This story has a picture

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Tell me a story is what I say instead of “Hi, how are you?” My friend finally understood what I mean and how important story telling is when he attended the Toastmaster International 2017 held in Vancouver last week. Toastmaster is … Continue reading

A Certain Smile

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Joshua Edward Siglos

Joshua Edward Spackman Siglos

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there

Last night, my family and I were looking at Josh’s photo and I said, he has that certain smile. A Mona Lisa’s smile.

Is his smile happy or sad? I would like to think that his smile is unequivocally happy. It’s not rocket science. Being surrounded by his family loving him to bits and unconditionally, of course, he is happy.

Even his eyes, the eyes will follow us no matter where we are in the room. A gaze that will make you wonder, what is he thinking? Again, happy or crappy thoughts? His thought is brilliant, a gifted mind.

We wish he is here with us to ask him: Hey Josh, what do you think of your photo? What is the meaning of your smile?

The answer will remain a mystery, more mysterious than Mona Lisa.

Josh Siglos died at a young age of 31 on April 28, 2017.

Death of a Million Cuts

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It’s Holy Saturday and I am meditating on The Way of the Cross as I see it focus on education in picture form. Suffer the little children, the parents, special needs, new immigrants, teachers, front line works, aboriginals, and much … Continue reading

The Gift of Prayer

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We have just finished our third night of prayer for our dearly beloved, Lorena when her sister’s mother-in-law followed Lorena’s footsteps. Now, we have to remember the mother-in-law in our prayers as well. Tonight will be the sixth evening that is extra … Continue reading

Respectful Woman – a Superhero

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  I suppose for a child, adult seems to be larger than life and that’s how my nephew, Carlos, drew his mom. Tall, colorful clothing with beautiful red smiling lips. As for the arms, I don’t know why they turned … Continue reading

What adults don’t know

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As a first-year teacher, I worried about how much I didn’t know about my students. I explained to them that I wanted to get to know them better. I wrote, “I wish my teacher knew . . .” on the board and asked them to complete the sentence.

Each student’s response was unique. They responded with honesty, humor, and vulnerability. Sometimes their notes talked about their favorite sport. Sometimes students complained about conflict with siblings or friends. They wrote about their home life and the people who meant most to them. Sometimes they articulated their hopes for the future and sometimes they explained obstacles they were facing. After completing this lesson, I was amazed at how well it helped me connect with my students. Their notes became a tangible reminder for me to truly listen to the voices of students in my classroom.

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Imagine a world in which every child’s potential is valued; where every child receives the excellent education they deserve. What would our government look like? What would our neighborhoods look like? What would our schools look like? What would our classrooms look like? What would school be  like if we asked students to tell us what we adults don’t know?

Source: Excerpt from I wish my teacher knew by Kyle Schwartz

Let the children play

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Children nowadays play with technology. It’s quiet this way. Only the adults are noisy from telling stories, asking too many questions, laughing and plenty of dark jokes targeted at you.  One has to have broad shoulders to deflect shady puns … Continue reading

Faithful to Our History

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Home of the locals in Havana, Cuba, is rife with history. It’s written on the walls, it’s written on their faces, it’s written on the wind. Fieles a nuestra HISTORIA: Faithful to our history. Let it be written, let it … Continue reading

One Step Behind – This is my story

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How nice the view from up there must have been. It’s difficult to imagine when you’re always looking down. Don’t regret it when you finally see the upside of REALITY because there’s this crazy notion that regrets pile up to … Continue reading

Skip the cherry.

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My niece is a professional baker. She found a prodigy, little Jimmie, to take over her profession. Got to start them young, you know. Cupcake is Jimmie’s all time favorite with icing and M&M’s on top. Jimmie’s main instruction was … Continue reading

Word of the day

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The word for the day is ideate in Miriam-Webster dictionary. Looking at the word, breaking it down to syllables and think about it to form what it means in my head first is the game I play without jumping into the meaning. I … Continue reading

Participatory Democracy

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Participation is admirable. They came prepared. Armed with nachos, cheeses, chips and juices to fuel their hunger for a long night of participation of asking questions, voice their concerns and listen to other speak about the future of their education. … Continue reading

It made my teeth hurt, so I wrote.

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Talking is part of communication. I must have talked so much for the month of April that it made my teeth hurt. April 1 is a fool’s paradise. April 1 is the time when we play practical jokes. April 1 … Continue reading

At the end of the day, victory prevails.

