SOLC5: Celebrations

March 5, 2016

Today I am celebrating BONS. We met a couple of weeks ago and the laughter still warms my heart. I, we, missed Tammy who was sick, but a phone call delighted us all. We are able to be open about life, sharing school snippets that drive us crazy but still make us laugh. We talk about family matters of growth and turmoil. Mostly we celebrate. Life is hard and worthwhile. We capture those moments, some in the sand and others on paper. We celebrate.

Tam adds colorful snacks to the table. That table holds many stories and laughter.

Tam adds colorful snacks to the table. That table holds many stories and laughter.

Ruth M brought the dessert, one that brought smiles to our faces. Delightful!

Ruth M brought the dessert, one that brought smiles to our faces. Delightful!

The night is never without chocolate. The rich brownies sealed our celebrations.

The night is never without chocolate. The rich brownies sealed our celebrations.

We missed Christmas, so gifts were shared. I found this bird whimsical and comforting, a little fun during the cold. Tam happened to display hers on her centerpiece mat. How appropriate among the birds!

We missed Christmas, so gifts were shared. I found this bird whimsical and comforting, a little fun during the cold. Tam happened to display hers on her centerpiece mat. How appropriate among the birds!

Tam treated us to a personalized poem with comforting treats in her Christmas box. A special treat that will be treasured!

Tam treated us to a personalized poem with comforting treats in her Christmas box. A special treat that will be treasured!


Cottage Retreat {Celebrations}

July 21, 2014
Celebrate the big and little throughout the week at www.ruthayreswrites.com.

Celebrate the big and little throughout the week at http://www.ruthayreswrites.com.

selfieTammy’s cottage is a highlight of my summer. The BONS meet together for stories, sharing, and relaxation. We wrote too. The cottage is quiet and I found valued quiet time to focus writing an article. We arrived Saturday afternoon and stayed over through Sunday evening. Unfortunately, I did not post that evening due to no internet access. Ruth kept us updated on a softball tourney her daughter was playing in. S was playing great and the team was successful. Ruth was being a great mom, cheering her daughter on, and connected us via text messages. She was in our hearts. We missed you!

I celebrate friendship, connections, encouragement, laughter, fishing, ice cream, campfires, notebooks, revision and writing!

MHG.fish

After everyone left on Sunday evening, Tammy took me in the row boat. I caught my first fish ever!

 

Tammy caught the largest Bass. I caught 2 Blue Gil and 1 Bass. Lots of fun in the rowboat.

Tammy caught the largest Bass. I caught 2 Blue Gil and 1 Bass. Lots of fun in the rowboat.

 

Tradition: sitting around the campfire sharing stories and laiughter. Tam had fun keeping the flames going.

Tradition: sitting around the campfire sharing stories and laughter. Tam had fun keeping the flames going.

 

Ruthie and Tammy enjoying relaxation.

Ruthie and Tammy enjoying relaxation.

 

A new tradition: being creative with art. Last year we knitted. This year we painted.

A new tradition: being creative with art. Last year we knitted. This year we painted.

 

Tammy's birdhouse sits on the porch, displaying more beauty.

Tammy’s birdhouse sits on the porch, displaying more beauty.

BONS means writing and writing I did. I worked on an article, added to my notebook (Thanks Ruthie) and received a new one from Tammy. I didnt get a picture, but I clicked away on my computer. The cottage is the best setting for writing.

BONS means writing and writing I did. I worked on an article, added to my notebook (Thanks Ruthie) and received a new one from Tammy. I didn’t get a picture, but I clicked away on my computer. The cottage is the best setting for writing.

 

I usually share a book when we meet, so I had a book treat for each. I LOVE ice cream, so this book captured some laughs. We celebrated my birthday with ice cream bars afterwards. :)

I usually share a book when we meet, so I had a book treat for each. I LOVE ice cream, so this book captured some laughs. We celebrated my birthday with ice cream bars afterwards. 🙂 Oh, and it was National Ice Cream Day yesterday too. How fitting!

 


SOL: A Bee Story to Celebrate 500!

