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Challenges & a few PINK poems

I love challenges. I find myself eagerly jumping in to writing and art challenges of all kinds. Keeping up with them is another thing though!

This year my one-little-word is FOCUS, I’m trying to put it into practice by actually imposing some focus on my life. One area of focus is to eliminate some of the extras I get myself into that then end up becoming a burden when life gets busy. Snapping a photo a day and then using that photo as a poem prompt was one thing that I thought perhaps could go. So at the end of January I neglected to download the next month’s list of photo challenges I’ve been using.

I didn’t intentionally not download it—it just slipped my mind. As I started on my walk Thursday, February 1st, I reached automatically for the notebook with the photo list that I keep in my camera bag to see what the prompt was for the day, then realized, there was no point. I hadn’t copied it. In fact, I recalled, I was considering not following it any more at all.

Those thoughts brought on the most surprising feelings. I felt sad, bereft, abandoned, even disoriented. Now what would I look for on my walk? I would miss the mental stimulation of connecting an image with the prompt and thinking of what to say about it.

Then I remembered that I had missed a walk several days earlier and hadn’t snapped something for that prompt. I would do that. I immediately felt better.

The first thing I did when I got home was—you guessed it—downloaded the February photo challenge list. Even FOCUS will not rid me of this little lifestyle habit.

For a while I was sharing these photos and poems every day on Facebook, but it felt a bit much. So I have decided to, from time to time, post some of them here on the poetry blog. No promises, though, so there won’t be any to break!

I’m following the photo challenges from Capture Your 365 (#CY365). The February list is HERE.

Here, are a few photos & poems from last week’s prompts, which was a color week featuring PINK:

February 4 – PINK

02-04-18 Pink

Soft intersection
of red and white
Heather confection
Spring delight.

February 8 – SOFT PINK

02-08-18 Soft Pink

Morning sky
sheets tousled, covers half off
still flushed from sleep.

February 10 – SHADES OF …

02-10-18 Shades of Pink-4

The pinks of winter are a little blue
from shivering in north and east wind’s strew.

The pinks of winter are a little green
with dreams of leaves to fill the in-between.

02-10-18 Shades of Pink-5

The pinks of winter are approaching reds
As spring soft-whispers: “Wake, you sleepy-heads.”

All poems & photos © 2018 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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2 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2018 in #CY365 Photo-Poem Series, Nature

 

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Cheerleaders (a poem for Family Day)

Today is Family Day in B.C. In the year since I first posted the poem below, we’ve discovered that our littlest granddaughter’s developmental delays are most likely caused by cerebral palsy. And so a family very precious to us is walking a new-to-them path with lots of challenges—and the sentiments expressed by little A’s grandma in “Cheerleaders” are more heartfelt than ever. Cheer someone in your family on today!

 

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Swans and cygnets, June 2016 – West Vancouver  (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Cheerleaders

Every wee one who is learning
to kick the ball, hit it off the tee
point her toes and do a plié
summersault, the front crawl
sing in a choir, be elf in a play
play guitar, trumpet, violin
shoot baskets, basket weave
weave in and out in a skillful
soccer dribble to the goal
with the goal to make the team,
every child with dyslexia, autism
Down syndrome, whatever syndrome
who isn’t ever going to make the grade
make the team, team up with the cool kids
(because who are we kidding?)
needs a cheerleader
a yell of encouragement
a bull horn, cow bells, sign held high
banner in the sky
face painted green, blue
or whatever colour the jersey
and an after-game trip to Dairy Queen
because she’s queen of the day
and you’re her mom, dad
grandma, grandpa, uncle, auntie
cousin, biggest fan
on the team of the family.

 

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 12, 2018 in People, Personal, Re-post

 

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Glory Tour (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

Dec 31 Happy New Year

Last moon of 2017 (photo ©Dec. 31, 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Welcome to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, February edition. Today we’re moodling on the moon.

To tell you the truth, I don’t have much of a relationship with the moon. It’s beautiful, for sure. I do love to see it bulge orange and bountiful over the horizon on a clear evening. I associate moonrises with autumn on the prairie, the thrum of combines and trucks in the background, my dad and uncle taking advantage of every bit of light to gather in the harvest of wheat and oats. But most of the time I feel sorry for the moon staring distant, cold, and lone into the night.

Of course the moon’s prominence, cool beauty, and mystery are impossible to miss. One of my favourite childhood poems was about the moon. You probably know it:

“Slowly silently now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way and that she peers and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;”

Read the rest of “Silver” by Walter de la Mare HERE.

