January 1, 2021

My one little word for 2020: THRIVE. It was very fitting for the daily struggles of the Covid pandemic. Ruth’s writing prompt spurred me on to reflection.

SOL: Lion or Lamb

March 1, 2018

March 1st blew in with visions of sunshine and green.

Golf cupcakes at Tim’s graduation last June. Green.

Green wishes. Sunshine hope.

Yesterday 56 degrees. 🙂

Rain this morning.

Ting. Ting on the window alerted my sense to – wait… SNOW?!

Walking in to class, I overheard the teacher sharing. “March first. In like a lion; out like a lamb.”

Shaking off the dismal cold, I smiled. Sunshine, you are coming!


SOLC: Just Like When She Was Little

March 18, 2015

My blog was silent last night. Not on purpose though. I had good intentions of writing. Words played in my mind throughout the day. Blogs were read and comments were given.

Eliz.selfieThe afternoon began with Wesley debuting his first start as a pitcher. He normally plays the role of reliever on his college team, so Wesley was definitely excited. Tim had basketball awards night in shirt and tie, shined shoes and black pants. Home again and shared stories with my hubby. I finally settled, ready to write and Elizabeth came home after leading her girls’ group. One story led to another. “You won’t guess who came in to the Dairy Queen last night?” and she proceeded to share about “the boys” who came in unexpectedly.

One idea led to another. Time ticked by. I noticed the clock, but tried to forget it. When it comes to my teenagers and their initiative to talk, I forcefully stop thinking and listen . Elizabeth kept talking and talking and talking. Story. Story. Story. I felt like the insurance commercial as a memory of a little girl prolonging her bed time popped into my head. It never failed; her stories charmed me then and now.

Honestly, I’m glad I missed posting. I wouldn’t have traded her talk for anything. Priceless.

Grandma Kessler {Slice of Life}

December 17, 2013

The conversation began through a picture memory my cousin posted on Facebook of her mom, who passed away a year ago. Cousins across the country began commenting, missing her smile, love, and joy she shared.


Thoughts turned to our yearly gathering at Grandma Kessler’s house for Christmas. This holiday was about Love, belonging, and sharing stories.Grandma had ten children and with grandpa passing early in life, she held the family together. We lived the farthest away and being an only child, I was thrilled belonging to a large, lively family. I was home there at Grandma’s, spending a month in the summer with her, visiting the uncles and aunts at the farms.


The comments began and my cousin Brett brought in the laughter to our comments. You see by the time I married, we had close to 100 people in Grandma’s house. We laughed. We were loud. We shared. Then, we opened presents. The secret name we drew back in September, known only by Grandma. We started with the youngest and circled around the room finding the next person. We would open the present, announce the gift, thank the gifter and then the gift from Grandma.

I am thankful for family and memories and connections today. We have a legacy passed on to us that we pass on to our family and others around us.


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!)



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.


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.


August 20, 2013

Crickets sang from the country greens around the golf course. Eighty degree sunshine filled the air, brightening the emerald grass, as I watched my Elizabeth play golf.
Birds signaled a call to a friend, who replied a congenial song. Today’s sweetness awakened my dendrites.
In the stillness only the country bacon bring, the cricket’s song caught my attention. Most August days I might have considered the continuous song ordinary.
Today I noticed.
The music had new meaning.
I have been listening to the audio book, A Cricket in Times Square. A story of friendship, loyalty, and hope has been inspiring. Crickets do annoy me and mice do not please me. Nevertheless, the craft of personification has brought me closer to the insect, summoning admiration for its song.


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.)


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.