Almost Christmas, I'm late to the party, but thought I would make a mad dash and add this anyway.
This lovely porcelain dome, lit by candle, depicts a detailed and beautiful Christmas scene.
I decided to try a cubed poem for Christmas:
This lovely porcelain dome, lit by candle, depicts a detailed and beautiful Christmas scene.
I decided to try a cubed poem for Christmas:
Hello to my poetry friends. What a lovely gift arrived this week!
This is my first time to join the poetry swap within our community, and this week, just on schedule, I received a package of several gifts from the talented Margaret Simon.
First is a poem written just for me...a lovely and thought provoking ekphrastic poem:
This poem has special meaning for me as we have been burning candles daily in our home, a new practice instituted by my husband. I find that the glowing candles and the flickering flames offer a sense of hope and well-being beyond my expectations. We even made our own candle from leftover wax, and I found some waxed twine that suffices as a wick. We are lucent!!! I especially love the image of "licking our fingers after stirring in butter."
I also received a lovely book of art by Margaret's father... his pointillist images fascinate me...accompanied by poems by Margaret. An enclosed CD provides carols and Margaret's reading of her poems. She speaks of her love for her father and his work as well as the season and gift of faith. What treasures!
Many thanks to Margaret for my very own glowing poem, and for the lovely book and CD. I will continue to enjoy them in the days ahead.
This time of year is a time of soul searching, of counting days. May your soul be well fed and your days rich with blessings.
It is Poetry Friday! Join the group at Jone Rush Macculloch's where solstice greetings will abound. You are invited to join the fun.
I'm delighted to have two poems in Bridget Magee's Ten by Ten Poetry Anthology: Celebrating Ten in Ten Different Ways. I received my copy and found that I have the honor of the very last poem in the book. I rather love that spot! So... here... without further ado... I will share with you...
The title is I Love and it is written by Brigitte Minne.
The descriptions are in the voice of a young girl, but written so beautifully that you will get a warm fuzzy feeling as you are reminded of your own childhood. It also provides a good mentor text for young writers.
Some are funny: I love to stare at the principal's large hairy mole.
And don't miss this one: I love to stand on a chair when dinner is over and say, "Quiet, please. I will now recite a poem."
Well, I've probably gone further than I should, but I do recommend this sweet quirky book. It will warm your heart and give you ideas for further writing.
And now, I will attempt a tricube as prompted by the book above. (I was going to add a tricube about making quilts but I can't get the photo I want, so... I rather like this one also.)
Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday! Those of us who post here share our journeys once a month. This month our focus is waiting, hope, and the seasonal holidays.
In the Christian tradition, this is the season of advent... a season of preparation for the coming of the Christ child. The season reminds me of pregnancy, it is a time of waiting and hope. These days, however, can get crazy busy. I have to remind myself... what is my focus?
I have a wonderful book of prayers that I'm sharing from today. It offers two year's of daily readings as well as many other resources.
From The Celtic Book of Prayer: Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community, Aidan's readings, the meditation for Dec. 7th offers these two gems:
The pilgrim worried that he would not have much time to care for his love-relationship with God. The Lord answered:
Do you have only one minute? Hem it with quietness. Do not spend it thinking how little time you have. I can give you much in one minute.
As the ripples of the river glance up to the light, let your heart glance up to Me in little looks of love very often in the day.
I woke up early yesterday. The lawn needed raking before the final mow, so I got up and raked. I could hear the birds singing in the cool air, and raking felt good. I much prefer it to the din of leaf blowers.
Later in the day we walked in the woods to the south of us. Rain was expected in the evening and Friday, so we thought Thursday might be the last day to see good color before rain brings the leaves down.
I found an old poem that I'm working on and will share here... I haven't thought about a title yet.
It's a beautiful time of year... I hope you are enjoying it wherever you are. My best to you.
It's Poetry Friday, of course. This week is hosted by the famous Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Thanks for hosting, Matt!
Welcome to this sharing of Spiritual Journeys, hosted this month by Denise Krebs at https://mrsdkrebs.edublogs.org. Our topic is gratitude. Please join us and chime in.
A sermon pointed to the connection between gratitude and grace. When I look at the words grace and gratitude together it seems obvious, but I had not thought of gratitude that way. But consider this... the word for thanks in Spanish... gracias. And in Italian, grazie.
The thing is, the connection surprised me. I couldn't get it, and I'm still not sure that I do. Am I overlooking the obvious that all good gifts (graces) come from God? Am I making something out of nothing? Why doesn't this work for me?