It’s not surprising that the moon has been a worship object in many religions (and probably still is). Its waxing, waning, and connection to tides and seasons surely invest it with mysterious power that is only reinforced by the occasional eclipse. I love the poem “Lunar Eclipse (June 1928)” by D. S. Martin (a poem from his chapbook So the Moon Would Not Be Swallowed—a collection of poems inspired by correspondence from his grandparents who were missionaries in China). In it, he describes the reaction of the Chinese people to the lunar eclipse in June of 1928:

LUNAR ECLIPSE (JUNE 1928)
Yencheng, Honan, China

On Sunday
evening as darkness crept in
the people rushed out
with gongs
& pots
& anything to make noise
to scare
the heavenly dog
that slowly
very
slowly
ever so slowly
had
placed its jaws about the moon

Read the rest of D.S. Martin’s poem HERE…

My attitude toward the moon has been influenced by my Christian faith and the Bible, which depicts it as one of God’s creations. I love how Genesis describes its beginnings:

“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” – Genesis 1:16 (emphasis added).

My poem today was inspired by Psalm 19 (where the moon isn’t mentioned specifically, but we know it is a part of the created heavens).

“The heavens declare the glory of God
And the firmament shows His handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1

Glory Tour

“God’s glory is on tour in the skies …
unspoken truth is spoken everywhere” – Psalm 19:1,4 The Message

The stars are reciting
galaxies rhyming
the language of eons
in speed-of-light timing.

The Sun’s dialect
of dangerous rays
is inflected with angles
defining our days.

The Moon serenades
tide, lover and season
chanting its charms
with quarterly reason.

The Heavens are dancing
Truth, Beauty and Wisdom.
The tickets are free,
Earth attendees are welcome!

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

(Glory Tour was first published on Laurel Archer’s 2017 Advent blog.)

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyBe sure to visit our Spiritual Journey First Thursday hostess, Donna at Mainely Write for links to more moon meditations.

 

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A January week

I have returned to an old habit—following the Capture Your 365 daily photo prompt challenge (#CY365), and pairing the photos with a few lines. I’m finding it’s really quite doable if I keep up with it.

So, without ado, here are some of this week’s captures:

Last Saturday’s prompt was WITH WORDS. Here is the photo and poem I cobbled together from the week’s words in my 2018 Word-A-Day calendar.

01-06-17 With words

(Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

On New Year’s Day the BENTHOS froze
under our polar bared toes.
Our Christmas treats we now CONTEMN
against our hopes of getting slim
(though with bold APPETANCE they still beckon
our calories we’ve resolved to reckon). 
PROCRUSTEAN as resolutions are
without them we won’t go as far
their value is at least HEURISTIC
and though our methods are simplistic
to fight holiday excess PIACULAR
our hopes still burn for the spectacular. 

Sunday, January 7th the prompt was WHITE.
We met our newest grand-dog on Sunday. His name is Henry.

01-07-18 White

Henry (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Tuxedo Henry— 
natty polka-dotted socks
fashion forward tail

Monday, January 8th’s prompt was SPLOTCHES (OF WHITE). This photo doesn’t really answer the prompt, but it had to be taken. (The next three photos are of my grandchildren.)

01-08-18 Splotches (of white)

(Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Little Santa girl
delivers the best gift—
herself

On Tuesday, the prompt was ODD ONE OUT.
Two moments made my photo day, and inspired a tiny poem:

01-09-18 Odd one out

(Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

01-09-18 Odd one out

(Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Caught
in the act
of play

On Wednesday the word was MINIMAL.

01-10-18 Minimal

Hooded Merganser (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Study in white, black, 
brown, with amber eye
Hooded Merganser

And finally yesterday, Thursday, the challenge was to photograph EXQUISITE. Oh boy… it was a very unexquisite day here but I did escape the dull and dreary indoors for an even more dull, dreary, and damp out. And I found something exquisite!

01-11-18 Exquisite

Nandina also known as “Heavenly Bamboo” (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Leaves of flame, embers
of berry warm this soggy
January day

(I just had a great suggestion from Joy in the comments below about making the verse above more comfortable in its skin…. changing it to a rhyming couplet or a quatrain. I’m opting for the quatrain. Thanks, Joy!)

Here’s version 2:

Leaves of flame
embers of berry
warm this soggy
January

(All poems above © 2018 by Violet Nesdoly – All rights reserved)

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday. Our hostess today is Jan, who directs the poetry traffic at the Book Seed Studio (what a fabulous name for a blog!). Thanks Jan!

 

 

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2018 one-little-word reveal (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

Welcome to the first Spiritual Journey Thursday post of 2018. Today I and my SJT friends are unveiling our one-little-word choices for the year. My trusty altar-ego Power Shot is here to do the honors in a storyboard sequence. Take it away, PS!

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Life is full of so many lovely distractions.

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But now it’s time to get to work…

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Write and tackle that “To-do List”

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Wait. I need to see what’s happening on Twitter…

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Aand Facebook and Instagram, and Pinterest, and all the social media hangouts I love.

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No PS. FOCUS!

So there you have it, folks. My word is FOCUS.

Frankly, I was loath to leave my 2017 word LISTEN behind. So I picked its cousin who is not quite so sensory specific.

The word FOCUS came to me as somewhat of a lifesaver over the last few weeks. On November 1st, my husband had hip replacement surgery. My broken hip experience of 2014 sure came in handy here as I knew what to expect. Still, on some days the compounding of caregiving and household responsibilities together with Christmas almost bowled me over.

