Thursday, March 31, 2016

My One Little Wordle: BOLD



This is not only the last day of the March SOLC at Two Writing Teachers (sad face), but it is also the day to celebrate my OLW (smiley face) on Holly Mueller's site where she hosts Spiritual Journey Thursday.

So, once again, this post is doing double duty... BOLDLY doing double duty.  It is pretty much a ramble from the poem on...not sure why, but it didn't seem to come together today as clearly and smoothly as I would have liked.  I apologize now for it being so long.
You can pick and choose what you want to read and what you want to skip!

Boldly Go

Bold means stepping out
one foot following the other
without more thought than is
necessary
without more shaking than
the shaking off of fears.

Bold means chin held up
leading the way forward
into places not encountered
before
without casting eyes down
except to clear a path.

Bold means not questioning,
knowing it is the right way
even in a deep, dark valley
marching
without hesitation
till mountain's top is scaled.

©2016, Donna JT Smith, all rights reserved


My word for this year is BOLD.  I picked that word for a few reasons, some of which I've written about before. 

BOLD 1
When I went to the doctor for a checkup in late December, she discovered a lump.  It was determined that I needed a mammogram asap.

Many, many prayers were boldly spoken aloud and in quiet by myself, my family, my friends, my pastor.  I went boldly for a healing anointing with the elders of the church - something that is spoken of in the Bible in James 15: 14-16.

BOLD prayers continued until I was seen in early January for my mammogram.  There was no lump to be found.  Even an immediate followup ultrasound turned up nothing.  I was clean.
1 John 5: 14-15
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

We often don't come to God with the BOLDness He has told us to have.   
We often start or end a prayer with "if it is your will...", as if we need to give God permission to ignore our prayers.  Of course He can ignore our prayer if He wants to.  He doesn't need our permission.  We aren't being rude when we call out to God, pray to Him, and ask boldly for what we wish.  

If we have asked God to give us our desires, then we know it is his desire, also.  In the scriptures, God giving us our desires does not mean he gives us what we want, but that he changes inside us what we would desire.  Then He makes you want the right things - that is the desire he has given you.

So if God has put it in your heart to want something specific, perhaps then you should follow the directive and ask for that boldly.  He did, after all, make you want that, and told you to ask for what you want.  It's an interesting and powerful realization.  We need to have faith, and realize that prayer is a powerful thing!

Hebrews 4: 16
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

"Come boldly unto the throne...find grace to help in time of need..."

Bold moves, a bold faith, a bold help.

I want to be bold in my faith to do what I am called to do, my expectations of myself, my love for others, my prayers for God's desires for me, and for making my way in life.  I want to be bold in my prayers for others; bold in following in faith; bold in my relationship with God; and bold in living life as a witness.
And that's a lot of BOLDNESS!

BOLD 2
This is pretty much related to BOLD 1.
I took a bold step to improving my health all around.  In mid-March I was taken off BP med, and told I was no longer in a pre-diabetic state.

Parts are and have been healing in my body.  I had started physical therapy, too, and have found that my core strength is improving, too, around a challenging spine.  I have grown an inch since my checkup in December.  Instead of being 2 inches shorter than in my youth, I am now only one inch shorter.  You know, that has to have helped my BMI (LOL!)... I've always said I was the perfect weight for my ideal height.  Somehow I just never attained my height goal.

BOLD 3
I want to be BOLD in stepping outside of my comfort zone in writing, and be more confident and comfortable in this world of writing.
I have BOLDLY submitted two pieces to anthologies, and am waiting to hear back at the end of the summer.  Being BOLD would say that I should not be "waiting to hear"; I should be continuing to submit things.  But, I find I am making excuses, when in fact I need to be BOLD in my actions.

Here's what I'm thinking instead: 
- I don't really have a good piece finished.
- I should be doing laundry, cleaning that closet, sewing, etc.
- I don't know where to submit work even if I had anythin - why can't they find me? (defensive voice starts)
- There are going to be so many "no's"  before a "yes".
- It's going to take too long. (whiny voice begins)
- It's too hard. (whiny voice continues a bit louder)
- I have a dog.
- I have a hangnail.
- It's too hot/cold/rainy/snowy. (is that a pout?)

Maybe that is why I've not been able to be bold yet - I'm making MEEK excuses for not being BOLD.

BOLD 4
I want to be more BOLD in my painting and drawing.  BOLD in my painting.  When I painted BOLDLY I felt like an artist.  I haven't painted since Thanksgiving - not since boldly painting the portrait of our dog.
After that I didn't have the confidence that I could do it again.  But this week I decided to give it another go.   At the very least, I could prove to myself that I should put the paints away for good.
My first painting was on bad paper (there, I already had an excuse for failing!), and I timidly approached the paper with brush.  The painting was horrid!  And I mean horrid.  I am not being overly critical.  Don't even go there about how negative this talk is.  Truly, it was horrid.  I'm not going to even show it to you.
I waited a few days, keeping the horrid one posted on the refrigerator.  I had a talk with myself. Then I pulled out some good paper, refreshed my paints, lined up my brushes and got a nice plastic container out of recycling for water.  Found the photo I'd taken that I wanted to capture, and told myself that I COULD do this.  And if it wasn't good, that was all right.  Just do it.  And be BOLD about it.
I did it.  And it wasn't half bad.  Are there things I wish I'd done differently?  Yes.  But for the most part, it was pleasing.  And it pretty much looks like him, too...BOLD BONUS!

I have never been bold in my actions.  Bold does not always look good on me.  It can look like I'm bragging.  Like posting this painting.  Is that BOLD or a BOAST?  To me it feels like both.  I mean it to be BOLD;  I cringe as I put it out there for critical eyes.

It seems to me that there has always been a bolder person inside of me that was a bit scared to emerge.  Does that make ANY sense?  Sometimes this bolder person makes an appearance when situations require her.  And it's always a bit of a surprise to me - and probably others.

BOLD is not concerned a lot with what others think.  BOLD is about doing what needs to be done.

