Friday, December 7, 2018

Opening a Door

It's been an incredibly long, and short year.  Doors have been opened, doors have been closed.  But every time a door has been closed, a new door has appeared just down the road apiece.  Sometimes it has been a struggle to reach that door, but we've managed to get there.
We are at a new door today.

New home in Pennsylvania
I am pre-scheduling this post today, as at 2 pm we will be at our closing - or should I say "new door opening"? - for our new home in PA.  For the next few years, we will be living here with our daughter and two grandchildren.  There should be some really fun times ahead.  We are, of course, bringing our motorcycles.  Though the roads in PA are much worse than those in Maine (I promise to be very careful!), the season for riding is much longer!
Georgetown
We still own our 2 homes in Maine, and plan to return in a few years.  It has been a struggle to buy a home, and I don't want to give up any ties to Maine.   Gull Haven, in Friendship, that we have been renovating for many years, will stay as our summer retreat, and our home on Georgetown island (pictured above) will be rented, hopefully, to a family who likes being in the woods with many hiking trails, peace and quiet, deer, turkeys, osprey, seagulls and owls, and being close to the ocean and working fishing docks. If you know anyone like that who wants to move to Maine, our home will be available soon! 

The next door we will go through every day.  Amazing how many doors we go through in our lives!

Opening the Door

Down the narrow hall,
a dark and narrow way,
you walk what seems entirely
a path too far away.
Where's the switch to draw the light?
Perhaps there is just none.
Adjust your eyes and don't look back -
This may not be such fun.
Shuffle on and watch your step,
Mind stumbling blocks that try!
Keep steady footsteps to the door,
No time to moan or cry.
Miles before you stretch each day
Before it comes in view;
behind you one door has been closed -
it's not the door for you.
Step over hurdles, look around,
and keep your focus keen;
for as you near that door you'll know
new treasures yet unseen. 
Look, the door is straight ahead,
and fingertips can reach.
Stop a moment and look back
what lessons did life teach?
Put hand to doorknob, give a twist,
and then a gentle pull;
Ah, my friend, behind that door
The meaning will be full.
Standing there quite breathless
without regret or doubt
Your door has led you to the place
This journey was about.

by Donna JT Smith, 12/5/18

And now...who can resist a picture from a four year old artist?
I'll just tuck one down here for good measure...we're having some great times together!

Karate "ballet-er" listening to music...and singing...and a picture on the wall!

This Girl Does It All

Sometimes ya just gotta dance,
Sometimes ya gotta sing,
Sometimes ya gotta karate party
   - and draw - 
They're ALL your thing! 

by Donna JT Smith, 12/5/18

Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass is hosting Poetry Friday today. Go check out what else is in store!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Thursday with a Flourish

This is the last Spiritual First Thursday of 2018.  Please check out more of our One Little Word posts at Irene Latham's blog, Live Your Poem, www.irenelatham.blogspot.com.
This year's OLW for me is "Flourish".  I'd found it on a Starbuck's ornament and bought it to remind myself to go through the year and each day adding a bit of a flourish to it...or perhaps just to flourish in the new year.

Well, it seemed to be a good word.  But then the year began to have some major upheavals.  Family started to fall apart.  One at a time.  Then the times overlapped.  On-going events just continued to build and piggy-back one upon the other - events life-threatening, near death, unsettling, unnerving, disappointing, ulcer-inducing, nervous breakdown fodder...
One in a year would have been enough to be wrenching.  Two in a year really wretched...5 or so (only because I'm counting fast and might be actually - yay!- forgetting one or two) just unacceptable for a human being to be coping with.

In spite of the turmoil, I've tried to add a touch of "flourish" to my days - to show that I'm still okay, and to show that I am trying despite all, to "flourish" in the muck and mire.  I've tried to think "Let's change that mire to manure and see what grows"... like that...
Let's shovel some muck and find that pony!

My husband would tell you that there honestly were days when I grumbled and crumbled, and I wasn't holding up my end of my faith bargain.  I was trying to hand my worries off to God, but then taking them back again in the middle of the night, like that was helpful...
I was weak from crying out.  I was tired from lack of sleep.  I was sick from lack of peace.

