Cardinals – 50 Precious Words

I was happy that my story got an honorable mention in the Stem/Non-fiction category in the 2022 50 Precious Words contest. This is the second year I have participated in this event, in which you have to write a story of 50 words or less. I enjoyed writing several different stories and chose the one I wrote about my favorite bird.



Cardinals fluff their feathers to keep warm.

Dazzling red against the snow.


Cardinals build their nest in a cedar tree.

They feed and protect their young.


Cardinals enjoy insects and summer breezes.

Babies learn to fly.


Cardinals feast on berries.

And prepare to hide in evergreens.

I Am Still a Teacher

I recently realized how long it’s been since I’ve posted. I have spent most of the summer traveling Europe and organizing my house. I’m learning to be easier on myself and to spend more time doing what I want. Today is Labor Day, a day in which I spent many years getting ready to transition from summer vacation back into a new school year of teaching. Since retiring in July, I am happy to say I have a newfound sense of freedom. Regardless of the transition, I am still a teacher. Probably tracing back to when I first taught my classroom of dolls and stuffed animals, way before getting my teaching degree, I was a teacher. Now that I am retired (although I do plan on teaching and mentoring part-time), I am still a teacher. I have always been a teacher, and I will always be a teacher. So, as I rejoice that I don’t have to go to work every day, I look forward to working on my terms. While I am glad that I don’t have to take the train tomorrow morning, I will miss seeing the wonderful staff of friends and co-workers at school. I wrote a haiku poem in June. Of course, it can’t begin to describe the almost 30 years I have taught (perhaps there will be more blog posts about that) but it is relevant and concise. Now that I’m retired, I will have more time to devote to my writing and will hopefully get my picture books published. Between writing, working part-time, traveling, knitting, cooking, spending time with family, and…oh yeah, relaxing, I will also be checking in here from time to time.

My teaching journey
Has had many twists and turns
A road well-travelled

The Miracle of Life

Each spring, the second-grade classes in my school participate in a bird study. The students become “ornithologists,” learning about different species of birds. They read about birds, engage in hands-on activities, and participate in trips to observe bird behavior. All of the second-grade teachers receive incubators and eggs. The students wait anxiously, taking turns to turn the eggs and learning about the developing chick embryo stages. Last year, I was lucky enough to witness a baby-chick enter the world! I walked into one of the empty classrooms to look at the adorable baby chicks that had already hatched. As I looked into the incubator, I noticed one of the eggs was shaking! I quickly took out my phone and started recording. What a privilege to see the miracle of life, through a little baby chick! The entire process took about nine minutes. (The edited video, however, is much shorter). I hope you enjoy watching this baby chick working its way into the world. I am once again looking forward to seeing the new chicks that will be joining the second-grade classes in my school. It is a reminder that even the smallest of things can be wondrous.

A baby chick working its way into the world.


Happy May! NaPoWriMo has been officially over for a few days. I’m happy to say that I did finish the last few days using the writing prompts. I was a bit nervous on the last day since I had planned to leave a little early for work and was so relieved to see the prompt was to write a minimalist poem. Just to make it clear, if you’re thinking that’s a short poem then you’re correct! One of the most familiar types of minimalist poems is Haiku, a poetry form that I’ve always been fond of. This last day prompt was like the cherry on the top of the ice cream sundae for me or the pretty little bow on the top of the gift. I quickly wrote a succinct Haiku. As I wrote this poem, I recalled my daughter’s and my conversation the day before about my parents (her grandparents). I feel so fortunate to have them in my life, as does my daughter. Family is such a precious thing, something that can so easily be taken for granted, and something that never should be. This is the poem that I wrote for the last day of my poetry challenge, I hope that it will inspire you to appreciate the special people in your life, your family, and perhaps your friends too.


Like a precious gem,

Family is a treasure

To be held and loved.



It’s hard to believe that I only have three days left to finish writing my daily poem for National Poetry Month. I took on the personal challenge of doing this when I found out about NaPoWriMo, quickly starting a blog and submitting it to their site. Writing for NaPoWriMo has made writing urgent, and pressing, pushing me forward into a place where I should have already been. A place I always have somewhat inhabited but that few people ever knew about. The old (and new) pages of my private poetry contrast my children’s poetry as much as night and day. I am grateful for having pushed myself, being able to share a part of myself with children and grownups alike. And there’s always the great, incredible catharsis that writing poetry brings, it’s also one of the best ways to get a good dose of endorphins.

I’m happy to say that I’ve followed the writing prompts on the site most of the days. Just yesterday I learned what a pantoum poem was and wrote my first pantoum poem. The writing prompt was to write a poem that uses repetition, and a pantoum poem is a form of poetry that relies on repetition. Today I wrote a poem based on Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet, again, based on the prompt. I was off all week for spring break, so I was able to afford myself the luxury of taking longer to write and post the daily poems on my blog. I have tomorrow, Sunday, and two more work days to complete this personal writing challenge. I cannot say that I will follow the remaining three prompts, although I will certainly attempt to. In the very first days of participating in this writing exercise, the ideas flowed out of me as quickly as water coming out of a faucet. The poems were just for me, my immediate family and whoever happened to come across them on the NaPoWriMo site. Then, as I began to share my poetry blog with friends, co-workers, and actually mentioned it on Twitter, things began to change. There were some days that the ideas either didn’t flow as easily as they had, either flowing in a scattered myriad of directions or just, well, stopping intermittently, getting stuck…I did, however, work through it and get the daily poem done. I must say that the biggest challenge was actually getting ready for work, somewhat frantically, on more than a few of these days.

All in all, I have enjoyed this more than anything I’ve done in a long time. This has given me the discipline to go forward and make writing a daily part of my life. I’ve learned about new forms of poetry and have been inspired to learn even more. I’ve stretched myself in a way that I believe is necessary to become the published children’s book author and poet that I aspire to be. My mother told me she will miss my daily poem, which she enjoys reading after she checks my blog on her phone first thing in the morning. I think I will miss it too, although I won’t miss the pressure I have put on myself to get the poem written before work. I’ve decided to change the landscape of my poetry blog, paring it down so that I can make a compilation of the poems and pursue getting them traditionally published. I will also add some more poetry to the blog that I will choose to share with those who want to read it. Most importantly, I have experienced the awakening of a new passion that drives me to pursue what I hope will be a very fulfilling second career.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me! This quote reminds me of all of the great people in my life that are encouraging me to pursue my dream of becoming a published children’s book author.

“Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.”

—  Izaak Walton