Weekend Coffee Share — 6/16/18

Thanks to Eclectic Ali for hosting the weekend coffee shares.

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I’m so glad I have some time to share coffee with you guys this week — because I am really excited to share with you about my newest venture. I have recently created a brand new poetic form. At least, I think I have. With all the searching I’ve done, I’m fairly certain no other poets have this form out there. I’m excited, not only because I loved the challenge of creating a unique form, but also because there is only one poetic form that is generally recognized as being ‘American’ by the poetry world. So this new form that I’ve created — being American myself — will be the second.

And to make it even more truly American, I borrowed from my own Cherokee culture to give the form a name. I’ve called it Tso’i. That word is pronounced “cho-ee,” and it is the Cherokee word for the number ‘three,’ and I chose it because the syllable count for the 5 lines of the poem are in multiples of three. I’ve posted about the form — along with examples of poems that follow it — in more than one post on my author’s site and my poetry site. So I don’t want to be too repetitious here. But I know there are a few people who read the “Coffee Share” posts who don’t read my others.

That being the case, I want to tell you the details of my new form so that any of you out there who enjoy writing poetry can try it if you’d like. So here’s the scoop:

A Tso’i poem must meet the following guidelines:

It must have 5 lines
Lines 1, 3, and 5 must have end rhyme.

Syllables:
Line 1 has 3 syllables.
Line 2 has 6 syllables.
Line 3 has 12 syllables.
Line 4 has 6 syllables.
Line 5 has 3 syllables.

Lines 1 and 5 follow a dactyl meter.
Lines 2, 3, and 4 follow an iambic meter.

Subject matter and theme are open to the poet’s imagination and preference.

Here’s one example from my own work:

PARAMOUNT KNOWLEDGE

Knowing God:
Oh, what a wondrous thing
To comprehend such pure love; I’m completely awed,
Learning I am priceless
To my God.


If any of you poets out there would like to try this form yourself, please do and leave a copy of it — or a link to it — in the “Comments” section below.  And have a great weekend!

 

 

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Weekend Coffee Share – 3/18/18

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Hi. Come right on in and make yourself at home. I’ve got coffee in the pot — and a cup of “senior coffee” from McDonald’s as well. It’s one of those days.

If we really were having coffee together, I’d probably show you my newest coffee mug — which was a Valentine’s Day present from one of my former high school students. I’ve included a picture of it, so you can enjoy it as well. I taught high school and junior high, both public and private, for many years. I retired from that arena, but now I teach creative writing classes at a junior college. I’ve been very blessed to have many of my former students stay in touch with me for decades now. It’s much easier these days with so much social media and e-mail. I appreciate the love and gratitude my students still show me. They are special people.

I’d probably also tell you that this week I finally took one more step into the digital age. I’ve had my own books available in digital format for quite a while now, but I seldom read anything in that format. However, this week I downloaded two whole Bible translations onto my Nook. As a minister, I do enormous amounts of Bible study and Bible teaching, and often I use at least two or three translations in any given lesson. That fact makes for a pretty heavy load to carry around in my briefcase — or briefcases as the case may be — so this week I decided that two of those translations could go digital.

It’s a great relief to grab up that little Nook reader instead of two heavy books. In this morning’s service, I had to carry only one regular-sized King James Version and my digital reader with the Lamsa Translation and the Amplified. I think I’m going to appreciate the new digital age even more now.

Also, if we were having coffee, I’d probably tell you that this coming week is going to be a big event in my life. Perhaps to some, it might sound like nothing much, but for me, it’s major. I’ve shared a couple times on here about losing my very best friend last August. Because he was also my main editor for my books, that loss was made even more tragic, and I was having a very difficult time getting back to working on new books — three of which were in progress and had been contributed to by him. Every time I tried to get back to work on those books, the sorrow was just too heavy and the creativity for those projects too deeply buried.

But I’ve experienced more healing recently, thanks to the Lord’s grace, and this week is the week to pick up where I left off in August. So I’ll be pulling at least one of the works in progress off the shelf and stirring the ashes, so to speak. Hopefully, the creative flame will take over from there. I’m actually looking forward to it, and that’s a major breakthrough for me.

That’s about all I have to share today. My McDonald’s coffee is pretty well gone, and I’m headed back to my own pot for a refill. Hope you enjoy the rest of the weekend — and your coffee. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share again next weekend.  🙂

 


Thanks to Eclecticali for hosting our weekend coffee shares.

 

 

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Weekend Coffee Share – 3/11/18

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My Welcome Mat

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If we were having coffee today, I’d probably tell you that this has been an extremely busy week, but has also been a week full of starting things that didn’t get finished. I did, however, finish editing and polishing a novel that I actually wrote 6 years ago, but never carried it through to publication.  I wrote several novels after that one, and they are all on the market, but this one just didn’t get off the shelf for some reason.

But this week I finished my editing and polishing — with the help of 3 readers who caught several typos and other various and sundry errors. I posted the book one chapter at a PROFESSOR'S EDUCATION COVERtime as I was editing, so I could get some good reader feedback, and I certainly did. Most people seemed to really enjoy the story. Frankly, I’m hoping that they enjoyed it enough to go purchase some of my other books.
[ Hint, Hint 🙂 ]

Anyway, THE PROFESSOR’S EDUCATION is finished and on its way to the market place, where it will join my other 15 books. I feel very satisfied with the finished product, so I have high hopes for it. Of course, once it’s in the marketplace, it won’t be posted on my website any longer. But I warned readers that it would be gone after tomorrow, and everyone who was interested has finished it.

During our coffee chat, I’d probably also tell you that I’ve been going through the car-repair mill again. There are several things wrong, and my mechanic is trying to schedule the most important things first. But several obstacles have interrupted the work getting done, so I’m starting to feel a little frustrated. But the car is still drivable, and as the old proverb says: “This too shall pass.”

The weather’s still crazy here in Southern Illinois. My daffodils are in bloom, and it’s sleeting right now and is supposed to snow this afternoon. But that’s par for the course. Every year, when my daffodils pop out, the weather turns mean and nasty for a few days. But bless their hearts, my little daffodils just take it in stride. And that reminds me of a little Life Lesson I recorded on YouTube a couple years ago about daffodils and what they teach us about life. I’ll put the link on here in case you’d like to check it out.

Well, I’m going to go refill my coffee cup and prop my feet up for a while. Hope you have a great day and a happy and successful week.

 


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Weekend Coffee Share – 1/13/18

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Hi, fellow coffee drinkers. Well, to begin with this week, I need to confess that I am not drinking coffee as we have this little chat. I’m actually drinking a glass of beer. Does that count??? Now, I’m not a big drinker, and I never drink alcohol of any kind if I’m driving. But I do enjoy the occasional glass of wine or beer. And today — with my sandwich at lunch — beer just seemed like the winner.

I’m also enjoying the first day of sunshine that we’ve had in a week. Of course, I’m not going out in it, since the temps are frigid, and the ice on the roads is still really bad. I imagine the major highways are clear, but getting to them from our local and side roads is the challenge. But I don’t have to go out for anything today. I stocked up a few extra supplies so that I could hunker down if necessary.

Now tomorrow is a different story. I’m supposed to do the sermon at church in the morning — actually it’s the second part of the sermon I began last Sunday — and my church is about 30 miles away. Sooooo — I’m going to have to do some more praying and planning about travel tomorrow.

To make matters more difficult, I’ve been having trouble with my car heater as well. It’s been working only about half the time. That wasn’t a serious problem last week when it was in the 40’s and 50’s. But this week with single digits at night and in the wind chill during the day, it’s a sort of — uh — well, maybe a big — problem.  There are a couple church members who would come to get me, but I don’t really want them to have to do that, so I’ll have to make some decisions within the next several hours.

The sun on the ice and snow is pretty, and it has lifted my spirits enormously. I’ve even manged to write two poems today and about half a chapter of a book I started several months ago and have had a hard time continuing.

After I lost my best friend back in August in a very tragic accident, I had a very difficult time getting back into my creative mode. Not only was he my best friend, but he was also my best editor and often a source of great inspiration and terrific creative ideas. We were a really good team, and I have several novels on the market to prove it. But, as I’m sure you can imagine — and perhaps some of you know by experience — when half of a team is deleted, the spirit of the remaining half of the team is sorely damaged. During this time, I’ve been able to express myself only in poetry, and I even began a brand new website devoted to poetry in order to set that creativity free. But I have not been able to write on any of my novel projects during these four and a half months. But at last, this week, I have experienced a breakthrough of sorts, and two novels are beginning to feel the positive effects of that breakthrough.

Well, that’s probably enough sharing for this week. I can see by the clock that in another hour, I’ll probably be ready for that cup of coffee and maybe some cookies — or fruitcake. And, by the way, why is it that fruitcake seems to get a lot of bad publicity?  I love fruitcake. And mine’s almost gone. I hope I don’t have to wait until next Christmas to find some more.

