Posted by: grantahelms | January 23, 2014

Hide and Seek

It had been three excruciatingly long days. They had searched everywhere. Living room. Dining room. Bedrooms. Kitchen. Even the bathrooms. It was nowhere to be found. The whole family was disturbed at its loss. As the popcorn cooks, Mom grabs a bowl. There, inside the bowl, is the television remote.

Isn’t that like the remote? To be sleeping in the popcorn bowl. All this commotion, and it didn’t even know it was lost. Like I said, Flash can be fun. The Flash word is remote. The word count for this “hot flash” is 50. I nailed it on the head. Come join us at Flash in the Pan. See what others are writing and find the submission rules for adding your own flashes. Have a great week.

“Has your television remote ever disappeared?”

“Where did you find it? Or did you find it?”

“Did you find out how it got there?”

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Posted by: grantahelms | January 23, 2014

All for nothing

This was just great! Matt had all the tools he needed for the job. Air compressors, table saws, miter saws, assorted sanders in all different shapes and sizes. Nail guns of all sizes from 3″ framing to pin nailers. He had jointers, edgers, routers and planes.  Hand drills, stand drills, jigsaws and scroll saws. He had never been so prepared for a job. He had lined up a crew of guys who were ready to work. All he was missing was one ingredient. Without electricity it was all for nothing.

Yep, you’ve got it! It’s Flash time again. This quarter we will be flashing about something near and dear to my heart: Boys and their toys. I should be able to write these with no problem. If you have missed it before, Flash in the Pan is a link at the M3 blog for prospective writers to submit flash fiction for a chance to be published. Most of the time it’s fun and the rules are simple. The Flash word this week is tools. The maximum word count is 100. I pulled it off in 89. If you are interested in seeing what others are writing, or to see the submission rules, click the link above. Have a good week, and happy writing.

“Have you ever been prepared to start something and one thing can shut you down?”

“How do you cope with issues beyond your control?”

“What is your favorite tool?”

Posted by: grantahelms | January 21, 2014

Just for Sam

Today my son made a post to Facebook. To be honest, I don’t know if I am qualified to answer. But I knew the space on Facebook was not big enough to go into it. So here is what he posted:

So, here’s my one and only post for the month. Of course, it’s about something that EVERY one does – including myself at times. The use of the word “love”.

Now, Webster Dictionary defines “love” as: ‘unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another’. So, my question for you is this: how can we say that we love someone dear to us and turn around and say that we love cake, a perfume scent, or an event (something that cannot show us concern for our own good back)?

Also, if we truly love someone, would we want for them to do wrong? According to Webster’s definition, then no we wouldn’t because we would be unselfish and show loyalty and concern for that person’s good. So basically, that means we would do what is right – even if it means that we lose something ourselves.

I find this definition to be inadequate. And , when you look at Webster’s, you will find that it is only one of numerous definitions. Such as:

In the noun classification:

1) Strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties (ie a parents love for their children or your love for siblings)

2) Attraction based on sexual desire (ie affection and tenderness shared by lovers)

3) Affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests (ie friends, classmates, church members)

4) An assurance of affection (ie I give you my love)

5) A warm attachment, enthusiasm, or attachment to or for (ie love of the sea, love of chocolate, love for the Carolina Panthers)

6) An object of attachment, devotion, or admiration (ie Baseball was his first love)

7) Unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another (ie The love for humankind that persuades us to help others when we feel there is a need that we can fulfill)

8) A zero score in tennis.

Then there are three verb definitions for love also. But I will refrain from posting them to keep this shorter. As I said earlier, I’m not an expert at this. No one is, but many claim to be. On countless shelves in bookstores around the world, you can find any number of authors telling you how to love on different levels. Bondage, sadism, masochism. How to get the love of your life through service, through romance, through devotion. How to trick others into loving you. It’s all out there.

Then we have therapists and psychologists who seem to know where things went wrong and what you need to do to fix it. Assuming that you want to. We have love tests on Facebook. We have pastors preaching on love and many seminars how to make your love stronger and how to make it more satisfying. And what does it all mean? Nothing if you don’t love yourself.

Yes, you heard me right. You MUST love yourself! It is imperative to love yourself before you can truly love others. Well that sounds kind of vain! Not at all. Loving  yourself is not thinking that you look great or that you are a great catch. Loving yourself is knowing what you want from life, and reaching out to grab it. It’s taking care of your body. Not working out. Not dieting all the time to stay 165 pounds( for my BMI anyway). Taking care of your body is eating healthy, real food. Not pouring gallons of carbonated drinks down your throat. Brushing your teeth. Bathing on a regular(daily) schedule. Reading if that is what you like. Listening to music. Dancing. Your body responds to all these stimuli, and therefore it becomes happier and more relaxed. This is my idea of healthy.

