Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Welcome Autumn and October...

My plans to start posting more often and write more poetry got side tracked. I won't bore you with too many details, but it was an assortment of family health issues, working on little projects, watching way too much Brit Box and Acorn TV, and doing more reading.

The summer heat was overwhelming for me this year, so I spent most days in my home with the AC on and the curtains closed. Some hibernate in winter, I do it in the hot summer months.

With the cooler weather, the changing colors outdoors, and the possibility of rain this week, my heart is feeling joyful today! It's my favorite season of the year! Evenings spent sipping hot chocolate or spiced apple cider with a good book in hand, more baking, planning for the holidays, decorating... So much to enjoy!

Free image from Bumble Button Blog, October 2011

Speaking of reading, if you like cozy mysteries, you might try Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. I'm on the second book, A Fatal Grace (the title is linked to Goodreads description and reviews). I'm really enjoying it! It's set at Christmas time in the small Canadian village of Three Pines. In fact, it's time to turn this computer off and get back to my book! Until next time...

© 02Oct2018 ajjahner

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Attempt at Triolet Poetry...

Garden gate. Free image from Pixabay.

Dove Triolet

I hear the mourning dove call,
a sad, solitary sound
coming over the garden wall.
I hear the mourning dove call,
it resonates eerily through the pall
of forest fire haze all around.
I hear the mourning dove call,
a sad, solitary sound.

© 23AUG2018 ajjahner

Facing Down the Darkness...

This morning, I was reading April Lee's blog post, thought it would go gracefully, where she explores the emotions of dwelling in a dark place. She asked the question, do you face down your dark side now and then. After thinking about it, the following was my response.

"I entered a psychological "new country" about 18 years ago, with the loss of a brother and a bad medical diagnosis, both for me and later one for my mom. It was hard to push back against the darkness, and many days I failed. For me, it's often a battle to look for those pockets of light rather than just giving in to the darkness. There is always light and hope even when I can't see it. Sometimes I have to force myself out of my emotional blanket fort and allow myself to see all the joy and possibilities that are right in front of me."

Come out of the blanket fort and enjoy the light.
Photo credit: Creative Commons use from Pixabay.com
It felt good to think about where I'd been and the struggles I've had against emotional darkness, and realizing I keep coming back out of it. I'm not saying it's easy, it's a continual process for some of us, but it's worth the effort to come out of the blanket fort, allow my eyes to adjust to the light, and realize how wonderful life is no matter what difficulties have come against me. Retreating from life is fine for a time, it can be healing, but we aren't meant to hide away indefinitely. There is a lot of life to be lived and so much to be grateful for.

© 23AUG2018 ajjahner

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Music and Memory...

Evening has come and it's still above 100 degrees, so I'm sitting in my air conditioned family room listening to YouTube videos. Darius Rucker and Adele singing Need You Now, Allison Krauss and Jerry Douglas performing a tribute to James Taylor with Carolina in My Mind, Emeli Sande singing Breathing Underwater, Cece Winans with Blessed Assurance...

It brings to mind how much music has shaped my life. There are songs that bring me to tears, some that make my heart laugh, those that make me want to dance, and songs that make my heart rejoice and worship.

Just the beginning chords of a song can transport me back to a particular moment in time. Music wields a unique power to stir emotion and memory. It touches the soul like nothing else does.

And with that, I'll sign off for now. Wishing you a good night...

© 19JUL2018 ajjahner

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Snapshots of My Summer...

This is a brief recap of my summer so far...

We went from a beautiful, unseasonably cool summer to Holy Cow it's Hot!!! We've been hitting the 100's. Too warm for this gal! I'm dreaming of cool ocean breezes and looking forward to early autumn when the temps drop. I have also been daydreaming about Christmas, thanks to Hallmark Channel and their Christmas in July movies.

I've gotten out of the house a few times, visiting with my sister, some cousins and friends. My tendency is to live a bit like a hermit most of the time, so having multiple outings is a big deal for me. It was a lot of fun! I need to push myself to get out a little more often.

The repairs on Old Blue, my husband's 52 Chevy, are moving right along. After a long and exhaustive search, a replacement door was found. Installing it involved he and a friend sanding, priming, torquing the door frame back into alignment, and ordering new glass for the window. She is well on her way to being ready for a new paint job, but until that can be done, at least Blue is drivable again. At this time, still no compensation from the uninsured driver who wounded her, but what goes around...

On the health front, I'd received very positive news from my last MRI scans. No significant progression of my MS. I'm so thankful. I recently had an outpatient surgery on two arthritic fingers, that went well. Still healing from it, but I can type again! Hurrah!

