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Archive for the ‘Celebration Saturday’ Category

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

 

Bunk Johnson mural at Da Berry Fresh Market

 

I look forward to Thursdays.  Carl gives me a call to remind me to pick up my vegetables at Da Berry Fresh Market.  I signed up for this CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in June, but it’s taken awhile for me to remember the pick-up day.

Each week Carl packs up fruits, vegetables, herbs, and a little surprise jar of something.  This week the surprise was a jar of pickled green tomatoes.  Last week there were 2 jars, honey and balsamic fig and blueberry jam.  This weekly supply inspires fresher and more inventive meals.  Last night I sautéed eggplant in shallots to go into delicious Yum Yum bowls for my family. (The girls are home for the weekend.) The meal was a big hit.

Daniel and Carl of Da Berry Fresh Market

Envision da Berry is the brainchild of Phanat Xanamane.  He came back home to ‘da Berry (New Iberia) to make a difference. The da Berry Market is just one way he has brightened up this area.  Phanat and Envision da Berry believe “combining art and technology in public space has the power to open Iberia Parish up to a new world of economic and cultural possibility.”  The glow on both Carl’s and Daniel’s faces not only reflect the heat, but also the joy and pride they take in their work.

And yes, I feel better about myself as a consumer buying fresh food from local farmers.  This is a positive for all, the community, the farmers, and me. To find out more, visit Da Berry Fresh Market at 520 Hopkins Street, New Iberia or follow their Facebook page. 

 

 

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Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do the thing that scares you.”  Armed with years of experience and a strong conviction that writing teachers should write, I did the thing that most scares me…teaching teachers.

I led a weeklong teachers writing institute.  In March I set up a meeting with the curriculum coordinator for elementary schools in our district.  I pitched my idea.  While she was enthusiastic, I never heard back from her.  So I got the guts to send an email inquiry.  Yes, she was still interested, but I needed to meet with the middle school coordinator.  Nearing the end of the school year, I had approval and sent out the flyer.  Surprising to me, the workshop filled quickly.

Since today is about celebrating, I will not go into my disappointments.  I just want to capture the shining stars and bask a bit in their glow.

  • A new teacher, second career, only man in the class said his 17 year old daughter waited each day to read what he wrote.  His father told him to submit his essay to Reader’s Digest.  He is entering his first year of teaching confident that he is a writer.
  • A colleague from the gifted program told me I was a natural.  She said, “You seem so relaxed.  You make us feel comfortable.”  She could not see or feel the nerves churning inside.
  • Following Katherine Bomer’s book, The Journey is Everything, became a guidebook to writing a final essay.  Most teachers wrote an essay they were proud of.  We read and celebrated the writers we had found together.
  • Catherine Flynn joined us by Skype to teach us about visual literacy. (The idea to connect with her came from this post.)  Teachers took notes and talked about ways they could use art with their students.  Thanks, Catherine.
  • On the last day, tears were shed as we got into the deep trenches that writing can take us.  Sharing your own words is an act of faith.  We had become a community of writers.

Writing and sharing on our writing marathon in downtown New Iberia.

I gathered words and phrases from our writing marathon into a collaborative poem.

 

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For the last several years, I have participated in Tabatha Yeatts’ Summer Poetry Swap.  I sent my gift and poem off last week to a poet-friend and promptly forgot that I would receive one, too.

Surprise in the mail is so exciting!  I recognized the signature as the famous Tricia Stohr-Hunt of Miss Rumphius Effect, a fabulous site of poetry love.  What I love about this poem is the extent Tricia had to research.  She learned so much about bayouland.

I’ve been stupid for a long time not knowing the Miss Rumphius Effect reference.  Until today and Ruth’s Celebrate post: “One of my favorite picture books (as if I could select a favorite) is Miss Rumphius. In it, Miss Rumphius is challenged by her grandfather–
You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” Now I know that Tricia’s call is to make the world more beautiful with poetry.  That is what she does.  Thanks, Miss Rumphius (Tricia) for your gift to the world of poetry.

 

What does a Yankee know of the bayou?

The science teacher knows
coastal wetlands,
the evolution of the Mississippi delta,
the brackish, slow moving water.
The naturalist knows
the Bald cypress and tupelo,
the pelican and egret,
the alligators.
The historian knows
the Chitimacha and Acadians,
West African slaves,
pirates and riverboats,
the reach of the Civil War.
The Yankee poet knows
the bayou only in her dreams,
so when putting pen to paper
meanders like the Teche,
through moss-draped live oaks,
and sun-kissed swamps.

–Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2017 all rights reserved

Bookmark “In my book, you’re pure poetry.”

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My view this morning. A cup of coffee. Dog Charlie at my feet.  Cats cuddling. And a chat with a friend.  Doesn’t get better than this.

 

Buzz snoozing in the sun.

 

Jen with Rio

On Wednesday I drove to Breaux Bridge to visit my friend Jen’s farm, Bonne Terre (which means good earth).  She has been working hard all year to get her property ready for renting.  She offered her place for a writing retreat, so I am working on plans.  Check out her new website here. 

