Tag Archives: motivation

Halfway there.

On October 27, 2017, I read the following article by author Bob Bly.  (Mr. Bly gives full permission to reprint his articles as long as you give him credit.)

I recommend you read the article in its entirety.  Here it is (Actually, this is only part of the article. He swore at the beginning.  A lot of students read my work.  I removed the swear word):


Sometimes internet marketing is a pain.

You work hard on a product, launch it, and nobody is interested.

Now you have to salvage the product either by improving it or bundling it with other stuff.

Continue reading Halfway there.

Came at the right time…

I am pretty tired these days.  My site was attacked on Friday.  That’s all cleaned up now, but I am tired.  And, now I have an incredible amount of work to catch up on.

Just at the right time, this note showed up:

I am in your Henle class, though doing most videos outside of class time right now.  I am a mother of four, not a high school student.  I’ve been catching up on some missed videos lately and just have to say how much I am enjoying the quizzes as much as the commentary in class and supplemental information.   One of my favorite quiz answers is “Cur miles coffee meam habet?”  It was not listed as the correct answer, but just had to say, it IS the correct answer. 🙂  Thank you for making Latin both enriching intellectually AND fun.  I am teaching some sixth-grade boys that are fans of yours and trying to convince some young Henle students (or rather their mothers), just to let them take your class next year.   I am introducing them to Visual Latin and “Think Outside the Border.”  Thanks for all you do!


105-Year-Old Cyclist sets a new record.

I love stories like this.


So what’s his secret? Marchand’s coach and friend Gerard Mistler told the AP it’s simple:

He eats fruits and vegetables, doesn’t smoke, drinks wine only on occasion, goes to bed at 9 p.m. and exercises every day.


The books that changed my life, part 2.

I have been re-editing my book Via.  A publishing friend of mine wants to turn it into a physical book.

During the re-edit phase, my wife has encouraged me to add a section on books.  What are the books that have altered the direction of my life?

The original post is here:  http://dwanethomas.wpengine.com/my-list-of-books/.

This weekend, I thought of several more books.  The list continues to grow.

The War of Art, by Stephen Pressfield.  The title sums it up.  If you are a creator, an artist, or a writer, this book will remind you to get out of your own way.  I read Pressfield’s book while writing Visual Latin.   I need the motivation to push through.  Pressfield provides motivation.

The Millionaire Messenger: Make a Difference and a Fortune Sharing Your Advice, by Brendon Burchard.  Like The Pledge, by Michael Masterson, this is a book I have listened to many times.  Brendon extremely encouraging.  This alone makes the book worth your time.  But, Brendon is also extremely practical.  He teaches you exactly how to get your message out to the world.  His product breakdown was a breakthrough for me.  I can get overwhelmed before I ever begin a major project.  I tend to look at the entire picture.  Sometimes, this habit hamstrings me.  Stuck, I can’t move forward.  Brendon breaks the process down into sizeable, manageable parts.  He then teaches you how to tackle each part.  His book was also most helpful in teaching me how to monetize each part.  

Lingua Latina kept me going.

Someone submitted this question: 

“Is there a particular grammar book for Latin that you would recommend reading and re-reading?”

Here is my short answer: Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.

Here is my long answer: I have looked for an answer to this question for years.  Really.  Years.

I have read, and re – read Jenny’s First Year Latin, Wheelock’s Latin, The Latin Primer Series by Martha Wilson, Ecce Romani, Latina Christiana, Latin for People, and Latin for Children.  I found helpful ideas in each of them.  Often, I would see an old concept in a new way.  Each book approaches the Language in their own way.  But, here’s the thing.  They all say the same thing.  After reading through them all, I was left with the disappointing, hollow feeling, that I could not speak Latin.  I could read Latin if I had a dictionary nearby, but I could not speak the language.  I could not even read it that well, to be honest.

I grew up in Europe.  My friends spoke several languages.  My Dutch friends spoke as many as 4 languages.  I was an American.  I spoke one language.  This was frustrating, embarrassing, and fortunately, motivating.  I watched my friends.  I decided that if they could do it, I could too.  I began to teach myself German.  After a year or so, I spoke German decently.  After three years, I was really getting the hang of it.  Then the Berlin wall came down, American military bases began to close, and my family returned to the U.S.  My language studies came to an abrupt halt.  I did not pick up a language book for five years.  Dumb.  Shouldn’t have quit.  You lose what you do not use.

About five years later, I heard a conference speaker mention the benefits and power of the Latin language.  His ancillary comment interested me.  I asked him afterward if he thought Latin could be self-taught.  “With enough discipline,” he answered.  

I went home and began to teach myself Latin.  Over the next 10 years, or so, I read every book I could find on the Latin language.

