What A Wonderful World

My wife, Susan, and I find great joy in being Bridges Volunteers at Coburn Elementary School here in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Bridges Vision: “Every child and older adult will experience the richness of intergenerational relationships and interdependence.”

Below is a poem I wrote about our experience as volunteers, along with a few photos.

 

This is an account of children, third grade students, of Coburn Elementary School

Located in West Springfield, Massachusetts. Children who are 8-10 years old

Interacting with senior citizens—building bridges together by talking, reading,

Listening, creating art, laughing, sharing pieces of ourselves.

Many children of refugees and immigrants. Children of dreamers

Of a better way of life. Children of parents and grandparents

From Nepal, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, Russia, Puerto Rico,

Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Latvia, Belarus, Germany,

Poland, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Moldova.

Children who speak two, three, four languages.

Children named Maimuna, Luis, Jayden, Ivy, Haydia, Nabaa,

Evan, Luca, Layla, Bogdan, Isabella, Victoria, Mohamed,

Prashna, Prashik, Prateemna, Prabesh, Jaylin, Tisha, Milana,

Emily, Jordan, Miyana, Joseph, Yuliya, Matilda, Lilly, Emil,

Michael, Kimberly, Yariana, Elijah, Hailey, David, Caleb,

Matthew, Emil, Yariana, Mykle, Jade, Mihaela.

Children who dream of being firefighters, lawyers, baseball players,

Basketball and soccer players, doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers.

Children who say, “You are the best Bridges friends ever.”

“Thank You for listening and talking with me.”

“Thank you for doing the Macarena with me.”

“Thank You for playing cards with me.”

“Thank You for making me laugh.”

“Thank You for helping me. You were funny, helpful and supportive.”

“Thank You for your company and helping us with our art projects.”

“I am grateful you spent time with us.”

“Thank You for your time. Remember when we made the banks?

That was so much fun! Hope we can do it again.”

“Thank you for being here when I am down. You get me

Up and going. You make me happy.”

“Thank you for helping us with the fun stuff we made.”

“I love you. You will always be in my heart.”

Our Bridges friends: Children who believe the world is wonderful

“Because Nature is a painting by life;”

“Because there are lots of beautiful things and happy families;”

“Because there are computers, cats, people, food, pets,

Family, friends, water, emogees, sunflowers, rainbows,

Waterfalls, forests, and cookies;”

“Because we have families, food, and trees;”

“Because we see different people every day and they are beautiful;”

“Because of family, friends, cousins, aunts, uncles,

Grandparents and food and drinks;”

“Because of many beautiful faces;”

“Because everyone loves each other. We all are family;”

“Because of flowers, grass, trees, animals, people, religions;”

“Because of friends and family and my teachers;”

“Because of every person in the world smiling and laughing;”

“Because the roses are red, the clouds white, the sky blue.

They are there for me and you.

What a wonderful world.”

“Mr. Bruce and Miss Susan………

When will we see you again?

I love you.”

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

 

Pasta Primavera

Returning home from a long weekend at a 50th wedding anniversary, my wife suggested I make something simple for dinner, pasta primavera.

Indeed simple—-and delicious, especially because the vegetables are roasted!!!

Ingredients

  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and cut into thin strips (my addition)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn (Remove the husks and the silk from the corn and cut the kernels off as close to the husk as possible) (my addition)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a large heavy baking sheet (I used a large cast iron pan), toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat.  Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10–15 minutes, about 20–30 minutes total.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, tender but still firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Toss the pasta with the vegetable mixtures in a large bowl to combine. Toss with the cherry tomatoes and enough reserved cooking liquid to moisten. Season the pasta with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve immediately.

 
 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Spicy Chicken Orange Ginger Meatballs

These spicy chicken orange ginger meatballs are so delicious!

Ingredients
  • For the meatballs
  • ¼ c. milk
  • ½ c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 
1½ lb. ground chicken
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 
2 tbsp. green onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 
1/4 tsp. salt
  • 
1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • I added 1/2 cup of leftover mashed potatoes and 1/2 cup of chopped leftover green beans—-and 1/4 cup red wine! OH! And I small carrot and celery stalk finely diced 🙂

 

  • For the sauce:
  • ½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
  • ½ c. granulated sugar or honey
  • ⅓ c. white or rice vinegar
  • ¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard size baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and panko breadcrumbs. Allow to soak for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, egg, garlic, green onion, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix together just until combined (overworking it will cause the meatballs to be dense).
  3. Shape into meatballs and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until cooked throughout (internal temperature of 165).
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, sugar or honey, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a low simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the cold water and cornstarch, add to the saucepan. Whisk until combined, continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  5. Place the meatballs in serving dishes over hot brown rice and steamed broccoli. Add sauce. YUM!

Based on a recipe from Life Made Simple.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

 

I Give and Receive Light and Love

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

The Very Best Burger

I have never bought a store-made hamburger patty. Never!

I like to make my own. Here is one with parsley, Parmesan cheese and Worcestershire Sauce topped with hamburger relish  and red onion sitting on an English Muffin. Doesn’t it look delicious?

And here is another topped with corn salsa! Do I hear an Ole!!!???

Oh, I have eaten store-made hamburger patties at graduation parties and summer barbeques. Once I even put a knife through my palm trying to separate a few frozen patties that were given to me as a gift. Some gift! They meant well and I was just dumb.

