Thursday, November 16, 2017

Autumn's Change

Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change."
-Edwin Teale


Using the beginning of the above quote, I penned a Golden Shovel poem:

Autumn brings change.
In seasonal cycles, change is
inevitable. It's a
juncture point to measure 
existence in a world of
everyday racing time
©Carol Varsalona, 2017

This Buncee can be activated here to listen to the song, 
Together We Can Change The World.


The following poems were featured here.

sashaying in
november walks with gusto-
pre-holiday chill
©Carol Varsalona, 2017

In 2013, I wrote a blog post, Autumn, A Time of Transitions, that will frame my thoughts as I close the collection of digital offerings for my Autumn Ablaze Gallery. The deadline for submission is November 28, 2017. Thanks is extended to all those who submitted image poems, inspirational quote, nature photography, artwork, and music. Also, I would like to thank Janet Wong for her welcoming efforts to gather poetry friends to join in this season's gallery writing. I am connecting with Janet and many poetry friends at #NCTE17. 

For those I am able to only connect with virtually, I offer this post to Poetry Friday's hostess, Jane at Raincity Librarian

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Meet Me In St. Louis"

Thank you to Dr. Seuss for the mentor text, "Oh, the Places You'll Go" that provided inspiration.

I am so excited for the opening of NCTE 17 and it is in a special city with a catchy song. But wait, I need to pack, gather my tech equipment, and create my schedule using the NCTE app. EEKs! Emails and tweets are coming in constantly. Plans are being made for meet-ups. Conference anticipation mounts and I am feeling both elated and nervous about getting ready for the trip in the midst of construction in my house.

So, I will s-l-o-w down,
take a breath, and
systematically plan my next few days.

Why the excitement over NCTE 17?

- The annual event is the Red Carpet gala for literacy educators.
- The convention is filled with literacy luminaries that I have known and followed for years.
- The Exhibit Hall is a bustling area of literacy products, delights, author signings, and enough books to make an educator's heart throb.
- There are colleagues to greet, new educators to meet, publisher reps to chat with, and four days of engaging presentations.

-Join the Wonderopolis booth to speak of the wonders of learning.
-Attend Scholastic's annual M.R. Robinson Reception and Dinner and listen to the inspirational message delivered by Dick Robinson.
-Meet up with the Poetry Friday poets.
-Enjoy the conference.

I am excited to chair and present an all-star panel of presenters on Friday, November 17th at 11:00 a.m. in the Convention Hall, room 275.

I will also present an individual roundtable presentation where I hope to make digital magic with participants who attend.

Once again, I am excited to be part of the NCTE 17 experience so stay tuned for tweets from the conference floor and a post-conference blog. For now, I am gearing up for the trip and listening to an old tune.

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.
I look forward to meeting up with the slicers at NCTE17.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Celebrate Change

I have had a front row seat to the evolution of autumn show this season. From my upstairs window I have watched the trees change from a sunkissed summer look to this week's November chill. I celebrate the change that allows me to discover the many wonders of fall and continue to marvel at the brilliant, vivid digital offerings that come my way for my Autumn Ablaze Gallery.

sashaying in
november walks with gusto-
pre-holiday chill
©Carol Varsalona, 2017


A few days ago, I woke to a windstorm and chilled weather. The tree outside my window was moving back and forth, shaking its branches. I was sad to see the empty boughs but knew that change was inevitable. 

So too, in life, change comes sashaying in. We may not welcome it when it comes but life marches on. I see the wisdom of embracing change with positivity.  Do you?

Each week, I Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres. Ruth has exciting news about her new book at her blog site. You can read about it here

Friday, November 10, 2017


Home is where our story begins, grows, and is preserved. At this time of the year, when thanksgiving brings families together, my eyes scan this place I call home. Thoughts flood my mind.

I know it well! 
A feeling of comfort 
fills this house I live in. Sounds and smells
bring back memories of autumn past. recollect sweet moments
of family life. They flash before me: pumpkin-spiced days filled with faith and hope that blessed my home and insulated us from life's
cold snaps. Fall still lingers in corners of my home. I
uncover worn photos and artifacts tucked away-
reminders that one thought prevails:
home is more than just a house.
©CVarsalona, 2017, Long Island
What is home? 
It's my gathering place,
my collection space, 
brimming with remembrances.
It is the sweet abode
waiting for a new joy to arrive 
- a grandbaby -
so inter-generational love
can thrive again.
©CVarsalona, 2017, Long Island
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am in the midst of decorating my home inside and outside. I look forward to creating new memories honoring the spirit of family togetherness, for home is the place where my family's hearts will be filled with new life-living moments.

For me, the word HOME ignites a spirit of family togetherness! 
What does it signify to you?

Today is Poetry Friday and Jama Rattigan, the hostess with the mostess is serving coffee, donuts, and poetry for the Poetry Friday Roundup here.

I am also joining the #TeachWrite community this month to write about HOME.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On Writing

For me, writing is a messy, a circuitous journey of woven words!
After a night of professional conversation with connected educators, my mind is racing. #TeachWrite, #WonderChat, and #TWTBlog thoughtfully stacked their questions while I sat glued to TweetDeck on my computer. Within a virtual space of connected talk, I sat writing thoughts across my screen. Around me lay the visible artifacts of learning-papers strewn across my desk, scraps of thoughts, start-up ideas, and crumpled notes waiting to be organized-piles upon piles of paper, notebooks, and professional texts congregating in a crowded space.

How can Ideas germinate and take root in this arena of disarray?

You might question how writing can be an outgrowth of my creative messiness. Let my image poem below take you into my creative world of digital space and perhaps provide an answer.

