Story Photo Challenge: Solve the Mystery

Mystery Stories

I love reading mysteries. I’ve read them all my life. I began with series, like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I moved on to the books in my parent’s library, including The “Charlie Chan” series by Earl Derr Biggers, as well as books by Mignon G. Eberhart and Agatha Christie (I named my cat after her!).

I still enjoy a good mystery. I like to pretend I’m the detective and see if I can solve the mystery before the end of the book.

Five W’s

In a mystery, there are almost always five key questions the protagonist must answer about the mystery. They are the five “W’s” — Who, What, When, Where and Why.

The Challenge

Pretend this is a picture of a head that washed up on the beach and you are the detective assigned to solving its mystery. No one knows how it got here or where it came from. Your job is answering the five “W’s” to help solve this mystery.

Are you ready? Grab your pipe, a magnifying glass, and your “head” print kit:~) It’s time to answer the five “W’s!”

1) Who does this head belong to? Is it an animal, an alien, or an unknown creature from the sea?

2) What happened to it? Is it like a hermit crab and changes its head as it grows? Did someone cut it off? If you go for this one, remember, this isn’t a Freddy movie, cut out the gory stuff!

3) When did ‘whatever happened’…happen? Was it at night, daytime, recently or thousands of years ago?

4) Where was this head before it ended up at the beach? Was it on a mystical creature? Was it in Egypt?  Did it come from the future?

5) Why did the head appear on this beach? Was it left by kids playing a prank? Was it a message from the future? Was it returning to this beach, like the turtles do every year?

While I thought this object looked like the head. If you see it as something else, simply say in your comment what you think it is. Answer the five “W” questions based on that.

Have fun, be creative and enjoy this challenge:~)

Guest Post: A Twist of Fate

photo by Liz Lawson

Ruby sat alone sipping a glass of wine, and catching up on some reading; the cats were all snoozing in their favorite spots throughout the house.

Her empty plate from dinner still sat on the counter. “I really should load the dishwasher and put away the leftovers”, she chided herself, but her husband was out with a client, so she would let it go for a while.

Since her husband was working late, she had been going out with some girlfriends from work but, feeling a cold coming on, she had canceled her plans at the last minute.

As night fell, lightning flashed wickedly through the window. The wind howled viciously as rain beat against the glass. “I’m so glad I didn’t go out.” she sighed.

A brilliant flash of lightning revealed someone slowly working his way along the tree line; so close, yet Ruby remained unaware of his presence.

As he edged toward the garage he discovered, too late, that the gardener had replaced the old cracked cement squares, and he slipped on the rain-slick slate stones, badly wrenching his ankle.

Inside, the cats had roused, and were clamoring for their bedtime treats. Liver bites were their favorite, but Ruby was careful not to overdo the treats since liver was addictive to her brood.

All three were winding their way around her legs, tails curling one over the other. She put the treats in their dishes and went back to her comfy recliner, snuggling under her blanket…ahhh.

Suddenly there was a crackling sound, a dog barked, and Ruby got a creepy feeling. She remembered the guy with the gravelly voice who had called her a couple of times last week. She had shrugged it off as just some guy at the office playing a prank.

Now, it didn’t seem so funny as her vivid imagination took off. “Maybe he’s a stalker.” she thought, and mumbling something about ‘better safe than sorry’, she rose to go in search of the phone…“Maybe I left it in the kitchen.”

Lightning flashed again and thunder boomed, rattling the windows and scattering cats. About that time the security alarm went off.

In a panic, Ruby grabbed the phone and dialed 911. “Help, my alarm just went off – I think someone is trying to break in,” she squeaked. The dispatcher told her to stay on the line, and they would send someone out immediately.

The officers arrived within minutes, and surrounding the house with flashlights in hand, they checked each point of entry. There was no sign of break-in so they concluded that the storm was what triggered the alarm.

“Hey,” called one of the officers, “over here, I found something, or someone.”

As the senior officer approached the scene, he saw a man lying prostrate on the ground near the garage. He was soaked to the skin, bruised and bleeding, and his ankle was swelling rapidly. “It looks like we’ve got our perp. Call it in, and get EMS out here.”

When Ruby came out to speak with the officers and thank them for catching the intruder, they asked her if she recognized him.  She took a closer look at the disheveled man lying there, and said, shocked…“Yes, I know him.  That’s my priest!”

It was later discovered that he had been posing as a parish priest for the past six months, getting close to the parishioners, visiting their homes and making note of their routines. When he found out who would be away and when, he made his move.

The imposter went unnoticed because after the long-time priest passed away there had been a succession of visiting priests from other churches.

Because of Ruby’s canceled plans and the sudden storm, he was caught, thus putting an end to the string of unsolved break-ins.

They say confession is good for the soul. Bless me Father…

Constructive Feedback: Linda invites readers to offer constructive feedback about this story. Please be as specific as you can about your suggestion(s).

If there’s something you really like, explain why you like it. In addition, as my friend Ellis says, if you run into a “bump” in this story’s road, be clear about what caused the bump for you and offer suggestions for how the bump might be avoided:~)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Linda and her wonderful husband, Jim, share their home with three cats, each of whom has their own unique personality. She loves to read, write, and travel. The beach is her favorite vacation spot. Relaxing by the water recharges her internal batteries.

Linda began writing her blog, From Roses to Rainbows, in September, 2009. It has, and continues to be, a learning experience, and through her writing she has met many people she calls friends. Her writing is eclectic; it  includes fiction, poetry, and stories about embarrassing moments, travel and, of course, cats.

Her virtual doors are always open, and you are invited to stop by any time. She posts on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.

My Friend Linda

Since I didn’t want to take away from Linda’s story, I’m putting my comments at the end of this post.

