Monday, February 8, 2016

Movie Monday: BROOKLYN

At long last, the movie BROOKLYN arrived in Birmingham! And it was... magical.

Such a simple story: Irish immigrant girl arrives in 1950s New York City, journeys through homesickness and culture shock to create a new life, and then bad things happen to her family members, and she must choose: New York or Ireland?

But the most important thing about this movie is the love story that underpins it all. So, so lovely!

AND. I have loved Saoirse Ronan since ATONEMENT (one of my favorite movies ever!) She is beautiful in this part as well. Don't miss! I'll be pulling for this one to win all 3 Oscars it's been nominated for.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Sleepy Snoozy Cozy Coozy

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect for Roundup.

Today you can find my niece Anna's artwork "Imagination Window" and the poem it inspired over at A Penny and Her Jots. Thank you, Penny, for inviting Anna and me to be a part of your marvelous blog series featuring inter-generational family art collaboration! I want to do more of this in my life. :)

And now I am happy to share with you a Cybils nominated poetry book SLEEPY SNOOZY COZY COOZY: A Book of Animal Beds by Judy Young, illus. by Michael Glenn Monroe. On each spread readers meet a new animal -- mole, beaver, alligator, dolphin. The poems are untitled and all end with the same closing two lines:

"Place where you won't lay your head
But to a [animal name here] it's a bed."

You'll find some fun nonsense words, as the book's title suggests. There's also a info box on each spread, and something I love is that each info box ends with a question, like "How long do you sleep?" Or, "Do you curl up to sleep, too?" This is a wonderful way to engage young readers!

Here's my favorite spread:

In the tall grasses of a glade
A spider weaves from blade to blade
Up and down and flow and ebb
Until he climbs onto his web.

A springy stringy
Oh so clingy
Frail and flossy
Quite criss-crossy

Sticky tacky
Stay way backy
Place where you won't lay your head
But to a spider it's a bed.

- Judy Young
--------------------------
"Stay way backy." Ha! :)

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Writing in the Dark

Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are discussing Justin's One Little Word (Blind) FAITH. Please join us!

Writing is an act if faith. One word by one word by one word, we put them on the page without ever knowing where they will take us.

Remember E.L. Doctorow's quote?


And yet we angst about all we cannot see, how far we have yet to go, all the storms and monsters that surely await.

Faith is putting the next word down and the next. We learn to believe in the process, not the outcome. We learn the joy is in the getting there, not "The End."

It's not always easy. There are days when I think it's not EVER easy. But I still show up at the page. 

Just like any other spiritual practice, routine helps. 

I still have fears -- am I wasting my time? what if no one likes it? what am I doing? -- but these days I trust that NO time is wasted, if I am doing what I love. What matters is that *I* like it. I'm doing exactly what I am meant to be doing.

That's faith.

Looking forward to everyone else's thoughts! 

p.s. I love writing in the early mornings, before there's light, when no one else is awake. So, really, I write in the dark pretty much all the time. :)




Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Little Gee's Bend in Decatur, AL

Last week it was my great privilege to share LEAVING GEE'S BEND with readers of all ages in Decatur, AL, as part of their "River Reads" series.
Book adventures are always more fun with a friend!

I'm so honored they selected LEAVING GEE'S BEND! It was great fun to share my adventures and Ludelphia's story with Somerville Road Elementary, Walter Jackson Elementary and the Decatur Public Library. Big thanks to Beth Young for all your work on the project! And thank you, readers, for coming out, asking great questions, and making me feel so very welcome. Your enthusiasm reminded me of all the reasons I was drawn to this story in the first place. And I am so excited for your visits this month with the quilters!

Here are a few pictures, which I wouldn't have if not for my dear friend Pat Weaver accompanying me. Thank you, Pat! Mwah!:
students at Somerville Road Elementary



me and librarian Sally Savas

me and Kim Mitchell, at Carnegie Visual Art Center (with Gee's Bend quilt!)

Gee's Bend quilt on display
Rhonda, Beth, Stephanie and me at library.
(Later Beth and her mom took us out to Bob Gibson's BBQ... yum!)