October 29, 2013

Yesterday during my second grade group, O said, “There’s a bee flying around there, Mrs. Gensch.” I looked up at the light and sure enough, one was buzzing around. It’s October. What is a bee doing in my room? I usually ignore the flying creature, but A chimed in, “I think I may be allergic to bees.” This announcement caught my attention.

“What do you mean by maybe allergic?” I pried with a concerned look. The bee continued to buzz around, dipping closer to us. What lotion did I put I today anyway? I thought to myself. Bees are attracted to different fragrances. Maybe it is my hairspray? For goodness sakes, stay away, I commanded the annoying pest.

“Oh, my mom is allergic to them. My dad is and so are both of my sisters. So I think I might be,” she stated matter-of-factly. My look of “And tell me more please” spurred her on.
“Oh, I have never been stung.”

That did it. I grabbed a book and headed over to the window where the bee was banging against the pane. I thought about calling our custodian (who is a gem by the way) but that would take too long. I had reading to get to and this little, distracting gnat was not going to get in my way of teaching.

SMACK! Got it!

O, A, and C had been watching me the entire time. They cheered when the critter was smushed. “Wait! There is another one,” O pointed out from a safe distance. By golly, he was right. Another bee was bashing its head against the window. “Yes I wish you were outside,” I stated aloud.

WHACK! It fell dead on the window sill. “Whew!” A stated wiping her forehead.

Yes, I was thankful too. Seeing the unmoving bug lying there, I noticed several others, like twenty or more. What???? More have been in my room?!

We finished group time, accomplishing my primary goal. Then I hunted Mike, our custodian, and told him the story of the bee annoyance in my room. I am anxious to be rid of these! And I definitely do not want an “I think I might be allergic” child having an attack in my room. Look out bees! You will NOT conquer me.

(This story is in honor of my friend and writer, Tammy Shultz. She has the BEST bee story ever and hopefully you all will hear someday. Our BONS writing group have enjoyed her story. Today marks my 500th post and I am so glad to honor the stories we share. Hugs to you friends!)

Yippee!

Cheers!

Fireworks please!

I am jumping for joy at this accomplishment. It surprises me. Little by little this summer, I have been watching the numbers. Only a few more. Gather some more. Share. Grow. Now it’s here.

Today as I readied myself for my Slice of Life this week, the number flashed at me like neon lights. My smile grew. This accomplishment is something I am celebrating! Ice cream may be in order! 🙂

Yes, today I have written my 500th post.

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SOLC: Writing Group = Stories!

September 24, 2013

sols_6May came and we were wishing each other best wishes for the summer. June arrived, filled with new friendships at the AllWrite!!! Summer Institute. But one was missing. July charged us up with cottage chatter and laughter. But one was missing. August began anew and our schedules were jammed. Everyone was missing. October was too far away and so one September night was reserved, anticipated, honored. No one missed.

We arrived with hugs and laughter. The table was set and smiles radiating. We were together. We finally were sharing our stories.

Tam, Ruthie, MH, Tammy with our new notebooks. Thanks my friend!

Tam, Ruthie, MH, Tammy with our new notebooks. Thanks my friend!

Our writing group sometimes writes together, sometimes takes moments for notebook entries, and sometimes shares pieces written. The whole night is about sharing in the writing process – gathering, planning, drafting, revising, editing, and definitely celebrating!! This past Thursday night was mainly about sharing our stories. We listened and questioned, prompted and uplifted. This night was about pouring our thoughts and enjoying our friendship. Without these nights, our writing would be quiet, possibly unnoticed. It would be waiting for any celebration. Without this night, I wouldn’t have been nudged to write from the heart.Harley Moments

I have some new stories that are stirring from the depths of my heart. The writing is not grand, but it is real. This writing is true and has just begun to blossom. My desire to write has hightened and time in the morning is being carved out. This writing may not be published but it will be shared. The story is too meaningful to not share. 

From our BONS night, Ruth lovingly presented each of us with a notebook. Others dear received them too. This notebook came at just the right time to hold the stories growing from my heart. Thank you, my dear friend. Thank you to my BONS. Without your listening, my stories would remain silent.


SOLC: I am the Cottage

July 23, 2013

The lake view refreshes us. Sitting on the porch, we share, laugh, and relax.

