Tag Archives: challenge

Needful Things ~ Letters from the Heart #atozchallenge


Dear Squirrel: (AKA collector of Nuts 🥜)

When you hear needful things you probably think of the novel by Stephen King. A new kind of store, for sure! Ole Steve can spin a tale now. When you reminisce about that story you wonder what your needful things are.  Hopefully not as needful as those people in the movie.

√ That first cup of coffee in the morning (and second, and third…)
√ The book and pen you write with each morning
√ Your bible

Okay so maybe those aren’t needed so much as in that you’d die without them (can’t guarantee that someone else wouldn’t) because you are a bear without the morning rituals. People get confused over NEED and DESIRE. 


Look at the your piles of needful things around the house… your possessions. Tall Cool ☺ne has his own piles of chaos even though he’ll tell you it’s not clutter. It’s useful tools (needful things) that he’s going to use one day. We are all going to use them or get to reading them one day.  Yes, sir, believe that one and we’ll spin you another yarn. Speaking of yarn, you just bought two bails of worsted yarn for homemade dish cloths to make one day in your spare time (yeah right)!

How many cookbooks do you need? And that King collection, are you really going to read them all again? Can you imagine how much simpler and neater things would be without all that stuff you have to move each time you dust? Shhh, everyone knows you don’t dust, you’re just saying that for effect of the letter.

People spend your whole lives buying chattels and collecting properties. At a certain point, there comes a time in life when you will want to get rid of everything, or a lot of things and downsize. You’re going to try to pass certain trinkets down to your kids or grandkids, because you want to keep it in the family.  It ain’t never gonna happen, baby… so stop. Stop thinking it’s needful things. What do you need to survive? Stop being a collector of useless clutter that you think your kids or grandkids are going to want.  They are busy making piles of their own needful things (useless clutter).

**Side note, what you really need is people, relationships.  We’ll touch on that subject next week.

Until next time,
Your constant and faithful,


What is A2ZBlogging? Well we are half way through the month so you should know by now.  Be sure to check out some peeps from the master list and keep on keeping on. 




Completely forgot about the Reflections part of the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  Now that April is over the writing on a daily basis doesn’t seem as important as it was while keeping up with the challenge.  I wish we could do it all year. Or maybe do a monthly check in. I’d like to say thank you to all of my readers who followed my daily posts for the April blogging challenge.  It was nice to have the support and encouragement and I appreciate every one of you.  For me it was nice to check off another year √!  This makes six for me. 


I was quite surprised to see that there were only 510 bloggers who signed up.  WOW … I kept thinking there was something wrong with my excel sheet every time I opened it to jump over to visit someone’s blog.  It’s a shame there was not more of a turn out.  Maybe next year. Maybe we should plug the challenge all year long?  


I know I’m going to try to blog more and keep visiting more of the people from the list.  I’m also going to try to recruit people from my own blog to come next year.  We should all try to do same. It is hard to promote someone else, especially when we want the attention ourselves. It’s a great big world out there and blogging on a personal level has become lost in the commercialization and advertisement and propaganda.


If you need some fancy artwork for your web or anything check out  Jeremy Hawkins.  He did all the artwork for the challenge and he has a  Neat Shop — Very Cool Stuff


Stay real folks and stay safe. 


If you grew up in Maine in the 70’s you know all about ZaRex. Generations of New Englanders have enjoyed ZaRex since its introduction in the late 1930s. Zarex flavored drink concentrate has been a New England favorite for over 50 years.

It was a simple mixture: 1 part syrup + 7 parts water for a sweet, flavorful drink. It could be mixed with lemonade, or soda water. It was especially popular on snow cones (shaved ice in a paper cone). ZaRex fruit punches were especially popular at birthday parties.  The colored mustaches of children running around after drinking ZaRex was quite comical.

It appears that it is not being produced at this time but I will definitely keep watch. You can too here  BRING BACK ZAREX.   If you hear about it ….do let me know where to find it.


Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with this crazy pandemic. Being quarantined means people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new friends/contacts. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.

Kowtow to the Knightwriters

I woke up this morning at 3AM trying to come up with my daily challenge. K is not an easy letter to come up with a great idea. But then my mind started kneading over the challenge process. I decided to recycle one of my previous posts because it was fun  and it acknowledges fellow writers.

In tribute to my fellow knights, I kowtow to John Holton who reminds us that we still have freedom of speech in our blogs. I’m not sure what Janet’s Smiles will have for us today, but I can assure you it will be a fun concert.   My first visitor to my blog when I started participating in this challenge was Mr. Arlee Bird. He is forever juggling too many things and my hero in blogging.  If you visit  The Multi-colored Diary you can learn all about endangered animals with a twist of folktale humor. I checked out A Heep of Everything and found some interesting facts about countries and postcards.  If you just want to take a trip off the grid the Less Beaten Paths will take you to some very interesting places.  Let’s not forget we must eat. Check out Martha Reynolds blog. I’m definitely going to try some of these recipes.

These are just a very few of the A-Z Challenge. The list is huge so make sure you visit some of these wonderful bloggers posts. Oh, and if you click on any of the above mentioned, make sure you let them know how you were led to them. That’s what this great collaboration challenge is all about… team work, building up each other, and helping each other along, no matter where we are in this skill called writing!

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge.  This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people.  Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings.  Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip. 


Dustbunnies are a familiar sight under the bed and in some corners of our house. It’s not that I don’t clean regularly. I do, it’s just that I miss those spots where the dustbunnies gather. They are not adhering to the social distancing rules that have been put in place. Dustbunnies like animals too. They pull that fur into the party and suddenly you have slut’s wool (seriously, I found that word while researching dustbunnies).

My husband hates dustbunnies. It makes him sneeze like crazy. I try to take care of them every weekend, but sometimes there are just other things I’d rather be doing. Blogging, gardening, cooking, etc. It is important to take care of these dusty critters that accumulate in unseen areas. If left to grow too long, they can become unsightly as well as unhealthy.

Since we are under quarantine, what a great time to get the vacuum cleaner and dust mop out and start visiting those less traveled spots. You will be amazed how many dust bunnies you have living in your house. Get rid of them.

Until next time, stay healthy, stay hydrated, stay happy.

Welcome to the A-Z Blogging Challenge. This year I think it will bring a lot more people together with the epidemic going on right. Being quarantined means more people will flock to the web looking for things to do. This is a great way to meet new people. Maybe you will read something new, find a new hobby, or just be entertained by some random musings. Whatever the case may be, stay safe, drink plenty of liquids and enjoy the trip.


Reflections on the April 2019 A-Z Blogging Challenge

Another year under my wing. Survived… posted every letter even though my last post was a day late. Over achiever? Sometimes we are our own worst critics when it comes to writing. But that is what we do, we write and we read it, and we re-write it over and over again until we think it’s good enough to put out there. After we put it out there, we find something else wrong with it and wish we had read it one more time. Such is the life of the writer.

I loved the challenge. Wish it was two months long … or longer. Ever since I started a real work-at-home job that actually pays me, my time for writing is limited at best. People think because I work at home I have all kinds of time to do whatever I want. Not true. I have a real 401K plan, a real health insurance plan, a real pay check, and a real schedule. That comes with real responsibilities of taking care of things on a timetable and not when I get around to it. I don’t have that 30 minute commute back and forth to work, to think of things to write.  I’m busy doing the things that most people who work out of the house pay someone else to do. HOUSEWORK.

I hope to take time to get back into writing more frequently. I love the challenge and am grateful for those who participate and visit each others blogs.   The A-Z challenge is somewhat of a jump-start to get you going. Hopefully you will get some people to follow your blog and help encourage you to write. It’s kind of like jump starting a diet except it’s more fun than a diet.   You get started and it’s all going well and people are loving what you post.  Then it kind of fades away when no one is there to urge you to keep going.  You stop posting as often and that’s kind of a drag.

