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Archive for the ‘Gratitude’ Category

See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Warning: This is another shameless Grandmother post. I received a wonderful gift from a friend, “Letters to My Grandchild”. It’s a little book with envelopes to tuck letters into. I love this idea because those books that you write in intimidate me. What if I mess up? This little book is just envelopes, so I can do multiple drafts before I place them into the book. Thanks, Dani!

I’ve been reading Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes. This book will tug at your heartstrings as Nikki overcame a terrible childhood bouncing around in foster homes and facing her mother’s alcoholism and schizophrenia. The memoir is constructed with poems and notebook entries. Each poem is a poem in and of itself. Because of this, I can share poems from the book with my students without having to read the whole book to them. The content can be too tough for my young students.

On Thursday last week, I shared the poem “The Mystery of Memory #3”.

Think food,
and nourishment
comes to mind,
but we all know
it’s so much more.
One bite of pineapple,
and my tongue sticks
to the roof of memory,
gluing me to the last moment
I savored a slice of
pineapple upside-down cake
at my grandmother’s kitchen table.

To read the complete poem, read Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes.

One of my poems came out as another grandmother joy poem.

Think baby,
and crying comes to mind,
that piercing sound
first heard as life.
But we all know
it’s so much more.
So many firsts–
first bath
first smile
first step
first word.

When you send me a picture
or video text, my heart
swells with joy.
Something new,
something yours,
now mine.
A tiny finger
wraps around my finger
tingling with love.

Margaret Simon, after Nikki Grimes
A gummy Thomas smile to warm your heart.

My second grader Rylee is not yet worried about line breaks, but she heard the rhythm and sentiment of Nikki’s poem and wrote this (hands off from me) in her notebook.

by Rylee, 2nd grade

With line breaks by me:

Think
of you
buying a cake saver
for your mom,
and she’s going to open it,
then she knows what it is.
She likes it,
then she is so happy
that she bakes
a cake.

Rylee, 2nd grade

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

My second grandson was born in September, nine months after my first. The year of 2019 has been a big change for me as I step into this new role. Juggling two daughters requests for babysitting got a bit tricky around the holidays. Luckily it worked out that Maggie wanted New Year’s Eve and Katherine the Saturday after.

On Friday I traveled to New Orleans after an all day rain storm. The drive into the city is beautiful as the highway is bordered by swampland. I can often see herons or egrets soaring above. This time, however, I noticed the multi-color clouds on the horizon. As the sun set, a bright red rainbow appeared. I aimed my phone camera and took this picture.

Red rainbow over Nola

Julieanne Harmatz, fellow blogger from L. A., was vacationing with her husband, so we met up for a lovely dinner. On Saturday, we met at the City Park sculpture garden where there is a new Cafe Du Monde. (Beignets are a must-have on any trip to New Orleans.) By this time, I was in total charge of grandson Thomas. He was the perfect host, smiling and cooing right on cue. Julieanne took this picture of us in the Sculpture Garden.

I’m learning once again (it’s been 29 years since I had a baby) how to juggle a diaper bag, bottles, stroller and carseat, and all that goes along with caring for a baby. Even with the monitor right next to my bed, I wasn’t able to sleep Saturday night. Thomas slept just fine. I wouldn’t exchange that loving smile for anything. Being a grandma is pure joy!

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I’m gathering posts here for January’s Spiritual Journey One Little Word posts. Scroll down to add your link and read other posts.

Choosing a One Little Word for the year has been a practice I adopted years ago. Sometimes I spend a lot of time mulling over what my word should be. Not this year. My son-in-law Grant has tuned in this practice of mine, and I’ve been doing so much holding of new babies in the last year, he told me he thought my word should be “embrace.” I didn’t give it another thought.

This year of 2020, I will embrace my grandbabies even more. My youngest daughter will be getting married in October, so I will embrace another family connected to our family.

Embrace is related to the word Grace I chose last year. My life is full of love, and love comes from grace. Embrace is a way to be humbly grateful for it all.

There is really no way we can predict what a new year will bring. Some years I choose a word that is a goal, something I want to be better at, but a word like Embrace lets you just be present. Here. Now. Holding on to the ones you love. Acceptance and Grace, wrapped up with a bouquet of roses.

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See other Spiritual Thursday posts today rounded up by Irene at Live Your Poem.

This is the last Spiritual Thursday post for 2019, so we are reflecting on our One Little Word for the year. This year I selected Grace.

Grace is a simple word
spoken in prayer,
blessing a child,
a gentle hug.

Grace soothes life’s bumps,
nudges our hearts to acceptance,
carries the weight of worry
and places it in Love’s hands.

Grace comes in new life,
a soft white kitten,
the rising sun
of the morning.

Grace endures.

Margaret Simon, draft, 2019

When 2019 began, our family had been blessed by the birth of Leo, my first grandson. His first birthday is on Saturday. When I see him now, he knows me; he reaches out to me and leans in for a kiss. There is nothing so full of grace than this.

In September, Thomas was born, my second grandson. And just when you think your heart is full, it opens up for more. His gentle smile and sweet coos bring pure Joy!

