Saturday, November 18, 2017

Celebrate This Week: A Smorgasbord of Joy!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

I suffer from decision paralysis.  I've been trying to decide on a new artificial Christmas tree and ended up with two in my trunk.  Monday, I met Karen and Shelly for shopping and lunch.  Our first stops were to show them the two trees.  They immediately decided on the tree at our second stop (how can some people be so decisive?). I was able to return the other tree that same day. We have another outing planned for next week.  

It's a given that high winds mean that we will lose power.  Some years ago my husband decided that we needed a generator that hooked up to the house and would kick in when we lost power. At the time, I thought it was a huge extravagance. But each time we have stormy weather and lose power, I'm grateful for this generator. I was even able to dry some clothes for a friend who still did not have power 24 hours later.

Tweets from NCTE
I love reading tweets and seeing pics from NCTE. I'm looking forward to blog posts that recap the learning from my blogger friends!

Busy Boys
Jack loves playing with these farm animals, a shower gift from a good friend who knows about toys that matter.  
Teddy's been busy the past two weeks with his three cousins in Utah who just welcomed baby girl #4 into their family.  

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and celebrate the moments and stories you will share with family and friends!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Slice of Life: Walking by Porch Lights and Texts!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

This slice is part sorrow, part joy, and part longing.  Sorrow for my friends who no longer live close enough to be my walking buddies, joy for all the miles and conversations we logged together, and longing for a new walking buddy within walking distance.  

Joan lived across the street from me in Houston.  We became good walking buddies, but the best part of our walking routine was the signal method we used.  Sometimes we weren't sure if we wanted to walk early the next morning.  So we flipped on the porch light if we were up and ready to walk.  It was easy to glance out the window and ascertain if Joan was up and ready to stroll.  We stopped being across the street neighbors twenty years ago.  But all those morning chats made us good friends and we still stay in you touch by telephone (yep, we're old school and prefer chatting on the phone to texting).  In fact, it's been awhile since we've talked.  Something tells me that when I finish this post, I may check in with Joan.  

Karen did not live across the street, but I could zip across the road, through the elementary school lot and meet her at Homestead Park. It was easy to send a quick text and ask if she wanted to walk - sometimes just around the park a couple of times, sometimes downtown, and sometimes around the library.  Often I would catch her just after a day of subbing and before she crashed into her easy chair.  No matter what other activity she had participated in that day (and she's a very active friend), she would make time to stroll with me.  Now she's moved off the island.  

So I'm longing for a new walking buddy.  Shelly and I manage to connect some of the time, but there's something so delightful about a walking buddy that is within walking distance.  It's not really the best of times for walking in the Northwest, but there are the occasional moments we can find when the sky isn't dripping, even if the sun rarely peeks through the clouds to join us.  How about it? Are you a solitary walker?  Or do you prefer to walk with a friend?

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Visits, Leaves, Notes, & Books!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

Tough to squeeze in a celebration this weekend, but here goes . . . 

1)  Quick visits!  
My son flew in last night, but he's only here for sixteen hours and that included some important sleeping time.  However, this mama welcomes any visit, no matter how short.  He was on a long flight to Alaska for miles and managed an overnight stop in Seattle.   Soon he'll head back to VA.  I celebrate the time we've had to visit! Next month he (and his family) will return for a longer stay during the Christmas holidays.  

2)  Fall traditions! 
Our deck is covered with yellow maple leaves.  Years ago my daughter and I used to try to find the biggest leaf on the walk home for school. And then each day we compared our finds to the previous day.  I rounded up a few of the larger leaves from the deck yesterday.  Look for the purple paper clip on the first leaf as a guide to the scale of these leaves.  

3)  A parent email
Even though I'm retired, I've worked with our after school book club for the past three years.  This year, our local teen librarian has stepped in to lead the group.  I was lucky enough to join this past week's meeting. And after we met, I got this parent note which was a high point of my week.  

Hi Ramona,

I checked out Train I Ride from the library a few weeks ago, read it, and suggested that ---- read it. Of course, she did not heed my suggestion, but after your endorsement of it in Book Club last week, she picked it up from the coffee table and started reading. When she finished the book, she closed the cover and announced, "That was the best book I've read all year!"

You have great powers over my daughter. I might have to call you one of these days when she decides to completely ignore me!

What a gift this parent sent my way with these few words!

