Home Grown Honey

Home Grown Honey

I am getting hooked on locally home-grown honey! In the past month, I have been lucky enough on two occasions to get some samples!  The first was from Five Hands Farm out of Minnesota. The owner was in the booth next to mine at a local art show in February. She had honey, in cute little bottles, of which I purchased two for 4 oz. total. Thick, sweet, and slightly flowery in taste, I have been adding it sparingly to one cup a day of my hot tea, with a little fresh lemon squeezed into the steaming, brown, comforting liquid as well. I used the last of it last night. Delicious!


But, just in the nick of time, yesterday afternoon I was given a whole pint of home-made honey from a teacher-friend of mine. I have been cleaning out bookcases in our home and put word out through social media that I had some to give away. In an effort to have some reading/activity options for overnighting grandchildren, she took some of the books. I got honey in return! Yum!

Bees are fascinating! Last year, for the first time in thirteen years, I did a unit on bees for my garden cub students. I learned some important facts. One of which was that there are solitary bees and social bees. Honey bees are social bees, meaning they live in a hive, each contributing to the hive community by performing different jobs. Then, there are solitary bees. These bees include species like the mason bee. Mason bees are highly efficient pollinators, especially for fruit trees. And, unbeknownst to most, are better pollinators than honey bees!  Since we have a home fruit orchard, I purchased a couple of mason bee houses to place in the orchard. I hope they get more action this year than last. Unlike honey bees, mason bees do not produce honey and do not perform a specific job. They do not live in a hive. Instead, they use hollowed out sticks to make cells for reproducing and carrying on the life cycle.

One hears different things about beekeeping. Some say it is difficult, others say it is easy. One friend had her hives collapse and another has been successful. I am spread pretty thin considering the number of hobbies I already have. So, for now, I’ll just admire those who are keeping bees. And, I am always pleased to be the beneficiary of some honey! Thank you bees and friends!

 I am participating in the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers.       Thank you for sponsoring a wonderful community of writers!


What is Leadership?

What is Leadership?

This morning I woke up feeling  unsure about how I will do with the Slice of Life Blog Writing Challenge this year. My intent is to blog everyday. I did complete the challenge successfully last year, posting for 31 days in a row which led to the past year of blogging almost everyday.  It’s been an incredible journey. I feel that I have grown as a writer and very supported in my craft. However, something seems different this year. Maybe it is because I have readers from other online communities. Maybe it is because I like my photo only posts once or twice a week. Maybe there are other reasons, too. But, I do feel myself wondering on just Day #3 of the 31 days of the Slice of Life Story Challenge if I will complete the challenge this year. We will see.  I hope to. Thanks, in advance for your support and for the support of the TwoWritingTeachers Blog that sponsors the challenge.

Today, due to time pressures of other obligations, I am posting about leadership. It is a subject on which I have thought a lot about, started last week, and just finished this morning. I hope you can relate.

Leadership: What it is and is not.

Leadership is not a title.

It is not giving money.

It is not receiving recognition.

It is not giving in when your heart tells you to forge ahead.

It is not a degree.

It is not an office.

It is not having a desk.

It is not a nameplate.

It is not an elected office.

It is not a job.

It is not joining the masses when you feel you should do otherwise.

It is not being the loudest voice in the room.

It is not backing down when you hit a roadblock.

Leadereship is not fickle.

Leadership is….

Leadership is observant.

It is wise.

It is calm.

It is doing what you need to do because it is the right thing to do.

It is sometimes working, hundreds and hundreds of hours behind the scenes.

Working because you see a need.

Work done………………………………

without a paycheck,

without a desk,

without a title,

without recognition,

without fame,

without being elected,

                      without being asked.

Leadership often occurs behind closed doors.

In a meeting.

During a conversation.

Making a contribution, however small and, maybe not monetary.

Done because you want to, not because you are asked.

Done because there is need.

Done because you put others first.

Done because you believe.

Leadership is all these things and more.  What have you done to be a leader and what made you do it?  When did you realize you were a leader? Did someone tell you or did you just know?



What Do You Want Me To Write About?

What Do You Want Me To Write About?

I have over 100 self-written prompts in my draft folder on my WordPress account page for my blog. The month of march is quickly approaching during which I will participate in the 11th Slice of Life Writing Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers for my second year in a row.

I have a voice. I have an audience on WordPress, and a smaller audience through Facebook. I am okay with that. I actually have more WordPress followers than Facebook friends and this tells me that my posts are worth reading, that people are not just reading because they “know” me. Yes! Strangers are connecting to and following my writing! Yeah!  I think you know what I stand for! And if you don’t, read through some of my past posts and you will find out! I have gathered a few together grouped together in themes.

Family Life/Reflections

The Flu

The House of Insomnia 

Resolutions: Every Day Offers A Chance


Drinks of Bermuda

Zen Rock Building in Door County

Enriching Travel


Why Do Parents of Gifted Students Turn to Virtual Education

Five Days to a Tailspin

Giftedness: Do We Need the Label or Not?

Photo Only Posts (These run once a week on Sunday.)

Autumn Glow

Monarchs (In Season)

Monarch Activities in August

Haiku and other Poetry (When the spirit moves me.)

Tea: A Poem of Comfort

There are a total of 307 posts on my blog which is approaching its one year anniversary. If none of the above thrilled you, I invite you to look through my archives and see what other topics are posted.

Alternatively, what would you like to read about?  What should I write about to keep you interested as a reader?

I really want to know. I am not out of ideas or experiencing writer’s block or any such thing. I just, honest and truly want to know what you want to read about!

Almost daily I gain followers of my blog! I find this so awesome that it inspires me to keep writing. But, again, I also know there is a small contingent of people reading my blog privately, surreptitiously, I almost want to say! What is with that? I cannot figure it out. Are my words that radical that you do not want your name associated with mine on Facebook or on WordPress. I seriously doubt it. Maybe it is the ideas I share, that causes you to not want to be “seen” on my posts. Whatever, it is, if you read my blog I would love to know! Why not start by answering these questions for me? What do you want me to write about? What do you want to read about? Let me know. I would love to get you on board! Thanks!

Advice Please: Should I pay for my WordPress Blog?

Advice Please: Should I pay for my WordPress Blog?

Recently, I have been pondering about whether or not I should pay for my WordPress blog site. As an avid blogger with a growing following, I have started to wonder if knowing more about my audience would be beneficial to my site. There has also been instances when the ability to post a video or monetize my blog has crossed my mind.

I consider all this with hesitation, however. Up until this month, I have paid for a Weebly website for my handcrafted jewelry and I also pay to have my jewelry listed on Etsy.  The Etsy site has been up and running since 2009 and I do have sales from that site. Although, for the past four years, most of my jewelry sales have been from being a featured artist in a retail art gallery in Iowa.  The Etsy site is pay per piece listed and for transaction fees, so there is no monthly fee.  The Weebly website for the jewelry, which I am letting lapse, ran between $72.00 and $96.00 per year. I really did not use the Weebly website at all, even though I had great intentions to do so. My intentions ran highest at this time of year when I had to renew and pay my bill. Then, the rapidly decreased, until I barely thought of it at all during the rest of the year.

So, I am wondering how many fellow bloggers on WordPress pay for their blog pages. What benefits do you see? What features do you use? I am on the fence about making the jump from paying for a “free” WordPress blog to a paid site. Will it take the fun out of it? Will I be able to see any added benefits? Will I have an increased readership?

This potential decision comes at a time when I am approaching a year of blogging, and posting almost daily on various topics. I ask that you share your experiences with me about whether or not to “upgrade” my WordPress Blog site. Thanks, in advance!

Popularity Contest?? Not here.

Popularity Contest?? Not here.

Blogging, like a lot of things in life, is like a popularity contest. I have never been a “popular” person or run with the “in-crowd”, so why should I expect differently from my blog?  I am beginning to accept this. I write because it satisfies me, I have been told I am good at it, and it lets me vent – on occasion. Essentially, I enjoy the process, and usually, the product of my writing.

One thing is true, however.  I stay true to myself, my thoughts, my experience, and my convictions (er – beliefs, that is).  My writing is not calculated to produce an effect.  I do not try to get attention. I do not disrespect others. I do not poke fun at someone else’s expense. I might alienate some. I might make some angry.  I might marginalize myself……but, I try hard not to do the same to others. I try to reflect, understand, inform, communicate, and relate. In essence, I want to make you think.

