The simple things of HOME (SJT)

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HOME – what a huge topic. I love it!

As I have wandered more into the world of art, subjects of home hold the greatest appeal. Ordinary things can become beautiful when one takes the time and attention to reproduce them on the page.

When I look closely at the things in my home and think about homely activities, I gain a sense of contentment and wealth. Significance can be found in the smallest of things, the humblest of activities. So today, a few images and a poem (written in 2014) that represent HOME to me.

Welcome mat

“Welcome Mat” – Sketch journal entry for Jan. 16/19 (© 2019 V. Nesdoly)

potatoes

“Potatoes” – Sketch Journal entry for Jan 20/19 (© 2019 V. Nesdoly)

Making Soup

When I boil those leftover bones
to loosen the flesh and eke out
every bit of gelatinous goodness
—the kitchen a damp, steamy womb of a place—
I feel like I’m part of the marrow of motherhood
answering the call of nature to nurture.

When I chop the carrots, onions
celery and cabbage, add the meat
scour the fridge for halves of potato, tomato
tubs of leftover veggies, the cup of last week’s chili
add lentils and quinoa
season with bay leaf, basil, cumin and salt
I feel like the Proverbs woman
who brings her food from afar.

This is no Dickens gruel
grey, thin and greasy
or the meatless tin-bowl ration
of a concentration camp
but the savoury red pottage with which Jacob
lured Esau to trade his birthright

and I, the temptress, add soup
to my stock of quilts and afghans
knitted slippers and crusty breads
flannel sheets and apple pie
—the seductions of home.

© 2019 by Violet Nesdoly (All Rights Reserved)

supper

“Dinner” – Sketch journal entry for Jan. 30/19 (© 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

oranges

‘Dessert” – Sketch journal entry for Jan. 15/19 (© 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5

The sketches, above, are from my sketch journal. I try to do some art in it every day in an attempt to improve my drawing skills. This journal has its own Instagram account: @vi_nez.daydraws. Visitors welcome!

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This post is part of Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted today by Donna at her blog Mainely Write.

Special Day (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Welcome to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, hosted here today. This month we’re exploring the topic “special days.” Following my thoughts, below, is a widget where you can leave the link to your post.

Somebody’s turning seven! (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

The look on the face of my four-year-old granddaughter—of excitement, anticipation, I’m-ready-for-the-spotlight—said it all. This was her special day.

It doesn’t take long for kids to realize that not every cake with candles and pile of presents is for them. How quickly they learn to let the special person of the day blow out the candles and, hard as it is, open all the presents.

But today was our little four-year-old’s birthday and the expression on her face, even though seen only on video, showed that she knew it was her turn.

I think it’s a great thing to celebrate each person one day a year. In our family we do that on the anniversary of their birth (birthday). Letting the child choose the food for a special meal, the guests to invite for a party, the party theme and decorations, the destination if the activity is an outing are ways to appreciate and affirm each little and bigger one.

We are all created in the image of God as one-of-a-kind beings. What a privilege and joy it is, then, to acknowledge this by giving each person entrusted to us, especially in the family unit, a day of celebration.

Special Day

Each year we celebrate Valentine’s Day
giving our hearts as a present.
Hearts gifted back make us feel special.

Other days we circle too, as special:
Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas day
occasions we want all to be present.

But there is no other like the one I now present
a different date for each of us to feel special
our cake, candles, make-a-wish Birthday!

The day we celebrate the present of each special self.

© 2018 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Now it’s your turn! Please leave your link with Mister Linky.

Gospel Choir Newbie and other reflections on music (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Watoto Children’s Choir in Canada – 2013 (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

I cannot remember a time when music wasn’t part of my life. The steel-backed Heintzman that I grew up with— that my mom played with flowing chords and that I attacked at 6 a.m. to practice scales, arpeggios and four-note chords in my Royal Conservatory days—still lives with me.

One of my earliest memories is of Dad, up early to do laundry with Mom. He helped her by pinning the loads of diapers to the clothesline. Between loads, he put on records of rousing gospel music with voices and brass ensembles that drifted into my bedroom.

Singing was an integral part of my Mennonite church and community—rich singing in harmony. From childhood on I sang in choruses and chorales, small groups, and mass choirs. Early in life I learned the pleasure of harmonizing with my alto-range voice, using it cooperatively as part of a many-voiced instrument.

Music is still a huge part of my life. Perhaps it’s no wonder that my Spotify app is a close second behind photos for space used on my iPad. It is also testimony to how music’s delivery has changed—many times over in my lifetime—from records, to 8-tracks, to cassette tapes, to CDs. That Spotify business is evidence of the latest change—one I adopted by necessity.

We listen to music a lot when we travel. So when I discovered, just after we had sealed the deal on a new car in 2016, that it had no CD player, I all but panicked. What would we do for music?

A few days later, through our music savvy son, we discovered the music-sharing behemoth, Spotify and the Bluetooth capability of my iPad and our new Honda. I’ve hardly bought a CD since.

Music is the sound track to many hours of my life, especially those spent in the kitchen. Some of my favourite artists are Matt Maher, Shane and Shane, Audrey Assad, Don Moen, Fenando Ortega, and Andrew Peterson, to begin the naming.

The poem, below, is one I wrote a few years ago, after we joined our church choir which, at the time, was very into singing Black Gospel.

Gospel Choir Newbie

You sing coffee
dark, strong, edgy
your bodies a caffeine choreography
with the Hallelujah beat
and the Praise the Lord bop
and the vamp
and the vamp
and the vamp
Amen!

In me the notes are Sweet Jesus
honey flow over vocal cords
wrap themselves around arms
legs, trunk, hold spellbound
mesmerized, forget
to clap, do those little two-steps
and dips to make
our robes sway
as one.

© 2009 by Violet Nesdoly (first published on VerseWrights)

Now, here’s some Black Gospel that really moves—no out-of-sync forgetting in sight! The Watoto Children’s Choir, is an arm of the Watoto Mission of Uganda.

Beat of Your Love – Watoto Children’s Choir

spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copyThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey First Thursday, hosted today by Karen Eastlund at Irene Latham’s blog, Live Your Poem.

Thanks Karen & Irene!

Cheerleaders (a poem for Family Day)

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Today is Family Day in B.C. In the year since I first posted the poem below, we’ve discovered that our littlest granddaughter’s developmental delays are most likely caused by cerebral palsy. And so a family very precious to us is walking a new-to-them path with lots of challenges—and the sentiments expressed by little A’s grandma in “Cheerleaders” are more heartfelt than ever. Cheer someone in your family on today!

 

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Swans and cygnets, June 2016 – West Vancouver  (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Cheerleaders

Every wee one who is learning
to kick the ball, hit it off the tee
point her toes and do a plié
summersault, the front crawl
sing in a choir, be elf in a play
play guitar, trumpet, violin
shoot baskets, basket weave
weave in and out in a skillful
soccer dribble to the goal
with the goal to make the team,
every child with dyslexia, autism
Down syndrome, whatever syndrome
who isn’t ever going to make the grade
make the team, team up with the cool kids
(because who are we kidding?)
needs a cheerleader
a yell of encouragement
a bull horn, cow bells, sign held high
banner in the sky
face painted green, blue
or whatever colour the jersey
and an after-game trip to Dairy Queen
because she’s queen of the day
and you’re her mom, dad
grandma, grandpa, uncle, auntie
cousin, biggest fan
on the team of the family.

 

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Take a hike

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A week ago today the Capture Your 365 photo prompt was “Take a hike.” On my walk that day I photographed several woodsy hiking paths, pondering all the while what other ways I could interpret the prompt.

Then, walking through Portage Park, past a newly installed shelter and picnic tables (probably saw them for the first time a week prior), I noticed pink graffiti everywhere. Yuck. What a mess. Take hike indeed!

Take a hike

Graffiti in the park (Photo © 2017 by V. Nesdoly)

Take a Hike

Graffiti boy
on your bike
we don’t like
you using your spray can
as a mike.
Shoo, boy, shoo!
We’ve had enough of you.
Take a hike!
Stay out of our park
for your after-dark lark
we don’t want your mark—
of anti-us snark!

 

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

Thankfully the city crew was on it quickly. When I went by a  few days later, it was all cleaned up.

This poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Matt Forrest Esenwine at Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme. Thanks Matt (author of the just-out and already highly acclaimed Flashlight Night).

Fleeting

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Fleeting

Fleeting

Magic morning light
paints me Yellow Submarine
bell bottoms

© 2017 by V. Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This is my Summer Shorts poem for July 30th, when the Capture Your 365 (#CY365) photo prompt was Fleetiing.

TheBeatles-YellowSubmarinealbumcover

For those who don’t remember those wonderful Beatles days and the art style that was all the rage, here’s the album cover this photo reminded me of.

This post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Margaret Simon, who is celebrating a birthday today! So are Linda Mitchell and Julieanne Harmatz.  Couldn’t help but post a greeting from the band themselves!

Party Hostess

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Party Hostess

Thinking it through and making lists
to cover all the bases.
Imagining each this or that
and putting myself through the paces.
I know I shouldn’t be uptight
I tend to be a perfecter.
I’d have more fun if I cut loose
this fete to faith and prayer.

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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This Sunday my husband and I are hosting a big family party. I love being part of this kind of thing as a helper but being in charge is certainly getting me out of my comfort zone. That is our topic this month and a good one for me to muse on this week.

Even thinking about it for this blog post has been helpful. I’ve been intentional about countering every worrisome “what if?” thought with thoughts and prayers of gratitude that this is happening and joy and anticipation as I look forward to getting together with my large extended family. I am trying to follow my own advice…

sjt-2017-graphicVisit Pat at Writer on a Horse to read more “Getting out of your comfort zone” writings.