Thursday, July 27, 2023

Hold Summer In Your Hand

As the summer heat continues, air-conditioned living is a must. Yesterday, I entered a large store and was surprised that the air conditioning system was not working properly. It is difficult for staff to work all day in these conditions. Air conditioning is a mood booster that most people are used to but it was not always this way. With a positive look at summer life, I offer a quote shared by Linda Baie"Hold summer in your hand, pour summer in a glass, a tiny glass of course, the smallest tingling sip for children; change the season in your veins by raising a glass to lip and tilting summer in." -Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury 

I am tilting summer in with The Poetry Sisters whose challenge this month is to write a poem in the form of monotetra and tag it with the label, #PoetryPals. You can learn more about it at Writer's Digest

I never tried writing a monotetra before so this challenge has been more challenging than I thought. The heat has been on my mind, the bounty of the flowers, and the urgency of watering. Besides that, I am participating in the summer poem swaps. These ideas found a way into my poem along with some inspiration I need.

hydrangea's summer blush smiles
underneath heated, cloudy piles 
waiting for rainy-day lifestyles
let go of trials, let go of trials

find beauty in the crystal drops
that flip-flop across, settle, and plop
breathe in summer's sweetened swaps
share peaceful ops, share peaceful ops
©CVarsalona, 2023, draft

Image Poem


Jan Godown Annino is the host of Poetry Friday this week. Click here to find a wonderful assortment of summer information on books, poetry, and poetic goodness. Enjoy all that she offers from Florida. (Stay cool, Jan!)

Friday, July 21, 2023

Savoring Summer

Summer is slipping by but one of the highlights this July was designing and hosting The First Ever Kids Summer Fun Fest in our community's grandchildren. After the event, I wrote a blog titled Summer's Magic Comes Alive! and posted it on our community Facebook page and other social media sites. The Lumen5 team noticed it on their site and created a video with the same title and emailed me. The video intuitively captured parts of my writing but let me choose photos and music to accompany the words. As you might expect, Lumen 5 is an AI-powered tool that creates videos to accompany written content." Below you will find what was sent to me before the video.

Introduction: Experience the joy and excitement of a kids' summer fun fest. Watch as children enjoy hula hoops, face painting, water tattoos, and more. See the smiles and laughter as they splash in the pool and receive prizes.

Conclusion: Let the magic of summer fill your day! 

You can see the final 30-second video by clicking here.

I have used Lumen5 for several years and find the experience interesting. It does not replace the writer's creativity apparent during the writing process but quickly generates photos to accompany the text. What it does is create an initial video from the writer's post, and allow enhancements with free photos for a fun experience with video making. The process reminds me of the swimmers I saw in the pool at the Kids Summer Fun Fest. Some splashed around, others floated in a sea of kids but then there were those determined to master the stroke, dunk the ball, or dive into a clear spot. Below is another digital tech-driven image poem created with Canva using free photos found at the Unsplash and Canva sites.

Taking the advice of William Shakespeare, "Summer's lease hath all too short a date", I plan on savoring summer right up to Labor Day.

The Poetry Friday Roundup is a teacher, author, and poet Margaret Simon's website, Reflections on the Teche. Margaret created a yummy post today about delicious homemade strawberry jam from a fellow teacher writer, Molly Hogan. There are photos and an ode to the jam. Now that is a wonderful way to savor summer.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Summer's Magic Comes Alive!

While thinking about a lead into a short post about a sunkissed-summer event, Sarah Summers' words were timely: 

"In a world of popsicles and flip-flop days, summer's magic never fades."

Last Saturday morning, a dedicated Kids Summer Fun Fest committee worked diligently with my co-chairman and me to transform the Creekside Community patio areas and outdoor pool into a kids' wonderland. It was one of those HOT summer days with blue skies and no dark clouds. As everyone proceeded to their assigned stations, our first 8-year-old guest entered with his grandmother. There were many stations for him to check out, such as the dance party patio with hula hoops, lawn games, crafts table, face painting, and water tattoos area. A few minutes later, more children from toddlers to 12-year-olds entered with their smiling grandparents and parents. Everybody was ready for a day of summer magic. 

Refreshments of water, crunchy goldfish and pretzels, and assorted-flavored popsicles were waiting. Stations started filling with participants. Lively chatter could be heard even with the dance music playing in the background. While waiting for the pool to open, the children mingled with each other and adults chatted with neighbors and family members while helping their little ones navigate the fun fest activities. A hula hoop demonstration was set up by two smiling adults who happened to know how to use the hoops. It was fun watching the older kids join in with their moving moves. A group of tween boys showed their ability to use the hoops as we watched them in awe. They wiggled, threw the hoops in the air, and slid them across the patio. Shouts of joy and clapping added to the festivities. 