I'm currently reading Whitethorn Woods, by Maeve Binchy, and enjoying it a lot. She had a gift for creating memorable, believable characters. I've also been catching up on some British TV Series and Netflix Originals. I noticed this morning that Season Two of Anne of Green Gables has been added to Netflix, so I'll be starting it soon. I do recommend you read the books first, of course.

My new Morning Joe mug!
Yes, it's sitting on our Anniversary gift, a book we both want to read.
Another passion of mine is following the news, and Morning Joe is one of my favorite news programs. I like the different people they bring on and enjoy hearing them discuss current events. There's also some laughter to diffuse some of the more serious topics. Yesterday my oldest son handed me a package. Surprise! He had bought me the Morning Joe coffee mug! I love it! This morning, while I watched my recording of the program, I sipped coffee from my special mug. It's the little things that brighten my days the most. Small gestures of love and kindness.

With that, I'll say farewell for now. Love and Blessings, my friends!

© 11JUL2018 ajjahner

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Books and Other Stuff...

This spring has been a busy one for me. A few bumps in the road like my husband's 52 Chevy getting hit by an uninsured driver, and it's in sad shape. It needs a replacement door on the driver's side, but they are hard to find these days, so the hunt is on.

I've been doing a lot more reading. My current book is Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir by Richard M. Cohen, about his journey with Multiple Sclerosis. It's interesting to learn how someone else, with symptoms much like mine, dealt with all the changes in his life. My next selection will be something lighter like Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy or A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny.

Maeve Binchy is an old favorite. After her death, I purposely set her final book, A Week in Winter, aside to enjoy at a later time. I knew there wouldn't be another, so I saved it for a special treat. I finished it in 2016. I used to get her books from the Public Library, read everything they had, and thought that was it. Imagine my delight to discover a couple of her books I hadn't read before!

Louise Penny is a new discovery. A couple friends had mentioned how much they enjoyed her books, so I read the first book in the Inspector Gamache series, Still Life, and I really enjoyed it. A nice cozy mystery. I'm looking forward to the second book in the series.

Other than reading, I've been working on small projects, researching ancestors, spending time with family. and the usual day to day things. The cooler weather has been so nice, but as we plunge into summer the temps are predicted to get hot! I'll be the gal sitting inside with the AC cranked up. Heat's not good for me. Perhaps a getaway to a lake or the ocean will be in the plans!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Time Together and Alone...

What a lovely weekend it's been! Family time and a bit of solitude. I watched Case Histories, a British crime drama starring Jason Isaacs. I started reading When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks, a good read so far. Four boxes were filled for donation which Paul dropped off for me at the Idaho Youth Ranch. And at the moment, I'm waiting for the clothes in the dryer to finish so I can put the next load in. Why I waited until late Sunday evening, I can't explain. It just been one of those days, full, fun, and also relaxing.

I was reminded how much I love spending time with my family. There is nothing so precious as being with people you love, who also love you. The value of time alone is not lost on me either. In every love relationship, whether it's romantic or family, you need to find time to nurture yourself. In doing so, you have more to offer the people you love. With that in mind, I wrote the following poem.

just me, not you
someplace of my own
a hideaway, a nook
an island of self imposed
to rest
reflect and reimagine
to rediscover
then emerge, myself again
with you

© 29Apr2018 ajjahner

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Poetry Month, Blogging, Springtime...

I've really been missing my blogging friends, so this weekend I plan to visit a few of them. Maybe I'm wrong, but it feels like Facebook, Twitter, and such have replaced blogging for many people. For some, it's a financial decision because their blogs were an extension of their online business. For others, it's just a matter of setting different priorities. For me, life has just been busy and complicated, so I don't sit down to write much.

In Idaho, we're finally getting some warmer days. Today is a mix of sunshine, a little rain, and perhaps a thunder storm moving in later. My white tulips just opened up, the red are already gone along with the hyacinths. Each morning there are bird songs to enjoy. One of my favorite sounds is the call of the mourning dove.

Poetry month is coming to a close soon. I feel uninspired today, so here is one I wrote a few years ago. Perhaps it will bring back memories of your childhood. I hope it at least makes you smile.

Taking Flight

My feet push against the earth
Higher, higher
The swing takes me up
To blue sky and then back again
Toes striking the soft, dusty brown earth
Pushing, pushing
Reaching for the sky
Imagination taking flight with the seagulls,
The robins, the wild geese
Grandma calls, “Dinner”
Releasing the chains I fly through
The air for an instant
Then feet connect firmly with the ground and
I go running back to reality and the mundane

© 11JAN2010 ajjahner

Until next time...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Princess of the Corn Fields...

Memories triggered my poem for today. I grew up in the countryside, between farms, in our home on a quarter acre lot. A lot of farm kitties passed through my childhood, my favorite was our old mama cat, Thomasina, a calico. Another favorite is the subject of this little poem.