Writing can be lonely and hard and it takes perseverance. But it is also rewarding and enjoyable. I have said it before, write for you. Write what makes you happy. Do it because you want to. Don’t write for someone else. It doesn’t matter what they think or how they would do it.  Been there, done that – never turns out well. If they are so good at it, let them write it.

If you want to write, write. It’s like anything … if you can believe it, you can achieve it. Don’t give up. Until next time.

Cheers! ☺


Y – M – C – A

Okay so I cheated a little bit.  But isn’t this a fun video?  It brings back memories.  In my younger days, the cowboy was always my favorite.  Now I think I’m more in tune with the police officer.  Who’s your favorite?



Wacky Ways

What wacky thing can I do today to make your day amazing?

When I’m not writing, I’m working. I have been in customer service for 25 years. I did the A-Z’s of customer service as a theme a couple years ago. One thing about customer service is there is always opportunity to learn how to do it better. It is ever changing. The room for improvement is never ending. If you have ever dealt with customer service on either side, I’m sure you will agree with me.

Sometimes after dealing with customers for so long, customer service representatives grow weary and complacent to just do what has to be done. That’s sad because the customer usually leaves satisfied, but not dazzled. They got want they wanted but it was mediocre at best.

You would be amazed how easy it is to make someone’s day by going over and above. Start by asking the customer “How can I make your day amazing?” Right away the customer knows you are there to help them and you want to help them. First impression means a lot because it creates an expectation of things to come.

Listen to the reason the customer contacted the customer service department. In most cases it’s a problem. Customer service people don’t get a lot of “Oh I just wanted to let you know how great your company is”. Once in a while we get those, but those are few and far between. Listen before responding.

Make sure you have all the details before you tell the customer what you can do. A lot of times customers will hold back with their issues and see how much they can get, and then they will add they had something else wrong. Make sure the customer has given you every detail of their issue before you try to make things right.

Most companies set up policies of what can be done to make the customer happy. There is a minimum and a maximum to close the sale. I know it is sad to say, but if you are in customer service you know it’s true … customer service people have the power to make or break a day.

If you have the power, you have opportunities to make that customer experience something that will go far with your company.  The company has researched this and they have set standards in place. You have power. A lot of customer service people think they are saving the company money by offering just what the customer is asking for instead of what the company has given them the capacity to offer.

Instead of giving the standard, go over and above. Give the high-end of the company policy scale. You are not in customer service to save the company money. You are there to make the customer happy.  You want that customer to come back to the company over and over again. That’s why the company has those policies in place. That’s why they hired you. Go over and above, impress the customer with unexpected service. The customer might forget what their issue was that they had with the company, but if you dazzle them, they will never forget how you made them feel.

I think this is the downfall of customer service. Too many people in the position take it personally, as if it’s their money they are handing out or they have an opinion on a stand. Just because you work for a company doesn’t mean you subscribe to their views or their stand on politics or religion or whatever the case may be. You are in the position to satisfy the customer and make the customer happy. Why not go over and above and give that customer service like they have never had before? MAKE THE CUSTOMER HAPPY.

What wacky thing can I do today to make your day amazing?


Venting Vainly

Ever have one of those days when nothing seems to go the way you had planned? We all do. Our natural reaction is to vent about these things. We want to get what is wrong off our chest. We want to share our opinion with others. We say what we feel without even thinking what others might think. We might be angry and in our anger bad things might come out.

We might think nothing of venting about whatever it is that bothers us. “If they don’t like it, too bad, don’t listen.” “It’s a free world, I can say whatever I want.”  “Freedom of speech, deal with it!”  I used to think that.

We have to be very careful with our words. Once they come out of our mouth they can’t be brought back. Hurtful things that we say can be forgiven, but they will never be forgotten. We don’t’ know how long our words will stay with someone. (I have an idea it is a long time). The tongue is unruly and our sinful nature inspires evil words. Remember that old adage, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you should always say what’s on your mind. Sometimes silence is golden.

We have opportunities to build people up or bring them down with our words. Just because we are having a bad day or something didn’t go the way we wanted it to, is no reason to make everyone around us have a bad day too. Saying something with a temporary upset mood can hurt someone permanently. It could take years to repair the damage, or in some cases the damage will never be repaired. Think before you speak, that’s why God gave us two ears and one mouth. Changing the way you think, can change the way you feel.

