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What Makes You Tremble

One-word prompt for today:  Tremble

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Now, here’s an interesting word!  So many different things can cause a person to tremble. To shiver, shake, have tremors,  even lose control of one’s muscles; sometimes the breathing is affected, the heart races, the palms become cold and clammy.

What makes us tremble?  Fear.  Excitement. A first-ever date. Nerves–performing, speaking, singing  for an audience.  Stress can make us tremble. I’ve seen students who are facing a test they’re worried about whose hands are trembling with nerves.

Trembling in fear is not a pleasant experience.  I don’t have many experiences of actually being so afraid that   I tremble.  I guess I’ve led a pretty protected life.  Some of my fellow counselors have mentioned clients who make them very nervous. I’ve never felt like that. I don’t tend to be afraid of people. It is more likely that I need to curb my irritation and my quick tongue when I have someone in my office who is trying to dominate the situation.

Having nervous trembles when I have to do something in front of people, and I don’t feel capable or prepared–that is something I understand.  Speaking to a crowd is easy for me, and I find it enjoyable and exhilarating. But it took me years to come to a place of singing or playing the piano without a shaky voice and shaky hands. I can do it now, and I remain calm. At some point along my lifeline, I just quit worrying about what anyone else may think.

Snakes can give me the shivers.  So can being up high, with no barrier between me and the long drop to the ground.  I hate that.

I know that evil exists in our world, and that there are people who commit evil acts with no concern for anyone else. I haven’t had to face that kind of evil on a personal level.  I read about it:  Nazi Germany, Aleppo, the killing fields of Cambodia, the political massacres in any number of places across the course of human history. Maybe that kind of evil will come to America.  No reason it shouldn’t.

I fear much more for my children and grandchildren than I do for myself.  The sand in my hourglass is much heavier on the bottom than it is on the top. I do, however, wonder what kind of world my precious grandchildren are going to inherit. Thinking on that too much can make me tremble for their future. The degree of lawlessness in our country is astonishing; it is especially frightening when the police have been told to stand down, to not interfere. I don’t understand that at all.

Isn’t it amazing how one little word can take us from the simple to the complicated?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tremble

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An Old-Fashioned Word

Lovingly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt

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This is kind of an old-fashioned word. At least, I don’t hear or read it much any more. It’s a great word, really, and I’m not sure why it seems to have passed off the scene.  Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I really don’t think we use it much.

Lovingly. It conveys a sense of tenderness, of compassion, of strong feelings of love and concern. A mother gazes lovingly at her newborn. A newly-minted husband follows his wife’s every move lovingly.

Puppies are seen lovingly, because they’re so cute. And it’s a good thing they are, because they’re a nuisance for a while with their chewing and lack of good potty manners.

Maybe we don’t use this word much these days because of our national and political climate. I remain dismayed and disheartened at the ugliness that has exploded across our land. I remember other times when there has been strife, but it’s different this time. Friends and family members are vehemently denouncing one another because their political differences are tearing them apart. Vulgar, blasphemous, profane language; name-calling and threats of violence; riots involving vandalism, flag-burning, and physical attacks have become so common that we’re beginning to just shrug them off.

It’s horrifying to me. America is descending into anarchy. Did you know that investigation has now linked George Soros with every protest or demonstration since the Nov. 8 election?  Here is just one link concerning this man:

http://thepoliticsforums.com/threads/76322-Soros-Connected-to-Every-Major-Protest-Since-November-Election

There are many others. This is not just a rumor. The man has been banned from his own country; other nations are shutting down his businesses. We need to pay attention.

Well, there I go into politics again, and I really hadn’t intended to do that. It just breaks my heart to see all this horror happening in my beloved country.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/lovingly/

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Abundance

Overwhelming

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt
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I watched a video the other in which the speaker was showing the fallacy of thinking America can stop world poverty through bringing the poorest of the poor into our country. It was pretty impressive.
Fascinated at the pure and simple logic of this man’s presentation, I also thought about how overwhelming the abundance is here in America compared to so many other countries of the world.
We didn’t become this wealthy through socialistic, government-controlled use of our resources.  It was through capitalism, independence, and hard work.
Something to consider.
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/overwhelming/
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Uninspired

Resist

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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I’m going to resist the temptation to go political on this word. So sick of politics.

Honestly, there’s not much in my life that I have to resist right now.  Maybe the biggest struggle I have is just getting out of bed in the morning.  As the day draws closer for my return to work, I find I’m very resistant to that.

Maybe I’m resistant because of this present round of pain.  It’s better than it was on Sunday, but it’s not gone.  I went out to lunch with a friend yesterday, spent about 2 1/2 hours sitting in a chair that was not supportive.  Next time I go there, I’ll take my lumbar pillow with me.  I’m sore this morning.  Again.

That’s about all I have to offer today, folks.  I’m not too inspired by this prompt.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/resist/

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A Map Would Help

Replacement

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Change always seems to cause upheaval, whether it is a minor change or a major change.

When we remodeled our kitchen, a lot of things changed. We completed the replacement of all the old cabinet with brand new, light-colored ones that make our kitchen look much brighter. We took down a wall between the kitchen and dining room and replaced it with a short bar. The bar has storage space and it’s great for serving, as well as sitting down for a quick snack.

Image result for doing demolition of the kitchen

(This is how a remodel starts!)

We moved the refrigerator to a different wall. We replaced the flooring. We even replaced the window over the sink.

All this replacement has created some confusion, though, because now I can’t remember where I put things. I’m slowly learning, and I do tend to be an organized person. I like to store things in the same area where I will use them.  Seems obvious to me that dishcloths and towels should be next to the sink; that ingredients and equipment for baking should be near my work station. It’s the odds and ends that a driving me crazy.

