Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Slice of Life: An Ordinary Bookstore Stop Turns Extraordinary!

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, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

There was nothing special about this stop at my favorite indie bookstore, Island Books.  I was picking up a new picture book favorite.  My husband reads the library copy to grandson Jack all the time.  (Jack's mom has already told me that she wants her own copy).  I wanted to purchase a copy for Teddy, our other grandson so we could share it with him when we saw him and his parents on our quick vacation to Park City.  I know you're curious.  This new favorite book that will be in both grandson's libraries is Together by  Emma Dodd.  If you haven't seen it yet, stop now and request it from the library or check with your favorite indie bookstore to see if they have it in stock.

Like I said, there was nothing special about this stop at Island Books UNTIL . . .  Lillian reached under the counter and handed me an advance reader copy!   And not just any ARC,  but the ARC of a book that I'm eagerly anticipating that doesn't come out until this fall.  I fairly danced out of the store with Kimberly Brusker Bradley's The War I Finally Won tucked under my arm.  I read it on our short vacation.  Tomorrow I'll drop it off to my daughter, Sara.  She's a fast reader and will be able to finish it in time for me to return it to Lillian so it can continue to make the rounds of other lucky readers.  Thank you, Lillan, and thank you, Island Books!  I love this sequel as much as the first book.  And thanks to Emily Brubaker Bradley for this continuing story of Ada's life.   

Sunday, July 16, 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.

I stepped out of the meeting room and into the main part of the library. A father and son were playing chess just outside our gathering.  I asked them if we were being too noisy. They assured us that our noise level was just fine.  I stood for a few moments, happy to savor the babble coming out of the room from members of our book club.  It was delightful to listen to the cacophonous chatter from this group of fourth to ninth graders who chose to gather and talk about books during the summer.

It was our first summer meeting of Books, Brownies, and Beyond.  Our group included regulars from the past year, a cousin of one of our members, friends of members and new book friends.  We welcomed Ms. Cifu to our gathering who will be in the library at IMS in the fall.

We began by going around the table, introducing ourselves, sharing our favorite genre(s) and what we've been reading so far this summer.  Ms. Bowman and I filled the table with book ideas for summer reading.  But the best suggestions came from fellow readers.  And everyone took advantage of a blank summer reading list page to record possible titles for future reading.  

Almost everyone present experienced book envy because Katie had the final installment for the Land of Stories series which had just come out that day.  
Everyone  chose a free book, compliments of Island Books who shares their ARCs with our book club.  And of course, we had cookie bars.  Here’s our parting shot that captured most of our attendees for our first summer meeting. 

Happy reading until we meet again on August 22 in the small library meeting room from 4-6 pm!   

Friday, July 14, 2017

Poetry Friday

Head over to Tabatha Yeatt's blog, 
The Opposite of Indifferencefor this week's
round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Tabatha, for hosting this week!

When our good friends, the Grahams (part of our chosen family), come to visit, we eat our way through Pike Place Market.  This poem captures a few favorites from members of our family both present and absent with a nod to Macaroni and Cheese Day and a link to a recipe.   

A Family Stroll through Pike Place Market

Hum bow at Mee Sum, Blake’s best treat
Macarons at the Le Panier, Lauren’s love
Piroshkys because Walt wants them & is willing to wait
A stop by Three Sisters Bakery for cookies for all
and sourdough bread for Lance
Peaches and cherries and green beans for later
And the final stop?
For Beecher’s mac & cheese, Sara’s favorite,
Heaven in a cardboard container!

-Ramona Behnke

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Slice of Life: Ten Things I Bought on the Tenth!

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, Lisa, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each Tuesday and nurturing our writing lives.

It's late, but still Tuesday in my west coast world.  Today, I'm sharing ten things I bought on the tenth, a variation of last week's slice of 4 things I loved on the 4th of July.  

A friend and I headed out for a Costco run yesterday.  I asked her if she would be willing to join me for an extra expedition to University Books.  It was the first day of their 90% off sale and I purchased ten books for less than eight dollars.  I felt like it was Christmas in July!
  • 4 books on STEM topics for my niece's classroom
  • Lootas, a sea otter at our aquarium, written by a local author on the island
  • 1 favorite poetry book for gift giving
  • 2 books by Mem Fox to share with my grand boys - Tough Boris and Tell Me About Your Day Today
  • 2 serendipitous finds - Mrs. Harkness and the Panda, a delightful book illustrated by Melissa Sweet and I Know Here, a book I loved sharing with my students when we did personal narratives
And here's my friend, Shelly, with her stash of
four finds for her granddaughter.    

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Celebrate This Week - What's Fun?

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.