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Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman: these are just a few superheroes the children want to be when they grow up. As adults, we show them they are the symbol of victory, the one who will save us, to serve and protect … Continue reading

Psychologically speaking, age is a game.

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Ask kids how old they are and they will tell you the truth. They are honest about their age. Using their tiny fingers; they will show you the exact number. When kids learn philosophy, age is about “almost” three or … Continue reading

Lost and Found: Restoring the faith of humanity

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I lost my nephew’s teddy bear and he was inconsolable.  Until now he remembers the episode and still makes me feel guilty about it.  There is no such thing as forgiveness when I scared him for life. This is just … Continue reading

With Open Arms

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A simple invitation I sent out to different organizations offering my services as a volunteer. To my surprise, Aids Baby Centre (ABC) accepted my invitation. On May 8, I arrived at Chiangmai from Vancouver, BC, Canada. I received a warm … Continue reading

News worth watching

Every night, I watch the evening news at 6 pm. News are not necessarily entertaining, however, last night was an exception.

The news anchor of Global News BC, Chris Gailus shared Kristi Gordon, Head Meteorologists, video of her son singing “Oh Christmas Tree.”

Watch how Jordan Klawer won the hearts of the viewers and “stole” the show. Listen to every words and notice the hand gestures; this young man is just fabulous. It wasn’t that long ago when he was just a baby.

It would be interesting to see how many views this video will get. In an hour, at 8 pm, there’s already 2,000 hits.

Just priceless.

Twinkle Toes

twinkle toes

Little Jimmy came running up to me with a big hug, kisses and excitedly said:

“Look Miss Pretty, twinkle toes!”

He was so proud showing off his dinosaurs slippers.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Twinkle.”

The fun side of being a minimalist

Think like a child. Chasing bubbles is more fun that having all the toys in the world.
minimalist bubble

Think like a dog. A red ball is his priceless possession. Don’t even take that ball away from him if you know what’s good for you. Hands off!
minimalist ball

Share your love of reading with your neighbourhood. Have an outdoor library. Recycle your books.This will give you more space at home. You’ll get to know the people in your area. It’s more enjoyable to know them and chin wag not just about books. You’ll never know this might be the beginning of a lasting friendship.
minimalist library

These are some basics steps of being a minimalist.

Special Needs

special needs (3)
We all have needs and children require more needs than adults.  Children are all special.

Looking at this photo not knowing who drew it, I would say it’s very well done, much better drawn in comparison to me. Having very little creative brain, I can learn from the artist, drawn by a  child, a special need child I heard. Who would know?

As far I am concern, this is a child with special talent.  Definitely a child’s drawing with special needs; education.

After Labour Day is first day back to school, unfortunately it’s not going to happen due to ongoing dispute between BCTF and government. I can only hope that the children will receive all the need they can while school is out of session.

Dad nominated for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: He MUST do it.

I’m here today to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as nominated by Marky, Matthew, Jordan and Sean.

Marky

Marky

Dad: I’ve been nominated so many times, so I must do the Ice Bucket Water Challenge. So without further ado:

You Must Do It

You Must Do It

I hereby nominate:

My brother: YOU Must do it.

My brother-in-law: YOU MUST do it.

My sister: YOU MUST DO IT!

And that’s all. Thank you for coming to my Ice Bucket Challenge.

Mom: Is the bucket ready?

Kids: Daddy, be careful.

Mom: Jordan, don’t dump it, do it very s-l-o-w-l-y.

Dad: No: do it quickly.

GO…. woo hoooo….

Slow torture

Slow torture

Kids: laughter in the background

Mom: How was it.

Dad: Brrrrrrr..…. Argh, COLD !

AND: This is how it all started. Mom and Markus: You MUST watch this!  http://wp.me/a2QcZD-45a

 

I am happy and I always will be.

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   Totem Pole Mother is the Beaver because she is hardworking, looking after the children, cooking, cleaning and everything else. Little sister is the loon because she goes up to her room and reads all by herself. Sometimes she goes … Continue reading

Thursday Tune ~ Find your music

Let’s take a minute and find joy in the simple things.
This is who we are born to be.

Full of joy!

Let’s find a way to live in the world but
not become creatures of the world. 

Let’s deal with the troubles of the day
but wash them away.

Find your “music” today and then
find someone that you can share it with. 

 

Source:  Glennbeck: 11-month-old-twins

For Alice

Looking For Alice

My daughter Alice, born with Downs Syndrome, is no different to any other human being. 

*

*

*

I wonder how it might be for Alice to be valued without distinction, without exception and without second glance.

