Yet Another Manic Monday

This week, I will turn 38 years old. This past weekend, I decided to celebrate my birthday with a party. Why? Why not? Too much of my life in the past year involved going and going with not much enjoying. So a break was in order.

Today, I took off job number one, but failed to take off job number two.  Thus, it really was another manic Monday that I wished was a Sunday.  Even if it did begin at 5:30.  Nap time wasn’t productive. I wasn’t productive knowing that I had to go to work. I wander through this day and made no headway on the to-do list or cleaning up the house after a party. (And to be fair, to my guests, there wasn’t much cleaning up that needed to be done, just putting things back in their pre-party places.) Mostly, I just wasted time which lead directly into my mini manic Monday.  I did it to myself. I failed to plan and ended up driving myself  crazy, which isn’t hard to do since my main profession in teaching.

My only regret is not taking the whole day off.

Take time for yourselves and don’t cut yourself short.  Take the whole day off  celebrate yourself even if it isn’t your birthday.

 

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Wandering through Adulthood

Lately, I have been doings something that I hate. Letting life live me instead of the other way around. One thing or another has taken me away from the things I want, while I spin my wheels trying to hold on to what I have.

Adulthood.

Recently, I have been contemplating leaving teaching. For many years, all I wanted to do was teach. I didn’t think I had it in me to write a book or start a blog. And I loved working with kids, especially teenagers. (I have to thank my friend, Logan, for getting me involved in a youth group.)  I liked making a difference. I felt like I was making on a difference.  I liked having time to write and to have a life.  At the start of last year,  things began to change.

The life of a teacher is one where you are always behind and forever trying to re-balance home and work.  Last year, it became harder and harder to do what need to be done for my students. Paperwork and data chats, common boards and formative assessment, interventions and two graded assignments per week, it was a never ending cycle in which no teacher ever catches up.  It is a rats race and one that doesn’t pay the bills without this teacher working two other jobs.

So much time as gone into working to keep what I have there has been little time to work on building anything new for myself.

Teacher are supposed to work for the good of their students and not worry about the money. But when the money isn’t enough to pay bills and you can’t actually do what you think is best for them in your professional opinion; one begins to questions why they are continuing in a profession . Teacher aren’t really treated like professionals.  But that is beyond the point.

The point is that I am questioning everything that I build my life upon and I don’t know if it is worth it to continue.  Is it worth sacrificing my own dreams of  a family for?

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Book Review: No Lasting Burial

No-Lasting-BurialNo Lasting Burial by Stant Litore

Available on Amazon in both Paperback and Kindle Formats

Another fabulous installment of the Zombie Bible by Stant Litore.  In this installment of the Zombie Bible by Stant Litore, we find ourselves in the Gospel of Luke, outside a small village that has been spirituality and physical torn by a horde of zombies after a brutal occupation by Roman soldiers.   For followers of the series, it may have seemed inevitable that the Zombie Bible would move from the Old to New Testament, but moving forward from the stories recited in Sunday school to the ones recounted from the pulpit is risky.

So how did he do it?

The same way the writers of Jesus Christ Superstar did when they created that infamous musical with care, joy and great skill. Both of which profoundly shaped the way that I approach the bible and particularly the stories of Jesus.  Too often the human side of Jesus is forgotten and he is made out to be so divine that no human could walk in his steps.  Litore creates realistic characters which are both relate-able and true to the original biblical tales.

Did he do it well? 

Yes, the action is non-stop so readers won’t be bored or feel weighted down.  At the same time, Litore takes you to emotional depths that you might not have thought possible. This isn’t just a bible story with zombies added into the mix; it is instead a masterful piece of story-telling. A must read for horror and historical fiction fans. This novella is well work a space on your reading list.

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Happy Anniversary!!!

Today is the two year anniversary of my first blog posted.

Wow…

Two years.

When I began this blog on the advice of a friend, I didn’t know where it would lead me. I hope it would form the basis of a much larger writing career. This blog has been my laboratory. I have grown as a writer, not just someone planning to write one day.

Last year, the friend who encouraged me to start this blog moved back to New York to pursue his dreams and make a better life for himself and those he loves.  It isn’t easy going in a new direction.  It isn’t easy leaving friends and what you know behind. Words cannot describe how much I love and admire him. He is still taking risks for his dreams and seeing him take those risks and struggle with them makes it easier for me to the same and at the same time appreciate the stories behind the authors and artists that I admire. The words of encouragement that he has for me are so very precious.  He doesn’t have to give them, but he does and I know that he encourages others out there who he believes in. It is an honor to have him in my life.

There are a lot of lessons that I have learned over the last two years and one of them is about my voice as a writer. As a teacher, I always want to educate people.  Writing for me is a different kind of outlet and I find that my teacher voice doesn’t work well in my writing. I don’t like it when I use it. When I take on the voice of my characters, I fall in love with the stories I am writing.

I can’t tell stories like some of the authors I love, but I can tell them.

