I recently launched a new Facebook Page!
You can link here to check it out:
Have a great day!
April 2nd, 2013, posted by Randall
I recently launched a new Facebook Page!
You can link here to check it out:
Have a great day!
April 2nd, 2013, posted by Randall
Nicki started explaining something about Martin Luther King, Jr. and why we celebrate his accomplishments. “A long time ago, people used to call people with brown skin, ‘Black’, even though their skin wasn’t really black, and they called people with pink skin, ‘White’, even though it wasn’t really that color. They would say, ‘I’m white, and you’re black.’”
Abby narrowed her eyes at Nicki, dubious. “… That’s weird.”
“I think families should have people with different colors in them. I didn’t used to think so, but now I do.”
Abby went to the other room to heat up her hot chocolate in the microwave. She returned a couple minutes later wearing oven mitts and smiling. “I think it might be a little too hot for me to get without mitts.”
“Wait. How long did you put it in for?” I asked.
Abby thought. “… Twenty hours.”
“Don’t do anything!” I said, rising and hurrying to the family room. Hot chocolate was all over the inside of the microwave.
“It’s okay. I’m not mad. But from now on, you need to have help doing the microwave. Tell me exactly what numbers you pressed.”
“That’s two minutes and 28 seconds. That’s too long.”
“And then 7.8.5.”
As a lady at our church was admiring our cute son, Noah, Abby told her: “At home, he plays with Pooh. He loves it. He would play with Pooh all day if we let him.”
The woman wrinkled her brow at Abby, lost and confused. I explained, “She means, ‘Winnie the Pooh’, the bear.”
The woman nodded, relieved.
Noah’s favorite phrase: “Num-nums!”
This is his term for any kind of food.
He says it all day long and keeps running back to his high chair, expecting to be fed again.
Abby handed me her toy cellphone, saying, “Dad, it’s for you. It’s the city. They want more money.”
I took the call. “Hello?” I answered. “I don’t have any money, but Abby’s here. You can talk to her.” I handed the phone back.
“You’re not giving them anything?” I asked.
“No,” she insisted. “It’s my money and I don’t want to share.”
“Oh. Well, what are you going to do with it?”
She smiled, pleased with herself. “I need it for Miguel (a boy at her school – not his real name).”
“What does Miguel need it for?”
“He wants an iPod.”
We had pasta for dinner one evening. Abby asked for some more cheesy garlic bread, but we had already taken the last couple of pieces. Nicki asked Abby if she wanted half of her piece, and Abby agreed.
Knowing how much Nicki loved cheesy garlic bread, I told Abby, “Wasn’t that nice of Mommy to share her cheese bread?”
Abby nodded, and said, “I tried to share my lunch things today, my chips and snack and sandwich, but nobody wanted it.”
Nicki wrinkled her brows with concern. “Wait. You didn’t share your sandwich, did you?”
I tried to help draw out the truth. “You had a long delay and a voice inflection in your reply that concerns me. Did you eat your sandwich that Mommy made you?”
“… Yes,” Abby said.
I held her gaze. “… You did?”
Abby held up a hand, clarifying. “Mostly. Only not the part that fell on the floor.”
Nicki smirked. “How convenient, since that’s the part you don’t like.”
“Abby, you need to eat your whole sandwich from now on …” I told her.
“Not just the meat,” Nicki added.
“Okay,” Abby agreed, laughing.
“No, just one,” we tell her.
“How about two that are really short? Or three?”
“No, just one.”
“How about one that’s really long? And one that’s really short?”
By contrast, Noah has no negotiation skills whatsoever. We tell him to share his toys and he screams and throws a tantrum. We tell him to eat his food and he screams and throws a tantrum. We tell him to stop hitting and biting people and he screams and throws a tantrum.
“All done!” he shouts.
“No. You are in Time Out,” I remind him.
“No. Now be quiet.”
No negotiation skills whatsoever.
After dinner, our boarder, Hannah, said we had a great dinner, even though we had no vegetables or salad. Abby said to me, “You should eat salad for lunch sometimes.”
“I should?” I asked innocently. “Why?”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s a good idea. Maybe you should eat salad for lunch sometimes, too.”
