Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Slice of Life: Tiny Pleasures

My daughter went to Utah to hold babies and help out after Will's brother and wife had twins in November. 

Everything was arranged for Will to watch the boys, but when Jack spiked a fever, I offered to take Ollie for the day to make things a bit easier for Will. And then I took Jack on Tuesday because a low grade fever the day before kept him from returning to school. And then it was only right that Robby would have a day with Grandma on Wednesday. It was so fun to have them visit one at a time!

Robby arrived with a Lunchable (a rare treat in their family, maybe purchased because Mom was out of town). When we started lunch and tore open the package, he went right for the sweet treat. (I try to honor my daughter's wisdom that nothing has to be eaten in a particular order.) As we were discussing the treat and he was chasing the small pellets around the table, he wanted to know why it had a particular name. We queried Siri who replied,  "Some say that _______ were named after a reference in the Dr. Seuss Book, If I Ran the Zoo, where a ______ is mentioned as one of the creatures the narrator would collect for his zoo." Have you figured it out yet? 

I picked up the small box and searched to see if there was any interesting information on the package. I told Robby they were strawberry flavored to which he replied, "That must be why they are so tasty." 

The sweet treat he was enjoying? A snack size package of Nerds. Apparently you don't get two flavors in the small boxes.

I'm still savoring the delight of having my grandsons visit one at a time. Every day with my grands is a grand day for learning and thinking and talking and listening! 

Here's to tiny pleasures that sweeten our days!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Poetry Friday: "In the Company of Women"

I recently discovered a new-to-me poem, "In the Company of Women" in How We Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope edited by James Crew. Here are a few of my favorite lines that speak to the delight of hanging out with friends:

"Make my cup overflow

 with your small happiness.

I want to hoot and snort and cackle and chuckle."

You can read "In the Company of Women" in its entirety at poets.org.

 Marcie at Marcie Flinchum Atkins is hosting 

this week's round-up of poetic goodness.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Slice of Life: Gathering Words I Love

Are you a word collector? 

I've loved gathering words from podcasts and IG posts this month. I'm not a January Jumper. I don't jump on the bandwagon to start a diet, go to the gym, get organized, set a new routine, and/or figure out my resolutions when the calendar turns to the new year.

I've enjoyed gathering (gather is my OLW for 2023) words that "speak to me" this month. 

I totally agreed with Kendra Adachi's advice in The Lazy Genius, podcast #295. Starting fresh does not have to mean starting over. She emphasized the following words: Instead of beginning, work on continuing. Instead of fixing, choose one small area of your life to work on tending. Instead of the big change, focus on starting small and nurturing this one area. Instead of evaluating, spend time reflecting, just looking back at the past year and noticing. Here are Kendra's 30 Lazy Genius Questions for the Start of a New Year. Think about what sparkled last year. Instead of a big annual do over, focus on your seasonal needs. Learn to pivot and adjust your expectations and let go since we are never in full control of our lives.

Yesterday, I saw a reel on IG that I loved and then it was gone. I texted Monica Packer (About Progress podcast) since she had posted it. The reel came from Instagrammer, strugglecare (KC Davis), who addressed the yo-yo self-improvement syndrome that afflicts some at the beginning of a new year. Her nugget of wisdom? Real functional improvements to our life happen slowly and gently.

How about it? Which camp are you in? Are you a fast and furious resolute beginner of a new year? Or are you reflecting and planning a slow and gentle tending of the new year based on your current needs? I bet you know where to find me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Slice of Life: Gathering Enchantment, Magic, and Wonder

My acrostic for Poetry Friday included the words, "Watch for enchantment." Enchantment's been on my heart ever since I read this article from Time magazine and shared it on FB. And since gather is my OLW for 2022, I've gathered some enchantments, a bit of magic, and some small wonders to share with you today.

Enchanted describes how I respond to Christmas lights. When I left daughter's house one evening this past week, I responded to Christmas lights and turned down a street that was not on my way home. I'm so grateful for folks who haven't taken down their lights yet. And knowing how way leads on to way (or lighted street leads on to next lighted street), I found myself following all the holiday lights that beckoned to me. And the best part? Rather than being totally lost at the end of this adventure, I just turned on my navigation for home.

We've had creatures around ever since Santa left these fun blankets. Enchanted creatures living in your home is a special kind of magic.

