Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Parenting the World

 Slice of Life Tuesday:
View from the top edge - a long way down!

View off the left edge

View to the right partway up.
We went here last week.  Took the motorcycles for a short ride down to the ocean.  It was a cool day.  The tide was going out, but was still pretty high on the beach and rocks.  It was a loud and boisterous sea.
We were on our way climbing the path to the high point that overlooks the open ocean and the sandy beach off to the side of it.  As we approached, we saw a young child on the beach.  There were two adults on the beach also and two more coming over the dune walkway.  I watched but both pairs ignored her and went on their way.  We continued to walk up the path and I spotted her again, now approaching the ledges with a small stick.  She began to climb up and wander toward the ocean side of the rocks.  No one was with her.  No one was close by except us.  She continued to walk up the ledges closer to us.  I called to her and she looked at me and smiled.  I asked her if the man on the beach was her dad and she answered something, but her voice was carried away by the wind and muffled by the waves crashing on the beach and rocks.  I asked her again and pointed to the couple that was below on the beach taking pictures of the ocean - though I was pretty sure they were not her parents, as they were not paying the least amount of attention to her.
I again asked her where her mom was and she pointed in a direction where I could not see a living soul.
I got very close to her face, so I could hear her and she could hear me, and then asked her to take me to her mother.  She willingly obliged, and began climbing down off the rocks.  This took a while and I would have liked to have held her hand and helped her down, but decided not to do that.
When she got down I followed her across the beach.  From behind the shelter of a driftwood lean-to on the far edge of the beach, a good distance away from the water and the ledge, a woman appeared wearing a trench coat and a brimmed hat.  She looked cold.  She began to walk toward us.
When we met on the beach, I told her that I'd asked the girl to take me to her mother, since she appeared to be alone on the rocks with lots of strangers around.  I was concerned for her safety.  Her mother said, "Oh, she's okay."  I repeated my concern.
"We were watching her," was her reply.
I explained how we have lost people from these ledges when a waves hits them.  She smiled and thanked me for my concern.  I asked her if she was from the area.  "Yes, Auburn," was her reply in a thick foreign accent.  Right.  If you aren't from the ocean, and in particular familiar with this beach, you tend to ignore the signs telling you how unpredicable the waves are and to be careful not to get too close to the water on the ledges.
She wasn't "from here", so I explained one last time how dangerous it was on the ledge with unpredictable waves, and turned to go.
The little girl asked me my name, and I told her Mrs. Smith, and that I was a teacher in the area. Her mom's eyebrows raised and she said, "Oh!" - kind of surprised sounding (and it seemed a little impressed?).
The little girl repeated my name.  I decided against asking her what her name was, but instead asked her how old she was.  She counted up 4 fingers to show me.

Anyone who has to hold up their fingers to tell you how old they are should have an adult holding that hand.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Golden Shovel - Take 1

I was reading this morning, early, Laura Salas' Golden Shovel poem creation, and decided to look up what this was and how to do it and could I try it if I actually found a book of poetry in this awful mess I've created around me in the process of packing, tossing and yard-saling for our move to Gull Haven.
I found out what it was AND I found a book of Rupert Brooke's poetry "1914 and Other Poems".

I also found the Rupert Brooke's Society page and an article about his life in The New Yorker online and the poem "The Treasure" written in August of 1914.

The Treasure

When colour goes home into the eyes,
   And lights that shine are shut again,
With dancing girls and sweet birds' cries
   Behind the gateways of the brain;
And that no-place which gave them birth, shall close
The rainbow and the rose: -
Still may Time hold some golden space
   Where I'll unpack that scented store
Of song and flower and sky and face,
   And count, and touch, and turn them o'er,
Musing upon them; as a mother, who
Has watched her children all the rich day through,
Sits, quiet-handed, in the fading light,
When children sleep, ere night.
August 1914

I selected the highlighted line to write my Golden Shovel Poem.   It came out in one sitting with no edits.  It must have been the right line.

Treasure in Night
from Rupert Brooke's "The Treasure"

She, in solitude, sits,
The night speaks in quiet
Voice and she is handed,
The keys to a thousand dreams in
Place of the
Touch of his hand, memory fading
As the sun makes real in the light.

by Donna JT Smith, May 29, 2017

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's Sunday - The Book

Though this is not a response to Michelle's Ditty challenge for May, it was inspired somewhat by it.  The word "book" began to talk to me.  As we have been packing to move, I have been discovering Bibles galore in our house.  Everywhere I turn, I see a Bible.  Most of them were on bookshelves.  Most are unread - because really, how many do you NEED at one time?

