Not Today

Today marks the second day of PAD – Poem a Day – for this year. This is a yearly challenge by Robert Brewer of Writer’s Digest. You can read more about it HERE  I think this makes my 7th year of participation. I will be posting some of my poems here throughout the month.

 

Today’s prompt was “not today”.  Here is my attempt:

not today

 

Once

 

Once a slamming door rattled the picture on the wall in the living room

I bellowed “settle down”

which you did for two minutes

 

Laughter and foot patters echoed through the upstairs

I smiled to myself in contentment

knowing you were up to something

 

We would roll down the windows and sing off key

the wind tangling our curls

carrying our voices into the treetops

but today I sing alone, softly

 

You and James played in the rain

floating boats in the gutter

then stripped off your clothes in the garage

 

You always called dibs on the shower

on the way home from the beach

anxious to rid yourself of the sand in your suit

 

Last week I found that picture we took

on the way to Georgia

with Smokey the Bear

you in your black knee highs

me when my hair was long

and I smiled

 

But not today

 

 

You can read PAD Day One HERE.

 

The Lemon to My Lime

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Today is my husband’s 60th birthday; the 39th we’ve spent together. I saved this poem for today.

The prompt for PAD Day 26 (April 26th/2016)  was love or anti-love. I went with love. That day I spent a lot of time cleaning my back porch while listening to a country music station. It was clearly an influence – lol.

The Lemon to My Lime

You are the lemon to my lime
A delicious tangy treat
Memories of past springtimes
Dawn to dark both tart and sweet

You are the coffee to my cream
So hearty, rich and warm
You rise up in the steam
Protecting me from harm

You are the ceiling to my floor
There to keep me grounded
More than I could ever ask for
With your love I’m surrounded

You are the window to my door
Fresh eyes upon the world
You show me love and so much more
New wonders are unfurled

You are the yellow to my blue
Together we grow as green
So many colors we’ve been through
The lovely shades and hues we’ve seen

You are the country to my blues
Sentimental and woebegone
You make me laugh and you amuse
You help me always to hold on

Brief Thoughts on Memorial Day

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Ben

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.

I have not personally known anyone who died while serving in the armed forces. I can remember being sad but not really understanding when my cousin Johnny went off to Vietnam. But, he made it through.

My son served in the Army for five years. I was apprehensive when he left for boot camp and I couldn’t talk to him for weeks. I was relieved when he was stationed at Arlington Cemetery in DC. Then, fear struck on 9/11 when the Pentagon was hit and we could not get in touch with him for hours. But, like my cousin Johnny, he made it through.

I respect those young people who join the service out of a real desire to serve and fight for freedom, But I find it very hard to respect what our military has become. I am by no means politically savvy and I am not a history scholar. I am ashamed at my lack of knowledge of my country’s past and also my lack of understanding of current world events.

Yet, on this Memorial Day I respect and honor those who have gone out in sincerity to serve our country. I pray for the families who have experienced the loss of a loved one – I pray that Memorial Day will be a time of comfort for them.

Great Minds Think…Differently

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Photo by Dan

Different authors write in disparate ways, and I don’t think a good author would tell you to do it exactly like they do. Many write in the morning, so some of the following advice may be something you might want to try if you are a morning person.

  • Hemingway: “When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write.”
  • Ray Bradbury: “My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.”
  • Stephen King: ““There are certain things I do if I sit down to write,” he said. “I have a glass of water or a cup of tea. There’s a certain time I sit down, from 8:00 to 8:30, somewhere within that half hour every morning,” he explained. “I have my vitamin pill and my music, sit in the same seat, and the papers are all arranged in the same places. The cumulative purpose of doing these things the same way every day seems to be a way of saying to the mind, you’re going to be dreaming soon.”
  • C.S. Lewis: “ I would choose always to breakfast at exactly eight and to be at my desk by nine, there to read or write till one.”

Pinterest Worthy? Huh?

This post is for me, but maybe it’s for you, too. In reading a recent blog, I came across some interesting statements.

“Make your home Pinterest worthy”

Is that a thing? Are we now striving to make our homes worthy of Pinterest? I mean, I really enjoy Pinterest. I’ve found lots of cool stuff there, and I use it to keep things organized, like books I want to read and recipes I want to try. But, the ideas I find and/or use from Pinterest are to help me, not so that I can feel like I’m worthy if I use them.

“Who doesn’t want their life to look like a Pinterest board?”

Me. Sure, I’m excited that the kitchen cabinets I painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint turned out well. So did the Superhero Tootsie Pops for my grandson’s birthday. But, it’s not my goal to spend all my time trying to have a perfect house. Even so, I HAVE succumbed to the lure of the before-and-after pictures and the DIY projects. I have gone to Pinterest to just browse for five minutes and found myself surfacing an hour later, with new pins and a house full of dusty furniture.

