Wharton Finds a Whatzit

My Passover Gift to You

Some years back, while preparing a Passover/Exodus message, I learned that manna, the miraculous little wafers that sustained the Hebrews during their long trek in the wilderness, translates to “what is it?” or more-or-less literally, “whatzits.” Delighted, I turned my message into a Dr. Seuss-style retelling of the story. Wharton Finds a Whatzit has since been read aloud (with pictures by my wife!) at congregations throughout North America and in other countries, as well. Feel free to share Wharton with your family and friends. And if you’d like to read or perform it publicly, along with all 19 original PowerPoint images, click here.


Now, down in old Eejip where Fayro was king,

A fellow named Mo did a wonderful thing.

There were Heebrooz and Sheebrooz all over the place,

And that put a frown on old Fayroze’s face.

So he did some upsetting to stop all their smiles,

But they just kept begetting. They stretched out for miles!

Then Mo said, “Hey, Fayro, you’re mean and you’re rotten.

What God’s gonna do—well, it won’t be forgotten!”

Sure enough, God got angry and took ‘em away.

Then Fayro got mad too, and yelled, “Ogla-hey!”

Which was Jipchin for, “I’m gonna hurt you so bad

You’ll wish you were one kid your mom never had!”

’Cause that’s the way Jipchins and most people get.

When they don’t get their way, they don’t like it a bit!

Now, ‘Ro was so mad that he followed ‘em all,

Little ones, big ones, short types and tall.

Then he backed ’em all up at the sea that was red,

And said, “Now you’ll wish that you really were dead!

But Mo took his big stick, and raising it high,

Said, “God, now would be a great time to drop by!”

And God, who was there all along anyway,

Picked up that old sea and just threw it away!

Then Fayro said, “Go soldiers, go on and get ’em!”

And the soldiers they tried, but the sea up and et ’em!

Then the Heebrooz and Sheebrooz of Izree-a-lee

Said God was the best god they ever did see.

They partied and stayed up ’til way, way past eight,

Celebratin’ their save from a Fayro-ish fate.

But before very long they got thirsty and cranky,

And started to grumble, ‘specially one guy named Spanky.

Then the people got hungry, in fact they were starved.

They were dreaming of roasted quail perfectly carved,

And freshly baked bread, right off of the shelf,

And hoping Jehovah would bake it Himself.

Sure enough, when the night came, a Heebroo named RalphPicture8

Was struck in the mouth by a quail flying south.

Then one after one they came flying in,

Soon quails were in stewpots and frying in tins.

The next morning out at the edge of the town

A Heebroo named Wharton was hangin’ around,

When he spotted a goldenish-pinkish-white disk,

And decided to eat it, despite the slight risk.

It was just like a sweet little edible plate,

Picture10And he ran into camp shouting, “Hey, this is great!

I’ve discovered the wonderflest food in existence!

It’ll feed us forever and be our subsistence!”

Now, despite the big words that Wharton had used,

He was instantly, nastily, verbly abused.

“You’re a fool,” they all shouted, “That one little speck

Can’t feed all these folks? What the hey? What the heck!”

But Mo said, “Hey, wait, folks! He’s right, look around.

There’re zillions of whatzits all over the ground!”

Then the people said, “Huh? Whatcha know!” and “He’s right!

They must have arrived while we slept in the night.”

There were whatzits in every cranny and nook,

For those who were willing to just take a look.

There were whatzits in every place they could think,

On their heads, in their beds, in their porcelain sinks.

So the Heebrooz and Sheebrooz said, “Oh, how He loves us,

To shower such blessings upon and above us!

And now we’ve no doubts. No, it’s not like it was.

For we finally have faith in the things that God does.”


But the whatzits went bad every time there were more

Than the people could finish the evening before.

Next morning that delicate flavor went south

And turned monstrously muckish inside of their mouths!

They were no longer goldenish-pinkish and white,

But a sick shade of green that put grown men to flight!

They said, “God, ahem, Sir. We don’t like to rail,

But we really don’t like your green whatzits and quail!

We said that we’d trust all the things that you do,

But we must tell you this time you’ve failed to come through!”

’Cause that’s the way Heebrooz and all people think.

When they can’t have it their way, they think it just stinks.

But Wharton stepped forward and, calm as can be,

Said, “Wait, I think maybe we’ve failed to see

That the thing we should really have placed our faith in

Is not what God does, but, well, simply in Him.”

Then the people said, “Wharton, now hey! What the heck?

You’re the guy who discovered that first little speck.

And now you say what matters most from the start

Isn’t found on the ground, but is found in our hearts?”

Then Mo hollered, “Bingo! You’ve figured it out.

Now the real test will come when you conquer your doubts,

And trust when you can’t see what’s happening next,

Just because, well, it’s God, and He always knows best.

’Cause you’ll never find anything good on the shelf,

’Til you learn to look past to the Father himself.”

After forty more years, Wharton Caleb O’Dell

Finally came to the kingdom of Izrael,

And he said when he crossed with the throng on that day

That the best part was trusting in God all the way.