But regardless of my constant falling and failing at faith, I kept grabbing at it again, and asking for forgiveness for my lack of faith.  And I asked for more faith.

Yipes!  That's like asking for patience.  In order to build patience, you are going to have to have something to be patient about!  I just realized that I was asking God to give me trials, so I could build my faith.  Oh, He did that.  And with a Flourish!  When I started counting blessings and giving thanks and doing for others, my faith was so much easier to come by.  I still faltered.  I still had some meltdowns.  But they seemed shorter, and easier to come out of.

I am looking for a less stressful word for this coming year.
It is the end of the year.  We will be in a new house (to be told tomorrow) - finally.  And I think I am going to be looking for new opportunities to be the best person I can be.  I want to reach out and be kinder, be more aware, more loving, more...
Oh, shoot...yeah, it IS at least 5 events...I'm forgetting the cabinet maker for the house in Friendship...he owes us over 10K in cabinets he didn't produce and money he didn't return... yeah, it's more like 10 events that were over-stressing...Don't worry, I found some cabinets someone was getting rid of, so we will have a kitchen despite the theft.
Okay, where was I?
..more loving, more forgiving, less of a flourish necessary, no worries necessary... more thankful, and better at remembering to express it.

One more thought.  I've never counted my miseries before.  I've always counted my blessings.  But I guess it's like swimming in the ocean.  Most of the time one wave hits and dissipates before the next.  So I have time to regroup and take a breath, look at the good around me and then proceed with the next overpowering wave.  This year they just kept coming before my head could get above water.  I began to drown and could not see the life preservers I was probably always being thrown.  In retrospect, I can see the good in many of the events.  Some I'm still working at the details to figure the good part out... but I'm sure it's there.
I'm on it.  Can I do a poem?

Faith

God,
you gave me more than I could chew
and waited - would I look at you?
   Nope, not yet!
   You served me more.
   No "Uncle" yet?
   There's more in store!

Ok, ok!  I know you're there!
I'll trust you now with every hair,
   and every breath
   I take today,
   that you will guide
   me in your way.

I will not in proud vanity
decide to do what's right for me;
   I'll give you all
   my guilty weight
   to be the Master
   of my fate.

I'll trust the strength of sheltering wings
to keep me safe from harmful things.
   You give me more
   than I can chew
   but now I know -
   "Lord, help me through."
Amen

by Donna JT Smith, 12/5/2018


Yes.  I guess I had one.  It wasn't Flourish though, but maybe we can consider it a "flourish" to the post, and a description of "how to flourish" with faith.   I think it works okay.

Just as a note, I felt compelled to write this today, but I want you to know I am not comfortable writing it.  I don't usually list the bad stuff that happens.  It seems so trivial and whiny to do that.  I much prefer to focus on what has gone on right.  And it works better for me.

I'm afraid that the string of "unfortunate events" overtook me after a while, and for a while.  Fester seemed to be the OLW instead of flourish!  And you can really get bogged down in a hurry when you live in the negative.  I tried not to let that happen, but sometimes it means internalizing everything and letting it build up.  Not a good plan.  I had to remind myself daily to take my worries to God...and then scream at myself NOT TO TAKE THEM BACK AGAIN!!

There are still a few things left on my plate.  But I have been successful in using my trust and faith again and getting back on an even keel, despite the lingering issues.  God's got them.

Prov 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

You know, a good Bible verse or two can really help you flourish...
and when one sticks with you, as you are reading, it is like glorious flourish sent straight from God to give you peace.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Artwork and Wordwork

Friday.
Poetry.
Yes, please.
Mouse on the movie "The Gruffalo"... you have to see this one if you haven't...mother squirrel concocts a story for her two youngsters, somewhat based on what she's seen that day...the mouse in her story does the same.  Keep a sharp eye out as you watch and listen.  It's a storyteller in a storyteller's tale, all based on things they have seen that day.  The more you see it, the more you see.

