The Wonder of Reading

The Wonder of Reading

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to tell you about a book I wish I could read again for the first time.

Well…. really? Where do I begin. Perhaps at the very beginning of my reading life. I would love to go back and experience anew that incredible sensation of the words on the pages making their way into your brain, making sense, and drawing you into the story. For me it happened in first grade – we moved from the City of Holland (and Holland Public Schools) to the “suburbs” (and West Ottawa Public Schools). In Holland, they were using a phonetic reading approach – sounding out the words, which did not work at all for me. I struggled mightily with the process (as curiously did my Heidi as well as many other children around the world).

So, new school and all my class mates are reading and me??? Not so much. Enter Mrs. Hayward – she gathered me up each day and off we went to a little room by the gym and together we would sit and read. I believe the method West Ottawa was using at that time was the “look and say” approach. Where phonic did not work, having someone tell me what a word was did. Soon my reading memory held dozens and dozens and dozens of words. But, I would love to go back in time to feel that excitement that first time reading Fun with Dick and Jane became a story I read that made sense!

Maybe Dick and Jane was not the best book I have ever read even if it was first! Perhaps, the best book would be to go back to Little House in the Big Woods – my first introduction to Pa, Ma, Laura and Mary (and Jack the dog!). The Little House books most certainly hold a special place in my heart. They filled an entire summer reading program’s worth of reading! I devoured them voraciously and read each more than once.

Perhaps, the best book would be Night by Elie Wiesel. I read this in high school and was horrified by man’s inhumanity to man. And, as painful as the reading of this book was – I could not put the book down. Elie’s words made an incredible impact on me and through the reading, I understood that being silent is not always the best thing. Making the right decision is not always the easy one. Powerful lessons for a hopeful teenager…

Perhaps, the book I would like to go back and read for the first time is Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. This was a passage book for me – the first truly adult novel I had ever read. I had graduated from Harlequin Romance novels and moved in the world of meaty reading. It was gritty and descriptive and evocative. It opened my eyes (and mind) to reading that grabbed you and carried you along to the end and left you wanting more!

Or maybe it would be any of the dozens of Dr. Seuss books I read to my children – books they loved so much and were part of our daily lives. Were they my favorite reads? Perhaps not on the millionth time, but the words on the page brought reading alive for my children.

So, you see, I really cannot pick just one book I would like to go back and re-experience – there are far too many to choose from!

But, how about you, Gentle Reader – what book would you go back and read for the first time?

If you would like to see what others had to say about reading you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and I on this fantastic writing journey, you can sign up here! We would love to have you!

Hello, April!

Hello, April!

This week’s Think Write Thursday is to write a post called, “Hello, April.”

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever. – Charles Lamb

Thank you, Charles Lamb, for providing me with the most appropriate quote ever to welcome April.

So, April starts with the Day for Fools, on which I, appropriately, am going to get my mammogram done.

Steve’s birthday is the second – and of course I am still frantically trying to finish socks for him. Thankfully, he loves me whether I finish the socks or not.

April 2 is also World Autism Awareness Day.

April 6 is National Tartan Day! Who knew!!

My sister has a birthday on the 11th.

Easter is in the middle of the month, so you still have some time to get your bonnet ready!

The 16th is Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia and the 17th is Patriot’s Day in Maine and Massachusetts!

April 17 is also the day I get my colonoscopy….

Tax Day is April 18 this year and in case you have not started yours yet – this is your warning to get started!!

And, April 27 is Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day!

So much April joy, I can barely contain myself!

If you would like to see what others had to say to April, you will find them here. And, if you would like to join Carole and me in this Think Write Thursday journey, you can sign up here.

The Wonder of Reading

The Best View

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is an interesting one: look out a window you don’t normally look out of and tell us what you see.

I am going to take that in an entirely different direction and see where that takes me.

Rather than a window, I am going to share my portal to my favorite neighbors and friends – the internet and my computer monitor!

