Wednesday, September 12, 2012
In Minnesota there are 2 new ads running that I wanted to share. These are so eye-opening and thought provoking. What are we teaching our children? Many adults in their 20s, 30s, and 40s were raised in homes where both parents were working for the first time, which (in some cases) meant the children were not properly taught about nutrition, fitness, or even how to cook. Now that we're adults, do we realize that we're doing the same thing to our kids? Check out the ads and ask yourself what you can teach your children (or grandkids, nieces, nephews, or any child you know) TODAY about how to be healthier.
Have you ever had an 'a ha' moment like this? Do these ads motivate you to change and/or help your kids to understand the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle?
Remember, kids are little sponges that pick up everything that they see around them. This is beyond what to eat and whether or not to exercise, but also the words we use, how to love or hate ourselves, and even how we see other people (like prejudice). You can play the 'do what I say not what I do' game for a little while, but they will take on your mannerisms even if you don't see it right away. How many times have you stopped and said 'when did I turn into my mother/father/grandparent/aunt/uncle/etc?' Well, you picked it up when you were a kid and it manifested over years. So when you're upset, stressed, or doing something that's dramatically unhealthy, stop to ask yourself 'what would I say to my kid if s/he was in my shoes?' That will help you figure out how to deal with it in a productive way and offer a healthier option for your child to mimic. Don't want your kid to overeat, drink, smoke, swear, or have self-loathing? Then correct that in yourself while being honest with them that you make mistakes too and you'd like their support as you change for the better. This will help them feel a part of the solution and share in the successes you meet. It will also let them see how incredibly difficult it is to change lifelong bad habits, which will hopefully deter them from ending up with the same bad habits.
Forgive yesterday, hope for tomorrow, do better today because every day is a chance to do a little better.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Prompt #5 comes from MOM2ACAT: I finally made the decision.
I have two paths in front of me. Both could lead to great things, but both could lead to heartache. Down one path I see strength and satisfaction. Down the other I see comfort and care. There's tempting dark and thorough light. There's the left or the right. But whatever I choose, it must be tonight.
Gripping the steering wheel a little tighter, images flash in my head as I consider options. Whichever I choose, that's what I would then be stuck with. There's no turning back and no do-over. My choice could be a dream or a nightmare, but I won't know until I turn down a path. I hear a honk behind me, realizing that the dark that's enveloped my car is sliced open by headlights blazing in my rearview mirror. I'm blocking traffic so I can't stall any longer. With a deep, cleansing breath I count down, somehow convincing myself I can choose in seconds what I've been debating for the last week, the last day, and the last several minutes at this stop sign.
"One. Two. Three. CHOOSE!" My hands pull to the right as my foot hits the accelerator. The car jumps and skids out, bucking my decision. Does my car somehow know I've chosen the wrong way? As the tires grab and houses slide past my window, I start to reconsider. Why did I choose this way? What reason did I have to turn right instead of left? My heart jumps in my chest for a moment and I jerk the steering wheel until my tires kiss the curb. Can I really make myself believe this is the better choice? Nope.
My eyes dart back and forth as I pull my car into a U-turn. The other choice is better. It must be, right? I'm still questioning myself as I backtrack to the other direction. The intersection somehow seems different from this direction and as I cross I suddenly have nervous butterflies in my stomach. Will this work?
I think back to last week, the moment I came face to face with a stranger. Every plan I had has been questioned since. Did I want what I have or what I wished? Which is better, comfortable or exciting? Right now I'm choosing exciting as I slowly squeeze the brake to the floor and silently pull into the parking space. This is my choice. This is where I should be. My car goes silent and dark as I step out, gently easing my door shut. I still have a chance to change my mind if he doesn't realize I'm here. Looking at the door in front of me, I know I don't want to leave. This is my choice. He is my choice.
My timid knock echoes and I hold my breath. Bounding steps assault my ears just before the door swings open and I'm greeted with open arms. Strong arms. My hands go to his neck as he lifts me up and dangles my legs like a pendulum. This is where I want to be. He leads me inside to the kitchen table.
"I'm glad you're here. I wasn't sure you'd come." There's a hint of questioning and disbelief, layering grime just underneath his smile.
