Do You Reread?

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There are few books I reread. The book Essentialism by Greg McKeown comes back onto my radar usually after I have listened to Tsh Oxenreider from THE ART OF SIMPLE talk about it.

This book requires me to think about my actions and why I make the decisions I do especially when it comes to how I spend my time. There is often a gap between what my responsibilities are and what I want to do. There is also a category of the things I should do because someone expects me to. This is the area I am really looking at for the upcoming school year. I have made a big decision about doing what I deem essential and also managing my schedule and time differently.

I have a choice about how I spend my time. At school, I want to spend my time on the actions that I can get the most bang for my buck and make the most impact with my teachers. I cannot do everything even though my TYPE A personality whispers to me in quiet moments that I can.

I stopped celebrating just being busy for busy sake and my stress levels went down.

Over the next couple of days these questions from the book will be on my mind:

  1. What do I feel deeply inspired by?
  2. What am I particularly talented at?
  3. What meets a significant need in the world?

The next right thing for me and my time is on my mind. What are you thinking about for the fall?

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ARC MEANT TO BE BROKEN REVIEW

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For this review, I received an advance copy of this wonderful book. My opinions are my own.

This book is categorized as a YA Romance…not usually my genre and I was not disappointed in this book at all. The characters are well developed and you care about them. I kept reading wanting to know what happened to each of them. There are romance tropes of course, a love triangle and some terrible decisions on the characters part but a great read. The love triangle isn’t introduced right away but there is a build up where you sense it is coming. It was the perfect book to read in my hammock in the summer shade.

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The book is a respectable 450+ pages but went fast. The only reason I didn’t read it two days was because it was so good I didn’t want it to end.

I have been focused on character names lately and the three main were perfectly named in this book. Rayne, Gage,  and Preston.

The banter between Gage and Rayne is super fun to read. The relationships are well written along with the plot.

There are even a few moments where I was surprised by the way the story turned! A few gaspers even! Just when you think you have these lives figured out another curve ball comes in at just the right time. It is a satisfying read and one I highly recommend if you are in the mood for a great book.

Some favorite quotes:

Like we’re stuck in some sort of time warp where everything’s paused, and when we do get a moment, someone’s always crashing it. p.94

He’s walking Prozac to her, the one medicine that religiously calms her anxiety. p. 211

Everytime I speak, Taryn stares at me as if I’m a jigsaw puzzle in pants, some experiment she can pick apart and dissect like the fetal pigs from her medical classes, then bandage up again like-new condition. p. 393

Check this book out! It is a summer read that will suck you in and stick with you after the last page.

Title: Meant To Be Broken

Author: Brandy Woods Snow

Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing

Publication Date: July 2nd, 2018

Format:

Reviewers in the United States: Paperback

International Reviewers: eBook (format of choice)

Description:

Rayne Davidson is perfectly happy fading into the background. Her mama’s antics garner enough attention in their small Southern town for the both of them, but when Rayne catches the eye of all-star quarterback, Preston Howard, she’s enamored with the possibilities. Too bad Preston doesn’t make her heart thump—his brother does.

Gage Howard doesn’t mind the town’s stares because he doesn’t get them. Growing up in his older brother’s shadow, Gage shrugs off the endless parade of girls Preston brings home—until Rayne.

But there are unwritten rules that shouldn’t be broken, like cheating on your boyfriend or betraying your brother. Rayne and Gage deny their growing attraction, neither willing to hurt Preston—until the town finds out.

They think overcoming the gossip will be the hardest obstacle.

They’re wrong.

Rayne’s mama has a secret, and its revelation could divide the town, the families, and the new couple.

Can love endure if it’s all built on a lie?

#happyreading

Reading The Queen of Hearts

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Part of my “summering”is reading. Honestly, a large part of my life is reading but this is a slice of my summer reading.

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmerly Martin

 

 

This book is written by a medical professional. I heard about this book from a podcast interview with the author which persuaded me to read the book. The chapters go through time and also from different perspectives of various characters.

