Physician, Heal Thyself

Yesterday I Was Clever

Thought for the Week

“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.”
~Ernest Hemingway

“Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.”
~H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”
~Maya Angelou

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

“Life is a long lesson in humility.”
~J.M. Barrie

φ

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The Ultimate Adventure

Ultimate Adventure

“We urge you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak and be patient with everyone. Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. But always pursue what is good for each other and for all people.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:14-15

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Chosen to be Sacrificed?

'Spiders Ring' by Andrew Johanson (artstation.com)Illustration by Andrew Johanson

The Wishing Map is a full-length fantasy that is being posted episodically at this site. To read the previous episode, click here. To read the entire novel, begin here.Wishing Title 2 (logo only)

In despair and lost in the kingdom of Frenga, Gina sought the help of a haughty pixie princess.

Gina drifted awake. Where was she? It took a while for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. The pixie must have brought here. But where was “here”? Glancing left and right, she saw tiny twin torches that provided exactly as much light as wooden matches. It took her even longer to comprehend what was happening:

The little princess had promised to lead her to the Sacred Circle, and had suggested Gina hoist her up onto her shoulder so they could make better traveling time. They’d walked for some while with no conversation except the pixie’s directions: “Left at the yellow gelffrond…right after the three white stones…” Her guide might have made some effort at conversation, mightn’t she? And was it just Gina’s imagination, or did the pixie girl—Gina couldn’t remember her name—seem angry about something? No, more than angry. Seething.

Finally, they’d reached the entrance to a cave, and the pixie had told Gina to go inside. “But there aren’t any caves near the Sacred Circle,” Gina had noted, “so why would we have to go through a cave?” While she stood waiting for an answer, the little pixie began to speak in a strange language:

“Seee-squooo-seee-sqay-hee-see-squee-see.”

A moment later, Gina had felt something plop down onto her shoulder opposite the princess. “Um, hey, how can you be on the other side of my head when…?”

“Sqay-moo-see-squee-theee-thoos.”

“What?” Then Gina’d felt a sharp sting at the base of her neck. And that was the last thing she remembered.

And now she was lying in semi-darkness. “Um, hello? I’m sorry I don’t know your name. Did I fall asleep or—oh, crap! Ow! Wait, what’s…?” The moment she moved, she noticed two things: first, there was a throbbing in her neck that grew sharper when she tried to lift her arms; second, she couldn’t lift her arms anyway because something was holding them down, as well as her feet. Something very thin, and yet remarkably strong. “Hey, um, pixie? Hello? Could you maybe—”

“I am here, Queen J’nah. I am Princess Feyrdú.”

The words were polite, but there was a steely malevolence in her tone. What was it Rhema called the pixies, “barbaric”? Talk to her and everything will be OK, Gina told herself. Just don’t freak out! “So, um, cool. Well, listen, Feyrdú, I was thinking maybe—”

“I have brought my friends, Seesquee and Heesnog.”

“Oh, well…hey, that’s great. So, maybe we could have a party…only, hah-hah, I’m tied down…which is really funny, hah-hah…but, you know, the joke is over now, so maybe you can untie me and we can all laugh about…”

Gina felt Feyrdú climb up onto her jaw. Then the little princess stepped forward, sat down on her nose, and before Gina could say another word, whispered, “Soo-squee-see-too-mee.”

Two black widows, their bulbous bodies gleaming like oiled leather, ascended the sides of Gina’s face and settled onto her cheeks.

They were the size of tennis balls.  

φ

Thoughts: Have you ever unintentionally offended an unstable or violent person, and had nothing but your wits to save you?

Frenga (mitchteemley.com)

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50 Crazy Close Calls

Want proof that the old expression “Somebody up there likes me” is true? Look below! And while you’re at it, ponder this: the vast majority of close calls are never noticed–not even by the one who’s been saved. In fact, apart from our own efforts at self-preservation, it’s likely each of us has been saved from pain, shame, or death more times than we’ll ever know!

Click on any image to enlarge it, read caption, or start slide show.

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Impatience!

bucyrustelegraphforum.comSource: Telegraph Forum

“Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.” ~W. H. Auden

Two Major News Updates:

1. “Winter is coming still here!”

According to the SMITHs (Silly Men in Top Hats) of Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, the world’s greatest non-human meteorologist, a groundhog named Phil, has seen his shadow, which according to GPS (Groundhog Prediction Science) means the U.S. is in for six more weeks of winter!

2. The Teemleys are still here!

Today is the 18th anniversary of my family’s arrival in Cincinnati. That’s right, it’s our 18th Groundhog Day in Ohio. And I think I just spotted my shadow.

