WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Half-Light

This week’s WP Photo Challenge is a little confusing. The title focuses on the “half-light” periods of the day when we are between day and night, but then the actual challenge calls us to post a picture that is inspired by a particular poem, verse, song lyric, or story — and that picture does not have to be about half-light.  But if we do not have a poem, verse, song lyric, or story that inspires a certain picture, then we can post photos of the world around us in “half-light.”
So …………

One of my favorite songs of all time is “I’ll Be Seeing You,” with lyrics by Irving Kahal.  One of the best remembered lines is at the end of the song and says, “I’ll be looking at the moon, but I’ll be seeing you.”  I’ve had that experience in my own lifetime — looking at the moon but focusing on the man I loved instead of that glowing orb in the sky. In honor of those lovely words, I decided I’d share a collection of my own pictures of the moon. I took two of my moon pics and played around with them in a couple of photo programs, just to see how much fun I could have.  I had LOTS of fun. I hope you find them “fun” to look at as well. And below my pictures, you’ll find a video of the song to enjoy.






Tickle Me Tuesday — Brand New Weekly Challenge

CARTOON MAN LYING DOWN LAUGHING 2Yippee!  I am beginning a brand new weekly challenge today. It’s called “Tickle Me Tuesday,” and it’s dedicated to nothing but fun.  Here’s how you take part:

Every Tuesday, post a funny, light-hearted, or downright hilarious piece —- it can be a story, a poem, a song, a joke, a photo, or graphic art —– and then hop over to my post for that day and put the link to yours in the “Comment” box.  (If you miss posting yours exactly on Tuesday, any day before the next Tuesday is okay.)

I’ll try to be sure and get mine up by 10:00 the night before for the sake of my European and Middle-Eastern friends who want to participate. That’s all there is to it, except to remind everyone that my blog is for General Audiences.

Here’s my little offering for the first week:





(Two 7-year-old boys in 3003 A.D., looking through an old family picture album.)

“Hey, what’s that thing?”

“I don’t know. What do you think it is?”

Shaking his head: “Never saw anything like it in my whole life.”

“Well, I heard my mom tellin’ somebody that my great-great-great grandpa specialized in installing these in people’s houses. She said absolutely everybody had one back in those days, and most people had at least two in their houses.”

“But what did they do with them?”

“I don’t know. Yesterday, when I came in from school, mom was going through this album with my sister and tellin’ her what things had been used for, but I was in a hurry to go upstairs and use the waste eliminator, so I didn’t stick around to hear what all she said. ‘Cause, you know, when you have to go, you have to go. But people sure did use some funny-lookin’ things back then, didn’t they?”

“Hey, I bet I know what it is! I saw a really old movie once where people were walking in a park, and there was this big concrete stand with a round bowl on top of it. There was a hole in the middle of the bowl. And see, there’s a hole in the middle of this bowl. Anyway, there was a little silver handle on the side, and when they turned that handle, it made water come bubblin’ up right out of the middle of that bowl, and the people leaned over and got a drink. My Uncle Harvey said those used to be called drinking fountains. I’ll betcha this is a drinking fountain people kept inside their house.”

“Yeah! And that little silver handle there is what they turned to get the water to bubble up so they could get a drink.”

“Must have been fun.”

“Yeah boy! I sure wish I could try it.”



Cee’s Fun-Foto Challenge: Orange

I didn’t have a good photo with orange that I hadn’t used at Thanksgiving time, but I had just put together a graphic design this week to use on a set of greeting cards I was making for a friend. So I thought I’d just share that rather than a traditional photo. It’s sort of cheating, but Cee did say the challenge was to have some fun with. I had a lot of fun creating these cards and even more sharing the design with you.  (There’s definitely some orange in here!)



Hop over and visit Cee for the details.


June Writing Challenge: More Graphic Art From Terry

Terry Valley had such a great time reading all of your stories from the last writing challenge based on his graphic art that he has sent me another picture – the result of further graphic art work by him. But he wants me to make it clear that he did not actually draw this picture. Rather, he took portions of other works and put them together to create this composite picture. One of his favorite artists is Gustave Dore, whose work is now in public domain in the U. S., and the main characters in this picture come from Dore’s work.

Terry also shared his original intent for the picture and explained what it means to him, but I have posted that well below the picture itself. That way, any of you who want to try your hand at responding to the writing challenge can be free to process what the picture inspires in you and write your story before you read Terry’s purpose and meaning behind it. Or – feel free to read his explanation first.

 If you’d like to accept the challenge and write a story, just post it on your blog, come over here, and post your link in the “Comments” section below.

Word Limit is 100-500 words.

No time limit: Write when you feel inspired.

Take your liberty with ideas, but please remember this is a “G” rated blog, so all stories must adhere to that rating. I hope we have a lot of response, and I’m eager to read all the stories. Also, I guess I’d better try to write one as well.

Here’s Terry’s artwork:



Terry’s Explanation of What the Picture Means to Him:

“The picture is meant to portray the seriousness of our existence. We are not our own, despite the human pride that says otherwise. We belong to God who created us. If we do not realize this in this life, it will become terrifyingly clear to us at death. The scene shows a human being after his death at the portal to his eternal destiny, represented by a gate set in the unbounded vastness of eternity.

He is on his knees, hands raised in desperate terror, pleading with the giant spiritual being before him who guards the gate to eternity and is pointing at the formerly complacent human being who now realizes – too late –that his complacency has doomed him to eternal fire – which is perilously close and licks all around him and the Angel of the Gate, the Death Angel.

To make the man’s grief and predicament all the worse, in the far distance, behind him, can be seen a single bright star, which represents the glorious and joyous destiny that could have been his. The star is behind him, as is his life on earth; he turned his back on the glorious future that could have been his, if he had not wasted his life on himself instead of living for the One — Jesus — who created him for Himself.

This is the moment of moments in his entire life, the one, last moment that decides his destiny for all eternity. But in truth, that destiny was decided long before, while he was still alive on earth. Now it is too late. Judgment has been set – and it cannot be changed.

That may sound like a lot to see in a single picture, but that is why it was created and what I hope it portrays and communicates.”


A Story from the Artist Himself

TERRY'S GREEN PLANET 2 - resized, creditsThis week I sent Terry Valley, the artist who created “The Green Planet,” the link our stories based on his artwork. He was thrilled with them and, since he also writes, he was inspired by our stories to write one of his own. I’ve included his personal letter in this post because he expresses his sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to create a story from his picture. So here is his letter, followed by his own story.

“Thank you so much for alerting me to your writing challenge. I read every one of the entries and enjoyed every one of them. I was also floored by the creativity of each one. WOW! Our infinite God has created an endless variety of unique individuals that reflect his own infinite resources and aspects of personality. I was so impressed by the stories and the individuals. They all sound like people you would like to meet in person. Failing that, what a wonderful opportunity blogs present for getting to know all the variety of people.

“You know, I had forgotten that I even sent you that picture. I am so glad you alerted me to how you were using it and the writing challenge. It is very satisfying and thrilling to see such good use made of it and how the picture inspired people to be creative themselves. Here is some background about my own process in creating the picture (although it was done some time ago, during my drawing phase, so my memory is not the sharpest on details.)

“I had only vague ideas of what I wanted to create; making a planet was one of the main ones. I love drawing planets; the opportunities for wide-open creativity are many, since you are not restricted to what is known about this planet on which we live.

“But I also am fascinated by mushrooms, so it was only natural to join the two, planets and mushrooms, together. I had seen a photograph or drawing (can’t remember which) of a mushroom group like the blue ones in my picture, and they were so haunting with their semi-transparencies, 
like they were part of two worlds or in between two dimensions or worlds, that it seemed only natural to set them in such a space picture of other worlds.

“Then there was the matter of the disintegration of the planet. That wasn’t planned, as I recall; it came about because of an error in drawing the rings. I used a mechanical program to help me do that but had trouble matching the angles etc. to the planet. I noticed that the outer edge on one side was flaring away and did not match the ring angles on the other side of the planet. What to do? Well, what if the planet was disintegrating? That would explain the discrepancy. Voila! 

“The planet is disintegrating; that is why the rings mismatch on opposite sides of the planets. Why let a mistake, if it could be called that rather than a creative happenstance, ruin an otherwise good idea? Rather, turn it into an opportunity for greater creativity. In fact, that is what I did. Then I thought, OK, the place is falling apart; how can other parts of the picture emphasize that fact and make it more interesting?

“In that regard, your story is one example of how your creativity was sparked by someone else’s (in this case, mine). You see, you said that the person on the rope was descending. When I was making the picture, to me, that person was ascending, going up to join the other person on top of the mushroom. Funny how two people see exactly the opposite thing in the same picture. Hmm. Maybe like evolutionists and creationists looking at the world — or a hundred other examples.

“Anyway, it wasn’t just you. When I read all those stories, I was amazed at all the things that the authors found or at least got ideas for some aspect of their story that I had never even considered. I was just drawing a picture that grew and changed in my mind, just like they were constructing a picture-story in theirs. I am a writer as well as an artist, so I know how both work. They are similar in that regard.

“Speaking of writing, I guess maybe I should try my own hand at a story for the picture. I haven’t written fiction in a long time. I have been concentrating instead on spiritual blogs in a Christian community of bloggers. Maybe it’s time to refresh my spirit in this other avenue again.

“A final comment about the picture. Originally, I entitled it “LOOK!”.  I had none of the broader perspectives that your writing challenge authors came up. I was simpler in approach, but am so buoyed up by reading their stories and the broader and deeper and funnier approaches they took. Thank you so much and thank you to all who took the time to create their own contributions to this effort.

