Friday, June 29, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 21

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
(even those who don't read on Friday. :) )

The sun isn't quite in my eyes yet, so I'll try to type quickly. :) Has your week been busy? Mine hasn't been too bad. It's been hot. Too hot to really do anything outside.

Friday and Saturday I did things at home. On Sunday we had to go to church in Dad's truck because my brother had our van since his suburban was "no worky." There was only one baby in church and I had to share her. Oh well. Princess did fall asleep in E's arms holding on to my fingers. :) Just wish I had gotten a picture of it.
On Monday S & I babysat the N children all morning and part of the afternoon. They came over here so the morning was spent playing/building with legos. We have a large box of legos and they love coming over and building with them. They have plenty of legos at their house but ours are different. :) After lunch there was a little more lego building, then we played games and started watching a science DVD. Didn't get to finish it because their mom came. They borrowed it.
What did I do on Tuesday? Not much exciting. I did write that night.
Wednesday we got our van back for most of the day and went to Connie's. We hadn't gone last week since our van was gone, so it was good to go check our booth and put new things in.
Yesterday was pretty normal (if there is such a thing) and last night we went to a surprise party for a couple in church who just had their 30th wedding anniversary. That was fun. :)
Today we'll clean house, I'll probably work on some things, and then tonight . . . :D I'll tell you next week. Or tomorrow. :)

I wrote one more TCR this week and started a story for next week. I'm not sure how long it will be since I haven't finished it yet. So far it is over the usual 1,000 - 1,500 words that I post. If it isn't much longer I'll do it all in one, but it it gets to 2,000 words, I guess I should post it in two parts. I won't be writing tonight. :)

No update on the Alphabet book. I haven't gotten to talk to the best friend to see if she has it all set up yet. If she doesn't have it set up yet, it should be soon. So keep checking here or on my reading books blog.

Now for the next part of Triple Creek Ranch. Thanks for the comments last week (or this week) :) . 

Part 21

    “If I tell her to do something she loses her temper and won’t do it. But you tell her to do something and she does it.” He kissed her gently. “You certainly are a wonder.”
    Jenelle laughed softly. “I didn’t do anything special,” she protested. “Norman.” She looked up into his face, a worried expression in her eyes. “Did you notice Orlena was extra quiet tonight?”
    His arms slid around her and she was pulled close to him. “No, I can’t say that I did. Why?”
    Fiddling with the buttons on his shirt, Jenelle spoke slowly, not quite sure how to say what was bothering her. “Orlena hardly said one word all morning,” she began, “until I told her she had to help sew, and then after she had started she scarcely spoke. She didn’t talk at all while we ate tonight. Norman,” she raised her eyes to meet his, “do you think she’s feeling all right?”
    “Most likely,” he replied easily. “I don’t think she would hesitate to make it known if she wasn’t. Perhaps she just ran out of things to complain about.” He bent and kissed her. “Don’t worry about her, Sweet. Tomorrow you’ll probably be wishing she would stop talking again.”

    Norman was right, for the following morning Orlena again found reason for complaint and when Jenelle brought up the sewing, Orlena tossed her head. “I’ve decided,” she remarked airily, “that I was not brought up to be a sewing girl.”
    Jenelle looked at her with interest. “Were you brought up to cook? Or would you rather gather the eggs and feed the chickens?”
    “I was brought up to be a lady, not a farm drudge.”
    “Suppose we discuss this as we sew,” Mrs. Mavrich wisely suggested, and so, Orlena found herself sewing once more. This time her tongue was not silent, and Jenelle was thankful her husband wasn’t there to listen.
    It was a tiring morning to Jenelle, and after dinner she retired to her room with a headache, leaving Orlena to her own devices. She didn’t mean to sleep, only to rest a little while before starting supper, but the next thing she knew, someone was calling her name in low tones.
    Upon opening her eyes she saw Norman’s anxious face gazing down into hers. “What time is it?” she yawned.
    “A little after five.”
    “Oh!” Jenelle exclaimed, starting up and then putting a hand to her throbbing head. “I haven’t even started supper yet. What are you doing here?”
    Gently Norman pushed his wife back onto the pillows and sat down beside her. “We were all coming back and I couldn’t find you downstairs. Orlena was reading and said you had gone to your room after dinner. Are you all right? You look pale.”
    “I’ll be all right. It’s just a headache, but I must get up and start supper.” However, when she tried to sit up, the pain in her head made her dizzy and she dropped back.
    “Darling! What is it?” Norman was alarmed. He had never seen Jenelle quite like this before. “I’ll have someone ride for Dr. French.”
    Jenelle put up a hand and caught his sleeve. “No, Norman. I think it was the heat, and I’ve been a little extra tired these last few days. Don’t worry about me.” She smiled faintly into his worried eyes. “But what will we do about your supper?”
    “St. John always makes more than enough over at the bunk house. Orlena and I can eat there. But what about you?”
    “Just some tea and toast is all I want.”
    Norman bent over and dropped a kiss on her forehead. “I’ll have Orlena make some for you and bring it up.”
    “Norman,” Jenelle smiled faintly, “I’m sure Orlena hasn’t the least idea how to make either one. Remember she was brought up in the city.”
    At this Norman sighed and, stepping over to the window, drummed his fingers lightly on the sill. “Well,” he said at last, “I’d make your tea and toast for you, but I’m afraid it wouldn’t be eatable. Cooking just isn’t in my line. But, I’ll find someone.” Turning back to the bed he left another kiss and spoke softly, “Now get some more rest. I think I need to have a talk with my sister.” He muttered the last half to himself, but Jenelle heard him.
    “Be patient, Dear,” Jenelle pleaded. “Remember, she has only been here a week.”
    “I will, Sweet.” And Norman slipped from the room.
    As he started down the hall, he thought, “Orlena has got to start doing something towards pulling her own weight. I won’t have my wife exhausted because of the extra work Orlena makes.” He felt his temper rise and he paused. “This won’t work. I can’t go talk with her if I’m already worked up. It’d be best to talk to St. John first.”

    The big, Triple Creek Ranch cook was more than happy to provide his boss and Orlena with their supper. His concern for Mrs. Mavrich was only equaled by the concern of the rest of the hands, for Mrs. Mavrich was a friend to them all.
    Pausing in his return to the house, Norman changed directions and headed instead to the barn. There in the shadow of a secluded corner, he knelt and prayed for wisdom and patience in dealing with his sister. The task before him was not one to his liking, but he knew it must be done sooner or later. At last he rose and walked purposefully towards the house. Halting at the door, he drew in a deep breath, squared his shoulders and stepped in.

    “Well, there he goes,” Hearter remarked, standing before a window in the bunk house.
    “Who?” Hardrich queried.
    “Mr. Mavrich. I don’t envy him!” And Lloyd shook his head, turning away.
    “I don’t think anyone does, but,” and the ranch foreman looked about the room. “I think he could use some prayer right now. He looked worn out.”

Questions, comments, thoughts?
Ideas for other events in TCR?
Suggestions for other stories?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch - Part 20

Good Morning FFFs!
You'll never guess my news! I'm pretty excited. :) One of my best friends, Angela, had been working on a project for a while and asked if I'd help with part of it. I said sure and set to work. My part was easy and I just turned out what she wanted pretty quickly. There were a few places I had to work a little bit harder, but she did all the rest of the work. And the proof copy arrived yesterday! Yep, it's another book!!!! But this one is for young children. It is not quite ready for sale yet, but as soon as it is, you can be sure I'll let you know. :) But until then, here is a picture.
Isn't it cute! Click on the picture to see it larger.
 So, if any of you have younger siblings or friends with young ones, this will be the perfect gift. Not only is it an alphabet book, but it has both sounds for each vowel and both sounds for C and G! What other ABC book has that?

That is my big exciting news for the week. What other everyday stuff have I been working on? Let me see.
Friday and Saturday were pretty much just everyday things. I didn't have to mow and Dad was still in Denver with my brother and sis-in-law at the conference. It was strange on Sunday to go to church without Dad especially since it was Father's Day. Since the suburban was still having some problems, they drove home through KC and spent the night.
Monday was normal things except that Dad got home about 5:00 that evening! And then later we headed over to celebrate Doodle Bug's 1st birthday. It's hard to believe he's a year old all ready!
Tuesday was spent working on writing, knitting and editing old family letters.
Wednesday S & I went over to baby-sit the kiddos, but J ended up going to bed not feeling well. So S & I watched three of the kids while S-in-l and Goof Ball ran a few errands. There is a nest of baby birds on a wreath on their front door and since it is right below the window, we can watch the parents feed the babies. Well, S lifted Funny Boy up to see the babies and then he came over to me to tell me he saw them. I asked him what they looked like and he immediately said, "Dey ugly!" :D I told you he was a funny boy. 
Yesterday was more of the same stuff except that I got a phone call asking if I'd work as a Supervisory Judge during the August and November elections. I said sure. (That's kind of what I did last time only I didn't have the name, because the others didn't really know what they were doing.)

You want to know what I've been writing? Well, it's all been Triple Creek Ranch. I got going and since I'm on a roll, I didn't want to stop. It's rather fun turning them out so quickly. I've gotten over 6 of them written. So, all that said and yes, you can have a TCR now. :)

Triple Creek Ranch
Part 20

    No one at the supper table that night mentioned the fact or even seemed to notice that a member of the ranch wasn’t eating with them. Jenelle had simply told Norman in their room that Orlena had declined to eat supper that night and he wisely asked no questions. The meal was delightful as it always was and the talk merry and light. Many a time hearty laughter rang out and floated up to the still pouting Orlena, who in her wounded pride thought they must be laughing about her and fumed at the idea.
    At last, as the sun prepared to drop out of sight behind the hills, Orlena, watching from the window, saw the hired hands leaving in small groups heading for the bunkhouse, and gradually all grew quiet. Still she remained at the open window, a warm, evening breeze blowing gently against her flushed cheeks; the stars came out one by one and twinkled down at her while the gentle sounds of the horses in the corrals, the leaves softly whispering, the evening chirps of the birds all contrived together to soothe the ruffled spirits of the child. The sights and sounds of the peaceful night brought calm to Orlena at last, causing her anger to die down. Slowly she began to get ready for bed, lighting no lamp and giving no response to Jenelle’s quiet tap on the door. She was tired and worn out. She felt as though her whole world had turned up-side-down and she was somehow trapped beneath it.

    When Orlena came down to her late breakfast in the morning, she spoke not a word but ate in silence and then sat staring into space. Jenelle was puzzled. What had come over her sister? Was she only tired from the shopping of yesterday? Was she not feeling well? Whatever the cause, Jenelle enjoyed the quiet.
    It wasn’t until later in the morning that Jenelle, with many inward misgivings but with outward calmness and a matter of fact tone, came to her young sister’s room and said, “Orlena, let’s go start work on one of your new dresses. I’m sure the pattern will fit you but I would like to try it before we cut it out. We will go to the parlor as it is cooler down there.”
    Orlena followed without a word and stood still while Jenelle measured her, but, when Jenelle had cut out the bodice and had directed Orlena to baste it together, she found her tongue.
    “I will not,” she declared haughtily. “I am not a sewing girl.”
    Jenelle was quite calm, even a trifle amused when she replied, “Of course you are not. No one would think of such a thing. Around here everyone does their own sewing except the menfolk,” and here Jenelle paused to laugh at the idea. “But since you will be the one wearing the dress, you can help sew it.”
    “I didn’t say I needed a new dress.”
    “No you didn’t.” It was mildly put. “But as nothing you have now is quite suited for ranch life, I took it for granted that a new dress or two would be of use.”
    Orlena snorted. “Well, if you are anxious to make these dresses,” she gave the material a look of scorn, “you can sew them yourself.” With that she turned to leave the room but her sister-in-law’s voice stopped her.
    “Orlena, these dresses will be made, and you will help sew them.”
    “I’d like to see you try and make me!” Orlena snapped.
    “You will start on the bodice.” Had Jenelle sounded the least bit angry she would have flown into a passion and continued out of the room, but the quiet and positive words “you will” left Orlena rather bewildered and astonished. Could Jenelle really make her sew? She turned and stared at her sister. There was no sign of anger in her face, but there was a look of something else, something strong and determined, forceful even, though Orlena couldn’t think of the small Mrs. Mavrich as forceful. Hesitatingly, she waited.
    Jenelle wasted no time. Handing Orlena the bodice and a needle and thread, she nodded towards the sofa by the open window. “Over there I’m sure would be a pleasant place to sew. There is enough light but the hot sun won’t be directly on you.” Her voice was quiet even friendly and much to her own astonishment, Orlena found herself moving over and sitting down on the sofa. She was actually going to sew!
    The morning was rather trying to both girls, for Orlena really didn’t know how to sew and Jenelle was forced to try to teach her along with working on her own sewing. After two hours of work, Jenelle thanked Orlena for her help and folded up the sewing. She had had enough for one morning.

    That evening as Jenelle brushed her long, light hair, she told her husband about the day, mentioning that she and Orlena had spent some time that morning sewing.
    Norman looked up, pausing in the midst of pulling off a boot. “Orlena sewed?” He questioned in astonishment. “How did you get her to do it?”
    Jenelle kept her face turned away as she replied lightly, “Oh, I didn’t force her to. But Norman, she really doesn’t know how to sew.”
    Putting his boot down beside its mate, Mr. Mavrich stood up and, moving over beside his wife, turned her around so he could look into her face. “How did you get my sister to sew?” he repeated.
    “I simply told her she had to sew and she did it.”
    “Uh huh, that’s all.” Norman raised his eyebrows in skepticism. “You didn’t threaten her?”
    “Norman!” Jenelle exclaimed indignantly. “Of course I didn’t. I simply told her she would help sew the dresses, and I think she did just because she was too astonished to know what else to do.”
    He shook his head. “I don’t see how you do it, Darling.”

