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Free Write Friday #40: Image Prompt

Writing_BanditI am one of Kellie Elmore’s writing bandits at freewrite Friday. Kellie invites all who would like to participate to please join her. Rules are simple. Follow her prompt and write whatever comes to mind. Sometimes she will provide a word prompt, a phrase prompt or like today an image prompt. There is no time limit so even if you miss the Friday, the writing window is always open. New here? Read the intro.

Here is Kellie’s latest FWF prompt:

This house has a story…what is it?


Image Credit: We Heart It

Having passed by the old place seemingly hundreds of times, today I decided to stop. This would be my last time. There are too many ghosts wandering its inner halls, too many secrets that need not be aired—our secrets. Nothing should remain for nothing’s left to be shared. With time’s passing has come the hour to finally let go. Tomorrow the bulldoziers will arrive at 6 A.M. to demolish what remains standing, it will soon be gone. At least outwardly anyway.

Memories will remain along its grounds that can never be bulldozed down.  Some good. Some not so good. It is called life and in that house, overall life was good. Happiness and heartache can be measured with each board readied for its original construction. Great-granddaddy toiled and labored felling trees for just the right wood to be milled and planked. Stone blocks were hauled uphill from the creek below and set in for a solid foundation.

I can still sense the aromas from the back kitchen—hot apple pies, cinnamon spiced cider, homemade breads—that make my mouth water and stomach churn simply from hungering for the good ol’ days. Sounds of laughing in the backyard with the screen door slamming over and over again bring on a smile and tears at the same time.

Voices echo from the kitchen window calling me inside for the last time.


Echoes through broken glass
Whisper of times long past
Love’s endurance, young lives lost
Survival whatever the cost

Echoes within dawn’s pale light
Reveal a hurrisome sight
Early morn kitchen chores
Shadow sunny outdoors

Echoes in scorching, noonday heat
Bare tired, aching body and feet
Needing a shady place to rest
Leaves any desire hard pressed

Echoes when day is done
Hover ‘round the setting sun
Toil ’n’ labor at last o’er
When day’s light is no more

Echoes of the whippoorwills
Pierce the air across the fields
Visions of standing hand-in-hand
Long for a shooting star to land

Echoes of voices in my head
Forever alive, never dead
Wooden structure may be gone
Memories live on and on

Time for parting words to be said
Filled with echoes of joy, not dread
‘Tis the end of an old way
Time to begin a new day

catniplogosm1©2014 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

Other Writing Bandits to Visit:






Joseph Hesch


Talicha J.





Author’s Thought


Free Write Friday #39: Image Prompt

Writing_BanditAs I have done many times, my Free Write Friday has ended up on a Monday. Email has not been touched for three days so when I finally got the courage to check it out, the first thing I did was type in Kellie Elmore to see what kind of prompt she provided. To my amazement, the prompt last Friday was an image prompt that immediately triggered my grandpa. The little story sparked from the image began with the end in mind. Some of it is fact while as with any writing, extras had to serve as fillers to make it interesting. Anyway, here are my thoughts which are just beginning thoughts working themselves backwards as I wrote the last paragraph first. Would love to hear your thoughts so leave a comment or two or three…

From Kellie, welcome to Free Write Friday. New here? Read the intro. Everyone else, let’s get started.

Here is your FWF prompt:

Tell me his story…


Grandpa was a hardworking man. He toiled the earth, tilling, planting and sowing crops to be gathered and preserved by his loving wife of over 60 years. They met as mere children. Grew up together, married, and reared half a dozen kids while raising ten times or more as many chickens. Home was a cabin hewed by logs cut from his own timberland. Firewood was chopped every evening before sunset.

Seldom did he complain even when he was so tired his feet dragged over the threshold. Sometimes just the heaviness of that ol’ axe would cause him to stumble. He would have no other, however lighter it might be because of differences in wood used for the haft. This one was special. Notched up and down like the handle of a six-shooter. Each notch represented a tree felled by the hands of his grandpa’s grandpa and every generation since. Pretty soon there would not be enough wood to even support the head. In addition, the blade was wearing thin from all the daily sharpening, the bit was chipped and the beard often hung low until the shaft was reheeled. Grandpa took pride in that ol’ axe. Said for a tool to complete a job in the quickest amount of time, it had to remain sharp, just like the mind attuned to its surroundings.