This is my 4 year old granddaughter's picture of the mouse.  She sat and studied him for awhile, and I watched her as she looked back and forth from tv to paper and considered his shape, features and color.  She had a few attempts before this one, that I wasn't aware she'd done until peeking in her notebook.
You can see here, her continuous line for the body and the 3-D legs (both sides, not just sticks)


My poem to a Gruffalo and friend:

Imaginary Fiend?
 
the imaginary Gruffalo
came to eat me, don't you know...
he's very tall with knobby knees,
a poisonous wart and spines like trees;
though I'm a mouse, I'm pretty sly,
and with my tricks, I walk right by
that owl, fox and snake who try
to snack on me
'cause I rely
on Gruffalo who follows me
so I'm as carefree as can be.

 by Donna JT Smith, 11/29/18

My other poem, thought in part while watching granddaughter draw...and thinking about the arts...and what it means to be a human that creates and thinks:

Heart

When I draw, 
I watch as my heart
colors and shapes
the page.

When I write,
I listen to my heart
color and shape
each scene.

When I live,
I love with my heart;
color and shape
are unimportant.

by Donna JT Smith, 11/29/18

More, more, more...encore, you say?  Head on over to Carol W. at Carol's Corner where more poems are awaiting.

Friday, November 23, 2018

More Sharing

It's the day after Thanksgiving already?  It's hard to believe.  Time has gone by rather quickly sometimes and at others very, very slowly.  It's all a matter of where my focus lies at the moment, I guess.  I am grateful for many moments that keep me focused on the important things in life.  Like this.

I'm spending time with my grandchildren this month.  My 4 year old granddaughter is with me while her brother is at school, so we have some time of drawing, writing, music and dance.  One day this week we came up with this picture.  She draws most all of the time on her own, but this one day she wanted to combine our drawings into one scene.  So, we each drew rabbits and she drew mice...then she wanted me to draw a fence...

Behind the fence she added a little girl with yellow hair peeking over it.  Soon the little girl's mother showed up.  The mother is much taller, of course.  Granddaughter's green birds are flying past, a ball has been tossed in the air (it was going to be a bird, but it was too close to Mom's hair she said), and carrots (mine on the right, hers on the left) are enticing the bunnies.

I don't usually like to draw with a child, but sometimes, as long as you are not "showing them up" or instructing them in the proper form in the drawing, I think it is okay.  I try to bow out as much as possible and let them take ownership of the work even finishing off what I've started.

I think we worked this cooperative picture quite successfully: she changed my bluebird (that is almost invisible now on the right) to green when it blended with sky, and she made a new "greenbird" friend for it right next to her sun; she increased the population of mice by adding to my one mouse, and she added green baby bunnies to join the other family.  Our skies are blended and reworked blues.  Best of all, we had fun and conversation while working on it.  I'm happiest though, watching her quietly consider the blank paper and colored pencils, and how she announces what she is about to create.

Just wait until the next picture.  Her people have suddenly grown full legs and no support stick below.  How fascinating to see the stages of growth in her observations and art.

How many blessings can one day hold? 


The Dictated Story as told to me:
(just the beginning...perhaps there will be more later)

                                                There was a little girl with her mom.  
                                                And the little girl said, "Come here, come here!
                                                I want you to see the bunnies and mice!"

************************

Coloring Days

Each sparkle day with
pencils and pen,
one after the other,
sprinkled again
with drawing
and singing,
all impromptu,
bitty ballerina dances
in sequined tutu.
Days pinwheel and swirl,
each blended yet whole
as hues are displayed
then ingrained in my soul. 

by Donna JT Smith, 11/20/18
************************

And with that I urge you to go read more poetry today, be grateful, and eat some leftovers...
join more poetry friends for Poetry Friday at Live Your Poem where Irene Latham is hosting today.

Friday, November 9, 2018

FB Recap

I apologize for not being everywhere all the time, but soon I will be again.  I catch moments of fleeting time and try to make sure I am still writing and posting, but not quite as regular as I usually am.  I SHALL return.  Please bear with me.  These were all posts from my FB this week - apologies to those who have already read them.  Again, freshness will resume soon!