© Mitch Teemley – neither text nor images may be copied or sold without express permission of author
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Fifty Shades of Me

Me at 20-something vs. Me at a smidge past 20-something (OK, so, maybe two or three smidges)

The grey started showing when I was in my late thirties, and advanced alarmingly quickly. Still, others noticed before I did.

I was the guest speaker at a youth camp. I called the camp when I arrived at the airport.

“What do you look like?” they asked.

“I have black hair.”

“Great, we’ll send someone!”

Hours passed. I called the camp five times. No one knew where the teenagers they’d sent to pick me up were (they didn’t have cell phones). Finally–four and a half hours later–two teenagers asked, “Are you Mitch Teemley?”

“Yes!” I shouted. I was not a happy (soon-to-be) camper.

“Well, it’s not our fault!” they complained. “You said you had black hair. It’s grey!”

“Well, it was black when I first got here!” I snapped back.

“Age doesn’t matter. Unless you are a cheese.” ~Billie Burke

“Middle age is when your classmates are so grey and wrinkled, they don’t recognize you.” ~Bennett Cerf

“There is only one cure for grey hair. It was invented by a Frenchman. It’s called a guillotine.” ~P.G. Wodhouse

    “The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~Lucille Ball

“Wrinkles only show where smiles have been.” ~Mark Twain

“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” ~David Bowie

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Truth in Advertising

Featured Image -- 79605

7e8d6720fd60d5f049bd511137e3d79fMy Featured Blogger this week is Tracy Kard of Eating My Way to the Top. If you’ve never experienced Tracy’s hilariously sarcastic sentiment (sarcastiment?), you’re in for a treat. Do you want a treat? Yes, you do! Who’s a good blog reader? You are! Yes, you are!

Eating My Way to the Top

We celebrated the first anniversary of Rupert’s Adoption Day last week. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t send a card. I can see how you might forget about the existence of a 71-pound dog if you weren’t living with him every day. Besides, I’m not sure if Hallmark even covers this specific occasion, so you probably would’ve had to buy us a Sorry For Your Loss card and included a picture of our armchair he ate. Or a Thank You card that expressed how grateful you are that we adopted Rupert and you didn’t. Or maybe one of those cards that has a slot for cash but instead of money you could’ve included a bunch of those disposable mopping pads we use whenever guests come over and he excitedly pees on our floors. That would’ve been nice.

But I digress.

Adopting Rupert was one of the best family decisions we…

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Me: Some Assembly Required

My Real Memoir

A pile of bricks. That was my life at age 15. And I loved it. I saw no need for mortar to fit them all together. I was enamored with discovering all the things I thought, felt, and could do. A sampling of the bricks:

Humor – From the shy, self-conscious kid who’d hid behind a door at age five, to the seven-year-old class clown tutored by a BFF nicknamed “Sunshine,” I’d discovered my first superpower. My love of absurd, pun-y humor is on display in the pen pal letter (above). It seemed that the insecure little kid “brick” had been reduced to dust. But it hadn’t. It was still there at bottom of the pile.

Art – After considering an art career at the behest of my zealous fifth grade teacher, I’d settled for illustrating poems and pen pal letters, briefly becoming our school newspaper’s official cartoonist.

Music – I didn’t know where it would lead, I only knew that when music called, I would go. I’d initially resisted Beatlemania, insisting they weren’t “that good,” and defending our homegrown Beach Boys, as though there could only be one great band (the musical renaissance of the 60s produced a bumper crop). But when I heard the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night,” I was hooked; I loved the movie too, despite the screaming girls. I loved “Help!” “Ticket to Ride” and “Yesterday.” And when Rubber Soul was released at the end of the year, it was my Christmas present to myself. I played it non-stop for days, sensing that this, this singer-songwriter thing, was something I just had to do!

Thought (religion, philosophy, science)Ignorance and arrogance spring from the same root, and both had sprung up in me. But for good or for ill, analyzing the why and how of things was one of the bricks in my pile. When pen pal Judy asked me “what religion” I believed in, I replied, “I have no one religion. My ideas of religion can’t be confined to any one delegation [ahem, that’s “denomination,” young padawan]. I have my own ideas.” Translation: “Unlike ordinary people, I am a thinker.” “Man makes God in his own image,” I told my classmates, and actually thought it was original (I later gave the line to a teenage character in my movie Healing River). Don’t you just want to punch 15-year-old-me in the face? I know I do.

Bricks, bricks, bricks. But no mortar. I wouldn’t see the need for mortar, and wouldn’t meet the Maker of the bricks that make up my personality, character and calling…

Until a decade later.

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Don’t Judge – Encourage!

Thought for the Week

untitled“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” ~Unknown (sometimes attributed to Albert Einstein)

“Tragedy is that our attention centers on what people are not, rather than on what they are and who they might become.” ~Brennan Manning

“Perhaps, if you weren’t so busy regarding my shortcomings, you’d find that I do possess redeeming qualities, discreet as they may be. I quietly carry the burdens of others as though they were my own. And I say ‘I’m sorry’ when you don’t. I am not without fault, but I am not without goodness either.” ~Richelle E. Goodrich

“There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean.” ~Dave Barry

“To love a man enough to help him, you have to forfeit the warm, self-righteous glow that comes from judging.” ~Ron Hall

“Let today be the day…you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ~Steve Maraboli

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you… For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” ~Luke 6:37-38

Don’t show me what I’m not,

help me see what I can be.