Add to all that the fact that Terry has been cooking for the last four months, and he tends to put things anywhere he can find an empty spot. That makes for some very interesting scavenger hunts.

Replacement can be an excellent thing. I just should have made a map 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/replacement/

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Think Before You Speak

Filter

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt

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“She has no filter” has become a widely used way to indicate that someone says exactly what she is thinking, with no concern as to who may be hurt, embarrassed, angry, or horrified by her words.

Please don’t be offended by my use of the feminine pronoun. Men are equally guilty. This is a human foible, not a gender problem.

It takes some time to learn to monitor what comes out of one’s mouth. Small children are capable of bringing their parents to blush furiously by their innocent statements.  I will never forget the time my little brother, then three or four years old, stated loudly in a crowded room, “Mr. Smith, my daddy doesn’t like you!”  My dad was completely embarrassed. The gentleman involved, though, found it amusing and took it with good grace. I don’t remember if there was any further communication between him and my father.

Image result for child's words embarrass parent

Growing up in the parsonage was often difficult. There were certain people in the church, in any church, who are willing and able to pump information from the children of the pastor. My parents warned us about this, admonishing us not to tell people things that weren’t any of their business.

One time a particular woman approached me when I was about 14 and asked me a pointed question about the family finances.  I was taken by surprise, had no idea how to respond, and blurted, “I’m not supposed to answer people who pump me for information!”

Again, my memory fails me. I have no idea what happened after that.

There’s a lot of unfiltered speech floating around in our current political atmosphere.  It’s too bad. Once words are written or spoken, they can’t be undone. If one has been injudicious and spoken or written incorrectly,  apologies can be made; the words remain, however, and will not be forgotten.  I’m thinking of the young woman who commented publicly that Barron Trump will be the first home-schooled shooter.  I believe she lost her job on SNL, which she should have, but the words are there.  Maybe that woman will develop a better filter, and not take shots at children.

I believe that anyone who targets specific children, whether their parents are liberal or conservative, should pay some kind of consequence. I’m completely bipartisan on this issue. Adults should just know better. Period.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/filter/

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“Simple” is Relative

Simple

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Emily’s face was a picture of frustration as she pulled books from her locker. Stuffing them into her book bag, she slammed the locker door and stomped toward the exit, making a point to look at no one. She didn’t want to talk.

“It’s simple,” Mr. Leitner had said. “You just have to know the Periodic Table, which we started memorizing months ago. Then you need the basic formulas, and the interactions of one substance with other substances.  It’s not that hard, people. This test covers five chapters, and we’ve gone over them all more than once.”

He seemed a bit irritated, as if he couldn’t understand why anyone was having any trouble in his “simple” chemistry course. It made Emily furious. She was usually an “A” student, getting a “B” only in gym–which she thought was totally unfair. Being graded on your ability to run fast or make a basket from the free-throw line had nothing to do with studying, and everything to do with natural ability! She was delighted that, as a senior, she didn’t have to take gym any more.

But chemistry?  That was another thing entirely. She had to have it to get her science credits in, and it was driving her crazy. Most of the symbols on the periodic table didn’t seem to have any connection to the element itself. Why, for instance, was antimony denoted as “sb”?  She had memorized it all, but to actually understand it didn’t seem to matter.

Emily liked to understand. She hated memorizing just to pass a test.

So she decided to do some research, probably losing valuable “memorize this” time, but she really needed to understand.

Her first search was “why is antimony identified as sb on the periodic table.” She found out that the word was based on two Greek words:

Origin of name: from the Greek words “anti + monos” meaning “not alone” (the origin of the symbol Sb comes from the Latin word “stibium“).

Okay, things were a bit more clear. Stibium, she learned, rarely showed up alone in nature. It was usually found in a compound.  Emily still had questions, but at least the “sb” made some sense.

The next day, Emily approached Mr. Leitner before class. “Mr. Leitner, I have so much trouble remembering the  letters for each element. They don’t always seem to be connected to the word itself.  Last night I did some research, and I discovered that the letters are based on Greek or Latin words.” She went on to tell him what she’d learned about antimony.
Mr. Leitner listened, but there was a quizzical expression on his face. “Emily, if it helps you, then learning all that is great. But it just seems easier to me to memorize the table. Simple.”
Emily sighed. “Mr. Leitner, it’s NOT simple if it makes no sense!  I need to understand what the words mean. Then, yes, it’s simple. I’ll always remember antimony, stibium, and sb.  I just wish you could teach it to us so that the words make sense!
Mr. Leitner paused, looking thoughtful. “Emily, I think you just created a job for yourself!”
Featured

Sunday Morning Coffee: Update

Well, here I am on my  fourth day of pain pills and muscle relaxers.  Apparently they’re working at night.  I’m sleeping well. But the daytime presents a host of challenges. Walking huts, sitting hurts, and lets not even talk about bending over.

However, my daughter’s birthday gift this year was to take me to Reading to hear Jeanne Robertson.

This shouldn’t be a problem, right?  A friend went with us, and If I couldn’t drive to Deb’s then she could. But the driving was no problem. And Deb drove to Reading. We parked in a parking garage, and that’s where the trouble started. We had to walk from there to the venue.

I have an excellent cane, and both my daughter and our friend know my situation. We walked very slowly, and got there wit no trouble.  When it was over, my friend  Deb went back for the car and picked me up. An usher was even kind enough to bring me a chair while I waited.

I took my meds and crawled into bed. It wasn’t until somewhere around 3:3 a.m. that I knew I was in a lot of trouble. And I’ve been in trouble ever since. No let-up until or unless I go to bed, and I wake up right on time for my next dose.

So, you might ask, was it worth it?  Was it worth risking all this pain just to hear some commediene you can watch on You Tube?”

Oh, you betcha 🙂  Its the same as the difference between watching a sports even on TV or having tickets to see it live.

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God Knew

Test

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt

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The Bible says that there is not test or trial we have to endure that is not common, normal, to mankind; and that He has provided a way to escape, so that we are able to bear it  (l Corinthians 10:13).

Image result for l Corinthians 10:13

In my trial of the moment, I’m thankful for the medication that makes the pain bearable; I’m thankful that I could take the day off work yesterday and that I’m not scheduled back until Tuesday.  I had to cancel my responsibility to speak at a women’s meeting at our church, and that was hard, but God gave me instant peace once my decision was made to cancel. I’m thankful that He provides that kind of peace.

I’m thankful that I’m fairly comfortable in bed. And I’m thankful for a husband who takes care of me when I’m down.

The way to escape?  Does that mean I could get out of this if I pray hard enough?  The He’ll just take away the pain?

When the Apostle Paul wrote those words, he’d already been through some severe trials and he would face more.Three times in the course of his ministry he was tied to a whipping post and beaten within an inch of his life. I’m pretty sure that when he was conscious, he was asking God for a way to escape. God’s answer was not to miraculously remove him from the ordeal, but to give him the grace to endure.

So, what’s this all about?  If you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I have a bunch of things wrong in my lower back. Herniations, stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. All week I’ve been pretty uncomfortable, and Wednesday evening something went bonkers back there, just about putting me on the floor. It was that “takes your breath away” kind of pain, and it came out of the blue. I wasn’t bending or twisting or trying to carry something heavy.  I was walking from one room to another. BAM!

I had my pain meds and my muscle relaxer refilled about a week ago, and I’m so thankful they were readily available.  I didn’t have to call the doctor, wait for the scripts to be refilled. I didn’t waste any time getting my first dose, and the meds have been helping a great deal. I have an appointment with my chiropractor this morning.

Tonight, my daughter is taking a mutual friend and me to hear commedienne Jeannie Robertson.  I’ve been looking forward to this, a belated birthday gift, for three months. I’m not going to miss it. So I’m thankful my back went kablooey on Wednesday instead of yesterday, because if it had been yesterday I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Partly because of the meds, I’ve had a good night’s sleep.  I’ll be moving kind of slow, but I’ll be able to do it.

See?  Even in this really kind of nasty pain, God timed everything just right.

He always makes a way, and He always goes ahead of me.  I’m not thankful for the pain, but I surely am thankful for God’s presence and help in my time of trouble.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/test/

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What Should I Do Today?

Dilemma

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Answering KJV Onlyism | hipandthigh:

This little guy has been all over Facebook in a variety of memes, and I love his face.  It’s so easy to wonder what his dilemma might be.  Let’s see, should he. . . .play with his toes? Throw a tantrum just for the fun of it? Spit his cereal back at his longsuffering mommy?  Fill his diaper that she JUST finished changing?  Hmmmm.  Life has so many interesting options.

I suspect that the parents of this child are in for quite a ride.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/dilemma/

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Pain

Nerve

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Hoo boy.  No fiction this morning. If we were playing a word association game, and you said nerve, my immediate response?  PAIN.  

I have a couple of herniated lumbar discs.  I had pain treatment not quite a year ago that  relieved the pain almost completely.  A little achiness now and then, but nothing an over-the-counter medication couldn’t deal with.

Three weeks ago, is started kicking up again.

I also have stenosis and degenerative disc disease.  That’s quite a cocktail of misery.

Stenosis comes from a Greek word meaning to choke.  There are little holes in the bones for the nerves to pass through.  When the bone around those holes begins to crumble, the nerves are pinched.  And they react.  They don’t like being pinched, so they pinch right back.

Yesterday I was going to go to work, but as I was getting into the car, my hip/leg/lower back all said, “No, you’re not!”  So appropriate calls were made to cancel my clients, get an appointment with the pain doctor, get a script for the medications to get me through until I can get the shots that will relieve the pain long-term.

Getting old does have its downside.

So when I saw this morning’s prompt, Nerve, this post pretty much wrote itself.  I’m well aware of my nerves right now!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/nerve/

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Cross-Country

Sink or Swim

Tell us about a time when you were left on your own, to fend for yourself in an overwhelming situation — on the job, at home, at school. What was the outcome?

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It was 1973, late August.  We were moving from northern Michigan (Terry is a Yooper)  to southeastern Pennsylvania.  We had two little boys, aged 4 and 2.

Terry was driving the big U-Haul, and he led the way.  I was in the car, a fairly new and inexperienced driver, with the little boys in the back seat. This was years before our nanny government made us strap little ones into seats that kept them immobile.  I can’t imagine how they would have survived the trip back then.  We had build up the back seat with suitcases and put a mattress over that, covered with blankets and pillows.  They slept, played, and kept themselves pretty well occupied.

In the front seat, I white-knuckled it all the way. I was terrified.  I’d never driven in heavy traffic, or used cloverleaf interchanges.  I’d certainly never been tasked with keeping the vehicle in front of me in plain view while I coped with all the other things I had to deal with.  One child was still in diapers.  The older one was fully  potty-trained, but needed to stop every now and then.  We didn’t have cell phones back then, so communicating was pretty tricky.  I’d do my best to get in front of Terry, letting him know we needed to pull over.  Sometimes there was a handy rest stop.  Other times it was just make do with whatever shelter we could find.