The highlight of the summer for our writing group is meeting at Tammy’s lake cottage. The view is splendid and the company is delightful! Tammy and her husband, Rex, have worked hard on the property, taking a shack hidden by foliage to a quaint cabin.

The welcoming cottage, the away place.

The welcoming cottage, the away place.

We arrived Friday afternoon, chattering about our recent family events. We relaxed on the porch, looking at pictures of the Italy trip, and gathering writing ideas. Ruth, who had an unexpected event, was not able to attend. This distance did not stop her from sharing in our writing lives (and laughter).

With writing pressing upon our minds, we sat as a group and brainstormed a poem – a poem about the cottage we love. After listing ideas on the side of the page, phrases and sentences emerged in the notebook.  A poem was crafted.

The BONS are around the table, adding ideas, sparking rhythms and choice words.

The BONS are around the table, adding ideas, sparking rhythms and choice words.

I Am the Cottage

I wait for them to come…

…footsteps approaching, cares freeing as they step through the door.

I am the place away.

I hold laughter, stories, and friendship. The BONS reunite, sharing bits of life.

I feed their stomachs and souls. Pork burgers and onion-potatoes sizzling on the grill.

I am the place away.

I watch the pontoon cruise. The sunset silhouettes against the rippling water.

I am the place to dream. Wrapping them in wood-warm walls, they slip into sleep.

I am the place away.

I rouse each gently with scents of bacon, blueberry pancakes and coffee. Early light through the windows shine, pulling them back outside.

I am the cottage…

another day is beginning!

We signed our names from our spot around the kitchen table.

We signed our names from our spot around the kitchen table.

Composed by Ruth Metcalfe, Tammy Shultz, Tam Hess, Mary Helen Gensch, and nudgings from Ruth Ayres 🙂

The draft of the poem with revisions and the list of ideas on the side.

The draft of the poem with revisions and the list of ideas on the side.

 


SOLC: Smile AllWrite!!!13

June 25, 2013

sols_6My heart is still soaring from the delights of the AllWrite13 Conference. I always look forward to hearing the speakers and being nudged to continue teaching the child, not just the curriculum. I learned about the excitement of poetry, working with words, and conferring enlightens our understanding.

Tammy and I had our books ready for our presentation. I was excited, my heart fluttering. Finding books to share is never our difficulty; it’s reducing the number of books to share that is so difficult. As the audience began filing in to the room, I did an excited jump inside seeing Nanc sitting there. Her smile is the best! Ruth and Christy came in, encouraging us the entire time. My parents came too. What a treat! Then Linda slipped in too. The night before, we gave a preview to Elsie and Jenn.

(For those interested, Summer Institute.2013 is the power point of the books we shared at our session.)

AllWritegroup

Although the learning was great, the time spent with the ladies was the most uplifting. This conference was about personal growth. When I share with my friends and coworkers about the Slice of Life community, encouragement and positiveness are the two words I share. As a writer, I have grown through the specific, uplifting comments. I read other slices and think, Wow, I like how she did that. I’m going to try. One notebook is filled with golden lines I’ve gathered from others. We mentor each other and grow.

I remember three years ago reading Bonnie’s slices and thinking, This woman knows how to write. I’m out of my league. But I learned that we are all writers growing, learning, stretching, sharing, comforting, uplifting, … we are writing together. Through slices and stories, our lives are being changed. My life was touched for the better and the memory of AllWrite13 holds a smile in my heart.

Now the nudge of writing has been given. Motivation has increased. I know I will encourage the ladies I have met and will smile seeing them around the table of my heart.

Hugs, Mary Helen

 


SOL: BONS, I Appreciate You!

April 9, 2013

sols_6The BONS writing group began over two years ago and has been a powerful agent in each of our lives. I’m proud of each of us slicing all 31 days in March!! Whoop Whoop! 🙂

Today, I have been thinking of each of you, BONS. Maybe it’s because we are setting dates to meet. Maybe it’s because I’m writing my supportive thesis for my teaching evaluation. Maybe it’s just because thoughts of you brings sunshine to my day.

Ruth, you are exemplifying, real, supportive. Your leadership shines through and lifts me up. I love reflecting with you about school, about writing, about kids. The thousands of words you write inspires me to keep going.

