Lake Cherokee…THE LAKE.

Lake Cherokee

Lake Cherokee is not a big lake in Texas. Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma border is much, much bigger. Lots more water. Visiting some of the marinas on Texoma is like going to a major boat show in Dallas. The boats are big and the prices are big. Lake Cherokee has nice boats and fast boats…just not so many big boats. At least, I don’t think so. When I was growing up, I thought that the boats on Cherokee were the best boats that existed. I doubt that I had been to very many other lakes. Why would I want to go anywhere else? We could get to Lake Cherokee in about 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Lake Cherokee is just south of my hometown. Paradise! I learned to waterski at THE LAKE. When I was growing up, an invitation to The Lake was like receiving a summons to have dinner with Queen Elizabeth. My parents didn’t have a lake lot, but plenty of our friends had one. My mom never learned to swim and a lake lot was the last thing that she wanted to buy. She would go to parties at The Lake, but there was no way that she was going to step foot in the water or even on a pier. My dad was the exact opposite. He would have bought a boat and a lake lot and actually lived at THE LAKE. Absolutely no discussions about that…no matter how much my brother and I begged. So we depended on friends for THE LAKE.

 

For years, we went to THE LAKE every Fourth of July for a party with some of our neighbors.

We would swim, ski, make homemade ice cream, have a cookout, ride in boats going way too fast, and watch the fireworks. Our parents, teenagers, little children…all at the same party. Of course, other parties on other days were not so tame as we moved on to high school and college. You know…kids being kids.

 

 

THE LAKE had a small island in the middle. I don’t know why, but I always thought that the island was mysterious. I had a wild imagination and thought a very weird and reclusive millionaire lived on the island. The island was the only place that I considered not fun on THE LAKE. I never shared my thoughts about the island with anyone. I guess that every other person thought the island was cool.

 

Despite the reclusive, not real millionaire, THE LAKE was the place to make friends, have fun, and learn a little bit about independence. The day that my parents actually let me drive with my friends to THE LAKE…without any parents…was one of the most important days that I had ever experienced. There was just something pulling us to THE LAKE. We were too young to realize that being near water can be one of the most calming, yet thrilling life moments.

 

The sound of the water as it hits the shoreline when a boat pulls away from the dock is so soothing, as is the wind coming off of the water in late spring. Even today, I drive out to one of the nearby lakes…when I am happy, when I am sad, when I just want to see the colors of the water. As a grown-up person, I now know the dangers that lurk in the water…snakes, pollution, alligators, out of control boats, people drinking while driving a boat. I was so innocent back then. I never saw anything really dangerous at THE LAKE. My memories at Lake Cherokee are the best. I still would like to have a lake lot at THE LAKE. Putting trepidation aside, I could really have a fun time at Lake Cherokee. Even today. Especially today!

 

 

Picture of Lake Cherokee

 

Fence Making 101.

Farm-Fence-Pictures-2

 

I do not know how to fix fences. I can’t fix the fence around our backyard if it were to fall down.  I certainly can’t fix any of the (way too many) fences at our farm. I have been going to my husband’s family farm since before we were married. Normal people would have learned how to at least help mend a fence in a time period of over 40 years. I do not even touch the fences. I can sometimes do a good job of opening gates.

Before opening a gate, I ask and make certain that I have the right key or combination for the lock. I am very leery of anything that has to do with a fence. When we had been married about five years or so, my mother-in-law asked me to go to the nearest “big” town to buy some items important for fence making. My husband was going to need it that afternoon when he started mending fences. We were just visiting for the weekend, so I needed to hurry and get the items.

She told me to get several boxes of steeples. I had no idea what they were or what they did. I teach the children in my classes at school to ask questions…to make sure that they have all of the instructions. I wasn’t a teacher then and only a newspaper person. Evidently, some newspaper people just make up their own minds, believe everything that they are told, and find out the real answers later. I was just twenty something. I didn’t know.

