Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Slice of Life: Let's Start at the Very Beginning!

A recent family getaway took us to the Olympic Peninsula. Since our son Blake and his family live in Virginia, our times when we can all be together are precious and treasured.  Join us for our hike 
to the waterfall at Crescent Lake.
 Cousins hit the trail!
 All the boys, except baby Robby!
Baby Robby
who rode the entire way!
 Log sitting!
 Tree exploring!
 Stump standing!
The waterfall!
Daughter Sara and family
Grandpa and Grandma
Son Blake and family
Sometimes a boy needs a ride!
 The end of the trail
Hungry hikers enjoy a picnic!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Poetry Friday: #DearOneLBH

 Amy Ludwig VanDerwater at The Poem Farm
is hosting this week's celebration
of beloved children's poet and anthologist,
Lee Bennett Hopkins.

I'm happy to join this celebration of Lee Bennett Hopkins today. I pulled all my poetry anthologies by Lee off my shelves, read each poem by Lee, and borrowed the line "carries us all" from the poem "School Supplies" in the book by the same title.  It wasn't long before I realized that I wanted to model my poem on his "School Supplies" poem. Here's my "Poem Train" chugging down the tracks to join today's #DearOneLBH celebration.

Poem Train 

This glad-Friday


poem train

gathered for Lee

carries us all –

         Poem friends-

         Fans of Lee-

        Scanning lines of poetry

        and finding



       words to love.

-   Ramona Behnke
    (mentor poem – “School Supplies” by Lee Bennett Hopkins)

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Slice of Life: The StoryWalk Needs a New Name!

We returned from a family trip on Monday. Today my daughter and I met at a park to play with the the three boys (grandsons 4 months, 2 1/2 years and 3 years). My daughter and I were enticed by the sign pointing to a nearby hillside with the words: "StoryWalk." She had heard of them, but hadn't had a chance to complete one. And anything that combines stories and walking is a surefire bet for me. 

At the beginning of the trail, our story began (posted on placards about the size of campaign signs).  Periodically along the trail, a new placard would continue the story. At some point, I mentioned to my daughter that it would have been nice to have posted the length of the walk on the beginning sign. Like the true millennial she is, she took my phone, googled StoryWalk, and read this short description:
* Approx 1 mile loop
* One steep hill and many roots on trail
*Wood/rock steps and narrow bridges on sections of trail
*Not stroller-friendly

And it was at this point that I wondered if that last hill we climbed had been the "one steep hill" . . . nope, the steep hill was still in our future. I must admit that the enticement of another sign and the continuing story kept not only our two and three year old toddlers going, but also kept this grandma moving along too. The story and adventure we followed?  "Fox and the Bike Ride" by Corey R. Tabor.  

If you want to know more about this endeavor, check out the PopUp StoryWalk site. I love their slogan/motto: "Get Outdoors! Get Reading." And the new name? The walkers in front of us (two moms, one baby in a front pack, and four children) agreed with us that our "StoryWalk" was really a "StoryHike." And we loved every minute!
 And they're off!
 Checking out tree hollows
 Observing a slug,
under daughter Sara's wrist
 Bridge crossing
 Posing for Grandma
 Cousins on a log
(Best Boys T shirts created for this vacation, since
I call all three of my grandsons My Best Boys!)
Boy #3 rode the entire way and 
snoozed for part of the hike.
 The story kept us involved & going forward.
We loved this opportunity to 
Get Outdoors! and
Get Moving!

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday!
Click over to Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Slice of Life: I want this one and this one and this one!

After a year of not subbing at all, I notified the district this week to take me off the sub list. I may be out of the classroom for good, but between a middle school book club and three grandsons, I find I'm still immersed in books.

I spend three days a week with grandsons Robby (4 months) and Jack (2 1/2 years). Our days are filled with walks around the neighborhood, reading books, watching one show a day, playing in the backyard, drawing on paper on the easel, messing around with Play-Doh, driving numerous small vehicles, and making nests for owls.
Big brother reads to little brother!

Given that my grandson was not allowed to watch TV until just recently with the quota of only one 30 minute PBS kids' show (Mr. Rogers, Daniel Tiger, or Sesame Street) a day, you can imagine my surprise when I heard him chanting this phrase, "I want this one, and this one, and this one, and this one, and this one." Thinking that it was a bit early for the Christmas or birthday wants, I glanced over to see Jack looking at the back flap of a library book. 
Jack watches book jackets for suggestions of more titles.  And this Grandma is delighted to comply with his request for this one and this one and this one and several more!

