SOLSC: Reflections

March 31, 2012

SOLSC has been a wonderful experience of learning with others. My notebook is filled with entry ideas gained from you and noted stories I want to remember. I have encouraged new slicers, formed connections, and strengthened ones I’ve known before.

My belief in myself as a writer has increased! I have taken risks in playing with words and have been pleasantly surprised with people’s comments. Thank you. My writing is developing and revising is becoming more of a delight rather than a challenge. It has been fun commenting, encouraging as I have been encouraged. Reading, commenting, and growing with you has been a joy!

As evidence of my growth, I played with words this morning, relaxing in the moment as I tried to do what was modeled for me. You see, your posts are modeled craft for me to savor, learn, and try. Today, I would like to honor Elsie at Elsie Tries Writing and the way her post yesterday inspired me to try something new.  Elsie “squeezed a poem from a single word“, so I tried it with the word ‘Reflections’ on this last day of the SOLSC. Blessings to you all as you learn, connect, and grow as writers. Slice on!


Core of SOLSC

Reflect on letters seen

Lists of notes,


Fills inner tier!



Slice on!

SOLSC: Spring is Anew

March 30, 2012

Spring is here and the trees,

bushes are flowering.

Colors burst brilliantly

Nature seems to be creating an orchestra

of uplifting music.

Morning greetings mix

bird flutterings.

Sunshine waves down

kissing the air with warmth.

Spring is anew!

***I subscribe to Your Daily Poem to increase my like of poetry. Poets amaze me with the craft of words, the rhythm and snapshots with deep meaning. This week, a beautiful poem by William Wadsworth was shared called Written in March. It captures Spring so delightfully.

SOLSC: My Back Story

March 29, 2012

I’ll let you in on a secret: I actually like numbers more than writing. Yep.
(At least I did as a kid.) I am good at math. I can add numbers quickly in my head and reason problems. Numbers come naturally. So, you may ask, how did you start writing? Good question.

I didn’t like writing as a kid. I definitely didn’t think of myself as a writer. I struggled with spelling, vocabulary, and reading. Three essentials for writing (and I was in the buzzard’s reading group.) So how did I evolve into a writer?
Through letters.

I am an only child (almost) and my cousins, grandma lived 600 miles away. I didn’t have email or a cell phone. Back in my day, phone calls cost enormous amounts for long distance, so I turned to the next best thing: letters.
I wrote 3,4,5 letters a week. Not just one pagers either. (I usually averaged 3 to 5.) To someone close, 7 pages was no problem. It was my voice, my release. My cousins and friends returned letters, but never as long as mine. I didn’t care. My thoughts were out and I was connected.

Now I have to grab my notebook and pen, my computer and blog. I have a passion to empower and to connect. I have thoughts to capture and moments to savor. I have a story to tell.
I. Am. A. Writer.

This is my back story.

SOLSC: Our Daughter is So Beautiful

March 28, 2012

Our daughter is so beautiful,” my mom said to my dad on the day my sister was born. Every part of her 9 lb. 13 oz., 21 inch long little self was perfect. Her dark hair made her blue eyes sparkle. I was eight. I had practiced diapering my dolls, cradling them to pretend sleep. I was ready to be a big sister. I couldn’t wait. I had even chosen her name – Elizabeth.  My smile was proud!

Elizabeth was beautiful!

Within twenty-four hours, the doctors recognized something was not quite right. Her little heart beat was erratic and she struggled with breathing.  In 1975, ultrasounds were not prevalent. No warnings were given prior to her birth. No warnings that my sister had a two-chambered, deformed heart. No warnings that my mother’s heart would be broken two days later!

Twenty-two years later, I delivered my second child, a beautiful little girl. She had a head-full of dark hair and blue eyes that sparkled. She weighed 10 lbs. even at 21 inches long. My mom cradled her in her arms with the sweetest smile ever. My dad stopped in his tracks as he whispered to my husband, “She looks exactly like our Elizabeth.”

My mother’s heart was delighted,  filled with a  healing-happiness.  I chose my daughter’s name – Elizabeth.  She’s beautiful, fulfilling, and knows where her name originated.

SOLSC: Thinking Through My Fingers

March 27, 2012

I love this quote:

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. — Isacc Asimov


Isn’t that what we do? We write and think and write and think. And then we think some more. I guess it is one reason why I like to use paper and pen. I can jot my thoughts and think, leaving the open page nearby as I go about my chores. On Sunday, my youngest did something that made me chuckle. I didn’t want to lose the memory, so I grabbed a pen from my purse and began writing on our bulletin. I was trying to capture the essence of the moment as quickly as I could.

Other times, like now, I stop and think. Palm under my chin, I reread and talk to myself. The computer awaits my tapping fingers to mold the words my audience will understand. With every tap, my fingers grasp my thinking.

What thinking are you doing through your fingers?

SOLC: Baseball from A to Z

March 26, 2012

Baseball season has officially begun for the Whitko Wildcats. With it being Wesley’s senior year, my calendar is filled with each game being a priority. Sitting in the stands, I hope, cheer, and have a twisted-tight stomach.When Wesley pitches, I’m on the edge of my seat, clutching my pitch-count notebook. I also scribble baseball lingo and try to craft it. Tonight, I am sharing some of my favorite words in baseball: atta-kid, burner, change-up, double-play, hop-up, pick-off, slider, two-seamer. Learn of others in the book Baseball from A to Z. Below is a quick taste of what I feature on Book Savors the other eleven months of the year. (Savorings is my word for lingering in a beautiful text to find the craft of writing.)

In Baseball from A to Z , each letter has one vocabulary word with a simple definition. Macky Pamintuan’s illustrations make you smile and feel a part of the game. He states on the book jacket that he loves baseball. The illustrations are action packed and introduces specific terms used in baseball. This book could be a mentor text for kindergartener students or first graders for an All About Unit of Study.

At the end, Michael Spradlin encourages the reader to find other baseball words at the ball park. Read an excerpt from his book on the website.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Baseball from A to Z:

  • Alphabet practice
  • All About Unit of Study
  • Baseball lingo
  • Word choice
  • Definitions


March 25, 2012

When Ruth posted the 31 Slice Ideas, my mind lingered for a moment about TV. I began to wonder how I could craft a piece about a TV show. I watch CSI with my husband and love The Mentalist (Patrick is so observant). Our family has started watching The Voice and don’t always agree with the judges. But I didn’t want to list the shows; I wanted to connect. Then it hit me – Monk.

Let’s just say, Mr. Monk and me, well…we have some similar traits. In the introductory scene, Mr. Monk returns at the door to turn the umbrella the correct way. When Adrian organizes papers, shelves, and books, my family looks at me. They don’t have to say it; they just know I relate. You see, I like to have items in an orderly fashion. It’s wonderful when the counters are clear, the shoes are lined up by the door, and the dishes are tidy.  I love the sense of organization. The neatness. The put-awayness. The everything-is-in-its-place ness. This is my heart’s desire.

The difference between Monk and me – I survive daily with my house not being tidy. Clean clothes are in laundry baskets waiting to be folded. Dishes are in the sink. Books are in piles. Although I would love for the tidiness to be in fashion, I look beyond my impulse to the family I have and live in reality. My family activities, the writing I do, the reading and commenting on blogs are more important than the desire to be an obsessive compulsive neat freak. One day, my children will be gone and the house will be quiet. Maybe then, I’ll have time to be neat. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy watching Mr. Monk keep his place organized and love my family instead.

SOLC: Generation Transfer

March 24, 2012

join the Slice of Life Challenge at

The below slice is one I captured in my notebook a month ago. It was a special bonding moment. Moments ago, we just returned from the hospital where my father-in-law is. He is awaiting a pace maker on Monday. My kids cherish their grandpa, even when he is gruff around the edges.My eyes look into our living room as my ears are listening intently. It’s not the image I want to retain, but the conversation. Wisdom is being passed down from one generation to the next. These are the moments that make hosting my father-in-law special to our family; he has been living with us for five years.