“Nooo,” she said, screwing up her face and scoffing at the idea.
“I am healthy,” she said.
“Oh. Well, then, why do I need to eat salad?” I asked.
Abby got very quiet, a guilty smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Hannah buried her laughter in her hands.
“Wait a minute,” I said, as Abby realized she was cornered. “What are you saying about me?”
“Your TUMMY’S BIG!” Abby blurted.
I put Abby to bed one night with special instructions. “Okay, Abby, it’s really late, so we don’t have time for stories. You need to go right to sleep, so you’re not going to ask any questions at all. You’re just going to sleep, okay?”
Abby thought for a second, then said, “How do you do rocket science?”
“Good night, Abby, love you.”
Since we got Noah, we have been adding new family rules at random, sometimes on a weekly or daily basis. We tell him these rules as soon as they are added. For example …
New family rule: We do not bite our friends’ butts when they are climbing up the slide.
Abby wanted me to play “War” with her. She had the cards already laid out. I asked her to remind me how to play. She told me we both turn over one card at a time from our pile and the highest card wins. She told me the Ace, King, Queen, and other cards were the highest ones.
“Yes,” I said. “And I’m starting to notice that Abby has a lot of high cards. She’s had an Ace, a Queen, a couple of Kings …”
Abby had a big smile.
“Abby,” Nicki said with a warning tone. “I told you not to stack the deck. That’s cheating.”
I pretended innocence. “Oh, you stacked the deck?”
“Yeah!” Abby said, laughing. As we finished out the game, I learned she had every single royal card and ten card in her hand.
I introduced Noah to the Justice League cartoon, since he now loves Batman and Superman. We watched the intro that shows the characters in action, one at a time. “Look, Noah,” I said. “Who’s that?”
He smiled. “That Batman.”
“Batman have a hat.”
“… okay, right. He does have a hat.”
“That’s Wonder Woman,” I told him. “See how she’s deflecting those bullets with her bracelets? Isn’t that cool?”
“Yeah,” he said, smiling more. “I like it.”
Abby was looking at Nicki’s bruised toenail, that Nicki didn’t remember bruising. Abby said, “Now you can dedicate it.” Nicki asked what she meant by “dedicating” it. Abby said, “That’s when you chop it off and then you only have four toes.”
Noah’s new favorite phrase: “I funny!”
Abby drew a snail and named him Nigel Garcia Coman.
… We don’t know where she comes up with this stuff.
Still not sure how he did that …
(putting on tattoos from her birthday party)
Abby: “I’m putting these on, but they’re contemporary tattoos. That means they won’t stay on forever. Because they’re contemporary.”
Nicki was telling Abby how much she loved her and how proud she was of her as she kissed her goodnight in her bed. Abby said, “Are cats mammals?”
“Are we mammals?”
“Yes, we are.”
“What things are not mammals?”
“I don’t know right now.”
“No. Chickens are … something else. Okay, good night.”
“What about fish?”
Unfortunately, we discovered this by watching him rock out with the other girls to the Barbie video, “Do the Mermaid”.
Hoping he’ll grow out of that …
Nicki yelled at Noah to stop him from throwing one of Abby’s books into the bathtub. Abby came in with a play phone to her ear and said, “Did you know I was on the phone?”
Apparently, Nicki was being too loud.
Nicki found Abby jumping on her bed. “Hey, you know there’s no jumping on the bed.”
“I’m not jumping,” Abby said.
“Well, what do you call that?”
Abby thought a second. “Super Mega Up-Down.”
Abby was giving away some clothes she had outgrown to her friends. Nicki was really impressed with how generous she was being. After an hour, Nicki overheard Abby ask one of her friends for “two ones”. Her friend said, “Yes, of course.”
Nicki asked what the “ones” were for, and learned that Abby wanted two dollars for the clothes.
She claimed she misunderstood the process of giving things away …
New family rule: We do not walk on people.
Nicki explained to me that Noah had been playing with Abby’s Barbie dolls, combing the hair of the one she let him borrow. Since Noah combs Barbie hair much rougher than Abby does, after a few days of abusive combing, he popped her head right off. Nicki said it was really unfortunate, too, because it was one of the darker-skinned dolls we had bought her, which were harder to find.
