Sibling Assignment 2016.2: Promises to Keep #3Siblings

This assignment is in three parts. First, choose a poem that you feel best exemplifies snow and post it. Second, explain why you chose that particular poem.  ( Questions you could consider: What drew you to that particular poem? Was it  a new poem or one you were familiar with? ) Third, find photos you have taken that connect in some way with the poem and your own writing about the poem.

While directing and having the lead role in a play, I didn't have the energy to write many sibling assignments.  I am going to try and tackle some and get caught up.

I had taken notes on this particular assignment, so I am going to see if I can remember what I was going to write about.

The poem I chose was one Robert Frost wrote, titled:

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
There were a few reasons I chose this particular play.  As I was directing and rehearsing the play, as well as working at a full-time job, it was a bit exhausting at times.  The last stanza especially hit me, when talking about promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.  While working on a play, you have commitments to take care of that need your attention.  When working full-time, you have promises to keep, or commitments that need your attention.  And sometime having the energy to get it all done is hard,
Another reason I chose a Robert Frost poem, is the character I played in the play, Joy Davidman, was also a poet, and she shared a poetry award with Robert Frost, so he had been on my mind.
The poem also refers to the darkest evening of the year.  While working on this play, there were some dark days, especially in dealing with death.  The character I portrayed, Joy Davidman, dies on stage each evening.  While rehearsing for this play, there were several deaths that hit me pretty hard.
First our sweet dog Juliet died in January.  She just fell asleep one night and didn't wake up.  She was our daughter Zoe's dog, and it was so hard to tell Zoe her sweet little companion had died.
Then Paul's Uncle Ted died.  Ted was a friend of my dad, and it made me think a lot of Dad, and him passing away at such a young age, and how I miss him, and wish he could still be living in Kellogg.
These are some photos I took last winter in Post Falls near the dam.  These photos remind me of a place, as the poem says, "between the woods and frozen lake".



Sibling Assignment 2016.3 Slideshow Loves...U of I, Godspell, Autumn

I gave this sibling assignment this past week.

My assignment was this: 

Do a photo slideshow with music depicting Love.  You must use your own photographs.
Christy's Valentine to her husband Everett is here, and Bill's love of taking winter pictures is here.
Last fall I spent many different times walking through the Arboretum at the University of Idaho in Moscow.  This particular Tuesday in September I took a walk and took some photographs of the beautiful flowers, trees, plants and overall beauty of the Arboretum. 
As I walked through there that day, the song "All Good Gifts" from the musical "Godspell", one of my favorite musicals.  I believe it was one of the first musicals I saw performed.  And it was one of the best large group casts I performed with in a musical at the Sixth Street Theater in Wallace.
Plus, I love autumn.  I realize, September 15 was still officially summer, but you can see the season changing toward autumn in these photographs.
If you are ever in Moscow, take some time to walk this loop through the Arboretum and enjoy the beauty.  You will LOVE it.  Happy Belated Valentine's Day!!


Sibling Assignment 2016.1 So Many Books; So Little Time #3Siblings

The first sibling assignment for the year 2016 was assigned by brother Bill.  Here is the assignment he gave us to stretch our creative non-fiction muscles.

For the next assignment, write a piece of creative non-fiction  that ends with this sentence (or a slight variation): "Suddenly, bittersweet vellichor filled my entire being."
One rule:  you cannot write about a bookstore in any way, but you will be writing a piece that ends in the wistfulness that comes when visiting used bookstores. 

Christy's blog post about The Art of Waxing and Waning is here, and here is Bill's post about his time in a wooded park in the D.C. area.

I am a reader.  From the time I can remember, books have been a part of my life, and the life of my family.  I could read by the time I was five-years-old.  Parents and siblings read to me from the time I was born. 

            Visits to the local public library was a constant in my life, and continued to be whether I lived in Kellogg, Glendive, Meridian, or back to Kellogg.  I have been a part of a “Book Club” for almost 14 years.  My childhood home was filled with shelves of books.  My current home is filled with shelves of books.  Books have always been a part of my life.

            Recently I spent a morning in the Kellogg High School library, or “Media Center” as it is now contemporarily known.  I had some students taking an assessment on the computers, so I spent time walking around and looking at titles of books on the shelves of the library.

            I remember before Christmas I had also been in that library, but I had been in the back room, and saw a shelf with book after book of rare Idaho History titles that I want to take home and read.

            On both the occasions I found titles I would like to read someday, but realized the list of the amount of books I want to read someday is quite long.

            Last week I revisited, once again, our local Kellogg Public Library to pick up a two books I had put on hold.  One was the book that had been chosen for my January Book Club title, and one was the second in a series of the Book Club book that we had read in December.

