Category Archives: Challenges

Bouquet

Bouquet, nosegay, posy

Grouped and fastened together.

Visually pleasing and

Beautifully arranged

or dandelions held together

with a hair tie.

Clover and violets

in a child’s hand,

Roses and carnations

arranged and pinned

to a prom dress.

A sanctuary full

to the brim with lilies.

Close your eyes.

Breath in the fragrance

of all those flowers

combined into

Something Unique!

We mix together

wonderous variety

in color, thought,

emotion, and service.

Together we make

a bouquet of

humanity.

It’s the variety

that makes the fragrance

extraordinary and visually

stunning.

Let’s be a bouquet!

How do you know when it’s dark?

This is Suicide Prevention Month. We have to have a whole month dedicated to keeping people from killing themselves.

If you see someone that’s down, offer them a hug. Ask them how they’re feeling. Offer to help.

Killing yourself is selfish. You hurt the people around you.

Count your blessings! Look at all you have to live for!

This is BS.

Normal people will look depressed and it’s temporary. It’s an easy fix. Depressed people have been depressed for a while and suppressed that look. Who would have known that Robin Williams was depressed? Increased alcohol and drug use? Addicts are really good at hiding those things. So if you see someone that’s normal and happy, there’s a good chance they’re not. They’re good at acting normal because they don’t want to be a burden to anyone. Oh. Well, that complicates matters.

When you’re depressed, you think you’re already hurting the people around you. You want to stop failing those that depend on you. You want to stop causing them pain. You want to remove your foul influence on your family and those folks unfortunate enough to hang around you. The most unselfish thing you could do is take yourself out of the picture. Yes, they’d be sad for a bit, but ultimately, they’d feel relieved, wouldn’t they?

Count your blessings? Are you kidding me? When you’re suicidal, you believe that all the good things that come your way are undeserved. You have received things you didn’t earn. You feel guilty for anything good in your life. You didn’t do anything to deserve that spouse, that friend, that child, that job. You can’t possibly live up to their expectations. What do you have to live for? Constantly falling short? Disappointing everyone you know. Disappointing everyone you don’t know! Trapped in a situation you hate and have no control over…bad job or health situation or bad relationship with relatives or family members. This list can be as long as your arm. The future looks hopeless.

The first thing a depressed person might do is isolate himself so he doesn’t ruin someone else’s day/week/life. It brings his little world more under his control. People make the decision to end their lives with a feeling of hopelessness, an emotion they do not think they can control. They defend this decision logically. So even if the logic makes no sense to someone who isn’t depressed, it makes sense to the person. They have their arguments all lined up and prioritized. So they self-isolate and close off connections to “stop the bleeding” and protect those people around them. They do not realize the consequences of this type of thinking. They just make their world small enough to accommodate their worldview.

What if you’re forced into isolation? You don’t have that social network to keep your spirits up and keep you connected to people who care about you. Then you notice that people you thought were close do not extend their connection to you. People you thought were friends do not text or call or Facebook with you. You begin to wonder how much they really cared. You may not even consider reaching out to them because you think that it is something they should initiate. Your world gets smaller.

The product of isolation, especially now that we have internet and instant communications is that we no longer have to see facial reactions and body language. You don’t need that filter between your head and your mouth. Things you NEVER would have even brought up in polite conversation are spewed all over your profile. When people you thought were friends suddenly block you, you may think that it’s their fault. Not yours. You know it’s a two-way street, so you also know you share the blame. Your world, again, grows smaller.

You begin to think about the extreme behavior you now see in the news, the vitriol spread through the media, the rampant paranoia, and the injustice, and gradually, the conspiracy theories become more palpable. You begin to abandon those social niceties you had to adopt when in public. Pants become optional. (This is a metaphor… Things you would have kept private and to yourself are now on display to anyone with whom you make contact.) You can see how this isolation has affected normal people. Now imagine if it was self-imposed.

What steps can we take to consciously reduce that feeling of hopelessness?

  1. Be kind to each other. I know this sounds like a poster, but it’s such a simple step. I don’t mean to belabor this point, but being kind goes deeper than patting someone on the head saying, “It will be all right.” Go out of your way to make the people around you feel good about themselves. Show appreciation genuinely. Praise in public and critique in private. Never call names! Never Bully someone! It is the cruellest thing you can do to a person.
  2. Be grateful for everyone and everything in your life. Even if it isn’t ideal. This change in perspective is also simple, but not easy. Gratitude has to be practiced. But how does your gratitude help someone who’s depressed? You are modeling a behavior that shows a different perspective. You may express gratitude to a person that doesn’t feel noticed, whose work gets no appreciation, whose circumstances seem hopeless. You might be a source of hope and help to someone you may not suspect needs it.
  3. Take the time to connect with those around you who may feel more and more isolated. A postit note with a cheery message or a thank you note can brighten someone’s day. A text that says “I thought of you and wanted you to know how much I value your… (fill in the blank.)” A hand-written thank you note is unexpected and always appreciated.

