Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages...please direct your attention to the center ring where The Amazing Alistair waits to astonish and astound you! Behold! Amazing Alistair - the Animal Charmer!
See how he stands, hat in hand, peering out into the murky blackness. What ferocious creature will he encounter this evening? What wild beast, hungry for fresh meat, prowls in the darkness?
Do you hear the snapping jaws, the scratch of its curved claws in the sand, the swish of its powerful tail? Watch as Alistair flicks his whip. The resounding crack awakens the beast!
Behold, the leviathan from the deep!
Do not be fooled by its short legs, nor the way its belly drags through the dirt. This mud monster has jaws that can crush steel! Tear flesh from bone! His tail alone threatens to sweep Alistair's feet from beneath him, leaving him vulnerable, sprawled in the dirt, easy prey for this beast's voracious appetite. See it creep toward Alistair, jaws springing open and clamping shut with terrifying force. His scaly snout is but mere inches from Alistair's polished black boots.
But, wait. What is Alistair is doing? Does he sing? Can you hear the magic words that he whispers to this creature from the swamp? Watch as this leathery fiend sways back and forth, the soothing words washing over him. Can The Amazing Alistair charm even this carnivorous brute?
From the darkness, we see the lovely LaVonna riding on such a curious contraption. What, pray tell, does Alistair have in mind? Could it be? Yes! Yes! Amazing! Astonishing! Incredible!
Have you ever seen such a spectacle?
The savage beast has climbed atop the seat of the pink motor scooter and...driven away!
Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - 291 words inspired by the pictures above. Sweet silliness!
Linking up with Trifecta - 291 words inspired by the word: Charm3: to control (an animal) typically by charms (as the playing of music)
Arana leaped, pirouetting once before disappearing beneath the surface, the only evidence of her dive, a single ring in the water. Swimming to the lily pad, Izaba ribbited from the aquatic stage, "Bravo!"
Linking up with Trifextra: the words water, ring and stage plus 30 of my own. For fun, zaba is Polish for frog, while the Spanish word for my amphibious heroine is rana.
"Excuse me, sir. I'm going to need you to step out of line. The x-ray of your briefcase revealed a suspicious item. If you would please follow me."
"Uhm, okay. My bag? Are you sure?"
"Yes, sir. Please step this way."
"I can't imagine what in my bag..."
"Please, sir, no questions. Simply stand here, behind this yellow line. I'm going to open your bag to inspect it in a few moments. Please do not attempt to help me and do not touch anything in the bag. But first, a series of questions for you, per TSA regulation 4-36B."
"Sure thing. What exactly are you looking for?"
"Did you pack any of the following: ice picks, meat cleavers, sabers or swords?"
"No. Of course not."
"Any spear guns, bows and arrows, ice skates?"
"Flare guns, pellet guns or black powder?"
"Axes, cattle prods, saws..."
"No. This is ridiculous. Why would I bring any of those things? And how would I fit them in my briefcase? I'm just headed home to see my mom."
"Please just answer the questions, sir. We'll try to have you on your way as soon as possible. Did you pack any of the following articles: brass knuckles, nunchucks or throwing stars?"
"No. Please open my bag and see for yourself."
"Just one more series of questions, sir. Did you pack dynamite, hand grenades, tear gas, liquid bleach or a snow globe?"
"No. None of those...I'm sorry, did you just say 'snow globe'? Is that actually on the list?"
"Yes, Sir. Do you have a snow globe packed in your briefcase?"
"No. Can we get on with this? I've got a plane to catch. What was so suspicious in my bag to warrant this absurd inspection."
"Please stand behind the yellow line, sir, as I open your bag. Ah-ha. This is the culprit. Would you care to explain yourself?"
"That's wax. Red sealing wax. I'm a masters student at Mary Baldwin College, studying Shakespeare. It's something we do, sealing our letters with wax, like in the old days. I didn't even pack a lighter. I knew that was on the list, but I figured the wax wouldn't be a big deal."
"I'm afraid you were mistaken, sir. I'm going to have to confiscate this item. If you would like to fill out this form, we can have it mailed to your destination for ten dollars, shipping and handling."
"Mmmm...no thanks. May I go now?"
"Yes, sir. Thank you for your patience and have a nice flight."
Linking up with Write at the Merge this week - 500 words inspired by the picture above. A recent flight in which my teeny-tiny faux-Swiss Army knife was confiscated. Now what will I cut the kids' straws with when they're too long?!?
Abigail sat cross-legged in the dust while a fly buzzed lazily in a circle around her head. She rested her chin in her hands, pursing her lips. Her bony elbows dug into her knees and a bead of sweat trickled between her shoulder blades. Staring intently at the treasure nestled in the straw, she was oblivious to the piercing heat of the sun on her neck or the brittle grass that poked the tender skin of her legs just below her dusty denim shorts.
"C'mon, little friend. It's time to come out," she whispered, eyes focused on the nest in front of her.
The egg trembled and Abigail's eyes sprung open. She leaned forward, her hands burrowing into the straw until her freckled nose hovered mere inches from the speckled shell. "Come out, come out, whoever you are...," she sang softly.
A delicate crack formed in the shell, starting at the top and zig-zagging to the bottom, disappearing in the golden straw. Abigail held her breath and peered intently at the fissure connecting the dots of the egg's brown speckles. In the quiet, she heard a tap. Then another. And another. A pale yellow beak appeared in the hole and the crack widened to reveal brown, matted feathers and one beady eye blinking back at Abigail.
A few minutes passed as the baby chick struggled and writhed her way out of the shell. As she lay panting, stretching her new legs and wings, Abigail smiled and whispered, "Welcome, little one. I've been waiting for you."
Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the word crack. I feel a bit like Abigail right now as we wait for our house to sell. I'm intently focused and excited, but feeling a little uncomfortable in this season of patience. Here's to hoping the "shell" of our move cracks soon!
Do you remember the Bible story about Gideon? Here's the link if you want to zip over and have a quick read, otherwise I'll give you a little rundown. When we first meet Gideon, the Israelites are in trouble and this "mighty warrior" is hiding in the winepress threshing wheat. Hmm...looks like Gideon was lacking in the confidence department. While all the people are hiding in the hills, trying to stay out of the way of the Midianites, God hears their prayers and sends a prophet to assure the people that He is taking action. And that He intends to use Gideon to do the job. (Not quite what Gideon had in mind.)
Over the course of several days, God convinces Gideon that He indeed intends to answer the prayers of the people and restore their homes to them. Gideon (also apparently lacking in faith) requires a series of "proofs" from God; little tests to make sure that he hears God clearly. God consistently directs Gideon and patiently endures his many questions and requests for proof, resulting in Gideon eventually taking God at His word.
Finally, Gideon rallies an army to fight off the Midianites; as a true mighty warrior he prepares to lead his troops into battle. But now it's God's turn to make requests of him. While Gideon stands proudly amidst his thousands of soldiers, God says quite simply, "There are too many of you. If you win this battle, you will say that it's because of your strength." In a matter of moments, God whittles down Gideon's great battalion to a mere three hundred men. Gulp. (Again, not quite what Gideon had in mind.)
And God's not done yet.
"You will send each man with a trumpet and a torch covered with a clay pot. This is how you will drive out your enemy."
Can you hear the crickets chirping in the silence that followed that series of instructions? (Most certainly not quite what Gideon had in mind.) A trumpet and a torch against the swarming army down in the valley, equipped with all manner of weapons? I'm quite certain that Gideon felt a bit squeamish and perhaps even a bit like he would much rather head back to his winepress and hide some more.
In the end, God's way works. In the middle of the night, the small army surrounds the multitude of soldiers and when they blow their trumpets, shout and break the pots, the sudden noise and lights throw the enemy into confusion and they annihilate themselves. (Not the battle Gideon had in mind.)
The Israelites are stunned and then they erupt in songs of rejoicing and celebration, praising God for the victory. The victory that could only be traced back to God. God had heard their prayers for help and then provided the help that reminded His children of His sovereignty and power. And His love.
I've been identifying a lot with Gideon lately in the midst of our battle to sell our house. While the Bible contains no details about the who and when of the buyers of our house, (trust me, I've been searching!) I do know that my God is faithful and true and He will not abandon us. We know deep in our hearts that this move to Denver is God's plan for us, even if the process has been longer that we had anticipated. (Not quite what we had in mind.)
Being planners, Brett and I had mapped out much of the summer and it included us settling in over in Denver and finding our feet before school starts. We have watched the days slip by and now as we see the middle of summer behind us and the start of school looming in the nearer future, we cock our heads and scrunch our brows, puzzling at this place where God has us. Treading water and waiting and wondering. (Certainly not what we had in mind.)
But I know --- God is orchestrating the many details of our move and when the time is right, He will set in motion His plan and we will stand back as the pieces fall into place and say, "Wow. Only God could have done this. And only He gets the praise."
I would love to write this from the other side of the victory and have the whole story, but Gideon didn't have that luxury and he was still willing to stand with his trumpet and his glowing torch stuffed in a clay pot, trusting God. Following in his footsteps, I will wait for God to work out His plan in His way and in His timing -- with a kazoo in one and and a sparkler in the other -- and then we will celebrate, unable to keep our praise contained!
I sit on the floor with my little person who is not so little anymore. She's four now -- make that four and half -- and she does big girl things, like rolling all five Yahtzee dice with her five chubby fingers and counting all the way to firfteen. Her little piggies have grown, too, and instead of being baby-scented and pudgy, they sparkle with left-over patches of silver nail polish and smell a bit tangy. Phew! She dresses herself, choosing her own eclectic wardrobe of sequins and stripes, and gets her shoes on the correct feet fifty-percent of the time. Before my very eyes, she is transforming from a "Mommy-help-me" baby to a "me-do" girl; the speed of life rockets past me.
How can it be that it is only 3 o'clock in the afternoon?!? Surely there must be some mistake as I'm quite certain that we've been playing CandyLand for hours! Isn't time supposed to fly when you're having fun? It would appear that there is a fracture in the time-space-continuum resulting in this curious and crazy longest-shortest day of my life.
She's getting better and better at shuffling the cards, but we're only half-way to the Candy Castle. And according to the kitchen clock, it's only been nine minutes. Mommy might need a stop off at the dark chocolate forest to make it through this afternoon!
Linking up with Trifecta: 33-333 words inspired by the word fly.
My mind won't shut off. I have a dozen different problems bouncing around in my head and each of those potential predicaments has its own corresponding series of solutions and resolutions. It's like flipping through a Choose Your Own Adventure book as I ponder and process each riddle and analyze the myriad of possible results, not one of which will see resolution tonight as I lay wide-eyed and awake, staring up at the ceiling. My worrying and wondering serve no real purpose except to provoke me to tossing and turning ... and stirring up more imaginary puzzles and obstacles to fret over.
I pray, again, asking for peace and patience and perspective as we wait for the house to sell and wait for the "big move" and wait for the right house and wait for the right school and wait for the right church...
Breathing deeply, I force my lids to close. Slowly, I trace the number "one" with my mind's eye and move on to "two" and then "three"...
What about the moving trucks? What if...
I need to get more of the kitchen packed, but most everything that's left is what we use each day...