I know I've written more, but
do you have any questions or comments about this part?

Friday, June 15, 2012

At Last

And a Good Morning to my Fantastic Friday Fiction Fans who Faithfully Follow this blog! :)

Yeah I know, I sometimes get carried away with my F words. :)
So it is cloudy this morning. Delightful. No sun in my eyes as I type. I wonder if it will rain or just be cloudy?

A brief look at my week first.
Friday was pretty much as I told you it would be. I went with one of my best friends to pick up my other best friend at the airport, then I came home to find my grandparents had arrived. We had an enjoyable visit with them before they headed home about 4:30.
On Saturday I mowed the yard and worked on weeding the path in our bird area before lunch. After lunch I got to babysit J-J and Sweetheart so their parents could look at houses for sale. Sweetheart fell asleep in S's arms and J-J in mine. Such fun.
Oh were there babies at church on Sunday! Three of them plus J-J! Some friends who live on the other side of the state came and so we got to hold their six-month-old big guy. Princess fell asleep in my arms after lunch. I know I must be boring if the babies are falling asleep with me. :)
Monday was a catch-up day. 
Tuesday Mom, S and I all went over to my brother's house and helped get ready for them to leave for the Denver conference. I actually got to help price because the kiddos took a long time eating breakfast. :) Dad left with them that afternoon about 4:30.
Wednesday we stayed home and I got more stories for my younger short story book laid out.
Yesterday we went shopping in the morning and then in the afternoon I worked on trying to get Priscilla's "trip" to FL figured out. I found some places we are NOT going. :P

Okay, Help! Your help to be exact.
I've been trying to work on getting Ria and the Gang written but I'm not having much success. I haven't figured out why. Is it because I'm writing this story differently than any other? Is it because I'm not doing first person like I did for all the letters in Home Fires? Is it because I'm not letting you all read this so I'm not getting feedback? Or is it because I really don't know what you all want to know about for this story? So, here is how you can help. Please tell me what you want to know? Ria and the Gang takes place between the two world wars. I started out with the arrival of Ria and want to take it all the way to just before Pearl Harbor. Of course I can't do every year or it would be three times as big as Home Fires. :P I have a story of when the boys were first called a gang and a few other stories later on, but what do YOU want to know about? Does anyone have any ideas? If you have any ideas, suggestions or questions, PLEASE put them in a comment or e-mail them to me!!!! I'm counting on your help! This story is stuck unless I can get my readers to rescue it from the mud of "I don't know." :)

Now for the second thing I could use help on. :) Since I'm working on putting two books together  with short stories in them, I could use some book reviews. I'm going to give you the list of short stories that are in each one and if you would like to help me out by writing a short review for the back of one or both of the books, I'd really love it!
Older book:
The Emancipation of Chester Reginald Donovan; Esquire
All Things for Good
Tender Reflections
The Lower Lights
Whom Should She Trust
A Promise
Come Home
At the Mercy of the Storm

Younger Book:
The Pirates of Rocky Crag Bay
On Being Neighborly
In the Father's Embrace
Fishing for a Little Peace and Quiet
A Garden Plot
One Day Mystery
Wishing for Sherbet
Danny's Thanksgiving
Lost in the Dunes
Mystery at Random

So, there you have the list of stories. At least all that I've decided on. Don't be surprised to discover at least one story in each book that you've never read. :)

And now At Last. A story I wrote for my Liddy Bid who used to be "my baby" but is now 10-years-old. She gave me the instructions for it and here it is. Don't worry, it is only a one post story.

At Last
Rebekah M.

    Alicia Alexander climbed up on the lower rung of the white board fence and rested her arms on the top rail. In the field several horses were grazing. The air was full of spring; the trees had on their light green dresses, dandelions dotted the grass everywhere with their golden heads, birds sang and the early morning sun was warm. It was a splendid day at Xander Horse Farm in Kentucky.
    As the ten-year-old stood perched on the fence watching the horses, her long, light brown hair blowing in the breeze, a sturdy step sounded behind her and a deep voice asked, “What are you doing up and out of the house so early, Girlie?”
    “I wanted to see if any of the horses had foaled, Daddy.” Alicia sighed, “But none of them have.”
    Mr. Alexander chuckled, crossing his arms on the fence beside his daughter. “Be patient, Honey. Amethyst, Sarsaparilla and Duchess aren’t due for another week probably.”
    “But, Daddy,” and Alicia leaned her head against his shoulder, “Ebony Dance and What-ever are due any day, Tyler said so.”
    “That’s so, but right now let’s go in and see if Mom has breakfast ready.”
    Hand in hand, with Alicia skipping to keep up with her father’s long strides, they headed down the road to the white farm house nestled under some tall shade trees where Mrs. Alexander and six-year-old Amber were waiting with breakfast on the patio.

    After breakfast the girls helped their mom with the dishes and then headed outside. They both loved horses and Alicia could ride nearly every horse on the farm. The hired hand, Tyler, a boy saving money for veterinary collage, was working near the barn when the girls came out. Tyler was more like an older brother than a hired hand, and the girls loved him.
    “Tyler!” Alicia called as she and Amber ran over to him. “When will there be a foal?”
    Tyler looked up with a grin. “I can’t say for sure, but Ebony’s been acting rather like it could be soon.”
    “Oh,” Alicia breathed, her eyes wide with excitement, “Do you think it will be today?”
    “Most times horses foal during the night,” he told her.

    Alicia helped out with the horses and did some weeding for her mom during the day, but all her spare time was spent on the fence of the pasture where the five horses were waiting to foal. Often one would amble over to the girl and Alicia would quickly pull up some green grass from her side of the fence to feed it, talking gently all the while.
    “Oh, Ebony Dance, when are you going to have your baby? Do you want a boy or a girl? . . . Sarsaparilla, you’re looking fat. Don’t you think it’s time you had your baby? . . . If you have a filly, Duchess, I want to name her Lady-in-waiting. Don’t you think that would be a good name?”
    The horses, all seemingly wanting to please this little friend, would bob their heads as though in agreement and Alicia would stroke them. Eventually all the horses moved to the other side of the pasture to stand in the sun and Alicia was left day dreaming.
    The sound of her name brought her back to earth with a start to find her father standing beside her. “What?”
    Mr. Alexander grinned. He knew his daughter’s habit of daydreaming. “Didn’t you hear the dinner bell?”
    Alicia shook her head.
    “Well, it’s supper time. We’ll visit the horses again before bed.”
    “Daddy,” Alicia began as she and her father walked hand in hand down the road, “I wish one of the horses would foal.”
    “They will,” was the confident reply.
    “But I want to see it.”
    To this no reply was given.

    How long Alicia had been sleeping that night she didn’t know but it couldn’t have been very long when she was awakened by her father.
    “Come on, Honey, wake up if you want to see a brand new foal.”
    Still sleepy, Alicia sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Is it morning?” she asked.
    “No, so be quiet,” was the whispered reply. “We don’t want to wake Amber or Mom.”
    Suddenly Alicia was wide awake. Quickly she pulled on her denim skirt over her nightgown and slipped her arms into her jacket, for it was chilly. Her boots were downstairs.
    Tiptoeing down the stairs to the kitchen, father and daughter paused as Alicia slid her feet into her boots. Trembling with excitement, Alicia clung to her daddy’s hand as they made their way out into the chilly night air across the dark, silent yard to the stables.
    Tyler, standing in the aisle near Ebony Dance’s stall, turned when the soft sound of approaching footsteps was heard. Without a word he beckoned to them. There was a rustling in the stall as they drew nearer.

    It was nearly dawn before Alicia finally fell asleep again. She had been so awed over the birth of the first spring foal, and so excited to have been up in the night to witness it, that for over an hour after she had been sent back to bed she lay wide awake reliving the birth and the little brown thing standing on long wobbly legs looking rather out of place beside her black mother.
    “I wonder what we should name her?” she thought drowsily just before she fell asleep.

    When she awakened next the sun was high in the sky and in astonishment that she had been allowed to sleep so late, she dressed in a hurry and dashed down the stairs.
    “Good morning, Alicia,” her mother greeted her with a kiss.
    “Morning, Mom! Did you see the filly? I watched it being born! Can’t I go see Ebony Dance and the baby right now, Mom? Please!”
    “Without breakfast?”
    “I’m not hungry.”
    Her mother nodded and Alicia raced away.
    To her surprise Alicia could see Ebony in the pasture and Amber and their dad watching. Climbing up on the fence on the other side of Amber, she rested her arms on the top rail. At last there was a baby on Xaner’s Horse Farm.
    “Let’s name the baby, At Last,” Alicia suggested and Amber quickly agreed. Then in silence they watched the horses.

So, what did you think of this story?
Are you going to write me a review?
Don't forget to tell me what YOU want to know about Ria and the Gang.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Answered Prayers - The End

Good Morning FFFs,

Okay, which of you informed "everything" that we were going to be home for a while now and they could all try to be worked on at once? I was looking forward to a quiet week at home, but instead it feels like everything and their neighbors want done! Plus my grandparents are coming down today which will be fun, but first I'm heading off with one of my best friends to pick up her twin (my other best friend) at the airport. I can't wait to hear all about her trip!

Some friends came over for "Library" yesterday. They hadn't been over since March. We also cleaned the house yesterday because we're all busy today.
On Wednesday we went to Connie's which we usually do on Thursdays. We're really mixed up as to which day it is now!
Tuesday I got to go walk with my best friend who was home.
Monday I played "catch-up." Ever played that before? It's where you try to catch up on all those things that didn't get done because you were gone. Kind of crazy. I'm not sure I won.
We got back home from Wichita Sunday in time to each lunch at church with everyone. Then us girls decided to go walk to the nearby park while the kids did verses. Well, that got ruined when some "weird guys" decided to start following us. We did have cell phones and we were on a busy street so we just walked back. We wished we had brought some of the boys along. We'll be sure to bring them if we decide to walk there again.

When it comes to writing this week, I haven't made much progress. I did get a new letter for Priscilla written. If you have stopped reading about Priscilla and Amy's "trip" because of the long pause, we're now back. Other than that, only a little bit of another story has been worked on. I'll try to do better in the coming days. :)

I know this is getting posted earlier than it usually is but, like I said, I'm heading to the airport at 8:00 so I've got to eat breakfast before then. And readers, please come back next week because I'm going to need some help!

Now enjoy the last of Answered Prayers.

    Never had a meal tasted so good. The men folk had come in from the stables and once they were in dry clothes, had also sat down at the table for hot food. Susan and Sarah ate while telling of their trip home.
    “It was really my fault, Pa,” Sarah confessed. “I should have gone the first time Suz called me.”
    “But I’m to blame too,” Susan added loyally. “I could have made Sare come. If I had really wanted to.” This last was added after a pause and knowing grins flashed around the table. Everyone knew Sarah could be hard to convince.
    “But you didn’t want to, huh?” her father asked with a smile.
    Susan shook her head and looked at her twin.
    “We’ll I’m just thankful Darline came along when she did,” Mrs. Smith remarked, stroking that girl’s reddish-blonde hair.
    “We prayed,” Sarah explained.
    “And God answered,” Susan added quietly.
    “And let us all thank Him now,” Mr. Smith said. Every head bowed, and with a full heart Mr. Smith thanked the Lord for answering the prayers of his daughters, for sending Darline to help, and letting them all come safely home again.
    “How far did you say you went?” Sam asked his sisters as their mother cleared away the dishes.
    “We went over by the beaver pond,” Sarah explained.
    Sam’s eyes widened and he gave a low whistle. “No wonder you didn’t hear us calling you!”
    Scott and Stan exchanged astonished looks. “You walked all that way?” Scott questioned.
    Susan nodded. “It didn’t seem very far when we went, but coming home it was harder and took longer.”
    “It was hard to walk against that wind,” Sarah explained.
    “Girls,” Mr. Smith spoke quietly, “I don’t want either of you to go that far from home again without telling someone where you are going or having one of your brothers along. Understand?”
    “Yes, sir,” Susan and Sarah chorused.
    “Now,” Mrs. Smith bustled up to the twins. “That is enough talking for your two. It is late. Up to bed at once both of you. I’ll be along shortly to tuck you in. Stephen!” she suddenly exclaimed, noticing for the first time her youngest son. “What are you doing up? I thought you were in bed. Now scoot!”
    Stephen grinned and scampered off after his sisters, glad he had gotten to hear of their adventures but wishing he had been allowed to go looking for them with the men.

    When Mrs. Smith returned from tucking her three young children in bed, she found the ranch hands had gone off to their bunk house and only her three older sons, her husband and Darline remained at the table.
    “Darline,” she said, softly, “there is a bed ready for you whenever you want to turn in.”
    Darline looked up from her study of the tablecloth. “Thanks, Mrs. Smith, that was kind of you, but as soon as the storm lets up I’m heading back to Uncle’s ranch.”
    “Not tonight you aren’t,” Mr. Smith decided. “One of the boys’ll head over and let your uncle know you’re all right, but you, young lady, aren’t going anywhere till morning.”
    Darline started to protest, but Scott added, “Besides, that horse of yours is in no shape to travel farther tonight unless you want to risk ruining him.”
    Sighing, Darline pulled the blanket closer about her. She didn’t say anything but stared down at her coffee cup.
    Understandably mistaking her sigh, Sam asked, “Will your uncle be worried and out looking for you?”
    She shook her head. “He probably doesn’t even know I’m not home.”
    As the storm continued to rage outside, the group around the warm kitchen was silent. The clock ticked away the minutes and still no one made a move for bed. What were they waiting for? No one was quite sure, but each seemed to feel as though something were going to happen.
    At last Darline spoke. Her voice was quiet and she kept her eyes down. “When I saw the storm coming I was far from the ranch. I’ve seen many storms, so I didn’t head for home until the wind started blowing. Then I came across the twins and knew I should help them, but–” she paused and shivered.
    Mrs. Smith noticed and nodded to Stan who put more wood on the fire.
    Darline didn’t move. After a moment she continued. “I was scared. I’ve never been out in a storm like that before. I couldn’t tell which direction to go and could only hope my horse knew the way. I– I wished I hadn’t found the girls and could just race home. And when it began to rain, well, they never said one complaining word and I don’t think they were even worried.” She began to talk faster and her fingers played with the edge of the blanket nervously. “They said I was an answer to their prayers. Me, who doesn’t even know how to pray! After my parents died I wanted nothing to do with God. He hadn’t answered my prayers and let my parents live, and–” her voice broke and she buried her face in her arms on the table.
    “Oh, you poor child,” murmured Mrs. Smith putting an arm about the girl’s shoulders.
    In a moment Darline lifted her head. “I want the peace that Sarah and Susan have. I’ve watched them since you all came out here, and all of you,” she looked around at the five faces, “have something that I’m missing. Can I have it too?”
    “Of course you can,” Mr. Smith said, reaching for his Bible. “Let me show you how.”

    Upstairs, Susan moved restlessly. “Sare,” she whispered, “are you awake?”
    “Yes,” came back the low answer from the mound of covers beside her.
    “I can’t sleep.”
    “Me either.”
    Susan paused. “Sare,” she began again, “let’s pray for Darline.”
    “I was thinking the same thing,” Sarah agreed. “Maybe tonight she will come to know Jesus as her Savior.”
    And so, the two girls, under their warm blankets, folded their hands in prayer for the one who had been an answer to their prayer earlier. After praying, both girls fell asleep not knowing that their prayers had already been answered and Darline had found the peace she had been missing all her life.
The End

So, what did you think?
Did you like it?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Answered Prayers - Part 2

Good Morning FFFs,
 Here I am at another hotel for yet another homeschool convention. This time my brother and his family are with us and Dad stayed home to work. We all like this conference. In fact, this was the first conference we did after my brother gave a ring to my then future sis-in-law. It brings back many memories.

Busy week. Friday I didn't end up going over to watch my my niece and nephews in the morning, but S and I did go babysit them that evening. Doodle Bug and I played music and got the giggles. Well, he did anyway. :)
On Sunday we had a full house at church since everyone was there plus an extra family. It was fun. I got to hold all three little ones again plus Doodle Bug.
My Memorial Day probably wasn't like yours. In the afternoon I drove with Dad up to visit one of my heart-sisters who had just broken her wrist. I surprised her. :) We got to talk for a while before we had to head back home. Then after supper, I called my best friends and the two of them along with one of their "extra special" friends, went to play tennis. Okay, so not one of the three of us had ever played before. Only "ESF" (that's extra special friend) had so he was really nice about just hitting the ball to us and then chasing our wild shots. :P I did start to get the hang of it towards the end and now want to play a real game sometime.
Tuesday was usual things.
Mom, S and I left home Wednesday afternoon. The drive to Wichita was, well, I'd like to say uneventful but considering that we waited under a bridge for 30 minutes for the pouring rain and good sized hail to go away, it wouldn't be true. Many people were pulling over. In fact, at one point we were on the shoulder, another van pulled over into the grass on the right of us and there was a car on the shoulder on the other side of the road and numerous vehicles behind us when a truck decided to stop in the lane of the highway and wait. Not too smart. He didn't stay there for long. At one point on the other side of the highway (it was a divided highway) there were five vehicles all stopped completely blocking the road and stopping all traffic because of the storm. After that we made it to our hotel just fine.
Yesterday was busy setting up. I didn't get to do much as I had the kiddos most of the time. Though at one point SiL (sis-in-law) took the kids and I actually got to put books up instead of just putting shelves together.
Right now J & S are over at the conference. Mom and I are going to go eat breakfast soon and SiL and the kids are hopefully all still sleeping. They need it!

Writing? What's that? :) Okay, I wrote a little on Tuesday evening and that's all. Sorry. :) Oh, and I added a new feature to this post. I added a three little things at the bottom. If you don't have time to comment or never comment, I'd really like it if you'd at least click on the statement that you think fits the story. That way I'd at least get an idea of what people were thinking of it. Enjoy!

