Wee Ones’ Christmas Eve Wishes

In the Christmas world of wee children, some things never change….(Thankfully!) …Children still believe in the limitless possibilities of love, personified by Jolly Old St. Nick, a.k.a. Santa Claus, who shares presents in celebration of the birthday of the Christ Child Who loves us all, at every age and stage of our lives…no matter what!

santa Adventsbeleuchtung3

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Eve Wishes




in the night



many presents


Santa, too, safely by sleigh, for an unseen shimmy down the chimney.


Hope Santa will be good to the grownups, too!

p.s. If you are awaiting the Christ Child’s Birth, or if you are open to receiving greetings in honor of His Birthday celebration next Friday when the Poetry Friday community again shares poetry, please accept this Christmas “card” I found in Wikimedia Commons for you and your family:

chrISTMAS 800px-Blessed_are_the_peacemakers

By ary29 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons                                                                                                                                                             Note. There are variations of this greeting in Italian, French, Spanish, and German: Scroll to the bottom of the page; Christmas Greetings

Christmas Presence


During hospice volunteer training many years ago, each member of the full-time professional county-based hospice team presented one of the training sessions.

Something the chaplain said about the role of the hospice volunteer has stuck with me down through the years:

“When you arrive at the door of a terminally ill client as a hospice volunteer, you don’t just bring the good news, you are the good news.”

At Christmas time, in particular, but all through the rest of year, as well, it seems to me,  as fellow humans beings, the chaplain’s pronouncement is a worthy call to each one of us–hospice volunteer or not.

And so a Haiga challenge for me, each and every day (and for you, too, perchance?) ...


Christmas Presence

Cards. Gifts. Reaching out.

Calls. Visits. Listening ear.

…Attending to needs…

Best present ever? Presence.

Be (the) present.


 Whatever holiday or season you’re celebrating, here’s to giving and being gifted with the blessing of heartfelt presence.

Threefold Advent Preparation

Advent, a nearly four-week season of watchful preparation this liturgical year, began this past Sunday. Without fail, every Advent I think back to one particular reflection I heard more than a dozen years ago. The homilist focused on the word “come,” as it applies to Advent.

That word-focus, in itself, was not surprising or unusual, since among the etymological explanations, the one that rings truest to me, having survived three years of Latin, is this one. The English word Advent comes (no pun intended) from the Latin prefix “ad” (toward) and the Latin verb “venire” (to go or to come), meaning “to go toward” or “to come.”

What was unusual, at least for me, was that the homilist acknowledged and explored the threefold-paradoxical meaning of the word “come” as it applies to the Church’s Liturgical season of Advent.

Come.  During Advent, we prepare for Christ’s birth, for His first coming. We sing and pray “Come, Emmanuel.” For as many years are we are alive on December 25th when the Church celebrates His Birth, He comes to us as a newborn Babe in Bethlehem.

Come. Historically, Christ has already come into the world, and because of that coming, He is constantly available to come into our lives in Word and Sacrament. He stands at the door of our hearts, waiting for us to invite Him, and so in response to His knocking, we offer and request, “Please, Lord, come in.”

This continual present opportunity to experience Christ’s coming into our lives is poignantly depicted in paintings showing the door with no outside knob, the door that can be opened only from the inside. Here is one of those images: Christ knocking at the door via Wikimedia/Sul Art

Come. Lastly, during Advent, as we prepare for Christ’s first coming into this world at Christmas, the Church reminds us that this world is passing away, and that Christ is coming back at a future time, heralding the end of this world and the beginning of a new, fully redeemed world. In that respect, we pray “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus,” looking ahead to “then” when He comes again for us–both at the end of the world, and at the end of our lives.

At all three “comings,” the one in the past that we relive in the present, the present coming anew each moment of each day, as well as the one that we anticipate in the future, we are called to prepare for Him. That is what the liturgical season of Advent is all about: to “Prepare ye the way of the Lord” (Mark 1:3) Who is already come, Who is always coming to and for us, and Who is coming again.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve done the homilist justice in my rendition of his explication of Advent as a season of paradoxical comings in three simultaneous, overlapping time periods. We prepare for the birth that has already happened, for a coming that is always new in our lives, and for a coming again that is a second historical coming in the future that draws nearer, and may, in fact, be present.

When I learned about a “reverso poem” last week thanks to Donna Smith’s Poetry Friday offering, I thought that “finally” I might have a format for giving voice to the Advent “coming” paradox.

While I don’t know if I’ve succeeded with either the poetic format or the theological content, here for your consideration is my first reverso poem.

As the homilist admitted, three complementary, but discrete comings are hard to wrap one’s head around. I hope my poetic attempt hasn’t made it harder….