I was still shaving when Abby appeared at the door, looking solemn and annoyed. She held up the headless Barbie doll. I told her how sorry I was. Abby said, “The worst part was, she was naked. She’s not even wearing any clothes. I’m gonna go get her dressed.”
She gave a backward glance but kept walking out the door. She returned a minute later with the headless Barbie, now wearing an elegant gown. It looked like something from one of the more disturbing Tim Burton films. “Oh, that looks better,” I said.
I had her sit on my lap and gave her a hug, and told her again I was sorry about what happened. She understood Noah didn’t mean to do it. She asked if we could get another Barbie sometime. “Sure,” I said, wondering how many Barbies she was up to by now. “I know this one had darker skin, but she’s kind of tan. You think you might want one that’s a little darker than this?”
Abby thought. “Maybe one that’s … more durable?”
Later that morning at church, Abby was sharing her Barbies with a little girl who sat in the row in front of us.
Noah didn’t want to be left out, so as they stood their Barbies up and had them talk to each other, he stood his naked headless Barbie next to theirs, smiling and talking away with them. He wanted to show them he was cool, too.
That doesn’t bother us, but we really wanted him to use the right word for “Winnie the Pooh” instead of always saying “Nicki Pooh”.
For several days, he walked around saying “Nicki Pooh Duck” over and over. Nicki finally figured out he was remembering the story in which Winnie the Pooh got “stuck” in Rabbit’s hole, so was referring to him by saying, “Nicki Pooh [is] duck!”
“‘Ninnie’,” Noah said.
“Okay, good. Now say … ‘Win-nie the Pooh’.”
This went on for a good five minutes before we all gave up. It only seemed to be entertaining him.
“Sit right there, now!”
“I want chicken nuggets now!”
“I don’t want a Time Out!”
A few days after we told Noah we’re changing his name (from his original birth name to Noah), Nicki was hugging him and saying, “Are you my good boy?”
He said, “No, I ‘Noah’.”
Noah in Time Out: “I wanna watch ‘Batman’. I wanna watch ‘Batman’!”
Noah told Nicki he’s going to work. Then he went upstairs to “go to work”.
Kids at Abby’s school have a chart that monitors their behavior, and if they are misbehaving, they get moved from Green to Yellow, and are in danger of being moved to Red. One day, Abby was sad because she got put on Red that day. Nicki had no note about it, so she asked Abby what happened.
“I got put on Red,” Abby repeated.
“I know,” Nicki said. “But how did you get put on Red?”
“The teacher went to the board, and moved my card from Yellow to Red. That’s how.”
Nicki bit her lip. “I know. But how — What did the teacher say to you, just before she put you on Red?”
She said, “ABBY!”
It actually looked like something Adam West would have done on the show …
Abby showed Nicki a Christmas picture she drew for school. It was a shirtless man standing and growling with his arms at his sides. She had colored him green and his torn pants red. “Okay … What is that?” Nicki asked.
“The teacher had us draw gingerbread men,” Abby said. “So I drew a gingerbread Hulk.”
Abby made some “candy cane”-shaped presents for some family and friends we would see at a Christmas party. Nicki saw one for Uncle Robert and when she moved it, the present fell out of it. It was one of Noah’s Matchbox cars. So she checked the other presents to see what Abby had collected from around the house to give away to people. For one of other friends, she had wrapped up a D battery!
Nicki got a note from Abby’s teacher saying she got placed on Red that day because she was chatty and during Quiet Time she and her friends were balancing erasers on their noses.
Nicki tried really hard not to laugh when she talked to Abby about the note.
Nicki finally got a couple of hours free to drive Abby and Noah to the mall to see Santa Claus. Noah kept babbling, “I go see Santa. I go hug Santa.” But Abby wasn’t saying much. Nicki asked Abby if she was excited about going to see Santa Claus.
“Not really,” Abby said: “I’m just going for him.” She nodded toward Noah, who was still babbling.
Nicki was concerned. “Oh. … You don’t want to see Santa?”
Abby soured. “Well, it’s not the real Santa.”
