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Caught Up in the World of French Literature

I have heard from various readers that they have missed my blog posts. I just want to let you know that it's not because I haven't been writing. What I've been doing is adapting French literature for my students. It's a project that started a year ago.

Now that my MLF 202 students have gone through my adaptations, I felt ready to make them available for other French classes. So I am excited to tell you they are now published on Amazon!

The pictures of the books below are linked to the pages on Amazon:
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Planning Ahead

We're in the time of the school year where we teachers are doing lots of planning for the semester and, really, for the whole school year. Planning out a semester's worth of work is harder than it might seem, to those who have never taught. You keep evaluating and re-evaluating whether you can get it all done or if you have enough, if you've left out anything vital, and on and on it goes — particularly if you have a new course or a new textbook.

As I am currently working through the final details of my course syllabi, I thought it would be nice to take a look at some pictures of examples of poor planning or poor execution of good plans. This could also be titled "You had only one job!" but we'll consider mostly the planning aspect.

Did you know that they have schools to teach you to plan?! Even at a school where they teach architects to plan buildings, things don't always work out....

College of Architectural Planning

The plans for this drain were clearly too lofty.

Bad Drainage

Here's a different kind of drainage problem.
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I Greet You, Wholeheartedly!

This has been the "Summer of the Heart" for me.

In my last blog post, when I recounted all the adventures on my trip out west, I left out one huge part of the adventure. Today I will fill in that part of the story for you, which actually began during exam week at school. But to understand that portion of the saga, I need to give you some background information. (I could go on and on, but I'll try to give you a Reader's Digest condensed version, shrinking 15+ years into a few paragraphs.)

For about 15 years I have been aware of my heart fluttering or even racing from time to time. About 5 years ago it started happening fairly frequently, sometimes accompanied with lightheadedness. Because of some family history, my doctor referred me to a cardiologist who scheduled me for a nuclear stress test. The test revealed that there were no blockages and that my heart was pumping my blood very well. This was good news to me since my dad died of a heart attack at the age of 42. The autopsy revealed that several of his coronary arteries were almost completely blocked.

The cardiologist released me to my family doctor who said he had no idea why I was experiencing what I was, but to let him know if I had further difficulties. During the several months following the stress test, I had hardly any episodes of my heart racing. That is, until I went to see my doctor for my annual physical. As I sat on the table waiting for the doctor, I felt my heart start to race. I decided not to say anything and wait to see what the doctor said when he heard it. He kept moving the stethoscope around on my chest and finally asked, "Are you OK?" I replied, "It's fast, isn't it?" He responded, "It's crazy fast!" He had his nurse give me an EKG, but my heart had already stopped racing as the nurse put the pads in place.
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Go West, Old Man! Go East, Young Man and Old Man!

I am breaking my "blogging fast" to tell you about the trip I made the week after school was out. One of the sons of long-time friends of ours has been living in Oregon for three years, first doing an internship in a church, then completing a masters degree. After visiting family here in Greenville over the Christmas break, he and his wife realized how much they missed both sides of the family and decided that they wanted to move back here when David's school year was over.

When David's dad Rick and I were talking after church the first Sunday in April, I asked about their upcoming move. He told me that Hattie and their soon-to-be-two-year-old son Apollo were going to fly back later in April. David was going to drive their car, towing a big U-Haul trailer back to South Carolina the second week of May. Rick wasn't excited about his making the trip alone. Knowing that I wouldn't want to make that trip alone myself, I told him I would be happy to drive back with David, if I could get my body to Oregon. Rick said he would fly me to Oregon if I would drive back with David. Becka thought it was a great idea and said she was glad it was I who was making the drive and not she. Rick checked with David, just to be sure he was willing to spend 5 days on the road with me, and he was!

The least expensive ticket I could find had me arriving several days before David would be able to leave, so I contacted one of my roommates from my college days, Tim, to see if he would be up to a visit from me. He said he definitely was, and he would love to see me and to show me a little bit of Portland, Oregon. So within several days, my one-way ticket was purchased, and I would be on my way out west in about a month. Tim and I would have just an evening and the following full day together before I needed to leave the following morning to join David in Bend, Oregon.

My flight took us over part of the Grand Canyon. I wish it hadn't been so cloudy. If you look carefully, you can make out the canyon beyond the wing of the plane.

Grand Canyon from Airplane

You know you have a layover at the airport in Las Vegas when....
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The past is a bucket of ashes

Yesterday morning Pastor Conley read a poem that was written by Carl Sandburg in 1922. I don't remember ever having read the poem before, but it resonated with me and I thought I'd post it on my blog. If you read it aloud, it is particularly stirring.

"The past is a bucket of ashes."

The woman named Tomorrow
sits with a hairpin in her teeth
and takes her time
and does her hair the way she wants it
and fastens at last the last braid and coil
and puts the hairpin where it belongs
and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead.

The doors were cedar
and the panels strips of gold
and the girls were golden girls
and the panels read and the girls chanted:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.
The doors are twisted on broken hinges.
Sheets of rain swish through on the wind
where the golden girls ran and the panels read:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.

It has happened before.
Strong men put up a city and got
a nation together,
And paid singers to sing and women
to warble: We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.

And while the singers sang
and the strong men listened
and paid the singers well
and felt good about it all,
there were rats and lizards who listened
… and the only listeners left now
… are … the rats … and the lizards.

And there are black crows
crying, "Caw, caw,"
bringing mud and sticks
building a nest
over the words carved
on the doors where the panels were cedar
and the strips on the panels were gold
and the golden girls came singing:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.

The only singers now are crows crying, "Caw, caw,"
And the sheets of rain whine in the wind and doorways.
And the only listeners now are … the rats … and the lizards.

The feet of the rats
scribble on the door sills;
the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
chatter the pedigrees of the rats
and babble of the blood
and gabble of the breed
of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
of the rats.

And the wind shifts
and the dust on a door sill shifts
and even the writing of the rat footprints
tells us nothing, nothing at all
about the greatest city, the greatest nation
where the strong men listened
and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was.


Do you think it applies to society today or only to times past? Have things changed since Sandburg wrote this in 1922?


"Leave it all in the hands that were wounded for you." — Elisabeth Elliot (Through the Gates of Splendor)

=^..^= =^..^=

There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.