Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spiritual Journey Thursday - TURN

The bloggers at Spiritual Journey Thursday 
are writing about the spiritual focus of the 
community's One Little Words. 
This week, we are writing about
One Little Word:  TURN.

Leigh Anne created a blog that is dedicated to her OLW for the year.  It's a special way to track her spiritual journey throughout the year.  I love the red background on the header of her blog because it makes me think of hearts and the importance of TURNING our hearts to God.    

The theme for our women's conference this past week was taken from Jeremiah 31:33:  
"... I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."  When we TURN to the Lord and write his law in our hearts, we experience the joy of walking with Him, becoming His people and knowing Him.    

During this week, I found myself humming the chorus to the Shaker song, "Simple Gifts:"  

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

Even though some see the reference to turning in the song as dance instructions, I like to think of these words as applying to our spiritual bow and to bend as a reflection of submitting our will to God, and that turning (or repenting or changing) will become delightful to us as we reconcile ourselves to God and eventually come 'round right (the journey of a lifetime).  

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Come Wander with Me!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by

I wake up, glance at the SOL (Slice of Life) entries at TWT (Two Writing Teachers) for inspiration, begin wondering about the east coast blizzard, and head downstairs to put some clothes in the dryer.  I notice a newsletter that I promised myself I'd address and mail yesterday.  The cat claims my attention, so I feed her and return to address the newsletters.  One printed out perfectly, but the other eight had weird formatting issues.  I decide to open the original email to see if I can get correct versions to print. When I open my email, I decide to follow my son's advice to read, file, or delete each of today's emails. (He helped me clean up my inbox last summer, but was appalled at Christmas that I hadn't followed his advice.)  I read today's poem from Writer's Almanac, decide it's a keeper, and send it to my poems file.  I read Anna's Aim Higher post, comment, and send the link to some of my former colleagues.  Then I decide to write my post for SOL. Now it's time for breakfast and some serious self-reflection about how easily I can get distracted.  Oh wait, before I do that, I really need to get those newsletters printed out correctly and addressed.  Maybe my OLW (One Little Word) for 2015 should have been FOCUS!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

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!

1.  My heart ornaments . . . 
When I packed up the Christmas decorations this year, I kept out my heart ornaments (and then misplaced them - remember last week's white box I found) so we could use them for a once yearly event for the women in our congregation.  This year's theme, Written In Our Hearts, was taken from Jeremiah 31: 33 "... I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people."  My friend, Laurie, found this branch and created our lovely centerpiece for today's conference.  
2.  Weeding books with Amy . . . 
I'm working as a part-time librarian at my old school.  One of our tasks is to "weed the fiction collection."  I'm making a list of Books that Need Some Love (books that have never been checked out or only checked out once) for a display in February.  It's fun to read the shelves with Amy because I'm also making a list of books I've never read that Amy says I absolutely must read.  

3.  Wonderful walks savoring spring-like weather in January . . . 
Instead of taking the monorail to The Seattle Center, my husband and I walked from downtown Seattle to The Rep to see an afternoon matinee of August Wilson's play, "The Piano Lesson."  After the play, we walked back to the downtown bus stop.  Easy way to get our steps in for the day.
On Sunday I persuaded my friend, Jan, to walk the north end instead of our usual mid-island library walk.  We bumped into our friend, Ann, who was also out enjoying the lovely evening.  We strolled into several pocket parks and saw this view of Mount Ranier from a dock in Lake Washington.
And anytime I'm on the north end, Slater Park calls me to stop, savor the view, and snap a picture.
Slater Park sunset

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Spiritual Journey Thursday - Fly

The bloggers at Spiritual Journey Thursday are writing about the spiritual focus of the community's One Little Words. 
This week, we are writing about 
Michelle Haseletine's
One Little Word:  FLY.

I've been trying to connect Michelle's word with my spiritual journey and I keep coming back to this favorite scripture in Isaiah 40:31:
"But they that wait upon the Lord 
shall renew their strength; 
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; 
they shall run, and not be weary; 
and they shall walk and not faint."

The question becomes, "How do I wait upon the Lord?" so that I can access these promised blessings:  renew my strength, mount up with wings as eagles (fly!), run and not be weary, and walk and not faint.  In Hebrew, wait means to hope for, to anticipate.  Waiting for the Lord implies that I anticipate and hope for Him, that I cherish time spent in prayer and pondering His word, that it becomes more than a task to be checked off my daily "to do" list, but the time that enriches all the other moments in my day.  I want to wait and hope for the Lord like a child waits for Christmas morning, with gleeful anticipation.  For another interpretation of the word "wait" in this scripture, you might want to explore this article which focuses on the strength that is received as we wait on the Lord and are thus enabled to mount up with wings as eagles and FLY!   