This project is for her, for Alice.

Image: Sian Davey
Source: Looking For Alice

Never enough

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NatGeo Kisses

Kisses

“Calvin: Dad where do babies come from?
Dad: Well Calvin, you simply go to Sears, buy the kit and follow the assembly instructions.
Calvin: I came from Sears?
Dad: No you were a blue-light special at K-Mart – almost as good and a lot cheaper!”
― Bill Watterson

 

Spirit Alive

Video

For Sunday music, this is a video of Spirit Alive concert that I mentioned here.

A Saint Patrick Regional Secondary Concert Choir and Chamber Choir at the Chan Center for the Performance Arts held on May 9, 2014.  They did perform as well at the Carnegie Hall in New York City.  That is a remarkable achievement for the high school students to be invited at the Hall.  A very impressive group.

The performance became possible by the commitment, support and love of the community for the students.  Without the community, the students would have not attained this outstanding performance.

Here’s the female group on the way to NYC.
Becca to New York

Father and Son

Father and Son

“A little boy who had been to Sunday School told his father that he learned that God the Father and Son were equal.

The father said: “That is ridiculous. I am your father; you are my son. I existed a long time before you.”

“No,” said the boy, “you did not begin to be a father until I began to be a son.”

~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Happy Father’s Day To One and All.  Blessings.

Rest

Open Sea Victoria, BC Canada

Read these words aloud as a prayer for this stage of your life—the fullness and generativity of your being.

Rest: A Poem

I believe in all that has never yet been spoken.
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.

If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.

Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
(Translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy)

via Richard Rohr

I wonder

Baby james reading

As a child becomes aware, he notices that the
world around him is filled with other living things.

There are animals, bugs, birds and creepy
crawlers going about their own lives
that fascinate him.

A caterpillar inches along.
A chickadee sings high in up on a tree.
A bee buzzes from flower to flower.

Suddenly he is filled with wonders.
And a million questions begin.

I wonder why kangaroos have pouches.
I wonder why caterpillars eat so much.
I wonder why camels have humps.
I wonder why horses wear shoes.
I wonder why spiders spin webs.
I wonder why the sun rises.
I wonder why whales sing.

Why do birds sing?
Why can’t penguins fly?
Why do plants have flowers?
Why do leopards have spots?
Why does it get dark at night?
Why are bees busy in summer?
Why do kangaroos have pouches?

Too many questions.

I wonder myself, too.
I cannot seem to remember for
my thoughts have been placed
by useless mundane stuff of
everyday busyness of life.

On the home front

 

strike2
When April comes, rest assure that it will be a bumpy ride.  Budget season falls in April and all school districts have to balance their books.  It’s never been easy to balance the books when the funds are coming from the Provincial Government.  When there is no funds; programs are cut, head rolls and the students suffer.

A particular program was under threat, Strings program, an instrumental music program that is an international language for all students.  One doesn’t have to speak their native tongue in order to be part of this and children have an ingrained talent to play a music instrument.

Needless to say, there were so many heartbroken teachers, parents and students. The sound of violin death score is playing in the air.

Some psychology and gifted-education program were also in the chopping board.  This is another very important program for students that are “challenged”.

The public has spoken to express their concerns about the effect of these cuts to their children.

Music aids the cognitive development of a child.  According to scientific study that exposure to music makes kids of all ages smarter in math especially classical music. The practice lessons are helpful for the students to have structured time rather than face time. Further musical training enhances the brain structure of the child in language and reasoning.

As for therapy sessions, parents need help how to educate a child with behavior, speech, attention deficit or high functioning. Without these vital resources, it’s impossible for the child to learn and fit into the norm of school structure.

The month of April is over and these services are spared for now. Problem solved?  Not really.

May is a power struggle between the Teachers and BC Public School Employers. The teachers are on a rotating strike this week and will continue until next week should there be no resolution in terms of bargaining on class sizes and remuneration.

Field trips, camping trips, sports practice and others are cancelled.  Graduation is coming and will the teachers be there for the graduating class?

Dear Parents,

As you are aware, the BCTF is now in phase 2 of job action, as well as an imposed partial lock-out by BCPSEA. This directly impacts the level in which teachers are able to be involved in field trips, including our regional track meet.

And while we exercised every reasonable option to carry on with this event, unfortunately, we have had to make the decision to cancel our District Zone Track and Field meet that was scheduled for May 30th. We realize this is very disappointing for the students who have been working very hard in their gym classes to qualify for the events at the Track meet as well as parents who enjoy being a part of the day.

