From the time we are children we’ve associated the Christmas season with  a joyful time. And that certainly does outweigh the alternative. Yet we know, (some of us by personal experience) sadness can touch lives at Christmas time. Avoiding all sadness and trying to shape our magic moment, is a futile endeavor. What is meant to happen, will happen. It is a broken world in which we live, and broken hearts need to heal along with it at this time. The true Christmas spirit goes far to promote this healing, through the  gift of Life that we celebrate on that day. It is through the giving that we truly are living.

As children, we researched and compiled extensive Christmas wish lists with the help of the Sears® or Montgomery Ward® catalogs, et al. But as we grew in wisdom and age, we realized that Christmas was more about other things: our family, our faith and our giving to others.

What kind of gifts brought you joy then? What gives you joy now? Today we celebrate the idea of giving and the joy that it brings to others (and ourselves in the process!) Give it your best effort, and give us a gift to ponder for this season.




My first bike was royal blue
With training wheels gone, I flew.
My roller skates with metal clamps
had key for tightening, riding down ramps.

Aunt Ida and Uncle Bill
took me with them to Forest Hills
where I learned how to ice skate;
never did a figure eight.

As an adult, other gifts matter
more, like a table laden with platters
of food, and laughter to be shared
with family and friends for whom I care.

Cards I have created from scratch,
adding personal tidbits to match
person on the receiving end
fill me with joy, and impatience to send.

© Sara McNulty – 2016




“Ebenezer,” she asks,
“If I give you my hand,
will you give me your heart?”
It would have been a smart deal
to feel something warm
where stone cold resides.
For his insides were as rotten
as an undigested bit of beef.
Had he given his heart
it would have been good as gold.
But it made him bitter and old,
a lonely lump in Cratchit’s sorry scuttle.
Emotions shuttle between sharing his love
and caring for just himself.
His past and present will dictate
the uncertain future ahead.
It is said the only true giving is in
living for the sake of humanity.
Greed and vanity will surely kill a man.
“Ebenezer,” she asks, “If I give you my hand,
will you give me your heart
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


The basic pantun consists of a quatrain (4-line verse). Commonly, each line contains between 8 and 12 syllables, and employs an abab rhyme scheme. A pantun traditionally follows a fixed rhythm. Per Wikipedia, “The first and second lines sometimes appear completely disconnected in meaning from the third and fourth, but there is almost invariably a link of some sort. Whether it be a mere association of ideas, or of feeling, expressed through assonance or through the faintest nuance of a thought, it is nearly always traceable.”



…and all at once, the rain had ceased.
When did my children grow so quick?
The length of sunshine has increased.
Why does it leave me feeling sick

when the warmth of Spring emerges?
Little girls become young women
Comfort in this season’s surges.
and all the changes from within –

blossoms having rooted now bloom,
Decorating each life they touch,
fragrant flowers fill up the room.
truly knowing they mean so much.

Life’s bouquet gathered together,
Grown in love to know what life means;
flourishing in all kinds of weather,
ever-growing, evergreen!

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


If you pay any attention to the world, it is apparent that times are changing. A lot is changing. This week we enter into a thankful time on Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, with a quick transition (thanks or not to Black Friday) into the Christmas Season. The stores are already in full regalia and the radio stations have begun to intone Holiday music in earnest. The weather here has changed in a day from 71 degree sunshine yesterday, to 39 degree snow storm with extreme winds today. Changes, changes, changes!

So I suppose it would fall into place if we write about changes, something or someone  transitioning to something else. Write of change before I change my mind.


I’ve seen that our friend Earl Parsons is progressing and is thankful for the blessings and good wishes of all those who hold him in their thoughts and prayers. It seems he will be released from the hospital today. His recovery is still a long way to go and we hope you feel better soon, Earl! We miss you!



The air is chilled.
Clouds in a hue of blue
that feels frigid, making
exposed digits ache and stiffen.
Autumn entered through
Summer’s closing door
and it’s true that fall could be hours old,
but the cold will have you believing
that looks are deceiving. Summer has departed;
can a disheartening Winter be far behind?
I find that this respite is a diversion,
an excursion through the year of seasons.
No reason can suffice to quell
crimson leaves and ice .

