Friday, December 30, 2011

At the Mercy of the Storm - Part 1

Just for the record, I will be posting something for you all to read later today. It has been a busy but fun week and today everyone left earlier and the rest of us are packing up to leave soon. I should be able to get on here at Grandma's, so, if you read this blog before I post a story or poem, you'll just have to come back.

Later in the afternoon-

I am now back at Grandma and Grandpa's and after some lunch and a nap (colds and a busy week sure can make you tired) I thought I ought to get this posted. Since it is the last Friday of the year 2011 I had wanted to write a poem or something like that, but I didn't have time. I didn't even think about the fact that today was Friday until I was in bed last night. And this morning with packing up, saying good-byes and keeping the kids out of the way (We ran around the then empty large room, climbed up to the top of nearly every bunk bed downstairs and did all kinds of things.), I didn't have time to write anything. So, you will just have to put up with this story.

At the Mercy of the Storm
Rebekah M.

    “They that wait upon the Lord . . . shall mount up on wings as eagles.” That was the verse Thad had read early that morning before they took off. It had seemed appropriate for the two pilots, Garret Lang, pilot of a small passenger plane and his co-pilot, Thad Ashby.
    Now it was growing late. Garret and Thad were flying half a dozen passengers to Phoenix. Having been delayed by a storm in Detroit, they were later than Garret liked for he always prided himself on his punctuality. He was a younger man than many of the pilots flying commercial planes, but he knew planes inside and out having studied anything he could get his hands on about them as a boy.
    “Thad,” Garret was studying something out of the front of the cockpit, “check Control in Denver and find out what the weather is like up ahead. I don’t like the look of those clouds.”
    Thad only responded with a brief nod. Fiddling with the radio he called, “Control, this is J-seven-nine-o-three, we need a weather check.” For a moment he pressed his headphones against his ears turning the radio knobs. At last he glanced over at the pilot. “I’m getting nothing but static.”
    Garret took his eyes briefly off the dark clouds before him to look at his co-pilot. “Keep trying, and,” he added, turning his eyes back before him, “give our location in case they can read you.”
    “Yes, sir.” Thad returned to his radio trying everything he could to make contact with someone, anyone. It was useless. Nothing but static came through.
    Suddenly Garrett’s voice broke a momentary silence in the cockpit. “That is one large storm and in another ten minutes we’ll be right in the midst of it.”
    “Should we try to fly around it?”
    “There’s no opening. I’d climb, but I’m afraid we’d have to go higher than possible to get above it.”
    “A different airport, sir?” Thad suggested.
    Garret frowned. “There is one not too much farther dead ahead. We’ve been fighting head winds for the last hour. I don’t think we have enough fuel to turn and try to make Denver. Besides,” glancing out the other cockpit windows, “it appears as though the storm has just about encircled us!”
    It was true. In every direction they looked, dark storm clouds embedded with flashes of lightning were to be seen billowing and rolling. Instantly the pilot pressed a small button and spoke into his mic.
    “All passengers, please buckle your seatbelts as we are approaching rough weather. Thank you.”
    Hardly had he switched off his mic when a gust of wind shook the small plane from tip to tail. Garret didn’t take time to look at his co-pilot as he exclaimed, “Here we go!”
    From then on, neither man spoke unless it was needful, for both were busy fighting to keep the plane on course and in the air. The storm was all about them now. Blinding flashes of white lightning were everywhere, claps of thunder were constant and the rain pounded the small plane in torrents while the wind tried tossing it about one minute, slamming it down the next and doing its best to rip the wings from the man made craft which had dared to invade the sky.
    Suddenly what Garret had feared would happen did. A bolt of lightning knocked all power from the plane. The lights dimmed and went out, the gauges stopped working leaving the pilot flying by sight and sense only.
    His voice was tense as he said, “We have to land this baby as soon as possible. If lightning hits the engine or fuel tank . . .” He let his sentence die in the air. There was no need to finish it. Thad well knew what would happen.
    After several intense moments, the pilot spoke again, “I’m going lower. I don’t know what the terrain is like nor do I know what direction we are going, but we have to try to get out of these clouds!”
    Thad merely nodded as he tried to peer out the window and pierce through the dark, storm filled clouds to the ground somewhere thousands of feet below them.
    Praying as he fought to keep the airplane on its descending course, Garret flew by feel alone, for the flashes of lightning blinded him to everything. Those moments felt like years to the young pilot. His muscles were taunt and sweat was dampening his shirt. Never had he experienced such a storm. Grimly he clutched the controls, his knuckles, had he been able to see them, turning white from the intensity of his grip.
    Just then Thad gasped out. “The ground! I see it! It looks like a field,” he finished as the sky, having for a split second lit up the ground, vanished leaving them once more in darkness. Then, without warning, a sudden flash, more blinding if possible than the ones before, surrounded them and a thunderous roar seemed to swallow them in sound. The engines coughed, sputtered and died.
    “There’s no turning back now,” Garret remarked grimly. “Just pray that you did see a field because this little ship is going down.”
    “Can’t you glide any longer?” Thad questioned anxiously.
    “It’s all I can do to keep her nose slightly tipped up so she won’t go into a spin, but this wind--” He stopped talking abruptly as a flash illuminated the ground only a few hundred feet below them. It looked like a field or a plain; at least there were no trees to tear off the wings as they tried to land.
    With hands steady on the controls, but heart in his throat, Garret eased the nose of the plane down and for the first time that night, he thanked God for the flashes of light, for by them he was able to see the ground which was coming up more quickly than he had thought.
    Neither pilot nor co-pilot said a word. Each was praying. Then there was a bump, a sudden sense of being thrown back against the seat, a crash, a rough bone-jarring shaking and the feeling of hanging almost sideways. A final jolt and then stillness. Only the rain drumming on the plane and the rumble of thunder were to be heard.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Worst and Best Christmas - Part 4

