Definitely not a traditional home life. By any stretch of the imagination.

 

flowers

Someone might ask…just what is a traditional home life? What is traditional in Texas might be different from a traditional home life in California. What is traditional in Japan might be different from a traditional home life in Brazil. Differences are understandable and expected. Everyone can define a traditional home life in their own way.

However…I would hope that traditional in any part of the world would (or could) involve the basic levels of need for sustainable life. Abraham Maslow, a noted American psychologist, wrote “A Theory of Human Motivation” in 1943. His findings stated that the basic needs are arranged in a Hierarchy of Needs. A pyramid is often presented as the foundation for a person’s basic needs. Lower needs must be met before a person can reach the top level called self-actualization. When this level is completed, a person reaches their full potential, according to Maslow

Those lower needs on the pyramid include the very basic needs of water, food, sleep and shelter. When I was in graduate school for Educational Administration, the presentations on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs made a serious impression on me. To me, it represents the eventual motivation that is especially needed for a young child to successfully progress through school with a sense of joy in learning, pride in accomplishment and a feeling of creative thinking.

 

 

Maslow

 

 

In my own classroom, I have sadly seen the effects of the absence of these basic needs. When I was thinking of the word “traditional”…I thought immediately of the small child who was in my classroom more than ten years ago. I cannot help but think about currently young children who are in the same situation. Is there someone there to hear their voice? I only hope that someone at their school listens like a group of educators at my school listened. I wrote the following post in the second month of my blog…

 

 

 

Listen: A Small and Quiet Voice is Talking.

 

chairs

The child walked quietly into my elementary school classroom.

 

His eyes were cast downward. His smile was absent. His walk was slow and hesitant. His smile was absent. Other children walked in laughing and talking and skipping. Most everyone had something to say…”Good Morning, Good Morning”, “Want to hear something funny?”, “Hey teacher…look at my new backpack! I found it at a garage sale! Do you love it?”, “Today is pizza day in the cafeteria. Is it lunchtime yet?” and on and on.

 

Yes…most everyone had something to say and all of the children greeted me with a smile. All smiled except for one small, fragile boy. He sat down at his table and put his head down on his folded arms. He was asleep in less than 30 seconds. I tried to wake him up for circle time, for the main lesson of the day, for the teacher read-aloud. Clearly exhausted.

 

He evidently came to school to get some peace and quiet. I never consider my classroom to be particularly quiet and sometimes I don’t consider it particularly peaceful. I do know that my classroom is filled with love and care…love from me to the children, from the children to me…love and care is always my goal.

I rarely know right away about a child’s life away from school. I listen, learn and discern information in bits and pieces for a few weeks. I would eventually know what type of home life they bring to school. With this sad little boy, I knew that things were certainly not right. Something was missing. Please, please…help me find the missing part to the puzzle.

I asked the mother and step-father to come in for a meeting. I sent a note home in his daily folder. I called repeatedly. I left messages. The number was quickly disconnected. A relative picked him up in the afternoon. She would barely talk to me. She muttered a quick greeting with the same look of despair as the child.

 

Everyday, I spent extra time with the child while his classmates were busy with projects. Little by little, he started talking quietly to me.

He was hungry. He usually did not eat at night. The breakfast and lunch provided at our school were mostly his only means of sustenance. He did not have a bed. He slept on a couple of blankets on the floor. Sometimes a sibling would take the blankets away from him.

His mother had two jobs. I was glad that she was working, but worried about the care he was receiving or obviously not receiving. I doubted that she had time to talk with me. I began trying to get the step-father to talk with me. No luck. Collaboration? Not from these parents.

A few days after the child began talking to me, he said his leg hurt, his tummy hurt. The story came out in a blur of words. I immediately talked with all of the appropriate people at my elementary school and beyond my school. The counselor talked with the child. The sad truth was indeed the really sad truth. Things were very wrong at his house.

 

Action was taken very quickly by the appropriate agency. He was sent to foster care in another school district that very day. I hope he found love and support. I hope he found a warm and comfortable bed. I hope he found a good dinner waiting for him every evening.

I do not know what happened to him after his placement. I hope that he learned to smile. I hope that his mother learned that she needs to collaborate with the teacher and the school and anyone else who would help her. Fear keeps so many parents from seeking assistance. If only she really knew how much effort we put into finding a bit of a future for her child.

