Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Slice of Life: Round-up Time

I come from farmers and cattlemen, even though you have to go back to my maternal grandfather to find the first one. I love visiting the flat where our family lived for several generations. And even though I'm terrified of cattle and horses, I still participate in my own versions of round-up rodeos. Some days it's clothes, other days it's poems (saving that for a future slice), and yesterday . . .  it was snow stuff!

You see, we've had more than our share of the white stuff grace our lawns this winter, with much of it coming in November and December. I started collecting snow stuff because I love a good snow day (although they don't have the same charm now that I'm retired). And scattering my snow stuff around the house after Christmas makes me happy. 

Last week, my hair salon cancelled my much-needed appointment when we had snow. Granted, I live in the Pacific NW.  It doesn't take much snow for things to grind to a halt. So I've been especially apprehensive about the predicted snow for last night and today. That's why I had to resort to a round-up yesterday. 

And it worked! 

Here's the snow that greeted us this morning.

Looks like I'm getting a haircut today!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Slice of Life: Twenty Squares and Twenty Lines


I'll Wrap Myself in Words


I stayed up late reading poems

Convinced myself I had no slice

And then a stroll into the bedroom

Found 50-year old squares laid out


Five rows long

Four rows wide

These squares intended 

For a friendship quilt 

Gifted to me

From Aunt Ruby Dee

On high school graduation

With plans for future finishing

I find it impossible to choose

Just twenty friends from 50 years

And so my friendship quilt squares

Morph into favorite word squares


I'll begin with my One Little Words

Add a few other favorite words

Remember how to embroider

And wrap myself in words

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Slice of Life: A Delightful Valentine's Day

Pleasures of the Day

An unexpected dusting of snow

A movie with a friend

Time to read my book

A photo mug gift of friends in Italy

A Seattle temple visit with daughter

A daffodil sighting

Chocolates with my sweetheart!


Friday, February 10, 2023

Poetry Friday: Wishing I Was There!

Wishing from Here to There

Most of the time

I'm perfectly content

to be right here.

But today, a fellow PF friend

set me off on a green

journey of jealousy. 

Amy VanDerwater

casually mentioned she

is at CCIRA 2023.

When I clicked on the link, 

I saw that Ruth Ayres is there,

and so is Lester Laminack 

and Penny Kittle and Donalyn Miller 

and more presenters I'd love to hear.

And my heart longs to be there 

immersed in poetry and story,

a feast to restore my soul. 

                - Ramona Behnke

 Carol at Beyond Literacy Link is hosting 
this week's round-up of poetic goodness.


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Slice of Life: No Sheep in a Jeep, but A Ewe in the Pew!

We sit with our daughter and son-in-law and three boys (6 year old, almost 4 year old, and 19 month old) at church. I'm careful to keep the favorite manipulative kitty book stowed until after we partake of the sacrament, the most sacred part of our Sunday worship.

I didn't dare include a recent favorite book in my church bag knowing that it would elicit multiple animal sounds from our accomplished 19 month old who loves to quack, oink, meow, and bark as each animal climbs atop the horse. So imagine my surprise when I heard our 19 month old, sitting in Grandpa's lap repeating, "Baa, baa," during the sacrament (communion) portion of our service this past Sunday!

It seems that I had neglected to notice the sheep in our new book about the names of Jesus Christ. But I posit that it is good to be reminded of The Good Shepherd and Lamb of God when we're at church.

Here's the illustration that prompted sheep sounds from our little animal lover (from the book, This Is Jesus Christ, illustrated by Mallory Fiso).

I think my mother would have said, "God love him," and I simply must agree.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Color

Robert at arjeha is hosting
our February SJT gathering with 
the theme of Life's Colors.

Our host for this month asked us to reflect on the color(s) we project to others, colors that act as a guiding light. My mind immediately went to my favorite color, yellow! I hope that I project the warmth and welcoming qualities of yellow to others that I meet. When I think of yellow, I think of sunshine and how happy we are when it arrives after a few days or a week of gray and gloom. My daughter had a yellow bedroom that I gladly claimed when she left home for college. Our new home has a yellow kitchen and a yellow front door. Both seemed to be fortuitous signs that we should rent this house.

When I think of yellow, I immediately think of light which was my OLW for 2020. Little did I know when I selected it as my word for the year, how much I would need light in 2020. I've collected a few of the things I've shared on my blog through the years to shed yellow (and light) for your day. 

First of all, a favorite verse:  "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalm 119:105) A podcaster I enjoy, Emily Belle Freeman, suggests that we have a protection scripture for times of trouble. This verse is in the running for mine.

My favorite hymn and one I want sung at my funeral (Could we just sing hymns for the entire service?): 

"The Lord is my light; then why should I fear?

By day and by night his presence is near.

He is my salvation from sorrow and sin;

This blessed assurance the Spirit doth bring.

The Lord is my light;

He is my joy and my song.

By day and by night

He leads, he leads me along."


Here's an etheree (10 lines of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllables) that I wrote for Poetry Friday in 2020:


my one

little word.

I seek moments

of shine to turn my

heart toward gratitude.

I seek friends with hope filled hearts

to lighten our walk through the dark.

I seek Jesus, the source of all light,

who succors and sustains my quest for Light.

                                            - Ramona Behnke

My daughter, Sara, created this light visual for my desk! 
I was inspired by another blogger to try a pensee poem,  a poem that uses syllabic form with no specific meter or rhyme.  This was my slice of life on March 29, 2015.

"syllabic count 2-4-7-8-6;
line 1 is the subject;
line 2 gives description;
line 3, action;
line 4, the setting;
line 5, final thought."

Light of the world
Redeems my soul, lifts me up
Yesterday, today and always
Teach me to walk in light
- Ramona Behnke

Image taken at the Chihuly Garden and Glass, February 2015.

On a drive yesterday, I started thinking about other colors that guide my life, that truly make a bouquet of loveliness and light. First, green because I love all the varied shades of green that appear in the springtime. And I love trees because they encourage me to look heavenward. And then blue and white, the perfect ingredients for a gorgeous daytime sky. May you walk in yellow (sunshine & Sonshine) and revel in the greens, blues, and whites of our gorgeous world.

I am grateful for each of you who bring light to my days 
with your writing as we gather each month.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Slice of Life: Book Award Time!

 It's one of my favorite times of the year. I watched the ALA Youth Media Awards Monday morning. I used to conduct Mock Newbery events with my students, first with King County Library System and then on our own. So it's no surprise that nine years into retirement I'm still paying attention to the books that receive awards in the world of children's literature. 

I follow the Heavy Medal SLJ blog which guides a few of my middle grade book choices during the year. With six grandchildren, six and under, I realize that I definitely have more exposure than before to possible Caldecotts. 

So here we go with the winners that I read this past year:

The first one was Maizy Chen's Last Chance by Lisa Yee. It won the Asian/Pacific American Award for Youth Literature, was a Newbery Honor, and a National Book Award Finalist. I listened to this one and loved it. My interest in Chinese history and immigration stems from my time in Hong Kong as a missionary. I'm not sure where I heard about this book, possibly on the Heavy Medal blog which I follow throughout the year to stay abreast of books receiving Newbery buzz. 

The second award winner that I read and loved was Wild Oak by C.C. Harrington. I just finished it recently and was so excited with its recognition as the middle grade winner for the Schneider Family Book Awards.

Standing in the Need of Prayer: A Modern Retelling of the Classic Spiritual by Carole Boston Weatherford and illustrated by Frank Morrison won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator award. This gorgeous picture book uses the words of the old spiritual to portray events in African American history and points forward to provide hope and resilience for today and tomorrow.

 The Three Billy Goats Gruff written by Mac Barnett won an Honor Audiobook Odyssey Award. I'm stretching a little with this one since I've read the book, but haven't listened to the audio version narrated by the author. I was surprised that our library system does not have the audiobook, but I'm sure that will be remedied soon. 

I've read Hot Dog, written and illustrated by Doug Salati and winner of the 2023 Caldecott Medal. I've also read three of the four Caldecott Honor Books:  Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and illustrated by Jason Griffin; Berry Song, written and illustrated by Michaela Goade; and Knight Owl, illustrated and written by Christopher Denise. I recommended Knight Owl on our Christmas card list of book recommendations and gifted it to both families of grandchildren.

I thoroughly enjoy reading children's books and following the buzz that surrounds the books prior to the award announcements each year. As I listen to the book awards, I open a tab to my library and request books as they are announced. It's a sure thing that I will have more books than I can read on my holds shelf soon. But isn't that the fun of the reading life? I'll enjoy perusing the titles and deciding which ones speak to me. 

I can't wind up this post without a nod to some recent middle grade reads that I loved. I finished Katherine Applegate's Odder last night, a delightful free verse novel about an otter who faces a great white shark and the changes that come as a result of her encounter. And my favorite middle grade read of the past year was A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus. This debut novel features three orphans who join the WWII London evacuation after the death of their grandmother leaves them without a guardian. With wonderful nods to other British novels and a lovely librarian, I believe you'll find this one as delightful as I did. If you love middle grade as much as I do, leave a comment with some of your recent favorites.