The Crossing Guide

I’m delighted to be writing freelance for a recently launched tourism-based publication, The Crossing Guide. I was pleased to cover for this quarter’s issue my experience with Mountain School at North Cascades Institute and all their fantastic environmental education and recreation programs, as well as the Lynden Pioneer Museum. Earlier this year I wrote about the 12th Annual Northwest birding festival in Blaine, WA, Wings Over Water. This publication is free and distributed throughout lower mainland British Columbia, Whatcom, Skagit, Island, and Snohomish Counties. Check it out when you get the chance.cropped-TCG_banner_redbckgrnd_tagline_free

 

On the Future of Education

As our collective intelligence grows–what we know as Americans, as humans, about ourselves, about this planet, this universe–how shall we manage the education of the masses?

Young EinsteinShould they be expected to know less, retain less, and do more, live more, because knowledge is now at their fingertips? Or should we instead aspire toward a populous of Einstein’s and Monet’s, of Shakespeare’s and Mandela’s? [For now, I'm choosing to ignore the future of greed.]

I’m not sure which is the correct path. One of self, the other humanity. Both worthy pursuits.

Yet, not one of these geniuses received the ideal education as defined by today’s standards.

I’ve had privileged academic opportunity and a challenging life. I spent much of my first 30 years studying, and the last 10 or so living. I’d like to think that my true education, my true wisdom, has come from balancing, from savoring both experiences.

We have many choices ahead, but how must we decide? To whom will we defer that judgment ? And to what end?

Book Review–“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”

A fellow parent loaned me the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, when I mentioned that I was struggling with my twin almost-tweens “I can’t” moments. It seemed that whenever things got hard, which was often, our attitude was getting in our way before we’d even begun to try. “I can’t” has lately been banished from our house just like swearing and spitting.

I found that a lot of other parents were also reading it. In the break room at my job as a para educator for the Bellingham School District, I discovered that most of the teachers had read it, and others throughout the district were incorporating this book’s ideals into their classroom learning environment. The main ideal of the book—to develop a “growth mindset” as opposed to a “fixed mindset” –was inspiring teachers to change the way they approached their students learning.

Written by Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychology Professor, the book uses a familiar self-help non-fiction format of real client and celebrity examples to illustrate how unproductive a fixed mindset—the personal belief that when we try and fail, we are just not good (or smart or….) enough—can be compared to a growth mindset, one that sees and feels failure as an exciting personal challenge that can be overcome with more effort. Dweck breaks the book conveniently into separate sections on sports, business, relationships (love and friendship), parenting, and of course, the final section on how the heck to change one’s mindset.

Common in this type of book, there were times when Dweck’s descriptions felt too black and white; we all are living in the grey space. But I found her view insightful and helpful. Simply by creating the awareness, by noticing our own moments stuck in the fixed mindset—about a tried and true argument with my husband, my boy’s struggle with the homework they hate, my friendship with a gal pal that just isn’t working for me anymore—I feel like I have a new tool in the box to tackle these frustrating moments rather than giving up and getting out the ice cream. I realized, to help my kids morph their mindset, I probably need to check in with my own.

Dweck covers the idea introduced in a bevy of other parenting books, that the devil is in the details of how we, as parents, approach praise and failure with our words and actions. She offers suggestions for common hurdles, like denial, entitlement, and precociousness. The author also developed a computer-based animated training called “Brainology™” that teachers and parents can use to increase kids self-mindset-awareness.

Mindset is definitely worth a skim to see where you and your family’s mindsets fall when dealing with challenge and failure, both big and small.

New Adventures

I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve been busy with…kids home for the summer,  enjoying the amazing Pacific Northwest outdoors, doing improv at The Upfront Theatre, acting in 48-hour Theatre festivals at the loveable Idiom Theatre, and starting a new project that I’m just dieing to share.

