Love everlasting (#BibleJournaling)

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“I have loved you with an everlasting love…” – Jeremiah 31:3

This is the verse on which the Rebekah R. Jones’ Original Bible Art Journaling Challenge series, Week 36 is based.

As soon as I saw the word “everlasting” I thought of dried flowers, which are sometimes called everlastings. My mom used to grow gorgeous everlastings—strawflowers, statice, love-in-a-mist (nigella), Chinese lantern, and more.

She got me interested in trying my hand at it. I did, and for a few years I made dried arrangements out of my dried roses, statice, hydrangea, baby’s breath, tansy, nigella pods. So fun—but messy!

I decided to decorate this page of my Bible with everlastings. Working on this drawing of straw flowers, statice, celosia and nigella was like stepping back into time. I just wish I could have shown Mom, who died in 2006, but whose love I sensed as I worked on it. Of course God’s love lasts longer and is stronger than any mother’s!

Thank you, Jesus, for your truly everlasting love!

Jer 31_3 (BJ)

Bible Journal entry for Jeremiah 31:3 (Photo © 2018 by V. Nesdoly)

Media used: Pigma micron pens and pencil crayon.

A Giving Heart (review)

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A Giving Heart

A Giving Heart – front cover

This stylish adult coloring book includes 46 coloring pages that incorporate sayings from the Bible and quotes from famous people. It honors mothers and motherhood.

There is nice variety in picture design styles in the coloring pages. These include intricately decorated pictures similar to the one on the front cover, square and rectangular pieces where words are in the spotlight, round mandala-like designs, messages enclosed in decorative wreaths, stylized objects familiar to modern North American moms (like take-out coffee cups, camera, sewing machine,  ball of yarn, and the teacup pictured on the back cover), and full-page designs. The drawings are detailed, youthful, lighthearted, and whimsical.

Coloring pages are printed on the right-hand side, one side only, making it possible to detach them to frame or give away as gifts (though the spine edges are not perforated to make for easy tear-outs). The reverse (left) side of many of the coloring pages is printed with a Bible verse or quote that coordinates with the picture on its opposite side—not the picture that appears to the right of it in the opened book.

This 96-page volume is printed on heavy white paper. I tried out a variety of media on it—Artist’s Loft Watercolor Duo-tip Markers, Crayola Metallic Markers, Accent Sharpies, and regular Sharpies. The only bleed-through I got was from the regular Sharpies.

A Giving Heart-back

A Giving Heart – back cover

This lovely book would make a perfect gift for a new mom, or any mom for that matter, who would enjoy unwinding after a hectic day by beautifying affirming words like, “Thank God for mothers,” “Clothe yourself with tenderhearted mercy, kindness & humility – Col 3:12 NLT,” and “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me – Abraham Lincoln.”

I received A Giving Heart as a gift from Hachette Book Group for the purpose of writing a review.

Still mothering me

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Picture+3

A favourite photo of my mother as a young woman.

Still mothering me

Five days ago
would have been your birthday.
It’s been eight years …
But you still visit me often
keep me cool every summer
when I slip on the brown sundress
rescued from your closet
wrap your arms around me
every winter week
it’s the old magenta sweater’s turn.
Sometimes I catch glimpses of you in the mirror
as I hobble about on my cane
recovering from my own broken bone.
Two weeks ago I found
your white velcro-flap runners.
Now, like you, I can always
fasten my own shoes.
I’ve been wearing them
on my outside walks.
The other day taking the last tired steps
of my limping trek home
I’m sure I heard your voice:
“You be careful now.”

© 2017 by Violet Nesdoly (written April 15, 2014 – All rights reserved)

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Prompt – Inspiration

Three years ago (March 2, 2014 to be exact) I took a short tumble on some stairs and broke my hip. That resulted in surgery and a whole lot of new experiences for me. I documented some of them in poems (which I’ll share over the next few days—new experiences are great poem fodder, by the way). This is one written at that time, chosen for today because April 10th was my mother’s birthday.

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VintagePADThis April I’m celebrating National Poetry Month by posting some not-as-yet published poems from my files, along with what inspired them. If the prompt inspires you to write a poem of your own, you’re welcome to share it in comments. Whether you write or not, thanks so much for dropping by!