Enthusiastic quilter in audience at Decatur Public Library




Students at Walter Jackson Elementary


librarian Todd McDonald, me and principal Rhonda Reece
(Walter Jackson Elementary)





quilt square from the community quilt project


And finally, this is why I love libraries: books and a wall quilt and computers and flags and a GIANT SNAKE to inspire wonder and magic! 



So much fun! Thanks to all!! And if you've made it this far... I also have a post over at Smack Dab today, on the topic of "hibernation." 

Monday, February 1, 2016

Look! The Sun is Shining on Antarctica!

Put on your hats and mittens and grab your mug of hot cocoa: today is the official release day for WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA: Poems from the Frozen Continent!

Big, big THANK YOU to everyone who has already made this book feel so very welcome. I loved reading all your generous Poetry Friday comments. I am still in the midst of busybusy, and I look forward to catching up with everyone's blogs very soon!

I do want to mention what a fun project this was to work on -- and I adore Anna Wadham's illustrations!

To think it all started when fellow Alabama YA author Ash Parsons put into my hands THE WHITE DARKNESS by Geraldine McCaughrean... for more background information, see Catherine Flynn's lovely Poetry Friday post. For the first poem I wrote in the collection, see Linda's Write Time post that includes a personal ad written by an Adelie penguin! And for an excerpt from the novel that I absolutely adore, keep reading!

But first, allow me to share the promotional poster for the release event I'm sharing with Jim McClintock, author of LOST ANTARCTICA, to be held this Saturday at Anniston Museum of History:


And now, from THE WHITE DARKNESS by Geraldine McCaughrean:

"What kind of word is big enough to describe Antarctica? To begin to capture anything here, big would need twenty-seven syllables. Words can’t cope. The space between the letters ought to make them elastic enough, but they aren’t. The tails under the g’s and y’s and qu’s and j’s ought to help them grip, but they slide about helplessly. Cliffs are the length of counties. Icebergs are the size of cities. Prospects run as far as the sky. Parallel lines never meet because there’s no disappearing point. Adjectives die in the wing the moment they see Antarctica, and plummet onto the Plateau. Words are no good."
...which are fighting words for a poet, you know? Must. Find. The. Words.

You can discover the words I chose by reading WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA! :) May you enjoy your visit to the frozen continent. 



Thursday, January 28, 2016

Me & Darth Vader (or Why School Librarians Are the Best)

Guess who I met yesterday at Somerville Road Elementary School?

A bunch a great kids, librarian-extraordinaire Sally Savas, so many enthusiastic teachers ... and Darth Vader!



I'm exhausted but had to pop in to say Happy Poetry Friday! Please visit Catherine at Reading to the Core for Roundup -- and get your penguin fix with a lovely post about WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA. Thank you, Catherine! I'm so honored and grateful. xo

What To Say about Selah?

Hello and welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday! Today we are discussing Michelle Haseltine's word "Selah."


Confession: "Selah" is a new word for me. A quick Google search revealed that "Selah" is

1. the name of a city in the Old Testament
2. sometimes means "rock" because the city was a walled fortress
3. is found in Psalms and could be a musical notation
4. might be a word used for emphasis, similar to "Amen"
5. might mean something like "so let it be done"
6. might simply be a word that means "pause"

So, thank you, Michelle, for expanding my vocabulary!


I have this memory of watching the Charelton Heston movie THE TEN COMMANDMENTS over and over again with my siblings, and one of the repeating lines in that movie is "So let it be written, so let it be done." I know because my brother l still loves to repeat that line. :) In the movie it was what the scribes would say whenever Rameses put forth an order. It always sounded very formal and definite and certainly indicated action, though usually of a negative variety!

In my own life I have certainly experienced times when I needed to pause, think, not rush into action. But then there are the decisive times, the times when it's been time to DO instead of TALK or merely THINK about doing.

This often comes up in the creative life, doesn't it? How many times have I talked to a writer at a conference, and they tell me their wonderful ideas, and the next year, when I see them at the conference, they are still just talking (and not writing)? I find this so frustrating, especially as I realize it is related to fear. As long as one is just TALKING, there is no risk, no one to criticize, no failure.

I get it. It is So. Hard. To Fail. I put up road blocks to my writing, too. Writing is hard and scary. Which makes this a great word for writers: Selah. So let it be done.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let the Gee's Bend Fun Begin!