This fall I released my second middle grade novel, Sunshine, a sequel to Blessen. Birthing a new book can be scary, but Sunshine is surrounded by love. Her story is no longer mine. Her story, the story of Blessen and Harmony, is full of grace. Blessen and Harmony share their love of animals and adventure. Neither has had the ideal life, but they greet each day with a sense of joy. That is what I hope for myself and all of you.

Begin this day with gratitude in your heart, a smile on your face, and an openness to Grace!

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

Last week I read my teacher-blogger-writer-friend Molly Hogan’s Slice of Life post. It touched the poet in me. Molly wakes early and goes on photography quests. When we’re lucky, she takes us along on her Facebook posts or blog. Last week she wrote this post entitled A Generous Morning.

Inspired, I copied her words into a found poem. Her generous morning became my generous morning. That’s how it works with creativity; it’s all big magic.


A Generous Morning

Lightening sky in the east
as surely as
the birds were migrating south,
I missed the swallows.


The sky seemed lonely.
Then a couple of swallows
dart and dive through the air currents,
and a bird approaching in the distance-

a heron

Sun rose higher, lit the mist.
Cedar waxwings flittered.
I watched it all, 
the generosity of morning.

a found poem by Margaret Simon using Molly Hogan’s words.
Heron on branch by Molly Hogan.

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See more posts at Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life

As I sit down to write this, there are 5 electric service trucks outside on my street and in my neighbor’s driveway. Hurricane Barry powered through over the weekend and took out a few branches. Nature’s way of tree trimming, but unfortunately, one of those limbs took out a transformer. We were only without power for 24 hours and thanks to a trusty, industrial generator, we didn’t suffer much. The guys working on the poles, clearing out the downed wires, and restoring electricity are heroes in my book. Many are not even from our area. They made the sacrifice to travel here in the wake of a major storm. We are grateful.

This summer my life has been busy in a different way from previous summers, no teacher workshops, no writing retreats, no foreign travel. I have not sliced in weeks because the topic feels too big for a small slice.

My parents moved to a retirement home. This is good news for many reasons. They made the decision on their own, and they are now in a place that feeds them good meals with a built in social life.

What needed to be addressed was the house they lived in for 29 years. This was not the home of my childhood, but it is the home of my children’s childhood. It was a place I took them to be loved. The house was on a lake where sunsets were glorious. My brother took my girls fishing on the dock. I watched herons and egrets and white pelicans. Sitting on the swing on the back porch was a favorite spot. Many family photos were staged there.

I’ve visited my parents every summer, so I looked back to blog posts written there. Here is a poem I wrote the summer of 2015.

Sometimes on the lake in June
white pelicans fly in together
and I get out the camera.
Then they turn as a drum line in step,
swim away swiftly in a cloud.

Sometimes on the lake in June
a lone blue heron fishes.
Sly step, long beak held high,
drinking in the sunlight.
A small boat passes by
lines thrown out,
catching nothing.

Sometimes on the lake in June,
I wake before dawn,
put the coffee on,
Sometimes Dad will join me
silent, reading the daily news.
Mom comes in pleased to have fresh coffee.
We sit on the porch, quiet
content to be together
on the lake in June.

(c) Margaret Simon

Sifting through the stuff of a house, the history of a life, is bittersweet. There were treasures to find, memories to share, and things to keep. My daughters and I have all taken things with us, but we will all miss the peacefulness and joy of the house on the lake.

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Spiritual Journey is gathering today at Ruth’s blog.  We are writing about our chosen words for 2019.

Choosing a one little word is something I start thinking about weeks before the year’s end. For me it becomes a process of listening to the universe.  This year my thoughts started around Thanksgiving.  The first word I considered was Compassion. 

A compassionate life is something to aspire to. I recently read Bishop Jake Owensby’s latest book A Resurrection Shaped Life. 

“By God’s grace, a new life–what I’m calling a resurrection-shaped life–emerges from suffering and sorrow.  One way in which that new life emerges is in our unguarded engagement with the suffering of others.” (21)

Caring so deeply that we stand beside and hold hands with suffering is what Jesus calls us to; however, the more I thought about this word, the more unworthy I felt.  I don’t want to choose a word that leads me to despair, that feeling of not meeting up with my own expectations.

Another word I considered was Mindfulness.  I love practicing yoga and bringing meditation into my day.  I’ve not made time for this since school started, so perhaps if I gave myself the word mindfulness, I would get back to these spirit-filled activities.  And being in touch with my spiritual center would also lead me to compassion.

These words are still an integral part of my thinking.  I meditated the other day and heard another word, Blessed. Ah, yes.  That’s it.  I am blessed and when I feel blessed, I can bless others.  But the dictionary definition of blessed is “made holy; consecrated.”  This definition makes me feel I am proclaiming something rather than working toward a better me.

In searching for synonyms of compassion, I found a perfect word, one I can wrap my head around, one that is not a claim or full of unlimited expectation.  Simple and sincere…

 

 

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