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Un-Hallmark Mother

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Un-Hallmark Mother

While I gifted icon carnations
and Hallmark lines, “Mother” to me
smelled of duty and mothball wisdom.
She my root of conscience, scruple

permission to pursue the chaotic
then, like her, to sort and label.
I lived for her sideways compliments
overheard in conversations with her friends.

Her widow-grief broke down walls:
She was fellow-woman.
Our friendship rooted, blossomed—
she was always so good with flowers.

At the end when she needed help
even to get dressed
my heart pinged for her
like she was one of my kids.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Store-bought cards do express a sweet dimension of motherhood, but the real thing is always much more complex. I would be lying if I said my relationship with my mom was all good. We clashed sometimes during my teen years—and beyond. But we worked through our rough spots and became more than friends. It was a relationship that changed with the times and seasons. Mom died ten years ago this June. Does a daughter ever get over not having her mom around?

The photos are of one of our last outings in May 2006. Hubby and I drove her down to White Rock Beach, took her out for lunch, walked to the bear statue at the end of the path, went to the end of the pier, and posed her under the spring blossoms she loved so much.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday hosted today by Sylvia Vardell at her blog Poetry for Children.

Mother Speaks (NPM ’16-Day 19)

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Mother Speaks

Do not
throw it away,
we’ll use it for patches.
We can always eat bread—and eggs.
Na-yo.*

Are you
reading again?
Still not done the dishes?
You could always weed the garden.
Homework?

Early.
So much to do.
I’ll be in the garden.
Don’t be listening on the line.
Felt pens!

Can you
make some supper?
First you work, then you play.
We’ll have a picnic—I’ll make it
special.

© 2016 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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Yesterday’s prompt at NaPoWriMo was to:

“… write a poem that incorporates ‘the sound of home.’ Think back to your childhood, and the figures of speech and particular ways of talking that the people around you used, and which you may not hear anymore.”

I read the prompt in the morning and dismissed it. But then as I was making dinner last night, all these sayings that my mother had started coming back to me.

My mom was an amazing woman. As a mother of many children, she worked hard and expected me, as the eldest, to do my share. Mostly I was a pretty compliant kid, though I did choose inside jobs where I was routinely distracted by whatever was happening in the book I was reading at the time. I chose a counted syllable cinquain form to give the poem some ‘bones.’

*Na-yo is Low German expression that communicates a resigned “well yes.”

That Said (review)

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That Said - Jane ShoreMother’s Day is just around the corner. In one of the happy serendipities of life, a book my son gave me for Christmas in 2012 caught my eye about a week ago. Its jacket flap marked how far I’d read in it—about halfway through. I decided to read on. It turns out That Said: New and Selected Poems by Jane Shore was the perfect book to get me in the mood for Mother’s Day!

Shore is a poet I’d never heard of. I don’t know why because she’s accessible and an interesting story teller—my kind of poet. Her poems are mostly autobiographical about her life in New York. Her parents had a dress shop. They were part of a lively Jewish community. The adult Shore has a child of her own.

She writes frankly about her own mother, with whom she had a perhaps typical daughter-mother hot-cold relationship.

“When my mother got into a bad mood,
brooding for days,
clamping her jaw shut, refusing to talk …
… I’d call her ‘Mrs. Hitler’ under my breath”

(“Mrs. Hitler” – p. 182.)

In her job, Shore’s mother was consumed with clothes. At thirteen, Jane lusted after the size three petites in her mother’s store. They would make her the best-dressed girl in school. But her mom would have none of it, coming home from Little Marcie’s Discount Clothes instead with an armful of clothes that had razored-out labels. Shore concludes:

“She was the queen;
I the heir.
It would have been a snap for her
to make me the best-dressed girl in school.
But for me she wanted better…

‘If I give you all these dresses now,
what will you want when you’re fifteen?’”

(“The Best Dressed Girl in School” pp. 188-191.)

Shore is a mother herself. In “The Bad Mother” she tells how she played with her daughter Emma, letting her be the Princess, the Mermaid and Cinderella while she was the vain stepmother, the fairy godmother, and the wicked witch.

“Once I played the heroine,
Now look what I’ve become.
I am the one who orders my starving child
out of my house and into the gloomy woods,
my resourceful child, who fills her pockets
with handfuls of crumbs or stones
and wanders into a witch’s candy cottage.”

(“The Bad Mother” pp. 159-161.)

