Thursday, September 7, 2023

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Grace Abides

Patricia Franz  is hosting this month's Spiritual Journey Thursday 
 with her post, Life at the Speed of Grace. Feel free to join us
 in responding to Patricia's invitation.

I was touched by Patricia's post that spoke of Grace as her shorthand for God. She shared these encouraging words and spoke of "learning to live life at the speed of Grace, letting God catch me surprise me, love me, right where I am."

In a world that is filled with frenzy and frenetic action, we can sense grace (God) by slowing down. I literally felt the slowing down, the surrender to peace in Patricia's poem "Receiving Grace."  Her final words, "grace abides" remind me of a favorite poem, "Everyday Grace" by Stella Nesanovich,

 "It can happen . . . 

anywhere we share stories,

and grace flows between us."

These lines make me think of our everyday actions and contemplate how we can be conduits for grace in the world.

"Suddenly an ordinary day

becomes holy ground."

You can read  "Everyday Grace." at The Poetry Foundation.

I can sum up my thoughts with these three lines borrowed from the two poems:

Grace abides

Grace flows

The ordinary becomes holy.

Thank you, Patricia, for this peek at surrendering and letting go so that Grace can find us.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Poetry Friday: Oops!

Thanks to Mary Lee and Jone, two dear Poetry Friday friends, who jiggled my memory about today being my day to host Poetry Friday.

Two of the grand boys are here this morning, so between creating apple O's and C's for morning snack, I grabbed this favorite anthology from the bookshelf to share with you on this first day of September!

This one was a favorite in my classroom, so I finally purchased my own copy. This delightful anthology compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins is filled with favorites. Check it out, you'll love it too!

It opens with "School Bus" by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Grandson Jack is keeping his fingers crossed that he makes it on the transportation list soon so he can ride the school bus. 

The book is a delightful celebration of all things school from paper clips, pencils, pens, crayons, glue, popsicle sticks, lunch bags, the spinning globe, and ending with "Homework." 

I'm including Brod Bagert's "My Writer's Notebook." The opening line amuses me since I never let my students use spiral notebooks, but insisted on composition notebooks that were easier for me to stack and transport and read.

I absolutely adore the final three lines:

"My words on an empty page

In an ordinary notebook

The silver setting for the jewels of my life."

I apologize for my tardiness and look forward to your contributions to this week's Poetry Friday. Join us for poetic goodness by leaving your link below. I'll round up later today.

Patricia Franz salutes the pollinators for Labor Day and includes a nod to James Crews' anthology, The Path to Kindness (which I adore) and Ted Kooser's poem "It Doesn't Take Much." 

Lou Piccolo shares an original poem "Rainmaking" from What is Hope?,  Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's newest anthology.

Anastasia Suen shares her Labor Day #smallpoem, a robust finish for her August collection of small poems.  

Tabatha shares Majorie Saiser's poem, "For My Daughter" to celebrate daughter Elena's birthday.

Robyn Hood Black puts the spotlight on Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's newest anthology What Is Hope? which includes Robyn's lovely poem, "Metamorphosis."

Linda continues the celebration for What is Hope? with her poem,"Mail." I agree that handwritten letters bring a special joy. Check out this delightful anthology by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong for a daily dose of hope.

Denise creates a twist on Bananagrams - Solitaire Bananagrams and  Bananagram Poetry. I bet you'll dig out your banana for some poetry play soon! Then she shares the last of the poetry she enjoyed during the Sealy Challenge.

Margaret shares the model poem that she shared with the Inklings for their enjambment challenge and the challenges she's faced recently. Be sure to check out her "Is It" poem. It will  encourage you to take some deep breaths and bask in her beautiful photo of Bayou Teche Sunset.

Linda creates "Something Delightful" in reponse to Amy Ludwig Vanderwater's prompt to students and the enjambment challenge from the Inklings. And be sure to check out her padlet with a word poem created against the background of an image captured Wednesday by NASA's Aqua satellite of Typhoon Hagupit in the western Pacific Ocean.

Laura Purdie Salas shares a poetryaction (short, quick poems written in response to a book) to Joyce Sidman's new book, We Are Branches. And she shares the poems from her final week of poetry reading for #theSealyChallenge.

Rose Cappelli completes her first year of #the SealeyChallenge and pens a lovely pantoum inspired by John Frank's book,  A Chill in the Air: Nature Poems for Fall and Winter.

Mary Lee sneaks in-jam-meant into her "Caught.Not Kept." creation for the enjambment challenge with the Inklings. She also shares the books she read as part of #theSealeyChallenge.

Carol Labuzzetta shares mushroom and fungus finds, haiku paired with photos (ekphrastic poems) and provides guidelines for how to submit poems for inclusion in her upcoming Picture Perfect Poetry Nature Anthology.

Marcie rounds up her month of reading for #theSealeyChallenge and shares a haiku about the "octoped hiker" paired with an exquisite photo. 

Carol Varsalona introduces us to Irene Latham's newest book (her 19th children's book, set to be released on September 19, 2023), The Museum On The Moon-The Curious Objects on the Lunar Surface. It's a lovely review for an out-of-this-world exciting children's book. Be sure to read Irene's responses to Carol's two burning questions.

Linda Baie finds that gifts in her mailbox lift her spirits. Her sharing of poetry gifts almost entices me to join a future Poetry Swap.

Janice Scully received "Vistors from Other Worlds" by Tabbatha Yeats as one of her Poetry Swap gifts. It was written in response to Janice's golden shovel poem about Einstein's Theory of Relativity. Janice's haiku about floating may make you want to head to the water to experience that kind of silence

Michelle Kogan closes the month with "Blue Mystery," an original poem celebrating the wonderful second moon we enjoyed in August, She also links to "Tonight I've Watched," another moon poem written a very long time ago by Sappho.

Jan Godown Annino shares a food poetry collection, a nonfiction book, The Paper Garden, that reads like poetry, and an upcoming September workshop offered by Georgia Heard and Rebecca Kai Dotlich.

Jone Rush McCulloch bids goodbye to August and hails autumn with a haiku and photo taken at The Portland Japanese Garden. She also shares her reading for #theSealeyChallenge.

Heidi responds to the Inkling Challenge with her poem, "opening." She also shares a forthcoming collection, Dear Human at the Edge of Time: Poems on Climate Change in the United States (which includes a poem by her). 

Molly Hogan explores all things enjambment in her post and shares her play with the Inklings Challenge in  "Straddling the Lines."

Kathryn Appel is on the road and busy, busy, busy as an author, poet, and educator. Yet she still finds time to pen a poem or two.  Check out "On Tour" with its delicious rhyme and gorgeous photos  and "What Do You Do When Google Gives Directions That Locals Contradict?" with its two word terse verse response.

Joyce Ray continues the moon fascination experienced by many of you this past week. She received Moonstruck: Poems about Our Moon from author Irene Latham. She attended an art exhibit where she found a moon scene, August Moon, by Dan Namingha. Inspired by the painting she created  an ekphrastic nonet, "Three Sisters."

Diane Anderson's poem "Military" in in the new anthology, What Is Hope? by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. She shares a beautiful Labor Day picture book and Glory in the Margins by Nikki Grimes that she is reading after being inspired by #theSealeyChallenge.

Irene Latham explores forever in this week's Artspeak:Light project with her poem, "The Shape of Forever." She also writes about her visit to The Africantown Heritage Museum in Mobile. (If you haven't read African Town, a powerful novel-in-verse by her and Charles Waters, add it to your list.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater invites us to think about preparations for fall both by animals and humans. She also asks us to listen for the sounds of this season of preparation.

Tracey Kiff-Judson uses a moment after rain to make an observation and pen a disgusting poem, all while reminding us that decomposers make the world go 'round.

Joanne Emery's poem is selected for the new anthology, What is Hope? She shares her belief and hope for young people.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Slice of Life: Come Stroll with Me!

It's been awhile since I showed up for Slice of Life Tuesday. We arrived in North Carolina on Friday, July 21. We stayed with our daughter's family until our truck arrived on Saturday, July 29.  We had a busy week unpacking and getting partially settled in before I went to Utah to be with the grands while their mom was on a girlfriends' getaway to southern California (which included a Taylor Swift concert in LA). It was a delight to be with the grands and their dad. We baked a little, read a little, and played a little.

A perfect little visit before it was back to the unpacking of boxes and decision-making about where to put things.

It took me until the middle of August before I took my first solo walk in my new surroundings. I snapped a few pics so you can stroll with me. 

 Path to the lake
Pedestrian bridge over Lake Jeanette
Early morning at the lake
Shady paths are the best.
Check out the evergreens in my new neighborhood.

Entrance to Jacob's Way!

Friday, July 7, 2023

SJT: Rejoice in a Sun-Kissed Summer Season

               Carol Varsalona is hoting this month's Spiritual Journey Thursday with the theme, Rejoice in a Sun-Kissed Summer Season.

I fully intended to write on Thursday, but here I am, one day late with nothing to say. You see, my sun-kissed summer season was stolen from me last year when we moved from our home of 25 years to be closer to daughter and her family. And then this year, summer's leiusre was plucked right out of my hands again when daughter and husband and three boys made the decision in May to move to North Carolina. They arrived last week. We join them in two weeks. Life is hectic and chaotic and far from leisurely.

So I did what any self-respecting blogger would do! I searched my archives and found this slice of summer written ten years ago, We Dream of July and Summer Tomatoes. In the interim, I'll cling to the hope that I may settle in for some leisure and sun-kissed tomatoes (from the farmer's market) in August.

We do have cause for rejoicing. Daughter and son-in-law sold their home and found a home in NC in record time. They closed on their new home today and their truck arrives on Sunday. We found a place just two minutes away from them. Stay tuned for more of our summer adventures (when I can find the time to write).

Saturday addition: As I lay in bed last night, I recalled many happy memories we've already made this summer. I'm including a few pics just so you know it's not all doom and gloom and purge and pack at my place! 
Check out our ice cream licking, rocket stomping, blooming roses and dogwoods, snuggling for stories, inspecting the classic car and art at The Lodge, swinging and sliding at St. Edward's Park, FaceTiming with Lily (who'll turn two tomorrow), playing at the Children's Museum, and waving goodbye to these boys on their way to NC!



It's easy to see why we're following these boys to NC!

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Poetry Friday: The Moon in June

I did not manage to post on Friday, but I'm sneaking in a couple of days late to share a favorite children's book of moon poems.

I wasn't sure if I could find it and was afraid that it might have been lost to one of my moving purges, but I located it stashed among the poetry books and fell in love all over again with the rhymes and jingles collected and illustrated by Ann Schweninger. The twenty-one verses she collected are illustrated with her luminous watercolor.

I think I checked it out of the library and then had to have my own copy. Used copies are still available on Amazon if you're interested. I've included the first and the final pages from Schweninger's book. Published in 1979, it's a moonlit treasure (and a discard from the Burlington Elementary School Library).

The Man in the Moon as he sails the sky

Is a very remarkable skipper 

But he made a mistake when he tried to take 

A drink of milk from the Dipper.


He dipped right out of the Milky Way

And slowly and carefully filled it;

The Big Bear growled, and the Little Bear howled

And frightened him so that he spilled it.

I see the moon,

    And the moon sees me;

God bless the moon,

    And God bless me.

Join us for poetic goodness and fun with the June moon

as Irene Latham prepares to launch her latest book, 

The Museum on the Moon, on August 8th.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Poetry Friday: I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage

I've been holding this book in reserve so I could share it for Poetry Friday. There's much to love in this compilation by Lee Bennett Hopkins. I'm not sure how I missed it when it first came out.

One of the things I love most is the invitation to poetry that precedes each poem. The School Library Journal explains it this way: "Each poet's work is preceded by a statement addressing what poetry means to them and how its format can tap into a person's heart and soul."

And then the poems! Fifteen diverse poets reflect on the unique heritages, traditions, and beliefs that shaped their lives. Each poem is accompanied by a stunning illustration with a note from each illustrator that explains their artistic approach. After you read the book, there's a delightful "About the Poets and Artists" section. Photographs of each contributor as a child and an adult accompany the brief bios. 

Check it out from your local library like I did. But once you've feasted on these pages, you'll definitely want a copy for your own bookshelf. I just ordered mine!

Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise is hosting our poetry playground this week.

Friday, June 16, 2023

Poetry Friday: Zap! Clap! Boom!: The Story of a Thunderstorm

There are more poetry books arriving on my holds shelf than I can get around to sharing. And isn't that a wonderful challenge? 

This week I will simply let a picture tell the tale. This is my six-year old grandson who absolutely loves Laurie Purdie Salas's rhyming tale of a thunderstorm.

He's the kind of guy who lets me read the back matter to him and knows more than I do about dinosaurs, our world, and the solar system. 

But our fascination doesn't stop with him. Yesterday the book was requested by his brothers, almost two and four years of age. They love chanting Zap! Clap! Boom! when we get to those words. As for me, I'm looking forward to sharing thunderstorms with them after we move to North Carolina. I'm sure summer will provide at least a few opportunities to chant those words Zap! Clap! Boom! and remember all the things we learned in this story about a thunderstorm. Thanks, Laura, for another family favorite!

Michelle is hosting our Poetry Friday fun this week.

Friday, June 9, 2023

Poetry Friday: Where I Live

What a delight to pick up the book, Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town, from my library holds shelf recently.

"This posthumous compilation selected by distinguished anthologist Janeczko beautifully captures the essence of home; Yum’s art enhances this, centering each poem firmly into diverse communities. . . . People and places are diverse in artistic expression, allowing readers to recognize themselves in different poems . . . an outstanding poetry compilation about the meaning of home."
—School Library Journal (starred review)

There are many wonderful poems by beloved poets featured on the charmingly illustrated pages. I can't resist naming the poets in this anthology that I've met in person or heard speak at conferences: Janet Wong, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Naomi Shihab Nye, Irene Latham, Paul B. Janeczko, and Charles Waters. While I was perusing the book, I decided to write a cento* from lines borrowed from these poets. 

*From the Latin word for “patchwork,” the cento (or collage poem) is a poetic form composed entirely of lines from poems by other poets.

On summer Mondays                                     (Irene Latham)         

in yellow boots                                               (Paul B. Janeczko)

ready to zoom,                                                 (Janet Wong)

each footprint a temporary tattoo.                   (Charles Waters)  

There is a place to stand,                                 (Naomi Shihab Nye)                

the place where I feel free.                              (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater)

 - Ramona Behnke      


I love the image of those yellow boots leaving temporary tattoos on the wet pavement. I look forward to finding a new place to stand and a place to feel free in our new home. Moving cross country at this stage of life is not for the weak of heart.

Be sure to check out this latest anthology, Where I Live. I included two of my favorite anthologies by Paul B. Janeczko from my own bookshelves in the picture. I can't wait to introduce fireflies to the grands when we move to North Carolina in July!    

    Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Spiritual Journey Thursday and Poetry Friday: Radiance Among the Flowers

One of our favorite playgrounds/parks in our area is Rhododendron Park, about a half mile from our current home. However, we moved here in the middle of summer last year, so I failed to see it in springtime splendor, Things have been a bit busy with the upcoming move (daughter and family moved into our place so they could get their house on the market). I was afraid that I might have missed prime blossom time. I stopped by last Friday and spent a wonderful hour wandering through the park and snapping pics,

I love these lines from Joy Harjo's poem "Remember."

"Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems."

I am grateful to have walked among alive poems this past week. Join me for this radiant ramble through Rhododendron Park.



And because I revel in the baker's dozen, here's the 13th picture of springtime splendor, taken in our front yard yesterday.


These lines from Wendell Barry's poem "The Peace of Wild Things" sum up my love affair with nature: 

"And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.

For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."


Our Spriritual Journey host for this week is Dave at Leap of Dave who shares ruminations on the church. Check out Dave's thoughts on how "the church and the post office are really about one thing, the same thing, and that thing is delivery." 

I took Dave's invitation to heart "to write about anything you like." Anytime I write about nature, I remember my dear friend, Jan Orme. She was my walking buddy for years. Her interest was always trees, mine lay in blossoms. She indulged my frequent stops to snap pics and revel in wonder at the splendor of the natural world. This post with its pics and poems is dedicated to my dear friend Jan. Any time I walk, I remember her.

Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting Poetry Friday this week.