Monday, August 22, 2016

Auntie's 2016 Bookworm Challenge 07

Book: Up From Slavery.

Author: Booker T. Washington

Info: Copyright 1993:  Avenel, New Jersey:  Gramercy Books (Originally Published  in 1901).

Where acquired: Library check out.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # # #

What it's about:  Washington chronicles his progression from slavery in Virginia to establishing the Tuskegee Normal School (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama.

Favorite Quotes:

"I have begun everything with the idea that I could succeed, and I never had much patience with the multitudes of people who are always ready to explain why one cannot succeed." p. 49.

"Among a large class there seemed to be a dependence upon the government for every conceivable thing.  The members of this class had little ambition to create a position for themselves, but wanted the federal officials to create one for them.  How many times I wished then, and have often wished since, that by some power of magic I might remove the great bulk of these people into the country districts and plant them upon the soil, upon the solid and never deceptive foundation of Mother Nature, where all nations and races that have ever succeeded have gotten their start--a start that at first may be slow and toilsome, but one that nevertheless is real."  - p. 66.

About the erection of the first official school building at Tuskegee:  "When it is considered that the laying of this cornerstone took place in the heart of the South, in the Black Belt, in the center of the part of our country that was most devoted to slavery; that at that time slavery had been abolished only about sixteen years; that only sixteen years before that no Negro could be taught from books without the teacher receiving the condemnation of the law or of public sentiment--when all this is considered, the scene that was witnessed on that spring day in Tuskegee was a remarkable one.  I believe there are few places in the world where it could have taken place." - pp. 105-106.

"My experience is that there is something in human nature which always makes an individual recognize and reward merit, no matter under what color of skin merit is found.  I have found too that it is the visible, the tangible, that goes a long way in softening prejudices." p. 113.

"Right here, perhaps, I ought to add that I make it a rule never to go before an audience on any occasion without asking the blessing of God upon what I want to say."  p. 157.

The entirety of Mr. Washington's Atlanta Exposition speech on pages 160-164.

"I believe that one always does himself and his audiene an injustice when he speaks merely for the sake of speaking.  I do not believe that one should speak unless, deep down in his heart, he feels convinced that he has a message to deliver.  When one feels, from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head, that he has something to say that is going to help some individual or some cause, then liet him say it; and in delivering his message I do not believe that many of the artificial rules of elocution can, under such circumstances, help him very much."  pp. 178-179.

What I Liked:
  • Washington's story reads like a documentary with some old fashioned common sense thrown in.
  • The authors victories and defeats were not sugar coated.  His writings expressed both a thorough enjoyment of the positive and the learning opportunities gleaned though the negative.  An example is the school's first attempts at brick making.  Several kilns failed, and Washington had to pawn a valuable watch to purchase materials for the kiln that finally succeeded.
  • Though more than 100 years old, Booker T. Washington's story of rising from obscurity to fame is an inspiration and encouragement to all, regardless of race.  The book was a delight to read.
  • Now that I've read this, I'd like to take a tour of Tuskegee University.
  • I already have an electronic copy of this tome.  I plan to make a hardcover edition a permanent part of my library. 
What I didn’t like: 
  • I was confused by a passage in chapter six.  Washington described a scene on a segregated train car in which a black man, who by all distinguishing features couldn't be identified as black, was easily identified as so by the conductor's looking at his feet.  Forgive my ignorance, but how is that possible if the man's feet were as pale as the rest of his skin?  Weird.
  • Statement on page 194:  "I have never seen a game of football."  Now, that's just sad.
  • Though I enjoyed the presentation of special events in his life, Washington lists way too many names.  Though I realize it is not, the listings read like filler material.
  • I would have liked to have heard about Mr. Washington's encounters with his students.  As I teacher, I know that there are some students who stand out among their peers.  Some anecdotal accounts of his teaching years would have been a great addition to the book.

Booker T. Washington
Some have criticized this book because Washington was willing to befriend and accept aid from anyone, no matter his race.  Washington's efforts were also criticized by some of his contemporaries, including W.E.B. DuBois, who felt that practical industrial work was beneath black students.  Washington rallied for the teaching both industrial and intellectual studies.  Today, we are facing some of the same problems.  At present, some individuals consider practical industry beneath them, while others consider the intellectual "too white."  It's really as sad state of affairs.  This is not something I read; as a Southern black woman, I'm exposed to evidence of it nearly every day.

I think this book should be required reading in high schools and to any adult who hasn't read it.  They will then know what "the struggle" really looks like.  They will then know that it's important to put forth effort and "have some skin in the game" for anything, whether an education, a job, or any material possession, to have any intrinsic value.  They will then know what true positive race relations look like.  Mr. Washington accomplished all his success during the Reconstruction / Jim Crow era of Southern history.  What was widely accepted law then, is illegal and subject to prosecution now.  So, what's our problem?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Summer's Last Gasp: The Weekly Hodgepodge

Want to join the party?  Come on over to From This Side of the Pond  for the Hodgepodge link-up!

I read here four creative activities to try this month. They were-calligraphy, make your own cookbook, dance or learn a new type of dance, and letter writing. Which activity on the list appeals to you most? Will you add it to your August?
All of them appeal to me, but I'd say letter writing means the most.  I've actually been sending out letters and handwritten cards.  I want to do more of it.  They are much more personal than an e-mail, text, or direct message.
Bertrand Russell is quoted as saying, 'To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.' Agree or disagree? Explain. 
I had to read the statement several times to try to figure out what it meant.  I'm still not sure, but I'll dive in   Yes, we can be happy even if we don't get everything we want.  Some things we want are actually detrimental to us and we're better off without them.  However, if we go through life never getting anything we want, it will tend to depression and hopelessness.  Does not Scripture say in Proverbs 13:12, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life"? 
August 17th is National Thriftshop Day...are you a 'thrifter'? If so, tell us about one of your best or favorite finds.
I do like to shop at thrift stores.  However, I don't look for clothes as much as I used to:  items never fit quite right, plus many tacky people donate smelly, faded,  unwashed clothes in need of mending, rather than viable wardrobe items.   
My favorite item to search for is books.  Years ago, I had a rather large book collection.  A "temporary poverty" (that lasted way too long) necessitated my selling most of my collection.  I've slowly been rebuilding it through thrift stores, library book sales, and used book purchases from  Two of the most recent finds were the great classics Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon and The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
On a scale of 1-10 (with 1= almost none and 10=loads) how would you rate your sense of wanderlust? What kicks your wanderlust into high gear? 
I'd say a strong 9.50.  I'd love to travel; I simply don't have the wherewithal to venture too far from Calhoun Country right now.  This time of year when parents and kids are coming home from vacation and starting school makes me wish I'd gone on some adventurous trip.  Right now, my biggest adventure was my drive to Lincoln, Alabama this past weekend.  I told y'all, "I ain't never been nowhere."
Has life felt more like a marathon or sprint so far this month? How so?
A sprint.  This month is going by so quickly.  That's fine with me.  That means cooler weather, time outside, and football season are right around the corner.
What do you need to get a jump on before fall officially arrives? 
Nothing I can think of.
What's the last thing you did with friends or family where you lost track of time?
My sister-in-blog, Annie, and I talked on Skype for the first time last week.  It was delightful.  We looked up and had been talking for more than an hour.  It felt like mere minutes.  We're planning on making a habit out of it.
Insert your own random thought here. 
Last weekend, I participated in a 5k I'd never done before; the Historic Lincoln 5k in Lincoln, Alabama (thus my comment above).  Again, I was at the back of the pack, but I did it.  I could have done better, but portions of the course was very uneven ground.  Keeping my balance was more important than my finishing time.  Now, I'm in training mode until October.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

They Like Me...They Really Like Me: The Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to join in and post your own Daybook, please head on over to visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today:  Sunday, August 7, 2016

Outside my window  A nice late summer thunderstorm that will hopefully start a cooling trend.  My poor bike is lonely in the laundry room, plus I need an excuse to by a new pair of running shoes.

I am thinking...   In case you missed my Hodgepodge post this week, I've been on a much needed hiatus from social media (among other things).  I've been getting back in the swing of things this week.  What I'm thinking about is how rusty my writing seems to be.  My first few posts have been very difficult to create.  I have in my head what I want, but conveying that on the screen has been extremely difficult.  Hopefully writing will be like riding a bike and I'll pick it right up and cruise.

I'm also thinking about Sunday school.  In my last Daybook, I talked about the trials of trying to find a new class.  This unfortunate change felt necessary because I was getting more and more uncomfortable in my old class.  I've still not found a class that is studying any deep, practical studies,  nor have I found classmates to whom I can really relate.  I almost envy my friend who's headed to Graduate School in Tuscaloosa (Roll Tide).  She's found people her age who are really diving into the Word.  I'm truly happy for her.  I did, however, hook up with a group of ladies who have welcomed me like a sister.  I think I'm going to camp in their class for a while.  I suppose I'll just have to keep studying on my own for more depth, though it's much better when I have someone to share and trade insights with. 
I am thankful...  for a new week.  Last week wasn't the best of weeks.  I need a do-over.
From the Workshop...  Finally finished the quilt-ghan.

