The War Within

Soonest Mended

By Mika Kasuga

I was a little bemused when I saw that the NSA scandal caused sales of 1984, George Orwell’s masterpiece, to rise more than 3,000 percent.  Although it warms my heart to see exponential book sales – for a title that isn’t Fifty Shades, too – the world that Orwell imagined has not come to pass.

 In 1984, the figure of Big Brother watches over the citizens of Oceania, enforcing total obedience to the following maxims:

 WAR IS PEACE

FREEDOM IS SLAVERY

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

 Antonyms can be synonyms, if Big Brother makes it so: by reconciling opposites, the official language of Big Brother, called Newspeak, aims to diminish the range of thought and make insubordination impossible. Whether Oceania is at war,  against whom, and why  is irrelevant. Orwell’s dystopic vision is rooted in opposition, in the assumption that only an outside threat can…

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The top 10 tips I’ve learned from minimalists

theextraordinarysimplelife

tiny-house-2

I’m not going to covet other minimalists’ lives anymore.

I don’t travel the world with a single backpack.

I haven’t packed up my family to travel across the country in an RV for a year.

I am not a single woman with a futon, a suitcase and a laptop.

I didn’t choose 600 square feet of dwelling space with a hobby farm ‘round back.

YET, I adore reading about these amazing people and their even more intriguing journeys toward transformation. In perusing books and blogposts, these characters seem like old friends. We’re all rooting for them. Their triumphs and courageous leaps of faith provide the inspiration for our own stories. However, through all this story following, I have found there is not one formula for choosing a simple life…it is not a one-size-fits all t-shirt. No matter what our life looks like, I do believe each and every one of these…

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What Students Really Need to Hear

AFFECTIVE LIVING

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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