This day was special. It seemed different. He wasn’t any less tired than usual but the atmosphere seemed brighter, his legs seemed lighter. After making it through the door as he had done thousands upon thousands of times before, he stoked the fire, and hung his hat on the back of the chair, then sat down for a brief rest. Grandma was in the kitchen humming her favorite church hymnal while preparing his favorite, dumplings.

Sitting by the hearth in his rocking chair Grandpa gently closed his eyes. A faint smile crossed his parched lips as weathered hands firmly clasped the wood-splitting axe. The final blow had been made. A job well done. The fire logs crackled underneath the weight of his last log having been placed atop.

© Sharla Lee Shults, 2014


Free Write Friday #38: Word Bank

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreIf you have not participated in Kellie’s Free Write Friday, she has extended an open invitation. Read the intro. Would love to ‘see’ what you have to say! You may write in any form you choose for the prompt as she will never discourage your pen, but she encourages you to try your hand at free verse for the exercise.

Oh, Kellie, this is a good one! Since my husband and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary Summer 2014 let’s see what I can conger up using that ‘train’ of thought. What’s the connection you might ask…pearl represents the 30th anniversary and we were just discussing that only a few minutes ago.

Two avenues ran through my mind so here are my thoughts on…

train – burlap – fiction – pearls – vertigo

The train rolled into the station under a canopy resembling burlap. Like a character out of a fiction novel, I stepped onto the platform into open arms. Something cool ticked the back of my neck as you gently clasped a strand of pearls around my neck. Thoughts began to whirl as though I was experiencing an attack of vertigo. “Welcome home, Darling!” you whispered. “So glad you made it back home for our anniversary. I love you!”



Image Source:

The Our Pearl Anniversary

What a grand day to celebrate
30 years that’s a milestone in this day
When divorce is real, not fiction
Where a little thing can get in the way
picky, picky, picky

It’s little gifts should really matter
Whether made of sap
That’s honey, of course
Or one of burlap
the LITTLE things

Gifts from the heart
Even a ride on a train
Holding hands in the park
Strolling at night in the rain
no umbrella

The memorable vacation
A cruise away from the snow
An eventful memories
Without the slightest vertigo
ice cream for breakfast

30th anniversary WOW!
My head whirls and whirls
What a grand day to celebrate
Its symbol: iridescent O-o-o-oh! pearls
cultured or opalescent

©2014 Sharla Lee Shults

Here are a couple of others to ponder and reflect upon:

graypoet says:

parallel universe says:


Free Write Friday #37: Trust

Kellie Elmore has done it again…presented another great prompt!

Kellie sure has a wWriting_Banditay of hitting the mark, getting adrenaline pumping and the mighty pen (or pencil) sharpened. If you have not participated in Kellie’s Free Write Friday, she has extended an open invitation. Read the intro. Would love to ‘see’ what you have to say! You may write in any form you choose for the prompt as she will never discourage your pen, but she encourages you to try your hand at free verse for the exercise.

Trust me. How many times has that phrase been whispered in your ear? When you have been lied to, cheated on, pushed around, talked down, doubted and abused, it is sometimes…no, a better word, often…difficult to regain that feeling of trust. It’s hard. Worse than hard, it is all too frequently impossible. Why? What is so important about trust?


Love is binding
built on trust
a necessity
the Elmer’s glue

Without that bond
cocophony reigns
hope abandoned
shadows in the hue

Faith dissolves
leaving emptiness
soulless music
within a void

Melodies rewind
unleashing memories
not in harmony
only discord

Eternally yours?
Heaven forbid
all seems lost
belief forsaken

Life without trust
seeks a way out
feeding on fear
the tie broken

Why is trust so important?

It is the glue that bonds, hope within the shadows,
faith to carry on, harmony within the soul,
belief in tomorrow and the tie that binds.

It is The Ribs of the Umbrella Staying Together even on the windiest day!


Now I am off to visit other contributions. Please come back for I will post links to some great writings! Be right back…


Free Write Friday #36: Quote Prompt

Writing_BanditThank you, Kellie Elmore, for another great prompt. If you have not participated in Kellie’s Free Write Friday, she has extended an open invitation. Read the intro. Would love to ‘see’ what you have to say! You may write in any form you choose for the prompt as she will never discourage your pen, but she encourages you to try your hand at free verse for the exercise.

