Hello fellow bloggers,

I wanted to make you all aware of a poetry contest that ends TODAY.
I apologize for the late notice, but I figured “better late than never.” Be sure to read the rules. For instance, the poem MUST be summer themed.

Happy Writing!


T. Shaw


Hello Everyone, it’s time to do this again!

Are you a poet? Do you enjoy writing poems until your heart is sore or until it soars?

I’ve held a poetry contest once before and I absolutely adored it! It was a blast and I got to meet tons of amazing poets and bloggers. For my current followers, you may have noticed an influx of poetry appearing on my own blog lately. What can I say, it’s simply flowing out of me! Anyhow, I am so excited to hold an “End of Summer Poetry Contest.” Unlike my first Poetry Contest, this contest is themed!

*Please be sure to read all of the rules, otherwise your poem may not be eligible!*

Summer (1)


  • To be eligible for this competition you must be subscribed to my page (i.e. following and receiving emails.) Not subscribed yet? No worries! Go to my home screen…

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Let’s waste time chasing cars

I recently witnessed Ed Sheeran perform at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. He’s quite the entertainer, but this post isn’t about him.

This post concerns his opening act: Snow Patrol.

When I was in high school, Snow Patrol became popular. Their hit song “Chasing Cars” was on everyone’s lips, but their popularity ultimately faded as they failed to produce new music.

They became forgettable.

So when I heard that they would be opening up for Ed, I was annoyed. Snow Patrol was old news. I didn’t care that they had a new album; I didn’t want to hear it. In my mind, opening acts should be for bands who are up and coming, and as far as I was concerned, Snow Patrol’s ship had already sailed.

But on the day of the concert, when they finally started to strum, drum, and sing, I couldn’t help but notice their fervency. Between songs, the lead singer communicated that it had taken them seven years to release a new album. He joked about how incredible their new music had to be since they had made their fans wait so long.

This got me thinking about time. I, too, have my own seven year gaps, secret dreams that drift, hoping to rescued, valued, and tended.

When the band finally performed “Chasing Cars,” it didn’t matter that seven years had passed.

We still knew every word.

Ten things I like about me

I was supposed to write this post yesterday. It was even on my to do list, but it felt too awkward to write.

In my gratitude journal, there was a prompt that asked me to write down ten things I like about myself.

I was able to list the first five qualities pretty quickly, but then I came to a halt. I couldn’t think of number six, seven, or eight…

The irony is that two of my blogging friends Em and Little Miss Sunshine have written posts about being comfortable in your own skin, and in both their comment sections I said that I was grateful for the body I live in. Still, I felt awkward thinking about the things I like about myself and even more awkward about sharing those things with all of you.

Who knew this gratitude journal would really make me think?

Here’s what I ended up coming up with:

  1. I can stay calm when others get angry. I salute those years where I worked as a customer service rep.
  2. I can see both sides. It’s the mediator in me.
  3. I’m a learner of all types.
  4. I’m a faithful friend.
  5. I’m a poet.
  6. I can be a good listener.
  7. I’m stubborn. This wasn’t always a characteristic my parents enjoyed as I was growing up, but I use my powers more for good than evil now.
  8. I have wavy hair (not featured in this picture), which reminds me that I need to update my “about me” photo since I no longer have long hair, and I grew out my bangs a century ago.
  9. I’m quiet. Sometimes my silence inspires anxiousness in others, but it’s something I’ve come to appreciate.
  10. I can sing some really good karaoke. Bring on any song with freakishly long notes; that’s what really gets me going.

How easy or difficult would it be for you to rattle off ten things you like about yourself?I’d love to know a few. 🙂


T. Shaw

An Attitude of Gratitude (Week 1)

Last week, I mentioned that I wanted to start a gratitude series, where I would be able to take time every week to reflect on the good in my life. Welcome to the first installment!


The day I graduated with my M.A. in English, I told my husband that I wanted my first act as a graduate to be visiting my local, public library, so I could apply for my very own library card. Even though I have studied literature for several years, I have rarely found time to read for pleasure. Finally, I was going to be able to make my own reading lists! However, when we got to the library, it was closed. Ha, just my luck. But ya know, I persevered and went again the following week.

I haven’t had a public library card since elementary school. I remember going there often with my mom and picking out picture books. One of our absolute favorites was a book called A Five-Dog Night. If I remember correctly, it’s about a grumpy old man that an old woman befriends. She happens to measure the temperature by how many dogs she snuggles in her bed every night. Now that I’m talking about the plot, it sounds a little creepy, but I promise it was a cute, heartwarming story, but I digress.

Over these last couple months, I’ve checked out a few books.

Image result for mosquitoland       Image result for we were liars       Image result for the light between oceans

Image result for the light we cannot see       Image result for the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

I truly can’t explain how much I have loved this summer post graduation. I feel undeniably free. Perhaps that is why I haven’t been blogging as much. I have enjoyed living with very few responsibilities. Life has been relaxing, especially when I’m in the arms of a good book.

That is why this week I’m most grateful for my library card. I’m reminded of Ray Bradbury’s admiration for libraries and his belief that those who have access to a library have access to a free education.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!


T. Shaw

It mocks me

It mocks me—the grand piano—that resides in my living room.