This week I am visiting Decatur, Alabama, where LEAVING GEE'S BEND is their "River City Read." The best part is that the quilts are on display through March 5 at Carnegie Visual Art Center and four of the quilters -- Mary Ann Pettway, China Pettway, Lucy Witherspoon & Gloria Hopkins will be in residence from Feb. 12 - Feb. 21!

So, my job is to share the story of Gee's Bend at the schools, where I will be talking with students and faculty, and at the library so that the community will be able to more fully appreciate and enjoy this wonderful experience. I'm excited! Here's the library poster:


Full report coming next week!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

On Being Present

Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are discussing Margaret's OLW "Present." Please join us!

How many times have I been working at my computer, and my husband walks by, speaks to me, and I respond, but don't look up, don't see him?

That's me, not being present.

How many times have I taken a shower and been so caught up in my thinking world that I didn't feel the suds on the fingers or smell the shampoo?

Yep, me, not really being there.

How many times have I, in my effort to get things done quickly and efficiently, cooked AND listened to an audio book AND helped a child with homework, all at the same time?

Again, that's me not listening to the book or to my child, or to the knife slicing through the onion, not feeling the rubbery surface of the cutting board or marveling at the sizzle as the onions hit the hot bottom of the pan.

The biggest thing that keeps me from being present in my life is ME. My mind just takes off and Will. Not. Stop.

Part of this is a result of the family disease of alcoholism, which taught me, from a very early age, that I HAD to think in order to survive, I had to do whatever I could to control my surroundings, I had to stay one step ahead of everyone else. Another reason is the dreamer in me -- how many times have I been focused on the past (often reliving or replaying mistakes and missteps) or so, so often, worrying about the future? I haven't always liked my "present."

This way of life made me crazy, and it hardly ever worked the way I wanted it to, so my answer was to think even longer and harder! Talk about EXHAUSTING. What a relief to learn that I am powerless over people, places, and things, and I can leave all those worries/thoughts/dreams/etc. to a higher power. This has given me a whole lot more time to be present in my life. And a lot more reason to love my life just as it is.

It's true that such a lifelong habit is a hard one to break! But here's the good news: just like the body can be trained to run a marathon, the mind, too, can be trained. For the past year I have subscribed to HEADSPACE, and I absolutely love it. It's a meditation app, and I use it right on my phone. I've learned to imagine my mind as a blue sky -- and my thoughts as clouds that sometimes go racing by and cover up the blue, but the blue is always always there. And with practice, I am finding that blue sky a lot more easily and a lot more often.

AND, even better news, I have been able to translate this to my daily life. I am much better now at showing up for my own life. Not all the time, but that's okay: Progress not perfection!

Now I recognize that being present is a way to express my gratitude for the life I've been given.

I will leave you with wise words from Melody Beattie:


"The magic isn't tomorrow or in some far-off place. The magic is in the moment and the exact details of the situation we're in right now." - Melody Beattie

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tougher. Stronger. Fearless!

I've just finished ROLLER GIRL by Victoria Jamieson.

I totally get why it won a Newbery Honor.

I laughed, I cried... I loved how BIG Astrid's emotions were and how real her friendship struggles felt. Also, some great mother-daughter moments and a nice messages about teamwork (vs. individual glory) tucked inside.

Read it! You won't be sorry.

And: go, Asteroid!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Poem for Martin Luther King, Jr.







Dear Martin,
- found in Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” speech delivered August 28, 1963, Washington, DC

Today injustice
still lives
in the corners
of our republic.
Yes, freedom
promises
brotherhood.
Equality
is awakening
whirlwinds
of thirst.
Fresh storms
rise up
on the red hills,
heat exalted,
hope jangling
into faith –
we join hands,
sing,
        at last.

- Irene Latham

I wrote this poem last year for MLK day. View the original post here.

Also, here is a link to a post about my favorite MLK movie so far: SELMA.

Thinking of MLK today and all his good works -- and all we've yet to accomplish in terms of equality and the end of systemic racism.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January Joy

Hello, and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit for our resident beekeeper-poet at Keri Recommends for Roundup.