Frederick Buechner writes this about grace: Grace is something you can never get but only be given. There's no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth.
But what did I know of grace? Was it a "wow" moment from above? Did I think grace had to leave me with my mouth open and tears in my eyes? What about the time that our car broke down in the middle of Iowa, and a guy pulled in right next to us, his family in the car, the back seat full of diapers and baby clothes, and the trunk loaded with nothing but car parts. He insisted on giving us the exact part we needed, and would take no money for it. I was pretty sure that was grace.
And what about gratitude? I knew that an expression of gratitude was the expected response to every kindness that came along, but maybe somewhere in that practice I had become jaded. I often said thank you only because I should. I uttered it for each cookie and pencil and open door, but it didn't seem to mean much. Had I lost the connection to grace?
I'm pretty sure we never fully realize our blessings, but now I have to ask if I discern them at all. Maybe the work of the day and the juggling of this and that gets my mind so cluttered that I forget the important things. And then, by the grace of God, these important things, these graces, sort of slap me in the face and say, "Hey! Pay attention!" Maybe with this challenge of connecting grace to gratitude, I'll begin to get it.
In Thessalonians we are urged to give thanks for everything, in every circumstance, because it is the will of God. I'm sure I could only do that by grace. Maybe that, for me, is the connection. Only by the free gift of grace...
Mary Oliver expresses gratitude so beautifully in her poem Mindful:
….I see or hear
…………that more or less
……..that leaves me
…………like a needle
in the haystack
……..It was what I was born for –
…………to look, to listen,
to lose myself
….inside this soft world –
……..to instruct myself
…………over and over
(read the rest here.)
She goes on to mention both the exceptional and the drab and ordinary. Her poem is another impetus to give thanks in every circumstance, for both beautiful and drab.
I have surely been blessed well beyond my ability to discern grace, and well beyond my depth of gratitude. I can only pray for new insight, for a new heart, for the courage to share.
Of the exceptional graces shown to me, I will share one which is appropriate to the season...
November turns us toward Thanksgiving, and opens the door for grace. May our hearts overflow with gratitude.
PS: One practice of gratitude is to say grace at meals. Here is our traditional one:
In case you'd like to rehearse a Halloween song, here's a post from a few year's back with my attempt at scaring the bejeebers out of you! Scary Halloween Song.
Thanks to the great Linda Baie for hosting our group today. Find her spooky (dark and devilish) post here. All the Poetry Friday gang will be sharing links at her place today. Don't miss the costume party!
Happy Poetry Friday... our gathering today is hosted by Bridget, who is announcing the birth of her anthology: 10•10 Poetry Anthology: Celebrating 10 in 10 Different Ways. I am pleased and delighted to be one of the 58 poets whose work is in this book. Can't wait to get my copy! It is available in paperback and Kindle versions via Amazon.
Here in the NorthEast, autumn is ambling in. Just today I noticed this...
Our friend Ramona Behnke offered the topic for Spiritual Journey this month, a fascinating one that came from Emily P. Freeman's podcast.
In the podcast, Emily quoted Dr. Larry Crabb asking, “What is true right now? The state of your mind, heart, will and imagination? And then also the state of your body, your surroundings, your place in the world today.”
So Ramona asks... What is true here and now?
This month I'm blessed to celebrate a 50th anniversary with my hubby. We two have had quite an adventure over the years. Our children took us on a glorious week in Wyoming to celebrate, and the afterglow of that week will never wear off.
Chris & Karen, 2003... my favorite if not most recent photo!
My church choir has resumed. I am here, totally present, listening as well as singing while in choir. The challenge and beauty of music still feeds and heals my soul.
Autumn is my favorite season, filled with cool days and brilliant color. For me it is a time of both sadness and rejoicing as the season itself reflects. Autumn is always bittersweet.
My birthday is this month. I've earned these wrinkles and I'm thankful for each day, delighting in the beauty, opportunities and challenges of life. I'm healthy enough to go hiking here at 9,000ft. Woohoo!
I have the challenge of leading the history committee in my town. We work hard and I'm proud of our members and the work we do here.
The traffic here is crazy. Why do I live in NJ?
I look for truth in the world and struggle to recognize it. I believe that God loves us and is here with us, but lets us learn the hard way. I pray for courage and insight.