I’d never had to do anything like that before, and I still don’t like to drive in heavy city traffic.  By the time we finally arrived, I was a wreck.  My nerves were shot, and I was barely holding on to my temper.  When I’m stressed, I don’t cry and whimper.  I get mad.  Poor Terry.  He didn’t have a clue how terrified I’d been.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/sink-or-swim/

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Just Shut Up!

Break the Silence

When was the last time you really wanted (or needed) to say something, but kept quiet? Write a post about what you should’ve said.

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It would be easier to write a post about the things I’m glad I didn’t say. As a person who finds it fairly easy to have foot-in-mouth disease, I’ve had to learn to just shut up.It’s an ongoing process. And it doesn’t come easy.  I have pretty good radar, and I usually can spot a phony, or just a plain old-fashioned creep, pretty quickly.  That’s when it’s a good idea for me to button the lip.

When I was in college, way back in the Dark Ages, there was an individual of the male species who felt that because he had testosterone, he was automatically entitled to the respect and awe of anyone from the female species. 

This person was bloviating, in a psych class, about the superiority of the male race. I was unimpressed. I finally couldn’t stand it any more, and I raised my hand, got the professor’s nod, and said, “Does he get to have the floor for the entire class period?”

Mr. Bloviator got all up on his dignity and informed me that the Bible says that women are to respect men, and I’d better watch my step.

Yikes. Complete perversion of what the Bible says. Complete misapplication. I really couldn’t stand this dude, and I said, “You show me a real man, and I’ll respect him. In the meantime, you need to sit down and listen to the Professor. We’re not in this class to be ‘educated’ by you!”

There was utter silence, during which I’m sure my face flamed bright red, but then someone started clapping, and soon the whole room was applauding. That was really embarrassing, too.

Mr. Bloviator sat down. Needless to say, he never deigned to notice my existence after that, which I’m sure you know absolutely broke my heart.

Am I sorry I spouted off?  No, not really, but I could have found a less offensive way to say what Blovy needed to hear. And that’s what I’ve worked on over the years.

Sometimes it’s better to say nothing. That’s hard for me, ’cause I always have something to say 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/break-the-silence/

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So Different!

Long Exposure

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

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Dad was born in 1923. A product of his era and environment,  he was a tough, get-it-done, suck-it-up kind of a guy.  When the market crashed in 1929, his dad lost just about everything. He moved them from California to the Arizona Strip, a place in the Utah desert where he built them a dugout to live in. Life was hard. The Great Depression was settling down over the country. People’s lives were changed, often overnight, from relative security to no security at all.

As is often the case with young kids, Dad really didn’t pay much attention to how poor they were. He loved the desert, and he loved the freedom he had to roam wherever the itch took him. He had a dog, a gun, and it seems I remember him talking about a pony, too. His mom made the dugout into a home, but he spent as much time as he could outdoors.

My grandfather was old-school German. He taught my dad to be racist, really, and it was a strongly ingrained belief in my dad’s mind and heart that there were flaws in every other race, but not in his own.  He wasn’t hateful about it, that I remember.  It was more just a matter of fact. He knew, and used, all the epithets that can be applied to those of a race not his own. It wasn’t unusual in his day.

He also grew up under the autocratic dominance of his father, whose word was law, and often enforced on his two oldest sons with what we would look at today as physical abuse.  My aunts don’t remember that. They and my youngest uncle were treated differently. It’s always fascinating to me how children reared in the same family often seem to have been reared by totally different parents.

In any case, Dad was indeed a man of his time, of his environment, of his background. And it wasn’t all bad. He was part of the Great Generation, the ones who endured and survived the Great Depression because of their strength of character, their determination, and often their faith in God.  They were the ones who went off to war and died by the hundreds and thousands for their love of country, family, home, and the American way of life.  I have infinite respect for them. Without their strength, we would have lost our freedoms sooner than we are now. I don’t think the Great Generation would have stood silently by while government exploded into what it has become today, although the seeds were sown back during the Depression and even before that.

Fast forward now. Dad had accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was a boy of 12 or 14, but he never grew in his faith. At age 19, only a month after he married my mom, he went off to do his part in World War II, having joined the Navy and been assigned as a torpedoman in a submarine.  He came home from the war filled with hatred for the Axis enemies. And then God began to work, and my dad’s world tilted to a different angle.

Fast forwarding again, Dad went to Bible college and became a pastor. It would never have been his prediction for his life, or even his choice. His real dream was to teach history on the college level, and he would have been good at it. He was a great teacher. But he knew that God was leading, and he couldn’t resist that call. And it changed him.

Keep up now. We’re moving ahead many, many years. Dad got a call from a little church in the South, where he pastored for about 25 years. Living in the South was a revelation for him, and yet another change was taking place. He was learning that people of color, whatever the shade, were no different than he was.

The last ten years of his life, his heart changed him physically. His first heart event was when he was only 60, and for the next ten years he was in and out of hospitals, in and out of surgeries that saved his life but weakened him physically.And with his physical debility came a dependence on the care and kindness of the Black doctors and nurses who took care of him time and time again. It changed his already altered belief in the inferiority of other races. DAD

I’ve read that people who undergo open-heart surgery are often emotionally affected by it. Dad was. He grew softer and gentler as he progressed through his illnesses.  I was especially touched by his tenderness toward my niece and nephew, my brother’s kids, who loved their Papa as much as he loved them.  They were the only grandkids who lived nearby, and he saw them nearly every day.

One day, to my great amazement, as I was talking with my dad on the phone he became clearly emotional, and ended the conversation with “I love you, Linda.”