Today I am making a BOLD sign for my refrigerator.  It will be a BOLDLY printed sign, with synonyms for BOLD on it, and things I want to be BOLD about.  Though I doubt that I will ever BOLDLY go where no man has gone before...it may be where I have never gone before at least and at last!

My refrigerator poster.

Tomorrow is a HUGE day!!!!  The beginning of BOLD blogging plans.
I will be participating in all of these in April:

NaPoWriMo - writing a poem a day in April begins tomorrow.
The A-to-Z Challenge for the month of April begins for over 1000 writers of all genres.
Poetry Friday Roundup will be weekly on Friday, of course, and tomorrow is Friday!
Irene Latham's Progressive Poem gets its first line tomorrow - see schedule below!

Progressive Poem schedule:

2016 KIDLITOSPHERE PROGRESSIVE POEM
April
2 Joy at Joy Acey
3 Doraine at Dori Reads
4 Diane at Random Noodling
8 Janet F. at Live Your Poem
11 Buffy at Buffy's Blog
12 Michelle at Today's Little Ditty
13 Linda at TeacherDance
14 Jone at Deo Writer
16 Violet at Violet Nesdoly
17 Kim at Flukeprints
18 Irene at Live Your Poem
19 Charles at Poetry Time
21 Jan at Bookseedstudio
24 Amy at The Poem Farm
25 Mark at Jackett Writes
26 Renee at No Water River
27 Mary Lee at Poetrepository
29 Sheila at Sheila Renfro
30 Donna at Mainely Write

Enjoy this month of April!  It is busy, busy, busy!  And I'm ready to step forth BOLDLY!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Invention: Quatro-Haiku

It is already Day 30 of the Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers - only ONE DAY left to go!
What to do? What to do? Keep writing!  You are almost to the finish line!
Or are you?  Don't you think you should just keep writing for writing's sake?  Aren't you wondering what good stuff you still have in you?  Don't you remember that thing that happened that you didn't have enough days to tell about?  I know I still have pictures that I'd taken to use in case I needed a prompt for the day, that I haven't written about yet.  Two Writing Teachers still links each Tuesday to Slices, so you can still keep up the writing at least weekly.

Or, here's another "think to think", alongside Tuesday's Slice of Life and/or the A-to-Z Challenge, that I mentioned yesterday...

Adrienne Gillespie, at Books and Bassetts mentioned, in the comments yesterday, another April writing challenge - that of writing a poem a day for NaPoWriMo!  And I've signed up here to have my blog listed.  You don't have to have the blog listed, and you don't even need a website.  You don't need to post your poem.  You just need to write a poem a day in April.

Just another "think to think" in case you are feeling panicky about having time on your hands after March!

But, back to the Slice, because it ain't over yet.  I am thinking of things I want to do.  One is to go see my grandchildren or have them come up here.  They are so far away, but not so far that they can't drive up or vice versa.  I need to try out my new lap top for reading books to them!  I have a lap now.  They've always had to sit beside me really.  But after losing 28 pounds... well, that's a whole child that was already sitting on my lap before they came...so there's room for a real grandchild here now!

Here's my Quatro-Haiku* to my newish lap(top):

Almost New

Little used laptop -
Functions best with grandchildren,
Shows some signs of wear,

Some minor repairs,
Needs occasional cleaning,
Requires cooling fan;

 Two prior users:
Tawny Scrawny Lion and
Little Tinkerbell;

Will accomodate
Multiple users with books;
Cost: One Nannie hug.

©2016, with love, by Donna JT Smith (aka Nannie), all rights reserved
 

*You do know I made that up, right?  But it is a very good think to make up, and a very good think to write.  And I am claiming that term.  I've looked it up.  No one else has said it.  So it is mine, mine, mine!

*Donna JT Smith has just made up a new poetry form, the Quatro-Haiku.  See below for the definition of this new poetic form.  If someone else has done this before, and named it something else...well, I'm sorry.  I've just renamed it and claimed it!  It's a lot like discovering "new land" that someone else owns.  Oh, well, too bad.

Quatro-Haiku: a very strict poetic form based on the Haiku.  It is made up of four stanzas or Haiku.  Each Haiku or stanza must strictly follow the correct 5-7-5 syllables per line format.
Any deviation in format will disqualify the poem and place it in the Quasi-Quatro-Haiku category, which will in future, I'm sure, be fondly referred to as the "Crazy-Quatro-Haiku".  So stick to the format, as these titles get a bit wordy and have already used more than their fair share of vowels.  (Late addition: My daughter, Little Tinkerbell, has suggested that any formating changes should be referred to as "Cwazy-Quatro-Haiku", and I am inclined to agree.)

New discovery!  I have been to read "Falconers" post this morning and there you will find a "Cinco Haiku" or a "Quatro-and-a-Quarter Haiku" (as I've named them)!  Great syllablificating on these BTW!

(Note: Tawny Scrawny Lion refers to my son.  It's a book he used to love for me to read.  Little Tinkerbell, is reference to my daughter who was pixie-small.  Both got to use my lap long ago.  It has gone pretty much unused since then.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Almost April


It's almost April 1.  And then the March SOL at Two Writing Teachers will be over... I hate quitting this fun cold turkey.  It is always a fun month of blogging and getting to know new bloggers and getting reacquainted with old friend-bloggers.  We only have two more days, can you believe it?

But then the A-to-Z Challenge begins.  I discovered that the second year into SOLC, that I didn't have to wander aimlessly around the blogosphere in April.  The SOLC had made a bit of a blogging addict out of me!  I went in search of the next adventure.

In this event, which runs throughout April (with time off on Sunday), posts are written to correspond with each letter of the alphabet on the assigned date. 
So A is on Friday, April 1;
B is on Saturday, April 2;
Sunday, April 3 is skipped;
Monday, April 4, is C
and Tuesday, April 5 is D...and so on to Z on the last day of the month.

I have signed up to do this a number of years now and have picked different themes for my blog posts.  Because it is Poetry Month, though, I've always written poems for each of the days, and I've even filled in on Sundays with a random poem, so I wouldn't miss a day of poetry.

