You were caught in an avalanche. To be rescued, you need to make it through the night. What thought(s) would give you the strength to go through such a scary, dangerous situation?


As I began to regain consciousness, I had only the awareness of darkness.  Wherever I was, no light at all penetrated the darkest dark I’d ever known. My body  was waking up along with my brain, sending me messages along all the neural pathways I’d read about, telling  me where there was pain. I realized I was lying facedown, my arms over my head, but flat on my belly. I could hear my heart beating, almost feel the blood coursing through my body–which I took as a good sign!

Memory returned, and with memory came absolute and unremitting terror.

Skiing with friends. A roaring, earthshaking slide as tons and tons of snow slid down the mountain like a white tsunami. Knowing there was no escape. Tucking myself into a ball, hoping my friends were going to survive. Then blackness, and now as I woke up I had no idea at all how long I’d been out, what time of day it was, how deeply I was buried.

I rolled to my back, feeling twinges of pain here and there, but I was pretty sure nothing had been broken. While I was unconscious, my warm breath had cleared a little snow from around my mouth and nose. I wiped my thumbs across my ski goggles, seeing nothing at all. Dark,dark, dark.

I was thankful for my ultralight, ultrawarm thermal underwear; for my next layer that trapped body heat; and finally for the ski clothes that had cost me way too much money but that may save my life. It was comfortable, engineered for speed and warmth with no bulk.

I felt down my legs, realizing my skis were still intact. That may be useful. Then I remembered the belt around my waste that contained water, some survival-type bars of food, and above all, a thermal sheet that folded up as small as a handkerchief but would open out to completely wrap around my body for further warmth.

Technology is great!

I sat there, trying to think what to do. Should I try to dig?  How much snow was overhead?  If I tried to dig, would I have more of the stuff pouring in on top of me?  Should I holler?  Would the noise move the snow? If I did nothing, I might never be found. The dogs that are trained for this kind of thing are amazing, but if the snow was deep enough. . . .

Well, I’m not a do-nothing person.  If I was going to die under here, I was going to fight like crazy. So I thought through all the possibilities, the equipment I had, how I could use it.

With very little room to maneuver, I removed both skis. The front ends were sharp.  I couldn’t find my poles, assumed they had gone flying when the avalanche hit.  Checked out my water to make sure it was still where it needed to be. Decided to eat nothing yet, wait until cold or hunger got the better of me.  Then I started to carefully feel my way around this little cave, poking for any soft spot that may indicate a good place to start digging.

This was NOT impossible!  There would be people out looking for others like me, and they had dogs and equipment. The thought of hot coffee, hot soup, a warm bed and heaps of blankets stimulated me to keep trying.

Others had survived in similar circumstances.  So would I.




Today, publish a post based on unused material from a previous piece –a paragraph you nixed, a link you didn’t include, a photo you decided not to use. Let your leftovers shine!


This is a tough one.  Typically, I write these prompts very fast and I’m not aware of deliberately choosing to leave anything out. I have a pretty organized way of thinking, usually, from point A to B to C and done.  Hmmmm.

Okay.  Yesterday I mentioned have traveled with my college’s touring choir and said that was another story all by itself. So let’s go there.

We left southern Minnesota and traveled across Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, and into Pennsylvania. There were maybe 60 of us. It was a wonderful trip, with stops along the way to do a little sightseeing. We spent a day in New York City, a day in Philadelphia, and if I remember correctly, a day in Valley Forge. We sang in churches all over this little corner of PA, including the church that later became our home for many, many years.  Took me a while to realize that after I’d married and we’d moved out here to work in that church.

For this midwestern girl who’d never been to the East Coast, it was just a great trip. One thing I really looked forward to was seeing the Pennsylvania mountains. Several of our choir members were from various points in PA, and they bragged about how beautiful their mountains were.

I was born in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Say the word mountain to me, and I think of “purple mountain’s majesty, above the fruited plain.”  High, jagged, peaks of 10,000 feet, like I remembered and loved from our trips back to Colorado to see relatives. Exciting, breathtaking views from the top of the world. 

So I was thrilled to be going to see mountains again. There are NO mountains in the flat farmlands of Minnesota!

