Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Slice of Life: Passey Pie Party!

If it's November, then it's time for pie at the Passey home. My daughter and her husband kick off the cozy season of the year by inviting friends and family to join their pie extravaganza. Pie night has become pie afternoon so the youngsters can join in. This year's event included 15 adults, 9 children, 9 pies, a pot of meatballs and a fruit and cheese tray. In case you're wondering our pie menu included orange cream, a Nutela cream, a lemon meringue (my favorite this year!), a pecan, a key lime, a chocolate cream, a peanut butter, an apple cranberry, and a Tollhouse pie! Each pie is cut into sixteen tasting-size slices. Everyone ate to their fill and perhaps a bit beyond. Leftover pie slices were slid into cardboard boxes for travel across town to various homes as tasty treats for the next day.
A successful Passey Pie Party
has to include play!
My favorite pic of the evening when
Judy Moody & Harry Potter joined our party!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Poetry Friday: Maple Musings

Head over to Michelle's blog, Today's Little Ditty,
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
Michelle is celebrating her latest TLD anthology. 
You 'll recognize many PF friends in its pages 
and can get your copy here.
Thanks, Michelle, for hosting this week!

And so November comes.
Early darkness.  Shorter days.
Overnight blazing red!
The window calls
Radiant ruby red leaves 
Wonder-struck, I pause.

Leaf littered path
Red leaves decorate foliage
Christmas tiptoes near.
- Ramona Behnke, November 2019

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Slice of Life: Prodded by the Newspaper

It's been almost a month since the three retirees have spent time together. One of our number has moved almost two hours away and the other just returned from a trip to New Zealand and Australia. So when we got together yesterday, I mentioned an article I'd noticed in the Sunday newspaper about Kubota Gardens. I've lived in this area for more than two decades, but I'd never been to this garden just a mere fourteen miles away. We were a bit late for the peak viewing of leaves, but we still enjoyed our stroll. We plan to return for spring blossoms and an earlier fall visit next year. 

The article in the paper mentioned that the Kubota Gardens Foundation will publish a book in December, Spirited Stone: Lesson from Kubota's Garden and is producing a short documentary, Fujitaro Kubota and His Garden that will be shown locally on December 10. You can read a short history of the gardens here.

Here's a link you might enjoy, Website Photos of Kubota Garden by Mary Austin. And here are a few favorite snapshots from our visit yesterday.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Poetry Friday: "All That Is Glorious Around Us"

Head over to Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem, 
for this week's round-up of poetic goodness. 
Thanks, Irene, for hosting this week!

Margaret encouraged us to write about ordinary saints yesterday for Spiritual Journey Thursday. Thinking about that post led me to Barbara Crooker's celebration of "...this radiant world..." and these favorite lines from her poem, "All that is Glorious Around Us."
"...watching the red and gold leaves race down the street,
confetti from autumn's bright parade...."

Click on the poem's title to read the entire poem, shared at The Writer's Almanac. I hope you'll find much to celebrate in this radiant world of ours!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Noticing the Ordinary Saints Among Us

It's the first Thursday of the month
and time to show up with our friends
for Spiritual Journey Thursday.
Margaret is hosting this month and chose
the words ordinary saints as our theme. 

When I read Margaret's poem, "How to Be an Ordinary Saint," I remembered a reflection I wrote several years ago for our church ladies' group Christmas party. It was about angels among us, but it could just as easily be about ordinary saints. So I've changed a bit of the wording to share some of the examples from this refection. It shows the ordinary ways that we minister to each other as a community of believers. We refer to each other as brother or sister in our church congregation, so you'll notice my use of the term sister to indicate the ordinary saints in our midst. 

"Several years ago, I mentioned to a sister in our congregation how much I had enjoyed her roasted veggies at a church event.  Imagine my surprise when she showed up at my door the next day with a package of the vegetables in hand and the recipe attached.  An angel (ordinary saint) on my doorstep and during the very busy holiday season!

When I returned to full-time work, I was lucky to have a sister in my workplace.  She found me more than once, overwhelmed by my new challenges and always offered friendship and support.  She also blessed me with a mug and a note every month of that first year.  And did I mention that she’s the best gift giver ever?

A certain sister called me very frustrated after a recent event because she went back to the church to collect the tablecloths and SOMEONE had taken them.  She wanted to launder them and return them to the closet.  Since I was that SOMEONE, and the tablecloths were in the trunk of my car, I promptly delivered them to her doorstep.  She blessed me by taking one of the things off my “to do” list.

