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Filtering by Category: Rant and Musings

Water Under The Bridge

Jlynn Frazier


After a long day of hiking, enjoying the long weekend so many thoughts and ideas swirling. Back to my blog, to a beautiful creative space to unleash a splash of my energy into the world.

August is now just water under the bridge. September is here and looking marvelous. Another month, another school year, and we are on the cusp of a new season. The sun rises a little later in the morning and I'm seeing more of the early morning color over the treetops from our porch. On my commute to work, the traffic pattern has changed as the yellow school buses have returned once again. The sunlight is fading earlier too and it means making the most of the light, particularly after work. The days are warm and sunny and the evenings are cool. 

I'm not sure what it is about the being in the in-between of seasons, yet I really like it. I think it is knowing change is coming. A reminder to soak up every moment of what it here because a shift has begun. 

There is also something about September. The time when kids, big and small, return to school. I used to get so excited in anticipation for a new school year. Yes, I was one of those kids who loved school, well the idea of going to school to learn and create new things part of the experience at least. New clothes, a haircut, and all the fresh notebook paper, pens, and school books. I still find my way to a store and buy a supply or two each year. I love the basic composition notebooks and its a great time to stock up. And yes, new purple pens for writing, and pencils too. 

I find that it is also a great time to let go of all that does not serve me, stay steady with what works, and give a few new things a try. Oh, and to encourage me (and you) to keep asking the important questions and seek clarity, peace, and hope. Its the inquiry that matters, not the answers. Some answers we'll find, some we won't, others we'll find for a time then begin asking again. 

Reading = Hope x Change

Jlynn Frazier

Labels are so difficult because we use them as a way of making sense of the world, yet using a label is a way that one person names and defines who someone is. Often when we tell people who they are they believe it, they soak it in, and it sticks with them. 
— Jlynn Frazier

Listening to All Things Considered on NPR this week, I learned that Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming (which I haven't read yet, but on my list) is the new National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. 

I was not aware that we had such a thing, so I turned up the volume and leaned in closely listening to hear more about what this ambassador does. As I alluded to in a recent post reading is something I spend quite a bit of time doing and has been top of mind lately.

As the ambassador, she get's a lot of freedom to choose her mission. How cool is that? Imagine if we all had a bit more freedom to set our own mission to change the world no matter what our title is. 

I was thrilled to learn that Woodson’s vision includes focusing on the importance of getting rid of labels that define the type of reader you are. Whether this is “advanced reader” or “struggling reader” these labels stick with children, often into adulthood, and are not helpful. I know for a long time I used the label "slow reader" to imply that I was not a very good reader. I have since learned, of course, that sometimes I read fast other times slower. Also, that it is not really about the speed of reading but that you read and can comprehend what you are reading. Also, that by reading you can enjoy the possibilities that come from setting off on a journey to learn and expand your thinking.

Woodson noted that instead of the labels, she wants to see more concentration on how a book makes us think or feel and to reclaim the word “reader.” 

We use labels as a way of making sense of our world, yet using a label is a way that one person names and defines who someone is. Often when we tell people who they are they believe it, they soak it in, and it sticks with them. 

And a label that we might find useful or think is positive and encouraging might be far from it. I don't know that I have met anyone who doesn't recall something that a teacher said that might have included something like "your such a good painter" or "you are not very good at math are you." And these stories became part of the story they told for a long time. Again, not always bad but it really can have a significant impact on paths take (or avoided). 

The mathematical equation Woodson has come up with is "Reading equals hope times change. Woodson told NPR, “Reading equals hope times change. So, of course, it’s that play on words, but it’s also the fact that we come to books looking for the hope in them. And when we close a book, we’re a different person than when we first opened that book. And reading begins a conversation. And my hope is that we can start having these conversations that literature triggers around the country.” 

I share her hope and believe that reading is a key that will unlock so many paths to engage in challenging conversations. I want to do what I can to be an advocate and champion for adult readers and look forward to continuing to share what I'm reading and book suggestions here.

Additionally, I will put together a page with book recommendations that include some of my favorites so far. In the meantime, what are you reading? Looking for ideas, check out MY FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2017

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Covfefe Kerfuffle (and The Words We Use)

Jlynn Frazier

Each year, new words emerge and old words take on new life. I "geek" out on this sort of thing because I find that we can learn alot by paying attention to the details of our thoughts, words, and actions. 

I think so much can be said in just one word (though my word counts would suggest otherwise). It is fascinating to watch a word take on such a life of its own in a given year. I mean who didn't utter or hear the word covfefe (Grammarly just suggested that this is a typo and suggested coffee). I'll admit I chuckled many times at the ridiculousness of it all and the amount of airtime we choose to give to people. BTW, covfefe is one of 14 words on Lake Superior State University’s 43rd Annual List Of Banished Words for 2018. 

I was intrigued to learn words named as "2017 word of the year." Three that I am aware of:

Over the year, I have become increasingly aware of the words being used in the world and the ones that I choose to use. The words we use do matter. If I had to choose one word that sums up my year, I might say nourish as the mantra "nourish to thrive" was powerful for me. Other words that come to mind: spirit, love, Universe, ease, desire, spacious, climate change, movement, energy, kindness, practice, stillness, and evolving. 

I am curious about the words we will breathe life into this year. At times I felt a little beat up by words and I am making it a practice to be much more mindful and selective about the words I use this year.