Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Traveling Through Fog

Winter has been unusually fickle this season. It has changed its course often, going from warm temperatures to cold ones and snowy scenes have come and gone. Last week, winter decided to send a walloping snowstorm to Long Island. There was so much snow that snow shovelers who often canvas the houses in the neighborhood for jobs were nowhere in sight.  So, it was up to our family with its three shovels to dig out. That we did over the course of days until a forty degree day that melted some of the snow away created snow slush

Thinking that we were past the long stretch of cold, we packed the car and headed to Baltimore for an out-of-town family wedding last Friday. Little did we know that we would face another strange weather pattern along the way. Torrential rains gave way to a greyish mass of dense fog that was strange in its appearance. A glowing light cast an eerie pattern across the landscape, most of which was invisible. As we crossed the Susquehanna River, the fog thickened and an interesting image formed. I recalled Carl Sandburg's poem. 

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

This fog did not move on as in Sandburg's poem. It remained and enveloped the highway and then, stretched across the city of Baltimore as we entered. Happy that we were provided a beautiful hotel room overlooking the Baltimore Harbor, we were surprised that we could not see much of anything from our seventeenth floor windows. But there was a bright side to this story. The rain, fog, and extremely cold weather made us happy to stay inside and cozy up with our 6 1/2 month granbaby, Sierra. Her smile lit up the room and brought a sense of contentment, despite the strange winter weather. 

Part 1 of heart journeys is my Tuesday Slice of Life so join me as I link this post to Two Writing Teachers

Monday, January 15, 2018

Beyond LiteracyLink: Celebrate the Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr....

Beyond LiteracyLink: Celebrate the Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr....: The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. still ring true even though decades have passed. On this day of tribute, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,...

Celebrate the Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. still ring true even though decades have passed. On this day of tribute, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a nation pays tribute to a man who held peace and hope in his heart and provided us with many inspirational thoughts. 

"With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair the stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood."

-Dr. Martin Luther King from Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution

Are we ready to hold that stone of hope in our hands, open the doors to positive discourse, unite as a brotherhood of peace, and never lose infinite hope? Are we ready to be change agents and messengers of kindness. Beside paying tribute to a great man of peace and non-violent interactions, we need to consider random acts of kindness this week as an alternative to "me" thinking.

I am sending the Kindness Dove out around the globe to share the love of giving. Kindness leads to additional kindness. Let's stand in the shadows of Dr. Martin King, Jr., firm in our commitment, and quick in our conviction to be kind. I #choosekind! Do you?

Celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. tonight!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Special Mail Delivery

Oh my, where does my time go! I need my 2018 one word hope to rescue me because I am always a "day late and a dollar short". Time management seems to be on my immediate list of improvements for this year.

When I received a package in the mail from Linda Mitchell, I was perplexed. I know that I missed the Winter Poetry Swap that Tabatha Yeats initiated and I was not sure if I had the instructions for Jone MacCulloch's Poetry Postcard Exchange so Linda's package was a wonderful surprise. 

Her swap centers around the theme of journey and travel. The map in the background was of Italy. Little did Linda know that Italy has been a long-standing dream place to travel to with my family so how serendipitous this is! Maybe my #oneword2018 will fulfill my wish at some time in the future. For the present, Google Maps and Waze are doing a wonderful job of getting me from Long Island to Reston, Virginia for my awaited visits with my granbaby. 

Getting back to the map poem -- another interesting point about the map theme is that Linda lives in Virginia and I plan to map out how far her home is from my daughter's. Perhaps, there will be a meet-up in the summer when I am in Virginia.

Now, I am ready to take a closer look at what was sent in the package. Linda's postcards remind me of the early 20th century cards etched on wood. They are durable. They have corner tabs as were common in the 1940s-50s. 

The above poem is informative and pairs well with the one below that starts of with 
"A map is a hand held journey--
beatific links between 
star points of some galaxy of thought, word, or action."

Ah, reading that opening put me in a happy state which may have been the point. While the next few lines bring me back to reality with an informational piece, the words "heart held" and the ending words, "between hearts", took me back to a wondering state of bliss. 

I thank Linda for her craft project and research that produced two interesting poems that filled my heart with joy. I am now hoping for a year of wonder-filled travels wherever they may be. 

I'm sending Linda a special wish for a summer meet-up:
To see the animated version of this Buncee go togoo.gl/WhZn8L.

It is Poetry Friday time and  my colleague, Jan at Bookseedstudio, is hosting. I am off to see what she has in store for the poetry roundup.

The January thaw is melting our snow
but there may another storm on its way.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Snow Slush

It's snow slush time once again. It has been several days of frozen temperatures after the snowstorm but today the weather is milder. The white pristine snow glistens under the gaze of the snow sun and softens before my eyes. Thinking that the melted snow will help speed up the snow removal task, I whisk the shovel around, aggressively break up the piled snow. I watch as the snow tumbles and takes a plunge into a puddled area. A new color arises. Murky grey water mixes with pure white snow and snow slush is created. 

While it is not appealing to look at, the snow slush reminds me of the holidays when I mix colors for cake frosting. A little of this and a little of that makes for a strong visual presentation. So too, in my driveway, I experiment to find the right mixture. I carefully take another snow shovel scoop of pure white snow and blend it with a dose of tread-upon snow. I add in some melted water and wait for a new and exciting blend to make the snow shoveling routine a brighter shade of grey. 

While this does not work, I am able to carve out a nice path to the left of the house while the men tackle the right side. Then, I quietly return indoors to wait for nature to take its course.