Good Morning FFFs,
I am really writing this yesterday late morning. (Okay, okay, so my grammar is really bad.) I suppose it is almost noon, so it will soon be afternoon. :) I wasn't sure if I'd have time in the morning to post since we will be leaving for our annual Christmas get-together with Mom's side of the family. We won't be back home until the 1st. But, since I'll have a computer, I will be posting something next Friday.

This will be the last post before Christmas, so I wish you all a wonderfully blessed merry Christmas! 

P.S. You can still leave comments. (hint, hint) I'd love to know what you think of the rest of this story especially since it is supposed to go in "Ria and the Gang."

Now it is today and since I had a little time, I thought I'd get on here quickly. Last night my bother and his family came over for supper and presents. Such fun! Goof Ball (almost 4) couldn't wait to give me my present! I wish I had a picture to show you.  They were red slipper socks with stuffed Santa heads on them. :) I had to put them on  right away and wear them all evening. :) For their family present, I had written clues that they had to follow to find the gift. Pickle Puss (5) thought it was a great game. 
Well, we'll be off to Grandma's in a little while. Going to go finish packing.

The Worst and Best Christmas
Part 4

    Waking later, Ria felt refreshed and began to wonder what to do with herself. She knew that if she once began to think about what the others were doing out at the farm, she’d begin to cry. But it was hard work. She could hear cheery voices in other rooms and wished she had someone to talk to her. The nurse who came in seemed much too busy to be bothered with one lonely little girl and Dr. Friesen hadn’t come by. For what seemed to her a long time, she lay in quiet solitude. If she could only look out the window, things wouldn’t be so bad, but the curtains were drawn and she couldn’t open them from bed. True, the nurse had told her to ring the bell if she wanted anything, but Ria couldn’t get herself to do it.
    “I’m afraid I will cry after all if something doesn’t happen,” she whispered to herself. “This is the worst Christmas I’ve ever had. And the loneliest.”
    “Ria?” a voice whispered.
    Turning her head quickly, Ria saw Ed peering in the half open door.
    “I brought something,” he grinned and moved into the room. After him Pete, Jack, Tom, Al, Will and Phil came trooping in with smiles and “Merry Christmas!”
     For a moment Ria was speechless. Then her face broke into smiles and, though there were tears in her eyes, she laughed softly. “How did you manage to get away?”
    “Oh, that was easy,” Phil boasted, leaning against the wall with arms crossed while Al pulled up a chair and sat down beside his favorite cousin.
    “Will,” Jack beckoned him to the window, the curtains of which he had opened. “Stand here and get ready.”
    What was going on? Ria wondered for Jack then slipped out of the door, making sure it was shut behind him. She didn’t ask anything for the others were talking. She didn’t have long to wait, however, for soon Will said in low tones, “There they are.”
    Then Phil took over. “Al, Ed, put our coats over Ria. It won’t do for her to catch cold. Tom, guard that door! Will, open the window. There. Now, Pete you have the rope, let it out. Ed, Will, give us a hand here.”
    Something was up! Ria knew but didn’t dare ask, for the merry twinkle in her brother’s eyes as well as the grins on all the faces told her she would soon know.
    There was a soft scuffling noice outside and Phil called quietly, “Shh. Ed, give him a hand.”
    Suddenly Walt’s face appeared in the window and his low but cheerful, “Merry Christmas, Ria!” was no sooner spoken than Ed was half leaning out the window again and then Jimmy crawled in.
    Not sure quite what was going on, Ria stiffled a giggle as Winston almost fell into the room head first.
    “Sorry, Win,” Pete spoke in hushed tones.
    Winston just grinned and began brushing the snow off his coat.
    One lad followed another until at last, Jack,the last of the gang, climbed in, the rope was pulled in and the window was shut.
    “Sorry,” Tom told her, “we couldn’t get the others on such short notice.”
    Shaking her head, Ria giggled softly. “I should have known you would think of something. Now if only you could think of some way to smuggle me out of here and take me to the farm, I’d be the happiest girl in town.”
    Jack, always one for adventure and excitement, was ready to try, but the common sense of the older members vetoed the plan. “It would be hazardous to our health if we even tried it,” Pete said looking at his brother, and Jack subsided with a shrug.
    Letting her eyes wander with delight over the boys brushing snow off their coats and filliing the room, which only a quarter of an hour before had been so lonely, she spied Dave watching her with a mischievous look. Suddenly he pulled out a snowball from his pocket and began tossing it up in the air and catching it again all the while moving slowly closer and closer to her bed.
    Just when Ria felt sure he would throw it at her, Johnny suddenly caught the ball and grasping Dave by his coat collar, shoved him over to where Jack and Pete were standing.
    “Here, Jack, sit on him if he doesn’t behave.” Then he opened the window and tossed the ball out where it belonged.
    “How are you feeling, Ria?” Ray and Fred had made their way through the throng of lads to Ria’s bedside.
    “Still not great, but much better since you all came.”
    The talk in the room was almost continuous and all Ria had to do was listen and ask a question now and then, but even that last was hardly necessary with fifteen boys standing and sitting about the room ready to fill in any gaps in the day’s happenings. Ria didn’t hear much of what was said for she was busy thinking. She had never realized just how special the whole gang was to her nor how much she meant to them. A warm feeling stirred at her heart as she glanced at the faces so familiar and thought of all the ones who weren’t there. So many people to love her and care enough to make sure she didn’t spend a lonely day. Then her thoughts drifted to Mary on that first Christmas morning. She had been far away from family and friends. Only her husband had been there. What did Ria have to complain about? Jesus had been with her all the time and Dr. Earl had come in often and the nurse, and her family had stopped by and now the gang had come. “Ria Mitchell,” she told herself, “you don’t have any reason to feel sorry for yourself!”
    All at once Phil, who was standing by the door, hissed, “Hush!”
    Instantly the room became so silent that the voice of Dr. Earl Friesen could be distinctly heard down the hall talking to someone.
    The lads looked at one another. Was he going to come there? What would he say when he discovered the entire room full of boys? “We should have kidnapped Evie,” Winston whispered softly. “She could have kept Earl occupied.”
    “I’m afraid it’s too late now,” and Tom glanced at Ed.
    “Some of you should hold the door shut while the rest of us escape out the window,” Dave suggested, only to have his brother, Jack, murmur that they’d leave him to hold the door.
    Lying in bed, Ria didn’t know if she should laugh at the gang’s predicament or not. Before she could decide, the door to her room opened and in walked Dr. Friesen. No trace of surprise showed in his face at the room full of silent boys. Without a word he shut the door behind him, crossed the room and looked out the window. Every eye was on him. What would he say?
    After a long moment of intense silence, in which the lads were beginning to grow uncomfortable, the doctor remarked quietly, “I’d tell you to depart as you came in, but since this is the second story and the snow is rapidly melting, unless you want to end up in a room here yourself, you’d better leave by the back entrance. And make it quickly.”
    The boys took the hint and with quick farewells to Ria and hopes that she soon would be better, they departed. Ed lingered after the others. “Don’t fret about missing Christmas, Sis,” Ed whispered as he stooped to drop a kiss on her cheek, “We’re waiting until you get back home.”
    Putting her arms around her brother’s neck, she returned the kiss and said, “Thank you. Tell the rest of the gang I said this has been my worst . . . and best, Christmas ever!”

The end until I write more of "Ria and the Gang."
Thoughts or comments about this story?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Western Christmas - Part 3 . . . & 4

Good Morning Western Wednesday Christmas Readers!

It is hard to believe it is the 21st of December all ready! Last night we had hot gingerbread for supper! (What is the difference between coffee cake and gingerbread when you are having a breakfast meal for supper? Not much.) I love gingerbread! Especially hot! :)

I was told no one would mind if I posted the last two parts of the Western Christmas today. If you do mind, I guess you can just wait until another day to read Part 4. I was going to only write three parts to this story, but they made me write another part. :) I didn't think you'd mind. :) I'd love to know your thoughts when you finish reading it.

Enjoy your day and come back for your Friday Fiction to finish the story of The Worst and Best Christmas. 

This story has been removed for publishing purposes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Pint of Judgment

Another of my top four favorite Christmas stories.

A Pint of Judgment
Elizabeth Morrow

This little story, first published in 1939 is one that I love. Little Sally Tucker wants to get her mother something extra special this Christmas, but what? In reading over her mother's Christmas list with her sister, they discover 'a quart of judgment' handwritten at the bottom. That is what Mother wants most. The question is, what is judgment? How would you explain it to a seven-year-old? You'll be charmed and delighted with this simple yet touching story of love.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Birds' Christmas Carol

I love this book. I grew up reading this sweet story and still read it each year. In fact, I just finished reading it again yesterday.

The Birds' Christmas Carol
Kate Douglas Wiggin

I love This story Having heard or read it every Christmas for as long as I can remember, it has become a part of my Christmases. Carol Bird, who was born on Christmas morning, plans and makes a special Christmas with the help of her family and Uncle Jack for the “Ruggleses in the rear” in honor of her 10th birthday. I find myself laughing as well as shedding a few tears as I reread this story year after year. I would recommend it to any age.

If you would like to listen to the story this year, you can download it for free here.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Worst and Best Christmas - Part 3

Good Morning Friday Fiction Fans,
I really was going to post something yesterday. I just completely forgot about it. Hmm, maybe I can get it posted tomorrow. We'll see.

Today is going to be busy! This week has been fairly busy, but today caps it all. :) This morning we clean house and get things ready for our Christmas Open House. That involves turning the sewing room into a play room for the little ones, packing the two large closets in the "new room" (we've had the room for two years) with all kinds of things so we can fit people in. Putting fresh greenery out in some places to replace the dried branches, and who knows what else. We don't know who all is coming since not everyone RSVPs, but we always end up with a huger crowd and we love it! I just wish all of you readers could make it. But then we might not have room for everyone. :)

Other than writing our family Christmas letter, I've done no writing this week. I've been reading Christmas books. I have two left: "The Bird's Christmas Carol" and my favoritest of favorite Christmas books, "The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas." I'll give you a review on "The Bird's Christmas Carol" next week. Perhaps next week I'll start writing something else. But, then again, perhaps not. And I know I won't get anything written the week of Christmas since we'll be spending the week with family. But don't worry. I do have things to post.

