Part 1 My Family and the Spanish Flu – This is my Grandmother and Grandfather Wilson with four of their children. From left to right, Leo, Mary, Opal Lee, and Grant. Two kids are missing – my mother and her brother Don. They weren’t born yet. Mom was born in 1935 so I’m guessing this was taken around 1930. That’s way after the Spanish Flu.
When the media started connecting the Spanish Flu to Covid 19, I realized something I would never have figured out without this pandemic.
You see, without the Spanish Flu, those kids, my cousins and me – we would not exist.
It’s crazy to think this way, but it’s true. I discovered as a teenager that my grandmother wasn’t grandpa’s first wife. He was married to another woman first. I think her name was Melinda, but I’m not sure. In any case she was expecting a baby. It was due during the time the Spanish Flu was raging through the country. She didn’t live. Neither did her baby.
As a mom now, it makes me incredibly sad that both of them died, and that I don’t know their names. I don’t have a picture of Melinda. I think it’s heartbreaking that when you die, sometimes you are just forgotten by history. If Melinda hadn’t died, my grandfather and grandmother would never have married, and my mom, my aunts and uncles would never have been born. I’m glad they’re all there, but I’m still sad for Melinda and her baby.
I also realized something else by looking at that picture. By 1937 my grandmother, Rinda, was dead. You see her name is my name. I never understood why she had to die when her kids were so little. My mom was 2. My Aunt Opal Lee was 16.
Now I do. You see my grandfather had a third wife, and she gave him a daughter. If my grandmother hadn’t died, that last daughter, my aunt wouldn’t have been born. Sometimes it’s not for us to question why. Sometimes it’s for us to do or die. (Paraphrased from Alfred, Lord Tennyson – The Charge of the Light Brigade.)
Part 2 Three Cities and the Spanish Flu – With the new pandemic I’d heard reports about two of these cities, but the third one was a total surprise.
First up – Philadelphia, home to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell – By late summer of 1918, a second wave of Spanish flu hit the US. It was carried here by WWI soldiers returning home. By mid-September it was spreading through Philadelphia like wildfire, but the health director said don’t worry. It’s just those soldiers. The rest of us won’t get it. His advice – stay warm, keep your feet dry, and your bowels open. Sorry, it was in the article! Really!
September 28th, Philadelphia was celebrating with a Liberty Loan Parade to raise money for the military. Many people thought it should be cancelled, but the health director said it’ll be fine. We need to raise money for war bonds. On the 28th the parade stretched for 2 miles. It included soldiers, Boy Scouts, marching bands, and dignitaries marching down a route packed with spectators.
This is not the Liberty Loan Parade, but it gives you an idea how packed the parade route was. 72 hours or 3 days later, all 31 of Philadelphia’s hospitals were packed.
By the end of the week 2600 people were dead. A quote from the article said the “parade probably threw gasoline on the fire, but it was already cooking along pretty well.”
Next up – St. Louis, home to the Gateway Arch, our nation’s monument to western expansion – The St. Louis health commissioner went the opposite way. He put local physicians on high alert, before the first case was reported. He wanted them ready when the second wave hit.
When the flu broke out in the army barracks, he closed the schools, movie theaters, and pool halls. He banned all public gatherings. He had a network of volunteer nurses set up to treat the thousands who were infected. It flattened the curve and saved lives. A 2007 study went back and analyzed the results, St. Louis had 1/8 of Philadelphia’s worst death rates, an incredible feat for a big city!
I’m sorry to write that they weren’t so successful with the third wave that hit late winter/spring of 1919. I wonder if they got tired of lockdown and just had to get out.
Last but not least – San Francisco, home of the Golden Gate Bridge – Health officials in San Francisco put their faith in masks. If you left home without one or wore it the wrong way, you were arrested for disturbing the peace and fined $5. The officials believed they were 99% effective against the flu.
But gauze masks aren’t that effective. You can see through them, so how could they possibly stop germs? It’s more likely the low rates were caused by quarantining the naval bases before the flu arrived. Then the city closed schools, banned social gatherings, and close spaces like theaters. It sounds like they followed the St. Louis’ plan.
San Francisco believed in the masks so much they blew the whistle on November 21st. People could finally take off their masks without being arrested. A newspaper reported that the sidewalks were “strewn with the relics of a tortuous month.
Sadly their luck changed in January 1919. The third wave hit, and business and theater owners believed those masks would keep people safe. They fought and kept their buildings open. The result – San Francisco had some of the highest death rates in the US.
That same 2007 study said that if the other restrictions had held up, they could have reduced the death rate by 90%. My source for this article, with its great photos: https://history.com/news/spanish-flu-pandemic-response-cities
My conclusions as someone with two strikes (I’m old, and I’m a diabetic) dealing with the Coronavirus for its first wave, maybe more – I’ll wear my mask whenever I go out. I’ll also maintain my social distance. As this first wave ends, I’ll go out more and more, but if there’s a second wave, I’ll head back to that mask and social distancing. I love people, but I also love life! I have a granddaughter, and I want to watch her grow up. I want to dance at her wedding, even if I’m only swaying on my feet.
Part 1 – My mother is a bird lover. Sorry, this isn’t her! When I was growing up . . . when my kids were little, she was never, ever, a bird lover. What changed?
Five to ten years ago my oldest son gave her a bird feeder for Christmas. It was a nice gift, but I had no idea it would be life-changing.
Ever since that Christmas, whenever I stop by, Mom always gives me a bird report. She also links dates and birds. My daughter’s birthday is March 9th. That’s the date when the robins come back.
She gives me reports about hummingbird fights at her feeder. She lets sparrows build nests on her porch light. She even made me google a bird. She wasn’t sure about the spelling, and I was sure there was no such bird. Wrong! I found it . . . the Hoary Redpoll. Really! Mom’s Redpoll looks exactly like the one in the video. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Af1vpd2Fk04
This isn’t her window either, but Mom watches the birds from her living room and kitchen windows.
I never see them from mine, but until five years ago, I was teaching. When you teach, there’s no time to look out the window.
I still don’t see those birds, unless they knock. At the lake, there’s a Papa Bluebird who tap, tap taps, like he wants to get my attention. I think he’s really warning off his reflection. He’s afraid there’s another boy bluebird in the neighborhood. When I try to take his picture, he flies off. I think he’s camera shy!
Now mom has two different feeders. My husband puts suet and bird seed in one. It looks like the one on the left.
The feeder on the right is for hummingbirds. The red liquid is in my refrigerator. My husband warned me not to drink it. Now he’s mixing it up again because the hummingbirds have returned. They usually come back around my birthday, May 7th, and Mother’s Day.
If you’d like to feed the birds, here’s a link. Did you know different birds eat different food? https://www.wildaboutbirds.com/read/attracting-birds/choosing-the-right-bird-food
Part 2 - Meet some of the birds who visit my mother . . . Can you guess their names? Check the captions to see if you’re right! Enjoy a little music while you enjoy a few birds. Good luck! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0adpbKfIp0I
These are the birds that most often appear at my mother’s window. She would recognize them all. I only know their names because I searched them out on https://pixabay.com/. When I see red, it’s a cardinal. Blue is for bluebird, and when I’m in doubt, it’s a bird.
This is John James Audubon in 1826. You might recognize his name – The Audubon Society. His claim to fame – he painted and described all the birds in America. Then he founded an organization that’s alive and well today. Click on the link below, and you can download 435 reproductions of his work. The Link:
An Email from a Friend
I reached out to a friend for a little help with this post. Here is what she wrote:
“Ramadan is the ninth month on the Islamic Lunar Calendar, which is ten days shorter than the Gregorian calendar [Me – I’d forgotten our calendar has a name] so each year Ramadan is about ten days earlier that the last. [Next year – around April 14th]
The months of the lunar calendar are 29 or 30 days.
“Oh, you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was presccribed for those before you, that you may develop God-consciousness.” (Quran 2:183)
“In Ramadan Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. It is not just a month to turn away from food and drink but to turn towards our Creator and serve His Creation.
During this month, Muslims pray and reflect during the day and in the evening they will break their day long fast with a meal called iftaar. This time calls on Muslims to honor the values at the very heart of Islam – compassion, peace, and service to others. This year, we will be doing this in lockdown and while practicing social distancing. This is just a pivot in the way most of us are used to engaging in Ramada, but God willing, we will find enrichment in this as well.
Wishing everyone a very blessed Ramadan – especially healthcare workers and all essential workers in the front lines – a very safe, healthy and blessed Ramadan!”
Many thanks to my friend for explaining Ramadan to me, and to you.
This year Ramadan started after sundown on April 24th, and it will end at sundown on May 23rd, but it will be different. I wanted to understand how. I found a source that looked at Prayer, Fasting, Charity, and Pilgrimage.
2. Prayer – Salat is the Muslim word for prayer. Believers pray 5 times a day, every day, facing Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Tarawih prayers are done each night during Ramadan. Tarawih and Friday prayers are usually said at the mosque in the evening. But not this year. Some mosques are using Zoom, Skype, or webcasts to bring their congregations together.
Some worry that people will miss the call to prayer this year. In Muslim countries it probably isn’t a problem. They broadcast their call with an outside speaker, but in the US the call comes from inside the mosque. I hope they’ll find a way to reach out to each member of the congregation.
2. Fasting – Sawm is part of worship during Ramadan. That’s the month that Muslims don’t eat or drink from dawn to dusk each day. As they turn away from food, they turn towards God and acts of charity.
The Quran tells people who are traveling, sick, elderly, or pregnant that they shouldn’t fast. This year people are worried that fasting will weaken their immune systems, and they’ll get the coronavirus.
But my source said there’s ‘leeway. You don’t have to do something that will hurt your health.’ I didn’t find a specific rule, but my guess is that if you have something like heart disease or diabetes, you will skip fasting and do works of charity instead.
Muslim families break their fasts at Suhoor and at Iftar. Suhoor is the pre-dawn meal before morning prayers. Iftar is the post-sunset meal.
This congregation, men only, is seated together without any social distancing. This year, 2020, Suhoor and Iftar are being done at home with social media connecting you and your mosque.
Here are 2 sources for Ramadan foods.
The pictures below are Ramadan foods I found on Pixabay.
Suhoor is the smaller sunrise meal. Health24.com said fasting required complex carbohydrates and high fiber foods. Complex carbs include whole wheats, oats, beans and rice. High fiber foods are raw fruits and vegetables. Ktchn.com went with a simpler meal – just a date and a glass of water, milk or juice. Then it’s time for morning prayer.
Iftar is the bigger meal after sunset. Health24 suggested dates and water, but advised against lots of sugars and fats. Ktchn.com went with dates and water before the evening prayer. After prayer there’d be dinner with a main dish, sides, salads, and desserts followed by the Tarawih prayers.
3. Charity – Zakat is another pillar of Islam. Donating money, food, and other resources to those in need is part of being Muslim.
Many mosques run their own food pantries year round. Members of the congregation volunteer at church and at non-profit groups. It is part of Islam ‘to care for those who are less fortunate.’ It’s especially true during Ramadan.
Many mosques provide iftar meals to their church families, but not this year – coronavirus. They’ll still pass out meals, but curb side pick up is one of the ways to use social distancing.
4. Pilgrimage – Hajj to Mecca is done during December, but there’s a shorter one during Ramadan, called Umrah.
The goal of pilgrimage is to worship at the holy Kaaba, in the center of the Great Mosque of Mecca, but that won’t happen this year either. Saudi Arabia has banned all religious gatherings, including community prayer because of the coronavirus.
There are so many things lost because of this virus, but there are gains too. You can meditate, pray, and study the Quran from home. You can donate money from a cancelled pilgrimage to charity. But best of all you have more time with family, and more time to draw closer to God.
Hello! Welcome to my website, in screenshot form. It went live in 2016, right after the November election. There are 6 buttons for you to check out, but I’m most active on two, the Blog and My Reads.
My blog is different from the other writers I know. Maybe because I’m a retired teacher. I wrote the content I wanted when I was still teaching, but I wanted to reach beyond second grade.
I wanted to write about the things teachers and kids are interested in, the things they have to learn. This photo came from a blog I did last summer. It was a timeline from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, pre-launch to the end of their world tour.
This spring I finally reached my target, with teachers using my work. I know the Coronavirus forced them to look for material online so I invited 24 teachers from 2 school districts to use me and my writing vault as a resource. Six took a chance on me, and I’m grateful!
Four of them had specific topics they needed. I looked through my vault and sent them links for the posts that best fit their curriculum.
The other two decided to open my vault to their students. Their kids can pick any post to read, then write about. It’s easy peasy for teachers, plus kids get choice too. I’m thrilled!
Welcome to my vault, AKA Pinterest. If you click on this link, I hope you can find what you’re looking for. If you can’t, email me, and I’ll do the searching for you.
If you look across the first row, you might see some things you want to read about. I pulled four posts to show you features straight from the vault.
My first board – Pictures & Text – Earth/Space Science. The post title, Tales from Wapakoneta. When my book came out last summer, I heard lots of stories from hometown friends about Neil. This photo is from story #5. You’ll have to read to discover why Neil is holding a paper airplane. You can also find this post on my History/Social Studies board. When posts fit in more than one place, I list them on Pinterest for you.
Look to the board to the right – Pictures & Text – Economics/Social Studies. The title, Dogs? Do Sports? Really? This came out a few weeks ago. Someone sent me an article about doggy sports. I shared the link, then wrote my own post. It fits on two other boards – Life/Science and Language Arts.
This came from the third board – Pictures & Text Government/Social Studies. It’s broken down into six sections. This photo came from Citizenship Skills. The title, The Power of Kindness, Especially Now. You’ll also find this post pinned in the Economics board too.
The Golden Arches – I had to – from the Pictures & Text – Geography/Social Studies. You’ll find it in the International Maps and Culture section. The title, McDonald’s Trivia. I had a ball writing it, and I think my readers did too. My website numbers stayed high that week!
Finding content on my Pinterest board is like a treasure hunt. You have to look; then hope you find it. My next big business project. . . adding in SEO words. I hope to make it easier for you to find the things you need. I can’t wait to take my class tomorrow!
SEO Words – The Next Frontier – This diagram shows exactly how I feel about them. When I started this post, I thought I understood Search Engine Optimization Words.
I used them with my debut book, NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM. Amazon does too. Here are a few of their SEO words. You can use them to search my reviews:
Wind tunnel Neil Armstrong
Moon landing Must read
Rinda Beach Anniversary of the moon
I thought SEO Words for Pinterest would be the same. Sort of yes. Sort of no. I discovered that I can put something SEO-ish in before posting my blogs on Weebly, but I want to know exactly what that looks like.
I also discovered that I can put SEO words directly into Pinterest, but I don’t know where. I feel like I’m in the deep end of the pool, but I forgot how to swim. I found a friend who’s going to explain a little more to me tomorrow. Fingers crossed! I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks if I learned the SEO stroke.
Cover Image – LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME
I picked the lake for the cover. It’s the star of the book so it will stretch from the front to the back. The left half will be the back cover. The right, the front.
Imagine the front – the title in a fun font – with a trio of images.
The back – the blurb below will take center stage on the lake.
Blurb: This book is part story – part souvenir. Follow Zoe and her family on their lake vacation on the left side of each page. On the right side, there’s room for you to record your own lake vacation story. It’s two stories in one book.
Happy reading, writing and illustrating!
If you’d like to read LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME before it comes out, email me! You could be an ARC Reader. ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy.
I’ve done this for a few friends, and I love getting sneak peeks at their manuscripts. In return I wrote honest reviews of those stories. That’s basically a few sentences telling if I liked their manuscript, and why.
If you’re interested in doing the same thing for me, please email. I’d love to give you a sneak peek, and an honest review would help LAKE FUN to be seen on Amazon.
Passover ended today, April 16, 20 20, and today President Trump announced a plan to reopen the country. I’m four days late, but I need to write about this Easter, because of the Coronavirus. Something that was so horrible made me understand Easter in a way I never could have, without it.
The Road to Easter – Passover ran from April 9 – 16, and Easter from the 9th – 13th, but it started even earlier. This photo contains a hint. It was a day way back in February. Any guesses?
Ash Wednesday was February 26, 2020. That was when we could still go to church. If you went to Ash Wednesday service, you could choose whether your pastor, minister, or priest drew an ash cross on your forehead.
I didn’t get one this year. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ash cross, probably because Wednesday was a school night, and everything was harder back when I was teaching.
Somehow after my husband and I retired we didn’t get back to Wednesday night services. Now it’s something I want to do, next year. If you’d like to read more about Ash Wednesday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.christianity.com/church/church-life/what-is-ash-wednesday-why-do-christians-celebrate-it.html
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. It’s the trip most Christian churches, and mine, take toward Easter. As you attend each Wednesday and Sunday service, you learn a little more about the journey Jesus took to the cross. You learn a little more about what he chose to do for you and me.
But in Ohio, and at my church, everything stopped on March 25th. That’s when our governor put the state into lockdown until April 6th, but when April came, lockdown continued, now until May 1st.
No more church services, but it didn’t stop Lent. I can still go to church on TV or online. At home I can still practice my faith. If you’d like to read more about Lent, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/lent-101-honoring-the-sacrifice-of-jesus-1382259.html
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and it’s the beginning of Holy Week. This year it should have been on Sunday, April 5th. It wasn’t. We were under lockdown orders, across most of the country.
When my kids were little, they’d march into church, waving palms while the congregation sang, “Ride on, Ride on in Majesty.” It was another way to retell Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem, the week before he died.
Imagine – Jesus riding in on a donkey with crowds cheering, waving palms, and shouting Hosannas. Palms, to symbolize the victory over death. Hosannas, to recognize a King, an earthly one, they thought. The donkey, to symbolize a king and peace.
The donkey also fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy in Zech. 9:9 that Israel’s king would arrive, riding on a donkey. It’s hard to believe a week later the king would be dead, on a cross, but Jesus knew what lay ahead.
I skipped Palm Sunday this year. I could have watched the service on TV, but I already knew my church was redoing Holy Week. No date yet – we’ll find out soon, when we make it out of lockdown. I love getting a second chance! If you’d like to read more about Lent, here’s one source, but there are many more.
Maundy Thursday came on April 9th, but it will be on the Thursday after Palm Sunday, the new one for me.
I don’t remember Thursday services. For me it was another school night, but in Sunday School I taught my preschoolers the road to Easter, but we never connected Maundy Thursday to the Last Supper.
Imagine – the disciples sitting around a table watching Jesus break bread and pass it around. He said this is my body. Eat this in remembrance of me.
Then Jesus passed a cup around. He said this is my blood. Drink this in remembrance of me. That’s my communion service, but it came from the Last Supper.
When I take communion, I always have mixed feelings – sadness for the sacrifice Jesus made, and gratitude. Because of his choices, my sins are forgiven. If you’d like to read more about Maundy Thursday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/easter/what-is-maundy-thursday-5-things-christians-need-to-know.html
Good Friday came on April 10th, but it will be rescheduled, the day after Maundy Thursday. I attended one Good Friday, and years later, I still remember it. Vividly.
When Pastor finished, he left, slamming the door behind him. Not one person said a word as we shuffled outside. My kids even stayed quiet in the car, for a few minutes.
It was dramatic – reenacting the moment when Jesus was sealed inside a tomb, left for dead.
I taught that Easter story to my preschoolers. The trial where Jesus was condemned. The climb to Calvary carrying the cross. The nails that held him in place, and the darkness after his spirit was gone.
Jesus was taken to a tomb and sealed inside. If you’d like to read more about Good Friday, here’s one source, but there are many more. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-good-friday-p2-700773
Look at the pictures above and below. This is what most people think of when they think Easter, especially if you’re not a church goer. Easter is about bunnies and chicks. It’s spring, time for baby animals.
Kids also love the stuffed animals to cuddle or the candy ones to eat. Did you catch the bunny on the right? He’s a brand-new bunny, who’s virus-ready just for you!
It’s also time for flowers like crocuses and daffodils. But the most important thing about Easter are the eggs. I dyed them as a kid, and so did my children, usually a day or two before Easter. Then they’d sit around in the refrigerator, waiting for the big day . . . Easter!
The Easter Bunny was busy all night, scattering eggs and baskets for every kid in the family. I remember those hunts. Mine were always inside. I remember the baskets, full of chocolate bunnies and eggs. If you were lucky, it held a stuffed animal, a book, or sidewalk chalk in it.
This year families did all of these things, at home. There wasn’t one community egg hunt. I’ve helped at church and at the local museum, but with the coronavirus lurking around, the hunts were all cancelled.
Without kids at home or out in the community, I felt like I was missing something, but soon my grandgirl will be old enough to become part of the holiday, and next year the community hunts will return.
Easter came on April 11th, but it was rescheduled, the Sunday after Good Friday. I haven’t missed an Easter service since I met my husband back in 1983, till now.
When my kids were little, they came dressed in their new Easter clothes. So did everyone else. Joy filled the air. Friends called, ‘Christ has risen.’ ‘He has risen indeed.’
Imagine that first Easter – the women arriving at the tomb to find it open. And empty. Angels telling them Jesus wasn’t there. He had risen. Those women waiting days for the truth. We’re lucky – we already know – he has risen indeed.
The link for the Easter story:
With the Coronavirus I missed Easter – church services, friends and family, eggs and bunnies, but I never lost Easter. Jesus still rose from the grave, and that’s the heart of Easter.
But I also discovered something – something I would have never discovered without the virus – how alone Jesus was during his Easter journey. There were people around him, but no one, not even his disciples, understood what he was going through. Now I understand that loneliness a little better.
I could be sad, but I’m grateful. This lockdown will lift, and the world will open up just like the tomb did. In John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
I can never match the Son’s example, but I hope I serve the people around me. Luke 24 is the best place to read about the resurrection. For more about Easter, here’s one source, but there are many more.
Do you recognize the story in this picture? It’s from the Bible, the story of Moses, how he led his people out of Egypt. Do you see the Red Sea? I think Moses already crossed it, and he’s leading his people to the other side, to the promised land.
My research said every year, with/without Corona, you clean out your house. For Jews this harkens back to that first Passover when they left Egypt behind. You could only take what you could carry. Imagine looking around your house and thinking what you’d take. I’d need a car and a huge trailer!
For Passover, they also cleaned all the leaven out of their houses. Leaven is probably a form of yeast, because it makes bread rise. When Moses said let’s go, the people took their bread, as is. There wasn’t time to add leaven to it.
Finally my source also said this is a good time to look at yourself. Do you have any habits that don’t belong, that you’re better without? This is a great time to try a change. It might do you good! I’m not Jewish, but I like the idea.
This is a table set for a Seder (say-der) dinner. Family and friends gather together to eat, to celebrate, to remember. Usually they gather together in homes, synagogues, hotels, and camps. Not this year!
Some people will have family, but some will be alone. You can look at what you’re missing, OR, you can look at what you’ll gain. If it’s just family, you can slow down to a family-friendly pace. If you only have adults, you can go adult speed. If you’re alone, just please yourself! There ARE opportunities!
Some will do their Seders on social media. They’ll skype, zoom, or face-time to have a family or a congregation together. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good. Some observant Jews won’t be able to do this. They don’t use technology on holidays, but I’ll bet a matzah they’ll find a way to make this Passover meaningful too.
This is a kosher grocery at Passover.
A Kosher grocery means it stocks foods that are special to the Jewish religion. Other foods won’t be there because they’re forbidden, like cuts of beef that come from the backend of a cow like flank or round steak. If you’d like to read more, click on this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-kosher#animal-products
It’s Passover time in this grocery. My proof - some foods are covered in plastic. That way customers won’t pick up the wrong ones that have leaven/yeast in them. They’re not allowed during Passover.
Back in March suppliers said the special Passover foods like Matzah would be in stock, but last week shoppers were worried that deliveries would be cancelled, or they wouldn’t be able to get in, in time with the limited number of shoppers. Passover 2020 started on April 9th, and it will end on the 16th.
This is Matzah, the most important Passover food. It’s the unleavened bread the Jews took to the promised land. A Rabbi from Senegal (a minister in Western Africa), said he would have Matzah even if he had to make it himself, starting with real wheat, the kind from a farmers’ field.
Someone from Washington, D.C. was planning to host her first Seder, but she had to cancel. She’ll still see her family through social media, but she said she’d miss the meal, not the food. She meant the part when everyone’s in the kitchen making dinner. I hope she thought of doing social networking from everyone’s kitchen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This is a Haggadah from the 1300’s. It’s a book, but it’s only used once a year. Its purpose – to guide you through your Seder dinner. Passover is more than just matzah, more than a meal. It’s a way to retell the story of Moses so that it will never be forgotten.
You can read the story in the Bible. Start at Exodus, and read all the way to the end of Deuteronomy. If you don’t have a Bible, just google Exodus. Your computer can pull up the pages.
The Haggadah will guide you through the ceremony’s fifteen steps. This year two sections might change. Both feature the youngest person in the room. This year, it could be a senior citizen.
Whoever it is gets to ask Four Questions, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” This year it’s possible our youngster will find himself both asking and answering those four questions. This only happens when there’s one person at the table.
In another part of the Seder the Matzah is broken in two. The larger part, the afikomen, will be hidden, and later found. If you’re all alone, you’ll have to do both jobs, but, when you find it, you won’t have to share your dessert.
This year you can look at what’s missing, celebrate what you have, or – take another option . . .
Pesach Sheni. It means – Second Passover. It started when ancient Jews were too late with their sacrifice. They needed another chance. So, if you need a do-over, save the date! May 9th, one month after the first day of Passover.
To learn more about the Seder or Passover, click on any of these links:
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
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!