“Curate your coffee table”

This one was actually funny. I dream of flowers and artfully placed books, but I end up with neatly stacked magazines on a good day.

A few days after I read the above quotes, my daughter-in-law posted something on facebook that I think ties in well here. She quoted the following from an article on HuffPost.

“despite the parenting books, the blogs, the Facebook groups, the Twitter hashtags, the Pinterest boards pumping us full of so much rhetoric and infinite guilt our instincts and sensibilities have vanished into thin air — the singular act of raising a child hasn’t changed all that much over the years. It’s still so damn hard. And like the generations of parents that came before us, we’re all making it up as we go along.”

When I was a young mother, I didn’t have the pressure of social media. There was no facebook for me to live up to by posting numerous pictures of my happy little family. There was no twitter to tell everyone how cool I was. There was no Pinterest to make me feel as I should be working on home projects and throwing elaborate birthday parties.

I’m grateful to see that some of this is dawning on my sweet daughter-in-law. Now it’s time for me to face the music. As an empty nester, I find myself unwisely wasting time on the internet, and comparing my home, my family, even my book reading, to people I hardly even know, or don’t know at all. It’s time to harness it all in; to use the good parts as a tool for good and to be wiser in the use of all the time wasters I’ve fallen prey to.

If this helps or causes anyone to stop and think, I’ll be pleased and grateful.

Kid Picks for Martin Luther King Day

mlk

Martin Luther King Day is January 18th It has been a national holiday since 1983 and a school holiday for most children.  A chance for kids to stay home and chill. But, what if they spent some of that day reading about why they are home in the first place?

There are numerous fictional stories aimed at kids that bring to life the real struggle for civil rights. These stories can open eyes better than many a dry history lesson. I’m not saying as a replacement, but as an addition. In elementary and intermediate school it’s easier for teachers to integrate lessons and subjects, but in middle school it takes more effort and planning. That being said, what follows is a short list of well-written books that teachers could use, parents could suggest, or kids might just pick up and read. I’ve read each of these, and I’m sure there are many others out there.

 

FRANCIE, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, is a good look at life before the Civil Rights movement made its way on the scene.  This wonderfully written story, by Karen English, takes place in the 40s or 50s in rural Alabama. Written from the viewpoint of the title character, Francie Weaver, it tells of a life of hard work and discrimination, and how sometimes you just have to stick your neck out for the less fortunate.

 

THE WATSONS GO TO BIRMINGHAM, 1963, written by Christopher Paul Curtis, is one of my favorite middle-grades books.  In fact, it tied in to the original title of my blog, now called Carry Me Home. This story begins and ends in Flint, Michigan, with a trip to B’ham in the middle.  Readers will laugh and cry along with the Watson family as the kids experience the south for the first time.

As in many coming of age stories, there is a loss of innocence and a struggle with the knowledge that the world is a complex place. This happens not only with the main character, Kenny, but also with his older brother, Byron. Though filled with humor, this book deals with racial issues in a way that opens the eyes of the reader.

 

GLORY BE is a middle-grades novel  by Augusta Scattergood. The story takes place in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer, 1964.

Glory is the main character who turns twelve on July Fourth, in the midst of a very unsettling time in the fictional town of Hanging Moss. (There is a real neighborhood called Hanging Moss East in Jackson, MS). The book is well written and keeps the attention of the reader. There are numerous other characters, including her sister Jesslyn; old friend-enemy-friend Frankie; new friend Laura; and the new guy in town who looks just a bit like Elvis. The author did her homework to make the story believable and accurate.

 

CROSSING JORDAN was written by an author who has a real heart for children.  “Sometimes an author writes a book because they feel they have to do something. CROSSING JORDAN is that kind of book. I wrote it for the girl next door and for any other kid who is being taught prejudice at home,” says Adrian Fogelin. I heard  Fogelin speak at a writers’ conference   and have since followed her on facebook and at her blog.

This book is a story of friendship amidst the backdrop of prejudice circa 2000. Cassie (white) tells the story of her budding friendship with Jemmie (black) who has moved in next door.  Set in Florida, where the author lives, it is a touching and believable story.

 

The books in this selection are suitable for younger children, also. And for adults, like me, who enjoy a good story no matter the recommended reading level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Today Was a Movie

If your day today was a movie, what movie would it be?

Some days, I’d like it to be BEGIN AGAIN. Because, sometimes I would like to start all over and do things differently. I’d be more aware of other’s feelings. I’d say things differently, not like a know-it-all. I’d get up earlier and go for a walk. I wouldn’t waste so much time on meaningless things.

But…

That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9

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B’ham June 2015

Well, I can’t begin again, but let me recommend this movie, BEGIN AGAIN, starring Adam Levine,  Keira Knightly, Hailee Steinfeld and Mark Ruffalo. The movie came out in 2013 but I just saw it this year. It’s not just a chick flick; my husband actually liked it, too.  I enjoyed the story and music is a big part of it. You should check it out!