Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"To Everything There Is A Season...A time to be born, and a time to die"

funny, daring, silly, caring, courageous, happy etc!

Carolyn Pearson literally taught me the ropes when I moved to the DC area; she loves DC, and she taught me how to love, enjoy, and appreciate DC, its lifestyle, the people etc.

Carolyn understood seasons, and she seemed to enjoy EVERY season of her life. Even going through cancer, she was a ball of joy and hope, and I never thought that cancer would stop this beautiful person, but it did on Monday night

This morning, the first thing that came to my mind was "To Everything There Is A Season." And, I instantly thought of Carolyn:
Ecclesiastes 3
King James Version (KJV)
1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Saturday night, one of my associate preachers talked about the idea that life is not about going from A to Z but about about peaks and valley. If we could wrap our minds around this idea, then we might accept and grow through every season that life takes us through.  

Oh, and my Carolyn understood this... This girl was a fighter, and having cancer showed that she understood that life will have low times and high times. When she was feeling good, Carolyn had a great time, and when she was not feeling good, it seems as if she would find peace in that as well....

I sent Carolyn a message a few weeks back, and I stated "I go from sad to angry." Of course I was talking about her illness.

Carolyn responded, "No need. It is What it is."

Now, this is a person who understood seasons..........

Carolyn left a mark on this world. People are telling story after story of things that Carolyn did that will impact their lives forever. And, I have a few stories of my own:

When my Dad died, I needed to get to Alabama right away. Well, Carolyn called me and told me that she had booked me a flight, she told me when I was leaving, and also told me that my return date was left open. I will never forget this act of kindness. This act of kindness and compassion opened me to receive and give kindness and compassion.

Carolyn made this world sooo bearable.....

Throughout her journey with cancer, Carolyn would send out email updates, and in one of her emails she stated: "I see some of the take aways as, listen to your body, use your insurance, press your doctors, drink lots of water, exercise, and ENJOY EACH DAY!"

Spoken from the mouth of an Angel.....

When you give of yourself to the world, you never really leave it....So, Carolyn is absent in body, but is present in the world.

"For Everything There Is A Season.....A time to be born, and a time to die!"

Monday, February 17, 2014

12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup

Today, while drinking a latte at Wholefoods, I finished skimming 12 Years A Slave by Solomon Northup.

After seeing the movie, I wanted to read the book. So, I downloaded the book for under $2, and I attempted to read it.

The beginning of the book was very interesting: the journey of turning a free man into a slave.

However, once he is turned into a slave, the story that he tells is just like all of the other stories that we have read or seen such as The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass and Roots by Alex Haley. And, based on these stories, as well as the stories told by Solomon Northup, slavery was terrible, and I couldn't image going through that kind of treatment and surviving. So, I skimmed the pages where he went into details about being a slave.

However, I did read the ending, because I was curious to know how he regained his freedom. And, that part of the book was interesting as well.

The book and the movie are very similar, and I would recommend the movie over the book, and I typically NEVER do this. But, the book moves very slowly and the movie does a great job of telling the story in a manner that is more attention grabbing.

See or read 12 Years A Slave, and learn American History.

Happy Black History Month, My People!!!

Freedom is a Beautiful Thing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow Day Fun!

Ride the bike trainer:

Grade papers:

Snow Days Can Be Productive Days..........

Friday, February 14, 2014

A Valentine's Day Poem

Resignation | Nikki Giovanni

I love you
because the Earth turns around the sun
because the North wind blows north
because the Pope is Catholic
and most Rabbis Jewish
because winters flow into springs
and the air clears after a storm
because only my love for you
despite the charms or gravity
keeps me from falling off this Earth
into another dimension

I love you
because it is the natural order of things

I love you
like the habit I picked up in college
of sleeping through lectures
or saying I’m sorry
when I get stopped for speeding
because I drink a glass of water
in the morning
and chain-smoke cigarettes
all through the day
because I take my coffee Black
and my milk with chocolate
because you keep my feet warm
though my life a mess
I love you
because I don’t want it
any other way

I am helpless
in my love for you

It makes me so happy
to hear you call my name
I am amazed you can resist
locking me in an echo chamber
where your voice reverberates
through the four walls
sending me into spasmatic ecstasy
I love you
because it’s been so good
for so long
that if I didn’t love you
I’d have to be born again
and that is not a theological statement

I am pitiful in my love for you

The Dells tell me Love
is so simple
the thought though of you
sends indescribably delicious multitudinous
thrills throughout and through-in my body
I love you
because no two snow flakes are alike
and it is possible
if you stand tippy-toe
to walk between the raindrops
I love you
because I am afraid of the dark
and can’t sleep in the light
because I rub my eyes
when I wake up in the morning
and find you there
because you with all your magic powers were
determined that
I should love you
because there was nothing for you but that
I would love you

I love you
because you made me
want to love you
more than I love my privacy
my freedom my commitments
and responsibilities
I love you ‘cause I changed my life
to love you
because you saw me one Friday
afternoon and decided that I would
love you
I love you I love you I love you

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Repost: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hoseini

Last night I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns again, and I must admit that I was just as moved by this novel on this read as I was the very first time that I read it. In the novel, Khaled shows that he is a compassionate writer who pays careful attention to selection of details in order to tell a story that will be remembered a long time after that last page is turned. On this read, I still love Mariam, one of the main characters, but I also must add that I also totally admire her, and I only hope that I display at least an ounce of her courage in the face of adversity....

