Saturday, September 26, 2009

Well at least they aren't normal....

My grandson Zaya is now five years old, and his little sister, Mim, is four. When they came in the door for a visit today, their faces were excited and they both began to talk at once. Zaya wanted me to help set up a simple potato growing experiment he had been reading about on the trip over. He proceeded to lay the book on the floor and read me every step. Meanwhile, Mim was delivering a present she had made for me and watching while I opened the envelope. There was an autographed, decorated card along with a hand drawn picture of...
"what did you draw for me?" I asked. "
Without a moment of hesitation she told me, "It's the inside of a dog. You know, his egestive system."
So,of course, I taped it to the refrigerator while I opened the crisper to search for a potato with eyes.
"In a few days," Zaya assured me, "several buds will appear, but if you see white flowers, stop watering it."
"Oh, why should I do that?"
"Because if you don't, the potato will rot."

Then they were off--Mim to drag everything out of the toy box and Zay to see if the wii was up and running and if any new video games had magically appeared.

Later, while jumping on the front room couch cushions, Zaya cut the bottom of his foot. As I ran warm water over it and applied antibiotic salve, I tried to get in a lesson on the dangers of jumping on couch cushions and opening ones foot to bacteria. He quickly re-assured me:
"Don't worry, Grandma, those bacteria that manage to escape into my foot will be killed by macrophages and neutrophils."
"Well, and other leucocytes; they are lining up right now to attack"

...And they are, of course. I'll go straighten the couch cushions and consider another strategy: simple commands perhaps.

Why I Love Mornings

I took these pictures in front of my house this morning. It was quiet--so still the squirrels were sleeping, and the ground under my slippers was soft from last night's rain.

The Corral

Homecoming week at school. It's wild and crazy. Hard to get a lot done with characters like these sitting at the desks, but--for all the silliness--it does bring joy into this process we call education. We love to dress up and dress down...and I should have shown a shot of pajama day. Oh well. Some things are better left to the imagination.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weeds Like Us--A Book Worth Reading

I've just finished a new book that came to the library as a gift. Hopefully, we will buy more of them...enough to make them required reading for every student. The book is just that good. It's called Weeds Like Us.

Gunter Nitsch, in the simple style and language of a young boy, relates the events of his life beginning with the closing year of World War II. He lived in Germany--in the province once known as Prussia--when the war ended and the Russians invaded. Not allowed to flee to Germany, Guntar's family was caught in a deadly trap. Since their sons-in-law were fighting in Germany, Opa and Oma, the grandparents, determined to keep their two daughters and seven grandchildren alive and sane in the middle of a terrible situation. Their faith, love, and endurance; the women's self-sacrificial intrepidity, and even the children's labor and diligence, played a huge part in Gunter's survival and character development. The horrors of those refugee years are interspersed with accounts of his youthful mischief, and we see not only through his eyes, but past what he could understand at the time to the courage of the people in his life. Every teen-ager who has always had food to eat and a warm place to sleep needs to read this book, especially if said teen complains about his or her pampered life.

The author does include some graphic situations, but compared to the brutality of what actually went on in that part of the world, they are presented as gently as possible. The holocaust is not ignored (at one point the Grandfather has to re-bury victims and realizes that the atrocities were committed by his own countrymen. He is stricken with a sad, haunted, horror)but most of the book centers on the Communist takeover and their treatment of those left in the occupied lands. German, Russian, Jew--their hardships are not ignored...neither is the evil in the heart of man, nor the goodness found in unexpected people.

Read the book. You will see what I mean.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hunger...Well Thirst Anyway

The Sunday Scribblings prompt was Hunger, and all I could think of was that verse in Psalms where David "hungers" for the Lord ...but when I looked it up it was all about thirst. Ah well. I thirst for Him too. Here's that great passage from Psalm 63:

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

School, School, Wild and Weary

I know I haven't been posting nearly as much lately, but that's because I've been weary. School is great--don't misunderstand me--but the fast pace of teenagers keeps me on my feet. You will notice that in all of these pictures there is very little classwork going on. Well. That's because I can't take pictures when I'm teaching...and when they are quietly working, I'm quietly helping them, scurrying like a plump little mouse among the sleek little tigers. (Our theme this year is WILD*so I had to throw that in)

*Within the Lords Design

Here's a couple of diligent freshmen who came early to school...quietly reading in the science room, and you'll see some students playing with the math geometry toys, building stars and towers and being creative. (Don't think the older kids don't love these too; their endeavors are pretty amazing. In a few minutes they build a city on the table.) When their work is done, they love to play stratego or chess...even if it's only for a few minutes. (Most days I have junior-high boys in my room during lunch to finish these games.) On game days, the pep band plays for us in the hall at the end of fifth hour. Last week I took my sophomore class to the nursing home to sing for the older people there. They practiced for a couple of days and came up with four numbers--Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, God Will Make a Way, and Rock of Ages. It was a little slow, but I think the people enjoyed it anyway. One girl played the piano and a guy played the guitar. We were going to walk the five blocks to the home, but it rained, so we all--almost all anyway--piled into the school suburban. On the way back we stopped in at the only restaurant in town and bought schnetka.