  • It is the place where I find out how Bonny is doing, what she is growing, and her vacation memory posts of late have been so much fun!
  • Then I can look and see how Kym and Honore will inspire me – and the inspiration is always significant when you visit them!
  • I check to see if dear Margene has updated her blog and make a mental note to write her a letter.
  • The links at kmkat’s are always stellar and she serves things up with the perfect amount of sarcasm, which I deeply love.
  • I always enjoy Doug and Boone updates from Patty, and her Facebook messages are the best, just sayin’.
  • A visit to Sprite Writes is especially nice on the days she makes me think about what is beautiful in my world – thank you for making me stop and consider, Sprite!
  • From there I stop by to see what new adventures Gale has in store, her photos inspire me.
  • The day is never complete without a visit to Caffeine Girl, she is a fantastic knitter, and she reads such good books – but what I really love about her is her beautiful stitching.
  • Then I am off to visit Bridget and her darling cats. Her knitting is amazing as well.
  • The day is never complete without dear Mary. She has taught me so much about Timbered Choirs and she is warm and so welcoming. Her knitting is unreal and she shares the best glimpses into her life with Charlie and Sam.
  • A new friend is Juliann, but she is a welcome addition! She eats lovely things and she quilts! Oh my! I love her stitching so much. Add to that, she is a knitter and what is not to love? I have also shared the Just Five Things journey with her – and I look forward to another chapter this spring with her!
  • Then on to Wisconsin and Vicki aka Knitorious. I have been a long time lurker of Vicki, but I am happy I am no longer a lurker, but an actual commenter! She somehow does all the things – sewing, knitting, cooking, and her pictures are so lovely! I love that she shares Jun and Gin!
  • PA Knit/Wit is another recent friend and a very special one because she lives in Pittsburgh, and while we have not yet met – I hope that we will one day very soon. She is not only an amazing spinner – she is an amazing pattern writer!
  • Another Pennsylvania friend who is never short on inspiration is Karen – she lives in such a beautiful place and her photos that she shares are so incredible! She is also a prolific knitter and reader. No day is complete without her wise and gentle voice.
  • Finally, there is dear Carole – she is the thread through whom I made most of these connections. I visit Carole for so many reasons, but mostly for her. Her voice, her images, her joie de vivre, and yes – her beverages! No one quite does weekends quite like Carole, although, I do aspire. She has inspired me to be a better blogger. She has inspired me to be a better photographer. She has inspired me to be more welcoming… she just inspires me.

This is what my view is every single day. And, really… it does not get much better than this.

Want to see what everyone else wrote about for Think Write Thursday? You will find them all here. Want to join Carole and I on this journey? We would love to have you join us! You can sign up here.


Du-rman? Germa-tch?

Du-rman? Germa-tch?

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to write about your heritage. Are you Irish and ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow? Are you Italian or Greek or English? Tell us about your ethnic background and culture and how the traditions of your heritage fit into your lifestyle.

Well… that’s a mouth full, isn’t it? So much to think about!

My heritage is most interesting – my maternal roots are German and my paternal roots are Dutch – although, that is not hard to figure out – I was born in Zeeland, Michigan and grew up in Holland, Michigan and lived there most of my adult life!

However, some interesting facts to share:

My maiden name is Sloothaak and while there are a few of us in West Michigan, in the Netherland’s there are oodles and oodles of them! It was most enjoyable to look in the phone directory and see pages and pages and pages of my maiden name! And, in Dutch my name translates literally to “Ditch Hook” – or, really Ditch Digger. I had much fun with this – I mean really, how great is it that your claim to fame is digging ditches to keep the sewage off the streets… seriously. I am not kidding. You have my ancestors to thank if your ancestors did not have to walk in the sh*t (although, I take no responsibility for the smell!) Oh, and the pronunciation? Slōt-hăk not Slow-thack as many pronounced it in Holland – imagine my joy that in hearing those in the Netherland’s pronounce it perfectly!

My maternal grandparents have interesting history. My Grandpa was the Valedictorian of his high school class; however, his family did not have enough money to send him to college. He worked in a silk stocking mill (yes, he was a machine knitter!!) and he was also a union organizer. When he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in his 40’s he could no longer work, but he was the most wonderful Grandpa! He daily tried to “beat the Chinaman” playing Solitaire. He was an avid reader and a bird lover who could identify birds from their call alone! He could recite Carl Sandburg and Joyce Kilmer poetry – his favorites were Fog and Trees.