© Walter J. Wojtanik -2016


There is no excuse for the late posting of our form. I should have my poetic license revoked! But they say better late than never, so…

Today, we will revisit the Etheree. Created about twenty years ago by an Arkansas poet named Etheree Taylor Armstrong, this titled form, consists of ten lines of unmetered and unrhymed verse, the first line having one syllable, each succeeding line adding a syllable, with the total syllable count being fifty-five.

The way things have been piling on of late, this seemed like the perfect form for this time!



A man
standing guard.
Despite efforts
to be fair and firm,
sometimes he folds under
the pressure. Bright hazel eyes
flash their semaphore to signal
the next barrage to a Father’s heart.
Daughters in tug of war for Dad’s favor.


Sometimes things end up looking like a gap-toothed smile because something is missing. It could be a vital something or just a thing that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable. Write that something. You could be missing home, or a person. Maybe something you lost? Conversely, you could write about finding something. Just put it into words and we’ll fill in the gaps.


Burns Stanza is a stanzaic sestet with lines of two lengths and two rhymes.

Lines 1, 2, 3, and 5 are four feet long with the “a” rhyme.

Lines 4 and 6 are two feet long with the “b” rhyme.

Schematic: Rhyme: aaabab
Meter (Iambic):

x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x b



A madman in a quick decline
was clearly daft; out of his mind
but other that that he was just fine,
a bit unscrewed.
But underneath I’m sure you’d find
a righteous dude!

He’d lost his bearings long ago,
and found them once a year or so.
But when you’ve got to go, you go.
It will be sad,
but when your crazy starts to show,
you’ve gone quite mad.

You find there really is no cure,
(you thought there was, but you’re not sure.)
You laugh hysterically in stir,
a crazy loon.
And when you’re saner than you were
you’ll get out soon!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


The last two months of the year seem ripe for celebration. And of course, you cannot have a great celebration without good preparation. So, what are some of the thing we will be celebrating?

November Celebrations:

Nov. 1 – All Saint’s Day

Nov. 2 – All Soul’s Day

Nov. 11 – Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day

Nov. 17 – Homemade Bread Day

Nov. 24 – Thanksgiving Day

Nov. 30 – Stay at Home Because You Are Well Day


December Celebrations:

Dec. 6 – St. Nicholas Day

Dec. 12 – Day of the Virgin Guadalupe

Dec. 16 – Chocolate Covered Anything Day

Dec. 23 – Festivus

Dec. 25 – Christmas Day

Dec. 25 – Hanukkah

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve

Dec. 31 – Make Up Your Mind Day

Also celebrated is Kwanzaa


Obviously some are legitimate days of cultural and traditional celebration. And some are just plain silly!

What we need from you is to not write about the day so much, but about any preparation needed to pull them off! Have fun and enjoy your “day”!




I miss you.
You always made special days,
days of love and nurturing.
And this future without you
keeps me wishing I had
just one moment more.
A moment to thank you for those times
and tell you did fine teaching
that nurturing and love
was harder than you made it look.
I miss you. I wish you were here.

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016


Written to honor my mom as we prepare to “celebrate” the thirtieth year since her passing on Christmas Eve 1986.

Dad will also be gone ten years on December 20th.



During our Sunday Seed this past weekend, Bill Preston reminded us in his tribute to our friend Earl Parsons, by writing a poem in the poetic form that Earl had proposed a while back. Earl call it an “Appreciate” explaining it’s origin from the children chant “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate…” So as such, the stanza of the poem has two words in the first line, four in the second, six in the third line and finishes with eight words in the last line. I believe you can string stanzas together with that configuration.

So write your poem in Earl’s form, Appreciate. Let him know you have him in your thoughts, and I’m sure he would certainly do just that, appreciate your efforts.



a mermaid
swishing in the sea
emerald water, coral reefs. Seaweed tickles
my fins. I awaken to same old me



Earl messaged
with me on Facebook
telling of his upcoming medical procedure.
I assured him prayers would be raised up.

My thoughts
center on our friend.
His faith will lead him on,
our love will keep him in our hearts!

(C) Walter J. Wojtanik -2016