Sunday, November 05, 2006

If I Lost my Light

Yes, it's a lot late, but it's here and it is more elementary sounding than it otherwise would sound, but I wrote it to share with my kids as the example. They had a much more difficult time with this concept than I thought they would, but it was a good writing experience for them.

If I Lost my Light… by Mrs. Brackney

My sense of sight is important to me because it helps me understand the things around me. It helps me to recognize people, places and things from far away. It helps me to see dazzling colors like red and yellow, and calming colors like green and blue. My sense of sight allows me to embrace my world without a touch or sound.
If I lost my sense of sight I would feel that I lost my light. I would miss just about everything I have ever seen before, even some of the ugly stuff like garbage bins and stories on the news. Most of all, I would miss being able to see my daughter’s gorgeous, green eyes, curly brown hair and tiny hands. I would miss watching her mouth move when she talks and laugh and her face light up when she sees me. I would miss seeing all of the silly faces that she can make.
If I lost my light, I would also miss seeing my husband’s shiny, blue eyes and the way he looks at me when he thinks I’m not noticing him looking.
I would miss seeing my students’ faces. I love the way my students look when they have done something they didn’t think they could do, or when they read a word that once was too hard. I love to see them grow from year to year as I notice that most of them are going to be (or already are) taller than me!
I would also miss the sky. The morning sky with it sherbet colored sunrises and the promise of hope. The afternoon sky with its shades of blues and grays and dashes of clouds. The evening sky with its sleep, peaceful sunset. The night sky with its offering of the moon and stars.
I would miss the trees. I love to watch the trees change as the seasons change, from bare and brave in the winter to fanciful and dancing in the autumn.
Food can be lovely to see and I would miss looking at the greens of my salad, the reds of my tomatoes, and the golden yellow of my French fries. I would miss seeing the way my husband so carefully arranges the food on the plate so it looks as nice as it tastes.
If I lost my light, I would also miss the sight of water. I love to look at ponds, rivers, lakes, and oceans. I also like to watch the rain and to watch my daughter hop into the puddles. I would definitely miss the sight of water, as water is such a cleansing sight.
Life would be a lot different for me if I lost my light and could no longer see the people, places and things that I love. However, there are people who have lost their light and they live happy, fulfilled lives. I would hope that if I ever lost my sense of sight, that I would take comfort in the fact that the light on the inside of me, could never go away.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Teaching, Stuttering and Light

What can I say? The responsibilities of raising a two year old, the last few weeks of summer break and the beginning of a new school year have gotten the best of my writing skills! I am nowhere near the consistent blogger that my husband is, and he has been kind enough not to push me too hard to get a new blog up. I am initiating this one all on my own.

Unfortunately, with the start of the school year, it is unlikely that I will be able to write e-books for a while. I definitely enjoyed it and plan on writing more e-books next summer, possibly one over Winter break and Spring break.

In light of this, I need to re-name my blog. I would like to start writing more about the events/interests/passions that are in front of me now, rather than focusing on e-books that I am not currently writing! I would like to write more about being a mother of a toddler, being a special education teacher and personal health and fitness.

My two and half year old is doing wonderfully and has transitioned well back to day care full time. She has, however, started including some stuttering in her speech. Being a special education teacher and having some background knowledge of speech/language development, I was surprised that I did not know much of anything about stuttering. So what do I do when I need to find information fast? Research on the Internet! After reading several articles and discussion panels on the subject, we (my husband and I) found that about 85% of toddlers before the age of 3 years old go through stages of "disfluency" which is not the same thing as a true stuttering problem. I read about twenty people's comments on a discussion panel and every single one of them said the problem started at two and half.

Further reading suggests that this is not a problem at all, but a normal developmental process. It happens when toddlers' cognition is going through a "growth spurt" and they are trying to articulate all of the new things they are learning when their speech muscles aren't quite ready to allow them to articulate it all clearly. Basically, they are learning faster than their little bodies can keep up!

On a different subject, I went to the bookstore tonight to pick up a book I ordered called "Body Confidence", a weight loss journal by Victoria Moran. She is also the author of "Creating a Charmed Life" and "Fit from Within". I recommend these books to anyone who is looking for ways to improve your attitude and outlook on life and on weight loss. Excellent!

When you go to Border's you cannot not look around! So I browsed the kids' section for a book for my daughter and found her an "I Spy" book, which turns out to be a bit advanced for her, but she can find some of the pictures! On the shelf above the "I Spy" books, I noticed a book entitled "The Sound of Colors (A Journey of the Imagination)". Being a lover of poetry, the title grabbed at my heart strings. I picked it up, read the first couple pages and the last couple pages and added it to my purchases. This book is written and illustrated by Jimmy Liao. I'd never heard of the book or the author before, but let me tell you, I am in love! Please find this book and read it.

It is written from the point of view of a blind girl- it begins at the point in time of her life where she is beginning to go blind and is "losing her light". She goes out into the world and imagines what she sees. It is so beautiful. She has to use her imagination to "see" and her other senses to explore the world and to understand things in a new way. I plan on taking it to school, reading and discussing it with kids and having them write a piece of poetry in reponse to it. They will all title their poem "If I Lost My Light" and describe the things they would miss the most if they could not see. I think this will be a powerful lesson and expand the kids' awareness and appreciation of our senses- something we take for granted every day.

I encourage those of you who read this blog entry to close your eyes and imagine what it would be like to lose your vision. How would you cope? Where would your imagination take you and what would it look it? What color would the wind be? What new colors would you invent and how could you share and express those new colors? I assign myself this and encourage anyone to do the same. My next blog will be a poem entitled "If I Lost My Light". If you feel the pull, write your own poem with the same title and write it on the comments section of this blog or e-mail it to me at if you'd like to share it. Let me know if you would like to me to post your poem on my blog. Or of course, you can simply write it for yourself and not share it with anyone at all except yourself.

