The World’s Leading Educator: YouTube

COMPUTER READING - LIGHT GRAYDid you know that you can learn how to do absolutely anything on YouTube?  Whether you want to learn how to operate the newest technological device, bake a cake, build a website, fix a toilet stool, make a podcast, correct a grammar problem, skin a beaver, or find Jesus Christ — instruction is at your fingertips on YouTube. What a revolution in education.

Of course, we do have to be sensible enough to distinguish what’s genuine instruction from some “nit-wit’s” bid for attention, but that’s not too hard to do — especially if you watch more than one video on the same subject. So if you’re in need of instruction and haven’t checked out YouTube, go for it. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn to do for free. I continually stand amazed at — and grateful for — such technology.

Anybody seen my beaver-skinning knife?????????




Share Your World 2016, Week 7

To take part by sharing your own world, hop over to Cee’s Photography and get the lowdown on how easy it is to share.


Question # 1: What are you a natural at doing?TEACHER AT GREEN BOARD

Teaching.  I used to say that I would never be a teacher, but as I grew into adulthood, I just naturally found myself teaching in all kinds of situations, and the next thing I knew I had a teaching degree. I’ve been a public school teacher, private school teacher, Sunday School teacher, Bible Class teacher, Seminar teacher, etc., etc.  I’ve taught English, History, Government, the Bible, Science, Math,Writing, Blogging, and Computer Basics. It’s been a wild ride and mostly very positive. I knew I must be a “natural” at it when a good friend told me once that I was always answering people’s questions before they asked them. He suggested that I would find relationships easier if I stopped doing that.

I might also add that I am a natural at eating as well. (Just want to stay honest.)


WINDOWS AND STAIRS FOR ART CENTER  SEPIAQuestion # 2: Would you prefer a one-floor house or multiple levels?

A.  To look at and dream about — or to give to characters in my novels: Multiple Levels.
B.  To own and have to clean and maintain personally: One floor only.



BOOKS - darkerQuestion # 3: What was your favorite subject in school?

English — both grammar and literature. I think I’m the only person I know who actually loved studying grammar. Diagramming sentences is therapeutic art as far as I’m concerned.



RAINDROPS AND A CLOUD - CLIPARTQuestion # 4: Complete this sentence: “If only the rain …”

This sounds like one of the writing prompts I give my creative writing students as an exercise in class.  I think I feel a story coming on.  So you all will just have to wait and read the whole story when it’s written and posted.


Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

My Mousepad

I’m grateful for a full pound of See’s chocolates given to me by a friend who lives in Florida, but who made a trip to San Diego, and while there, went to See’s Candies and chose a selection of fine chocolates specifically for me, and then delivered them to me here in Illinois.

Next week, I’m looking forward to another session at the healing school that I’m currently teaching. So many people in the school are growing in their knowledge of God’s Word and in their own personal faith, and it’s a great blessing for me to be able to help them.




Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star?????


Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
No – wait – that isn’t what you are.
My first-grade teacher set me wise:
That stars are really angel’s  eyes
Peeking through holes in pie-crust skies.

So many years have come and gone
Since that odd day when it was done.
When teacher stood before our class
And told that lie. I wanted to ask,
But never would I my teacher sass.

So I kept quiet, but wondered long
About how teachers can be wrong.
Not that she didn’t know the truth;
She did, but relied on our youth
To carry out her unkind spoof.

Thank God that I did not believe;
I’m not so easy to deceive.
For though so young, I had insight:
God’s truth had shed in me its light,
And to that truth I did hold tight.

Now, older, I still ask myself
Why grownups have for ages felt
That, for some reason undefined,
We must plant lies in children’s minds.
When truth would be so much more kind.

We mean no harm, but still it’s lies.
And I have known some children cry
When truth was finally revealed,
And hurt at such betrayal sealed
In little hearts where trust was killed.

Dear grownups, let us stop and think:
These young minds tremble on the brink
Of glorious wonders to be learned.
Their eager minds to us are turned –
In trust – and by truth, trust is earned.


(First line borrowed from Jane Taylor’s poem “The Star,” published in 1806.)


I Have a Favor to Ask

MAN TYPING HUGE PAGE - CHAPTER TEXT ONLYWell, dear blogging buddies, I am writing this post to ask a favor of any of you who might have the time to visit a new blog. As most of you know, I teach creative writing classes for a local college, and this year we have decided to launch an experimental addition to our curriculum.

We have created an online magazine, Debut Writers Journal, in which we feature work by the students in the creative writing classes. The magazine serves two purposes. For one thing, it allows the students to see their work in print and gets their names out into the literary world. But secondly, the magazine offers opportunities for the more advanced students to learn editorial and publishing skills by working with us on the magazine. It’s a brand new effort and will take some time to polish, but I’m excited about it.

