“Summer” and “read” are synonyms (Spiritual Journey Thursday)

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Summer. Even saying the word makes me feel good. I think the magic of this season is so much a part me because of the rhythms of school ingrained from childhood. From my earliest memories it has always been ten months of school (September to June), two months of summer holidays (July and August)—the standard in Canada.

Then there’s the weather. Where I live, in the northern hemisphere, much of the year is chilly. The warmest months of the year argue loudly for a break in routine. And that’s what summer is for many of us.

One of my favourite summer activities is reading. I read all year but summer with its beach mornings, its lazy afternoons, its long light evenings makes it especially conducive to getting lost in a good book, or series of books.

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“Egghead” sculpture by Kimber Fiebiger (On exhibit in Castlegar B.C., 2016)
 Explanation of the sculpture: “Egghead is a tribute to all people who are excited by a good book.”

A couple of summers ago I read all of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Last year I indulged in Tolstoy, completing Anna Karenina (not the most upbeat read but long-lasting).

A Story

A Story
Tradition
not in her memoir.
No Grannies
bone china.
Grew up in fast company— 
tale of Twisted Tea.
© 2018 by Violet Nesdoly

This year I’m reading the Lord of the Rings books. (Are there three or six? The Kindle collection I downloaded has six!) Though I’ve already been reading it for some weeks, I am only at 36%, it will probably take me much of the summer to complete, and thus it’s the perfect fat summer tome (especially as it’s readily available, without added weight or bulk, on my iPad).

Feeling Small – Version 2

Feeling Small
Joined by marigolds
I am safe in Mother’s arms
reading giant tales
© 2018 by Violet Nesdoly

As well, summer is the perfect time to read the bestseller of all time—the Bible. Whether you read it chronologically in great chunks or selectively a few verses at a time, it’s sure to enhance the spiritual aspect of your summer reading. If you’ve never read it before, try reading a modern version (like The Living Bible – TLB). A good place to start might be the life of Jesus as told in the Gospels of Matthew or Luke (the first and third books of the New Testament).

What about you—do you also enjoy wiling away the summer hours with books? Which ones would you suggest?

(The poems are from my 2017 “Summer Shorts” photo / poem project.)

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spiritualjourneyfirst-thursday-copy.jpgThis post is linked to Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday, hosted today by Margaret Simon on her blog Reflections on the Teche.

 

A Traveler’s Advisory (review)

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A Traveler's AdvisoryA Traveler’s Advisory by Marcia Lee Laycock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In A Traveler’s Advisory, author Marcia Laycock takes readers from the Arctic Circle to the jungles of Papua New Guinea and home again. Each of the 52 meditations draws spiritual lessons from a travel experience (sections are titled “In the Air,” “On the Road,” “On Vacation,” and “Far Away Places”) and make practical applications to life.

Written in Marcia’s characteristic warm, easy-to-read style, they make for fascinating and uplifting reading. Some of my favorites:

– Most fun: “Sea Shells and the Process of Faith” (p. 111)—hunting for sea shells on a Papua New Guinea beach.

– Sadly relatable: “A Wrong Turn to the Right Place” (p. 34)— going in circles is not fun!

– Would make my bucket list: “Angels in the Badlands” (p. 71)—a visit to the Passion Play in the Alberta Badlands.

– Most scary: “Doubts in the Storm” (p. 41)—being stuck on a highway from the Yukon to Alaska in a snowstorm.

– Most beautiful: “Small Miracles” (p. 87)—a hike through the Sepik area of New Guinea.

– Most weird: “An Appreciation of Light” (p. 73)—a trek through some skeleton-filled caves, a relic of cannibalism, in New Guinea.

Through these devotions we discover that God’s voice, help, direction, comfort, and protection can find us wherever we are.

A Traveler’s Advisory would be a wonderful volume to read while on holiday. Or if home-bound, enjoy these travels vicariously from the safety and comfort of your reading chair. Your life will be enriched and your appreciation for the Earth, its inhabitants, and the God who made them enhanced.

I received a copy of A Traveler’s Advisory from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

View all my reviews

Feeling burned out? Take a vacation

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Footbridge in Scout Island Park - Williams Lake BC

Footbridge in Scout Island Park – Williams Lake BC

I’ve just returned from a three-week vacation. Therefore I’m as in-touch with being in holiday mode as I’ve ever been.

I spend much of each workday on writing and writing-related activities so it was from these thing I wanted a holiday. I was ready for a break by the middle of June!

I decided this year, as never before, to vacation with no guilt. To make that possible I worked extra hard before our July 8th departure date to meet all deadlines. I also scheduled the blog posts that I wanted to publish while I was away.

The first few days of being on the road I was so keen to escape I felt an aversion to even the sight of my laptop. Thus it wasn’t hard to take a hiatus from technology. I didn’t respond to non-urgent work emails, check Facebook and Twitter, look at my blog stats, or read any of the emails and blogs to which I subscribe. My stupid-phone isn’t connected to social media so it was the only device with any appeal. I used it for making dinner arrangements with friends.