Oh, one more thing. I discovered something interesting about birds this morning. With all the ice, I wanted to help the birdies find food, and since I don’t keep a regular bird feeder, I went to my bread and cracker supplies. I have quite a few birds that visit my yard, and often two families of birds that live in my Blue Spruce tree in my front yard. This year I’ve had mockingbirds, cardinals, blue jays, blackbirds, and another kind that I don’t recognize.

I put out some bread and some graham crackers, but then I discovered an old box of garlic and chive crackers. I decided I’d give them a try as well. The smaller birds didn’t bother with those garlic crackers. They ate the other things, but a large contingent of blackbirds came swooping down and really dug into those garlic and chive crackers. They were gone in no time. So now I know — and I can put it on record — that blackbirds like garlic and chive crackers. A friend of mine who’s very knowledgeable about birds said the big birds will eat just about anything. So I just might go in there and see what else I need to clean out of my cabinets.  🙂

 


photo courtesy of seagul @ pixabay.com

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Weekend Coffee Share, 1/6/18

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If we were having coffee today, January 6, 2018, I’d remark on the fact that way back in the 1950’s, when I was still in elementary school, we would never have dreamed that we’d still be right here on planet earth in 2018 and involved in such amazing technology that we can communicate with thousands of people at one time and in just a matter of seconds. How cool is that????

I’d also remark on the fact that the 12 Days of Christmas came to a close yesterday, and I enjoyed the extended celebration. I always do. Christmas should not last just a few days. It deserves much more. Today is Epiphany. For those of you who are not familiar with that celebration — or even with that word — it means “a revelation or a showing forth of something not realized previously.” In the church, it is generally the time when Christians celebrate the revelation of the Gospel to the Gentile nations — and the visit of the oriental wise men is generally the focus of many of the church services and messages.

Actually the wise men did not visit Jesus and His family until about two years after He was born. We sort of throw it all together these days when we do Christmas programs. But giving that part of the history of Jesus’ birth its own special place in our celebrations helps us focus on and appreciate God’s wonderful gift to all the nations on earth equally.

I’d also mention — as did Trent — that it is bitterly cold outside. Of course, here in Southern Illinois, we don’t have it as bad as he does up in Vermont. But it’s definitely hard to keep the houses warm — even the very well insulated ones. And I noticed that Alli (our hostess for this coffee share) commented on the fact that she seemed to sleep a lot this week and during the holidays. I did too. I think a lot of that has to do with the extreme cold. It uses up a lot of our energy. And, of course, holiday festivities with family and friends takes a good deal of energy as well. All my holiday festivities were great fun, but I am glad for some time to wind down now.

Today I visited with some friends for the afternoon. It was really great to touch bases with them and just share in their quiet home, enjoying a cup of coffee and some delicious nutty cheese spread on crackers. So, yes, I did have coffee with friends today for real. And not only that, but my hostess today gave me the cup that she had served me coffee in. It was a jolly Christmas cup that sort of resembled a round Christmas ornament. I was thrilled when she served my coffee in it and said so, which prompted her to make it a gift to me. I’d show you a picture of it, but it’s in the sink waiting to be washed.

Oh, I might also tell you that I had to buy a new printer this week, and now I have 30 days to check it out and make sure it’s exactly what I need. I hope it is. It’s such a hassle to buy new ones, get them installed, try to find the user’s guides online and then try to understand that guide thoroughly. I don’t want to have to do that again for a good long time, so here’s hoping and planning for this Epson WorkForce 2760 to be my “perfect printer.”

And here’s wishing you all a blessed Epiphany and a wonderful, healthy, and successful 2018.

 

 

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Weekend Coffee Share 12/23/17

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If we were having coffee today — and we were at my house — we’d be using Christmas mugs because I love them, and I have LOTS of them. I’d also probably say I couldn’t visit more than a few minutes because I have more things on my schedule than I have hours to give to them.  But I can honestly say I’m not feeling too stressed about it.

There was a time in my life when I would have been very stressed, but these days (I’m sure it’s by the grace of God) I seem to be able to take more things in stride and not beat up on myself if I don’t accomplish every single thing on my agenda. And I concern myself a lot less with other people’s opinions of me as well. My goodness, it’s a freeing experience. I think that comes partly with age. I guess I feel I’m old enough to have earned the rest from social pressure.

