Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Letting Go

Blog Every Day in MayBlogEverday[1]

Day 30: React to this term: Letting Go

My pastor, Reverend David Fleming, of Margate Community Church in Margate, NJ shared this story in his sermon on Sunday. An excerpt of Pastor Dave’s sermon follows the story.

An ancient Greek legend tells of a woman who has come down to the River Styx to be ferried across to the region of departed spirits. The kindly ferryman reminds her that it is her privilege to drink of the river water and thus forget the life she is leaving behind. Eagerly she asks, “Will I forget how I have suffered?”

“Yes,” replies the ferry man, “but you will also forget how you rejoiced.”

“Will I forget all my failures?”

“Yes, but also all of your victories.”

“Will I forget how I have hated?”

“Yes, but also how you have been loved.”

After thinking it over, the woman chose not to drink from the river, preferring to keep all of her memories of sorrow and joy, disappointments and love, successes and failures.

We all have memories of good times and bad times, as well as memories of loved ones and friends whose lives exhibited extraordinary love and sacrifice and commitment to us, to family members, and others.

We can choose, like Paul (in 1 Corinthians 13) to let those memories change us for the better. We can love better, care better, share better, and let go of those negative things that block this love and spirit. Memories have power to change us because God often speaks to us through them.

The faith, hope, and love that Paul spoke of applies to all of life and its mixture of joy and sadness, disappointments and love, successes and failures. God amazingly and lovingly finds a way to be there with us through it all. One of these days, we may find  a way to stop trying to define how we expect God to respond, and we will remember all those surprisingly wonderful moments when faith, hope, and love unexpectedly came our way – and God was in the midst of those times.

#WANAfriday: Travel Dreams

wana logo

Every Friday, a WANA (We Are Not Alone) member posts a question for members to answer.

This week’s question:  If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Last year, I spent two weeks in Italy (my third visit), but on that trip, I got to know the country much better. In Rome, my sister-in-law, Carol, and I stayed in a centrally located hotel close to Navona Square, convenient to many of the tourist spots, and walked everywhere. We claimed the city as our own.

The Italy trip revived my interest in going back to France for several weeks or longer. I have been to France several times, once with college group, then later with a friend. We went as tourists and did all the tourist things: Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Louvre Museum, Versailles Palace, and more.

But on my next trip to France, I would like to take a good city map, revisit the tourist spots, but then just wander the streets and see where they take me. I studied French in both high school and college, and while I have forgotten most of it, I would like to warm it up again. Tea and crumpets at an outdoor café on the Champs Elysees sounds nice, too.

For right now though, I think I will follow a nifty idea presented by The Rider: Travel to exotic places through others’ blogs.  I will check out blogs for France.

MegTravels has a checklist to help me get ready for my trip to France. (Maybe I will spill over into Spain and Portugal.)

And here are other WANAs and their travel wishes:

The Last Meow

Henri, the French existentialist cat articulates the pain of existence here.

(Bleh. Only a French cat would see life this way! Get a life, Henri.)

cat with shades imagesCAOWRXCZ

Meow for now.   =<^_^>=

Music, Memories, and More


Blog Every Day in May:

Prompt 29: Five songs or pieces of music that speak to you or bring back memories

Memories of Mom:

Mom loved singing hymns in church, and she had a number of favorites: “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Amazing Grace,” “When We All Get to Heaven,” and “In the Garden.” Click to listen to  “In the Garden.”
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Other music that I enjoy:

Yo-Yo Ma performs The Prelude from Bach’s Cello Suite, No. 1

Yo-Yo Ma

Sarah Chang, Meditation de Thais

Sarah Chang

Akwarian Sea Rebel (aka Amanda Heck), Selections from the album Epic Gems
Akwarian Sea Rebel is my creative stepdaughter, sister to Cassandra Heck. Mandy is a multi-talented artist and musician. The album cover for Epic Gems is a self-portrait. (She did the music for Sesame Street’s productions “Lonely Eleven” and “Twelve Little Chicks.” Her friend, Mari Jaye Blanchard, did the animations and lyrics for both productions.)

Self-portrait, Akwarian Sea Rebel

Self-portrait, Akwarian Sea Rebel

The Last Meow

Hey, you forgot one. Susan Boyle singing “Memory” from Cats.

CATS logo

Ah, good choices. I like this last one the best!  Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Jersey Shore Towns Reopen and Welcome Visitors

download from camera 4-2011 328The terrible devastation ($38 billion in damages) of many New Jersey shore towns caused by Hurricane Sandy (October, 2012) required enormous clean-up and reconstruction projects in a relatively short period of time. Now, seven months later, these resilient NJ shore towns welcome tourists back to the beaches, ocean, boardwalks, and their communities.

President Obama visited the New Jersey shore on May 28, 2013 to check on the rebuilding progress. He walked with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the Asbury Park boardwalk and spoke to the crowds gathered there to see him. School children lined the route of President Obama’s motorcade. President Obama noted the enormous work that had been completed, but he acknowledged that repair work needed to continue before recovery would be complete.

