Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Grateful for Treasured Moments

 We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” -Thornton Wilder

Treasured moments are small ones

filled with thanks for life and living. 

Within these small moments, 

families come together, 

snap photos for posterity, 

and mindfully enjoy the present. 

©CV, 2021


Pausing-in-prayer before eating allows us time to give thanks and open our hearts to what we are grateful for in life. 



While Thanksgiving 2021 brought only part of the family together, it was a delicious, memorable meal that was a welcomed break from my husband's rigorous medically-prescribed diet plan. This was our pre-party for a weekend event that would bring a  surprise twist for our family gathering.

A Few Days Later:

Imagine our surprise when we awoke on Saturday morning and the turkey did not thaw out in time. EEK! Plan B was put into action. My husband drove to the local grocery store to search for a fresh turnkey that would feed seven. Upon entering the house, he excitedly told his tale. 

"There were at least 75 frozen turkeys and only one fresh one in the bin. The other good news is I only paid $3.60 for this 17 1/2-pound fresh turkey!"

A phone call let us know my daughter, son-in-law, and grandgirls would arrive.  The call was interrupted by an excited 4-year-old who could not wait to tell her news to Grandpa.

"Grandpa, we bought a chocolate cake for Grandma."

A few hours later, two pretty boxes came into the house. I could hardly wait to see what was inside. When it was time for dessert, the boxes were opened. Sierra decided to add four colorful candles to the chocolate cake. These were placed next to the birthday girl sign. 

"Mommy loves red," Sierra said.

I replied, "Did you know that I love red too?"

Aurora wanted to be raised higher to see the "happy" (short for a happy birthday party). The girls and I squished on one swivel chair for the traditional family event. An off-key tune was sung (so says my husband) and I along with my two little loveys blew out the candles. A bite into the chocolate cake brought me to another happy place. The yumminess of the chocolate and the creme layers was just too delicious for words!


The events of Thanksgiving 2021 seemed to erase the sting of last year's pandemic life and channel a new feeling of being blessed. 



a holiday

to gather together

with good food

family conversation


©CV, 2021

Note: The above poem uses a hay(na)ku and reverse hay(na)ku  poetic form. A hay(na)ku has lines of one, two, and three word(s) for lines one, two, and three respectively. A reverse hay(na)ku reverses the order.


The Power of Gratitude:

November ends a month of gratitude but in reality, it does not stop on November 30th. Let us all remember this. 

Thank you to my friend, Laurie Saurman, who shared this graphic on gratitude at her Facebook post.


Thank you to my son, Derek Varsalona, for taking this beautiful photo in West Virginia while on a mini-vacation with his sister, brother-in-law, and little nieces.

weekend plans develop
inspiring an
©CVarsalona, 2021 & Photo by ©Derek Varsalona, 2021, West Virginia


Gratitude for the weekly Slice of Life offered by Two Writing Teachers.

Friday, November 26, 2021

In Praise of Autumn

With gratitude for a warm-weathered Thanksgiving, wonderful birthday joy, and family and friend correspondence, I invite you to celebrate Autumn one more time, with the final edition of the Bedecked In Autumn Gallery of Artistic Expressions.

Oh, Autumn, on wings of colored hues
you flutter in and sweep the sky in glory,
dance the quickstep with falling leaves,
and toss beachside shores with sunlit sparkles.

Bedecked in your jewels of the season,
you slowly transform sunwashed spaces
into havens of kaleidoscope magic.
Oh, Autumn, your harlequin colors leave me breathless.

(Thank you author Lester Laminack for sharing the beauty of Autumn through photography.)

When your time of cinnamon and brown sugar landscapes
passes into the cool crispness of November winds,
gratitude for your celebration of Earth remains.
Praise to you, Autumn, for ushering in cheerful holiday joy.
©CV, draft 2021

(Thank you Poetry Sisters for this month's November challenge, Ode to Autumn. #PoetryPals)


Autumn, you inspire artists, like Michelle Kogan, to paint and write with passion.

Season Changes Breath...

Mid autumn pause
invites wandering and wondering...
Mid Autumn pause
celebrates earth's vibrance because
her dowries fill your hunger
and spread brilliance round and under-
Mid autumn pause...

© 2021 Michelle Kogan


Autumn, you influenced poets, like Irene Latham, to create poetry prompted by masters' artwork

The above nature photography and image poems will be embedded in the first edition of  Bedecked In Autumn Gallery.