I faced a particularly difficult time, and my husband was out of town.  When I phoned my own sisters, I sobbed  . . . wishing that they were here to buoy me up during this challenging time.  Within the hour, several sisters arrived at my house, offering their wisdom, their love, their hugs, and close shoulders to cry on. 

I’m always surprised to learn of the countless acts of service provided by sisters with no fanfare, just a gentle reaching out to a fellow sister in need.  One such sister provided housing for a sister’s family who were in town for a family funeral.   Love extended and a roof provided.

This sister is a true angel with a genuine smile that blesses all of us.  I know she is supposed to remain unnamed, but you may know our particular chocolate angel.  Her sweet compilation of our yearly chocolate orders blesses our families with sweetness and hot chocolate throughout the year. 

This sister used to be my visiting teacher and oh, how I loved her visits.  She’s one of the quiet sisters in our congregation.   But she always provided a spiritual message and knew me well enough to share the best treats imaginable – a book, a notepad, a bit of chocolate, blackberries, a magazine article that she knew I would enjoy, and always her friendship.

Some of you know this story because I’ve shared it before about my visiting teacher who gave me a small flashlight for my car  - to brighten those dark winter nights when we fumble at the mailbox.  Her pink light has accompanied me through many winters and reminds me of her thoughtfulness and also of the light of the Savior illuminating our paths. 

I love how the talents of so many sisters bless our congregation – you may know some of these sisters – the one we always turn to for that decorative touch needed for a display, the sister who provides flowers for our meetings, the sister who blesses us with her ability to find a theme and create a beautiful evening for us to enjoy together, the sister who is efficient and accomplishes whatever she is asked to do in record time, the sister who cooks a ham and delivers it to a dinner, the sister who uses her culinary talents to create beautiful and tasty desserts.   I feel truly blessed to know a host of earthly angels (ordinary saints) who strengthen me through their examples of service and love."

I love these closing words from Margaret's post: "Living in gratitude, noticing the little gracious things people do, spreads all the saint juices around and fills our world with love." Let's look for ways to spread the saint juices around and fill our world with love as we enter this busy, joyous season. 

(Adding a link to a poem I wrote which reflects my thinking about angels at a beautiful time in my life as we awaited and celebrated the birth of grandson Jack.)

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Slice of Life: Thinking about Tough Topics in Kids' Books!

Our lunchtime book club recently discussed why so many kids' books feature the death of a parent. The response from one of our members, brought a smile to my face, "They have to get them out of the way." A sentiment that might be shared by other middle schoolers. 

As I continue to read Newbery possibilities this season, I continue to see tough topics. A quick perusal of my 100 middle grade books I love list reveals that many of my favorite books also deal with tough topics. Here are just five that jump out at me today - One for the Murphys, Counting by 7s, Ida B, The 7th Most Important Thing, and Three Times Lucky.

So you may be wondering about some of my favorite Newbery possibilities for 2020. At the top of my list are The Line Tender by Kate Allen and The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.  I can't stop thinking about the debut novel I just finished last night, The Miraculous by Jess Redman. All three books are about grief and loss. 

I'm ready for something different. So my next read will be Queen of the Sea by Dylan Meconis. You can read Betsy Bird's glowing review by clicking on the title. Graphic novels aren't usually my thing, but I can't say enough good things about They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott. I was inspired to pick it up after reading Cynthia Kadahota's Newbery hopeful, A Place to Belong (not a graphic novel).

If you have a favorite that you're hoping will win the 2020 Newbery, let me know in the comments. We still have almost three months of reading before the winner will be announced. 

Friday, November 1, 2019

Poetry Friday: "Parents" by Ted Kooser

Tabatha Yeatts at  The Opposite of Indifference
is hosting this week's round-up of poetic goodness.

I keep planning to be a regular for Poetry Friday, but a quick check shows my last appearance was in September. However, there's no time like a new month to initiate change. I'm sharing "Parents," a favorite Ted Kooser poem. I love these words from Rita Dove's introduction to the poem:  "Perhaps the best way to keep the spirits of loved ones alive is to allow them to continue living within us."

And yesterday, I opened up Writer's Almanac to discover a new-to-me Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, "Haunted Houses." These lines are particularly poignant:
"So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,"

The Day of the Dead is a wonderful time to celebrate the spirits that surround us!