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 FRESH FROM THE INKWELL 

JOY JAR 2014

Contents of the Joy Jar I filled this year
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Agency D3: Discover, Decide, Defend (VBS)
Baby photos and videos on Facebook
Bible/Shakespeare/other literary classics
Blue Devils!
Book clubs
Branson restaurants, not having to cook
Cameraderie of a choir
Christmas carols
Chlorine in hair, sunblock on arms, turps on fingers
Comfortable shoes
Constancy: knitting patterns/music/stars
De-cluttering
Different views of the Needles & Culver Cliff (I.W)
Dunking digestive biscuits (cookies)
Empty Yahoo inbox, trash and spam
Emptying this jar when I thought I had no blog
Ex-Pats on Facebook
FB photo challenge
Family games
Finishing a book (reading or writing)
First cup of coffee Mark brings me every day in bed
Fish & Chips
Fresh air, sun cows grazing, run with Jet after long winter
Good read e.g. Far From the East End
Gospel music at Friendly Baptist Church, Branson
Gumbo
Hand quilting
Identifying a bird by sight and sound
Internet & printer for research & school
Kids whose favorite subject is art
Live theater
Masterpiece on PBS; Call the Midwife; Mr. Selfridge
Meeting a deadline
New bulletin board of K-6 artwork
Organized art supplies
Ozark evergreens and layered rock
Photo of Sandown through a green wave (FB)
PJs all day when it’s cold and gray outside
Pin oaks changing color daily in front of house
Reading in bed with the heater blazing
Reading/napping/piano on snow-bound days
Realizing I’d written/submitted more than I thought
Receiving Christmas cards with news/pix
Reclaiming writing space and time
Rediscovering old books; and piano classics
Return of the Muses (for writing and painting)
Seeing kids create their own paint colors
Seeing people I know in town
Segovia & others on Classical Arts Showcase (PBS)
Smaller art classes after division (gr 1, 2, 4)
Smell of sizing, pressing quilt blocks
Smooth feel of piano keys
Special effects and TRUTH of Jonah production
Starting a book (reading or writing)
State Fair of Texas via DART train
Sun low on horizon, pink snow across flat prairie
Sunrise when I catch it: God painted the sky
Taking kids’ weaving off the looms
Tank full of propane, $$$ to pay for it
Turning in grades
Variety of food at CQ suppers, all U can eat
Typesetting a chapbook like VW at Hogarth Press
Wassail
W. Somerset Maugham
Warm sweaters and scarves
Women’s Bible Study (Ann Graham Lotz)
Wrapping Christmas presents
Yorkshire puds & sausage rolls Read More 
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THE JOY JAR

When I first sat down to write this blog last week, Christmas carols danced in head like sugar plum fairies. Frozen rain kept us indoors, and beyond the window lay a sparkling winter wonderland. Now the white has melted, but an Arctic wind has arrived, so I'm content to stay in - though I might bundle up and take Jet for a brisk walk to the pond this afternoon or tomorrow.

As I anticipate the year ahead, only God knows how much of our lives will change or remain the same. We've lost a cousin and several local residents in the past couple of months. But His presence makes tough times bearable, challenges winnable, and good days even more joy-filled if we walk by faith. It's time to shake out all the little sticky notes deposited in my Joy Jar throughout 2013. Below is a complete list, arranged not chronologically, or in order of importance, but alphabetically. Some are condensed to save space.

THE JOY JAR 2013

back in the saddle again (teaching)
bagpipes; tartan
Beatles memorabilia; secret sisters
Berean Fellowship (Independence, KS)
BBC online
black-and-white movie with Dirk Bogarde
black-eyed peas with cornbread
book sales at Hastings & at school
celebration of Angy Rowe’s life
chatting with cousins on Facebook any time
chocolate log; apple cake; Nutella
Chopin
classical guitar by Rodrigo and Albinez
clear PAP test & only 1-2 needed the rest of my life
coffee-book smell at Watermark store
compliments and hugs from students
country eggs; egg cup collection
crafty ladies (and men)!
dipping into a poetry book, inspired to write more
Egyptian art; Impressionist paintings
e-mail; e-tickets
European Journal on channel 35
Felix M’s barcarolles
finding lost earrings/book/CD/passport/file/poem
finished a jigsaw puzzle
fireworks
former neighbors reunited on FB
four days of revival
French
full church; full stomach
gentle rain; good soaking rain; any rain after a drought
getting paid to play with paint, job falling into my lap
Girls Scouts Thinking Day in Caney
good night’s sleep every night; interesting dreams
God painting the sky
GRACE
green views from all windows of this house
Hal Lindsey Report (news lining up with prophecy)
handwritten cards and letters from friends
hot chocolate, hot cross buns
husband who can fix things AND organize taxes etc.
Internet
JM at church said his dream job is to be a preacher
journals old and new
libraries both large and small
KIDS!
King Crimson, Fairport Convention, Lettermen on YouTube
Last of the Summer Wine on channel 11
Loreena McKennitt CD
mashed potatoes, potato soup
maids (my appliances)
melting snow
mission projects with women at church
movie, The Blind Side
music by Da Faya & others on Classical Arts Showcase
nap with a good book under warm covers
new Writer’s Market – possibilities!
nostalgia of old seaside/railway paintings
open piano book, smooth ivory keys
Operatica CD; piano duet CD
pas de deux from Scheherazade
photography; 30-day Photo Challenge
Prairie Writers and Sedan Book Club
quesadillas
recipes old and new
redbuds in bloom
rekindling the writing flame; satisfaction of a day’s writing
research for London ABC book
SAMUEL and other children’s Bible stories
Schumann’s Scenes from Childhood
Scott Joplin rags
seashells
Sedan Business Women
sense of humor; sense of smell
singing alto in the community choir
smell of books, old or new
sparkling snow
spring breeze; sunshine
sun through stained glass windows
Team Kids excited about their Bibles
time spent with our daughter Rachel
Vacation Bible School
vegetables
walks, runs & couch time with our rescue dog, Jet
warm shredded wheat; warm clothes in an icy wind
wedding anniversary, 35 years
well-written TV scripts
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I will start a new jar in 2014!
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JANUS AT THE CROSSROADS