            My project last weekend was to clean out my office, and get it organized.  Much of the disorganization of my office was caused by books I had retrieved from shelves in our basement to bring up and put on the shelves in my office.  Many of these books had to do with Idaho history, and have been used in research for a book I have been working on for over 10 years.

            As I was finding those books downstairs, I also found some books that are old friends, books I had read years ago that I want to revisit.

            I look at other parts of the bookshelves in my office, and find books I have never read, but want to read someday soon.

            Will I ever have the time to read all the books I want to read?  I used to have an Edward Gorrey sweatshirt I used to wear that said “So Many Books; So Little Time”.  So true.

            Then I look on my Nook booklist.  I look on my Kindle booklist.  E-books are now a part of my personal library.  Each in my e-library I hope to read someday.  But is there the time?

            Another new collection in my growing library is also audiobooks.  Now I cannot only read books, but I can also listen to them as well.

            But will I ever have the time to visit all the places I want to visit within the pages of the hundreds of books that fill the shelves of my home, my school library, my local public library, my e-books, my audio books?

            This fall I have entered the world of an older Jean Louise Finch who struggles with her view of her father in “Go Set A Watchmen”, read an intriguing fictionalized account of the life of author Virginia Wolff and her sister Vanessa in “Vanessa and Her Sister”, met an eccentric Frenchman who is the chief of police in a small French village in “Bruno, Chief of Police”, and continued reading Joanne Harris’ magical story of Vianne Rocher in her book “A Peach for Father Francis”, a sequel to the book “Chocolat”.  I also read my friend Carrie Stuart Park’s newest book “The Bones Will Speak”, where she created a thriller that began right in my own hometown. I am currently half-way through following the adventures of Mark Whatney on Mars in the book “The Martian”.

            And put two more books on hold at the library for more reading pleasure.  The first is “The Paying Guest” by Sarah Waters, and “Last Bus to Wisdom” by Ivan Doig.  It looks like one takes me back to post WWI in England, and the other to Montana.

            When I look at the books I have recently read, the ones I have read and want to revisit, and think of all the books sitting there, waiting to be opened, suddenly, bittersweet vellichor fills my entire being.
from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
n. the strange wistfulness of used bookstores, 
which are somehow infused with the passage of 
time—filled with thousands of old books 
you’ll never have time to read, 
each of which is itself locked 
in its own era, bound and dated and papered over 
like an old room the author abandoned years ago, 
a hidden annex littered with thoughts 



Sibling Assignment 2015.23 Empty Nesters and Family Retreat #3Siblings

I gave the assignment this week:

"Look back over 2015 and write about one of the most memorable things that changed you, and write about the transformation."

You can find Bill writing about his photo taking here, and Christy about living back in her hometown here.

One of the more memorable things that has happened in my life this year is this fall when all three of my daughters were no longer living in our home.

Oldest daughter Molly relocated to Coeur d'Alene after getting a job at Post Falls Middle School, and will be returning to college in January to complete her Bachelor's degree at Lewis Clark State College.
Middle daughter Zoe is completing her senior year at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.
Youngest daughter Cosette moved into her first apartment, and is in her second year of college at the University of Idaho in Moscow.

I am not going to lie to you.  I really enjoy having the house a little quieter, and our schedule a little calmer.  I like that Paul and I spend more time together relaxing at home.

What I don't like are the long absences of being apart from our daughters, or having us all together at once.

Zoe finished up her junior year spring, and went directly to her summer job in Oregon.
We didn't see her from her spring break to August.  That was way too long.

Because of our schedules over the summer, all five of us were never able to be together as a family.

So we went from Easter to Thanksgiving until all five of us were together again.  That was hard.

It has made me realize how much I need to cherish the time we do have together.  Especially at this time in our lives, when all of the girls are still unmarried, no children, and it can be just the five of us.

Because of this long lapse in the five of us being apart from one another, I thought  would be a nice idea to take two days over Christmas break when all the girls were home and have a "Family Retreat".

Before Thanksgiving, I asked the girls if they would set aside December 28 and 29 for family time.  When I made this request, I didn't know what we were going to do, but I did know it would be spending time together.

We had a bit of a "Staycation Family Retreat".  We stayed at our house, and had an agenda of things we wanted to do over the two days.

We began the time sharing prayer requests and Paul prayed for us all. 

Throughout the two days, we watched Episodes I - VI of the Star Wars movies, since we had just gone as a family to see Episode VII.

We played games.  We found out the girls did not enjoy Trivial Pursuit 80's Edition.  They said they might like it if there were questions of things that happened after they were born.

But playing "Scribblish" was a highlight!!

We share meals and had discussions.  Some of these topics included:
"What can we do to encourage you when you are going through a bad time?"
"Is your outlook for the world hopeful or fearful, and why?"
"Share a topic you would like the family to discuss."
"Share about your relationship with God and Jesus, and what that means to your life right now."

What a precious gift those two days were with my family.  Becoming an Empty Nester is a good thing, but having everyone home together to share memories is a real blessing.


Sibling Assignment 2015.22 Three Favorites #3Siblings

Christy gave us our Sibling Assignment this time:
" Three Favorites" 
Review the archives of our sibling assignments and choose a favorite written by each of us. Link the post and share why it is a favorite.

Bill's three favorites are here, and Christy's three favorites are here.

One of my favorite blog posts was one I did that was caused me to be quite emotional while I wrote it.  I remember it bringing up all kinds of memories and emotions, and quite a few tears were shed while writing this post.  Bill assigned this post, focus on one piece of music you listened to between the ages of twenty-five and thirty.  With this piece of music, open the door to some aspect of yourself at this point in your life and what the song makes you think about in whatever way works for you.

One of my own favorite sibling assignment posts is:  here, based on a song by Michael W. Smith called "My Place In This World".

I liked when Bill would give us unusual assignments, such as this one where we took a piece of music composed by our family friend Tim O'Reilly, and then we had to take images and put them to the music.  One of my Favorite posts  of Bill's  is here.

Christy always does a nice job of talking about food and how food was such a big part of growing up.  Here she talked about birthday cakes when I gave the assignment to talk about one of Christy's birthdays in January.  One of my Favorite sibling assignments of Christy's is here.


Sibling Assignment 2015.21 Warm Stuffing Evokes Warm Memories #3Siblings

Turkey dressing, to take this topic in any direction.

This is the assignment Bill gave us for this week.

His assignment is here, and Christy's is here.

As I look back on Thanksgiving's past, some of my first memories of Thanksgiving was at Jerry and Corrine Turnbow's house.  And I am pretty sure we had stuffing taken right out of the bird.  It was moist and flavorful from being cooked in the turkey.

That is how everyone used to prepare it, I think.  Then I guess at some point people started getting sick, so people started preparing dressing and baking it in a pan. 

I think I have stuffed a bird or two in my lifetime of preparing turkeys.  But lately, it is stuffing.

Once we ceased joining the Turnbow clan for Thanksgiving, Mom would fix the turkey with her traditional stuffing and/or dressing.

I have this memory of one year, Mom deviated from the traditional dressing recipe, and tried something new.  I think it was mushrooms and carrots maybe.  I really need to ask her if this was a real thing.  I seem to remember Dad giving her flak over this stuffing/dressing recipe for many years to come, and it was kind of a family joke.

I remember one Thanksgiving while living in Glendive, Montana where one of our friends shot a wild turkey, and I was chosen to prepare it.  Another warm memory preparing a different kind of turkey and dressing.

My mother-in-law Pat makes a killer dressing.  The last three out of four Thanksgivings have been spent at her house in Meridian.  It was very yummy!!

Dressing/stuffing evoke warm memories for me.  This traditional side dish is always associated with something good.  People gathered together to give thanks.  People gathered to enjoy each other company and a football game or two. 

This year I look forward to a new dressing story that I am sure will evoke warm memories as well.  Our church is fixing a meal on Christmas Day complete with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, rolls, etc. for anyone who wants to come and eat and have fellowship with others.  Our family is going to go and help serve and be a part of creating warm memories for some other people, and provide some Christmas Day fellowship.  I am so excited to spend part of my Christmas Day this year serving others.

And I am looking forward to continuing having special and warm memories that involve my favorite part of the traditional Thanksgiving meal....the dressing.


Advent Thoughts: 12.04.15 And In Despair I Bowed My Head #advent

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
On Christmas day, 1863, Longfellow—a 57-year-old widowed father of six children, the oldest of which had been nearly paralyzed as his country fought a war against itself—wrote a poem seeking to capture the dynamic and dissonance in his own heart and the world he observes around him. He heard the Christmas bells that December day and the singing of “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14), but he observed the world of injustice and violence that seemed to mock the truthfulness of this optimistic outlook. The theme of listening recurred throughout the poem, eventually leading to a settledness of confident hope even in the midst of bleak despair.
One of my prayers this advent season is for people in this world to have a settledness of confident hope even in the midst of bleak despair.
Often we are stuck in the third verse of this Christmas song, one of my most favorite Christmas songs.  We bow our heads in despair and say there is no peace on earth.  We look at the hate that mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.
But the song doesn't end with the third stanza.  The fourth and fifth stanza offer hope....
The bells peal loud and deep, that God is not dead, nor doth he sleep.  We are reminded that the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.
The world revolved from night to day, darkness to light.
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!!
I believe with all my heart that we can have peace on earth, good will to all men.
That is the message of Christmas.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace.