Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Gearing Up

I am looking forward to tomorrow night's #whatisschool Twitter conversation on "Engaging Families and Community in Student Learning". Laura Hill, Moderator, John MacLeod, Family Literacy Expert at Wonderopolis and NCFL, and I will discuss this topic with the global community across Twitter. 

Please join us on September 21, 2017, 7 pm EST at #whatisschool.

To gear up for the event, the team created publicity documents. You can link to my Wonderopolis Wonder Ground post here that followed Laura Hill's blog post. Below is the question document created by Wonderopolis and provided by John MacLeod.

Stress and harmonic imbalance at home can decrease student's ability to enjoy school and perform to the best of their abilities. So what can we, as educators do? - Laura Hill
It is an important question to pose to parents and community members, as well. As stakeholders in children's educational lives, home-community-school connections are vital. Students are the future and we need to invest commitment and diligence to fostering positive learning grounds for them. 

Learning grows each day through a stance of noticing and wondering in positive environments. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Abecedarian Fun

Did you grow up singing the ABC song like I did? Maybe you tried writing an ABC poem in school. This month, Michelle Barnes offers an interesting ditty challenge that stems from an interview with Carole Boston Weatherford-write an abecedarian poem.

What is an abecedarian poem, you may ask? Poetry Foundation says it is "related to an acrostic, a poem in which the first letter of each line or stanza follows sequentially through the alphabet."  

I decided to join the challenge and offered The ABCs of Summer that I  added to Michelle's padlet. Then, I started reading more abecedarian poems and was ready for the next phase of the challenge. Join me as I have some fun finding the right flow for intertwining words.


Always beaching, 
creating digital delights, 
expressing feelings gratefully
held in joyful keeping-
life living moments
offered, nurtured
presented quietly,
renewing summertime's 
universal, valuable,
watershed eXperiences
yon zen zones.
©CVarsalona, 2017


Accept boundless
creative diversions
examined faithfully,
gratefully generating-
happy investments in joyous,
"life living" moments.
Nature offers prospects,
quotable reflective sightings;
encouUrging valuable, 
wished-for eXperiences
beYond zen zones.
©CVarsalona, 2017

Dreamtime Travel


for grandeur
unleasH heart's
aLL cLose. 
lovingly linger.
knOwingly observe.
openly pass quiet roads. 
saunter through tall thickets,
verdant-covered vines,
whimsical xystus*, 
 Zephyrs zip.
©CVarsalona, 2017

*a type of covered walkway or portico
My Dreamtime Travel poem turned out to be in the shape of a candle burning bright.

Did the words used in my last poem, Dreamtime Travel 
paint a picture in your mind? 
Did the poem take you to a place of rest and serenity?

I am continuing to enjoy summer-like weather
and sunkissed moments. 
Celebrate summer a bit longer with me.
Stay tuned for the unveiling of my Sunkissed Summer Gallery.

This week Poetry Friday is being hosted by my poet friend Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. You can join Michelle's Five for Friday Peace party at Today's Little Ditty. Here are my contributions.

Five for Friday Peace Poem
(using only 5 words)

Kindness Dove

a beacon
of peace.
©CVarsalona, 2017



©CVarsalona, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

We Still Remember

Sixteen years have gone by but there is still a sadness as the the fallen heroes of 911 are remembered around the world today. It is September 11th, Patriot Day. To honor the stories of 9/11 that started as an ordinary day in, Twitter created hashtags, #PatriotsDay and #Ground Zero. Needless to say, they have been trending as comments have poured in from around the states.

The memory of that tragic day is seared in my mind and the minds of the residents of my community, Rockville Centre on Long Island, who either knew one of the 48 who perished or who witnessed the horrific event in New York City. Others who were in town on 9/11 watched, in disbelief, the television as the news replayed the video of the falling towers. The town grieved then and continues each year to honor the memories of lives. We Still Remember!

