Featured Poem: The Joy of Color

By Bette Lafferty
Temple Terrace Branch, Tampa, Florida


Growing older has not diminished the joy

I feel when viewing a new box of crayons, or

the paint samples at the hardware store or

stacks of colored paper at Office Depot.



My eyes may be dimming, but

fireworks in all their glory light the fire

within me. The brilliance of Christmas decorations

stirs the child I embrace, stimulating joy

beyond description.



I may not understand the process of refraction that

creates the rainbow, but

the arch of colors dazzles my eye

and excites my spirit,

like lightning bolts riding through the sky

that shower me with the brilliance

of white diamonds, sparkling waterfalls and

ice sculptures

all wrapped together into one.



A crisp North Carolina blue sky

delights my soul while

the skeins of yarn filling the shelves at the craft shop

stimulate my imagination.



I dance to the color of music

that only my mind can see

and thank the glass blowers for their fabulous

colorful creations molded by blazing fire.

Most importantly, I am overjoyed that the Lord decided to paint

our world with color.



Featured Art: Alive!

Alive art by Susan Dolan
“Alive!” — watercolor/oil pastel on Arches paper (17×20)
By Susan Dolan, Columbus Branch, Georgia 

About the artist

For Susan Dolan, becoming a Pen Woman at the Columbus Branch, Georgia, in 2016 had seemed like a natural progression in her art journey. She has had an active life in the arts all her life.

Her journey began when she studied figure drawing at the Art Institute of Chicago in high school and then to earn her bachelor of fine arts degree at Drake University with studies in studio work as well as graphic design. Since then, she has traveled extensively and had many opportunities to participate in all of the arts, including stage work.

Dolan is now at a point in her life where she can fully immerse herself in the visual arts, which is her first love. She primarily works in oil, especially enjoying plein air painting around the beautiful Chattahoochee Valley. 

She also enjoys a new approach of combining watercolors with oil pastels, creating images that are vibrant in color, organic and naturally lush. This technique allows her to return to the fundamentals of drawing while layering paint and pigment to create new kinds of paintings. 

Dolan is active in the arts community of Columbus. She continues to attend figure drawing studios as well as workshops in watercolor and plein air.  She is represented in three galleries in the area.

Being a member of NLAPW in Columbus, as well as being active in this very lively art community, has sparked her drive to keep learning and growing.


Featured Poem: Waiting


By Susan Wurtzburg

Honolulu Branch, Hawaii


When I was a child, I was always waiting.
“Once you are bigger, you can stay up late.”
Early to bed – unfair parental relating.
Flashlight reading avoiding my fate.

When I was a teen, I was still waiting.
“Once you are older, you will do adult things.”
Life was just stifling my ideas in the making,
Dreams in the night soaring on wings.
When I was an adult, I was still waiting.
“Once you finish training, you will have a career.”
Books, learning, fieldwork, articles rating,
All linear goals but my life path a sphere.

Now I am older, I am no longer waiting.
“Once you pass 60, you can rest in the moment.”
Prose penned, photos cropped, brushed colors sating.
Life is good — eddies a-whirling but not in foment.




We welcome your comments!

Dear Pen Women blog readers,


We’ve noticed we haven’t see your lovely comments to poems and art in a few weeks. We missed you!


It turned out, there was a problem with one of our website components and you weren’t able to leave comments. The problem has been fixed and we invite you to come back and try again.


We also encourage you to go back to the posts that moved you over the past month or two, and leave comments there as well. We know our artists and poems love knowing that their work is appreciated.


Thanks for being loyal followers!


Featured Poem: Music


By Dawn Huntley Spitz

Sarasota Branch, Florida


                                                  A song can soothe a sorrowing soul,

                                                           Can help a heart to heal,

                                                      Can make a broken spirt whole,

                                                                 Awaken us to feel.


                                                      A song is like an angel’s wings,

                                                             It touches us with grace,

                                                      And all the joy that music brings

                                                              Can fill an empty place.


                                                           Music is a warming thing

                                                           To cheer the darkest night

                                                    So come and play your pipes and sing

                                                             And dance into the light.