Could have knocked me over with a feather. He just didn’t say things like that. I knew he loved me, although there was more than one time when I was almost sure he didn’t, but I can’t remember ever hearing him say it before. The closest I can remember being keenly aware of his strictly hidden emotion was the day he walked me down the aisle, and then switched places with a pastor friend who helped with the wedding. As he turned to face Terry and me, I saw the twitch of his eyebrow and the tightening of his lips and jaw that was a dead giveaway of his effort to control his emotions.

God knew that the work He gave my dad to do was going to be hard, and that it would take a strong man to do it. He also knew that Dad’s heart needed to be softened and changed. And it was. People still talk about how Preacher said or did this or that; how something he taught them changed their lives. The changes he experienced made him better. The little boy who loved being alone in the desert became a man who was loved by the people he pastored.  He was loved by his family.  He’s been gone 21 years now, and I still miss him.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/long-exposure/

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Fearless Fantasies

Fearless Fantasies
How would your life be different if you were incapable of feeling fear? Would your life be better or worse than it is now?

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I googled “fearless,” looking for a good illustration, and I came up with dozens of shots of Taylor Swift with her hair blowing all over her head. I guess she sings a song by the name of Fearless. Shows you how out-of-the-loop I am when it comes to pop culture.  The only reason I even know who she is?  She’s a native of a city near where I live. That’s it.

Anyway.  I saw this prompt two hours ago. Had an appointment, needed to do a couple of other things, so I’ve had some time to think it over, and I’m still not sure what I want to say. So pardon me for thinking out loud. This could be a bit of a ramble.

I would love to be fearless about a lot of things.  I’m terrified of snakes. It would be nice not to have such a visceral reaction if one of the scaly creatures shows up in a TV program or photograph. I would love to be fearless about hiking through a snaky place like the Appalachian trail, or maybe the desert where diamondbacks and sidewinders sun themselves.

I have a fear of high places that drop straight down from where I’m standing, with no guardrails to stop my fall.  When we were in Sioux Falls with my son and his family, we went to a theater like an IMax. We entered at the very top level. I got a feeling of vertigo, and it’s terrifying.  I had to grab rails and turn my back, facing the chairs until I could sit down. It’s horrible.  I’d love for that to go away.

There’s really not much else that gives me such a  ghastly sense of fear and helplessness. Wait!  Aha moment!  Helplessness!  Yes!  Okay, enough exclamation points already, but I do think I’ve stumbled onto something.  It’s the helplessness, isn’t it?  I mean, I don’t like centipedes, but I’m not helpless with them. I can smack’em. Gone. Same with spiders. I hate the way the skitter, but I can always catch them and send them to spiderly heaven. Gross.  But snakes and steep drops?  Helpless.  I’d be a great subject for one of those big dudes that hypnotize their prey.  Here I am, just look into my eyes and hiss, and I’m done for. Kaput.

Well, I’m generally of a pretty practical frame of mind, so I’ve been thinking about  how fear can be, and often is, a very helpful thing.  The fear of sudden and painful death keeps me from playing in the traffic. The fear of extremely painful death keeps me from tasting bleach or inhaling a combination of ammonia and bleach. The fear of losing a limb keeps this granny off the ski slopes. That doesn’t seem like a negative thing to me; it’s just good sense. If I weren’t afraid of ending up in prison, there may be a trail of seriously maimed or comatose people in my backtrail. It is often fear of consequences that keeps of from doing something foolish, harmful to ourselves or others.

Other side of the coin?  I love the way the kid in the picture is just standing there calmly facing down the wolf that’s about to make lunch out of him. That kind of fearlessness I admire. Standing up to bullies, standing up to difficult things we can’t avoid, standing up to fear itself.

I have a client I’ve been working with for over a year. She was having serious PTSD symptoms due to an accident she had witnessed. I can’t go into detail, obviously, but this poor woman hadn’t slept well in three years, and is still struggling with some fears that have changed her life.  One of her problems is the inability to speak up in her own defense. I’ve helped her find her voice, and grow a backbone. She was afraid she didn’t have the right to speak up. Now she knows she does. Not only is it a right, it’s an obligation to stand up to the bullies, to back them down, to let them know you are NOT afraid.

I love my work.

And I’m not afraid to do it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/fearless-fantasies/

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NOOOOOooooooo!

Can’t Stand Me
What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

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I watched the video in absolute disbelief.  See, over the years I’ve trained my eyes to see me as I wish I were, not as I am.  The video playing so heartlessly before me was bringing all my years of denial crashing around my feet.

No denying what is on the screen. No denying what is on the scale. No denying the size tags on the clothes in my closet.  Well, on the clothes I can presently wear, at least.  I have several wardrobes that I’m going to get back into. Someday.

I hate seeing pictures of myself.  I’m always twice as wide as I should be, and cameras add ten pound. So they say, whoever “they” is.

Making jokes about my size is one of the ways I deal with it, but don’t ever believe  that old “fat and happy” nonsense. No one is happy about being fat.  I’m happy about a lot of things in my life, but fat is not one of them.

The good news is, I’m making just a little progress right now.  I’ve learned, over the years, not to talk about it if I’m making a serious effort to lose weight.  Seems as if I no sooner say it, than it comes to a screeching halt. So I’m really taking a chance here today, folks.

The thing is, my numbers were ALL too high on my last doctor visit a couple of months ago, including my A1C, which got me started on taking Metformin, Diabetes is a really nasty way to die. I don’t want to go there, and I don’t want to take pills, so I HAVE to get back on track with eating and exercise, and I am. For now.

Sigh.

 http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/cant-stand-me/

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Frame of Mind

(If you could paint your current mood onto a canvas, what would that painting look like? What would it depict?)

