Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Slice of Life: Books, Brownies, and Beyond - Fourteen Weeks In!

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

Tuesday afternoons
readers gather to share books,
thoughts, cookies, and joy!

Our after school book club, Books, Brownies, and Beyond, has been meeting together for fourteen weeks now.   Here are a few highlights of our year together so far.  (I've finally received all the parental permissions so I can share these pics.)  

 Special book club session with Irene Latham, visiting poet!
 Free books for Halloween treats!
Books for December book club discussions!

We share our favorite genres, authors, books, favorite places to read, and even our favorite foods to eat while reading.  Our numbers continue to grow (two new members last week and one new member this week).  We'll meet two times this week because on Friday we get to participate in a google hangout sponsored by King County Library System with John Anderson, author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day.  

Next week we have book discussions for the following Newbery possibilities:
Pax, Wolf Hollow, The Inquisitor's Tale, Ms. Bixby's Last Day, Some Kind of Courage, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.  
And then we hope to read two more books (one over winter break and one in January) before the 2017 Newbery winner is announced.

Please leave a comment and let our book club members know which book you're hoping will win the Newbery this year.    

Sunday, December 4, 2016

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 very late, quick post . . . 
but so many small and simple things to celebrate this week.  
On Saturday, two fine gentlemen (my husband and sil) set up the Christmas tree.
It's not decorated yet, but the colored lights warm my heart and make me remember that Christmas is coming (even if that is the only thing done so far in our household.)  Oh, I forgot, I put up the Christmas lights on the deck early in the week.  And on Friday, I hosted a shift at the
Bellevue Festival of the Nativity.  Here are a few favorites from the 500+ nativity sets 
exhibited at the Festival from around the world.  
 A simple wooden creche at the entrance
 I love the way that every character is looking to  
heaven and praising God in this clay nativity from
New Mexico.  
 A simple depiction of a heavenly event . . . 
I love the colors in this scene from Haiti carved 
from a recycled oil drum. 
These felted sheep's wool figures are from Kyrgyzstan.
A tiny Eskimo nativity with a puffin & polar bears
 The expression on the sheep standing guard over baby Jesus - priceless!
 This Raku pottery from South Africa is my favorite set.
I love the variety of animals native to that part of the world!
 The children's room with hands-on nativities,
puppets, coloring pages, and puzzles... 
In the room next door are costumes for
dressing up as characters in the nativity.  

I'm celebrating two beautiful scenes captured at my former school this week.
 This gorgeous sky as I left book club on Tuesday afternoon,

 and this late display of fall color captured when I subbed
on Friday morning.  Thanks, Patty, for telling me about it.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Slice of Life: Our Saturday Shopping Trip!

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


We are not shoppers, especially not the weekend of Thanksgiving shoppers . . . 
But on Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves shopping.
Within moments of sitting down to discuss our purchase,
my husband's phone rang.  His name had been drawn and 
we were the lucky recipients of the hourly drawing . . . 
an Xbox game system (not too exciting for this couple of a certain age).
We walked outside, we went for a spin, we rode in a golf cart to see all the possibilities
and five hours later, I found myself emptying the glove box, and the side door pockets,
and all the little nooks and crannies of our trusty steed
who had served our family well for thirteen years.




















I felt a little sad saying goodbye and the rainy, gloomy night mirrored my mood, 
but there comes a time (even for folks who drive cars for a long time)
to move on.  We drove our magnetic gray metallic RAV4 home.  
I'm still figuring out all the bells and whistles of this tech savvy car
that blinks at me when someone is in my blind spot,
and beeps at me when I'm too close to an object,
and has a bluetooth and a backup mirror and four cameras
and who knows what else that I still need to figure out.
Sunday morning we received a call from the dealer that my name had been drawn. . . 
for another hourly drawing - a $250 Visa gift card (definitely more exciting than the Xbox)!   

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Celebrate This Week: Every Precious Moment!

                              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 started last week by announcing in an early morning church meeting
that I only had two more wake-ups until Teddy's arrival.  He turned 5 months old on the day of his arrival, and this was his first visit to our house.  We cherished every precious moment of our Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends:

The evening time we had with Teddy after encouraging 
"the kids" to go to a movie so we could babysit . . .  
Weather that allowed an outside shot for this cute family pic...
The discovery that Grandpa and Teddy had twinner jackets . . .
Our resident turkey expert, Will, and his able assistant . . .
Wondering who was bigger, Teddy or the turkey . . .
A partial pic of the baker's dozen of friends and family
who filled our dinner table with love and laughter. . . 
Teddy's delight as Grandpa played a few tunes on the piano . . . 
Story time with Aunt Sara . . .
Snuggling with Grandma . . .
And all too soon it was Saturday morning and off to the airport with our precious cargo.  We loved sitting in the backseat with Teddy in the middle.  We came home to a very quiet house and a new countdown to Teddy's next visit in the spring.   Thank goodness for a steady stream of pics from Stefi and FaceTime to keep us connected until then!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Slice of Life: KCLS, How Do I Love Thee?