For my first year, in 2012, I wrote a poem a day about an animal beginning with the specific letter.  I created a Tagxedo to go with it, and the poem itself had to be of a form beginning with the corresponding letter.  Here's a sample from 2012 on the "M Day":

Font: MKorsair
Theme: Miaka
Poetry Form:  Minute Poetry - Minute Poetry has 12 lines of 60 syllables written in iambic meter. Its format is 3 stanzas of 8,4,4,4 syllables each.  The rhyme is aabb, ccdd, eeff.

M is for Mouse
A tiny creature is a mouse
Who likes a house
And eats a crumb
To fill its tum.
It has a tail and tiny toes
A little nose,
Big eyes, some fur,
Small ears for sure.
It stays away from cats and hawks
Ignores door locks
Lives in the wall
Avoiding all.

© 2012 Donna J.T. Smith

------------------------------------

In 2013, I photographed local lobster boats, most overwintering on land, with names that corresponded to the letters, and wrote poems for them.  Here's B for Bucephalus:

"Bucephalus"

 Bucephalus

I champ at the bit,
A steed of the sea;
My race to the water
Is still yet to be.

I just need some paint,
The buoys do, too;
Get ready to roll
And rock on the blue.
 ----------------------------------

In 2014, I selected Maine authors and found book titles that began with each letter of the alphabet.  I took the title of each book and wrote a poem about the title (not the book itself).  Here's L from that year:
Lighthouse Lullaby
by Kelly Paul Briggs
Lighthouse Lullaby

What would I sing to a light house
if I had to sing a song?
What do the waves say to it
when they are crashing so strong?
I think that it would like to hear
soft murmurs from the stars
the sound of sand 
swish-swashing
as it swirls in to the land
I think a lighthouse would like
to hear
a tune of a conch’s shell
and maybe the faraway ringing
of a harbor’s channel bell
a lullaby for a lighthouse
would be like one for you or me
except that the sound of the singing
would be the soft, salty sound of the sea.
©Donna JT Smith, 2014


In 2015, I took pictures of interesting signage around the area.  Our Transfer Station did not disappoint:



Does your garbage make you grouchy?
Is your trash not up to par?
Bring it here, and we will match it,
Heave some more right in your car.

Is it something we have done
That destroyed your satisfaction?
Some minor imposition
Or a major league infraction?

It's our written guarantee
When you leave you should be happy
Or we'll have to give your trash back
And we'll double every scrappy.

You should always be contented
And take pride in what you toss
Or your one bag will be doubled -
Would you think that gain or loss?

©Donna JT Smith, 2015
----------------------------------

And now "ta-da!" - this is my fifth year participating.  I have a new theme for which, since fall, I have been collecting pictures.  In the process I have gotten to know stories behind some of the pictures I've taken.  There is nothing like having a "project" to get you involved with complete strangers.  I have been honored to be given the freedom to photograph my subject, and when able, to discuss with the owner their reason for choosing what they chose.

Again, I will be writing a poem a day.  On Friday, April 1, my post will begin with a picture, as usual, and there will be a poem, as usual, and they will all begin with the letter A...
My theme is... drum roll, of sorts here...
Vanity License Plates!

Yes, a license plate, from Maine, for each letter of the alphabet, and a poem to go with it.


I think I got the idea last spring from my own vanity plate, our first one ever.  I started taking pictures of license plates as soon as I thought of it.  If someone was still in their car, I'd approach them and tell them what I was doing and ask if they minded if I took their license plate's picture.  No one ever refused.  Of course, if they weren't in their car, then I just took it anyway.  How can you stop someone from snapping a photo?  If they were in the car, I supposed they could have run over me.  But no one did.  So it all worked out every time, all 26 times, plus all the extra times.  I took more than one of each letter, since I needed to write a poem for each, and wasn't sure what would strike me as poem-worthy on the day I needed to be creative.

I have prewritten a few poems and I've pre-scheduled each post already whether there is something written yet for the post or not.  It's just a help to get me started. 

There is still room on the list to add your name if you are interested.  It is a lot of fun and kind of eases you out of March SOL and into Spring!  I am number 1193 right now on the list.  As people drop out, or haven't participated and are removed from the list, your number changes.  The object is for everyone to visit other sites and get to know other bloggers.

From the SOLC and the A-to-Z Challenge, I have come to know so many wonderful bloggers.  This next challenge kind of takes the edge off the sudden change!  I'm still taking pictures... even today... just in case...  You just never know where a word will take you.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Day 28

Quickly, an update.
My glucose level is no longer in early diabetes range. It is totally in the normal range.  Blood pressure continues to be quite low.  By that I mean under 120/80. It's around 106/70 most of the time. 
And I'm down 27 pounds since December 14th.  I am feeling very well aned need some new clothes. I am taking in seams now, waiting a bit before getting anything new. I have another small person to lose before settling in on a size and new wardrobe.

But I did get a new skirt for Easter! I felt pretty colorful!


Then another random note about yesterday.

As we drove to church, there on the side of the road just over the edge of the road embankment a bit, was a Bald Eagle, snacking on something tasty. He must have dropped something because they just don't go scavenging.  I've seen them soaring in the skies here, but never on the ground and this close!  Close enough to see his eyes. What a gorgeous white head!  And huge!
I would SO love to have been able to snap a picture!  But I was grateful to have had the privilege of seeing him.  He would have been easy to miss if I'd not been idling gazing off to the side of the road just then.

Bald eagle breakfast;
Everything just tastes better
When fresh picked yourself.

You will just have to think your own image!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter Sunday

Today is Day 27 of the SOLC for March.  We are slicing a bit of life and serving it up each day in March, thanks to Two Writing Teachers.
I took this picture in our church sanctuary on a sunny Sunday morning.  I loved how the sun was streaming in through the windows and lighting up a small piece of the church that I'm not sure many notice.

And I wrote an aCROSStic for it - in not record time... it wasn't that simple for me today.  Sometimes poems come easy, others not so much.  This was a not-so-much one.


I hope you have a joyous Easter today!