"I finally made my decision." I squeeze his hand gently, searching his eyes for agreement and confirmation of my wishes. "I want to date you. I'm breaking up with him."
The idea of strong, dark, and handsome is more tempting than the comfortable static of constant video games and being forgotten. Besides, when you're barely an adult is the best time to enjoy romance over pizza stains on the couch!
This one ended up at just over a half hour after a re-read. I was enjoying trying to come up with covert descriptions so it didn't flow as quickly as some of the others. I wanted realizations of what was really happening to be revealed slowly, trying to build a little anticipation through questioning what was going on.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Prompt #4 comes from EVWINGS: This winter seemed quite harsh.....
"Wow. This winter seemed quite harsh." I said to no one in particular. Spending so much time cooped up in my small house made me long for bright sunshine and warm breezes. I remember two foot snow falls, snow drifts the size of school buses (and just as yellow), and feeling the ache of my rear end when I slid on the ice and landed in a heap. Even now, a snow drift nearly my height is still trying to melt behind my deck. I have a feeling it will be lingering until June.
As I sit down in my favorite chair, I close my eyes for a moment and breathe in. With a small cough I remember I haven't been able to open the windows and air out the stale scent in 5 months. Candles and air fresheners only help for so long before they make it worse. I reach for the book I've been reading, but I can't focus on the page. The words seem almost foreign as my gaze ends up back at the window.
"Maybe a few minutes of a cross breeze won't be too bad." I set the book aside as I bound over to open the patio door then head back to the window. As I flip the lock and pull it open, a blast of arctic air makes me quickly change my mind. 50 degrees is a nice day, but still too cold when you're inside! I close the window and door again then stare out, wondering why I chose to live in such a desolate wasteland.
All of a sudden a dark flash catches my attention. I squint and peer out into the waning light, wondering what is out there. Then another happens in the sky. I blink a few times, my brow lowering as I look closer. Finally, I realize there are birds flying, squirrels running, and a goose wandering in the yard across the street. A smile tugs at my lips as I see the wildlife running amok in the quiet of a snowy, late Sunday afternoon.
Looking closer, I see bits of brown grass peering through some holes in the snow, waiting to wake and enjoy the warmth of spring. I remember the flowers that my neighbor likes to plant as soon as the last frosts end; just a few weeks from now her yard will be full of color. The trees that appear dead now will bud and bloom, throwing off shade on the hottest days so I can lay in the grass and read.
Sure, this winter might have been hard on me, making me feel lonely and locked away, but spring will be here soon! "I should probably start planning what vegetables I'll be putting in my garden." Finally I have a purpose, some hope to look forward to. No need to think about winter any longer.
So I think 20 minutes will end up being the standard here. haha I took inspiration from the person who provided the prompt, Evelyn. She helps remind me that even on dark days, when things seem bleak and hard, there is always a chance for a brighter day tomorrow.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Prompt #3 is from PRUPLEBEAR: My wife left me and took my dog!
"I can't believe she up and walked on out!" Grumbling to himself, he slammed the screen door shut. He takes a few steps then stops, realizing there is no dinner on the table. "Great, my belly's rumbling and I got nothing to fill it with." Stalking around the kitchen, he pauses at the fridge to peer inside. He's never cooked a meal for himself unless it was on a spit over a campfire.
Grabbing the phone, he dials his mother. "Honey, you knew better than to push her. She was the butter queen at the county fair for 3 years running and was smart enough that she almost walked away from you for a try at college." She scoffed at her son, "Did you really think she'd keep putting up with living in that junk yard you call a house?"
"So what time am I coming over for dinner, mom?" Of course he wasn't going to listen to his mother. She's always nagging him! He's greeted with the sound of the dial tone after his mother hangs up on him.
What's a country boy to do when his woman leaves him alone with no dinner? Time to go hunting! His hat's at the door, the gun's in the closet, and the dog is... Wait, where's his dog?
"Come here, mutt!" A few whistles should be all he needs for his trusty sidekick to come running, tail wagging with a load of barking. "Where are you?" He searches around the house, steps outside to call a few times, then sits on the porch steps with a huff.
"Oh, she wouldn't do that! That's low down and underhanded, taking a guy's favorite dog!" Slapping his hat on his leg a time or two, he sets the gun aside and considers what to do next.
Down the driveway he hears tires pull onto the gravel. He looks up to see his truck driving towards him, covered in dust. As it comes to a stop and the driver's door opens, his dog jumps out and starts running towards him. With a leap the dog jumps into his owner's arms, knocking him backwards.
He looks past the dog and sees his wife coming towards him. "Change your mind about leaving and taking the dog? Couldn't stand to be without your big man, huh?" A grin crosses his face as his dog licks his chin.
"No, you big lug, I told you I was taking the dog to the vet! Now if you're expecting any dinner you'd better get the groceries out of the back of the truck. Hop to it!"
I'm finding 5 minutes is not going to be long enough! This was another nearly 20 minutes. And, in case you haven't noticed, I'm trying to come up with ways to use the prompts in a way most people wouldn't think of. I like being unique and different, so I'm trying to throw in some loops and twists so you don't really know what's coming. That's what's going to keep this interesting. haha
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Quick side note: For those who thought I should add names, I am horrible at coming up with names. I've written entire short stories (as in several pages of story) without using names because it is so hard for me to come up with ones I like and that fit. So for this challenge, since I'm trying to do these quickly and with little thought, I'm purposely leaving names out. I could spend a week trying to come up with adequate names and still not be satisfied, so it just isn't conducive to what I'm attempting. Don't worry, when I write longer stories or in any novel I attempt I will be using names and full descriptions.
Prompt #2 is from IUHRYTR: Number 118 is where it happened.
"Whoa crap!" He screamed as something huge flew at his face, only to be stopped by the windshield. Slamming on the brakes and white-knuckling the steering wheel, tires skidded and a scream pierced the night air. Somehow he was able to maintain control of the small car and ease it over to the side of the road. He took a few minutes to catch his breath then turned on the overhead light. As he looked at the cracks in the glass, he realized his throat was suddenly scratchy. "I totally just screamed like a girl," he said to himself with a short chuckle. But who could blame him? At least his pants weren't wet!
Reaching over to grab a flashlight, he wondered if it would be safe to get out and get a good look at the damage. Why not? This stretch of road is empty at 3 am and whatever the animal was is probably long gone. After releasing his seat belt and with a quick check behind him, he tried the door handle just to find that there was more damage than he thought; the door is stuck shut. Climbing over the console, he is able to get out the passenger door. Though as his feet hit gravel his eyes catch something in the distance.
"What is that," he wondered out loud as he squinted through the single remaining headlight beam. His flashlight sweeps over, catching the form of a dead turkey on the side of the road. Now he knows what he hit, but there's still something else lurking out there, watching him. Odd noises begin to rise from the stillness, surrounding him. As the sound raises in intensity, he scrambles back into the car. Digging for his cell phone, he wonders if anyone will believe there are monsters out here.
"Hi, I just got into an accident and could use some assistance. I'm on highway 21, mile marker..." He thinks for a moment as he peers through the dark again, just catching the green sign in the distance. "I think that's mile marker 118 just ahead of me. I hit a turkey and my car has front end damage." Pausing as the dispatcher enters the information and requests police assistance, he realizes that creepy sound is even louder. "Hurry please. There's something else out here and I think it's coming this way."
As he hangs up, a whole flock of birds dive bombs at his car, causing him to jump in the seat and cuss. "Are you serious?" Several of the birds lie dead on the hood of the car, their necks broken from slamming so hard at his shield. As the side window breaks, he screams again.
Ten minutes later red and blue lights show in the distance. As the officers approach, they see the lonely car on the side of the road and park behind it. "I'm telling you, this stretch of highway is haunted." They get out of the car and walk slowly, surveying the scene. "Just like last week, it happened just before he got to mile marker 118. I'll bet there's no one inside."
This one took about 20 minutes, but that's because I was distracted by my stupid neighbor (music/tv turned up at 2 am? Seriously?) and paused to call the cops. So it took a few minutes to get back on focus. A quick read to clean it up (I somehow changed verb tense for a few sentences) and here you go.
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