My New Facebook Page: Debby Zigenis-Lowery, Author


Facebook Page; Debby Zigenis-Lowery, Author; https://literatelives.wordpress.com/
My Facebook page—Debby Zigenis-Lower, Author—is up and nearly fully operational. (When you see the widget in the right column here on the blog to connect you to the page, you’ll know I am at last truly done—however, it does contain an opening post.)

Yearning to Share

I’m excited about my Facebook page. There are so many things I long to share with you in quick, brief ways, too many to always write a post, and so many not requiring a full post. So, I hope my page will provide greater opportunities to share and enrich your reading, writing, parenting, and teaching practices.

What can you expect to find on Debby Zigenis-Lowery, Author?

“Play With Your Words” Writing Prompts

One of the most valuable things I learned when I studied for my master’s degree in teaching was that studies show two of the best ways to improve at both reading and writing are to read or write. Each helps to improve at both skills! With the exception of longer writing projects (which will be archived here, in Teacher’s File Drawer), I will now post writing prompts—for fiction, non-fiction, and personal journaling—on my new Facebook page.

Reading Response Exercises

These were another favorite in my Language Arts teacher’s toolbox. When students reflect on what they read, it helps them to understand the text more deeply and remember it better. Free reading + reading response exercises were my favorite Language Arts homework. Reading Response Exercises will also assist aspiring authors in reading like a writer, a practice highly recommended by the pros.

Wonderful Words: Quotes

I love quotes. I love ideas powerfully stated. I love words strung together in marvelous ways. (To refresh your memory, check out my post here.) While I have had fun preparing omnibus quote posts, I have so many quotes collected, and I long to share these beautiful and inspiring words more often. Now I can on my new Facebook page.

My Literate Lifestyle & Writing Journey

I will also use my Facebook Page to share my literate lifestyle and writer’s journey—books I’m reading, projects I’m working on, insights and organizational strategies—and I hope you will share yours. I’d like to be a friend and comrade to you in your pursuit of a literate lifestyle.

Your Turn

My vision is that this new Facebook page—Debby Zigenis-Lowery, Author—will facilitate more daily interactions and opportunities for us to encourage one another. Please use the comment box below to let me know how I can be a help to you.

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Fall 2018: A New Schedule for Literate Lives


Fall 2018: A New Schedule for Literate Lives; https://literatelives.wordpress.com/
This month’s theme, “A New Season, A New Year, A New Life” will manifest itself the most obviously in a new blog schedule and strategy.

The Biggest Change

Starting this week, I will be posting on Thursdays.

Why Thursdays? I make this change (back to what was, initially, part of my blog schedule) out of consideration of my audience: individuals (including writers), parents, and teachers interested in nurturing literacy both for themselves and their kids.

As we move back into the school year, it occurs to me that many of the nurturing literacy ideas I share need some lead time in order to be incorporated into lesson plans and family activities (which will now mostly occur on the weekend).

Thursday is a good day to introduce ideas for the weekend and following work week.

Additional Changes

Blog posts will now be scheduled for the first, third, and (when it occurs) fifth Thursday of each month.

Why?

The reason for this change is my desire to share more from my daily reading, and quote, reading response, and writing prompt collections. I have been doing this in the form of “omnibus” posts, which I enjoy creating, but which also keep me from creating more, meatier posts.

Therefore, I am starting an author’s Facebook Page.

What You Will Find Here on Debby Zigenis-Lowery’s Literate Lives?

Here on the blog I want to delve deeply into the reading, writing, teaching and learning life, share more complex Language Arts lesson ideas, and interview writers and possibly even host some guest bloggers.

I will continue to update my reading log.

I will also strive to do a better job updating my Teacher’s File Drawer, Reading Response Exercises, Play With Your Words: Writing Prompts, and The Literate Family’s Fun pages.

What You Will Find on My Facebook Page

This is where the recommendations from my daily reading , quotes, and writing and reading response prompts will now appear.

Also, you will find occasional updates about my writing, publication, and writing goals or activities.

My vision is that the page will facilitate more daily interactions and opportunities for us to encourage one another.

Your Turn

As I am rethinking this blog, are there any ideas or feedback you would like me to consider? Please use the comment box to respond. I value your feedback and encouragement.

Six Quotes Celebrating Summer

6 Quotes Celebrating Summer; https://literatelives.wordpress.com/The last lovely weeks of summer lay before us. I hope yours has brought you joy.

As a lover of literature and words, today I want to savor what others have written about summer. Therefore, I invite you to simply enjoy these six quotes about summer.

1

Isn’t this lovely! Here in Oregon, the blossoming of the roses do herald the first days of summer. Portland, Oregon even hosts a rose festival every June. I also adore Lovelace’s metaphor for sunshine–“powdered gold.”

This quote makes me want to seek out and read the Betsy and Tacy books that I have not read since my childhood.

2

One benefit of summer was that each day we had more light to read by.
—Jeannette Walls

This is so true for me! I remember how, after the last exam of June, I would hurry home and read a novel, beginning to end, all in one sitting. What a delight.

Even now, with darkness falling as late as 9:30 P.M. it is so much easier to read until ten or eleven o’clock at night.

3

Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

As someone who has lived all her life on the west coast, this has long been a definition of summer for me. Every year my family met for a reunion at Yosemite National Park, Mom and Marie took a house at the beach for a week with their kids from the time I was a child and well into my adulthood, and my husband and I love nothing better than camping and hiking in the mountains and visiting national parks. Summer is not summer without a little “wild air.”

4

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.”
–John Lubbock

Much as I love travel (especially road trips), I appreciate how this quote illustrates that we can experience the beauty and leisure of summer without leaving town. One of my definitions of summer is reading in beneath a shady tree beside a moving body of water (lake, stream, backyard creek, I’m not picky).

5

“Oh, the summer night, has a smile of light, and she sits on a sapphire throne.”
–Bryan Procter, “Nature Song”

I love this! The poetry– The imagery– The rhythmn… Ah!

6

“One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.”
–Henry David Thoreau

As someone who struggles with the sheer darkness of winter, I love this quote Summer is light; summer is warmth; summer is expanded horizons. I need to always carry a little bit of summer with me.

Your Turn

Do you have a favorite quote about summer? If so, please share it in the comment box below, and if you don’t feel too shy, please explain why you love it. Celebrate summer with me. Let’s encourage one another!

Wonderful Words: The Well-Lived Life

Wonderful Words: Living Well, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate LivesI love words, love our wonderful language, and love when people employ them both well. This spring included many trials. Here are a few of the quotes I collected that inspired me to not only live this season, but to live it well.

A laugh a day puts wrinkles in the right places.
~Liz Curtis Higgs, a chapter title from Only Angels Can Wing It

 I am ever grateful to Liz Curtis Higgs. Both her fiction and nonfiction never cease to inspire me.

 There are things in life you’re not in charge of, but you are in charge of you. When you accept that, your brain changes. And every time your brain changes, you grow.
~ Michael Fitzgerald, high school teacher, Edutopia

My favorite part of my master’s level, Education Psychology class was being introduced to brain-based practices for learning. Information about how our marvelous brains, thanks to neuroplasticity, continue to learn and change throughout our lives both inspires me as a teacher and gives me hope as a human being.

The long-lasting fulfillment we desire comes from living a life of purpose, meaning, compassion, and altruism. It comes from being there for others, helping where we can, loving one another despite our differences, and making others smile. Yes, follow your ambitions, dreams, and professional goals…. They can bring great satisfaction and even meaning. But remember what also leads to your deepest happiness…. A life well lived is a life in which you have shared an abundance of love, and…the greatest aspiration to have is to be a wonderful person for someone else.
~Emma Seppala, Ph.d, Psychology Today

In a season of contemplating my own mortality, this really spoke to my heart. I love, reading, writing, crafting, drawing…, but even more, I love investing in the lives of the people God gave me to love. It is with great joy that I recover my strength and with delight that I contemplate new ways of living and loving well.

Your Turn

Do any of the quotes prompt thinking on your part? Or is there a quote about life and living that you savor? Please, share using the comment box. Let’s encourage one another!

Wonderful Words: Dipping into My Quote Collection

Wonderful Words: Dipping into My Quote Collection: Dipping into my Quote Collection, Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives

I became a quote collector many years ago. At first it was just copying out particularly meaningful or beautiful passages from books I was reading, mostly novels. However, in my desire to continue to grow in my craft as a writer, I started collecting from my reading of writing periodicals, blog posts, and of course, more books.

Here are 3 random selections from my collection:

Quote 1, from my index card collection of quotes to use as writing prompts for language arts class daily writing:

“When I see books that I have read on library shelves, it is like running into an old friend on the street. I often take the book down and browse through it… Like friends, these books have gone into the making of whatever and whoever I am.”                                                                  ~Kevin Starr

Isn’t that so true! And when I discover books I love on a new acquaintance’s book shelves, I take it as a sign that we will have much in common.