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tuesday Afternoons Rock!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by

I'm retired, but I spend my Tuesday afternoons with a fabulous group of students in an after-school book club.  We're reading books selected by King County librarians as possibilities for the 2015 Newbery Award.  One of the local King County librarians, Carrie Bowman, has joined us for our discussions.  Our books were purchased by the schools foundation and will be added to the book club collection in our library for teachers to use after the Newbery is announced on February 2.

We met twice in December, and today was our 3rd meeting of the new year.  We started evaluating the titles we've read today.  Next week we'll finish our evaluation and Choose the Next Newbery from the titles we've read.  Today's lively discussion included these titles:
Rain, Reign by Ann Martin
West of the Moon by Margi Preus
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Sovern
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

Next Tuesday we'll discuss the rest of the titles from You Choose the Next Newbery at KCLS (King County Library System):
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

Then we'll complete our ballots and follow the Newbery guidelines to select the next Newbery from the titles we've read.  This is my fourth year to partner with KCLS and the students at my school to participate in a Mock Newbery book club.  We begin each Tuesday with a lively check-in and check-out period, followed by discussion of books read that week, and a closing of our time together with treats brought by students in our group and cookie bars from my kitchen.  It's a sweet afternoon, and my former colleagues at school look forward to Tuesday afternoon treats too (when we have leftovers)!

We'd love to hear from fellow slicers in the comments.  Which of the books from our list do you feel are strong possibilities for this year's Newbery and Newbery Honor awards?  Also, let us know of other titles you think are possibilities for the 2015 Newbery Award.  Some students in our group have read all seven titles already and are busy exploring other titles published in 2014.   We're watching the countdown clock at the YMA (Youth Media Awards) site where you can learn about all the awards that will be announced on February 2 in precisely 12 days, 9 hours, 38 minutes,  and 6 seconds.  Can you tell that we are excited?  

Sunday, January 18, 2015

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!

    1.  I found a white box that was lost or shall I say misplaced (watch for the backstory on a future blog post).  If you don't lose things, then you have fewer moments of celebration in your life.  Because when I find something I've lost, I rejoice!

    2.  Priority mail saved the day.  My daughter remarked the other day that I gave her husband a Seahawks shirt for Christmas in 2013, but I didn't buy one for her.  So on Tuesday night, my friend Jan (who loves football) fed me dinner, then we walked the mall, and found a shirt for Sara.  I popped it in the mail on Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon, she had her Seahawks shirt in time for Sunday's game!

    3.  I discovered this book in our school library.  One of my favorite sessions at NCTE was "Harnessing the Power of Narrative, Visual Art, and Lyrical Storytelling in Informational Books."  I loved hearing from Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet, authors and illustrators whose work I already knew.  Cynthia Grady, author of I Lay My Stitches Down, discussed using poetry to engage students with language and history. I can't find my NCTE notes (remember I'm a blogger who loses things), but I do remember Cynthia talking about how each poem gives voice to the perspective of a different person.   I can't wait to explore the poems created from her  meticulous research of American slavery and quilt history.

    Friday, January 16, 2015

    Poetry Friday

    Irene Latham at Live Your Poem... is hosting this week's poetry round-up with a special edition of Poetry Friday focused on Martin Luther King.  Be sure to stop by for a taste of poetry love.

    Today's book of poetry (like last week's share) comes from the library collection at my old school.  I'm spending the next month working as a part-time librarian.  The opportunity came at a busy time (our kitchen remodel begins in February), but I couldn't resist the lure of spending my days in the library and getting paid for it.

    This morning I strolled over to the 811s in search of another favorite book of poetry to share with you.

    This week's choice, Hey, You!  Poems to Skyscrapers, Mosquitoes, and Other Fun Things, a slim picture book anthology of poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko was always a favorite in my 6th grade classroom.   George Ella Lyon's poem "Invocation" begins the book with this phrase, "O pen, open poem..." and concludes with the wish that "...poem will open heart and mind."  Student readers will recognize that the poems in this book are poems of address, poems written to things. My personal favorite is "Letter Poem to a Mailbox" by Marjorie Maddox.  In this short 25 line poem, students can discover examples of alliteration, onomatopoeia, metaphor, and personification.  Paul B. Janeczko points out, "There is lots of room for imagination when a poet writes to a thing,"  Students reading this anthology might be inspired to write a poem of address to a backpack, a cell phone, an animal or perhaps a favorite season.