Blood Child will be birthed this fall come hell or high water; like many first children she is overdue but coming when the time is right. Timing has been perhaps one of my biggest lessons this year.  You can’t wait until the timing is right to start a project and if you fret too much you will never get started; getting started is really the hardest part.  Then you need to finish what you start.

Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for reading my words and giving me feedback.

thank-you-rocks

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Notes from the Equinox

I didn’t make it to church, today. I needed time to clean, grade and write, but just because they are mundane things doesn’t mean they can’t have spiritual component.

The equinoxes are days of balance.  Times to get rid of what has been keeping balance from our lives. Lately, I have been on a teeter-totter: flying high up into the air and then slamming my tushie into ground.  My bruised butt and ego have taken a beaten these last few months.

Today, my home is clean or at least cleaner than it was this morning. It feels better so much better than it did before.  My general to-do list is much shorter than it was in the morning. My papers are graded and the week’s lesson plan is written and uploaded. I didn’t get much writing done, but I set my week up for success.

Not being a full time writer it can be easy to get discouraged. Easy to give up and throw in the towel before one has even started, but I prefer to use that towel to wipe the dirt off my butt and get back in the writing chair.

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My Own Syncopated Beat

My heart beats an uneven track

through life’s uppers and

its way way downers

balancing itself on a unicycle

juggling

life work life work

and a crazy little thing called love

It pounds out and demands

attention

Boom Boom … bang boom bang

That’s the way it goes

It doesn’t march to

a different beat

or demand justice

just recognition and

a little peace…..

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Labor Day

This Monday will mark the first Labor Day and accompanying weekend that I have had off in four years. Working all the time has gotten me no closer to my goals and only served to distract me from working towards my best future.  All work and no play has made for a very unproductive writer.

Today, I cleaned most of my house; the bedroom and the bathroom remain.  The laundry is done and the dishes are finishing themselves.  Thank goodness for modern technology.  There are times when I think that it hurts us more than it helps, but tonight I am grateful for the assistance.  It means that tomorrow, I will be able to enjoy some quality time in the sanctuary of my church and some one on one time with my latest book.  Reading time is important because it lets my brain escape the  chaos of my daily life.  The start of school has only brought that chaos to the surface. (No matter what they say no teacher is really ready for the start of school.)

We all need a break from out labors. We all need time to rest and recoup ourselves.

This Labor Day I am finally doing that for myself.

I hope you do as well.

Love,

Lu

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Broken Beaches

The beach was broken.

There wasn’t much of a shore to explore

At least at first…

Further on the path

Around the bend

And through a mangrove forest

There was some sand for my toes.

And waves to rinse away

All the residue that has been clinging

To every step I take, weighing down

Thought, action and tainting feelings

I stood and laughed

Free

Cleansed the unvoiced anger

letting me breathe

for a time

unburdened.

July 018

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First Day of School

Today is the first day of school for my students.  The schedules are messed up, the bulletin boards are unfinished and no one not even the teachers knows that is about to happen. Hope your Monday goes well.

Mine is going to be interesting to say the least.

What was your most interesting first day?

 

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Book Review: Nation by Terry Pratchett

nationNation by Sir Terry Pratchett 

Available on Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats

As some of you may have heard, Sir Terry Pratchett has had to cancel an appearance at a UK  convention due to the embuggerance  catching up to him.  In 2007, Sir Pratchett was  diagnosed with an early form of Alzheimer. He made the announcement to his fan community on December 11th of that year.  In 2008, the Nation was released.  Over the course of his career, Sir Pratchett has published over 50 books, including his fantasy Discworld series.

Six years later, a helpful volunteer for the local library dropped off the paperback version at my school to spark the student’s interest. It was the end of the year by the time that noticed it sitting on a shelf. The  Nation‘s colorful cover drew me to it and I asked the teacher who had been gifted with the book if I could borrow it.  After all my years as a geek and book lover, I am a bit shy to admit that this is the first book of Sir Pratchett’s that I have read.  It did not disappoint in anyway.

The Nation tells the story of two young people who find themselves struggling to survive after a tsunami hits the South Pacific stranding them on the same island.  The bigger problem is that while Mau called the island home before the wave is that Daphane is a trouserman, an alien in his world.  As you might have guessed, they quickly form a bond that helps them transcend cultural and language differences.  It is then that the real action begins.  Throughout the novel, they will fight to protect the island and the people slowly begin to gather afterwards.

It is the novel’s approach to culture and how it explains both Daphane’s and Mau’s world, that really caught me. I knew that I could use this novel to teach culture and its intricacies in my classroom.  The potential for a love story would engage my classroom’s readers as well as its character’s logical approach to their world. The concepts of what it is to be adult and what defines community after  a disaster. Others have pointed out that this is a character driven story tackles themes of death and faith as well.   All of this is present in the novel and while that may should heavy, Sir Pratchetts’s narrative flows in a way that the reader absorbs the gravity of the situations faced by the characters, but is never overwhelmed by it.  It is as the Washington Post Book World said “A terrific thought provoking book.”

While this novel isn’t set his Discworld universe, it clearly demonstrates his gift for storytelling and why readers have been flocking to his books for years.

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