My daughter's out of town this week and so I've been helping with the grands. Yesterday after our youngest grandson left, I noticed this wonderful impression left behind of his visit.  It's precious and wonderful. I hope you can see the hand prints on the blanket that covers our brick hearth.

Today when the oldest grand came to visit, he helped me put lights on the deck (who says you can't do that in January?), make monster cookies (his favorite), create a magical Magna Tile town, and explore a box of "Gags" that I unearthed in a box of Christmas decorations. We planted the chattering teeth and the gorilla hands in Grandpa's bed. And then he modeled the silly spectacles for me as I explained to him that we have a picture somewhere of his mom and Uncle Blake and Grandma and Grandpa all wearing the silly spectacles. Doesn't he look professorial?

I hope you'll find time to gather enchantment, magic, and wonders as you navigate this first month of a new year!

Friday, January 6, 2023

Spiritual Journey Thursday & Poetry Friday: New Year Musings & My OLW for 2023!

Margaret at Reflections on the Teche is hosting our first Spiritual Journey Thursday of 2023 with a reflection on purpose, her OLW for 2023.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is with Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core.

I composed this post in my writer's notebook*, the first time I've written in it in some time. It felt good to sit in my recliner, notebook in hand, to think about the new year and a new word. I was proud of myself for writing early, but then yesterday was crazy. So my SJT post joins my Poetry Friday post.  

(*I just discovered today that Ralph Fletcher has a new and expanded edition of his book, A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer within You. It releases on January 10. Hurry now to place your pre-order. I loved using this book when I was teaching. I'm sure I'll find a young writer or two who would appreciate this new edition of an old favorite of mine)

This acrostic poem reveals my OLW for 2023 and some of the feelings I have about approaching a new year.


Goodness me! 

A new year's arrived. 

Time to still the

Hustle. Watch for 

Enchantments. Find hope and goodness.

Revel in wonder.

 - Ramona Behnke


My next poem brought to mind a familiar poem by Bobbi Katz "What Shall I Pack in the Box Marked 'Summer'?"

 What Will I Gather in 2023? 

Words, Moments, Stories

Photos, Empty Boxes, Loose Ends

Friends, Loved Ones, Ancestors 

Hope, Goodness, Faith

Laughter, Love, Light

- Ramona Behnke


I'm still not sure where my journey with gather will take me, but for now it feels like a perfect word to guide my steps in this new year. Leave a comment and tell me what you will gather in 2023.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Sharing Our Stories: 2022 End of Year Favorite Photos

Some years I revisit the photos that I've taken and create a top pics of the year post.You may recognize some of the pictures from sharing on previous blog posts, but these are the photos that capture the joy of the past year in nature. No photos of people, just photos that bring the joy of particular places and seasons close to my heart. I hope you'll enjoy this brief journey through 2022 with 22 of my favorite photos.

 Goodbye to Mercer Island, home for 25 years
View from vacation house in Chimacum, WA 
where we celebrated 40th wedding anniversary
with our children and grandchildren

Sunrise in Kirkland from bedroom window
 Kirkland sunset
Fall at our Kirkland home

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Slice of Life: It's a Process!

Today was not a snow day in the traditional sense. Kids and teachers had to go to school. We had snow flurries all day, but not much accumulation. This retired teacher had a busier than usual day. Daughter came over to pull out the Christmas decorations. Our smaller home means less space. So it's only the "dearly loved" that make the cut. And I realize that more donations need to be made, even though I thought I'd done a good job downsizing the decorations before the move. I remind myself, "It's a process."

When the grand boys returned to their house, they played outside in the snow. Morning play was met with wet pants and underwear, so they opted for their snow gear for afternoon play. And then big brother came home from school and it was time for more snow play until it was dark. Just ask my daughter, "Playing in the snow (even when there isn't much of it) can be an all-day process."

Tonight was book club. I didn't want to go out in the snow and several couldn't attend in person, so we opted for the pandemic model and had a Zoom book club meeting. It may not be optimal, but it allowed for the most participants to come. I'm getting to know a new group of book lovers in my new congregation. Making new friends is (you guessed it!) a process. But it's definitely easier with a shared interest.

I like making new discoveries at our new place. And today, I spied my own little Christmas tree in the back yard. It's been there all along, but it's a stand out star with a few flakes adorning its green needles. I'm learning to find the beauty in my new surroundings. "It's a process."