Thinking that I knew pretty much everything, I walked into the farm supply store and asked for four boxes of steeples. All of the men (no women working in farm stores at that time) stared at me and laughed. “We don’t have steeples! Go over to First Baptist. They will get you a steeple!” I gave the smarty pants guy one of those looks like I later used on my future students. He just stared back and told me once and for all that they did NOT have anything called steeples.

I proceeded to tell him what I needed them for and just how quickly I needed them and reminded him how many I needed. How dare him cause me silly trouble like this. “Oh…I see…you have the wrong word. You need some STAPLES!” I was most unhappy with my mother-in-law. I bought the crazy staples and ran out the door.

Just embarrassed. I dislike mistakes. When I got back to the farm, I asked what I was supposed to buy. They all said “STEEPLES”. I asked my husband’s aunts, uncles, cousins and they all said “STEEPLES”. Local talking, I guess. Colloquialism…sort of like a local dialect. That is when I started asking “Are you sure that is the right word?”…I should have known better. My mother was from Tennessee and had all sorts of different ways to say things…like “half past kissing time and time to kiss again”…she meant it was dinnertime. Nevertheless, my fence making days ended before they started. I can make pecan pie instead. And that is pecan with the letter “a” pronounced “ah”! Texas talk!

Texas

 

Awesome Quote Challenge

Kindergarten teacher reading to children in library

An Interesting Quote:

One looks back with appreciation

to the brilliant teachers,

but with gratitude to those

who touched our human feelings.

The curriculum is so much necessary

raw material, but warmth is the vital

element for the growing plant

and for the soul of the child.

By…Carl Jung

**********

Thank you so much to the

THE LOOKING GLASS

for nominating me for this

fun and interesting quote challenge.

Today is Day #3 for me doing this challenge.

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HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:

1. For three consecutive days, you have to post a quote.

2. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.

3. Each day you have to nominate three different bloggers.

4. Let the blogger know that you have nominated them.

**********

TODAY I NOMINATE THE

FOLLOWING BLOGGERS:

1. Brittany Anna

2. carolandsite

3. Ngobesing Romanus

**********

 

 

#3 Super Engaging Book!

corduroy

 

How long has it been since you have read the children’s book titled Corduroy by Don Freeman? Whenever it was…try reading  it again. Maybe you could just go over to Barnes & Noble and sit in one of those comfortable chairs…with a copy of Corduroy held snugly in your hands. The meaning of the book holds entirely different content than when you heard it read aloud as a child.

The bear named Corduroy is just not with the program at all. He is a mess. If he had a house of his own, he might be one of those hoarders that we see on 20/20 or some other in-depth news show. His first problem is that he is missing a very important button on his overalls. The strap is just about to hang backwards. Besides, the overalls are green and just not trendy like the clothes that the other bears wear.

I doubt that the other stuffed bears wanted to have anything to do with Corduroy. Remember how it was on the first day of middle school when you didn’t have a special group to sit with for lunch? That is how I think of Corduroy. He just sits there by himself…waiting sadly for someone to come along to love him. He doesn’t seem to have any energy to face the world and fend for himself. I’ve felt that way before. I had no idea that Corduroy and I had so much in common. Perhaps, I got my act together  quicker than the bear. He has been sitting and waiting on a store shelf for so long. It is bound to be dusty. Allergies, you know.

Despite his possible ailments, a small girl sees him and wants him for her very own. There is usually someone who easily says “NO!” and the girl’s mother is the one who says it now. Corduroy is heartbroken as he watches the little girl leave the toy area of the store. He gathers his courage together and starts on a journey to find another button for his overalls. All in the name of possible love.

The possibilities are endless as the bear searches all over the store where he lives. He is brave. He is relentless. He presses on and on. There must be a lesson here! Good things do happen to those who put out lots of effort… even to those who have lost a button or somehow lost their way in life.

