Thursday, October 19, 2017

National Day on Writing


Today is National Day on Writing, a day to celebrate the joy and importance of writing.  Click on the link to find resources for teachers, tips for writers, and information about how to join the conversation on WhyIWrite. You can also listen to podcasts of authors talking about their process and reasons for becoming a writer.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my own writing process. I  have always loved to write, but it doesn't always come easy. Here is a #poemsketch I wrote about my sometimes struggle with words.  It is still a work-in-progress, but it's late and this what I have so far.




Stuck

Sometimes writing feels like
a Chinese Finger Trap—

The harder I try 
to pull  words   
onto the page,
the more they stick
inside my brain—

But finally  
when I stop,

to take a breath—

Words somehow 
seem to know

and suddenly
they begin         to let go.


©Linda Kulp Trout


A big thank you to Leigh Anne over at A Day in the Life for hosting this week's Poetry Friday.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Talking With Animals and PET CRAZY


The doe’s eyes meet mine—
a silent conversation
mother-to-mother

When we lock eyes with an animal, for even just a second, we can sense what they are feeling.  I believe they can sense what we are feeling too. Without a single word, we can communicate and begin to understand each other.

My cat is very good at communicating what she wants.  When I'm in her favorite chair, she sits on the floor glaring up at me until I move. As soon as I do, she claims it as her own.

When I was teaching, I always enjoyed reading the poems my students wrote about their pets. Children love to write about animals.  I just wish I would have had the fabulous PET CRAZY by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong to share with them.  The poems are so relatable.  What child hasn't wished for a special pet or worried about a sick pet?  There is even a poem about communicating with a pet!  The activities in  PET CRAZY are fantastic because they invite young writers to create their own poems. What a timesaver to have the text and activities in one place!

If you are a parent and grandparent, winter break is not that far away.  PET CRAZY would be a wonderful way to encourage creativity and support your child's reading and writing skills over the break.  It's on my list of holiday gifts for seven year old granddaughter.  I know she'll love it.


A big thank you to Irene at Live Your Poem for gathering a bounty of poetry goodness this week.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Poem for International Dot Day!

First Picture

When Mama showed
your picture to me—
a little dot
was all I could see.

So then I wondered,
Who would you be?

A brother, a sister—
it didn’t matter to me.

Because that little dot, 
I could see— 
was already part
of our family.

©2017 Linda Kulp Trout


Have you read THE DOT by Peter H. Reynolds?  If not, I hope you will, especially if you have young children.  The story will inspire you to make your mark and follow your own creativity.

I wanted to write a poem to celebrate International Dot Day,  but I couldn't decide on what I wanted my "dot" poem to be about. Then, last night I read a new book by the very talented Cynthia Rylant titled LIFE.  The very first line in the book is "Life begins small." I stopped and read it again. "Life begins small." Such a beautiful truth.

It occurred to me that no matter if we are rich or poor, our race, religion, or where we live, we ALL begin the same way-- small.   

Then I started thinking about the excitement of seeing that very first sonogram.  That little human dot that sends the whole family dreaming about this new life.  It's amazing that even before we are born, we begin to "make our mark" on the world.  I wanted to celebrate that! 

 A big thank you to Michelle for hosting this week at Today's Little Ditty where you'll find more "dot" poems and other poetry wonders.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Children are Teachers

After so much sadness in the news this week, these precious little faces give me hope.

                                                            Pia and Victor

Young children don’t build walls.  They don't see language, race, religion, or disability as a barrier.  Their hearts are open to love and acceptance.  They find a way to learn and grow, and play together. Children are teachers. We can learn much from them.

Although they've been friends for a while, the two cuties above inspired this little poem.


Friendship
 
I met a girl today.
She doesn't understand
the words I say.

But--
we can laugh and
we can play.

Hooray!

I made a new friend
today!

-©Linda Kulp Trout




Peace and love be with you.

 A special thank you to Kay for hosting today at A Journey Through the Pages


Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Mystery

Yesterday, I watched two tiny fledglings in our yard.  I don't know much about birds and can only identify a few of them.  I couldn't get a clear picture, but later when I checked the internet, I believe they were Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The picture and description seemed to fit.