“… How do you know it’s not the real Santa.”
Abby cocked her head at her. “I really don’t think. That he would travel. All the way. From the North Pole. Just to sit in a mall. And let a bunch of kids sit. On his lap.”
Every year, we hang a snowman decoration on Abby’s bedroom doorknob. During the month of December, she finds that the snowman’s pocket gets filled with a couple of pieces of Pez or other candy. One morning, after getting her candy, she confronted Nicki and said, “I think it’s you. Or Daddy. Or Santa.”
After getting presents from us and a few presents and stocking stuffers from Santa Claus, including an Ultimate FX Lightsaber, Abby shouted, “Yes! Santa is the best!”
Noah got an ImaginiNext Batmobile and a bunch of Batman villains. He lined up all the villains like bowling pins and released the automatic-rolling Batmobile to knock them over!
Noah borrowed Abby’s lightsaber a while. He’s showing Nicki how it works and trying to imitate the hissing sound!
Noah’s new favorite phrase: “Darn it.”
February 24th, 2013, posted by Randall
Melissa Tagg, a romantic comedy writer, invited me to guest blog on her website, Tag(g)Lines at melissatagg.com for Wednesday July 9th. Each week, she hosts “Welcome Mat Wednesday”, when she invites other authors to post on her blog.
Click her to view my blog, “13+ Character-Building Movies to Watch in 2013″!
And watch for Melissa’s debut novel, Made to Last, being released next Fall!
Have a great day!
January 9th, 2013, posted by Randall
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
(click pictures to enlarge)
December 24th, 2012, posted by Randall
Missionary friends from Costa Rica, Woody & Su Roland, posted this on their blog last week, to offer some insight on the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. They gave me permission to print it here. I hope it offers some encouragement.
When Bad Things Happen on Friday
December 15, 2012
In the internet age, thousands of miles no longer insulates missionaries like us from the news coming out of the States. Along with most of you, we watched the news channels on Friday evening, listening to the horrific details coming out of Connecticut. There are no words… and sometimes no words are the best words we have to share.
Still, when I saw the following posted on a life-long friend’s Facebook page, it kept me thinking of words during the night: “How am I supposed to believe in God, let alone His kid, when so many innocents are slaughtered?…I ache so much for the families of the victims and no shaman or holy man will ever be able to assuage their pain. Or my anger.”
Truth be told, I understand his response. Christians often sound glib when responding to terrible, cataclysmic events. In response to honest questions and profound pain, it can be too easy for us to grab for theological catch-phrases which we believe will bring reason into this unreasonable world. Still, if any group of people can understand the bewilderment caused by bad things happening on a Friday, it should be us.
We grieve. We grieve openly and we grieve profoundly. We grieve for lives that will never be lived and we grieve that others will have to somehow live without their children, grandchildren and friends. This is a grief that will not be momentary. One of my dear friends still grieves the loss of his almost-seven year-old son over twenty years ago. My guess is that Jack will grieve his loss until he sees Johnny again.
In a time when many Christians were suffering because of their faith, Paul wrote to the Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15 ESV) With a few words, Paul reminded the believers that Jesus wept facing the cruel reality of death and we should as well. Our tendency is to be jealous when others rejoice, and to pass by when they mourn. God’s way is to participate in the joys and sorrows of those around us.
Still, we do not “grieve like other people who have no hope.” (1Thes. 4:13) As terrible as Friday may be, we also believe in the reality of Sunday. Like the old sermon says – on Friday “Jesus is praying. Peter is a sleeping. Judas is betraying. But Sunday’s coming.” It is that reality of Sunday that keeps us going when bad things happen on Friday.
My friend is right on a very critical point. No holy man or shaman can ever take away the parents’ pain in Connecticut or West Virginia or Columbine or Aurora or in New York City after 9/11. No one can wave a wand and make the pain disappear for a parent who loses a child to disease or in a senseless traffic accident or to a tragic suicide.
However, there is a God who weeps – and He is the same God who “because He suffered so much for us, we can receive so much comfort from him.” (2 Cor. 1:5)
December 20th, 2012, posted by Randall
Believe it or not, you have a great capacity for love.
I know you can find someone wonderful to spend the rest of your life with.
