Do you recognize Joe Burrow in this photograph? He’s the one in the middle.
As quarterback Joe took the LSU Tigers all the way to the national championship. He won the Heisman Trophy for the nation’s best college football player. This sounds like the culmination to a great college career, but it wasn’t! It was a Cinderella season.
From High School to OSU to LSU
The Cinderella Season: So what happened? How did Joe and No.6 LSU turn 2019 into a Cinderella season? This is my third try to tell this story. I hope it’s the charm.
First up, Ranked Opponents:
- No. 9 Texas went down 45- 38 on September 7th. LSU became No.4.
- No.7 Florida lost 42-28 On October 12th. LSU moved up to No.2.
- No. 9 Auburn lost 23-20 in LSU’s closest win on October 26th. LSU holds onto No.2.
- No. 3 Alabama goes down 46-41 in the biggest game of the season. Alabama was predicted to win, Joe pulled it out, and LSU was NO. 1!
A Single-Season of Records:
- September 7th Joe passed for 471 yards in one game and takes over the No. 2 spot in LSU school history.
- September 21st Joe sets 2 records. He throws 6 touchdowns and has his 3rd game with over 350 yards.
- October 5th Joe has his 4th game with over 300 yards. It would have been 350, but he was 6 yards short.
- October 19th he scores his 32nd touchdown in one season, an LSU record.
- October 26th Joe has his 8th game with over 300 yards passing.
- November 16th, he sets the single-season record for passing yards and another one for 17 completed passes in one game.
- November 30th Joe sets the all-time single-season record for passing yards, and he ties for single-season touchdowns.
All this from the quarterback who didn’t get an offer from Nebraska, the one who was passed over at OSU 3 times. Congratulations, Joe! Persistence pays off!
The Road to the National Championship
- First up, the SEC Championship on December 7th. No. 4 Georgia went down to the Tigers 37-10. LSU was still ranked No. 1.
- On the 14th Joe won the Heisman Trophy for the best college player in America.
- Next up, the Peach Bowl on December 28th. No. 1 LSU defeated No. 4 Oklahoma 63 – 28 in the 1st game of the National Championship.
- Finally, on January 13th LSU defeated No. 3 Clemson 42-25 to win the National Championship.
- Records, yes, please! 60 passing touchdowns for the FBS* single-season record.
- 5,671 passing yards put Joe at third for all-time yards in an FBS* season.
- A passer rating* of 202.0, the highest passing efficiency in one season.
- This is a photo of Joe in the Oval Office. If you click on the link, you can see more photos of the LSU Tigers at the White House. Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/49400533066/
* FBS is the top level for college football. It used to be called Division 1-A. Either way, it’s the most competitive subdivision of college football It’s made up of the largest and most competitive schools in the NCAA. That’s a record!
* Passer rating is a formula that includes attempts, completions, passing yards, touchdown passes, and interceptions. Click on this link if you’d like to see the math:
Up Next for Joe
The NFL draft to be held April 23 – 25, in less than a month. Many predict he’ll go first to the Cincinnati Bengals, close to home and his parents. Where ever Joe goes, I think any team will be lucky to get him.
When I look at him through my teacher/writer eyes . . .
This is what I see:
1. Persistence – Joe never gave up. When Nebraska didn’t pick him, he chose Ohio State. When OSU didn’t start him at quarterback, he tried for 3 years before moving onto LSU.
2. Initiative – When OSU didn’t pick him his sophomore year, Joe started looking at other teams. In May of 2018 he announced he’d be going to LSU.
3. Smart – Joe graduated from OSU in 3 years with a degree in consumer and family financial services. Most people take 4-5 years to graduate.
4. Coachable/Trainable – Joe went from zero to starter in 3 short months at LSU. To do that, he had to be able to work with a new coach, work with new teammates.
5. Personable – Joe learned how to fit in with his teammates in those 3 short months. “There is no I in team.” A 10 and 3 season at OSU in 2018 would have been a failure. Instead Joe used the experience to build the relationships that took LSU to the national championship.
Here’s what his OSU teammates had to say:
6. Leader - “Believe me when I say this because he was my roommate for two years,” Ohio State defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones said, “you’re getting a dog in Joe. Joe’s no slouch. He’s a leader. He’s gonna take over that huddle.”
7. Work Ethic – “LSU fans should be excited because they’re getting a warrior. A true warrior,” Ohio State receiver Parris Campbell said. “Many people didn’t get to see Joe before at the highest level, but we’ve seen Joe go to work every single day. He’s a guy who didn’t say a whole lot, but is just a down and dirty competitor. Just a warrior.