Anyway, as I watched these two babies trying to learn how to fly, I noticed that Mama was giving all of her attention to just one of them.  She stayed very close to it and raised a ruckus when other birds came near.  The other fledgling was way on the other side of the yard and just kind of hopped about and fluttered on its own.  Mama pretty much ignored the little guy.

I went out to get a closer look, and all three flew under a nearby shrub.  Soon after that, it started to rain, and I didn't see them again. But, I've been wondering about those babies ever since.  Did Mama really have a favorite?    If so, why did she choose that one over the other? They both looked exactly the same in size, coloring, and ability.  Well, all that wondering led to this poem.

Baby Bird

Today I watched you
on our lawn
walk, hop, flutter—
learning how
to fly.

On the other side,
your brother
was learning too—
Your mama
close by
protecting him.

But, you—
she left you
all alone
to survive
on your own.

I wonder…

Why?

©Linda Kulp Trout


A special thank you to Donna for hosting today's Poetry Friday at Mainely Write.












Thursday, July 13, 2017

Poetry Friday


Today is  National Macaroni and Cheese Day, and it's the theme for this week's Poetry Friday.





My seven-year old granddaughter and I are having our own week writing retreat this week, so I only have time for a quick post.  Evie and I wrote this poem together. It was inspired by her little brother, Victor, who loves macaroni and cheese. He does enjoy a few other foods, but macaroni and cheese is one of his favorites.

                                                        Here's Victor enjoying his lunch.  


Picky Eater

Macaroni and cheese,
macaroni and cheese,

Victor only eats
macaroni and cheese.

Don’t give him pasta,
tacos, spinach, or peas.

He will not eat them,
even if you say, “Please.”

Victor only eats
macaroni and cheese,

Macaroni and cheese,
macaroni and cheese.

All Victor wants is
macaroni and cheese!


©Linda Kulp Trout and Evelyn Kulp


Tabatha is hosting our celebration today at The Opposite of Indifference. 









Thursday, June 15, 2017

Poetry Friday


Father's Day

I don’t remember him.
(He left when I was three.)


He never ever calls.
He doesn't visit me.


I hug my pillow close
pretending it’s my dad.


Growing up without him—
makes my heart feel sad.


If he were here with me,
I know what I would say:


I still love you, Daddy.
Happy Father’s Day.



©Linda Kulp Trout



I had planned to write a happy poem to celebrate Father's Day.  Instead, I kept thinking about how for many children, Father's Day is difficult.  This is the poem that wanted to be written tonight.  It still needs work, but here's what I have so far.

A big thank you to Carol for hosting today's Poetry Friday.






Thursday, June 1, 2017

The True Meaning of Success


What defines a successful life?  When we're young, we tend to believe success is based on our achievements, but as we grow older, living a successful life takes on new meaning.
Recently, I attended a memorial service for Miss Eva, a beloved family member.  Miss Eva never received a college degree, never earned a large salary, and her poems were never on the Best Seller list. She didn’t travel the world or own expensive possessions; yet she was one of the most successful people I’ve ever known. 
On the day of her memorial service, the chapel was filled with people who came to celebrate her life.  One after another, folks stood up to tell stories about the ways Eva had touched their lives.  The words “joy” and “love” were used again and again to describe her life and her gift to others.

Miss Eva was someone who lived by her faith. She had kind words for everyone. She spread hugs, laughter, and joy.  She gave her time freely to anyone who needed help. She saw beauty in nature and in all people. 

Everything she did from growing her garden, writing heartfelt poems, spending time with friends and family and sending greeting cards with personal messages— were all done out of love.  She never expected recognition for her kind acts, instead she gave God all the praise and glory.

As I sat at her memorial, I thought of the poem “Success” and how well it described Miss Eva’s life.


Miss Eva was an amazing woman who knew the true meaning of success was LOVE.  She inspired many lives, including mine, and continues to spread joy through her poetry.

Bonded in Love

At the end of each day, can we look back and say,...
that we cared for our family and showed it?
Or must we admit, we forget quite a bit
and take for granted they know it.

