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'Charlotte Helgeson'

Jun 03

Tough Times by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on June 3, 2022 at 10:11 AM by Genesis Gaule

What should I do? How can I help? 

Uff, the news is tough now. When we hear about people being hurt and killed, there is a tremendous amount of sadness our communities share. When the lives of children and our vulnerable are ended or permanently damaged, we feel a loss that can’t be easily removed.

So what do we do? How can we help?

Did you notice how the questions changed from the first line? From I to we. Yes, first I take care of myself. Then we look beyond ourselves and care for our community.

There is no fixing what has already happened, but we can look around us and see who needs our support, our consideration, patience, time and a fair shake. Even as I write this, tears build from the losses in our beautiful nation. 

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
--Soren Kierkegaard

Between backwards and forwards is now. Might I suggest we take the moment to pause. Breathe. Sincerely reflect on what has happened and consider what we’re going to do next. Let’s make conscious choices that will lead to a peaceful and beautiful place for all of us to live in safety. 

Our library offers materials that give ideas on how to locate peace during chaos or at least be reminded of its existence. The library shares these materials with patrons in hopes that there is a bit of comfort found in them. There is not an easy journey through tough times, but a smile goes a long, long way. Here are a few suggestions to find at the library:

Kids

  • can you say peaceCan you Say Peace? by Karen Katz
    Children around the world wish in many different languages for peace // Easy KATZ
  • When We Are Kind by Monique Gray Smith
    How the simple act of being kind affects all aspects of a child's life // Easy GRAY SMITH
  • Peace by Wendy Anderson Halperin
    How to promote world peace and find peace within oneself // Easy 172.42 HALPERIN
  • Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeanette Winter
    How one woman’s passion, vision, and determination inspired great change // Easy 333.72 WINTER

Adults

  • humankindHuman(Kind) by Ashlee Eiland
    How reclaiming human worth and embracing radical kindness will bring us back together // 241.4 EILAND
  • The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci
    The unexpected benefits of leading a compassionate life // 177.7 FERRUCCI
  • Wild Communion by Ruth Baetz
    Experiencing peace in nature // 155.91 BAETZ
  • A Walk Around the Block by Spike Carlsen
    Explore the ordinary things we take for granted in our everyday life // 031.02 CARLSEN
  • World of Wonders by Aimee Nexhukumatathil
    In praise of fireflies, whale sharks, and other astonishments // 590 NEZHUKUMATATHIL

oil painting. idyllic lake with tree-covered mountains in background and a birch tree in foregroundEven a painting!

We can all be strong at times and have other times when a shoulder is needed. I have confidence in our community to offer that shoulder when needed. If each of us finds and offers a tiny bit of peace each day, our actions will help guide our elected officials, school administrators and employers to focus on keeping our communities safe. 

Mar 17

Get to Know Each Other by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on March 17, 2022 at 3:16 PM by Genesis Gaule

Curiosity is probably my strongest characteristic. It shows up most strongly when I meet new people. Sometimes, I meet them in person at the library or when I’m traveling. Even more often, I meet new people in books.

There is never the awkward stumbling through an initial conversation. No wondering if I’m saying something offensive or confusing while reading. The author introduces me to someone new and away I go into finding out all about them.

warriorsMy curiosity leads me to ask questions, even when reading. “Why would he do that?,” will send me back through the pages to catch what I must have missed. Fictional characters’ actions are often well explained in a book. Then there are the historical books which sometimes give one view of a moment in our past. I especially enjoy histories of groups of people like Warriors in Uniform: the Legacy of American Indian Heroism by Herman Viola. It had personal stories and the history that put their stories into context. I enjoyed a lot of the pictures also.

Memoirs are a real person’s retelling of an event or life experience through an emotional lens. Will I learn about the person? Absolutely. Some personal stories are told through important messages they want to share as in Every Body Yoga by Jessamyn Stanley.