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A Heart in Pain

Spadina Avenue - Warren Wong (unsplash.com)Photo by Warren Wong

CaptureMy Featured Blogger this week is Benyamin Bensalah of Benyapoesy, who I’ve happily rediscovered after a long, accidental hiatus. Hungarian poet Benyamin’s words are deeply personal, yet always relatable, full of the exquisite pain and longing that remind us how human we are.

Benyapoesy

Agony. I dress it in suits.

We take long walks

in the park, on the streets

at the calmest places

giving the weirdest look.

How this might come up?

I have no idea.

Nothing is weird here;

it’s all my regulars.

Then, in the eyes of the mass

there’s an infinite emptiness –

deep inside them,

in their idle soul,

not like in mine;

only empty on the surface

while inside

agony’s jogging in suits,

darkness is brushing paintings,

silence is screaming up poems,

macabre is planning weddings,

and joy wants to die in socks.

These walks are bothersome,

but for only one reason:

You.

Benyamin Bensalah

07.01.2022

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Posted in Poetry, Quips and Quotes, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Letting My Geek Flag Fly

Drama Geek logo by impactspiritwear.com

My Real Memoir

“Some are born geeks, some achieve geekness, and others have geekness thrust upon them.” ~William (“Willy the Geek”) Shakespeare

“Drama Geeks.” That was what they called us. “They” being the letterman-jacketed “men” who ruled our little our Duchy of Highschoolandia, determining what was cool and what was not. And we, the Drama Geeks, a.k.a. “Drama Fags,” a.k.a. “Lesbians,” from the word “Thespian,” Greek (geek?) for “actor,” definitely weren’t cool. Still, while most campus activities had one page in our high school yearbook (Athletics had 45), Drama snagged a dramatic 5 pages the year Mr. B took over. And why not? Our sold-out performances were the second most attended events after football. The jocks knew it and felt threatened. They’d never bothered to ridicule Drama in the past; they hadn’t known it existed. But now Drama was threatening to become cool (a few sportos, enticed by cute, theatrically-inclined girls, even quietly tried out for plays). But we weren’t there yet.

I wanted so badly to be cool. But since grammar school I’d retained the unmistakable whiff of nerdiness. Outside of a knack for kickball and my circus-like skills on the high bar, I’d avoided sports, preferring to read books. Not just when they were assigned, but for pleasure, often spending entire weekends reading a novel from cover-to-cover! Plus, I liked show tunes! How did I turn out straight?

Still, I was only a nerd. I know, you’re thinking, “Nerd, geek—it’s all geek to me.” Nope, there’s a difference. Nerds avoid attention. Geeks embrace their geekiness!

Joe and I argued about religion—constantly. He was a believer and I was an atheist. One day, after P.E., we argued all the way to the showers, and back to our lockers. We continued to argue as we toweled off and headed for the exit, tossing our towels in the bin and walking out onto campus. Then the laughter began. We looked around. For some reason people were laughing at us. Why? We glanced down and discovered we’d left the gym wearing nothing but our skivvies! I wanted to change my name and move to Tibet. But Joe grinned, took a bow, and strolled nonchalantly back to the gym. And suddenly the people were laughing with us, rather than at us. The humble guy who always signed his name “just joe” had nothing to hide (literally). And as a result the ridicule had disintegrated and blown away!

A short time later, I was post-P.E.-showering–again–and instead of immediately toweling off with that wimpy little patch of terrycloth they gave us, squeegeed the water from my body with my hands, and then toweled off.

“That is so un-cool, man!” a popular jock shouted. “Only girls do that!”

“Why?” I asked. For once I didn’t defend myself, didn’t promise not to do it again, didn’t beg him not to tell anyone. And that one word, “Why?” became my “just joe” declaration of independence.

The guy stared blankly at me. My question didn’t compute. This wasn’t something you questioned, it was something you simply didn’t do. He snorted and walked away.

For the first time, I’d owned my geekness, and it felt weirdly cool. As a result of my letting my geek flag fly, some other geeks in Drama and Choir began doing the same. It seems geeks are forever blessing the world, hence the expression, “Beware of geeks bearing gifts.” And that’s why, in the end…

The geeks shall inherit the earth!

Posted in Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes | Tagged , , , , , , | 48 Comments

What Winter Teaches Us

Presentation1

Thought for the Week

The last leaves tremble on the ground

as the snow arrives to cover them

securing the peace that they have found

whispering rest

and think

and start again

ζ

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You Have Not Passed This Way Before

When you come to a place you’ve never been before, for example a town you’ve never visited or, literally, every new stage of your life, and don’t know the way to go, the wisest choice is to follow someone who does.

Fall-Winter transition

“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God…then you shall set out from your place. Follow it, so that you may know the way you should go, for you have not passed this way before.”