I will also share some of my students' poetry on this subject (anonymously, of course!) when we complete the activity, which may not be for a couple weeks.

Take care. I look forward to sharing my poem with you soon!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Companionship-Here's To Love

I recently completed my e-book about small pets, our mini friends. I learned a lot of new information as I researched which I was able to put some use today, as I went to the zoo with my husband, daughter and two of my students from last year. As we approached an aquarium containing a corn snake, my student said "corn?" I said yes, they are called corn snakes because their underbelly is the color of corn.

My husband said, "did you just make that up?" Fortunately I was able to say, "why, no, actually, I wrote about that in my e-book!"

The Kansas City Zoo is great, but you need to have a whole day, at least, to get to all the animals. And, sorry Kansans, but it doesn't hold a candle to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, which is the top one or two in the country.

Along with interesting facts about snakes, rats, chinchillas, sugar gliders, goldfish and rabbits, I read a great deal of information about the sociability of animals.

In short, most animals are like human beings in that they are happier, healthier, more engaged and tend to live longer lives if they have a companion. I find it remarkable that the majority of living creatures require more than shelter and food- they require love.

You can define love any way you would like- I happen to find it a difficult word to define since it encompasses so much. Yet, in its complexity, it is also quite simple.

Love is a connection to someone or something that has the power to heal, to sustain, to enrich and to uphold. There are different kinds of love. You love your sister in a different way than you love your child. You love your husband in a different way than you love your favorite color.
You love yourself in a different way than you love God.

Whatever way you define it, express it, hold onto it and luxuriate it, love is what makes us tick.
It is what makes a husband go to the zoo with his daughter, wife and two little girls that he doesn't even know when he'd really like to be at home watching baseball on the couch. It's a daughter's little arm that wraps around mom's neck as she falls asleep.

Love is our most basic need (aside from physical safety and health). It is also the most basic need of most types of animals. Even if animals have human contact and love, research shows that many animals thrive more so when they have an animal companion to call their own.

My next e-book will be about exotic plants and I have to admit, I know nothing about exotic plants. I'm lucky to keep the three house plants that I have alive from day to day. If anyone out there has or knows anything about exotic plants, feel free to share! I look forward to writing about the new material I will learn about plants and the lesson I may be able to pull from this next adventure in writing!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Recovering from Vacation and Exploring Small Pets

Well, it has taken me a week to recover from my vacation! We had a great vacation with my husband's family, whom I have come to know as my own as well. My sister and nephew went with us as well and we were able to do so many things and see some really neat places. The East Coast is full of opportunities and fun things to do and see. A couple of the highlights were spending the day on the boardwalk and beach of Ocean City, gambling (and losing) in Atlantic City and New York City for two days. We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of Time Square. My sister got her picture taken with Rupert at Hello Deli (featured on Dave Letterman's Tonight Show) and my daughter stole a pack of Mentos from his deli. We, of course, uncovered the pieces of the theft and took care of it. My husband told the patrons of the deli and Rupert about her bigger, badder attempt at stealing a pot roast from a grocery store. Fortunately it ended up in our cart and we paid for it, puzzled why we had an extra pot roast at home. Then figured out how it happened. This caused uproarious laughter which my husband was pretty proud of!

Eva will throw anything into the cart as we shop. We really have to watch her or we'll end up with 12 cans of Spam and 6 cans of pea soup if we aren't careful.

Our trip was awesome, but exhausting. By the end of the week I was saying that I would have to go home to relax! But that's a good vacation, right? One where you do things you wouldn't normally do and be more tired than you would normally be because of it.

Now it's back to regular life, if there is such a thing. My current e-book assignment is writing about small pets like gerbils, toy dogs, snakes, hermit crabs, etc. Once again, as I research I am learning about all kinds of interesting information about buying, caring for and developing relationships with small pets. So far, learning about ferrets and their ability to become a part of the family just as a cat or dog is most interesting.

I am also writing about mice and rats as pets which I have a new appreciation of as I learn more about the benefits. I didn't know that rats could learn to come to their name. Apparently, mice and rats are intelligent which is why they are used so often by scientists to conduct research.

If you have a small pet of any sort, feel free to comment on this blog and share your experience. I will be happy to learn about personal experiences and opinions regarding the small pets in people's lives. You can also email me at

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Vacation Time

I am happy to say that my family and I are going to be gone on vacation next week. Unlike my husband, I am not hiring a guest blogger to keep my blog updated! I will be excited to report on my blog next week to let you know how our vacation went.

We are very excited. We don't take many vacations. In fact, about one week per summer is the extent of it.

I completed my Hair, Skin and Nails e-book yesterday. I have to tell all of you amazing writers out there, you are truly incredible. Writing that book gave me a whole new appreciation for my husband's researching and writing skills. It is not easy! It is time consuming, requires sustained attention and effort, and mentally (and physically) draining. I didn't appreciate those facts until I started going through the process of doing it myself.

I learned a lot of great information through my research, especially the homemade beauty product recipes I found. It's truly remarkable to me that you can use many of the items you have in your own home to create such products as hairspray, shampoo, body scrub, hair and facial masks, lotions, and bath solutions.

If you read my previous entry I discussed the uses of honey in beauty care products. My husband and I are thinking of ways to expand that topic and create it into a joint venture.

It's a good thing he's easy to work with because I have a feeling he's going to keep me busy this summer with his ideas and projects. So far he has!

Well, off we go to the East coast to relax, enjoy the weather and unwind from hardworking days. Happy writing!