Saturday, March 31, 2018

SOL 31/31 & Celebrate This Week

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.

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.

Each week I join Ruth Ayres and a few friends
to celebrate the week. It's a great way to focus
on the positive things that happened in the past week.

Day 31 has arrived!
 I celebrate
the beautiful writing
of my slicer friends,
the delightful connections
we make as we share our lives,
and the growth we experience
from this month of
writing together
for 31 days!

Oodles of gratitude to the folks at TWT 
who bring us together each year for this
challenging, yet fulfilling month of writing.
Looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

More celebrations from this week:
Pics from VA

Treat from a friend left on the porch
No note, but her signature ribbon 
and happy packaging gave her away!

Jack is happiest when he's reading, 
preferably with a book in each hand!
Jack's cousins arrive for Easter weekend
(He's the short one with the red ball.)

A sunny afternoon walk with Lance
with lots of stops to snap pics
of blossoms along the way

Five years ago I was inspired by newtreemom's Easter Hymn
and tried my hand at composing a hymn poem.
I share it again (with a few changes in formatting)
 to celebrate the gift of Jesus Christ
this Easter season.

Because I Have Been Given Much
There Is Sunshine in my Soul Today
The Lord Is My Light

Precious Savior, Dear Redeemer
Where Can I Turn for Peace
I Need Thee Every Hour

God Loved Us, So He Sent His Son
I Stand All Amazed
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Friday, March 30, 2018

SOL 30/31 & Poetry Friday: Things That Delight My Heart!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
Check out Heidi's interview with Irene Latham and
 Liz Steinglass about the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem.
Thanks, Heidi, for hosting our gathering!

This post began on Monday when I was driving down the lane, thrilled with the flowering blossoms in a neighbor's yard. I was inspired to write a post about the things that delight me. Delight is my one little word for 2018. I try to post about my word at least quarterly. I just went back and read my first OLW post and realized that I haven't been writing letters as much as I had planned during this first quarter of the year. But I have been paying attention and so this alphabet poem is composed of things that delight my heart. 

Autumn, avocados, alliteration
Baking, blossoms on trees, babies, books, birds, blogging
Cookies, children, chocolate, cats, Christmas cards, church, comics
Daughter Sara, daffodils, daisies, ducks
Easter, essays, eagles
Family, fireplaces, friends, fireworks
Grandsons Teddy and Jack, giggles, grandfather clock, God's love
Hot chocolate, Halloween, homemade rolls, hymns 
Island Books, indie bookstores, inspiring quotes
Jesus, journeys, johnny jump ups
Kittens, kid lit (especially middle grade), kaleidoscopes
Lance (my husband), laughter, libraries, leaves, learning
Mountains, Mexican food, moon, movies,  muffins, museums
Naps, notecards, nature
Outlaws (our affectionate term for dil and sil) Stefi & Will
Poetry, pumpkin bread, picture books, photos
Quiet time, quilts
Reading, roses, rambling
Son Blake, sunsets, spring, sunshine, sleep, snowflakes
Thanksgiving, toddlers, tomatoes 
Undulating jellyfish
Valentines, videos of grandsons, vacations
Walking, winter's cozy warmth, writing, watching TV with Lance
eXuberance for life, xxx (kisses) 
Yellow umbrella moments 
ZZZZ snoozing (see N for naps and S for sleep)

I love this quote from Greg Boyle's book Tattoos on the Heart:  "If you are paying attention, then the day is going to be pretty joyful, and a lot of delight will fill it." 

What brings you delight and makes your day joyful?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

SOL 29/31: Book Spine Poetry

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.

Yesterday morning I hit a sweet slicing spot! I suddenly have more things to write about than I have days left in the month. My 30/31 slice is written, my 31/31 slice is planned, I want to write a "Dear Academy of American Poets post, and then up pops Stacey's naughty children post and I definitely want to write a naughty Grandma and Jack slice. Okay, I'll write the "Dear Academy of American Poets" post for 29/31 and save the naughty Grandma and Jack post for a future Tuesday slice of life. 

And then last night, I read Leigh Anne's book spine poem and suddenly I want today's post to be book spine poetry. All right, I'll shift the "Dear Academy of American Poets" to April for National Poetry Month so I can play with books to create some book spine poetry this morning. Past experience with this format tells me to limit myself to a set number of books. So I choose my picture book bin from the public library. And it's time to create!

Here are the three poems I created:
School people,
here comes teacher cat,
the new liBEARian,
the word collector!

 Once upon a full moon
the blue umbrella
swimming with sharks,
otter, and odder.

Awake beautiful child!
Once upon a full moon
traveling the blue road
shaking things up!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SOL 28/31: So Many Books, Never Enough Time!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.

