Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

OVERFLOWING WITH BLESSINGS
Monday, July 1, 2019 by CLEO LAMPOS

 

PLEASE WELCOME

CLEO LAMPOS

TO

HAVING THE PRIME OF MY LIFE

 

“My cup is not half-full. It is not half-empty. My cup is overflowing with blessings.” – Anonymous

Who could have known? Who could have planned this?  Only a Heavenly Father who has directed my steps through the difficulties of learning to speak.

A quiet child who enjoyed playing alone, my mother reports that I kicked out the few neighborhood waifs who ventured through the gate to my favorite mudpie production spot in our Colorado home. Always labeled as “shy”, my classroom participation mirrored that of an elective mute. But my sophomore speech teacher let me stand for a long time at the front of the class sobbing my heart out and then listened to my garbled two-minute speech. Later, Mr. Schubert signed me up for forensics, and I won on the local level.

Now, my greatest joy in life is speaking. Since retiring from 26 years of teaching regular fourth grade as well as behavior disordered boys, a satisfying round of presentations gets me up in the morning and out the door. There are three aspects of facilitating knowledge that are life-giving.

The Research

My heart is that of a researcher. With a library science minor and years of working part-time in libraries, it is a challenge to fetter out nuggets of information or to unearth a long-forgotten person. My favorite topics are: orphan train riders, the 1930’s, and child rescuers. All of those subjects lend themselves to quilts, but that is another story. Once a biography is explored, a presentation is in the works. Several grandchildren help to produce Power Points to supplement the verbal material. They are able to pull together some technological successes.

 The People

Most of my presentations are a series of talks that are given at colleges with classes for seniors. These audiences are a teacher’s dream. No discipline problems. Lots of responses.  Appreciation of a speaker’s preparation.  What is there not to love?

Getting to know the individuals who faithfully attend is part of the joy. Hearing their stories during class, and after the sessions, is inspiring and encouraging. Sometimes it is just heart-wrenching. But the shared pain brings the participants of these classes even closer. There is a ministry element to my interaction with class participants that brings my faith and theirs to the surface. This is the best reason for speaking: touching the lives of those close to eternity.

Personal Satisfaction

My husband is the techie at these presentations.  Working together has allowed us to have so many shared experiences with memorable people at interesting venues. Our faith and marriage are strengthened as he helps set up and runs the lights and music. Yes, music. Scattered throughout the one hour speeches, there is carefully chosen music that coordinates with the power points. “Brother Won’t You Lend Me a Dime?” tears the heart out as photographs of homeless men by documentarian Dorthea Lange flick onto the screen. Or, the strains of “Shenandoah” moan as the pack horse librarians hit the hollers of Kentucky with saddlebags filled with books. Sharing these stories of ordinary people leading extraordinary lives always leaves me tired but thrilled to pass on the inspiration of finishing well. Because that is what I want to do: finish well.

God has a sense of humor. He led a little girl who loved solitude into a social being who enjoys small crowds of people. He saved the best for the last, and this cup overflows with blessings.

ABOUT CLEO LAMPOS

With a Master’s degree in special education from St. Xavier University in Chicago, Cleo Lampos is a retired school teacher. She has written dozens of magazine articles over the years. Lampos is the author of teacher-oriented books; Teaching Diamonds in the Tough, and a series of contemporary novels depicting the Teachers of Diamond Project School. Rescuing Children tells the stories of people who spent their lives helping to save their era’s youngest generation. Two books on the Dust Bowl and a family-friendly story of a family dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease round out her publications. Living on the south side of Chicago, Lampos is a quilter, speaker at community groups, and canner for her urban gardener husband. As a couple, they work in the community garden for the local food pantries. Church activities and 11 grandchildren take up a lot of their time.

ABOUT RIDING THE RAILS TO HOME

Stephen Reily finds relief from living on the streets. He gets a job as a newsie, selling newspapers during the day and living at the Newsboys' Boarding House. Sleeping on a cot, eating a hot meal, and attending classes at night help Stephen to survive. But his heart longs for a home, a place to belong. But who would adopt a street kid from Five Points, New York City in the late 1800's?

Selected to ride the orphan train, Stephen encounters difficult circumstances until he is chosen to live on a farm in Nebraska. Through the patience of the couple who foster Stephen, he faces his fears. He struggles with forgiveness and faith in a God who he cannot see. Only a quilt square reminds Stephen of his dying mother and sister, who was sent to an orphanage. How will the women of the town use this scrap of fabric to comfort Stephen? Can a cast-off child find a home? A place to belong?

(BUY LINK) https://www.amazon.com/Riding-Rails-Home-Newsie-Orphan/dp/168314922X/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                       

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