Orange and unique
Among the greys and the tuxedos
Soft voice, white feet
Gentle, like her calico mother
Farm cats with a touch of sophistication
Little Tiger Lily
Princess of the corn fields

© 16Apr2018 ajjahner

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The In-Between

On the Today Show, they were talking about mental disorders like Bi-polar and anxiety. A little while ago, I read a Facebook post by a family member who struggles with depression and how she handles it. I've struggled most of my life with unseen disorders. They sometimes pull you apart until you don't even recognize yourself anymore. While lost in thought, the first line of this poem came. It's an incomplete work in progress, but since it's poetry month, I decided to share it as is...

There is blood coming down the rafters
from places unseen
Pain and confusion. Desolation
and isolation collide and
implode into heartbreaking
shards of doubt and frustration

There is light reflected on the rafters
from the deep
Faith and communion. Affirmation
and illumination collide and
explode into expanded
stars of hope and exaltation

She stands in the in-between
pulled from one to the other
Praying the light will be
bright enough to save her.

© 11Apr2018 ajjahner

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Poetry Month Offering...

Image shared by Dawn of The Feathered Nest

I haven't participated in poetry month at all this year, so I looked up an old post and revamped one of my "work in progress" poems.  Here it is:

I hear the ducks sound off loudly
feuding over females or seeds
I hear the mourning doves call
comforting sounds through morning breeze
I hear the chickadee, the robin, the sparrow
voices raised in song, harmonizing with ease
I hear the traffic sounds, cars and trucks
inches from nature, progress speeds

I don't know if this will be the final version, but I like it better than the original, found here:  Working on Poems...

My writing muse seems to be on an extended vacation, and I've become preoccupied with so many other things in my life. When the time is right, I know it will come rushing back. Until then, I'll enjoy putting my focus on different areas of my life. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Rain and Other Stuff...

I'm sitting in my family room listening to the rainfall, one of my favorite sounds. The sky looks grey, but our grass is beginning to green up in spots. I can see the bird feeder in our back yard is empty, but there are no complaints right now. The birds have all taken shelter for the moment.

Just before the rain began, I finished the Netflix series, Alias Grace. It's a dark, but intriguing story. It was well acted and kept me interested, as any good story can do.

A while back, I got some allergy tests done. I'm allergic to so many trees and grasses, but the weirdest thing was the foods. Rye, sesame seeds, and carrots of all things. I now have more empathy for friends who've battled allergies. Label reading has become very important. In trying to switch to a healthier diet a couple months back, I'd actually increased my intake of carrots and rye. Whole grain breads, soups with veggies, salads, etc. I'd broken out in a strange rash, was short of breath all the time, had stomach issues. After less than two weeks of eliminating those three food items, every symptom began to improve. Who would have ever guessed!

This afternoon, I realized Easter is only a little over a week away. It used to be a big day of going to church, all the family gathered for dinner after, and Easter egg hunts in the back yard. My how time changes things. I'm not able to get out to church anymore. The dinners with our extended family no longer happen. And Easter eggs... well, I just don't have the energy for that. We'll have a nice dinner with our two sons, probably watch the F1 race, I'll have a nap, and maybe we'll watch a movie in the evening. Perhaps I'll put a ribbon in my hair, not quite an Easter bonnet, but it should do just fine

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Spring Is Here...

Winter seemed long this year. It wasn't because of terrible weather, because our winter was actually rather mild compared to last year. The days just seemed to stretch on, with nothing too exciting happening, so I'm happy to welcome spring.

We've already started a project in our front garden. By we, I mean my husband is doing the actual work, I'm just acting as creative consultant. Haha! The first part of the project was to remove dozens of irises, a huge holly bush, and a large tree stump we'd been using for a birdhouse perch. The plan is to extend our patio area by moving our fence and eventually fill it in with pavers. There will be some comfortable seating and a few planters filled with flowers and possibly some herbs. This is on the east facing side of our home and will be shaded and cool, a perfect place to spend time outside during the hot summer evenings. I'll try to remember to take some photos as we progress, and share them with you.

Until then, here's hoping all is well in your little corner of the world!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Bowl Sunday Ramblings...

It's Super Bowl Sunday. Later we'll be watching the game and having a serve yourself taco/nacho bar. It will just be the four of us, so I wanted to keep it simple.

I started my morning with a Hallmark movie. Now I'm passively watching Kitten Bowl V while I do other things. I've never seen it before. It's cute and promotes adopting shelter animals.

Our weather has been oddly warm this winter. I'm wondering if we'll get a nasty winter blast before spring officially arrives. There are plants already coming up in my flower beds and I worry about things budding too early and then falling victim to a late winter freeze.