What can I say today that will make you feel great and leave a lasting impression for years to come?

Naked Northeast

My name is Nemesio and I’ve been sober for 10 years. It has not been easy and I struggle each day, but each day I get through gives me the strength to wake and face another day. When I was growing up, my parents would send me off to camp each summer. I remember gathering at a local school parking lot with the other kids whose parents were sending them off to camp as well. We all used to complain about not wanting to go to camp. We didn’t want to be away from our friends and more importantly the laziness of summer where we could sleep in and do whatever we wanted each day. Truth of the matter is, now that I think about it, camp was probably one of the best times of my life. It was where I learned about the naked northeast.

Our team camp was called the Lake Warriors and our fearless leader was camp counselor Mr. Jackson. He let us call him Jax for short. He was a fun counselor and taught us a lot. The most important lessons came from sitting around the campfire hearing stories he told of his war battles. I didn’t realize it then but as I grew older the lessons he taught us over the course of five summers, came with me into adulthood.

I met Nina when I was twenty-six. We fell in love immediately and knew we wanted to be together forever. We wanted to make babies and grow old together. We started that journey and had two boys which we sent to summer camp. I told Nina of the stories and lesson I had learned as a boy. I told her about the Lake Warriors and fighting with the Tree Troopers and how we settled our differences at the naked northeast. She wanted our boys to have the same experiences.

She loved the naked northeast lesson and we incorporated that into our marriage. It was our neutral ground. Marriage is difficult and too often spouses take each other for granted and don’t give each other the freedom necessary to say things that should be said. Naked Northeast was a place where there was no judgement, no anger, or no hurt feelings. It was our healing ground.

Fifteen years later, there was an accident and life with Nina would never be the same. My heart was broke. Nina was not the woman I fell in love with. I was committed to her because of the vows I took, and I did what I could to help her though the pain and suffering. She never knew much of the pain and suffering she was going through. I took to the bottle to soothe my own pain and suffering. It didn’t. Right before Nina died, she held my hand. I’m pretty sure she was in her right mind at that time because she looked at me with tear filled eyes and told me she had to go. I nodded that I understood. I couldn’t speak because I was trying to hold in my sobs. As I held her hand she drew me next to her and she whispered in my ear, “See you at the naked northeast.”  And that was her last breath.

Life is never easy and you never know what will happen. I don’t know if I will ever see my wife again. We never talked about Jesus and how He came to earth to die for us and if you ask Him into your life, He forgives all sins. When I quit drinking I gave my heart to Jesus and asked Him to forgive me for my sins. The naked northeast is not a real place. It sounds good in my stories that I tell. Jesus is real and His story is real. I want to tell you to get right with Him and share with those you love. That way, when the time comes around and they are gone from this world, you won’t be questioning whether you will see them in the naked northeast.


Merewood’s Mountain

Merewood’s Mountain

“Build it, and they will come,” the words rang loud,
Though dead twenty years, father’s voice still proud.
It wasn’t just any old mountain top,
When stars aligned, underground springs would pop,
Water gushed shades from inside the rainbow
A fireworks show, made from water-flow.

Few had seed this Mother Nature’s treasure
Merewood staked people, paying for pleasure
A few rustic cabins, and camping spots,
A chain linked fence secured one thousand lots
People paid money for a vacation
Relax, enjoy: secluded location.

No one knew when colored waters would spring
Merewood gambled on the money it’d bring
Years passed by and no colors ever came
Merewood’s Mountain would never be the same
Flash back to his dad and what he had said,
Words still rang loud even though he was dead.

He removed the signs of rainbow geysers
Invoked help from vacation advisers
It wasn’t the water they came to see
It’s someplace different they wanted to be
A cabin on a hill far, far away
Left behind routines of the day-to-day

Merewood’s Mountain, you must know it well
When you pay to get away from where you dwell.