4)  Good reads!  
Ruth's new book Enticing Hard-To-Reach Writers arrived this week!  I sat down to get started, but I was torn between it and the fiction book I was reading from the KCLS Mock Newbery list.  As I sat tucked into my cozy blanket with both books on my lap, I was struck by the pairing of the two books.  
You see, forever, or a long, long time is the story of siblings from the foster care system who find a forever home and learn what it means to be a family.  As soon as I publish this post, I'm off to finish the last 27 pages.  Put it on your WTR (want to read) list.  I promise you won't be disappointed!  And what's a celebration without something to look forward to?  This week is the beginning of #enticingwriters blog tour.  Check out the schedule and follow along.  I love that I've personally met three of the people who are hosting this delightful journey.  
Here are the links for each stop:

11/15 (W) Michelle Nero
11/17 (F) Leigh Anne Eck
11/18 (Sat) STENHOUSE FB LIVE at 1:30pm (CST) with Shawna Coppola and Stenhouse FB Page

11/20 (M) Mary Helen Gensch

11/22 (W) Jen Vincent

11/27 (M) Julie Johnson
(November Newsletter -Write About​)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Slice of Life: My Cozy Corner!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

Last week's slice was about the corner I finally emptied in my son's old bedroom to make room for Jack's crib. Today's slice is about another corner in that same bedroom. This summer I purchased a lazy boy recliner. Last week, Sara helped me move a bookcase next to the recliner and hang a bulletin board over the desk. This bedroom has a southern exposure that is especially pleasing during bleak NW days. Now I have this inviting space in my son's old bedroom for reading and writing. The problem is that I've been sharing space and time with grandson Jack ever since we finished creating this spot. His mom and dad come home tomorrow. I look forward to spending some quality time in my cozy corner soon, but I'm sure I'll miss hearing his early morning babbling coming from the other corner!    

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Celebrate This Week!

Join us each weekend for Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.

When we pause to celebrate, we find the joy.
Discover. Play. Build. 

   A week filled with moments to celebrate and remember.

A day with daughter (and Jack)!  
They arrived early Wednesday to get Jack settled in before their trip.  Sara made time to move a bookcase near my rocking chair and to hang a bulletin board above my desk.  And we even made it to the park.  It's good that we did because our weather has been cold and wet and drizzly ever since.  

Snow on Friday!  
Snow is unusual for us and especially in November.   Even though Jack needed a diaper change and a cleanup after lunch, I left those duties and my partially eaten lunch to head outside with him.  It was just a few flakes, but so fun to share them with him and capture this selfie of us.  Notice the flakes on my jacket collar!

Lots of help from Grandpa!
I couldn't manage without Lance's help.  (I'm a little ashamed to realize that we left Blake with my mom when he was about Jack's age while we went to New York.  We were lucky that Aunt Jan came over to help in the evenings.)  Jack is helping Grandpa memorize
"Wynken, Blynken, and Nod."

Teddy and Jack!
Teddy and his mom have been under the weather this week (so no new pics), but here's a pic of Teddy taken last month that I love.  
And here's a pic of Jack in Grandma's rocking chair.
Don't be deceived, he only sat there for about three seconds
before being ready to move on. 

A favorite tree!
I managed to get out on Saturday for a bit
to stop by a friend's party and to swing by the library.
Love this pic of fall color taken outside our library.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Gratitude

Welcome to Spiritual Journey First Thursday, a group of friends who blog together each month about our spiritual journeys.  Hugs and gratitude to Irene Latham for gathering us to learn and share together each month.  Karen Eastlund is our hostess this month and the roundup is at Irene's blog.  

When I think about gratitude, I immediately think of Psalms 100 which we memorized (and had to write with correct punctuation and spelling!) in fifth grade.  When I pulled it up, I was surprised to see that it's only five short verses.  Somehow, it seemed much longer when I was a fifth grader memorizing it for Mrs. Nelms.  
As I read through the words, I was reminded that joyful praise is the hallmark of thankful heart.  

Psalms 100

1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 
2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
Even if we are not particularly musically talented, the Lord loves for us to enter his courts with praise and singing.  And while our world has heralded the benefits of being grateful, we are specifically admonished in scripture to be thankful to the Lord and to bless his name.   Here's a John Rutter arrangement of "For the Beauty of the Earth," one of my favorite hymns  performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I especially enjoyed the video that accompanies the song.  

I pause to think of beautiful things I've enjoyed recently:

For the beauty of the moon,
For the beauty of the leaf,
For the love of grandsons dear
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to thee we raise 
This our hymn of grateful praise.

It might be fun to take a few moments to list some beauties that you enjoy in your own hymn of praise.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Slice of Life: I Did It for Jack!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life (SOL) community.
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

If you're familiar with Gretchen Rubin's four tendencies, then you'll understand my recent success.  If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you know the saga of the boxes.  I retired in 2014 and brought home about 30 boxes from school.  They took up residence in the garage (minus a few that I weeded out) until our kitchen remodel when the contractor needed the garage space.  So I moved the boxes to the guest bedroom.  Then when we had guests coming, I moved the boxes upstairs to my son's old bedroom.  I've slowly chipped away at the boxes, but could never quite finish the job of clearing the table piled with paper and a few final items from my teaching career.  But today I finally cleared the table because I'm an obliger and obligers need external accountability.  
The motivation for this empty table (soon to be moved to the garage) came from my grandson Jack.  He provided the external accountability that finally got me to clear this table.  You see, he's coming to spend a week with Grandma and Grandpa while his parents go on a trip.  And he needs that space for his crib!  I think the happiest person about this empty table may be my husband.  I'm glad you can't see the chair on the other side of the room.  There are still some papers on the chair that need sorting, but the table is empty!  Tonight we'll move the table to the garage in preparation for the arrival of Jack's crib.  Thanks, Jack!