I've realized that I have a problem with buying Bibles (and my husband does, too), but I'd never gathered them ALL in one place before.  Purple?  I don't have a purple Bible!  I need one.  Oooh, a snap closure!  I don't have one of those.  Zippered AND blue?? I'll take it!  
Sometimes we bought them and forgot we did.  We even rescued a perfectly good leather Bible at the dump once.  I now have my mother's, my father-in-law's, and my grandparents' family Bibles in our collection. 
And these aren't all of them - I don't even know how many we've given away over the years! Sometimes we bought them for kids at church when we did special programs, or to give to someone when they didn't have a Bible.  And do you count New Testaments as Bibles... there are quite few of those.
As I sit here I can count 12 Bibles in the kitchen.  There are more, but I can't see in the cloth shopping bag that is full of them.  I don't know how many are in the livingroom or the hallway, and my own church bag has at least one in there.
So to say we have too many Bibles for the space in our new small house would be an understatement.  I think we will be bringing our excess Bibles to our new church to see if anyone needs one, or if they want to keep some for new people as they add members.  We'll see.  Maybe I can keep a just a few extras for spares.  There is just something about knowing that I have the Word in my hands...
Oh, there is nothing like the smell of a new book - especially a leatherbound Bible.

The Book

This, my Book upon the shelf
has nowhere else to be
but in my willing hands
to open doors for me;
This that's carried in my hands
I've captured in my heart,
Reminds me where to look to find
a whole new way to start;
It's opened up new doors for me,
it stays close by my side;
No more residing on the shelf
with other books to hide.

This book is like my GPS:
It guides me step and turn,
with points of interest in each verse
and chapter that I learn;
This book is wholesome medicine
to heal a broken heart,
with remedies not understood,
no need to plot a chart.
It tells of mysteries we can know,
solutions we can reach
by asking for forgiveness;
Repentance mends all breach.

This Book once standing on the shelf
has somewhere now to be;
I open it with loving hands -
it reads my heart to me;
It comforts me and leads me,
Addresses every need,
It points me to the One who died
For every soul He'd bleed.
Reaching deep into my heart
He asked me once to go
To walk with Him and talk with Him
And let Him save my soul.

If not for my dear Bible
I'd dread what lies ahead;
I'm glad it called from on the shelf
and brought me where it's lead.
It pulls my heart strings constantly,
reminds me where to look;
Whispers soothing to my soul say 
God's within this Book.
And as I hold it in my hands
God holds onto me too;
I'm thankful for my Book from God;
How I pray it calls to you.

by Donna JT Smith, 2017

 Do I have a favorite Bible?  No and yes.  It is whichever one is in my hands.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Birthing a Book

Birthing a Book

Writing is like giving birth... same amount of pain and joy... same order.
Thanks  Michelle Barnes and Melissa Manlov for the challenge this month to write about how writing or a book is like something else...  Yesterday I posted Circus for Poetry Friday.  Today is Poem #2:

Birthing a Book

Giving birth to a book
Is no ordinary thing;
Like a true living baby
It makes your heart sing!
Right from the beginning
You knew it was there,
And though not all formed
You gave it your care.
You felt as it moved,
And it gave you a nudge,
And even at midnight
You’d feed it with fudge.
Some times this book-baby
Would make you feel sick
But cozying down
Sweet names you would pick:
That name, for a boy,
This one, for a girl,
Then back to the business
Of taking a hurl,
Until things settled down
And it grew and it grew,
Till the “Precious” you dreamed of
Emerged and came true;
That laborious birth-day
Was a day like no other,
For now you were newly
And truly a mother.

©Donna JT Smith, 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Poetry Friday - The Circus

In response to Michelle Barnes' and Melissa Manlov's May challenge to write a poem that explores how writing or a book is like something else, I wrote this poem comparing a three ring circus to writing.  I have been in such a different mind place lately and not had the minutes to myself to write, that this challenge was a challenge.  I knew from the beginning it would be a circus, yet it wasn't coming through quickly.  So I doubted myself, and began to jot down other ideas of comparisons.  They were horrid, so I'd give up, knowing that none were speaking to me; then the circus would return.  Giving up on the idea of an easy flow of words, I let the rough edges of the circus take shape in phrases.  Then the "comparison" poem (kind of two voices) evolved, and I let it do what it had been trying to do all along.  Never fight it.  Poems do not like to be told what to do.