We encourage the children to continue with their personal fitness training to support their future endeavors in track and field events.

This is a challenging time for all those involved in BC schools. Thank you for your understanding and support in this matter. Please contact the school if you have any questions.

Yours truly,

The Administrators 

On a personal level, Lucy my niece is in three of these events and she is really looking forward to it. It’s a very sad time for Lucy and my family.

My feelings are split between the teachers, education, children, parents, the whole British Columbia, my colleagues, and me. Of course, the bottom line for most is no ticky, no laundry. Meaning, no pay.

The children, have mercy on these children.  They are the one’s suffering.

Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Weapon?  Heaven forbid, not at the cost of the children.

Power Nap and Pwer Struggle: A Child uses a strike sign for shade while her mom walks a picket line outside school in Vancouver. Photo credit Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Vancouver Metro

Power Nap and Pwer Struggle: A Child uses a strike sign for shade while her mom walks a picket line outside school in Vancouver. Photo credit Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press via Vancouver Metro

Presumed Heterosexual

Look at it at the point of view when a child is born.  

May 17there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.“ ~ Pierre Elliot Trudeau

“There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Those unforgettable words made famous by Pierre Trudeau in 1967 caused a tidal wave of controversy that rippled across the entire nation. Trudeau’s Omnibus Bill brought issues like abortion, homosexuality and divorce law to the forefront for the first time, changing the political and social landscape in Canada forever.”

Awareness day: May 17 is National Day Against Homophobia.

Public school system in British Columbia is gradually adopting a strict policy on anti-homophobia in order to create a safe structured learning environment for the children and it’s employees. 

These posters are educational materials used in an ongoing staff development that I attended.

Do you know that homophobia is one of the major causes of drugs, alcoholism and suicide on children?  So think twice or more before acting negatively, it can have a devastating effect.

On the move from hall to hall

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“Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand. You can feel it, they can feel it, you can feel it all over people” ~ Stevie Wonder Hurry up, and wait. It never fails.  My family and … Continue reading

Dressing up according to Lucy.

When a little girl plays dress up, she means business.  She can’t wait to grow up and will adorn herself using her Mother’s accessories including the Boa feather and hat. Doesn’t she look adorable?
lucy 1There is no way she will change her outfit with all the cajoling and threats from her Mother. Besides, she is smarter than her.
lucy 2

“God is not satisfied with appearance. God wants the garment of justice. God wants his Christians dressed in love.”-Oscar Romero  (via Claudia)
lucy 3

You made me….

Video

I felt you. You were a pea. Then a lemon. Then an eggplant. I followed advice. I read twelve books. I quit coffee.

Could you tell I was scared?

I talked to you, sang to you… I wasn’t ready.

But then you were here. Ten toes. Eight pounds. Love. Big fat love.

I held you. I fed you. I realized that I would spend my life doing things to make you happy — and that that would make me happy.

And then there are the times I want to give up. You’ve made me rethink my sanity. You’ve made me want to fall on my mother’s feet and tell her that I get it.

But then you smile and you say my name — and you grab my hand with those little fingers.

We’re growing together. We are seeing the world like it’s new. I will open my heart and love will rain down all over you. You’ll giggle, and I’ll do it all over again. And we will walk hand in hand. Until you let go.

I made you, but you made me a mother.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=gZq62c82-h4#t=4

Source

Easter is Way Better than Christmas

It must be the season of the year that Easter feels way better than Christmas.

After being all coop up inside the house from rainy fall to cold winter, spring fever infected our family.  Of course, the adults instigated all these fun and games.

First we imprisoned the young ones and just let them have a look what the outside world looks like.  Ha, the bunnies are hopping all over the place.

With the youngest as high as our knees, we make sure that it’s feasible for this young tyke to find all the goodies at his eye level.  Basically we just threw the goodies all over the ground.  For the older children, they might just have to climb the tree to pluck the egg.
Collage Easter

The baby had a good five minutes head start before the older children.  We did help baby to find some eggs hidden under the leaves and on the cars but he is more interested on picking the ornaments planted on the ground.
Collage The Hunt

Oh what a crazy family I belong.  Crazy that we are, there is so much love, support and faith in this clan.

We were all in the background, cheering and egging one another.  Cars have slowed down to watch what’s the commotion was all about.  Neighbors were too curious and inquisitive what’s going on.  My sister was kind enough to bring them food since they are too shy to join the festivity.

Actually, anyone can join.  Easter Egg hunting has nothing to do with race or creed.