From a Pair of Buckeyes:
8. Loyal – Joe never bad-mouthed the Buckeyes or Nebraska either, even when he was competing with them in the runup to that championship. When OSU played Clemson, he rooted for OSU. When Clemson won, he stil had good things to say about his old team. Me
“Joe did about everything possible to win the starting position by the end of spring camp. “Do I wish he was still with us? I do,” Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days. “I love Joe Burrow. I love his family and have great respect for him. And that’s not going to stop. That relationship will continue for many years.” It says a lot about Urban, a lot about Joe.
From his former coach, Urban Meyer
3 Quotes: https://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/lsu-football/one-got-away-burrow-osu-players-lsu-fans-burrow/
Why Write about Joe?
He's an inspiration! Joe is somebody you can learn from whether you want to play football, write stories, or do anything else. My advice: compare his character to yourself. Capitalize on strengths. Pick a weakness or two and work on them. Joe wasn’t an overnight success. He worked to be successful. The same is true for you and me. Here’s to the journey of becoming your own personal best!
Meet Vivian Kirkfield in just five words – Writer for children, reader forever. Five great words, and I’m thrilled they apply to me too.
Vivian is a retired Kindergarten teacher and now a published author. From February 2019 till January 2020, she published her first four books. That is an incredible achievement!
Along the way she also started a writing contest in 2016. If you’d like to take a look, click on this link. You’ll see how it all started, as well as this year’s prizes. If you keep scrolling, you’ll see the 2020 entries and the comments made about them.
In 2016 Vivian hoped for a few entries. She got 128! That first winner found an agent and a board book series, but it all started with 50 precious words.
This year Vivian is up to 390 entries. They received over 5000 comments. If you’d like to read a few, click on her link, and start scrolling. Happy reading!
This is my first try at 50 Precious Words. Where did it come from? An idea I played with since my granddaughter was born. I love telling stories, and I thought about the ones I want to tell her, just like the grandma in the picture.
I pooled my ideas into an outline about rocking her to sleep with a story about her dad as a little boy. It was too long and needed more heart so I shifted the focus to the night she was born.
After a dozen drafts, maybe more, here’s my story . . .
Baby, can’t sleep?
Here’s a story -
You were tucked in your mama’s belly.
You twisted and turned.
“It’s time, baby!”
But hours passed,
Then a day. Was it two?
You twisted, tried turning.
“Need a little more room?”
You nodded and decided it was time to be born.
When I was a kid, I loved magnetic letters on the refrigerator. I loved moving them around, making new words, and taking them apart. It was one of my earliest reading and writing experiences. Now that I’m an adult, guess what’s on my refrigerator!
It starts with the name of my favorite place, Norris Lake. Below it are the names of the people I love most, my family. My husband and I are there, our parents, our three kids, and two spouses, so far. It’s like a crossword family tree. But in December, suddenly someone was missing, the newest member of our family.
Everyone was there, till December 21st. That’s when GG was born, and I needed more magnets, matching ones. I messaged my magnet guru, Rochelle from Rovals. She sent me the letters to spell GG’s name, plus a little surprise. When I opened her package, there were my favorite two letters – GG – for grandgirl!
Look at the picture below. It’s GG’s name on the refrigerator. I connected it to her mom because their names both end in ‘N.’ The second picture is a crossword of their brand new family – my son, his wife, and my GG!
Someday GG will play with all those names on the refrigerator. She’ll move them around, make new words, and take them apart. My refrigerator will be full of mismatched names, but that’s how it should be. They’re meant to be used, to help a child’s brain come to life. Best of all, I’ll be there to watch, and play with GG too.
My original idea for the alphabet post started with two questions for quizclub.com. They asked how many letters were in the English and German alphabets.
I was curious so I asked a search engine, DuckDuckGo. My source said about a thousand, but they were based on a hundred alphabets that could be boiled down to nine. After writing about each one, I never got back to the two original questions. Tonight I tried again, but the post grew once more. I found eleven languages. Here’s that world map to help you locate each one. They include:
English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, and German
My Source: https://wordcounter.net/blog/2015/11/24/10950_how-many-letters-alphabet.html
Do you recognize the English alphabet, and do you know the importance of this phrase?
It uses all 26 letters.
Did you know two hundred years ago there were 27? The dropped letter is still used today. Curious? It’s &!
Phrase Source: By No machine-readable author provided. Moyogo assumed (based on copyright claims). - No machine-readable source provided. Own work assumed (based on copyright claims)., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=701210
Can you read this? Me neither! It’s a sample from the Arabic alphabet.
عندما يريد العالم أن يتكلّم ، فهو يتحدّث بلغة يونيكود. تسجّل
It has 28 letters, but, they’re all consonants. Arabic has vowels, but you add them with a mark beside the consonant, like this – ‘a.
You read and write Arabic from right to left, and it’s all done in cursive. English is the exact opposite. It’s printed from left to right.
Arabic has contextual letterforms. That means a letter is shaped by its position within a word, depending on if it’s first, in the middle or last. If it stands alone, it may have yet another shape.
I’ll stick with English, but I love how Arabic flows across a page!
OH NO! There’s something harder than Arabic – Chinese! It doesn’t have a letter alphabet representing sounds. They use ideas and pictures, i.e. ideograms or pictograms.
I read that if you want to have functional literacy, you need to know three to four thousand characters. Would you believe there are TENS of THOUSANDS of Chinese characters? Thank goodness for English!
Ancient Chinese was even harder. It ran in columns from top to bottom, like that green sign with orange letters. It also ran from right to left, like Arabic.
Today it’s a little more like English, running across the page from left to right. It still goes from top to bottom. The Bus Stop sign reads 2E 6C 6F. Then 41 45.
If you’d like to try reading a little Chinese, click on this link, I picked up a teeny tiny bit! https://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2013/04/25/learn-to-read-chinese-in-eight-minutes/#56ff63a2179
Picture Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Written_Chinese
By Maloongkai - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8004756
4. The next alphabet is a little easier than Chinese, and it also comes from Asia. Do you recognize it? It’s Japanese. I know – it looks a lot like Chinese, or Korean. That’s probably because they come from the same part of the globe. To read basic Japanese, you need to recognize about 2000 symbols from three different alphabets.
The first is called Kanji, and it’s based on those Chinese pictograms. The other two alphabets are phonetic. Both hiragana and katakana have 46 letters each, 92 total. Only 1908 more Kanji symbols to learn. Easy Peasy!
Long ago you read Japanese from top to bottom in columns. It was called vertical writing. You started on page right and moved left.
Today there’s horizontal writing. It moves from left to right. It’s more like how we read English. There’s still one big difference. Japanese book spines are on the right. The book cover is on the back, and the back cover is on the front. To read Japanese, you start at the back and read to the front.
5. This could be Chinese or Japanese, but supposedly it’s easier to read than the other two. Did you recognize it as Korean? South Korea uses Hangul, and the North uses Chosan’gul. Modern Hangul has 14 consonants and 11 vowels, 24 total. Chosan’gul has 19 consonants and 21 vowels, 40 total.
The hardest part of reading or writing Korean is that it’s written in syllable blocks. I see 2 symbols to the left, then 3 and 3. I might be right, but there might be more symbols that I don’t see.
Korean was once written vertically, but now it’s horizontal, going from left to right. Looking at that red sign again, I’m not sure if there are three syllables or three words because Korean has space between its syllables, and its words, if I read correctly. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul
6. Drive down this highway, and you’ll need to read, write, and speak Russian, but you can keep going. Explore Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the rest of the former Soviet Union too.
The Russian alphabet is based on Cyrillic. Modern Russian has 21 consonants, 10 vowels, and 2 extra symbols, or 33 total. It’s phonetic so you can learn the letters and sounds at the same time. Best of all you can still read from left to right, from top to bottom.
7. This alphabet is golden! It’s Greek to me, but it’s one of the oldest alphabets still in use. Did you know the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets came from Ancient Greece? They only had capital letters. It was the Romans who later developed lower case letters for the Latin alphabet.
The Greek alphabet has grown and changed over the centuries. Now it has 24 letters that match up with English. No Greek J’s or V’s.
If you want to learn Greek, you’ll have to learn to write in syllables. Start with 1, 2, or 3. Then you can move into longer words with more syllables. Greeks like to make l-o-n-g words!
Today the Greek alphabet is still used in technical symbols and labels. If you go into some fields, you must master Greek.
8. Can you read the sign? I can, but it’s not in English. It’s Spanish. I’d mangle every single word on those signs except for Valencia. That’s because there’s one in California. The Valencia below is near Madrid, in Spain.
Spanish doesn’t belong to just Spain. Thanks to the conquistadors, it’s the official language for most of Central and South America, who are also called Latin America.
My original source said there are 29 letters in Spanish, but if they have 4 extra letters (ch, ll, ñ and rr) shouldn’t there be 30?
The letters look like our English ones, except they have accent marks. (papá or güero) Those marks change the pronunciation, even the meaning. Letters in Spanish sound different. For example, their “h” is always silent. In our English word ‘house,’ it’s voiced, but not in ‘hour.’
9. Here are more signs that look English, but they’re actually Italian. My only clue, Roma. Americans always write it as ‘Rome.’ If you want to see and hear Italian, take a trip to Italy, San Marino, Vatican City, Slovenia, and Croatia.
Yay! The Italian alphabet has 21 letters, only 21! It matches up to our alphabet, but it uses foreign letters like ‘j, k, w, x, and y’ for foreign words with those sounds. The Italian alphabet has 3 different kinds of accent marks. You can see them in Métro, pescà, or genî.
10. This sign looks like it’s from a farmers’ market – in France. It uses the French alphabet, and it’s spoken/written in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Switzerland.
