Slice of Life

Words

Easter, 2018

The day was perfect. The sky was blue with just a hint of clouds, and the air was just warm enough for a light jacket. I smiled as I unpacked my supplies for Sunday School — the sidewalk chalk for the art project, the picture book that explains the Easter story, and the 80 plastic eggs I bought and stuffed for the children I expected.

After putting down my things in my classroom, I went into our beautiful courtyard to spread the eggs. The bright colors of the plastic eggs against the new spring green of new grass and freshly planted flowers made me smile. I tucked the eggs into flower pots, the twisted crooks of the crepe myrtles, up under the bell, and behind the painted display of the empty cross and tomb.

The children arrived, dressed in beautiful pastels. A beautiful hand printed Easter card was presented to me with a smile. We put names on white lunch bags and headed out to gather the eggs. “I found one!” was happily shouted, as the adults watching smiled and laughed.

We all wandered back inside to use wet chalk over painters tape in the shape of a cross to make a painted picture as the Easter story was read from a children’s Bible. We headed back outside for some more playground time before it was time for worship. “Watch me swing!” “Please push me!” — their voices just made the day more sweet.

But then, like cold water thrown in the face, came the harsh voice: “Oh great! More plastic eggs for me to throw away. Come on, let’s go.” And with that, she stomped out of my classroom with her child in tow.

Words. Presented on a beautiful hand lettered card with a smile.

 

Words. They can uplift the heart and make you smile.
Words. They can be used as a weapon, thrown from the hurt inside, without care of those that are hit in the process.

Words.

Reading Life · Slice of Life

4 Hours, 41 Minutes — Slice of Life Tuesday

4 hours and 41 minutes.

That is what my Kindle is telling me it will take me to finish my current library book, Americanah by Chimananda Ngozi Adichie.  I have 3 days and 8 hours before my loan ends and the title disappears from my Kindle library. How can 3 weeks go by so fast?

At the beginning of the summer, I thought I had a great plan for reading all of the books on my growing list. I simply put library holds on the books I wanted to read, using the Overdrive app linked to my local library, knowing that most of them had impossibly long lists of people ahead of me. If you have never tried the Overdrive app, it is simply amazing. You can link it to any library you choose. You can request e-books or audio books, and if the book is available you can start reading it as fast as it takes you to download. If the book has a wait list, an email will alert you to the book being checked out to you and ready for download. You can get Kindle format, or read on your device in EPUB or PDF formats (depends on the book). My school district has even partnered with our local library to provide ebooks to all students through Overdrive and their school id. And the best part — at the end of the loan period, the book just disappears — no late fees or last minute drives to the library to beat the clock. But as with all library books, if there is a wait list, you can’t renew the titles — you have to get back in line to borrow it again.

My plan was that my books would naturally pace themselves due to the long wait times. I was 30-90 people back from the top of the list for the most popular books I wanted — The Handmaid’s Tale, and Big Little Lies for example — the books I want to read before watching the shows (and probably everyone else in my area had the same idea).

At first, this plan worked well. For my first month of summer break, I would have one book to read and one on deck to read next. I even managed to read a paper book that had been collecting dust on my shelf. But then my holds caught up with me. I was getting 2-3 books a week checked out to me. I’m a fast reader, and I can usually cover 2-3 books during a summer week, but this book abundance coincided with a week’s vacation with limited reading time (I managed to read only 2 books, Camino Island by John Grisham and Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan, primarily on our cross-country plane flights).

One year I assigned students the goal of reading and writing about a book a week. There were many days when I counseled students to make a plan to meet this goal — determine how many pages did they have to read each day to complete the book they chose, look at the rest of their commitments/assignments and determine how they would get this assignment completed. So now, I will counsel myself. For the next 3 days, I have to read at least 2 hours each day in order to finish this book before it disappears. I have to work this around other commitments, including a live-stream Drum Corp International event from Oklahoma tonight in which my 21 year-old son will be performing, getting my 18 year-old son through his college check-off list, my daily exercise and music goals, and basic household responsibilities.

I guess I need to go read…                             .225x225bb