Friday, 30 December 2016


After three and a half years as primary president (and another year and a half before that as a counselor) I've been released from service in the primary at church. It's hard to wrap my head around it.  I've spent five years watching about 100 kids learn and discover the scriptures and the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've challenged them, expected more, guided them, and watched them bloom. I've encouraged their questions and pointed them toward answers. We sang and read and talked.

I would say that the time was defined for me by Colin's class.  I started when Colin had just turned seven. In a bit of an unusual move, I suggested we move Colin's class of 6 boys and 2 girls into the older division (senior primary) a year early. They were a class of first borns, children a little wiser than their years. Plus the junior group was huge and the move would make the two groups more balanced and easier to manage.  The younger group has more songs and games and stories, and the spiritual concepts are presented in a simpler way. The older group we challenge more, have deeper conversations and encourage them to find their own spiritual way.

Over the next 4 years, I watched as Colin's class blossomed in unimaginable ways. Their questions and insights were remarkable for ones their age. And, as the oldest children in their family, we began to see their leadership emerge, to see the positive influence they were having over their younger siblings.

All of this culminated in their primary presentation this past November. Once a year the children have a chance to present what they have learned over the year to the congregation in the main service.  Traditionally, the leaders have written little lines for each child to recite.  A few children will read a short talk they had prepared during the year. And they will all sing the songs they have learned.  But three years ago I wanted to change this.  Colin's class, and the rest of the older group, were capable of so much more. So I released the writing to them. For those who didn't want to write a talk, I had them read a scripture passage. But everything that was read came from them. People told me it wouldn't work, but it did, and it was amazing.  This past November I stepped it up once again. This time, I told the 8-11 year olds that they would run the entire presentation.  I provided lists of the order of talks and songs, and they were in charge of doing everything in the right order.  As leaders, instead of sitting up on the stand with the kids, we all sat in the congregation. And they did it. There was one glitch, but they even worked that out.

The past ten years have changed the way religion and spirituality fits in our lives. Religion used to be about providing answers to life's mysteries, but there are fewer and fewer mysteries out there now. In the age of information, a faith in God is really about accessing a spiritual element in our being. I wanted the kids in my primary to learn about God's word, to develop a prayer life, and to start to understand their purpose here.

This year, Colin's class will turn 12, and move into the youth program.  To have seen this group through this stage of their childhood has been a privilege.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


(The last few months have been empty - life is busy and my writing time is devoted to school work. Nevertheless the blog isn't abandoned, just infrequent.)

A new year is arriving, and although I'm in the throes of schooling, and in spite of previous posts about September always being the new year to me, my mind seems to be rolling about new year ideas. And so they will make their way here.

"Create" is my word for 2017.  A friend told me that her goal as a school librarian and keeper of the school technology was to encourage students to create instead of consume.  Her words have stuck with me.  Our entire family has fallen into a tech zombie-like state.  The constant demand on my brain of schooling has led me to want to completely veg out with my free time (ha - what free time?!) I've watched more mindless Netflix and played more video games (what?) than ever before. Similarly, I've been very lenient with allowable screen time for the kids.  100+ hours of school every week has completely changed how life is running in our house. I'm giving myself a bit of a pass for the 16 months or so I'll spend in school.  But I still have some very pressing things on my mind.

Create, not consume. When was the last time my kids created something in their spare time? Voluntarily decided to use the talents they have to explore their own ideas? When was the last time I did the same?  Do the kids even have the idea to do this? Do they see it being modeled around them?

Over the last couple of days I've offered to get out the actual real paint for the kids. Juliette and I co-created three different lovely paintings that hang in the wall on the play room now, and Caleb did one on his own.  I've once again picked up my instruments (violin, flute, guitar and piano for right now) to create my own music. I'm writing again. I have an idea that the kids and I can write our own little book.  It's so cheap to publish little photo books now that we could actually write and publish our own book, staring the kids, or featuring illustrations they have done. Juliette and I did some beading and make jewelry.  That's about the end of my ideas right now, but I'm on the lookout for more.