The problem, here, of course, is that sometimes it makes for dry reading. Unless you are already invested in a topic I choose to write about, there is a great potential that what I write is not relatable to you, specifically.  I think that is a risk all writers take.  Some, many – actually, feel unable to take the risk, and therefore, try to attenuate the risk by altering or twisting their story/words/style/caption/tone, etc  ….  making sure you feel compelled to jump on board.  Can you feel the peer pressure? Yup, it is there with blogging, too. You like a certain blog because your friend or co-worker likes it. You want to fit in. You want to be able to talk with a friendly banter or laugh about what they recently read on someone’s blog.  You, along with several hundred other people, know this person. So, you follow along with all the other “groupies”.

Here are a few reasons my blog might still be minimally followed at six months of age:

On using family and friends: That’s just not happening for me. First off, let’s look at the social media aspect of blogging. Social media is okay. But, I am really not into hanging my whole life out there for the public’s general perusal.  I have always had a very small group of close friends and that suits me just fine. I do not have hundreds of Facebook followers or hundreds of friends. I have a small group of loyal friends and I am loyal to them in return.  My family is small. When you have no true cousins that is a small family! You figure out what it means!  Plus, I do not ask that my family be involved in each and every aspect of my freaking life. They like that I am writing, read occasionally, and share even less often. That is all okay with me. I am not going to beg them – or you.

On being a role model: Lately, there is a lot of disrespect being bantered around the internet. I suppose that is because it exists to a large extent in daily life.  I fail to see this as amusing or something to be propagated.  As adults, in my opinion, we are always on display with our words and our actions. Children pay attention, whether you think they do or not. If you are exhibiting disrespect, through words or actions, then you are role modeling that for children. If you are being a respectful and responsible person, that is noted too. Adults are role models 24/7 – all the time, every hour of every day. Watch what you do, for there are eyes on you. I try to follow this guide for the primary reason that eventually children learn what hypocrites are.  I do not want to be one.

On Being Authentic: I am a mother, sister, daughter, wife, nurse, teacher, friend, jewelry artist (didn’t know that one, huh?), author, leader, gardener, lover of music, photographer, citizen scientist, community participant, environmental group member, baker, cook, and many other more mundane titles. I am mid-life (hopefully), having three nearly grown boys. I have things I can share from my experience. Some of those things, I have chosen not to share – yet. I am still deciding whether I want to or not. But, I write authentically, from my own life experience.  It is all I know.

On not trying to sell you things:  I like information. There is no doubt about it!   Better for me than any funny story, is a boat load of information. I love sifting through it. I love finding the little known fact or tidbit. I love a detailed map. I love facts. And, I love sharing all those things with my readers. So, a large part of why I write my blog is to inform. Bloggers that write to entertain, or play on your feelings more than your mind, will probably experience a larger following.


Do I want to gain more readers? Of course! Will I compromise my integrity to get them? No. I will continue to plod along, writing daily, challenging myself and hopefully, engaging most of those who come across my page.  But, as the saying goes “you do you”.    I will stick with being me.

Surprisingly, several hours after I wrote the bulk of this post, I got a notification from WordPress that I recently passed 1,000 likes for my blog! All in all, not bad for the first six months of blogging! I will take it! I think I do have a little popularity among my loyal readers! Thank you!

Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

Tuesday’s Slice of Life Are Slices of Life

There is much I could write about today for my slice of life post and the supportive writing community of two writing teachers blog.

There is the personal angle, really foremost in my mind that today is my 30th wedding anniversary! It really is a milestone of two lives entwined with a shared past, content present, and enduring future.

I could write about a revelation that came to me while showering this morning. Many of my writing or creative ideas come to me while showering.  I have been known to write papers, create math questions, and formulate presentations all while coming clean in the solitude of the shower. Today’s revelation was that I have been compelled to prove my intelligence for the last 20 years since making the decision to be a stay at home mom. I am truly so much more….and feel the need to constantly prove it. Why is that? A case in point is that I am pursuing a second master’s degree in Environmental Education and instead of just taking courses to fulfill the requirements, I have asked to be mentored on conducting, writing, and possibly publishing a research study. Though thorough self-examination, I am not sure why I feel I need to do this, other than to prove I can. For those who read my slice last week, I am still waiting on an answer from my professors with regard to my research proposal. I am beginning to think a course might truly be better.

Then there is the blog I posted over the weekend that deals with grading policies and final weights in high school courses. I thought I would share that here because it did not catch the attention of many readers and being a teacher based blog forum, I would be glad to have some feedback. Suggestions on what to do with the information I uncovered would be welcome as well.

