Musings from My Younger Self | Silent Battle

Altered Sunflowes-1

Gentle Rage
Chandra Lynn (Age: 15)

There’s a peaceful war
a silent battle,
a gentle raging
taking place;
involved are my mind
and my heart.
I can do nothing to put it to an end.
If it ends, it ends.
Victory will be the conclusion.
Defeat will be the outcome.


This week on the blog, I will be sharing “musings from my younger self,” poetry (and maybe prose) I wrote during my teen years. Sometimes, I will comment, but if today is an indicator of the week ahead, I’ll probably just share the poem. I wrote the poem above when I was 15. If only my memory would allow me to tap into the context of the poem!

Sunny Blossoms | Take What You Need

Lori-Anne Courage Sunflower

“Take Courage,” Sunflower Art by Lori-Anne C

If you’ve ever seen my sunflower wall, you know that my friends keep me well-supplied with sunshine. I can’t tell you the number of times my wall of sunny blossoms cheered me and ushered me from a sour mood to an elevated one. As far as I’m concerned, the world can always use a little more sunshine, so I’m sharing the blossoms from my friends with you all week. [And yes, this is part of my effort to blog every day until my blogiversary]. Here’s the good news: If you live in one of the more sunny climes (read: red hot summer), you can enjoy these daily bits of sunshine without the additional heat. 

I am sharing one of the beautiful sunflower creations crafted by my Love Notes/Wildflowers friend, Lori-Anne C. She sent this bit of gorgeousness for International Women’s Day along with the equally gorgeous address book I shared in another post. 

Lori-Anne also included a “take what you need card” with tear outs of some of our most critical needs: courage, appreciation, confidence, patience, inspiration, and flowers.

Take What You Need

When I received Lori’s mail, I was dealing with a lot–grieving over the loss of my father, worrying about my mother, stressing out over my son’s well-being, and navigating a lot of rocky territory. It took courage to face each day and not hide under the cozy comforters on my bed. It took courage to expose my wounds and fight for the healing which seemed a long way off. It felt right seeing that seven-letter word affixed to the card. Courage, more than anything else, is just what I needed.  

What do you need this week?

Seven Favorites from World Watercolor Month | Rose

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World Watercolor Month 2022, Day 1 (July 1, 2022)

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. –The Emperor, Mulan

Welcome to August, folks! The madness began for many of us in the academic world today, but that didn’t stop my friend Cy from challenging me to blog every day leading up to my blogiversary—which is in the middle of September. 

I just might be insane because I’m thinking about accepting the challenge. Since I don’t know what obstacles I’ll face, I’m traveling this road with caution.

So, this week, I’m sharing photo art created during World Watercolor Month, a charitable event to support arts education sponsored by Doodlewash. The challenge to create art every day ended yesterday.

Throughout the month of July, I worked 31+ photos into watercolor-like photo art, at least one per day. I enjoyed taking time out from the daily grind and creating something to share with the world. I “upped my game” a bit this year by processing the photos in multiple applications to achieve unique looks. I shared [cropped to a] square versions of each piece on Instagram

This week, I will feature seven [uncropped] personal favorites from the month. With each image, I will share something that struck me during the day–a word, a phrase, a poem, a quote. I hear or read so many beautiful things throughout the day, and I’m looking forward to sharing the tidbits with you!

Let’s Take a Trip to Shenandoah National Park

I recently returned from a not-for-pleasure-but-super-fun trip; it was my first trip away from my usual haunts since the pandemic began. Now, I have the travel bug, but preparation for the new school year (only two weeks away), my son’s involvement in a summer bridge program as an ambassador, and hubby’s impending surgery have ruled out traveling in the immediate future. 

Fortunately, my pen friends keep my wanderlust satiated by sharing postcards from their travels, so this week we’re going to use their tourist postcards to take a few short trips to interesting places in the USA. Maybe, I’ll even find time (read: motivation and energy) to select a few photos, collect my thoughts, and share a bit about my recent trip.

Today, we go to Shenandoah National Park.

Shenandoah National Park lies astride a beautiful section of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, just 75 miles west of our nation’s capital. The scenic roadway Skyline Drive takes you through the 105 mile long park, providing more than 75 overlooks with spectacular vistas.

Five hundred miles of trails, consisting of 101 miles of the Appalachian Trail, lead visitors to waterfalls, panoramic views, protected wilderness, and preserved human history in the Shenandoah valley. — from Escape to the Blue Ridge, Shenandoah National Park. 

Shenandoah

Photo by Bill Lea. Designed and distributed by Impact Photo Graphics.

The postcard came from my pen friend, Arielle W. It features an American black bear cub [ursus americanus]. From the back of the postcard:

As you walk a trail or drive along Skyline Drive, you might meet a black bear, possibly a mother with her cub or cubs. A bear cub when born in late winter, weighs only about 8 ounnces. It is hard to believe that this cub will grow to 300-500lbs.

I appreciate Arielle’s choice of this “elusive” black bear. He is adorable, and I can look at his sweet face all day. 

She and her older son took a trip to the park, a brief respite from the “overwhelming and uncertain,” a time for them to “find joy together.” I love how nature invites us to connect and breathe and exist in ways our workaday lives does not often allow.

To escape the usual, you can find lots of beautiful pics from Shenandoah National Park by clicking the link: Shenandoah Pics on Flickr. 

