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I don’t want to argue.
I don’t want to fight.
I won’t engage in party lines.
I believe that we should work together.
I believe that our goals are more closely aligned than thought.
I will be positive.
I will spread love.
I will be your friend.
I will pray for healing.
Your opinion deserves respect.
My opinion deserves respect, too.


Save the Story: Save History

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Save the Story: Save History

This evening I read an article entitled Little House On The Controversary: Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Name Removed From Book Award, by Kat Chow. It discusses how a division of the American Library Association voted unanimously to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name from a significant children’s literature award over concerns about how the author referred to Native Americans and blacks.

The famously read Little House on the Prarie book series was written by Laura Ingalls Wilder in 1935. Based on her childhood growing up on the American Great Plains in the 1800’s. This work of fiction has been criticized since its publication for its treatment of Native Americans and blacks.

The thing is, many books, fiction, and non-fiction written in the past, have depicted forms of racism, bigotry, and sexism. Historical writing typically gives the reader a vision of the times. In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, the setting is in the South during the 1930’s where racism was prevalent and real.  In the story, words such as Nigger and Nigger- loving show the speech and mindset of the time. Yet, the educational significance of this story in teaching generations the horror of racism is monumental.

I fear that we will remove the novels and stories of times past and lose relevant pieces of our history. These stories, no matter how painful they be, lead us to open our hearts and minds to a more compassionate way to treat others. Often, the best lessons are learned through negative and appalling examples read in safety removed from the experience.

One example is reading Night by Elie Wiesel. His telling of his experiences with his father in the Nazi German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald in 1944–1945, at the height of the Holocaust is horrifying. It leaves the reader to question how human beings can be so cruel to each other. It teaches about anti-semitism, evil, death, darkness, but also the strength of the human spirit, and hope.

As a society, it would be detrimental to strip our writers of their tales or the characters the ability to stir emotion just because we don’t agree with their viewpoints or words. Charles Dickens who penned stories like A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, and Oliver Twist, wrote on controversial topics and was one of the most important social commentators who used fiction effectively to criticize economic, social, and moral abuses in the Victorian era. Mr. Dickens contributed to many important social reforms. He was an author who used his characters to demonstrate compassion and empathy towards the vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of English society.

His characters were not always politically correct or very benevolent. The famous character, Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol whose quote, “If they would rather die,” said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.” Scrooge refers to the poor in England. Readers are repulsed by this opinion and are called to action.

I don’t agree with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s opinions on Native Americans nor blacks in the 1800’s. It is hard for me to fathom how people could think and act as they did in the past.  However, I am better for reading those stories regardless of how horrifying, cold-blooded, and eye-opening they may be. It will be a fatal end to free speech and free thinking if we shun the authors and books that express historical and controversial opinions. It is nothing more than book burning without the fire.

Laura Ingalls Wilder Bio

Charles Dickens

Elie Wiesel in NY Times

Night by Elie Wiesel

To Kill a Mockingbird


Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 6/25/2018.


 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Book Review: Brides of Prairie Gold by Maggie Osborne

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Brides of Prairie Gold (Dangerous Men, #2)Brides of Prairie Gold by Maggie Osborne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maggie Osborne has done it again! This historical romance has twelve mail order brides from Chastity, Missouri, embark on a journey to find their husbands in Clampet Falls, Oregon. The wagon master, Cody Snow, is doing his best to keep them healthy and safe as they travel across the western expanse, however, the perils are many. Each of the women has their own unique qualities, but Snow is especially interested in Perrin Waverly. Perrin is in charge of the women and finds it difficult to earn their trust due to her past.

Unbeknownst to the brides, the wagon train is not only taking them to Oregon but also hauling whiskey and guns. This sets the wagon train up for ambush and death.
This book is exciting and easy to listen to on audio. There are themes of racism, social bias, forgiveness, and of course, finding true love. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Memories of a Day Not Forgotten

Today on the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, many of us reminisce on where we were and what we were doing during the terrifying attack on our Country.  Unlike any other time in history, we have the ability to share our experiences on social media, instantly.  This is not only amazing, but also informative for the generations who were not alive during 9/11.  We need to tell our stories and continue to remind others that we should not forget.  remember_9_11

This is my story.  It is not extraordinary in comparison to other stories, however, a slice of an everyday person’s life on that day.

“It was sometime around 8:00 A.M. in a suburban Catholic elementary school outside of Chicago that an announcement was made over the school’s intercom.  The announcement told us to go on a hard lockdown.  This meant to lock the classroom door, turn off the lights, and close the blinds.  The students and I followed the directive quickly; once we were done, another announcement came over the intercom.  This time is was our Pastor. His voice was very sad when he told us all to stand and pray for terrible tragedy that had occurred. 

I had a terrible feeling in my stomach as I prayed with my students in tandem with our Pastor’s voice.  No one had told us what was happening. We were just praying for some unforeseen calamity.  I had seventh graders in my classroom at this time, and they were whispering and talking with fear. 