I could write about giftedness. Gifted education is something I have been involved in for a very long time – close to the 20 years I have been a stay at home mom!  Recently, I read a blog post sharing an article (Crushing Tall Poppies FB page sharing a SENG blogpost) about whether giftedness is innate and what the emotional costs are, if it is not.  The person writing the article really did not seem to have a full understanding of how permeating giftedness is for the person that is gifted. He equated giftedenss with achievement and that, most certainly, is incorrect.  He failed to take into account asynchronous developement and/or what might cause a gifted individual fail to perform at an exceptional level.  Click the above link to read the article if you are interested.  I was to take a foundational course on gifted education this fall (believe it or not environmental education is a great place to offer a place for gifted students to be enriched, be leaders, and be involved in community service). The absence of it being offered when I had it scheduled in my program plan is what led to the current quandary I have with revisiting the research proposal with my professors.  Everything is entwined. The gifted student population is underserved and greatly misunderstood, something I understand from both a professional and personal vantage point.

Lastly, I could write today’s post based on the Slice of Life Tuesday prompt that the TwoWritingTeacher’s offered on their home page that asks, “What summer writing are you doing now that will inspire your future students?” Although my garden club has ended, I will still hopefully have my third grade writer’s circle in 2018.   My answer to the prompt is that I am honing my writing skills by blogging daily.  In writing consistently, I am also acquiring some ideas for student writing, such as when I did my Silent Sunday post this week on Favorite Places.  I thought that this topic might be a good prompt for third graders, especially if they had a photo of their favorite place. It might also make the foundation for a short narrative story – one of the types of writing I do yearly with the writer’s circle students. I have shared some of my writing with my students in the past, just occasionally. It shows I am a writer and I understand what problems they might encounter, as well as allowing me to be supportive of their efforts.  In essence, we create a small writing community each year in which ideas, styles, and efforts are varied but all valued.  I hope to do that again for a 7th year. Any writing makes us better writers.




Recently, I have become curious about my audience of  blog readers. I have been bloging daily since March 1st and only have missed a handful of days. This is an awesome accomplishment, one which I am proud of making. My posts seem to yield a consistent and slowly growing contingent of regular readers. Some readers are regular commentators, as well. Just like anything public, it is nice to get feedback on what you are writing and how you are connecting with people.  I know when I have hit upon a nerve, when readers agree with me, receive different perspectives, and more, when I am able to have a few lines of feedback from my readers.

However, my curiosity is more about those who do not comment. I know linking to  my Facebook page brings my posts to more readers. My son, who is soon to be a new graduate student and my sister-in-law, both loyal readers, brought this to my attention. Previous to their observations, I did not realize that my slowly growing of followers number on WordPress is actually larger due to the Facebook links to my blog.  Like a lot of things in life, more is better.

But, who are these readers? Are they people I know that are reading my blog surreptitiously? Are they able to find a connection while reading my posts? When they like a photo that is featured with the post, are they liking just the photograph or something I said in the post? Without comments, I do not know.

Occasionally, I write about things that might irritate my readers. I can be critical, hopeful, biased, and forgiving all in the same post. I know my blog is not funny, nor is it meant to be. I am not a funny person. I have a good sense of humor, but writing humorously is not my forte.  From my experience working as a classroom volunteer,  I know that authors write for different reasons. My reason for writing is not to entertain, but to inform.  I think there are local issues and observations that need to be discussed because if no one discusses them, the problems continue to exist. I want to stimulate your critical thinking skills, your problem solving skills, and maybe start a conversation about things that might be important to you – to all of us. I tend to express myself better using the written word. And, since I have tried more traditional ways of communicating concerns, of which some have worked and some have not, I thought blogging might still allow me to address issues I am passionate about – namely, education and the environment – without becoming overly frustrated that my audience is hearing me but not listening.

But, I ask this: are you reading my blog off my Facebook page? If so, I would really like to know. If you do not want others to know, why not send me a private message? What topics have I written about that have resonated with you?  What makes you curious enough to read my posts but not leave a comment?  I am curious about you, my readers – especially readers I know, readers that have personal experience with the topics of which I am writing. Am I reaching you? I am curious.

In any case, thank you for reading. Please feel free to comment, especially if you never have before.