Thanks, Ruth, for this morning's reflection of time spent with Sam, your resident early riser.  I like the idea of deciding what we want to be busy doing.  Today's post includes fun from the past week as well as fun that I'm anticipating!
  • Being reunited with Mister Jack after his first trip  (He was gone for ten days!)
  • Jack's first ferry ride and some pre-4th of July fun with Will's family
  • Pics of Teddy enjoying the 4th in Utah with Grandma Barb, Aunt Amy, and Mom

  • A belated birthday celebration with friends - good food, gentle breezes, a shady dining spot, and book conversations
  • Watching Grandpa and Jack read together
  • Reading picture books before bed  (A big thanks to my blogging friends whose recommendations fill my holds shelf at the library and keep my picture book basket full!)
  • Waking up to bird songs at 6 am instead of 4 am
  • Anticipating Island Celebration today and Jack's first parade
  • Anticipating our book club's annual summer gathering at Shannon's place (There's something magical about our summer discussion that includes spouses and friends, dinner, and discussion with views of the lake and Mt. Rainer.)
  • Anticipating time with Teddy, Stefi, and Blake at a cabin in Park City

Friday, July 7, 2017

Poetry Friday: Haiku Projects

Head over to Carol's blog, 
Beyond Literacy Linkfor this week's
round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Carol, for hosting this week!

When I completed my month long alphabetic stroll for National Poetry Month in April, there were things that I left out that I knew I would want to revisit.  In mid-June I shared the book, Cool Melons Turn to Frogs about the life and poetry of Issa.  And this week I want to share a favorite poetry how-to book about haiku.  April was an expensive month for me since I kept thinking about poetry books that I wanted to own.  One of the books I purchased was Haiku:  Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids.  This is a book that I checked out of the library each year to use with my sixth graders.  I taught them the seven keys to writing haiku and one of the students suggested that we make a mini-book with one of the keys listed on each page.  It was perfect and provided a ready resource for the students to reference as they wrote their own haiku.  I highly recommend this book if you're a novice to this writing form or if you'd just like to refresh your understanding.  

The book has a variety of projects that include writing your first haiku, a favorite season haiku, haiku with stories (haibun), haiku with drawings (haiga), and grouplike haiku with friends (renga).  
I see this as a perfect book to use with students or to give to a poetry loving child who also loves making things.  I like these words from the preface:  "Haiku may help us all to slow down, relax, and stop and see what is around us, so that we can appreciate our world and everyday life more."  And that's a perfect recipe for any day of the year.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone

Pat at Writer on a Horse and a Dog has invited us to write about stepping out of our comfort zone for Spiritual Journey First Thursday.  

When I think about stepping out of my comfort zone, a couple of life experiences come to mind.  When I was in high school, I heard about an opportunity to participate in a summer Youth Conservation Corps (YCC).  I'm not really the outdoorsy type, but the chance to make some serious money during the summer before I was sixteen and hold a real job was enticing.  I moved ahead and submitted my application.  And wouldn't you know it?  I got the job!  I still remember the first day there and thinking about how many days it would be until the weekend.  We boarded at Jones Academy in Hartshorne, Oklahoma and went home on the weekends.  I learned how to work hard in the outdoor environment, to push myself physically, and became friends with people from differing backgrounds, all while helping to make the campus and environment at Jones Academy better for the American Indian students who lived there during the school year.  

And as I neared the end of my senior year in college, God inspired me to serve a mission for our church.  I was never one of those people who had always planned to serve a mission.  So you can imagine my surprise when I opened my mission letter to discover my assignment for the next eighteen months would be in Hong Kong.  This was definitely stepping out of my comfort zone and learning the Cantonese language became one of the most difficult learning challenges of my life.  But with faith in God, I moved forward step by step, and day by day to share my faith with those I met in Hong Kong.  

So now, I'm trying to think of ways that I step out of my comfort zone in my life as a retired person.   Three years ago, I attended my first NCTE conference (after I retired).  I met Irene Latham who invited me to join the poets who write a progressive poem each year during April.  I don't know why I said yes to her request.  And every year I vow that I won't do it again.  And then I find myself signing up to step out of my comfort zone and write a line with the poets I admire so much.  And it's exhilarating, but only when my line is completed.  Up until then, it's terrifying!

Another way that I step out of my comfort zone is by continuing to blog.  Sometimes, I feel that I no longer have much to say, but it's the ongoing challenge to put words down on paper that make possible the occasional times when I write something that fuels me as a writer and makes me think that the process is still worthwhile.

My current church calling is to be the leader for our ladies group at church.  It's challenging for me and I've learned to love the women that I serve, stepping out of my comfort zone to minister.  I have learned to love women whose paths and challenges are different from my own. And as I've stepped out of that comfort zone, I've received love back from them and an appreciation for what they teach me.