Poem – What gets you up?

What gets you up?
You have to have a reason
for getting up in the morning
and for making it
through the day.

Children? Work? Art?

What brings you joy? Do that.
What does the world need? Do that.

Can you get paid for it? Even better.

But even if you can’t,
do it anyway,
because it will feed your soul
and that kind of nourishment
can’t be bought
in a store.

There is no nutritional supplement
for a soul deficiency,
like there is for scurvy.

Rumi says: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

Buechner says: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Poem – This is not a Christmas present

not a present

This is not a Christmas present.
This is hatefulness.
This is the exact opposite
of a present at all,
much less one celebrating
the birth of Jesus.
This is pure aggressiveness.
There is nothing passive about it.
The label is superfluous.
It is quite obvious
what he thinks
about his sister
from how he has packaged
his “gift”.

If this were given to me,
I might set it on fire right in front of him.
I might take it outside first.
I might put it under a steamroller.
I might shoot it with my revolver.
I might tie lead weights to it
and throw it into Percy Priest Lake.

Under no circumstances would I open it.
It doesn’t matter what is inside.
Gold bars?
Enough money
to pay off my mortgage?
The key
to my dream art studio?
A contract
for a personal chef and gardener?

No gift is worth this.
Sure, it wouldn’t take long
to cut through these cable ties.
Maybe an hour.
Maybe a few pairs of scissors
would get destroyed
in the process.
That isn’t the point.

My friend,
I’m telling you
this truth:
don’t take any “gift”
that is given
with this much hostility.
It isn’t worth it.
Walk away from it,
and that person.

That is the best present
you can give
yourself.

“Travel by Stamps” is now available!

cover image

So apparently I like making books.

“Travel by Stamps” is a picture book using stamps for the illustrations. I wrote and assembled the story in a tiny travel journal first. Then I scanned the stamps and typed up the words to the story, changing the layout to suit the new format of a printed work.

This was created for fun and as an homage to art journalists. I can’t sketch very well yet, but I’m learning quite a bit about layout and design for when I do.

This is available in print and e-book from Amazon. It is only 42 pages, but because it is full color it is more expensive than would be expected for a book that size.

http://www.amazon.com/Travel-Stamps-Betsy-Nelson/dp/1522947124/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1451404163&sr=8-2&keywords=betsy+nelson

Chanukah books for children

These are very good picture books for children that are about Chanukah. I will add to this list as I find more.

Simon and the bear: a Hanukkah story by Eric A Kimmel

The menorah story by Mark H. Podwal

Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel

The Count’s Hanukkah Countdown (from Shalom Sesame) by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer

Christmas books for children

These are all very good picture books for children that are about Christmas. I will add to this list as I find more.

Babushka by Sandra Ann Horn
The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats
A song in Bethlehem by Marni McGee
Why Christmas trees aren’t perfect by Richard H. Schneider
Eloise at Christmastime by Kay Thompson

Specifically featuring the Magi –

The Stone: a Persian Legend of the Magi by Dianne Hofmeyr
The Fourth King: The story of the other wise man by Ted Sieger
The Fourth Wise Man (retold by Susan Summers, based on the story by Henry Van Dyke)
Small Camel Follows the Star by Rachel W.N. Brown

Bear books for children

These are all very good picture books for children that feature bears. I will add to this list as I find more.

Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker

The Bear’s Song by Benjamin Chaud

Otto the Book Bear By Katie Cleminson

Don’t Worry Bear by Greg Foley

The Winter Visitors by Karel Hayes

Mr. Brown’s Fantastic Hat by Ayano Imai

Hugless Dougless by David Melling

Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman

Monster books for children

These are all very good picture books for children that feature monsters. I will add to this list as I find more.

Love Monster by Rachel Bright

Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Kaplan

The Monster’s Monster by Patrick McDonnell

Even Monsters Need Haircuts by Matthew McElligott

Some Monsters are Different by David Milgrim

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex

Wanda’s Monster by Eileen Spinelli