Anna, thanks for pointing out the mistake. :) I'll mark it on my paper copy. I hope you all enjoy this next part of "The Worst and Best Christmas."

Part 3

Last week . . .
    “If I do everything I’m supposed to tonight, can I go to Grandma’s tomorrow, just for the Christmas party? Please,” she begged.
    Slowly Dr. Earl began to shake his head. “The drive out there would be too rough for you tomorrow--”
    “Then can’t I go home tomorrow? Please! You have to let me go home for Christmas!” Ria’s voice rose in pitch and her hands clenched.
    Earl walked back over to the bed and sat down beside it. “Ria, I want you to listen to me a minute.” His voice was soothing but compelling.
    Obediently Ria lay quietly, watching his face.
    “First, if you get yourself all worked up about this, you are only going to make yourself sick, and then I won’t be letting you go home for several days. Second, I’m not going to promise anything right now. Let’s wait and see how you are feeling in the morning, all right?”
    Ria’s eyes dropped and she didn’t reply. How could this happen? Why today of all days in the year. It could at least have happened during school and given her a vacation from it. And what about the big family party at Grandma and Grandpa Foster’s? They’d have it without her. Everyone would be there, except her. Would they even miss her? She wouldn’t have any visitors tomorrow if she stayed here, that was for sure. They would all be too busy having fun at the farm. She would just have to spend a lonely Christmas. Then she thought of home. Why, she’d miss Daddy reading the Christmas story tonight! And she wouldn’t be there when they all opened gifts in the morning! She’d miss it all. There just wouldn’t be any Christmas this year if she couldn’t go home tomorrow.
    A hand was placed on her shoulder and a voice called her from her thoughts.
    “Let’s just wait and see about tomorrow, shall we?”
    Ria nodded, staring at the white wall until Dr. Earl left.

    She must have fallen asleep because the next thing she knew, she was awakened by a sound. It was soft at first, then it grew louder and Ria could tell it was singing. The door to her room was open and she could see lights flickering. The singing came closer.

“Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing, “Alleluia!”
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!”

    It was carolers! Ria lay in her dark room listening to the sweet, well blended music as it came to her from down the hall, and watching the faint flickering of the candles in the dim hallway. Carolers coming to cheer the hearts of those who couldn’t go home for Christmas. The song ended and all was still. Ria lay with bated breath, what would they sing next? Would they come past her room or just stay down the hall? Then the first notes of a new song came softly through the hushed hospital corridor.

“Oh, holy night!
The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.”

    Tears began to roll gently down Ria’s cheeks. She had nearly forgotten. Christmas wasn’t just about presents under the tree or parties out at the farm, it was about Jesus’ birth. He left His home in heaven to live on earth and to die so that all who believed on Him could have everlasting life.
    The song continued to fill the lonely rooms with its message of cheer.

“The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend;
He knows our need,
To our weakness is no stranger
Behold your King,
Before Him lowly bend!”

    “Dear Jesus,” Ria whispered, “thank you for coming to be my Savior and my Friend. I need one right now ‘cause I’m tired and lonely. I want to go home for Christmas, but I’m glad you will stay with me. And after all, it is Your birthday.”
    The carolers moved on down the hall, singing one song after another, the soft yet rich strains of the carols bringing comfort and joy to all who heard. Ria, drowsily watching the flickering candle lights of the singers, listened to their songs and thought about that first Christmas so many, many years ago. But before the quiet carols had quite faded into memories, she had fallen into a deep sleep.

    The light shining in the window awoke her the next morning and for a minute she couldn’t remember where she was. Then it all came back to her, the pain in her side, the trip to the hospital and most of all that today was Christmas day. This was the day she had looked forward to for months, had counted the days to it long before others had even given it more than a passing thought. And now here she was. She wondered what the day would be like. “If it wasn’t Christmas I might have visitors,” she thought.
    “Merry Christmas, Ria!”
    Ria turned her head to see Dr. Earl in the doorway; there was someone behind him.
    “Mom!” and Ria reached out her arms. Mrs. Mitchell hurried forward and gently held her daughter. “I didn’t think you’d come today,” Ria whispered.
    “And leave you all alone this Christmas day?” Mrs. Mitchell shook her head. “We will have to leave you, but Daddy and I wanted to see you and so did some others.”
    Eagerly Ria looked past her mother to see her father and all of her brothers gathered near the door.
    “Merry Christmas,” they greeted her.
    Ria could only smile a teary smile and squeeze her mother’s hands. This was more than she had hoped for. Mr. Mitchell kissed her and the boys came over.
    Chris was the first to say something, “Hey Ria, we got snow last night!”
    “We did?”
    “Yep, about four inches. Not enough for a good snowball fight though.”
    “At least it covered up all the ugly melting snow,” Johnny added.
    “Chris,” Ria said, “make a snowball and throw it at Dave for me, will you? I never did get one thrown at him after the first snowfall when he dropped one down my neck.”
    Chris grinned. Now that was the kind of thing that he would enjoy. “I’ll do more than throw it at him. I’ll put one down his neck.”
    “And get yourself in a mess,” Ed chuckled.
    “Oh, Walt will help me,” Chris spoke with confidence and the others laughed.
    When it was time for the Mitchells to leave, Mrs. Mitchell offered to stay with Ria, but with a smile, Ria shook her head. “No Mom, they couldn’t get along without you at Grandma’s. Just give Grandma a kiss for me and tell her I’ll be there as soon as someone,” and she looked past her mother to the doorway where Dr. Friesen had just appeared, “let’s me leave.”
    “Don’t you know it is all just a plot to give me some Christmas cheer since I can’t go to the farm either?” he asked with a grin.
    “I guessed as much,” Jimmy told him.
    “We’ll be sure to tell Evie you’ve got yourself a new girlfriend,” Johnny laughed and ducked out of the room quickly.
    “Go ahead,” Earl called after him. “Maybe she’d come out to visit.” As he spoke, Dr. Friesen had been watching Ria. Now he glanced at the others and nodded his head towards the door.
    Feeling more tired than she had ever remembered feeling, Ria closed her eyes as soon as her family left and only mumbled replies to the doctor’s questions.