Here is today’s FWF prompt:

What_ifWhat if…how many times have we posed that question followed by I should have…? ‘If’ is the biggest little word in the dictionary, probably being one of the most often spoken words. We look to the past as though the what ifs will some how make a difference, evoke a change. We make decisions, then, ponder, what if…, we make choices, immediately thinking what if…, we say things to wonder why we spoke and what if we could take it back, we perform a task resulting only in a what if… .

The only good coming out of a what if might possibly be to look to the future with the perspective of those what ifs left behind—Using them as hurdles  already jumped, perhaps ending in a fall, helping slow life down just a little, taking the time needed to make the right decision, right choice, right words.

I should have done this, I should have done that, what if I had done this, what if I had done that…sounds like a broken record spinning out of control, life with no direction. You made the decision, live with it. You made the choice, deal with it. You said what was on your mind, let it be. You completed a task, it is done. Move on, forge ahead, leaving the what ifs and should haves to rest in peace as life goes on.

What if all the what ifs I ever said could come to fruition? Then, I would not be who I am, where I am, with who I am today so all the should haves really do not matter after all!

Forget the what ifs…Enjoy the only ifs that matter: BountIFful gIFts of lIFe!

©2013 catnipoflife Sharla Lee Shults ©2013 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

Other Contributions…Here are a few that have been posted so far on Kellie’s website:

charleenm says:

Thanks for the inspiration!

Joseph Hesch says:

Expectations, depression, paralysis by analysis, all dam and damn this poet —
Can Only Tell You

Annie’s Muse says:

Now you have done it Kellie — unleashed my sleeping Muse — here is another post for FWF says:

graypoet says:

Another Friday to try to think…. thanks Kellie…


Free Write Friday #35: Pick a Title

Welcome to Free Write Friday. New here? Read the intro. Everyone else, let’s get started.

Here is your FWF prompt…

Select a title below to write from:

  • It Was A Very Special Ornament
  • I Saw It In A Frosted Window Pane
  • It Was The Greatest Gift Of All
  • It Happened At Sunrise On Christmas Morn
  • They Called Him Scrooge

Things to remember:

Post your entry on your blog.
Comment this post with your link.
Please, be kind & comment others.
Use #FWF hashtag on Twitter.
<–Snag a badge & have a great weekend!


The Peppermint Fairy


Pale of face
Delicately dressed
Red & white stripes
Hold body encased

Blue eyes
Upon porcelain face
Add magic
To her fragile grace

Transparent wings
Angelic flair
Tiny sparkles
Don midnight hair

Red ribbon stripes
Bound around her waist
Evoke thoughts
Of peppermint taste

A special ornament
She’ll always be
Smiling from atop
The Christmas tree

Jim & I joined the Christmas Ornament Club in 1984. The Peppermint Fairy was the first ornament received with many, many more to follow for several years. The collection will one day be divided among the four children, except for The Peppermint Fairy, which was given to Nicole after the birth of our first granddaughter.

Sharla Lee Shults

Here are a few contributions that definitely need to be shared:

Annie’s Muse says:

capriedavenport says:

Aleza says:

graypoet says:


Free Write Friday #33: Image Prompt

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreWith Thanksgiving comes times spent with family. Other things are put on hold so without further ado, Free Write Friday appears on Saturday presented to all with a thankful heart. Thank you, Kellie Elmore, for a wonderful prompt.

Welcome to Free Write Friday! New here? Read the intro. Everyone else, let’s get started.

Here is your FWF prompt:

Source: We Heart It


The innocent child
Knows what’s dear
Lovingly accepts
Knows no fear

A bowed head begs
The soft gentle touch
A token of love
Not felt oft enough

A single tear’s
Soft, soft sound
Lands ohso gently
Upon the ground

“What makes you sad?
Do you hurt inside?”
The small child whispers
As the big bear cries

“I’m ugly, so burly
No one sees love
Only fearful things
Do they speak of”

The one of innocence
Reaches out, both hands
“‘Tis love from the heart
That I understand”

©2013 catnipoflife Sharla Lee Shults

©2013 catnipoflife
Sharla Lee Shults

Other contributions to enjoy!