Shore also writes about one of motherhood’s bitter experiences, losing a pregnancy.

MISSING
These children’s faces printed on a milk carton–
a boy and a girl
smiling for their school photographs;
each head stuck atop a column
of vital statistics:
date of birth, height and weight, color
of eyes and hair.

On a carton of milk.
Half gallon, a quart.
Of what use is the body’s
container, the mother weeping milk or tears.

No amount of crying will hold it back
once it has begun its journey
as you bend all night over the toilet,
over a fresh bowl of water.
Coins of blood splattering the tile floor
as though a murder had been committed.

read the rest here…

After her mother died Shore grieved. She takes us with her in the poem “My Mother’s Mirror” where she talks about dividing up her mother’s things with her sister. She inherits her mother’s mirror.

“Now at fifty,
I stare into her mirror
glazed with our common face,
the face I’ll pass down to my daughter
who watches from behind me
with the same puzzled look I had
when I watched my mother
out of the corner of her eye
watching me.”

(“My Mother’s Mirror” pp. 208-210.)

For those of us who are noticing how our mother’s physical characteristics are now being bequeathed to us and our daughters, “My Mother’s Foot” will bring a chuckle of recognition:

“Putting on my socks I noticed,
on my right foot an ugly bunion and hammertoe.
How did my mother’s foot
become part of me? I thought I’d buried it
years ago with the rest of her body…”

(“My Mother’s Foot  – pp. 238,239.)

That Said, New and Selected Poems (2012) is a collection that starts with the newest poems and then circles back to include poems from Shore’s previously published books dating as far back as 1977. This collection reminds me a bit of some verse novels. After reading these writings that span so many years, I feel like I know Shore, her mom and dad, her daughter and her Scrabble-playing family.

Stanley Plumly’s cover endorsement sums up this collection well: “Shore’s poem narratives have long been praised for their juxtapositions of wit and quiet wisdom. Yet her poems of these past three and a half decades also speak through a Talmudic knowledge as ancient as the archetype. Her work is deep because its small worlds become so whole, exacting, and exclusive.”

Thank you, Jane Shore, for validating many of my feelings about my own mother and reminding me of how mothering is a circle of nurturing and being nurtured. You have enriched this year’s Mother’s Day for me with the experience and insight of your writings.

Sorry but only one of the poems I quote snippets of is online. However, a collection of other poems from That Said are on THIS PAGE.

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Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, where you’ll find lots more poetry and poetry-related stuff for kids and adults too. This week’s PF is deliciously hosted by Jama at Jama’s Alphabet Soup (who will enjoy Jane Shore’s mother’s recipe for “Shit Soup” (HERE, fifth poem down).

Complaint

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Spider web in branches

“Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?” (Photo by Violet Nesdoly)

COMPLAINT

Women’s work is never done…
The burner rings are caked with overflow.
Is there anything to eat?
Mom, there are no clean socks.

The burner rings are caked with overflow.
Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?
Mom, there are no clean socks, and
We’re running out of milk.

Is that a spider’s trapeze swaying from the ceiling?
Please drive me to the mall, you said
We’re running out of milk.
I fell. It’s bleeding!

Please drive me to the mall. Oh no,
You forgot to load the dishwasher.
I fell. It’s bleeding!
Does this fridge smell?

Who forgot to run the dishwasher?
I think I paid that bill.
This fridge does smell.
I’d swear there’s something sticky on the floor.

I know I paid that bill.
Vacuum and dust, Company’s coming!
Mop up that something sticky on the floor.
These library books are due.

Vacuum and dust! Company’s coming –
Is there anything to eat?
These library books are overdue …
Women’s work is never done!

© Violet Nesdoly

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I see that today our Poetry Friday hostess is sharing a pantoum she wrote as part of a seven-pantoum challenge! What fun.

I love pantoums. That’s the form of the poem, above. The first one I ever read was “Julian at Ten” by Nelson Bentley. It was in the book Writing Personal Poetry (by Sheila Bender), and I was mesmerized. How did he do that—get that back-and-forth, swaying, sashaying sensation with words?

I tried my hand at writing one soon after. “Complaint” is probably the second one I wrote, written  some years ago now. I think I was already out of the thick of those mother-always-on-call years but they were still fresh in my mind.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Laura Purdie Salas at Writing the world for kids.