The truth is, the kids will love and do the things they see around them all the time. When they see the love and passion that creating brings me, they will want to create also.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Today I have been thinking about tears. I saw a beautiful video about honouring those who fought and died for our country, and I saw a grown man, a soldier, an elder, with tears streaming down his face as the national anthem played. Little droplets fell ran down his cheeks and dropped off of his chin. I wondered if he wanted to move his hand from his heart to wipe them away, to erase the evidence of such emotion. His hand did not move. Perhaps he didn't feel shame. Perhaps the pride and honour overwhelmed any embarrassment.

I have had more than a few moments these past weeks where I have lost everything in a torrent of tears. I've right now is more overwhelming than I've ever experienced to this point. And each time I've locked myself away, alone, to allow the release of the tears in private. Afterwards I've slipped away into a bathroom to splash my face, or I've willed myself to stop so that the redness can fade away, or I've covered the sniffle with a Kleenex and a "cold." I did not want those tears to become public.

Today I sat and thought about the design of crying. When we are overwhelmed with sadness inside, we cry in the outside. We cry on our face - the very place where people look when they connect with us. There is little we can do to stop those tears when they come. They stream down and tell others "she is sad!"  Sadness could have been designed to stay internal, but it's not.

In other words, when we are sad, we are designed to communicate that sadness to others. Somehow, it is important for people to know that we are hurting. They are meant to see the wetness of the tears in the moment and even the echo of sadness through the lingering redness in the eyes. Maybe it's hard to hide that we've been crying so that we don't hide it.  People can see it and reach out, connect, love. Sadness is not something to tuck away, but a way for love to be extended and communication to flow and connection to increase.

Maybe next time I won't hide away when I cry, and you might see me and be what I need in that moment.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016


We are in the throws of soccer season again, and loving it.  All four kids have game day on Wednesday, including two kids traveling out of town.  It's tough to schedule, but we're managing each week with the help of friends and family.  I have to say, I love that I am expanding village.  Instead of closing in, keeping to ourselves, and piling in our own van and shuttling everyone around, this introvert is stepping out and talking to more people, asking for help, and deepening friendships.

I love to watch Colin play.  He's so quick on his feet and adept at handling the ball.  When he's passed the ball, you can watch him run and deke and be down the field before you know it.

A couple of weeks ago, they played on home field against a really good team.  It was a close game, but our boys eked out a 5-4 victory.  Colin had some great assists on goals, and was his usual quick self darting up and down the field.  At the end of the game, during the congratulatory handshakes with the other team, the opposing coach took Colin aside and told him in a thick Scottish accent "It is a real pleasure to watch you play."

It's true.  Colin is the smallest player on the team, often a full head shorter than teammates and opposing players.  But his speed and agility and ability to handle the ball usually brings out some real compliments from the parents on the sideline.  It's lovely to watch him do something so well that he loves so much.

Sunday, 29 May 2016


Benjamin is at a most wondrous age right now.  His red hair falls into his eyes, around his face, and gives him an impish look that matches his personality.

He has an aura of wonder about him.  He has a tie to bugs and critters and animals and "all creatures of our God and King."  He was the first kid to be able to coax our cat into the open during the day; Ben's little body that is always moving stops and rests as he gentle strokes her back.  The other day Ben arrived home from school and announced he had a new pet: Catty the caterpillar.  He opened his hands to reveal the pet he'd found at lunch and had secretly tended through the afternoon of school.  We took off, the two of us, to the store to find a small bug container, which he filled with sticks and leaves and flowers for his beloved pet.  (Alas she lasted but a few hours before an "outing" ended with her falling through the deck boards.)

