Category: Creativity

poem and photos

on tiny vase
from a thrift store
God’s special gift
for me today

July 2015
January 2016

The little vase with strawberries is one of my treasures from Bethesda Thrift Store in Sheboygan.

Ellen Grace Olinger

evergreen branches

evergreen branches
fill part of the sky
without the ash tree 

words that are tears
may be harder to write
and this is just fine

sometimes I read a poem
years later and remember
my emotions

do I revise the poem?
improve the craft?

sometimes yes
and the change
may be small

but only if I do not
lose the voice of the
person I was then

who wrote the poem

Thou tellest my wanderings:
put thou my tears into thy bottle:
are they not in the book? 

Psalm 56: 8 (KJV)

This is such a beautiful verse from the Psalms, and I wanted to quote again.  I have wandered too – needed to start over, begin again.  I can only imagine living where you grew up, or a career of  decades.  Or being a mother and grandmother.  There are many beautiful ways to live.  I know I am dependent upon the skills and gifts of others.  Good to both give and receive.  Say thank you as often as I can.

I am so grateful for the life I have been given.  Illnesses and health conditions I have known, still know, are now my teachers and friends.  A quiet life keeps me well, and blogs are the perfect way for me to create.  I have more fluency again.  Yet when I first learned, and other times, I might spend a few hours on a post that takes a few moments to read or view.   Or let posts rest for a time.  So far, my creativity always renews.  Patience is a part of the process.

When I can live in a way that offers silence and space for poems, the poems arrive in time.  I try to manage my time, so the poems feel welcome.  Daily dedication, and content with small steps.

December 2016
December 2017

Thank you and blessings,
Ellen Grace Olinger

Blogs and Books

As I review my archives – and one of the nice features of blogs is how we grow archives – I note posts where I am developing ideas for books.  There is more content here now than I can remember.  My mother said to me when I was young, “If you’re a writer, you’ll write.”  She meant this in a big picture way.  When I have not been able to be creative in one way, then there is something else.  So far, the poetry always returns in one way or another.  I may not write many poems, when I am working on the sequence for a book.

For the next large print book, I found the theme and focus in my post this past Saturday.  I have an ISBN account and assigned a number to this title:  Encouragement, Gratitude, and Hope: Poems by Ellen Grace Olinger.  I set the publication date for December 2019.  Plenty of room to breathe.  Revisions are part of the process, and this is my work – not obligated to a contract.

In another book, Lord willing, I hope to return to an earlier theme of “Wisconsin Seasons and Encouragement.”  I took many photos for a few years; and Karl’s photos from this summer and past years are beautiful.  It was important for my health to make a more dedicated effort to walk this past summer.  The visits to our small towns, Sheboygan, and parks were a blessing.  All is well.  I am sure there are many layers with all our art.  

A small haiku chapbook is another idea, as I’ve shared.  I remember, in the 1990s, when I first began with haiku, how much I loved receiving a card in the mail with a small book.

The work itself is a good teacher.  Over the years, I’ve often been told I have “the gift of encouragement.”  Caregivers also have to take good care.  My overall goal with the blogs and books is to offer hope, one small poem, photo, post at a time.  I love this way of being able to grow and create.  

Thank you.  And I like the new Gutenberg editor.  I learn a lot about colors, font sizes, and other ideas here. 

A deeper sense of confidence – trying new ideas – has grown through the consistent work and feedback.

Ellen Grace Olinger

leaves and trees

autumn leaves
some time for a caregiver
to rest in good care


Years ago, when I was recovering from an illness, I was sitting by a window in Sheboygan.

The tall weathered evergreens across the road spoke to me.  A “haiku moment.”

The hard years showed, yet the trees had continued to grow.


weathered trees
strong and beautiful
my time of healing

Ellen Grace Olinger

Short Poems


driving across
a new bridge
on an old road
the miracles of
everyday life

(November 2012)

the years
that were so hard
and yet
they gave me
my stories


Lake Michigan winds
a tiny bird
seeks shelter
by the kitchen window


grey beautiful sky
evergreen trees
and short days
soon to be decorated
with holiday lights

(November 2013)

Ellen Grace Olinger


Images: wpclipart

Hosta and Pumpkins


We bought two pumpkins at local stores.  Karl placed them by the hosta that surrounds our ash tree that fell during the late summer storm.  We will keep part of the stump and the hosta.  Create in a new way.  The tree showed signs of the Emerald Ash Borer, which has affected so many trees in the area.


The pumpkins also look nice by the front porch hosta.  Previous owners planted the hosta a long time ago.  They are hardy plants.

Garden Journal
October 29, 2018
Photos by Karl