Time has slipped by and so much we have missed,
but all is not lost if we start.
To show what we feel and make it real
and let it come from the heart.

So with love in our hearts, let it show in our lives.
Let us always be happy together.
Look over the bad times and beyond to the good.
Let’s be bonded in love forever.

© Eva M. Yingling



THANKSGIVING 1991

For the special way you touch my life,...
your loving, caring way.
This is what I’m thankful for,
each and every day.
There’s many precious memories,
of days and years gone by.
and no one can erase them,
no matter how they try.
For they are etched within my heart,
they’re something I hold dear.
And I will always cherish them,
each day throughout the year.
Thanksgiving day is every day,
for I’m the mother of,
the greatest family on this earth
a family built on love.

© Eva M. Yingling


Have a great weekend!
For many poetry love, head on over to visit my friend at Buffy's Blog for today's roundup!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

#wonderbreak17 Gratitude Poems

Cotton Candy Afternoon

a fluff of pink
a fluff of blue

one for me
the other for you—

in sugared air
and thread of sun

the two of us
having fun

we talk, we laugh
we play, we eat

a swirl of friendship
spun sticky sweet


©Linda Kulp Trout2017




I love cotton candy, but I hadn't eaten any since my sons were small.  I had forgotten all about this sweet melt-in-your mouth treat. So, I'm grateful my grandchildren brought cotton candy into my life!   Last year at the carnival, my granddaughter asked for cotton candy on a stick, but the vendor only had cotton candy in a bag. She and I decided that would work!  Yum!

A big thank you to the very talented Joann for hosting today's Poetry Friday at Teaching Authors.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems

Before Recycling

one jar
almost empty
peanut butter plus dog
equals tongue-lapping, lip-smacking—
all gone
            

©Linda Kulp Trout
#wonderbreak



Photo by Gail Kulp

I thankful for the wonderful pictures people post of their pets. My daughter-in-law posted this picture of her dog, Rosie on Facebook.  I can imagine how much fun she had licking that peanut butter jar clean.  I don't have a dog, and I did not know they like peanut butter.  I did a little research and found a cute video.  If you need a smile, take a look.



A big thank you to Tabatha for hosting today's poetry roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM: Gratitude Poems






       Autism


What goes on inside
the mind of a child
who does not speak?

What thoughts?
What hopes?
What fears?
What dreams?

I search for answers
locked behind his eyes—

Is he happy?
Is he lonely?

Does he know
how deeply he is loved?

I pray someday
he will find the words
to tell me—

His thoughts
His hopes
His fears
His dreams

My precious grandson—
who does not speak.

©Linda Kulp Trout


My grandson, Victor, is autistic.  His verbal skills are mostly limited to words and phrases. Communication is challenging, and sometimes he becomes frustrated.  He wants to be independent, but he needs constant supervision in order to keep him safe.  The world with its sensory overload can be overwhelming and frightening for him. 

But, autism is only part of who Victor is.  Like other little boys, he loves to run and play. He loves to dig in the dirt and splash in water. He has a tender heart and a gentle way with animals. His infectious laughter sends joy through my heart.   

Even with all his struggles, Victor is a lucky little boy.   He was born to parents, my son and daughter-in-law, who are devoted to him in every way.  They provide him with opportunities to learn and gain independence.   They take him places and give him a wide variety of experiences. Raising a child with autism can be emotionally and physically exhausting, yet I’ve never heard a single complaint from either of them.  They accept and love Victor for the creative, smart, and beautiful child he is. 

 You can read more about Victor here.

I am thankful for today’s roundup at Dori Reads.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems




I'm very thankful for the years I spent teaching and getting to know students from preschool through middle school.   One year I taught a summer program for first grade students.  I still have some of the cute pictures they drew for me. First graders love their teacher, and they're not afraid to show it.  Memories of their smiles and hugs inspired this poem.

                                                A Great Year!

                
Student                                                                       Teacher
             
She smiles and says hello,
in her warm friendly way.