4 year old grand daughter's ballerina drawing!  Love her dress!
Stage

Wispy strains
of music afloat
softly call to
Butterflies
released from
fluttering inside.
Wings on her toes,
light as leaves
on a breeze,
She flows
leaping into their
flighted dance.

by Donna JT Smith



Homeward Bound

There are roads that take you somewhere, lanes for you to roam;
There are highways heading east and west, and some ways take you home.

Your eyes scan far horizons where road aligns with sky,
And then it dips away again before another high.

Sinuous and soothing go the ribbons through the fields,
And every stop amid the peace reminds our hearts to yield.

Hold the air, the soil, the sun - warmth before the cold;
And give way to the hurriers - they're only growing old.

The fact is roads are all the same: your way is meant to be -
For all the roads you travel on have home-bound scenery.

by Donna JT Smith, 10-15-18

Poem inspiration: 
- The first sighting of a rainbow by my 4 year old grand daughter one evening when the sun broke through before sunset after a day of rain. -  Breathtaking both child and rainbow...

“I didn’t know those were real in real life! It’s the first one I ever saw! It has all the beautiful colors! I want to look at this forever!”
Though we didn’t get a good picture, she drew it the next morning. 
Promise

When I see a rainbow,
That palette all revealed,
I'm fascinated how sun and rain
Keep mysteries concealed.

Do you remember the first you saw
And how it made you feel?
Remember being mesmerized
By colors arched surreal?

Oh, could that moment be recalled
Whe fantasy turned real,
And misty hues threw arms around
A world with God's own seal!

by Donna JT Smith
drawing by 4 year old granddaughter

It's Poetry Friday!  Make a poem out of life today...

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Michelle at Today's Little Ditty - go see!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Revisiting



For today, I thought I'd recap some things I put on FB but didn't put on my blog.  Some or many may have seen and read them, but I am trying to stay focused on a few projects at the house at the moment.  Every time I think we are caught up, another thing comes up and says "He--lo-o?" or "HELLLLLOOOOOOO!!!"
and then we have to respond.  Come November, and I will let you know a bit of what we've been up to.

So I am kind of cheating in a way (in my world anyway) by putting on my blog, things that I've posted recently on FB or other posts for today's Poetry Friday. 

Generations

Why can the eyes
of my granddaughter
see into my soul?
Why can I hear
her quiet thoughts
as if they were my own?
How is it that
I feel hurts and joys
of my daughter and my son?
How can I see
my image in
the lives that they’ve begun?
Why do I hear
my mother's voice
when I open my mouth to speak?
Why do I feel
my grandmother's laugh
between my own lips leak?

by ©Donna JT Smith ©10/6/2018


Who Goes There?

I wonder if a little Fawn
might come and softly,
lightly tread
to nibble on
a mushroom head,
or might a creature small
like squirrel
scurry-hurry
windy-whirl
stop to eat
with tail
acurl?
I think I’ll sit awhile
and see
if maybe,
maybe
Fairies
Be.

By Donna JT Smith ©10/10/2018

How Long?

As we grow up we clearly see
Mistakes our fathers made
And see the cost to all of us
That still we’ve not yet paid.
There is no doubt there will be more
Accrued to our account
That never have we done ourselves
Debt owed that none recount.
I’m tiring of accepting loads,
Some misappropriated;
And kindly ask that you would think
To whom you are related.
Your closet may have skeletons
You’d rather were not there
Perhaps you cannot see the past
Ancestral sins you bear.
I try to start each day anew
With clean slate and clean plate
And do my best to live and learn,
Improve some sad estate.
It wears me down and brings a tear
To think of such and such
But everyone has someone’s past
We wish no one would touch.
So keep your words more kind to all
They’re doing all they can
To keep their heads above the flow
And be a better man.