January has already been a full month for me -- this week our youngest son turned 16 (I am officially off carpool duty! A new chapter has begun...), and I got back in the saddle with my first school visit after a long break. I'm grateful to teacher/librarian-student Bethany Venable at Lake View Elementary who made my visit so smooth and wonderful... and to the students for their curiosity and enthusiasm! Here are a few pics:

writing workshop!

a card signed by all 300 + students who attended the assembly!

Bertha, part of the front office welcoming committee :)

the whole crew, ready to get on with things!
(we had the lights dimmed to better see the powerpoint)

And now a  poem I love, from a book I featured before (and will feature again!): A CHILD'S CALENDAR by John Updike, illus. by Trina Schart Hyman.

January
by John Updike

The days are short,
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.

Fat snowy footsteps
Track the floor,
and parkas pile up
Near the door.

The river is
A frozen place
Held still beneath
The trees' black lace.

The sky is low.
the wind is gray.
The radiator
Purrs all day.
----------------------------

Finally, I invite you to read my Spiritual Thursday post which includes an original poem "I Could Say I Believe in the Ocean." Wishing everyone a warm, happy weekend!

I Could Say I Believe in the Ocean

Today for Spiritual Journey Thursday we are sharing about Carol's One Little Word BELIEVE. Be sure to visit Holly for links from other pilgrims!

"Believe," for me, is an essential word. I think I have spent a good deal of my life thinking about what I believe instead of just believing. Every few years I write a "Creed" poem, and what I find is that what I believe is far less firmament than water -- always shifting, swirling, moving, changing. For a long time this movement bothered me. Shouldn't I know what I believe in? Shouldn't it be more permanent than that? But one has only to look at the natural world to know that change, flux, movement is the way of all living (and nonliving) things.

Here are some things I am working on believing right now:

I am enough.
I am exactly where I am meant to be.

And, going with these water-y feelings, here is a new "creed" poem.

I Could Say I Believe in the Ocean

But what I mean is,
I believe in water:
leagues wide
and miles deep,
still-cool-cold on one shore,
warm-salty on the other.

I believe in clownfish
and anemone,
riotous coral reef
and cruising grouper,

octopuses origami-ing
themselves into
castaway bottles
and now-you-see-em-
now-you-don't krill
diving into
the mouths of whales.

I believe in turquoise
and teal, cobalt
and blacker-than-black.
In shipwrecks
and tsunamis
and deep-sea
luminescence.

I believe in a world
with enough anything
for everyone
where I am a boat
floating quiet
as a moon jellyfish,

weaving between sharks
and icebergs,
allowing the current
to carry me
wherever it will.
- Irene Latham

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Morning Offering


When I first read this in TO BLESS THE SPACE BETWEEN US by John O'Donohue I just had to sit still a moment and revel in the perfection of the words and wishes expressed. I need this every single morning.
May I have the courage today
To live the life I would love,
To postpone my dreams no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

- from "A Morning Offering" by John O'Donohue

Friday, January 8, 2016

Three Poems from FELICITY by Mary Oliver

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference for Roundup. While you're there, be sure to read Tabatha's "The Old Ship" poem from last week. Love!

I finally got ahold of FELICITY by MaryOliver, and I have three favorite poems from the book to share with you:



That Little Beast
by Mary Oliver
That pretty little beast, a poem,
has a mind of its own.
Sometimes I want it to crave apples
but it wants red meat.
Sometimes I want to walk peacefully
on the shore
and it wants to take off all it's clothes
and dive in.

Sometimes I want to use small words
and make them important
and it starts shouting the dictionary,
the opportunities.

Sometimes I want to sum up and give thanks,
putting things in order
and it starts dancing around the room
on its four furry legs, laughing
and calling me outrageous.


But sometimes, when I'm thinking about you,
and no doubt smiling,
it sits down quietly, one paw under its chin,
and just listens.





Everything That Was Broken
by Mary Oliver
Everything that was broken has
forgotten its brokenness. I live
now in a sky-house, through every
window the sun. Also your presence.
Our touching, our stories. Earthly
and holy both. How can this be, but
it is. Every day has something in
it whose name is forever.





The Giftby Mary Oliver

Be still, my soul, and steadfast.
Earth and heaven both are still watching
though time is draining from the clock
and your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.