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

When I count my blessings, libraries are always in my top ten (honestly they are right up there after God, family, friends, sleep, and chocolate)!  How can I help but love an institution that brings books to everyone?  How can I help but love a gathering place that immediately warms my heart whenever I step through its doors?  And so I want to share my gratitude for KCLS (King County Library System) during this season of thankfulness.  

Last month I stumbled across a list of Picture Books about Refugees created by Erica at What Do We Do All Day.  Our church was hosting a speaker from the International Rescue Committee and I thought how appropriate to have a display of books to share with families about the refugee experience.  I popped over to my online library account and requested the books.  Every single book arrived on my holds shelf ready for me to pick up within the next few days.  And this is where I have a small confession to make - yesterday all those books were due back at the library - and even though I'd been meaning to read the books in that bag, it wasn't until this week that I finally got around to reading them.  All of the books are wonderful, but here's a pic of my favorites.   And my very favorite book of the bunch?  My Two Blankets!

Last week I subbed in a 7th grade classroom.  One would think that a substitute only needs her lunch and a small bag, right?  Only I took a lunch, a small bag, and my rolling carry-on bag filled with picture books.  And not just any picture books, but the top illustrated children's books of 2016 as selected by the NYT.  After viewing the list online, I headed to my KCLS account to request the titles.  And last week I watched seventh graders read those books, sometimes poring over the pages with a friend, and my heart was happy!  I still haven't read all of them, but my favorites so far are these two.  

And last night, I put together a basket of board books in preparation for Teddy's first visit to our home.   My daughter told me a few months ago that while I have a plethora of children's books, my collection of board books is woefully inadequate.  No more!  I purchased these books from our Friends of the Library book sale this fall.  

KCLS blesses my life in so many ways:  last month by providing books for a display about the refugee experience, last week by providing the best illustrated children's books of 2016 for me to share with seventh graders, and last night by providing a bonanza of board books for grandson Teddy's visit!  And did I mention that yesterday I picked up two flyers when I visited the library?  One to share with my book club today (a chocolate- making workshop) and one to remind myself about one of my favorite events of the holiday season (a visit to our library by the Dicken's carolers, sponsored by our Friends of the Library group)!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Celebrate This Week: Sadness and Beauty

                               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.

It's a tough week to find the celebrations.
But I'll search amid the sadness to find the good.  

We said goodbye to a member of our congregation who left us too soon.  I celebrate the time I had with his brother, Rowland, who told me stories of our friend, Daniel.   And the chance to meet other members of Daniel's family.  And the helping hands who made the family meal after the funeral a beautiful opportunity for friends and family to be together.

I was saddened by the too soon death of Gwen Ifill.  It's amazing how those who sit in our homes and share the news with us often feel like members of our own families.  I've missed Gwen on PBS Newshour and knew that something was amiss.  So many tributes paid to her this week.   My sad heart was lifted to see beautiful pics and hear tributes this week from her friends and colleagues.
Check out this column from colleague, Mike Melia: 

I captured this fall pic last Saturday after my visit
to the Seattle temple.  A typical gray NW day!  

With days like this, you can see why I grabbed a friend and headed to Slater Park for some sun and a sunset walk on Thursday.

I finally joined my husband at an early morning fitness class this month.  As I celebrated my fifth day of attending on Friday, we were greeted with this beautiful sunrise on the way to class. 

I love fall.
 I celebrate this season of color and now almost bare trees 
which are beautiful in their own way too!  
Blessings to each of you as we enter this week
of Thanksgiving and gratitude!  
And gratitude to our dear friend,
Ruth, who brings us together each Saturday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Slice of Life: I Was Part of the Team!

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

Today was one of those days when I got to be part of the team.  I've never been involved in sports. Many decades ago my college roommate convinced me that I should play intramural volleyball, but after one game she thought maybe it would be okay if I stayed home.

Today was a funeral for a member of our small congregation.   As the leader of our women's organization, I asked a few people to help set up, prepare food, and clean up after the luncheon.  It was a blessing to work with dedicated, faithful people willing to make this difficult time a little easier for one of our fellow saints and her family.

I just stopped to count the love in action . . . twenty-four people (if I remembered everyone) were on the team!  As I sat in the room with family and friends for a few minutes, I was grateful for all the people who showed their love by giving of their time and talents today.  Tonight I received a call from one of the ladies (my senior by quite a few years) who was upset that someone else (I was the guilty party) had taken the tablecloths that she wanted to launder.  (I promptly delivered them to her home!)  You can see that it's clear that not only was I part of the team, but today I had the good fortune to be on the winning team.