You’ll also find it used in former French colonies in Africa, Asia, North/South America, and Oceania. I didn’t recognize Oceania so I googled. It’s made up of Micronesia, Polynesia, Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and the islands around them), and Melanesia (the islands from New Guinea to Tonga).
The French alphabet has 26 letters, including all 20 of our consonants. It also has all 5 of our vowels (aeiou) – plus y. Y is only a vowel in French, never a consonant. W and K’s are mostly used in foreign words.
French, like the other European languages, uses accents on its vowels. Examples: à, é, î, ü. They also combine them – æ and œ. And C’s look like this: ç.
11. I can’t begin to read this sign, but I see double dots on the last word. That’s German! The sign says stay off the ice. Deutschland or Germany is where 78% of German is spoken.
You’ll also find it in Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, and South Tyrol, Italy. Three of those countries also speak French. My guess is that German’s spoken in the north, and French in the south. It’s also spoken in the former German colonies and in the Amish, Mennonite, and Hutterite communities in North America. I googled again – the Hutterites are found in the Great Plains and in Western Canada.
The German alphabet has the same 26 letters as our English alphabet, but the pronunciation of some of them doesn’t exist in English. The G, CH, and the R are pronounced from the back of the throat. I can’t imagine how!
They also have a few letters with double dots, plus a fancy B – ä, ö, ü and are ß. BTW, if you’re curious, the sign says stay off the ice. I knew it was important . . . there are 2 exclamation marks. Sources: https://www.thoughtco.com/where-is-german-spoken-1444314
How many alphabets are being used around the world? 100 9 1000
Depending on how you define alphabet, it could be all three. I found each answer from a source below. The top one from Quora made sense to me. It said if you look at pure alphabets that have a letter for every sound, there’s about 100, and they boil down to these nine:
Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, Armenian, Korean, Hebrew, Arabic, Braille, and Georgian
Tomorrow, I’ll look for pictures of each one. I’m curious to see how they’re alike and different.
Here’s a world map so you can find each of these nine alphabets.
1. This is the Latin alphabet. It’s everywhere, North and South America, Europe, India, Australia, and most of Africa. Click on the source link to see the ground it covers. The Latin alphabet looks a lot like ours. Did you notice anything missing, like the letters J, U, and W?
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_alphabet Photo by Joannes Arnoldus Bergellus -
http://wally.rit.edu/cary/cc_db/16th_century/9.htmlhttp://www.bl.uk/collections/early/1540.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4409965
2. The letters on this piece of pottery are from the Greek Alphabet. It only reached the land around the country of Greece. If you’d like to see the map, the pottery, or learn more about the Greek alphabet, click on this link:
3. This is the Cyrillic alphabet. It spread – across the entire former Soviet Union, all of it!
Do you recognize this writing? It’s from the book of Matthew. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrillic_alphabets
Unknown - Герранъ мія̈нъ. Шондю-руохтынанъ святой іôванг̧ели матвѣйста, Карьяланъ кїӗлѣлля, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15401241
4. This is the Armenian alphabet, from Armenia, of course. Where is Armenia? It was once part of the Soviet Union. Now it’s its own country. It shares borders with Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Georgia so it’s north of the Middle East, and it was in the southern part of the former Soviet Union. ( I looked it up!)
5. This is the Korean alphabet, and it’s found on the Korean Peninsula, of course. Did you know it has two names? In South Korea, it’s called Hangul. In North Korea, it’s called Chosŏn'gŭl. (I had to paste that in. I’m missing three important keys.)
Photo by Kbarends - cropped from en:Image:Hunminjeongeumhaerye.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4210804
6. This isn’t my computer keyboard, and it probably isn’t yours either. It was designed for people who use the Hebrew alphabet. If you’re Jewish, or live in the country of Israel, this might be your keyboard.
7. Here’s another keyboard. I bet you recognize half the letters, but not the other half. That’s because they’re from the Arabic Alphabet. You’d find this keyboard in the Middle East and in northern Africa.
Article Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_alphabet
Keyboard By Mohsen Madi - Intellaren Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14688041
8. Do you see two books? One looks like a real book, in German. The other is a notebook of bumpy paper. That’s a braille book.
Braille is an alphabet made up of bumps. Its letters match up with other alphabets from around the world, like English or German. My source listed 104 alphabets that have been translated into braille.
If you’re blind, you can’t see so you read with your fingers. You can read paper books or special computer screens. You can write with a slate and stylus or with special computers and printers. Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braille
9. Can you read the letters on the car? Me neither! It’s a police car, but police is written in Georgian, the country, not one of our 50 states.
The country of Georgia was once part of the Soviet Union. It’s bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
There are three different ways to write Georgian. The most common is Mkhedruli. That’s what you see on the car. The other two, Asomtavruli and Nuskhuri, are only used by the Georgian Orthodox Church.