Above Jen is flirting with her horse Rio.  I loved watching her interact with her animals.  She is a natural mother to them all.

Everywhere I turned there were writing prompts.  Sitting on the porch watching the birds, looking at all the artisan knick-knacks she has around, or reading the inspirational messages on her walls, I felt relaxed and inspired.

Today I celebrate friendship and the long relaxing days of summer.

 

Jen’s cow, Matilda, peeks at use over the fence to her pasture.

 

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Please use this button on your site for DigiLit Sunday posts

Find more celebration posts at Ruth’s blog.

Some weeks call for combination posts. Today I am celebrating story in my DigiLitSunday post.

I am privileged to be in a family of writers. After her retirement as a district judge, my mother-in-law started writing crime novels. In each of her books, she fictionalizes actual cases that came across her bench in the courtroom. Sunday I am hosting a book signing for her third book, Blood of the Believers.


In this book, Detective Ted D’Aquin is struggling with the disappearance of his wife. But after a year and a half of leave from the St. Martinville Sheriff’s office, he returns to investigate two homicides. I know from my mother-in-law, Anne Simon, the parts of the cases that are real and which ones she made up. Sometimes real life can be crazier than fiction.

Reading her latest book, I could hear her voice. Even though she was writing as a male character, some of her ways of saying things came through. The average reader may not recognize these idiosyncrasies that our family lovingly calls “Minga-isms.” (Minga is her grandmother name.)

My father has published his first novel, Into the Silence. He’s been writing this book since 1975 when I was still a young teen. I encouraged him to get it published with my friends at Border Press. He will have a book signing in my home town of Jackson, MS at Lemuria Books on June 16th at 5:00.  Diane Moore wrote a glowing review on her blog, A Word’s Worth. 

When I was home last weekend, I got one of the hot-off-the-presses copies. I read furiously, couldn’t put it down. The protagonist is Todd Sutherland, a cardiologist, but to me, he is my father. Dad admits that he wanted to be a cardiologist. He was a radiologist by profession. Interspersed in the story of how Todd falls in love with one of his patients and is faced with her certain death are parts of my father’s life story, the death of his own father to Parkinson’s and his intense study of shamanism, Greek literature, and theology. The fictional story is intriguing, but I will hold on to the parts of my dad that live on in this story.

Why do we write? For both my mother-in-law Anne and my father John, they write to reveal the deepest parts of themselves while creating a strong compelling story. I am blessed to be among such mentors.

If you have stories about stories, please leave a link below. Click to read more DigiLitSunday posts.

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I grew up in Jackson, MS.  My father grew up in Jackson.  Mom moved to Jackson when she was 15.  Even though they both lived in Jackson, they didn’t meet until they were attending LSU.  I love to tell the story about how they met at the Episcopal Student Center and that Jeff and I met at the same place.

I came home yesterday for the Memorial Day weekend.  Dad showed me that his cousin had given him a thorough book about his mother’s ancestry.  Reading through genealogy is interesting to me.  I spent some time last night and this morning reading.  My father was interested in the murder story.  Apparently a brother of his great grandfather killed the mayor in an argument over back taxes.

The story that interested me was about his great grandfather’s wife, Malvina. My father’s great grandfather, William Yerger, was a prominent man in the history of Mississippi.  He became Chief Justice of the State and worked toward the state’s reconstruction after the Civil War. But I took interest in the quality of character that his wife upheld.  A tribute to Malvina appeared in a Jackson newspaper after her death on Dec. 4, 1914.

 

For a southern woman to have passed through the bitter years of war, and the bitter years of sacrifice after the war, to have given up her beloved ones to fill the ranks of gray clad youths, and then to give up all else–home, land possessions, everything save honor and loyalty and love, meant that she had been burned as with fire, and in the case of Mrs. William Yerger, the fires had marvelously purified a nature already of the finest, and it seemed that the years since then, have in consequence, been one long season of benediction to the world about her, where her example has oftentimes encouraged those who have suffered loss and grief, and others the heavy burden–to think upon the life of this noble woman and thinking, it lift up the heavy heart and go forward with renewed courage and faith.

I wish I could go back in time to know her.  Having such a strong woman in my ancestry comes with empowerment as well as responsibility.   Maybe some small part of Malvina is in me, and with whatever fire may occur, I will be able to encourage love and honor and raise up the suffering.

 

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Since I first read Donalyn Miller’s book The Book Whisperer, I have implemented the 40 book challenge.  I teach 1st-6th grade gifted kids.  These kids are usually readers when they walk into my classroom.  My bulletin board houses sticker charts all year long.  Students add a sticker for every book they read.  Every nine weeks grading period I remind them to update their charts, but other than this, I leave them alone.

I do not believe in gimmicks to get kids to read.  What I do believe in is finding space to read every day and knowing a student well enough to place a just-right book into their hands.  My students have not all met the challenge, but this year a majority of them did.  This week we colored bubble numbers celebrating their achievements.

This Animoto video is a showy one. I didn’t get a posed picture will all of my kids, but here are a few proud readers. Enjoy!

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