                                                                           Seeing their smiling faces,
                                                                     always makes my day!



She helps us learn to write.
She teaches to us read.

                                                                     Sometimes a little hug
                                                                     is all they really need.


She tells us we are smart.
She teaches us to share.

                                                                       I wonder if they know
                                                                       just how much I care.


We love our first grade teacher.
We know she loves us too!    
                                                                     Working with the children
                                                                      is what I love to do!

 Because of her

           Because of them

                                                  
                                    We’re having a great year!


©Linda Kulp Trout
#wonderbreak


The very talented Irene has today's Poetry Friday Roundup at  Live Your Poem.
Have a great weekend!









#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems






             

Cardinal Complains

Look at that squirrel!
Nobody invited him!
He just climbed in and
helped himself to our dinner—
not even a thank you!

©Linda Kulp Trout
Photo: Joanie Mayle


Squirrels are a lot of fun to watch.  I've often sat by the window and watched as a squirrel dangled from our neighbor's bird feeder while sparrows, cardinals, and finches wait their turn in a nearby tree.   This picture was taken by my sister. I see that the squirrels in her neighborhood are just as mischievous as they are in mine! 


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#wondebreak NPM Gratitude Poems


   Housemates


behind our shutter
mama sparrow made a home
for five speckled eggs

©Linda Kulp Trout
#wonderbreak





Last week I saw the nest behind our shutter.  I tried to get close to take a peek, but I didn't want to frighten mama sparrow.  It's amazing to think a little miracle is happening right on our front porch!



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems


Magic

who needs a genie

when I am with my dad—

my wishes come true


©Linda Kulp Trout




I love the magic in my grandson's eyes as he looks up at his dad (my son).  Isn't that the look every parent wants to see when their child looks at them.   Watching the two of them together makes my heart happy. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems #3


      Recipe


For a perfect Saturday
Here is my recipe:
park bench,  good book,
Grandpa and me

©Linda Kulp TroutNational Poetry Month






Sunday, April 2, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems




March Morning


Still dressed
in winter coats
a family of deer
wander out of the woods hungry
for spring

©Linda Kulp Trout
National Poetry Month













A few days ago, my very thoughtful sister-in-law took this picture of the deer in her backyard.  She sent it to me because she  knows how much I love watching deer.  I so wish I could have been there to see them, but a picture is the next best thing! 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

#wonderbreak NPM Gratitude Poems






winter's bare branches
painted in oil and water
on concrete canvas

©Linda Kulp Trout
National Poetry Month



         Photo by Tim Kulp                  


I don't know how my son does it, but somehow he finds beauty in unexpected places. I'm so glad he shares his findings so the rest of us can enjoy them too. 

In writing this haiku, I went back and forth on using the word "mirrored" or "painted" in line 2.  For now, I chose to go with "painted."  Then in line 3, I played with "paved" and settled on "concrete" for the alliteration.  I'm still now sure how this poem might change before I call it "finished."
                    

Thursday, March 30, 2017

My 2017 National Poetry Month Project

Last week, I wrote about keeping a gratitude journal.  Most of my entries have been just a few quick sentences about things that bring me joy. something that amazes me, or an unexpected act of kindness.


                                                              my gratitude journal

Writing these short passages helps me pay closer attention to the goodness in my life.



When I started thinking about a project for National Poetry Month,  I knew I wanted to do something connected with my gratitude journal. So, I'm going to try to write a short "gratitude" poem each day and post it along with a quote or  photograph.   I don't post many of my own poems, so writing and posting a daily poem is way out of my comfort zone, but my one little word for 2017 is CHANGE, so here I go!




I'll be joining in with the talented Laura Purdie Salas who will write a daily poem about a small wonder and post it using the hashtag of #wonderbreak.   Since my project is similar to Laura's, I'll use the same hashtag. (I've never used a hashtag, so this will be another change for me. 😊 )    You can read more about Laura's plans and invitation to join her for NPM here.   



Be sure to stop by The Poem Farm and check out Amy's amazing NPM project. I'm really looking forward to this week's roundup and all the great projects our Poetry Friday friends are planning for National Poetry Month!