So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
know you are grateful.That the gift has been given.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

On Waiting

This year I am participating in Spiritual Journey Thursdays, coordinated by Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning. Today we are all blogging about Holly's OLW for 2016: WAIT.

I have a complicated relationship with waiting. I remember reading a poem once that basically said historically, it's a woman's job to wait -- while the husband goes to war or work or whatever. Why would I want to be THAT woman?

The truth is, I can be terribly impatient and impetuous, and one of the ways I deal with things in my life that I can't process, or feelings I am not ready to feel, is to dive headlong into some task, to chase after some goal, to go, do, move! This has been a valuable coping mechanism for me for many years and has helped me achieve a lot of things.

But. These days I am far less interested in going/doing/moving as I am in just BEING -- being myself, being content, being present. And waiting is a part of all these things. I can wait to check my email, I can wait to respond to an invitation, I can wait and see how I feel instead of planning (obsessing!) about the future. I can sleep on it. I can pause, pray, meditate before I commit or make a decision. All of these tools are available to me and help me know myself better, and to honor that self.

How often in the past have I created my own troubles by NOT waiting?!

And yet, waiting is still a struggle sometimes. It feels so passive, like nothing is happening. What I' m finding is that that moment, of waiting, is exactly the place where faith enters in. And I want to be there to meet it.

Thanks so much, Holly, for opening the discussion!

Monday, January 4, 2016

My 2016 One Little Word

A month or more ago, my husband told me he'd noticed I've laughed more in the past year than in all the time he's known me.

Isn't that a lovely observation?

I've thought about it a lot since then, and I realize I am generally a serious-minded, thoughtful person. And that's great. But this year I want to lighten things up a bit. I want to laugh more. So the One Little Word I've selected is...

DELIGHT

The morning after I made my decision, I stumbled upon a bit about Julia Child. It turns out Julia had a sign in her kitchen that said, "Above all, have a good time." And didn't she have a good time?! She also wrote this in her book MY LIFE IN FRANCE:
picture of sacher torte I had in Vienna. Yum!




So, maybe, this will be my Julia year? I will be focusing on delight in all things, having fun, laughing. 

I do have two books coming this year... FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers Market and  WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA: Poems from the Frozen Continent. Talk about fun!

If any bloggers are interested in reviewing either of these titles, I would be delighted to request a review copy. Please email me! irene (at) irenelatham (dot) com.

Friday, January 1, 2016

#ReadYourWorld with THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS

Hello! Happy New Year! And Happy Poetry Friday! (Happy, Happy!) Be sure to visit Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for Roundup and join Mary Lee and Franki's celebration of 10 years of blogging. Wow!!

As if that wasn't enough to celebrate... guess what? Multicultural Children's Book Day will soon be here --January 27, 2016! 

For the second year in a row I signed up to feature on my blog a review of a multicultural children's book. The linky will soon be live -- meanwhile, check out the website.

This year I was assigned a book that's near and dear to my heart: THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS, compiled by Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong

Why is this book near and dear? Well, I'll tell you:

1. It's a book of poems! By some amazing poets.

2. Each poem is presented in English AND Spanish!

3. The poems celebrate silly holidays and serious holidays, in a (world)wide range, like Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month and Gay Pride Day and End of Ramadan and National Braille Literacy Month and National Cookie Day-- no matter who you are or when you pick this book up, it's got something for you.

4. I happen to be a contributor -- my poem "Let's Celebrate the Elephant!" appears in the September section for August 12, World Elephant Day.



 Every classroom (and parent!) needs this book. It celebrates diversity AND it's the perfect book to start out with for the New Year! More on this in a moment. But first, please allow me to share some "official" information:

What is Multicultural Children's Book Day (MCCBD)?

Our mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.

The co-creators of this unique event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom
 and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book
Audrey Press. You can find a bio for Mia and Valarie here.

Look for the hashtag#ReadYourWorld on Twitter and other social media!

MCCBD wouldn't be possible without these amazing sponsors!!

Medallion Level Sponsors: 



*


Multicultural Children’s Book Day also has 12 amazing Co-Host and you can view them here.


Teachers! Earn a FREE #Multicultural Kids Book for Your Classroom through MCCBD's  Classroom Reading Challenge!

