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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Nurturing Our Summer Souls

Tonight and Thursday, I welcome all to Spiritual Journey Thursday. Our writing community gathers together this month to celebrate summer. As your host, I offer the prompt, Nurturing Our Summer Souls, for you to ponder. Please see below the digital art I designed with photos and artwork from Jan Annino, Donna Smith, Fran Haley, and myself. The poster shares different settings that open our hearts and expand our minds to new possibilities. 


Join me as I breath in summer air and imagine all the opportunities to relax, meditate, and free ourselves from the restrictive boundaries of our pandemic lives. With the recent opening of the summer season, there are more opportunities to travel and enjoy local and surrounding areas than before. New thoughts, new sights with family and friends lead to a refreshed attitude toward life. 
Photos by Devin Hartnett
Local sights inspire me to embrace nature and engage in self-care measures that encourage the growth and development of a positive mindset. Do you agree? I nurture my heart, mind, and body when relaxed. I see the world through a different lens when sitting quietly and gazing into the quiet beauty of nature that is before me. How does nature affect your view of life?
There are many what ifs on nurturing our summer souls. Time is always an issue but being present in the moment allows me to find inner peace without the burden of pressing to-do lists. Watching clouds billow like powder puffs gently stroking the sky inspires me to see life differently. I know that I need to slow down, find a resting place, and just BE!
This summer, we may all desire to break free of what restricts us. A walking trail lets us find new ways to enjoy ordinary elements of nature. Take out your smart phone, photograph what you see, and share the results.
Reeds sway in summer's breeze
influencing
my 
summer
thoughts,
influencing
my
journey
onward.
Influencing
reeds sway in summer's breeze.
©CV, 2021

In this simple skinny poem, a truth is revealed. "Let the earth heal us, and devote ourselves to healing the earth." -the Seven Whispers-Listening to the Voice of the Spirit by Christina Baldwin

This summer is such a turnaround time for me. I ponder the nurturing process of self-care hoping that quiet contemplation leads to self-renewal. My one word, begin, guides the way here in my new local. I plan on breaking the ties that bind me to freely explore new horizons. "For God gave us not a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control." -2Timothy 1:7

©CV, 2021, Regency at Creekside, VA

new hope, new beginning
with each rising sunbreath-
life at the crossroad

©CV, 2021


I would be remiss if I did not mention my little granddaughters with their smiles and loving hugs that nurture my summer soul. Faith, family, friends, and nature fill my heart with love and peace. May your summer souls be nurtured in any way you choose and bring you peace. 


*************************************


Members of the Spiritual Journey Thursday community, please add your links below, For new friends who join in, you can also add your links or place your thoughts, photos, or remarks in the comment section below. I look forward to reading your posts or your artistic expressions on how each of you are nurturing your soul this summer. May we all find inspiration and peace in our lives. 



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

It's a Heatwave

What is someone to do when it is ninety-three degrees outside? 

Here is a funny comic that is a good response for me the baker. A few years ago my 4-year-old granddaughter called me Namacookie because I would bring a homemade treat when I saw her.



Since the above option is a stretch, I have a plausible plan-sit under a large umbrella looking at the beautiful landscape surrounding the pool in our Virginia community. Relax. Catch a few rays but when the sun's rays feel like a layer of heat penetrating my skin, dangle my feet in the pool. Another option is to stay cool reading a book in the shade or airconditioning.

summertime magic
floats through a cooling breeze
heatwave ignored
©CV, 2021

Stay cool and remember Roman Payne's quote (that I formatted into a poem).

 "O, Sunlight! 
The most precious gold
 to be found 
on Earth."

Even in a heatwave, there is something to be grateful for!
Have a cookie and enjoy life!
 

(Have you ever heard Marilyn Monroe sing A Tropical Heatwave?  
Click here. Go to 2:20 minutes to listen to the song.)

It's Slice of Life Tuesday so I am traveling over to Two Writing Teachers to offer my slice.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Summering 2021

It's the first week of summer: temperatures sizzle, water sparkles, relaxation beckons, and adventures begin.  With a sinus infection that has me under the weather, I am limited to what I can do but sitting quietly in a lounge chair writing or reading are lay back activities that are both soothing and restorative.

time to kick back   
summer brings relaxation
nature obliges
©CV, 2021

(The photo below of the Pacific Ocean by Kim Douillard was shared by Margaret Simon at This Photo Wants to be a Poem. I read through the various poems colleagues wrote. All reminded me of my beloved Long Island beaches so I decided to add my draft to Margaret's collection. 

june's glistening spray
spritzes salty sea breezes,
exhales energy,
swishes diamond-dazzle drops
cooling summer's sunsoaked rays
©CV, 2021, draft

It would not be summer without adventures, whether they are nearby or far away.  As a child, my adventures were always found in books. I daydreamed about destination places I longed to see. When the pandemic started to rage, traveling became difficult. People began dreaming of destinations that would take them to places beyond their homes. Slowly, traveling bans lifted and fears diminished. Traveling became a topic as the surge for destination trips began.