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Look Closer

Little Things (mitchteemley.com)

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you even Solomon in all his glory was not adorned like one of these.” ~Matthew 6:28-29

“Or ask the animals and they will teach you. Or the birds in the sky and they will tell you. Or speak to the earth and it will teach you. Or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? ~Job 12:7-10

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Have You Read the Wishing Map?

I’m being a spotty blogger (“splogger”?) today while attending a men’s conference, and so… While I normally post an episode of my full-length fantasy The Wishing Map on Saturdays, this time I’ll refer you back to the start of my Narnia-esque little adventure. Each segment (starting below) ends with a link to the next. Ready for a little magic?

Wishing Title (large)

Preface: There’s Magic in the World

Bedtime is the time to stall. And asking for a story is the best way to do it. In response to such requests, many years ago I began improvising an ongoing story for my daughters about two princesses, who coincidentally happened to have the same names as them. Princesses Amanda and Elizabeth lived in a castle at the end of a cul-de-sac with Queen Mommy and King Daddy (hey, when you’re five-years-old this is great stuff).

Their adventures at the end of the cul-de-sac continued until one night when the princesses stumbled upon a fantastical world accessible only through a magical map given them by their enigmatic Aunt Aloysia. This was an immediate box office smash. From now on, my daughters insisted all of their namesake adventures be “Wishing Map stories!”

And so the epic continued all the way into middle school, when King Daddy (yours truly), who happened to be working in the movie biz, had an offer from another magical kingdom to pitch ideas for an animated TV series. The first thing I thought of was, The Wishing Map. The Disney folks were enchanted! So I developed the storyline and characters—the two heroes having morphed into a teenage girl named Gina and her pre-teen brother Zack—while the illustrators created concept art.

Everything was magical until one day some mid-level minions said, “Holy bleep! This is going to cost a ton-a-money!” In computer animation, the more settings and characters a show has, the more it costs—and The Wishing Map had scads of both. So the animated series was put on hold until I could create a book series that was successful enough to justify spending a bleeping ton-a-money.

Some years passed as this screenwriter learned to be a novelist. Meanwhile, the Disney deal faded away. But I didn’t care; I’d fallen in love with fiction writing! So I pressed on, creating an epic storyline involving ten ancient kingdoms and three mysterious strangers “from another world” (you can guess who two of them are, but who is the third?) According to ancient prophecy, these three visitors would one day either save or destroy the ten kingdoms—and their own world, as well!

Want to join me?

To begin reading The Wishing Map, click here.

Wishing pix-Map

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Spring Awakens

 Spring has awakened in my hemisphere. But just barely — the season is still seesawing between spring and winter (I call it Sprinter). But the daffodils are here to get the party started (the snowdrops came early, drank all the schnapps, and left), and we’re all awaiting the unfolding of budding bluebells, bunnies and baby everthing elses!

Click on any image to enlarge it, or to begin slideshow.

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know…

  • Why night falls, but day breaks (and why they’re both so clumsy). ~me
  • Why a butt dial and a booty call are two completely different things. ~allisoncollins (boredpanda.com)
  • Why writers write and painters paint, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham. ~unknown
  • Why parents always announce the birth of their new baby (“We just had a new baby!”). Do some people give birth to old babies? ~me
  • Why go can mean anything: “So, I go (say), ‘I have to go (use the toilet) before I go (leave).'” ~me
  • Why people always deal with “odds and ends” together, but never separately. ~me
  • Why oversee means to watch carefully, but overlook means the opposite. ~me
  • Why there are no young fogies. ~me
  • If womb is pronounced “woom” and tomb is pronounced “toom,” shouldn’t bomb be pronounded “boom”? ~death-lines (boredpanda.com)
  • If vegetarians eat vegetables, do humanitarians eat humans? ~me
  • Words containing meow: “meowed,” “meowing,” “homeowner”* ~macleod (boredpanda.com)

*Cats, I suspect, are responsible for the spelling of this latter word.


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Love Comes in Small Pockets

904a8999ac11a1eb96acef1a6480417dMy Featured Blogger this week is Devika Todi of Insight07. Poet and photographer Devika refers to herself as “no one special,” but I beg to differ. You’ve only to read her sweetly evocative words below to know there’s something special indeed about Devika’s gift for expressing the inexpressible.

insight07's blog

Sometimes I think,
Love comes in small pockets.
Small enough to hold buttons
Button brown eyes, lazy and playful.
Small enough to hold vials of honey
Honey words that have been whispered in between kisses.
Small enough to hold flowers
Yellow painted flowers and pink ones littered on the road.
Small enough to hold a few coins
Coins for a smoke, and a little cup of icecream.
Small enough to hold a few seconds,
Just for a while, as time pauses.
Hitched on a breath-
I reach for a little something
In your pocket
And in mine.


Copyright ©Devika Todi. All rights reserved.

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