Just like this space, I call my office, is undergoing construction, my writing is too. As I wait for the contractor to arrive this week, I also wait for ideas to evolve and move from a state of clutter and disarray to a finished product, an outgrowth of a meandering, wonder-filled process of creation.

A quote by Frederick Douglas surfaced during one of the connected conversations tonight. "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." I immediately copied this into my notebook and pondered the words.

Various rooms in my house are waiting for make-overs. So, too, my writing journey is filled with drafted thoughts and redos. My house needs refreshed spaces of living and my writing needs space to breathe, to circulate, and find its landing pad. While there may be tension and missteps along the way, the productive struggle leads to new growth and a "will do" feeling that the journey is the right path.

I add these thoughts to Two Writing Teachers' Slice of Life Tuesday tonight and look forward to reading my colleagues' slices.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Celebrate Autumn's Embrace

This digital with its animated leaves and song can be accessed at Buncee.

The leaf of every tree brings a message from the unseen world. 
Look, every falling leaf is a blessing.

As October rolled into a new month this week, I continued to notice, wonder, and find fall. My search led me to upstate New York where I traveled to a conference. I noticed trees lining the Thruway, glittering in beautiful autumn hues, like crayons standing erect in their Crayola box. When I returned home, I was delighted to see autumn colors popping all around me. If that was not enough, connected colleagues from various parts of the United States sent me digitals to grace my repository, #AututmnAblaze. Autumn opened its arms.

-its brilliance and beauty-

Tonight, I 
celebrate vivid, digital art created 
from what I noticed and wondered
on my travels.

Tonight, I celebrate daylight saving time, the opportunity to "fall" back.

I continue noticing and wondering as the leaves of autumn fall in graceful patterns here on the East Coast. Look closely at what my grandbaby, Sierra Kathryn, saw as she arrived in Palm Springs, California during daylight saving time. 

Autumn on the West Coast surely looks different but welcoming nonetheless.

I am joining Ruth Ayres at Celebrate This Week where she is turning darkness to light with her new book, Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers 


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Fears Can Power Up Writing

As a child, I was squeamish about following my grandmother down to her cold cellar where she stored her jars of yummy canned tomato sauce. While I loved being the little helper, there was something strange about that cold, damp place with its reverberating booms from the furnace. Each time I went down those stairs, it felt like I was being sucked into the pit of the house. My fears sometimes got the better of my me during the night after those visits. 

I had forgotten about that memory until Michelle H. Barnes' invited everyone to her October Ditty challenge. I decided to accept the challenge and started the process of creating a poem about a thing that spooked me as a child. From non-digital to a digital platform, I turned my poem into a Halloween tale. Someday, I will read my narrative to my grandbaby but for now I added my tale to Michelle H. Barnes' padletthe repository for her Ditty of the Month Club Challenge. Thank you Michelle and Carrie Clichard for the DMC Challenge for October 27. I also thank Josh, Bryan, and Charlie from Buncee for their guidance and support in creating my first slide story at the Buncee site.


Beside designing a tale for Michelle's ditty challenge, I have been busy with the collection of digitals for my Autumn Ablaze Gallery. Not only am I gathering vivid, autumn image poems and photographs but spooky ones for the Halloween section.

Here is a sneak peak at the spooktacular section of my upcoming Autumn Ablaze Gallery. I hope you enjoy some good, old-fashioned Halloween fun while viewing the selections below. 

Time to set your sights on reading by flashlight.  
Photo by Rita Platt

It's Poetry Friday time and my writing friend, Linda Baieis the host. She is ushering in November with poetic gratitude. I am ready to celebrate poetry love with her.

Full of Gratitude


Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. 

Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. 

Thankfulness may consist merely of words. 

Gratitude is shown in acts. 

Henri Frederic Amiel


Open them with ease
Notice. Wonder.
See their multi-colored dimensions.

Live each day with purpose, 
thankful intentions, and a grateful heart.
©CVarsalona, 2017

Life has its challenges but a positive attitude mixed with mindful intent allows us to cope with daily issues that may arise and cloud our vision. Attitude adjustments help us transition to calmer states so we can fully appreciate life beyond any hardships. 


I'm off to read other Spiritual Journey first Thursday posts at Irene Latham's blog site. Please join me to greet Karen Eastlund, this month's guest blogger.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Motion of Autumn Leaves

And softly through the altered air
hurries a timid leaf.
-Emily Dickinson

On an ordinary autumn day, I witnessed an interesting phenomenon. A leaf storm kicked up in front of me as I walked the nature trail in our local state park. In bustling fashion, multi-colored leaves twisted and turned. They whirled, glided, and gently swooped to earth. The movement was quick. In the aftermath, there was stillness.

At another site, I found suspended leaves, 
beautifully placed against an autumn sky.

Further along the path, a cluster of leaves
appeared to be pasted onto a fence.

When I notice, there is much to see and write about.
These image poems will most likely be 
included at my #AutumnAblaze Gallery.

It's Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.
Join me there.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Weeklong Celebrations

Seeing is a gift that comes with practice.
-Stephanie Mills

This week, I practiced the art of noticing and wondering.

I choose seeing
life with new eyes. It is
rewarding, a 
priceless gift
to self that
brings joy. It comes
from a desire to be one with
life and takes time to practice.
©CV, 2017


Take a visual walk with me through my week. Personal and professional joyful connections were made.

What events brought joy to your week?

I join Ruth Ayres to Celebrate This Week! Ruth had a joyous week. Stenhouse Publishers hosted a FaceBook Live event with Ruth. Although I could not connect that night, Stenhouse sent out the link for all to watch the presentation. You can watch it here