Step right up and sit right down,
The thrilling Big Top’s come to town!

I wake up, sit down to write…
Some thrilling Big Thought's brought to light!

Juggling rings, plates and balls,
Taming lions, tigers and all,
Throwing sharp knives,
Balancing chairs
Grasping a flying
       trapeze in the air...   
Swallowing flames,
And other such games;
Walking on tightropes
Lights flash in the dark -
Shot from a cannon
       just hits the mark!

Juggling words and phrases,
Taming lines, titles and spaces,
Throwing hands up,
Balancing rhymes,
Grasping a flying
       thought as it climbs...
Swallowing pride,
No corner to hide;
Walking a fine line,
Light glows in the dark,
Shot of caffeine that
       just hits the mark!

At end packing up tents
And daring events
       On to the next town

At end packing up pens
Yet daring again
       To write more thoughts down

One must never forget
       To set up the net

And, just as important,
       To send in
           The clown.

©Donna JT Smith, 2017

A happy ending is always good. 

It's Poetry Friday and Margaret at Reflections on the Teche has loads of links to share today if you are in the mood for a plethora of poetry!

Friday, May 19, 2017

A Poem Today

And She Grew

Step by step

In helical line,

From roots

to shoots,

A journey divine.

Donna JT Smith, 5/18/17

It's Poetry Friday.  Please take some quiet time to read some lovely works of art by visiting our hostess today, Kiesha at Whispers from the Ridge.
This was originally written for Laura Purdie Salas' 15 Words or Less challenge yesterday.  It fit in my thinking a few ways in addition to the image of the Arc De Triomphe stairway.  This was one of them.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Poetry Friday

Yesterday was my daughter's birthday.  Last week was her daughter's birthday.  We missed them both, as we are knee deep - "litterally".  Oh, we should have started this better last year.  The house is littered with years' worth of stuff - the dead skin of living in one place for a long time.  We have moved before, but most of the time it was to a same sized or larger house and so it didn't matter that we had lots of stuff.  Twice when we moved we had professional movers.  Oh, my they are fast!  And you just get to sit back and watch mostly.
One time though they moved our trash even.  Never asked anything about it.  Just packed it up and Voilá! instant trash at your new home!
We are not professionals.  And we are older than last time.  We are older and slower than molasses running uphill on snow.  But we will get there.  Slowly but surely.
I took a break and went on a motorcycle jaunt into town for a teacher certification meeting (retired but still working on mentoring and certifying teachers in the district), and then a stop for coffee at Starbucks where I met up with my husband on his bike.
Then back home to pack, watch a little tv and try to get to bed early so we can have another go at it.  No sense not having some fun in between, and making sure we don't get so spent that we have to take a year to recover!

See where the pot is?  See where the azalea is leaning? 

It's trying to stretch over to the lawn to get light.

As I sit here between the box of pots and pans being packed, and the already packed boxes, I can see my sorry azalea.  Years ago we set it, pot and all out in the back yard where we were going to plant it.   We didn't get to it that year, and the following spring we were sure it must be dead, having it's roots out of the ground all winter.  We never watered it or talked to it - gave it no attention.  And the purplish leaves of winter got greener.  It spent a couple years, doing this.  We'd discovered when we wanted to move it that it had put down roots through the small openings in the pot and was clinging to life, literally!  So we left it.  The third year, I believe it was, out sprang a single blossom.  And after that each year it sproinged more and more flowers.  It gives us the first flowers of spring every year nowHow can I leave it here?  Should I try to move it?

I wanted to write a poem for it.  I think I have before.  But I'm spent for writing today.  Then "Ding!"  a found poem from the paragraph above.

Sorry, Azalea

As I sit here
I see
my azalea
set pot and all
in the back yard
to plant,
never watered
or talked to,
it put down roots,
clinging to life;
it gives us
the first flowers
of spring now.
How can I leave it here?

By Donna JT Smith, 5/5/2017 And did you catch the finished Progressive Poem?  Go check it out at Irene Latham's!  It is a real treat, not to be missed!

It's Poetry Friday.  I hope you enjoy many more poems that are being offered today.  Go join the party at Jama's at Jama's Alphabet Soup

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Spiritual Journey First Thursday

Spiritual Journey First Thursday is here today. You may put your link below on the padlet. I'm REACHing a bit to day with the format, hope it isn't too far a reach...

