Saturday, May 19, 2018

Celebrate This Week: Completed Commitments and Boys at Play!

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.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week and to focus on the
positive things that happened in the past week.

I missed posting this past week. This weekly celebration is a discipline that I look forward to each week. If you know me well, then you know that mentioning discipline and looking forward to something in the same sentence does not make sense. But I must admit that stopping to celebrate every week is a discipline that I've grown to love. 

This week I'm celebrating that three major commitments for the month of May are complete and finished - Our Evening of Prayer for Peace, a lesson/facilitated discussion for our ladies' group, and our congregation's yearly gathering of sisters on Mother's Day to focus on our ministering efforts to each other. 

I'm celebrating a lovely visit with grandson Teddy and his parents. I love that he talks so much and that I could understand more and more of what he said as the week wore on. He and Jack loved the "all about diggers" book I bought and shared with them this past week. 

I'm celebrating story time with Teddy at our local indie bookstore, Island Books. We're lucky that our storyteller, Nancy Stewart,  brings along her guitar for lots of songs to accompany her stories. Here's Teddy joining in for "Wheels on the Bus."
I'm celebrating these boys making music together!  We've picked a band name already - "Grandpa and His Boys."
I'm celebrating watching Jack and Teddy play together and share love together. And you know what? It doesn't get better than this!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Poetry Friday: Naomi Shihab Nye and the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at WWU

Head over to Sloth Reads for this week's round-up
of poetic goodness. Rebecca is sharing a
book of poetry her family loves and a giveaway.
Thanks, Rebecca, for hosting our gathering this week.

It's been three weeks since I heard Naomi Shihab Nye give the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture at Western Washington University. When I learned she was coming to the Pacific NW to give this lecture, I knew I wanted to attend. I emailed some of my poetry loving friends, but no one was able to join me. I threw a wider net and managed to convince two good friends to join me, one of whom had to cancel due to birthday plans with her family. The other friend told me that she has never liked poetry, but being the good friend she is, she agreed to accompany me. I shared a few poetry books by Naomi Shihab Nye with her prior to the event. 

The evening was delightful for both of us. Notebook open on my lap, I attempted to capture the gist of the wonderful words shared during the evening. Many of my notes are unfinished sentences because before I could finish a thought, Naomi would start another sentence that I longed to capture. So I'm looking forward to the future publication of her lecture in Children and Libraries: The Journal of ALSC. 

Until then, here are some of my half-captured thoughts from Naomi Shihab Nye's lecture, Refreshments Will Be Served: Our Lives of Reading and Writing.

  • How many times may our lives start because of books? 
  • For those who find homes in books, we have an ongoing ticket to sanity.
  • Nothing is more delicious than tucking up with a good book.
  • Naomi shared her two favorite books with us, The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown (the first book I argued with, talked to out loud) and Favorite Poems Old and New edited by Helen Ferris (my first time to see many voices collected in one book).
  • She recommended a novel, The Which Way Tree by Elizabeth Crook, set during the Civil War in Texas.
  • It's impossible to be lonely when you have a good book.
  • We are all our grandmother's bread.
  • We read books. We write poems. We belong to ourselves.
  • We live on the edges of stories we don't hear.
  • We grow accustomed to the dark when light is put away. - Emily Dickinson
  • Reading and writing subvert the notion that things have to be the way they are.
  • I believe in having mentors and being fans. Naomi mentioned two of her mentors - William Stafford and Peter Matthiessen.
  • Find our heroes in obituaries.
  • Books are the living air we breathe.
  • Empathy is about finding echoes of ourselves in another person.
  • Reading things that fortify you will help you keep growing.
  • She encouraged us to explore the digital library of William Stafford. We need his work in this time.
  • Finally, here is some of the advice shared by Naomi in response  to a question posed by an audience member. "How do we remain hopeful?" Keep reading good books. Share better news. Read twice as much. Share what inspires and fortifies you. 

And that is the reason I feel compelled to share my incomplete and rapidly scrawled (but hopefully mostly correct) notes from this lecture, an event that inspired and fortified me and encourages me to keep believing in the power of reading and writing. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

SOL 2018: A Slice at the Kids' Museum

Take two cousins, one set of parents and Grandma and Grandpa.
Toss in a set of big wheels, a postal sorting service, some time in the orchard, the farm, the kitchen, and some water play. And don't forget some final outside play to the accompaniment of a xylophone. Goodbye, Kidquest Museum (and raccoon statue). We'll be back!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Slice of Life: Searching for Love(y)!

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

My afternoons with grandson Jack follow a fairly predictable routine. After lunch, we play a bit, get some milk, do a diaper change, and head to the rocker to read and drink. After reading two or three books, Jack is zipped into his sleep sack, he grabs his  pacifier and lovey, and we head back to the rocker for a couple of songs before he's down for a nap.  

It's a routine that he's very familiar with, and it's very comforting for him. Except for one day last week when we lost his lovey! 