Free Write Friday #32: Beautiful People

free-write-friday-kellie-elmoreThe inspiration for tonight’s post comes from Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday. Here is the scoop in her own words:

Welcome to Free Write Friday! New here? Read the intro. Everyone else, let’s get started. I am so happy to be back with you this week. Thank you so much for making my guest hosts, Mark and Kelley, feel welcome during their visit. Interested in being a guest host? Email me via my contact page. I’d love to have you over!

Now, down to business. Here is your FWF prompt:

Tell me about a beautiful person you know…

specialneedsClick HERE!

She nuzzled close to my breast
Sending sensations none could surpass
We were alone, Father no where around
Cries through the night the only sound

One day she crawled, the next she ran
Laughter in her voice holding my hand
What a sight that wonderful smile
Glowing inside and out all the while

One day her name I called, she did not answer
Just wheeled and twirled like a ballerina dancer
Not once, not twice, but many times over
Why had she become such an ignorer?

Unbeknownst to all at the time
Hers was a silent world without chime
Doctors were cruel offering no hope
Just take her home, learn how to cope

Separation came, leaving her father behind
Claiming she’s impaired, she’s not mine
How do you tell a child barely three
Only one parent wants her – that’s me?

I prayed and prayed, pleaded and pleaded
Where is the daddy she so desperately needed?
The days weren’t so bad, the nights sad and lonely
I’d cry myself to sleep wondering if only…

Then, a new man appeared on the scene
One loving and kind, not cold and mean
His challenge, help her to speak
Learn how to cope, never be weak

He was Daddy, the man who understood
The one who would be around for good
To want her, to love her, to help her, to hold her
To know her, to teach her, to nurture her, to scold her

She is the caterpillar whose wings now spread
Across clear blue skies leaving behind the dread
She soars and soars in amazement to all
Never missing a beat when her daddy calls

She is now a mother, two daughters of her own
Successful in business, fully grown
A beautiful person once shunned unable to hear
Brings smiles and joy to everyone near

Sidenote: Niki already has a BS degree in Marketing from the University of Florida and a BS in finance from Florida International University (FIU). She has just been accepted to FIU’s graduate program where she will be working toward her MBA. Not bad for a little girl who parents were once told she had no hope for a normal life. Of course, I guess for one who is approaching her Masters degree with aspirations of a PhD might not be considered normal after all. Go Gators!


Niki – 3 yrs old when she got her first hearing aids


Niki – Wife and Mother



Free Write Friday #31: Image Prompt With Guest Host Mark Schutter

Welcome to Free Write Friday! Mark Schutter is guest hosting #FWF. As a regular contributor to #FWF Kellie has graciously allowed him to step in while she deals with the poignant enormity of life experience.

New here? Read the intro. Everyone else, let’s get started.

Here is your prompt – let’s see what magic the autumn Hunter’s or Blood Moon conjures up!

VegaStar Carpentier captured this image of a Hunter’s Moon from Paris, France on Oct. 30, 2012 using a Canon EOS 1000D. October’s Full Moon is called the “Hunter’s Moon” or “Blood Moon”. It is the first Full Moon after the Harvest Moon (the Full Moon nearest the Autumnal equinox) and it gets its name from hunters who tracked and killed their prey by autumn moonlight, stockpiling food for the winter ahead and marked hunting season in North America.


The chill in the Autumn air was enough to create goosebumps under my skin but on this night, that was not the only reason for the shivers. Sensations began early in the afternoon not long after Stephan left for the outer edge of the forest. His last words still ring in my ears, “Remain still, my Love. Wicked are the beasts who become pranksters of the night.”

Still is what I had been all through the day. In fact, I had not ventured any farther than the veranda. Even then it was only to look across the wide open expanse toward the vastness of trees spanning the horizon. A shiver grasped my senses. Not feeling well since the Harvest Moon has left me weak in comparison to my usual energetic self and pale as compared to my sun-soaked skin from working in the garden. As the shiver subsided, my mind focused solely on thoughts of Stephan—hoping, waiting, anticipating a glimpse of his approach in the distance. I hated being left alone. As least, I thought that was the case.

