Deprive: The Connotation of a Word

So, I read this prompt and my mind began to roll over all of the ways I could NOT share my true feelings about the word deprive. Why? Immediately, I felt a flash of heat and sadness and I swear my eyes felt a little misty from this sudden, heavy, unexplainable emotion.  I saw the memory, I heard the script in my head, and I relived the whole thing again.  Maybe you did, too.

Now, I am naturally a “heavy-emotion” person which comes as no surprise to my family or friends or possibly even an occasional stranger on the street.  *Insert Angel emoji here.* Words like deprive bring to mind longing, loss, and hunger.  These are not exactly happy concepts and can be downright depressing if one’s “heavy-emotion” mind chooses to dwell there.

So let’s not dwell there.

Can deprive be something positive? Can deprive lead to the opposites of longing and loss?  Are longing and loss really always downers?

I can deprive myself of candy and snacks and lose weight? Right.  A person who hurt me can deprive my future of wasted time by staying away. That’s good eventually, right.  How about temporarily depriving ourselves with sacrifices so that we can grow stronger, smarter, or more in love.

One definition even says deprive: to take something, especially something necessary or pleasant, away from someone (Cambridge English Dictionary)

Did you see that?  It is good to help someone get free from the unnecessary and it is right to guide someone to become unfettered from the unpleasant.  Yes, it is practically a calling, a mission, a duty.  Yeah!  I like that. It sounds so triumphant.

So, let me sum up this rambling before you, dear reader, decide to deprive me of your presence.

It is easy to see the negative from an experience, especially when you have been through a few things.  When we feel we have lost something we really wanted or when we feel unloved or ignored.  It meant something to us, so we miss it.    But we each have the power to put the positive or negative perspective on OUR OWN story.  It can make the difference in the moments we spend living or the moment we spend longing.  We cannot deprive ourselves another minute…choose the living.

I know I am.

 

Social Media Morning

I woke up this morning and made the sad mistake of clicking a certain popular social media app on the phone.  I have an ongoing battle with this entity as I am increasingly disgusted by what some humans feel is appropriate to say in digital format. From political rants to overtly-suggestive jokes, I LOVE the unfollow and see less options that are available to me.

Still, my friends post pictures and tag me and it makes me long to see them.  My Dad discovered how to scroll and genuinely “likes” the majority of my posts.  My Mom sends me “Good Morning, Have a Blessed Day” messages from her Kindle Fire.  Then, there are the viral videos of kids counting (love it), dogs talking (boyfriend loves it), and trash talk around basketball playoff time (Cats and Cards fans love it)!

It’s not all bad.

What happens though is that you pick up your phone to check the weather, listen to a morning devotional, or really intend to call your mother and …

My point exactly.  So much is packed into those three little dots.

So. Much. Of. Nothing.

Approximately 42 minutes later I came to my senses and laid the phone down.  Prompted by the thin line of sunshine piercing the darkness between my bedroom curtains, I arose, opened a window and remembered that my life or something like it was waiting.  Even if it is only the world of my morning coffee and a seat on my fav patio chair.

42 minutes of letting in everybody else’s stuff.  Social Media is like that friend you have, whom you really love, but who complains all of the time about everything and you can’t get a word in to respectfully and politely ask them to shut up for a second. By the time they are finished, your eyes are glazed over and you, quite possibly, have to wipe a thin line of dribble from the corner of your mouth.  They lost you around minute 2 and ½ but you kept on sitting there virtually scrolling through the conversation waiting to hear a word or phrase you could “like”, “pin” yourself to, or “retweet” back to them to prove you were actually listening.

All in all, you like this friend.  Honestly, I have passwords I can’t remember for a variety of social media outlets.  I’m a news junkie, just not 24/7.  I like pretty pictures, inspirational quotes, career advice and recipes just like the next pop culture creation.  I replay lip sync battles, stream videos, and linger a bit too long on the pictures of my favorite screen stars’ six-packs.

But for the love of all that is good in the world – Enough is enough. Mom was right when she used to kick us out of the house and make us go ride bikes or play tag or just soak up the sunshine.  She didn’t know about the internet back then; but she knew what was going to give our form and void its shape and character.  Plus, Mom knew…

Its not all bad.

If I hadn’t gotten on the app this morning, and called her like I’d planned, I may not have been able to bring this fine rant your way. However, I’m closing the old laptop and …

I’m going outside to play.

(Disclaimer: Grammar may be really really bad in this post.  I have absorbed too much of the “I don’t care how bad my spelling and grammar looks” culture that is making me have to work harder at my teaching job.  I’ll do better next time.)

How Harper Lee Saved Me

Ahh, The power of connection…..

Exile on Pain Street

Several people have pinged me about the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel. It’s based on a recently-discovered manuscript that she wrote in mid-50’s and takes place 20 years after To Kill A Mockingbird.