It’s Slice of Life Tuesday!
Click over to Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

#PB10for10: Favorites Offered Up One Day Late

I planned to participate, but I didn't. And then I started reading posts and I decided I had to participate. I wanted to be part of this tenth year celebration of picture books. So here's my one-day-late list of picture book favorites (no particular theme) I've discovered and enjoyed this year.  

I'm Grandma to three grandsons under the age of four so you might notice that we have some vehicular and road and verse love at work in the first three titles I'm sharing.
Clackety Track by Skila Brown, illustrated by Jamey Christoph  
If you have a train lover in your life, this is a must read. You can read my review in this Train Thoughts post I shared with Poetry Friday friends.
Twinkle Twinkle Little Car by Kate Dopirak, illustrated by Mary Peterson
Children will love joining the little red car's visits to his four-wheeled friends to bid them good night. 
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost, illustrations by Vivan Mineker
One of the world's most quoted poems, in picture book form for the first time. A young boy makes choices that take him along life's journey.  
The next two favorites continue a nighttime theme.
Tuck Me In by Dean Hacohen, illustrated by Sherry Scharschmidt
I discovered this book at the public library. Animals at the zoo need to be tucked in and a flap allows the child to tenderly tuck and whisper good night to each one.
On the Night of the Shooting Star by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jenni Desmond
Bunny and Dog live solitary lives, side-by-side, until an extraordinary happening nudges them into friendship.

And the Bunny character in Amy Hest's book leads to another favorite bunny character who begs for reader involvement in his adventures.
Hungry Bunny by Claudia Rueda
Another library find, loved by Jack for the interactive nature of the book. The red bookmark becomes a scarf, a ladder, and a bridge. The reader is asked to shake the book, tilt the book, all in order to help bunny get home with the apples.

The last four books I'm sharing are loved for the things they teach about being human and being optimistic in the face of difficulty, and about the power of love and kindness. 
Martin & Anne: The Kindred Spirits
of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank
by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
A beautiful pairing of the lives of two well-known figures, the book concludes with these words: "Love is stronger than hate. Kindness can heal the world."
Loving Hands by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Amy June Bates
This one was a birthday gift from my daughter. It celebrates the bond between a parent and child. I passed it around when I had a baby shower at my house and everyone who read it cried.
What is Given from the Heart
 by Patricia C. McKissack, illustrated by April Harrison
This last picture book by the late Patricia McKissack is a powerful tribute to the power of compassion and giving. The illustrations by artist and designer, April Harrison, are exquisite.
The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke
I checked this 2005 book out of the library and immediately knew that I had to own it. This words from the flap of the book capture my feelings: "...this gentle, life-affirming book reassures us all that, even in uncertain times, every day of every year offers good things that will bring us joy." This book provides reassurance that "...there will be light in every dark place,..." something needed now even more than when it was written. 
And now that I've completed my post, I can get back to reading and requesting new finds from your posts. Thanks to your recommendations, my holds shelf at the library will be filled with picture books for weeks to come. And a gigantic thank you to Cathy and Mandy who bring us together each year to celebrate picture books. You can find everyone's list at Cathy's post.

This is my sixth year to participate and here are my previous posts:  
 2018 - Favorites Paired
2013 - Golden Lines about Night

Friday, August 9, 2019

Poetry Friday: A Round-up of My Posts about Lee Bennett Hopkins

week's round-up of poetic goodness.

My heart is heavy with the loss of Lee Bennett Hopkins, a poet and anthologist dear to my heart. I've compiled my posts that mention him as a way of paying tribute to him, someone who always paved the way to more poetry in my classroom and in my life.

I joined Poetry Friday in 2014 with this post that featured a favorite LBH anthology, School Supplies.

Shouting for Joy celebrates the arrival of my copy of Manger in time for NCTE so I could get author autographs in its pages. 

During Poetry Month in 2017, I took an alphabetic stroll through the world of poetry and Lee Bennett Hopkins, The Poetry King was the subject of Day 10 and the letter H. My homage to the king included some favorite picture book anthologies, links to interviews, a favorite quote, and a favorite professional book, Pass the Poetry, Please!

Poetry Friday friends gathered to celebrate Lee's 80th birthday in April 2018. My Happy Birthday Poem was composed from 13 titles of Lee's books. 

Children's poet Kristine O'Connell George speaks for all of us in Lee Bennett Hopkins' obituary,  with these words "... the world turns more slowly this morning.”