Advent Wreath (2)

Photo Credit: Flickr/Alex Harden


coming screengrb (2)


If you have just under two minutes to spare, you might enjoy this contemporary theatrical interpretation of the Advent preparation theme via this YouTube video: Godspell Revival- Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

Happy preparation and many blessings for whatever holy days you will be celebrating in the coming days of December.

Not necessarily more brilliant

Poetry Friday Tag

Carol is hosting the round-up at http://carolwscorner.blogspot.com/

Happy Thanksgiving! Wherever and however you celebrated this special day for recalling our blessings, I hope your day was as nourishing to your poet-spirit as it was to your body!

Inasmuch as Thanksgiving might be considered the grande finale of the autumn holidays (at least in areas of the country that have seasonal vegetation), here is the third of the three autumn photo-poems I composed in response to Carol V.’s “Autumn Palette” gallery initiative.

Inasmuch, too, as Thanksgiving is one of our most cherished National family holidays, which conjures up thoughts and images of “home,” the backstory to this photo reminds me of the parallel aphoristic  truth: “The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.”

Our family history includes annual Fall foliage forages to places miles away in search of the most breathtaking autumn nature sites. What is so amazing about the scenery in the photo-poem is that it was found in a totally unexpected place…right in our own backyard. A wooded backyard to which no back door opens…A wooded backyard, quite frankly, into which we typically do not enter or look. (Note. I had to invent a back door for the last line of the poem:)

But because some work needed to be done on the side of the house, my husband glanced to the back, and had his breath taken away. Not that the scenery was as spectacular as that photographed on one of the Fall foliage forages miles and miles away to a lakeside state park…No, but this was “our woods” that were ablaze with a variety of colors. And even though we hadn’t planted the trees which so gifted us, still, these trees were “ours,” and like a child who objectively might not be as good looking or as smart as someone else’s child, that child is loved because it’s yours…Ergo:

backyard autumn picmonk

The grass is not necessarily greener, nor the leaves more brilliantly colored, on the other side of the fence….

And when the opposite is true, which objectively it often is, there’s something to be said for appreciating what is ours, even while aspiring for what truly is greener or more brilliant. Will we continue Fall foliage foraging? You bet! Will we remember to look for beauty in our own backyard, also? I certainly hope so!

Thank God we live in a land of options. May we exercise those options with thanks in our heart for all those servicemen and servicewomen who, along with their families, are sacrificing in the service of our freedoms. God bless America!

Twice-Tremendous Trees

Poetry Friday Tag

Tricia is hosting the round-up: http://missrumphiuseffect.blogspot.com/


In response to Carol V.’s Autumn Palette poetry-photo invitation, I pondered this photo taken by my husband…

wek autumn photo for post

Now, please don’t peek below…If you were responding to this photo in poem, what words does this image inspire from you? I’d love to know!… As for me…

….Reflecting on the reflection, I reflected on  Narcissus, reflecting that before camera-produced selfies, there were the nature-made selfies, courtesy of water…..and voila! a photo-poem:

cbhanek Autumn Palette number 3

Good thing that the trees are smarter and more humble than Narcissus. I’m glad they don’t get  infatuated with themselves; don’t topple into the water.

Without uprooting or taking leave of  themselves, what a splash of color they add to the water, without subtracting any beauty or diminishing any hue from what reaches above–into the heavens.

In reflecting on that truth, I totally agree with Joyce Kilmer…”I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree…Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree.” Amen!

Upon further reflection, truly, trees are ten times ten times more than twice-tremendous….

Photo-Replay: A Poem for Two Voices

Poetry Friday Tag

Bridget Magee is hosting the round-up: http://weewordsforweeones.blogspot.com/

One of the hits of our elementary school’s last two Poem in Your Pocket Days was the dramatic mother-daughter recitation (with props!) of “Honeybees,” one of the poems for two voices written by Paul Fleischman.  Along with other dual-voice insect poems, this poem is found in the author’s Newbery Medal collection  Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.

The first mother-daughter “Honeybees” recitation took place during an author luncheon when student-volunteers shared their favorite found or original poems. The second recitation by the same pair took place during a school-wide assembly in which a number of students recited poems in their native languages.

Both mother-daughter recitations were very gratifying; the pair were exceedingly proud of each other, and had spent time practicing–time that the student glowed about spending with her mom. Interestingly, the pair switched roles for the second recitation, with the student taking the part of the Queen Bee, while her mother was the “Worker Bee.” ..Unfortunately, the student moved up to middle school this year. Hopefully, another parent-student team will inspired to take their place!

How I wished that more grown-ups (faculty, staff, parents/guardians) would have chosen to participate, particularly sharing poems in their native languages. Although I hadn’t known it previously, last year I learned that the cafeteria manager wrote song lyrics and poems; she promised to share her gifts in the future festivities.

