Many thoughts about the world, meditation, parenting, Judaism, pregnancy, teaching, cancer survivorship, moving from West Coast to East and more.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A teaching relevant post for this... 2 days after the kids went home

Great article about what makes a good teacher.

I would add that while a clean classroom is great, the part about being organized does not necessitate having everything perfectly tidy. With all due respect, I sometimes see perfect cleanliness traded off for some of those other good things he mentions.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

ND's end of the year celebration

Can't believe she's graduating and heading for pre-k!

Love how self-assured she is when she walks on in the first video with her picture projected behind her.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

10 Year Anniversary Dvar Torah

What a great Shabbat this has been. Yesterday was our 10 year anniversary, so today we sponsored a kiddush and had some guests for Shabbat where I shared a little Dvar Torah.

10 years ago, at the Shabbat preceding our wedding, I spoke to a room of women including my mother and mother-in-law-to-be about the parsha Shelach. In the parsha, the spies that enter Israel bring back reports of a land of abundance. I remember describing to the group the enormous grapes they carried, and I compared these fruits to the success they have shown me in their own marriages as U. and I prepared to enter into that "land" as well.

10 years later, I have more to add. Just as the spies came out with abundant fruits they also brought out some fears in the people. Throughout our marriage we have had many ups, but downs too. Many of our conflicts have come from us either following bad habits or trying too much to emulate what we thought our roles should be based on what we'd seen in others.

Over the years we've learned to believe in ourselves as individuals more, to believe in each other more, and to believe in the marriage itself more. At the times when I've felt the least secure in our marriage, it has been very similar to another part of the parsha, when the meraglim say, "We were like grasshoppers in our eyes." This unhealthy self-concept can lead to dysfunction.

The more I've been able to create a healthy respect for myself, the more I've been able to respect my spouse as well, and the happier we've grown. We don't always have to follow what other couples look like. As Dr. Seuss is quoted as saying, "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

ND's Nursery Rhymes

We've been reading this book for awhile, but only last night did I discover she knows most of the rhymes by heart!

I tried posting here directly, but it didn't work, so visit my picasa link to listen!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tread On Trafficking update

I wrote once before about Tread on Trafficking. I'm more than halfway to my goals, both fitness and monetary, but it's going to take a big push to finish. I'm not used to asking for money from people so am using the tool I'm most comfortable to do it... below is the text I'm planning to email to a lot of people tonight to push the donations over the edge.

*****

I don't know why, but from a very young age I was always fascinated with and furious about misuse of power in relationships between men and women. As a high school student this meant volunteering in an office that helped victims of domestic violence. In College it meant training for a Sexual Assault Support hotline that served students on campus.

Some time after college I stopped thinking about these issues so much. Perhaps it was because I was myself now in a safe marriage and simply didn't see people around me as vulnerable as I did when my peers and I were younger. My concern shifted more towards helping the children in my classroom and on being a mother.

Some time ago I learned about an organization called Love146. (See http://love146.org/) When I read about them, all the fury and grief and passion I once had in regards to issues of sexual abuse exploded once again, but with a strength they'd never had before. This organization has the courage and tenacity to confront child sex trafficking.

Read that again:
Child sex trafficking.

When I first read those words I felt the instant tension to make a choice... do I weep or do I try not to think about this horrible idea? But the more I read their site, the more I was pulled in. First I was shocked at the reality of how bad and how widespread things are out their for such a vulnerable population all over the world, including the US.

Secondly, I was touched by the love and care with which this organization handles its job of rescuing children and giving them a new life, as well as preventing prostitution and other trafficking, by helping young children have access to education.

There is a husband-wife couple in Boston that supports Love146 and which began a program called Tread on Trafficking. The program is fun and inspiring and makes it much easier for people to confront this horrible topic through building awareness during a fundraiser. Volunteers like myself choose a personal goal (usually fitness) as well as a fundraising goal.

I wasn't sure the purpose of choosing a fitness goal. In a way it seemed arbitrary. But I chose anyway to do 500 aerobic minutes (walking or biking... and walking on Shabbat wouldn't count) while also raising $500 for Love146 by the end of June. Now, everyday even if I can only squeeze in a 10 minute sprint on our exercise bike, I'm reminded to spread awareness of this topic. Every time I look at my list on the fridge of how much I've done so far, I feel inspired that, bit by bit, people can make little differences in the world mean a lot.

To that end, I'm asking your help. As I write this email I've exercised over 300 minutes and have raised just under that number of dollars. I have $200 to go. If 10 friends each give $20 or if 20 friends each give 10 dollars, I'm set. If we overshoot the goal, even better. But if you could just help out a tiny bit it would mean a lot to me.

To donate to my personal page, please click here:
http://love146.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=474460&lis=0kntae474460=E47F2EDBD1DB4F2A81AA3CE0B76D2C6B

If we get lucky and, when you decide to donate, I've already exceeded the $500 goal, I hope you'll go to this link:
http://love146.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=474460&lis=0&kntae474460=E221BFCF355E4F37AC1977F54B3F0FC3&supId=0&team=4208575&cj=Y

That is the personal page of a group of girls at the Love146 round home. These are girls who have gained a new life thanks to Love146's intervention and they also wanted to be involved on Tread on Trafficking.

Thank you so much for taking to the time to read my appeal to you. I hope you'll donate and pass on the word to others too.

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