The little girl comes back the next day to get the bear. She does not care if he has a button missing or not. She likes him just the way he is. The little girl’s mother must have had a second thought or two about how much the child wanted the bear. Perhaps, the mother had an epiphany. She had the realization that a totally perfect bear was not necessary at all. Just like a perfect person is not necessary at all. You might wait your whole life for perfection.

Read this book for yourself and determine what life lessons you might discern. And definitely read it to your child. They will love the book now for the very sweet simplicity of the story. They will love it tomorrow for the complexity of the story.

 

 #3 Super Engaging Book:

CORDUROY

By Don Freeman

 

Awesome Quote Challenge

kindergartenknowledge.com

frank lloyd wright house

   House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

An Interesting Quote:

“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.”            

By…Frank Lloyd Wright

 

Thank you so much to 

THE LOOKING GLASS

for nominating me for this fun and interesting quote challenge! Today is Day #2 for me doing this challenge.

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:

1. For three consecutive days, you have to post a quote.
2. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
3. Each day you have to nominate three different bloggers.
4. Let the bloggers know you have nominated them.

TODAY I NOMINATE THE

FOLLOWING BLOGGERS:

1. Olive Ole

2. Too Full to Write

3. Natalieslovelyblog

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In Awe of Smoky Mountain Magic

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Early one October morning, I was looking out from our rented vacation cabin near Gatlinburg, TN. The cool Smoky Mountain air brushed past me like soft feathers and the sleepy sun was barely above the horizon. The mountains were covered in a haze of multi-faceted shades of gray. I wondered how long the fog would last. In the Smoky Mountains, fog is mostly an ever present friend. Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded by clouds.

When I am in Gatlinburg, I feel at home…just like I feel at home in many mountain towns in Colorado. Evidently, I was supposed to live in the mountains. I have truly made this statement many times. The majesty and beauty and mystery of the mountains fill me with awe and wonderment. I visited Gatlinburg many times when I was growing up and I still visit every chance that I get. Several years ago, we went to Atlanta for a wedding and were totally compelled to drive to Gatlinburg for a few extra days. The drive from Atlanta to the Smoky Mountains was more beautiful every mile. And interesting too…antique stores in every small town.

We drove through Cherokee, NC…a very pretty town that is close to the eastern entrance to the Smoky Mountains National Park. Many years ago, I had a friend who originally was from Cherokee. As we drove through the town, I wondered why someone would ever leave such a beautiful area. I suppose that the lure of the University of North Carolina and an excellent education were too enticing. It is often later in life that people realize the reality of their heritage and hometown. If I was from a town near the Smoky Mountains, I wonder if I would leave. I doubt it.

I had never entered the Smoky Mountains from the eastern side. The road was very winding and narrow in some places. The forests were very thick. I was reminded that before the Smoky Mountain National Park was opened, there was controversy from small land owners and timber companies. The small land owners did not want to give up their land. I imagine that the timber companies did not want to give up their future profits. Now that we have a family farm, I realize what it would be like to be asked to give up your land for a national park…no matter how much money might have been offered. We were told that a pipeline was going to be constructed through a portion of our land several years ago. We were not happy, but there honestly was no recourse. We did receive some monetary compensation, but nothing would compensate for a pipeline placed in the part of our land with the prettiest view. I have thought many times of those original land owners where the Smoky Mountains National Park is now located. How did they feel?

I am in awe of the Smoky Mountains and I am sure that they were in awe of the Smoky Mountains. Their home in the mountains taken away…sad. Yet, the joy I feel when I am there is deep. The Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the country. When you enter the park from Gatlinburg, you can drive on a loop that goes through a valley called Cades Cove. We once saw a mother bear with three small cubs following her. You might see a white-tailed deer, a coyote or two, wild turkey plus the illusive bears. The most interesting part of Cades Cove are the original log cabins. Restored to reflect the lives of homeowners from the 1800 era, I think of the cabins as a gift…a way to honor those who gave so much to future generations.