My maternal grandmother was a spitfire, truly! When my grandpa was unable to work, she went to Beauty School and became a hairdresser to support her family, she was good at this though – she had to quit school in the 5th grade when her step-mother died and as the oldest, she became the caretaker for her 5 siblings. She was also an amazing cook, she sewed, and canned, and made Sauerkraut in the garage. She learned to drive late in her life when it became necessary. She was my favorite person in all the world and I miss her so much every single day, but my life is so full of what she taught me – she was absolutely the biggest influence on my life today!

So, where do these influences show up today in my life? I simply love tulips and Holland Michigan does them well, but seeing the fields in the Netherlands was equally stunning. I also love a good Saucijzebroodjes (that is Pig in the Blanket for those that don’t know Dutch) and Hempel’s Pastry made the best! I have my well worn Eet Smakelijk Cookbook.

I also am a good Lutheran (well, as good as a Lutheran can be, you know Martin Luther did say ‘sin, and sin boldly’ and believe me I do!) I love Knödel (and my nana made the best!) While I do not make Sauerkraut in the garage, I do love it! And don’t forget the Bratwurst! However, the best nod to my heritage is my indomitable spirit that won’t give up. (In other words, I am as bull-headed as any German you might have ever met! LOL)

There you have it, a brief glimpse into the heritage of me! What things did your heritage give you?

If you want to see what others shared today, you can do so here. And, if you would like to take this Think Write Thursday journey with Carole and I, you can sign up here! We would love to have you join us!

The Wonder of Reading

When Bullying Hits Home

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to tell a story about bullying. A time you witnessed it and stepped up or maybe a time you witnessed and did nothing. Or, if you haven’t had a personal experience with bullying, feel free to write a fiction piece on this topic.

Some weeks I would like to say – who the heck picked this, but yeah – that would be me, so I apologize in advance for such a challenging topic!

I think we would all like to say that if we viewed a person being bullied that we would step up and speak out. We would like to, but this is not always the case. However, recently in Olanthe, KS an incident occurred of harassment occurred and a bystander stood up for those being bullied, sadly he was injured in the incident that left one victim injured also, and one victim was killed. Still – someone stood up for what was right – even with peril to his life.

However, I have no such noble tale to tell regarding my heroics in standing up to a bully. Rather I found this quote by Michael M. Honda most appropriate:

Everyone in America likely has a bullying story, whether as the victim, bully or as a witness.

Let that sink in a minute… yeah, bullying is all inclusive…

Now I will share my story:

Most of my childhood I shared a bedroom with my younger sister, and we shared a double bed. Not so bad, really… unless one of you is a bed-wetter. My sister, sadly, wet the bed for years – really…years. However, thankfully, she does NOT read this blog! However, I am quite certain that I did not help at all in her bed-wetting issues, and perhaps I even made things worse.

I am ashamed to admit this today, but I delighted in scaring my sister with tales of the “monsters that lived under the bed, and if you could avoid them – the ones in the closet never, ever miss,” and delight I did. The more she was scared the happier I was.

Perhaps her wetting the bed was my just reward for being such a truly horrid child. I am most certain I deserved it, yet my sister, miraculously, does not hold my pathetic behavior against me – although we do not talk about the night terrors I gave her. Perhaps it is time that we do – a conversation that begins with my sincere apologies for my horrid behavior.

I am no longer that horrid little girl and I have grown to be a vocal advocate for bullying where and when I see it. I debated with my self about turning off comments for this post – but, I opted to leave them open. This post was not written to garner your sympathy, and as Mary said it is amazing the things we share here – if she could share her closet, I could do no less than share this story.

Today the final line from my Lenten devotion hit home… ‘is there a task that God has put on your heart?’ Yes, indeed there is.

If you would like read more Think Write Thursday posts from today you will find them here. If you would like to join Carole and me in our Think Write Thursday journey – we would love to have you join us! You can sign up here.

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