From pristine white stage

to snow slush

Today's Slice of Life being sent to the Two Writing Teachers'
Writing Community.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Celebrating My One Word

My #oneword2018 came to me years ago when it softly cushioned some life challenges. You can read about this in my introduction to my one word. Little did I know that "hope" would snuggle me like warm socks on a cold night and then, be tucked away. It was just waiting in the wings for the chance to become my focal point and a guide for my 2018 journey. 

A few days ago, hope quietly entered my life space, like the first drifting snow drops sparkling in early morning. I felt your presence as you connected to each of my previous years' choices. You gathered openness, listen, believe, and joy together to reflect on what was to come.  

You came one day
like snowdrops 
falling from above,
then landed softly.

Not knowing your intent
but feeling your presence, 
I invited you to stay
as my welcomed guest.

With your nudging,
I opened my heart,
listened carefully, and believed
in your power to joyfully guide.

Now, I feel as though 
I can soar like the eagle
with spread wings toward
possibilities unknown.
©CVarsalona, 2018

I celebrate my one word, hope.

Thank you, Ruth Ayres, for your weekly celebration of life.

Friday, January 5, 2018

#oneword, Poetically-Styled

"What a journey it has been and the end is not in sight..."
from The Journey by Lea Salonga

As each new year begins, life takes us on journey. We cannot determine what each day will bring but we can be filled with positivity and hope as we take each step. Did this last statement give you a hint to what my #oneword2018 is?


I enjoyed listening to Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra's thoughts on Hope in Uncertain Times. Perhaps you will too.

I also listened to Lea Salonga singing The Journey to give me inspiration for journeying outside to shovel the snow that has piled up.

Forward, always forward... Onward, always up... Catching every drop of hope In my empty cup.

Happy Poetry Friday.
My colleague, Catherine Flynn, is hosting today.
I loved the image poem that Catherine offered for my #AutumnAblaze Gallery.

Thanks to all the Poetry Friday poets who contributed to the gallery. Please take a Gallery Walk to remember the brilliance of autumn during the winter season.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Introducing My 2018 One Word

Each new year, words spin around me persuading to me to capture the best of what they have to offer. I choose carefully, knowing that only one word will be a guide on my journey to becoming a better person and fully savoring "life living" moments

Since 2014, when I switched from writing a yearly resolution to allowing the power of #oneword to guide my journey, I have been moved by the following words.

Each one of my one words, has provided me with a different lens on life. This year, I ask myself what word would compliment the othersWhat word would place me on a path to continue to be openlisten more intently, believe in the power of possibilities, and find joy in the ordinary? The word was in front of me, behind me in past encounters, and full of positivity. My #oneword2018 is hope!

The inspirational message on hope that you can find below was given to me when I was in treatment for lymphoma. It is my daily reminder to be open, listen intently to others, strongly believe, and find joy even in the midst of struggles and challenges.  

While this faith message has been with me for over fourteen years, it has surfaced as a thoughtful choice to guide my way this year. Let's see where this word will take me for hope has wings.

Stay tuned for more on my #oneword2018. 
For now, I am joining my writing group,

hosted by Margaret Simon this month.
SPECIAL NOTICE on the subject of ONE WORDS:

Join #NYEDChat on January 8th. We will discuss #EduBlogging: Power of One Word to Guide Our 2018 Journeys. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Celebrating Granbaby's 1st Christmas

There is something magical about the holiday season and this year was no exception. It was filled with a whirlwind of joyful celebrations focusing around my granbaby's first Christmas. How fortunate I felt to celebrate with Sierra Kathryn and both sides of her family at her home in Virginia. While she was too little to understand the significance of Christmas, it was delightful watching her smile her way through all the happenings and be part of many photo shoots. 

Now, after a weeklong stay in Virginia and a day of cleanup after my New Year's Eve party, I have time to quietly recall 2017's joyful Christmas visit. It was indeed a week to remember and so I record the blessed celebrations in photos taken with my iPhone.

Creating the following digital photo journal reminds me of when my children were little. Photo albums were filled with still photos from my 35 ml camera and processed at the local camera shop.  


C hristmas Card 
H artnett house lit up for Santa's arrival
R e-Christmas fun
We were in awe of the outdoor decorations of this house in Reston.
People gathered to see the spectacular 2017 Festival of Lights at Morman Tabernacle in Maryland.
We were inspired by the United States Botanical Garden Exhibit of structures made from plant materials.
We enjoyed walking around the White House Outdoor Christmas Tree and then to the Capitol Building's tree.
Santa Team pajamas and hats were a hit on Christmas Eve!
Chr I stmas Day
My children posed in front of the beautiful Nativity Creche at St. John Neumann Church in Reston.
My sister and I enjoyed visiting the creche after Christmas Mass.
Grandpa and Sierra Kathryn relaxed after Mass.
Uncle Derek had so much fun with his goddaughter.
S ierra enjoyed gifts from Santa. 
Chris T mas dinner was luscious.
M ommy and baby had some cuddle time.
Gr A ndma Time was special.
S ierra surprised everyone with sitting up on her own.
A video of this milestone happening can be accessed here.

Joyful memories were made during the Christmas 2017 week. Now that I had time to collect the best photos, I can look back upon them while being away from my sweet little granbaby. 

I hope that your memories were as wonderful as mine and that your family time was filled with joy. Happy New Year to the all! 

I send warm greetings for 2018 to the following writing communities: #sol18 at Two Writing Teachers and
Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres.