metrical Monday wk. 6

metrical Monday

This will be our last metrical Monday until August. We’re preparing for a little family summer adventure in the near future and I need to get moving on some other things. Things I hope to share in the near future, but… For now, poetry will have to wait until we return to India and recover from our old friend jet-lag. Yee-haw.

Anyway, in honor of our current plans this summer and the scorching Delhi sun that’s been pounding down, I thought Robert Louis Stevenson would be a good choice. He authored one of my favorite collections of children’s poetry called A Child’s Garden of Verses where this poem can also be found. Pick it up if you haven’t already!

Summer Sun

Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven without repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.

The dusty attic spider-clad,
He, through the keyhole, maketh glad;
And through the broken edge of tiles,
Into the laddered hay-loft smiles.

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

Our verse for this week is Psalm 84:11:

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

Thanks for walking along with us in our poetry adventure. It’s been fun for me to dig around in the poetry world again and this time with the littles. I’d forgotten how much I love it. And who knows, maybe something will stick with them in all this.



metrical Monday wk. 5

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Metrical Monday is a little behind today. Sorry. It was yet another holiday here and I took the three big kids to a movie at the mall. Then I tried to shop. That’s probably all I need to say about that because … Continue reading

metrical Monday wk. 3

  Here we are at week three of metrical Monday where I am attempting to help my kids gain an appreciation for reading poetry and memorizing Bible verses. And so far I have to say that these children of mine … Continue reading

Tuesday’s Not-So-Deep Thoughts

Sitting down today with a cup of tea in one of my favorite tacky coffee mugs, I see that I completely neglected the month of September. I love September, nothing against it at all. But I just didn’t have it in me to blog or even check the stats. I didn’t actually write much at all in any form which lets me know that something is going on internally– just what exactly I still haven’t figured out.

But I’m back to blogging at least for today. I suppose I should since someone from Nigeria just checked it and the post on the homepage is a bit old. I figure if you’re going to go to the trouble of looking at my blog from Nigeria I ought to do a better job at keeping it up-to-date. We’ll see if I can swing it for October.

So there’s a ton going on right now. Isn’t that always the case? Just most of it isn’t exactly interesting to everyone outside my close circle of family and friends. Unexpected travel plans, painful conversations, and question marks galore seems the way of it– not exactly blog-o-rrific stuff. Because if you’re like me when you open your computer you have a limited amount of time to spend there and  you don’t just want  entertainment, you want to be moved, stirred into action, mentally stimulated, feel like you’re more connected. Right? You’re probably not so interested in the naval-gazing of a woman in her mid-thirties who is still trying to figure out what in the world she’s doing with her life. Not that the old navel looks exactly the same in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy #4. Still. If you’re like me right now, you want more substance not fluff in your life.

So I’ve stewed over this idea during the past month (I’ve stewed quite a bit all around). How do make this blog a bit more substantive and worth your time? How to be authentically me and helpful in some way? And I have to say that I’m coming up nil, though my desire is to use my words to make some sort of difference in the world–which is what I think most women I know want on some level.

And as for the fiction writing, well, Little Miss Perfection is stuck in another rut and her Steady Eddie Charging Right Along Husband wonders how to motivate her. If you or someone you know is a perfectionist (an INFP type of personality) you know what I’m talking about. If you are the spouse to said perfectionist and have lived to see the end of a large, lingering project maybe you can start a support group and ask my husband to join. Please.

So the goal for October is simple– to find the Muse again (read The War of Art if you don’t know what I’m talking about). To write more and think less (trust me it’s better this way). And to look for inspiration in news places since the old ones feel too familiar and tapped out at the moment. Any suggestions?

Where do you find inspiration for creative endeavors? And how do you keep the creative juices flowing when they feel like they’ve dried up? Inquiring minds want to know.

a charming note

In the book Making a Literary Life author Carolyn See suggests writing charming notes (her words) to authors who have inspired you. This exercise is slightly, okay, really intimidating to me, but I can see the benefits of it so I decided to give it a try.

Because of where I live letters are not the best option available– I am very frightened of the post office actually having only gone there once where I saw a mass of people pushing and scrambling to get to the desk. It didn’t seem like something I wanted to be a part of due to my fear of being groped and all, so I decided that the regular post is to be avoided at all costs.

Instead, I opted for an email. I wrote a short but charming note expressing my gratefulness then re-read it about twenty times and agonized over my word choice. Do I sound witty? Or silly? Is it too formal? Too familiar? Seriously. It was five lines, but you would have thought I was sending a letter to Queen Elizabeth the way I fussed over it.

I finally pressed the send button and went to bed. The next morning I checked my inbox as usual. And to my surprise I had gotten a response! A very brief but friendly response. It was the most encouraging thing of the week aside from the fact that no one in my household threw up and we’ve had consistent power. I think I might throw a party tonight.

If you are an aspiring writer or dreamer I highly recommend See’s book mentioned above. Honestly, I hope that some day I’m receiving as well as sending these kinds of notes out. We’ll see. But it’s like my mother-in-law always says, “If you never have a dream, you never have a dream come true.” Exactly.

Have a great weekend!

a little inspiration

“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever…” – Isak Dinesen

When I was in fourth grade my mother and aunt took me and my cousin to see the movie Out of Africa. It’s not exactly a children’s movie which made me feel a little grown up at the time. Since then it has remained one of my favorite movies–ever. It’s ironic to note that my husband has never actually watched it, even though I’ve seen most of his John Wayne movies. But I digress.

Out of Africa a story about love, loss, and the determination of a woman, Karen Blixen, to make a life for herself in colonial Nairobi in the earlier part of the 1900’s. And even though at ten I was not the intended audience, it left a deep impression on me. Maybe it was the picturesque landscapes that first drew me in—lions, a woman with a gun on a safari, white linen clothing, etc. Though later on it was definitely the story about the storyteller Isak Dinesen that spoke to my heart and has been with me ever since. For several years a copy of Out of Africa has been present on my writing desk for mere encouragement.

“All sorrows can be borne if you put them into a story or tell a story about them.” – Dinesen

At this point a very brief history might be helpful…

In 1914 Karen Blixen, who wrote under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen, moved to Kenya to marry her second cousin Bror. There, she and her new husband purchased a house and land just outside the city where they had hoped to have a thriving coffee plantation. She was in her late twenties when she moved there and spent almost two decades in Africa until a series of tragic events occurred and forced her to return to Denmark. Her memoir, Out of Africa, on which the movie is based, is about her life in Kenya minus most of the messy relationship parts on which she is doesn’t give many details—biographers did that later on.

“When you have a great and difficult task, something perhaps almost impossible, if you only work a little at a time, every day a little, suddenly the work will finish itself.” – Dinesen

Over the years, particularly when I was in college, I did quite a bit of research on Dinesen’s life and work. I love characters in general—both real and literary—and she was certainly fascinating and enigmatic in life and on paper. There’s something about her story that inspires me– her strength as she lived in a country very different than her native land of Denmark; her determination to find happiness, but often experiencing loss and sometimes physical pain; and finally the way she seemed to take life’s joys and disappointments and use them to craft her stories, which is what resonates so much with me now.

So whether it’s Isak Dinesen or Karen Blixen, she has been an inspiration in my life in ways I can’t aptly express in a blog post. If you are interested in further reading she has several collections of beautiful and sometimes haunting stories along with more stories from her experiences in Africa.

“God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road.” – Dinesen