. This very special offering from MCCBD offers teachers and classrooms the chance to (very easily) earn a free hardcover multicultural children's book for their classroom library. These books are not only donated by the Junior Library Guild, but they are pre-screened and approved by them as well.
 --------------------------------------------------------
end of official business! Now for the perfect poem for today, from the opening pages of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS. Find additional curriculum connections and picture book pairs at PoetryCelebrations.com. Thank you, Janet and Sylvia, for providing a book of poems so unifying and useful and fun!

New Year is Here
by Kenn Nesbitt

New Year is here!
Let's shout.
Let's cheer!
Yippee! Yahoo!
We start anew.
New dreams to chase.
New goals to face.
New plans to make.
New paths to take.
New skills to learn.
New stars to earn.
New hopes.
New prayers.
new loves.
New cares.
New facts to know.
Can't wait. Let's go!
Let's shout!
Let's cheer!
It's here! New Year!

..................................................
Love the enthusiasm in this poem! Also, what an easy and fun activity for students... ask them to fill in their answers to the following prompts found in the poem:

Welcome 2016!
New dreams to chase?  participate in the adult strings weekend at Univ. Alabama (I've now been playing the cello for a year!)
New goals to face?   last year I read the Harry Potter series; this year I want to read The Bible, all books by James Herriot, and Bas Bleu's Life Stories Book a Month series
New plans to make?  Key West for Christmas 2016
New paths to take?   sign up for Master Gardener classes in the fall 
New skills to learn?  vibrato on cello
New stars to earn?  totally out of my control, but who knows? The sky is wide!
New hopes?  not new exactly, but yes, somehow new, every single day: to be exactly who I am as often as possible
New prayers? as I enter this season of bringing 2 new books into the world, I am drawn to these words from "For Celebration" by  John O'Donohue: 

"Now is the time to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop, 
Free the joy inside the self, 
Awaken to the wonder of your life."

New loves? oh, yes, keeping myself open and eager for this to reveal itself!
New cares?  hmmmmm... see above
New facts to know? I recently picked up a book at a thrift store called Eloquent Animals. It's about animal communication.
----------------------------------
What about you?? Any new hopes, new prayers, new loves, new cares to share?



Thursday, December 31, 2015

365 Days of #EveryBrilliantThing

This year I've kept a virtual gratitude list, inspired by the play Every Brilliant ThingHere's my post about it. 

And since this is the last day of 2015, here is my complete list!


JANUARY

Lays Chocolate covered potato chips.
Pink shoelaces.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton.
The sky – always different, always the same.
Flip-flops.
Ruby's neverending enthusiasm for the headless rubber chicken.
My fabric stash.
Fuzzy socks on a cold morning.
Stained glass windows.
Sunday morning Jazzercise.
Small notebooks for recording big ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
Trees in winter.
Baby pictures.
Scarves.
Bento box.
Chocolate milk.
Being the only one awake in the house on a dark, quiet morning.
Self-checkout at Walmart.
Dancing with Kyle Abraham & Otis Brown & ErBeeko (at the Carver Theatre).
Velcro poetry.
Sunshine.
The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight.” -Julia Cameron
Doodling.
Free books.
Being the last one out of bed.
Little boys in overalls exploring the world.
Proof that spring will come. [pic of daffodil shoots]
Decorating with cotton.
Tiny books.
Going to the movies with my husband on a random Friday afternoon.
Gel pens.

FEBRUARY

Sunday afternoon siesta.
Live streaming when you can't be there.
When someone compliments my outfit.
Daily conversations with my father who is ill and lives 1500 miles away.
Sisters.
Mama's roast beef.
Scrapbooking!
King cake.
Bumper stickers.
Morning conversations with Eric on the drive to school.
Mrs. Fattig. 3rd Grade.
Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate brownie dough.
Books hand-picked for me by my father.
Skype visits.
Plaid.
Lighthouses.
Breakfast for supper.
Stuffed animals.
Cooking with an iron skillet.
Umbrellas.
Movie trailers.
#Oscars2015 pajama party.
Chapstick.
This cookie from Whole Foods.
A broken heart is an open heart.” -@jandynelson, I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN
Yesterday's no-Snow Day and today's snow-dusted delay.
Poetry Friday.


MARCH

Robin eggs. [the candy]
Waking to the sound of rain and birdsong.
Old-fashioned personal mail found in the mailbox.
Fifth grade friends.
The fact that @erbeeko spent 7 hours today working on a song.
Buttons.
Boys in pink shirts.
Hot air balloon.
Fresh grapefruit juice.
Hats.
Induction of Kathryn Tucker Windham into Alabama Women's Hall of Fame
The art of storytelling.
Seafood supper.
Traveling with JuliAnna Dykes.
Mozart.
Salt mines.
Freedom. (after visiting Dachau concentration camp)
Crazy long distance phone calls when cell phone won't work and you're missing loved ones so much.
The Swiss alps.
Chocolate fondue
Heidelberg, Germany.
Brock Colyar's suitcase still in one piece.
Not having to pay to use the public restroom.
Vegetables.
My own bed.
Taco night.
In Vienna, you can Dial-a-Poem.
Coca-Cola's “Make a Move” short.
Spring Break.
Patience.
People who explain things by using metaphor.


APRIL

Walking the neighborhood in the early morning dark.
Azaleas in bloom.
Polka-dots. Especially @erbeeko in polka-dots.
Fried oysters.
That bird outside my window singing so happily in the dark.
When I set a goal for 5 pages and end up with 7 instead.
Morning drive with @bensollee.
Wisdom at morning @jazzerciseinc : “If you can't hide it, decorate it.”
New plants in old pots.
The way Ruby barks at thunder.
Fortune cookies.
Tree art.
Tree Change Dolls.
Elephants.
Breakfast with Papa.
LISTEN, SLOWLY by Thanhha Lai.
Art by @brianandreas.
Mints at Olive Garden.
Friends who say just the right thing. Looking at you, @mattarnett!
Writing in the parking lot.
Those jar grip thingies.
Aprons.
Clouds.
Patio dining.
Metal dresses by Chris Beck at Magic City Art Connection.
That scene when Forrest Gump just stops running.
Restaurant in Atlanta overlooking Oakland Cemetery named Six Feet Under.
Books on hold for me at the library.
Mermaids.
Hot tea on a rainy morning.

MAY

Hooray, it's May!”
Airport reunions.
Rivers.
Kentucky Derby.
Paper clips.
Murals.
Helpers.
Scars prove that you're still here.” - @ashparso STILL WATERS.
Baby ducks.
Andrew giving me a birthday cake shake from Zaxby's for Mother's Day.
Sunday night suppers at Chuy's with Eric.
Banana pancakes with cinnamon and sugar on top.
Andrew doing his own laundry.
Maggie our cat giving herself a bath.
Cookie cake.
Papa's binder where he lists all the books he's read.
People who are passionate about what they do.
Boys in tuxedos.
Don Draper's new idea. #MadMen
Typing “THE END” on the first draft of a novel.
She-crab soup.
Spanish moss.
Live music on the pier.
Road-tripping with Paul.
My own bed.
Quilts on a clothesline.
The color aqua.
Thrift stores.
Having an imaginary friend.
Hay rides.


JUNE

Air conditioning.
All my boys in one place.
Mimosa trees.
The word “precious.”
Hacksaws.
Red walls.
Sourdough bread.
Cell phone camera.
Beta readers.
My writing chair.
Heardmont Park.
Snowball hydrangeas.
Fried pork chops.
Night walks.
Cello.
Baby tigers.
The beach at night.
Screened in porches.
Quilt shows.
Monte Cristo hotdogs.
Doctors who say, “it's not going to kill you.”
A friend reaching out.
Reaching back.
Sliced tomatoes.
KFC Original.
Blue bowls.
Harry Potter.
Fresh ground pepper.
Starfish.
Rearranging the furniture.