I think just about everyone has already read and commented on this post but I thought I’d rerun it. It’s the reason why people are reaching out to me with this wonderful news. It explains who I am and why I’m typing these words right now. I’d be a hot mess if it weren’t for her.


Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s the single most important book in my life.

I didn’t read a book until I was 20 years old. It’s true! They attempted to force-feed me while attending my below-average schools, but I made it clear that I would only read a book under protest…

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My Sister’s Smile

My sister’s smile could light the darkest room. The spirit and energy that was her made me stand in awe some days of how she so freely laughed when I could barely crack a smile in the presence of others. Every morning God’s mercies are new and that is how she would start her day. A clean slate. A full plate. Every evening she laid her head down, exhausted but always aware that she truly lived the day.
I think of her today as I gaze at old photos. Same bright eyes, same delighted grin, same force of life ready to burst from the frame. In awe I still stand at just how grateful I am to have had such a precious gift and today’s gentle reminder that life is in the here and now. Tomorrow’s worries, Yesterday’s anxieties, tonight’s uncertainties all seem to fade. I laugh freely. I smile into the dark.

Easter

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EASTER

It seems like such a long, long time ago.

Our mother woke us up and we started to get ready.

Get Ready.

There were baths to take and hair to comb.

Pastel colored dresses and tiny purses.

Black patent leather shoes in five different sizes, white socks with lace around the rim.

Faces shiny with baby oil stepped out into the Springtime sun.

Eyes squinting up to the face of God. Feeling His warmth. Preparing His praise.

His Praise.

Hymns and prayers and smiles and eggs.

Baskets and bunnies and yellow baby chicks.

Fast forward.

 

I wake myself like she taught me.  I start to get ready.

Get Ready.

Baths and combs and purses and shoes with higher heels…white socks a blissful memory.

I step into the Springtime sun.

Face squinting up to the face of God. Feeling His warmth.  Preparing His praise.

His Praise for my life.

Hymns for His provision

Prayers for His sacrifice…that sacrifice that delivers me.

Smiles for the joy of His freedom.

…and an egg…broken once

Filling baskets of forgiveness again and again and again.

It seems like such a long time ago…but daily wakes us up.

Get Ready.

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Spring Forward!?!

I forgot to set my clock back Saturday night.

Technically, I had thought about it, nay obsessed over it every day for two weeks.  Being an avid fan of Daylight Savings time, I like to get those things right.  Two snow days and three work days ago, I had been all over it.  I told my sisters.  I reminded my friends. I discussed it with my co-workers at the proverbial water cooler.  I wanted all of us to be ready for the impending shift that would, in the end, make us all sleepy and perhaps mildly edgy for a day or two but would ultimately forecast the coming of our beloved Spring.

Ah Spring!

You see, in this part of the country, we have experienced our worst winter in years.  Unpredictable. Seemingly unending. And just plain, downright cold.  We, collectively, are soooo ready for Spring.  Inside and Out.

All the signs are there.  Bird songs woke me up this morning.  Ash Wednesday has come and Lent is in full swing for those who reverance this as the Red Carpet of Spring.  Stores mark the coming via aisles piled high with green top-hats, smiling plastic bunnies, and an abundance of multi-colored eggs.  (Marshmallow or Jelly bean, your choice.)

And guess who didn’t fast forward?  Guess who failed to be prepared?

It doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past, clinging to winter’s travail and relating it to my life in some horrible way.  (At least not this year)  Nor does it mean that the only way I was reminded was by the discrepancy between my alarm clock and the phone I grab as soon as I wake on most mornings.  (Don’t judge!) It doesn’t mean I secretly wanted to sleep in (Ok, you can judge me here.)

It means I simply forgot.  I’m human.  We do things like that.  You see, inside I’m experiencing my own personal spring.  Newness after months of internal winter (yeah, I cjust ompared my life to winter).  Temps are rising, things are blossoming, the air is clean and new-ish. 

…and last night I was too busy to think about it.  I fell out exhausted from a crazy, wonderful, busy, not-thinking-about-old-dead-things kind of day. About time. Spring is here.  Stirring.  Lifting. Brightening. 

Spring Forward?  Already have.  See you there.

China, Chicken, and Agents of Change?

I don’t sign a lot of petitions.

It’s true that I am a proud defender of the First Amendment, all of the amendments as a matter of fact.

Still, I don’t sign every petition that comes across my inbox. 

Not always because of misgivings concerning the merit of said petition; but I tend to shy away if I’m not informed about a situation.  (Thank Google for keeping my blissful ignorance in check.)

Enter Change.org.

The self-proclaimed, “World’s Platform for Change,” was not new to me.  I’d heard the name tossed around and even recently signed a petition started on the site to protect my teacher pension from going belly up. (FYI: Teacher’s don’t pay into Social Security

Then, this morning I got an email from them about the chicken.

Chicken?

It was news to me that factories in China are allowed by the United States to import and process poultry from the United States, and ship it back to the United States. 

Okay, we have a long history of import/export with China.  Not a problem, right?  There are a  number of high quality products emanating from this partnership. 

That’s what I thought too at first, despite the fact that I’m a little curious as to why it would be necessary to send chicken all the way to China and then ship it back. Can we not hire people to process it in our own backyard?

But hey, I’m not really in the loop on this matter or the timeline of said processing, so I’ll stay focused on my original point.   

Anyway, I was prepared to delete just another junk email.  No biggie.

Yet, something told me to read on.

The email continued to chronicle the history of food safety violations that don’t make as many headlines as Justin Bieber’s drag race  or Chris Christie’s “bridge over troubled waters”.   It listed stuff like “tainted pet treats”, “rodent meat sold as lamb to unsuspecting consumers” and “300,000 Chinese kids who got sick from tainted milk powder.”  Of course, where will a good portion of this questionable chicken end up?

The National School Lunch Program

That did it!

Don’t mess with my children! Don’t mess with my chicken! 

With so many violations on record and so little information available to me and to you, the consumers, what’s an infrequent-petition signer to do?

Sign …and that I did!  What happens next?  Who knows?

Signing is no guarantee that an appeal will improve conditions, amend legislation, or change the minds and hearts of the people with the power.  However, what it will do is fan the flames of revolution in the hearts and minds of those whose quality of life is affected the most and who are generally the last to know.

 You remember revolution; it’s why women can vote and why I can sit at a lunch counter without being doused in ketchup and profanity.  Revolution is why we even have a Constitution at all and why that same Constitution came to include my people in “We the People.”

Chicken may be a non-controversial issue to some; but for me, it is worth a signature and a closer look at what I’m eating.

It is certainly worth a deeper look at what I’m tolerating.

Check out Change.org!

You may just find a bandwagon worth hopping onto today.

Introducing Me: Moving Forward with the Zero to Hero Challenge

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I’m glad this challenge came along. 

I started this blog to move forward, (like it says above), with pretty much every area of my life.  I came up for air one day from some trivial task (that later turned out not to be as important as I’d made it out to be as most trivial tasks are) and took a good look around. 

I was…wait for it…happy.

Yes, I was happy with my career.  I was happy with my friendships.  I was happy with my family that had supported me in everything I ever attempted to do.  I’d come through some difficult days and emerged moderately scathed, yet victorious. 

Yep, life was good.  I had everything I needed.  I could have cruised through the rest of my life with lots of smiles, laughter, and good times. I had lived the fullest of lives.  It was a very good place for a woman to be.  It still is.        

So why not share the love with a few thousand people?

Okay, so a few thousand of my favorite readers may be stretching in a bit.  I’m sure it will take two maybe three days to reach that many people.  Ha!  That would be awesome; but seriously, if only one person reads and connects to what I’ve thought out loud here, I’ll still be happy.  Thanks Mom, I knew I could count on you!   And I’ll still keep posting.

 I find myself drawn to posts about ordinary life experiences and even more, to the varied, extraordinary ways we respond to them.  I can’t really project what I’ll be writing about, but at the end of the thirty days, I hope to see the patterns emerge. 

The few posts I’ve already made were inspired by thoughts that actually made it through the pen to the page. That is easier said than done.  Writing is hard!  Worth it, but hard.  I posted them before the last round of busyness swept me away.

So when the Zero to Hero challenge popped up, I decided to make a break for it and jump back in the mix. 

This is me – moving forward.  Come along if you like.

I’m happy to be here.   I hope the same is true for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Know Who You Are

So, maybe we’re not going to make it like they say we won’t.

                Too many differences between us will get in the way.

But that doesn’t stop the sun from rising every time a smile breaks across your lips,

Or still the faint sound of glasses clinking in celebration simply because you came near,

Or change the fact that I can never seem to remember what was wrong before you whisper…my name…like that.

             No, there are too many reasons that we won’t make it…just like they say we won’t.

Reading Instruction for Diverse Classrooms

This practical, teacher-friendly book provides indispensable guidance for implementing research-based reading instruction that is responsive to students’ diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Structured around the “big five” core topics of an effective reading program—phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension—the book explains tried-and-true teaching strategies for fostering all students’ achievement. Key topics include engaging diverse students in classroom discussion, involving families in learning, and assessing and teaching new literacies. Numerous classroom examples demonstrate a wide range of easy-to-implement lesson ideas and activities for students at different grade levels, including struggling learners. Issues specific to English language learners are woven throughout the chapters.

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