Don’t Be Normal!

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

“Ahh, very pretty place,” sighed Zing. He and Zang had just entered the elegant dining area in a posh hotel. The snow outside made the room seem even more cozy.

“What do we do now?” asked Zang. Nervous, he tugged at his collar and wondered why humans put up with such confinement.

“We sit at a table and wait for someone to bring us food.”

“Really? Then maybe we should make ourselves visible, or we’ll be hungry all day!”

Zang laughed. “Right. And try not to speak normally. They’d think we’re space aliens or something!”

Trash

PHOTO PROMPT © C.E.Ayr

Funny, what people throw out. That picture was probably valued and admired once, but now it’s a ruin. The victim of neglect and over-familiarity, it’s no longer interesting. Dump it. Crush it in the compactor of the garbage truck, and don’t give it another thought.

Lila knew exactly how that felt.

Discover Prompts, Day 19: Three

I’ve skipped some days. My well was running dry. When writing becomes a chore, it’s time to give it a rest.

But now I’m back 🙂

Three. The first place my mind went was, “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Eccl. 4:12. The meaning is that we are vulnerable when we stand alone; better off with at least one supporter; but with God as the third strand in the cord, we are very strong indeed.

And then I thought of the operetta The Mikado, including the song Three Little Maids from School. We performed that operetta when I was in high school. I got to be Katisha, who was a very heartless and powerful character. It was loads of fun.

And there you have it. The Bible and The Mikado. What a combination 🙂

And I may have to do another one today to catch up. Today is the 20th. Is anyone else having trouble remembering what day it is?

Discover Prompts, Day 15: Scent

Whoever chose this prompt and set up the page put a picture of a field of lavender under the heading. I love lavender, and it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the prompt word. Here’s my own choice:

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Organic Essential Oil – St Larry's

I don’t remember when discovered lavender. I’ve enjoyed it for years now, especially in soaps, bath oils and bubbles, etc.

Some think it’s annoying and old-fashioned. I don’t want to be annoying, but I don’t mind being old-fashioned. I’ve reached an age at which I actually take it as a compliment!

What other scents do I love? Baking bread. Beef roasting in the oven. Roses in the garden. Rain. Freshly cut grass. A freshly bathed and powdered baby. Freshly aired, clean rooms. Tea. Any kind. There are some that are so aromatic I wish there were a perfume to match 🙂 Coffee. Bacon. Coffee and bacon cooked outside.

Laundry drying outside. Freshly plowed earth, BEFORE the farmer spreads the manure 🙂 Fresh corn as it’s being husked.

Well, my list is long, so I’ll stop there. I notice how often the word fresh shows up. Interesting. I know I don’t like stale and stuffy!

Up on the Roof

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

Con loved the roof. His building was near the city center, standing several stories high.

It was his refuge. Quiet, delightfully desolate. All the noise and chaos below didn’t touch him.

He took his guitar that day. Needed some music

To his complete surprise, his chair was not empty when he closed the door to the stairway and turned around. A gorgeous vision sat there. He blinked, thinking he was hallucinating.

She blinked, fearing she had crossed a line.

“Hi,” he grinned. I’m Con. Who’re you?”

“Selma.” Blushing.

“Welcome to my roof, Selma. You live here?”

Discover Prompts, Day 13: Teach

Play School stock image. Image of learn, point, hand - 53106071

Do kids pretend these days the way we did when we didn’t have fancy toys? I hope so. I know my grandkids pretended when they were younger.

I liked playing house, but even more than that, I loved to play school.

I always wanted to be the teacher.

I wasn’t very old when I got my first opportunity to actually be a “teacher’s helper.” I was 8 or 9, and I was a fast reader. I would finish the reading assignment and whatever written work quickly. Seeing my boredom, the teacher asked me if I would like to help some of the other kids who struggled with reading. Oh, you betcha! And my “students” didn’t seem to mind, which I find a bit surprising on looking back.

When I was 12, my preacher-dad told me I was going to teach two-year-olds in Sunday school. That was a “learn-as-you-go” experience. I discovered, before much time had passed, that two-year-olds were cute and fun, but I didn’t have the patience one needs to actually teach them. They loved singing, so we sang. Everything from Jesus Loves Me to “I’m a Little Teapot.” The teapot wasn’t especially spiritually enriching, but it helped to pass the time 🙂

When I was about 16, I was a camp counselor one summer. My girls were 13-14, and I enjoyed that a lot. One can actually have intelligent conversations (well, sometimes) with kids that age.

Then I went to college, and teaching was put on the back shelf. I’d hoped to major in applied keyboard, but I didn’t have the natural talent or the training for that. One of the music staff suggested I think about teaching music instead of doing music performance. Brilliant. That became a minor, while Bible and English were my majors.

After graduation and, a week later, marriage, I was soon involved in teaching elementary school music, as well as English, which became my first love. And I naturally progressed from the elementary grades to the high school. There is nothing quite as rewarding as seeing the light go on for a single student, or even a group of students, which does happen.

All the while, I was teaching in Sunday school, gradually working from high school to adult women; also, I was privileged to speak now and then for seminars and conferences.

Now I’m old, and I’m delighted to still be teaching. I get to teach a women’s Bible study at my church, which has been interrupted by Corona. That will pass, though, and I’m looking forward to being free to gather again.

I also get to teach high schoolers in a homeschool co-op our church hosts, also interrupted by the virus. Not sure what’s going to happen there, with the end of the school year being so close.

As you can see, today’s one-word prompt sent me down Memory Lane. My family has several teachers–it must be in the genes 🙂 I love to teach.


Discover Prompts, Day 12: Light

My husband grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan–yep, he’s a Yooper 🙂 He loved living where he got to enjoy displays of the Aurora Borealis now and then. Glorious, ever-changing light shows that didn’t cost a dime.

Then for 11 years, we lived in central Minnesota. It was just far enough north that we were treated to the Northern Lights now and then. The displays weren’t as colorful, usually, as what Terry grew up watching, but they were still amazing to watch.

When I lived in Portland, Oregon, we got to see the Lights now and then. Such a treat.

Light is always associated, in my mind, with goodness, health, joy, safety. Partly, that’s because of my faith. Jesus is the Light of the World, and with Him there is no darkness at all (I John 1:5).

I will admit to being afraid of the dark well past my childhood. Even after we were married, if Terry wasn’t home and I had to go into a dark house without him, I would unlock the door, feel for the light switch, and flip it on; I would wait a minute before going in, then make my way to the next light, the next room, until every light in the place was relieving my fears of a nameless, formless boogie man jumping out at me from the dark. Silly? Maybe. I’m much less worried these days, just turning on the light in whatever room I’m using.

Why are we afraid of the dark? I think it’s because the dark is an unknown quantity. We do tend to fear what we don’t understand. Darkness could be hiding all sorts of scary things, from centipedes to furry spiders to–God forbid—a horrible SNAKE just waiting for me to get within striking range.

Sometimes it’s really not a good thing to have an active imagination.

Well, enjoy this season, with longer light hours as we move toward the end of June. Long summer afternoons and evenings, fading slowly into the beauty of a light-filled sunset.

And a blessed Resurrection Sunday to all of you.

Discover Prompts, Day 11: Bite

Oddly, my mind just went blank.

Maybe that’s because there are so MANY directions one could take for this one-word prompt.

Let’s see. How about a bite of fiction?

**********************

Peanut butter and jelly. The ultimate American sandwich champion. For kids, at least.

Lizzy watched her ten-year-old champion eater take a huge bite of his sandwich. Grape jelly, always. Leaving a circle around his mouth, always. Which he swiped at with his arm, always. Topped off with a milk mustache, always, as he ran out the door to continue his important project of the moment. He’d be back inside within an hour, looking for cookies or an apple or whatever he could wheedle out of her. Always hungry, always on the move.

She loved him more than she had ever understood a mother could love her child.

Taking her after-lunch tea into her living room, she curled up in her reading corner. Taking a bite of her own sandwich, a much smaller bite than Jeffie would have taken, she relished the combination of salt-and-sweet. Her husband teased her about still loving her favorite childhood sandwich, but it didn’t bother her. He never turned down a pb&j, either.

Her book open on her lap, Lizzie let her mind drift to five years earlier, when Jeffie didn’t want anything at all to eat. He would pick listlessly at every tempting morsel she could create. One bite, maybe, but no more.

He was pale, losing weight, and had no energy. Finally, they took him to his pediatrician, who dropped terror into Lizzie’s heart when he referred them to a pediatric oncologist.

Lizzie didn’t dwell very long on the next couple of years. Tubes, needles, surgery, fear, cold sweat, sleepless nights, terror-driven trips to the ER. The feeding tube was unbearable to her. How she longed to see him take a huge bite of his messy sandwich, wiping the residue on his sleeve. She swore that if he survived this monster, she would never fuss at him again for wiping the jelly on his sleeve.

Children Patient Closing His Face In Hospital Bed Stock Photo ...

He did survive. He was a tough little kid, even at only five years old. He was eight before he really started to return to normal. Now, at ten, he was unstoppable. It was glorious!

And she never, ever scolded him again for wiping that last bite of pb&j off his mouth onto his sleeve.

Discover Prompts, Day 10: Orchestrate

Always a word nerd, I immediately began to wonder where the word orchestrate came from. Not surprisingly, it comes from Greek: orkheisthai, to dance. Dancing, of course, is best done to music or at least a drumbeat; and if there is a group of musicians, they need a place to sit while they play their instruments and the performers dance, orate, and so on. Thus, the orchestra pit, which gradually mutated to just orchestra.

Orchestrate? Huh. I wonder if that word is related to choreograph. Back to etymology, and no surprise that there is a similarity. Greek, again, khoreia means dancing in unison.

So, both words indicate a planned, systematic way of playing music and/or dancing. Order. No one gets to just get up there and do his own thing, or he would be summarily removed.

The beauty, of course, is in the planning and execution so that all the instruments/dancers/singer/performers are cooperating together to present a pleasing experience for both the performers and the observers.

While I appreciate the beauty, grace and athleticism of ballet, it’s not my favorite thing to watch. I’m much more likely to enjoy something from an old-fashioned musical like this one: (Be patient. The good stuff starts around 2:17)

Discover Prompts, Day 9: Pairs

I’m coming in very late on this one. Forgot about it until I was about to close down for the day. So let’s see. Pairs.

A pair is two, right? As in a pair of socks. One sock, two socks, matching socks. Pair. Until the dryer eats one. Now you have an unmatched, lonely little sock.

So why isn’t a pair of pants two? If we say, “Put your pants on,” we mean one garment. A tube for each leg. But not TWO pants; just one. If we want one pant at the clothing store, we say, “I need a pair of pants.” So shouldn’t the salesperson bring us TWO pants?

Can you tell that I’m feeling a little giddy? It’s time for me to be heading for bed, where I have a pair of wonderful pillows, and a set of pj’s that are soft and comfy.

And there’s another one. We call it a PAIR of pajamas, but it’s actually a set, right? If we wanted a pair, wouldn’t we say we want two sets of matching pajamas?

And here’s one for free that has nothing to do with pairs.

If you can be DIScombobulated, why can’t you be combobulated? Someone has suggested it should be a new word. I don’t care. It’s just something to talk about 🙂

Here’s Sherlock Holmes doing some discombobulating:

Good night, everyone. Have a wonderful, combobulating sleep in your set of pajamas and your pair of pillows!