It was purchased for my older brother. After playing for some time, his piano instructor recommended that my parents buy a bigger keyboard for him, but our dad brought home the monster with white teeth instead. My family and I always give my dad a hard time about this—his go big or go home attitude. He’s a very humble man, but sometimes he has expensive taste.

My brother played for awhile, but eventually the instrument was no longer a priority. His interests changed, but that was okay, because my parents believed I could learn to play. The problem was that I never hit the keys until an hour before my lesson, because I believed that I could master a piece without training.

I have had three piano teachers, so it’s obvious I’m the problem. I always joke that if there was only a pill to swallow that provided instant mastery of an instrument I’d take it.

Since a pill of that sort doesn’t exist, I’ll try something I’ve never tried before: consistent practice.

Currently, I’m on page 109 in Alfred’s Basic Adult Piano Course: Level 1. I hope to finish the book by the end of this year.


T. Shaw

Happy Father’s Day

Today, I’d like to wish all you dads a Happy Father’s Day! Yesterday, we spent time in San Diego, CA, to honor my dad. We didn’t take any pictures, but I’d like to add an oldie but a goodie of my parents.

He is an incredibly selfless, hardworking man. When I picture him, he’s outside working in the yard, wearing a white T-shirt, jeans, and a bucket hat to block out the sun.

He is loyal and loving, and I am extremely blessed to have him as my own.


T. Shaw

Her Pen Pal

For my nephew

Her Pen Pal

Through the bay window
One eye may spy
Six humans, a chattering of chicks,
A Doberman duo, a duckling duet,
And one cat with a gimp.

Their lives orchestrated by
Slap shots, take downs, touch
Downs, layups, yellow cards,
Major scales, call times, and
Camping trips.

Still the boy finds time for
Dear Auntie,
To share about his day,
What’s keeping him busy,
How he celebrated Easter, and
That he relly enjoys when
She writes back.

The Ultimate Party Crasher

The Ultimate Party Crasher

All impurities swept and mopped,
Tables ornamented with
Praying napkins in
Coordinating colors to
Match blue vases borrowed
From her sister’s summer wedding,
Now filled with flowers from
Miss Shelly’s stand at
Famers market.

Doorbells ring, guests arrive,
Stacking gifts, munching chips and dips,
And exchanging home renovation tips, concerning
Outdoor patios, stainless steel appliances,
And the latest candle scents.

Until he arrives,
The ultimate party crasher.
He’s never invited and never notices
How you’ve prepped and planned.
He sneaks in to suck and scavenge,
Slighting every party guest,
From person to person he
Indiscriminately pests, stealing
a taste from everyone’s plate.

And there’s nothing you can do
But wish you could,
Like him—fly.


At the beginning of this year, I took a personality test.

I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that my type is mediator.
Never expect me to side with you. I’m always on the other side, and when I am on the other side, I’m with you.

Like all good personality tests, the website included a section called “Mediators You May Know.”

I was surprised to find J.R.R. Tolkien, Frodo Baggins, and Arwen on the list. I was also excited, because The Lord of Rings was on my professor’s syllabus, which meant I would read the novels in a few months. (I had seen the movies, but it had been a long time)

Little did I know that Arwen isn’t even in the books. I mean, she exists, but her role is minor. Therefore, I could not identify with her character.

I also didn’t feel very Frodo-esque while reading. He’s more mission-minded than I am. It’s also hard to tell what’s him and what’s the Ring.

Finally, one can only assume so much about Tolkien by simply reading what he writes. Although, I am now interested in reading his biography to see if I can spot any similarities.

It wasn’t until The Two Towers that I finally discovered the character most like me:


I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side . . .

I’m also not very hasty. 😉

But by the very end of The Return of the King, I finally observed a bit of Frodo in me. It’s the way he suffers silently. Although I’ve never carried a burden so great, I typically struggle alone. I  won’t share what afflicts me until I’ve reached the other side.


I also have a final thesis update for you all.


Yesterday, I graduated and earned my M.A. in English.

Again, I feel similar to Frodo. The Ring is destroyed. My academic quest accomplished, but I feel quite sad. An age ends, but I know a new one begins.

I’m excited to get back into blogging. While writing my thesis, I abandoned my blogging schedule, but now I’m ready to get back on track. To start, I’ll be posting new content every Friday. 🙂

Thank you all for being patient with me and lending me your support.

Happy Friday!

💜 T. Shaw

Perceiving Potential

I told my husband that I just wanted to look. If I could kill a miniature cactus, then maybe I should avoid anything too high maintenance. To prevent any casualties, I had devised a plan. I’d google the scientific names and discover how finicky they really were. I wouldn’t be deceived by a pretty appearance.

I perused every aisle, googling and storing the names of my favorite plants as I went. Until, I found a slightly sad looking plant, but the shapes of its leaves caught my attention. I googled the name: Spathiphyllum ‘Domino.’

A peace lily.

Its condition didn’t match its description, but the makings were there.

I kept walking, but the lily lingered with me.

A week later, we went back to the nursery and were recognized by one of the workers. After being asked if we needed assistance, my husband showed the nursery worker the lily I had seen the week prior.

We were told that the peace lily I desired wasn’t in the best health. In fact, none of the plants surrounding the lily were doing so well. The worker had isolated the plants that needed more attention.

He brought out another lily, fully bloomed, that we could buy, and he gave us the one I found for free.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -Leo Buscaglia

💜 T. Shaw