I was sure that it was somewhere close by, but after a quick scan of the rooms of the house, we had to get more intentional about our search. I told Jack we were looking for his lovey and he helped me look, even getting down on the floor with me to peer under the furniture and helping me look in the drawers and cupboards that he frequently opens. 

Finally, in desperation, I texted his mom (my daughter):  "I can't find this boy's lovey. Anything he'll take as a substitute?"

And her response: "What?!?  It's not on the bed?"

I replied, "He had it this morning after a diaper change."

And she texted, " Hmmm, you could try Larry (his bear) or Ed (his elephant) or his little white bunny."

I grabbed the bear and the bunny, zipped Jack back into his sleep sack (we'd taken it off while searching the house), and headed for the rocker. When I handed him the bear, he threw him across the room. Same treatment for the little white bunny. There was no way this boy was going to sleep without his lovey.

So we zipped out of the sleep sack again to resume our frantic search of the house, looking again in all the same places, just in case we had overlooked his blue lovey (which coincidentally is a bunny). By this point I was almost in tears and wishing that the spare lovey (sequestered at my house) was hanging out here instead. As we headed out of the kitchen, I noticed a spot of blue in the kitchen sink. I stepped back, peered into the sink, and sure enough there was Jack's lovey!

And that's when I remembered that after I had changed Jack's dirty diaper, we headed to the garage with the diaper (all tied up in a plastic newspaper bag). And then I stopped off at the kitchen sink to wash my hands. And that's when Jack must have dropped his lovey in the sink!

Quick as a bunny, we zipped back into the sleep sack, grabbed the pacifier, and Jack snuggled up with his lovey. I'm not sure who was more relieved, Jack or Grandma. He was asleep before I could even finish one verse of a favorite song! And the extra lovey at Grandma's house? It's living at Jack's house now. Maybe it's time for Grandma to order another one for her house.
Here's Jack enjoying his lovey 
and a story with Grandpa on Friday.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Celebrate This Week: A Finished Project, Blossoms, & Grand-boys!

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.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week and to focus on the
positive things that happened in the past week.

It's a wrap! Our women's group from church completed an interfaith event, Evening of Prayer for Peace, for our local community on Thursday evening. It's true that many hands make light work. I am grateful for the many individuals who lent hearts and hands to make this project a reality. 

A quick walk on Friday evening revealed beautiful color in various stages of bloom.

Jack samples the oatmeal chocolate
chip cookies for Thursday's event
& gives them his stamp of approval.
Teddy's adventures in Utah -
at the fire station with Mom
& hanging out w/ G'ma Barb

Friday, May 4, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday & Poetry Friday: An Evening of Prayer for Peace

Sorry to arrive late, but yesterday was spent prepping for and participating in a community interfaith event sponsored by the women's organization (Relief Society) of our local congregation. 
Violet Nesdoly is guest host for this month's SJFT with the theme of "special days." Our interfaith event was a special day that we've worked on for some time.

As we discussed the state of our world in one of our meetings early in the year, mention was made of the need to pray for North Korea. Others chimed in by commenting that many areas of the world need our prayers, including our own troubled nation. As women of faith, we decided to host an interfaith event to focus on praying for peace. We held it on the first Thursday of May, the traditional date for the National Day of Prayer. 

In addition to prayers offered, several poems were shared as part of our program. So I'm letting this post do double duty as my Poetry Friday post also. 
Head over to Friendly Fairy Tales
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
Brenda shared a spring haiku & tips for writing haiku.
Thanks, Brenda, for hosting our gathering this week.

Here are two of the poems included in our program for the evening:

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Chinese philospher - Lao-Tse - 6th century bce

Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
A Prayer for the World - Rabbi Harold Kushner - 2003

Part of my assignment (after sharing the Lao-Tse prayer for peace poem) was to include a call to action which I did by sharing Joyce Sidman's eloquent and stirring poem, "Starting Now." It's from her book, What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings. Thanks to Joyce for giving me permission to share the poem on this blog post.

Starting Now 

It is time for us to wake:
we who stumble through the day
with our gripes and complaints,
who drift numbly
through thronging halls and streets -

you and I,
who rant about injustice,
who see all that is wrong in this world
but believe we are shackled
and powerless.

It is time to look into
each other's faces,
we who glide along the surface,
time to dive down
and feel the currents
of each other's lives.
Time to speak until the air
holds all of our voices.
Time to weave for each other
a garment of brightness.

Open your eyes.
Feel your strength.
Bless the past.
Greet the future.

Join hands.
Right here.
Our moment:
starting now.

-Joyce Sidman

This is an event that we hope to continue in our community. It was a blessing to meet together as a community to pray for peace. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Slice of Life: A Fresh Start!

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

There's something I love about a new month. I still buy calendars for several spots in my home. And turn-the-calendar-page day
is a favorite day. Sometimes I have a calendar picture that I 
know I'll miss, like this April calendar page!
 But new pics and possibilities await with each new month!

Flip the page
Squares of possibility
May beckons!