Thursday, March 23, 2017

Gratitude

My one little word for 2017 is CHANGE so I've been doing a lot of thinking about my life, the things that work and things I want to change. 

I've always been grateful for the goodness in my life, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed by all negative voices on the nightly news, social media, and even overheard in grocery store conversations.
By the end of 2016, I felt like all that noise was distracting me from the things are really important. 

This was something I needed to change.  So on January 1,  I started a gratitude journal.  Every evening, I write about one event that happened that day and why it brought me joy. Maybe it was hearing my favorite song on the radio, a phone call from my son, or my cat purring on the bed beside me. For me, the key is the "why" piece because it causes me to do some reflection.

It's a small thing to do, just a few sentences, but it has made a positive difference in my life.  My focus has changed, and I find myself looking for the goodness in each day.  An added benefit is that recording life's joys gives me a chance to relive them again and again. When I'm having a bad day, I read through my gratitude journal and always find something to smile about. 

In the beginning, I worried it might end up being another chore to add to my day.  That didn't happen because most entries are very brief. Of course there are times when there are too many wonderful events to choose just one. On those days, I go ahead and fill the page with joy!

When I decided to start a gratitude journal, I remembered this poem.  Maybe it was there in the back of my mind inspiring me all along. 

                     Gratitude
                     -Barbara Crooker

This week, the news of the world is bleak, another war
grinding on, and all these friends down with cancer,
or worse, a little something long term that they won’t die of
for twenty or thirty miserable years—
And here I live in a house of weathered brick, where a man
with silver hair still thinks I’m beautiful. How many times
have I forgotten to give thanks? The late day sun shines
through the pink wisteria with its green and white leaves
as if it were stained glass, there’s an old cherry tree
that one lucky Sunday bloomed with a rainbow:
cardinals, orioles, goldfinches, blue jays, indigo buntings,
and my garden has tiny lettuces just coming up,
so perfect they could make you cry: Green Towers,
Red Sails, Oak Leaf. For this is May, and the whole world
sings, gleams, as if it were basted in butter, and the air’s
sweet enough to send a diabetic into shock—
                   
Read the rest of the poem here.


Here are two good articles, if you'd like to learn more about the benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.

10 Reasons Why Keeping a Gratitude Journal Could Be Your Best Idea Ever!

The Benefits of a Gratitude Journal and How to Maintain One


I am thankful I got to meet my friend Catherine in person last fall at a Highlights workshop.  She is hosting Poetry Friday at Reading to the Core.
                      
T

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Inspiring Poetry

The more poetry I read, the more I'm inspired to write my own. 
            
Bobbi Katz has been one of my poetry heroes since I  read her "Things to Do if You are a Subway."  Many years ago, when I taught fifth grade, it was one of my favorite mentor poems.  My students loved the language and imagery, and they were eager to write their own "Things to Do" poems.  Bobbi's poems are extremely popular with teachers.  Once you read them, you'll see why.

Things to Do If You Are a Subway


Pretend you are a dragon.
Live in underground caves.
Roar about underneath the city.
Swallow piles of people.
Spit them out at the next station.
Zoom through the darkness.
Be an express.
Go fast.
Make as much noise as you please.

-Bobbi Katz, all rights reserved


Things to do if you are the Sun

Let planets loop around you.
Be Earth’s very own star.
Keep things warm enough for people.
Keep things cool enough for penguins.
Slip away to end the day.
Light the moon at night.
Let people and animals sleep.
And at the crack of dawn,
wake up the world!

     -Bobbi Katz, all rights reserved

Don't you just love imagining subways as dragons "swallowing piles of people"? My fifth graders sure did!  I still remember their giggles when we read those lines. I wonder if Bobbi had any idea when she wrote her "Things to Do" poems that they would inspire so many of us.

Elaine Magliaro said that Bobbi's poems were the inspiration for her THINGS TO DO collection.  It's a book I wish I had when I was teaching elementary school. The poems are so much fun to read and excellent for teaching figurative language!   Imagine the poems this book would have inspired my students to write!  If you haven't seen it yet, you're missing a good one.