I turned on the TV attempting to find out what was going on, but it would not give us a signal.  I turned on the radio to a local radio station, and the reports of what had happened flowed from the boom box, shocking us all.  Every radio announcer was excitedly trying to understand what was happening. My class and I too, were listening very hard to the reports to piece together the story of planes crashing into the World Trade Center.

When my teacher’s aide knocked on the locked classroom door, the students and I jumped in fear.  I let her in and relocked the door. I whispered to her asking what was going on as she had been in the office and would know more information.  After hearing the facts from my aide, the fear and panic welled up once more.  My immediate concern was of my ability to keep my students safe.  I was also worried about my family. My son and daughter were both at different schools and my husband was at work.  Would I see them again?  What if this was an attack on the whole Country?  Would we be bombed? Were we safe?

The students and I were able to pull up some pictures on the Internet and some shocking news.  A few students were worried about loved ones who were either in New York or on flights to New York. Mayor Daley closed down the city of Chicago, sending thousands of people home.   Some of the students were crying, and I tried to give comfort. The Principal then came over the intercom. She carefully explained what was happening and told us all to go to the Church.  That really frightened me.  Was the world that I had known ending?

The silence in the Church and outside was eerie.  The common sound of airplanes flying to Midway Airport was gone – all airline flights cancelled. It is ironic how one misses those everyday sounds when they are gone.  All I could see was a beautiful blue cloudless sky through the open stained glass window where I sat.  The entire school stayed in the church for hours and prayed.

Later that day, when I was finally home with my family, we watched the unbelievable and the horrible events of the day on TV.  Each of us had a story of where we were and what we were doing when the planes flew into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and crashed into a Pennsylvania field.  It was a day none of us will forget.”

Regardless of what you believe about the events of 9/11 and who is behind this attack, the memories of how you felt that day are still relevant.  We need to share our stories in hope that a conscious effort is made toward peace. A peaceful and loving world can be had through education, compassion, communication and prayer. Blessings.




Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 9/11/2016.

 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Not the Person We Used to Be

In some cultures, the older we are the more revered we are to society.  The idea is that the experience collected from many years of living are valuable to the group, consequently, we may find a master carpenter teaching the apprentice how to build a house, and not the other way around.  Human nature points each of us into situations where we walk away with knowledge.  Some of this knowledge is flighty and quickly forgotten and some is hefty, staying with us until we die.  The thing is most of us do not acknowledge the daily lessons we learn, probably, because we are too busy learning the new daily lessons.  However, if we sat down, and really examined our lives, we would see that we are not the person we used to be.

mahatma gandhi quoteThink about it for a minute. What have we learned since last year? Have we grown? Of course, for better or worse, we have expanded our thinking as we experience and learn things we did not know before that time. For instance, if we buy a new house and we have never owned a house before, we learn how to take care of a house. We mow the lawn, by which we had to purchase the lawn mower. We learn about lawn mowers, lawn care, and how to be safe while mowing the lawn. We did not know any of this information before the purchase of the house. Therefore, we have grown and changed.

Mahatma Gandhi, who led India peacefully out from under British rule, said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” This wise advice rings true as many of us are actually living longer and longer.  The oldest amongst us are the keepers of skills that many of us will never know or encounter.  Grandparents can share their memories of history, cooking the perfect pot roast, how to change a tire, sewing a pair of curtains, photos of family vacations, the Beatles, or the art of playing monopoly. This library of knowledge collected through daily bouts of growing and learning renews and changes each of us.

Often, we think that our personality, our beings are static. Come on, we have all heard “You can’t change a leopard’s spots.” Literally, there is truth to that statement; however, as it relates to people, a little reflection on the past will tell us this is not true. We are constantly moving forward like swollen rivers, picking up bits of information and new sources making our minds larger and expansive. Even the couch potato, that spends every evening engrossed in the shenanigans of TV characters, modifies the brain and learns something not known before. We transform into someone new; so, that in merely a small bit of time we are not the same.

The moment we roll out of bed in the morning marks the opportunity to start a new person. It is comforting to know, that what we were last night will be very different today. Our conversion will happen by whatever knowledge we acquire and the experiences we obtain.  Therefore, we are not the person we used to be.

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 8/13/2016.


Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


The Polka Dot Blouse

I wore the polka dot blouse, today. I was not going to wear it; after all, it does not cover my big arms. I know this because I wore it on vacation.  When I saw the pictures of my husband and me, I swore I would never wear it again. However, there is no air conditioning in my school except in my office and it does not work very well. So, I ironed it.

It feels comfortable to wear the polka dot shirt. It is cotton and has no sleeves. It reminds me of the pact I made with myself at the beginning of summer. The one where I promise myself that I will wear whatever I wanted to wear no matter how fat I think I look.

At work, it was so hot and humid I was grateful that I had made the decision to ignore my insecurities. Especially, when at a meeting with a coworker, that was clearly melting because she was wearing a tank top with a sweater over it.  Instinct told me that she too hated her arms and had not yet made a pact with herself to be free of that body shaming. During the meeting, she complimented my polka dot blouse.

“How strange,” I told her. “I wasn’t going to wear this blouse today because my arms are fat.”

Her cheeks reddened, “That is why I wore this sweater. I hate my arms.”