He also has a special tie with the husband and wife, Tom and Shelley Wolf, who were his Sunday school teachers when he was 2 and 3.  Even at this young age, I can see that these are Ben's kind of people.  They are vegans; Ben already doesn't like to eat meat.  They love all things earth and natural and off the grid - they live in a home built into the ground lined with tire walls and heated by woodstoves; Ben loves to be in the wild and woods.  Tom is a musician (drummer); Ben has a natural musical ability in a little sweet soprano voice.  They ride a motorcycle; Ben is in awe and wants and orange helmet so he can ride on the back.  Tom and Shelley took to Ben, our little rascal; Ben always sits with them on Sundays during the main service, and now and then they take him out to see a movie.  While I know James and I are the main influences in Ben's life, I strongly desire other people to be in our village to help our children grow.  Tom is definitely this for Ben.

While there are endless shenanigans, and unending bouts of teasing of Juliette, he has a grin that melts hearts.  He loves to cuddle and read with me, and his daddy is his hero.  Ben loves to have that one on one time with either of us.  We love this little guy with everything in us.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

On the way to school

I saw this fantastic documentary the other night.  I turned it on because I couldn't sleep, but then I couldn't sleep because I was so caught up.

The film follows for children (about 11 years old) who, in order to get to school, must travel anywhere between 2 and 4 hours each way.  Each journey is done on their own, or with a younger sibling.  Each must walk through African desert, or Moroccan mountains, or from a remote South American outpost, or a far away Indian hut.  Two young brothers no more than 6 or 7 pulled a makeshift wheelchair holding their older brother, trudging through sand and mud and rivers.  A girl waited for someone to let her hitch a ride for the last leg of her journey.

I was struck to the core about how precious education was to these children and their families.  That their parents would send out their children, so young, all alone, through a long, unmarked and dangerous journey every single day.  That the student so valued going to school that there were no complaints about the rocky paths or charging herd of elephants.  There was little more going on in the film that simply watching the long walk on the way to school; it provided a ripe endroit for pondering.

How much we take school for granted here, as students and as teachers.  By the end of the film my heart was as full of passion as my eyes of tears.  I cried out to no one (to my future students, a plea!) "Learn and dream and learn and dream and learn and dream then go and do something!"

These four children were asked why they went to school, and each dreamed of beautiful ways to change the world.  I thought about myself becoming a teacher, and I admonished myself sternly.  "Do not ever, ever, simply "phone it in."  Look what education can do! I am not worthy of the position if I take it for granted.  Do not think that I must fill empty heads with my own pride, but instead I must inspire them to find what it is they are meant to do in this world.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Quieting my heart

I just read this phrase and it stuck to me like glue. Quieting my heart. Yes, I need more of that in my life.  My life is busy, I'm busy, my kids are busy. We don't practice a lot of quiet here.  Three boys and a girl trying to keep up with the boys has made me honour their high activity, but I wonder if I've leaned too far that way. I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of a Sabbath.  A weekly rest, a true rest.  Over the past years we've used the Sabbath as a rest from weekly chores and work, so that we can spend time as a family. But more often than not we are biking or walking or dancing or generally being active as we usually are.

Other than Colin, I'm not sure my children really know how to quiet their hearts.  How to meditate, or read or colour or write or rest. How to withdraw from the noise and bustle and fill the need to listen to their hearts, their minds, their spirits, God's voice.  But even Colin and I, as introverts, may not be truly quieting our hearts when we withdraw from the rest of our social family members.  We may just be filling our heads with more noise.

I think I'll ponder a little more on this idea.  I've heard that you can start with as little as five minutes at a time on a Sunday afternoon.  Maybe find a quiet spot in the house, encourage them to read or write and maybe daydream a little.  Or maybe we can even combine it with a hike. My favourite place to rest is among the trees or by the lake and under the blue sky.  Now that the Canadian winter has (finally!) melted away, maybe a Sunday walk is in order?