New York Daily News photo

New York Daily News photo

USA Today photo

USA Today photo

The next post reviews the hurricane situation, showing how one community, Margate, NJ, prepares to meet the challenge of revitalizing storm damaged homes still in need of repair.

N is for Nora’s Ark: In Times of Trouble People Help People (Hurricane Sandy)

Hurricane Sandy makes an abrupt left turn and heads directly to New Jersey coast.

Hurricane Sandy makes an abrupt left turn and heads directly to New Jersey coast.

Ocean City, NJ is my favorite beach town and I have written about it before:

O is for Ocean City, NJ 2012/04/18

download from camera 4-2011 1143

Saturday Silliness – Basset Hound Doo Dah Parade  2012/08/04

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride

Bike MS-Video-City-to-Shore Success 2012/09/30

Bikers walk their bikes to the staging area after completing the race.

Bikers walk their bikes to the staging area after completing the race

Bike MS City-to-Shore 2012/09/30

Brianna enthusiastically marches around the area carrying a sign with the positive news that a cure for MS is in sight. Children can learn the value and positive benefits of volunteering at an early age.

Breanna enthusiastically marches around the area carrying a sign with the positive news that a cure for MS is in sight. Children can learn the value and positive benefits of volunteering at an early age.

Relay for Life (Cancer) 2012/06/25

Relay for Life opening parade

Relay for Life opening parade

P is for Parade, Pies, Paint–Doo Dah Parade, 2013 2013/04/18

I. Will. Not. Go. One. More. Step. And. You. Can't. Make. Me.

I. Will. Not. Go. One. More. Step. And. You. Can’t. Make. Me.

O is for Ocean City, NJ: Pizza, Saltwater Taffy, Frozen Custard, Caramel Popcorn  2013/04/17

Eating ice cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk with my grandchildren and their cousins.

Eating ice cream on the Ocean City Boardwalk with my grandchildren and their cousins.

A Cat, A Crab, and a Sunny Day 2013/05/09

Photo credit: David Nahan, Ocean City Sentinel

Photo credit: David Nahan, Ocean City Sentinel

The Last Meow

Good idea. Time for the beach. Let’s go!

kitten in pink car

Meow for now.  =<^;^>=

Only Pictures: Garden Critters

Blog Every Day in MayBlogEverday[1]

Prompt 28: Only Pictures

Chipmunk Sitting on Cat

Chipmunk Sitting on Cat

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Butterfly on Rhododendron

Pokey and Grumpy Cat in the Garden

Pokey and Grumpy Cat in the Garden

The Last Meow

Shhhhh. I'm watching the garden critters.

Shhhhh. I’m watching the garden critters.

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

Hello, Dear Readers. Who Are You?

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May Challenge Prompt 27

Write a Letter to Your Readers

Dear Readers,

Almost every writing expert tells us writers that we should know our audience when we write.

But because of Internet and its vast network, our writing reaches farther than we could have ever imagined, so that basic writing suggestion simply doesn’t work.

We bloggers write not knowing who our readers are. We know we have readers because WordPress counts them and gives us fascinating statistical reports.

My favorite report shows a colored map and tells me how many readers/views I have, and from which countries they have viewed my blog.

Wordpress stats

I am not surprised that I have views* in the English speaking countries:  United States (7,198 views), Canada (761), United Kingdom (650), and Australia (390). All four together represent my largest audience. But it is amazing to me that I have had readers in Egypt (38), Saudi Arabia (8), Qatar (8), Brunei Darussalem (3), Occupied Palestine (1),  Azerbaijan (1) Latvia (1), and so many more. (*WordPress counts each view of a post separately. If one reader reads three posts, then views= 3).

Why are you reading my blog? Are you learning English? Are you an expat? Are you an old friend?

I can look at sections of the map and think about specific people who might be reading my blog: Is that you, blogger friend Ellen V. Gregory in Australia, reading my post? In Alaska, maybe its Jim, Linda, Joan, Tina, Sherry, or other people I knew when I lived there. Maybe it’s Gary or Mary Jane in Korea; or Kent, Mary, Tammy, Jenny, Leslie in Hong Kong, my friends from Hong Kong International School. In Germany, it might be my nephew, Bill. In India, it might be my friend, Abraham, or one of his family or church members. Maybe it’s my blogger friend Julie Ferrar in France. I don’t know. It boggles my mind.

Equally interesting are the white spaces on the map: Greenland;  Paraguay, Suriname, and French Guiana, three countries in South America; all the Middle Eastern Countries; many countries in Africa; and Papua New Guinea in the Far East. It makes me wonder. Is Internet available in these areas? Is Internet available but restricted? What interest would they have in my blog anyway?

So dear readers, I am curious about you. My world geography is getting better because of your interest in my blog. Seeing your country colored in on the map reminds of visits that I have made to many of your countries, and I have many more countries on my bucket list for visits, enough to last a lifetime.