I love to read. I belong to two book clubs, one that I've belonged to for twenty years and a virtual one with two friends who have moved away. We meet up for a Google hangout when we get the technology to work for us (we are after all, women of a certain age). Otherwise we just do a three way call. 

I love to read kid lit, especially middle grade. You can see my plans for these books at #mustreadin2018. And I love to read picture books too. I read the NYT Book Review each week. I follow several friends who post on Mondays to the It's Monday What Are You Reading meme. I listen to Anne Bogel's podcast, What Should I Read Next? And so my book stacks grow and grow. And every once in awhile, I decide it's decision time. Today is one of those days. 

And this picture does not include four more books - my upcoming book club book for April, The Husband's Secret (at the library ready for me to pick up) and three library books I recently loaned to my daughter - Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, I Will Send Rain (the author does not capitalize any of those words, but I can't do that), and Ginny Moon.  In case you're counting, that's twenty books!

So I'm working on prioritizing these books. I can be very scattered about my reading life, so I'm excited about this task I've set for myself. I understand this slice matters little to others, but it's an important one for me. Feel free to skip this post and move on.

#1 Can't we talk about something more pleasant? by Roz Chast 
In my #1 spot because I need to finish it for tomorrow night's open book club meeting at Island Books, our local indie bookstore. 

After that, it's necessary to check my account at the library and see which books are due soon that I really want to read and won't be able to renew. 

#2 Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan 
My daughter borrowed it from me and loved it. It's due in 8 days and has 103 holds on it.

#3 Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker 
It's due in 12 days with 9 holds.

#4 Moving On:  A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home
Okay, I was thinking this was one I could return and check out later, but after reading about Roz Chast's trials cleaning out her folk's home, I'm scared into reading it. No, we're not downsizing any time soon, but it's on the horizon for us. (I want seven more years in our home because I told my husband I wanted ten years in the kitchen we remodeled after I retired.) He insists we're probably on the five year trajectory.

#5 and #6 Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira and i will send rain (there, I typed it with no caps, but it wasn't easy) by Rae Meadows 
I'm taking these two books with me when I travel to Oklahoma in April. Winter Sisters is up next for my virtual book club and i will send rain is set in Mulehead, Oklahoma in 1934, a perfect book to read for that trip.

#7 Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren
I'm waited awhile for this book and it's due in 20 days with 12 people waiting for it.

#8 Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence
I've started this one and love it! Due in 26 days with 2 people waiting.

#9 Poems Are Teachers by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater 
I own this one, but my goal is to read it during April as a National Poetry Month challenge for myself.

For Later Shelf
These books are going back to the library and being placed on my "For Later Shelf" (a virtual holding spot where I can stick titles that I want to check out later): 
Textbook & Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - checked these out for inspiration during March, but haven't needed them
Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden - middle grade recommendation from the teen public librarian
Seattle Walks by David B. Williams - this is one we may need to buy
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig - compared to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, recommended to me by a fellow slicer
Rest:  Living in Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent  - I've read a bit in this and definitely want to check it out again.
Bleaker House by Nell Stevens - intriguing premise 

Delayed for now:
The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - I just picked up this book, but I also have the audio for it. If it clicks for me, I'll listen to it. It's for our April book club.
Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - loaned to me & highly recommended by a friend who knows I won't get to it anytime soon
Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman - I bought this book and proposed it for our book club for the upcoming year. When it didn't make the cut, I started it the next morning.  I'll get back to Britt-Marie before long because I love her and I'm pulling for her!

For someone who avoids making decisions and has a scattered reading life, I'm thrilled about this prioritized list. This doesn't include the bin of picture books I have checked out from the library (at least I can read those a bit faster). And now that I've finished this post, I'm off to finish the Roz Chast book!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

SOL 27/31: I'm Not a Gardener!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.

I've had anemic daffodils for the last few years!  I've wondered, "What is wrong with them? Why can't they be brighter and showier?" But I'm not a gardener. 

A few days ago, two bright yellow daffodils bloomed. But the rain beat one of them down and she was lying prone with her face almost dragging on the driveway. Each time I drove by I would think, "I should bring some scissors and cut that daffodil." That way I could enjoy her before she becomes muddied by the spring rains. But the next time I would drive out of the lane, I'd look and realize that I still hadn't rescued that brilliant yellow orb of sunshine. Shame on me for not being a gardener.  

So this morning with more tasks on my brain than I can usually handle, I remembered my yellow daffodil that needed rescuing. I tucked some scissors into my lunch bag. I put a slim vase with water into the pocket of the passenger door. I stopped long enough to snip the stem and slide it into the vase. And when I arrived at Jack's house, I told him Grandma had a surprise for him. He wasn't impressed, but his mom was! And I've been enjoying it all day (and taking pictures of it in different spots). Even though I'm not a gardener!

