Crisis Situations – Am I Happy With the Way I React? No and Yes!

Thanks to Francis Guenette on her blog, “disappearing in plain sight, writing about writing” for drawing our attention to Word Press’ “Daily Prompt: In a Crisis” for January 17th. In it Michelle W. poses the challenge: “Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?” The challenge was interesting enough to encourage Gayle to respond by answering both “no” and “yes,” giving the following examples:

Thirty years ago I was living in Frankfurt, Germany with my late husband Gus and our two children, a daughter (6) and a son (1). I was a stay-at-home mom at the time. Gus came home from work every noon for a hot meal – our dinnertime. We had just finished eating dinner in the kitchen and were still sitting around the table when Gus put our little espresso pot onto the stove to make us some coffee. Now this was the old-fashioned kind of pot into which you put water in the bottom piece, espresso powder into the holed metal basket, added a rubber sealing ring around the top edge of the bottom piece and screwed the empty top piece onto the bottom piece to form a little espresso pot. With the pot on a heating element, the boiling action should have forced the water up through the coffee powder basket and into the top area. Voila – espresso. Unfortunately Gus had neglected to put the sealing ring into place, causing the coffee pot to “explode”! Our one-year-old was trapped in his highchair. Our six-year-old sat frozen to her chair. Gus jumped into action to take the part of the pot still on the element off the burner and turn off the stove. What did I do? Well, obviously without thinking, I got the heck out of the room! I just ran out and left my kids sitting there, never giving them a thought! Was I ever disgusted with myself – and embarrassed. Luckily no one was hurt from the explosion. My kitchen, however, was another story. After hugs all around, Gus took the kids into the bathroom to clean up the three of them. I got busy doing my “penance.” First stripping down to my underwear, I grabbed a stepladder and bucket to wash off the ceiling; put curtains, towels, tablecloth and our clothes into the washing machine and dishes into the dishwasher; applied heaps of elbow grease to clean up the wet and grainy dark brown mess dripping from cupboards, stove, fridge, table, chairs, window, etc. and finally mopped the floor. I’m still embarrassed about my cowardly reaction. What a protective mother I was—not!

Last year when I was visiting my daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons (ages 1 and newborn) in Norway, I was proud and relieved to find out that my reaction to a crisis had changed from “flight” to “fight.” I was holding my 13-day-old grandson Ben at the breakfast table as we were discussing returning to the hospital with him as he was not looking or reacting well. All of a sudden he stopped breathing. I screamed, “He’s not breathing!” My son-in-law and I sprang into action and did CPR on him until the ambulance arrived and the emergency medical personnel took over. Soon a helicopter ambulance flew in carrying a pediatric cardiologist and finally the baby and doctor flew off for a hospital in Oslo with my daughter and son-in-law following in the auto ambulance. I stayed behind to care for the 13-month-old and two dogs. A few hours later my son-in-law called to tell me that Ben was dead and had been baptized at the hospital. I can’t even try to describe how heartsick we all were, still are, and perhaps always will be over the loss of Benjamin. I’ve always heard that the hardest loss is one of a child and now I know how true that is. An autopsy determined that Ben had a previously undetected heart problem which led to his death. Instead of the planned baptism, we began to prepare for a funeral. With God’s help, we all got through it somehow, and found comfort in being together. Considering that our CPR did little to prevent Ben’s death, I was still thankful I had taken a refresher CPR course the previous year and that I had realized instinctively that my best reaction in this particular situation was “fight.”

Gayle Moore-Morrans

Celebrating Self-Publishers

Phantom Battle book cover

With thanks to Xlibris, the self-publishing company with which we published Ian’s novel, Beyond the Phantom Battle: Mystery at Loch Ashie, we are re-posting the latest encouragement about self-publishing from the Xlibris website.

Self-publishing has been both an enjoyable adventure and a lot of work. We enjoy the freedom self-publishing gives us to publish and edit our books with a free hand. It is good to see that a number of very successful authors have also gone through the self-publishing procedure.

The following article is re-posted from Xlibris:

“Getting Your Push from Big Name Indie Writers

“They say it is wise to learn from the mistakes of others. This also holds true for self-publishing. Famous independently published authors—then and now—have been rejected by traditional publishers at one point but eventually made a name for themselves by choosing a publishing route off the beaten track. If, however, you have already stumbled along the way, these nuggets might save you from giving up your self-publishing dreams.

“Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) Born and raised in poverty with his father dying when he was four, Dumas faced discrimination because of his ethnic African ancestry. However, with his rich imagination, the Count of Monte Cristo author overcame his lowly social stature by penning quite a number of high-adventure tales and historical chronicles published under his name. His works were translated in numerous languages, making him one the world’s widest-read French writers.

“Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) The creator of the detective fiction genre had to fight tooth and nail to make a living from his craft. The American literary genius was unfortunate to have written at a time when the US publishing industry suffered from weak copyright law. While his first self-published work The Raven didn’t bring him much financial success, the poem is considered one of the greatest gems in literature history.

“Mark Twain (1835-1910) The American author of the timeless novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn built his own publishing company that flourished but suffered bankruptcy following a failed investment in a faulty typesetting machine invention. To rebuild his fortune, he used his natural gift of gab, touring different countries for public speaking engagements. He also wrote more books to pay off his debts.

“George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) The Irish playwright had initially published his early works to attract producers. Although his first novels were a flop, he was a dedicated playwright who learned from his mistakes. ‘Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time,’ he said.

“Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) The British Nobel Laureate in literature was known to be a fervent artist who wrote almost without pause. He reported for his newswriting job six days a week, with only a day each off Christmas and Easter breaks. His passion for writing was such that he self-published his first collections of poetry. The rest, as they say, is history.

“Stephen Crane (1871-1900) Hailed by literary pundits as ‘one of the most innovative writers of his generation,’ he started writing at the age of four and published his early works at age 16. His first novel Maggie: A Girl of the Streets was, however, rejected by a traditional publisher who thought the story was too unrealistic. Crane loaned money from his brother, published the book, and enjoyed commercial success thereafter.

“Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) She and her husband co-owned a publishing company where her works, along with other notable writers such as T.S. Eliot, were published. Although she believed that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,” she married an average-income earning civil servant with whom she nurtured a healthy personal and business relationship.

“Ezra Pound (1885-1972) As a twenty-something sacked college professor with dwindling funds, the American poet self-published his first poetry book, A Lume Spento (With Tapers Spent). He sold 100 copies at six cents apiece. The compilation was praised by The London Evening Standard for being ‘poetic, original, imaginative.’ Pound also befriended celebrated Irish poet W. B. Yeats, whose publisher promoted the book, resulting in its success.

“Anaïs Nin (1903-1977) She is best known as one of the pioneer women writers of the female erotica genre. The French-Cuban diarist, whose journals detailed her own erotic adventures, self-published her first book Under a Glass Bell. The book, hailed as Nin’s finest work, launched her literary success.

“E. L. James The British author of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey revealed that the novel sums up her ‘midlife crisis.’ Starting out as a fan fiction writer, she got her inspiration from the vampire series The Twilight Saga. The worldwide-commercial success of the erotic trilogy has proven that a novice writer can make it big in the publishing industry.

“Amanda Hocking Cashing in on the popularity of vampire-themed novels, the twenty-something American novelist, formerly a group home worker, has used the booming e-book industry to self-publish her paranormal romance novels. She has sold more than a million copies and was the first self-published author to hit $2 million in sales in 2011. She later signed a $2-million worth contract with a traditional publisher.

“J. A. Konrath The American e-book writer of mystery, thriller, and horror genres is an ardent supporter of self-marketing. He holds a spot in the ‘5 E-book Authors To Watch’ by It’s almost impossible to believe that his previously unpublished stories had reportedly been rejected almost 500 times before he reached his rock star status as a self-published author.

“We hope these stories will motivate you and keep you writing, whether you’re considering starting a writing a career or are already working on your first book.”

Installment 4 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

Installment 4 of “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie,” a Children’s Chapter Book

The story we’ve been posting is about a boy raising birds. Just so that you know I have had some experience raising a bird in the past, Gayle is posting a photo I took around 2000 of my late poodle, Peppy, playing with my bird, Jimmy, whom I gave to friends with children when we moved away. Now you see where I got the name for my wingless budgie in the story “Jake, Little Jimmy and Big Louie.” Unlike the budgie in my story, my Jimmy had wings, was bigger than Little Jimmy and, as you can see, he was a cockatiel rather than a budgie. He did a lot of things that Jimmy the budgie learned to do. For instance, he loved to sit on my shoulder and he did learn to “talk” after I repeated words to him over and over. He also learned to whistle, as I was always whistling around the house at that time.

