Eleventeen. It sounds so right.

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Eleventeen was my favorite number when I was a kid. People thought I was weird, I thought they were weird. When I was told there was no such number I was devastated. When I was three or four years old I pleaded with my Head Start preschool teacher for the inclusion of my beloved number eleventeen, I ever so politely asked her to add it to the numbers she was teaching. I no longer recall what her reply was, obviously she didn’t send my request up the chain of command like I’d expected. To this day, eleventeen has yet to be embraced as a bona-fide number. I fear it never will.

It just sounds so right, doesn’t it?

Regaining Wonder

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I sometimes envy the look of amazement and innocent wonder in the eyes of a child as they gaze upon something I’ve somehow forgotten was worthy of such awe. I don’t remember when I first lost the gift of seeing the marvel of what we grow up to find ordinary, but I remember quite well the day I realized it had happened. It broke my heart. My tears blurred the road before me as I pulled the car off to the shoulder and cried. I tried to contain it for the sake of my children, but now I realize it may serve as a great life lesson for them one day.

Christmas was fast approaching; the kids were giddy with all the anxious excitement holidays bring. School had been out for a week and they were growing more and more restless with each passing day. I had so much to do, there were still gifts to buy and wrap in pretty paper, cards to sign and stamp and send, and what seemed like a million other things. I felt flustered and frazzled, the thought of the inevitable trip to the grocery store with four young children was weighing heavily on my mind.

We arrived at a supermarket filled with bustling, busy, and irritable shoppers. I fit right in. All the things that cause general annoyance in the store seemed magnified, the kids wanted this and they wanted that, the lines were long and my fuse was growing shorter by the minute. We made it out relatively unscathed and set off for home. The children must have sensed I was ready to lose what was left of my mind, they were unusually silent as we drove home, the sky was darkening and the twinkling lights of the season gave the evening a beautiful glow, I was too consumed with frustration to notice.

About a mile or so from our home is the entrance to a lovely neighborhood the kids have dubbed Christmas Light Street, the entire block lights each night with the most magical displays of Christmas cheer imaginable throughout the entire holiday season. The kids began to buzz in the back of the van, the closer we got to Christmas Light Street, the louder they became. I couldn’t take it and I yelled at them. I told them to knock it off and be quiet until we made it home.

The dead silence which followed my outburst was eerie and uncomfortable. As we passed by the fanciful wonderland, the entire day replayed in my mind, it hadn’t been as bad as I was making it out to be. I realized the conversation I’d intruded upon was filled with joy and excitement. My children were laughing and talking of Santa and baby Jesus and I yelled at them for it. I’d stolen a precious moment of perfect childhood innocence I knew I could never give back.

This realization is what brought me to the side of the road in tears. Even the memory of that moment brings tears to my eyes and a pang of sadness to my heart. When I regained what little composure I had left, I turned to them an apologized. If I could have given them each a piece of my heart I would have. They forgave me. They didn’t say it, but I saw it in their eyes. I felt unworthy as we sat there watching cars pass by. I made a u-turn and drove straight back to Christmas Light Street and we drove up and down the two blocks of twinkling delight for the better part of an hour.

We sang carols and we talked about the presents Santa would soon bring. We talked about the birth of Jesus, and for the first time in a long time I felt the magic of childhood and I vowed never to let myself become so detached from what was real and wonderful again. I have my moments of course, but I try so hard to keep myself in tune with the purity children are blessed to see each day. We live in a world that does its best to rob our children of this gift, as my children have grown I’ve seen it insinuate itself into their hearts as well. Sometimes, I am the one reminding them to hold on tightly to the simple joys in life.

I wish we could drive down Christmas Light Street every evening; I never again want to feel what I felt as I sat crying on the side of the road that night . . .

Crystal R.Cook

Zombies & Recognizing Passive Voice

Grammarly.com

Grammarly.com

Zombies and Grammarly help identify your passive voice.

Just in time for all your Halloween stories, and, well . . . everything else. Zombies to the rescue!

I must admit, if I was schooled (by zombies – passive voice) regarding passive voice versus active voice in my writing, I’ve long since forgotten the lesson. I honestly never think about it, until I click post and the WordPress grammar genie in my tablet pops up with a message, Whoa, you may wanna check a few things before you do this, I found some things you missed. Thank you WordPress grammar genie for frustrating and enlightening me.

Sometimes I ignore, sometimes I learn. Most of the time I don’t care. It’s my blog. But, when I came across this post from Grammarly, it caught my eye and I started to give it a bit of thought. Seemed worthy of sharing, so here I am, sharing.

