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Prompt - “Try focusing more on your life and less on mine!”

“Try focusing more on your life and less on mine!” Alan bellowed surprising both himself and Meagan. Alan didn’t know where the anger came from, he just let loose. “I am so sorry!” he immediately added, hoping he could reverse the consequences of his outburst. “That’s just fine,” Meagan said with a tone that told Alan that it really wasn’t “just fine.”   Meagan quickened her pace to join the rest of the group, leaving Alan back to wonder why he was so reactive.   A little advice from another single parent should be welcome.   What is wrong with me? Alan wondered to himself. At that moment Alans hear once again began to pound uncontrollably, only this time was worse.   Alan struggled to breathe and quickly made his way to a bench on the side of the busy street.   Alans vision blurred and all he could see were the myriad of light of the passing cars mixed with the lights coming from business signs, except he could make any of them out.   They amalgamated together into a bright mesh

Prompt - Patronize, spoiled reprimand, prickly, acidic, knife, scream, flute

“Don’t patronize me!” I yelled.  My sister Jeanie had a way of making me feel small, even when I knew I was right. “I can’t believe you are so spoiled you can’t see that I am right.” “Whatever!” she said. And smiled at me as if she was telling me that nothing I could say would change her mind. My reprimand obviously didn’t have an effect on her. How can she be so smug about something she doesn’t understand, even a little? I thought. How could two twins be so different? I know it sounds arrogant, but I am the nice one, the one who is easy to talk to and be friends with.   Jeanie, however, is acidic, prickly, and mean.   Being friends with Jeanie is as dangerous as juggling with a knife; one never knows when it will stab you. “Oh, hi Rob!” Jeanie’s voice changed from the quiet scream she used with me to a sweet melodic tone.   IT was like when a symphony hits a climactic note with everything playing and the timpani’s pounding and then a single flute comes in.   That’s how Jeani

Prompt - A stranger walks into the general store and buys a hammer, a hatchet, some rope, and an apple. What’s up?

Thursday mornings at Dave’s General store are customarily uneventful. Mrs. Obermeyer will often walk across the street to buy some bread or eggs.  She lives so close that she often just buys what she needs when she needs it.  She inherited her house from her mother who inherited from her father.  It is likely the old red refrigerator came from the fifties or before and doesn’t have as much room as the modern ones do. And it is not unusual to see Mike Collins pull in to fill up his coffee thermos after spending the morning milking his cows.   Dave could smell the manure on his boots as Mike made his way up the aisle to the three different brews. One that said Coffee , another that said, Decaf , and a final one that just said Fancy .   Which often had just the regular coffee?   But today was different as Dave looked up to see somethings he was not used to seeing, a stranger. A small but fit woman walked in.   She was pretty and confident as she walked around the aisle of various good

Storytelling for Sales Engineers

  In 2020, I did something I have been dreaming about for some time.   I published my first book. It is a goal that I have been keeping to myself for many years.  I knew I had talent as a storyteller but lacked the technical writing skills to complete the task. I told myself a story, a story that I believed.  The story told me I would never be a writer.  In June of 2019, I sat across the table from a colleague who had a different story to tell. It was based on the same character arc as the story I told myself, but his story had a different outcome.  His story was all about the journey of setting a goal, obtaining the skills, and completing that goal.  His story told me that I was not a writer yet, but there was a path in which I could be. Fortunately, I also believed in his story. A little over a year later, I published my first book. Storytelling is the process of using words and actions to communicate basic facts and context to another person to relate to those facts. Everyth

Who Ministers to the Minister?

I have been feeling down. I felt unappreciated and lonely. I feel disconnected from many whom I love.  The feeling has grown a little each day since the pandemic began.  Much of what I am experiencing is created by a righteous desire to have the company of good people but corrupted by the jealous loneliness that selfish desires manifest.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of selfishness when everything we do needs someone to tell us we are doing a good job.  Once in that trap, it is easy to spiral into discouragement.  Don’t let it happen.  It is good to be appreciated, but that should never be our motivation.    Last night I expressed my feelings to my wife and felt better afterward.   Today, I  was shown several instances where I was appreciated and thought about.   A friend needed someone to talk to.  A church leader reached out to let me know my contributions were important.  And a neighbor asked if I would give a blessing to her dying father.   She felt he was hanging on because he

If you remove compassion from what would otherwise be righteousness, you begin to flirt with wickedness.

If you remove compassion from what would otherwise be righteousness, you begin to flirt with wickedness.

Murdoch lay flat, struggling to control his breathing.

  Murdoch lay flat, struggling to control his breathing.   He dared not close his eyes, but knew if he did not control his anxiety, his heart would continue to race, and he would struggle to keep his breathing soft and imperceptible.    Murdoch perched on a ledge about two or three feet above than the height of a man riding a horse and with the blue moon casting its shadows everywhere, his hiding place made him invisible.    Except, if Murdoch were not able to control his breathing, he was sure the Winston gang would figure out what happened to him.   His heart wouldn’t listen, it had its own angry song it wanted to pound rhythmically into Murdoch’s soul.