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Slice of Life: Friday at the Park

I just completed my third week of watching two grand boys three days a week. I'm not willing to venture out much with two grandsons quite yet, although I did walk the neighborhood loop this past week with one buckled in the Caboose stroller and one standing behind. And pushing two will strenghten muscles I'm sure.

Fridays are reserved for fun with Grandpa. We went to the park that has a fire truck and a beach. 

In spite of Grandpa's bare feet trying to cajole Jack to step into the water, Jack was not ready. 
However, he kept Grandpa busy filling his bucket with water which he promptly dumped on the sand. 

Brother Robby and Grandma watched the action from a nearby shady spot.

As we left the park, we passed someone picking blackberries. I'm not sure if it was the fact that we had two grandsons with us or that we looked worn out, maybe both. She offered us the stuffed-to-the-brim bag of blackberries she had just filled. When we protested that she was much too kind, she replied that she wanted to share them with Jack. He and I had stopped along the way to sample a few. There were enough blackberries to enjoy with our lunch and then make a cobbler. There's something "berry delicious" about blackberries and the kindness of a stranger who shares her bounty. It's a summer moment I'll savor for a long time. 
It’s Slice of Life Tuesday!
Click over to Two Writing Teachers to read more slices!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Spiritual Journey First Thursday: Meandering Thoughts about Change

It's the first Thursday of the month 
and time to show up with my friends 
for Spiritual Journey First Thursday. 
Margaret at Reflections on the Teche 
is hosting and our theme is change. 

Change is inevitable. I see it daily as I watch my grandsons change before my very eyes. Facebook reminds me of this inevitability with pictures that pop up on my feed of posts from the past. When I taught sixth grade, I loved sharing a story (I can't remember the title now) based in ancient China with these sage words, "Change is the law that binds us all."

So if change is one of the immutable laws of the universe, why I am so resistant to change? I'm not a person who makes new year's resolutions. Mostly, because I finally realized that they are the same ones year after year after year. Lose weight, exercise more, plan meals, have daily devotional time, and get organized. 

When you read about habit change, one of the truths that emerges is that it's easiest to change bit by bit, not leap by leap. Another one is that you change what you monitor. So I'm trying (ohhh, there's my OLW for this year) again to keep track of how often I hit my 10,000 steps goal for the day. And how am I keeping track? With stars on the monthly calendar in my planner. And how am I doing? Well, a quick look at July shows 13 stars. I only reached my weekly goal (4 days out of 7) one time. But I'll continue to monitor and I'm hopeful that next month will be better. 

And there's a key word that propels my spiritual journey, hope. I love these words from Hebrews 6 that speak of hope:
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, ... 

And that consolation and refuge and anchor to my soul comes from my Savior Jesus Christ. During the troubled times that we live in, I must make time to seek for His guidance. 

I like these words about change from Wendy Watson Nelson, a speaker and author I've enjoyed for many years:

"The ultimate and only true and living change agent is the Savior. He is the source of all change. He changed water into wine—bringing the very best liquid refreshment to the celebration. As you turn to him, he will bring the very best out of you. He will indeed rescue all that is finest down deep inside of you. And what a celebration that will be!

Ask him. Asking for the Savior’s help is another way to come closer unto him.

The Savior changed eyes. And he can give you the eyes to see what you need to see in order to change your life. He will open the eyes of your understanding. Just ask him.

The Savior changed ears. And he can help you hear his voice, and that will add strength to your own voice. Ask him.

He changed limbs that were weak. And he can change your mobility and direction to help you move to the next level of your life and help you in your efforts to shore up the feeble knees that are around you. Ask him.

He changed a few fishes and a couple of loaves of bread into enough to feed 5,000 people. And he will take your widow’s mite of time, energy, and ability and magnify them, multiply them, so that there is enough and to spare. You just need to ask him.

The Savior changed names: he turned Saul into Paul. And he can help you become his son or daughter. You can thus take upon you his name in a whole new way.

Although our Lord Jesus Christ never changes, he is the quintessential change agent—the only true change agent. Don’t you love that seeming irony: the only true change agent never changes! There is only one true and living change agent—and he changes not. And he loves you. And he loves your desire and your efforts to change."  ("Change: It's Always a Possibility" by Wendy Watson, BYU Devotional, April 7, 1998)

I'm grateful for the opportunity I have to reflect each month with this community on my spiritual journey. And thankful for Margaret's chosen word for this month, change. I feel hopeful as I change the calendar page each month, reflect with this community about our spiritual journeys, and know that someone loves us in spite of our failings and is beside us in our efforts to change.