Some of my favorite thoughts and quotes from the book:

Page 3 had the word “comeuppance” Any book that starts with a word like that must be an interesting read!

Page 18 “…he can talk a herd of cats into a hot tub and he’s relentless when he wants something.”

The imagery of this line made me smile. Can you imagine the chaos of cats in a hot tub???

Page 25 “Emma, who’d had a determination to be a surgeon since the age of 3. Meanwhile, as a toddler, I’d aspired to be a bulldozer, a career path that received the enthusiastic support of my older brother.”

The idea of a character wanted to be a bulldozer when she grew up brought back memories of my brother playing with Tonka trucks and Bob the Builder Cartoons.

“Emma is the kind of person who can effortlessly transition from sleep in to a well-oiled machine like functionality. By contrast, I have to be poured out of bed each morning like human syrup, and I’ll lurch around, emitting miserable squeaks until I’m caffeinated.”

Human syrup is a phrase I wish I invented as a writer!

Page 314-315 “If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s this: the past is never really gone . It’s one long chain linking the present and also the future, and sometimes it doubles back on itself, exposing the things that you thought were buried.

“The chandelier the size of a cow” What a large piece in a house! I can visualize it!

I love the first paragraph here. I do not like this phrase either and like the way the author conveys a more logical explanation of the phrase “Everything happens for a reason”

This is an interesting quote from Carl Sagan which I want to delve into more personally.. The last line is a great ending line to a chapter.

I felt this book had a strong beginning and a strong ending. I got a little lost in the middle. I kept putting the book down after reading a page or two and that is usually not a good sign for me. Overall, I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to see how my fellow readers thought about it at book club. Feel free to weigh in with your opinion in the comments!

What are you reading during the summer?

Simply Tuesday Thoughts…on Thursday

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I am reading Simply Tuesday by Emily P Freeman. I love her podcast the Next right thing which is what brought me to her books. I read and I hear her voice in my head which is a very good thing. There is a soothing and calming effect of her voice which is wonderful. Many of the ideas she talks about hit home for me. She is a Christian writer and so some of the “God speak” I gloss over. It is a bit much for me in spots.

In the chapter titled Community and Competition, she has a delightful story about her reaching out for some fellow creatives to meet with. She was feeling lonely and wanted some connection with real people. She formed a small group of 3 and they are called  The Artists Circle. They get together monthly at coffee shops or their houses and answer three questions:

What are you working on?

What is inspiring you?

Where do you need prodding?

This is appealing to me as such a delightful notion and I love the simplicity of the questions. These questions can also translate to so many areas. They immediately were written down into my notebook. The questions come from Todd Henry who wrote The Accidental Creative. They really hone into the springboards of a deep creative conversation.

I love when books and authors I love,  recommend books and authors they love. I have a new rabbit hole to go down now and I couldn’t be happier. Plus I have new questions which always makes me happy!

 

Come back tomorrow! I will be reflecting on my 31 Story A Day challenge and what I learned.

Bring on the Book Flood! #SOL18

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As a reading teacher, I always talk about how classroom teachers need to have quality books in their rooms available to put into little one’s heads and hands.

The book flood is a concept in which so many books are brought into space that there are more than enough for students to find a book that speaks to them. You will hear many professional authors talk about this concept: Richard Allington, Penny Kittle, Kelly Gallagher, Donalyn Miller. Just like a swimmer needs a pool to learn how to swim, readers need books to learn to read.

There are several options to make a book flood happen in your classroom.

1.Personal debt – not the best option but Amazon and the local bookstore will love you.

2. Garage sales

3. Thrift shops

4. Library – for check out and for book sales

5. Grants

I wrote a small grant a couple years ago to purchase a class set of books that were based on children’s author Lester Laminack’s favorite books. He had shared a list of his favorite books (at the moment) at a Professional educational partnership event at Valparaiso University in 2010. The books were purchased to demonstrate the link between reading and writing, mentor texts, and great read-aloud stories to be enjoyed.