It sounds like so little, but it also sounds like it would take much time for unnoticed results. What’s weird is that when you do any of these things, they also bring up your mood as well.

The fact is you cannot tell when someone is experiencing that darkness. In fact, if you are on that slippery slope to the darkness, you may not even know it until you’ve slid in a distance!

If someone confides in you about their feelings of suicide, do not argue with them! It makes them feel more guilty and more likely to defend their actions.

You find someone in the bathroom sobbing… “What’s wrong?”

“My girlfriend just left me! I can’t go on without her! I’d rather just die.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. But there are lots of fish in the sea. She didn’t deserve you. Just get back on the horse. You’ll be fine. Well, Nice talk.”

Um…That would be disastrous.

If, instead, you replied, “I’m sorry to hear that! How long were you together?
“What did you like about her?”
“Where did you meet?”
“How did she make you feel?”
“Was this a surprise?”
“What did she say?”

You see? You are encouraging this person to talk, not listen. At this point, you can direct them to a counselor or a pastor who can help them recover. You are not making judgments on their choices. You are not trivializing their problems. You are not prescribing behavior that they know they cannot incorporate.

In these times of trouble, when threats to our security, our health, and our freedoms seem overwhelming, if you treat everyone (including yourself) with the utmost care, you can alleviate some causes of depression in not only yourself but those around you. Let’s work to reduce these suicides.

Just a little blood

https://dailyflabbergast.wordpress.com/2021/07/22/cw-listen-to-your-3lders/

  • Genre: Horror
  • Action: Shaving
  • Required word: filter

No murder weapon. No motive. Just a dead, bloodless body in the tub.

He was so young, not even fifteen years old. How could something so horrible happen to a kid. The detectives studied the room, the body, the members of the household. They looked at diaries and phone records. Everyone loved the victim. There were no grudges.

The investigator removed the plug for the tub, and there, in the filter, something glinted. He used a magnet to retrieve it. A razor blade.

“Son? How did you cut your fingers?”

“I was just going to shave him…”

Just fifteen.

Unforgotten

https://amanpan.com/2021/07/15/eugis-weekly-prompt-unforgotten-july-15-2021/

Natalie Cole and Nat King Cole - Willis Music

Unforgettable–that’s what you are.

Unforgettable–though near or far…

Nat and Natalie

Father and Daughter

A duet separated by

time and space.

Friends

Family

Memories from

decades ago.

Little things we experience

that bring those people to mind.

The smell of rolls

The crunch of gravel

The sun’s reflection on the lake.

Jesu Joy from the

balcony at midnight.

The night spent in

the car in Idaho.

Joe Morello in our

Living room.

Band Camp.

The wedding music and

your eyes glistening.

St. Paul’s outside

the Walls in Rome.

The time and space

between us melts

away.

Unforgettable, in every way.

Meadow

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/60360547/posts/3374474701

Our Home Page/Glacier National Park/Iceberg Lake Trail/P7121455 Iceberg  Lake trail, Glacier National Park, MT July 12, 2009

Cool breeze

Mottled sunlight through the trees

Birdsong

footsteps on gravel

A shiver in the cool mountain air

Alone with my thoughts

Doubts, fears, disappointments

Long hike

Clear my head?

Not working

Dark and quiet

A sigh and the trail disappears

Just around the curve

Suddenly

The mountains loom!

The flowers in bloom!

A riot of color!

Miniscule flowers

Sound of bees.

A warmth of the sun

The deep turquois of the lake

Little icebergs floating nonchalantly

My troubles are like those icebergs.

White and beautiful on the turquois lake

It’s the contrast that makes the lake beautiful

It’s the troubles that make me realize how

amazing this life is.

I don’t fear the dark forest

I close my eyes and see the meadow.

Last week, across the street…

https://dailyflabbergast.wordpress.com/2021/03/11/cw-last-week-across-the-street/

Last week, across the street

They were moving in.

Trucks, dollies, strong men

Strong women with boxes

Children unpacking toys

between the truck and the house

Last, week across the street

They put up the curtains first.

The children didn’t want

to go into the house.

Nobody was smiling.

I grabbed my casserole dish and

put the standard ingredients in–

Mac and cheese and hotdogs,

plastic forks.

Last week, across the street

the trucks left and the children were

still on the porch.