Photos were taken before the pool opened. The whistle blew and no more than 38 children and adults were allowed into the pool area at a time Some children stayed in the station areas having fun with the adult monitors. Some ran in an out of the pool area to grab tasty treats, while others swam, played water basketball, and splashed around. Summer magic did not fade during the two-hour block of time. 

When the fun fest was nearing an end, each child stopped at the Treasure Chest Station to choose one of the prizes. Glow stick items were chosen; the headband with the little mouse ears was the most sought-after treasure. As we waved goodbye to our guests, we sighed with relief that no one needed the first aid kit, there was no rain, and everyone enjoyed themselves. The committee chatted about the successful event as they began the clean-up process. I think even the adults and committee enjoyed this summer event which was the first-ever Kids Summer Fun Fest. 

Below you will find a cherita, the Malay word for story or tale. I created a cherita poem comprised of three stanzas with 1 line in the 1st stanza line, 2 lines in the 2nd stanza, and 3 lines in the 3rd stanza. I also designed a digital invitation that provides an introduction to the event and my poem. After the last stanza, you will find a photograph of families and children enjoying the pool. Placed together the cherita poem, with the digital ad and photograph become an image poem.

joyful summertime celebration

kids follow the trail to fun
hula hoops twirl, faces shine with fresh paint, tattoos adorn arms and faces 

kids splash in the pool for a cool-down, fun time
grandparents and parents smile with contentment
kids exit with a prize as thank yous float through the air 
©CVarsalona, 2023
At the end of the day, my co-chairperson and I knew that the committee provided a world of popsicles and joyful fun activities, letting each child share in summer's magic.

I share this Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers who open their space weekly as a meeting place for reflective writers. 

🌞Happy Summer, everyone. May each day be magical!🌞

Friday, July 14, 2023

Sparking Clunker Words

It's been a heated summer week so it is time to cool off and end the night indulging in poetic goodness. This week the Poetry Friday host is a remarkable librarian poet, Linda Mitchell who loves to play with words and the collage process. She is ready for readers to spark some original poems from her selection of her old clunky words, lines, or stanza. I decided to dabble in her process to create something new from words that may not have seemed right to her at the time. and be creative in the process.

hold onto it
tuck it away
in earth's
deep pocket
grow it
from seed
when ready
let it soar into a
universe of thought
on a summer day
©CVarsalona, 2023


Minute Sips of Time Together

tea time memories flash through my mind
tea time memories flash through my mind
©CVarsalona, 2023

Rain Day's Magic Words 

On this rain day
through teary eyes I see
your soft hands pray
your rocking chair sway
your cup of favorite tea 

On the brink of summer
you passed into the dark night
became heaven's newcomer
full of creative wonder
with certainly no fright

On this day of torrential rain
I remember your swelling feet
I feel your lasting pain
of which you never complained
in heaven you are complete
©CVarsalona, 2023


The amazing children's author and poet, Irene Latham, sent me some small cards and an Apollo XVII badge (above) as a thank-you for being a moon-buddy. I was surprised and touched. As a moon-buddy, I am enjoying reading Irene's soon-to- make its debut on August 8th. I am delighted to offer a book review of her fascinating book, The Museum on the Moon. Stay tuned for the release of my book review on Irene's latest book.

I bid everyone good night as I prepare for bedtime.
Please ready yourself for the poetic goodness of Linda Mitchell
as she hosts Poetry Friday today. Click here.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Slice of Life's Sweet Delights

"Life is like an ice cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time."  -Charles Schulz

Isn't summer a wonderful time of the year? I remember those summer nights when dinner was over and children yearned for ice cream. What are your memories of ice cream treats when you were a child? See if they are similar to mine.

Remember those
humid summer nights
with mosquitoes biting,
no air conditioning,
and moonlight sightings?
Remember the
ice cream man
rolling through our neighborhoods
ringing a bell and stopping?
We kids swarmed around for cool bitings.
Remember our family
jumping in their car?
Roadside stands weren't far?
Oh, I remember how we smiled
when given a treat
after we ate our dinner meat.
Sweet summertime delight,
I remember it well.
This summer we repeat the scene
as grandkids indulge in ice cream.
©CVarsalona, 2023

Digitized photo of my 3-year-old granddaughter holding her blue ice cream.