 

I certainly did not find a chance at a better life for him all by myself. It took a group of people working together. And it all started because a group of educators listened to his quiet voice. That is why I believe that it takes a truly committed village to raise a child.

YEARS AND YEARS HAVE PASSED. I STILL REMEMBER THAT SMALL VOICE.

 

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beyond the fog

Summer of 2017...the child who was in my class is now grown up. My prayer is that he made it…that he became the happy child that he deserved to be. I hope that his basic needs plus more were met.

 

LET US NOT FORGET TO LISTEN TO THE QUIET VOICES FROM THE CHILDREN. 

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/traditional/

 

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Two Voices. Blending Sounds.Two Guys In Lubbock Share Their Talent!

 Michael and Justin one

  mj six

Michael Henry and Justin Robinett were students at Texas Tech University in Lubbock Texas when they decided to record a YouTube video in 2009. It was just on a whim…just for fun. Justin had a set of amateur recording equipment that he had acquired back in high school. Michael was curious about how they could make a video. Why not try it out? Anyway… who in the world was really going to listen?

 

mj five

 

They both had a musical background in their growing up years and met when they were both on the Texas Tech drum line. Michael took piano lessons for a couple of years and played drums in his high school Jazz Ensemble. His singing ability was unknown to most everyone. Justin started taking piano lessons at ten years old and later began playing drums and playing guitar. He attended Texas Tech as a Music Performance Major. They had no idea of the fan support that they would receive from those first and subsequent YouTube videos.

 

 

And…another YouTube career was soon launched. Just by accident. Just for fun. They did not even think about the real people who would watch their video. And people watched…and people listened. People loved the blending harmony of their unique voices.

 

Michael and Justin have over 385,000 subscribers and over 74 million views on their videos. I first heard about them when a friend sent me a video of Michael and Justin singing “Hallelujah”. It turned out to be one of the best renditions that I have ever heard.

 

 

 

Their covers of well known hits are astounding. I have heard that they are currently on separate career paths…Michael now has a law degree from Texas Tech and Justin has several degrees from South Plains College in Sound Technology and Audio Engineering. I am simply hoping that they keep sharing their musical talent…

Michael and Justin’s harmony is truly a wondrous sound! 

 

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/harmonize/

 

 

When The Crepe Myrtle Trees Wake Up In Texas…And The Beauty Begins!

 

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A group of Crepe Myrtle blooms at our East Texas farm!

Summer is the ideal time for Crepe Myrtle trees in Texas. They evidently need their winter sleep to deal with the hot weather. I have never even thought about Crepe Myrtle trees being dormant during the colder weather. No wonder that the grade I earned in my college botany class was far less than outstanding…I must not have paid attention to a word that was said. Too many other things were on my mind. I was far more interested in being on the college newspaper staff and taking pictures with an actual news camera. Learning to develop the film and then enlarge the pictures was a thrill!

 

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A Crepe Myrtle growing near the tractor trail to one of our barns.

The scientific study of plants was certainly not a thrill for someone who was still a teenager! No doubt…I would absolutely love that class now! We have so many Crepe Myrtles scattered throughout our farm. Some of these pretty flowering trees are hidden away in deeply wooded areas…to be discovered by sheer accident!

 

More Texas Crepe Myrtle trees at our farm!

A flowering tree discovered by a sheer and beautiful accident. A Crepe Myrtle quietly slipped into the woods to grow beside tall pine trees and delicate wildflowers. Such a sight to behold! And this feat of nature has happened over and over again!

 

 

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…and look for hidden flowering trees in the quiet of the afternoon!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dormant/

 

 

Why Choose Love?

 

Shakespeare one

Indecision…the long way to success or the easy way?

 

Indecision…to laugh at knowledge or attain knowledge?

 

Indecision…scorn the poor or reach out a strong hand?

 

Indecision…give up your hopes or follow your dream?

 

Indecision…use sarcasm to communicate or kindness?

 

Indecision…invite disastrous results or find peace?

 

 

Waiting to make the best decision is very slow. Fear…slower. Lost in sorrow…time is so long. Choose to celebrate…time is so fast and fleeting…yet full of joy. 

 

However…look for true love and your time becomes a matter of eternity.

