Welcome to My Writer’s Corner


Writer's Notebook

Do you enjoy writing or reading poetry?  Most of the posts on Big Sky Buckeye are filled with poetry, but I also share short stories, photography, and a few surprises along the way. You are invited to sit a spell and find something you like.  I enjoy sharing my curiosity through my writing.  You are welcome to like, comment, follow, share, or reblog a post.

Featured Posts

As our Lenten journey heads toward Resurrection Sunday, we are reminded of our Lord’s divine plan of salvation.  Today’s Christian poem focuses on this theme in “God of Rescue.”

In addition to my writing, view another journal entry posted on March 29 in From My Journal.  While Big Sky Buckeye enjoys writing poetry and short stories, much of his journal writing is inspired from reading and commenting on other blogger’s posts.

You are invited to read a quote updated on March 29 from thoughts found in the words of American pastor and counselor Craig D. Lounsbrough.  He reminds us of the Light that comes from God’s rescue.

Here’s my Baker’s Dozen, featuring 13 of my recent writings from the past couple of weeks.  Each post is linked to take you right to its location.  Other poems, short stories, and feature writings can be found in the archives (found at the top of the page), which will be updated frequently with past selections.  Enjoy!

Behind the Scenes–Act 5

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Welcome to “Behind the Scenes.”  Today, we have returned to visit with Richard, the creative voice behind the writing journey of Big Sky Buckeye. 

Welcome back Richard.  It is a pleasure visit with you again. 

You have mentioned previously that your first years of teaching took place at Plevna High School, which is located in a small farming and ranching community in southeastern Montana.

Yes, I moved to Plevna for the 1978-1979 school year.  Today, I would like to shine the spotlight on two of my high school students.

Both of these gentlemen graduated in 1980.  While their lives shared some commonalities, they each had far different backgrounds.

Paul Neumann and Loyd Ketchum played on the boys basketball team.  As starting guards, they helped to lead the Plevna Cougars to a district tournament championship.  Their team’s efforts earned the school’s first title in nearly 20 years.  While Paul’s gifted touch allowed him to be the playmaker, Loyd was recognized for his hard-nose defensive play. 

Paul was a town kid.  His father ran a service station along the highway, and his mother operated a beauty salon.  Paul’s musical talents were extraordinary as he played keyboard and trumpet. 

Loyd grew up on a ranch outside of town.  His parents raised beef cattle and quarter horses.  His mother was an accomplished rodeo barrel racer. 

Paul had always dreamed of becoming a member of a rock band.  While many in the town were not too sure about his career choice, Paul would persevere and see his dream bear fruit.

In 1986, Paul (using his professional name of Paul Daniels) was a founding member of the heavy metal band, Rox Diamond.  Paul played keyboard and served as one of the band’s vocalists.  Paul’s band would remain active well into the 2000s.

Loyd was destined to find success on the rodeo circuit.  He became a world champion bullfighter in professional rodeo.  Sometimes called rodeo clowns because of their colorful attire, these men were gifted athletes who looked out for cowboys when they were bucked off of a brahma bull.

Loyd’s skills were evident for several years on both the PRCA and PBR circuits.  His efforts were best described with this phrase, “Bullfighting with class and finesse.”

Sitting here thinking of these two men and their hopes and dreams, they each made a name for themselves as well as making the community of Plevna proud.

We have appreciated spending time with Richard from Big Sky Buckeye.  Look for more “Behind the Scenes” in future postings.

Here is a recent recording from Rox Diamond (dated 2018).  If you are a fan of heavy metal music, this might interest you to listen in.

Here’s a short video clip of bullfighters Loyd Ketchum and Justin Hawks from 1997.  Look out Loyd, here comes Georgie Porgie!

Big Sky Buckeye Returns

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On January 19, my wife and I headed to Montana to help with home care for my Mom.  We had little idea what we would experience over the next two months.

Shortly before Christmas, she fell in her home and fractured her left hip.  Following surgery, her initial care moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation facility.  When we arrived, she had just returned to her home of 30+ years. 

One of my brothers had been helping out during our Mom’s hospitalization, rehabilitation, and return back home.  We intended to give him a respite to spend time with his family.

