UNICEF UK’s Gaza Children’s Fund

From Informed Comment: http://www.juancole.com/

But the Palestinian children wounded and charred by Israeli bombings are still screaming, their physicians unable to get hold of enough pain killers to still their yelps of pain. Some 5300 Palestinians, most of them children, women and noncombatants, were wounded in Israel’s savage war on the Gaza population.

Please consider donating to UNICEF UK’s Gaza children’s fund (US UNICEF for Palestinian Children here). In fact, I challenge other bloggers to carry the same appeal for UNICEF, among the best aid groups for this purpose, so that we can see if we can create a cyberspace aid convoy for them.

Max Bedwell—truly a good-hearted man

My husband—he was such a great principal and tonight I had another reminder of why. Our church has been having soup suppers each week and inviting anyone in the community who wants to come. We have enjoyed this activity no end and have several people who join us regularly, to eat and to visit. Tonight, someone who really needed help came, along with others. This person asked for Max, who had been there earlier to set up the tables and had gone on an errand. The person was nervous—who wouldn’t be to come into an unfamiliar place and ask for help?! We, meaning me and some of the other workers, greeted the new person, trying to be helpful and calming.  Just then, Max came back. He got a bowl of soup and sat down next to our guest, chatting in a kind and friendly manner.  The guest began to relax and enjoy the meal. Max asked about how we could  help and a conversation developed. Soon, we were all chatting and joking.  After our guest left, Max had several ideas about how we could help this person.

When I encounter very needy people, my heart is full of compassion. But, I am afraid–I am so frightened that I do not know what to do or say. I think I will be too condescending or too bossy—or too friendly or too helpful. I am not sure what to say or do or how to show proper respect. Max knows exactly what to say and to do.  He talks in a friendly and conversational manner, making the person feel reassured and comfortable. And then Max thinks up things to do, to help–useful and practical things. Max experienced hardship and poverty in his youth, growing up on their family farm in Sullivan County, Indiana, late in the Depression.  They weren’t destitute, but his father drank up money that should have been used to help raise his family. Max went to college on a dream and a prayer, working his way though Indiana State. Hard as this early start was, instead of making him bitter, Max’s struggles made him compassionate and caring. He began his career as a teacher and coach, and later was the principal of Salem High School for twenty-seven years. In his long years at SHS, he helped many students; it gave him particular satisfaction to help poor students to attend college on a scholarship or to help them get a job.  Later, when he worked in real estate, he often gave up part of his commission to help needy clients—and he gave mountains of free advice and help to clients and people in need.

Max has a new project. He and his long-time friend and fellow coach Verne Ratliff gardened last summer and are planning another garden this year. They want to sell some vegetables, but they also plan to give vegetables to their friends and to the Washington County Food Bank. Nothing gives Max more pleasure than helping other people; he has a big heart.

The Blank Book

One of the new thrills in my life [sigh…there are so few as one ages….] is reading the books my students have written. I also get a kick out of buying these books on Amazon.com. So, it was a great pleasure to purchase and read, The Blank Book, by Magdalena Scott [which is a pseudonym], published in paperback January 2009. This book was first published as an e-book and is available on Kindle . Below is the review I wrote for Amazon.com. I’m not too skilled at writing reviews, but hope to improve as more of my students produce books.

The plot of The Blank Book poses an interesting question: can we create our own future and if so, how do we do it? The characters are so satisfying: Robert is dreamily handsome and romantic, while Alice is slightly tart, at least in self dialogue, yet sweetly romantic, too. Old friends add drama,
but it’s Alice’s mother who twists the plot. With its cozy small town atmosphere, crisp dialogue, snappy plot, and likable characters, The Blank Book, is pleasing and entertaining. In fact, one can get lost in the enthralling romance and blissful detail. Introverts who enjoy a lively inner dialogue will appreciate Alice, while romantics who like a real hunk of man will sigh over Robert. Flecks of irony add reading pleasure to a story with an intriguing twist. All in all, it’s a delightful book; one wishes for many more from the same author.


Stairway to Nirvana: now on Google Books!

Stairway to Nirvana: A Study of the Twenty Samghas
Based on the Works of Tsong Kha Pa
By James B. Apple
Edition: illustrated
Published by SUNY Press, 2008
ISBN 0791473759, 9780791473757
275 pages

Oh….my…..what a thrill for old mother. I googled “Stairway to Nirvana” and up popped Jim’s book, now on Google Books.

This week, I ordered the paperback copy from Amazon.com and I recently
ordered The Blank Book by Magdalena Scott. To be able to order books by
my former students on Amazon is truly a thrill for this old English teacher.