I have posted quite a few pieces by some of the students already (short stories, non-fiction articles, and poems), and I will be posting a few more in the next couple weeks. Then when we get into the summer term, there will be new students to add to the roster. These students are from all walks of life and include every age group — from those right out of high school through those in their 70’s.

Now, the favor I’m asking is that any of you who have time would hop over there and take a look at some of what they have written. You probably won’t have time to read everything, but if you pop in and out from time to time, you can read several entries. And, of course, if you enjoy some of the pieces, please leave a comment for the writers. They are all very eager to learn the ropes of perfecting their craft, and they work very hard. So every word of encouragement is a great blessing to them.

Please don’t feel pressed to say things that you don’t feel sincerely, but when you do enjoy a piece, please let them know.

Thank you so much for being willing to share your time and energy to encourage fledgling writers. I hope doing so blesses you as well. Just follow the link in the second paragraph above and enjoy your visit.



Tickle Me Tuesday — Week 6

CARTOON MAN LYING DOWN LAUGHING 2Sorry I’m so late getting this week’s Tickle up, but I have been swamped with technology problems today.  (I’m running way behind on my serialized story as well. But to quote a well-known character in English literature, “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get.”)

Here’s today’s chuckle from me, and anyone else who has a chuckle, a giggle, a laugh, or a belly roll, just post your funny stuff on your blog and hop over here and paste your link into the “Comments” box. Keep it all safe for general audiences, and that’s the only rule you need to follow.


“Johnny,” said his teacher, “where’s your homework?”
“Uh …” the child replied, “well, it’s like this.”
Then calling on his great imagination,
John recited his excuses like a list.

“I saved my book report until the last day
Because I wanted it to be so fresh;
I wanted to review again my story,
And to type it so it wouldn’t be a mess.

“But when I went to print it out on paper,
The printer said that it was out of ink.
So Dad said he would go to Wal-Mart for some,
And that he would be back in just two blinks.

“I waited and I waited with my printer,
And as the hours ticked by, I fell asleep,
But did not wake until the sun disturbed me,
So quickly from my chair then I did leap.

“I went in search of Dad, but found him nowhere.
My mom said he had called to say goodbye.
He’d seen a spaceship land not far from Wal-Mart,
And with those spacemen he’d agreed to fly.

“He said it was a chance for rare adventure,
And he was sure that you would understand,
And promised that when he returns with more ink,
My book report will be a story grand!

“I know you tell us life’s a great adventure;
Of opportunities to be aware,
So I was sure you’d want to wait ’till next week,
To have my book report to read and share.”


Friday Fictioneers — 11/1/13 – Eating Fish Will Increase Your IQ

Friday Fictioneers has swum around again, and if you’d like to participate, just plop over to Rochelle Wiseoff-Fields’ blog to learn how.

The picture this week comes from Doug MacIlroy.

Now, I have to warn readers before they drop below the picture to read my submission that I have been working way too hard lately, and as a result, whimsy just overpowered me when I started thinking about a story for this prompt. I couldn’t seem to help myself. So for better – or for worse – the end result is below the photo.

Doug's Koi


The most intelligent animal is a fish.
And I’m so proud to say that I am one.
To merit such acclaim all others wish,
But fish win out when all is said and done.

How do I know my claims are proven fact,
Especially since there are no written rules?
Why, others live in herds and flocks and packs,
But fish have brains enough to live in schools.*


*Before a fish is allowed to graduate from college, he must memorize the entire text of Moby Dick. It’s part of the curriculum that teaches the fish species’ superiority to man.






Photo Challenge: ‘Thursday’s Windows’ – 3rd Week

Well, that time has rolled around again, and I am posting a photo from my old high school days.  The picture shows several of my classmates in study hall, but what catches my attention is that whole wall of windows at the back of the room.  They are the epitome of “School Windows” from about 4 or 5 decades ago.  (Yes, I’m really that old, but don’t tell anyone.)

There’s just something so special about them to me.  They were the same throughout the school — and throughout many U. S. schools during those years. (In fact, I can’t look at windows like that without thinking “School.”)

The top windows of each set of three opened out, and the bottom windows opened in.  You twisted the little handle on each window to open it, and of course, there were no screens.  But during the first and last month of our school year, the weather was so warm (or hot) that we had to have those windows open.  And because of the way they opened in two directions, they did offer a pretty good breeze. Virtually all of our classrooms had them across the whole length of the outside walls, and it made things quite pleasant to have that much natural light and to be able to see the rest of the world outside while slaving away at the books.

Just looking at them brings back so many wonderful memories of those school days. I bet a lot of you out there remember them as well — but you don’t have to admit your age if you don’t want to.

And don’t feel that you need to post windows pertaining to schools this week.  The challenge is still the same and will remain so until we get tired of it.  It’s just “Thursday’s Windows” — any kind, any size, any where. I’m really enjoying all your entries.  Isn’t it amazing what a variety there is of something so seemingly “ordinary”?

Remember to post the link to YOUR picture in the comment section below.

P. S.  I have to be away from my computer for a few days this weekend, so if I don’t respond to your picture right away, don’t think I’m not interested.  I will be looking forward to seeing all of them when I can get back to the Internet.

The Cycle

To work, to try, to learn
Is not a simple thing.
My teacher, though, thinks learning
Comes on swift, effortless wings.

I’m sure she never struggled
To get words to come out right.
Or understand their meanings;
Recognize them all on sight.

She’s prejudiced against me;
Doesn’t like me above half;
Just wants to cause me trouble;
Wishes I weren’t in her class.”

“I know how Peter struggles.
I’ve heard him heave the sighs.
I’ve seen his eyes drift out to rest
On azure-colored skies.

He thinks I’m hard and unfair
When his homework’s never done;
When I make him keep re-taking tests
Instead of having fun.

He doesn’t know I struggled once –
Knew the failure and the shame.
Has no idea the reason I teach
Is to save him from the same.”


Want To Make Your Brain Sweat?

Warning: The real purpose of this article is to get you to do some writing exercises. However, once started, those exercises can become seriously addictive. So think carefully before you read any further, because once you are hooked on this habit – honestly – only God knows where you might end up!

I often have people ask me where I come up with the ideas for my novels. There are many answers to that question, but one of those answers is that while doing a simple writing exercise one night, I found myself in the middle of a brand new novel about people, places, and events that I had never before considered for a story. My original intent, as I planned this article, was just to respond to this question about my own ideas. But as I pondered writing this for my readers, I decided that perhaps many of you would like to experiment with these exercises as well, so I’ve included some specific instructions in this article.

Now, back to my personal experience: At the time, I was in the middle of working on two separate books, but one evening, I just felt blah about working on either of them. I wasn’t experiencing anything like “writer’s block.” In fact, I’m not sure I really even believe that there is such a thing. But that’s a different subject. This particular evening, I was just not in the mood to “work” on either project – or to do anything else significant for that matter. That’s when I decided to do what I often had my creative writing students do in order to keep themselves honed: work on a writing exercise.

These writing exercises are similar to the “challenges” and “prompts” that WordPress offers in an effort to give their bloggers ideas to write about. The main difference between those prompts and the exercises is that, with the WP prompts, you can take your time and think, organize your ideas, and tweak things as you go. Not so with the exercises. One of the primary components of these writing calisthenics is to force yourself to give your innermost imagination totally free rein to dig deeply into that gold-mine of creativity that lies within.

You must write for the specified amount of time, and you must not stop to consciously “think” about what’s coming next. It’s a little like those psychological tests where the doctor says a word, and you must respond with the “very first” word that pops into your mind. You know: automatic reflex. So in order to get any good out of the exercises at all, you must be absolutely honest with yourself. If you cheat and “stop to think,” you’ve already lost a chance at the “gold” that’s lies deep within your own personal mine.

The basics are as follows: Decide on an allotted time span (3 minutes, 5 minutes, 15 minutes …). Grab the very first 2-word phrase that pops into your mind. (This can be done with only one word or with a 5-word phrase as well, but I’m just giving you an example. And it’s good to sit down once in a while and just jot down little phrases like that in a notebook so that they will be available for this kind of exercise whenever you’re in the mood.) Now, DON’T THINK about the 2-word phrase. Just write it onto the sheet of paper in front of you. Once you have written down those words, KEEP WRITING. Do not stop for any reason – especially not to think or plan what’s coming next. I keep repeating that part because that’s where everybody tends to bog down. (I know: I’m sounding like a teacher now, right?)

Now … back to my own experience once more: When I decided, on that fateful evening, to accept the challenge of doing an exercise, I sat down to the computer without any preconceived notions and just literally grabbed the very first two words that popped into my head. They were the words “peanut shells.” I was totally surprised. There was nothing going on in my life at the time that would have given me any expectation of those words being at the “top” of my thoughts. But I wrote down those two words and – without any further conscious thought – kept writing.

In this case, I didn’t bother with a time limit, because I was wanting something to do for a while anyway. I wrote until nothing was flowing freely any longer. By that time I had almost two chapters of a brand new novel, and I was so into the story that I felt it was going to be one of my best. It isn’t quite finished yet, although the ending is written. I know everything else that needs to go into it, but my “day job” has kept me from getting it completely finished.

I will throw in another thought here as well: One of the perks I’ve enjoyed as a creative writing teacher is that I’ve had many opportunities to work closely with some extremely gifted young people. It is such a pleasure to see what they are capable of, and this kind of exercise has gleaned some very good results for – and from – many of them. Generally, in the classroom, I have the students draw from a list of words or phrases that were made up by someone else, so that we are positive that no preconceived ideas got in the way. A few of their exercises have led to pieces that have been, not only fun, but quite funny as well. At the end of this article, I will share two of them that I think you will enjoy.