Helmar’s Handbag

Helmar’s Handbag

He carried it with him wherever he went,
From inside came nickels and dimes which he spent.
But that wasn’t all he carried in his bag,
It was his whole life, since he’d turned scalawag.
Pictures, trinkets and a tube of red lipstick,
His life now nothing but a nasty limerick.

There’s a he-she on the street corner
Who once made movies as a porn’er
Now he’s just a ‘has been’
Doesn’t care for women,
But Helmar’s handbag will always adorn ‘her’.

Without even knowing he creates a trap,
For the same patrons who toss coins in his lap
Frequently customers will buy him a treat,
Till someone comes out and yells at him “Beat-feet!”
He gathers up his things and looks all around,
Helmar with ‘her’ handbag sashays out-of-town.

There’s a young stud from El Camino’s
Panhandles change for frappuccinos
If it weren’t for Starbucks
He’d yield to hailing trucks
And he wouldn’t be drinking cappuccinos.

Blackhorse Creed

As I ride on my horse, into the night,
I am set for the course, may I be right
My mind has been trained, and thought provoked,
I have been ordained, I’m Old English evoked
My conduct proceeds, as I am humbled
Inferior bleeds, once I have stumbled
Wisdom is achieved, the harder I toil
Mission conceived, for American soil
I am a soldier, skilled for the Army
I’m taught to conquer, or drive souls barmy
I think of the rights, and thoughts of people
Knowing that gunfights will leave some feeble
I am not afraid, of things I can’t see
This is my brigade, who will protect me
Honor comes first, to protect my comrade
Our mission traversed, in our minds unclad
I value honor, duty and respect
There’s no room for mutiny or defect
I will freely uphold the Blackhorse Creed
Guiding the enrolled, to this I accede
I guard the freedom, and home of the brave
This is my dictum to which I am slave.

~ Confederate Army Leader
Adolph Dahlgren

June 1862



If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times

Writing poetry is making up rhymes

Expressing our sentiments and thoughts in prose

In a stance when it’s read rhythmically it flows.


Not everyone shares in this labor of love

If the fingers don’t fit they can’t wear the glove


We rant and we rave and we spill out our guts

Sometimes in our verse we come across as bigots

I suppose that could be true but it could also be false

Otherwise we’d never exceed in this creative writing waltz


Not everyone shares in this labor of love

If the fingers can’t fit they won’t wear the glove


Composing is a game we play in our head

The work never stops, even after it’s fed

Perpetual and constant forever we write

Happily we perform in this never-ending plight


Not everyone shares in this labor of love

If the finger don’t fit, don’t wear the glove.




Inspirational Interruptions


We’ve all experienced an obstacle during an activity we’ve engaged in. Interruptions come in all shapes and sizes. Important and trivial. A phone call, a knock at the door, a storm disrupting electrical service. We have no control over the interruptions we may face on any given day.

Sometimes I forget how interruptions can be blessings in disguise. Then I remember the woman who couldn’t make to work on time because her car wouldn’t start so  she had to call the towing company. She found out later that day that there was a terrible accident at an intersection at the exact time that she normally passed through on her way to work.

I’m reminded of the family who missed their planned vacation because one of the children came down with the flu and they had to postpone the trip. A horrendous fire gutted out the whole hotel where the family was scheduled to stay, killing several guests in the hotel.

These are extreme examples of interruptions. Did you know that Lee Child was interrupted at the grocery store on several occasions being asked by  short women if he could reach a product on a high shelf? Those interruptions helped create the name Jack Reacher.

We can choose how we react to a hindrance. Too many times we consider an interruption a bad thing instead of accepting it as an opportunity. Choosing the way we react changes the situation, hence changing the way we feel.

My cat just interrupted my keyboard and deleted half of my post before I had it saved. Now I’m going to learn how to skin a cat (just kidding). How can you use your interruption to be something positive?