After the ruckus and after 40 days of NPO (nothing per orem), what it means basically is fasting, we have to feast.  Food, drinks and fattening stuff to replenish all that fat we shed.

Easter is definitely way better than Christmas.  No obligatory presents, no dress up, no sweat.  It’s all for the glory of celebrating that rites of a living God.

All Done … Happy Hunting

Play is part of praying.  And we know how to have fun regardless of the weather.  It will be a wet soggy field for the Easter Egg hunt for the children.  For sure, it will be a muddy hunt.  But who cares.
Easter EggsOh, the Easter Bunny did come knocking on my door yesterday bearing some more chocolates.  I still have yet to eat the Santa Clause chocolate from Christmas.  Should I get inspired, I will just make chocolate cookies instead.

Oh, it will be a fun day.  Happy hunting.

 

Family Reflection

”No one is ever born into Life alone. Everyone has shared the bond of family, at least at birth, and for many people, it is a bond that will follow them throughout life. For many people, it is the most important bond of all.”

I was lucky enough to have in my life a family filled with love, compassion, acceptance, and tolerance. I am what I am as a direct result of a family life where belonging is imperative.  It is gratifying to my health and one of the reasons why I am still alive.  Without my family’s caring nature, I cannot conceive living alone.

Reflection 25 years ago

Reflection 25 years ago

When I was younger, I tagged along with my sister, her husband, and two boys.  Have a van, and we traveled anywhere. I was more than welcome to join since I can chop woods and carry water on top of being a babysitter. Stopping on a pristine crystal clear rocky river bed to cool off on the way to the campground is always part of the fun.

Reflection of my 17 year old nephew

Reflection of my 17-year-old nephew

I used to drive the children around and take them on a field trip.  Sometimes, I am the one that takes them for the weekend of cub scouts or brings the boys along on a camping trip without the parents.  Yes, they trusted me with their children.  Trust is essential.

Years flew by, and I am the one being driven around by their fifth child. Making a short conversation so that I don’t distract him while driving, I asked: “Aren’t you much too young to drive as a sixteen-year-old?”  He quickly exclaimed: “I’m seventeen years old!”  “Oh, pardon me, young man,” I responded.  His father beside him was chuckling while he teaches his son to drive. No, I wasn’t scared of a young person driving me home.  I trust him.

Reflection of a one and half child

Reflection of a one and half-year-old child

Life is all about playing when I am with my sister’s grandson. At his age, everything is magical even playing hide and seek behind a jug of water. ROAR he screamed as he was trying to scare me with his dinosaur sound.

Through thick and thin our family will pass the bonding to the younger generation. I am hopeful that we have shown them the importance of forming an intimate family unit as a cornerstone of our existence.

Educating the heart

Video

educating-the-mind-aristotle

Listening educates my mind and heart.

I must have listened to this video a hundred times.  Watching the video distracts me from listening so I converted it to voice only.  When I listen, I also like to jot down the words and I ended up transcribing the spoken words.  The key words compassion, acceptance and tolerance are words that I will keep in my heart and put into practice.

Listen and prepare ourselves in educating our mind and hearts.

(click to listen)

When a child is born,
we do everything we can
to protect them, nurture them, love them.

A child’s heart and mind are fragile.
As they grow, we want to teach them everything we know.

We send them to school
to fill their minds with wonderful knowledge
to give them the tools they need for life.

At school they get a taste what things are like in a world outside.
There’s friendship, romance, disappointment,
embarrassment, discrimination and bullying.

They are the tools we give them enough to prepare them for this world.

We have an enormous responsible and an amazing opportunity.
If we truly want to prepare them for the world outside,
we must also educate the heart.

Because to navigate the world outside
with compassion, acceptance and tolerance
we need to teach them
compassion, acceptance and tolerance.

This can begin in our schools and it can start today.

It can happen at hockey practice, dance class
and day camps and music lessons
and it’s already happening around the world
with astonishing results.

If we want our children to grow
into socially and emotionally capable young people,
we must ask for a balanced education
and put importance on educating both the mind and the heart.

Prepare them for this world.
Educating the Heart
The Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education
Voice over by: Poet and author Shane Koyczan

You can view the video here.

 

on being a teacher

Teacher

I mean, you’re a teacher, Taylor.
Be honest. What do you make?