How many times have you asked a question like “Is Sam your oldest brother or cousin?” That’s done when in the presence of another person. No matter how many times we visit with that individual, we can’t keep those details straight. A good amount of credit needs to go to people who can remember all the details about a person they meet like Sherlock Holmes does or Detective Vale in The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. Yes, that one’s fiction but I’m connected to all the characters. I also ask why about actions or viewpoints and sometimes get answers from living and breathing people though this can be much easier in a book. When searching for an answer in a book, there is no consequence for rereading a page to find the answer like there might be by asking, “What’s your name again?”.

noorAnother way to get to know people who I can’t find in our community is to read their folklore or stories based on them. The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri includes the epics of India as the background. Stories set in a real location in a different time, brings the people of those parts of the world to life. Noor by Nnedi Okorafor is another science fiction novel that uses African culture as a backdrop. In it, I met Fulani herdsman which I knew nothing about before reading this fictional story.

Our Library also has some great children’s biographical picture books. The stories are true but placed in a story format. We even have graphical biographies which are wonderful fun to read.

black leapardWith so many options, you could make new acquaintances every day at the library. It’s OK if you don’t remember the title or the author or the name of the character. Ask one of us and we’ll help you locate it. We love to be asked, “What is the name of the book that has the colorful cover with eyes looking out at me?” We’ll start asking you questions and very likely find your book. “Is it about a tracker?”

“Yes,” you say and we answer with the title or walk you over to find the book. By the way, that is Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James which gives us a look into African history and mythology through a fictional tale.

Curiosity is great. Keep asking questions and discovering who else is out there.

Dec 17

A Cup of Tea by Charlotte Helgeson

Posted to Campbell Unclassified on December 17, 2021 at 10:48 AM by Genesis Gaule

A lovely cup of hot tea and a good book: Perfection, especially on a cold day as winter moves through our area!

I don’t recommend eating peanut butter and jelly toast while reading. Certainly, don’t try Cheetos and a library book. Please, never eat mashed potatoes and gravy while enjoying your favorite story. But a cup of tea can be managed nicely.

There are so many kinds of teas and ways to enjoy them. I have a cupboard full and I’m always ready to try a flavor that is unfamiliar. If I’m reading something that requires some concentration, I’ll go with either a nettle tea (yes, stinging nettle) or Turkey Tail Astragalus made with the Turkey Tail mushroom and the root of astragalus. It’s thick enough to be a robust coffee but without the caffeine. Just right, for focusing in the evening.

If the day is stressful, chamomile cannot be beaten. It is a weaker tea, but with a longer steep time it is delicious. A lovely cup of green tea after lunch hits the spot to continue a work day.

The library has a few titles with some nummy tea recipes: The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, The Folk Remedy Encyclopedia by the Editors of FC&A Medical Publishing and our newest, Vibrant by Dr. Stacie Stephenson.

cloud-tea-monkeysThe history of tea includes like Cloud Tea Monkeys by Mal Peet. One of my favorite stories. I read it many times. It tells of a little girl who tries to harvest tea leaves in her mother’s place when she became sick. She was too tiny to do it, but the monkeys helped. Oops, already told you too much but the story gets even better from there.

Teas are intertwined with communities in many parts of the world. Sharing a cup with family or in a special ceremony is part of tradition and a memory-making event. Tea has had great value throughout history in the social aspect and the economic world. Remember the Boston Tea Party? It was an initial act of defiance by American colonists.

Traditionally, oolong is drunk with someone who you want to share an extended period of time. You steep it for only a minute and then enjoy. Steep the same leaves for a minute and a half, pour the second cup and visit a little more. Again the same leaves are steeped for 2 minutes while visiting with your dear friend.

Kids enjoy tea, too or at least the tea party. There are many children’s books where tea is central to the story. Even a song, remember I’m a Little Teapot? We have a book with that same name by Iza Trapani. While you’re looking for good tea books in the Easy Section, be sure to check out Tea with Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg.

I do believe it’s time for me to fill my cup again.