by Donna JT Smith, ©10/8/2018

Fall

Dragonflying 
over maples'
"last hurrah" - 
the end in sight;
it was good
while it lasted

by Donna JT Smith ©10-11-2018


Cry My Last

I’ll cry my last cry
Be done with the grief;
Take in waves of new air
And pray for relief.
Please, God, give me comfort,
Let my soul and mind rest
In the truth that you know
What works for my best.
I’m reaching with hands
Atremble with doubt;
I’m calling your name,
My words want to shout!
Don’t leave me alone.
I’m scared and I’m weak.
I’m listening, Lord, to
Each word that you speak.
I know in my heart
I must stop the bleeding -
You bled for me once,
That’s all that I’m needing.
There’s nothing gone right
Since I went my own way,
Ignoring you, Lord,
And neglecting to pray.
The leaves have turned old
And have fallen to ground,
But before winter rises
I want to be found.
I want to rejoice in
My rekindled life;
I want to have laughter
Unburdened by strife.
As I take to my knees
Before the Lord’s throne,
I’ll cry my last cry and
Groan my last groan;
Renewed and rejoicing
For the miracle’s free;
Step for step with the Lord
Right where I should be. 

By Donna JT Smith, 9/29/18


Why sit we in wonder?
How can we not?
When the wonder is that
He created each spot.

Donna JTSmith

Hope you found a poem or two you enjoyed.
Have a wonderful Friday and try to stop by and read more poems linked at Laura's place: Writing the World for Kids

Could be the last ride of the fall here...temps are dropping now.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Little Lovely Leggings

Poems below if you are in a hurry! But this is a bit of background story.

My granddaughter dresses herself, and has for quite some time.  She is, after all, 4 years old.  She reminds me so much of my daughter - her mother - in so many ways.  The most obvious way is in her choice of clothing.  She has her own fashion sense, as many little girls do.  I enjoy seeing what she will pick out to wear when I am visiting.  She often changes clothes once or twice a day, which also reminds me of my daughter, and actually my grandmother - one outfit is not a "one moment fits all" kind of thing.  It could be tutu time.  Shopping is a different thing and may require different clothes from eating supper or coloring.

The last time I was there, she donned this outfit as we set out.

This is the same fashion sense my daughter had and has.  They can wear things that don't look like they go together, and then suddenly they do.  It is an outfit.  It looks good and stylish and sweet.  And I love it.

Little Lovely Leggings

Miss Leggings and I
went for a walk
and on the way
we had a talk
A talk of things
quite small
and high
of things quite far
and some just nigh
and learned we lots
of goodish things
of butterfliers
and birdly wings
of toadsome legs
and mushy's cap
and leaves that fall
on cricklet's nap
and when we went
along on home
we whispered to
a friendly gnome
that we would come
to play again -
I think tomorrow
may be when.

by Donna JT Smith, ©10/5/18


And all you need is a braid and a nice warm sweatshirt, in purple, and you are ready to face the world!
I want that outfit.

Play It Again
by Donna JT Smith
****************
the
day
I wear
this outfit
will be the day
they put me away
in a place with neutral
walls and quiet music and
probably no mirrors or anything
else breakable or able to remind me
of how I don't look the way I am picturing
in my mind that has slipped way back to an age
of yore and I am twirling round the floor on tiptoes to
the sounds of violins playing a waltz or maybe The Dance
of the Sugar Plum Fairies more likely and I will have a slight smile
on my face and my eyes will be closed and I will be humming along as
if no one were watching for that is the splendor of being a little girl who is four.


Last week while driving down to visit grandchildren in PA, I realized when I arrived I was making this statement:


I had gotten out of the car at rest stops and walked around like I was all put together.  I wonder if anyone noticed.  I saw no one looking at my feet.  I guess if you act put together, you are.  
After all, I have another pair almost identical still at home to wear next time.