And I wish he hadn’t done that— asked me to be honest—
because, you see, I have this policy about honesty and ass-­‐kicking:
if you ask for it, then I have to let you have it.
You want to know what I make?
I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I can make a C+ feel like a Congressional Medal of Honor
and an A-­‐ feel like a slap in the face.
How dare you waste my time
with anything less than your very best.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall
in absolute silence. No, you may not work in groups.
No, you may not ask a question.
Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?
Because you’re bored.
And you don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?

I make parents tremble in fear when I call home:
Hi. This is Mr. Mali. I hope I haven’t called at a bad time,
I just wanted to talk to you about something your son said today.
To the biggest bully in the grade, he said,
“Leave the kid alone. I still cry sometimes, don’t you?
It’s no big deal.”
And that was noblest act of courage I have ever seen.

I make parents see their children for who they are
and what they can be.

You want to know what I make?
I make kids wonder,
I make them question.
I make them criticize.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them write.
I make them read, read, read.
I make them spell definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful, definitely beautiful
over and over and over again until they will never misspell
either one of those words again.
I make them show all their work in math
and hide it on their final drafts in English.
I make them understand that if you’ve got this,
then you follow this,
and if someone ever tries to judge you
by what you make, you give them this.

Here, let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:
Teachers make a goddamn difference! Now what about you?

 

 

Image by Leader  and essay by Taylor Mali

Priceless Treasures

Look into my eyes.  You are falling deeply in love with me.  Look into my eyes.
valentine lookI am perfect to fall in love with.  We are meant for each other, forever!  You are mine!  You cannot resist me for you are just totally in love with my soft fuzzy adorable body.  Feel me, touch me and love me.  You will do as I say.
valentine kyle

The Grade 1 and 2 students at VSB made their own “Splat” with black paint and chalk pastels.  Using toothpicks they gently dragged the wet paint away from Splat’s body to create his fuzzy fur.  Heart shaped doilies were added for a finish touch with “artist’s” name written on it.

With lots and lots of love and fur balls, Happy Valentines, Love from a colony of  Splats.
valentine Gr 1 and 2Working for the school board, the children are the treasure in my line of work.  One cannot help but fall in love with them especially when they come to show and tell what they learnt at school to our offices.  They are priceless.

Make the Ordinary Come Alive

Buttercup
Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is a way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples, and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself. 

By William Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents

Thank you, David Lose.

Second post: Card version

My dear Lucy

No one is too old for Fairy Tales

Once upon a time, my dream house will have a library.  The library will be filled with wall to wall and top to bottom room full of books that I collected over the years.  And then I discovered the joy of going to the library.  I ended giving away most of my books to goodwill and kept the children’s books.

I never outgrew The Little Prince, All things bright and beautiful, I like you because and The man who planted trees. These books have taught me more than any self-help books that I’ve read.  Besides, I love the pictures.  It is true that pictures say a thousand words and I can create a different story just by looking at them.

Image source: Jemima’s Journal

The Art of Selfie: Call me Miss Pretty.

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

On a beautiful autumn day, one cannot help but feel good and pretty inside.  Taking photos of the most colourful neighbourhood, a few people had the same idea as me.  It was amusing to watch some of them taking a … Continue reading

Instagram of Gratitude

A weekend lost was a weekend found

becca
I learned that vulnerability is okay,
to unmask myself,
I am not the only one who faces obstacles in life,
to make the most of time,
to “just be,”
and that I am more than ordinary.

God has numerous wonderful plans in store for me.
His love is the most selfless and everlasting love.

I cannot put into words how thankful I am
to be surrounded with people who love me
and go that extra mile to make me happy.

Sometimes the adults wonder what the children are thinking.  Most importantly, sometimes we wonder whether we have raised the children well.  We can only hope that they are safe and sound when we are not around to protect them.

This is an instagram from “becca”, my youngest brother’s daughter who is more than happy to share it with me.

These are her words, the breaks and italics are mine.

Letter to your future self

Have you ever written a letter to yourself only to be opened in the future?  I did.

In one of the retreats I attended, I wrote a letter to myself, sealed it in an envelope, addressed to me, left it at the retreat office and mailed it to me a year later.  I completely forgot about the letter until I received it.  Excitedly opened it, read it, put it back in the envelope, stored it away and cannot recall the content of the letter.  Currently, I don’t know where I have hidden it.  Maybe one day, I’ll find it before I die or maybe my family will.

What brought me to write this is due to Taylor.