To find out the rest of the story, come back next Friday.
Any comments, questions or thoughts?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Western Christmas - Part 2

Well, it wouldn't be very nice if I forgot to post the Western Wednesday's story, would it? I was trying to decide what I'd post this morning and then I realized it was Wednesday! I didn't have to decide after all. :)

This story has been removed for publishing purposes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Arne and the Christmas Star

Arne and the Christmas Star
Alta Halverson Seymour

Arne is a young boy growing up in Norway. Many delightful times are had by him and his family as the story begins in early summer. The tension builds near Christmas time when Arne’s older brother, a first mate on a ship “The Christmas Star” is still out at sea when severe winter storms are reported. Due to his anxiety for his brother, Arne is late for school one too many times. This is a wonderful Christmas story for many ages. I have read it every Christmas season since I discovered it.

Alto Seymour has also written many other Christmas stories that are just as delightful about Christmas time in other countries. Some of these are:

The Top O' Christmas Morning (Ireland)
The Christmas Stove (Switzerland)
The Christmas Donkey (France)
Erik's Christmas Camera (Sweden)
Kaatje and the Christmas Compass (Holland)

Some of these books are available on Amazon and some might be available in other places. They aren't in print anymore so you'll just have to look for them.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Day

This was last Wednesday's Cookie Day. Enjoy!
P.S. Everything was quite tasty. :)

Cookie Day

Flour and sugar, chocolate and butter,
Ginger and spices and all cookie cutters.
Measuring, mixing, stir, pat and roll
With lots of small helpers the kitchen’s not dull!

Lively the Christmas tunes gaily we play
So many gathered for this Cookie Day.

Cooking and stirring the fudge is ‘most done.
Tasting and sampling, oh, this is quite fun!

All kinds of cookies we’re making today
For Christmas is coming we happily say.
Icing and sprinkles, chocolate kisses and more,
Fingers so sticky and messes galore.

Make room for these cookies, be careful they’re hot!
Pile that plate higher, we’ve got such a lot.

Flour on noses, sprinkles on floors;
I know that some tummies can’t hold any more.

Dishes are stacking, are we nearly through?
I’m tired of baking, what about you?
The last pan is cooling, they’ll be eaten so fast;
But we all so enjoyed it and made memories that last!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Worst and Best Christmas - Part 2

Good Morning FFFs!
I hope you are enjoying the wonderful delight of the Christmas season as we remember and celebrate the most important birthday of all!

This week has been busy. On Sunday there was a family visiting church and they had a 2 1/2 month old baby girl! Almost all of us girls got to hold and cuddle that sweet little doll. It has been so long since I've held a baby girl. That made my day extra special. :) I don't remember what we did on Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday we had Cookie Day! And, not only that but it was also Dad's birthday. That made things even busier. Yesterday Mom, S and I went shopping (grocery shopping not Christmas). It seemed like a pretty ordinary day until . . . 
I got on my Kindle account to make my book The Unexpected Request available for Kindle's library and decided to check and see if by some chance I had sold any books. I HAD! I sold a book on Kindle!!! Then I checked my account on Createspace and I had sold another book! And I had sold one at our booth at Connie's!!!!!! Talk about exciting! I can't wait to get "Home Fires of the Great War" published with Createspace and make it available on Kindle and I want to publish a book of short stories and one of Christmas stories and . . . You get the picture I'm sure. :) I didn't know it was such fun to publish books. :)

I wanted to thank you all for your comments. :) I've loved reading them. To answer Anonymous, no it is not 1941. If I have done my math right (I'm terrible at math by the way) the year is 1939.  If it were 1941 you'd be reading the 3rd book of the Home Fires series. I'm looking forward to writing that one. But I guess I should finish the 2nd book first. :)

And, since you didn't seem to like where I left you last Friday, here is part 2.