We drove across the state line from Ohio into Pennsylavania.  I watched out the windows, longing for my first glimpse on the horizon of the craggy line of mountains I loved on our trips to Colorado.

And we drove. . . .and drove. . . .and yes, the foothills were pretty. There were lots of trees, lovely little valleys with farms tucked into folds watered by rivers that curled through the hills. It was delightful. 

After a couple of hours, I turned to my PA seatmate. “So, when will we see the mountains?”  I asked.

He gave me a long, considering look. I wasn’t sure, but I knew I’d said something wrong. Without cracking a smile, without any expression on his face, he said, “We’re IN the mountains.”  And he got up and found another seat.



Is there a person you should’ve thanked, but never had the chance? Is there someone who helped you along the way without even realizing it? Here’s your chance to express your belated gratitude.


This could be a very long post. It won’t, because I don’t have time.  Just saying.

Teachers.  First grade, Miss Erickson who broke my heart by getting married and becoming Mrs. Somebody. Can’t remember her new last name. She recognized my love of reading and let me forge ahead, out of the totally boring Dick and Jane readers into more challenging books. She also let me write a class newsletter every week. What a wise woman she was, not forcing me to sit there and die of boredom in reading circle! 

A music teacher whose name I don’t remember heard me harmonzing while my sixth grade class was singing White Christmas. Some of the other kids didn’t understand what I was doing and wanted me to stop it, but she made a big deal out of how pretty harmony is, and encouraged me to keep on singing.

Miss Rogness, sophomore English teacher, who recognized my love of writing and my slowly developing sense of humor, and encouraged both.  Mr. Miller, senior speech teacher who let me be Eliza in Pygmalion. Absolutely one of the highlights of my senior year.

College.  Music again. I don’t know why I can’t remember his name. Usually have no problem. Ah!  Don Scoville. He heard my sister and me singing alto in a choir rehearsal for church, came up close to listen, and told us both he wanted us to try out for the college choir. It was more of an order than a request. I will never forget singing The Messiah in my sophomore year with full orchestra, organ, piano, and some incredibly gifted soloists. Fabulous experience.  Also traveled with the touring choir in my sophomore year, another story all by itself.

Dr. Clearwaters, pastor of Fourth Baptist Church in Minneapolis.  Dr. Richard Harris, founding pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Sellersville, PA.  My dad, Pastor John Fullmer, who was an outstanding Bible teacher and preacher.  Three of the most important teachers in my life.

And that’s enough for now.



What’s the most elaborate, complicated meal you’ve ever cooked? Was it a triumph for the ages, or a colossal fiasco? Give us the behind-the-scenes story (pictures are welcome, of course).


May I just share a funny story, and leave it at that?  Ok, thanks!

I was a new bride, enjoying having my own kitchen and trying out all sorts of recipes. Terry had invited his good friend Jerry for supper.  I made beef  stroganoff for the first time, which turned out just fine.

For dessert, I chose to make a very pretty Jello mold. This was back in the day when Jello was still a very popular item. I’d found a recipe to make in a crown mold like this: 

The little top piece was plain Jello, green if memory serves. The next layer was a mixture of cream cheese and green jello, and the bottom layer was more green jello with fruit mixed in. This had to be done in parts, of course, letting each layer gel before adding the next. The trick, I have since learned, is to get the timing exactly right 🙂

When the time came, I carefully turned the mold upside down on my serving plate.  Before that, I had set it open-side up in lukewarm water for just a few seconds, to loosen it from the mold so the mold would lift off and reveal a sparkling  work of culinary magic.

It was beautiful. The serving plate sat next to the sink, which was still full of lukewarm water.  I was so proud of my work, feeling pretty cocky about having it turn out so well.  I lifted the plate, and the little piece on the top of the mold jiggled. . .. . .slid. . . . . plopped ingloriously into the sink of warm water, melting on contact.

I set the plate down, foolishly trying to save the glob in the sink, and knocked the plate into the sink.

Sigh. All that work, all down the drain.  Terry and his friend didn’t even try to contain their mirth as i scrabbled in the water trying to salvage at least one little bite of the beautiful–melted–finale to my meal.

The Jello went down the drain. The story lives on in our family history.