Family Planning and Other Stories, a TV pilot by the sharp Writer/Director Sue Mattson, will be filming in mid-October. Guess who’s in it? ME! I’m fortunate to be appearing (and learning a lot) in my role as Kat, a middle-aged mother who, upon encouragement from her volatile daughter Riley (played by the talented Sarah Waisman), heads into the unpredictable world of on-line dating.

The female-centered script is sharp and full of hilarious characters including Kat’s potential suitors, played by the talented Bill McQuaid and Michael Mitchell.

Check out our Indiegogo fundraising campaign for more details, and make a donation to help get this witty, playful project off the ground.

I also couldn’t help sharing this hilarious commercial starring the versatile Michael Mitchell in You Go Through Vladimir.

Help us get started at Indiegogo today, as there are only 23 days left to reach our $2000 goal. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting more insider details and photos here over the next couple of months.

Please comment here and tell me what you think.

Cheers to new adventures!

Great Village Books Events This Week

I have to share the successes of two local writers. My pal and fellow memoirist Jolene Hanson will be reading from her memoir tonight at our beloved local book store, Village Books, as part of the class she took at Western Washington University called Memories to Memoirs, taught by the celebrated Laura Kalpakian. Readings begin at 6 so please come sit by me. Way to go Jolene!

Also, the multi-talented Mike McQuaide, author of 75 Classic Rides: Washington, The Best Road Biking Routes and several other titles will be interviewed on our own local radio show and podcast the Chuckanut Radio Hour this coming Thursday, May 24, at 7 PM at the Leopold. Mike and I collaborated a couple of years ago on an article in Entertainment News NW on Youth Improv courses at my favorite Upfront Theatre (I wrote an article and Mike took the photos). Please come by to congratulate Mike after watching his live interview and/or listen to show.

Win a Copy of “Easy to Love But Hard to Raise”

Earlier this month I blogged here about Christina Katz’ Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway. It’s still going strong. You can check out Christina’s site to see all the fabulous books she’s given away thus far.

This coming Saturday, May 26, Christina and I will be giving away a free copy of the anthology Easy to Love But Hard to Raise. Check her web site for the rules, but your odds are great. All you have to do to win is go to her site on May 26 and answer the question of the day in 50-200 words by posting a comment. She will choose one winner for each anthology randomly. Get in to the habit by heading over there every day for the rest of May. She has some amazing titles still to come including:

May 22nd: Natalie Serber, Shout Her Lovely Name (fiction, short stories) More info

May 23rd: Christina Katz, Build Your Author Platform e-workbook (nonfiction, how-to) More info

May 24th: Kristina Riggle, Keepsake (fiction, novel) More info

May 25th: Abigail Green, Mama Insider: Laughing (And Sometimes Crying) All The Way Through Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months (e-book, humorous nonfiction) More info

May 26th: Anthology Day! Cara Holman, Lorraine Wilde, Chynna Laird, and Lela Davidson are participating writers

May 27th: Miriam Kobras, award-winning The Distant Shore: Book One of the Stone Trilogy (fiction, romance) More info

May 28th: Allison Winn Scotch, The Song Remains The Same (fiction, novel) More info

May 29th: Lisa Schroeder, It’s Raining Cupcakes More info and Sprinkles and Secrets More info (middle grade fiction novels)

May 30th: Christina Katz, one set of her three books by Writer’s Digest: Writer Mama More info, Get Known Before the Book Deal More info, and The Writer’s Workout More info (all nonfiction, how-to)

May 31st: Karen Karbo, a set of her three kick-as women books: How To Hepburn More info, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel More info, and How Georgia Became O’Keeffe More info (nonfiction)

Looking Toward Summer with the Kidlets

Check out my latest blog post over at Easy to Love… about my not-so-perfect plan for summer with the kids. Are you nervous, excited, overwhelmed that your kids will be home with you all day in a little less than a month? I can’t wait…and I’m scared to death. But I’ll rise to the occasion. Bring it on, summer!