  By “natural” conversations, I mean anything related to his fascination with all things Bowser and Donkey Kong.  Did you know these video characters can be sinister, peer at others, have jagged claws, and bolt away from enemies?  Christopher enjoys thinking of ways to include the vocabulary words so that he can safely talk about Bowser without straying “off task.”  Clever young man.

Improved word recognition has led to improved reading and listening comprehension, but we have miles to go before he is on grade level.  On the other hand, his improving language skills will eventually bring him close to that goal.  We are still progressing through the language-based Tasks of Problem-Solving, after which I’ll need to decide on next steps.  Christopher has come a LONG way since this past summer; he now answers 10 complex questions on problem scenarios with about 80% accuracy, depending upon his focus and familiarity with the topic.

A one-track mind:  Christopher asked me today, “Why is it bad to talk about one thing?”  We had a delightful discussion of conversational skills and his preference for lots of Mario and little “active.”  Did you know that “active” makes you hot and cold and that everyone doesn’t like active?  I certainly agreed with him there.  Christopher is at a stage where he recognizes how his narrow interests affect his social standing.  Fortunately, he has found a couple of kiddos who share his interests and dislike of “active.”  He is searching for ways to connect with others, so I asked what he might talk about at school tomorrow.  (Hint: We have winter storm Helena barreling in our direction.)  I can guarantee that Christopher is not going to mention the possibility of 5″ of snow.  When we got to that part of my suggestions, all he could imagine was “no school on Monday,” which led to quiet fascination of a day devoted to all things Bowser and no “active.”