I'll be back to comment later today.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday Caturday

It's Day 26 of the Slice of Life Challenge for March.  This is my sixth year participating, and though this post is later than I usually post, I HAVE to get it in!  I've always made the 31 days straight for the past five years.  I just can't slip up now!


Today is Saturday, so Noah just wanted you to know what he was up to this week.  He was really into my computer this week...kind of literally and figuratively.

I know, I've posted this one before, but Noah likes this one especially and wanted to make sure you saw it.

I've had this screen twice this week alone...due to Noah's lounging on the keyboard.


No!!!  Noah, what are you doing?

I'm getting warm.

Get off my keyboard!

Do you think you could not yell at me?

What are you doing?? Get off my computer!

Your computer? 

Yes!  Oh, now look what you've done!

I've done nothing.

Yes, you have.  It's shutting down. Get off.

Please?

Please.  Get off. Here let me help you.

I can do it myself.  You don't have to pick me up.

Aha!  See the screen?

Yes.

It says that you are a "Problem". 

I don't think so.  I am definitely not a problem.
 
It is telling me that I shut down my computer because of a Problem!

Well, I am not a problem.  I'll tell you what's a Problem.  I think your computer is the problem.  It gets too warm lately.  I can barely lie on it anymore.

Perhaps, because you are covering it up with hair, and it can't breathe.

Computers don't breathe; they are not alive. 

Maybe so, but they do need air. And you are blocking its airways with your hair, so you and your hair are problems!
 
My hair has never been a problem before.



Tell that to my clothes and the chair in the living room.

I would, but like the computer - they are not alive.  You seem really confused today.  Have they checked you for Oldtimers Disease lately?  They really should.  According to my cursory CAT scan, I think you should go in for some testing.  You could have a Problem.




Friday, March 25, 2016

Starlight

This week, Laura Purdie Salas posted a picture of decorative lights strung from the ceiling in an airport.
I saw these lights as our attempt to bring starlight closer to us to enjoy on a cloudy day or EVEN inside!   We (well, I do anyway) have a fascination with stars, but stars are not to be visited by us - at least not in the near future.   We can enjoy the feeling of starlight and stars by simply stringing some lights above.
We can bring our stars closer to us, though we cannot get closer to them.

This was my 15 Words or Less response:

Faraway Lights

Drawn to stars
Where we might never go,
But we can bring them closer.
 
©Donna JT Smith, 2016, all rights reserved

It's pretty amazing that, though we cannot always see the sun, the moon or the stars, they are always there.  Pretty comforting thought.


Happy Poetry Friday!
It's a Good one!

More poem links my be found at our hostess, Heidi Mordehorst, at My Juicy Little Universe.

And of course, this is Day 25 of the Slice of Life Challenge!  See what others are slicing today at Two Writing Teachers!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Slice of Sun Shine

On this white, blustery day of no sun, no shine, I know there IS shining somewhere, a sun.  It is just above the clouds.  It is always there no matter the day, the hour, the weather, or even the sadness.  It is always there.
And no matter the circumstance, we are to look to that shining sun.  Hope you have a Slice of Sun Shine today!
*********************************
Added this portion on Friday morning - wish I'd added it it on Thursday:
Though many of you will not be returning to read this additional note, I felt I needed to mention that this poem may be taken on a "sun only" meaning, or it may be seen as an "only Son" poem.  

My reference to the moon, "reflects" the fact that we are to be the evidence or the witness of the Light as John said here.  The moon is not the light, but reflects the light of the sun - the evidence of the source of its true light, the sun.
 
John 1:
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
*********************************
Not today...

"The Sun Shine" or "The Son Shine" - your pick.

Lifts dew
Dries tears
Grows roots
Melts fears

Lights up eyes
Warms the soils
Dances on seas
Smiles on toils

Reflects in ponds
A surging flame
Causes the rainbows
Illuminates each frame

Turns snow to diamonds
Gives a face to the moon
Reveals hope in darkness
As promised, returns soon

©Donna JT Smith, 2016, all rights reserved


It is Day 24 of SOLC at Two Writing Teachers, and it is Spiritual Journey Thursday with Dorainne Bennett 's OLW, SHINE.  Please take some time and visit these links to discover what others have written about their day.

Some scripture for "Shine" - a wonderful reflection for Easter...

Isaiah 60:
  1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
 
19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.
20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Matthew 5:
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Ginger's Training



Ginger at her checkup...in control!
Since my fall with Ginger in the lead, I've asked my son who comes over on Sundays, to work with her on commands.  He has a deep, "commanding" voice, and is way stronger than I (he moonlights as a bouncer sometimes).  I just don't have the strength to follow through on my demands that she heel or come.  My back, my shoulders, even my voice, do not allow for her to give me much more thought than she would a mosquito!

We had bought a shock collar a while back, but had procrastinated about using it.  I just didn't like the thought of it.  There are so many differing opinions on its use, that I wasn't sure we really wanted to resort to it.

However, for her, it has been the BEST THING ever.  Used correctly, and on the right dog, it is a wonderfully helpful device.  I began by using it a little in the house when she stole my shoe, or stole my husband's handkerchief.  I'd say "no" and "drop it".  And her reaction at first was "what is following me and biting me?"  and she would drop what she had in confusion.  Pretty soon she associated the word "no" with what she was doing and the sting.  It was only a matter of a couple of times on a couple of behaviors, and she suddenly "got it"!  She understood that the "no" was directed at her and what she was doing - whatever she was doing,  transferring to other unwanted behaviors.  The "come" meant always even if the smells were really, really good where she was sniffing.  And the "drop it" meant to release whatever was in her mouth.

Ginger never goes gallivanting off into the woods anymore; she comes when called and brings or drops anything she has in her mouth; and she heels off leash now (though I haven't tested that with distractions)!

My son has done wonders with her!  No more being dragged at the tail end of a dog.  And though she is still a very large puppy, she is becoming a very well-behaved dog!  I need to just keep up the practice, so she retains it.  We still keep the shock collar on her in case she forgets, or we encounter a new challenge, but the need to use it is dwindling daily.