Taylor was a vibrant 12-year old girl.  She died young due to pneumonia-related complications.  When her parents were going through her things, they discovered a sealed envelope addressed to her future self:  “To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023, only unless said otherwise,”

The letter reads:

little girlDear Taylor,

How’s life? Life is pretty simple right now (10 years in your past). I know I’m late for you, but as I’m writing, this is early, so; congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn’t go back and keep trying. Get that degree! Are you (we) in college? If not, I understand. We do have pretty good reasoning, after all. Don’t forget, it’s Allana’s 11th birthday today! Sheesh, 11 already? In my time, she just turned 1! I didn’t get to go to that party though, because I was in Cranks, Kentucky for my first mission trip. I’ve only been back for 6 days!

Speaking of, how’s your relationship with GOD? Have you prayed, worshipped, read the bible, or gone to serve the lord recently? If not, get up and do so NOW! I don’t care what point in our life we’re in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for you! A sinless man, who never did you or any other person any wrong!

Read the rest of the letter here.

Related articles: WJHL story ~ Johnson City girl’s life remembered

ithinkimfinallyunderstand HASHTAGS#

Who else would teach me about computer but the younger generations?  Not just computers, I learn so much about life from them.  It gives me so much pleasure listening to their constant chattering as if there is no tomorrow.  They don’t seem to run out of topic to discuss.  I’ve missed out on the gathering on Christmas, and since I cannot be with them, I have privy to their Facebook.

One thing I’ve noticed that the children’s mind is starting to develop and hardly post any selfies.  There are more writings than their faces.  These are some of my favorites.

LIFE ADVICE: One must always order a bowl of steamed rice to soak up the sauce.

LIFE ADVICE: One must always order a bowl of steamed rice to soak up the sauce.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! There was a time in my life when I wanted as many people as possible to like me and be my friend… but now I am proud to say that the QUALITY of my friendships outweighs the QUANTITY of friendships. I AM SO THANKFUL TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP. YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. (God Bless!)

DID YOU KNOW… that the word MERCY in the Bible the root word is CHESED in Hebrew? It means steadfast love, covenant, loyal, faithful, love. So when we say “Have mercy on me” we aren’t only asking for forgiveness, but we are asking that they will continually love us past the hurt, pain or suffering that we may have caused.  (That’s beautiful.)

ithinkimfinallyunderstandingHASHTAGS#   (Almost. The # goes in front. )

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I’m changing myself.  #changing #yesterday #today

#tomorrow?
I don’t understand the tags. Is that where you are getting your quotes?
#today is better than #tomorrow. I just checked it out.
Secret as to where I get them. Haha. I read sometimes?

The longest walk we will have in our lives is the journey between connecting the heart and the mind #persevere   (deep, very deep…)

Every day is a small death to who you were yesterday. #dailyDeath  (I hope this means you are reborn today?!)

The only things I’ll ever regret are the things I didn’t do and the times I’ve stopped trying. #regrets  (EDITH PIAF. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, Subtitulado)

And especially this one: Family is everything.

Santa Claus and Tooth Fairy: What happens when they run into each other?

Phone rings on Christmas Eve at work.

ToothFairy

Good afternoon, how may I help you?
Hi, Tita Lady.
Hi, Bud.  How ya doing?
My tooth came off.
Oh yah, which one?
The front tooth.
It’s a good time to be good today, Bud.
Why?
Because Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy are coming.
Why?
Because if you are good Santa might leave a gift for you.
What about the Tooth Fairy?
The Tooth Fairy might leave a dollar or two under your pillow.
What happens when they run to each other?
I don’t know.  It happened before.
Really?
Really.  I have to go back to work now, Bud.
Okay, love you.
Love you, too, Bud.
It’s was a busy Christmas night for Santa and the Tooth Fairy.

Photo Credit:  VSB

Children’s thoughts

 A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. 
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. 
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. 
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. 
The little girl said, “When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah”. 
The teacher asked, “What if Jonah went to hell?” 
The little girl replied, “Then you ask him “.
——————————————————————————–
A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. 
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was. 
The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.” 
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.” 
Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, “They will in a minute.”
——————————————————————————–
A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. 
After explaining the commandment to “honor” thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, “Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?” 
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, “Thou shall not kill.” 
——————————————————————————–
One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head. 
She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, “Why are some of your hairs white, Mom?”
Her mother replied, “Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white.” 
The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, “Momma, how come ALL of grandma’s hairs are white?”
——————————————————————————–
The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture. 
 “Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, ‘There’s Jennifer, she’s a lawyer,’ or ‘That’s Michael, He’s a doctor.’ 
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, “And there’s the teacher, she’s dead.” 
——————————————————————————–
A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, “Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face.” 
“Yes,” the class said. 
“Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn’t run into my feet?” 
A little fellow shouted, “Cause your feet ain’t empty.” 
——————————————————————————–
The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: 
“Take only ONE. God is watching.” 
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. 
A child had written a note, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples. 
 