This weekend, the family tried a new dining place with absolutely delicious seafood. Under the pavilion across the street, delightful music played. The weather was warm, not scorching, but we all longed for cooling ice cream treats. What did we do after dinner? Of course, we drove to an ice cream stand. There was a cow with a hollowed area for children to snuggle in as they waited for their treats. The line was long so they played by the cow until the newest flavor of ice cream, Cookie Monster, was scooped into kiddie cones. We watched the girls enjoy their delicious treats as we did ours. Photos were shot since the little girls' faces looked like they were face painted. Blue Cookie Monster ice cream was all over their lips and chin. What a delightful sight for a summer night!
Good-To-Know Fact: "As the summer heats up, snacking options cool down. Americans report ice cream as their favorite summer treat." Do you know that July is National Ice Cream Month and July 16, 2023 is National Ice Cream Day? Enjoy celebrating with America's favorite summer treat throughout July and into August. 
This is my Slice of Life Small Moment,
delicious enough to be repeated many times this summer.

Don't forget, "Life is like an ice cream cone, you have to lick it one day at a time." During this sunkissed summer season enjoy the luscious taste of ice cream and be grateful for family time and nature's bounty. 

Another ice cream poem is here.

Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for the space to write with a community of reflective writers.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Exchange Is Creation

The flowers are in full bloom. Who would have thought that my gorgeous calla lilies would bless my garden with a rich color of magenta! A few years ago, I planted calla lilies; they never bloomed. How wonderful to have them lay dormant until this summer! I am grateful for this gift, as I am thankful for poetry friends who offer gifts of carefully chosen words from the heart. 

Once again, Tabatha Yeatts provides the opportunity to swap a poem with a fellow writer during the Summer 2023 Poem Swap. She also shared a quote by Muriel Rukeyser at the onset of the Summer 2022 Poem Swap. Exchange is creation. There is truth in this simple statement. Each poem swap or poetry blog is an artistic expression created from the heart. You will note this in the exchange with my poem swap partners this summer. 

My first exchange is with the talented Marcie Flinchum Atkins, a school librarian, Kidslit author, photographer, and poet. She is also a lover of nature and host of today's Poetry Friday. Stop by to see her gorgeous image poems and sign up to receive gifts of her Poetry Postcards.

Marcie's swap to me are wonderful additions to my garden.
She added a note: Here's hoping you can have a little poetry in your garden.
Did she know that I adore wildflowers and love to watch them bloom as colorful, delicate bouquets.?
wildflowers spring up
shake their pompoms at the crowds
celebrate the rains
©Marcie Flinchum Atkins 2023
My Response to Marcie

wildflower seeds 
welcome water, sun, and love
whimsical bouquets
to enjoy during summer months
a grateful heart celebrates
©CVarsalona, 2023

Each month the Poetry Princesses, TanitaKelly, LizSara, Mary Lee, Tricia, Laura, and Andi offer a poetry challenge. Since I did not have my offering last Friday, I am adding it to today's Poetry Friday. I love Celia Thaxter's poems so my response is based on one of her quotes. It is the strike line for my Golden Shovel poemThere shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. 

Relax and Renew in Sunkissed Summer
Within deep relaxation, there
should be time for renewal. It shall
awaken your soul to just be
and linger in an eternal,
blissful summer.
Seek peace in
each living moment of the
season. Be thankful for all grateful
happenings that gladden the heart.
©CVarsalona, 2023

As one of the #PoetryPals, I am grateful that the Poetry Princesses include others in their challenge based on their year-long theme of transformation. I wrote the above poem to be aware that summer is the ideal season to find ways to be blissful rather than negative in this confusing world. Transformation of attitude can be a slow process but a rewarding one to look at life with a positive outlook.

for a boost of summer joy.

Join Marcie Flinchum Atkins for today's Poetry Friday, a weekly gift of poetic goodness.
Thank you Linda Baie for this lovely image.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Rejoice in a Sunkissed Summer Season

Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday!

I am the host of Spiritual Journey Thursday this month.
The topic I pose deals with rejoicing in the summer season. 

What better time to find joy than on a summer day? The earth is alive even on days when rain splashes across the pavement or sends torrents of raindrops. There is a feeling of positivity and wonder in the summertime. Blooming flowers and herbs offer a beautiful scenario each day. There is more leisure time to enjoy favorite pastimes, such as gardening, crafting, writing, and reading. Pause to think about the beautiful inspirational quote by Eleanor Duse.

“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.”

 Rejoice in Mother Earth

Summertime brings joy
when a light breeze floats through
a bright sky like ripples of water
or rain splashes across the pavement.
Lift your eyes to see
the majesty of the earth.
©CVarsalona, 2023

nature calls
when life floats on by
and you just be

©CVarsalona, 2023

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord. -Psalms 96:11-13

Summertime automatically allows us to rejoice in the beauty of earth.
Pause and praise God for His wondrous gifts! 
What are you rejoicing over this summer?

I look forward to reading the Spiritual Journey community's posts this month. Please add your Spiritual Journey Thursday post below.