We had planned a full holiday and it wasn’t hard to take a complete and extended break from writing. We spent the first hectic vacation weekend at the Gospel Music Celebration in Red Deer. That was followed by two weeks with our daughter, son-in-law, and four grandkids in northern B.C. It was easy to find ways to fill up my time. From folding mountains of clothes, to playing with play dough, supervising the baking of muffins, going to the beach, and looking on as the grandkids were wowed by their first visit to the circus, every day was busy and exhausting.

Of course I found time to read (even though that is often work-related for me). Once I finished reading the book I had committed to review, I read a novel just for fun.

Another rejuvenating practice for me is to spend free time on leisure activities that are totally unrelated to writing. During past holidays I’ve done crochet and knitting projects. This year I brought along a book of Sidoku puzzles and am now creeping through the last hard four-star ones at the back of the book.

There were times it was so easy and relaxing to not be writing I felt jabs of worry. Maybe I was really burned out. Maybe the yen to put pen to paper and fingers to the keyboard would never return. But gradually I sensed my writing well was refilling.

One day I read a few of the poems that get delivered daily to my email and my imagination began to stir. On another I returned from a walk with my mind full of images and phrases… the first glimmers of a poem. I spent over an hour the night before we got home reading posts on the writing blogs I subscribe to.

And now I’m home and happy to be at my desk writing this blog post. Later I’ll compose that review and maybe answer a few emails. After a writing-free, guilt-free holiday, I’m back and eager to do more of this activity I love!

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This post was written as the August 6th post for the Inscribe.org blog on writing, but for some reason failed to publish there.

Holidays

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Summer wildflowers

Summer wildflowers–more summer coins

Holidays

Another newly minted coin
rolls from the satin purse of night
adds yet more hours of wealth
to the collection
of summertime perfection.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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We’re recently back from holidays, which can sometimes feel other-worldly and too good to be true. We are also in the middle of a fabulous warm spell, with day after day of sunshine. I hope that you are also enjoying the rich abundance of summer!

You will also find me at Michelle Heidenrich Barnes’ blog Today’s Little Ditty with a haiku growing in her Haiku Garden. Thank you, Michelle for featuring my poem!

Poetry Friday LogoThis poem is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by the always-up-for-a-poem Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading.

August

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purple starfish

Purple starfish on a Salt Spring Island beach, August 2012 – Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly

August

Here already
—with your brown lawns and leggy baskets
blushing tomatoes and blackening berries,
hairy, husky ears of corn?

Your arrival means it’s time
for our last summer fling
on ferry boats to azure islands
where we’ll walk beaches
with nervous crickets and hungry wasps
hunt shells, snap starfish
read in the dappled shade

Back home I’ll shop with you
braving the hordes of moms and kids
with their lists of ruled and unruled,
Crayola and calculator,
for you are the time
to stock up on marked-down
Five Stars and boxes of Bic
gel technology and fluorescent sticky notes.

Before you slip away
we have a date to stand in line
for Super Dogs and the Musical Ride
the Logger Show and flying bikes.
Later with hands mini-donut cinnamon-scented
we’ll muscle our way through crowds
lined up for massages
from the back rub machine,
clotted in front of barkers
hawking magic cloths and unblackable pots
to the table of framable prints.

So hello, dear August.
though your coming caught me by surprise
please don’t be in a hurry to go
for you could never overstay
your welcome.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

Summer advice

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Beach umbrella & hat at the beach

Summer Advice

Savor the moment
Let your mind wander
Only rise
When you’re good and ready

Don’t rush around
Or meet any deadlines
Wile away the day
No pressure

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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It’s summer and I’m about to take my own advice. I will be taking a break from blogging here for a few weeks. I’ll be back sometime in August. Wishing you all sweet summer days.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is linked to Poetry Friday, hosted today by Linda at Write Time.

Walk the Beach

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Beach collage

Beach Collage – Scenes from North Beach, Salt Spring Island, & China Beach, Vancouver Island B.C.

Walk the Beach

Set crickets flying
from crabby grass and weeds
shimmering on the sandy foreshore.

Hop logs of driftwood forest
clamber over algae-green rock
tricky as black ice.

Crunch broken shells
jingle the shingle
always at an angle.

Spring-step spongy
blackened sea grass
squish onion bulbs of kelp.

Take off shoes
let soles read
Braille of wave-print sand.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly (all rights reserved)

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I sometimes still pinch myself, prairie transplant that I am, that I live near the ocean and the beach! As residents of the B.C.’s southwest corner for 30+ years, we’ve often indulged our fascination with the ocean by vacationing near it. The photos above were taken in the summer of 2012 on Saltspring Island and Vancouver Island beaches.

Poetry Friday LogoThis post is part of Poetry Friday, hosted today by Carol and Carol’s Corner. (Thank you, Carol, for giving me the idea to post this poem with your beach poem!)