Dad G may be a little wobbly with a sore back, diabetes and missing toes, but his mind is a wealth of knowledge. My husband often asks his father for advice on topics connected with electricity or maintenance (or cars, economics, remodeling, history, etc). Dad G’s words are a transfer of wisdom.

Today, my husband is talking with his father as our youngest looks on. Each are sharing their opinions and thoughts regarding a favorite topic of interest – guns. I’m not even sure of how the conversation started, but I quickly retrieved my notebook to capture the moment.

Dad G was an avid hunter as a teenager and knows specialty guns. He also served in the Korean War. My husband was talking about one type of gun and its uses, and Dad G would connect that gun to an experience he had. Our youngest was mesmerized. He sat and listened intently, asking questions for a thirst of knowledge. He would nod and interject complimentary comments throughout this discussion. Sixty-seven years span between our son and his grandfather, but at this moment, the eighty year old and thirteen year old are connected. His grandfatherly stories and knowledge are being transferred to his son and grandson, cherishing the moment for years to come.

Even before I’m done typing, the three males have gone to other tasks. They may not hold this discussion as monumental, but I see the lasting benefits. It is these moments, these conversations, these generational transfers that enrich and shape our lives forever.

SOLSC: The Substitute Report

March 23, 2012

On Wednesday, I had left my Title I groups in the hands of a capable young lady, my guest teacher. All my plans were explained in detail, including some helpful student-personality information.

The next morning, I read the letter on how the activities unfolded. The beginning was the basic “I finished everything you left me” and then proceeded to share a little about the students, like this particular first grader: “Josiah was very eager to read the book and talk about it. I gave him a sticker. :)” Whew – glad that one went well.

My eyes, like a typerwriter  computer, scrolled through the page and landed on this final nugget about two kindergarteners. Language and vocabulary is my main focus with these two English Language Learners (one speaks Spanish only and the little girl – well, her first language is English, but her sentence structure is like a 3-year-old). The note said,

Lindsey was worried that I would be mean because she didn’t know me. (I could see this little one just shying away; she’s very dramatic.) I talked to her and by the end of our time, Linsey was very rambunctious. She even had Jose giggling, (which is so not like him.)”

I chuckled. Who would have thought I needed to let the kindergartener know she was not a stranger, just a guest teacher?

My substitute ended with this wonderful note:

Thank you for the opportunity to look over your students.”


SOLSC: Happy Birthday, My Friend!

March 22, 2012

My dear friend, who makes me smile, is brilliant, delightful, and amazing. I have taught beside her, mentored her in writing workshop, and laughed at lunch. … I almost lost her once.

My Friend has been the teacher of Wes and Elizabeth. She encouraged them to reach beyond the moment, stretch their thinking in all subject areas, and spread their creativity. … I almost lost her!!

Her thinking has pushed me to strive for the best. She honors me by inviting me into her class, by asking questions, and sharing her dreams. Her famous words with total belief is “You can do it, Mary Helen!” … I ALMOST  lost her!

You see, for as confident, passionate, steadfast teacher that she was (IS), inside a monster of unbelief, doubt, and ugliness ate away at her physical self.

My Friend began to lose weight, a feat she and I both struggled with. She is beautiful with the always perfect hair, the fun outfitting to match, and a passion that all can achieve. Her smile and belief uplifts your soul. But for a while,  her self-image did not reflect that and thus, she allowed the eating disorder to take over. … (I almost lost her!)

Her skinny body was hidden in her clothes, but her heart and pancreas couldn’t withstand it. She ended up at the hospital, frail and fighting.  … I almost lost her.

The Butterfly is the symbol of FREEDOM from eating disorders

I remember how shocked I was. People speculated and I denied it. Not my friend. I remember trembling as we headed to the hospital. My three kids made cards and included pictures of them to bring her cheer. I even framed a picture of me, smiling. I remember being by her bed, her face beaming as I told her that I needed her. I NEEDED her!   … I almost lost her.

Several months passed and life was uncertain. With help and belief and prayer, My Friend overcame the monster and healed.

I almost lost her but didn’t!

I’m so grateful!

Happy Birthday, My Friend!