Quote 2, from my laptop quote collection:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘presson’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”                                         ~ Calvin Coolidge

I like to think the positive side of being stubborn is being persistent.

Quote 3, from my quote file:

“I draft much of my work looking at a computer screen. Cutting and pasting with ethereal bits make new versions easier. But I find that I need to print drafts out. I want to hold the paper in my hand, so I can make a mark with the pencil, cross words out and write others in. It helps me to be in touch with my work.”                                                                                  ~Stuart Kestenbaum, Poet

I love to read about how writers work. Unlike Stuart, I prefer to draft in pencil, mechanical pencil, preferable, in a college ruled spiral notebook. The first draft gets entered into a word document. I can do surface editing onscreen, but, again, I do much better work when I print out the chapter and edit by hand.

Your Turn

What about you? Any quotes you love? Please share them in the comment box. It is always a delight and a pleasure to discover more wonderful words.

Wonderful Words for Going Back to School

Back to SchoolToday in Salem, Oregon, we are going back to school, so here’s some wonderful words on teaching and learning to treasure:

For the Teachers:

A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite imagination, and instill a love of learning.
Brad Henry

The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.
Khalil Gibran

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
W.B. Yeats

May you stand on thresholds and open doors; may you lead with hope and passion; may you set imaginations afire and kindle a lifelong love of learning.

For the Students: 

No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.
L.Frank Baum

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future.
Eric Hoffer

The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

May you open your eyes and open your mind; may you fill up your treasure houses with skills and knowledge; may you equip yourself with wisdom so that you may be the hope of tomorrow.

For All of Us

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
William Butler Yeats

It is the joy of my life to be a lifelong learner!

Your Turn

Can you share any great quotes on teaching and learning?

If you are a teacher or a student, what are your hopes for the new school year?

Summer, Travel, and Places of Enchantment

Debby Zigenis-Lowery's Literate Lives: Summer, Travel, Places of Enchantment

I love this Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ quote. What is life, what is summer, without moments and places of enchantment?

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a road trip with my husband. (He is an awesome road trip pilot, ready and willing to stop anywhere interesting or necessary, plus he is a fantastic photographer.)

We traveled from Reno, Nevada, to Sonora California, to Eureka California, through the state and national coastal redwood parks, then home.

Summer Isn’t Summer Without Places of Enchantment

For me, there are several requirements that must be satisfied for me to feel like I have actually experienced summer.

  1. Fireworks: satisfied on the 4th of July
  2. Sitting beside a rushing river or gurgling stream: satisfied last week with a little stop alongside the Waller River. We did some rock-hopping (what I used to call it, now it’s more like scrambling and balancing after my recent health set-backs), rock-gathering–“Come see this!” “Oh, isn’t this one beautiful!”, and lastly, just sitting with my feet in the cold water, listening to the river’s roar. Ah, peace.
  3. Walking in the forest: also satisfied last week as we made stops to amble in the beautiful California coastal redwood groves. They are so majestic, huge, and old! It really puts our little lives in perspective. We even had the pleasure of enjoying some mysterious morning fog!

The Literate Lives Joys of Road Tripping

Road tripping is fun, renewing, and feeds my imagination.

As we drive, I collect names for places mostly, but as my husband and I joke and engage in wordplay, for characters as well.

Road tripping refills my “landscape well,” providing me with a reminder of the wider range of settings available to draw on when writing, and the links between settings and names.

And, road tripping can inspire actual scenes and stories. Don’t be surprised someday if one of my future projects includes a love smitten gold miner and the glacial object of his affection!

Summer’s End

A week into August, I can accept that, like every year in the past, summer will end, and I can be at peace with that knowledge thanks to mine and my husband’s summer wanderings and savoring of places of enchantment.

Your Turn

  • What does it take for you to feel you have experienced summer?
  • How does travel fuel your literate lifestyle?
  • How do places of enchantment feed your soul?

 Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts. I love to hear from you!

Wonderful Words: Work-Life Balance

Reading Writer’s in the Storm this morning, I came upon this quote:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – workfamilyhealthfriends, and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.

But the other four balls – family, health, friends, and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.

You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

~ Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises

As the daughter of a work-a-holic, who is as driven as the beloved father who bore the trait before her, I have always struggled with work-life-writing balance, the most recent bout culminating in my physical collapse this spring.