Don’t let the facts that you have no time,
and a paralysing fear of intimacy get you down.”
Dr. Neil Miller (Judge Reinhold),
encouraging Scott in his quest to find a wife by Christmas
December 1st, 2012, posted by Randall
My newest FAST READ e-book, significance, is available FREE this week on amazon.com! You can click on the icon below to access the book!
I hope you enjoy it. After you finish reading it, can you please post a comment on it at amazon.com? Your posted comments help writers to build their ranks so that other readers can find them.
Thank you for your support!
Have a great day!
F A S T R E A D!
by Randall Allen Dunn
Dr. Roland Price holds the fate of a dying planet in his hands. If he can’t find a way to save them, he’ll be forced to destroy the people that his parents fought to protect.
The Voq are a harmless alien race on a small and insignificant planet. But the virus that’s now destroying them must be contained before it spreads to other worlds, especially to Earth. Dr. Roland Price has been summoned to space station Observer I to assess whether the eighty million Voq can be saved. If not, the military plan to annihilate the entire race before their disease harms anyone else.
But could Price’s mother be right, as she remains on the infected planet to argue for the Voq’s survival? Is there any way to save them? And can Price live with his next decision if there isn’t?
November 26th, 2012, posted by Randall
To celebrate my 2nd favorite holiday, Black Friday, I am making my new FAST READS e-books FREE this week on amazon.com! You can click on the icons below to access the book!
After you complete a story, can you please post a comment on it at amazon.com? Whenever you post a comment on a writer, it helps build their ranks so that more readers will find them, too.
Thank you for your support!
F A S T R E A D S !
by Randall Allen Dunn
Nothing ever changes in the vanishing town of Aaronton, Illinois. After all the years of running his little shop, Sam Wells can measure every detail of the morning routine like clockwork. So he notices when something is out of place. Something that smells of danger. But can Sam and his aging friends realize what’s happening before it’s too late to stop it?
Lester Auger finally found a way to purchase the car of his dreams. He should be careful what he wants …
Lester Auger can’t wait to get his hands on the wheel of a silver Bentley. And he doesn’t. With his success in jewelry store commissions, he can afford to take out a loan from Rico Torriani, a notorious figure with the means to help Lester realize his dreams right away. It’s perfectly safe … until Lester falls behind on his payments. Now Lester’s driven to do something desperate. All he has to do is cover his tracks and trust Mister Torriani to give him a little more time …
Young Sybil Strang is ready to close up Quick’s Convenience Store when a man with a scraggly beard enters and begins wandering the aisles. A man who might be hiding a gun inside his rolled-up newspaper. But with the deputy just five minutes away and a phone in the back room, there’s no reason to panic. As long as Sybil was right about what she saw …
His passion and imagination fuel his world. All he needs are the builders …
Inspiring parable of a man who writes out his dream with wild abandon. No one believes his plans to create a world of indescribable beauty can ever be realized, but nothing can change the author’s mind. He continues to write, and write, until a young boy changes everything by choosing to believe …
Henry had only one thought. One question. Santa. Was he really real? Or not?
Seven-year old Henry Burrows is anxious to know whether Santa Claus is real. In the face of his father’s lay-off and his mother’s fears that Christmas might not come this year, it grows harder to believe. It would take a miracle for his family to celebrate Christmas now. The kind of miracle that only the real Santa could provide. If the old man in the Sears & Roebuck store can somehow grant Henry’s wish …
November 21st, 2012, posted by Randall
Oh, the irony! For months, I’ve planned to meet with friends for a James Bond movie night. We finally settled on tonight for our first movie gathering. Then last night, in my LIFE 50 Years of James Bond book, I read that the first Bond film officially released on this same date 50 years ago, October 5th, 1962. So I searched online for anniversary info this morning, to confirm that tonight we’re celebrating the official Global James Bond Day by watching the classic first film from 50 years ago: “Dr. No”!
Which makes this is the perfect time to do something else I’ve wanted to do for some time: initiate “My Top 007″, a list of personal favorite aspects of James Bond. I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I hope you find it entertaining. Feel free to comment on your personal favorites.
