Monday, June 12, 2017

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Francis Hodgson Burnett

As a child,  I read The Secret Garden, A Little Princess,  and The Lost Prince more than once. For some reason, the title of this book had not appealed to me. Too bad. We just finished reading it and it is a lovely story, quite possibly my favorite.

But only be good, dear, only be brave, only be kind and true always, and then you will never hurt any one, so long as you live, and you may help many, and the big world may be better because my little child was born. ♥️

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Utah Pancakes

Utah Pancakes

1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons vinegar
2 eggs
4 tablespoons salted butter 
5 tablespoons sugar
2 cups flour 
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 

Mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients 
Makes pancakes for 4

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Justin Morgan Had A Horse by Marguerite Henry

Every time I read a book by Marguerite Henry it becomes a new favorite. I've never yet opened one I didn't love. Her stories are sweet, beautifully written, and carefully researched. You will learn something. They are engaging enough for adults and children alike. They carefully introduce vocabulary. They teach virtue.

I was a horse-crazy little girl. I wish I had been able to read more of these wonderful stories.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

A Hobbit a Wardrobe and a Great War by Joseph Loconte

Tolkien and Lewis lived through a time when, "all the horrors of all the ages were brought together." The Great War decimated a generation, robbing it of its finest young men, its leaders, its priests, its fathers, while leaving those who returned broken in body and mind.

How could God allow such suffering? How could there be a God at all? Generational cynicism fueled the appetite for Darwinism, Atheism, Communism, Feminism and all the other "isms" of doubt, the idols of the modern age.

Over pots of tea, the Inklings grappled with these questions and wove them into their epic fairy stories steeped in the truth about the way to redemption and salvation.

"There is no shortcut to the land of peace, no primrose path to the mansions of the blessed. First come tears and suffering in Mordor, heartless violence at Stable Hill, and horror and death at Golgotha." To preserve essential liberty, war is sometimes necessary.

Lewis and Tolkien believed that every life falls under the shadow and that adventure finds those who are quietly minding their own business. The adventure will test us beyond our limits and test our friendships. In the struggle, we become something more corrupt or more pure than we began. How does the heart respond to the roar of The Great Lion, the Son of the Emporer-beyond-the-sea?

"Is everything sad going to come untrue?' asks Sam[wise Gamgee]. Here we find, beyond all imagination, the deepest source of hope for the human story. For when the King is revealed, 'there will be no more night.' The Shadow will finally and forever be lifted from the earth. The Great War will be won.

This King, who brings strength and healing in His hands, will make everything sad come untrue."

Thursday, June 01, 2017

The Brain's Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, M.D.

Both of  Dr. Doidge's books are absolutely fascinating. They discuss how the science of Neuroplasticity is helping people with Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, chronic pain, depression, autism, stroke patients, and more.

While his books only hint at this issue, as a teacher I am concerned about how our children are wiring their brains. This current generation is the first to be truly immersed in technology and I see some concerning trends in the classroom.

That said, I hope that the therapies discussed in this book will become more widely available for more people and that the results discussed here will be replicated millions of times over.

"When we learn, we alter which genes in our neurons are “expressed,” or turned on. Our genes have two functions. The first, the “template function,” allows our genes to replicate, making copies of themselves that are passed from generation to generation. The template function is beyond our control. The second is the “transcription function.” Each cell in our body contains all our genes, but not all those genes are turned on, or expressed. When a gene is turned on, it makes a new protein that alters the structure and function of the cell. This is called the transcription function because when the gene is turned on, information about how to make these proteins is “transcribed” or read from the individual gene. This transcription function is influenced by what we do and think. Most people assume that our genes shape us—our behavior and our brain anatomy. Kandel’s work shows that when we learn our minds also, affect which genes in our neurons are transcribed. Thus we can shape our genes, which in turn shape our brain’s microscopic anatomy.” 

~Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontier of Brain Science