Posted in Frabjous Friday

I’d Like a Big Hug with a Side of Fries

A couple weeks ago my Frabjous Friday post offered up a sweet hug, and today’s post highlights a young man who is all about the hugs.

Enjoy a brief video of Tim Harris–a restaurateur who just happens to have Down Syndrome.  And a whole lotta heart.

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

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Posted in Frabjous Friday

Meet Mr. Google

I love reference librarians. From the time I was a kid, I would go up to the reference desk of my local library, ask a question…and get an answer. How awesome is that? Sometimes the answer was, “Let’s go see if it’s in such-and-such book,” but there was always the thirst for knowledge and the desire to help.

As a teacher, I tried to communicate to my students that being smart didn’t necessarily mean you had all the answers, but that you knew how to find them.

And then along came Google.

Google is like a reference librarian on giNORmous steroids.

If you know me, you know that I might have a teensy issue with whipping out my smartphone and Googling something that I am wondering about. I get taken to task for it…until someone else wants to know the answer to something. Then Mr. Google is cool.

And what if there really was a Mr. Google?

It might look something like this:

Poor guy. So many crazy searches to deal with.

And what exactly happens to all that “stuff” floating out there? What if Mr. Google was really…Big Brother? …watching you?

Maybe you should Google that.

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

Posted in Bits & Pieces, Frabjous Friday

The World Needs More Hugs

This Frabjous Friday post is simple, short, and sweet. It’s a kitten video. You don’t like kitten videos? You can go suck it. Oops. Sorry. That seems rather counter to the Frabjous Friday spirit I aim to cultivate. How about “you can go and inhale quickly and deeply” (especially if you’re in Colorado)?

At any rate, this little video lifted my spirits, and I hope it does the same for you.

I, for one, could sure use more hugs like this:

How about you?

Thanks to my niece Monica for sharing this video on Facebook yesterday! What a viral world we live in!

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

Posted in Bits & Pieces, Frabjous Friday

The Day Harper Lee Wrote Back

Harper Lee 2
Harper Lee in 2007

The idea behind my Frabjous Friday posts is to share something joyful–or at least something that will make you smile. Today’s post was a very joyful moment in my life, and I’d like to share it with you. It happened 17 years ago almost to the day. It’s a little longer than my typical Friday post, but I hope you’ll find it worth your time.

Back when I taught high school English, my freshman class read To Kill a Mockingbird as one of our core novels. I loved that book as a student, and I treasured it as a teacher. So many layers to explore and think about all delivered in a wonderfully descriptive and even suspenseful way. There was no greater joy for me as a teacher than to see a student come alive within the pages of a book, and Ms. Lee’s one and only published novel kindled that time and again.

One of the activities that we did after reading it was to send notes to Harper Lee. The first time I did this and told the kids we were really going to send the letters, they were stunned. Really? In junior high they did the activity frequently, and it was just for “pretend,” as they called it. I told them why wouldn’t we send them when she is still around to receive them? This made them take their own words a little more seriously. A real author–one whose work many had grown to care for–would be reading it, after all!

I showed them all how I put their letters into a big manila envelope and addressed it to “Harper Lee, Monroeville, Alabama” with the proper zip code. Since Harper Lee was a recluse, this was the best I could do. I figured the town knew her whereabouts.

The first year’s letter writing experience had been positive enough that I did it again the next year, with much the same response from the students. As a teacher, it was satisfying to know that the kids realized their words were being delivered. It mattered.

I just didn’t know it mattered to Ms. Lee, too.

One day, a few weeks after the second batch of letters had been sent, I went to my teacher’s mailbox. Inside was an envelope the size of a thank you card, and I could see that the return address had “Monroeville, AL” written on it. My hands started to tremble. Was it possible that one of the nation’s great authors had written back to us?

Why, yes. Yes she did.

Harper

I couldn’t believe it. How kind she was to let my students (and me!) know that she had read every letter with “great care and enjoyment.” My students were giddy with excitement–and it’s not often you see 14-year-olds giddy about anything. It was a tremendous validation for them–and for me as an educator. Words matter. Thought matters. Kindness matters.

I hope my former students think back on that experience with joy. I know I do. Ms. Lee’s letter still graces my office and makes me smile every time I see it.

17 years ago Harper Lee wished me and my students a Happy New Year. How cool is that?

Happy New Year to all of you, too!

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” ~Atticus Finch

Posted in Bits & Pieces, Frabjous Friday

George Bailey, I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die

I’m a bit of an It’s a Wonderful Life fan. (Like…it’s my very favorite-est!) I’ve already shared a bit about that. To me, the movie resonates deeply on a number of levels. But it’s Frabjous Friday time, so I won’t get into a long discourse on why this movie is so amazingly awesome.

What I will share here is a new joy that the movie is bringing me. See, I’ve always been an old movie buff, so it’s no shock that my relationship with IAWL began when I was just a kid (back in the day when the copyright had expired and they showed it approximately 20,498 times a season). But in this day and age, most people under 30 (or maybe even 40) are pretty much not interested in a black and white movie. (“It’s booooring.” Sigh.)

That’s why the fact that my kid is loving It’s a Wonderful Life is a huge joy to me. The torch has been passed. My kid is starting to “get” the depth that the movie has to offer, and I am delighted. As the years go on, I’m hoping his love for it grows, and that he’ll be able to share it with his child one day.

That’s all I’ll say on my beloved movie today. Except if you haven’t seen it in a while (or…ever?!?!?), you should make the time to do so. It will be time well spent. (And someday I’m going to watch it with the sole purpose of counting how many sayings from the movie have become a part of our family’s lexicon–I’m a little scared to find out. I know it will be a number deep into the double digits.)

Happy Frabjous Friday, folks. I hope you were all able to make some wonderful memories this Christmas season…after all, it IS a wonderful life!

[Email subscribers: please remember you will have to click through to my blog to view the clip.]

Posted in Frabjous Friday

Sometimes the Absence of Pain Is Enough

stomachOne of my personal mantras is “the absence of pain does not equal joy.” It’s a way of reminding me not to think that life is joyful just because conflicts have subsided or challenges have been met. There is more, and I don’t want to settle for less. However…on this Frabjous Friday, I am making an exception.

These last couple of days have been filled with sickness. First my son, and then me. An angry stomach bug made mincemeat out of us. It was powerful and mean. Yesterday, my son’s took a turn for the better right as mine took one for the worse. I was so grateful for this timing because it allowed me to take care of him long enough for me to collapse when he was improving.

Late in the night, as I was praying for mercy that the sickness would leave, I couldn’t help but think about those who are single parents and don’t have the luxury of a loving spouse to be the caregiver. Of those who are homeless and don’t have a bathroom that they can camp out in to weather this kind of storm. Of those who endure chemo and have their bodies ravaged time and again in hopes of killing a bigger monster. Being sick sucks, but I know that I have many blessings others don’t.

Amidst that mindfulness, though, it was still agony.

I am happy to report, though, that my son and I are on the mend–and that absence of pain brings me great joy today. It so totally does. So take the day off, personal mantra. Today is a day where I am delighted that the pain has subsided, and that is enough for me.

For any of you going through one kind of pain or another, I pray that your pain subsides and that you can have the joy of that absence. Sometimes it is the best life has to offer for a time, and we need to cling to it for all it’s worth.

PS–I know this isn’t usually what I aim to do for a typical Frabjous Friday post, but after our sickness bout, I am so delighted that I am even able to string words together to form sentences. For right now, it’s all I got.