Sunset was unusually fiery. Red-orange, golden rays stretched upward and outward resembling tentacles reaching out for their next prey. Birds of the air skirted each one leaving a feeling they feared the whole sky was about to engulf them in blazing glory. A slight evening breeze suddenly whistles along the grounds scattering loose particles that lay in its path. Unidentifiable sounds behind me break the silence of day’s end. Goosebumps again. The shivers increase.

Twilight consumes the glories of the day casting figures in silhouette against a deep purplest-blue backdrop. The eerie sullenness of being left alone for so long does nothing to add humor to an already somber mood. There’s that sound again. Shrill. Bone-chilling. Sharp like a razor cutting raw flesh then hitting bone. A long shiver results in multiple hair-raising goosebumps. I know I am NOT alone.

Good thing there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise. At least on this day anyway. A month has passed since Harvest Moon and luckily another full moon is on the rise. Full and bloody! Blood red that is with a lot of beastly tales hitching a ride along its stellar path. What was it Stephan said as he rode away in the early afternoon light? “Remain still, my Love. Wicked are the beasts who become pranksters of the night.

Wonder what he meant? Footsteps. Whispers. Eerie ambiences. Shivers. Goosebumps…

The End (Maybe)

Thank you for visiting catnipoflife! Hope you enjoyed my little story. Please leave a comment!

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Free Write Friday #30: Image Prompt

Welcome to Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday. I know it is Sunday but better late than not at all! New here? Read the intro.

This week Kellie has provided a FWF image prompt. These are always fun to work with and for me, usually spark inspiration for a poem. Not this time. As you all know, sometimes thoughts move in the direction for me to venture outside my poetry box.

Is there a story behind this week’s image prompt? Of course and here it is in Kellie’s own words: “FWF was not posted last week. Again, I apologize for my absence and I thank you for not sending me hate mail. This weeks prompt is actually the reason for my disappearance. I photographed a wedding for a friend of mine which was not only so much fun, but extremely time consuming. I hope you will forgive me.

I decided to share one of my favorite shots with you for your prompt. I can’t wait to read what your imagination creates!”

Jackson Wedding

Today is a special day, a time of joy and celebration at my friend’s wedding. Vows of love and commitment are exchanged within smiles and teardrops. As thoughts drift much like the floating balloons, I feel you kick and gently pat your tiny feet pushing against my skin. It was only a little over a year ago that similar vows were being made with hopes of great things in the years ahead.

We were in love. L.O.V.E. The kind of love that binds two people together through thick and thin, good and bad, easy and hard times. We were strong always confiding in one another, laughing at our faux paus, and understanding each other’s individuality, while being head strong, sometimes stubborn, at the same time.

Suddenly concentration is broken. I sense someone drawing near. I turn toward the sound of footsteps. A smile crosses my face as you approach returning the smile in my direction.

“He’s kicking. Give me your hand.” The sensation elicits soft sighs from both of us. “One day you and Gina will be celebrating another new beginning, different but similar. Just as you are beginning a new life together today you will one day be celebrating the beginning of a life – a miracle conceived together.”

The tears just could not be held back. I nestle my head against your shoulder as visions of Danny, my husband, your best friend, weave in and out the corridors of my mind. The only thing keeping me sane are the memories and the joy of knowing he is with me, not in the flesh, but in the spirit flowing through the veins of our son.


Thank you, Kellie, for keeping the creative juices flowing. While I may not always receive the message to participate on the designated Friday, it is great to contribute when I can. It is amazing what comes to mind from just a simple prompt…but, then, that is exactly what you are after!

Other Contributions: There are more so head on over to Kellie’s place.

~ graypoet

Great to see another prompt Kellie. I hope this sounds as I heard it in my head….

~ Lorraine

I love the photo…very emotional. I hope you like my attempt:

~ gotmeghan

I’m hoping to finish it, but I usually never do. :( I am glad you’re back this week though. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. :D

~ Roberta

~ Terry

Hi Kellie

~ Rishal

Yay you are back with a lovely picture this time. Here’s my take for the week

~ buildingalifeofhope

So glad to hear from you Kellie! Here’s my prompt just off the top of my head!

~ Annie’s Muse

Trying something new — my first FWF on WordPress. Still need to work on that section, but here is my entry for this week.

~ Tracesofthesoul

What a beautiful photo! Here is my attempt to share my first thoughts…


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