The Worst and Best Christmas
Part 2
Last week . . .
Ria could only nod, her lips pressed tightly together to keep back a cry of pain.
    “Where does it hurt, Ria?” Ed asked quietly while Johnny and Chris gathered around.
    “My side,” Ria whimpered holding both hands over the place and catching her breath as the sharp pain once more shot through her.
    “Johnny,” Ed ordered quickly, “run home, tell Mom and Dad and get the car. It will be faster than carrying her. We’ll start back the way we came. Now move!” That last was unnecessary for already Johnny was half a block away.
    By now the tears were starting to trickle down Ria’s pale cheeks though she tried to blink them back. All she wanted was her mom and dad and her own bed.
    Stooping, Ed picked his sister up in his arms and set off down the street, Jimmy and Chris following. Ria had buried her face in Ed’s coat collar, clinging to him with one hand while keeping the other pressed to her side.
    Hardly had the group left shopping district when a car pulled up beside them and a voice called out, “What happened? Ria hurt?”
    It was young Dr. Earl Friesen.
    “Ria has a sharp pain in her side,” Jimmy explained. “Johnny went to get the car, but we didn’t want to wait that long.”
    “Well, pile in all of you. This car will be faster than Johnny even if he’s one of the fastest runners I’ve seen.” No time was wasted obeying those orders and soon the car was in motion. “We’ll pick up Johnny if we see him,” Dr. Earl said.
    This they did only two blocks from the Mitchell home.
    Ria, still with face hidden, was carried into the house in her brother’s strong arms and upstairs to her room, her mother and father following with the doctor.

    It was a long wait to the four lads downstairs before the sound of feet on the stairs was heard. Into the living room came Mr. Mitchell carrying Ria wrapped in a blanket and followed by Mrs. Mitchell and Dr. Earl. No one spoke though the eyes of each of the boys held question marks. As she pulled on her coat, Mrs. Mitchell looked at her boys.
    “Ria has appendicitis. We’re going to the hospital. We’ll let you know as soon as we can how things are. Pray, boys.”
    “We will, Mom,” Ed assured her with a smile though his manner was subdued.

    It was hours later when Ria awoke from the anesthetic feeling confused. She saw her parents standing nearby talking to someone with a white jacket on. “Mom,” she whispered.
    Mrs. Mitchell turned swiftly and came over to the bed. “I’m right here, Ria.” She spoke softly, stroking Ria’s dark hair back from her face. “How are you feeling?”
    Restlessly, Ria turned her head, the white walls of the hospital room looked cold and bleak. “I want to go home,” she whimpered.
    “Soon, Sweetheart,” her father said, coming over to hold her hand. “Dr. Friesen wants to keep you here a little longer.”
    Wearily, Ria closed her eyes but opened them as she heard her mother exclaim, “My cookies! Oh, Mitch, I forgot about the cookies in the oven. They’ll be burnt or they could have caught the house on fire!”
    Mr. Mitchell laughed softly. “Emma, I don’t think those cookies got burnt. But,” he added with a grin, “I wouldn’t expect to have any left. After all, we did leave four boys at home with them and no instructions not to eat them.”
    Emma Mitchell sighed. “Those boys,” was all she said, but she shook her head and sat down next to Ria’s bed. Her husband gave her a kiss. “I’ll go check on things.” Then, bending over the bed to leave a light kiss on Ria’s pale face, he told her, “You get some rest and I’ll be back later, okay?”
    Ria mumbled something that was supposed to be words, and the next moment was sleeping.

    When she next awoke, the room was dim and her mother was gone. For a few minutes, Ria couldn’t remember where she was, then it came to her. She was in the hospital and it was Christmas Eve! There was a dull ache in her side not like the sharp pain of before but still, it wasn’t pleasant. She didn’t like it. She didn’t like the ache, the stark white of the room, and most of all she didn’t like being away from home on Christmas Eve. “I’ll just go home,” she spoke the words half aloud as she tried to sit up in bed, but to her surprise the room seemed to spin around and she felt as though she hadn’t even the strength to lift one of the kittens at Grandma Foster’s. Tears came to her eyes, but before she had a chance to start crying, the door to her room opened.
    “I see you’ve decided to wake up after all,” the cheery voice of Dr. Friesen greeted her. He turned on a light and came over to the bed. “And how are you feeling?” he asked.
    “I want to go home.”
    “I think we can arrange that in a day or two,” he smiled at her.
    “I don’t want it in a day or two, I want it now!” Dr. Earl had been friends with Ria’s family for several years, even before he left for medical school. Over the last few months he had spent quite a bit of time with Evie Foster, Mrs. Mitchell’s youngest sister, and some of the gang were wondering how long it would be before they had a new uncle, so Ria felt at ease with him.
    “Well,” he replied with another smile, “I’m afraid I can’t let you go tonight. Why, young lady, I couldn’t take the risk of letting you be run over by Santa’s reindeer.” If Earl’s plan had been to bring a smile, even a small one, to the face of his patient, he succeeded.
    The faintest trace of a smile twitched at Ria’s lips. The first one since earlier that morning. She knew Earl was teasing, yet she could also see that she would have to stay there, in the hospital that night. Blinking back the tears which filled her eyes, Ria turned her head away, biting her lip.
    The little room was quiet for a minute, then Dr. Friesen spoke softly, “I’ll be back to check on you in a little while, Ria,” and he gave her hand a gentle squeeze. He was almost at the door when Ria stopped him.
    He paused and looked back.
    “If I do everything I’m supposed to tonight, can I go to Grandma’s tomorrow, just for the Christmas party? Please,” she begged.

