Friday, June 30, 2017

Unleash Creativity

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, 
breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.” 
Mary Lou Cook

Have you ever felt the sheer joy of being in the "zone"? It is an exhilarating, creative state of mind. There is intensity of purpose as you mindfully create something that did not exist beforehand. This followed with revision, ends with a sense of accomplishment. Spontaneous joy is felt, creativity is unleashed and reflected upon. As you take a second look at what you accomplished, you realize that the outcome is worth the purposeful pursuit. 

Below you will find the slide presentation, "Unleashing Creativity - Finding Our Voice," showcasing the work of eight Molloy College graduate school students (seven teachers and one aspiring teacher) whom I taught during the 2017 Summer ELA Institute. While building their literacy toolkits, the educators explored resources and tools to integrate technology, digital media, creative thoughts and expand the ways educators engage students in writing. Being immersed in a creative culture of trust allowed creative thought to spontaneous burst open. The educators "played" with words and designed digipoetry and inspirational posters to unleash their creativity, be expressive and create digitally to impact learning lives and motivate writers. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with a group of dedicated and passionate Long Island educators on ways to engage students in writing through digital means. 

You can view the Google Slide presentation here.

Today's Poetry Friday is hosted by the haiku maven, Diane Mayr. You can find the Round-Up at Diane's site, Random Noodling.  

Talking about unleashing creativity, look at what Tabatha Yeatts has  penned for me in her Summer Poetry Swap. I am touched by the time and effort Tabatha took to personalize the following poem. This poem speaks of my work as the designer and curator of season galleries of artistic expressions. The sensory details that Tabatha has added makes me visualize the hundreds of poems that have been offered for the various galleries throughout the season. I send many thanks to Tabatha for creating such a lovely tribute to the seasonal work of designing artistic galleries that showcase a connection to nature through poetry, photography, technology, and art. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Celebrate Life

As spring was about to turn a corner,

one blossom rose-


a joyful sight.

Two hearts bonded-          

  a connection.

One infant slept-


many voices soared-
  joyful noise.


As you can see, I have been celebrating life since the birth of my grandbaby bundle of joy, Sierra Kathryn.

The poem above, included in a Victorian book, Lilies of the Valley, was sent to me last summer by my poet friend, Linda Baie. Little did she know last year that the cherub's smile would remind me of my June '17 newborn grandbaby.

I turn my attention to two writing communities who celebrate the small moments of life with me each week: Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres and Two Writing Teachers, Slice of Life Tuesday.


This post is the 4th in the series chronicling the birth of Sierra Kathryn.

June 19th  -   New Life
June 22nd -  Grandmotherhood

Thursday, June 22, 2017


Morning light sweeps the room.
Day nestles in the corner,
swaddling baby in love.
CV, 2017

The heart journey begins
with a sweet coo,
a soft touch,
strong emotion
CV, 2017

Grandmotherhood is a new calling for me. I bring to mind childhood memories reminding me of the special moments I spent with my grandmother: rose garden tending, kneading dough, hanging washed clothes in the sunlight, shucking peas, and tasting treats from her kitchen. Summer days were mellow, peaceful, and full of love. I also bring to mind timeworn memories of my mother dispensing her love on my children. She created magical moments for them daily. Genuine love has been passed on from generation to generation and so I shall faithfully continue the tradition with Baby Sierra Kathryn.


Thank you to my friend and fabulous poet, Irene Latham, for sending me gifts from the heart prior to Sierra's birth. I will cherish these Summer Poem Swap gifts always. Look below to find an original poem, joy notebook, and miniature hurdy gurdy that plays Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star from Irene. 

Don't you just love the opening to the poem Irene wrote?
"a time to remain rooted as an oak
as you cradle a warm moon" 

Now it is time to visit Heidi Mordhurst's site, my juicy little universe, for the Poetry Friday Round-Up. 

Readers, I am still in the process of designing my spring gallery, Springsations. As you can see, I have been preoccupied with the birth of first grandchild. As a beautiful spring blossom she will be the inspiration to unveil the gallery. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wonder, Hope, Possibilities

A new baby is like the beginning of all things -
wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. 
(Eda J. Le Shan)

When does the joy of expectancy become a reality? Is it when you first hear that there is a new arrival on the way or when you first stare into the eyes of the new infant?  When does life turn a corner? I think all of the above applied to me as I entered grandmotherhood on June 15th. 