 

 

choose love one

 

 

1 Corinthians 13:13…

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/disastrous/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving The Earth…One Step At a Time.

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Earthaven Ecovillage is an educational center and community living project located in a mountain setting near Asheville, North Carolina. Their basic belief is to take care of the earth through sustainable efforts to the make the world a more healthy, knowledge-driven and livable environment. These are my own words to describe a place where our son spent part of a summer learning more about the structure of sustainable living.

 

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Our son was involved in using the integral ideas of sustainable living and a program called Permaculture and had taken a variety of courses for certification. A system of agricultural principles as well as landscaping design principles utilizing the features of natural ecosystems, Permaculture and sustainable living were at the core of our son’s plan for his life. Earthaven was a natural educational extension for him and we are so thankful that he had the opportunity to take part in such a program.

The vision statement of Earthaven Ecovillage states…”We are dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning, living and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture.”

 

Sustaining the earth for our children, grandchildren and beyond…a vision that we all might want and need to consider. Earthaven has an interesting newsletter that you subscribe to at their website (earthaven.org). Their educational facility is named SOIL, School of Integrated Living. SOIL offers classes and workshops throughout the year. Think about another statement written by Earthaven…

 

“We envision a world where self-reliant, interdependent and ecologically aware people engage consciously in their land and global communities. These committed individuals will make informed and responsible choices for their basic needs, understand their impact on the world, forge real connections with themselves and others and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable world for all.”

 

We don’t all have the time to attend classes at a place like Earthaven or even have the desire to take classes. So…what can we do on our own to help make the world a better and more healthy place? In thinking what we can do to sustain the earth in our own individual lives, we might first consider the task of…