I’m really sorry I didn’t get to read too many of your posts today on the daily prompt.  Incredibly busy day. We selected counterop, looked at tile for backsplash and floor, looked at sinks and faucets.  Some people just love doing this.  I don’t.  After an hour or so, I’m ready to say, “Just send me one of everything!”  I’m not a shopper, never have been.

Then a friend came to help install upper and lower cabinets on the north-facing wall, and I’m delighted with the effect so far. The only cabinets left are the wall cabinets on the south-facing wall and the ones we’ll use for the little breakfast bar thingamabob. The counter can’t be measured and cut until all cabinets are installed.

I love the countertop.  It’s called “cashmere white,” a granite top with a light touch of blue and some other sparkles. I’m thinking to pick up the blue in the backsplash and the floor tile, maybe paint the walls a very, very light blue. Cabinets are birch.  I want a light, airy feeling.  Nothing set in cement yet.  It’s a small room, and I don’t want a lot of dark, strong color. We’re still deciding whether to go with stainless (which everyone tells us is a better selling point) or a whitestone look that Terry likes.

Anyway, there just wasn’t a lot of time for reading posts, and I feel bad about that.  You are all so very encouraging to me, “liking” and commenting faithfully.  I do want to return the favor whenever I can.  Today just wasn’t one of those days.

I just had to put a few dishes in the cupboard tonight! dishesincupboard

But–it looks like I’ll be able to produce a good Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  Terry put plywood down across the cabinets so I have a couple of good working surfaces. Now if I can just get some more stuff put away and do something about all this dust. . ..

Miss Independence

Have you ever faced a difficult situation when you had to choose between sorting it out yourself, or asking someone else for an easy fix? What did you choose — and would you make the same choice today?


I was born on the Fourth of July.  My mom always told me there couldn’t have been a more perfect day for me to make my appearance.  I like to do it myself.  I like to figure out my own stuff. Asking for help rarely enters my mind.  I will struggle for hours over a problem to solve it myself rather than call on someone who could deal with it in a nanosecond. Dumb, huh?

There was an incident in college.  I won’t go into the why, when, or where.  Just believe me when I tell you it shouldn’t have created a fire storm, but it did. I politely refused to do something that I felt was wrong. Hoo boy. Did the sky fall?  Oh yes.  Students, especially female students, were not particularly well thought of for taking a stand against the status quo. Never entered my mind to call my dad, who could have eased the situation for me.  Never entered my mind to call anyone. I figured it was my choice, my fight, my conviction.  I would take my lumps, if need be, and deal with things the best I could.

As it turned out, when I spoke with the person in charge and explained my behavior, she acknowledged my right to act according to my conviction. She didn’t like it, and I never ever made any points with her in the years that followed, but she made no further issue out of it. 

I would probably make a different stand today. Some things that were important to me then no longer seem very important now. Would I make the same choice, though, if I could go back in time, being who I was, and what the issue was?

Yes. No doubt. And I probably wouldn’t call anyone to help me out, either.


Not So Risky

When was the last time you took a risk (big or small), and pushed your own boundaries — socially, professionally, or otherwise? Were you satisfied with the outcome?


I’m not really much of a risk-taker, although some may think differently.  I suppose a huge risk for me was to go back to school at age 50 to earn a master’s degree so I could do private practice counseling.  I wasn’t afraid of the academic pressure, knew I was up to that.  My fear was that I would go through all that work, get my degree, get my license, and then not have any business.

That process started  17 years ago, and believe me, I have all the business I want or need.  Yes, I am very satisfied with the outcome.  I’ll be even more satisfied when that pesky student loan is paid off.

On another risk, about two-and-a-half years ago I opened my first blog. Since it is narrowly focused, I knew my readership would grow slowly.  It has. However, it grows consistently, and I’m very happy with the way it’s being received. Then, this past April, I decided I needed another blog that would give me more scope for creative writing, writing just for the fun of it. And I found the daily prompts, which has introduced me to a community of encouraging, helpful friends in cyberspace. This one is growing much faster.  I am so amazed and gratified at the response.

So yes, these “risks” have turned out quite well.  Who knows what’s around the next corner!


My Story

What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?