Original text from Grammarly

“Rebecca Johnson you’re a genius. Teachers everywhere should rejoice, and so should any students who haven’t yet mastered passive voice. If you’re still new to this and aren’t sure how passive voice works or why Rebecca’s work-around is so boo-tiful, let us explain.

Passive Voice

Odds are high that you have, at some point in your life, had passive voice marked on an essay or piece of writing. Odds are higher that you probably had no idea what in the world that meant. Basically, it is this. Passive voice is when the noun being acted upon is made the subject of the sentence. (Active voice is when the noun doing the action is the subject.) Let me explain with an example.

“The house was haunted.”

“The house” is the noun being acted upon, in other words “house” is the object of the verb “to haunt”. It’s clear here that the house is not doing the haunting. It is not doing the action. It is receiving the action. However, it is the subject of the sentence, which makes this sentence a passive voice sentence. (In an active voice sentence, the noun performing the action should be the subject. In this case, the active voice version would be: “Ghosts haunted the house.”)

Using “by zombies” to help identify passive voice

If you are still having trouble understanding passive voice, here is where Rebecca’s idea can help. Usually (but not always), passive voice can include the actor, usually following the verb. Basically, if you can add “by zombies” after the verb and it makes sense, you probably have passive voice.

“The town was attacked (by zombies).”

Yes, this makes sense; therefore, it is a passive voice sentence. To make this sentence active, you will need to put the noun doing the action in the subject location of the sentence. That is: “Zombies attacked the town.” Now we can check for passive voice:

“Zombies attacked the town (by zombies).”

No, this doesn’t make sense; therefore it is active voice.

These are simple examples and not every passive voice sentence will be identifiable with this trick, but it will help for a significant number of examples.”

Premio Dardos Award

After quite the dry spell, I decided to click on my lonely WordPress link and attempt a comeback, of sorts. I was pleasantly surprised by a sweet recognition from my fellow bloggy friend saya in the form of an award. She always has something lovely to say, brightening little pieces of my day. I hope you take a moment to check out her blog and leave a kind word or two and a little encouragement.

Premio Dardos Award

Premio Dardos Award

Premio Dardos means prize darts in Italian, given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.
There are 3 rules for this award:

  1. Include the Dardos Award image.
  2. Mention the blog that nominated you.
  3. Nominate blogs and the reason you nominated them.

My three nominees from an ever-growing list of bloggers I admire are:

Considerings Lizzi never fails to make my heart smile . . . Her writing is real, unfiltered, and refreshing. She weaves words in a way that makes you wish to read more. I feel blessed to call her my friend.

A New Perspective Perhaps is filled with the tender realities of life, uplifting and a joy to read. Her words of faith and love send beautiful message to open our hearts and minds in ways we sometimes forget to do.

Behind The White Coat Each post I visit leaves me with something to ponder, a new perspective, and sometimes I learn something new. The experiences she shares are fascinating.  From the beginnings of her medical training to the triumphs and trials of being a doctor and mother, I always enjoy visiting her thoughts. 

Synaptic Connection Lost – Send Help

Testing, testing, 1–2–3. Once upon a time, in a land far away . . . the swift brown fox jumped over the lazy dog . . .

Pardon me, just trying to be certain I’ve not forgotten how to type. It seems the keys are in working order, my fingers easily find each one, so typing is not the issue, it appears I still remember how to form words in a manner resembling sentences.

I guess I can check those excuses off my * why on earth am I not writing? * list.

There must be an internal malfunction disrupting the usual flow of words I rarely have to fight with such vigor to release.

My typically energetic neurons have been slacking off in the synaptic connection department, maybe the receptors are busted. The problem must lie somewhere within those billions of nerve cells running my information processing center. My synaptic connections are simply not synapsing and connecting.

Perhaps my neurons need input. I have hundreds of books from which to choose, all with the potential to jump-start my ridiculously stubborn mind. If I could just syphon all the excess and unneeded and unwanted thought from it, I’m certain I would regain coherent and functional use of the blasted thing.

The closest I’ve come to actual writing these past weeks was changing the words to Green Eggs and Ham to reflect my disdain for people. Sam-I-Am meets his demise at the end. A dear friend suggested I seek pharmaceutical intervention after reading it. I assured her I was properly medicated, but she seemed doubtful.

So, woe is me.

I suppose I will peruse my overflowing shelves for a good read, suggestions are welcome.

       INTERMISSION

I’ve narrowed my choices down to four, but I cannot come to a final decision.

The Bell Jar —Sylvia Plath

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The Professor and the Madman — Simon Winchester

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children — Ransom Riggs

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The Fourth Hand — John Irving

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Please feel free to provide your thoughts as mine are wholly unreliable at this time.