When I began to feel overwhelmed, I would calm myself with self-talk like: “Just do the next thing” and “Focus.” That attention to the moment and refusal to give in to distraction helped me stay on top of things through the first weeks of hubby’s recovery.

He’s well on his way back to normal now and Christmas is over. However, I’ve decided I want to hang onto FOCUS a bit longer applying it to my work, my relationships, my leisure, and my spiritual life.

The Bible passage that I’ve chosen as my focus true north is Philippians 3:13,14:

“But one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

To me this means living a life of purpose that will be effective in its trajectory because of its focus on the things that matter.

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted today by Margaret Simon on her blog Reflections on the Teche. There you will find links to more 2018 one-little-word reveals. (Thanks, Margaret, for hosting and for making the swank 2018 Spiritual Journey button!)

 

 

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Dear After-Christmas Leftovers

I love this week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day! After the busy time of shopping and gifting and cooking and hosting, it’s wonderful to sink back into the chair of “it’s all over!”

These days do have their hazards, though. This little breakup note to the Christmas leftovers is a poem I wrote a year ago today.

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Where the leftovers live (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Dear After-Christmas Leftovers

 

Three days ago before the Christmas feast
I eyed you, in your cling-wrap-covered bowls
and labelled cartons, with anticipation.

On that night I gave your contents unrestricted
access, made a holiday food exception
in all its buttery, crispy, tart and tasty,

poultry, stuffing, cabbage-rolly
glory—then savoured
trifles of cake, eggnog, those very

rich chocolates filled with brandy
melted by sips of creamy
fresh-brewed coffee.

But now I view your half-full cartons
with a different eye, though they still
tease and mock: “A spoonful

of cold dressing, dollop of cranberry
doesn’t really count. Surely you wouldn’t
throw out half a dessert!”

I’m sorry, but I would.
We’ve had our little fling
though just three days ago
I said yes to everything.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Heidi Mordhorst, who takes us into the wonderful world of trees.

 

 
15 Comments

Posted by on December 28, 2017 in Christmas, Light, Poetry Friday

 

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An early Christmas present (Hurry to Bethlehem!)

Last November I wrote a children’s Christmas poem just for fun. It was a countdown poem, starting with ten multitudes of angels, dwindling down to the one baby in the manger. I shared it with my writing friend Laurel, who liked it.

Fast forward to this fall, when Laurel took a job at our church in the children’s department. One of her responsibilities was to help plan the Christmas concert. She asked whether she could use that poem I’d written. Of course I gave permission, we made some changes, and I gave her carte blanche to use it as she liked.

A few weeks ago when I was setting up for a women’s class with the help of our pastor in charge of the technical stuff, he said as an aside, “Your book turned out really well.”

“My book?! I never wrote a book.”

“But didn’t you write the poem?”

Then it dawned on me. Laurel & company must have developed my little poem into a book.

Indeed, that is what happened.

So this Christmas, the little book I never knew I’d written has been distributed to hundreds of kids (the Sunday School children were given copies to help them memorize it for the concert) and on Sunday it will part of the show. That’s a pretty fine early Christmas present, I’d say!

I photographed it to show you…

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Front and back cover of Hurry to Bethlehem

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A multitude of angels
brightening the sky.
“Do not fear,” their leader says.
“I will tell you why.

“To you shepherds I bring news
of the greatest joy.
In Bethlehem is born this night
Messiah baby boy!

IMG_0112

Leave your sheep behind you here
travel to the town.
You’ll find Him in a manger
dressed in a swaddling gown.”

They hurry into Bethlehem
as fast as they are able.
On many streets they search and search
seeking the right stable.

IMG_0113

In barns they visit one by one
are donkeys, cows, and sheep
but then they hear a baby dry.
“Not all the town’s asleep!”

They race at once toward that barn
knock on the flimsy door.
“Come in,” a voice from inside says,
“What do you come here for?”

IMG_0114

The door swings wide, they come inside
watched by four pairs of eyes—
a cow, a donkey, man and wife
who can’t hide their surprise.

The light is dim inside the barn
shepherds can hardly see
but then, by the low lantern light
they make out there are three.

IMG_0115

Father stands beside the two
guarding them from danger.
Mother rocks the crying babe
then puts Him in the manger.

Here is the One in swaddling clothes
just like the angel said
in a straw-filled cattle trough
for His newborn bed.

IMG_0116

Then countless times they tell the tale
by their excitement driven,
“This night our simple eyes have seen
Christ the Saviour given!
Glory, glory to our God
in the highest heaven.”

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

You might want to check out my friend Laurel’s Toward Christmas blog, where she posts a poem a day throughout Advent (following the stories of people in Jesus’ lineage—sometimes called the “Jesse Tree”)

And now I wish you and yours every blessing of the season!

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poetryfridayThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Diane Mayr at Random Noodling.

 
17 Comments

Posted by on December 14, 2017 in Christmas, Religious

 

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