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Mansion Over the Hilltop

(Reviving Bricks
You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?)

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I’ve always loved that old house, and I can’t believe it’s mine! I’m old enough to remember how it looked 50 years ago, but not too old to enjoy restoring it. My aunt knew I loved it, and no one else in the family would want to be saddled with it. They would just sell it off to the highest bidder.

Not me. Aunt Roberta was eccentric, but she wasn’t dumb. She took good care of her fortune, and I’m shocked at how much money there is. This is like the dream of a lifetime for me, and I’m going to enjoy every minute. I don’t have to work now. I can spend all day, every day, re-dreaming my childhood pleasures.

 

First, I need an architect. It has to be someone who loves old houses the way I do, because  I won’t have the place torn apart and changed. I want it restored to the same floor plan, the same materials, as much as possible.  Of course, we’ll modernize the kitchen and the bathrooms and whatever else can be brought up to date without losing the enchantment of the old place.

I used to imagine I was Rapunzel, way up high in the turret, letting down my long, long hair so my handsome prince could climb and to visit me.

Or I’d dream that I was Sleeping Beauty, dozing my life away because of the spell of the wicked witch. One day I’d be Cinderella, banished to the top of the house where the mice and birds watched over me; the next I’d be Snow White,  looking for a way to escape from my Wicked Stepmother.

Hours and hours I’d spend roaming the house, poking into the attics, going through trunks of fabulous old clothes. Boxes of books, pictures, toys, keepsakes were all my playthings. Aunt Roberta didn’t forbid me anything, and I was like a shopaholic on Black Friday. No child ever had a more interesting place to play than I did. Sometimes I would take my treasures down to show Aunt Roberta, and she would spin stories of the past that circled around me like the warm arms of a lover.

I’m going to recreate all that, except of course for Aunt Roberta. But I have nieces, nephews, and grandchildren of my own now who are full of questions.  I can’t wait to turn them loose to discover all the things that are still preserved in that old house.

Work first, though. Everything has to be moved out, cleaned up, and stored while the renovations are done.  It’s going to be a labor of love. I can’t wait!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/reviving-bricks/

 

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Laugh Until You Cry

Roaring Laughter
What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?)

My dad was a very serious man. He enjoyed a good laugh, but he was not funny, and he could never figure out the art of telling a good joke.  When I think back at some of the things he did that made us all laugh, it was never because he did it on purpose, poor man.

There was the time we were having our family devotions, reading a passage from the Bible together. He suddenly roared out a sneeze, and his upper plate went flying out of his mouth and skidded all the way across the livingroom floor.  Very funny.achoo!

Then there was the rocking chair. We had an easy chair that he loved. It was a swivel rocker, very popular in the 1950’s. He could turn it to look out the window, or to watch TV, or however he wanted it.  He had a habit of leaning back in his chair. He was a big man. Yup. Over it went one day, and all we could see was the bottom of the chair with Dad’s feet waving at us over the edge of the seat. Roared with laughter. Took us a few minutes to get ourselves together to help him up.tipping chair

My favorite, though, is one I didn’t get to see.  Dad was having some back problems, and finally agreed to see a chiropractor. The good doctor needed an x-ray, and directed Dad to stand against the wall with his back to the screen. “Now, Preacher, take a good deep breath,” the doctor said.  Dad took a good deep breath, and his pants came tumbling down.  Right down around his ankles.  My mom nearly fainted, she laughed so hard.pants-downWish I had been there, glad I wasn’t. 

Why is it so funny when a serious person has these hilarious things happen?  I don’t know. I’m just glad they do.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/roaring-laughter/

There is a Limit

Express

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

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Little Timmy had been expressing himself for several hours. Wandering around the house, he had streaked mud on the floor and the walls.  He had used his finger paints on the carpeting. He had smeared the contents of his diaper on his crib and the wall during his  “nap.”

He had dumped his bowl on top of his head at lunch, banging his spoon on the tray and hollering for more. He had flushed his shirt down the toilet. He had used the bathtub for a urinal. He had run one of his Matchbox cars on the table top, leaving a tangle of scratches.

Then he turned his attention to his mommy’s yarn basket, knotting up the  strands so badly that she threw it out in despair. When he took the arm of the stereo and moved it back and forth across the record she’d been playing,  something big snapped in Mommy’s head.

She took his little earlobe between her fingers, pulling him into the kitchen where she found a little wooden spoon. Divesting Timmy of his diaper, she bent him over her knee and whacked his backside.

 

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He screamed, “NOOOoooooo!  Hurts, Mommy!”

“I know.  You’ve been hurting me all day.  Time for me to express myself, young man. Enough is enough!”  And she whacked him again.

While they were making up, him sobbing on her lap while she hugged him, he said, “I sowwy, Mommy.”  And she said, “I love you, Timmy, but there are limits on how you may express yourself. Well, tomorrow is a new day.  But I think we’re going to keep this spoon in plain sight for a while.”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/express/

 

PS.  Some of you may be horrified that this child was admonished in such an old-fashioned way.  I know it’s not politically correct to spank a child these days.  I can only tell you that if more moms and dads had used this quick and impressive reminder on a recalcitrant child, I wouldn’t have so many unhappy, rebellious teens sitting in my counseling office complaining that their parents don’t understand them.  The child in this little story is not Timmy.  He may recognize himself. He’s a happy, contributing, well-adjusted adult with children of his own.

Driving

Brave

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

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It has been said that being brave is to go ahead and do what needs doing even when you’re terrified.

I believe that concept applies to a lot of life experiences.

Having babies, for instance. I had four. I wasn’t terrified with the first.  Mildly apprehensive, perhaps, but not really afraid.