Tam, you are endorsing, loyal, helpful. Your quiet reflection rings powerful through your masterpiece of of memories. I love your sketches, your bits of ideas sculpted into possibilities. Your perseverance and charm nudges new thoughts and makes me smile.

Ruth M (aka: the other Ruth), you are encouraging, insightful, reflective. Your poetic craft spell bounds me – every time. I love the richness of your words, savoring them over and over and over. Your calm perspective ignites ideas and sparks persistence.

Tammy, you are energizing, creative, heartful. Your stories bring out laughter and emotion. I love your adventurous spirit and welcoming friendship has taught me to stretch beyond myself. Your enthusiasm spreads and your conversations are the best!

We all bring laughter and stories. It’s contagious. Our BONd keeps us fueled for the daily writing or idea-mulling treadmill. The celebration is the key. It’s in celebrating the bits of nothing and somethings that’s at the heart of the BONS.

 


SOLC: The Ordinary becomes Spectacular

March 27, 2013

sols_6

From Two Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayres posted

Lessons from a Chairmaker

Powerful.

The Ordinary becomes Spectacular!

It’s moments

like these

in the classroom and in my home

that make life

so enormously special.

PASSION

drives excellence.

Where

is my passion? How

can I spark

passion? Passion

fuels the energy to keep going.

In moments of passion,

my heart thrives… reflects… adjusts….

In the moments when the ordinary becomes spectacular,

my heart soars.

How can I keep

the passion going?

When I’m tired,

am I passionate? Does

my passion weary?

I must not!

Love Ruth’s post!

Great meaning

for each day of teaching,

writing,

living.


Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution

January 28, 2013

Dear BONS,

It’s January and I have been thinking about goals, a New Year’s resolution of sorts. I know Ruth has shared her goals with us. Any others? Me – I’m going to set a time limit for myself to write daily instead of just being arbitrary about it. So I find it fitting that the book Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution by Pat Miller happened to catch my eye. It’s super cute and Tammy, I think your first graders would like it. Tam, your gran kids would enjoy it too.

Squirrel wants to know what a resolution is, so he goes to the best place ever to research it – the LIBRARY. Of course, my favorite place! The definition he finds is as follows:

A resolution is a promise you make to yourself to be better or to help yourself.

As squirrel thinks of resolutions for herself, she helps others along the way. In the end, her friends remind her of how she helped them in their time of need.

Isn’t this a great book to share with a class and talk about community building and how each person in the class can help support the goals for the class? I also thought of you with the encouragement to keep writing. So hooray for writing!

Resolved to create,

MHG

Savorings for reading and in writing for Squirrel’s New Year’s Resolution:

  • Bucket Filling -“I resolve to help someone every day!
  • Apostrophe usage – contractions vs. possessive
  • Narrative weaving of thoughts/feelings
  • Community Building
  • Library reference 🙂

SOLSC: Writing Group Part 4: The Story Unfolds

March 21, 2012

As the great writing group that we are, we sat on the sofas (yes, the Slices from the Sofa sofa) and listened to Tam share her delightful revised story of Neville.

Tam reading Neville to BONS.

Beginning with a wonderful prologue, Tam began:
“Have you ever seen or met a mouse? Can you imagine being friends with a mouse?” My mind begins wrapping around this adorable creature when I hear Ruth (Ayres)
“A mouse? Tam, I didn’t know you were writing horror.” You see, Ruth hates rodents. Because she loves the writing process, she has been generously learning to like Neville, to hear his story.

We laughed (okay, we belly laugh from the depths of our toes).
“Okay, I’ll be quiet, but I may have nightmares tonight.”

You see, the beauty of the BONS is that we listen, we laugh, we linger. Our little snippets of story, whether a hopeful-someday-I’ll-write-a-book to the possible posts we will share to the book that has a deadline – they all matter. Each person’s writing matters. We matter.

And that my friend, is why we BONS get together each month, no matter what.

(At this moment I am rereading this post, we have interrupted our thinking with a comment that has spurred laughter. You see the laughter is the best. It fuels our writing.)

***To hear the culmination of this wonderful evening, go to Ruth Ayres Writes.