When the Poetry Sisters posted their June challenge, I knew that it would be a deep dive into the creativity zone and just what I needed to begin my summer adventure in Virginia. The Poetry Sisters ask that each writer create a zentangle poem with an embedded design. For your information, the Poetry Sisters referenced poet Kathryn Apel's explanation of the zentangle in her Poetry Pep Up challenge. "The zentangle poem is a form of found poetry using repetitive lines (zentangles) to frame your poem." My  zentangle for Kat's challenge can be found here. My topic for today's challenge revolves around the topic of travel as it pertains to current thoughts. The referencing article is from AAA World Travel magazine of July/August 2021. My poem follows a simulated roadway.

Travel Popularity

travel deferred
optimism renewed.
this summer,
family feeling confident
to hit roadways.
enjoy the drive!
©CV, 2021


I offer today's poetry to the Poetry Friday Roundup at our Poetry Friday Host, Linda MitchellLinda offers her own challenge at her blog, A Word Edgewise. Choose one of her clunker lines in exchange for a quick poem and a clunker line in return.

My choices from Linda's offerings:
found a bit of sunflower
and
trees turned so orange the road looked blue

Stop back to see how I use the above clunkers in a new poem.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Golden Hour

"Bursts of gold on lavender melting into saffron. It's the time of day when the sky looks like it has been spray-painted by a graffiti artist." - Mia Kirshner 


Excitedly, they raced up and down the slight slope as the birthday party began. It was the golden hour just after nap time and the beginning of a delightful late afternoon family event. Big sister and little baby romped in the grassy area beyond the patio. Their world was painted in shades of joy. 

After dinner a sweet secret brewed. Out from the small guest bedroom, a little girl transformed into a princess glided past me ready to don her royal crown and greet guests for the gathering. Loved ones circled to wish the birthday girl years of wonder and celebration at the count of four. But waiting was not her strong suit so, within a second, all four candles were puffed into the air just like her wishweeds did on her spring nature walk.

a sweetened surprise
awaits a little princess
wide-eyed wishes ready now
golden hour approaches
with promised love
©CV, 2021

As the golden hour moved closer to sunset, two little princesses walked to their coach where dancing dreams lulled them into a restful sleep. What new adventures will await a four-year-old with talents still not untapped is yet to be seen. 

A Slice of Life for Another Special Day

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Birthday Surprise

For me, writing in the quiet of night is a treat but there are other magical moments that light up life.

This week, my granddaughter turned four so naturally, I wrote a poem to celebrate her amazing years of life. It was a pantoum poem that my granddaughter and I call a story poem. I added digital photos of her to entice her into the poem.

While I was not present at the children's party (I am hosting the extended family's "big people's" party this weekend), I enjoyed an online conversation and found out that there were many surprises at the party, one of which brought me Grandma joy. During the Google Duo call, I listened to Sierra's exciting details about the party with her best friends.  I then shared the story poem I wrote. First, we looked at the digital photos I created from infancy through toddler years. Next, I asked if I could read the story poem. Sierra is a reader and loves a good read-aloud so she listened carefully. At the close of the poem, I heard, "Thank you, Grandma." How endearing those words were! 

Now. let me share the events of the party where magic was in the air. The video that was sent to the family showed an excited child rushing to the back door and down the path to the wooded backyard. Ah, yes, an awesome sight awaited her! Her Mommy remembering her own childhood parties in a backyard miniature house, constructed a child-size outdoor house and Daddy helped erect it. The little house set in a wooded setting of their back year was complete with a patio laid down by the carpenter. Two Adirondack chairs, a child-size picnic table, and window boxes full of flowers against a natural setting added additional charm to the setting. Photos posted were filled with excitement and joy so I decided to write a tricube poem. It is a good format because of its simplicity that allows a story to flow.

Yesterday, I had a virtual tour of the birthday surprise. I laughed when I saw my seventeen-month-old granddaughter quite content playing on the floor of the little house while big sister enjoyed creating a bracelet from the kit given by one of the partygoers.
I am now preparing for the family birthday party at my new house on Saturday. Even though, Sierra said will not be her birthday date, I responded that the big people want to celebrate your special day. Afterall, you are only four once.

