“It was raining the day Suki came to the Palace of the Sun, and it was raining the night that she died.”
The Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (2018, Harper Collins Canada)
The Shadow of the Fox is a magical Japanese Fantasy novel that features Yumeko (half kitsune and half human) and Kage Tatsumi ( a samurai of the Shadow Clan). One is sworn to protect part of an ancient scroll, the other to find it.
I loved this story and look forward to reading the next one in the series.
“I wake feverish. The skylight above me pulses with rain, and I spider my fingers across the sheets, remembering I’m alone. I close my eyes and find my way back to sleep, until I’m woken again, engulfed by a deep, sudden pain. I’ve been waking with a sick feeling every morning since he left, bu I know that away this is different. Something’s wrong.”
The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy (2018, Harper Collins Publishers)
This book centres on a story that is every young mother’s nightmare – the kidnapping of her child. This was an intense read with some unexpected twists.
In my page-a-day calendar on Happiness, a statement on the Truths of Happiness was made:
One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make others happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.
At first glance, the quote from my calendar may seem contradictory. But on closer reflection, the statements make sense.
It is certainly easier to make others happy if you are happy within yourself. A person’s happiness, I believe, arises from contentment and acceptance of the life they are living whether it be at home or in the workplace. Lack of acceptance of events in our lives can lead to resentment and bitterness. Regret can blemish our complete experience of happiness; jealousy can tarnish it.
When a person is happy, they are grateful for what they have – even though what they have may not seem like much. Happiness is more than just material goods (a car, a house in the right neighbourhood, a closet full of clothing). Instead happiness may be defined by relationships, love, connections with the community.
Happy people easily bring joy to others. They seem to spread their happiness through laughter, sharing what they have, and the help they give unconditionally. In bringing joy to others, happy people are able to increase ten-fold their own happiness. Helping others seems to bring about more positivity in a person’s life; it seems to increase their sense of well-being.
Your own happiness and the happiness of others seems to be closely intertwined. The challenge is to find the balance so that your own happiness is not surrendered in the desire to make others happy.
What are your thoughts on the quoted Truths of Happiness?
Yesterday afternoon I went on a workshop based on teaching Mathematics to children in the Early Years (kindergarten to grade 2). One of the quotes that had been put up on the wall resonated in me:
So often children begin to believe that they are incapable of doing Math – that it is too difficult for them and that they will never achieve in this subject. Once they believe that they are incapable, they close their minds to the various possibilities of problem solving. Our challenge as teachers is to make them believe in themselves and their abilities. And to encourage them to enjoy the journey of solving Math problems. Teaching kindergarten, I have not come across a child saying they cannot do Math – and yet as children get older, some of them begin to say “I am not good at Math”, “I cannot do this”, “Math is not the subject for me”.
What I love about the above quote is that it can be relevant to other things in a child’s life: writing a paragraph or essay, participating in gym or a team sport, learning another language. As teachers, and even parents, the best thing we can give any child is the confidence to try whatever task is set out in front of them; and to have the belief that they can grow from the experience. The experience is in the doing and the process – not so much a perfect end result.
I enjoy learning and I have learned that making mistakes is part of the process. It is my hope that each day I help children realise that it is in trying and in making mistakes that we learn. It is my hope that each day I help a child realise that they can learn anything.
“I was born in a library, in the fiction stacks.” -Luanne Rice
I came across this quote by Luanne Rice last week – and I loved it at first sight. My reading skills and soaring imagination were certainly polished by my many visits to the library. One of my early memories is of my mom taking us to the public library a car ride away. I recall the largeness of the space, the silence that echoed among the stacks, the many shelves filled with books: picture books, adult books, and the books in between.
The memory that comes to mind is of the time when I chose Dickens’ story A Tale of Two Cities to take home and read. I remember the thickness of the book, the cream-coloured paper, the scent of the pages as I turned them. I enjoyed the detailed drawings in the novel, and the intricacies of the story. I spent time engrossed in the plot while sitting on my bed, or in a shady part of our garden. I was a young reader at that time and would often forgo playing for travel into the world of the imagination.
Reading, and the many visits to the library, has definitely affected the many aspects of who I am: my sense of imagination; my ability to see in my mind what it is I am reading; the ease with which I currently write (whether for work or for pleasure); my vocabulary; my general knowledge. Would I change this part of me? No. And would I cease to visit those stacks that encourage me to wander into different worlds? I think not.
Within the fiction stacks, a reader was born. And among those shelves of books, a reader will continue to thrive.
Do you spend time among the fiction stacks of a library?
Put a good story in my hands and I allow the world to pass me by as I become engrossed in the characters and the storyline. Many an hour have I passed in my lifetime on the couch, or lying on the bed, or sitting under a tree with a book in my hand. Whenever I have needed to de-stress after exams (whether writing them or correcting them), the words writers have woven together have helped me let go of exam-related pressures. If I have needed to escape the realities of a mundane life, the fantasy created by an author has helped me believe, for a little while, that my life has meaning. If I have needed to get off the wheel of the rat race, the aid to my imagination has helped me meander in another walk of life.
More than once, the written word has helped ground me in my existence and has encouraged me to think on other lives and experiences. I enjoy entering the world of fiction to learn other perspectives, or even a little of human history. My favourite stories are those epic tales that span many years, or even decades. Take me on a journey with a family and I will happily follow the antics, the desires, the dreams of those characters. Non-fiction is an enjoyment too as I learn more on topics that interest me: health, the environment, history, religion.
Just another paragraph, just another page, just another chapter. “Let me finish this part.” These words I hear when I remind my children of their daily responsibilities. And I understand the sentiment as I often say them to myself when I am forced to put down a book, a story, an escape, an outlet.
I am addicted to reading. Fiction. Non-fiction. Poetry and prose. Always well-written.
I am a reading addict. And proud of it!
Are you a reader? What books are your favourite reads?
That may be so, but I believe that opportunity knocks more than once – but just in different ways.
The first time an opportunity comes knocking in your life, you may not be ready to receive it. Or you may not even hear the knock. You may be overwhelmed with what is happening in your life and you may not pay attention to what is at your door.
But the chance will come again. I believe. In the form of another person, or another event. At a different time of your life. When you are older, wiser, more aware of the happenings around you. It may come at a time when yo are more willing to take the chance, to risk your pride or even your fear.
Opportunity knocks. And it knocks more than once. It is up to you to open the door and take the plunge, to invite into your life the change that the opportunity brings. We may live our lives welcoming these opportunities; or ignoring them and passing by on the steps we could take to change the path of our lives.
I try to be aware of opportunities; but sometimes I realise too late that I have missed a chance. But I know that others will come along. I am hopeful that next time I will notice them before it is too late.
Have you missed any opportunities in your life?
(This post was inspired by the prompt, opportunity, given by Lisa-Jo Baker)