Maybe I'll have to quiet my own heart to feel where my family needs to be on this. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

I can't help it

Currently I'm filling in for a core French teacher.  I have 8 classes a day, most are 30 minutes in length.  I'm jumping in right in the middle of the year, into things the teacher was already doing.  She gave me a few papers and worksheets I could do.  I may only be here for a few more days, but I may have two or three weeks.

And I can't help myself.  We are making a movie.

It's a big project.  It will take lots of planning on my part and serious focus on the student's part.  But already today, on the first day, I had kids asking if they could have "more french classes."  I had some excited for a double french period I swung with their teacher.  I've increased my workload but I can't help it.  It's just the sort of teacher I am.  It's my passion and I'm bringing it into the class to teach them french.

With a whole book of worksheets I could easily be photocopying and handing out the next page in the book for the next month (or longer.)  But I couldn't do that as a teacher anymore than I would like it as a student.

I feel like I'm bursting.  I've been asked to join a small group of teachers who are passionate about project based learning.  My bedtime reading is pamphlets and books and videos of other schools operating in the margins like this.  I'm in contact again with my own grade five teacher who taught this way and inspired my entire view of education.  If you ask, I will go on at length.  In fact, I apologize to all of you who will have to bend a listening ear.  I can't keep it all in.

Some days it kills me that I've got to wait two years (while getting my degree) until I can run with a class of my own.  Other days I can't wait to have 29 other people whose ear's I can chew off.  I'm grateful for this new group I'll meet on Thursday.  My "tribe" (love their term).  Passion is pouring out of me.  I'm buzzing and bursting and floating and hitting the ground running.  I can't help it.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

The one thing I don't let my kids get away with

Juliette has lately developed a very strange illness...when it is time to tidy up her arms suddenly become very sore and tired.  Uh uh.  No way.  Tidying up is something I've never let any of my kids get out of.  The bathroom can wait five minutes, or we can leave a few minutes late for an appointment, or dinner can be warmed.

I've noticed the same thing when I'm supply teaching at schools.  I have a very lax policy on leaving the class.  Unless there are strict rules in place by the teacher, I have no problem with kids needing to walk around and stretch their legs (often under the guise of bathroom or water fountain breaks.) I've noticed some kids need to leave frequently throughout the day and there is no way their bladders are that small.  More likely is that they are like lions in a cage and those four walls are driving them a little batty.  But at the end of the day when it's time to get the classroom back in order, I close and seal the door.  Inevitably there are at least a half dozen kids who suddenly have to use the bathroom, and their faces are priceless when I firmly turn them back.

I also get a lot of "but my desk is clean" or "I can't stay after the bell" or "I'm already done my chore."  I reply that the door will not open again until the entire class is cleaned up, and if they can't stay then they should help someone else finish.  If they are done, they should help someone else.  Check the floor, check the desks, check something that still needs doing.

I'm sure it might become a thing I am known for, but that is okay with me.

Friday, 4 March 2016


Movie night tonight: Tangled.  But at the end when Rapunzel was reunited with her parents, Juliette wasn't satisfied.  "But where are her brothers?  She can't be happy ever after without brothers."

Tuesday, 1 March 2016


We're in.

Starting September 2016, James and I will both take two years to attend teacher's college.  Together.  At the same time.  What an adventure.  We've spent the last 12 years building a family business and raising a family.  Now we are entering the next stage of our lives, and, as always, we are doing it together.

Juliette starts school in September.  So we will see them off on the school bus, then hop in a car together and drive over to Waterloo.  Two years together, in school, completing assignments, working on projects, and creating lesson plans.  Some have said we're crazy, but honestly, we love working together.

There's only one (very small) problem...from kindergarten to university graduation, both James and I were number one in our classes.  So now, one of us will have to settle for second :)

Tuesday, 23 February 2016


So Caleb had a question for me the other day.  I swear I don't know how kids get so smart:

"If something came along and hit the earth really, really hard and threw it out of its orbit, would the earth knock right out of its atmosphere or would the atmosphere still stay around the earth?"