Returning to Ground Zero over the years has brought tears to many an eye, including mine. The new Freedom Tower stands tall as a symbol of resiliency and hope in the American spirit. We still remember lives lost but many, like I, wish for a brighter future where hatred is overcome with kindness.

Previous posts:

Sharing Acts of Kindness on September 11th (at Wonderopolis' Wonder Ground)

In my heart, I have kept the memory of 9/11 alive. Today, I watched another horror-the winds and waters of Hurricane Irma sweeping through Floridian towns and up the eastern seaboard. I wished for the safety of those in the area, including family and friends a brighter day tomorrow, knowing that  

Forever she stands 
America, our land! 

I write at the end of a long day trying to make sense of the fragility of life and the uncertainty of tomorrow. It is soon to be Slice of Life Tuesday, a reflective time at Two Writing Teachers

Saturday, September 9, 2017

The ABCs of Summer

Where have the lazy, hazy days of summer gone? 
You, know the ones that make you shout for joy,
That slow down life with a relax-mode feel,
That carry you back to sunkissed summer moments. 

Let's Celebrate the ABCs of Summer!

Air conditioning during heat spells
Beach days by the sea
Camp Wonderopolis
Exercise outdoors
Fresh fruit from the market
Gardens of vibrant-colored flowers
Hikes with family
Ice cream under indigo skies
July 4th celebration
Kites flying at the beach
Lip-smacking summer corn
Melons that are ripe
Ocean waves roaring
Picnic at Westbury Gardens
Quiet times listening to nature
Reading at the beach
Summer Poem Swap: #1, #3, #5
Umbrellas in the rain
Vacationing with family
Watermelon tasting
Zen music
©CVarsalona, 2017  

All of the above are sunkissed moments 
brought joy to life during the Summer of 2017.
I will continue to celebrate the last weeks of the summer season
despite any obstacles in the way.
Here's to ending the season with a "full heart"
as Ruth Ayres, host of Celebrate This Week, says!

*The blue-colored font recalls various posts I wrote this summer season 
as a way to start sorting ideas for my Sunkissed Summer Gallery.

*Thanks to Diane Mayr for the inspirational spark and mentor text to create this ABC poem.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Back-to-School Thoughts

While visiting Fire Island on Tuesday, I caught glimpse of the school bus. This started me reflecting on the opening day of school. 
  • Would the students be as eager to set sail across a sea of learning as I was to cross the Great South Bay on the Fire Island Ferry?
  • Would all the teachers embrace a growth mindset to honor all voices? 
  • Would a spirit of trust and positivity be established during the first week of school  
I presume that all Long Island school districts have started school on a good note and are addressing the above questions. 

To spark a conversation, teachers may ask their learners the following question from Mary Oliver's poem.
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"


Below is a digital inspiration to spark conversation.


You can access some back-to-school poems for students and teachers from Poetry Foundation that will be sure to engage students as young poets at the beginning of the year.


Interested in some hacks to shift the literacy landscape toward student-led literacy learning? 


This week children's author and poet, Matt Forrest Esenwine, is Poetry Friday's host. Please visit Matt's blog site, Radio, Rhythm, & Rhyme for more poetry fun.

Nourishing Our Lives

Do you routinely take time to nourish your mind, body, and spirit or do you, like me, piecemeal the type of nourishment that really strengthens you? 

I must admit that I, like many, do not stop and pause long enough to understand the implications the word nourish has on our mind, body, and spirit. Because of my "busy", cluttered schedule lately, I find that I have lost track of the right pathway to nourish my life. Appointments, family medical issues, and unexpected occurrences have intersected life so much so that I feel depleted. It is time for a reboot with a doable action plan that will probably work for me and hopefully for most women.  


1. Eat healthier. Summer celebrations are over so this should be an easy fix. 
2. Stop worrying. Genesis 50:21 has a comforting tip: "Now therefore don't be afraid. I will nourish you and your little ones."
3. Unclutter living and work spaces to create open, bright spaces for life work. 
4. Return to the yoga studio to become centered again.
5. Set aside specific times to enjoy life and still accomplish tasks to keep the house and work tasks in check. 
6. Reflect often and reset goals.
7. Most importantly, remain positive even when life seems to be rough.

