Thursday, September 11, 2014

Six Before Sunrise

Thursday morning I got up early in order to run my scheduled six miles before heading to my part-time-tutor-job for the day.

I don't usually get up before sunrise.  I NEVER get up before 5am.  But I did this week.

It turned out to be a glorious start to the day.  When I got to the park to start my trail run, I discovered nearly a dozen other runners already there.  They were apparently at the turn around for their own morning run.  I joined in.

I found my people!  These are the folks who are as crazy as I am - the runners who are out getting the miles in when no one else can see them.  I am part of this community.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Latin is a dead language". Methinks not!

About a year ago, I decided to take on the task of tutoring a group of high school students through Classical Conversations Challenge II level.  This commitment includes being prepared to tutor Latin.  Having never studied Latin, I wasn't sure where to begin. I wanted my studies to be formal and systematic, and maybe even fun. But, as I read about the many methods to study Latin, I also came across numerous articles and book chapters that included the phrase, "Latin is a dead language..." usually followed by, "but here's why you should study it anyway".  That phrase alone is enough to keep most of us disinterested in pursuing Latin.  It makes the study sound pointless and futile; "well, it's really a dead language no one speaks anymore, but it's good for you, so do it anyway."

All this time, I accepted the premise that Latin is no longer spoken anywhere in the world.  It is, however, the basis for many modern languages and therefore beneficial as a foundation for other language study.  That's all fine and good.

Then, last week, while studying something completely different, the topic of Latin sprang up in a highly unexpected place.  Let me explain. I have a fascination with health, fitness, and nutrition.  In my down time, I study books, articles, websites and podcasts related to this triad of topics.  So, last week I listened to the Rich Roll podcast as he interviewed Matt Ruscigno, a registered dietician and endurance athlete.  In the course of their conversation, longevity was mentioned as well as the title of a book I'd never read.  The Blue Zone.  Being the book addict that I am, I immediately searched for it at the library.  The author highlights regions of the world where higher percentages of the population live astoundingly long lives.  Not just longer lives, but lives full of health and vitality long into their 80s, 90s and 100s.

The basic subject matter of the book is intriguing, but what made me stop in my tracks, put the book down and laugh "AHA!" aloud in an empty room was what I read on page 34.
     "The original Sardinians, in fact, did not keep their ancient Nuraghic languages.  The Romans had subjugated them long enough that, by the time they escaped to the mountains, they had adopted Latin, which has survived the centuries remarkably intact.  In the Sardinian dialect spoken in the Blue Zone, for example, the word for house is still the Latin word domus.  Their pronunciation more closely resembles Latin too.  The English word sky is cielo in Italian but is kelu in Sardinian, preserving the hard K sound as it was pronounced in the original Latin caelum (ka-AY-lum).  The same goes for sentence structure.  A modern-day Italian says io bevo vino (I drink wine) but Sardinians would say it as an ancient Roman would have, io vino bevo (I wine drink)."

It appears that Latin is not a dead language after all.  When I read the paragraph above to my Latin students, one of them announced "I think this calls for a field trip!"  What a way to breathe new life in to the study of a not-so-dead language!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Focus for 2014

Every year I set goals.  I write them on a 3x5 card.  Post them on the board.  Let them marinate.  Sometimes they are fulfilled, but often not.

This year I did something different.  I took a more minimal approach and chose words to represent what I want to focus on this year.  Here are my words.

Create beauty

On their own, these words don’t say much.  They certainly don’t communicate any significance to others.  Here is a bit of the back story.

Strength. Physical and mental.
 The mechanisms: Physical: daily exercise; cycling 3x/week, running 3x/week, yoga, body weight exercises, weights. Train for specific races and events.  Mental: daily Khan Academy, scripture memorization, Latin. 

Finances. Increase awareness of our personal finances. Increase income. Increase savings. 
The mechanisms: You Need a Budget software. Smart Passive Income blog.

Hackschooling. Develop creative ways to engage myself in learning and researching and writing. This is for personal development as well as professional development for Classical Conversations Challenge II.    
The mechanisms: Classes and seminars (both live and online), experimenting, reading.

Create Beauty.  This encompasses art, gardening, cooking, hospitality, home repair. 
The mechanisms: currently undefined.

Contentment. Different than happiness - more like living with joy.
The mechanism: Daily gratitude. Prayer. Intentional, focused, undistracted time with my family members. 

This year will be more about being and doing, and less about having.  I’m looking forward to it.