Little house in the woods,

How charming you are
With your storybook gable.

What tales will grow as your years unfold?
Mix wonder and childhood dreams
Create stories to last a lifetime.
©CV, 2021


Now, it's time for the Poetry Friday Roundup at poet and nature photographer Buffy Silverman's blog site

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Today You Are Four

It is quiet in the house except for the hum of the twirling fan. Only cracks of lights enter the darkened room. I steal a few moments to be alone with my thoughts. It is the eve of my granddaughter's fourth birthday. A whoosh of camera-ready moments rushes past me, from infant to toddler to a curious little girl. The years of her joyous life "whisper loud enough to make me stop and take stock."*

I dedicate the following pantoum poem composed of four-line stanzas in which the second and fourth lines of each stanza serve as the first and third lines of the next stanza. The last line of the pantoum is the same as the first.
💖
It was but yesterday
when you entered a calico-colored world
with your curious stance
that brought so much joy.
When you entered a calico-colored world,
you became our wonder baby.
Your curious stance grew
in natural settings.
You became our wonder baby`    
listening, learning,
in natural settings
that often led to new discoveries.
💖
Listening, learning,
you skied and climbed hills.
leading to new discoveries,
opening a new world of wonder.
You skied and climbed hills.
Your toddler passions have grown each year,
opening a world of  new wonders.
Today you are four!
💖💖💖💖
Your toddler passions have grown each year.
I watched with pride.
Today, you are four-
it was but yesterday!
©CV, 2021


Birthday love  💖 is sent to my "big girl" granddaughter, Sierra.
Thank you for always sharing your exuberance for life.

*Line lifted from my writing friend, Fran Haley, in a comment to slicer Chris Margocs."

 A Slice of Life for a Special Day

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Reflections on Winter and Sprinters

 

Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
-Yoko Ono

Looking backward to winter may cool down the heat and humidity for me, or at least, it will bring back some interesting memories. It seems like this past year was endless with the pandemic's hold on life and nature's multi-layered weather conditions that extended winter into spring creating a new phenomenon, a sprinter
The Urban Dictionary describes sprinter as "the Canadian season which occurs between Spring and Summer when Mother Nature forgets that it is supposed to be getting warmer and suddenly reverts to Winter for no apparent reason." 
It took patience, perseverance, and faith. Now, it is time to remember those sprinter moments with humorous thoughts. 


My fellow poetry writing colleague, Kay McGriff, posted on Facebook her interpretation of an Indiana sprinter this April. I decided to add a dodoitsu, a Japanese poetic form that I attempted earlier this week.

Nature  surprises springtime,
Powder puffing its landscape
With a chilled blanket of white-
Late April Fool's gift.
©CV, 2021


I found some "sprinter humor" on Twitter by vinn f, @dreamanxiety, 2018, and decided to change the words into a poetic format just for fun.

when I go outside
to shovel the snow
will it be considered
"spring cleaning"?

Recent memories from nature's sprinter storms will be part of the Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery. Winter has passed. Hopefully, sprinter storms have passed and I have persevered inching my way closer to unveiling my Winter's Embrace 2021. Stayed tuned for the upcoming unveiling of my newest gallery filled with artistic expressions based on winter and winter-like weather. 


I'm now off to celebrate Poetry Friday with our host this week, Carol Wilcox at Carol's Corner.  Carol is introducing a new poet to many of  us, Jeannette Encinias, and states that her poetry is filled with "glorious, richly detailed sensory images."

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Bringing Nature Inside - Slice of Life

Nature is a gift even during hot, humid weather. From inside my air-conditioned home, I look out to view the beauty of velvet green grass, the edges of green leaves, and the pizzazz of vibrant blossoms. Since some of my beautiful, young plants have perished under the heat and others nibbled on by the local wildlife, I decided to bring nature indoors for my viewing pleasure. I created an outside and inside wreath with vases of artificial flowers to keep the spirits up on hot, humid days. 

Branch out
With graceful charm.
Stetch to grasp spring's last days.
Welcome the heated breath of June.
Extend!
©CV, 2021

I have one more poem with a new-to-me format, the dodoitsu. Thanks to Donnetta Norris for introducing me to the Japanese poetic form that has 4 lines with neither meter or rhyme. It does focus on syllables (seven in the first three lines and five in the last line. Writers Digest also notes that the last line "focuses on love or work with a comical twist." 
Have I mentioned before that my husband often says I lack a humorous side?This is true so below is my feeble attempt at humor based me trying to organize the unorganized parts of my new house. No matter what I do, I create more of a mess with the vast array of unopened boxes. 
circle of love welcomes all
to enter our new abode
with care step lightly across
the box danger zone
©CV, 2021, draft

It's Slice of Life Tuesday so I amtraveling over to Two Writing Te.achers to offer my slice
May the essence of spring fill your life with joy as it has done for me.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Winter's Digital Dazzle

Like a freight train, the February storm lumbered with force through Long Island, derailing outdoor plans. Snow upon snow blanketed earth. It glistened in white gowns of white lace. Meteorologists on high alert watched in amazement until the first blast quieted down for a winter nap but this was just the beginning. 