Here is the REPOST of A Thousand Splendid Suns:

I finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns a few minutes ago, and I must say that I love this novel more and more with each read. Tomorrow, I will start student led discussions on this novel, and I can't wait.

Today, my students turned in all of the preliminary work that I expect to be completed before we start a discussion on a novel. After collecting the work, we had a discussion about what they thought about the novel or anything else that they would like to discuss about this novel. One of the students stated something, I can't remember what right now, and one of my quiet thinkers started smiling. I turned to him and stated "What made you smile; do you have something that you want to say? He stated "I don't have anything to say, and I was smiling because you are so excited." Everybody, including me, started laughing, because it is true that I am very excited about A Thousand Splendid Sun.

As my students left the room, I told them that I wanted them to think about women and our roles in the world.

This novels never fails to make me think about the life of a woman and how much we can endure and how much we should not have to endure. The women in this novel were faced with so many adversities, and they were able to stand boldly and move forward in spite of all that they went through. (I want to start a women's revolution all over the world! Really..)

There are some women, such as the women in some parts of Afghanistan, who have to take the oppression because it is dictated by the law. However, there are other women in countries, like the United States, who are oppressed and sometimes it is self-inflicted by things that we allow into our lives.

You know that I love freedom, but I am not speaking of the freedom of being a single woman, I am talking about the freedom to make decisions for myself, the decision to be able to state what I like and don't like, the freedom to chose my career etc. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a reminder that not all women have freedom of the mind and/or body, and there is not much that they can do about it but maybe start a revolution.

"Freedom IS a beautiful thing!"

If you want to read just a good, old-fashioned story, then this is the book for you.

I can't wait to discuss this novel with my students and read their essays on this novel.

You must read A Thousand Splendid Suns!

Before I go to bed tonight, I am going to started reading The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino. This book was recommended by my friend, T. Smith, who is one of the most well-read brothers that I know. So, you should get this book, and join me in reading it. If T. Smith recommended it, then it is a must read.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It's time to start another novel with my 10th graders, and I was debating between 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury. After much thought, research, and discussion with colleagues, I decided on Fahrenheit 451, and I am extremely happy that I did.

I haven't read Fahrenheit 451 in a very long time, and I just finished reading it, and I absolutely love this novel. Ray stated that he wrote this novel to show the importance of literature, and he did exactly that.

The setting for Fahrenheit 451 is the future, and it is a world where books are banned, everyone watches television for pleasure, and independent thinking is illegally.

Now, books provide an avenue for people to think about things from different perspectives, and I value different perspectives, and that is why I absolutely love books. I could not image the world without books. I have no idea what I would do with my free time, since television is definitely not my drug of choice. In this novel, there are a few people who feel like I do about books, and they managed to escape the world of burning books, and are desperately trying to preserve words in their minds, and one day they hope to rewrite books.

The main character in Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, remembers, after he escaped that book burning world, that he remembered parts of The Book of Ecclesiastic from The Bible. He started to remember the lines "To everything there is a season. Yes. A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silent and a time to speak."

Now, I have been wondering why would Bradbury have Guy remember The Book of Ecclesiastic and the above lines in particular?

The narrator of The Book of Ecclesiastic calls himself a "teacher." As the wisest man in Jerusalem, the "teacher" sees himself as having the burden of teaching wisdom to the people. The "teacher" finally concludes that the wise and foolish both experience the same kind of death, and he concludes that humans should honor God, eat, drink, and be merry (

So, you know that my brain has been working overtime to try and understand why would Ray Bradbury chose The Book of Ecclesiastic, and I have so many theories. I can't wait to hear what my children, oops, I meant students, have to say about this.

Now this short novels deals with the idea of The Book of Ecclesiastic and so many other ideas such as the character Phoenix from Greek Mythology, the idea of pleasure, the idea of death and on and on and on.

So, Fahrenheit 451 is truly an example of why the world needs book; books makes people expand their minds and think. Oh, how I love Fahrenheit 451, because it has given my brain many things to think about on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I can't wait to use Fahrenheit 451 to foster thinking in my students.

Read Fahrenheit 451 and THINK......

Happy Sunday, My People!!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Teach History

Painting of Hank Aaron that is on display at The National Portrait Gallery.
It looks like a picture doesn't it?

The Hank Aaron was at The National Portrait Gallery to discuss his life and accomplishments in celebration of his 80th birthday, and it was free and open to the public.... (I love where I live!)

On display, there is the above painting of Hank, and many people, including me, stood around this painting and marveled.

As I was standing, I saw this man talking to a little boy about Hank, and I had to snap a picture.

Watching this man teaching this boy American History, made me smile, and I also wanted to go into the ugly cry. We got to teach the young about the people who came before us.

Teaching History!

We must TEACH HISTORY, My People......

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Two Reasons To Smile Today!

Love this picture of Langston!

Today, February 1st, is the first day of Black History Month, and It's Langston Hughes' Birthday!

"Cross" by Langston Hughes
My old man's a white old man
And my old mother's black.
If ever I cursed my white old man
I take my curses back.
If ever I cursed my black old mother
And wished she were in hell,
I'm sorry for that evil wish
And now I wish her well
My old man died in a fine big house.
My ma died in a shack.
I wonder where I'm going to die,
Being neither white nor black? 

Two Reasons To Smile Today.....

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