Is this a better place to stop?
It will be continued next Friday.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Western Christmas - Part 1

Yesterday we woke up to a dusting of snow! It was so pretty and made it really feel like winter. :)
Today is going to be super busy but fun. I'll share more another time. Today is also Pearl Harbor and Dad's birthday!
Hope you all have a Wonderful Western Wednesday! Enjoy!

This story has been removed for publishing purposes.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I've Been Awarded!

Since Breanna of P.I.C.s by Breanna has awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award (though I wouldn't exactly call this blog stylish), I am supposed to tell you all 7 things about me. Okay, here we go.

#1: I HATED writing when I was in school! It wasn't until after I had graduated that I began to enjoy it. If you had told me a dozen years ago that I would one day be a published author I would have thought you were crazy!

#2: The one state I really want to visit is Montana! I want to get out in the middle of nowhere.

#3: I started violin lessens when I was 14 1/2. And loved it.

#4: When I start writing my stories I almost never know where the story is going to go. But, somehow I usually end up somewhere. It is always an adventure because the characters do much of my work for me. :)

#5: I dislike cooking. I'd rather write a five page (or any length for that matter) story than cook.

#6: The one type of shopping I enjoy is book shopping at used book stores. (Sorry, I just don't like shopping for clothes. I'm still wearing a dress (well it's in my closest) from when I was 16!

#7: Since I was growing tired of trying to e-mail my stories to friends and never knowing if they read them or if they even really wanted to get the e-mails, I decided to start this blog. That way if someone wants to read a story, they are welcome to, but I don't have to take the time to e-mail everyone.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of me. I could tell you all kinds of other things, but I have more stories to write and blog posts to work on, books to read and well, I think you get my meaning.
Since I'm supposed to pass this blog award on, I'm going to give it to:

Drum-roll please!

My Heart-Sister at Oh! so Lovely

One of my "Triplets" Angela the Twin
My other "Triplet" Amber's Drawings

My Dear Friend over at Feminine Adventures

Have a wonderful evening and don't forget Western Wednesday tomorrow!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Favorite of Favorite Christmas Books

As the title suggests, this is my very favorite or favorite Christmas books. I've either had it read to me or have read it to myself each December for as long as I can remember. I've read it to others, lent the book to others and am looking forward to re-reading it once more this year. I know the story by heart and can quote parts of it.

"Three snowflakes fell. Exactly three. I counted them." (My favorite quote. :) )
"But Mother has to be home for Christmas!"

The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas
Madeleine L'Engle
(I do NOT recommend all of her books. This is by far the best.)

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. I have read it or heard it read each Christmas for as long as I can remember. There is just something special in the sweet simplicity of 7-year-old Vickie Austin telling the story of her special Christmas. Her worries about the Christmas pageant where she has been chosen to be the angel of the Lord, about the possibility of her mother being in the hospital over Christmas, and if there will be any snow, just builds you for the wonderful ending that is sure to leave you with a feeling of peace. Sometimes I read this story several times during one Christmas season.

If you have never read this delightful and wonderful book, you should! You can find it here.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Worst and Best Christmas - Part 1

And a Fabulous Friday to all my Favorite Fiction Fans!

A happy 2nd of December to you all! This month on my blog I'm going to be posting here and there, now and again. Not just on Fridays, but all kinds of times. And you won't want to miss Western Wednesdays! Yep, you read that right! Western Wednesdays are back for this month. Even if you have read all of The Unexpected Request, you just won't want to skip these Wednesdays. :) And no, I won't tell you want it going to be posted. You'll have to come and read it.
Oh, and if you want more Christmas stories to read go up to my Short Stories page and in there you will find all my Christmas stories including the ones about Garlandsburg (of which I hope to get more written this December).

Our house is now decorated so lovely that I'll try to take some pictures and share them with you this month. This week hasn't been as busy as the last few have been which has been wonderful. I've actually gotten somethings written and I got a Christmas book nearly finished. (I'm reading it not writing it.) Tonight S and I babysit the kiddos here along with two little girls K & N and one of our heart-sisters will be here watching her nephew (our heart-nephew) while the parents (and several other young couples) go to the Living Christmas Tree. It will be a long, late evening, but I'm sure we'll have fun. :)  Hmm, maybe we'll make snowflakes. 

This story which you are about to start reading is part of Ria and the Gang. :) I hope it gets you interested. It was a lot of fun to write and I kept laughing at the Gang. I think you will be too when you read about the antics of a group of 15- 20 lads. :) And remember, if you like what you read, drop me a comment and say so. I'll admit right now that I'm the kind of person who doesn't like to keep going with a story if no one says they like it.

And now here is a glimpse into Ria and the Gang.

The Worst and Best Christmas
Part 1

    “Tomorrow is Christmas Day!” Ria exclaimed for the umpteenth time that morning.
    “Is it really?” Johnny asked in feigned surprise. “I thought it was the Fourth of July.”
    Ria wrinkled her nose at her brother and giggled. She was well used to being teased; she should be with four older brothers and eleven older boy cousins not to mention Phil and the other five lads who made up the rest of “the gang.”
    Skipping down the stairs, Ria paused in the kitchen to sniff the cookies her mom was baking. “Oh,” she exclaimed suddenly, “I forgot to wrap--” but she left the rest of the sentence unfinished and whirling around, raced back upstairs, nearly colliding with Ed and Chris as they were coming out of their room.
    “Whoa!” Ed called, “what’s the hurry?”
    “Forgot to wrap--” and the door of Ria’s room slammed shut behind her, cutting off the rest of her sentence.
    “Maybe we should find out what she’s up to,” thirteen-year-old Chris suggested taking a step after her sister.
    Ed, the oldest of the Mitchell children at nineteen, caught his youngest brother’s arm and stopped him. “Leave her alone, Chris,” he ordered. “After all, it is Christmas Eve.”
    Busy in her own room, Ria pulled out her mother’s present and set about the wrapping of it. When it was finished and sitting on the floor before her, looking quite festive with its wrapping of green with a pert red bow on top, Ria gazed at it and began counting on her fingers. “I have the twins’ gifts wrapped and under the tree. Ed’s is there too. I don’t know if I should put Chris’s there yet or not. Sometimes he peaks. Hmm, Daddy’s is under the tree. Now, do I have the rest of the gifts for the gang, and Grandma and Grandpa’s gifts?” She did. All were now wrapped and ready.
    Slipping her mother’s gift under her bed, Ria left her room to race through the hall and down the stairs. “Mom,” she asked eagerly, “when are we leaving tomorrow?”
    Mrs. Mitchell looked up from the gingerbread men she was icing. “Oh, I don’t know. I would guess around mid morning. Why?”
    “I just wondered,” and Ria moved into the living room and stood looking at the tree.
    It was a large one, the top nearly brushed the ceiling with large full branches filling the corner of the room. Decorated with lights and ornaments, its glories far surpassed any previous tree the Mitchell’s had had, Ria at least was certain. The smell of the pine penetrated to the farthest corners. Underneath the wonderful tree were the presents. Gaily wrapped in bright colors the many different shapes and sizes of the gifts drew Ria’s eyes like so many magnets and she dropped down on the floor before the bright fire to look at the tree and the gifts. She could hardly wait for tomorrow to come.

    It was around mid-morning when Ria, preparing to go outside, suddenly pressed her hand to her side and gave a soft groan.
    “Are you all right?” Jimmy asked, buttoning up his coat. “What happened?”
    Grimacing a little, Ria pulled her coat on. “I don’t know, my side just hurt.”
    “Eat too many cookies?” her brother teased.
    “I haven’t eaten any today,” she replied, still with a frown.
    Though all her brothers enjoyed teasing, they could also be sympathetic and protective. “Do you still want to go for a walk?” Jimmy wondered.
    Ria nodded. Maybe a walk would make her feel better; besides, the others were waiting for them.
    Calling good by to Mrs. Mitchell, Jimmy and Ria joined Chris, Ed and Johnny out on the front walk. Mr. Mitchell had declined to go with them saying he was going to read the paper before the fire and enjoy the quiet.
    “Where shall we go?” Johnny asked.
    “Let’s go see the shop windows,” Ria suggested, forgetting her side as the pain eased up.
    Soon the five Mitchell children were on their way down the sidewalk to the center of Plainville. They were all in merry spirits, and talk and laughter went with them that cold December day.
    “Do you think we’ll get more snow, Ed?” Chris asked looking at the half an inch or so that lay on the ground around them.
    “Oh, sometime,” Ed answered carelessly.
    “I meant tonight, before Christmas.”
    Ed looked at the overcast sky. The clouds were tinged with grey. He shrugged. “I don’t know. Grandpa would be the one to ask, or Dad.”
    “It sure would be fun to have a good snowfall for tomorrow,” Johnny remarked.
    “Sure would,” echoed Jimmy.
    “Why?” Ria asked sweetly, “Did you want to make snow angels?” This brought a laugh from her brothers, and for several minutes they joked and teased one another good naturedly.
    Arriving in downtown, their walk slowed as they admired the shop windows which were decked out in full holiday glory. This was not the first time the Mitchell five had walked the downtown sidewalks and looked in the shop windows though it was the first time without any other members of the gang with them.
    “Look, Ed, a train set,” Jimmy pointed out. “Don’t you want that for Christmas?”
    “I’d still have my train set if you hadn’t tried to ride on the train when you were three and busted it,” Ed pretended to growl and gave his brother a friendly shove.
    “How do you know it wasn’t Johnny that sat on it?” Chris questioned.
    Ed snorted. “Because Johnny was too busy trying to step on all the houses to see if they would smash.”
    “And boy did they,” Johnny grinned and backed away from his older brother.
    Their laughter was suddenly interrupted. Clutching her side, Ria gave a startled groan and leaned against the side of the store; her face grew pale and it was all she could do to keep from crying.
    “Ria! What is it?” Ed asked, bending over her in concern.
    Dropping down in front of her, Jimmy asked, “Is it the same pain you had before we left?”
    Ria could only nod, her lips pressed tightly together to keep back a cry of pain.
    “Where does it hurt, Ria?” Ed asked quietly while Johnny and Chris gathered around.
    “My side,” Ria whimpered holding both hands over the place and catching her breath as the sharp pain once more shot through her.

If you want to read more, drop me a comment and come back next week.