Sunday, March 24, 2013

Do You Haiku?

I’ve enjoyed writing and reading poetry for years. When I worked in the library of an elementary school, I shared poems with the fourth and fifth grade, and then challenged them to write one for a contest. The haiku, a short poem first written in Japan, was a popular choice for an entry.

We can thank Japanese poet, Basho, for bringing this poetic form to the public. He wrote many of them that are now considered classics.

old pond…
a frog leaps in
water’s sound

a heron’s cry stabs
the darkness

A traditional Japanese haiku consists of three lines divided into a five-seven-five sound unit pattern. When American’s translated these small Japanese poems, they found that the sound units and syllables differed. The result, American haiku does not hold to the five-seven-five pattern unless it is natural to the poem.

A haiku is meant to capture a moment in time. Written in the present tense and usually containing a seasonal word, the tiny poem is like a snapshot catching that one instance that may have been missed. Most haiku contain a short phrase of description and a fragment or aha moment. This form of poetry is fun to write and collect. I like to sit outside for a while and just observe. I almost always find something interesting to write about, along with that aha flash.

Here are some of my seasonal haiku…Enjoy!

wobbly goats
born before midnight—
spring renewed
queen anne’s lace crowns
country roads—
blue chicory salutes

crimson moon floats
across chilly skies—
pumpkins grin

ice covered trees—
crystal glistens, sun
shine through jeweled glass

Do you read or write poetry?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Day at the Art Museum

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.” – Osho

We live less than an hour from a city and have the opportunity to visit some interesting places.  On Saturday, my daughter and I loaded her kids in the Jeep and took a road trip.

Learning about embossing
As we drove into the museum parking lot, my three-year-old grandson spied a tall, red, metal installment piece. “Look, Mommy, look.” He loved it. Later in the museum he spotted the sculpture of a lion, bigger than him. He walked around and looked and discovered that the ancient cat had lost his tail. He turned to us. “The lion is sad. He lost his tail.” He talked about that the rest of the trip.

Creating a print
My seven-year-old granddaughter loves Van Gogh’s Sunflower and Kandinsky’s circles. Between her mom’s artistic influence and her art teacher’s introduction to various artists, Dylan has gained an enthusiasm for creativity. What a joy to watch art appreciation come full circle, as my daughter shared an original Van Gogh and some of her favorite artists with her daughter.

It’s never too early to introduce the arts to children. God, the ultimate artist, gave these painters, sculptors and designers incredible talent. If you live in or near a city, you most likely have access to an art museum. If not, maybe the local library or historical society exhibits art. If you are an artist, volunteer to lead a program to a group of children. I promise you’ll be blessed.

Do you have a place you like to go to view art? If so, where?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Doodles :)

Do You Doodle?

Some people might not see doodling as a form of art, but I do. I am the person sitting in church with flowers and butterflies penned on my sermon notes (see picture), or the woman in the office with sunflowers and swirls on her calendar. According to psychologist, Jackie Andrade*, drawing while listening assists the brain in retaining information. Evidently, while I’m doodling I’m not daydreaming. Instead, I’m actually paying attention. That’s good news for me. Making tiny pictures can add to the creative process, too. My imagination flies when I draw. And, it's relaxing :o)

Are you a:

~Daisy doodler – drawing flowers or fanciful mini-art

~Shape doodler – drawing squares, circles, hearts, etc.

~Fill-in doodler – coloring in empty spaces

~Name doodler – write names and outline or draw around them

~Anything goes doodler – as long as your pencil’s moving you’re happy

Do you doodle? If you do, what kind of doodler are you?

*Psychologist, Jackie Andrade initiated a challenge to forty people. While listening to a boring phone message, twenty people doodled while they alternately recorded names mentioned on the tape. The other twenty only recorded names. As a result, the doodlers recalled 29% more information than the people who only listed names.

ANDRADE, J. (2010). What does doodling do?. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 24(1), 100-106. doi:10.1002/acp.1561

Saturday, March 2, 2013

What I've Been Reading

For a long time I tended to see the world through the lens of my life in the United States. I grew up in a safe home with electricity, clean well water from indoor plumbing, a warm bed and wonderful meals prepared by loving hands. We even had a colored television.

When I went through college classes that opened my eyes to situations in other countries as well as some in the USA, I realized the plight that many live with. The destruction, poverty and war that tore apart countries was devastating. What saddened me even more was the injustice given to women. We are blessed in the US to have the opportunity to gain an education, work in the field we want, raise our children as we want and worship where we want. Many women are seen as nothing more than a possession. They cannot think for themselves or contribute to their communities.

Ms. Lemmon tells the story of a group of women who conquered fear and created a network for survival. When the Taliban seized the city of Kabul, five sisters lost their opportunity to attend college. They were forced to take backward steps and huddle in their homes, afraid to show their faces in public. But, this is more than a story about a family living through war. These women rose above fear and fought back to keep their home and loved ones safe, while they combined their abilities to create a successful business. Through their work, they reached out to neighbors and taught skills, even as bombs blew and missiles hurtled.

Led by Kamila Sidiqi, one of the sisters, they found a way to use sewing skills and sheer determination to not only come out of the war alive, but to draw the women of the community together. I found their story both inspirational and encouraging.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Letters of Love, a book review

Book Review

I’ve had the privilege of following Joi on her writing journey as she penned the book Letters ofLove.

Sophia wants to reach out to her husband, who is away in the service. But, she’s afraid. She turns to her grandparents for comfort and guidance. Sophia’s grandmother, Lucia, gives her granddaughter the letters that her husband, Tozier, wrote to her as he served his country during WWII. She prays that the letters will reveal hope to Sophia as she suffers through a rough time in her life. The truth that Sophia learns helps her find peace.

Joi included the actual letters that her grandfather wrote so many years ago. The beauty in the writing and the story of the times adds a sentimental yet eye opening element to the story. I enjoyed his words and the glimpse into his heart. The author wove the two stories together and created a lovely tale of hope.

I asked Joi to tell me a bit more about her inspiration for Letters of Love.
She said:

Joi Copeland's Book PageI wrote this story for my grandparents. My nana asked me years ago what I wanted from her house when she passes away. One thing caught my attention: her trunk from China. Unfortunately, my cousin claimed it first. I told my grandmother whatever she wanted to leave me was fine. I had memories my cousin didn't.

One day, Nana was going through things and found the letters Papa wrote her while stationed in India and China during WWII. She called me and asked if I wanted them. Without hesitation, I answered with an affirmative!

That's how this story started. While most of it is purely fiction, the letters themselves are not. It was a joy and pleasure to write about my grandparents.

About the Author:

Joi Copeland is married to a wonderful man, Chris, and has three amazing boys, Garrison, Gage, and Gavin. She is living the dream in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Joi loves being a wife and mom! She enjoys spending time with her sister Steffanne, and loves to sit and have a cup of coffee or tea with friends! She's been a Christian for over twenty years. Following Jesus has been the best decision she has ever made. Joi's books include Hope for Tomorrow, Hope for the Journey, Christmas Rayne, and Sheriff Bride Rob's Story, and Lettersof Love.

You can find me on the web:

Inherit the Kingdom of Light

Colossians 1:9-12
We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

My friend, Joi, published a fictional account of her grandparents lives intertwined with the story of a young couple facing the struggles of life. In the story, she included the actual letters her grandpa wrote to his young wife during WW II. She explained to me that those precious letters are her inheritance from them. By reading and archiving the letters, she received a blessing that is priceless.

Often when I hear about an inheritance, the circumstances involve money or property. Things that are valuable on earth. But, as a follower of Christ, I have a greater prize waiting for me. The apostle Paul prayed for the church in Colossia and encouraged them to understand why God sent Jesus. He wanted them to know that he lived, died and rose from the grave, so that they could be part of his kingdom. I share this prayer of Paul and ask “God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…”

What do you think of when you hear the word inheritance?

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Thousand Mornings

I believe that each person experiences God in different ways. I’m most connected to God when I’m walking the dogs by the lake or working in my flower bed. Experiencing nature draws me closer to my Lord. I love the beauty he’s created for our world. A colorful sunset and soft fallen snow bring joy to my heart. And the animals, they are so incredible. Whether a giraffe at the zoo, a squirrel in the park, or cute baby goats, I love seeing God’s handiwork. I also relate to God through poetry. I write poems from time to time and I read poetry, particularly poems that feature the natural world and everyday circumstances of life.

My most recent poetic read is A Thousand Mornings: Poems by Mary Oliver.  In A Thousand Mornings, Mary surrounds herself with nature and the unexpected pleasure of the everyday. In the morning, she grabs her notebook and pencil and delves into the world with her poetic eye and mind. From lamenting the short life of the Luna moth to remembering the delight and sometimes bruises from tree-climbing, Mary captures an almost magical insight into the world that surrounds her. This slim volume of poetry both delights and intrigues.

A native of Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer for poetry in 1984. She’s spent many years writing and teaching poetry. Much of her inspiration comes from her home in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 

I also enjoy Robert Frost and Ted Kooser. Both poets write about the every day and the natural world.