REACH is my OLW this year. Last year was BOLD.  I felt that these two words are related in many ways and are showing a progression for me.
I was bold last year in my prayers for healing.  I was bold in changing my eating habits and losing weight.  I was bold when I told my doctor that this was a diet that defied contemporary logic of low fat, and was in fact the opposite of what the media and the health industry would have you believe.  I was bold when I told him I no longer needed blood pressure medication.  He laughed.  I was serious. He agreed to try it.  It worked.
I was bold when I signed up for motorcycle classes.  I was bold to actually go and get the license.  I was bold to buy a bigger bike to use this summer.  I was bold to decide to take my son's advice and ride the bigger bike as soon as I got it.  Whoa!  Scary moment alert... bold, bold, bold.  I can't tell you how MUCH last year was a total change to my life.

As of last August, I am a 50 pounds lighter woman who can hold her grandchildren on her lap, who can walk easily and quickly over a mile, and climb stairs without growing faint.  A woman who has gone to the beach in a bathing suit again, who rides a motorcycle and who can kneel at the altar again.  I thank God every day for giving me BOLD.

Now I want to continue being BOLD, but extend my REACH.  I don't expect to REACH this year, all the things I want to do, experience or know.  But I plan to REACH for them.
REACH is an action; you have to do something. (REACH = stretch out an arm in a specified direction in order to touch or grasp something)
I may not necessarily  "REACH a destination" (REACH = arrive at; get as far as.), but I can REACH for all the goodness God has for me, and reaching as far as I possibly can.

If you don't REACH, how can you attain?
If you don't REACH out to people, how can you connect?
If you do not REACH out to God, how can you ever know what He has for you?
If you do not REACH out, you will never REACH your destination, your goal, your prize.

Wondering where REACH is in the Bible?  I was.  I could only think of the Tower of Babel, reaching to the heavens - not exactly the best REACHers...

Then last night, as I was cleaning (I'm taking a 15 min. break every two hours and this is one of them) I reached into the bookcase and pulled out a very old leatherbound book on the shelf that didn't even know I had.

Inside the cover are the giver's and recipient's names:

"This from Nathanial Mayhew to his son
Nathanial Mayhew Jr., Portland"
Mayhew is a family name, so I'm assuming I got the book from my mother when she died -

Wow, this was a REACH into the past: 1828. 
It is a Concordance - Dictionary for the Holy Bible KJV, of course.

So I looked up REACH in it, and this is what I found:

And I saw it - the reference to one of my favorite images in the Bible - John 20:27, where Jesus tells Thomas to "REACH hither thy finger, and behold my hands: and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless, but believing".
By reaching out and touching Jesus' scars, the "doubting Thomas" is then convinced of Jesus' identity.  I like that Jesus was not really angry with Thomas for his doubt, and was willing to satisfy him.

John 20:29 - "Jesus saith unto him, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."
When we have doubt, we need to reach out, read, pray, touch His wounds, and let your faith flow and grow through that reach.

I want to reach out more this year - to friends, strangers, family and God.  I want to reach out and do things that take me just a little bit out of my comfort zone.  I want to reach for something each day that is challenging, and something that grows my faith.  I want to remember wherever I am to reach out - whether planned or spontaneous.

I'm REACHing out now and wondering how my REACH touches you today.  I hope that there has been enough "meat" to this word to make it worth your meditation.

I hope I have not just made a mishmash of this, that it makes sense on some planet.  I have been kind of exhausted lately.   The move has been delayed a week, and in some respects it is a blessing, as we are not finished doing the sorting and paring down.  Nearly done...but little bits here and there to go still.  I am losing things right and left.  Put something down, it gets swallowed up in a massive sinkhole of Goodwill shirts or buried under the debris headed to the transfer station...or maybe I'm still holding it and have forgotten it is right in my hand...

Please, add your link to the Padlet below.  Click on the + and a box will open.  Paste your link in it.  If you have trouble, leave the link in the comments, and I will add it for you. If this area is too small for you or you are working from a phone or iPad, you might want to go directly to the link for the Padlet and enter the info there.  It is live so it updates here, too. Link for the Padlet: https://padlet.com/djts/FirstThursday2017.
Scroll down through the padlet to see everyone's links for today!
PS - Go ahead - REACH...add an image if you feel brave!

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N is for Nestle

Good Words Alphabetically: N is for Nestle I cannot spend lots of time on these. So some are as good as they get in 30 min and under. BTW, t...