Peppy and Jimmy-2000











Finally, we have another chapter of my children’s chapter book to post. We’d love to get some feedback from anyone who has read the beginning four chapters of this book, especially feedback from children who have read it or had it read to them. All you need to do is post a comment at the end of this posting.

In this chapter, Jake runs into a bit of trouble as you can see by the chapter’s title.


by Ian Moore-Morrans

edited by Gayle Moore-Morrans

Copyright © 2012


Little Jimmy is Lost!

Spring break was soon over. As the weeks went by, Jake hurried straight home from school each day, immediately heading for his bedroom. Every day, as he opened the door very slowly (in case Jimmy was close to it), he would say, “Hi Jake, hi Jake, hi Jake,” so that, hopefully, Jimmy would hear and copy it.

Jake had been saying “Hi Jake!” and “Jimmy’s a good boy!” over and over to Jimmy in the past weeks, hoping that he would repeat something. Then, one day as he slowly opened his bedroom door while saying, “Hi, Jake,” a little high voice from somewhere over there said, “Hi Jake, hi Jake.”

Jake was thrilled. ‘Wow, neat!’ he thought. ‘My little bird can speak. Cool!’

Jake looked around and discovered his pet on the pillow. He went over to the bed and sat on the edge. Jimmy immediately hopped onto his lap and started to climb up Jake’s sweater. Using his beak and claws, he gradually pulled himself up until he was perched on Jake’s left shoulder, saying, “Hi Jake, hi Jake.”

Well—Jake couldn’t have been happier. This little bird of his was certainly the best little budgie in the whole world! “Hey! Who needs a dog or a rabbit? Not me!” he laughingly told his little pet.


One day his parents came home from shopping with a small travel cage for Jimmy. They had seen it at a flea market and thought that it may be useful if Jake ever wanted to take Jimmy to the vet or out to the back yard. Jake agreed that it was great and would come in handy.

After a few trips to the back yard, Jimmy learned to hop right into the travel cage when Jake put it beside him. It seemed to Jake that Jimmy knew when he was going to go outside to the grass, because he rushed to get into the cage as soon as Jake opened the door for him. That was when Jake remembered Bill saying that Jimmy was a “smart little guy.”

Then Jake got braver, or maybe sillier, judging by what happened next. When his best pals, Brien, Eugene, and Eugene’s one-year-younger sister, Tiffany, came over, the four of them would head to the park with Jimmy in his travel cage. They would sit in a little circle on the grass with Jimmy’s small cage in the middle. Jake would open the cage door, allowing Jimmy to come out and hop about the area among them. Their usual spot was close enough to the pond to watch the ducks, but far enough away from the water so that Jimmy was in no danger. They did this quite often when the weather was nice and they all agreed that Jimmy enjoyed it as much as they did!


One day, during the early part of September, the four “amigos,”—with Jimmy wandering around them—were sitting enjoying a sunny Saturday afternoon on the soft grass at their usual spot in the park. Suddenly they heard a woman’s voice shouting, “Stop him; stop that boy. He’s got my purse.”

As their heads turned in the direction of the voice, they saw a boy, not much older than they were, running along the path at the edge of the pond and almost in their direction, clutching a lady’s handbag.

“C’mon, you three. Let’s get that guy.” Brien shouted as the thief ran past them. With that, the four of them jumped to their feet.

There wasn’t enough time to put Jimmy into his cage, so Jake scooped him up and tucked him into his jacket pocket. They then started racing as fast as they could after the thief.

Twisting around bushes, trees and flowerbeds while running over a large section of the park, Jake gradually outdistanced his friends because of his longer legs. He was quite a bit in front when suddenly the thief, who knew that he was soon going to get caught, threw away the purse. Jake didn’t let up. He was just a very short distance behind the thief when the boy suddenly turned on him, putting his fists up, ready for a fight. Two seconds before they were about to clash, Jake quickly bent over and with his head lowered, rammed the thief in the middle of his chest.

The thief was taken by surprise; all the wind was knocked out of him. They both fell to the ground, wrestling as they rolled around. The next thing Jake knew was that Tiffany had joined the scuffle, grabbing hold of the thief’s hair. Battling the pair, the thief didn’t have much strength to fight after Jake had plowed into him. This made it easy for Jake and Tiffany to hold him down until Jake’s two other friends and two nearby adults arrived on the scene.