Not a Pair
One doesn't need
two legs the same
I wore two shoes
my teacher's game
They didn't match
One pink one blue
The same for socks
opposing hues
Attention on 
The teacher's feet
Made learning fun
And kind of sweet
Students strove
To spy faux pas
And be the first 
To cry "Aha!"
Some days on purpose
Some days mistake
But always with a
Smile partake
in any fun of 
wrongful shoes
To laugh at self
You never lose.

by Donna JT Smith, 10/5/2018

PS: On purpose, when teaching first grade, I frequently wore a blue tennis shoe and a pink one, with opposite colored socks on each foot (blue shoe, pink sock - pink shoe, blue sock) and often added a pink troll head on the laces for extra pizazz).  Now when I'm mismatched it isn't really on purpose.  Sometimes it wasn't on purpose at school either when I had almost matching flats on.

Here's an example of one of my "not on purpose" times.  I noticed while riding in the car on the way to a meeting, too late to run back and change, of course:
Noticed in the car on the way to a meeting...
More links to blogs with Friday Poems can be found at Tabatha's blog, The Opposite of Indifference

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Spiritual First Thursday - Humor



Photo by Kah Lok Leong on Unsplash
Humor helps me put things in perspective, and I tend to find myself looking at difficult situations and thinking "This is going to be really funny someday - maybe even later today - or now!".  I found this clip this week, and it is basically how I like to live my life.  Humor instead of drama...



I may even have a slight problem with humor, seeing it where others don't (that may or may not have been a problem in the past...).   Still my heart is generally merry and sees the funny in many things - though I've learned to keep SOME to myself!

Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

I do love funny - especially the kind that makes me laugh till I cry.  I remember my father laughing so hard he couldn't speak.  It was the same laugh his mother had.  Oh, to again hear that laughter as family stories were told!

I like humor like this:



Have a fun day.  Even if it isn't funny... make it fun!

There is no reason not to laugh
at self and situations;
It's like a tonic for the soul
a mini mind vacation.

by Donna JT Smith, 10/4/2018

I'll bet you will have a good start at it by reading the rest of the Spiritual First Thursday posts with Jan at bookseedstudio!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Home, Sweet Home


Home Sweet Home

There are houses that just make you smile;
Make coming home worth every mile.
They ground your tired feet,
And make your life sweet,
As they beckon you, "Come sit awhile".

by Donna JT Smith ©9/29/2018

Just had to write a limerick to go with the picture of this sweet house I spied.  Hope you are having a home, sweet home kind of day!

Ok, now back to laundry and vacuuming...MY house beckons me...you can't just sit, you know!  There are dust bunnies to be captured.


For those of you who know about our home in Friendship, Gull Haven, I am going to post some updates on that blog later today.  It has been a stressful year, but some clouds are lifting.  We may get there sometime...

Okay, updates on Friendship kitchen fiasco HERE.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Red Foxes and Maples

This week we saw changing leaves and spied a beautiful, healthy fox in a field.  Don't usually see a fox in broad daylight unless it is sickly.  This one had a gorgeous bushy tail and was leery of crossing the field in plain sight, so he looked more like he'd been disturbed from his daytime slumber.

It reminded me of the maples turning red surrounded by the greens.  I'd passed the tree a few times, and then we actually turned around so that I could take the picture.  I just had to have it for a poem that was brewing.


 Of Maples and Foxes

Scarlet in the field 
alerts 
to the cold
of deepest white
and sparkling ebony nights;
sprints
through the golden stubbly fields
and heron's cooling marsh
under unmarred blue skies;
leaps
spires of fading greens
piles of gray stones stitched acres
and babbling crystal brooks;
peers
from ever-deep-greens
through yellow tipped hedges
around silver sheds and barns;
and green
turns to gold 
and gold 
burns to red 
and red
spurns the white
cold ebony night
and scarlet
returns to 
sleep
deep
beneath
the crimson maple.

by Donna JT Smith, ©2018

I am sorry, but I will likely not visit others blogs this week.  I wrote and scheduled this a few weeks ago in case I couldn't get back to it.  Just noticed that it did post, and I'd even forgotten that I'd done it.  So here I am apologizing.  Hope your week is fun and your school year is going well, if you are teaching and retirement is going well, if you are doing that!