Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

This is what I read in June. Actually, this is what I have read since vacation started. I'm succeeding with my #bookaday challenge! I especially enjoyed The Other Half of My Heart, The Right Word, Tiny Creatures, and All We Have Left. Great books for (in order listed above) white privilege, word choice, info book mentor text, and 9/11 historical fiction/Muslim American relations.



Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Filed Under "Observations of a Third Culture Kid"



As we walk from the parking lot to the sanctuary I look over and notice she is cowering under her hands.

"I need an umbrella," she comments.

Chuckling to myself, "It's just mist."

She isn't satisfied with my answer. 

"You aren't from around here, are you?" I add.

This gets under her third culture skin. As we cross the street she shares the strategy she has come up with.

"I'll just think of it as blowing sand - you just squint and tilt your head down for both."

This observation of hers has stayed with me. Not only is it true, but it is such a clear illustration of my child who is 'from' Seattle and lives in the sandbox known as Saudi.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My daughter



My daughter
no longer a little girl.
So big
and smart
and sassy!

"Mom!" has replaced the cherished "Mommy!"

She's 8 and heading to third grade and
So big

Until I go to wake her up
and gently pull the hair back from her face
unearthing the sweet face that belongs to 
my little girl.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Cycle of Life - Overseas Version (And a Parenting Lesson)


When you live overseas the comings and goings of people around you is part of the ebb and flow of life. This can happen at any point throughout the year, however the end of the calendar year and the end of the school year are the two most prevalent times for good-byes. 

So, after 14 years outside our home country we have become accustomed to these seasons of good-bye. Generally we have months between the news of someone leaving and the reality of the last known day together, but not always. In the last week we've been hit with two surprises that hit very close to home (as well as several more in the past two weeks in our wider circles).

While I came to know about these two instances several days apart, they became public knowledge on the same day. This alignment of stars meant that I was breaking tear inducing news to my daughter TWICE in one day.

My daughter is a natural crier. Her eyes overflow when she is filled with emotion. Her eyes leak at a satisfying end to a story, be it happy for sad. Tears are a common part of how she experiences emotions. Sometimes the tears turn to sobs and take several moments before she can continue. She and I both know this. I have to proceed with caution.

At the end of a school day the email went out to all staff that a teacher was moving - next week. Since my daughter usually stops by my room at the end of her day I wanted to make sure I was the one to break the news to her, rather than have her over hear it somewhere.

"I have something to tell you, and it might make you cry."

Her eyes got wide as she settled into my arms. "What is it?"


"Mr. [favorite teacher that she desperately hopes to have one day] is moving."

She trusts herself around my neck and holds on tight. Eventually she slowly pulls back and asks, "To where?"

At this point I am surprised that, while there is shock and sadness written all over her face, there aren't any actual tears.

***Four hours later***

"I am some more news that might make you cry."

I will spare you the details of the story. (It was absolutely precious, but this news still isn't widely known and while it isn't a secret, I sure don't want to be the one to spill the beans!) What I will tell you is this; there weren't any tears!

Reflecting upon these two incidents I am now wondering if by simply prefacing potentially devastating news with "you might cry" allows her to be prepared enough for the emotion that she can steal herself to the extremity of her feelings. Or, it could just be that she's now eight. One thing I do know, we live overseas, and there will be more opportunities to test my new delivery method.

Monday, June 5, 2017

What Are You Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

This is what I read in May...



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pain Free: An Emotional Journey


When chronic pain is a near constant companion the emotional journey that accompanies any moments without pain is varied.

Anticipation is the genesis. The feeling of waiting for the shoe to drop, because you can't remember a time when it hasn't. You are certain the pain will start, it is simply a matter of when and at what intensity.

Disbelief follows. It may be at the end of the day, or perhaps the start of the next. You pause, perhaps in bed, realizing that you haven't had to medicate. Or that you actually went an whole day without pain as a companion. Or you wake up aware that you just slept an entire night and woke up either because the alarm went off or, even harder to believe, simply because you were ready to wake up. It wasn't pain that nudged you awake, hallelujah!

Joy follows. Wow! A day and/or night without pain! So much to be thankful for. You better have a smile on your face and a spring in your step because these moments are precious and fleeting.

The next emotion I struggle to put a name to. Pressure? It is the notion of feeling that you must use the pain free time to its utmost. The feeling that you have to get x, y, and z accomplished, while you can.

This feeling goes hand in hand with a sense of being torn - torn between wanting to be extra productive and wanting to just be - to kick back and take moments for what they are.

While you are trying to ignore angst of the previous two emotions a thought occurs to you. "Is this what 'normal' people feel like?" Is this what a pain free life is like? I could get used to this!

Analysis. What have I done differently? What do I need to continue to do (or not do) to see if this trend can continue?

This cycle may be moments or hours. If it lasts for days, pinch yourself. Whatever you do, don't do what I did. Don't say anything about it out loud.

Recently days have been strung together, days that don't include pain. I have been through all of the above emotions - several cycles for many of them. Last week I heard myself telling someone how my new medications and lifestyle changes are really helping. How I had been pain free for a little while. As I heard the words coming out of my mouth I thought, "Uh-oh. Have I just jinxed it?!"

I don't really belief in luck or jinxes, but it all seems too good to be true so why not throw the concept of fate in there as well? Then my mother-in-law asked how I was doing. When I hung up the phone I had a feeling my moments were numbered.

Sure enough, within hours, the emotional cycle got the opportunity to go back to the beginning. Well, before the beginning. Now I am waiting for the drugs to work.