I would also tell you that I’m trying to figure out how someone who absolutely loves Christmas and has been counting down the days since October can be on the threshold of Christmas Eve and still not have the Christmas towels on the towel racks and no goodies baked.  Yep, I’m describing myself. That’s me this year.

Well, actually, I do know part of the answer to that question. It’s because of the remodel I just went through on my house. (I’ve been able to blame a lot of stuff on the upheaval caused by that remodel. But before long that excuse is going to run out of fuel). But — no kidding — spending two months with a house full of men and equipment — who kept turning off my power and moving me out of my office and away from my computers — caused me to get way behind in my work. And since I’ve had so much work to catch up with, I’ve had to put several of my Christmas plans on a back burner. But I’m gradually getting it all done.

And one thing in my favor is that I celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas — not with the song by that name — but in the traditional Christian celebration of the Lord’s birth from December 25 to January 6 (Epiphany). So that means I can wait until Christmas Day to really get started and still have almost two weeks to enjoy it all.

One more thing I’d likely do if we were having coffee is present you with a really cute coffee mug. In fact, I did just that with a friend I had coffee with this morning. We hadn’t been able to meet and visit for months, so we stole some time out of this morning to do that. She loves coffee, as I do. This week I came across a brand new coffee mug in a store that I frequent. On both sides of the cup were these words: “But first … coffee.” It fit my friend perfectly. It fits me as well. And if you and I were having coffee, that would mean you love coffee too, so I think you’d enjoy receiving a cup like that. I know I would. Hey … maybe I’ll go buy myself one too. 🙂

Hope you all have a very merry and healthy Christmas!

 


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Weekend Coffee Share – Christmas Decorating

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photo courtesy of PDpics @ pixabay.com

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Well, I’m cutting things pretty close for this “Weekend Coffee Share,” but I’ve never participated in the past and suddenly decided it was time I did. So here goes.

To begin, I can tell you that I LOVE coffee. In fact, a couple months ago, I did a whole series called “Daily Grind Coffee Quotes,” where I shared some amazing pictures of coffee and a personal quote that fit each picture.  If you think you’d enjoy them, feel free to check them out. I’ll include a link here to the page that has only the “Daily Grind” posts.

Now, if we were sitting and sharing a cup of coffee today, I’d probably talk about Christmas. I LOVE Christmas. My sister and I both do, and we enjoy keeping as many of our family traditions going as possible. However, I had a lot of renovation done to my house this fall, and there’s still a tiny bit to finish up. So I’ve been getting to my Christmas decorating a little slowly.

No problem, though. It’s still lots of fun. I do have a brand new electrical outlet on my front porch and on the back of my house  — which makes doing my outside lights much easier than it was in previous years. I have lots of white lights on my front porch and a cross of white lights on my front door. I have multi-colored lights along the back of my house.

I’m a little sad that my huge, beautiful Blue Spruce ( Big Blue by name) won’t get lights though. I used to decorate him, but now he’s so very tall and big around that it would take at least 3,000 lights to do him any justice at all. Unfortunately the normal outdoor Christmas lights warn against linking that many strings together, and the LED’s are just too expensive to purchase that many when I want other decorations as well. Besides, I’d also have to hire someone with a crane and bucket to string those 3,000 lights. Oh, well, I still enjoy my tree. And when it snows and covers the branches with soft piles of snow, it’s a truly enchanting sight.

I’ve almost got all the inside decorations up. My tree will go up tonight, along with a large Christmas Teddy Bear who gets to sit in his own little red rocking chair. It’s actually MY little red rocking chair. I’ve had it since I was 2 years old. Considering the fact that I’m now 69, I think it’s quite an accomplishment to still have it in great condition in my living room.

One of my favorite decorations is a huge adult pop-up story book that was a gift from my very best friend about 5 years ago. Since I’m a minister as well as a writer, he knew I’d enjoy some kind of book that was connected with the Scriptures, and he found a pop-up book that covers the first five books of the Bible. Each book has an enormous and very detailed scene that come up when you turn to that page. One of the scenes — ‘The Tower of Babel’ — stands 13 inches high when it pops up.

Wow, I didn’t intend to get so carried away about decorating, but — as I mentioned — I do love Christmas. I even have a separate website devoted to nothing but that wonderful holiday. I hope all of you are looking forward to the celebration of our Lord’s birth as well. And I hope you have as much fun getting ready for it as I do.

Well, my coffee needs a warm-up, so I’ll sign off now and go take care of that. Thanks for visiting with me and sharing my favorite beverage today.

 

 

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