A white car pulled up

The driver walked to the porch but

he looked around the neighborhood–

suspiciously.

The children were quiet

They moved out of the way.

Last week, across the street,

I saw him leave.

He lit a cigarette then

walked slowly to the car.

I took over the casserole.

The children kept playing quietly

I rang the bell.

Last week, across the street

She answered

with tears in her eyes and

a fresh bruise on her face.

She asked if I had a first aid kit.

I left the casserole and went home.

Last week, across the street

I took in the bandages and ice

And applied them to the unrecognizable face

of her husband.

His picture was in a box

He was a policeman.

Where are you going?

When you’re in the car with us and you ask, “Where are we going?” whoever’s driving points out the windshield and says “That-a-way!” It gives immediate direction but doesn’t tell you how fast or what the ultimate destination is. Not Helpful, but it’s technically correct. If you are in the car and not driving, will the ultimate destination be something over which you have control? Will the speed and the options for the quickest route, the one with the least traffic lights, the one with the least traffic, the scenic route, the one where you don’t get lost or anything else about the actual travel be anything you can influence? Maybe, if you whine loud enough. Most likely, however, you, as just a passenger on this madcap adventure, have no part in any of the decisions.

For the sake of perspective, let’s say we all get together to discuss traveling to a State Park for a weekend. You and your friends decide on the weekend and one of you gets assigned the task of reserving a spot for you all to stay. Some of your friends have tents, some have campers, some want to rent a cabin. You can’t agree so you all pick a landmark to meet together at a specific time. You, intrepid leader, LOVE this park and you want to get there early and stay in the park, but your son decides he doesn’t want to get up that early and opts to ride with his best friend who’s leaving after work that day. You don’t believe that’s a good idea because you know what his friend’s car is like and do not trust it or the driver to get to the right place in a reasonable time. Your son argues that he’s perfectly capable of handling anything that comes up and is familiar with all the ins and outs of getting to this park as he’s traveled with you on numerous occasions. Finally, you agree.

You arrive at the campsite and set up and have a wonderful lunch. You fly kites and think, “My son would love this! But he’s not here.” You go on a short hike and take pictures of the beautiful views, and note, “My son would be telling me where to stand to get the best framing.” You get back to camp and start supper. “My son would be recalling all the crazy adventures we had trying to cook on some of our other trips.” At the appointed time you go to the meeting place. You wait, and you get a phone call from one of your friends. “We decided to stay in the motel tonight and were so tired we took a nap and can’t get there for another hour.” The wife gets an IM from her friend, “We couldn’t fit all the stuff in the car and had to rent a trailer and it took us three hours to get all the paperwork done and the thing packed. We should be pulling in some time in the morning.” Nothing from the son. You wait another hour, and none of the rest of your group shows up, so you call them and text them and IM them. One rings and rings and informs you that their voice mail is full. Another replies, “Was that this week?” Another just doesn’t answer the message. So, disappointed, you go back to your campsite. Still nothing from your son.

You inform all the people on your current list, the one that includes all the people who say they are still coming and even your son whom you assume is coming that you will meet at the big dining hall at the welcome center for breakfast. The next morning, you go to the dining hall, and you reserve a table for 10 and sit and wait. After an hour’s worth of waiting and 3 cups of coffee, you decide to order anyway. You finish your breakfast and still no one shows up. You contact them all again. The one in the motel decided to have the continental breakfast since it was free, and were unable to find the campsite so they went back to the motel. The one with the trailer pulled in to discover that there wasn’t a reservation in your name or theirs. They had traveled to a different RV park with a similar name. You tell them it was a State Park, not an RV park, and they’re mad and frustrated and decide not to waste any more time on this and head home. Still nothing from the son.

You go to see the bow and arrow demonstration. Then you go horseback riding, and then head to the main event with the old-time melodrama followed by fireworks. Still nothing from the son. The next morning, you enjoy watching the sunrise, have a great breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs and coffee, clean up, and leave the park with fond memories and some amazing pictures.

You get home and there’s your son. He’s lying on the couch, his arm in a sling, bandages around his legs and face all swollen up.

He got to his friend’s house and nothing was packed, but he didn’t know that. He threw his go-bag into the back of the car and they headed off. “I had never traveled to this park in the dark, so none of the landmarks looked the same. He didn’t have a map, and the gps kept sending us down unpaved roads that bounced the signal around. At one point we were near the town, and it bounced to fifteen miles on the other side of the river and kept telling us to return to the route. We turned down a gravel road that turned into a rock road, that turned into a suggestion of a road and ended up axel-high in mud. We had to go to the farm house and have the farmer pull us out with his tractor. I wrenched my shoulder when we were trying to get the car out. We got back onto a paved road but had no idea where we were and started to argue. He confessed that he didn’t care if he met up with his parents and didn’t want to go on the trip in the first place. I said I’d promised you I’d be here and he kicked me out of the car!!!! About then is when I noticed that my phone was out of charge. I headed off to where I thought I’d last seen the town.

