Become A Reading Angel!

readingangel

I had no idea this existed until last week.  The United Way of Delaware is looking for volunteers to read to kids at Delaware schools.  I signed up for one this week.  I always wanted to do something like this, for many years.  When I first thought of it, I thought about reading to sick kids in hospitals.  Time and life got in the way of doing anything about it, but when I saw this the door opened for me.

This is during the week, so it can be tough for many of you.  But if you have time, please consider being a Reading Angel to a local school.  The schools participating in this are North Georgetown Elementary School in Georgetown, Fairview Elementary School in Dover, Bancroft, Pulaski, Shortlidge, Stubbs, and Wilmington Manor Elementary School(s) in Wilmington, Lewis Dual Language, and Eisenberg Elementary School in New Castle.  I have no idea what I will be reading to the kids, but I look forward to it!

To sign up for this, please go to the United Way Delaware: Reading Angels website and pick a school and date!  Why is this important?  As per the United Way of Delaware website:

Books have the power to benefit children in a myriad of ways. As a Reading Angel, reading to students is one of the most important things you can do to prepare them with a foundation for academic excellence.

Why Does it Matter? Children who do not read proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school as those who read proficiently.  Help us improve our kid’s literacy scores and their reading capability.

Commit to reading to students for one hour at a local school.  We’ll help schedule a convenient time and place – you will help inspire a love of books in local children!

Amen!  Thanks United Way of Delaware!

February Shuffle 1.0

Continuing the tradition from last month, this non-education series of articles is all about the music!

“Kick”, INXS: Heh heh heh.  About all I can say about this!

“Nothing Lasts Forever”, Echo & The Bunnymen: I actually didn’t find this song until 2006 when I picked up a greatest hits compilation of the band.  The title says it all.  At least in its current form.  Life is like energy, it doesn’t disappear, it just evolves.

“The Drugs Don’t Work”, The Verve: Drug addicts have a tough time of it.  I would like to think each and every one had a moment in their lives when they could have taken a different turn and stopped the rough road they went down.  Nothing good comes of it.  It tears apart families and destroys lives.  Sometimes it kills people.  It is an epidemic no matter how you slice it.  One addict is one too many.

“How Do You Love?”, Collective Soul: There are people in this world who do not get love from the time they enter the world.  It leaves horrible scars.  They don’t get that basic foundation that most people get.  They were deprived of that nurturing comfort that forms who they are.  They grow up.  It is incredibly sad what happens to these people.  Is it their fault for the decisions they make when they are older?  Hard to tell.  The problem is they believe they are always the victim and it is always someone else’s fault.  Things like accountability go out the window and they are in a constant state of self-defense.  They don’t even realize this.  If you offend them in any way, you are the enemy.  They will justify any event or situation to fit their needs, which tends to be fleeting in the grand scheme of things.  When they do something wrong, they believe it is not their fault.  They are hard-wired at a very early age to never really trust anyone.   They will lie based on fear.  The truly sad part?  Many of these people don’t get the help they need and there is no medicine that can cure this.  They can be the hardest people in the world to give love to because the odds are very high you won’t get it back in return.  But be assured, they are loved.  Even when those who love them think they can’t give anymore to give and the well has run dry, they are there.  Sometimes that is the truest love of all.  It isn’t romantic or glamorous or sexy, but it is very real.  When they want to cast you aside, as they have done so many others, based on a perceived threat that is not ground in reality, they will smear your reputation and leave you feeling hopeless.  I’ve heard some say this kind of person can never be fixed.  That can be a very bitter pill to swallow.  With God’s love, I think anything is possible.  But they are also His lost sheep.

“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)”, John Williams: How many of you have hummed this piece in your head when you know trouble is coming into a room?

“Waiting In Vain”, Bob Marley: Nothing soothes the soul like a little Bob Marley!  I remember days after school hanging out at Scott’s Reservoir, a man-made body of water between New York and Connecticut.  On one end of “the res” as we called it was a rope swing.  On the other end were cliffs you could jump off.  Down from the rope swing was the end of the res and it was there I camped out at times.  You had a limited time each year to enjoy the swimming adventures at the res.  Usually between Mid-May to the beginning of July.  After that they drained the res for a while.  My parents didn’t want me going there, but that didn’t stop this rebellious teenager.  A lot of good times with friends at the res.  I met a lot of people there as well.

“Bliss”, Tori Amos: What do you do when you finish a book in your life?  You start a new one.  But sometimes that beginning is very slow and boring.  This was the place I was in back in 1998.  Little did I know what was lurking around the corner!

“Upside Down”, Jack Johnson: Like Marley, Jack’s music is awesome for the soul!  I always think of the Curious George movie when I hear this song.  My son Jacob loved watching the video to this song.  His favorite part was when Jack Johnson slips on a banana peel and falls into the water.  I can still hear the laughter through the years!

