Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Blog--Listening Post Interviews

Listening Post Interviews
Reported by Sis White

From the Editor:  The barnyard is in quite a stir is as the second book in the Sassy Pants series is in the publishing pipeline. Sassy Pants Makes Amends will be released around the end of the year. Everyone is hoping it will be available for Christmas gifting!

We at The Listening Post thought it would be an opportune time to interview some of the main characters in the ongoing saga! Agila, one of our barnyard reporters, was first suggested to do the interviews, but she declined, preferring to remain the eyes and ears of the barnyard. She said when it came to talking she was nothing to squawk about! What a sense of humor!  She suggested Farmer White’s daughter would be the perfect reporter since she seemed to know and get along with everyone, even grumpy old Billy Goat!

Some background on Sis: We’re calling her Sis since everyone in her family does, the only exception is that Farmer White sometimes calls her “George—his right hand man!” In the line-up of all those boys, she comes right after the biggest boy, Denny.

Interview #1—Sassy Pants              

Sis:     Hey, Sassy Pants! I’m wondering if it would be okay to just get some candid reactions to your story that’s going to be coming out this fall. Are you excited? One of our own—in a book! How cool is that?!

SP:      Well, I wouldn’t exactly say I am excited—a bit more like embarrassed!

Sis:     Embarrassed?  Why would you be embarrassed? You have really turned out well!

SP:      You said, “turned out” and that is important. That lets everyone know that I was not always the responsible barnyard resident that I am now. That time of being the barnyard bully is a time I would rather forget! So, ya, it’s embarrassing to have my past right out there in the story in black and white for the whole world to see! The only reason I consented to having my story written up was, if at all possible, I want to warn all kids to not follow my early example! That’s the only reason!

Sis:     But Sassy Pants, you have such a message for the kids these days! I am really proud of you! Tell us in your own words, what would you like the kids to get out of reading your story?

SP:      Two things from these two stories: The first is that choices have consequences—any choice you make will have a consequence. That’s the way it is. Some consequences you will like and some you won’t. So, kids, make wise choices. Think about the possible consequences. Really think about it—are those consequences something you can live with? Will you like it/them? If not, seriously think about a different choice!

The second thing:  If you mess up like I did, ask for forgiveness. I did not like the consequences of my behavior. Apologizing and asking forgiveness is hard, no doubt about it. Making amends is even harder, but the results are worth all the hard work! It was quite a process to get to the place I am today.

Sis:     So tell us Sassy Pants, just what is amends?

SP:      I think Old Clyde said it best. “Amends is a way to fix a friendship when you are the one who broke it.” He was right on. Amends is just studying the friend whose friendship you broke until you find something that is really important to him or her. Then you make that become important to you too. You try to do something that will give your friend reason to trust you again. And you keep trying until trust is there!

Sis:     Well that sounds simple enough!

SP:      Simple, yes. Easy? No. Worth it? Yes! And, now you must excuse me, I hear the grain scoop calling! Farmer White is serving his famous Pig Soup and I don’t want to miss it!

Editorial Note: This is the first interview of the main characters of the Sassy Pants series. Our thanks to Mrs. Brown for inviting The Listening Post to be her guest blogger! 

Mrs. Brown’s Note: I am happy to have The Listening Post as a guest blogger. I said in the blog intro that this blog is about exploring sensitivity. I believe that Sassy Pants' story is about sensitivity! When she was a bully she turned her sensitivity off, or tried to. She made her heart grow cold and it started turning to stone because of what she believed about what happened to her. Sassy Pants thought she had to get what she thought was hers whether or not it was! She didn’t notice or care how what she did affected others—until she was shocked out of the notion! That shock was a hard way to learn, but she learned! When we don’t understand the things that happen to us and around us we can come to believe things that aren’t true. We can come to a wrong conclusion. Now she is well loved and valued by everyone in the barnyard. Hers is a story of a misbehaving pig redeemed and reformed! It's a story of second chances, that should encourage us all!
Blessings, Carol 

Friday, September 23, 2011


No, it’s not what you might think. My husband didn’t “ground” me! Someone from Radiant Life Company sent a book called Earthing by Clinton Ober, Stephen Sinatra, M.D. and Martin Zucker. The cover declares that “we humans, as all other living beings, are electrical creatures on an electrical planet, and the ground beneath us is more than something we just stand, walk, play and build on.” It asks, “Are you electron deficient? The earth itself can remedy your deficiency and improve your health, energy, and sleep.