“As sort of promised (or warned), here is my contribution for your green planet writing challenge.     — Terry”



“Look!” cried Larry, the lookout, from atop the giant, translucent, eerily blue mushroom. “Lookit-it!”

“What?” shouted Marston back to him, hanging for dear life by a slender thread beneath the same giant, translucent, eerily blue mushroom. (Marston, by the way, was his last name, not his first or middle–not that that made any difference just then, since his main concern at the moment was how to untangle the line and clip on his belt that prevented him from any further movement up or down the rope and thus preventing him from escaping the bombardment of the killer meteoroids.)

He knew he shouldn’t have bought their mushroom climbing supplies online; you just never know what you’re getting from those fly-by-night outfits.

He tried to untwist the tangled mess with his fingers, but it was no use; the thick gloves of his space suit were no match for the tight knot that had developed as he hung there suspended in space, who knew how far from the nearest civilization? “How had he ever come to such a perilous situation in the first place?” he thought.

Then, as he wondered why another tiny meteoroid was growing larger and larger, it suddenly hit him: He didn’t have the slightest idea! He knew only that ever since he had been a boy, growing up on the flat plains of North Dakota, he had wanted to be a spaceman, discovering and exploring new worlds. Now here he was, dangling from a rope from a giant, translucent, eerily blue mushroom, being threatened by a meteor shower that pummeled his body, his life hanging in the balance — and his partner in space exploration was yelling out to him to “lookit-it”.

“I’m lookiting!” he replied caustically from the midst of the acid fumes that were attacking his space suit.

Why are you still down there?” Larry asked. “Why don’t you come up here and look at this?” he shouted.

“You don’t have to shout, you know,” Marston responded. “I can hear you just fine through the radio.”

“Oh, right,” shouted Larry. “Sorry, forgot. What are you doing down there anyway?” he shouted.

“Oh, just hanging around,” muttered Marston, as the acid fumes continued to eat away at his space suit and the rope continued to fray, threatening to plunge him down to his death on the poisonous semi-giant, translucent, red mushrooms below, while there was no letup in the bombardment of the killer meteoroids. “How did I ever get into such a predicament,” he thought. Then he remembered that he had already asked himself that question. Maybe he should not be so concerned with the past and move on with his life. He was all for that –but just now there was a huge knot preventing him from moving anywhere.

Just then, the Nebulizer Emergency Replacement Device (NERD for short) kicked in and transported both of them to another dimension, where Larry found himself atop a giant, translucent, eerily blue marshmallow, calling out to his traveling companion below, “LOOK!”



Experimental Writing Challenge

Okay, I just can’t resist this. I love writing challenges, even though I don’t get to keep up with all of them.  A couple weeks ago, I began thinking about one particular piece of graphic art done by a friend that should spark several good ideas for stories. But, of course, no one else is going to use that photo for a challenge, so I decided I might as well do it myself.

Now, many of my blogging friends are involved in so many of these kinds of activities, they may not have time to add another — and that’s okay. Believe me, I do understand. However, for any of you out there who are looking for one more little adventure in the world of cyberspace writing, I’m going to offer this challenge.

For this time around, I’m suggesting you post your story on your own blog and then come to my comments section and post the link to it — with any other comments you want to make. If this should develop into something regular with a lot of people taking part, and it starts to get too crowded, I’ll FORCE myself to get more sophisticated and sign up for the “inlinkz” system or something similar. But for now, if you want to share your story, just post the link in the ‘Comments’ section below the challenge post.

Now for rules:  Uhhggg!

Only two rules:
1. Write a story inspired by the picture — 100-500 words in length.
2. I host a “G” rated blog, so please be sure your story is clean and wholesome enough to be read by any audience — in other words — Rated G.

And if it should transpire that no one is eager to take up this challenge, there’s no harm done. I’m just feeling a little whimsical this evening, and this is the result. Come to think of it, that’s the way I felt when I posted the “Thursday’s Windows” challenge originally — and look where that led!  If we do have a good turnout of stories, perhaps I’ll post a new challenge each month, but I’ll wait and see how this one goes.

Now for the picture: Some of you will recognize this work from a previous post on this site. It is by Terry Valley, a professional photographer and graphic artist friend in the U. S.  It clearly lends itself to a science fiction theme, but please don’t feel constrained to stick with that. I don’t doubt that many will be inspired to go a different route all together.

TERRY'S GREEN PLANET 2 - resized, credits

Of course, I guess this means I’ll have to write a story inspired by the picture as well. Hmmm. I don’t have any ideas yet, but I’ll work on it, and when I get one, I’ll post my link on here as well.

No time limit. If you’re inclined to take part, take your time and have fun.