After each book, I felt a wave of satisfaction.  Now, I can read and speak Latin, I thought. 


I would pick a book in Latin, like the Vulgate, Caesar’s Gallic Wars, or Tacitus’ history, start reading, and go nowhere.  I could not read in Latin.  This happened again, and again, and again.  Honestly, I was ready to quit.  Then, I stumbled upon Lingua Latina by Hans Ørberg.

Another Latin teacher told me about it.  He had never read it but, he had heard about it.  He had heard that the whole thing was in Latin.  “Sounded too hard,” he said.  Sounded like a challenge to me. 

I ordered it.  It came a few days later.  At night, I lay on the couch reading it from beginning to end.  It took me about 4 days.  I had almost no idea what the last 12 chapters were saying.  Yet, my life had changed.

In one week, I learned more Latin words than I had in years.  I also watched difficult grammar concepts magically make sense as I read.  These were concepts that had conquered me for years. (I am a slow learner.)  Now they were clear.  I felt the confusion slip away as I read Lingua Latina.  The moment I finished, I started reading again.  As soon as I finished the second time, I read it again.  Each time, I went a little further into the book.  Each time the concepts became increasingly clear.

The real test came when I put Lingua Latina down and picked up other Latin books.  I started reading the Vulgate.  I was thrilled to discover that I could read it!  I started reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars.  I understood this book too!  Finally, after years of discouragement, I had made a breakthrough!.  Now, when people ask me what they should repeatedly read in order to master Latin, the answer is easy.  Read Lingua Latina, by Hans Orberg.

Maybe you are wondering why, then, I helped create Visual Latin.  After I discovered the book, I immediately took it into the classroom.  After all, why should my students not share my experience?  Lingua Latina had worked for me!  Unfortunately, they did not share my enthusiasm.

Their first complaint showed up about seven minutes after I handed them the book.  “Hey!”, they protested, “There is no English in this book!”  How, they wondered, were they going to learn the grammar for the language with no English instruction at all.  We tried for a year or so using only the natural method.  I would teach them Latin using only Latin, but in the end, I would always end up teaching the grammar concepts in English anyway.  That is when I realized it might work to teach the concepts in English, but to read in Latin.  About that time, Compass Cinema producer, Thomas Purifoy, suggested a Latin Video Curriculum.  Visual Latin was born.

I believe that the combination of Visual Latin and Lingua Latina is  powerful.  I have used these techniques with elementary children at New Hope Academy in Franklin, Tn. for years.  Each year, I get calls and complaints from local middle and high schools.  They do not know what to do with my former students.  The students are simply too advanced for their programs.  In fact, I tell my students when they leave New Hope Academy not to study Latin in high school.  Study another language, I tell them.  You will be bored in High School Latin.  You know too much.

If they protest, tell me they love Latin and want to keep learning, I tell them what I am telling you.  Read and re – read Lingua Latina.  Read it until you master it.  Then go read whatever you want.  You will be able to.

Back to the Future.

I keep coming back to a common theme.

I grew up with a very negative worldview.  The world was getting worse.  Crime was on the rise.  Wars were on the rise.  Poverty, famine, communism, socialism and even totalitarianism was on the rise.

George Orwell’s vision of the future, 1984 was within reach.  It was going to happen in my lifetime.

Then the Berlin wall came down.  No one saw this coming.  I was in Berlin the week before the wall came down.  We crossed into East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie.  The East German soldiers, wearing red stars on their hats, checked our papers.  No one seemed to have any inclination that the world was about to change in the blink of an eye.

Two weeks later, I was in Berlin again.  There were massive holes in the Wall.  The city was jubilant.  There was a festive optimism in the air.  I climbed on the wall with the Germans, slammed pieces of the Wall down with a sledgehammer, and generally shared in the common good cheer.  Bewildered East German soldiers stood around.  They looked confused.

The next year, in 1990, Germany united.  In 1991, the Soviet Union went out of business.  Communism quit.

No one but college English professors believe in communism any longer.

Meanwhile, AOL started in 1991.  The internet age had gone public. The internet has done more to spread freedom since Gutenburg launched the printing press 500 or so years ago.

The world is getting better.  Infant mortality is down.  Poverty is down.   Freedom is spreading.  The old socialist pushing newspapers are collapsing.  Not long ago, Newsweek sold for $1.

Meanwhile, crime is dropping.  Check this out:


Cheer up.  We live in a better world.

Now get busy and do something good for the planet.

Productivity tips from the pro.

Ready for some productivity tips from the pro?

Michael Masterson is one of my favorite authors.  He gets more done than both of us together.  The guy is a productivity machine.  In this interview, he details the method to his madness.

Worth an hour of your time.  Implement some of his ideas and you will get the hour back.