Michelle Kogan
Lester Laminack
Irene Latham

Please visit previous autumn galleries of artistic expressions that integrate the arts, technology, and poetry. Click on the titles of the underlined galleries. 

2014  -   Finding Fall
2015   -  Autumn's Palette
2016   -  Autumn Venture
2017   -  Autumn Ablaize 
2020 -  Abundant Autumn

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Thank you teacher-poet, Ruth Hersey, from Haiti for hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup this week. Ruth shares her odes, one about Haiti, and a gratiku. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

A Slice of Bedecked In Autumn Gallery

Autumn caresses my thoughts and feelings, even when temperatures fluctuate and frost leaves its residue on plants. It is a season of light and shadows, warmth and chill, activity and gratitude. With that in mind, I invite you to take a gallery walk with me through the following, a second edition of the Bedecked In Autumn Gallery of Artistic Expressions that blends art, technology, poetry, and music from around the globe. 


and fall arrives!

Autumn shares its limelight with three months. Early September opens the season with single leaf deposits that whisper hello. 

 Photo by Ramona Behnke, 2021 Washington

"And the yellow sunflower by the brook, in autumn beauty stood." 
-William Cullen Bryant
Photo by Fran Haley (Fran's image poems can be found in the first edition of the gallery here.

 October whisks in and slowly paints the landscape in burnt orange and golden shades for all to admire. Shall we dance in glee?

Chris Margocs from Texas shares a ritual of "just being".

October walks offer quiet time to be inspired by the beauty of the earth,
as seen through the eyes ofTerje Akke (Estonia, 2021).

October closes on a spooky note. 


November slips into view with:

"In November, the trees are standing sticks and bones. Without their leaves, how lovely they are, spreading their arms like dancer. They know it is time to be still." - Cynthia Rylant

Pause for a brief interlude of your gallery walk to listen to Beautiful Autumn Songs here.

Not all that glitters is gold.


Part of my heart remains in Long Island where fall watching for me was either at a beach or park. Thanks to Laura Toledo, educator photographer, I am able to see a new place that I never visited, Connectquot State Park

Ramona Behnke
Alice Garza
Fran Haley
Kevin Hodgson
Robert Hamera
Carol Varsalona
Jackie Yun
I hope you enjoyed the contributions shared by some of my slicer and Facebook friends. 


Please visit previous autumn galleries of artistic expressions that integrate the arts, technology, and poetry. Click on the titles of the underlined galleries. 

2014  -   Finding Fall
2015   -  Autumn's Palette
2016   -  Autumn Venture
2017   -  Autumn Ablaize 
2020 -  Abundant Autumn

Thank you for joining me on this gallery walk of the 2021 Autumn season. May you continue to fill your heart with gratitude for the beauty of the earth.



Please leave a comment below or on social media so that the joy of this gallery and the work of all those who contributed can be spread throughout the world. Thank you to Aussie poet Alan J. Wright who commented on the first edition of Bedecked In Autumn Gallery with a nod to Keats.

The brilliant canvas of colour, images, and words brought the words of Keats flowing back into my conscious mind, "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.'"


I thank Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesday where a community of educational writers shares small moments of quiet inspiration.

Please join me on Friday for the final installment of the Bedecked in Autumn Gallery.

fall's quiet moments
strewn with blankets of leaves
earth seeks repose
©CVarsalona, 2021
Photo by Terje Akke, 2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Unveiling of Bedecked In Autumn Gallery

Step into the beauty of autumn, the season of luster and radiance. Watch leaves flutter and dance and pumpkins grow into vined beauties. Listen to nature whisper its love song while indulging in the vibrancy of an autumn day or the solace of a moonlit sky. Then, pause to ponder Vincent Van Gogh's quote. "As long as autumn lasts, I shall not have hands, canvas, and colors enough to paint the beautiful things I see."  

You Are Invited to Take a Gallery Walk Through

"Autumn keeps a radiance that is all her own." -Jennifer Williamson

You will find visual examples of autumn's radiance as you stroll through the various sections of the Bedecked in Autumn Gallery, Poetry Friday Edition.

The leaves are changing; I feel poetry in the air.” -Lauren Jaworski

Linda Baie gathers inspiration on her morning walks in Denver, Colorado.
Margaret Simon from Louisiana pens a poem after viewing Ramona Behnke's photo.
Move with the beat of a song without sound by Janet Fagal from New York State.