I've been sorting through some of my art and craft supplies. There are way too many since I rarely do these type of projects anymore. I need to decide if I still have an inner artist or if it's time to pass some of this on to other crafty folks.

While sorting, I found a couple of vintage valentines and decided to put them on display above our fireplace.

I know I have more tucked away in boxes. I'm hoping to find them all and give them a dedicated storage box, so I can enjoy displaying them each year.

That's all for today. It's nearly time to get ready for Super Bowl LII!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Dreams Deferred...

Well, February has arrived so spring cannot be far behind. I've been reflecting on my life, dreams I've had and goals not yet attained. It's difficult to admit there's only me to blame. If I'd really wanted to finish a book, lose weight, start a small home based business, redecorate my home, etc., I'd have done it. It makes me wonder what the key is. Those who capture their dreams versus those who defer them.

Instead of jumping in with a new plan, I'm examining what it is inside myself that makes me reluctant to be successful in so many areas of my life. Why do I lack the motivation to push through? As I sit writing this, I really just want to crawl back under the covers. I don't even want to read a good book or watch a great film. Perhaps I have a case of the winter blues, but if so, it should pass soon enough.

Even in the midst of this funk, I am reminded of how fortunate I am. I am part of a loving family, I have wonderful friends, and my health is reasonably good. I need to ruminate on what I really want to achieve, and decide what is most important to me. After all, I'm not getting any younger. It's definitely time to make a move.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Snowmen, Postcards, and Calendars...

I have a friend, Carol, who decorates with snowmen during January and February.  As soon as Christmas decor comes down, her snowman collection comes out. Read her Gathering Graces blog post at Silver Valley Stories from December 31st.

Snowmen are also a favorite of mine too. I usually have my little collection out during Christmas, but since there was no Christmas tree or decorating this year, most of them are still packed away somewhere in my garage. The exception are these three, which happened to be on my bookshelves. The tall one was my mother's, the one with the two little girls was a gift from my mother-in-law many years ago, and the one holding the snow baby was a gift from a friend.

Snowmen are so cheerful!
Fun story, my husband is a letter carrier, who has been delivering mail for 30 years. He has been on his current route for a very long time. People know him well and like him a lot. He receives stacks of Christmas cards and many small gifts of treats, etc. Some of the cards are family group photos, and he has watched many of the children grow up and move away. Today a post card came through for a couple on his route. As he glanced at the address, his eye caught sight of his name. Above "Dear mom and dad" was a small "Hello to you too, Paul!" It was from their daughter, all the way over in Italy, and she remembered to greet her former letter carrier. It made him smile. I told him he should have snapped a picture with his phone, which he hadn't, but it's probably against rules anyway. I thought it was funny and sweet that she thought to say hello to him.

Every year one of my dear friends, DeAnn, gives me the Mary Engelbreit daily calendar. I love calendars, and this one is a favorite of mine. There is colorful artwork and quotes for each day of the week. The theme for this year is love. There are hearts on each page, a constant reminder to look for love in the world and to be a more loving person. If we really try, we can change the world for the better.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello, 2018...

This is going to be a great year! I'm saying it and believing it! There will likely continue to be political upheavals and unrest in the world, but I feel a sense of optimism about how we'll all deal with it. People need to come together for the greater good. I'm believing they will.

On the home front, my knee is not as swollen, though it's got a way to go. My husband seems to be over his bout with the stomach bug, he had over the weekend. My oldest son is still not well, but getting there. Life is moving back toward normal.

Being laid up gives one lots of time for reflection. I've mentally rearranged and redecorated my home several times. I've imagined all the things I will do once I'm mobile again, like getting out of the house and spending time with family and friends, or refinishing a sideboard which has been sitting out on my back patio for over a year, even just driving the car, anywhere!

I know I said yesterday I was not making a list of resolutions, but I did double my Goodreads challenge for this year. My goal last year was 12 books. One a month. I didn't know if I'd even make that, considering my flaky eyesight, but I got 13 read! Yay! This year I'm going for 24, since I can include audible books on the list. It's just a matter of making time for books, which should be easier since I dropped my DVD subscription. Less movie viewing, more reading!

I've always loved books. There's something wonderful about losing yourself in a good story. I'm currently reading Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life, by Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush. So far, it's a great read, filled with laughter and emotion.

A few books on my "Want to Read" list are Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks, The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P. D. James, Goodbye Christopher Robin by Ann Thwaite, Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship and Purpose by Joe Biden, The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford, as well as a long list of cozy msyteries. I'll also be revisiting some old Maeve Binchy favorites and checking out some "new to me" authors like Louise Penny and others.

So, on into the new year! Here's to 2018 being our best year yet!