(If you know, pass along your knowledge.  We still aren't sure on this one.)

Monday, 22 February 2016

Teaching method

For years, (possibly since grade 5) I have been exploring this idea I have about a teaching method.  Way back in grade five, an inspirational teacher had an idea to give us freedom in the classroom and control over our education.  Almost every subject involved independent learning, going at our own pace, and as much choice over each assignment as he could give us.  I could whiz through the math if it was easy, and slow down over a project that needed more time.  I was interested and vested in each project, which brought out my best work.  I often went over and above because I genuine interest in what I was doing.

Grade five through grade eight continued in this way.  As it turned out, however, this was more to do with being in a class outside of the regular stream (gifted.)  Over the years, the more I considered my "special education," the more I realized just how many kids might benefit from this type of classroom.

I eventually came to the decision to go to teacher's college and become a certified teacher.  In preparation, I began supply teaching and volunteering.  Getting into so many different classes began to give me a sense of what types of classrooms and teaching methods were out there.  The more I taught, the more I realized how unique my vision was.  There were a handful of teachers who verged on the idea, but no one was running their classroom the way I wanted to.

Then, finally, I hit the jackpot.  I came into a grade five classroom (not a coincidence, I think) and found the teacher running a project based curriculum.  He used technology to provide lessons and videos to convey information (instead of laminated cards and library books like I used 25 years ago.)  But the majority of each day was for the students to use as they wished.  Each term they were given a list of the projects and subjects which had to be completed.  Proposals are completed to make sure the tasks meet grade requirements, but there is so much latitude that there are many ways each student can personalize the project.

The teacher and I met at lunch and the exchange of ideas was exhilarating.  It turns out this is a pilot project for him, an idea that he wasn't sure would work but was passionate about enough to risk falling flat on his face if it failed.  It hasn't.  All but one student have thrived on the method.

I find out next week if I'm accepted to teacher's college, but I'm so disillusioned with the idea of being relegated to one of the hundreds of classroom's I've seen.  What I really want is to work with this teacher to develop and hone this method, and then see if we can inspire other teachers to use it also.  Perhaps it can be adapted for younger students (as it stands I wouldn't use it below age 10.) 

I have to remind myself that there is a time and a season for everything, and that even if I have to spend two years learning in other ways, I will have many years to come back to something like this.

Friday, 5 February 2016


There have been only a few times in my life when direct reassurement has come by way of scripture.  They are powerful spiritual moments and ones that seat themselves deep in my faith.

Our family is currently in the midst of a big life shift.  We are looking to change our means of family income, which will mean great upheaval from the last decade.  It is time, and it is right, but the details still feel unsettled.  We are waiting for word about further education, and trying to consider options should that not pan out.  All the while we are trying to make sure we make prayerful decisions so that we choose the right path for our family.

The past year and a half have been a struggle in our business as we try to right many wrongs from the past.  None of the decisions that were ill-made were ours, but unfortunately they have directly affected us.  Slowly, painfully, and carefully, we have made prudent decisions to right the ship.  And yet we have encountered opposition at every turn.

How is it possible that a spirit-led decision does not roll out smoothly?  If it is God's will for us, why does he not make the path straight?  Why are others able to make terrible decisions that derail our efforts?  Did we choose wrong?  Is it God's way of shutting the door and getting us on a different path?  In truth, these months have nearly broken my faith completely.  I have clung to the notion that God opens doors when we do his will, and yet it seems he is breaking our hearts and our spirits.

Nothing short of powers of hell and schemes of man have befallen us.  There have been moments of deep heaving sobs, soul-crushing weights, and tidal waves of fear that literally weaken my knees as I collapse to the floor.

And yet, as always (I never seem to remember this), this - THIS - is the very place God meets us and makes an unforgettable impact on our lives.  On my life.