But a few weeks ago, I was in Big Y World Class Food Market and a “New Item” caught my eye. A simple but beautiful package of 4 hamburgers from Schweid & Sons, “The Very Best Burger,” “Fresh Custom Blend Ground Beef Burgers.”  Me, being an adventurer always ready and willing to try something new, picked up a package.

The first time I cooked 2 burgers for Susan and me, it rained and I was forced to bake them. I simply couldn’t wait another day to see if I liked these burgers.  I did. Delicious!

Here I served them on English Muffins, with Swiss Cheese, Banana Peppers, Ketchup and Relish. Sides of homes fries and carrot fries—-both seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning.

The second time I grilled the burgers. Always better on the grill!

Keeping it simple here. English Muffin, Hamburger Relish, Sliced Campari tomatoes. Delicious!

I definitely recommend the burgers from Schweid & Sons. Are they the very best burger? Who knows? Who cares? Give them a try. Fire up that grill. Open a bottle of wine. Bon Appetit!

And if you are looking for a Buffalo Burger, give D’Artagnan a try. I grill these all the time and love them! I also buy there bacon—no nitrates!

When Susan and I eat out and want a burger we enjoy the food at Shortstop Bar & Grill in Westfield, Massachusetts.

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resolutions vs Rules

When I woke this morning, I read from The Daily Word:

New Year
The life of God within reassures me that new adventures await.

With a new year comes new beginnings. As I bid last year goodbye, I greet today with an air of anticipation. This new year holds the promise of a new dawn, an adventure waiting to be fulfilled.

Prayer is a powerful resource on my journey, and every thought of God is a prayer. So I keep myself centered on divine life within. There, faith encourages me to believe that all things are possible. This new year holds within it the promise of love, joy, health, prosperity, harmony, and so much more.

With gratitude, I recognize and give thanks for the many blessings in my life—those received and those coming my way. I live in confidence because the life of God within reassures me that new adventures await.

Be renewed in the spirit of your minds.—Ephesians 4:23
In the book, Balancing Life By The Rule, Debra Farrington shows us the difference between self-help and spiritual growth in her article on creating a “rule” to guide everyday life, based on Christian monastic rules. Contrasting a rule with a New Year’s resolution, she says that the latter is based on what we think is wrong with us (too fat, too poor, too tired, etc), while a spiritual rule grows from a desire to become more fully what we were created to be.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.” – James 3:13

I went down to the river to pray. “I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.” – 1 Corinthians 14:15

Some “rules” for this year include: 

More Spiritual Study. Read the Bible every day and other spiritual texts. Pray.

More Charity. Help those in need. Continue to volunteer with the 3rd grade class here in town. Look for other opportunities to volunteer.

More Meditation. Rise early and pray/meditate. Practice yoga.

One Pointed Attention. Listen empathically (getting inside the other person’s frame of reference so you listen with one purpose: understanding) until you truly understand the other person’s position. Then work on ensuring that you clearly communicate your thoughts and ideas.

Think Outside The Box.

Remember Who I Am. Know Thy Self. Namaste.

Humor. Find the humorous in the everyday.

Read more books.

Write more poetry.

The park, for me, is a place of grace. A church. A temple of nature. A sanctuary. Birds singing songs of praise and joy. Doves, finches, woodpeckers, crows and robins. On one walk I saw a fox on the path in front of me. Another time hawks circling overhead. A Green Heron in the water. I walk my dog, Freddy, a mini-labradoodle, there a few times every week. One time, without incident, we walked, and every few minutes I talked, “Good dog. Good dog.” On we walked past Meadow Trail and Beaver Brook. All the time my dog acutely aware and when I wanted to stop and photograph, I said “Freddy, sit.” And he sat. And he waited. And when I said “okay” on we went.

More story-telling.

In church the book calls How did you find me And do you believe Her neighbor says I Bet he found you through Me, I believe in Beauty, do you, too Yes, take me, take me Home says this book with The light of sunshine I know I am this A young simple gift See the butterfly And in the second Chapter we read, no Not yet, please, let me Did I ever tell You I was raised Not from the dead but From the living word Wrapped in ancient Stories when all I Want is to go home Angels I hear Come to protect me I am being held Lifted off the shelf Where I have waited Patiently for you Or you or you to Take me with you home Read my sad story Once upon a time No it does not start Quite like this, listen I hear them singing Do you hear singing See under this book A Garden for Rose

More Portraits.

Continue to count daily gifts.

Self-publish books, including a cook book.

Bruce, they say. When is the cook book coming out? And I saw, now, this year. Tonight I made this–Cheese Tortellini Soup with Kale and Kielbasa.

Market my photography better.

Nymph Lake at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Be more like Jesus.

“Imitate me, as I also Imitate Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1

I think the more I grow to be like Jesus, the more I develop into the person I was meant to be all along.

“Come. Follow me.” Jesus said.

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, wedding, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Do You Love Sunflowers?

I do. I have a garden of them planted along with zinnias. The first one bloomed this morning!

sunflower

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.

Do You Love Zinnias?

I do! I have hundreds planted in my garden. This is the first one to bloom.

zinnia16071954PineappleSage

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.  Photography and Prints meant to last a lifetime! For more details about having an amazing and fun photo experience, please contact me.