JULY

Styrofoam.
Homemade whipped cream.
Spraypaint.
Farmers' market with Paul.
Microchip dog ID.
Baking a cake.
Summer Poetry Swap.
Camp Buttercup.
Bandaids.
Jacuzzi tubs.
The scent of basil.
First day of a new job.
Drive-thru pharmacy.
Harry Potter.
Twilight movie marathon with Eric.
Friday Night Lights.
Sisters.
French braids.
Bobbie's old office chair.
My Authur Umlauf sculpture.
Writer-friend phone therapy.
Night storms.
So quiet I can hear the clock ticking.
Audiobooks.
Planning a vacation.
Revision notes.
Poetry Friday community.
Wild ponies of Assateague.
Dancers.
Luxury bed sheets.
Coming home.

AUGUST

Naps.
Red suitcase.
Exercise ball.
Roman shades.
The Bird Girl.
Sweet and sour sauce.
Early morning walk on the trail.
Digital scrapbooking.
Fabric in the mail.
Book signed by author.
Reuseable grocery bags.
Sea bands.
Tinted moisturizer.
Catching fish.
Walking on the beach.
Easy as Sunday morning.
First day of school.
Antibiotics.
Used book stores.
Lunch on the back porch.
Supper on the back porch.
Double-yolk egg.
Rick Springfield singing Katy Perry's ROAR.
Dancing in moonlight.
Empty highway.
Finishing a quilt.
Baby wipes.
High school football.
Fresh cantaloupe.
Cello teacher saying I'm becoming a “sturdy” player.
Octopuses.


SEPTEMBER

Sunflowers.
Wrapping paper.
Upside down yellow maple leaf on the walking trail.
Birds on a wire.
Caterpillars turning into monarch butterflies.
Walking.
Papa writing stories.
Internet shopping.
Kissing.
The audio version of ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan.
Sitting in Sandra Bullock's chair at historic, delicious Bright Star Restaurant.
Me, Paul, Daniel & Amalee sitting around the kitchen table.
E-books.
Black cat in my lap.
New sculpture at BJCC.
How empty the streets during an Alabama game.
The Lebanese food festival.
Kantha quilts.
Armadillo necklace.
Fog.
Fire hydrants.
The wet world.
10th Annual My Favorite Poem.
Clocks.
Made-up words.
Drive-in theaters.
Jumper cables.
Little red wagons.
Claw-foot furniture.
Dice.

OCTOBER

This #OutandAboutDress by @sewcaroline.
Love notes.
Old houses.
Frogs.
Boys with long hair.
The Martian.
Costume jewelry.
Zentangle.
Lemon thyme.
Tiki mosquito torches.
Looking through old scrapbooks.
Graphic novels.
Zentangle pumpkin.
Mercy.
Swinging.
NEVER BROKEN by Jewel.
Dreams that hold horses.
The new Harry Potter play.
Halloween decorations.
Archways.
Thank you notes.
Rosemary.
Sugar maples in fall.
Dry creekbed.
Glue gun.
Moonrise.
Getting new book contract from Lerner and F&G's from WordSong in the mail on the same day.
Sharing a secret.
Saying thank you.
Hearing thank you.
Paula Deen's bacon-wrapped chicken bites.

NOVEMBER

Rain.
Daylight Savings time.
Starfish.
Nesting dolls.
Eric on drumset.
Cabin in the woods.
Early morning rain in the woods.
#wild blogging friends.
Taking a mental health day.
Trying a new recipe.
Peanut butter balls.
Colored pencils.
Pistachios.
Sacred harp music.
Sunshine on a cool day.
Rain boots.
Electricity.
Kid art on display.
Fresh paint.
Fiestaware.
Almond butter.
Hot chocolate.
Friday night football.
Mashed potatoes.
Leaf quilt.
Self-timer setting on camera.
Movies that are also books.
Time spent with my sister.
70 degrees in November.
How you an reinvent yourself with a new haircut.



DECEMBER

Sticky notes.
Being 19.
Cookie cutters.
Online shopping.
Bell towers.
Rumi.
Phone call from a friend.
Christmas lights.
Rivers.
Fleece.
If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down.” -Toni Morrison
Ribbon.
Kindness.
Gifts in the mail.
Keyhole tree.
Jingle bells.
Elves.
Johnny's in Homewood.
Grapefruit juice.
Fuzzy socks.
Turtles.
Baking.
My miniature tea party tree.
Gochujang.
The Force.
Ladders.
Sacagawea.
The sound of rain.
Swinging.
Blanket with sleeves.
Harney & Sons Paris tea.