November is our slow-down time to recenter our thoughts.
Karen Eastlund from New Jersey adds humor to her image poem. 
Ramona Behnke from Washington declares herself a fall fanatic.
Carol Labuzzetta shares a stunning nature photo. 

"Wild is the music of autumnal winds amongst the faded woods." -William Wordsworth

Pause for a moment. Listen to the sweet sounds of autumn via the Bedecked In Autumn Playlist. Click here.

"Autumn mornings: sunshine and crisp air, birds and calmmess, year's end and day's beginnings.
-Terri Guillemets

Kiesha Shepard shares sights and sounds of autumn in Texas.
October in Virginia offers beautiful scenery for a walk in the woods. I gather inspiration from nature and my granddaughters to create digital inspirations.

Take a look at Ramona Behnke's invitation.

Matt Forrest Esenwine offers an inspirational poem with a beautiful photo of the early morning fog. Matt provides an explanation of his poem title: "Although my poem IS titled..."Untitled" is the titled, because it represents the boundless opportunities of the day."
I rise
like early-morning fog:
slow and thin, lifted
by the cool breath
of a boundless new day

"There is something haunting in the light of the moon." -Joseph Conrad

Linda Mitchell from Virginia spins a Halloween tale.
Family Fun
Pick a candy pumpkin pot from our patch.

©CV, 2001 Digital Art

Little Princesses Ready for Trick or Treat Fun
©CV, 2001 Digital Art
Costumed Characters from Frozen

Violet Nesdoly sketched a detailed black and white drawing of a Pumpkin Patch. 

"Pumpkin spice and everything nice."

Margaret Simon shares a mentor poem written for her students.
Fran Haley shares a tender moment between little sisters.
This little toddler, my granddaughter, enjoys an outing to a farm market in Virginia.
Scout, age 5, and her grandmother, Fran Haley, create a scarecrow acrostic poem.
Violet Nesdoly's drawing is one to share with children. Does it make you want to dream upon a star?
What child does not enjoy a trip to the pumpkin patch?
Did you see in the Halloween Treats section Violet Nesdoly's drawing of a pumpkin patch?

"Don't wait until the fourth Thursday in November to sit with family and friends to give thanks." -Charmaine J. Forder

Ruth Hersey shares her thoughts on her borrowed homeland, Haiti.
Matt Forrest Esenwine offers gratitude to the forest.
Four generations of bakers have me remembering my own childhood in the kitchen next to my Nonnie.

A preserved leaf collage by 21-month-old Aurora inspires a gratiku.
Be awed by the beauty of the prairie that Carol Labbuzzetta photographed.

"Autum is the hush before winter." -French proverb

Linda Baie pens her poem with a whisper of goodbyes.
"Fall is the spring of winter." -Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Ramona Behnke offers a peek of winter colors in fall. 

by Ashley Wolff

Please visit previous autumn galleries of artistic expressions that integrate the arts, technology, and poetry. Click on the titles of the underlined galleries. 

2014  -   Finding Fall
2015   -  Autumn's Palette
2016   -  Autumn Venture
2017   -  Autumn Ablaize
2020 -  Abundant Autumn

Artwork by Ashley Wolff, author/illustrator of How To Help Pumpkin Grow


Please leave a comment below or on social media so that the joy of this gallery and the work of all those who contributed can be spread throughout the world. 

Linda Baie
Ramona Behnke
Janet Fagal
Fran Haley
Ruth Hersey
Carol Labuzzetta
Violet Nesdoly
Linda Mitchell
Kiesha Shepard
Margaret Simon 
Carol Varsalona
Ashley Wolff
Children: Aurora, Scout, Sierra

Thank you for joining me on a gallery walk of the sights and sounds of Autumn 2021.
May the beauty of this season fill your heart with gratitude for the beauty of the earth.

As the host of Poetry Friday, I hope you enjoyed the contributions shared by some of my poet friends. Please link up below with your offering this week. If you have a digital inspiration, nature photograph, image poem, or other artistic expressions for Bedecked In Autumn Gallery place it in the comments and I will add it to this blog post. Section 2 of the gallery will appear next week in my Slice of Life on Tuesday. 

To add your link to Mister Linky, click on the You're next! button. 
The entries will appear in the next screen.