 

~~~Composting~~~

 

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Composting is a first step in making a contribution to sustaining  our planet. According to the television show, “This Old House”, the following are the steps to beginning to compost organic materials at home…

 

1. Sort organics to throw in the compost bin such as fruit, vegetables, coffee grounds and egg shells for carbon and dry leaves, newspaper, or cardboard for nitrogen. Do not use meat, dairy, oils or bones in compost.

2. To build your own composter, use a 32-gallon trash barrel and drill several 5/16-inch holes on the cover of the garbage can and up and down the sides for aeration. Use a cordless drill.

3. Add organic matter to the compost bin. It should be a 3:1 ration of carbon items to nitrogen.

4. Finished compost should be ready for use in several months.

 

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A video from “This Old House” that further explains composting…

 

 

 

 

soil 2

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/soil/

One Teacher. 22 Children. There’s Always One You Wonder About…Years Later.

 

When I first started teaching public school, I had no idea what I was getting into. I did not know how sweet the children could be. I did not know how difficult the children sometimes could be. I did not know about the huge amounts of paperwork. I did not know about the long hours of preparation. I did not know that a teacher could become so overwhelmed by preparation…that the teacher could easily forget to understand each child…   to give each child the individual attention they needed. I did not know how to savor each moment spent with a child…how to make the best of each moment.

 

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That first year…almost 20 years ago…I learned so much about me, about the children, about their needs…I learned so much that the professors never mentioned in my education classes…

 

Such as…how poverty can cause a child to be fearful and withdrawn.

Such as…the fact that hunger is real and it exists where you least expect it.

Such as…the school might be the very best and cleanest and prettiest place that they have ever been.

Such as…just how much the teacher can impact a class by simply cherishing their very presence.

Such as…that their family might be in the survival mode instead of the loving their child mode.

 

classroom one

 

Cherish? Survive? Love? Teach? Protect? So many roles all at the same time. So many children. How in the world could I do it? Maybe I was not meant to teach…

 

AND THEN I MET JOHNNY!

Johnny was in my class for two different grade levels. The classes just turned out that way. It was a very large elementary school…well over 1,000 students. Some grade levels had seven or eight classrooms. It was just a lucky coincidence that I had Johnny for a second year. I was thrilled!

 

class three

However, Johnny’s family life had changed in the two years since I had him in a lower grade level. His mother couldn’t come to the school very much. I never heard anything from the father. Johnny came to school hungry. If he arrived at school a little late and missed breakfast…he would cry. I would get someone to go to the cafeteria to find something for him. I started keeping snacks in my desk for just such an occasion.

 

class two

Johnny did not have all of the supplies that he needed. This never happened when he was in my class before. Clearly, something was going on at the house. The parents would not show up for conferences. Johnny would not talk about what was wrong.

I concluded that the parents perhaps had lost their jobs. Or perhaps that one parent had lost a job. There were multiple children in one small house. Too many mouths to feed…too much worry to give much love to this boy… this boy who needed so much attention.

 

I looked for a way to reach Johnny. I knew that he was an excellent artist even as a younger child. I found him a drawing pad and special pencils. Johnny was instantly a brand new child. A happy child…at least…at school. The whole class was in awe of his obvious talent.

Johnny had a good year. Things seemed to get a bit better at his house. He started making it to school in time for breakfast. He started doing his homework. He started answering questions about stories from the basal reader. He started checking out library books and writing book reports. He started to be a strong leader. He started to grow up and to know that someone indeed did care…in fact, a lot of people cared besides just me. The music teacher, the P.E. teacher, the art teacher, the janitors, the principal…everyone cared about Johnny.

 

Actually, everyone cared about everyone at that particular school. And that is how one little boy learned about confidence and courage and friendship.

 

And one new teacher learned about the power of listening to a child, about the power of observing a child, about the power of caring about a child. And one teacher learned that she could do the same for all of the children in the class.

 

And it all started because of a drawing pad and a set of special pencils.

 

class six

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/savor/

The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee. Don’t Forget the Biscuits!!

 Loveless Cafe

The Loveless Cafe in Nashville, Tennessee is definitely one of the best home cooking restaurants around and I am certainly not the only person who feels that way. Ask the hundreds and hundreds of customers each day. The Loveless Cafe is also a good place where you might  see some celebrities, but the food is really the main attraction.

Located just about 22 miles from downtown Nashville, The Loveless Cafe serves down home, old fashioned from scratch southern cooking…country hams, fried chicken, red-eye gravy, homemade preserves, sweet corn…you name a southern dish and you will probably find it on the menu.

The cafe opened in 1951 in the same location where it is today. The interior of the original owner’s family home was turned into a dining room and kitchen. The menu has remained virtually the same with the most popular item being the homemade biscuits. The secret recipe for the biscuits has been passed down through the years.

The Loveless Cafe has a personality of its own… a friendly staff, no “big city” prices and as many of the hot biscuits as you want. And…if you are still hungry, there is always a slice of homemade pie!

 

Biscuits

Daily Specials*

  • Monday's Special - Chicken-Fried Chicken n' Gravy

    Monday… Chicken-Fried Chicken n’ Gravy

  • Tuesday's Special - BBQ Chicken

    Tuesday… BBQ Chicken

  • Wednesday's Special - Chicken n' Dumplings

    Wednesday… Chicken n’ Dumplings

  • Thursday's Special - Watermelon Ribs

    Thursday…Watermelon Ribs

  • Friday's Special - Hot Chicken

    Friday…Hot Chicken

  • Saturday's Special - Honey-Fired BBQ Chicken

    Saturday…Honey-Fired BBQ Chicken

  • Sunday's Special - Smoked Beef Brisket

    Sunday…Smoked Beef Brisket

*Subject to Change

Daily specials often sell out before the day is over so make sure you get here early!

 

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A Recipe from The Loveless Cafe…

Pepper Steak

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 green peppers, cut into strips

1/2 cup (one stick) butter

2 pounds round steak, cut into 8 pieces

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 can (16-ounce) chopped tomatoes

1 beef bouillon cube, crushed

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup water

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Directions:

Saute the onion and green peppers in the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes or until the vegetables are tender; drain. Remove the vegetables to a bowl. Arrange the meat in the pan drippings in the skillet. Sprinkle with garlic powder. Cook until the meat is brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Combine the tomatoes and crushed bouillon and pour over the meat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Whisk together the cornstarch, water, soy sauce, sugar, and salt and add to the tomato mixture. Cook until the tomato mixture is thickened and the meat is tender. Stir in the onion and green peppers and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes.

***Makes 8 servings

 

ENJOY!!!

 

The Loveless Cafe is located at:

8400 Highway 100-22 miles from Nashville, Tennessee

Hours of Operation:

Open daily from 7:00 am-9:00 pm