I'm tempted sometimes to use it on her when she looks like she is harassing the cat, but then I realize that actually the cat is harassing her.  Somehow I don't think a shock collar for a cat would work the same as it does on a dog.  You may never want to close your eyes again.

But back to the dog.  Aside from her "organized, purposeful training" Ginger seems to pick up on things pretty quickly.  She brings me her bowl when I ask her for it - knows the difference between biscuit, bowl, bone and ball.  Why all fun things for dogs have to begin with a B is Baffling and Befuddling to me.  But she hears the difference, and will bring what you've asked for - unless she can't find it. Then you will get the next best thing that begins with B.

My view of TV night...Noah will be over on my lap in a minute.
She also loves to watch TV with us at night.  If I sit and watch TV when my husband is out of town, she whines a little before settling in.  Someone is missing and it's just not the same.  For her TV viewing, she likes action on TV, and animal movies, but nobody had better be knocking on any doors.  She has to protect us then.

When it is bedtime...just say the word "bed" (another B word), or let her hear me shaking up my nightly concoction of apple cider vinegar and water...she trots off to her crate.  She has slept outside of her crate a couple of nights, but she still seems to prefer the safety and sanity of her own "room" safe behind bars, away from Noah.
She has plenty of room...she just likes to fold her paws sometimes!

Ginger spent the night out of her crate last night...
slept in my chair in the living room.  I heard her jump up in it and settle in.
This morning she was up early with her bowl at our bedroom door so she could drop it with a loud "clang".
"Don't you think it's time to get up?"
You are right, Ginger; I've obviously slept enough.  Time's a-wasting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Noah and Doggie-Doggie


Sometimes a Slice of Life comes from my pets...




"She does not see me up here, but I can see her every move!  And I am thinking about  how much I need to jump on her."

Leave Ginger alone.  I don't want to have to put her in her crate.

"I am leaving her alone.
Here, Doggie-doggie!"


First of all, is that what you call leaving her alone, and secondly, her name is Ginger, not Doggie-doggie.

"Does it matter?"

Well, would it matter if I called you kitty-kitty?

"I see your point.  But I'm different."

Oh, you are different, all right.

"I perceive you are using 'different' in a slightly sarcastic way."

And you are never sarcastic, I suppose?

"Am I?"

No-oo-o...never.

"I didn't think so.  I will ignore that sarcastic tone.
 Aha!  She's moving!  I love a moving target!" 

Leave the dog alone.

"Ohhh, Doggie!  You do not see me!  But I see you-ooo!
Ha!  Pow!  Gotcha!" 

"Now I can call her Claude."

Claude?

"Get it? C-l-a-w-e-d.  Claude."

 

Monday, March 21, 2016

How Rude!

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today for SOLC.  And then Starbucks happened.

Well, we are in our second Starbucks for the day!  We left "our" Starbucks and drove to Freeport.  Summer Starbucks in Freeport is not good - too busy, but Winter Starbucks in Freeport is doable.  Quiet, no distractions...  oh, and the chairs are better!  It's the whole downstairs of a small house in downtown.

We left our usual haunt.  I will be selective when I am there from now on.

Our usual Starbucks had a lady there, about our age oddly enough, who was playing the radio through her phone loud enough to be heard throughout the place.  It was on so loud that it was kind of hard to understand, being so far in overdrive it was vibrating.  She sat between two tables, with her stuff on both - coat and sweater and coffee on her left, and purse, hat, scarf and some other items on the table to her right.  This is the second time I've seen her in this Starbucks doing this same thing.
We ordered coffees and sat down with our computers to work.  I put earbuds in.  No help.  I put my hands over my ears with the earbuds in...a little better, but I couldn't type that way.
We persevered for a little longer.  But there was going to be no writing done here.
As I listened to the almost unintelligible noises coming out of the radio, I realized it was Christian talk radio.

Now here's the thing.  I'm a Christian. I like Christian radio.  I listen to it in the car.  There is nothing wrong with it, and all who choose to, should be free to listen to it.  But no one should be forced to.  And I was getting the feeling that this is her crusade.  This is a fight she is hoping to pick with Starbucks.  Is Starbucks against Christians?  No.  They are not.  But if they asked her to stop playing her radio, or asked her to use earbuds, they would appear to be - in her eyes and to whomever she decided to spout off to - trying to keep her from freely expressing her Christianity.

Sigh.  Why do there have to be crazies in Christianity?  For some reason, they seem more visible than in the general population.  There are just as many percentage-wise in all groups - I just find the crazy Christians are held up as an example of "why you don't want to be one of them"! Why don't the crazies understand that they are doing Christ, and all his sane followers, an injustice and damage.  Sigh, again.
I'll try to be positive.  Maybe she was just very hard of hearing.  Maybe I should give her that.  Then someone has to tell her to get earbuds because everyone in the whole place can hear this.

Aside from this new development at our Starbucks, we do have another couple of crazies.
There's a older couple who bring in their fake service dog.  Two adults bring in this well-trained dog to sit on one of the easy chairs and feed him ice they get there.  He has an orange collar on, which is readily available in all pet stores.  He is not guiding, helping, nothing.  Service dogs are welcome in Starbucks, but this is not a service animal.  It's a dog.  A regular dog that these people bring in and allow to sit on the chair where people are going to be sitting later.  The dog's owner sits on the table, so maybe that is a good thing the dog's in the chair.  I really would find it appalling if they had the dog sit on the table.

Dogs in a place where there is food (or any store for that matter), used to be just not allowed, unless they were truly in use as a service animal.  And you used to be able to know for a certainty that an animal was a certified service animal.  Not now.  You can't even ask without getting yourself in trouble if you are Starbucks.  Starbucks isn't allowed to offend anyone.  So people take advantage of them, and I'm seeing people all over the place now deciding that rules of decency don't need to apply to them.
I'll try to be positive.  Maybe this dog needs them as the service animals.  Maybe they are emotionally handicapped, and they don't remember to have the animal wear its service vest.

I'm getting tired of rude.  I'm getting tired of entitlements.  I'm getting tired of being tired.  I think I need to take the advice of the Bible:

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Let it go.  Find new, purer, lovelier things to think on.