The book is about being grounded—really, like plug a copper ground wire into the dirt kind of thing! The author says we will be healthier, sleep better, and get rid of inflammation if we would take our shoes off and walk through the grass or hug a tree! He has the science to support his theory. After reading that the thought floated into my head, hmmm, I wonder if the Lord imbedded more in Ephesians 3:16-19 than we normally think about. St. Paul would not have known about electricity with its protons, electrons and neutrons, but he would have understood grounding from an agricultural standpoint.

16That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may be able to comprehend [appreciate, grasp, perceive, intuit, recognize, sense, understand] with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.

I began to research what it means to be grounded, first what it means for plants and then what it means to be grounded electrically. Agriculturally speaking, grounding is necessary for structural support and for the purpose of sustaining the life of the plant. The roots and the soil support the structure and supply nutrients from the soil. “That you may be able to comprehend the breadth, length and depth” . . . this is what roots do! They probe and explore all those places—breadth, length and depth! The nutrients brought from the soil build the plant so that it comprehends or attains the height potential that the DNA of the plant prescribes! Grounding in Christ would mean that as our roots grow deep into Christ He will support and nurture us. He keeps us from being blown about, knocked down and run over by life. As our roots go down and out in Christ He becomes our strength, He nurtures our spirit and soul and therefore, our bodies flourish.
Grounding in electrical terms is a safety issue, it’s about protection. It prevents fires, burns and fatalities--destruction. We are electrical beings, filled with electrons, protons and neutrons. But we can gain and lose electrons (negative charge) and protons (positive charge). If we shuffle across the carpet we are filled up with an abundance of positive protons and then when we touch a doorknob we receive a shock as our oversupply of + protons rush out and - neutrons rush in to stabilize our charge.

I don’t know if we have the equivalent to electrons and protons in our human spirit, but we can fill our spirit, soul and mind with negativity and zap the first happy individual who has the misfortune to wish us a good day! We can fill our minds and spirits with negative images, with pictures that degrade the beauty and nobility that God intended us to exhibit. For example, pornography brings addiction which pushes for expression, which leads to molestation and then assault, which leads to prison. The addicted person discharges the oversupply of negative within upon another of God’s children, but stabilization does not occur, rather, the negative expands. In the case of discharging negative spiritual garbage, two negatives do NOT a positive make! Building a negative charge digs the hole deeper downward.

On the other hand, we can fill our minds with what is true, noble, and right, with whatever is pure, lovely, and admirable—if something is excellent or praiseworthy—we can think about such things and fill our spirit, mind and soul with God’s positive charge Philippians 4:8. Then as we interact (or collide) with the world we release a positive charge! We become filled with the fullness of God by filling our minds with thoughts of Him, His nature and attributes, and ponder and meditate on them. Then when we talk about Him with others of like mind we build the positive charge of our spirit—we rise, stand taller and walk, talk and act increasingly more like Jesus.

Grounding ourselves in Christ is a spiritual protection. And here is a news flash! Storms and winds are essential to the health of the tree! As the tree sways in the wind it creates a prying action in the soil. The swaying opens avenues for the roots to expand further. Spiritually speaking? The storms of life may be necessary for spiritual vitality! Yikes! Oy!

Back to the issue of these earthing things--if anyone has used any of these products I’d love to hear how it/they worked.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Choices and Consequences

Choices and consequences is a very strong theme in the Sassy Pants series. For children to become successful members of society they must learn that consequences always follow choices! Another way to say it is that choices always lead to consequences. Some we will like and some we won’t! So we need to think carefully about our choices and the possible consequences and make choices in line with the type of consequences we want or think we can live with! The ability to project to the effect of our choices is a life skill and that is what parenting is about—equipping our children to be successful members of society.

Since Sassy Pants is about animals there seems to be no defensive reactions to seeing issues clearly. Children laugh and while they are laughing, the lesson hits home. It is not a large step for them to make the connection personally! Even adults love the story, identifying with various characters or situations along the way. I did a reading for an adult group and for one gentleman the reading created waves of nostalgia, as that was the way his mother had read to him when he was a boy! Another gentleman identified with the name calling when Sassy Pants was into her “barnyard bully” phase.