I won’t share everything I wrote this year for my class with Julie Hedlund – it’s too long! Instead I’m sharing the parts I posted in our private Facebook Group. It all started with surprises. I had 20, but these are my top 4. SURPRISES:
1. I discovered a month before self-publishing that Neil Armstrong's name and image are trademarked. OOPS!
2. Within a day or two I had a few friends who helped me figure out what to do. It took a month, but 17 days after my original book birthday, Neil was published
3. The best 2-fer ever - The day I watched my daughter get married. That night I saw the sonogram of my first grandchild
4. Best of all, here's one of first photo ops. Look at all that hair!
It’s great to look back at 2019. I had 34 successes, more than 2018, but I’m only sharing the Fab Five.
1. I self-published my debut chapter book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM.
2. Neil was ranked #4 on Amazon over Christmas. He’s #8 today, but he’s still on page one in those all-important search results. ‘I am over the moon!’
3. I'm on track to self-publish my debut picture book, LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME in May.
4. I have a debut group and a May 20th interview already scheduled for the lake book.
5. Best of all, I've been a grandma for almost a month! 2019 was a very good year!
Disappointments, Judgements, The Truth, Learning, and Action Plan
I wasn’t going to share this with the private group, but confession is good for the soul, so I did, and I’ll share them with you too. I wrote five, the number Julie recommended. This disappointment encompasses elements of the five I put down.
DISAPPOINTMENT - I’m not getting enough done – writing, marketing, using my blog, etc.
MY BIG FAT JUDGEMENT - I don’t push myself hard enough or use my time well enough. URGH! There’s always more to do – no matter how hard I work.
MY HEART KNOWS/THE TRUTH - I’m learning as I go. I do as much in a day as possible. There is no more than my best.
LEARNING - In 2019 I learned how to target an area and stick with it. In 2020 I need to extend this to the business side of writing.
MY ACTION PLAN - Each Sunday I’ll target one piece to write during the week, one place/thing to market, and one way to grow my blog. The next Sunday will find me reviewing, re-targeting, re-engaging, and repeating,
I wrote last about disappointments, but this section is a real morale booster. Every year it makes me realize how blessed I am.
I found 23 things to be grateful for last year, more than 2018. They’re mostly people, ranging from my family and friends to the writing community. They also include you, the people who read my blog or bought my book. I’m grateful to all of you.
Last year I picked “Know When to . . .” from Kenny Rogers’ song, “The Gambler.” This year my word is balance. Sorry, no song, but balance is something I’ve always struggled with.
I tend to put more time into work than anything else, especially when I was teaching. My father was a principal, and I was a daddy’s girl so I put my heart and soul into teaching. It got trickier when I married and had a family. Now as a writer, I want to balance work with family and fun. Here’s to this year’s adventure with balance.
Writing Prompt for this Year: During a visit to the library, a book flies off a shelf and bonks you in the head. What book is it, and what happens next?
I searched the shelves for the new book about Elizabeth I.
Thud! Thud! Thud! I turned and stared. Three books encircled my feet. I’d read two – The Royal Diaries Elizabeth, Tangled in Time, and the new one, The Heretic Heir. (YA title)
Tangled opened and whispered, “You’ve been reading about our girl since you were little. Now, write about her.”
My head spun. I stumbled, sat on the floor and held my head in my hands. “Me? I’d love to, but which one? The toddler who lost her mother. The girl who watched her stepmothers disappear. The imprisoned princess. Which!”
The book answered, “Read us again. Open your imagination, and you’ll find your story.”
I nodded, picked up the books, and checked them out.
I already have a chapter book idea, for Elizabeth. It came to me like magic!
Christmas is almost here, and so is Christmas trivia.
What is glögg?
A Christmas coffee Hot cocoa
Mulled wine Spiced Cider
Glögg is a special mulled wine that’s made just for Advent. Answer the next question to find out where it comes from. Click the information link, and you can try it without crossing the Atlantic.
Where do you go for a glass of glögg?
Sweden France Germany Spain
Go to Sweden, but only during Advent. That’s when you can get a glass of glögg. Traditionally it’s served in small glasses.
FYI – the spices were originally added because back then the wine didn’t taste so good, but now it’s added because it’s tradition. Don’t forget to put the almonds and raisins in your glass before you pour in the glögg. Cheers!
For More Info: www.swedishfood.com
Where was the Advent Wreath invented? England Sweden Germany Italy
Welcome to Germany where Johan Hinrich Wichern invented the Advent Wreath in 1839. His version was made of wood, and it had 24 candles, 4 big ones for Sundays and 20 little ones for weekdays.
Today’s Advent wreath is made with fir branches and cones, ribbons, ornaments, and those original 4 candles. One for each week like the one to the left.
What did a mother from Munich invent to keep herself sane when her son asked every day how long till Christmas? A calendar An advent calendar A paper chain Balloon bouquet to pop
In 1885 Gerhard Lang’s mother did. He saw the first Advent candle lit and didn’t understand waiting till his mother drew 24 squares on a box. Each square equaled one day, getting up once and going to bed. From then on, Gerhard got a calendar every year until he outgrew them.
Around 1900 Gerhard started a publishing company. During a slow sales period, he remembered his old calendars, and in 1904 he sold the first “Munich Christmas Calendar.” Its subtitle was “The 24 Waiting Days,” and it sold for 30 pfennigs or about 15 cents. Today you can buy cardboard ones, felt ones, bags on strings, and little towns, but, they all still share 24 days of waiting.
My Sources: Kaiserslautern American | Date Updated: December 6, 2019
What’s the name of the little town where Jesus was born? Bethlehem Jerusalem Judea Samaria
Bonus Points: What’s the song title that tells the story of that birth?
The Song – O Little Town of Bethlehem – Sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
For More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Who made Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?
His father King Herod Caesar Augustus
Why? A Family visit To worship the new king For a census of the Roman Empire
The Gospel of Luke said (Luke 2: 1 – 5; paraphrasing) Caesar Augustus ordered a census of the entire Roman world. Everyone went to their family’s hometown to register and be counted. Joseph left Nazareth in Galilee. He traveled to Bethlehem in Judea because that’s where his family came from. Joseph was descended from King David’s family. In Bethlehem he registered with his fiancee Mary. She was going to have a baby.
This is a Nativity Scene. I grew up with one, and so did my kids.
Who was really there when Jesus was born, and who wasn’t?
Mary, Joseph and Jesus Shepherds Wise Men Animals Angels
According to Luke 2: 7-21, paraphrasing, Mary gave birth to a baby boy. She wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a manger. There was no other place for them to stay.
That night the shepherds were out in the field with their sheep. An angel appeared, and the shepherds were terrified until the angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I bring good news for all people. Today in Bethlehem your savior was born. The baby is wrapped in cloth, laying in a manger, which is a feeding trough for animals.”
Then a group of angels appeared. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on Earth.” The angels returned to heaven, and the shepherds hurried off to Bethlehem. They found the baby in the manger. The shepherds returned home, telling everyone what they’d seen and heard. Eight days later Jesus was named and circumcised.
So a Nativity according to Luke would look like this –baby Jesus would be lying in a manger with Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds looking on.
No animals are mentioned, but the most likely ones would be an ox and a donkey. That’s what Saint Francis of Assisi used, and he made the first nativity scene. I don’t know about the sheep. If the shepherds were in a hurry like Luke said, they probably would have left the sheep behind. Maybe a young shepherd watched over them until the others returned.
The angels only went out to the fields to send the shepherds into Bethlehem. Then they returned home to heaven.
As for the wise men, here’s their story according to Matthew 2:1-12, paraphrased . . . After Jesus was born, Magi from the east came to ask King Herod about the star. They followed it to Jerusalem. They wanted to worship the new king of the Jews.
They’re called Magi in Luke, but in other stories they’re called kings or wise men. Usually nativities have 3 kings, but Luke never mentioned a number.
Herod sent for his chief priests and teachers. They looked back to Micah, who prophesied that the baby would be born in Bethlehem in Judea. Herod sent the Magi there. He told them to worship the child, and then report back so he could visit him too.
The Magi followed the star, this time to the baby in Bethlehem. They might have looked something like this when they bowed down to worship the child in the manger.
The Magi gave him gifts fit for a king – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Frankincense is a tree sap that was burned to worship the gods. Myrrh was a perfume made from sap too. It was either burnt as incense or used as oil for anointing someone. All three gifts were part of Temple worship.
I found this site when I was researching and writing Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream. I didn’t understand how a wind tunnel worked, and that was kind of key to the story, no LOL! Since then, Instructables have been sending me emails with ideas, and I’ve been looking for the right projects to share. This one came yesterday, and it’s perfect. Here’s the link:
Ready . . . Set . . . Let’s make some ornaments!
#1 - First up is something easy-peasy. I could make it, and I’m not crafty at all. All you need is a bulb and some foam letters.
My Idea: I’d change it up with other foam shapes because I love re-imagining things. Must be the writer/editor in me!
#2 - This is an Oregon Duck Christmas Tree, as in the University of Oregon.
It’s a little harder to make because you sew sequins onto one piece of green felt, and then onto another piece. If you do it their way, it’s just a little longer, just a little harder, but very doable for someone like me.
My Ideas: First I’d make it an OSU tree, as in scarlet, gray, and buckeyes. I also wouldn’t sew all those sequins on. I’d attach them with a clear glue, and I’d only do one side. I’d put something on the back, like a kid’s picture and date, but then I love to edit things!
#3 - This is an X-Wing Fighter Ornament. I loved the idea, and I thought you might too.
My Ideas: This is way too complicated for me. I like easy peasy. Do you have a Star Wars or Lego toy that would work? All you need to do is attach a hook.
If you and your family want to make one yourself , try this idea with Legos or K’Nex. They’re easier to work with!
#4 – Oh Christmas Tree, oh Christmas Tree! I wanted to post this ornament last night, but I couldn’t decide whether I should keep it or pull it down. I slept on it.
This ornament is SO difficult to make! It has 15 steps, and most of them are highly technical. That’s because this ornament is an LED Circuit Board Christmas Tree Ornament.
I decided to save it because it might help you win a contest, teachers only, for a 3-D printer. I know – a 3D printer! WOW!
My Idea: I wouldn’t even attempt a circuit board! I’d get something in a shiny green material. I’d find great stickers and sequins, and I’d try really hard not to over-decorate. I love this tree’s simplicity!
here to edit.
#5 – If you have a 3D printer, try making this floating snowflake ornament. The secret – tulle, the stuff you use for tutus and veils. If you like this idea, you can also make jewelry using the same idea. Click the printing on tulle trick.
My Idea: Go to the craft store and buy your snowflake and frame. You could use tulle to hold the snowflake in place. But if your frame comes with plastic, just lay your snowflake inside. Done!
#6 – This ornament is hands-on. It’s a diorama inside a glass ornament – with sand. The hard part – fitting things like trees and photos inside.
My Idea: If you can’t find a fillable ornament, try decorating on the outside, but be careful! Sometimes flat images don’t fit well on round objects. You may have to do a little nip/tuck surgery.
#7 – If you’re crafty and have a 3D printer, this is the project for you! Who doesn’t love Star Wars?
My Idea: I don’t have a 3D printer so I’d look for my figurine in the nearest toy store. Just be careful that it fits inside your ornament.
Teachers, could your school use a 3-D Printer? Check out this link!
From Instructables – “This contest is for ALL teachers (professional and otherwise) and open to any projects that have a definable STEM focus.
We are looking for projects that are replicable in the classroom or other educational setting, that teach skills related to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math.
There is a special Judges' prize for the project that best uses the Makey Makey invention kit.
Only 39 days left to enter the STEM Contest!”
Sometimes ideas just come. That’s what happened last night when I posted my review for The Best Seat in Kindergarten. I loved the story! I thought it was perfect for its audience, Preschool and Kindergarten kids. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars. But when I went into Amazon, it had one review, for one star.
If you’re a writer, that hurts. It’s not easy to get a book published traditionally. The bar is high, and everyone involved works hard to do it well.
Review Title: Terrible message for kids! "Do things for people so they will like you".
Review: If I had seen this in a store I would never have bought it. Sam spends the entire book getting things for the other kid and at the end he has nothing for his own project, but he thinks he has friends. No, Sam. Friends would have gotten you something, too, not used you. Get this if you want to teach your child to be a lackey. Pass if you don't want them to feel they have to serve their peers to be wanted.
My Review Title: The Power of Helping Others
My Review: This would be a great first day of school book, but it’s also something more. It’s about the power of friendship, of helping others. The first day of school finally arrives, and his teacher takes the class outside for a nature walk. The assignment – find something and bring it back for show-and-tell. Guess who finds the best thing of all? Sorry, you’ll have to read to find out what Sam found.
My Additional Paragraph: I'm a retired teacher, and I read the other review. I never saw this as a story about buying friends. For me it's about a sweet little boy who likes to help others. In over 33 years teaching 2nd grade I've seen lots of kids who have trouble making friends. One of the best ways to help them, is to teach them how to be a friend. Often these same kids push others away. This story has lots of small examples of kindness that can help kids learn how to be a friend.
My Final Thoughts: Writing reviews is a wonderful thing! Readers get a peek into the best/not so best parts of the story. It helps them to decide whether or not to buy that book.
For a writer, a good review is priceless. It sells our books, sometimes to people who have never heard of them. Did you know 50 or more reviews puts a book at the top of Amazon’s search list? I have 17. I’d given up on getting more, but then I thought why not try? It never hurts to ask!
If you’ve read Neil Armstrong’s Wind Tunnel Dream, please consider writing an honest review. The best part – a kid or their parents might read your review and pick my book. Whenever I autograph one, I always write about dreams. Neil’s first one was the wind tunnel, and you know where it took him. Mine was to write and publish a book. Thanks to Neil, I did it!
Do you see that silver badge? Neil earned it from Readers’ Favorite. They only give out four or five stars. If you get 1, 2, or 3, they’ll send you your review, but they won’t post it. No one likes a bad review.
Readers’ Favorite reviews are incredible! First is a 125-word summary of the book. Last is 125 words on whether or not the reviewer liked it. I thought about becoming one of their reviewers, but I don’t have time. I’m happier writing my short reviews.