Featured Art: Uninvited Guests


“Uninvited Guests,” 13×15 watercolor by Tammy Seymour
Fort Lauderdale Branch, Florida


Featured Poem: Altogether — In response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis


By Mary Joan Meagher

Minnesota Branch


Every day we watch the walkers march in their journey to find justice.

Help us walk among these Pilgrims who search for unity and peace.

Every day we see the murders done by those who say “Trust us.”

Help us see the face of Christ in those whose grief will never cease.


Down in the valley the fires blaze, windows break, anger reigns.

Shadowy figures dash in and out, faces full of glee, loot loaded to tote.

Viewers of video have seen the victim, seen him whisper, “I can’t breathe.”

He called for his mother, his life’s breath gone, a knee on his throat.


Down through the ages the Pilgrims walk, ready to fight for liberty.

They reject the cries of lesser mortals, those who lust for money and power.

“Bow down,” cries the evil one, “Follow me, bow down now and worship me!”

The walkers rebuff him, scorn him, shun him, and cast him aside to cower.


Boots on the cobblestones, day by day, step by step, the Pilgrims march,

Deep into the mystery, chanting in rhythm, “Change to the System. Justice for all.”

Showing a change: from fear to courage, from despair to hope, from sorrow to joy.

Their voices ring out: “We march all together. Hope rises again. Grace given to all.”


Every day we watch the walkers march in their journey to find justice.

Help us walk among these Pilgrims who search for unity and peace.

Every day we see the murders done by those who say “Trust us.”

Help us see the face of Christ in those whose grief will never cease.



Featured Poem: Woman Warrior


By Barbara Castle Hanson

Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida


She stands,

left hand on hip,

before the bathroom mirror.


She applies her eyebrow color,

eyelid and lip liner

with the precision

of a painter of miniatures.


She brushes her hair

upside down

to add volume,

flips it over to smooth, style,

freeze with hairspray.


She steps into

crisp white pants and

coral sandals

to match her soft shirt.


Her armor on,

she summons her woman warrior

steps out

into the world

to face the tests

she’ll encounter today.



Featured Art: Dancing Girl in Africa


“Dancing Girl in Africa,” 16×20 watercolor by Pam E. Webb
Cape Canaveral Branch, Florida

Artist’s statement

This watercolor was created from a photograph that Pam Farley, a member of our branch, took on her trip to Africa. She was in Uganda with the organization Solar Light for Africa installing solar light and power to orphan homes, schools, hospitals, and clinics. She was kind enough to loan the photo to me when I was inspired to paint the young orphan girl in her beautiful, intricate costume.


Diving Into Tech Soup

Words from Nerds logoBy Wilma Davidson and Diana de Avila, Sarasota Branch

“Social good needs great technology. At TechSoup, we provide the connections, expertise, and resources to unlock the power of tech for social good.”

NLAPW is all about doing social good — and Tech Soup can offer branches what they need to befriend technology. The fall 2020 issue of The Pen Woman shares the benefits of Tech Soup with you and we urge you to read it.

As Tech Soup says,  “We do much more than offer discounts on the tools that you need. Read about all our great initiatives and how we get these resources — and more — into the hands of people working for good all over the world.”

How can your branch get started with Tech Soup?

Visit the website:


Register here:


Please use your Branch’s EIN, and contact the National office for a copy of the IRS “Letter of Determination.”

Registering is easy and will take a few days to take effect.  Someone from Tech Soup will reach out to you requesting the upload of the “Federal Determination Letter” …

Once your branch is verified, you can start here:


To dive deeper, here are helpful links:

Tech Soup How-Tos


Tech Soup Community Blog


Tech Soup Courses


Tech Soups is free to join.  There are often small “admin fee” payments required (but not all donated products require this.). The admin fee is a one-time fee.   Some products are free (ex. Google Non-Profit with G-Suite) and others have deep discounts (ex. WIX, Adobe products.).   Read the description.  The admin fees (we’ve never paid more than $50) are non-refundable.

There are both software and hardware products available.    

Tech Soup also has its own Tech Help services in case these are needed. 

Take a look at the Product Catalog


Dive in!