The next three times, I was scared to death. Sometimes when you know exactly what you’re facing, the fear intensifies.  Obviously, though, I survived each one.  Most of us do. And there’s nothing I find more  ridiculous than a woman who has gone through multiple childbirths who enjoys telling how she nearly died with each one.  Good grief.

For me, learning to drive was indeed a brave thing. I wanted to do it, but my dad was old-school, and never wanted any female driving HIS car 🙂  I wasn’t allowed to take driver’s ed in high school. Terry taught me to drive before we were married, and in spite of that he married me anyway 🙂

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I’ve never gotten over the fear of driving in heavy city traffic in unfamiliar places.  I won’t do it.  And the older I grow, the less willing I am to drive anywhere but places with which I’m completely familiar.

When we moved from Michigan to Pennsylvania, we’d been married only five years or so. Terry drove the U-Haul across the country, and I followed him with our car and our two little boys.  White-knuckled all the way. Chicago was a horror show. When we finally arrived, it took me a couple of days to decompress.  When I’m afraid, it manifests in anger.  Terry didn’t have the first clue why he was getting cold shoulder and hot tongue for supper.

So, was I brave to make that drive when I was so afraid of it?  I don’t know.  Maybe, but I didn’t feel brave.  I did what had to be done, with a four-year-old and a 18-month old for company, along with a lot of twangy, nasal country music on the radio. All I can say now is that I was so glad when it was over that all I could do was cry.

And then, of course, I had to learn how to deal with Pennsylvania topography, which is a whole different thing than Minnesota or Michigan. Come to think of it, I was nervous every time I had to drive somewhere for the first few months. Not brave. Not at all.

But one does what one must 🙂

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/brave/

Old Tree

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

“They say it was a lightning bolt that dug in and burned straight through to the ground.”

“Well, it’s certainly unique.  Amazing the old tree survived.”

“I didn’t,” brooded Old Tree. “My carcass is still standing, but my heart is gone. You just aren’t seeing it clearly. And it wasn’t lightning. It was a cannonball shot during your Civil War. Never understood how any war can be civil. You humans are a strange lot.

“Birds and squirrels still use me, but my heart is dead. One of these days I’ll topple, and you’ll see.”

Life isn’t Safe!

Risky

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

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There are a lot of people for whom safety is the key to everything they do.  If it doesn’t seem safe, avoid it.  I think that’s kind of sad.

Now, mind you, I’m not a person who goes seeking ways to get hurt.  I observe safe driving rules; I look both ways before I cross the street to get my mail.  I make sure my skirt isn’t tucked up into my waistband before I leave the bathroom. And as I age, I’m more careful about things I never used to think about, like running up and down the basement steps. Not any more. Careful, careful.

Big HOWEVER here:  Life just isn’t a safe space, folks.  I shake my head is wonderment at the Snowflake generation who want to insure that there are safe spaces for them when they don’t get their way.  Who on earth came up with that silliness?  And how did it happen?

I was taught that when things don’t go your way, you pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again. I think there’s a song like that. An oldie, for sure:

Anyway, how DID all this happen?  Ah, I’m so glad you asked.  Here’s what I think, and I understand that it’s not politically correct or safe for me to say it:  We have taught our young people that they should have every single thing they want, every single time. We give them trophies just for showing up, for pity sakes!  We TEACH them to be entitled cry babies  who use their First Amendment rights to deprive me of mine.

We have taught them that “safe sex” means they can have sex all they want, just make sure the government pays for birth control because, after all, it’s your RIGHT to have sex, and the government is supposed to look after your quest for happiness. Doesn’t it strike you as strange that women don’t want the government interfering in their “right” to abortion, but they DO want the government to pay for what keeps them from getting pregnant?  Talk about the ME generation!

Sit in my counseling office with me for a few days, and you’ll see that the whole  attitude toward sex-as-a-pastime isn’t working out very well.  Take a look at the most recent stats, for instance, on STD’s.  It’s enough to make you hair stand on end.

It’s not just about sex. It’s about our sense of entitlement to do whatever we want without having any consequences attached.

Safety is an illusion.

All the people who died on 9/11 thought they were perfectly safe that morning.

All the people who died in the Las Vegas shooting thought they were safe, too.

Every time you sit in your car, you are risking your life.  Even if you never leave your house, every day brings with it the possibility of fire, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane, tornado.  Life did not come with a guarantee of perfect safety.

We need to quit worrying and fussing and wrapping our poor little babies in layers of blankets that make them sweat just because we are so fearful that they’ll be sick if we don’t.

We need to live our lives with gusto, with purpose, with confidence and joy, and quit worrying about all the bad things that could happen. And when bad things do happen–as they will–we need to endure, and then rise up and start all over again.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/risky/

 

A Few of my Favorite Things

Succumb

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

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I looked up the etymology of this word, and found that it was, in the 15th century, almost exclusively a legal term meaning, in modern terms, “You just lost your case.”  It was to lie under the power of someone else’s arguments, to submit whether you wanted to or not.

Today, I believe we think of it more in terms of finally losing the battle with death.  An obituary may read, “Mr. Smith succumbed to double pneumonia after a long struggle,”  although it’s actually pretty rare for an obit to name the cause of death.

 

Speaking on a purely personal level, there are other things to which I succumb. Voluntarily.


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Chocolate. Good coffee. what-makes-22good-coffee22-good

Aromatic tea. Pot roast. A sappy romantic movie that I haven’t seen before. A book that engages my attention to the point of obsession. Sleep, especially when it’s been elusive for a couple of nights, aided by the My Pillow I recently indulged in. Got it on a special deal, and it’s one of the smartest purchases I’ve ever made.