Three day intermission

Though I realize none of you missed me in my three-day absence, I had to walk away to do some soul-searching. Now it is 3 a.m. and it has just come to me. For three days I have been asking myself what love is. I’ve run the gambit just like my son. Is it an emotion? Yes. Is it a feeling? Yes. Can everyone find it? Yes, definitely. Even I have found love. I love my children. I love macaroni and cheese. I love Mt.Dew! And in answer to some people’s recent doubts, I love God. Is it possible to “love” all these things? Yes, depending on the definition that you use. That is of course if you are using the English language. So through all my thoughts, and contemplation about the question at hand, it occurs to me that “love” should be considered a slang or generic word. I guess that seems like it came out of left field, right? Let me explain. The word love is overused by a society that is too lazy or ignorant to find a word that better describes something. As a friend of mine says,”Call a spade a spade”. So what word would best fit the relationship between people, or with their higher being? In my estimation, it would be:

Adore     transitive verb      \a-‘dor\

1) To worship or honor as a deity or divine.

2) To regard with loving admiration or devotion.

3) To be very fond of.

So, what do you think? I know “I adore you” doesn’t sound as normal as “I love you”, but isn’t that the point? That the word love is too generic. I think so. And, according to the definitions, adore takes the admiration to a higher level. Isn’t adoration what we give to our children? How many times have you heard someone say “I don’t care what my child does, even though they may not be welcomed in my house, I will always love them”. They say love, but if they didn’t adore that child, it would be a lie. If I didn’t adore you, would I constantly endure years of heart ache, mental and emotional abuse, over looking wrongs and lies, just to come back home after a long day of work to try to salvage another day? Well, maybe not. That may be a topic for something else. Maybe it would be better adapted to insane or depressed. But whatever the case, love is over used, not over rated. True love comes in many forms. It may be letting a friend cry on your shoulder at the death or loss of a loved one. It may be bringing someone breakfast in bed. Or delivering meals to the elderly. It may be washing people’s feet at a church function. It may be giving your last dollar to someone who is less fortunate than you. It may be standing up and walking away. The list goes on forever. Whatever your take on it is. Some of the things I think of as love are:

Missing someone when you’ve only been apart for 10 minutes.

Taking someone coffee in bed.

Long hot baths together washing off the days cares.

Being quiet and listening to what someone needs to get off their chest.

Not being judgmental.

Holding hands and saying nothing.

Showing someone they are appreciated by helping around the house.

Being there for someone when they need you the most.

These are just a few. I’m sure you can come up with many more. So for now I’m signing off. I hope that I made some attempt to answer the question asked, though I got side tracked. So until later, I love you all. Or adore you. Which ever the case may be.

” What is your definition of love?”

” In what ways do you show others that you love them?”

” Do you ever wonder if the word love gets lost in the mix?”

Thanks to my son for posing this soul-searching question. Just for the record, I adore you Sam. Later.

Posted by: grantahelms | January 19, 2014

Splinters in my Arse

Ahh, fences. They are such a delightful thing. So many styles. Each style used for a specific purpose, but all doing the same job. Keeping something out, or keeping something in. So let’s explore them. You have short chain-link and dog wire for keeping pets and children in the yard. There are tall chain-link, with barbed wire  or concertina wire on the top, to keep people out of businesses or to keep prisoners in. We have electrified and barbed wire to keep farm animals in the pasture. Then there is the decorative white picket and wrought iron styles to enhance the beauty of your home. Lately I have noticed an increase in privacy fences. I don’t know what people have to hide, but I guess that’s the point. They must be working.

fences

So many different choices, but none of these are my favorite evidently. I have always been kind of lazy in some people’s opinion. Therefore, I need something to sit on. Here it is.

fence7

This is perfect for me. And evidently, according to many and to my own soul searching inspection, I sit on it a lot. But why am I getting splinters now? I guess the fact that others have been commenting about it so much lately has made me uncomfortable and I have been squirming around. Thank goodness I am figuratively speaking. It would be hard to pluck splinters out of my back side. So in case you missed the metaphor, we are talking about staying neutral. Keeping your nose out of it. Minding your own business. Avoiding conflict. Whatever you call it.