During this long stretch of pandemic, I turn to some old favorites. In an old Christmas M.A.S.H. episode, there is much moaning about being away from home for the holiday. Having had enough, Colonel Potter shouts, "If you ain't where you are, you're nowhere!!!" Potter's statement may not be eloquent, but it's true.
What's true for you? Where are you at this moment? I'd love to read your response in the comments below.
Thanks to Ramona for hosting and providing this springboard. Find Ramona, links to others in our group, and more about this topic at Pleasures from the Page.
I recently came across some of my old poems that seem to fit a current theme. These are pesky poems, but instead of shooing them away I decided to share them. One today... maybe two next time.
We just returned from a family vacation near a remote lake in Wyoming. What a fabulous time... three delicious meals plus "teatime" each day, hiking, archery, horseback riding and fly-fishing. Also canoeing, which afforded my son and I a close view of an elk, an osprey, two otters and a little family of grebes. Wow!!! But... I noticed that many pines are dying due to the infestation of pine beetles.
The spotted lanternfly causes serious damage in trees, including oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling and tree dieback. Its annual damage exceeds hundreds of millions of dollars in lost agricultural production.
Of course it's Poetry Friday, and our host this week is Denise Krebs at Dare to Care. Be sure to check out her blog for other poetry postings. Thanks for hosting, Denise.
Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday. On the first Thursday of each month we gather to share our insights. This month our focus is on virtues.
As some of you know, I am #9 in a family of 10. Being one of the younger members, I have witnessed the death of a number of my siblings. This past month our number dwindled again, from six to five. Today I'd like to tell you about some virtues I noticed in the life of my oldest brother, Emil.
Emil was a minister by calling, with special training in family systems and addiction issues. He was an avid fisherman, carver, cross country skier, poet, and story writer. His way was not easy. He had health issues for much of his life, and he had lost two sons and his wife.
Emil was almost 20 when I came along, so he was chosen as one of my baptismal sponsors. He carved this little chickadee for me. Later, he wrote about seeing a chickadee at his window in the deep winter, and how it brought him hope.
- Emily Dickinson
Emil always had a faithful outlook on life. He considered himself a peacemaker... a bridge builder... and when our family gathered he would ask that we put our differences behind us and enjoy being together. He provided leadership and courage, and our gatherings benefitted.
I was amazed at Emil's endurance. I spoke with him a number of times while the senior residence was in total lockdown. He was completely isolated, unable to have any visitors, meals alone in his room. It was difficult for him, but didn't waste his time complaining. Instead, he found meaning in writing his memories and sharing them, reading, and contemplating life.
Emil was generous. For a number of years he invited family to his home in Wisconsin for a winter weekend ski-in. My gang attended just once, but the time we had together was wonderful.
Emil and Judy, his wife, spent several weeks caring for my oldest sister, Margaret, when she was ill with cancer and her husband needed knee surgery. They cooked and cleaned and helped every way they could. What a labor of love!
I hardly remember a conversation with Emil that did not include a good laugh. He had a sense of humor and often saw humor that I would have missed, had he not pointed it out.
Siblings see each other's weaknesses as well as strengths. We know the warts and foibles as well as glory and beauty. Yes, we had times of discord and impatience. That's only human. Through it all, we learned to love each other. Relationships take work, but it is good work, and work that I believe we are called to. A good model helps along the way, and I thank God for Emil and the good he upheld.
It is a great blessing when we can find virtue in others and have good models to follow. I hope you have good models in your life, and I wish you sweet and meaningful journeys.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
PS: Please post your links in the comment section. I'll do my best to round them up, but we have severe weather here now, so in case I can't get online you can follow each other via comments.
It's Poetry Friday! Come join the fun. Today's gathering is hosted by Elizabeth Norton at Unexpected Intersections. Elizabeth is sharing an eight line rhyming poem in the style of Jane Yolen. Elizabeth wrote about a marmot! I love it! Have you ever seen one? I almost sat on one once, while on vacation in the Rockies. Good grief... I'll have to find that photo!
My poem is also about an animal. Maybe I'll have to try the eight line rhyming form to see if this poem works better that way, because... I can't seem to finish it. I've tried three or four "last" stanzas, so far I don't like any of them. Anyway, here's the back story:
Our son's dog, Thor, visits from time to time. He's beautiful, and he behaves quite well... unless he is anxious. The thing is, many things make him anxious... strangers, other dogs, children on swings, and being away from home. And...I must admit that I am more comfortable babysitting my grandchildren than dog sitting. I try, but the connection is vague. So... when a visit is over, I find myself writing poems like this:
Oct 1, Mon.