We are so thankful for the many warm wishes and prayers that we have read and heard.  God’s presence has been with our family and our Mom during these many weeks of home care and rehabilitation.

Mom’s recovery has been a blessing.  She still has more physical therapy to work through, and she cannot live alone at this time.  Her progress has been an inspiration to many others.

Having returned back to my home in Ohio, I will resume my regular writing on Big Sky Buckeye.  While I didn’t have much time to write while I was away, there are many posts waiting in the wings.  I look forward to reading your blogs and catching up with each of you.

On the Road Again (Special Bulletin)

Montana Highway Map (courtesy of Pinterest)

Greetings Big Sky Buckeye readers!  As you read this post, I am heading to my native state of Montana with arrival today (January 21), and I will not return back to my home in Ohio for about a month. 

My mother is recovering from surgery to repair a broken hip, and she needs help from my wife and I.  I will not be publishing anything until I return home. 

While I am away, I will be turning off my comments until I return.  Since my mother doesn’t have an Internet connection, it would be challenging to keep up any type of blogging schedule. 

My mother will need our care pretty much around the clock.  Your prayers are welcome and appreciated.

I apologize for not being very active in reading other blogs the past several days.  My plate has been pretty full, and our travel plans changed from our original dates.

In case you are looking for me (but I’m not Waldo), you can check out the highway map at the top of this post.  A few of you may know which city is my hometown from previous posts or in sharing comments.  

Thank you for your patience and please take care.


Behind the Scenes–Act 4

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Welcome to “Behind the Scenes.”  Today, we have returned to visit with Richard, the creative voice behind the writing journey of Big Sky Buckeye. 

Welcome back Richard.  It is a pleasure visit with you again. 

You have mentioned previously that much of your previous teaching experience takes place in Montana.  It would be wonderful to hear more about your journey from those years.

With 40 years in the classroom, a total of 29 take place in Montana.  Here’s a narrative about the first of four stops under the Big Sky.

My teaching career starts in the southeastern corner of the Treasure State.  Nestled in the quiet hillsides and prairie, Plevna will be my home for three years (1978-1981). 

The community’s economic lifeline is tied to farming and ranching.  Founded in 1909, this small town in Fallon County provides a home for about 200 citizens, and it is situated about 80 miles from Miles City.  Bulgarian railroad workers on the Milwaukee Road line will name the town after one in their home country. 

Being one of the rookies on the staff, here are some interesting details from teaching in Plevna:

  • Teaching assignment covers high school business education classes as well as Civics for the seniors.
  • High school enrollment during my first year sits at 51. 
  • Amazingly, my accounting class overflows with 24 juniors and seniors.
  • The school’s mascot is the “Cougars.”

Despite its small size, Plevna is home to four churches:  Congregational, Baptist, Catholic, and Lutheran. 

In future posts, I will write more about my other Montana teaching stops.

We have appreciated spending time with Richard from Big Sky Buckeye.  Look for more “Behind the Scenes” in future postings.

Behind the Scenes–Act 3

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Welcome to “Behind the Scenes.”  Today, we have returned to visit with Richard, the creative voice behind the writing journey of Big Sky Buckeye. 

Welcome back Richard.  It is a pleasure visit with you again. 

You have been writing and blogging for two years.  What have you treasured most from this experience?

One of the gems I have enjoyed most is exchanging comments and thoughts with other bloggers and writers.  When I first arrived at WordPress, I didn’t expect to establish dialogues with so many wonderful people.

Here are a series of short questions.  We are sure your readers would enjoy learning a bit more about you.

Favorite Book

One of my favorite books is Blind Your Ponies by Stanley Gordon West.  The fictional story is set in a small town in southwestern Montana.  Having lived and taught in some smaller communities in Montana, I can identify with the setting and the surrounding area.

Favorite Music

I still enjoy much of the music from my youth (60s and 70s oldies).  Current music tends to be pop or country.

Favorite Architectural Marvel

Growing up in Billings, Montana, I was always in awe of the Moss Mansion, which was built in 1903 by businessman P. B. Moss.  His last remaining family member was still living in the house during my high school years.  The home is mentioned in a feature published earlier in:  Visit the Magic City.

Favorite Quote

From a high school commencement from many years ago, the keynote speaker left a treasure with the graduates:  “Promise less, deliver more.”

Grade School Memory

In the 6th Grade, my teacher (Mike Hink) required his students to write with a fountain pen.  He even refilled our empty pens with more ink when needed.

Favorite Spot to Hangout

With my enjoyment of coffee and books, I have always welcomed a visit to Barnes and Noble.

We have appreciated spending time with Richard from Big Sky Buckeye.  Look for more “Behind the Scenes” in future postings.




Behind the Scenes–Act 2

empty char near pink screen

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Welcome to “Behind the Scenes.”  Today, we are visiting with Richard, the creative energy behind the writing journey of Big Sky Buckeye. 

Welcome back Richard.  It is a pleasure visit with you again. 

You have been writing and blogging for about 19 months.  Why did you start writing and sharing here on WordPress?

Following my retirement from teaching, I was looking for an outlet for my energy and time in the fall of 2018.  With some encouragement from others, I took the plunge with a goal of writing poetry.  My first poem was “Early Morning Moments.”


Watching the flame dance in early dawn

Feeling the warmth of a new born fawn


Warmed by an early morning, blazing fire

Viewing a hungry deer jumping over a wire


Enjoying a comforting warmth from the fireplace

Seeing a startled pair running to a new place


Dreaming of a day to stay inside by the flames

Looking out of a window to see deer playing games


You are quite creative with your writing.  In the past, have you pursued any musical interests?

My first taste of formal music was with instrumental music, beginning in the fifth grade as I played clarinet.  I continued to play through the ninth grade until more and more of my time went into athletics in high school.  I haven’t really played since the late 1970s, and the clarinet has been passed down to two of my daughters.

Several years ago when I was teaching in Montana, I sang in the church choir.  This was a wonderful experience in sharing with the congregation our appreciation of singing some favorite hymns.

Before we wrap-up, please tell us of some your interests outside of writing. 

I enjoy traveling, and my wife and I have enjoyed two highway trips during the past couple of summers when we meandered and found our way back to Montana to see family.  Without a need to return home on a tight schedule, we enjoyed taking the scenic route through different states, towns, and attractions.

As some readers have found, I enjoy sharing my love of nature photography in my blog’s Photo Gallery.  While I don’t profess to be an excellent photographer, I have found the time well spent in taking photos while traveling or even walking through a nature park near my home.

2020 May 16 Walnut Woods 002

An early March walk at Walnut Woods Metro Park offers a view of an old farm building framed with an opening in the trees along the border of the park.

We have appreciated spending time with Richard from Big Sky Buckeye.  Look for more “Behind the Scenes” in future postings.

Behind the Scenes

empty char near pink screen

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Welcome to “Behind the Scenes.”  Today, we are visiting with Richard, the creative energy behind the writing journey of Big Sky Buckeye. 

Richard, tell us a bit about where you grew up.

I grew up in Billings, Montana.  With the exception of the three years when my Dad was teaching in Oilmont and Poplar (other Montana towns), my life was spent in the largest city under the Big Sky.

Many of your readers know you are a retired teacher.  Tell us about your college background.

After graduating from Billings West High School, I attended four years of college at Montana State University in Bozeman.  My major was business education, which prepared me for a teaching position in a high school business department.  I also earned a broad field minor in social studies.

We think you have said that you taught for 40 years.  Wow!  Can you tell us more about your teaching career?  Where did you teach, and what did you teach?

My teaching career started in Montana, traveled to Wyoming, returned back to Montana, and finished in Ohio.

During my 29 years in Montana, I taught mostly high school business classes.  Later, I taught elementary keyboarding and middle school computer applications along with my high school teaching duties.  I also was active as a coach, activities director, and student council advisor.

After being laid off in Missoula, Montana, my teaching journey took me to Wyoming for one year.  I taught high school business before returning back to Montana.

My final ten years were spent in Columbus, Ohio where I taught middle school computer applications.

Before we wrap-up, tell us some of your childhood memories from growing up in Montana.

My family was a large one with four brothers and one sister.  Our home was located right across the street from the elementary school, which would be our school for all of us through the sixth grade.  At least one member of my family attended this school for nearly 25 years in a row.

We lived on what was the far west side of Billings at the time.  Farm fields and relatively quiet roads were all around where we lived.  Today, this area is completely developed, but the elementary school is still in use.

We have appreciated our time with Richard from Big Sky Buckeye.  Look for more “Behind the Scenes” in a future posting.

If you have a question for Big Sky Buckeye, feel free to leave it in the comments.  He would be happy to share an answer with you.




A Blogger’s Notebook Revisited

person writing on notebook

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This post is a continuation of an earlier article that was entitled “A Blogger’s Notebook.”  In case you missed it, here is a link for it:  “Blogger’s Notebook.”

Any creative journey will teach you patience and humility.  At the same time, you will witness growth in your blogging experience.  As you continue to  improve your craft, your readers will take note of the growth.  Here is a reflection that was written in my journal several weeks ago.

A new writer needs to write and continue to write without worry.  Allow your goals to promise less, and you just might deliver more.

I am beginning my seventh month here on WordPress.  Here are some thoughts of my experience.  Perhaps you can find something here to hang your hat on as well.  You are invited to comment with any thoughts, and your words will invite a prompt response as well.

Here are a few observations that come to mind from reading other blogs and evaluating my own time on WordPress.  How would you answer these short questions?

  • What is your blog’s purpose?  Is your passion reflected in what you post?  Poetry remains Big Sky Buckeye’s primary place to write.  However, even there can be opportunities to experiment and try new ways of writing a poem as well as occasionally posting a different type of writing (short story, travel feature, book review).
  • How often do you plan to post?  Do you have a definite schedule in mind?  Big Sky Buckeye generally posts every other day, so by week’s end there are at least 4-5 quality posts on this blog.
  • Do you write every day?  Are you carving out time to make your blog as successful as possible?  Try to do some type of writing or other blog-related activity nearly every day.  Whether it is writing a poem, crafting a draft for a longer post, creating artwork to publish, recording thoughts in a journal, or taking photographs to share, you will feel more fulfilled when you are writing and creating something.
  • Are you reaching out to other bloggers with thoughtful comments?  One of the most rewarding experiences that you can have is to become engaged with other bloggers.  There is a mountain of wonderful writing and sharing here on WordPress.  If you need help with your blog, search topics such as “blogging” or “art of blogging.”

Personally, I feel growth in my writing.  I am sometimes amazed at how far my writing has matured.  Secretly, someday I would welcome an opportunity to publish an anthology of my poems and short stories.  This will be for another day!

Here is one tip that I will try with a future short story post:  posting a part of the story over a series of posts.  People may feel more inclined to read a portion instead of the entire story.

In the meantime, you are invited to send me any thoughts that you wish to share.  An amazing part of maintaining a blog is staying in contact with other readers who are writing, sharing other information, and enjoying the experience here.


Writer’s Notebook Revisited


Today, I am pausing once again to reflect upon my writing journey.  While I have developed a routine to my writing, I am still working to always refine my craft, just as I did when I was teaching in the classroom for 40 years.

  • Create a writing atmosphere.   Find a time to write that is “your” time.  For me, my best creative moments are early in the morning (yes, I am a morning person).  I feel comfortable and free to write with quietness and coffee before the sun comes up.
  • There are times when we feel empty about what to write.  Read, read, and read!  My mind sometimes discovers a thought or an idea after reading from a newspaper, magazine, book, or something else.  Even a film or television show may send you a thought to write about.
  • Keep your batteries recharged.  Do something that you truly enjoy—but away from writing.  We all need a break in order to maintain some sort of balance in our lives.
  • Sometimes, try new things in your writing.  Tap into your inner self.  I started out with basic poetry, which is still my favorite place to be, but I’ve challenged myself to write pieces outside of my comfort zone.  Experiment, be a risk taker!
  • You are unique.  Develop and craft your individual style of writing.

To read the first installment of the “Writer’s Notebook,” go to Notebook.