Linda Kulp Trout

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Spiritual Journey Thursday - Time to Be Still

This week we are writing about Michelle Haseltine's One Little Word: SELAH.  I wasn't familiar with this word until I googled it and learned that it means "a holy pause." 

 Hitting the pause button and being "still" is something I need to practice more often. I always feel like I need to be accomplishing something.  So I rush around trying to keep the house looking nice, make tasty meals, create interesting lessons for my students, answer emails, pay bills, etc.  We all do those things, but the most exhausting thing for me is that  my mind keeps rushing too. Even when I try to fall asleep at night, I'm always planning or worrying about something.  I rarely slow down enough to just "be."

Sometimes things happen to force us to slow down. That's what happened with last week's blizzard. It started snowing Friday afternoon and didn't stop until Sunday morning. We had over 30 inches of snow!  We were completely snowed in over the weekend, and schools have been closed for the past three days. So, we've had five days of being home.

I love the way a snowstorm quiets everything.  No where to rush to, no schedules to keep, time to sit and watch the birds at the feeder, listen to the wind, and enjoy the beauty outside my window. This unexpected gift of time gave me a chance to do a little reading, write in my journal, and think about my life. Now that the roads are clear, things are getting back to normal. That makes me a little sad.

At first, it was hard for me be still, but now I look forward to it. I need more "snow days" in my life, but they can be so hard to find.  Selah, from what I understand, is simply taking a little time to reflect on what's important.  I'm going to make an effort to find a few moments every day to sit in silence, to stare out the window, and to listen.

I leave you with this lovely poem from Snow Toward Evening, poems selected by Josette Frank and gorgeous paintings by Thomas Locker. It's no longer in print, but Amazon has some used copies.

Snow Toward Evening

Suddenly the sky turned gray,
The  day,
   Which had been bitter and chill,
    Grew intensely soft and still.
    From some invisible blossoming tree
Millions of petals, cool and white,
Drifted and blew,
Lifted and flew,
Fell with the falling night.

-Melville Cane

Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments about how taking a "holy pause" has made a difference in your life.
Be sure to stop by and visit Holly for more spiritual goodness at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


This week for Spiritual Journey Thursday, we are writing about Margaret’s One Little Word PRESENT.

Staying present is hard for me. A born worrier, I’m usually ruminating over the past or  the future.  Too often, I’m stuck in the “what ifs” and lose sight of “what is.”  On top of that, I fill my days with so many chores, obligations, and expectations, that I rarely have time to spend on the activities I love.

These lyrics from an Alabama song pretty much describe my life.

I'm in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life's no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I'm in a hurry and don't know why.

Just reading those words make me exhausted! 

It’s those moments when I allow myself to watch hummingbirds dart from flower to flower, admire a sunset, or sit in my rocking chair and write in my journal that my spirit feels lighter, freer, more alive. 

So, this year I’m working on slowing down a bit and enjoying the journey.  It will be a challenge, but I don’t want to someday look back at my life, and realize I wasn’t present.

This poem is a good reminder for me to be sure I'm in the picture. 

The Vacation
Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. 

You can read the rest of the poem here.

Wishing all of you a beautiful journey!

Holly has links to others who are participating in the Thursday Spiritual Journey.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


My one little word this year is SIMPLIFY.  I usually take on too many responsibilities and have trouble squeezing in time for myself.  This year, I want to simplify my life and spend more time doing things that bring me joy. So,I made a list of activities I want to do more of this year. One activity is to blog more often. That’s why I am participating in Spiritual Journey Thursdays, coordinated by Holly at Reading, Teaching, Learning.   I am a very spiritual person, so this feels like a good fit for me.

Today we are all blogging about Carol’s OLW for 2016: BELIEVE.   I love that word. It’s so full of hope and possibility. 

Every Christmas, a restaurant in the town where I live, lights up the word BELIEVE in huge letters.  It’s glorious to see! 
I believe in many things: love, prayer, family, friendship, and the power of words. I’ve been thinking a lot about the power of words lately.  Words and the way we use them can give hope, repair a broken spirit, and heal a broken heart.  Sure, words can do harm too, but I want to believe that most of us would rather use our words to send goodness into the world.

One of the most powerful sentences we can say to someone is, “I believe in you.” 

Oh, the magic of that word!  Most of us have a hard time believing in ourselves, so hearing those words sincerely spoken by someone we trust can change the way we see ourselves.  Just imagine, if we all start believing in ourselves, we could achieve almost anything.   Together, we could change the world!

One of my favorite novels-in-verse is What I Believe by Norma Fox Mazer.  Norma uses a variety of poetry forms to tell the story of a young girl and how she is figuring out what and who she believes in.  I really connected with the main character and her struggles.

That's what I believe. How about you, what do you BELIEVE?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Loving Antarctica!

A wonderful benefit of being part of the Poetry Friday community is getting to know the work of a lot of different poets. I love this because I’ve discovered some amazing poets I might not have found otherwise. Irene Latham is one of the those poets. For the past several years, I've enjoyed reading her Live Your Poem blog, her poems in anthologies and magazines, and her first collection for children, DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST.  So, when I saw she had a new collection, I pre-ordered right away, and I’m so glad I did!

WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA is a gorgeous book.  The 15 poems are both playful and informative taking readers on a journey from the start of summer to its end.  As a teacher, I love the nonfiction information that accompanies each poem. Irene provides just enough information to tease readers into wanting to learn more.  A bibliography of book and website titles on the last page make it easy for further exploration. 

Wait until you see  Anna Wadham’s delightful illustrations. They are gorgeous and perfectly match the poems.  The details in each spread add to the fun of learning about Antarctica.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the poems, but I must admit, I do have a favorite. It is written in the form of a personal ad. Such a clever (and romantic) idea!  (I tried for over an hour to get the line spacing correct, which is supposed to be couplets, but blogger just wouldn't cooperate.)

Adélie Seeking adélie

Wanted: a guy with a white-ringed eye
who looks just like me.

An accomplished builder
who borders the nest with the best pebbles

to protect my eggs from dregs
of melting snow.

A boy with a pleasing bray
who will stay all summer.

A mate who will meet me
year after year
after year.

-Irene Latham (all rights reserved)

Wow! Don’t you just love that? Yep, I'm gushing, but this is a "gush-worthy" collection!  I wanted to know more about how this poem came to be, and Irene kindly shared a bit about its background.
That poem is the very first one I wrote for the collection! When I read about how carefully the female will select a male, I instantly thought of personal ads -- what would Ms. Adelie say? The publisher and I even talked about "boxing" the poem to make it look like a personal ad, but in the end, we figured kids wouldn't necessarily know that reference (who reads newspapers anymore?!). But you can see from the illustration that Anna Wadham incorporated newsprint into the art.

One interesting note: while I love the idea of Adelie's being lifelong mates, my expert reader said that it is not true of all Adelies. (Some return to the same mate, some happily pursue a new one.) Because I am a romantic, it's true of MY Adelie. And what a fun poem for upcoming Valentine's Day, right? :)

Many thanks to Irene for permission to share her lovely poem.  I’m thrilled to add WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA to my poetry picture book collection, and I can't wait for Irene's next book , FRESH DELICIOUS due out in March!

A special thank you to Tabatha for hosting this week's roundup at The Opposite of Indifference.