Nearby Gatlinburg does not really offer much homage to original inhabitants. Gatlinburg is more tourist oriented and that is fine with me. I like the shops, the activities, the crafts, the home-cooking restaurants, the people. But mostly…I like the view of the mountains, the hazy air, the tall trees, and the remembrance of those who lived in the Smoky Mountains so very long ago. My mother grew up in Nashville, my grandparents lived there, and I still have many relatives in Tennessee. I like to think that some of my relatives once lived in the Smoky Mountains. Actually, they probably did. And to those original residents…I say thank you for giving your land for us to enjoy. I am in awe of your generosity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heartless. Enough.

kindergartenknowledge.com

Struggle: Daily Prompt from last week when pingbacks were not working correctly… and not at all working for me. My story is finally posted with the other Daily Prompts!

 colorful-1191019_1280

I would rather smile. Sometimes I struggle to find one. But I do. I would rather laugh. Sometimes I struggle to make my laugh sound real. But I do. I would rather see the bright blue sun-filled sky. Sometimes I struggle to appreciate this gift. But I do. Sometimes I struggle to feel the much needed renewal of the rain. But I do.

The fact is that I like the rain, I like sunny days, I like to laugh, I like to smile as much as possible. So why do I sometimes struggle? I would say that it is because I am just a regular person. I am not a comic book super hero. And I doubt you are either and…

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Awesome Quote Challenge

frank lloyd wright house

   House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

An Interesting Quote:

 

“No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the other.”            

By…Frank Lloyd Wright

 

 

Thank you so much to 

THE LOOKING GLASS

for nominating me for this fun and interesting quote challenge! Today is Day #2 for me doing this challenge.

 

HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:

1. For three consecutive days, you have to post a quote.
2. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you.
3. Each day you have to nominate three different bloggers.
4. Let the bloggers know you have nominated them.

 

TODAY I NOMINATE THE

FOLLOWING BLOGGERS:

 

1. Olive Ole

2. Too Full to Write

3. Natalieslovelyblog

#2 Super Engaging Book

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree

I can’t figure out the concept of starting to teach the alphabet with any other letter besides “Aa”. Oh…I have read different theories like “TEACH THE VOWELS FIRST”! Oh…don’t do that! However we do start the vowel march around the room during the first week of school! “WHAT YOU NEED TO DO IS TO TEACH EACH CHILD HOW TO WRITE THEIR NAME!” That way… every child is learning the first letter of their name. Therefore, most of the children are learning a different letter. CHAOS!!! Might as well bring in the clowns.

Let’s just start with “Aa” and head through the alphabet. Of course, I bring in other letters constantly as new subjects are being introduced. We talk about new letters for the months of the year and the days of the week…and on and on. Early Childhood curriculum should be integrated, not separated. Blend the information together so that new items compliment old items. Well…it makes sense to me!

 If you are one of my children, you will start with the letter “Aa” and be ready to learn all about APPLES. If you are familiar with FROG STREET (a wonderful Early Childhood curriculum)…you most likely know this song:

“Apple Annie, Apple Annie…How are you today? Tell me all the things you know that start with letter A. Alligators, astronauts, apple trees that sway…these are all my favorite things that start with Letter A!” (sung to the tune of  Jingle Bells).

There are 25 more songs after “Apple Annie”…like “Benjamin Bunny”, “Elmo the Elephant”, “Henrietta Hippo”. We learn the songs, read the small books/big books of the songs, read the words to the songs on the Smart Board, make our own books, and make a paper bag puppet for each letter (a new addition this past year). They love the songs and they actually love the entire process. It is true that children feel comfortable with predictability and repetition. This just might be something that is missing elsewhere in their lives.

