Archive for the ‘Solomon House’ Category

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I started my post this morning and then some exciting life things happened, so here I am rewriting.

I took a morning walk as usual and collected some beauty from my neighbor’s yard.

I got a text from Paulette. Paulette has three wood duck houses, and she had exciting news.

When I got back home, I checked our Ring doorbell camera. We have a wood duck house with a camera mounted on the roof, so we can watch the goings-on inside the house. For 30 days, it’s been quite boring. She sits and sits and sits. But this morning I opened the app, and this is what I saw!

The photo is blurry, but you can see some black blobs. Those are baby chicks! I was so excited! Wood ducks hatch all in one day and then jump from the box the next day. I hope to be posting tomorrow about a successful Jump Day.

With all this new life happening, I decided I needed to get my butterfly garden in order. I went to Lowe’s and got some plants, two milkweed plants. Well, look at this little baby crawling on one of my plants!

He is safely inside our back porch in a butterfly net. In Louisiana, we call this lagniappe, a little something extra.

And here’s a picture of my butterfly garden, weeded and mulched. Y’all, I’m exhausted!

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Have you ever carried a snail
in the palm of your hand
to study the way it moves
along a slime line?
And named it?

Have you nurtured a succulent plant
from a cutting
gently placed in soft soil
pushed by a wish?

Have you met an artist named Anna
who loves snails and succulents
who tells stories with her pencils
who holds conversations with nature?

Anna cradles snails and gives them names
like Oliver, Scott, and Alice.
Her fine young hands
touch plants
and paint
magically making them grow stories.

A sea turtle sustains a fall forest on its back.
A snail looks toward towering tree houses.
Professor Fox leads you on an exploration.

With Anna, all things are possible
and life is all good news.
Through her imagination,
she invites you
to pretend play a bit.

Thoreau is Anna’s favorite writer.

Anna Amelia Contrell
@jarofpencils on Instagram

I met Anna at an art show this weekend. I bought a watercolor drawing from her.

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Most every Tuesday, I wake early to serve at Solomon House, a mission of my church and a food bank.  My self-appointed job is to find the clients’ names on a printed spreadsheet, check their IDs, and have them sign.  During this process, I say good morning, how are you today, and have a great day.  And most times they say these same greetings to me.  I feel blessed by their presence, their love, and this small way to be a blessing to someone else.




There are places where
buttercups bloom
no one cares
or notices.

They bloom anyway.

Solomon House waiting

There are people
nobody sees
walking alone on the street
clothes in need of  cleaning
backs aching from failure.

The news speaks for itself
but I can help.

My hands are warm and kind;
they reach for you.

My mind is clear and focused;
I think of you.

My shoulder is light and flexible;
I can carry your burden.

I see buttercups.

I see you.

–Margaret Simon


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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for March Slice of Life Challenge.

This list poem idea was stolen borrowed from Elisabeth Ellington who credits Ruth Ayres with the original idea.

Bikes at Solomon House

Bikes at Solomon House

dark sky
alarm clock
froth milk– French roast
feed cats
waxing moon
treat for Charlie

Sun rise
pink clouds
Solomon House
Easter turkeys
good mornings
cold hands, warm hearts

sun hides
Mr. Al, old oak, waves hello
students’ stories
I tripped on a rock,
fell in my driveway,
now my face hurts 
when I do this.
Kaiden smiles.
read aloud
clean up
shut down
parent meeting
all is well
Subway sandwich

student writers
400 words
cheers, “Wonderful Words” badge
read aloud
clean up
car line duty

drop off documents
afternoon coffee
apple snack
art class

home again
rest time
feed cats
throw ball for Charlie

daughter cooks
glass of wine
share the news

Mr. Al, an old oak near the highway

Mr. Al, an old oak near the highway


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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Ruth’s round up of celebrations reminds me each week, no matter what, that there is much to celebrate and I should take the time to just do it. So here I am.



Achastity and me



On Tuesdays, I serve at Solomon House, a local food bank and mission of my church. This week, my friend wanted to ride along to do the Starbucks and Cane’s pick up. (These two places donate their day old bread and pastries.) We took this selfie as we enjoyed Cane’s fries. Nothing like the joy of a child to brighten my day.




crape myrtle





Summer is heating up. My morning walks are hot, nearing 90 degrees with high humidity. Much like a walk through a sauna; however, I celebrate the blooming crape myrtle trees. They reach out with bright blossoms like fireworks.



Jack and goldfish



Jack and I went to Bonne Terre Cottage to have a little writing retreat and to visit our friend, Jen. We had a lovely day. I celebrate sacred spaces and good friends.






One of my favorite fruits of summer is watermelon. It tastes even better when someone else cuts it and serves it in a pottery bowl. I celebrate the sweet fruits of summer.


I cannot end this celebration post without mentioning the historical celebration that is moving the earth. I celebrate the freedom of all people to marry. I am approaching my 33rd anniversary with my husband. Now everyone can participate in this sacred bond; everyone is equally entitled to lawfully wed. There is a wave of change. It may cause a high tide, but this wave has washed over many and said, “You are OK.” I am hopeful in the rainbow.




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Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Every week when I sit down to write this Celebration post, I am amazed at all there is to celebrate, even with the stress of the season settling in. My stress started when I slept a whole hour late on Tuesday morning. I managed to get where I was going in time, but it set a hurried tone to my day that was uncomfortable.

Yet, there is much to celebrate.