In theory, this summer is (according to me) supposed to be about resting, recuperating, and enjoying my relationships with children, grandchildren, parents, and friends. I remind myself over and over again that there are no goals, writing or otherwise, that need to be accomplished this summer.

And yet, my mind lives in both the actual, physical world and the literary worlds of my reading/writing lifestyle. There are writing projects I want to finish even though I keep telling myself I don’t have to be done before September 1. These include building databases–of markets, agents, and editors, and revising a novel that has been a life’s work. And I yearn to finish before school starts (but honestly will not be able to) in spite of the constant reminder, “Debby, you don’t need to finish anything before September.”

And so, this quote is a good reminder. What I came out of my weeks of illness feeling was a determination to make more time for my loved ones, and a yearning for more time for my writing. I confess, God forgive me, I am too often motivated by the second, rather than the first.

And so I’ll sign off. My granddaughter has a music camp concert tonight, and then I have a writer’s group meeting. I want to be ready to enjoy both!

Your Turn

What new priorities have you been trying to introduce to your life? Do you, perhaps, have some good ideas to help me stick to mine? I would welcome your advice. Please chime in using the comment space below.

 

America, the Beautiful: Happy Independence Day!

America, the Beautiful literatelives.wordpress.com

When I was in kindergarten (I will not even hint at how long ago that was) my classmates and I learned many patriotic songs and rotated through the list of them to sing one each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Since tomorrow is the Fourth of July, I thought I’d share the lyrics to one of my favorites:

America, the Beautiful
by
Katharine Lee Bates

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern impassion’d stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America! God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev’ry gain divine!

O Beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America! God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

I love the imagery Bates used, not just in the well-known first stanza (which is lovely) but in the lesser known stanzas as well:

  • “O beautiful for pilgrim feet…A thoroughfare for freedom beat…”
  • or “Thine alabaster cities gleam…”

I love the values it promotes for us as citizens:

  • “God mend thine ev’ry flaw,
    Confirm thy soul in self-control…”
  • “May God thy gold refine…”
  • “…crown thy good with brotherhood…”

Finally, I love its humility; all the good Bates anticipates flowing from our United States, she credits not to human ability, but to the grace and influence of an almighty God.

I’ll sign off with the title of another patriotic song–“God Bless America,” and wish you a wonderful Independence Day celebration.

What are your favorite patriotic songs? What are the lyrics you like best? Please share in the comment box below.

America, the Beautiful literatelives.wordpress.com

President Abraham Lincoln–What a Writer!

happy-bd-president-lincolnAbraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is this Sunday the 12th. (I know this dates me, but I still miss getting to celebrate Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays separately!)

Of all our U.S. Presidents, Lincoln is one of the one’s I most admire. Why?

  • He was a man of integrity.
  • He was not just faithful to God, but actually relied on him and spoke of his reliance publicly.
  • He held our country together through its greatest crisis.
  • He was gracious in victory.
  • He was a shrewd observer of humanity
  • He had a great sense of humor.
  • And, he was an awesome writer.

There are so many wonderful quotes attributed to him, for example:

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

“With Malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

 

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

The Gettysburg Address and Parallelism

When I began teaching 7th Grade Language Arts, I was surprised to find the Gettysburg Address included in the text-book. In reading the teacher’s guide, I discovered it was there not simply to reflect its period in the history of literature, but for the purpose of teaching the literary device, parallelism.

Parallelism is a technique used to condense long, similar sentences, but even more important its use creates a dynamic rhythm in the prose.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln’s Use of Parallelism

Lincoln uses this technique to connect just two ideas:

Instead of saying: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation.
It was conceived in liberty.
In addition, it was dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

He said: Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

He also uses it connect many ideas in his moving conclusion:

Instead of saying: It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.
We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.
This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom.
Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

He said: It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vainthat this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

To further complicate this sentence, one of the parallel clauses contains a parallelism of it’s own!

that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

When analyzed, this short speech is incredibly complex in structure, creating an effect that is both eloquent and memorable which has contributed to its being treasured far beyond the dedication of the battlefield that was the context for which it was created.

Your Turn

Do you have favorite quote from Abraham Lincoln ? Please use the comment box below to share it with your fellow readers.

*The selection of quotes came from: BrainyQuote, and the Gettysburg Address from: The National Park Service: Lincoln Home.