Our puppets for the 2015-16 school year…I made one for the wall and the children made one to take home:

Alphabet

Back to “Apple Annie” and the first letter of the alphabet. This is the perfect place to read…

#2 Super Engaging Book:

The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree

by Gail Gibbons

This is the story of a beautiful apple tree as it transitions through all four seasons. For children in Texas, the four seasons are not particularly distinct in some years…more like hot, cool, a few days of cold, cool again, a short warm time and back to hot. The leaves fall, but the colors are not as stunning as in other parts of the country. And the snow is rather non-existent in most parts of the state. A snow day is a very BIG DEAL!

Arnold’s Apple Tree is changing in amazing ways all through the book. At one point, Arnold can climb up the tree and see far off into the distance. Before you read the book to your class, take a picture walk through the story. Make predictions about what you and the children think will happen next to the tree. Talk about the vivid fall colors and the stark white of the snow on the tree in winter.

I’ve been reading this book for years and it never gets old. Like the apple tree that lives near Arnold, the book comes back each year…to be loved by another group of children!

-+

 

 

 

 

#1 Super Engaging Book.

 I AM THE PEACH cover

A wonderful parent that I know mentioned the other day that her son had stayed by himself at an activity for the first time. Of course, there was constant supervision and friends would be there. However, his mom was not staying. Everything that he was involved in prior to this experience involved his parents. His parents right there…parents right there that very minute. Not this time…the time was right for a bit of separation. A fun birthday party was the ideal opportunity to let the child do a little growing up.

Growing up is tough when you really want mom and dad to stick around. When I first went away to college, I felt the same way…I sort of wanted my parents to stay a little longer. I guess that it took me a bit longer to be really independent. Our own daughter easily and happily waved good-bye after we moved everything into her dorm. She walked back in with her new friends…all talking at the same time. Every phone call was filled with excitement!

Our own son waved good-bye from his dorm room as we pulled out of the parking lot. When we came back a few weeks later for a visit, he knew everything there was to know about Austin. Every place to hike, to climb rocks, to canoe…he was so excited. I’ll never forget the words that he wrote in an email…”Thanks Mom and Dad for sending me to college!”…makes me have a few tears even today. Yes, it is wonderful to have a grown-up child.

It takes some help to get them to a more grown-up state of mind…either as a parent or as a teacher in the classroom. Children in elementary school (and perhaps beyond) can more easily grasp the meaning of growing up through books. Teacher read-to time is so very important for grasping any new knowledge. I intend to write about some excellent books during the next few weeks. When I was a brand new teacher, I would have loved for someone to tell me about some special books. Actually, I probably needed someone to say…”What? You haven’t read a book to the children today? What are you thinking?”…now I know that meaningful and real instruction should be based on an engaging book.

#1 Super Engaging Children’s Book:

I AM THE PEACH  by Louisa de Noriega

In this book, a peach takes on a life of it’s own as a peach blossom becomes a real peach. By the end of the book, the peach blossom has become a big, strong tree. The birds come to the tree’s branches and sing to the peach blossoms. The illustrations are simple, yet powerful. Better yet, they are understandable to a child. The important part to me was that I could draw a few of the most important pictures on my white board easel. If I can draw these pictures, I am certain that you REALLY can draw them! Drawing pictures from a book and adding a few words to describe the illustration can encourage a child to make their own take-home book! Another something that I certainly didn’t realize when my teaching career began.

Before we made our “Peach” take-home books this year, we discussed our favorite pages from the I AM THE PEACH. The majority of the students in my class were from  a Hispanic heritage. In the book, our “main character” peach is sold with all the other peaches at a market full of fruit and vegetable stands. The illustration is very colorful showing a market area with canopies over the displays. When I read this page, my class ALL called out…”THE MERCADO!” They saw a place that is important in their own lives! My favorite sentence in the book comes on the next page…”A boy came to my stand and from among all the peaches, he chose me!”…a real confidence builder!

I AM THE PEACH…#1 Super Engaging Book!

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