“Into The Night”, Julee Cruise: Back in 1990 I was in a nasty depression.  The years and some bad stuff took their toll on me.  The absolute worst thing you can do while in this state is watch a show like “Twin Peaks”.  But of course I did it anyway.  David Lynch’s mega-opus into the bizarre and surreal town in Washington captured audiences as they wondered who killed Laura Palmer.  They solved the murder but the show fizzled after that as the central hook was gone.  But it is coming back this Spring for… who knows!

“Rain King”, Counting Crows: This is a Summer of ’94 song!  I just graduated college.  Between the New York Rangers finally winning the Stanley Cup again and O.J. Bronco chases, it was a crazy summer.  But for me, it was very quiet.  Just the way I wanted it!

“The Rose”, Bette Midler: This is one of those songs that holds several different meanings for me, going all the way back to 1980 when it first came out.  Each time, each era, I feel as though it holds more importance, more weight.  Love means so many different things to so many people.  It can be the greatest comfort in the world or it can bring immense pain and sadness.  It all depends on where you are at.

“Bleecker St.”, Simon & Garfunkel: When I hear songs like this that came out from the years before I was born I am envious.  I always wondered what I would have been like in the 1960s.  Judging by this blog and the content I tend to put up on here, I think I know the answer to that question!

“Tears In Heaven”, Eric Clapton: Nothing hurts more then losing a child.  I remember when Eric Clapton’s son fell out of a window and died.  I was working at a deli and it came on the radio.  I felt so bad for Clapton and his family.  This song perfectly summarizes his anguish.

“Going Back”, The Outfield: In the summer of 1992, I got to back home to New York for a few months.  I was working on a magazine about comic books and I stayed with my aunt and uncle near where I grew up.  That was a great summer!  I lost touch with my friends Steve and Neil a long time ago and haven’t been able to find them.  The highlight of the summer was going to San Diego for the first time.  Watching the sun set over the Pacific at Mission Beach as I sat in a bar with my friend Steve.  There are many reading this who may have seen the sun rise at the beach, but if you have never seen it set over the Pacific, make sure you put that on your bucket list!

“New Dress”, Depeche Mode: You think political angst is just an American thing?  To the British in the 1980s it was everything.  But the media focused on celebrities.  Thus this song.  But the message is about Princess Diana’s new dress.  It is actually a get out and vote song when you really listen to it!

“Sleeping Satellite”, Tasmin Archer: Another summer song, this one belonging to 1993.  Another summer at my aunt and uncle’s place in New York.  This summer wasn’t as much fun because I was a co-editor on a book about comic book artists.  There were many late nights getting all the pieces together for this mammoth undertaking.  I did get to San Diego again that summer.  But this was one of those songs that I played over and over again that summer.

“Noah’s Dove”, 10,000 Maniacs: Probably in my top ten songs of all time.  The first time I heard it was driving into a small town in West Virginia.  During Spring Break my senior year of college, I spent that week helping out people in that small town.  It was refreshing and a nice change of pace.  I have always felt giving and volunteer service is good for the soul.  But this song… it’s like “The Rose”, holding different meanings over the years.  At times I felt like Noah’s Dove.  Sometimes it is someone else.

“Ring The Bells”, James: Man, this shuffle sure is picking out a lot of songs from the nineties!  When bad stuff happens, we feel alone a lot.  Like no one can help us.  And sometimes we feel God isn’t there either.  Be assured He is.  He may not be there the way you want Him to be, but he is definitely there!

“The Dolphin’s Cry”, Live: Beginnings are usually awesome.  Full of promise and hope.  New feelings and excitement.

“Daysleeper”, R.E.M.: In the fall of 1998, I got a new job at a mortgage company.  I wanted to do really well at this new job.  A few months into it, I got a call from someone.  This person let me know they got engaged.  Being that I used to date this person, hell, moved across the Atlantic Ocean to be with this person, it crushed me when I heard it.  Cut to my taking a break at work, smoking a cigarette outside.  This woman I had seen before came out.  She could tell I was upset.  I told her what happened.  We talked for a while about it and she helped me to not let this news ruin my day.  These are the moments where friendships are born.

“Song2”, Blur: If you were into the Grunge movement in the nineties, this song was almost an anthem.  Body-surfing, the grunge dancing, the loud music.  Yeah, it was a movement!

“Brother”, Needtobreathe: If you see your brother is down, go to him.  Doesn’t have to be your biological brother.  We are all brothers and sisters on this planet, no matter what color we are.  Some people may not seem like they want help.  Give it a shot.  You could actually save a life!

“What Does It Take?”, Honeymoon Suite: If one song could perfectly encapsulate what my life is like now, this would be it.

Time for bed.  I’ll post this in the morning.