Tuesday, August 27, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Our Snags Make Us Beautiful

The smooth, symmetrical perfectly growing tree doesn’t capture my interest. The twisting snag—like this one on the beach at the Cape George Colony—does. Eagles know this, they so often build their nests in the snags of dead trees. The best trees—and I’ve seen this in exquisite bonsai trees, capture both the stark beauty of the snag and the thriving green branches.

I know that our lives are like this, too. There are parts of our lives that have been but are no more, things left behind—people, places, jobs, dreams—yet they remain part of us. Like the snag on the living bonsai, they show what was,  show the history that has made us who we are. From whatever part of our lives that  is green and thriving now, we can look at our snags and remember. That helps us move forward to what we want to become, how we want to grow.

We should honor our snags. They make us beautiful, make whatever is strong and fierce and wild look to us as home.

                                                   LORE OF THE BELL:
                                                 Our snags make us beautiful

Friday, August 23, 2013

SURRENDER: Poetry Friday

when there is nothing
when there is nothing
left with nothing
surrender is everything.

Dia Calhoun
August 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Mazama Book Festival--See you in September!

Counting down, just one month away
Both my middle grade novels After the River the Sun and Eva of the Farm are set in (and inspired by) the fabulously lovely Methow Valley in Eastern Washington. 

So I am so please to have been invited to be a featured author at the Mazama Book Festival there on September 7th and 8th. I'm looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Erik Brooks--an amazing picture book author and illustrator--designed the poster.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

7:30 BELLS: Guest Post by Author Lorie Ann Grover

To find new insights on how to hear the bells ring and how to feel alive in your life, I will begin offering occasional guest posts for 7:30 BELLS. I am so honored to offer the first one today below--by noted author Lorie Ann Grover. 

Dia was kind to offer me a moment to share when I hear the bells ringing. One treasured time is when the echo of the past resonates into the present. My youngest daughter recently married and the bells rang gloriously!
When I saw my husband walking my daughter down the aisle, I heard the echo of my dress slipping down the aisle as I stepped to reach his side. While he stepped beside our daughter, I heard the echo of his faithful footsteps beside me for 28 years. When she leaned on his shoulder and kissed him, her entire childhood resonated between them before she reached with joy for her groom.

The bells ring with joy, a draught of sadness, and lasting hope. Whether on the grand scale of a wedding or in a quiet memory brought to light by a current catalyst, they ring. It’s likely they are always ringing, we need only to stop and listen.

May you hear the bells ringing today!

--Lorie Ann Grover
The bells are always ringing, if we only stop and listen.

Lorie Ann Grover is an author/illustrator who creates board books and young adult novels, including the awarded Loose Threads, Hold Me Tight, On Pointe, and Bedtime Kiss for Little Fish. Her fantasy, Firstborn, is being released by Blink, December, 2013.  
Lorie Ann is the co-founder of the literacy social media project, readergirlz, the recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize, as well as readertotz, a blog in celebration of board books. Learn more about Lorie Ann at http://lorieanngrover.blogspot.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Lovers of gaming and Arthurian legends will thoroughly enjoy this one." School Library Journal reviews AFTER THE RIVER THE SUN

Gr 5-7–This companion to Eva of the Farm (S & S, 2012) stands on its own. Eckhart Lyon, 13, is struggling with guilt and sorrow after his parents die during a family rafting trip. He has bounced around in foster care in Seattle until now when his estranged Uncle Albert has agreed to take him on a trial basis. His uncle, who is also dealing with feelings of guilt and loss, lives on a farm in the high desert of eastern Washington and refuses to tell Eckhart what the trial entails. Eckhart is a devoted gamer and fan of “The Green Knight” video game. He loves all things Arthurian. When he meets Eva, also 13, in the canyon near their farms, they bond over their shared enthusiasm for legends about brave knights and fair ladies. Together they embark on Eckhart’s greatest quest: to right a wrong and find a home. The story is written in free verse, which moves the plot along at a rapid pace. Although Eckhart and his uncle get off to a rocky start, there is never any real doubt that they will reconcile. The number of plot twists and turns keeps readers guessing what will happen next. “The Green Knight” game clearly parallels Eckhart’s life and keeps motifs of knights and quests at the forefront. Lovers of gaming and Arthurian legends will thoroughly enjoy this one.–Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

— School Library Journal  August 2013 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

7:30 BELLS Storm Cloud

This past week I couldn’t hear the bells, any bells anywhere. I took this picture near the house where I stayed on the edge of a cliff.

A great thundercloud barrels toward me. In the distance, sun rays fan through the storm. In the distance, bells are ringing--somewhere, somewhere--too far away to hear. I cannot get to them. Cannot hear them. But they are waiting on the horizon.

The bells are waiting. And if I had not looked up from the edge of the cliff, I wouldn’t have known that.

Even if you can't hear them today, 
somewhere the bells are ringing. Wait.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Flat on your back
with nothing left to muster--
     the whiteness of gulls
     against oceanic sky,
     wings limned with light.

Dia Calhoun
Port Townsend, Washington
August 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

7:30 BELLS The Day the Bubbles Came Alive

“When you use the jetted tub,” a friend I’m house-sitting for told me, “don’t add much bubble bath.”

“Ok,” I said. And I didn’t. Even so, when I turned on the jets, the bubbles came alive. ALIVE! Swelling, foaming, hissing, they rose like continents from the sea.

How I laughed. How I played—in utter delight. I sculpted bubble mountain ranges, a foot tall. I made lakes and rivers for the rubber duck. The bells were ringing. (I’m betting God—whichever one you believe in—found the same delight in making the world—the universe.) 

Then I just watched the bubbles as they were born from the foam, grew, lived, and died. Some caught my eye because they swelled and swelled, towering (dome-ing?) like the great and famous above the smaller bubbles clustered around them. But eventually the huge bubbles popped and fell back into the foam.

And I wondered. Were those great bubbles happier for having been seen, for having been immense? I don’t think so. I’m happy being a small bubble.

Play and delight make the bells ring.