If you’d like to read my Readers’ Favorite review, click on this link:
Part 1 - Who is Franklin? Why is he sitting alone?
This post started on my Facebook account as a GIF and a question, ‘What would you like me to put into a blog? I got one answer – ‘Ever wonder why Franklin is sitting all by himself?
To be honest, I didn’t know who Franklin was. I didn’t see him till the question was asked. My eyes were drawn to the right side of the picture, which is what readers are trained to do, to move their eyes from left to right. Can you tell I’m still a reading teacher
Evidently this image came from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special from November 20, 1973. I was 14. No one thought anything about the image then, but they sure did in 2015. Here’s an article I found. I was shocked to read what was assumed about Charles Schultz. Link - https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/charlie-brown-racist-franklin/
The article proves that Charles was never a racist. In fact he put the first African American into a cartoon in June of 1968 because a retired teacher wrote him and suggested it.
The cartoon was so controversial in 1968 that his editors told him to change it. Charles said, “Either you print it just the way I draw it or I quit. How’s that? It sounds like moral courage to me.
But, that still doesn’t explain why Franklin is sitting alone so I googled again, and I found this link -
It said that, “Patty is the real engine of the special, with Linus and Marcie as it’s moral voice. Franklin and Sally just kind of hang around and watch.” In 1973 that was pretty groundbreaking. The link had an updated version with Franklin and Sally on the same side of the table, which I liked.
As someone who’s 60, who lived through that time, I applaud this picture. It’s not perfect, but it was forward thinking for its time.
Hindsight is always 20/20. You’ll never know then what you know now. When I look at this picture, I see kids celebrating, flaws and all. I remember how much I loved those characters then, and I see how much today’s kids still love them. Best of all it gives them a peek into the past, to see how much we’ve changed in the last 50 years. In the words of the 60’s we’ve come a long way, baby! Good for all of us, and especially for today’s kids, no matter who they are.
Part 2 – Charlie Brown Trivia
1- What’s the name and breed of Charlie Brown’s dog?
Buddy is a beagle. Snoopy is a beagle.
Buddy is a foxhound. Snoopy is a foxhound.
2- When did he first appear in the Peanuts comic strip?
1948 1950 1952 1954
And the answers are . . .
1. Snoopy is a beagle, who was based on Spike, one of Schultz’s childhood dogs.
2. Snoopy first appeared on October 4th, 1950. I was born in 1959, and I don’t remember a world without him.
My source said foxhounds are bigger than beagles, and they look a lot alike, but a picture’s worth a thousand words so I searched for a pair.
Part 3 – WHICH PEANUTS CHARACTER MATCHES YOUR PERSONALITY?
When I did my research for Part 1, I ran across a web site, that matched a Peanuts Character to your personality. I changed it. I picked my favorite characters, then I checked out their traits. Sorry, I couldn’t pick just one.
The Reformer: Lucy knows what she wants and goes after it. Whether she’s picking Charlie Brown to direct the Christmas play or offering psychiatric advice, she’s a leader.
The Helper: Linus is always there to help his best friend Charlie Brown. My favorite moment is when he tells Charlie he didn’t ruin Christmas. Linus says that’s impossible, because there’s more to Christmas than trees and pageants.
The Overachiever: Schroeder is the kid who could play Beethoven in elementary school. He focused in on his music and his practice-time. The result, super-achievement!
The Individualist: Snoopy isn’t afraid to be himself whether he’s Charlie Brown’s best friend, or Joe Cool, or a WWII flying ace. He’s unforgettable, and he commands the spotlight!
The Investigator: Woodstock is Snoopy’s sidekick, and he’s up to investigate/help him in any and all adventures.
The Loyalist: Marcie is Peppermint Patty’s sidekick. She’s loyal through and through. When Patty gets into trouble for being rude at Thanksgiving Dinner, Marcie helps her to make things right again with her friends.
The Challenger: Sally challenges everyone – her big brother, his friends, even Santa Claus. She’s one determined little girl, especially with Linus who tries to ignore her, but never quite succeeds.
The Challenger: Sally challenges everyone – her big brother, his friends, even Santa Claus. She’s one determined little girl, especially with Linus who tries to ignore her, but never quite succeeds.
The Peacemaker: Charlie Brown tries to make peace, to help his friends get along, and he’s persistent about it. Sometimes he fails, but he always tries, tries again.
So who am I? I’m mostly Charlie Brown. I try to get along with people, and I’m persistent. I’m also part Snoopy. I think differently from most people. I’ve never been cool, but I’ve always wanted to be. I’m an achiever like Schroeder. I’ve always tried to do my best, to become the best. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. Finally, I’m enthusiastic like Peppermint Patty. I throw myself into things, but never sports. My Source: https://www.filmfad.com/which-peanuts-character-matches-your-personality/
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!