This was another Eleanor Burns inspired project.  I made it as a big sister gift to go along with a baby quilt gift for the little sister.  OK, see, what had happened was...I made a baby afghan for my friend Annie's new baby, Ellie.  Well, before I mailed it, I decided to make one for her big sister, Bea, since I'd not make anything for her.  Well, I finished it and got it mailed in time for Ellie first birthday.  Better late than never.

I am reading...  I've completed a couple of books in my Bookworm challenge.  The reviews are here and here.

In my read through the Bible, I just finished the book of Isaiah and am in the throws of Jeremiah.

The daily readings from Spugeon's Evening by Evening have been insightful and uplifting.  He has such a poetic way of conveying the Word of God.  It's all I can do not to speed through and finish rather than take the day-by-day devotional passages.

I've got several other books in progress.  Hopefully I'll be finishing up more this week.

I am learning... I've learned never to dry my nails with a hair dryer.  I didn't know that the heat keeps my nails wet. Yep, I jacked up my last nail painting session by doing that.

Favorite quote(s) of the week

"In order to be successful in any kind of undertaking, I think the main thing is for one to grow to the point where he completely forgets himself, that is, to lose himself in a great cause. In proportion as one loses himself in this way, in the same degree does he get the highest happiness out of his work." - Booker T. Washington

On Pokémon Go: ""The game makers didn't factor in the dumbass factor." - Greg Burgess
I am looking forward to... 
  • The Lincoln 5k this Saturday.  I've not done this one before.  I've never driven to Lincoln either.
  • Cooler weather so I can get outside for more walks and rides.
  • Football season (ROLL TIDE & FEAR THE BEAK).
  • Labor day.  I need a day off.
  • Christmas.  I'm not sure why.  As wonderful as Christmas is, that time of year is usually very lonely and depressing for me and I usually never get to give how I want to.

And now for something totally different...

This world is full of the interesting and the strange.  No more stranger things are found but those in the women's section of a clothing store.  Ellen DeGeneres once said, "Men's jeans are sized by length and width and they usually fit, but women's jeans are sized by someone who hates women."  She's right, plus, I'm convinced women's clothing manufacturers and stores think women are stupid and will buy ANYTHING. 

My sister and I were out shopping and saw these two little ditties:

This is a shirt at JC Penny.  No, that doesn't say "ox" is says "zero X."  Zero X?  WTH?  There's no such thing.  Sizing is XS, S, M, L, XL (or 1X), 2X, etc.  There ain't no zero X.  Do they really think big girls are so dumb that this convinces them that they are a size zero?  Come on!  This is as ridiculous as the sizing in stores like Target.  Their plus sized department is full of clothes marked 1, 2, or 3.  These don't stand for 1X, 2X, and 3X.  We don't know WHAT they stand for since NOTHING fits no matter what number is on the size tag.  Hey, plus size clothing designers, could y'all just make clothes that FIT and put the correct sizes on them?  Is that too much to ask?


We saw this at Cato.  Is it a bale of hay?  A giant peanut?  A corn husk? If that's an acorn, I'd hate to see the squirrel that hides that sucker for the winter.  I think this is supposed to be a purse.  No, just, no!

Man, this stuff is making Wal-Mart look tame.

Southern Women Channel's YouTube Channel shared:

From Facebook:  S. Williams shared:

From Facebook:  J. Scull shared:

From Facebook:

Saturday marked my third go at the Woodstock 5k.  The first time, I did it in 57:55.  The second trip was as the sweeper, so no time was kept since I wasn't officially in the race.  This time, I finished in 58:45, so my pace is pretty much the same.  My health is better, but I knew that there would be no hardware for I thought.

New to the race was the opportunity to purchase a finisher's medal.  I'd only heard of getting finisher's medals for half and full marathons, not 5ks.  That, plus the $8.00 price tag gave me pause.  I consider the race shirt as my reward for finishing; everything else is gravy.  Boy, did I get some gravy.

For starters, on the way to packet pick up, I got a message from Mrs. Melba, one of my running heroes.  She had purchased a finisher's medal for me.  That loving gesture floored me.

OK, the race hasn't even started, and I'm wanting to do the ugly cry...

The race director honored me by asking me to help hand out the medals at the awards ceremony.  That whole process was unnerving, and I accidentally swapped the male and female medals in one age group (sorry Neeli).  It was fun, plus, our Black Girls Run group won in our race category. (woot!)

OK, now it's about to get weird.

Each year, the board of Anniston Runners Club votes on the Skylar Brady award.  Incredibly, they voted for me.

**insert ugly cry here**

Two days later, and I'm still in shock. An award?  Me?  No!  They don't give stuff like this to someone like me.  I still don't know how to process receiving such an honor.  I've had a hard time acknowledging it.  I give God the glory.

From Sunday's paper.  Article by Joe Medley.