Be Kind. It’s National Love People Day.

On National Love People Day, it’s a day to treat others with kindness. I can’t think of a better word to end a two-month study of words for a better world than with the word kind, because in a world where we may not always love others or agree with them, we can still be kind. In fact, as I look back over each word in Dictionary for a Better World this morning, if I had to choose a word to begin making the world better, I would choose kind. It’s a starting point, and even if someone found it difficult to get to the point of love or respect or acceptance, being kind is one of those investments that costs nothing but yields big returns. I also believe it may cultivate the other words and allow them to take root in our lives as we grow. We can all be kind.

Today’s poem introduced on page 54 is a cherita, a three-stanza poem that has one line in the first story, two in the second, and three in the third. This poem tells a story. Here is one cherita that I wrote during Verse Love earlier this year. And today’s…….

I missed the last step.

She propped my ankle,
grabbed an ice pack.

Her kindness 
was what I needed,
what the world needs.....

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

A Word to Add to The Dictionary: Refuge

On Urban National Wildlife Refuge Day, it’s important to consider our green spaces and safe spaces as an etymology of progress on the journey to a better world. Safe spaces for all life is important, and we celebrate this refuge and sanctuary today. As I’ve read through Dictionary for a Better World, I have had the most insightful conversations with my father, who read the book and joined me on my journey. We discussed words that we might add if we were adding to this lexicon. While we wish that we lived in a world without the need for refuge, we both understand what it’s like to feel that need, and how deeply we appreciate a refuge when we need one and find it.

Equally as satisfying is the ability to provide refuge for others in times of need. And that includes our pets. Among my mother’s last coherent words before she died were, “You take care of these dogs.” Though the dogs about which she spoke have since crossed the Rainbow Bridge after living long, happy lives, there are new ones who have come to us as rescues, and we carry on Mom’s legacy and her love of animals by loving our pets as family members. We provide refuge.

And we, too, often ask ourselves who needed the refuge – – just who saved whom?

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

A Word I Would Add to The Dictionary: Good Neighbor

Having a good neighbor is a blessing, but being a good neighbor can set the tone for changing the world. On National Good Neighbor Day, we can add to the etymology of progress in Dictionary for a Better World by being good neighbors. I wrote an acrostic today to celebrate our good neighbors in my community.

Good NEIGHBORS

Greeting others
Outgoing spirits
Offering a hand
Doing our part
Not being petty
Exchanging good wishes
Inquiring to understand
Going the extra mile
Helping with projects
Being there
Owning solutions 
Reaching out
Smiling

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

Let Go! Release! It’s the National Day of Forgiveness!

On this National Day of Forgiveness, it’s time to release grudges and free our spirits – to grant forgiveness and move forward without harboring ill will or resentment. The poetry form introduced today on pages 36 and 37 of Dictionary for a Better World is a quatrain, or a stanza of four lines that may have a rhyme scheme such as aabb, abab, or abcb – or no rhyme scheme at all.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness allows us to move on
To live more fully before we’re gone
To release bitterness and hate
To let go of hurt before it’s too late

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

A Word I Would Add to the Dictionary: Situational Awareness

Along the journey to a better world, we could all improve in our practices of situational awareness to promote personal safety. On Situational Awareness Day, the concept of withitness to know what is going on around us at all times cannot be underemphasized.

Situational Awareness

awareness of place
awareness of happenings
awareness of needs

situational 
awareness is the practice 
of full-circle watch

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

It’s National Daughter’s Day!

On National Daughter’s Day, I love all my children but celebrate my daughters today with a skinny, found on pages 60-61 of Dictionary for a Better World. I’ll celebrate National Son’s Day with my boys when their day rolls around.

A skinny is a poem that has eleven lines; the first and eleventh lines use the same or close phrasing of few words, and the same one-word lines are used in lines 2, 6, and 10.

For My Children

my love for you is
unconditional
patient
forgiving
protective
unconditional
trusting
abiding
never-ending
unconditional
is my love for you

Happy National Daughter’s Day to Ansley and Mallory!

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November 2018, spending time with my girls

How are you celebrating daughters today – – your own, or any daughters you know?

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

Abecedarian Birthday Celebration….ABC!

Today in Dictionary for a Better World, Abecedarian poetry is on the menu on pages 6 and 7. In this form, each line or stanza begins its first letter with an ordered letter of the alphabet, running from A to Z. Since today is my youngest daughter’s birthday, this one is for her:

Ansley's
Birthday ~
Celebrating my
Daughter
Every day,
Finding
Grace and Mercy
Healing 
Iniquities ~
Jesus'
Kindness and
Love
Making
New 
Opportunities
Promising -
Quietly
Restoring the
Spirit,
Touching
Unhinderdly this
Valuable,
Worthy Woman
Xenial and
Young with an unwavering
Zest for Him! 

During the months of August and September, I have been writing poetry forms and responding to quotes and narratives from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini.  Join me at the start of a new school year by turning over a new leaf – writing more, reading more, reflecting on quotes, connecting to text, and performing a simple daily act of kindness.  Together, we can make the world a better place!  

Today’s poem is an abecedarian poem, in which each stanza or line begins with the letters of the alphabet, written in order vertically. I’m writing this one in honor of my daughter Ansley on her 29 birthday!

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Ansley in 2013 – this is one of my favorite pictures of her!

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

Teal Talk Day – Dialogue for Deeper Understanding

On Teal Talk Day, conversations open the door to greater awareness and understanding of health conditions – and life experiences – through dialogue. In Dictionary for a Better World, today’s quote by Bell Hooks on page 21 is, “Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue.” All too often, conversations hinge on each person thinking of the next point to make rather than authentically listening to what the other is saying. The Try it! challenge today urges readers to resist the urge to offer opinions but instead to listen to others and see where the conversation leads.

I’m connecting deeply with Charles about when it is time to stand our ground and when it is time to walk away. Currently, in my county in rural Georgia, books are being challenged at every turn – as they are all over this country. One recent comment in a county meeting by an elected official was that our public library needs to make sure that they are not putting “inappropriate” books on our shelves. A citizen complained that a book had a picture of a child with same-sex parents.

This “leader” brings an agenda of personal value matching to the table and would like to make the same choices for all of the children of the county that he would make for his own household – in a Public Library that uses government funds. It saddens me greatly that anyone in a seat of power to make decisions would abuse that position to pass judgment of what is or is not appropriate and remove a book that allows a child who may also have two mothers or two fathers the opportunity to see herself on the pages of a book in our county library. It angers me that someone in a position of leadership would call a family unit “inappropriate” and send a message to any child that his family does not meet an acceptable standard and does not count – and that other children “should not be seeing that.” That’s an abuse of power, along with a myopic and selfish attitude – which does nothing to better the world – in fact, harms it. I want to continue in the dialogue, but I’m making the choice to wait until my anger subsides.

Because I realize that I can’t better the world with a tongue that (once unleashed) may not heed my brain’s stop signs.

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.