I randomly opened my bible to Nehemiah.  Who reads Nehemiah?  Generally it's the Psalms that offer a healing balm, a sense that someone else knows this pain, too.  My eyes fell on the pages, the story of Nehemiah and the exiles Jews.  There was a vague familiarity; apparently I have read Nehemiah at some point in my past.  Nehemiah visits Jerusalem and sees the ruins of the temple.  It breaks his heart and he is inspired to rebuild it all.  With permission from the king, he gathers the Jewish people and they start to slowly raise the temple, the walls, the gates.

And then the opposition comes.  Political scheming and accusations, threats to their physical safety.  Nehemiah has to arm the laborers, set shifts to build and shifts to protect.  Over and over the opposition rises up.

God had sanctioned the rebuilding, but he did not clear the way.  Even on the right path, even with a righteous desire, the enemy was still allowed to press in.  It didn't make the path wrong.  It wasn't God trying to dissuade the people from their efforts.  Nehemiah stayed close to God, prayed continually for assurance, and then soldiered on.

Often in trying to create relevance from scriptural stories written thousands of years ago, the effort is non-existent or trite.  I draw vague modern parallels and make weak commitments.  But then, something such as this bursts forth from the pages and it is so relevant that the truth of it is undeniable.

We are on God's sanctioned path for us.  Our enemies are, sadly, real men and women with evil intent, with desire to harm.  But as we arm ourselves for protection and move forward, the end result is that our new dream will rise from the ruins in all its glory, just as the temple of Jerusalem did in ages past.

Thursday, 4 February 2016


If I become a teacher with my own classroom, I am making a solemn promise right here, right now.

I will let the light in through my windows.

There is a very common classroom habit right now of covering up windows.  Not with curtains or blinds to ease the bright sunlight from blinding students, but simply to get more wall space to put things up.  Now, to begin with I don't like wall clutter.  It makes my brain buzz and distracts me to no end.  But I have seen many teachers put big brown sheets of paper over windows so that they can hang more instructions and work and stuff.  Even more unsettling for me are the new giant wall sliders.  They are like big window size cork boards that slide right over the windows and cover them completely.  I have walked into a classroom and thought "oh, it's sad they have no windows here" only to realize the teacher has rolled these walls over top of them.

I will have windows.

I want the sun to stream in in all its glory.  I want the light and the warmth.  I want students to look out into the world and wonder.  I want them to gaze into the sky and dream.  I want them to be a little distracted so that I never fool myself into thinking it is better to have complete control over their minds and imaginations.  I want them to connect to things outside of my box.  I want them to have one foot in and one foot out.

I want them to love windows.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Oh computer trouble

It's been a month since I've written...because I was having trouble getting into the writing posts part of my account.  I never did fix the problem but I've found a work around.

So many times I've sat down with little thoughts and ideas, inspirations, books, frustrations, trials and victories.  Now I feel like they are gone with the wind.

January has passed like the months before.  Supply teaching, writing, parenting, music.

I sent in Juliette's kindergarten registration this week.  Perhaps it was a good thing that we had had a particularly hard day together (it's been like that for a while.)  She spent the majority of the afternoon and evening yelling at me, unhappy with everything around her.  So as I filled in the registration I wasn't feeling all that emotional.  But come September I am guessing I'll feel differently.

Colin and Caleb are firmly entrenched in rep soccer.  Right now it's two nights a week, but things will get complicated come the summer.  The current schedule has all four kids having their soccer game on Wednesday night.  I'm not sure how that will pan out, given that Colin's are travel games to nearby cities.  But such are the joys of four children.  I love that they have this talent and love as part of their identity.  James and I have talked often about how navigating the high school years is much easier when you have a "thing."  Too many teens are floating aimlessly in their free time, which can lead to trouble.  I had both field hockey and the theatre, and both of these things helped me find friends with common interests, and kept my nose in the books (if your grades slip you aren't allowed to participate in extra-curricular activities.)

Benjamin is trying his best to catch up with his older brothers, and I fear he may never quite manage.  He always seems to be in between, oscillating between his older brothers and Juliette.  We're working hard on helping him find his own place in the family (that will hopefully eliminate the whining!)

I've been supply teaching quite a bit, so much so that I feel like a real part of the staff at the local school.  I know most of the teachers now, and I feel quite comfortable settling into a chair in the staff room and participating in conversation.  My hope is that I will be able to teach at that very school when I graduate.

And finally, I'm well on my way on my first publishing goal.  As chance (providence) would have it, a group of women in a church Facebook group were looking for a scripture study program.  I offered mine, as a sort of test pilot.  They are eager, which means that as of Monday I'm on the hook for posting one entry per day, 5 days a week for 8 weeks.  I'm nearly through the second edit, which will make it ready for this study.  When I finish at the end of March, I will take all the final comments and suggestions, make a final edit and submit by April 30!

Friday, 1 January 2016


New Year.  New Goals.

This year I'm focusing on writing.  I have a few really solid ideas that I want to just put my mind to getting on paper.  I'm going to highlight them here, just as a way to keep myself accountable.  I'm not expecting to get all of them done this year, but these are the first five projects that are already on the go (some are outlined, some in writing stage, others are in editing or almost done.)

1.  Homegrown

A children's picture book. Each page features an artistic, colourful photograph of a food that is grown locally here in Ontario.  Accompanying the photograph are a few poetic lines.  I'm hoping this will be popular for elementary classes as they learn about where food comes from and what grows locally.

2.  Called to Be

A collection of stories from people who specifically chose their job or career because they felt God had called them there.  Each chapter will highlight a different job, and will show how, even when someone is not called to ministry full time, they can still bring the light of Christ to others.  This book is meant first for young adults as they reach the time to choose a career path, and also for those who haven't yet found their calling in life, or who are going to make a change.

3.  Personalized Scriptures - King Benjamin's Speech

An in-depth study of a few chapters from the Book of Mormon.  Half study guide and half journal, this slow study method asks personal questions and helps relate ancient scripture to modern life.

4.  Cold Trap

A final draft of this screenplay I've been commissioned to write is still on this year's docket.

5.  Anything Can Happen - in space

A children's choose your own adventure type, where each page is tells a portion of the story, but you can read the pages in any order you like.


A few things French:

At Benjamin's last parent-teacher conference, the only suggestion she had was that Ben needed to choose to speak French more than he does.  He's completely bilingual, she assured me.  And, in spite of school rules that dictate no English should be spoken at any time, Ben often chooses English instead.  "Even in class," she laughed.  "I'm standing right in front of him and he's speaking English.  'I'm right here!' and he just smiles and switches back to French.


Last night while at a New Year's Eve party, we met some new friends who were from France.  Their young children spoke no English, but there was no shortage of French-speaking Canadians to help them feel welcome.  I urged the seven year old boy to seek out Colin and Caleb, both of whom can freely converse in his language.  I started to mention Ben, then backed off.  Given his school history, I figured he probably wouldn't jump in.

To my surprise (and a wonderful one at that) when I collected Ben to leave the party, I found him sitting with this new friend.  As we walked away, I asked if he had been speaking French with him.  "Of course, Mom.  He's from France and he only speaks French."  All night he had played with this new friend, completely comfortable in his second language.


Today while playing the board game Cranium, Benjamin had to hum a tune for his team to guess.  James whispered the song and Ben started.  Now, Ben is our little songbird, and can sing completely on pitch in the sweetest little voice.  But we sat scratching our heads as we tried to make out the hesitant notes he made.  The humming was throwing him off, so he glanced at James and asked "Can I hum it in French?"  We burst out laughing, although he had no idea why.  With James' approval, he started again and we quickly made out "O Canada."