May gifts and graces

G & T, just like the queMay joy dareen ♥ sweet & tangy ribs ♥ high school musical playbill ♥ sheets on the line ♥ head rubs ♥ rain showers on a tilled garden ♥ “I missed you” ♥ Dreaming Tree ♥ if I had my life to live over again ♥ built on nothing less ♥ black cat “hiding” ♥ lilacs and lilies-of-the-valley ♥ unconditional love ♥ a legacy ♥ pen & paper ♥ Bigby’s, hand-delivered ♥ hands to work; hearts to God ♥ nesting ♥ bare kitchen counters gleaming ♥ never give up ♥ Passion Planner ♥ salsa–hot & spicey ♥ garden reno ♥ the yard, neat & tidy ♥ a tiny rocker ♥ sweet serenity of books ♥ manicotti ♥ last summer’s raspberries ♥ fur babies ♥ tiny dimpled fingers ♥ serving in a sea of red ♥ small food ♥ the courage to change ♥ turn the planner page ♥ sweet sweater ♥ vaulted arches, nighttime sky ♥ orange flash of an oriole ♥ carrot mango ginger juice ♥ afirmations

April gifts and graces

Old English D ♥ loops ♥ tuxedo shirt, crisp and white ♥ home to settle in ♥ a wrinkled $20 ♥ joy dare ♥ two souls, one ♥ family ties ♥ rain puddles ♥ slip sliding tears ♥ hidden heart ♥ rock-a-bye-baby ♥ peepers … finally ♥ purple crocus April gifts and graces♥ bargain spring duds ♥ spring sun and moon ♥ Buddy’s smile ♥ blue sky ♥ How Dante Can Save Your Life ♥ I’m sorry ♥ memories ♥ black and white photos with curled edges ♥ Santa with a glitter hat ♥ vintage Christmas ♥ shelves, neat and tidy ♥ garage swept clean ♥ books to the ceiling ♥ books on the floor ♥ miraculous medal ♥ tender pinks ♥ my reflection ♥ fragile love ♥ Grammy’s baby quilt ♥ grass a growin’ ♥ return of the feathered friends ♥ daffodils ♥ carrot mango ginger juice ♥ paybacks ♥ clean and cozy, hearth and home

I ♥ Poetry: National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and seeing how we’ve only three days left, posting about poetry is either now or never! Although I was an English major and always bookish, poetry was quite another thing. In short, I just didn’t like it. A fantastic poetry prof in college helped open my mind a bit, but I just couldn’t get excited over the stuff.

I was always intrigued by Emily Dickinson’s poems, but truthfully, I think the bleak romance of her life story is what drew me initially, not her language. But after faithfully reading the three volume Letter s of Emily Dickinson edited by Thomas Johnson (Harvard Press), I bought her complete works and was hooked. Dickinson’s poems are some of the few I’ve memorized and if I was a few years younger, I’d probably get a tattoo based on this (yes, really):

Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

Fast forward to teaching the Odyssey to high school freshmen—I know, to some a fate worse than death—and I found myself (finally, English teacher that I was) truly appreciative of the imagery, the word play, the cadence, probably because I read so much of it aloud to the kids.

And that’s, I think, the hook to falling for poetry. You must listen to it read by expert readers. Like poets …  My husband and I had the serendipitous opportunity to hear poet laureate Billy Collins and poet Naomi Shihab Nye read at a local college nearly. The notice was in the Sunday paper, it was small, but we thought, “Wow! Poet laureate—let’s go” not even knowing Collins’ work at the time.

Oh. My. Goodness. We were smitten. Reading Collins—and especially listening to him—I discovered poetry could be not only insightful and musical, but witty and droll. The poet laureate was down-to-earth, humble, and oh-so-fun.  Here’s the first poem Collins read that evening:

See what I mean?!

You may be one of the lucky ones who has always had a love for poetry, but I came to my appreciation late. If you’re still reluctant, try a little Dickinson or Collins. Go to Youtube and listen to Sara Kay and Taylor Mali’s spoken word.

Don’t worry about being serious; don’t think you’re not sophisticated enough. Just let yourself be delighted.

March gifts and graces

Ann Voskamp A Holy Experience

green grass candle ♥ bulbs-a-poppin’ ♥ afghan, warm and cozy ♥ Mom’s pearl ♥ tinkling charms ♥ glammy makeup ♥ learning to forgive ♥ lakeshore stones and pebbles ♥ trust to bank on ♥ a broken heart ♥ baby love ♥ homemade milkshake ♥ crispy bacon ♥ time, carved out for me ♥ sun on the snow ♥ morning reading ♥ the courage to change ♥ perfectly pretty planner ♥ love song ♥ sunny breeze ♥ melting rivulets ♥ shrinking snow piles ♥ steaming coffee ♥ blessed, blessed cough drops ♥ prayer ♥ birdsong ♥ my heart, given away ♥ crisp, clean sheets ♥ shiny, pretty, sparkly ♥ stand up ♥ donuts!♥ fatoush ♥ my bagel buddy ♥ “I can’t wait to hear about it.” ♥ blog away ♥ oil pastel farm road ♥ bath bombs ♥ time is a wastin’ ♥ crown of thorns ♥ braided bun ♥ ring of fire ♥ rock-a-bye baby ♥ neither leave nor forsake ♥ only believe

Must-read Monday

A couple of recent weekends saw me flat out on the sofa, trying to rid myself of some horrible late-winter, early-spring virus. Ugh. Since I couldn’t do much except cough and grab for yet another tissue, my reading attention span was pretty short-lived. (Add the effects of cold medicine and you’ve got the picture!) Check these good reads if you’re out and about on the internet.

The Last Trial: Writer Elizabeth Kolbert  seeks to understand the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, from Nurenburg to the more recent trials of Oskar Groning and John Demjanjuk in the February 16 edition of The New Yorker. (The article was especially powerful considering recent anti-Sematic attacks in Denmark and France.) Most poignant was Kolbert’s discovery of Gunter Demnig’s Stolpersteine (stumbling block) project in which the artist embeds small brass plaques flush on sidewalks, memorializing the last known place a Holocaust victim lived before being taken away. Now thought to be the “largest decentralized memorial in the world” Elizabeth Kolbert commissions one for her great-grandmother and attends the installation. Over 48,000 Stolpersteine have been laid throughout Europe.

Your Son Is Deceased: Stephen and Renetta Torres received a phone call that would turn their world upside down. A neighbor’s call interupts a meeting to let Stephen know that cops have their house surrounded and a bomb-sniffing robot is working its way up the driveway. Knowing the only family member home was their mentally ill son Christopher, they rushed home only to be kept out of the “kill zone”, as one officer called it. As the story unravels, we meet the confused and agitated young man who couldn’t follow police commands and lost his life; the grieving parents whose faith in the system they served was broken; the witness whose testimony was ignored.

A Prosecutor Repents: Another great post by writer Rod Dreher whose blog is a treasure trove for those seeking to put news stories in some sort of cultural and spiritual context. Here a Louisiana prosecutor writes a letter of apology to an innocent man he prosecuted years before. Glen Ford was represented by inexperienced lawyers, a witness gave false testimony, and he was sentenced to death by an all-white jury. Former prosecutor Marty Stroud speaks eloquently about his decision that the death penalty is wrong. (Warning: the video embedded in the post is on autoplay and so will begin when you open the post.) NPR interviewed Mr. Stroud on All Things Considered today.