So, for this first list …
My Top 007 JAMES BOND FILMS! Not necessarily my personal favorite films, but those that I consider the best films to watch so far.
7. The Living Daylights - Definitely uneven with some slow and unnecessary moments (as many Bond films are) and Timothy Dalton’s non-humorous performance took some getting used to after years of Roger Moore films. Honestly, I didn’t care for this when it released, but it grew on me after I read more of Ian Fleming’s Bond novels, which this movie represented more closely than previous films. The action scenes are among the best, particularly the car chase escape from Austria when Bond tries to keep his spy identity secret while blasting missiles from his headlights and finally gets away with the girl by sliding down a snowy slope in her cello case!
6. The Man with the Golden Gun - Absolutely intriguing and enthralling, as Bond is relieved of his duties when he is targeted by the high-priced assassin, Franciso Scaramange, chillingly portrayed by Christopher Lee, best known as Dracula in several 1960′s films. Bond seems to have literally met his match as he is ultimately forced to square off against Scaramanga in his bizarre maze on his own private island.
5. Dr. No – Unlike many other Bond films, the original one presented the feel of a classic adventure tale like “Treasure Island” or “King Solomon’s Mines”, with a mysterious villain disrupting rockets from a hidden island base. The filmmakers wisely chose to adapt one of Fleming’s most action-packed novels and stuck closely to the storyline. It can’t compare with the speed of later Bond films, but it’s still a fantastic adventure, and Dr. No is one of the most chilling villains ever seen on screen.
4. Tomorrow Never Dies - It was never more appropriate to say “James Bond is back!” than with this film, the second outing for Pierce Brosnan, who perfectly embodies the Bond character, in an action-packed film that demonstrates Bond’s character and translates his approach to espionage to the modern world. Non-stop action from the moment he hijacks a jet fighter loaded with nuclear missiles to his brilliant remote-controlled car to the final battle aboard his enemy’s stealth ship!
3. Octopussy - Another very uneven film, with some parts high action, humor and suspense – such as the auction scene in which Bond starts overbidding to draw out an enemy, or when Bond chases a train by riding a tireless car on its rails. It also contains some ludicrous moments, such as Bond’s impossible feat of jumping in and out of a gorilla suit to hide in a few mere seconds. And there are moments with a little of both, such as when Bond disguises himself as a clown to diffuse a bomb at a circus. But no matter how seriously you take it, it’s all fun to watch!
2. Goldfinger- For many fans, this is the best of all Bond films. As far as the storyline goes, I agree, and this nearly made #1 in my list. The earlier films move at a slightly slower pace than the newer Bond films, but Auric Goldfinger remains one of Bond’s most dangerous adversaries, and Oddjob remains one of the deadliest and most intriguing hired killers. Bond’s job of outplaying Goldfinger, who has been regularly cheating at a card game, is fantastic. After Goldfinger takes revenge – killing Bond’s latest conquest by encasing her in gold paint – Bond’s bitter vendetta against Goldfinger supercharges the screen, making Bond more real and emotional than in other movies.
1. For Your Eyes Only - This moviehas a little something for everyone. Based largely on the short story, “Risico”, it presents a brilliant spy caper in which Bond himself doesn’t know who to trust until it’s too late. The action is original and non-stop, from being trapped in a remote-controlled helicopter to climbing a cliff face with a ragtag team of new allies. More important, instead of relying on his usual gadgets, Bond demonstrates amazing resourcefulness by MacGyver-ing his own tools and weapons out of shoelaces, an umbrella or whatever is available. The car chase in a less-than-ideal Citroen is outstanding!
Hope you enjoyed My Top 007 James Bond films! Go watch your own favorite this weekend!
October 5th, 2012, posted by Randall
Just searched online this morning and discovered that today is Global James Bond Day (more later on why I bothered searching in the first place)!
There are a lot of James Bond celebratory events and items being released this year, including a full DVD set of all 22 films produced so far, with some fun extras, including this awesome clip, “Bond in Motion”! My favorite part is when Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton all nod to one another as they’re racing by in their cars.
You can also view this James Bond 50th Anniversary Tribute for great film scenes!
October 5th, 2012, posted by Randall
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