Ok.  I'm almost there.  I love having grandchildren.  They always give me purer, lovelier "thinks"!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday - Just so you know

Day 20 of Slice of Life Challenge, and I am on my way to a busy first day of the week.
My Books of the Day

Sunday is my down-time.  Well, it's an up-time, too.  But I just don't blog on Sundays.  I will link this early before setting out to church.  Church is a whole day thing for me and my husband.

We leave the house by 7:30 at the latest, to drive just over an hour - 72 minutes.  We stop for breakfast along the way.  At about 9:15, we arrive at church. If I'm to sing that day, I rush upstairs for a quick practice with my sister-in-law, the pianist.  After that I go back downstairs and I prepare for my Sunday School class of 4 to 6 year olds, getting crayons, scissors, or whatever else the lesson requires, set out for them.

After Sunday School I, go back upstairs to greet people, and nod to my husband who works the soundboard recording the sermons and posts them online.

I file in with the other choir singers to the back room so we can go over the music quickly before the service begins.  I sing in choir, I sing a solo or with a quartet, and then go down to sit and listen.

Because the preacher is also my brother in real life, I am often in his childhood illustrations - like the one about me cheating in school to get good grades because I brought my books home to study in... while his were left at school or out in the rain in someone's backyard.

After the service, we run to the grocery store to pick up a dessert (which I don't eat now), and any other things that might be missing from our meal my sister-in-law has cooked.  Then we head on over to the house to eat.

After eating we talk or start singing.  My brother learned to play the guitar when he "borrowed" mine as a kid.  Now he can play guitar, mandolin, banjo....very well!  I got stuck in elementary guitar and stopped playing in high school.

By 4:30 we are headed back to church for choir practice.  And at 6:00 the evening service begins.  We leave church at about 7:30 pm to head home.  We often stop at Wendy's where I get a Junior Baconator - no bun, single, with cheese, lettuce on top and bottom, so I can pick it up to eat.  Yum!

We get home somewhere between 9 and 9:30 pm.  It's a long day, but somehow I never tire of it.  Somehow I always come home with more energy than I had leaving.

This has been my life on Sundays since 2001... just so you know.

I wish I could do it, but it's difficult for me to leave comments on Sundays.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Robin Alert

Yesterday afternoon the dog started barking as she looked out the window.  It was a warning bark, but her tail was wagging and she was smiling.  She was serious about something being out there, but not unhappy about it.  She seemed pretty excited, so I went to the window.  And there standing proudly on the lawn - though I think it was just listening to potential snacks - was our first robin of the year.

Robin hung around the lawn all day, going from front to side to back yards.  I watched as the wind picked up a few oak leaves and tumbled them across the lawn straight at Robin, who merely stepped forward a few steps to avoid them.  I wondered how Robin knew that the leaves were non-threatening.  But I guess, being a bird and spending lots of time around trees and leaves, they must know everything there is to know about that stuff.

At one point a couple of friendly juncos joined Robin and they all scouted for bugs in the winter-flat grass covering our rain soaked lawns.

It's started.  I've heard that Monday may be a snow day.  But the sun is much too powerful now and the snow won't be here long.


Mr. Robin,

The snow is melting
Rain is pelting

The worms are looking slick
I hope to see you back real soon
I hope you make it quick

The junco says there's lots to eat
Those snacks that rumble 'neath your feet

So come on back
Time to unpack

We wait for your return
With lots of spots to build a nest
No cause for great concern

The sun has promised to be strong,
Come back to sing your ebullient song!

I just can't wait
Please don't be late
The worms are fat and slick.
The snow keeps melting
Spring rain keeps pelting
I hope you come back quick!

©Donna JT Smith, 2016, all rights reserved








Friday, March 18, 2016

SOLC and Poetry

It's the 17th day of the Slice of Life Challenge to write every day this month.  It is also Poetry Friday hosted at Robyn Hood Black.  So I guess it is the day to have a poem as a slice.  Let's see.

Yesterday I had went to our book club meeting at Starbucks.  I leave the house at 5:10 am to pick up a friend by 5:15, and get into town by 5:45.  It is always dark.  It is still cold.  It was foggy, too, this time.


Book Club and a Mug

I got up early to read a book
so early it meant
I forsook
the warmth of bed

Threw back the quilt and next the sheet,
then showered quickly -
naught to eat;
it's still nightdark,

So quietly sneaked past the dog,
out the door and
in the fog;
kept watch for deer.

I drove to town to Starbucks Land
and ordered coffee
just as planned;
paid with my card.

A sip or two of warming joe
and sun had risen
in my soul,
and I woke up.

Perhaps there wasn't really fog
and maybe I had
woken dog
and snoozing cat;

But who's to know what had occurred
or length of journey
I'd endured
as sleep-driver.

©Donna JT Smith, 2106, all rights reserved


See you Saturday!  I'll wake up then after coffee at Blueberry's.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Spiritual Journey Thursday and SOLC

This post is doing double duty.  It's a Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers and a Spiritual Journey Thursday post.  It is my way of heeding my own advice here - simplify your life!  The Spiritual Journey Thursday link up is on Holly Mueller's blog.  Everyone there is writing on Linda Kulp's OLW "Simplify" and how it pertains to their Spiritual walk.

Me, unsimplified - but simplifying my life today by selecting an old avitar from my files.

Last week I did two posts on a Thursday, separating my two voices - one voice was the everyday Slice, and the other was my Spiritual Journey post.  I realized I cannot and do not have to always separate the two.  My walk with God is a part of my daily life, and I'm not sure I've ever made that clear.

I do not blog on Sunday's.  I will blog the day before and schedule it to post though.  And I have broken my own "rule" a bit for SOLC and linked up on that day early in the morning before I leave for church or late at night after evening service.  I feel a little guilty about that even.  God should be more important than making sure I blog and link 31 days in March!

So, I am simplifying and edifying (I hope that doesn't sound pretentious, but it rhymes, so I'm using it!) with an all in one today.  If you read my blog regularly, then this is no surprise to you as I mix the two types of writing on different days fairly regularly. 


Simplify

So
much to do,
much to see,
much to learn,
much to be

That's
much too hard,
much too fast,
much too heavy,
much too vast!

   Simply breathe -

simplify life
by letting go -
simplify tasks
by saying no -
simplify more
with less to show -
simplify when
you start to slow.

   Simply pray -

For
Faith to see,
Faith to keep,
Faith to save, 
Faith to leap;

A
Faith so right,
Faith so pure,
Faith so bold,
Faith so sure!

   Simplify, selah.

©Donna JT Smith, 2016, all rights reserved

Enjoy your day!  And try to find one way to Simplify your life today.  I just did!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Slice Prompted Memory


It is Wednesday again, and the 16th SOLC day!  Join in the reading fun at Two Writing Teachers where the list of Slices is posted.

Yesterday, someone posted on the funny things kids say, and it put me in mind of a couple of things my oldest said when he was younger…

Here’s one of them:

One summer afternoon, my somewhere between 8 and 10 year old son came in hot and sweaty from playing hard outside.  He asked me if he could have some water, and I, being a wonderful mom, gave him a nice cold glass of water and watched him gulp it down.  He wanted another, being as spent as he was, so I refilled his glass.  Before downing this one though, he looked at me, and in all seriousness stated, “I think I have a drinking problem.”

I assured him that he didn’t, and he should drink all the water he wanted.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
BTW:  Noah had a quiet night.  The monsters must have been too upset to return for a second assault.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bed Monsters



Noah, attacking a bed monster.


So what was that all about last night?

"What was what all about?"

You know.  That little madness going on at the foot of the bed last night.

"Little madness?  There was a monster in your bed."

There was no monster.

"Oh, there was.  Believe me."

There was no monster.  I would have known.  I was sleeping and my feet would have been touching it.

"Your feet?"

Yes, my feet.  You were jumping all over them.

"Oh, that couldn't have been your feet.  It was too big to be feet, I'm sure.  And too squirmy.  Monsters are squirmy when you jump about on them, and these were definitely squirmy."

Yes, because you were jumping on them and wrestling them.  You got a claw through, too.  See my ankle?

"That is not my claw mark.  That is clearly the bite of a bed monster."

Do not do that again tonight!  I will kick you off the bed.

"If I hadn't been there to subdue the monster last night, who knows if you would even have feet today?  I was only protecting you.  Someone needs to be on guard at night, and I have just the eyes and claws to do that!"

I will be fine.  Just stay on your towel, keep your hairs off my blanket, and leave my feet alone.

"I do leave your feet alone.  We will just have to see what the bed monster has in store for tonight.  A cat has to do what a cat has to do."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bed Monster

Toes squirm
Heels wiggle
Calves tremble
Knees jiggle 

Cat scrambles
Then pounces
Legs flail
Cat bounces

Cat monster
Attacks the sheet
But bed monster's
Just my feet!*

*Noah has requested that I add this note about my poem: "This is fictional.  Bed monsters are real monsters; they are not feet.  And I am not a 'cat monster'.  This is clearly a fictitious cat.  Any resemblance to me is purely coincidental, accidental and unintentional, I'm sure."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Walking

It is Day 14 of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers... plowing onward and Aprilward...

Since losing weight (24 pounds today, but I promise this won't become just a month long weight loss journal), and doing physical therapy, I have found my walk again.

When I say "found my walk again", I don't mean that I couldn't walk.  I could walk.  But my walk had been the walk of the wounded.  It was a walk of stiffness and pain.  It was a walk I could recognize in others as I cruised the grocery store aisles - walk I'd seen but refused to call mine.  It was a walk that enjoyed the rest of a shopping cart for leaning, for stretching, and one that sometimes required breaks at the front of the store to sit out the next dance.

But recently, my back and hip joints seem to have been released, whether from the weight loss or the physical therapy, or both.  Either way, I think I have reclaimed at least a half an inch in height, and have begun to enjoy the pleasures of walking again.  My therapist says I've got a bit of a sashay... or was it swagger... I don't recall now!  Either way, it's a good sway! (and that, was my poem thought starter)

Add to this the fact that the training collar for the giant puppy has been a huge success so far, it means I will be out walking the dog again in no time!  She's a smart one, and it only took using the zapper three times (once for each edge of the woods on the lawn) for her to figure out I meant "Come right now and stop sniffing everything and ignoring me and wandering farther and farther into the woods because there is more deer poop somewhere out there" when I said "Come!"

My son has been helping us on Sunday's when we can't get back to take Ginger out in the middle of the day.  He took her for a walk on the quiet road out here yesterday while we were gone, and was able to have her stay by his side consistently.  I'm so excited!  That is my goal.  I'm not able to make sure she heels on a leash, as I don't have enough strength in my back and arms to force an excited 70 pound puppy to stay by my side.  I need her trained first, so our first foray into society won't look like me being dragged face down on the pavement desperately whimpering "Heel".
I recently met these three well behaved canine citizens.  None of these is Ginger.
We are getting there.  When the dog can be walked safely by me... or when I can safely accompany the dog on a walk, then we are going for a walk.  Me and my dog.  I mean, Me and my husband's dog.  Wait a minute.  Why am I walking his dog?  I'm going to go get myself a 15 pound dog.  I might be able to carry that one.

Walking

Run and skip,
Strut or stagger,
Trot and march,
Sway or swagger,

Trudge or saunter,
Dawdle, amble,
Hike or plod,
Wander, ramble,

Promenade, roam,
Traipse and stride,
Take a stroll
Sashay, glide,


Stretch your legs,
Perambulate,
Mosey on;
Don’t be late.

Take a stroll,
Prowl or tromp,
Jog or slog,
Hoof it, stomp.

Forge ahead
Onward go,
Shuffle off
To Buffalo.

Whatever gait,
Whichever walk -
Boldly step;
Walk the talk.