But regardless of who you are or where you live, I do appreciate your taking the time to read my blog. I know you have many blogs to choose from (does that sound like the arrival speech from the flight attendants on your favorite airline?), and I appreciate your interest. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing! To you, my heartiest thanks for visiting.

And if you have a minute, let me know who you are and the name of your country. I look forward to getting to know you better.

The Last Meow.

What about us kitties?  Look at our map. We have fans all over the world. How about that!

INternational cat day map.

Meow for now. =(^;^)=

Responsive Language for Positively Affecting Students’ Learning

This is an excellent article for educators. It gives very specific suggestions for how to respond to students in various situations. Administrators, teachers, and other educational personnel should read it.

Reading By Example

I just got back from a weekend vacation. We stayed with my wife’s family in a cabin along the Mississippi River, located in the Northeast part of Iowa (for my niece’s graduation). No wireless in the cabin, but I didn’t miss it. It was good to be disconnected for a couple days. I visited with family, thought, and read. The only time I really used my smart phone was to check the weather.

However, always a learner, I did take time to briefly reflect on my school’s progress in being more socially proactive with our students. We are in the midst of implementing the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) framework. It is an initiative that helps an entire building develop consistent expectations, as well as focus on the positive actions of our students whenever possible. Despite the sometimes bumpy ride when you implement any kind of initiative, I have…

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Grumpy Cat Art Project…One More Entry by Cassandra Heck

Have you seen the trending topic about the Grumpy Cat Art Project?

In Huntsville, Alabama, thirty-two artists have invented their own artistic representations of Tardar Sauce, aka The Grumpy Cat, to auction off for the benefit of the Low Mill Arts and Entertainment Center. Proceeds from the auction will go to the center for art projects and for a children’s playground.

But none of these can compare to the cute and quirky Grumpy Cat heart designed personally for me by my stepdaughter, Cassandra Heck. She presented this little critter to me on Mother’s Day, and I have been chuckling about it ever since. Look closely at the intricate detail: hand-stitching, beadwork, paint on cut-out felt, and special ribbon. Look at those white thread whiskers. Grumpy looks so, so adorable. (Sorry, Grumpy, I’m just being honest.)

Grumpy Cat may be a sour puss, but Cassie’s original rendition gives me lots of happies. His stern NO! did not prevent me from eating those Trader Joe chocolate-nut biscotti given to me by Mandy Heck.

Sorry, this original Grumpy Cat design is not part of the auction!

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Cassie makes these one-of-a-kind heart designs for friends as a mini-fundraiser of her own to help her pay the vet bills for Luca, her canine companion, who recently had to be put to sleep due to an advanced cancer tumor above his hip.

Luca and Cassie 3

Here are a few other “Helping Hearts” designs by Cassie.

Cassie designed this heart for her mom who helped care for Luca. Luca means "bringer of light."

Cassie designed this heart for her mom who helped care for Luca. Luca means “bringer of light.”

heart 5

CAssie dog heart Mr. Tux

Cupcake Heart

Cupcake Heart

American Heart

The Last Meow

Nice, Cassie. You do good work. Thanks for making us look so pretty.

heart cats

Meow for now.  =<^:*>=

Memorial Day Reminder – Online News Clip

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May

Prompt 26 Something you read online.

Memorial Day, May 27, 2013

Honoring Those Who Died in Service of Our Country
Memorial Day

US Army Pfc. Corey Shelton uses a wooden stick to drive American flags into the grass on Boston Common in Boston in preparation for Memorial Day. Each flag represents a service member from Massachusetts who gave his or her life defending the country.

Memorial day s

Memorial day 3

The Last Meow

I know this is not very patriotic, but it is so cozy in here.cat patriotic

Meow for now. =<^;*>=

Thou Good and Faithful Servant

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May Prompt 25

Something someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget (good or bad).

I am not a praise junkie. I tend to evaluate my own work and person perhaps more harshly than another person might. I am a bit of a perfectionist (I wrote about that here in My Top Three Terrible Traits), and I am perhaps more critical of myself and my work than need be.

But I shuffled through the pile of compliments given to me about aspects of my life, work, and relationships and remembered them with gratitude and smiles. I appreciate everyone of those comments as well as the givers who gave them to me. Then I sifted through the much smaller stack of petty barbs of the kind that we all get now and then and decided to just let them go. They didn’t matter then, and they certainly don’t matter now.

I dwelt on several compliments thinking they might be worthy of retelling. But really, what’s the point?

Instead, a comment made in church this morning caused this Bible verse, memorized as a child, to pop into my thoughts, and I realized that this is the comment I long to hear one day:

King James 2000 Bible (©2003) Matthew 25: 21 and 23
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter into the joy of your lord.

My hope is that one day, My Lord will say to me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

The Last Meowcat praying...3

I am not sleeping on my feet. I am praying. Be a little more respectful.

Meow for now. ={^;*}=

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