On Monday, my students performed their play at the Shadows. They were so wiggly and full of nervous energy, but they all did a wonderful job. After our performances (Each scene occurs multiple times for different sets of first graders), we walked downtown to Bouligny Plaza. I told the students that the plaza was named for the founder of New Iberia. I allowed them to play a healthy game of hide-and-seek but said there would be a quiz at the end about the plaques in the plaza. Here a student photo bombs Bouligny.


On Tuesday, Glenae spoke! If you follow my blog posts, you know Glenae was seriously injured in a car accident. She has had a ventilator then a tracheotomy, so speech was not possible. A new smaller trache allowed her to say, “Hi Momma.” What joy and celebration! She has now been transferred to a rehab hospital. Today I received a praise text that she has had the valve shut off to see how she can tolerate it. She is on her way to a full recovery.

On Wednesday, Jeff and I learned the Western Two-Step at our dancing lessons. We have found a Texas swing band that we enjoy, so we asked Lou to teach us some new steps. It’s keeping us young.

On Thursday, my writing group welcomed a new member. She is a good writer and a willing participant. Also, Maggie made dinner. She is an imaginative cook. She used the abundance of satsumas to make a delicious sauce for salmon.

On Friday night, I attended a faculty Christmas party at a local restaurant. It is always fun to relax and talk to colleagues about non-school things.

Today, I started this post but had to hurry off to our Solomon House Christmas party. Without Ellen, Glenae’s mom, to organize the whole thing, I think we did a pretty good job. St. Nicholas came and my husband showed up with chicken fingers galore. Not to mention all the church members who donated time and gifts. Our clients are going to have a better Christmas due to their generosity.

Solomon House volunteer, Betty, holds precious Melachi.

Solomon House volunteer, Betty, holds precious Melachi.

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life!

On Saturday, I attended the Solomon House Christmas party. We started giving this party a few years ago for the families we serve. The party is fun for the kids. We have treats and pizza, candy canes, games, and always…Santa. Well, except maybe this year. Our usual Santa (St. Nick) just plain forgot, or was not given a sufficient urging; nevertheless, he was not there, and here we were with a parish hall full of families and no Santa.

No worries. The president of the board to the rescue. Susan is the queen of Goodwill shopping. I think she goes at least once a week. And back in July she couldn’t pass up a Santa suit for $9.99. I mean, who would pass that up? So she sent her husband out to pick up the suit while we stalled with cookies and Christmas carols. When he returned, she grabbed her 18-year-old son and suited him up. Put a man in a Santa suit, and you have transformed him into every child’s hero. Amazing power of red and white synthetic fur.

Our party was a success, and some needy families went home with bags of gifts. Many volunteers make this possible, but I think there must be some divine intervention that makes someone buy a Santa suit in July.

Santa Will

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Discover. Play. Build.

This week I am celebrating service to the community. At one of my schools I sponsor a leadership group. For the last two weeks, we collected pajamas. For each pair of pajamas donated, the teachers matched with a book. If a student or teacher participated, they were able to wear PJs to school on Thursday. We collected 105 pairs of PJs to give to Solomon House, an outreach mission of the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany.

pajamas and books

On Friday I took a group of students to Solomon House. They helped sort food that had been donated through the Food Net Drive. They also walked (or ran) the labyrinth in the backyard.

helping at Solomon House

labyrinth walk

As today we remember the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting, let’s celebrate kindness. What acts of kindness will you do today? 26 Random Acts of Kindness

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Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Ms. G. sorts food donations at Solomon House.

Why do we do service work? I could probably go to the Bible and find some cool verses, such as “Love thy neighbor,” and “Whenever you do this for the least of these…” I’d like to be able to say that I do service work because the Bible tells me to, but that’s just not it. It’s the right thing to do. Yes, but that’s still not why. Someone once told me I had a heart for ministry. Not sure if that’s the reason either. What I am sure of, though, is every time I show up, I’m glad I did. My heart is filled with gladness and fulfillment.

Every Tuesday for the last five years, I have gone to Solomon House, a local food bank, a mission for my church, the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany. I took over the job of greeting each client and having them sign on the list. The list is for data-collecting purposes, but, for me, it provides a way to get to know each person who comes through the line, by name. These people have become people I recognize, people I know, people I care about.

I have also met volunteers at Solomon House. Yesterday morning, I went to the Monday morning packing day. I went for two reasons: 1) to take pictures for our new Facebook Page, and 2) as Board president, I felt it was about time. I was put to work immediately by Ms. G. She knows the ropes as she has been volunteering for four years. Miss Tony was working next to me. I started talking to her about her involvement. As someone who is constantly on the lookout for new volunteers, I was curious about how she became involved. Basically, I was looking for a formula to emulate.

Soon I discovered that there was no magic formula that I could duplicate to get more volunteers. Miss Tony came to Solomon House to deliver some canned goods. She simply asked the question, “Can I help in any way?” And of course, you know the answer.

Tony is a cancer survivor. She told me that God has always been in her life, but she never really took notice. She said she wasn’t really listening. Until she needed Him. “Cancer halted my life,” she said, “I turned to Him, and He worked wonders. I know it could’ve been worse for me. He’s been talking, and now I am listening.”

Now, Tony wants to put her hands into everything. She volunteers twice a week at Solomon House. She serves at St. Francis Diner. She is giving back. She does not want recognition or praise. She did not even let me take her picture. She says, “I am doing this for God.”

I don’t need a Bible verse to tell me to do service. I only need to talk to the people in the trenches, the needy and the volunteers. They are here to show me God’s love in a very real way.

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