©2016, Donna JT Smith

And speaking of walks...
Noah says he will be walking on "little cat feet" tomorrow, so I need to take a paws while he talks.  He does look a little like a fog cloud.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Owl Howls



It's a Slice of Life Sunday at Two Writing Teachers.  I'll see if I have time to link!  My comments will be late tonight after I get home.

Wednesday night, March, 8th, a Barred Owl returned.  They stay around all year, but usually I don't hear them in the winter.   But this week he's back in our neighborhood.  Maybe the mice are more plentiful down the road a ways in winter, but spring mice are fresher here.

Friday night, as we were driving home and the crescent moon was so clear and bright, I wondered if we would hear him again.  And right on cue, as we got out of the car, we heard him howling, loud and close by.  I love to hear the lingering "who cooks for you" question.  Suddenly we heard a return call.  So there are two in the neighborhood! The second one sounded a little upset, giving an almost hawklike squawk before commencing to speak politely.  Maybe she was just excited to hear a friendly hoot out there in the dark. I hope they are here to set up housekeeping.  I'd love to hear them every night.

It would be a good place for them to live -  in the woods just above a river that meanders down to the ocean, not too far away.  It's the perfect habitat for Barred Owls, and one of the reasons our cat does not go outside - coyotes and hawks being the others.

Twice I have been startled by owls out here.  Once when I was walking to the car at night, a huge, silent, gray form swooped down, flying right past me like a ghost (not that I've ever had a ghost fly past me, so maybe it isn't like that).  He maybe thought I was prey, or he was on his way to prey and I just happened to walk in between at a bad moment.
The second time was a hot summer night, and I was on the computer up in our loft. I had the windows in the peak open for a breeze as I worked.  Suddenly, the hooting of the Barred Owl came from a tree branch right outside the window, and I jumped.  I couldn't see him, but I certainly heard him loud and clear.  It was like I was sitting right beside him... and I literally was come to think of it!

Last summer, when the grandchildren were here, we saw the pair in a tree in our driveway and our grandson was able to at last see the owls he'd heard.  He was fascinated, but he really didn't like the hooting, until I told him they were talking to him, and asking him "Who, who are you?"

I do hope they stick around for a while; I really want to get a better picture than the one I've got so far.  And another recording.  They often stop abruptly when I start recording.
Barred owl just above our house looking down at me.




Saturday, March 12, 2016

Caturday Again


It's Cat - I mean Sat-urday.

"No, you were right the first time."

Well, really there is no day named 'Caturday'; it's Saturday.

"A grievous oversight."

Maybe, but that's just how it is.

"Be that as it may, today is still MY day.  And I'm wondering what wonderful things we  should say about me today."

I can't think of anything yet.  It's been a slow week for you.

"I did Pilates with the ball for a while.  Then I wrestled with that intruder, but you took it away."

Yes, well, that was the cord to charge the dog's training collar, so we didn't need it destroyed.

"Huh.  Really.  I am not fond of that collar.  I'm going to tell her it's you who is pressing a button to make her stop chasing me."

Do not tell the dog anything.  You tease the dog on purpose, and then she gets all excited and crazy.  I need to have her pay attention to me and calm down!

"Why?  She is very good at paying attention."

Yes, to you.

"I can help with her lessons."

Don't help.  You've done enough already - like batting the ball down the basement stairs so you can play with it down there.  You know that drives her nuts!

"She needs to know how to share.  I'm teaching her."

That's not teaching her.  That is harassing her.

"I suppose next you will say playing with the dog treats you keep on the table is harassing her, too."

Yes, I suppose I will.

"Maybe you should not write about me today.  You seem a little out of sorts.  I think I should take a nap until you are ready to write something wonderful.
Could you please open the bedroom door?"

Sure.

"Thanks.  Leave it open.  I may want to come out."

Of course you will.  Would you like the TV on?

"No, I'm fine.  Just top off my bowl while you are out in the kitchen.  It may be low.  I'll be out later to make sure you did."

Saturday-caturday!  Might as well tidy his litter box while I'm at it.
"You must be Claude."
**********************************************
Don't forget to check out D.L. Hammons WRiTE CLUB bouts going on now.  Read and vote over the coming week to narrow the field of writers down from 30 to 15.


Friday, March 11, 2016

I'm Melting...



This is Day 11 in March.  It is a wonderful day to be a Friday, don't you think?
This is my Slice of Life for Two Writing Teachers, AND my Poetry Friday offering at Irene Latham's blog.  Click on either link to read more Slices or some Poetry.  Some bloggers others will also be doing double duty today, I'm sure!
So this is just the best day in the whole world to have a Friday!  Until next week - enjoy!  I am going to!  Yippee!



Photo from: http://hwitblogg.blogspot.com/2010/11/allhelgona.html

Melted

The flame burns hot, stretching,
Its black wick, an island
In a waxy sea that
Pushes its banks
Overflowing
Dripping
Down
To
Ripple.
Dripples
Droop down
Candle’s skin;
Spire shrinking
To join the puddle of
Candle bowels in the bobeche.

By Donna JT Smith, 2016, all rights reserved


I’ll bet you thought this poem was about a lit candlestick burning down.  The photo may have given it away.

It is.

And it isn’t.

It’s about me. (Isn't everything?)

I have been joking lately about being careful not to go tripping over my own skin as I lose weight, and likening my new body to a candle that’s dripping.  It isn’t THAT bad, but I have to come to grips with the fact that as I lose weight in my 60’s, the skin is not going to be as joyfully rebounding as it was when I was in my 30’s (oh, to have that body again).

The fact of the matter is, I was going to have wrinkles and sags everywhere anyway at this age, whether I had been heavy or not!  But when you have a nice fat layer, sometimes that wrinkling and sagging isn’t as evident for a bit longer.

As I lose more weight, I'm feeling a little like I did when I got my cataracts removed and nice shiny new lenses inserted…  oooh, my face suddenly became wrinkly, and, hey, where did that beard come from?  I just have to get used to the "new" me that I see.

I wouldn’t trade the weight loss and the eyesight gain for all those wrinkles and weirdness of getting old, though.  I need to see each of the ugly moles as beauty spots created by something in my life’s story.

And I wouldn’t change my story for the world.