Enjoy!

NPM | PhotoArt Inspiration | Divine Feminine

Divine Feminine

I cannot let National Photography Month (NPM) end without sharing a bit of PhotoArt inspiration (PhotoArt plus an inspiring quote). Today’s features an image of France Régine, one of my (now former) students, receiving an affirming hug at the end of a reading in which she read pieces from her book and discussed her creative processes. Unraveling, a collection of journal entries, poetry, stories, and musings from France’s teen years to early twenties may be purchased at Barnes and Noble. I typed on her friend’s sleeve a quote from the queen of the #truthbomb, Danielle LaPorte. After considering France’s presentation and our many in-class and out-of-class discussions about women, writing, healing, and power, these are the words that came to mind after capturing this moment.

Please tune in tomorrow for another bit of inspiration and our final NPM post.

Until then…

NPM | Black and White | Joyful, Faithful, Patient

butterfly joyful in hope

For this third week of National Photography Month (NPM), I am sharing some of the monochrome photo inspiration “cards” I made during Sheila D’s September 2021 Creative Gathering. I divided the month of creativity into thirds—days 1-10, abstract photo art; days 11-20, doodle art; days 21-30 black and white photography. The common thread was scripture. I shared one of the photos for a #ThursdayTreeLove in January.

In light of the recent racial violence committed by one individual against Black citizens in Buffalo, New York, I am sharing images that feature Bible verses that can provide solace and hope. I will not comment (much?) on them. Sometimes the world is so absolutely crazy that I am convinced we need only the voice of God. Everything else is just…noise.

 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. –Romans 12:12

Sunflowers and Poetry | Meet Me Halfway

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Since we are in the final week of National Poetry Month, I decided to share poetry and sunflowers all week long. This month–with all its busyness–tried to rob me of poetry, but I persisted. I wrote and read poetry daily and even managed to plan and host another successful [annual] poetry event.

This weekend I “rediscovered” Javan, a poet I enjoyed as a teen. I [probably] purchased the two books I own while perusing shops on Canal Street in New Orleans–Meet Me Halfway and Something to Someone. I have not read these books in decades, but thought about them a couple of days ago and luckily found them with ease in my home library.

After reading through selections, I see why I loved his works way back then. His poetry is uncomplicated and speaks to our yearnings and all the things that cause teenage angst.  

Here are two poems from Meet Me Halfway to start you work week. I plan to share another one of his poems Thursday.

By Javan

I’ve learned
That Life offers much more
Than most people take

I’ve learned
That many people live their life
Within small circles
Afraid to go out
Afraid to let others in

And I’ve also learned
That at the end of Life’s game
Most people wish
That somehow
They could have played it differently

By Javan

Many people complain
Life never gave them any chances

We are given Life
We must take the Chances


About the Image: Today’s tiny art is brought to you by none other than Sheila Delgado of Sheila’s Corner Studio. She sent this gem to me in late October and I have been looking forward to sharing it with you. It kicks off “Sunflowers and Poetry Week” perfectly! You can view a better scan of the sunflower and read about her creative process in Smooth the Way. Oh, why sunflowers with poetry? “Just because,” of course!

Purple | “Bump Up the Color”

Purple 8

I read the few words [below] by poet Yrsa Daley-Ward a week ago, and they have been an answer to the chaos and noise of the world, noise I do not want to be a part of.

Life is beautiful. Live it. Bump up the colour of the moment. Bright things can be found everywhere – in the undergrowth, in the unexpected, in the calm following something significant, in the pure thought inside a meditation.

There are things that I will hold forever. I have to turn over the soil each day. There is beauty everywhere. Often, I miss it.  –Yrsa Daley-Ward, the utter

I’m convinced it was her words that led me to all the purple this weekend.

Two Poems for Your Monday

Agape Review published two of my poems last week (yay!), so I’m dropping in to share them with a just little background on both.

Unlike the Musings from My Younger Self I share far too infrequently, these poems were written in my adult years.

I wrote “Word Made Flesh” in 2017 after an exchange with a student in which we talked through the intense grief of losing our sisters. A third student entered the conversation halfway through and offered comfort and her own insights on life and grief. Though the interaction occurred four years after my sister [Karlette’s] death, it was the first time I had ever expressed my feelings over the loss so vulnerably. The title of the poem comes from John 1:14:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

The second poem, “God, You Are,” was written about 20 years ago. I scribbled it on a notecard and tucked it inside one of my journals. I rediscovered it a year or two ago, typed it, and added it to my “works in progress” poetry folder with the intention to tweak it. However, I made a split second decision to submit the unpolished version of the poem because that raw expression felt poignant in the moment.

Click the links below to read each poem:

Feel free to leave a comment there or come back here and comment. I look forward to your feedback!


About the Image: The photo art above features a moment of solitude and reflection at Green Mountain this past weekend. If time and energy permit, I’ll share more photos later in this week.

“No Justice, No Peace”

Martin Luther King, Jr. photographed by Marion S. Trikosko, 1964. [Public Domain]

If peace means a willingness to be exploited economically, dominated politically, humiliated and segregated, I don’t want peace. If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace. If peace means keeping my mouth shut in the midst of injustice and evil, I don’t want it. Peace is not simply the absence of conflict, but the existence of justice for all people. —Martin Luther King, Jr., Three Major Evils