So … can we expect that every such exercise will bring us literary gold from which we can glean articles that will sell? No. Of course not. But if you want to write and enjoy all the pleasures and treasures that can come from that kind of career – or hobby – doing these exercises on a somewhat regular basis will eventually lead to a wealth of material that can be used in any number of projects that lie ahead. And periodically, there will be one that really will launch you into an entire book within a matter of minutes. Actually, even if you don’t particularly want to write professionally, but you just enjoy new challenges to your intellect and creativity, these exercises offer a storehouse of enjoyment.

Now, if you would like to try some of these exercises and would like to share what you come up with, you are very welcome to post a comment on here that includes your final product – or post it on your own blog and give us the link. But remember: DO NOT do any serious editing. I realize that you will automatically tend to stop typing and hit the “backspace” key if you see a typo pop onto the page, but try to hold the “backtracking” to a minimum. One thing that will help is to remember that this is not a “typing test.” You don’t have to type “fast.” Just don’t stop writing to mull over ideas before you put them down. And if you feel you are extremely slow with the keyboard, you might want to write your article by hand and then type it for posting. (But remember: no re-writing while you type.)

If, when you’re done, you have some typos, misspelled words, or punctuation that will make your article too difficult to read, then go ahead and correct those. But please do not sit and re-write sections before you share them with us. We will automatically assume that you would go back and make corrections and bring the article up to publication level before doing anything professional with it. Remember: these are “exercises.” You expect to look slightly grungy when the workout is just finished. The rest of us will not read your work as editors; we will just enjoy the fun of finding out – along with you – just how creative you really are.

5 Minutes:

If you are going to try an exercise, here’s what I suggest for the first time. Set a timer for 5 minutes. Choose a word or phrase from the lists I provide below. Write it down and don’t stop writing, no matter what, until the timer goes off. When the timer goes off, you may finish the sentence you are in the process of writing, but no more.

Now, if you find yourself on a roll, and you think you have something that may be growing into a piece you really want to publish, don’t stop writing completely. Do this: Mark the place where you were when the timer went off, but then keep writing. If you decide to share what you wrote in the 5-minute limit, give us just that amount.

And please do not feel obligated to share what you have written. You may want to do these exercises on a regular basis for your own sake and never share them with anyone. That’s perfectly fine as well. After all, the real purpose is for you to discover that creative gold inside. I’d just like to give you an opportunity to share if you feel inclined to do so. You can type the whole exercise into the Comment box attached to this article, or you may just put a link there to the exercise on your own site.

To All My POET Friends: I’ve never tried these exercises with poetry personally. I’m sure it’s more of a challenge for you because of not being allowed to stop and think of rhyming words. But if any of you are interested enough to try it, I’d really like to know what you come up with.

ONE FINAL IMPORTANT NOTE: Please bear in mind that my site is one that is devoted to wholesome and family-friendly material. If you find that you have written a piece that does not fall into that category, please do not share it on this site. Just think G / PG rating, and you will be fine.

Word List: (Must be the very first word in your piece)





Phrase List: (Must be the very first words of your piece)

the doorbell rang

I can’t see you

never again

in the laundry room

~      ~      ~

Here are two examples of results from writing exercises that you may enjoy.

Both of these pieces were the work of a high school junior named Joanna Allen, who holds the copyright. They have since been published in a book entitled Imagination X 6, which includes a variety of works by high school students.

Exercise # 1: The phrase “don’t eat that” had to be used as the first words of the piece.

Don’t eat that piece of gum your sister dropped on the floor! She was at school today, and she borrowed some gum from her friend. That friend has a father who is a professor of chemistry at the university. They are working with the CIA to devise a gum that they will give to foreign diplomats who are causing America problems.

The gum contains a chemical that they will ingest into their system. That chemical will kill them and their advisers within two weeks. The advisers will die by breathing their diplomat’s breath.

Then we will choose each of those countries a new diplomat with whom we can reason. So … don’t eat that!

Exercise # 2 Student was given one word: Period. It had to be used in the very first sentence of the piece.

Where is your period, Natalie?” her teacher asked.

I am truly sorry, Mrs. Conner, but you see, as I was trying to finish my rough draft, a bolt of lightning hit my computer, and then my dog went crazy, jumped up on my desk, and snatched my homework right out of my printer. I chased after him, but by the time I retrieved my homework, it was all wet and unreadable.

My dad went to Best buy and bought a new laptop, but when he got home, he told me I had to be in bed by 11:00. We set it up really fast, and at 10:59, I finished my paper with the last sentence. But before I could add the last punctuation mark, the clock chimed 11:00, and I had to go to bed. And that’s what happened to my period.”

~      ~      ~