~Joshua 3:3-4

Posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Comments

The Search Heats Up

'Elf Prince' by trungtinart (deviantart.com)Illustration by trungtinart

The Wishing Map is a full-length fantasy that is being posted episodically at this site. To read the previous episode, click here. To read the entire novel, begin here.Wishing Title 2 (logo only)

Zack learned his misplaced sister had been spotted in the Frengan Light Forest. So he and his immense raptor friend Aviar set out to find her.

He wasn’t sure what the distance was between the Northern Mountains and southern Frenga, but he knew it was a long way. “Bury your body in my neck feathers, Shak,” Aviar shouted, “or you’ll freeze. And don’t touch the silver ones, or I’ll bite your thumbs off!”

“Now I know you like me!” Zack yelled. “Before you were gonna bite my leg off, now it’s just my thumbs!” Aviar swung his head back to see a grinning boy with wind ripping tears from his eyes. He said nothing, but the corners of his beak curved in an avian smile.

Even at subsonic speeds and an altitude that made Zack air-drunk, it took four hours to reach the Frengan Light Forest. Soon, the great nocturnal hunter spotted something moving upward from the northern edge of the forest. “There!” he said, executing a ninety-degree turn.

“Whoa!” Zack grabbed a three-foot-long silver feather. “Sorry!”

What Aviar had seen was a squadron of night-hunting pixie youths decked in full mouse leathers, piloting foot-long fox bats. The bats screeched anxiously when they spotted the mountain-sized bird, but the leader of the pixie squadron squeaked a soothing scree-eee-k-k-kooo, and they collected themselves.

“Greetings, Lord Sheya!” the tiny commander called in fluent Zshinian. “You are far from the frigid climes of northern Gerd.”

“Too far, young knight.”

“I am Jenblevó, prince and future king of the South Frengan Pixies.”

“I am Aviar, Master of—”

“Say no more, great hunter! Your name is honored throughout the Ten Kingdoms. Trusted Friend of Prime Regent Melcarhassen and Fabled Servant of Uol, we salute you!” Jenblevó doffed his mouse skin cap, and the other squadron members followed suit.

“Errr-hrrrrmmm…I thank you, Prince Jenblevó. Now to business. It has been reported that a human girl fell from the sky into the Light Forest, and that—”

“Yes! The beautiful and mysterious Queen J’nah!”

“You have seen her?”

“Uh, no,” Zack intervened, “We’re looking for a regular girl, like me. Only, I mean, not like me because she’s a girl…”

Clearly, until now Prince Jenblevó had not realized the legendary raptor had a passenger! “My lord Aviar,” he coughed, “it is an embarrassment to have to tell you this, but there is a human boy—”

“I know! The girl we seek is his sister.”

“Ahhhhhh! Then he too is of royal blood. What is your name, honored sir?”

“It’s Zack.”

There was a sudden silence. Then Jenblevó and the others burst into guffaws. “Your sister, the queen, is called J’nah, ‘he who fights,’ a strange but honorable name! But you are Zhec, ‘the Surrenderer?’ This is a servant’s name!” The pixies roared a hurricane of hoots. “But it is a joke, yes? Or are you the illegitimate child of a slave?” Another wave of laughter crashed on the shores of callow youth.

Because the prince spoke with a thick Pÿthzién accent, Aviar could not understand him. This burned his feathers. Even more, it annoyed him that these crude pixie teens seemed to be having a laugh at Shak’s expense. “This is fine fun, fledglings, but it is over. You will help us find the human girl. Now!”

“But glorious Lord Avi—”

“Listen, precious princeling, this human is my friend. You will honor him, and you will help us find his sister or, by Uol, you will wish you had never lived!”

Whatever flaws Jenblevó might have, he certainly knew how to command his squadron. He divided the Light Forest into six wedges (like a pizza, Zack noted), and sent a bat-piloting aviator to search each. He sent two more to Rennou. The last two he sent to scour the Frengan countryside. All were to return with any information they could find before moontop.

Aviar and Zack followed Jenblevó to the Palace of Light, which was immense by pixie standards (it could have fit in Zack’s bedroom). Aviar alighted, if a twenty-three foot-tall bird can be said to alight, on an immense irontree branch near the Palace entrance. Attendants rushed to meet the Prince. A groomsman began to rub down the glistening foxbat, but seeing the massive bird, went whiter than the double moon.

“Yes, you pathetic poltroon,” said the prince, “I know he’s there. I brought him.” Then he spun around and walked through the baroque bracken entrance into the Palace. A moment later the groomsman fainted, and the little foxbat flittered off…

In search of something to eat.

φ

Thoughts: Have you ever become friends with someone so entirely different than you that simply knowing them altered your view of the world?

To read the next episode, click here.

Ten Kingdoms of Ismara (mitchteemley.com)

Posted in Humor, Story Power, The Wishing Map | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments