{ Un-Saintly Samples }

The light bulb went on recently.

I am a homeschool educator and if I’m going to spend time writing these “Daily Word Prompt” posts, I should probably pass along the learning and inspiration to my students (my children.)


That way, I can

  • Justify spending time in writing exercise
  • Share and pass along the learning
  • Give them the opportunity to exercise their writing muscles

Most of all, I want them to see that you can just dive into writing.  Do it regularly. Don’t stare at a page for wasted minutes, just move your pen or mouse and start writing.

Very important: Spelling doesn’t matter in these exercises. The focus is to loosen up the flow of writing, making it fun & easy.

During the last week, I have shared the “word prompt of the day” with them.

Then, I give them one other challenge, such as:

  • use one of your spelling or geography words in your paragraph
  • include a few hyphenated compound words
  • Use “island” or the specific name of an island (we are studying islands this year.)

Someone even asked for the new word prompt today before breakfast!

They are allowed to bring up their laptops and start in.  This gives them something to do while everybody migrates to the work table…and it gives me time to make that second cup of coffee.

They are allowed around 15 – 20 minutes at the beginning of our school day for these writing exercises.

Today’s word: saintly.  They can use the negative “unsaintly” also.

(Most everyone liked using “unsaintly” instead of “saintly.” Hmmm….)

Today’s extra challenge: use at least one of this week’s geography vocabulary words.

  • Marco, age 10 wrote this:

The unsaintly, unshaven robber stole some money from the Commerce Creek Bank.  He hid it inside the hollow tree.  An alarm went off.  The police came.  They found no evidence or fingerprints.

  • Here is another, by 9-year-old Gianny:

Hello, my name is Daniel.  I am camping with my dad, next to a humongous waterfall.  Some people think camping on a Sunday is unsaintly.  I don’t think so because when I look at a waterfall, I can praise God for what He made. 

  • Ava, age 12 is a prolific writer and here is an excerpt of today’s work:

Thunder rumbled, lightning flashed, rain pounded on the rooftop.  Little Marie tossed and turned in her bed.  She could never go back to sleep in the middle of a thunderstorm, knowing that the creek just in back of her house could easily swamp their house as soon as it got too high.  Marie could finally take no more.  She pushed the warm, fluffy covers away from her and slid her feet into her white cotton slippers.  It was dark in the room, despite the angry flashes from outside…

  • 13-year-old Mo has the beginnings of a novel. Each day’s challenge builds on the story the day before.
  • 14-year-old Clara writes an excellent “how to” / step-by-step piece every day.  Her work is amusing and well-crafted.

This experiment has me surprised and happy.  They really like taking this time first thing to write.  They look eager, but relaxed. It’s a great way to start our school day.

I wish we would have started this in September.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊


{ Almost-Empty-Pantry Cake }

It’s Monday, and it appears that we diminished our food stockpile over the weekend.

I need to buy groceries.

Though the pantry is bare, we can still eat cake.

It won’t be bursting with fruit or chocolate, but with a patina of flavorful glaze, this dessert is sweetly satisfying (and easy to make.)

I made my cake with coconut oil (didn’t have butter- used it all up over Thanksgiving) & I used water (didn’t have milk.) This is a stock photo. Ours looked similar. But, everyone ate it up before I remembered to take a photo.

Almost-Empty-Pantry Cake

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 c sugar
  • ½ cup fat (butter, coconut oil, shortening)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk or water



  • ½ – 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • Enough lemon juice whisked into the confectioner’s sugar to create a pourable glaze
  • If you don’t have lemon juice, use milk or water with a few drops of flavoring.


  1. Combine dry ingredients.
  2. Beat sugar and fat together. Add eggs, milk and vanilla.
  3. Mix dry ingredients with wet mixture.
  4. Place in greased 9 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
  5. When cake is cooled, pour glaze over.
  6. Eat and enjoy.
  7. Now go buy groceries.


© Lisa M. Luciano 😊



{ Eye-Opening Encounter }


I came far-off,




Eating up sin

Like ice-cream.

Then I had an


Head-on, high-speed

Collision with a

Larger than


Person who had a

Send-off from Heaven

Just to rescue true-blue sinners

Like me.

No give-and-take here–

I’m empty-handed

Except for my worn-out soul.

Now I have a long-term,


One-way home

In heaven.

This news is so




I can’t keep it



© Lisa Luciano 😊


Word Prompt of the Day:  One-Way

List of hyphenated compounded words taken from: http://theleomsun.blogspot.com/2014/09/hyphenated-compounds.html

Photo Credit: Greg Rakozy

{ Books in 2017 }

The following books have had a percussive  impact on my life in the last year:


What Grieving People Wish You Knew…About What Really Helps and What Really Hurts By Nancy Guthrie

When do we ever take a class on how to help the grieving?  We don’t.  Yet, we can be pretty sure we will encounter grieving friends and family members throughout life. 

My husband and I listened to the audio and we were both very inspired. It’s a touching, gentle primer on the art of friendship to the grieving.  We now consider it an important book for every family member to digest and practice. 


love does

Love Does by Bob Goff

This will make you laugh, cry and rejoice that you got your hands on it.  Listen to the audio version, read by the author. 

It’s funny and moving and spiritual in a fresh, exciting way.  Get ready to become “secretly incredible!”

listening photo

The Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols, Phd.

This is one of the most helpful books I have read this past year.  I have opportunities every day to succeed (and fail) using the ideas I’ve found here. Listening is an unselfish gift you give to your friends and family.  Listening can be hard work.  When you listen with all you’ve got, you will often be rewarded and not bored, even if people drone on.  If you think you’re already a good listener, this book will encourage you; if you know your listening skills need work, this book is a great place to start.

judas do

What Would Judas Do? By John Perritt

I am still finishing this one.  Simple but profound, the book explores how each of us, deep down, can relate to the ultimate traitor. Examine yourself with this book: am I a true believer, or just along for the ride?  It’s humbling, insightful, and suitable for a family devotional read.


Why Nobody Wants to be Around Christians Anymore: And How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic by Thom and Joani Schultz

I found myself in this book.  I mean, it was like looking in the mirror when they mentioned unloving Christians.  Ugh. 

But it didn’t stop at that, and the book wasn’t condemning. It prompted me as a follower of the ultimate King of love to want to truly love others.  Not just as a project, or in a surface way. 

If you know me, please be patient with me as I seek, powered by God, to see people and treat people the way Jesus would.

writing tools

Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

As you see on this blog I am trying to write regularly to learn to write well. It’s slow going.  

This book helped by giving me some unique things to try.  Unlike a dry textbook, the expert author made his tips easy and fun to read.

I read it a few months ago, though, and I feel like I am forgetting already – maybe I should review a chapter every now and then!

My Bible

This is what I read the most — the living, breathing, inspired Word of God.  Its prophecies have been fulfilled, though the gap between the giving and the fulfillment took hundreds of years, and were written by authors who never knew each other.

This book will never be boring and I will never outgrow it.

I see myself in its pages and Jesus is there from start to finish.

Try it 😊

© Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt of the Day:  Percussive

Definition of percussive

1: of or relating to percussion; especially: operative or operated by striking

2: having powerful impact

Photo credit: Eugenio Mazzone

{ Don’t Be Afraid of the Turkey: He’s Just a Big Chicken. }

Some people shy away from roasting a Thanksgiving turkey.

If I can do it, I know you can.

Cooking a turkey is like roasting a big chicken.

It’s easier than constructing a casserole or other putsy dishes that require lots of steps.  With turkeys, you just rinse, season and cook.

Wash and season.

Rinse the turkey and take out anything from the cavity.  (I’m not into gizzards, necks and stuff – but maybe you are.)

I’m seasoning the turkey today and will cook it tomorrow. I use garlic, salt, pepper (in that order!) Add parsley and oregano and other seasonings you like.  I cut up a few large onions and place in the cavity of the turkey. Thanks to my mother-in-law, I had a sage and rosemary plant in the garden last summer.  I froze some leaves, which I’m plastering around the bird.


Place in cooker

You can cook a turkey in a special bag, an electric roaster or a large foil pan – (disposable foil pans make cleanup easy.)

I use Grandma Pat’s large vintage roaster.


Roast it.

Turkeys cook well at approximately 20 minutes per pound; I cook mine at 325 degrees.

Once you have purchased your turkey, check the weight:


My approximate 14 pounder will need 4.5 hours or so to cook.  No problem.  While he’s roasting, I’ll get my other work done.

Mercifully, most turkeys have a little pop-up device that tells you when the meat is fully cooked.

This guy will sit all dressed up in the refrigerator until tomorrow morning.

Before and….

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊



{ Poem: Black }

Black rolls slowly over a dirty world,

A merciful covering.

Black is a velvety backdrop

For stars and moon

Black is --

Chunky, ribbed licorice

The best jelly beans

Dark holes

Slick ice

Black was a cloud of deep nothing

Before God filled it up

With creation.

Black is color's friend

And night’s blanket.

© Lisa M. Luciano 😊
Inspired by Hailstones and Halibut Bones, by Mary O-Neill

images (3)images (2)

Word prompt of the day:  Black


{ Nancy Drew Wisdom }

Nancy Drew will forever be 18, titian-haired and wholesomely attached to her boyfriend, Ned.

download (1)

Except for a brief falling out in The Twisted Candles, Bess and George will always be her best friends and loyal assistants.

images (1)

In the world of Nancy Drew, men with shifty or piercing eyes will always be the villains.

And Nancy will always be the heroine (even the police and the FBI consistently admire her intellect and fortitude.)

Yes, the iconic Nancy Drew was created and promoted by a writing syndicate, but I think she still has something to teach us…



  • Helping People is Rewarding

Whether it’s a child that she rescues from near death, orphans depending on a missing inheritance, or a poor immigrant, Nancy’s always there to help. Her efforts are almost always rewarded with new mysteries to solve.

  • A Good Reputation Opens Doors

Usually by accident—Nancy never tells people herself –folks learn that she is the daughter of Carson Drew, prominent River Heights lawyer. This connection usually amazes and awes strangers. It also lets her in to places closed to other people.

  • Ask Dad

As smart, capable, and independent as Nancy is, she often asks her Dad for advice.  I love that.

  • Stop and eat real food.

Even if you are in the middle of a grand mystery or an intriguing endeavor, make time to stop and eat real food.

  • Show gratitude

The people Nancy helps usually give her a token of the solved mystery.  It’s something small, or simple…but meaningful.  Nancy also surprised people with practical gifts or the gift of time or help. Gifts say what words can’t always say.

  • Manners matter

Good manners are for everyone. Being kind, gracious and forgiving are always welcome and appropriate.

  • Old Lives Matter

Elderly people have wisdom to share.  Nancy asks for help and insight of many old folks in her mysteries. I should too.

  • Be a Feminine Renaissance Girl

Nancy can fly a plane, play the bagpipes, decode messages, and scuba dive.

She wears dresses for most of it.

(Not the scuba.)

Girls can be versatile, capable, strong and smart without giving up their femininity.



  • Make sure you have a will.

Not having a legally approved will may cause lots of problems.  If it’s hidden in a clock, or your treasures are secreted in the walls, your heirs may not receive the benefits they deserve–unless Nancy Drew comes along to help.


© Lisa M. Luciano 😊

Dedicated to Eileen!




{ Humble & Brave }

David was a brave shepherd, an accomplished stone-slinger, and a victorious underdog champion.


He was a beloved king and a stumbling sinner.
David was winsome, bold and good-looking.
He would have had his face pasted all over the internet if he had lived in this millennium.
But the most attracting and intriguing thing of all?

David was called “a man after God’s own heart.”

(I Samuel 13:14)

What does that even look like—when someone lives to do the things that God cares about?

When someone’s heart is patterned after the heart of a loving, holy God?


Besides all this, you would think that a brave, manly king and warrior would be too macho for poetry and a humble attitude toward God.


Not David.


Here is part of a song he wrote (and sang) after being pursued and saved from his enemies, including the extremely jealous King Saul.

(This is taken from the Bible, and re-written in casual everyday language—like a person’s unplanned, but heartfelt prayer) :

I love you, God—You make me strong.

God is bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight.

My God—the high crag where I run for dear life, hiding behind the boulders, safe in the granite hideout.


I call to God, I cry to God to help me.

From His palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence—a private audience!

They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me.

He stood me up on a wide-open field;

I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

From Psalm 18, the Message Bible


Word of the Day: Brave


{ Fraud }


airytales, anyone? Here are a few:

eal Science: The Big Bang

rrogant Love

nderstanding God’s Ways

oing Good: The Way to Heaven



In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. —Genesis 1:1

For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world…—Romans 1:20

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…—I Corinthians 13:4,5

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! —Romans 11:33

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. —Ephesians 2:8,9


Word prompt of the day: Fraud



{ Haha…Mmm }

My darling daughter made cookies today.  What was the occasion?

To celebrate her successful driver’s license test yesterday?


She has been waiting to try this new recipe: Trader Joe’s Jo-Jo cookies encased in chocolate chip cookie dough, then baked to delicious perfection.

In her venture, she filled the whole house with the invigorating scent of melting Jo-Jo’s and chocolate chips.

She left her masterpieces on the kitchen table.

She even sliced one open, revealing the exquisite beauty of the inner Jo-Jo.

Does she think that anyone can resist such temptation?

How comical.  How very droll.

Excuse me as I fetch a glass of milk.


Word Prompt of the Day — [witty: showing or characterized by quick and inventive humor.]

Synonyms: humorous, amusing, droll funny, comic, comical…