Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It's a fifth Tuesday!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
It's time to revisit my one little word for 2014!  I committed in January that every month with a 5th Tuesday would be a time to revisit and reflect on my OLW for the year.

Savor - a call to slow down,
A decision to experience, to be present, to
Value a moment
Of life that will never
Return again.

Writing is an act of savoring moments and experiences.  Taking photographs is an opportunity to focus on a moment.  While my writing and my photography are definitely works-in-progress, the memories of moments I've savored this year are pure perfection.  I thank my OLW for calling me to slow down, to experience, to be present for precious moments.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Celebrating Rain!

 Join us each Saturday 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!

Celebrating rain?
Maybe that means after 17 years of living in the Northwest, 
I've finally turned into a soggy creature who actually likes the rain 
(ask me about that again in February)!  

  I celebrate that rain makes possible our lush Northwest environment.
 I celebrate that I didn't have to water this week.
I celebrate that our new driveway drains quickly.
I celebrate these pictures of raindrops on my plants.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Embracing Fall with the Academy of American Poets

"...the season begins moving 
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us, ..."
-Edward Hirsch

Laura Purdie Salas is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Bookspeak! is one of my favorite books, and I'm looking forward to exploring her new poetry collection for teachers, What's Inside? Poems to Explore the Park. Head over to Laura's blog for this week's round-up of poetry love.

My thoughts turned to fall, my favorite season, with its official arrival on Monday.  This week's newsletter from the Academy of American Poets included a selection of fall poems. I glanced down the list to discover an old favorite, "After Apple Picking", by Robert Frost. Even though I've never picked apples, I've always loved these lines from the poem:

"...And I keep hearing from the cellar bin
The rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in..."

I continued to glance at the featured list of poems and discovered "Fall" by Edward Hirsch who taught at the University of Houston and lived on our block more than 25 years ago.  His lines capture the arrival of autumn beautifully:

                                                                        "... It
Happens almost like clockwork: the leaves drift away
From their branches and gather slowly at our feet,
Sliding over our ankles, and the season begins moving
Around us even as its colorful weather moves us,
Even as it pulls us into its dusty, twilit pockets. ..."
I captured this leaf-carpeted pathway Saturday.
Picture at the same spot (six days later). 
You can read more autumn poems and access two additional pages of fall poems from The Academy of American Poets by clicking next at the bottom of the page.  If you're looking for a poem to suit a particular occasion or theme, use this link to access thousands of poems in a variety of ways.  The most popular links for the Academy of American Poets site are listed at the bottom of the page.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Loving Book People!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
This past week I participated in my first post-retirement volunteer event.  I joined new and old friends for the Friends of the Library book sale.  I'm a repeat customer who always promised that when I retired, I would show up to help.  On Wednesday evening the carts came rolling out into the library as volunteers filled the tables with books for a mini book sale.  I worked a bit more on Thursday and Saturday, and had fun packing things back up on Monday morning.  As I wandered the tables straightening the stacks, I would find something I needed wanted.  Since I already have more books that I can stow on my bookshelves, I tried to focus instead on the people.  I loved seeing neighbors, former students, parents of former students, the winner of our school-wide spelling bee from two years ago, and meeting another newly retired teacher who lives in our community.

But my favorite customer was a young man who quickly discovered many
favorite books stashed in boxes under the tables right at his eye level.  

As his pile grew, I watched him struggle to pick up the stack of books, and I giggled when he just lay on top of the stack that had grown too large for him to carry.  When his mom told him he could have three books - he quickly leafed through the stack in search of his favorites.

His last expression seems to say it all.
"How can I choose only THREE from
all these wonderful books I selected?"
Hooray for book sales and all the people
who love books, especially this little guy!

Friday, September 19, 2014

The discipline of pausing helps us find the joy

 Join us each Saturday 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!

Sometimes we hurt because people we love are hurting.  If you're not a Poetry Friday regular, be sure to stop by The Poem Farm for Amy's healing poem, "Someone."  Even when life is difficult and those we love are in pain, Ruth reminds us that celebration saves and rescues us.  The discipline of pausing to celebrate allows me to discover joy each week, even during the hard weeks.

1.   My sister Velma, the family genealogist, figured out the identity of Aunt Fanny.
Aunt Fanny was Frances Wilson, sister to Mary Ann Wilson, my great grandmother.

2.  Lance and I attended our first Friday afternoon concert at the symphony.
The music was magnificent even though we may have been
the youngest people in attendance!

3.  I volunteered at the Friends of the Library book sale.
I enjoyed seeing former students and good friends while I worked at the book sale.  
I was lucky to be there when Josh, my student from last year, received
a tablet as grand prize for participating in the summer reading program.
A big shout-out to teen librarian, Carrie Bowman, who visited my students in June,
shared great reads for summer, and encouraged them to participate in the summer program.  

Josh receives the grand prize from KCLS librarian, Linda Ernst.

           4.  My roses are blooming as fall color arrives. 
Blessings to you as we kiss summer goodbye and embrace festive fall!

Poetry Friday: What I Learned From My Mother by Julie Kasdorf

If you haven't checked out Carol's Summer Serenity Gallery, be sure to stop by for a lingering taste of summer.  This was a wonderfully creative endeavor by Carol.  All I did was submit my poem "Stones" with a photo, and Carol did the rest.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's healing poem "Someone" comes at a especially appropriate time for me.  This has been a difficult week for family and close friends.  I am saddened that in our highly mobile world where many of us live far from family and friends that I can't reach out to physically hug them.  I am grateful that we can speak by phone and hopeful that they will feel through my spoken and written words the love that I feel for them.   

Today I share a favorite poem "What I Learned From My Mother" by Julia Kasdorf.  And since I can't be there in person to provide a chocolate cake and a hug to those I love who are suffering, I offer my love and prayers that "... Someone who's farther along the uphill path..." can provide the solace they seek. 

Amy at Poetry Farm is hosting Poetry Friday this week.  Be sure to share her site with students and parents.  I love that Amy records her poems and speaks directly to the students in her posts.  Head over for this week's round-up of poetry love at The Poem Farm.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wondering about Rachel, Jessica, and Dear Aunt Fanny!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by 
I love books!  Gently used books, new books, old books, all bring a smile to my face.  Inscriptions inside used books often make me wonder about the previous owners. 

Summersaults was a gift from Mommy to Rachel for her 9th birthday in July 2002.  When I purchased this book (out of print) from an Amazon 3rd party seller, I was trying to round out my collection of seasonal poetry books by Douglas Florian.  I received Winter Eyes from the same book seller and it was also inscribed to Rachel, a Christmas gift in 2002 from Mom.  Rachel celebrated her 21st birthday this summer.  I wish Summersaults and Winter Eyes were still on Rachel's bookshelves, but I'm happy to give them a home with Autumnblings and Handsprings where they will never feel lonely.  

The Mystery of the Missing Red Mitten is autographed by Steven Kellogg.  If you've ever had a book autographed by Steven Kellogg, you know that he includes a sketch along with the autograph.  It was probably a gift to Jessica for Christmas because there is a picture of Jessica with her last name and Dec. 1994 inscribed above the picture.  I'm guessing that Jessica was about two in the picture, so that would make her about twenty-two today, very close in age to Rachel.   In the photo, Jessica is posed in front of a schoolroom backdrop, seated at a desk wearing jeans and a short-sleeved turquoise top.   Her chubby hands are placed on top of a book.  Her smile indicates that books are definitely part of her world.  I'm not sure where I found this book, probably at a used book sale or Half-Price Books.  When I checked for it on Amazon, I discovered Kellogg has an oversized, re-imagined, color edition of this book, published in 2002 as The Missing Mitten Mystery.  I prefer the small, 6 inch square, original, black and white edition.  I love the way that the only other color included in the book is red.  I'm sad that  the mystery is revealed to the observant child on the cover of the new edition.  I'm requesting this new edition from the library, but I know Jessica's book will remain my favorite.

The Robe, published in 1947 by Houghton Mifflin, almost ended up in the library book sale.  The front page of the book has this inscription in elegant cursive handwriting:
             To -
                   My Dear Aunt Fanny 

I actually put it in the give-to-the-library stack recently, but I came to my senses and retrieved it.  Palmyra was my grandmother's sister.  Aunt Pal and Aunt Becky lived in Pueblo, Colorado and I remember several visits they made to visit my grandmother in Oklahoma.  By the time I knew them, Aunt Pal suffered from a debilitating illness that left her without speech, but her sister, Rebecca, cared for Pal the rest of her life.  I've heard stories about the lives these two sisters lived as working women at a time when few women in our family worked outside the home.  Aunt Becky's husband was killed and she never remarried, but Aunt Pal was married several times.  After Aunt Pal's death, Aunt Becky came to live on our street, next door to my grandmother.  I was given this book when Aunt Becky died.  I wonder if it was returned to Palmyra when Dear Aunt Fanny died.  I wish these women had kept journals because there's so much I would like to know about them.  For now, Palmyra's gift to her Dear Aunt Fanny is safe on my bookshelf. 

If the books on our shelves could talk, what would they tell us about their previous lives?