I told her about the pact I made this summer. She warmed to the idea, literally; it was hot in her office.  She removed her sweater to reveal the most adorable sleeveless blouse. I complimented her on her blouse, and I told her this:

“It is really sad that so many of us give up comfort and style just because we convince ourselves that our bodies are not worthy. Each of us is a picture of beauty and even if it is true that our bodies are fat, flabby, scarred, or whatever, we should not deny ourselves the right to wear something cool on a hot day.”

She agreed.


Take Care of How You Speak To Yourself

The Vicious Cycle of Eating Disorders and Body-Shaming, Part 1

Body-Shaming is NOT motivational

Copyright © Jamie Nowinski and Grandmother Wisdom/ Grandmother Musings 8/12/2016.

 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jamie Nowinski – Grandmother Wisdom/Grandmother Musings with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Letters from the Vieux Carré by Haden Hudson

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Letters from the Vieux CarréLetters from the Vieux Carré by Haden Hudson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Anna Bailey has lost her fiance in a violent shooting. She is devastated and confused when she leaves the funeral to walk alone in the French Quarter of New Orleans. While viewing the place that her fiance, Joseph, had once described to her, she comes across a mysterious shop owner who has a message for Anna.

Later that evening, Anna goes back to where her mother and she are staying. She is hoping for some maternal comfort, but instead, Anna is thrown back in time to the nineteenth century.
She lands in the bed of a drunken Gabriel.

Gabriel Volcain, looks exactly like Joseph, Anna’s dead fiance, complete with the most amazing blue eyes. And, when Gabriel’s father bursts into the room, the stage is set for a quick marriage.

Anna begins to write letters to her mother in the future to stop herself from going insane. Her incredible situation of going back in time cannot be explained to anyone.

Join Anna and Gabriel in the novel “Letters from the Vieux Carré” by Haden Hudson. The story will keep you reading from beginning to end with the passionate and mysterious relationship between Anna and Gabriel.

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Positive News is Out There!

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Are you tired of seeing depressing news stories on the local news? Is it possible that more than BAD stuff is happening in the world? Here is an article I found at a website called and at this site there are lots of positive news articles to enjoy. Here is one entitled, “She Asked her 80-Year-Old Grandma to be a Bridesmaid It Turned Out Better Than She Ever Expected”

Have an enjoyable and positive day! smiley laughing

Are You Getting Enough Magnesium?

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Do you suffer from muscle cramps or spasms in the middle of the night? Does your restless leg interrupt your loved one’s sleep? Have your been diagnosed with high blood pressure, thyroid issues, or irregular heartbeat?  It could be that you are lacking in the important mineral called magnesium.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Every organ in the body — especially the heart, muscles, and kidneys — needs the mineral magnesium. It also contributes to the makeup of teeth and bones. Most important, it activates enzymes, contributes to energy production, and helps regulate calcium levels, as well as copper, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients in the body.”

People can have temporary magnesium deficiency caused by the flu or other sickness. Some, who may be taking medications such as diuretics or who may have irritable bowl syndrome or colitis may experience low magnesium levels. Diabetes, high thyroid levels, and kidney disease can also be detrimental to the magnesium levels in the body.  If the magnesium stays low, then other issues can arise.

mag foods to eatHow can you raise your magnesium? Eating the right foods is a good start.  Pumpkin seeds, cooked spinach, black beans, brown rice, cashews, dark chocolate, halibut are some healthy foods that may help raise your magnesium levels. You can also take a relaxing soak in an Epsom salt bath.  In this method, your body can absorb magnesium through your skin and help reverse your magnesium deficiency. And since magnesium is more easily absorbed through your skin than it is internally, it is possible to purchase commercially made magnesium oil online or you could learn to make your own magnesium oil at home. You may also wish to add vitamins B, and K to your diet. It is believed that magnesium will be better absorbed if these vitamins are also available to the body.

So if you are feeling that your  symptoms are related to a magnesium deficiency make sure to add some magnesium rich foods  to your diet, soak in an Epsom salt bath, and make or buy yourself some magnesium lotion.  Check first with your doctor to make sure magnesium supplementation does not interact with any medications you are currently prescribed.

More information…

How to Make Your Own Magnesium Lotion.

Magnesium is the underrated Master Mineral-Natural

Source: Magnesium | University of Maryland Medical Center
University of Maryland Medical Center
Follow us: @UMMC on Twitter | MedCenter on Facebook

Esperanza Rising Book Review

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Esperanza RisingEsperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan was a surprisingly good novel set in Post Revolutionary Mexico and Great Depression Era California.  Esperanza is a young girl who was born into a wealthy family and has never known poverty.  That is, until her father is killed by bandits, and her uncles take over the land.  Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their home to avoid a forced remarriage of Esperanza’s mother.  The two, along with three loyal servants steal away in a mango cart toward California and the promise of freedom.
In California, Esperanza learns what it is like to be poor and an immigrant.  She learns to work hard, to make do, and to think about someone other than herself. Like the mythical Phoenix she rises from the ashes to remake herself.  This was an excellent book and one I want to share with my students.

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