This plan  for a reboot of mind, body, and spirit seems to be the jumpstart I needed. Does it fit your lifestyle and goals? If so, join me on the path to awaken life by focusing on physical and spiritual nourishment.

I am joining the Spiritual Journey 1st Thursday's discussion on the word nourish at our host, Ramona Behncke's blog, Pleasures from the PageThank you Irene Latham for gathering our community of friends together at Ramona's blog to encourage all to be nourished by the spirit of community.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

End-of-Summer on Fire Island

Labor Day took its bow last evening, marking the close of an eventful summer and the beginning of school on Long Island. While still in summer mode, I prepared for an end-of-beach season day on Fire Island. One more day of easy living in summer mode is what I was looking forward to before gearing up for the year ahead. What better way to spend it than with friends.

The day started out with lovely "beach" weather, warm with a sky full of sunshine, making travel to Bayshore for the ferry ride to Fire Island delightful. Since beach season "slowed down", there were few travelers on the ferry so there was plenty of room on deck to capture the beauty of the Great South Bay until the wind picked up. 

Then, it was time to keep my hand on my hat so not to have it whoosh away into water. 

When we landed on Fire Island, we were greeted by our friends at the small but inviting ferry station. There are no roads on Fire Island so travelers leave the dock by walking, biking, or in our case, riding in the courtesy cart that looks like a surrey without the fringe on top or a larger version of a golf cart. The afternoon was slow-paced, enjoyable, and full of friendly conversation and picture taking. 

Finding Serenity at the Beach 
Listening to the Waves Roar
Watching the Butterfly Flutter

The end-of-summer outing was a truly special time to enjoy the lure of the beach with friends. 

There was good food and drink, good conversation, and good memories to be had on Fire Island.

While I did not capture a fiery sunset, like my host,

Photo by Dennis Brady, 2017

 I did watch the sky turn colors at twilight,

see a magnificent full moon over the Great South Bay,

feel the wind blow my hair until it felt like sticky cotton candy, and remember Long Island's summertime magic.


It is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers,
a time to share a slice of my day.

Stop back please to view more sunkissed moments of summer
when I unveil my global, online Sunkissed Summer Gallery.

End-of-Summer Thought:
Summer drifts on by
leaving its footprints in the sand.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Summer Celebrations

Labor Day weekend brings summer 2017 to a close. Memories flash before me as the temperature changes to fall-like. Knowing that summer is a time for families to come together, I look back on the events of this summer, record them digitally and tuck them away so I can celebrate this summer's happy life living moments

to bE
Remembered forever!


If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the field has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.” - Eleanor Duse


this Labor Day weekend!


I celebrate this week with Ruth Ayres and all those who understand that sunkissed moments need to be cherished. Enjoy your weekend. 

Stay tuned for the unveiling of Sunkissed Summer Gallery
and its artistic expressions from around the world. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Summer's Poetic Song

Sunkissed Summer Gallery
Sneak Peek

allows our heart
to understand
the depths of life
beyond the obvious.
©CV, 2017


When nights darken early,
summer sings its swan song
but memories remain-
vivid reminders
of glorious sunkissed moments.

©CV, 2017

Oh, the summer night
Has a smile of light,
And she sits on a sapphire throne.
-Barry Cornwall


Many people from around the globe have offered digital inspirations to grace the walls of Sunkissed Summer Gallery. Please sample some
sunkissed moments savored by a few of my fellow Poetry Friday writers.

Stay tuned for announcements of the grand unveiling of 
Sunkissed Summer Gallery.


Now turn your attention to the Poetry Friday Round-up being hosted by my Aussie writer friend, Kat Apel whose image poem will be seen at Sunkissed Summer.