Laura Purdie Salas also has a brand new picture book, IF YOU WERE THE MOON, that is also based on the "Things to Do" poetry form. Laura's book reads like a lullaby combined with nonfiction passages to help young readers learn facts about the moon.   My favorite line is: "Spin like a twilight ballerina."  Isn't that gorgeous?  I can't wait to read it to my grandchildren.

Laura wrote a lovely blog post here explaining how she was inspired by Elaine's poems. You can also read a poem from Elaine's book "Things To Do If You Are RAIN."




My Writing Life Update:  It's been a month since I retired and started writing full-time.  I've settled into a daily routine that works for me.  I usually write 4-6 hours every day depending on doctor's appointments, and other responsibilities.  I have been revising a collection of picture book poems, writing stand-alone poems for a special project, and planning the two writing classes I'm teaching this spring.  I'm so grateful for this time in my life!


Looking for more inspiration, head over to Heidi's place at My Juicy Little Universe.















Thursday, February 23, 2017

Stepping Out of the Shadows in My Writing Life

Dear Mr. Hughes
-After reading “Dreams”

It’s hard to dream
with an eviction notice
on my front door.

It’s hard to dream
when I'm sleeping on
a living room floor.

It’s hard to dream
when I’m still hungry
but there isn’t any more

It’s hard to dream—
but one thing I know
for sure:

When I grow up,
I don’t want to be
poor!


I rarely post my own poems, but I’m trying to push myself to step out of the shadows a bit and share more of my writing life.  So, today I’m posting a poem from a novel-in-verse I started a few years ago.  Although it’s from the main character’s point of view, much of the experience comes from my own childhood.  I abandoned the novel, but this poem stuck with me.  Growing up in poverty influenced my life in both positive and negative ways, and the fear of being poor again has never let go. I have always been a dreamer, but I’ve known children (and adults) who say they don’t have a dream.  To me, that is the worst kind of poverty. 

A big thank you to Karen for hosting today's Poetry Friday roundup.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Change and Giveaway Winners!


Change


The summer
still hangs
heavy and sweet
with sunlight
as it did last year.

The autumn
still comes
showering gold and crimson
as it did last year.

The winter
still stings
clean and cold and white
as it did last year.


The spring
still comes
like a whisper in the dark night.

It is only I
who have changed.

-Charlotte Zolotow


My one little word for 2017 is CHANGE.  Let me tell you why I chose this word.

Most of my adult life has been centered on the seasons of the school year. Every Autumn is a new beginning getting to know my students, developing relationships and discovering their strengths and needs. Winter, a time of digging deeper into the curriculum: assessing, extending, and anticipation. Spring, a season heavy with testing, planning for the next year, graduations, and good-byes. Summer is a blend of enrichment classes, reflection, and rewinding.

Predictable, yes, but for me  there is also a sense of comfort in this cycle I’ve come to know so well. Then, last fall, a series of events forced me to take a closer look at my life. Something inside me said it was time to make a change.


With the support and encouragement of my amazing husband,  I decided to retire from full-time teaching. It wasn't an easy decision. I spent many sleepless nights second-guessing myself. I had a ton of guilt over leaving mid-year, however, for reasons I won’t go into, I felt it was necessary. Change is terribly hard for me,  and this was a big one. 



Now, eighteen days later,  I know I made the right decision.  I’m living the life I always dreamed of—  the life of a full-time writer.  I can honestly say that I am happier now than I’ve been in years. I don’t know where this new journey will take me, but I’m grateful to finally be on the path.



On Sunday, my wonderful siblings threw me a surprise retirement party with this beautiful cake!

"Your best stories remain to be written!” I sure hope so.   This year, I'm trying to be more open and embrace change. After all,  sometimes change is a good thing! 








Congratulations to the five winners of YOU JUST WAIT! Please send me your snail mail address.


Sally Murphy
Leigh Ann Eck
Alice Nine
Molly Hogan
Jane  of raincitylibrarian


Have a great Poetry Friday!

A special thank you to Jone at  Check It Out for hosting today.