When I was in high school, I competed in what was then called Declamation Contests.  My favorite category was storytelling.  I made it all the way to the state competition in Minnesota, and came in second because the first place winner smiled when she was finished, and I did not.  Lesson #1:  Enjoy yourself when you tell a story. Even if you’re frozen with fear 🙂

I told stories in Sunday school to children of all ages.  I loved it, and that made my audience love it. Lesson #2:  Love your subject matter. 

I also enjoyed the kids. They loved a good story.  I’ll never forget the time I made a “baaaa” sound for a sheep, and a little kid in the front row “baaaaa-ed” right back at me!  Lesson #3:  Enjoy your audience.

One of my favorite storytellers was Jerry Clower.  Look him up on You Tube.  You’ll be entertained.  He’s one of many people from the deep South who can spin a yarn that will have you howling with laughter, all over the mundane things in life. Lesson #4:  It helps to be Southern 🙂  Lesson #5:  Tell stories about things that are familiar to you, and to your audience. 

Another expert storyteller is Garrison Keillor of Prairie Home Companion fame.  He rarely raises his voice. He never roars with laughter.  He is quiet, phlegmatic, and incredibly funny.   A cohort of his, Howard Mohr, wrote the classic book How to talk Minnesotan.  If you’ve lived there and then moved away, you’ll laugh your way through this book. If you’ve never lived anywhere else, you may not “get” it.

Lesson # 6:  You don’t have to be knee-slapping funny. Sometimes, less is more.

Then, of course, I can’t forget about Pat McManus, who writes hilarious articles and books with unusual names like The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw, and They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They? If you like to read in bed, these books will get you kicked out of the bedroom for laughing so hard you wake up your spouse.  There are wonderful characters like Strange, the dog; Pat’s sister, the Troll, and Retch Sweeney, the all-round fun weird neighbor. He writes a lot about outdoor stuff that guys like.  One of my favorite stories is about the time he had to ride his bicycle to go hunting, shot a deer, and figured out a way to haul the deer down the mountain sitting astride behind him on the bike—-until the concussed deer woke up. . . . . .

Lesson #7:  Leave your audience wanting more. 



Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure (thanks for the prompt suggestion, Sarah!)


Dear Chocolate,

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:

1. I love your creamy, mouth-pleasing smoothness.

2.  I love the anticipation of unwrapping you and enjoying your come-hither perfume.

3.  I love looking at your rich color, knowing I’m about to take a bite out of you that will linger on my tongue. 

4.  I love your many forms.  Truffles, bars, turtles, bonbons, kisses, cocoa powder, syrup. You are infinite in your variety.  You are never boring.

5.  I love your offering of degrees of sweetness.  From bitter to  milky sweet, there is an option for every mood.

6.  I love your willingness to be used in so many different ways.  Baked into cookies, cakes, sweet breads, pies, cheesecakes, tarts, tortes, flans, puddings, brownies–the list is endless.

7.  I love it that I can drink you, hot or cold.

8. I love it that you complement a bowl of ice cream with such class.

9.  I love it that you wait patiently for me when I’m going through periods of giving you up. You always welcome me back, and you never hold a grudge.  I do think I heard you laughing once, though.

10.  I even love the sound of your name. Chocolate. Rich, full-bodied, satisfying.  Chocolate.

Thank you, dear Chocolate.  You have added so much to my life!

Forever yours,



Music! Music! Music!

If your life were a movie, what would its soundtrack be like? What songs, instrumental pieces, and other sound effects would be featured on the official soundtrack album?


Hoo boy.

Well, the first thing that comes to mind is a circus calliope.http://youtu.be/qTYCTw4QJAg

Then Tchaikowsky’s 6th.

Then the whole body of sacred music, running the gamut from classical to southern gospel, but not including contemporary.

Songs?  Amazing Grace. How Great Thou Art.  How Beautiful Heaven Must Be.  Going from the sublime to the more earthly, Tchaikowsky’s Sixth Symphony, almost anything else he penned; Rachmaninoff, Mahler. and Vivaldi. I love big music, and I love Bach and Beethoven too.  And Mannheim.

Pretty eclectic, I guess.

Instruments?  Piano, trumpets, violins. And cymbals.

Sound effects?  Thunder, wind, the ocean, birds.

Anyone want to try composing my life in music?