Source:  Reconnections.net
 

Baby’s first Monday

Mondays are just like eating lemons for the first time.

The first bite is the hardest

Then the babies grow up

And they found many different ways to use a lemon

Tequila!

If life hands you a lemon, drink tequila for a chaser.  Have joy filled Monday everyone.

Seven Million Whys!

I have this note posted on my computer at work that is sort of a queue card for me that helps me on a daily basis when it comes to communication, analysis and problem solving.

“I have six honest serving men, they taught me all I know.  I call them What, Where, When, Who, Why and How.”

z kipling

However, I have a problem with Why.  For me, it’s a childish question.  It’s alright when a child ask me why but when an adult asks, I felt like saying: “Are you a dolt?” in my mind.  So I facetiously answer: “Why is the sky blue?”  Evading this word is easier for me than responding to it.  The person will never be satisfied with my response.  It is akin to being put on the grill.  Having worked in a law firm, I know better.

As I found out, the whole poem is part of a children’s book written by Kipling:

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.
I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch, and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views;
I know a person small—
She keeps ten million serving-men,
Who get no rest at all!
She sends’em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes—
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!
The Elephant’s Child 

This poem just answered my question how come I do not like “Whys”!
Thank you, Poet4Justice: If for helping me solve a riddle.
Related Link: Kipling: Elephant’s Child

The Best Gift of All

It seemed that it took forever to see a first Canadian baby born in our clan.  Finally, when the baby came, we nicknamed her Goldie.  Goldie because she is a precious little girl.  In her baptism, all of her Uncles and Aunties are her Godparents.  I mean all 10 of us plus a few friends of the parents.  I’ve lost count.

She is now an adult, fun to be with and the best baker in town.  It’s quite funny when she discovered an App that depicts her and started posting it in Facebook.

Here she is preparing for butter shortage, having fun in an accidental spillage, and baking us a cake to remind us of our mortality.

Well, she just celebrated her birthday and here I go again. Happy Birthday, Niece.

niece #1

As an adult, she hardly receives gifts from us.  Instead she gives us gifts, herself, the best gift of all.  Never ever change, sweet Niece.

Children at Play: 1984 vs 2013

Play is very important, I cannot reiterate that enough.

There are so many benefits in playing.  For one, it’s a great exercise when the body is moving and running around.  Being a playmate, friendship will flourish.  It is an essential part of children’s development since it contributes to their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being.  This is the reason I keep telling the kids to go outside and play.  As an adult, I will be the first one to take part with the children.  I still love to play.

Children playing

Pass forward.

Play have taken a whole new meaning today.  Enter “smart” technologies. Are these technologies making the children smarter?

New Generation

Ironic.  This time I cannot participate.  I don’t even know how to use a cell phone or iPad.  The children are teaching me how to use them and I refuse to play.

Images copied from children’s Facebook.

Let the little children come to me

Thousands of Catholic families from around the world gathered at the Vatican over the weekend to celebrate the Year of Faith with Pope Francis.A small group of children was invited to sit on the pope’s platform to listen to speakers from across the world speak about their faith and families.

Pope Francis and boy

Pope Francis was visibly amused when one child stayed on the stage instead of returning to his seat on the steps.

Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Luke 18:16

See more photos here.
 
Source:  NCR Staff

Pre-thought, aftermath, side-effects: Eerie

Pre-thought:

To find a perfect pumpkin, you let the baby loose in the field to choose while the adults have fun pushing the wheelbarrow in the patch.

Parents have to think of safe ways for Super Baby to go out trick or treating.  One has to call his Super Friends, Super Mice, Super Grandpa, Super Auntie and Uncle to come along as well.

Safety in numbers will dispel any eerie thoughts of the parents while they are out just around the cul-de-sac.

Aftermath:

Carved pumpkins with lit up candle inside will cast how eerie looking they are. The glow will surely scare the ghosts away.

Gather all the candies; count how many same of a kind in their loot.  Those candies are equal to a kilo of sugar.

Keep the Super Baby away from the fireworks to prevent any eerie mishaps.

Side-effect:

Super Baby had one too many chocolates and was just spinning all over the place.

And these candies will surely bring your dental bills skyrocketing, and your dentist will love you for it.

Cavities and toothless, now, that is Eerie.

And who is going to clean up the mess but Super Granny.