Is there a story behind your book, Diamonds In The Tough?
It is a result of 26 years of teaching and “journaling as therapy”. I wrote to document my attempts to reach emotionally disturbed and behavior disordered students. The reflective value of journaling is amazing.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy two genre the most. One is biography because truth is stranger than fiction. Torey Hayden, a teacher/psychologist, wrote narrative nonfiction and influenced me as a special education teacher with her quasi-biographical books. The other genre is historical fiction because I learn so much about a period of history by reading well written novels like those of Lynn Austin.
If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?
I would like to paint like Mary Cassett because she drew her inspiration from the nurturing of mothers toward their children. Her work fills me with maternal feelings of love and compassion.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college, the only job that I could get in our small Wisconsin town was the onion ring factory. Yes, I packed onion rings for 40 hours a week all summer. Two weeks after returning to college, people still commented, “Do you smell raw onions?”
What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My husband and I have ten grandchildren and they make me smile all the time. As a child, I lived in a foster home where there was a lot of love. I want my grandchildren to have many moments of joy in their lives and a refuge of unconditional acceptance.
Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?
As a first year teacher, a girlfriend and I were able to go to Haiti to stay with missionaries during my spring break. The visit proved to be life changing for me. We went all over the island and watched as the missionary diagnosed diseases from malnutrition. We walked through the market and saw the beautiful items made by the Haitian people. We learned to appreciate our lives in the United States and the responsibility that comes with that privilege. Lifechanging.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
The spiritual theme that I write about is that God sees every person as an individual with potential and worth. No matter what has happened or where a person has been, God restores with second chances. As an educator, I looked for the value in each student put in my care.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps.” This is my life verse and God has never failed to lead me in His way. This verse was the one I repeated as I moved from a farming community in Wisconsin to teach on Chicago’s South Side where I met my husband in an urban church.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Oak Tara is planning to publish the first in a series about the Teachers of Diamond Projects School by summer, 2013. It is titled Second Chances, and introduces a first year teacher from a rural area who is assigned to an urban classroom. She meets a police officer who cannot commit to her because of his home situation. As Zoey learns about her deaf student, the gangs in the neighborhood, and the uniqueness of her class, she deepens her faith in a God who gives everyone a second chance.
The Lighthouse of the Carolinas Publishing Company
Cleo's bio:Few people spend their lives doing the things that they love. Author Cleo Lampos has been able to combine her love of writing and teaching. An avid reader, Lampos majored in Elementary Education at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Library Science Minor. She taught for 26 years after attaining a Master’s Degree in Special Education from St. Xavier University-Chicago. As an educator, she drafted educational positions for the teaching staff of the South Chicago suburban district.
Her magazine articles appeared in Focus on Teachers, Lookout, Christian Leadership, Freeway, Virtue, Today’s Child, and many others. Using her journals, she wrote a devotional, Teaching Diamonds in the Tough: Mining the Potential of Every Student, published in 2012 by Lighthouse of the Carolinas. Lampos was the 2011 SemiFinalist in the Genesis Contest for YA.
To connect with Cleo, go here:
Website/blog - www.cleolampos.com
Facebook - Cleo Lampos
Cleo is giving away a copy of Diamonds in the Rough. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.