My journey into Grandmotherhood started way back in November at a pre-Thanksgiving evening. When cupcakes came out with little labels, I wondered about them until it dawned on me that the one marked Grandma was meant for me. Everyone in the two families joined together were overcome with happiness that evening. A spirit of hope surrounded all of us. Then, there was the gender reveal at Christmas. "It's a girl" was an outburst of joy. After that, the baby shower brought the dream of new possibilities for the loving parents and a soon-to-be-born newborn.

After returning from Virginia, I perused the photos taken over the weekend. They made me realize that there is a spirit of wonder, hope, and possibilities all wrapped up in little Sierra Kathryn. 

"Every picture tells a story" has been used in advertising since the early 20th century. In this 21st century world of digital technology, the photos I and the family have taken will continue to speak ten thousand words all wrapped in love! 

I am blessed with the title Grandma. I will continue to wonder, hope, dream of new possibilities, and use photos to unfold a story of my little one's new life as a hopeful wonderer believing in the power of possibilities.
It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers. I am eager to link up with the #sol17 writing community.

Monday, June 19, 2017

New Life

Countdown began last Tuesday night

Anticipation mounted with each breath. 
Then, passed in the silence. 
Wednesday, no relief-
Tick tocking reverberated.
Thursday's drive brought reflection:

Suddenly, a text pinged.
The car exploded with outbursts of joy!
A visual treasure was revealed.

Meet Sierra Kathryn

Friday: new sight, cooing sounds -
instant love.

Saturday, family eagerly gathers.
Baby arrives home.

Video of Baby Homecoming 

Sunday, Father's Day pride shines 
as bright as the sunshine.

Words cannot express the joy of new life. 
(Hermann Hesse)

My weekend was filled with many precious moments, so I'm Celebrating This Week with Ruth Ayres and her community of writers, post-weekend. Thank you to all those who surrounded this birth with their thoughts and prayers. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017


At dusk, the world finds rest 
under the canopy of sunset.
Nature shares its evening colors.

On my way to Virginia, I was graced with the image of a sunset in progress. It was not a sunset that I have witnessed on Long Island by the beach or in my neighborhood. It was one that filled a mighty expanse with softness while a glaring sun shot its lights upon the water. I was lucky enough not only to witness the beauty of evening's call to commune with nature but to capture several photos while my husband drove. What I saw beyond the sunset was a river still and silent waiting for its story to unfold. Were it not for the sun glaring in the sky, I would not have noticed the tranquil scene.

I learned a lesson from witnessing this sunset. Life is not a steeplechase, rushing from one event to another, although many times it feels that way. I thought about the metaphor, life is like a river. Is it about meandering through life or is there more substance to the statement? Do I regularly notice the flow of life, feel its natural course or do I resist the patterns? Do I veer here and there? Do I recognize that in order to maneuver great distances, I must abide by the laws of nature, accept the challenges, and move past the rocks. I think I do but sometimes, I do not notice the sunsets. There needs to be a more consistent flow on my journey, like the river's flow. There needs to be more notice and wondering time for there is so much beauty in the natural world.

Listen to Life is Like a River

Meanwhile, Carol at Carol's Corner is hosting Poetry Friday here. She provides readers with a brief introduction to the new poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith.

My spring gallery, Springsations, is still under construction. Stay tuned for more details about the unveiling.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Waiting for something important is difficult 
but it is time to see the world with different eyes
as I await the birth of my first grandbaby!

Joy Awaits!

at Two Writing Teachers.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Celebrate Nature

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

Friday was a glorious day of sunshine, 
blue skies, and warmth 
that invited me to celebrate 
nature outdoors. 

Spring continues to dance 
in the sunlight today.
Let's Celebrate!

Stay tuned for the upcoming Springsations Gallery of artistic expressions that is still under construction.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Visualizing Joy

How do you greet each day? Do you celebrate the moments that pass by or see the blades of grass as the rebirth of earth? 

I reflected on these thoughts this week as I awaited news of a tiny new life about to be born.  Each day seemed endless with anticipation. I needed to slow down, rest my mind on the breath, and see the world with new eyes to finally realize that joy will come. Then, I read a quote from Peter Sis: "How much do you visualize something you've never seen and just imagined...?" 