I’ve been a follower of Linda’s site, From Roses to Rainbows, for a long time. I’ve watched with delight as she’s shown her writing talents in a variety of ways. In addition, I love her wonderful sense of humor.

I recommend anyone visiting her site to check out her Magpie tales, poetry, Nursery Rhyme Redos and her other posts. The best way to do this is to head to the top of her site and click on “The Best of.”  You will enjoy what you read:~)


Story Photo: Lullaby Songs

I See the Moon

Whenever I see a moon, like the one in the picture above, I start singing the lullaby, “I see the Moon.”

This was my favorite lullaby, when I was growing up,. My mother would sing it in her slightly off-key voice and it would always relax me.

This lullaby also makes me think of people in my life I don’t get to see as often as I like. My eldest daughter is an example.  London is quite a distance away, but singing this lullaby seems to bring her a tiny bit closer in my heart.

Here’s the verse, as I learned it:

I see the moon and the moon sees me.
The moon sees the one that I want to see.
God bless the moon and God bless me.
God bless the one that I want to see.

If you look online, there are many variations of this verse. If you prefer an auditory version check out this video by Jim Brickman. He puts the lullaby to beautiful music.


The challenge

Here are some questions to consider about children’s lullabies or sing-along songs. Pick one, two or as many as you’d like and leave your answer(s) in the comment box.:~)

  • What’s your favorite lullaby?
  • Why is this lullaby your favorite?
  • What lullaby was most comforting to you?
  • Were there any lullabies that scared you? One of mine was Rock-a-Bye Baby; I wasn’t fond of that last line, “And down will come baby cradle and all.”
  • What lullaby gets stuck in your head until you want to scream? Mine is “Are You Sleeping? (Frere Jaques)”

If you need some help, finding your old lullaby, you can go here::~)

Upcoming Guest Writer!!!

Big news! This Thursday, August 25th, Linda of From Rainbows to Roses will be sharing one of her fiction stories. It’s a mystery. Come by and check it out:~)

Thinking Thursday: Different Paths

Styles of Learning

“There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same” ~ Chinese Proverb

When I got my camera, I only used the manual to learn where to put the batteries, how to turn it on, and what button to press to take a picture.

Then, off I went to give it a try. When the pictures started coming out blurry, I turned to the manual to find out why.

One the first things I learned was how to adjust the Diopter Correction knob, which allows the camera to adjust to my eyesight without my glasses. My pictures greatly improved! Since then, I’ve returned to the manual many times, but always after I’ve gotten stuck.

My natural style of learning is called an active learner. I do best when I learn by doing.

This doesn’t mean I do everything without instruction or manuals, but I prefer this style. For example, if I wanted to learn to fly an airplane, I wouldn’t get into the airplane and take off. I would first seek out an instructor. I might be an “active learner,” but I also want to live:~)

So, what’s the point? We all have our own learning style. Your learning style isn’t good or bad; it just is. It’s kind of like being right or left-handed, you were born with it. It’s the way you prefer to take in new knowledge.

Do it my way

One big difficulty with learning styles is that your own style will feel right to you whereas another style may feel wrong to you, especially if you have a strong preference for a certain style.

If this is the case, a person with an opposite style might frustrate you and even drive you crazy.

Here’s an example: Imagine you and a friend are learning a new computer program. You sit down and read all the instructions first before you turn on the program. Whereas, your friend sits down and starts experimenting with the program, without bothering to look at the instructions.

You shake your head at his foolishness, thinking, “If you don’t read the instructions, you could do something wrong.”

He looks at you reading the instructions, thinking, “What a waste of time. I’ll see how far I can get on my own and use the instructions when I need help.”

Neither of you is wrong! Chances are both of you will learn the computer program in the about the same amount of time. You just approach learning this new skill in a different way.

Why is this important?

We don’t get to choose our natural style of learning. We can adjust it to some degree, like I did the Diopter Correction Knob on my camera, but we will prefer, and work best, in our natural style.

This is extremely important to realize when working with other people, helping your children learn, and any form of teaching.

If learning style is taken into account at home, work and school, it’s much easier for people to get along. You don’t get annoyed because someone is left or right handed, you adapt to it. The same is true of different learning styles.

So, take the time to discover how you, your children or fellow workers seem to learn best. Try to find ways to compromise when you run across a different learning style with a co-worker or family member. Make it easier for a child to feel good about learning by understanding their unique learning style.

With learning, there really are many paths to the same destination.

BTW The book in the cover picture doesn’t look quite this bad. I took liberty with this photo in order to make a point. My apologies go to the author, David D. Busch. I really do use your book…a lot:~)

Care to share

Here are some questions for you to consider in the comment box (remember you don’t have to answer them all):

  • What do you know about your learning style? Think about how you might put together a book shelf.
  • What conflicts have you experienced because of different learning styles, for example with a co-worker or a family member?
  • If you are a parent, how do you deal with the learning styles of your children?

Would you like to know more about your learning style? If your answer is yes, check out some of the links below.

Resources: Learning Styles

Because there are so many different theories about learning style, I’m not going to tell you which to choose. Instead, I’m providing the following links of a few of the well-known theories. You can check them out on your own.

The Felder-Soloman Index of LearningStyles© (ILS)

The Felder-Soloman Index of LearningStyles© (ILS) Inventory

Kolb Learning Style

Right brain, Left brain

Right brain, Left brain Inventory

Three learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic

Three learning styles – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic Inventory

Myers Briggs

Myers Briggs Inventory (this isn’t the full test, but it gives you an idea. The full test is much longer and you need to pay for it.)

Keirsey Termperament Sorter

Keirsey Termperament Sorter Inventory