I always thought it was a good thing. I could ride the fence, not get my feet dirty and always be there to help when the conflict was over. Doesn’t that sound logical? To help friends and family to nurse their wounds when the conflict is finished? And you can always use the excuse that you were being thoughtful and contemplating the results, while others were having a volcanic eruption. Surely my way has to be healthier, right? You don’t let your blood pressure sky-rocket. You don’t run the risk of saying something in the heat of the moment that will push people away forever. And in the end, you can still be the link between two people who now hate each other.

Wrong! When you hold your thoughts in, no matter who you think is right, those thoughts and feelings simmer inside you until they become a low rolling boil. At this point they have turned into resentment. Resentment for the person who always starts the conflict. Resentment toward yourself for always defending that person. Resentment for not sticking up for what you knew was the truth. I think country music artist Aaron Tippin said it best in this music video:

He says you’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything. That is so true. What have I given up in all the years that I have ridden the fence? Who knew the real me? The one who was tired of being a puppet or begging for many of the things that I think I deserved in life. Is it too much for me to want to go fishing? Alone? Is it too much to help your church or a friend without getting into an argument about going? Is it asking too much to let me curl up in a chair and read a book on my day off from work, without being required to do remodeling around the house? I think not!

So, here’s the heads up. I am off the fence. Not only off, but I am tearing that sucker down! It took a few months to climb off, and I’m not sure how long it will take to tear it all the way down, but it is leaving. And I am not replacing it with a wall. I want to be able to see the “green grass” all the way around. I want to play in it. If you want to play in it with me, you are welcome to. If you want to plow it under, I have spike strips waiting for your tractor tires. If you want the truth, ask me. If you can’t handle the truth, I’ll give you a quarter to call someone who has time for the drama in your life and won’t tell you the truth for fear of hurting your feelings. For those that want to tag along, the door is always open. Good luck. Good week. And Goodbye for now.

” Are you a fence rider?”

” What is your favorite style?”

” What do you feel that you have sacrificed in life for the good of others, or beliefs that you had been taught from birth?”

” What other old adages of wisdom can you share with me?”

Just remember that I love you all. This is dedicated to those who have held me up. Those who have held me down. And those who are still riding the fence. You’ve all made me stronger.

Posted by: grantahelms | January 2, 2014

New Year, New You

Hello friends. In order to keep up with the Jones’, as the old saying goes, I would like to take a moment to wish you all a Happy New Year. It is my sincerest hope that it was a happy and joyous time for you all. I hope that you were all sober, and that no one got hurt. I love you all.

Now, let’s get down to the nuts and bolts of the conversation. What does this “new” year mean to you? Are you one of those that sits down and makes resolutions that will disappear in the first few months? Will this be the year that you finally take that “dream vacation”? Do you resolve not to make resolutions in an effort to avoid failure? I have. Sad but true I know. My thoughts have always been that I fail enough through the year. Why would I want to set myself up for failure at the beginning?

no food  So, let’s start easy. 1) I resolve to lose 20 lbs. That’s simple. Right? If I cut back two sodas and walk a mile a day, it will be a reality. The reality of it is, do you want to lose 20 pounds from your summer weight or your winter weight? Face it, our weight fluctuates during the year. During the summer it is hot. You sweat a lot. You get out with your children or grandchildren. You walk. You swim. And you eat light. By January 1, you have eaten candy at Halloween, eaten at least one big meal at Thanksgiving, eaten at least one big meal for Christmas and laid around the house because it is cold outside. Face the facts. You have probably gained 15 pounds from what you were in August. Now after the ham, greens and black-eyed peas for New Year, you begin to lose weight. You are doing so good. Then you get a box of chocolates from your love for Valentines day. But you have lost 10 pounds, so it’s all good. Then because you lost 10 pounds, you celebrate by going out to your favorite Italian restaurant for a big plate of spaghetti. Slowly, you plateau. Then you get discouraged. Finally you give up. I know. I’ve been there.

no smokingSo, let’s start again. 2) I resolve to stop smoking. I know this is a hard one. But face it, they are expensive, they are nasty, they stink and they are bad for your health. Just like losing weight, this is imperative to making you healthier. So you go buy some nicotine patches and nicotine gum and you began replacing cigarettes with an acceptable substitute. Actually the only thing you are doing is getting rid of the tars and other chemicals that are associated with tobacco. Nicotine, which you are still ingesting has been proven to be the cause of high blood pressure and high heart rate in humans. Therefore it seems to me that all you are doing is smelling better. I applied these techniques and started back after 5.5 years when my stress levels increased. I am proud of those for whom it works after they kick the nicotine completely.

By now I am sure you are all wondering if I am going to speak negatively about ALL resolutions. The answer is no. Resolutions are a good way to focus on goals for the future, however, like wine, they are only healthy in moderation. And they have to be something that you sincerely want. Don’t go with the pack. Be yourself. With that said, here are my resolutions for 2014:

1)I resolve to continue to reduce my cigarette intake.

2)I resolve to continue to eat healthier in an attempt to lose more weight.

3)I resolve to continue to take my medications on a regular schedule.

4)I resolve to continue to find happiness in my life.

5)I resolve to be ME.

There it is. Short and real. I look forward to hearing what everyone resolves to do for themselves this year. Just remember to KISS. For those of you that don’t know, that means Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t take it personally. It’s just an old saying. Happy New Year. I love y’all.smilely face

Posted by: grantahelms | December 31, 2013

Loco (100)

It was BJ’s first time riding in a professional rodeo. He should have known better when he saw the bulls name. LOCO? Surely the bull wasn’t crazy. After all, there were other bulls there with worse names. Widowmaker. Diablo. How bad could LOCO be?

As the gate opened, he quickly learned. After several jumps, twists and rolls he was thrown from the saddle. The rest was like a dream.

Now as he lay in his hospital bed, looking at the clowns in their immobilizers, he was thankful for a broken leg and a few cracked ribs.

This was the final word in this flash series. The word is loco. The maximum word count is 100. I came in at 96. Thank you for bearing with me till the end. To see what others are writing, or to view the flash rules, visit Flash in the Pan at the M3 blog. The book Disturbed should be available online on February 1, 2014. Thank you all.

Posted by: grantahelms | December 31, 2013

Level (75)

“This building is 300 years old. What is your problem with the floor being 3/4” out of level,”said the contractor.

“Well it seems to me that it is a bit excessive for all the maintenance that we do,” she commented.

“It must just be me then. Personally I don’t think you are the sharpest tool in the shed,” he commented as he walked out and slammed the door behind him.

Yet another flash as we near the end of the year. The flash word is level. The maximum word count is 75. I came in at 68. Hopefully I can get the last one finished on time. To see what others are writing, or to view the flash rules, visit Flash in the Pan at the M3 blog.

Posted by: grantahelms | December 31, 2013

Mad (75)

“WOW! That was crazy,” he thought. Never in his life had he seen people act that way. Turning over displays, punching and kicking each other and biting the security officers. Who would have thought she would get that mad over losing out on Elmo. “Never again will I go shopping on Black Friday.”

Flash word is mad. Maximum word count is 75. I came in at 53. Thanks for bearing with me on the final run toward finishing my flashes. Today is the deadline and I’m almost there. To see what others are writing, or to view the flash rules, visit Flash in the Pan at the M3 blog.

Posted by: grantahelms | December 31, 2013

Mental (150)

It had been years since he had seen Dorothea Dix Mental Institution. The last time he was here, he was being evaluated for competency in a trial. That seemed like a life time ago. All he could remember was a patient called Wild Bill and a bunch of ink blot cards.

“What exactly are those cards good for?” he wondered as he sat there.”All I ever saw in them were clouds, butterflies and bats. Except for that one. It looked like a crime scene marker where a body was laid on the ground.”

As the whistle sounded, he lined the wrecking ball up on the room he had stayed in. It was time to smash his past, because the future awaited.

Flash word is mental. Maximum word count is 150. I only had 121. To see what others are writing, or to see the Flash rules, visit Flash in the Pan at the M3 blog.

Posted by: grantahelms | December 31, 2013

Irrational (150)

It seemed completely irrational. How could he do this? What thoughts could be influencing his mind to make him do these crazy things? Was it drugs? Was it alcohol? Was he dying? No, surely he would have told someone. But something must be going on for him to be acting so crazy.

“I know,” his wife thought.”He’s been brain washed. That is the only logical solution.”

As the seconds counted down, Grant had time to reflect. It had been a long time for him to get to the point of letting go. But finally he was here. As he thought of his children and his grandson, the tap came on his shoulder. Slowly he emerged and soared into the great unknown. The space between Heaven and Hell. Finally he felt free. As the parachute opened, all he could think of was doing it again.

Flash word is irrational. Maximum word count is 150. I managed to get it with 140. To see what others are writing, or to view the Flash rules, please visit Flash in the Pan at the M3 blog.

“Is it crazy or irrational to want to have fun with life again?”

“Is it wrong to be happy?”

“What have you ever done that others thought was irrational, crazy or even stupid?”

As always, I love y’all. Comments are appreciated.

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