While waiting for news, I started creating to visual joy. My colleague, Kevin Hodgson interpreted my poem, Strange Dreams, that I wrote last week. He created a visual poetry video. (You can view that here.) It is an amazing piece of work that made me wonder? How did Kevin accomplish what he did? What was the platform he used? Being a connected educator, Kevin gave me insight into how to create something that was only in my mind's eye.

A poem, Joyful Expectancy, evolved. Shortly after that, I began the process of creating a poetry video. I must have gone through ten iterations so far and I am still not finished. The credits do not note that the rainbow was created by my friend, Delia, who traveled recently to Ireland nor which photos are my originals. I am waiting for my last remake to correct my inputs. Lumen 5 is an amazing platform to create videos but when "playing" with a new format, I need time to work out the kinks. For now you can see the draft version here. 

"There are words in the soul of a newborn baby,
wanting and waiting to be written."
-Toba Beta

Joy is soon to arrive with the new birth. Stories will ariseIn the meantime, it is time for this week's Poetry Friday. Mary Lee Hahn is hosting at A Year of Reading and shares an original poem that holds my one word, joy. When I chose this word to guide my yearlong journey, I hoped it would find me. Thank you Mary Lee and Kevin for helping me visualize joy. I am looking forward to finding joy while reading my Poetry Friday friends' entries this week. 

SPECIAL NOTE: Thank you to all my Poetry Friday friends who contributed poetic offerings for my spring gallery, Springsations. I have been working on the design and will send out announcements on when the gallery will be unveiled. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Connecting With Great Educators

It is amazing how a great, online conversation can broaden your perspective and leave you pondering even after the convo. One day later and I am still thinking about the flow of tweets from last night's #NYEDChat convo on Twitter with Jimmy Casas. During the chat, a connected energy was harnessed as we discussed What Great Educators Do Differently. Today's stream of tweets, encouraged deeper thinking on my part.


Many tweets went by.
I sit still pondering a reply.

I return from a state of quiet to write.

Connected educators are a mix of spring blossoms,
Positivity, possibilities, and potential-a simple bouquet
Scenting the morning air with fragrant garden freshness. 

Great educators examine their understandings.
A positive spirit of good will and respect fill their talk.
Possibilities (unlimited) frame their mindset and lead their walk.
Potential is what is envisioned to extend their journey of growth.
It is within a thriving, borderless community of shared networking that
Lasting relationships are solidified, collaborative efforts promoted, and 
Engines of the mind ignited to collectively impact teaching and learning.

From these swirling thoughts, 
Digital inspirations previously created 
Swept across my screen as promising mantras.

The journey to connect and grow as a collective body of professionals is one that should not be walked alone. Have you reaped the benefit of a connected network of great educators? If not, it is time to grow your PLN with edufriends who think beyond the box, are risk takers, and understand the wisdom of passing on ownership of learning to their students. 

I am posting this to Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday tonight. With gratitude for this outstanding group of connected educators who honor the practice of writing by honing their craft each week, I share my thoughts

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Celebrating Story

While I wait to hear the news of the arrival of my granddaughter, our first grandchild, I gather items that I will bring to Virginia for the event. Stories unfold as I collect the memorabilia: a photo album of my daughter's first years of life, an embroidered little robe, decades old but as fresh as when it was first worn, and a quilted blanket. These pieces, among others once cherished, have come full circle as I piece together a story for the new generation.

I celebrate the women in my life who came before me, 
nurtured me, and led me to a world of learning.

I celebrate my daughter, 
now ready to bring a daughter into this world
to make her mark on life.

Story unfolds with time.
Tales progress, reflecting like 
a mirror upon our familial lives.
Torn photos, mementos, family treasures, 
worn with years, touched by tears, share stories

and so the story lives on
with new life.

Stories build upon stories as life twists and turns with each new bend of the path. Where the story goes is part of the wonder of a new generation of storytellers. With faith, these new eyes will see the beauty of life and find a path to walk as many have done before.


I celebrate with others who have stories to tell
and open their doors to listen to mine.
Thank you Ruth Ayres for the space to Celebrate Life This Week.

Thank you Margaret Simon for the space to create 
and play with the DigiLit Sunday Community.