The story shows the different kinds of sorry, which fit in with choices and consequences nicely.

Several character traits are easily identified in the various characters in the story. As the child reacts to the different characters conversation can quickly go to, "did you like it when . . . ., how would you feel if someone did that to you?" To, "how did that work for him/her? Was it a good idea? And how would you want to be treated? Is that how you are going to treat others? What kind of consequence do you think will follow?"

Learning the easy way rather than the hard way becomes abundantly clear in this story! This theme is also is woven through other stories in the series.

The final issue is that of bullying which has become such a problem in schools today. Again, the consequences of Sassy Pants’ bullying are very stark: no one liked her or wanted to play with her or be around her. The story makes it quite clear that Sassy Pants chose to learn the hard way. She was given ample opportunity to change her ways and much advice to do so—yet she continued in her headstrong direction! Book I ends with her soaking her tush and her throbbing snout in the mud wallow and no one consoled her! The second book in the series begins with her friendless, crying her eyes out down in a little ditch where no one could see her cry!
The second in the Sassy Pants series, Sassy Pants Makes Amends, will be coming out around the end of the year. Stay tuned for a release date.
Blessings, Carol

Friday, September 9, 2011

Review to share!

Below is a review of Sassy Pants by Pamela Swearingen on her home school curriculum reviews blog. If you have friends who home school please pass this along. I remember my teaching days—you are always in the market for an interesting reader! Each book comes with a free audio version, aka, a good distraction on a long car ride! For more curriculum reviews: The second book of the Sassy Pants series, Sassy Pants Makes Amends, will be coming out toward the end of 2011! Sassy Pants learns how to fix a friendship when she is the one who broke it!

Sassy Pants by Carol Brown

The book Sassy Pants by Carol Brown is a short easy-reader book that chronicles the misadventures of one aptly named pig, Sassy Pants. Once the pitiful runt of a litter of 19 piglets, Sassy Pants spends infanthood in home of the farmer where life is easy and the food is good. After gaining weight and growing a huge self-serving attitude, Sassy Pants is sent back to the barnyard where she begins to bully all of the other barnyard animals. Although she feels very entitled to live out her whims and desires, in the end Sassy Pants does learn a lesson about where she truly belongs and about what her place is in barnyard society.

For adults reading Sassy Pants, this elementary-aged reader is clearly about much more than a mischievous little pig in the barnyard. By anthropomorphising Sassy Pants, Carol Brown has created a farm world kids can easily understand, but with many complex issues hidden not-so-deeply inside. A few of the many topics touched in this short book include selfishness, bullying, different kinds of "sorry" and respecting boundaries.

To help parents and teachers highlight Sassy Pants' very human lessons, author Carol Brown has created a 3-page study manual which outlines several Talking Points on Sassy Pants' important lessons. The Teaching Manual can be downloaded for free at: Sassy Pants Parent/Teacher Manual.

At the end of the book, Sassy Pants learns her lessons the hard way and the barnyard animals purposefully don't console her. A sensitive child might really feel sorry for Sassy Pants in the end. So for this "tough love" reason, the Teaching Points in the Parent/Teacher Manual really are important. Kids might need to talk about Sassy Pants and the consequences of her naughty actions.

Pages: 78
Year originally published: 2010
You might want to know: This book is the first in a series of four books.
Source: In exchange for an honest review, I received a complimentary copy of this book and the downloadable parent/teacher manual directly from the author but the opinions stated here are all mine.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Philosophy--or something like that!

Here is my philosophy!

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in heaven with a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...Wow!! What a ride!" Anonymous

Ya, lots of times I feel that's my philosophy--on my good days--but I think it goes deeper than just my good days. It is a core value that I want to totally use up all the resources my Heavenly Father has put at my disposal, wisely of course, as a good steward! Feelings associated with good or bad days go up and down with my energy level; they come and go. As I elaborated in my book, The Mystery of Spiritual Sensitivity, they give us some information (just information--it is not eternal reality), sometimes it is accurate info and sometimes not. Sometimes feelings reflect our core values, sometimes they don't. I do not want to make decisions or come to conclusions about myself, God or others based solely on feelings, I need information from other sources such as Scripture, the Holy Spirit and trustworthy people to come to a wise and judicious conclusion, to a wise and judicious decision!

So, what's your philosophy?

Blessings, Carol