The Challenge


X Marks The Spot


X marks the spot where the treasure can be found.
X cancels mistakes that are made.
X selects choices on pre-printed forms.
X rates a movie.
X equals ten on the number scale.
X seems like such a bad letter to me.
X is the 24th letter of the alphabet.
X mas translates into the symbol for Christ plus mas for a shortened version of Christmas.
X as in chromosomes are paired in women usually and single in men (interesting isn’t it?)
X Y Z is sang at the end of the alphabet song.
X L used to be a clothing size for large people, now it seems to be norm.
X M L is computer lingo which is similar to HTML.
X words are hard to pronounce, maybe that’s why there are not that many.

Hope you have enjoyed my X blog today. Do be sure to check out some of the other bloggers taking part in the challenge. We’ve almost come to the end of our social event. Hopefully you have been inspired to maybe join in the fun next year. Do share your observations and thoughts in the comment section below.


Hey There

happy day

HAPPY H-DAY. I am in a HURRY today so I’m going to take a temporary HIATUS. I need to do some serious writing on the novel. I’ve been procrastinating because I’m writing about HEINOUS crimes and it has made my mind all HEEBIE-JEEBIES. But I didn’t want to HINDER my commitment so I figure I had to do something, even briefly.  In the past I have blogged some H words. Just give them a click and it will bring you to the link.



  • I thought about a HAS-BEEN, someone who has passed the peak of effectiveness or popularity. I’m not there yet.


  • I thought about HASENPFEFER a marinated rabbit stew, something I may get the opportunity to make if the little bunny-foo-foos don’t leave our garden peas alone.


  • I’m glad I don’t have to wear a HAUBERK. Can you imagine what a tunic of chain would make your skin feel like when you took it off?


  • HANDS-DOWN is kind of what I thought this challenge would be, but day #8 and I’m retracting my original thought.


  • HEATHENS are unconverted people who do not acknowledge God of the Bible. I used to be one before I moved to the Bible-belt. People don’t like to be called heathens, especially if they are one, but if it walks like a duck…


  • HELL is a real place where heathens continue to exist and suffer everlasting punishment. (If you are reading this and you are a heathen, it’s not too late. Do it now: HOW TO GET SAVED!


  • HEBEPHRENAIA is a form of schizophrenia characterized especially by incoherence and delusions lacking an underlying theme. (I feel like it sometimes but then I realize I’m just a writer with a very vivid imagination.)


  • HIDEOUS is offensive to the senses and also how Jake from State Farm sounds on the phone.


  • HERMAPHRODITE has both male and female reproductive organs and gives more meaning to the saying, “go fuck yourself!” It’s also a fun word to say.


Hope you enjoyed my H words. Please be sure to stop by some of the other H-Bloggers who are taking part in the A-Z Blogging challenge.




Expectation: the act or state of anticipating or looking forward to the coming occurrence; the act of considering something about to happen probable or certain.


I confess, my expectations are set really high. I expect more from people than they usually deliver. Why? Because I expect people to act and perform like I do. My standards are high and people know what to expect from me. I used to think I was being taken advantage of because people just assumed I would do something a certain way. I’ve recently come to realize, it’s not being taken advantage of, it’s a set of expectations that people have of me, and they know I will deliver in a certain way.


I often refer to that old saying, treat others as you wish to be treated. The only problem with that saying is I expect others to reciprocate in a certain way. When they don’t, it upsets me. It is a hard lesson that I am still learning. I cannot control their actions or reactions, I can barely control my own.  I thought about lowering my expectations of others, but then I would become like them. I want to be different. I want my expectations to be different than what everyone else expects. Therefore, my expectations will continue to be high, and I will learn to deal with the failure of those who do not live up to my standards.


I know that sounds superior and arrogant. I don’t mean for it to come across that way at all. I’m really not supercilious. I have a hard time dealing with people who don’t value a high set of hopes. That is the only way I can justify their weakness in not living up to my high expectation standards. Everyone should have hopes, dreams and expectations. Without them, what do you have to look forward to?


Dream high, hope big, and expect the best out of everyone.


Be sure to check out some of the other A-Z Blogs.

What a Writer Experiences


Idea arrives; brain explodes into creativity!

This photo and idea came from The Write Photo Challenge

To Vote or Not To Vote




Subsequent consequences for cronyism and nepotism.