Since the trio had finished off their skirmish by rolling into one of the flowerbeds, Jake and Tiffany’s clothes were very dirty. Getting to his feet and, beginning to clean himself off, he suddenly thought, ‘Jimmy’. In all the excitement, Jake had forgotten all about his little pet. His hand flashed to his jacket pocket. It was empty!

Jake panicked, his heart missing a beat and tears filling his eyes. He’d lost his best friend! Had Jimmy been crushed when Jake was rolling on the ground? Was he close by or nearer to where they’d started running? Where could Jimmy be? Was he still alive? Had some passerby stepped on him? All of these questions raced through Jake’s mind, making him fear the worst.

They had covered a lot of ground, running here and there and around bushes as they chased the thief. Jimmy could have fallen out anywhere in between. Not only was Jimmy tiny; he was also mostly green—a perfect camouflage, making it very difficult to see him in the grass!

“Hey guys, I’ve lost my Jimmy.” Jake called out. He found it hard to talk, to tell them to be careful where they stepped in case they would hurt him. They had covered a lot of ground and Jake knew it would be very difficult to retrace their actual route.

Eugene took over. “Okay guys, we’ll spread out and slowly go back to where we started. Don’t worry, Jake; we’ll find him for you.”

The four started to retrace their steps, going back gradually to where they had been sitting. They zigzagged back and forth, all the time quietly calling “Jimmy, where are you? Jimmy?  ——— Jimmy?”

During the search, Tiffany approached a group of boys and girls about their own age who were playing in the area, and asked them to help look for the little bird. She explained what Jimmy looked like and with the extra help, Jake felt a bit better. The five extra pairs of eyes could make a difference and the more people that were looking for Jimmy, the more confident Jake became that they would soon find him.

“Jimmy, where are you?” Jake called out continuously. He had a strange lump in his throat and felt so terrible to have lost his little friend that he could scarcely get out the words.

It was more than an hour later and they were almost back to where they had started the chase and still there was no sign of Jimmy. When they reached the spot, Jake got another shock; Jimmy’s cage was gone!

“Hey guys, look—Jimmy’s cage has been stolen. This is where we were, isn’t it?” he said, turning around and around, looking, and trying to confirm their spot. “It is where we were, isn’t it?”

“This is where we were, for sure,” Brien said, “but we should slowly go back again to where we started the search—to where we caught the thief. We should search again and again ‘til we find him. Maybe we’ll get the cage later.”

“Yes, you’re right, Brien; but why would anyone steal Jimmy’s little cage?”

They found some more kids nearby who also joined the search. There were now fourteen young people searching everywhere for Jimmy and not a trace of him could be found. They looked again and again all over the area where they had chased the thief, but eventually had to give up because it was beginning to get dark.


“Somebody has stolen Jimmy,” his dad stated. “You searched the whole area for two hours and didn’t find any trace of him, right? You know that Jimmy was trained to go into his cage, right? This tells me that Jimmy must have fallen out as soon as you put him in your pocket, and when he couldn’t see you, he headed for ‘home’. He went into his cage, where he felt safe. Someone must have come along, picked up the cage with Jimmy in it and just kept on going. Either that or a passer-by, seeing no one around, found him and thought he’d been left there intentionally.”

“Oh, Dad, that’s awful! How can we get him back? Do you think we can?”

“First thing we do is go to the police station and let them know what’s happened. We’ll find out when we go there if he’s been turned in. Next thing we do is put an ad in the paper, hoping someone reads it that knows of a person who has just acquired a wingless budgie, or even just any budgie. We may get some sort of response—at least it’s worth a try. I’ll do it right away.”

After they visited the police station and wrote out a report, Jake felt better, hoping it would do some good.


A week later, Jake’s dad walked out the back door with a great big smile on his face. He was grinning widely as he approached Jake, Brien and Tiffany, who were playing in the back yard.

“Big news, guys, what do you think? There’s been a call from a man who knows someone who has just become the owner of a budgie in a little cage. It seems like the ad in the paper has paid off.” This, of course, caused the three to jump up in the air with glee and hug each other.

Mr. Moore then called the police to report the phone number of the person who had called him. The police sergeant at the desk had informed Jake’s dad that they would investigate and get back to him as soon as they found out anything.


Picture suggestions:

Three boys and one girl sitting on the grass in a circle, with Jimmy in his travel cage in the middle of the circle.

Jake chasing the thief, who is holding a lady’s purse.

Jake wrestling with the thief.