Cloudy all forenoon & sprinkled a little at times but cleared up before night. We did a big washing & Anita took me to Burr Oak on an errand for Leslie at the Bank. Elmer was cutting corn for Will Erickson & Will brought him home after supper. Lloyd Baker was here picking up corn but went about 3 o-clock. Howard brought the tractor & plow over and we took him home.
Oct 2, Tues.
Very nice day & warm. Anita took Elmer up to Will Erickson's and we got ready about 9-15 & started for Decorah. We had to take a few sacks of grain to the mill & Anita took her dress to Allie. We got to Decorah at 10-30 and went to the Bank and paid the interest and $60 on principal altogether $118.79. We ate at Grants Cafe & after we got through shopping we went down to see Lillie & then drove over to Ethels but she was over town & the neighbors were having a surprise on her so we didn't go in. We got two baskets of grapes at 30cts per basket and a big watermelon for 25cts. Luella and Roger were here a few minutes.
My Grandma, Grace Pierce
Oct 3, Wed.
Another warm day. We took Marilyn down to Violets and weighed her. She was 6 months old last Sat. and weighs 17 1/4 lbs. I made grape jam & Anita picked up potatoes in forenoon & helped pick a load of corn in afternoon. They went down to Merles & got apples. First I took my geraniums up today. Luelle was over after my suit case & Anita's coat. After supper we wrapped apples. Lucille Pierce is very sick & they took her to the hospital at Cresco.
Oct 4, Thurs.
Nice in morning but began to sprinkle in afternoon and rained a hard shower in evening. Howard came & plowed all day, only at noon he and Elmer went up to Guys to listen to the World Series ball game. Elmer took me to Ella Thayers to L.A. (Ladies Aid) & I came back with Jim & Eda. Raymonds went to Davenport today & LuVerne stays here nights. Lucille Pierce had her hand lanced and they took a lot of pus from it & she is getting along fine every other way. Charley Murdock was out looking over the telephone line but didn't do anything to it.
Oct 5, Fri.
A beautiful day. Lyle stopped here for me to go over to Raymonds with him to wash the separator but I wasn't dressed yet so Anita & I went over about 10-30 & I washed separator & took the eggs in & watered the hens. Howard was here again today. Elmer went up to Guys again at noon and then to Will Ericksons after seed corn.
Oct 6, Sat.
A lovely day. Anita cleaned all forenoon. I washed & made a cake. Howard was here cutting corn. LuVerne & Elmer took a grist to B.O. & picked up corn. Just after noon we went over to Luelle's & washed separator. Anita helped pick corn up for a while. Mr. & Mrs. Steger were here to buy a cow. In eve Elmer & Anita wrapped apples while I picked & dressed a chicken & did embroidery work on a bed spread. Lucille had a baby boy born at Cresco hospital at 5-30 and they lanced her other arm too.
Oct 7, Sun.
A beautiful day. We got up quite early. I made two pies & Anita baked a cake & mopped the kitchen. I went over to Raymonds & washed separator at 9 o'clock. Glen called & wanted me to come down & help while Mrs. E. is away & I told him I would go tomorrow noon. Ethel wants me to come there to help the middle or last of the week. Elsie, Merle & Deane were here all day. I went to church with Jim & Eda & heard the new minister Mr. Soule. Mr. & Mrs. Will Ashley came to Merles & then came here in afternoon.
Oct 8, Mon.
Cloudy nearly all forenoon and sprinkled a little but cleared up after noon. We did our washing and I made a pie. Howard was here to dinner & Elmer took me to B.O. at noon & Glen came there after me. Luella & Raymond got home just as we left so I didn't have a chance to talk with her. In eve Glen took Mrs. Narveson home & Florence & Mrs. N. went up town in afternoon. The baby was very good.
Oct 9, Tues.
A lovely day. I washed & dressed the baby & did the ironing. Glen is working at Calmar today so took his dinner. He got home about 6-30. I intended to go over to see Nada this evening but the baby was a little fussy so I didn't go.
Oct 10, Wed.
A very warm day, too warm for comfort. Glen over before six and we had all the work done early. Luella, Roger & Raymond were here a little while in forenoon. Anita called & said we had a letter from Doris and Marion's arm was swollen from kidney trouble. Glen came home about 5-30 with a finger that was hurt. He had Dr. Horton at Calmar dress it.
Oct 11, Thurs.