My blessings

Everyone counts their blessings this time of year. I believe in an attitute of gratitude all year long. It improves your daily outlook, reminds you that at least some of the things about your life are good, and you can be grateful for them. Too often we focus on the things that are wrong, that need fixing, and we forget that a lot of things are right.

A brief inventory each evening, taking stock of the day’s blessings, your life’s blessings, is a good way to go to sleep feeling grateful for what you have rather than worried about what you want or need. Remind . . .

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Dust from the scuffing of many feet rose up around their ankles as they wandered through the packed earth of the fairgrounds. Emily led the way, as usual, muscling her way through the mob with bull-like power. Junie followed, trailing tenaciously as a puppy behind its master.
Absolutely everybody from the high school was here, Junie thought. She loved to be seen with Emily out in public, away from school. At school, people might think they were together just by chance, because they weren’t part of the popular crowd and had no one else to talk to. But outside of school, anyone could see that they were together by choice…

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Eggs Benedict

They only serve eggs benedict on Sunday, so the place is jammed to the rafters with a line into the parking lot on Sundays. All the wait staff call the efficient gray-tressed woman at the cash register “grandma” and all the tips go in a communal jar.

You don’t find family run businesses like that in the homogenized world of chain food anymore. I love to support places like this, not only because of the eggs benedict, but also because it’s a small business and . . .

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Cinnamon Toast

Our scratched and battered legs hung from the treehouse. Nora’s mom, a plump and matronly woman in an apron, the type of woman who no longer exists in the modern world, came with arms upraised and offered up big hunks of cinnamon toast.

The bread swam with pools of real butter with a thick crust of cinnamon and sugar topping. The sweet buttery taste with a hint of spice was enough to make me swoon. Perfect joy. . .

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Crashing on the couch

Two guys my husband claimed as friends fell out of their car into the driveway. They wanted to crash on the couch. They dragged their unwashed hair and jugs of wine into the living room. They watched cartoons in the morning while drinking wine. They slept most of the day. At night, their aim was to make noise.

My aim became figuring out a way to bomb the couch without disturbing any other part of my house. I decided that would never happen, so I took my faithful German shepherd with me into the living room and I said, “. . .

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Driving across the USA improves your perspective, at least if you’re a city dweller. When you live in a city you are insulated by concrete, asphalt, a mountain of consumer goods, and small planned landscapes. Driving reminds you that the US is not all city. There are vast expanses of empty space, windswept grass lands, rocky goat farms, and irrigated cotton fields. There are thriving communities of only a thousand or so souls, complete with post office, schools, gas stations, churches, fire houses, and a quick mart for the travelers.

When you are in the middle of a vast unpopulated plain and still see air pollution coloring the sky you are reminded . . .

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Are you a geek?

Does having a blog make you a geek? Or are only programmers geeks? Can someone who makes a web page by themselves be a geek? How about someone who does network security? Or how about someone who downloads and installs new software on a computer. Exactly what do you need to know to be a geek? Can you quality if you are able to connect all the cables on your computer and get it to work when you turn it on?

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Text message

The text message read “He has his two feet on American soil.” This was good news to everyone who received it. A sigh of relief could be heard all over the southwest. The soldier we had been worrying over for months made it home safely.

Too many who were there with him made it home wounded, maimed, or in a coffin.

In reality, there’s no safety anywhere, but having him “home safe” is such a relief and joy that . . .

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Candy hangover

Bleary-eyed fourth graders shuffled through my classroom door. Some of them managed to say “Good morning” in response to my greeting. Most just dropped into their seats like sacks of flour.

“I see we are dealing with candy hangovers this morning,” I said. “That must mean everyone had a good Halloween last night. Well, we’re headed outside to collect rock specimens for Science today, so get your jacket and line up.”

I knew I might get questions from the principal for marching everyone around the school yard first thing in the morning, but the exercise would wake up their brains a bit, and we really did need some rocks . . .

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How Gothic can it get? I thought, as I parked in front of the fading paint and castle-style battlements of this three story house at the end of a dirt lane. I looked around as I walked to the door and could see no sign of life. No traffic noise came from the paved road about half a mile back down the lane.

My knock was answered immediately. “Hello,” I said. “I’m Victoria from Vampire Hunters, Inc. You called about a vampire.”

The apron clad, gray-haired woman stepped aside without a word and motioned me in . . .

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