Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Slice of Life: OLW 5th Tuesday Check-In

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

I'm always amazed by how quickly a year marches forward.  It's almost June and then in one quick month, 2017 will be halfway over.  I set up a schedule to check-in with my OLW in each month with five Tuesdays.  I missed January's check-in due to grandson Jack's early arrival.  So here I am with my first check-in for the 5th Tuesday in May.   

Here's what I wrote about my OLW, nourish, for Spiritual Journey First Thursday in January.  The words in red indicate my progress so far this year.  

There are so many ways that I want to experience being nourished in this new year:
Nourished by immersing myself in the good word of God - Making some progress.
Nourished by extending love to family and friends - Love doing this! And especially loving on my two grandsons.  Jack and Teddy met each other in April when Teddy and family came for a visit.  
Nourished by choosing to exercise - Knee problems have kept me from this, but I finally seem to be on the mend.  I'm getting a bit more exercise as I watch grandson Jack.
Nourished by making healthy food choices - Alway seeking to make progress, close to reaching a short-term weight loss goal that has almost turned into a long-term goal.  
Nourished by observing beauty in the world (blogger refuses to make those letters black) - I've excelled at this, especially with spring blossoms everywhere.  Our first rose of the season just bloomed!  The red rhodies have retired for this year, but the purples, the pinks, the whites still delight my heart!
Nourished by embracing quiet time - Still trying to do a better job at this.
Nourished by sharing my writing - I made it through another year of writing daily for March SOL.   I also wrote every day during April for Poetry Month (a first for me).  
Nourished by reading the words of favorite writers - So much joy with this one, recently finished My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrik Backman and Henning Koch, always working on my WTR (want to read) stacks, finally read A Single Shard with Books, Brownies, and Beyond, AND I read The Poet's Dog aloud to the members of book club.  What a treat to share this wonderful book with them!
Nourished by stilling the demands that crowd my heart ... Ever trying to make progress on this one.  Loving a book that I recently received from the library World Enough & Time:  On Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwan.  Here's a favorite quote from the author in the book's introduction:  "I wanted to explore the space in which small, almost invisible habits might have the chance to flourish, seeing them as nourishment, both in terms of 'making' and as antidote to our usual frantic rush."  Not sure where I heard about this book, but it's perfect for my desire to still the demands so I can do each of the following (bolded words are OLWs from previous years):
listen to the stillness, 
savor the present moment, 
stretch to grow, and always 
abide in His love to  
nourish my soul and reach out in love. 

I'm grateful for this opportunity to reflect on my progress so far and happy that there's still plenty of time and room to grow with this year's One Little Word!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

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.

Last night, I chose to read rather than write my Celebrate post.  And then I woke up too early at 3 am and decided to write my post, but opened my email first.  That's when I discovered the poem, "Bookstall" by Linda Pastan at Writer's Almanac:

"Just looking at them
I grow greedy, as if they were
freshly baked loaves
waiting on their shelves
to be broken open—"

You can read the rest of the poem here.

                            Books I'm celebrating this week:         
 I'm currently reading my grandmother asked me to tell you she's sorry by Fredrik Backman.  I'll be finishing it today to discuss with two good friends tomorrow via google chat.  I was listening to a Books Between podcast this past week that mentioned the book Georgia Rules by Nancy Turner Stevenson.  And when I set out ARCs for book club members at Books, Brownies, & Beyond, I discovered it in the pile. I'm adding it to my very tall pile of middle grade books that I want to read.  And Goodnight Harry is a book by Kim Lewis that I picked up at one of our library book sales.  I read it to Jack last night for the first time.  And  the best part of our read aloud time (because he was sitting in the high chair) was the way he would turn to look at me and smile.  

Last week I mentioned our run of sunny days to come.  It's been a glorious week and weekend!   Clouds and rain
are not slated to return until Tuesday.
 Jack's response to the sunshine!
 I reveled in the brilliant blue sky and lush green
that greeted us on our walks.  
 Jack with good friend Shelly and his mom 
before we entered the Pacific Science Center
yesterday to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibit.  
We topped off our fun with family and friends
with a stop for dim sum!
Grandson Teddy's latest week by week pic.
I love that waving hand!
Image may contain: 1 person
Here's a FB post from my brother Karl:  
"In honor of my Dad, I post this picture of him surrounded by the medals he earned for his service in World War II. Dad was a prisoner of war in Germany for about 4 months. My sisters and I are so proud of him and his service. We all wish he was still with us so we could hug his neck. Be sure and remember the real reason why we celebrate Memorial Day!"

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Slice of Life: Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book!

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

Laura is a blogger that I love to follow.  She's a librarian and posts at Literacious. Last month she had a post for Top Ten Tuesday: Things That Will Make Me Instantly Want to Read a Book.  I was intrigued by the title for the post and so I grabbed my notebook to jot down my own list before reading her post.

Here's my list of the things that will
make me instantly want to read a book:  
 A rainy day
 A world clothed in white 
  A spot of sunshine on the deck
  A comfy chair
  A plate of warm cookies just out of the oven
 A cozy blanket
  An airplane trip
  An appointment (love the wait time!)
  A library visit
  A recommendation from a friend

And then I opened up Laura's blog post.  It's filled with the types of books that are attractive to her.  Totally different take from mine on
"things that will make me instantly want to read a book".
How about you?  What are the things that
make you instantly want to read a book?

And I'm adding two additional posts that I discovered from Laura's blog while searching for her Top Ten Tuesday post
to pair with my list: 

Importance of Reading to Babies - I'm Granny nanny
for grandson Jack who is almost four months old.  
You can be sure that we read many books.

How random can it be to create a book list based on the
color of the covers?
It reminds me of the trend from a few years ago
 when so many books had shoes on the covers.  
I love turquoise too!  I've only read two of these books - 
The Honest Truth and The Thing about Jellyfish.  
But I just ordered A Crack in the Sea  as a Newbery possibility 
for our book club next fall.  So I'll be reading it this summer.

I'm happy to have shared some posts from Laura, the librarian,
at Literacious!   Do you have some favorite bloggers
outside of our Slice of Life community?    

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Celebrate This Week: The Little Things

 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.

Celebrating a few of the little things that brought
a smile to my face this week!

Seeing a car with an OU (Oklahoma University) alum license plate.  Even though I attended OSU, seeing a fellow Oklahoman (even if it was just in traffic) in faraway WA state was a special treat.  I really wanted to roll down the window and shout "Boomer Sooner."
But I restrained myself.

Opening my weather ap on Wednesday to this picture.  
Yes, Wednesday was cloudy,
but did you see the rest of the week?  
It's been months since we've enjoyed a 
string of successive days of partly cloudy/sunshine
with no rain in sight! 

Pics of grand boy, Jack - he's one happy boy!

Pics of grand boy, Teddy at the park with his friend, Cohen...  
Teddy is the one waving and the one driving the plane.

Im adopting four little words from Keisha's poem
on Poetry Friday "Ingredients for Joy" as my summer mantra:
"Give yourself some ease!"

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poetry Friday - Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics

Head over to Keisha's blog, 
Whispers from the Ridgefor this week's
round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Keisha, for hosting this week!

I've missed posting the last couple of weeks as I'm adjusting to my new schedule that includes watching grandson Jack for three days a week. The book that I'm sharing today is one that I read to Jack this past week.  It's one that's had many posts written about it already, but it deserves my love since I totally fell in love with this book.  
I loved all the poems and especially that I met Hispanics that were new to me through the poems of Margarita Engle.  I have four favorite poems.  And each of them is about literacy in some form.  

The poem "The Magic of Words" about the Cuban poet, Jose Marti  includes these lines: 
"I say that each day is a poem.
Some hours are green and peaceful.
Others are red, like festivals or storms."

Pure Belpre was a familiar name (because of the award named after her).  She was a children's librarian in the New York Public Library system.  The poem, "Two Languages at the Library", has this conclusion which warms every educator's heart:
"Nothing makes me feel more satisfied
than a smile on the face of a child who holds
an open book."

Julie De Burgos, a poet from Puerto Rico, had a difficult family life (six of her twelve brothers and sisters died of hunger).  Yet "River of Dreams" pays homage to her mother with these words:
" . . . but my gentle mother
took me for long walks
beside a river 
of beautiful dreams."  

"Courageous Poetry" tells the story of Tomas Rivera, noted Mexican poet, novelist, and educator whose family were farmworkers in Texas:
"... I find poetry in tomato fields,
and stories in the faces
of weary workers." 
When I read the dedication page, I discovered a connection between the author and Tomas Rivera:  "In memory of Dr. Tomas Rivera, my creative writing professor."

I can't talk about this book without singing the praises of illustrator Rafael Lopez.  When I opened the book, I was captivated by the young girl reading on the first page.  And as I closed the book, there's a young boy reading.  Take a peek behind the dust jacket and those two illustrations are on the front and back covers of the book.  The striking illustrations of each amazing Hispanic brings these individuals to life. When I read the information about Lopez on the back flap, I discovered that he did the artwork for the 2012 National Book Festival's poster.  I attended that festival, lugged my poster from DC to Washington state on the plane, laminated it for my classroom, and now it proudly hangs in my home.  I love the whimsical animals that grace the poster.  

If you haven't explored this book yet, you're in for a special treat!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Slice of Life - #MustReadin2017 - Spring Update

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

I'm a master procrastinator.  I was late to join the #mustreadin2017 group.  I missed reporting in for the Spring Update, but I'm happy to report that I've read 7 of the 12 titles I selected for 2017.  And isn't it still spring?   

The books I have finished are shown in red with additional comments also provided in red.  I'm not sure that I'll get to many of my remaining titles anytime soon (next update isn't until September) since my current focus is on Newbery possibilities for 2018.  I have some funds remaining from the grant I write each year to purchase books for our book club that must be spent by the end of this month.  Please leave any book titles you might recommend as Newbery possibilities (books published in 2017) in the comments.

1.  The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill - It won the Newbery, my book club loved it, and I just finished my book for my adult book club.  So it's next on the list!
Finished!  I loved every word, and I'm not a huge fantasy fan.  If you haven't read it yet, add it to your summer must read list.  

#s 2 - 5 are books from the March Book Madness Middle Grade New Classics list.  I love this list and out of sixteen titles, there are only four that I haven't read.  So these titles come right after #1 in order of priority:
2.  Booked by Kwame Alexander  Finished!  What a delight to finally read this novel-in-verse.
3.  El Deafo by Cece Bell  Finished! 
4.  A Night Divided by Jennifer Nielson  Finished!  One of my new favorites that also belongs on your summer reading list if you haven't read it yet. 
5.  Sisters by Raina Telgemeier  Finished!
I managed to finish all the March Book Madness titles before the end of March.  We were delighted when A Night Divided, first choice of our book club, won the middle grade brackets.  

#s 6 - 12 are not in any particular order:
6.  Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley and Jillian Tamaki - 
When I heard Gertie compared to Ramona Quimby, I knew this book belonged on my must read list. 

7.  When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin - This is a title that I considered when I was selecting titles for our Mock Newbery 2017.  And I read and loved so many dog stories in 2016!

8.  Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne La Fleur - When I fell in love with this cover, Lori at Island Books gave me the ARC.  My daughter read it first and highly recommended it  to me.  And I just saw that the sequel, Threads of Blue (also a beautiful cover in blue), comes out September 12th.  Finished!  I had forgotten that this book had a sequel until I finished it.  I fell in love with the cover, and now I'm in love with the story too!  And I can't wait for the sequel, Threads of Blue (available this fall). 

9.  Flying Lessons & Other Stories by Ellen Oh - I rarely read short stories, so this is a good stretch for me.  I think I will enjoy sharing stories from this book at our after school book club. 

10.  The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon - Daughter Sara is currently reading this, but I picked up her copy at the hospital and read a bit.  I can't wait to get back to it.  

11.  Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes -  I heard Nikki Grimes present at Poetry Camp this past fall.  She autographed my copy of Words with Wings.  Novels-in-verse are a favorite genre.  This novel uses the Japanese poetic form of tanka, a form similar to haiku that uses syllable counts and is five lines long.  Finished!  I'm amazed at the quantity and quality of books written by this well known author.   I loved Garvey and his journey to self-understanding.  I've also read Nikki Grimes' latest book, One Last Word:  Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance, an incredible collection that pairs poems from poets of the Harlem Renaissance with original poetry written by Nikki Grimes using the golden shovel method. 

12.  The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner -  I can't believe I still haven't read this book.  The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z, also by Kate Messner, is one of my all-time favorite books. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Celebrate This Week: Mother's Day

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.

Twenty-six years ago today, I spent one of the happiest afternoons of my life.  I've probably written about it before, but it bears repeating. My mother was in the nursing home fighting the ravages of cancer. My best friend, Jan, joined me at the nursing home for that Mother's Day afternoon.  And before long, Uncle Aaron (my grandfather's brother), came by too.  He and Jan serenaded us with gospel music for a long time that afternoon.  I grew up hearing my mother sing hymns as she cooked, as she ironed, as she hung out the clothes.  Just about any solitary activity found her singing hymns.  And she smiled through the pain as she listened to those beloved hymns sung by two special people on that sacred afternoon.  Before the month's end, my mother would die, but the memory of that afternoon continues to hold a special spot in my heart.   

This is a special Mother's Day for me.  It's my first one as a grandmother.  Teddy was born in June and Jack was born in January. The arrival of these two grand boys marks my arrival into the world of grandparenthood (I know that's not news to regular readers of this blog).   It's a delightful ride that's only just begun.  But I can finally understand a bit of what my mother meant when she would say, as she faced death, that she knew her kids would be okay, but she hated to leave her grand babies. 

 Jack and his sweet mama at yesterday's
community baby shower hosted by
performer Nancy Stewart
and our local library 
Teddy and Grandma reading a book 
during his recent visit 
The rhododendrons are in bloom!  
I must celebrate these rhodies that cascade
  over the fence from our neighbor's yard. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Slice of Life: Making Hay

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

I love that the first words that popped into my head after settling my grandson Jack for a nap were, "Make hay while the sun shines."  And I am so delighted that the sun is shining.  We've had a prolonged rainy spring, so any day with sunshine is cause for joy.  And really, I have to make hay while Jack sleeps.  I have a goal to write my slice of life on Monday, but didn't reach it yesterday.  So here I am with a thread of what's in my head.  And it may be short or it may be longer depending on Jack's ability to sleep in his crib.  We're currently transitioning him from the rock 'n play to the crib.  

            This quote is on my Susan Branch calendar for May.
Here's my own "What is life?" meditation.  

"What is life?  
It's the wonder on Teddy's face as he
explores Grandma's homemade toy 
(beans in a peanut butter plastic jar),
it's the thrill of watching Jack giggle all over,

it's the beauty of this rain-kissed blossom,

and it's the fragrance of lilacs as I step onto the deck.
Each moment precious, each moment beautiful."