The ten books were

The Barn Owls and The Harmonica by Tony Johnston

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The Other Side and Our Gracie Aunt by Jacqueline Woodson

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Koala Lou and Wilfred Gordan MacDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

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What You Know First and All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLaughlin

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In November and Scarecrow  by Cynthia Rylant

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After the books arrived we held a professional development session for some specific ideas of how to use this book set. All the activities could be used with any of the books in the collection.

  1. Author studies for the 5 authors
  2. General word study activities
  3. General read aloud guidelines
  4. Writing activities
  5. Suggested questions
  6. Some specific activities that went with each book

It was a great experience and I had hoped to continue the process with other authors.

The books were loved and read over and over again!

April Reflection and Next Steps

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1. Camp NANOWRIMO

Camp NANOWRIMO is a month long challenge to tackle a writing project in a month. For Camp you set your own word count goals. Regular NANOWRIMO is hosted in November where the goal is to write 50,000 words.

I did not win CAMP this year. It was my first go around with CAMP. Regular NANOWRIMO in November was successful but I discovered through writing and gathering my research to write my professional teaching book I need more time. The format still doesn’t seem quite right. The next step is to use the content as blog posts. It will serve the purpose better at the present time. I am still moving forward with the project but it will look different. I am wondering if I should start a separate blog just for the teaching/coaching pieces of my life and keep the writing and reading blog.

2018StoryADaySidebar500.pngI am not gearing up for STORYADAY May and am super excited to have joined the SUPERSTARS group. I am hoping to make some real connections to some other short story writers. I have been collecting story sparks – as always and thinking about the excitement of having a stack of short story drafts by the end of the month.

 

2. Mindset Matters

Winter is still here in Northwest Indiana. I had to shift my mindset when it came to running this month. I kept getting myself excited about running outside and then the weather would not cooperate. Finally, I had to decide that my running routine will be sprints and HIIT workouts on the treadmill. If the weather is pleasant then I would run outside, but I would look at it as a surprise or a treat rather than the expectation. This has led to much more pleasant gym visits and the workouts are consistent rather than all over the place and me being angry about it.

 

3. Reading RunDown with Links!

The Hazelwood

The Hazel Wood: A Novel by [Albert, Melissa]

Written on the Body

Ghost

Long Way Down

The Rules Do Not Apply

The Year of Less

Betwixt and Between Essays

Lillian Boxfish Goes for a Walk

On Being a Writer

Stranger in the Woods

 

4. New Podcasts with Links!

Real Talk Radio

Don’t Keep Your Day Job

Earn Your Happy

Being Boss

That What She Said

5. Favorite Podcasts with Links!

Emily P Freeman’s The Next Right Thing

Julie Duffy’s Story A Day

Rachael Herron’s How Do You Write?

Looking Ahead:

There has been a lot of planning for PD and formats for next school year. All the planning makes me excited to get started…but I have to wait. I finally had to break down and start a 2018-2019 notebook to make notes for next school year. It is going to be a great year!

The Rule of “So What?”

Nancy Atwell in her Lessons that Change Writers book includes a lesson entitled “the Rule of so what?”

So what does Nancy Atwell say about this idea?

                Good writing in every genre answers the question SO WHAT? Good writing with a purpose, a point, a reason it was written.

                The good writer looks for and finds the meanings, the significances, the implications in the subject he or she has chosen.

This lesson is to teach students about this concept and have them utilize it. I used it in my own writing last week.

The questions I asked myself were:

20180410_135354.jpgI need to keep focus for the book. My rule of so what. What am  I telling the stories I am ?What does it matter and why is it connected? How can I help? How does it look? How does it sound?

The big overall question I needed to answer is: Why am I including this story in my book?

Asking myself these questions and thinking about this idea really helped me determine which direction to take the particular topic from my outline.

It was a good writing day when I didn’t feel like writing that day at all!