Answered Prayers
Part 2

    Helping Susan up first, Darline mounted quickly after and then pulled Sarah up behind her and they were off. The twins never knew how long that ride was, but it felt like hours. In the front, Susan ducked her head down, for the wind made it difficult to breathe. Behind, Sarah clung to Darline’s shirt and shivered.
    As for Darline, without her jacket on she felt the fierce biting wind and longed to race home. She knew, however, that with the load he was carrying, her horse would tire too quickly if he were pushed to a faster pace. At least the Smith ranch was closer than her own if she could head in the right direction.
    A distant rumble of thunder sounded and the girls caught of glimpse of a lightning flash off to the south. As if the wind and darkness weren’t enough, it began to rain. Not a torrential downpour, but a steady, soaking, penetrating rain. In a less than five minutes the three girls were soaked.
    Trying to keep from shaking, Sarah clung to Darline’s waist with her head ducked and prayed. If only she hadn’t stayed to watch the clouds. She could have watched them from home, but it was too late now. “Please, Dear Jesus,” she prayed, “I’m sorry I wasn’t more careful. Please help us get home and don’t let Ma or Pa or the boys get hurt looking for us. Help Darline’s horse to go right to our house and not get lost, please. Thank you for sending her to help us.”
    Up in front, Susan was also praying. “Dear Jesus, I don’t know where we are for sure, but I’m glad you know. Please help Darline and her horse find our home soon. And please, dear Father, Darline doesn’t love you, and I really want her to. She is nice and sweet, but doesn’t know you like Sare and I do. Please bring her safely through this storm and show her that you care about her. I know you make all things work for good to those who love you, and Sare and I do love you. Please help Darline now.”
    “Girls!” Darline’s excited cry brought the twins’ heads up. “I see lights up ahead!”
    Sure enough, several lights were seen through the rain. These didn’t flash like lightning, but were steadily shining. The wind had abated and they could hear the horse’s shoes striking rocks in the darkness. Onward three girls rode towards those welcoming lights until at last they were close enough for Darline to shout.
    There was a return call and in another minute, Mr. Smith rode up. His relief when he saw his girls was so great that for a minute he could only say, “Thank God!” Then he pulled Sarah into the saddle before him and wrapped his coat about her shaking shoulders.
    “Darline, can your horse make it to our place with the two of you?” he asked.
    “Sure,” Darline replied, her confidence which had been shaken returning now that help was beside her.
    “Keep going then,” Mr. Smith directed, “I have to call the boys in.” So saying, he turned his horse and set off at a brisk pace towards the other lights, keeping one arm around his daughter.
    The news spread quickly that the girls were found and before long Darline’s horse was circled by the riders from the Smith ranch and a jacket was put about her shoulders. She tried to tell Sam, who had given it to her, that she was fine without it, but he wouldn’t listen.
    All of a sudden, seemingly right above them, a blinding flash of lightning appeared followed by the roar of thunder. Most of the horses, spooked by the sudden light and noise, reared and tried to bolt, but their riders kept a tight rein and calmed them.
    “Sam!” Mr. Smith, shouted to his eldest son, “Take Susan from Darline so her horse won’t have to carry as heavy as load.”
    The transfer was quickly made. Once relieved of both girls, Darline thought to head for her uncle’s ranch but as she started to turn her mount’s head, Scott caught the bridle and urged both horses on.
    “Let’s ride!” Mr. Smith hollered as the wind picked back up, the rain came down heavier and lightning lit up the sky while thunder rolled across the heavens, echoing again and again in the mountains until it sounded like one continuous roar.
    The horses needed no urging for all wanted to get in out of that storm. The riders stayed low in the saddles and let the horses have their heads trusting that their sense of direction would take them the quickest, most direct route to the stables.

    Inside the stables it was warm and dry. Susan and Sarah slid off the horses, tired, cold and hungry. They were home. Darline also dismounted in silence wondering if she should just go on home. She knew her uncle wouldn’t worry about her. He probably didn’t even know she wasn’t home for she had left right after supper for a ride and had forgotten to tell him she was leaving. But she was shivering and, looking at her horse, which she was especially fond of, she knew at a glance that he had gone as far as he could.
    “Stan, take care of my mount, too please,” Mr. Smith directed. “Scott, you take Darline’s. I’m going to take the twins in to their mother before she comes out here. Darline, come along, you are as wet as the rest of us.” So saying, Mr. Smith, with an arm about each of his daughters, and followed somewhat reluctantly by Darline, left the stables, hurried across the yard and into the warm, bright, dry kitchen of the ranch.
    Mrs. Smith stopped only to kiss the girls, Darline included, before she hustled them all off for hot baths and dry clothes, not pausing to scold or fret.
    “It’ll be a wonder if you three girls don’t catch pneumonia,” she murmured as she wrapped blankets around them some time later when they were at last seated before the table with bowls of hot soup and steaming drinks before them.
    Never had a meal tasted so good. The men folk had come in from the stables and once they were in dry clothes, had also sat down at the table for hot food. Susan and Sarah ate while telling of their trip home.

To be completed next Friday.
Any thoughts about it so far?