When I was having a hard time figuring out which end was up in the autumn photo featured below, I thought of Paul Fleischman’s form; ergo….though not Newbery material… in celebration of autumn….my first poem for two voices.

au up down pix revised homily (2)

A Little Girl’s Lament to Her Poppy

Amy VanDerwater is hosting the round-up: http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/

Katya is hosting the round-up: http://www.katyaczaja.com/

With a most grateful nod to last week’s round-up hostess Ms. Mac and her talented intermediate grade poet-students for inspiring thoughts of Veterans Day….  And with another most grateful nod to JoAnn Macken for modeling a tanka as part of the same Poetry Friday round-up…

Here, in honor of our Veterans and their families, is my first (deep breath) tanka.

poppy lament screen grab (2)

God bless our military families!

2 Beasties, Squeezed

Poetry Friday Tag

“Check It Out” is hosting this week’s round-up: https://maclibrary.wordpress.com/

Since some of my elementary students really loved creating squeezed poems in response to Bob Raczka’s Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, I couldn’t resist squeezing a poem of my own in response to Michelle Barnes’ 5-word Beastie poem challenge.

…Okay.  So I couldn’t resist squeezing two poems–one beast from land; one from sea. (Hmm… where’s the beast from air? … I guess that one flew away…)

beastie poems squeezed (2)

p.s.  In case “Squeezed Poems” are new to you, as they were to me, the quick gist, as I understand it, is this: Write a poem based on as many words as you wish that are derived (anagram, style), solely from one start word, which serves as the poem’s theme or title. Sequence the words, vertically (as if squeezed out of the start word), so that they relate to each other and the starting word (perhaps telling a story).

Concerning my squeezed poems, I might have cheated by adding punctuation. I’m a punctuation freak. Sorry.

Beware a Beastly ID

When a friend asked me to nominate his Godson for a nationwide high school leadership award, I was happy to accommodate.  Impressed by the young man’s community service record, as well as his academic and musical accomplishments, I set out to compose the recommendation letter. Easy.

When it came to the demographic application, my friend was able to supply the candidate’s birth date, home address and phone number, school name and address. No problem.

“What’s his email?” I asked. “I need that, too.”

Promising to check, my friend soon got back to me.  “Tuba Beast.”

“What?” I asked. “Is this a joke?”

My friend assured me it was not. I assured him there was no way I was submitting a nomination for a highly competitive national adolescent leadership award for someone who self-identified as a “Tuba Beast.”

“Please find out his mother’s email address. I’ll use hers. Surely it will be more dignified.”

Another quick check, and my friend supplied her handle: “Dragon Lady.”

“No problem,” I said. “I’ll stick with Tuba Beast.”

Ergo…the resulting… five-word-Beast-poem, in response to Michelle Barnes’ challenging invitation.

dragon beast (2)

p.s. Tuba Beast neither “won” nor “honorably mentioned.”

Moral: Beware a Beastly ID.

A Dandy Love-Response

Poetry Friday Tag

Jama’s Alphabet Soup is hosting this week’s round-up: http://jamarattigan.com/

All month, I’ve noodled ideas for Michelle Barnes’ Ditty of the Month requited/unrequited love poem challenge. And though I’ve played with some ideas, they were too embarrassed to come outside for the whole world to see.

I respected that.

Then, quite unexpectedly, yesterday I saw a solitary Dandelion puff growing alongside the edge of the patio. Not remembering when I last had seen one of my childhood playmates, I rejoiced, and–I guess, in retrospect–I dreamed (of which childhood love I do not know:), awakening today with this poem:

A Dandy Love-Repsonse (2)

How much I counted on those floral love-meters. And how many times, unsatisfied with the first meter reading, I plucked another flower clean, floral sacrifice to my love-interest need-to-knowing.

As I thought about that childhood ritual and how, on the second try, after reversing the “loves me; loves me not” order, the conclusion was always more favorable, I sought to investigate the phenomenon. Dandelion to dandelion, was the sum of petals always an “even” number? If so, that would explain why reversing the order (starting, counter-intuitively, with “He loves me not”) produced the desired results.

A quick Internet search seemed to belie my supposition. At first disappointed, then I thought. How like grownups I have become, trying to spoil all the spontaneity, all the fun. If there really is a mathematical, sequence-pattern explanation for why the do-over worked, I prefer not to know. I prefer to believe now, as I did then, that the boy I had in mind as I plucked the flowers to the stem truly loved me very much!

What about you? Did you pick petals to find out if he loved you very much? Do little girls still engage in such rituals today? (I hope so;  petal-plucking may be transformed someday into a fondly remembered requited/unrequited love poem.)