“I was hungry so I got some stuff out of my pack to snack on and sat down on the edge of the road. I ate some and since I was exhausted from trying to move the car and walking, just fell asleep next to the tree. I was awakened in the middle of the night to hear these weird sounds. Raccoons had gotten into my snacks. I wasn’t thinking straight and I tried to grab them away and the raccoons were not happy and wanted to bite and scratch me. I didn’t know they could run that fast. They tore my legs up some, but not as bad as the raspberry bushes I crashed into. I fashioned a sling for my arm as the shoulder was really hurting then, and then grabbed the ace bandages and wrapped up my legs. Does blood come out? I got to the town about 4 in the morning, and found a motel. As I looked like some sort of hobo, he didn’t want to rent a room to me. I reached for my credit card to pay for the room and realized my friend had used it to fill up his car and STILL HAD IT. I had $12 in my wallet. The guy sent me to the police station to see if they could help me get my card back–meaning, they’re not going to do anything to help you or let you sleep in the lobby!

“I went down to the police station, and they didn’t believe the credit card story. They sent me to the homeless shelter. I had to fill out all sorts of paperwork and they wanted to know if I was abused and did they need to send CPS over. That unknown number that called you about 6 this morning was them and they didn’t even leave a message. I got a few hours of sleep, but I didn’t want anyone to touch my wounds as I wasn’t sure they had any medical training at all. There was no place to charge my phone. I borrowed one and called my friend, Bobby to come and pick me up, and he came for me about noon. We went to the city park for lunch, and he discovered, you guessed it, a bee hive. It was in the slippery slide and he decided it wasn’t safe for little kids and he was going to knock it down. No amount of screaming on my part made him change his mind, and then suddenly both of us were screaming. The cops came and recognized me and told me in no uncertain terms to get the heck out of their town as I was a trouble maker. Bobby dropped me off here and went to his doctor for the bee stings he got on his arms, torso, and face. Can you take me to the doctor?”

We all have free will. Had the son gone with his you, his family, he would have enjoyed some wonderful experiences. But even though his plans were to go to the same location, his means of transportation was not reliable. The timing was off causing him to travel this well-known route in the dark. His friend wasn’t motivated to go and had not made any preparations. The difference in the perspective caused the boys to argue and may have ruined the friendship. All these unpleasant experiences were associated with a destination that the son had previously thought was a fun place to go. None of the things he was expecting came to fruition. The joy he sought was time without stress with his friend, and he got time with a lot of stress instead. He thought separation from his parents would give him more autonomy and yet he was subjected to the same powerlessness because his friend was driving. His friend, being young and inexperienced, did not know how to prepare, how to plan, how to set a goal and reach it. He was expecting his friend to be as knowledgeable and calm and cool under pressure as you.

When we go our own way, and it’s not God’s way, we may get to the same destination, but not in the same shape.

Don’t let her hear you…

I’m assuming it’s a she. I’m not sure. I think Friction is a She because she has an evil, vengeful sense of humor. I’m going to call her Frieda Friction. Later today, March 6, 2021, I will be giving a humorous speech detailing her dealings with humanity. I don’t think she wants you to know.

There may be scientists that will dispute my findings, but ask them about the coefficient of friction. You cannot figure that out when you have both hands full of things that will break if you drop them. (And you will drop them.)

She IS Flighty and Fractious. A Fiendish Fraud. Without a doubt she has a Foul Effluvia of Falsehood at her fingertips. Her intimations display a Freudian Figment of Feverish and Fervent Foolishness. If you depend on Friction to act a certain way and it is to your advantage that she works this way, She will always do the complete opposite! Since sitting down in my chair to write this, it has gotten inches lower, even though it is locked. It depends on friction to hold its position. My pen has spontaneously rolled off my desk twice. I guess that could be Newtonian fiction, but that is another blog and I don’t need Newton and Frieda ganging up on me today. I walked by a cabinet that I have successfully navigated for over a year, but this time my sweater caught on something and my background fell down. I pulled out the leftover roast I made yesterday, and it slipped through my hands as if I had no friction ridges.

“PHA!” I say. I will give this speech regardless of the mounting resistance by things unseen and misunderstood for a millennia. I will take the abuse and rant and rave ineffectually until my message is spread worldwide. If you don’t hear from me for a while, assume they’ve taken me to a safe place with birdsong and lots of padding.