Newborn babies with their fuzzy little heads cuddled into my neck.intl_mex_monica1_021_wide

My granddaughter’s new puppy when he snuggled his little snout between my arm and my side, warm and trusting.

Good music.  I like lots of genres, and I’ve filled up my Alexa with all sorts of songs.

A really good hamburger, juicy and fully loaded. Likewise, excellent pizza.

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Good friends who “get” me, and with whom I can be completely relaxed, completely me. That’s a rare and precious gift.

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These are a few of my favorite things, things to which I succumb with pleasure.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/succumb/

Soul Mate

Fraud

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

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“Never let a fraud steal your heart,” thought  Julie.

Too late. She’d met him on a well-known and highly-regarded dating website. He had all the right assets. Smart, funny, independent, good job, loved babies and puppies—maybe too good to be true.

So they’d agreed to meet in a public place just for coffee. Each drove separately, so there would be no awkwardness if things didn’t work out.

The electricity between them could have lit up New York. They drowned in each other’s eyes, speaking without words throughout the evening.  When he gently, carefully touched her hand, she was lost.

“What a gentleman,” she thought. He wasn’t pushy, wasn’t brazen and forward. She wanted to see him again.

They made another date, and the relationship progressed like a love story in a fairy tale.  Julie felt she’d met her heart’s desire, the other half of herself, the best guy in the world.

It lasted until she came home from work one day and found her door already open, the lock broken. Her apartment was empty. The police took the list she’d made, but they weren’t hopeful. Her laptop was gone, all her good jewelry, clothing, shoes, anything of any value. He had her computer, so he also had access to her finances.All she had left was what was in her purse and her car.

And the fragments of a shredded heart when she found the note on her bathroom mirror:  “Hi, Julie. You’re looking at a sucker :)”

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fraud/

 

The Birds, Revisited

A 100-words story  created from the photo prompt, Friday Fictioneers presents us with a new weekly challenge.  Here’s my response.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

Rob  reared back in surprise when the small bird flew out of the open packing crate. A baby Myna, it swooped and turned, frantic to find the open air.

Shortly, Rob caught him in a butterfly net. He wrapped his hand around the little bird, feeling the speeding heartbeat, wondering ” A zoo? A pet shop?”

The bird stared at Rob, showing no fear. Its hooded yellow gaze was almost hypnotic.

“The others are coming, you fool,” thought the bird.  “I’m just the sentinel, the forerunner.  You will pay.  Oh, how you will pay!”

 

 

 

A Little Member

Tame

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 

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First thought:  Lion tamer in a circus. But I don’t know anything about that.

Second:  Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, which is one of my favorites, but I just don’t feel like it today.

Third:  Taming the tongue.  Now, there’s a topic I understand from first-hand experience as well as years of child-rearing, teaching, and counseling.

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Hardest thing in the world to tame.  The Bible says, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!” (James 3:5)

Can you imagine how much better off we’d be in all our relationships, in government, in world affairs, if everyone would just control his tongue?

Don’t read the comments on news events, because they’re usually full of profanity and personal insults.

Nothing is sacred these days. Sex, all flavors and varieties, is spoken of openly and with great vulgarity. Even personal hygiene is advertised on TV these days, for crying out loud. Honestly?  I don’t want to know that stuff.  There’s a reason for closing the bathroom door when you go in there! 

It seems there are lots of people who don’t know any other adjective but the F-bomb, and they use it as liberally as they use salt on their popcorn.  A simple sentence is bloated by the use of this language, so that, for instance, “We went to the store,” becomes “We blankin’ went to the blankin’ blankin’ store.”  Really?  Are you angry ALL the time, or just when you go to the store? 

Our little tiny tongues have set the world ablaze because we just can’t control them.  To make matters worse, the communication tools of today have made it easy to insult and offend people all around the world in a matter of seconds. 

The American West has been on fire this summer, especially in Montana. Every single one of those fires started with just a spark.  Maybe someone carelessly dropped a still-smoldering cigarette in dry grass. All it takes is a little spark to set thousands of acres to burning. There has been very little rain to damp down the ground, and the sparks find easy tinder when the wind picks up. It’s terrible. People have died, and homes have been destroyed. 

We do the same damage to people’s hearts and minds when we set them on fire with just a few words from an out-of-control tongue. 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tame/

 

 

Santa

Believe

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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Interesting that this word should be the prompt this morning.  Earlier, while searching for an illustration for my Bible study blog,  I came across this:

 

Image result for cartoon: child on Santa's lap, "where are you in the Bible?"

Of course, Santa is not in the Bible.  My parents must have done a good job of helping us to understand that Santa was make-believe, like Mickey Mouse or Superman. I honestly do not  remember ever believing that Santa was real, and still I enjoyed that aspect of Christmas, knowing very well that it was just a fairy tale.

There were no presents under our tree from Santa.  He was not the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-present power figure in a red suit that filled the store windows. There were no elves, no Mrs. Claus, no magical toy factory at the North Pole. Still, we sang Rudolph the red-Nosed Reindeer  and Here Comes Santa Claus in the same way we sang other fun songs.

We never sang them, though, with the same attitude of expectation and awe that I remember when we sang Silent Night, Holy Night,  or Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem.  We knew those songs were from a whole different realm, one that was sacred and holy, and not to be reduced to fairy tale status like Santa Claus.

My mom and dad told us the truth right from the beginning. They never had to deal with the trauma of our realizing Santa was a hoax, because we always knew he was just a story.

Seems to me that what they did is a lot better than teaching kids to believe in Santa and then having them realize it was all a lie.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/believe/