With winter just a blurred memory away, I turned to my digital photo album to find a picturesque winter scene of Long Island. Through the magic of digital tools (PicMonkey and FotoJet), a winter wonderland of snow emerged as a piece of artwork. I remembered the lush, alluring whiteness after the storm. It was a time to be dazzled by the purity of the snow and its ethereal beauty.

robed in white
earth celebrates at nature's altar-
blessed awe
©CV, 2021


"I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, ‘go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again." Lewis Carroll captured the above scenes so beautifully that it made sense to pair his quote with my digital artwork. The end result made me feel as though I stepped away from the camera and into a winter's dream.

While Long Island snuggled with a long winter sleep, Maine also became part of the storm's travels. Molly Hogan captured a spectacular nature photograph that I coupled with an inspirational quote by Thomas Merton. 


As wide-eyed wonderers of nature the contributors to Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery capture the essence of childhood joy, the quintessential beauty of a quiet, snowy day, and the solitude of a reflective walk. 

While life interrupted plans for an earlier unveiling, my hope is to share the majesty of winter's frozen charm before the heat of summer melts away the iced magic of winter's embrace.


Do you have a dazzling digital expression that you would like to share 
at Winter's Embrace 2021 Gallery? 

In the meantime, I am strolling over to this week's Poetry Friday Roundup at Margaret Simon's blog, Reflections on the Teche. Margaret our inspired host has a sampling of her poetry with collage art for our delight. See you there.  

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mid-Year Review of 2021 One Word-SJT

Life is about transitions. I look back on this year. Winter was filled with urgent to-do lists. Sell the Long Island house, find a spot open for COVID vaccinations for myself and my family, call the movers, and in the weeks before the move have an estate sale of my antiques and collectibles. I pause to reflect on my 2021 one word, begin, knowing that it has brought me through many challenges since I asked it to be a guide on my life journey. 

I contemplate my one word's presence in my life, consider what it offers for the future, and deliberate on what can be done to stop brooding over past missteps. Sometimes, I celebrate the word begin and other times get wrapped up in fairytale-like ponderings of an ideal new life. In reality, life is not an easy road to transverse. It is filled with detours, congested pathways, and bridges to cross. I am fully aware that life is fragile and uncertain but can be a hopeful journey if i remain positive. 

From the beginning of January, I trusted my one word. With faith on my side and the word begin, I crossed several hurdles starting with getting lost on the trip down to Virginia. I am not quite sure how I did that but it happened and left me in a quandary. I circled around, tried to find a new route, and finally broke down in tears. Was this a warning on how life could be if I continued to be stressed? Did I slow down when I finally arrived in Virginia? No, afterall there were so many tasks to be completed as we moved into our new home. My granddaughters have provided love and joy that dismisses tense-filled weekly tasks. 

I am happy to say, that I have prevailed through surging storms, service calls, and edginess amidst open and unopened boxes so I decided to revise my January 2021 Commitment Statement. 

with faith
I shall rise above
life's constant challenges,
blossom like a bud of spring,
celebrate new beginnings with positivity,
and begin a new walk on more solid ground.
©CV, 2021

I must admit since we moved, sometimes I felt like the wilting flowers in my new garden. They thirsted for a new beginning but I did not know how to nurture these new young plants.  I want to stand tall like the other blooms in my gardens. They offer their presence reminding me to sing the praises of nature's blessings. 


Like my young plantings, I journey onward despite changeable patterns of life. I will cast doubts aside and focus my thoughts on new beginnings now that I am left with only a dozen or more boxes to unpack on the first floor. As Meister Eckhart said, "Be willing to be a beginner every single morning." I shall make this quote a priority during the next few days, I will also, follow the wisdom of Proverbs 16-9: "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

Finding Peace

mapping life's journey 
begins within heartstrings-
wander with hope
©CV, 2021

I thank Ruth Hersey, teacher-poet from Haiti, who as the June host of Spiritual Journey Thursday chose today's topic. Ruth reports that despite the challenges of life in Haiti, she is still flourishing. I will walk beside her as I begin a mid-year journey.