sharing my love of books with you

Saturday, May 13

May is slipping away, isn’t it? Today is my sixth wedding anniversary. We had a nice, quiet day at home with good food and happy cats. I finished writing my June devotional, and I will make that available to you on my Journeys for Christ page the first week of June. I hope it will be an encouragement to you.

Today has been a nice day for tea. I started the day with a mug of hot chocolate with matcha, then had a cup of strawberry limeade tea, and now I’m drinking chai. Tea and books are a such a good combination.

Hattie is sleeping next to me while I type. She looked so happy I had to share this picture.

I haven’t written many blog posts lately, but I’ll be returning to regular reading and posting soon. I started a new poetry book this week: a volume of selected works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I also read a few more chapters on Roosevelt. And I’m about to begin an audiobook – one I’ve listened to before and absolutely love. I look forward to sharing bits and pieces of these books with you over the next few weeks. But today, this is all I can write. Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 6

This afternoon is a 2-mugs-of-green-tea afternoon. It doesn’t hurt that one serving of my loose leaf green tea will make two cups. Today has been a slow day for me. Sadly, I haven’t read a lot this week, so I don’t have many updates, except to say that I will be working on my own poetry for the next few hours. I don’t think I’m a very good poet, but Mary Oliver said if you discipline yourself to work on your poetry, eventually poetry will find you. So that is what I am doing today. What are you working on today?


Polestars (yes, it is pronounced like two words, pole stars) – that which serves as a guide or director

“Everyone knew Roosevelt was a man of action, however, and the new president, although trotting in McKinley’s path, had polestars of his own to guide him in national politics and in world affairs.”

Lion in the White House, Aida D. Donald

A Little Ado About This And That, by Mary Oliver

If I walk out into the world in irritation or
self-centeredness, the birds scatter.

I would like people to remember of me, how 
inexhaustible was her mindfulness.

The hurricane may find us or it will not, that
will always be the way.

With Shelley, I feel the visceral experience 
of imagination.

Can you imagine anyone having a "casual" faith?

"This is what I know from years of being me," said 
a friend.

You will always love me.

About God, how could he give up his secrets and
still be God?

If you think you see a face in the clouds, why not
send a greeting?  It can't do any harm.

("A Little Ado About This And That", Mary Oliver, printed in Blue Horses, 2014)

Blueberries, by Mary Oliver

I'm living in a warm place now, where
you can purchase fresh blueberries all
year long.  Labor free.  From various
countries in South America.  They're 
as sweet as any, and compared with the 
berries I used to pick in the fields
outside of Provincetown, they're 
enormous.  But berries are berries.  They
don't speak any language I can't 
understand.  Neither do I find ticks or 
small spiders crawling among them.  So,
generally speaking, I'm very satisfied.

There are limits, however.  What they 
don't have is the field.  The field they 
belonged to and through the years I 
began to feel I belonged to.  Well,
there's life, and then there's later.
Maybe it's myself that I miss.  The
field, and the sparrow singing at the
edge of the woods.  And the doe that one 
morning came upon me unaware, all 
tense and gorgeous.  She stamped her hoof
as you would to any intruder.  Then gave
me a long look, as if to say, Okay, you 
stay in your patch, I'll stay in mine.  
Which is what we did.  Try packing that 
up, South America.

("Blueberries", Mary Oliver, printed in Blue Horses, 2014)

The Wasp, by Mary Oliver

Why the wasp was on my bed I didn't 
know.  Why I was in bed I did know.  Why 
there wasn't room for both of us I
didn't know.  I watched it idly.  Idleness
can be a form of dying, I did know that.

The wasp didn't communicate how it felt.
It did look confused on the white sheet,
as though it had landed somewhere in the 
Arctic.  And it did flick its wings when 
I raised my legs, causing an upheaval.

I didn't want to be lying there.  I didn't
want to be going in that direction.  And
so I say it was a gift when it rose into
the air and, as wasps do, expressed itself
in a sudden and well-aimed motion.

Almost delicious was its deep, inflexible

("The Wasp", Mary Oliver, printed in Blue Horses, 2014)

Good Morning, by Mary Oliver

"Hello, wren" is the first thing I say.
"Where did you come from appearing so
sudden and cheerful in the privet?  Which,
by the way, has decided to decorate itself
in so many white blossoms."
Paulus is coming to visit!  Paulus the
dancer, the potter.  Who is just beginning 
his eightieth decade, who walks without
shoes in the woods because his feet, he
says, ask to be in touch with the earth.
Paulus who when he says my poems sometimes
changes them a little, according to the
occasion or his own feelings.  Okay, I say.
Stay young, always, in the theater of your
Bless the notebook that I always carry in 
my pocket.
And the pen.
Bless the words with which I try to say 
what I see, think, or feel.
With gratitude for the grace of the earth.
The expected and the exception, both.
For all the hours I have been given to
be in this world.
The multiplicity of forms!  The hummingbird,
the fox, the raven, the sparrow hawk, the
otter, the dragonfly, the water lily!  And
on and on.  It must be a great disappointment 
to God if we are not dazzled at least ten
times a day.
Slowly the morning climbs toward the day.
As for the poem, not this poem but any
poem, do you feel its sting?  Do you feel
its hope, its entrance to a community?  Do
you feel its hand in your hand?
But perhaps you're still sleeping.  I
could wake you with a touch or a kiss.
But so could I shake the petals from 
the wild rose which blossoms so silently
and perfectly, and I do not.
("Good Morning", Mary Oliver, in Blue Horses, 2014)

Roosevelt on the Strenuous Life

“In speaking to you, men of the greatest city of the West, men of the state which gave to the country Lincoln and Grant, men who preeminently and distinctly embody all that is most American in the American character, I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life; the life and toil of effort; of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires more easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.”

spoken by Theodore Roosevelt April 10, 1899 in Chicago before the Hamilton Club, as quoted in Lion in the White House by Aida D. Donald


Sylvan – of or characteristic of the woods or forest

“[Roosevelt] also tightened laws to prevent loggers from devastating sylvan ares, and he stopped pollutions in the Saratoga area by fiat.”

Lion in the white house, Aida D. Donald

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Good morning! I can’t believe this is the last Saturday of April! I’m going to try to make it a good one with some writing and reading. Then I’ll end the day at the symphony.

This is the first Saturday morning I’ve had to myself in several weeks. I made a cup Key Lime Pie Rooibus tea, stirred in some unflavored matcha, and I am sipping that while I write. My cat is asleep next to my dictionary. I’m listening to Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet ballet. It’s peaceful here today.

I haven’t done a lot of reading in the last few weeks. As it turns out, I have a tendency not to devour biographies as quickly as novels. So while I am still reading Lion in the White House, I’ve been sneaking in some poetry too. I finished Mary Oliver’s Blue Horses this week. I can’t wait to share several of her poems with you. She has such a sweet way of writing. You really should find one or two of her books and add them to your shelves. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Happy Reading!

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