Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Slice of Life: My Top Three Reasons for Attending NCTE!

I promise to share more about my NCTE conference 
experience once Thanksgiving isn't lurking around the bend.
For now it's a sharing of pics and
my top three reasons for attending:

#3. Meeting authors, book signings and free books!
  #2. Stellar sessions with rock star educators and authors!
(just a few of the sessions that I attended
& took pics of the presenters).

#1. My community of fellow educators & bloggers! 
It's larger than the folks pictured here,
but these are the folks I pestered
to pose for a pic with me.
Carol Varsalona and I finally managed 
to meet in person. Her seasonal galleries
of images and poetry are her gift to our world.
I met Kim Doele at the Newcomer's Breakfast four years ago
at my first (and only until now) NCTE conference. 
She saw my Twitter post and reached out 
hoping we could connect again. 
Leigh Anne Eck, blogger and friend, whose
slice I remember  EVERY time I buy milk. 
Ruth Ayres, my virtual friend (until I attended my first
All Write conference in Indiana), is a nurturer
and encourager of my writing and spiritual life.
Irene Latham presented at the middle school where
I used to teach, spoke with the members of 
my after school book club, and spent time with me
before heading to Poetry Camp at Western University.  
The world needs more huggers (and poets)
like Amy Ludwig VanDerwater! Aren't we
lucky to have her in the world?

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Poetry Friday on Saturday: Homework from Mary Lee

  Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
is hosting this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
I'm reporting in a day late with a completed assignment.

I'm at NCTE and attended the Writing Poetry in the Wild session yesterday. Mary Lee Hahn kicked off the session with introductions and a creative, "wild" musical clip for each of our presenters.
(pictured left to right) 
Heidi Mordhorst, Laura Purdie Salas, Margaret Simon,
 Irene Latham, and Mary Lee Hahn
Such a wonderful gathering of Poetry Friday friends!  

I wish I had time to tell you about their presentations, but I'm reporting in a day late (sorry, Linda) for Poetry Friday with a completed assignment. Mary Lee gave each of us a sticky note at the end of the session with a homework assignment to complete before we go home. We were supposed to write a small poem on the sticky note. I wrote mine last night as a note to my friend who had plans for Saturday morning. I'm staying at her house and had planned to attend an 8:00 am session this morning. As the time drifted past midnight, I changed my mind and left this haiku on my door.

Catching zzz's won out
for this west coast, weary gal
I'll catch an Uber. 

Homework completed, Mary Lee!

I'm happy to report that after a few hours of sleep, I woke up invigorated and ready to make my planned early session, The Power of Poetry with Georgia Heard, Barry Hoonan, . Maybe I can check in next week with some snippets from NCTE. 

Here I am getting a copy of Irene's book, Love, Agnes:  Postcards from an Octopus, for my young friend Rose who loves octopuses.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Slice of Life: What to Pack in a Bag Marked NCTE!

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

Walking shoes
A book for the flight

A sweater
A book in need of an autograph
Pumpkin chocolate chip bread (for those who can gather after G10)

My new notebook
Several favorite pens
Protein bars & fruit

An empty backpack and a tote bag or two (for stashing book finds)
Energy for the long days
Delight for this magnificent gathering!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Gather

Welcome to Spiritual Journey First Thursday,
a group of friends who blog monthly about our spiritual journeys. 
I'm hosting for November and chose the word gather as our focus.
Please include the link to your post with your comment.

I've enjoyed asking family and friends what they think of when I mention the word gather. Both my daughter's response (that it made her think of warmth and coziness) and my friend Karen's response (that it made her think of holidays, traditions and sharing) echo some of the thoughts I have. My husband's response, "Eggs," made me chuckle. You can take the Kansas boy off the farm, but he's never far away from his roots. Anyone who's ever scooted the hen over to gather eggs can affirm that those eggs are frequently warm. 

My favorite gatherings involve people I love and know:  a faith community, a book club, a grandparents' club, a recent trip to visit family in Oklahoma, the upcoming NCTE conference in Houston, and of course, the holiday gatherings that occur with Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

I thought of hymns that include the word gather and immediately remembered the classic hymn "Shall We Gather at the River?" If you like John Ford films, check out this link - "Shall We Gather at the River?" in seven films by John Ford.

Isn't it interesting how once we focus on a word that we begin to see that word everywhere? Gather popped up in a children's book that I've read many times with grandson Jack this past week.  
"Gather now, let's all take part. 
We'll play music, we'll make art. 
We'll share stories from the heart.
All are welcome here." 
Perhaps you've read All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold. Its message is both timely and necessary in today's world.

And just yesterday I opened my podcast app to see this announcement from Story Corps: "The Story Corps podcast is back. We return this fall with new conversations that remind us of what's really important in life. In this season we'll focus on reunions of all kinds. Over 12 episodes, we'll consider what it means to come together at this moment in our nation's history." The new episodes begin next week. As someone who loves stories and reunions, I'm so excited!

And today I flipped the calendar on the wall beside my desk for an advance preview of November and this is what I saw:

Beginning in the upper right hand corner, here are the words on the calendar - "connected, love endures, belong, a bountiful harvest begins with seeds planted in gratefulness, love, grateful, gather together, and on the green door - love lives here." Thank you, Eliza Todd, for this calendar page that captures the spirit of gathering and togetherness.

Gently gliding leaves float by,
a season for reflection, a time for remembering
that not everyone feels warmth and love and
hope.  May we be the links to connect as we
extend our arms and hearts to
reach across and reach out in love. 
 -Ramona Behnke