While working on this post I googled, "Do daffodils lose their color over time?" And here's the answer: "Some bulbous plants, such as daffodil and gladiolus, tend to fade with age. This is one reason why gardeners will dig up old bulbs and replace them with new ones." Hmmm, maybe I'll figure out when I'm supposed to dig them up (thank goodness for google search) and plant some new bulbs in the fall. Even though I'm not a gardener, maybe I inherited a gene or two from my gardening dad that has lain dormant for lo, these many years. 

Read more at Gardening Know How: Causes Of Faded Flower Color: How To Fix Color Fading In Flowers

Monday, March 26, 2018

SOL 26/31: Twenty Years of Great Books!

Today I join my fellow bloggers in "serving up a slice" 
Thanks to Stacey, Betsy, Beth, Kathleen, Deb, Melanie, and Lanny
 for hosting this meeting place each day in March
and for nurturing our writing lives.

I've been in the same book club for twenty years. We have a yearly retreat that includes getting away for an overnight together, lots of laughter and good food, never enough sleep, and the selecting of our slate of books for the upcoming year. 

We decided it would be fun to vote on our top twenty favorite books since it was our twentieth anniversary year.  It was harder than we thought. The first ten were easy to choose. After that, it was harder. Which makes me wonder, do we really just have a few top favorite books? 

As I went through the list, I discovered quite a few titles that I had missed reading. Time to make another list - "Book club books that I missed reading, but still want to read." 

Not everyone has been in our book club for twenty years, but we invited all members to participate which may have skewed the results to books from more recent years. Without any further ado, here are the top twenty books chosen by current members of the Bookwomen book club!

 1. Pride and Prejudice - 1999
 2. Count of Monte Cristo - 2000
     (#s 2 - 4 tied with the same # of votes)
 3. Ready Player One - 2016
 4. The Boys in the Boat - 2014
 5. Poisonwood Bible - 2000
     (#s 5 & 6 tied with the same # of  votes)
 6. The Night Circus - 2013
 7. The Book Thief - 2009
     (#s 7-11 tied with the same # of votes)
 8. To Kill a Mockingbird - 2010 
     (not sure how I missed including this beloved classic on my list)
 9. The Nightingale - 2016
10. The Last Days of Night - 2017
11. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - 2009
12. East of Eden - 2013
     (#s 12-20 tied with the same # of votes) 
13. Ender's Game - 2000
14. Peace Like a River - 2004
15. The Glass Castle - 2008
16. The Help - 2010
17. Born to Run - 2011
18. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - 2011
19. A Man Called Ove - 2016
20. Hillbilly Elegy - 2017 

Underlined books in the above list indicate books that made my top 20. I have actually read all the books in the top twenty list except two (East of Eden and Born to Run).

Interesting observation - Members of my book club love nonfiction (a preference I do not share with them). Over the years, our yearly lists have grown to include more and more nonfiction (this year's list has seven nonfiction titles). However, only four nonfiction books made our top 20 list!

Breakdown of favorite books by the year read:
1999 - 1 book
2000 - 3 books
2004 - 1 book
2008 - 1 book
2009 - 2 books
2010 - 2 books
2011 - 2 books
2013 - 2 books
2014 - 1 book
2016 - 3 books
2017 - 2 books

Just in case you're interested, here are the books from my top twenty that didn't make the book club's top twenty list:
Gift from the Sea - 1998 
(I don't generally reread books, but this is a book that deserves rereading during every decade of a woman's life.)
Great Expectations - 2001
(This is one of our family's favorite books. We listened to a BBC  audio unabridged production of this book on a road trip to Colorado when our kids were still in elementary school.)
Bel Canto - 2003
(A haunting story of a terrorist situation & the relationships that form between terrorists and their captors)
84, Charing Cross Road - 2005
(A charming, twenty year correspondence between a writer in NYC and a used-book dealer in London.)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - 2006
(Another personal all-time favorite)
A Christmas Carol - 2009
(Probably the book that I've reread the most times)
My Name is Mary Sutter - 2012
(I love historical fiction. This one is set in the Civil War.)
Light Between Oceans - 2014
(A heart-wrenching novel about decisions & their consequences)
The Grapes of Wrath - 2015
(I can't believe that I was 60 years old before I read this book for the first time.)
All The Light We Cannot See - 2016
(Historical fiction set in a favorite time period, World War II) 
The Story of a Happy Marriage - 2016
(I was elated when I finally convinced our book club to choose a book of essays, one of my favorite genres.)
The Underground Railroad - 2017
(Difficult for me to describe this book, so I'll borrow these words from one of my favorite authors, Anne Patchett:  “Colson Whitehead’s book blends the fanciful and the horrific, the deeply emotional and the coolly intellectual. What he comes up with is an American masterpiece.")