As a 2nd/3rd grade teacher, on the first day back at school each January, I would borrow bells of all sizes from the music teacher and let my class ring in the New Year. Later when I taught art, I had 5th graders paste the double face of Janus (Roman god of gates and doorways) in the top center of the paper, looking forward and back. They would draw a memory (good or bad) from the old year on the left, and one thing that might happen in the New Year on the right.

Since retiring, I’ve had the luxury of time in which to reflect on my life and write more chapters of a memoir, BUGSY, SLUG, THE BEATLES AND ME. Last year my old my high school class in England held a reunion that I couldn’t attend. Instead, I sent this prose poem listing memories from 1st Form thru 6th Form (the equivalent of grades 6-12 in the US) at Sandown Grammar School:



NOSTALGIC ACROSTIC ©Hazel Spire
S triped summer dresses and swimming at the Blue Lagoon.
A rt teacher Mr. Binch’s encouragement: “That’s interesting!”
N eville Anderson’s solo “O Valiant Hearts” in the Little Hall.
D ancing the foxtrot, Virginia Reel and Strip the Willow in the gym.
O ut on the field in all weathers – jolly hockey sticks!
W illie Wiseman our heart throb, along with Adam Faith and Elvis.
N etball practice for Sandham house, Grassy towering over the net.

G erman with Hinny and Helmut; my penfriend Gerlinde.
R omantic poets with ‘Lit’ English. Did she have a first name?
A nthems I still remember from the choir in Assembly.
M r. Fennelly (Flan) scrabbling in the dirt at an archaeological dig.
M usic with Pastry, including a song he wrote for Speech Day.
A lgebraic and chemical formulae, unused, long forgotten.
R ailway crossing on a blue Raleigh bike, my 13th birthday present.

S ewing a yellow gingham apron with Buster Rogers.
C od Cooper’s bulging briefcase; Bert Ayling’s red cushion.
H at that I dared not remove because I lived opposite Miss Tovey.
O ld Owens (Taffy) tapping his ring on the radiator; and the
O M skipping in plimsolls at the Inkies’ Christmas Party.
L atin declension, conjugation and Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Our Prairie Writers homework this month is A NEW BEGINNING, for which I wrote a similar piece, but looking to the future:

OPTIMISTIC ACROSTIC ©Hazel Spire
A nticipate everyday miracles.

N o recriminations over last year’s failures.
E very nook and cranny of the office filed and dusted.
W riter’s Market on hand with homes for manuscripts.

B ooks to finish, books to publish, books to read.
E xpand my speaking/teaching platform.
G oals to be set, goals to be met, but with grace periods.
I magine myself a morning person, fit and trim.
N ever neglect the arts—painting, piano, poetry.
N ational Gallery visits, via calendar and in person.
I sle of Wight in May for a high school reunion?
N ephew’s gift, a journal to record my journey.
G ear up for 2013. This could be the best year yet! Read More 
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NEW LEAF IN A WRITER'S NOTEBOOK

AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS POEM WAS PUBLISHED IN THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNICATOR. IT'S TIME TO RENEW THE PROMISE.

I solemnly declare before the Muses:
That 2011 is going to be a year
Devoted to pursuit of my career.
No longer dare I mutter lame excuses.

With schedule taped upon my office door,
I’ll start at 9 each weekday on the dot
To edit, brainstorm, query, write, and plot.
The dust and dirty dishes I’ll ignore.

I’ll take to heart the wisdom gleaned from pros,
Display their words above my typing table,
And, just as faithfully as I am able,
Rewrite, rewrite ’til every sentence glows.

If friends, assuming I have time to kill,
Entice with Tupperware or plead a favor,
From deadlines I shall just refuse to waver.
If I don’t guard my writing hours, who will?

Though organizing’s not my bag, I’ll try
To file all market tips efficiently,
For knowing where to find them is the key.
Can’t let a chance of selling work slip by!

Ideas shared are ideas multiplied,
So I should help our writers’ group to grow.
Who better than a fellow scribe can know
Rejection’s pain or publication’s pride?

I’ll thank my family for their loyalties
When rushing off to yet another workshop:
“Eat sandwiches or something, ’cause I can’t stop.
Some day we’ll dine out on my royalties!”

There may be times I need to make amends;
As skirts and shirts hang waiting to be pressed
And hampers overflow, I must not rest,
But keep the candle burning at both ends.

Before me I will hold the vision bright—
A pile of books, my books that I am signing!
Repeat these affirmations (quit that whining):
“It’s not impossible” and “Writers write.” Read More 
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