Moving on

Monday, April 25, 2011


Our first grandson is due any day now, and I can't help but reminisce about his father, our son, and speculate about who this precious little boy will become in life. 

The memories.  I still chuckle when I think of some of the antics of Thomas and his twin brother, Jonathan.  Sometimes, quite honestly, I'm embarrassed to admit how they got the best of me, or how inept I was at parenting.  The day one of the parishioners (they are PK's) shook her head in distress and asked if they were "normal."  Another day, waiting my turn in line at the bank, the teller shuffled the requested cash and muttered tersely, "do they ever shut up?"

In spite of my parenting foibles, I am proud to announce how wonderfully they have turned out.  And ironically, they both put those talkative tendencies to great use.  Tom is an inspiring and eloquent Bible teacher, and Jon is a prolific and creative composer and songwriter.

Now bring on my first grandson!  As my husband always said during the most boisterous times, "be glad they are not dull." 

In honor of poetry month, and the inventive possibilities that lead to an adventurous and inquisitive life, I offer this poem I wrote some years back for my science students.


Mrs. Quiggly, how fast will my rocket soar---?
Not now, Robert, we're on our way out the door.

            Line up, class, with rockets in hand
            Launch day is here, it will surely be grand.

Mrs. Quiggly, if I choose an elliptical path---?
Robert, when you interrupt, you inspire my wrath.

            Now class, listen carefully and follow directions
            Take just a minute for final inspections.

Mrs. Quiggly, do you think Newton made a mistake---?
Robert, Robert, what on earth will it take?

            Gantry over here and fuel over there
            In a matter of minutes, we'll conquer the air.

Mrs. Quiggly, I've got it, I figured it out---
Robert, that’s enough, without a doubt.

            Now then, class, to the launch pad
            If you've not paid attention, you'll wish you had.


            Mrs. Quiggly, Mrs. Quiggly, come qui, qui, quickly
            Robert's upside down in the tree,
            and he's looking awfully funny to me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


One of the favorite catch phrases of any good teacher or parent is "make the right choice." It's always a triumphant moment when our children or students make a wise decision independently, but more often than not, a teachable moment or a gentle review of the options enhances the learning experience. 

Co-authors Leah Butler and Trudy Peters have joined forces to launch a series of picture books with the decision-making acumen of six through ten-year-olds in mind.  Leah and Trudy, former magazine publishers, didn't let moving to separate cities stop them from their shared goal of writing for children.  They have co-founded Spencers Mill Press with the ambitious goal of creating a 26-book series much like a set of encyclopedias, with one book for each letter of the alphabet.  Each story deals with a different moral, ethical, or personal dilemma that children in this age group face on a daily basis. 

To date, two books have been completed; Andre's Choice: In a Land of Opportunity, and Owen's Choice: The Night of the Halloween Vandals.  With the help of beautiful illustrations and a firefly named T. Winkie O'Toole, the protagonists are thrown into ethical dilemmas such as vandalism, bullying, cheating, changing schools and telling the truth.  Through an interactive format the reader has the opportunity to choose how the book will end and consider the consequences of that choice through a set of follow-up questions.

In an era when too many books blur the borders between right and wrong, who can argue against teaching the right choice at an early age? 

Leah spends time reading in various schools around Charlotte, and can be contacted through their website