Friday, December 30, 2016

One Thing at a Time

Happy Almost New Year's FFFs,
I can't believe it is almost 2017! Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that I was posting the first time in 2016? Time is flying! I really don't see how it could possibly be anywhere close to the New Year. Do you?

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. I know I did. With it being on Sunday, we got to go to church and enjoyed visiting with people afterwards since we didn't have either choir practice or bell practice. And neither I nor my sister were working in the nursery. :) Then, after eating lunch, we had a relaxed time of opening gifts at home. Then I got to read. Well, I was going to read, but my best friend called and wanted to know if I wanted to join them in a walk. So I did. It was lovely weather! It was nearly 70º, overcast and quiet. It really was delightful. Then I came home and read.

Right now I'm up at my grandparents'. We don't have much planned. Just relaxing and hanging out. We head home tomorrow. And then it's the New Year. *gulp* Are you ready for the new year? What big projects do you have planned for this coming year? Anything?

I know I've posted this story before, but it's been a few years, and I just thought it was appropriate with the New Year almost upon us to be reminded of a few important things. :) Enjoy!

One Thing at a Time

    “There isn’t any time or I have no inclination!” The girl flung down her pencil and watched it roll across the floor and under a shelf with gloomy satisfaction.
    “No time or inclination for what?” asked an amused voice.
    Turning, the girl saw her brother standing in the open doorway. There was a look of fresh air and sunshine about him and his eyes sparkled with life and energy.
    With a deep, drawn out sigh, the girl turned to stare moodily at the wall, propped her chin in her hand and replied, “Everything.”
    “You’re right,” came the unexpected answer. “I have no time nor inclination to go join some of the other fellows in the saloon, or spend half the night at a party dancing, or play cards with Bill and Tom though they coaxed me to for half an hour yesterday.”
    “But it’s not the same thing, Max!” the girl pouted. “I’d think you, at least, would understand and help me.”
    “Suppose you explain yourself then, Meg and maybe I can.”  The young man settled himself on a chair where he could see his sister’s face and waited.
    For a moment Meg was silent, her pretty face clouded and gloomy. At last she spoke. “There’s nothing to explain. I just don’t have the time to do everything I want to do or should do, and when I do have the time I don’t want to do it.”
    Max nodded soberly though his brown eyes twinkled merrily. “Of course. Just what I said, not enough time and don’t want to. Anything else the matter?”
    At that, Meg glowered at him. “You’re no help! Why don’t you go play ball or go fishing.”
    Max laughed. “Because I don’t want to. It seems to be the same problem you have. Besides, there’s no one to play with. Seriously though, Meg,” his voice became sober. “It sounds like you have the same problem the Apostle Paul had when he said the good that I would, that I don’t do, but the evil that I don’t want to do, that’s what I do.”
    “But I don’t want to do evil, Max,” Meg protested. “The things I want to do are good, but when I have time to do them, I don’t want to do them anymore. And when I should do them, I want to do something else.”
    “Oh, so you’re problem is that you want to do good things when you want to do them and not when you should do them?”
    Meg shrugged.
    “Doesn’t doing something, even if it is good, at the wrong time make it wrong?”
    “There’s a time for every purpose under heaven,” Max quoted.
    “But that doesn’t mean when I draw and paint and when I practice the piano or weed the garden. Or study history,” she added in a lower voice.
    “It doesn’t? Meg, if I were to decide to work on my Latin when I should be preparing my algebra, do you think I’d be ready to recite in arithmetic class?”
    “No, but—”
    “And if you were to practice the piano when Aunt Jane was taking a nap, do you think you would be ready for your lesson?”
    Meg couldn’t help smiling over that idea though she shook her head. Her aunt would soon put a stop to her lessons if she tried it. “But my drawing and reading and weeding don’t disturb anyone.”
    Raising his eyebrows Max folded his arms. “They don’t? What about you?”
    A puzzled look crossed Meg’s face. “What do you mean?”
    “Doesn’t your reading disturb you, when you want to do it when you shouldn’t?”
    Meg’s eyes dropped and she half turned her face to hide a blush, for Max had spoken the truth. She did love to read and often her drawing and garden were neglected while she poured over her history book. “It’s that I don’t feel like drawing sometimes or working in the garden, even if I do enjoy those things.” Her voice was muffled by her hands. “And I have to study for history.”
    “Do you feel like you’ve accomplished everything well if you study your history when you haven’t finished the rest of your work?”
    Meg shook her head slowly.
    Silence fell on the room. A bee buzzed around the open window and the sound of robins singing in the tree outside broke the quiet. At last Meg, without looking at her brother said, “I tried to read only when it was time to study history, but I just can’t seem to help myself. I wish I had more time to read. Or more inclination to do the other things. But sometimes I’d rather be outside in the garden than even reading.” She sighed.
    Max stood up and gently pulled his sister’s hands away from her face. “I’d much rather study Latin than tug at those algebra problems, and if I let my mind be distracted by the Latin I wished I could be studying, I’d have low marks and Papa wouldn’t be very pleased. You love history and reading, Meg, but you also have other things to learn. You have to discipline yourself to focus on the thing at hand. Do one thing at a time, then, when you have extra time, you can enjoy all the more doing what you really like.”
    For a moment Meg sat with her eyes downcast, not noticing the half finished drawing that lay before her.
    “One thing at a time, Meggy,” Max repeated softly, using the pet name he had called his sister when she was small.
    Giving a sigh, Meg looked up into her brother’s kind eyes. “It’s just so hard,” she whispered.
    “Ask Jesus to help you, Meg. He will, you know.”
    Meg nodded and straightened. “Thanks Max. Papa and Aunt Jane are too busy to talk with me like this.”
    Stooping, Max reached under the shelf and pulled out the despised pencil. Handing it to his sister he said, “You finish your work and I’ll go finish algebra, then perhaps there will be time for a walk before supper.” And Meg bent over her paper with a smile.

Have you ever had the trouble Meg had?
What do you want posted next week?
Is there a story you think I should re-post?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry CHRISTmas!

Don't forget the real reason behind this wonderful celebration!

Merry Christmas!

Join the fun and read other posts from the "12 Days of Christmas" by clicking on the image.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Christmas Dinner

I'm a writer. And sometimes writers get inspired by strange things. And sometimes by not so strange things. This December I heard a song and my brain said, "Wouldn't that be fun to write into a story?" My Self agreed and I kept thinking that I would write it. But I was too busy. I kept hearing the song because, well, it's peppy and fun and my mom likes to listen to it while she washes the dishes. So I finally wrote it. It was fun. And I hope you enjoy this story. And the song that inspired it.

Christmas Dinner

    It was Christmas day. The air outside was crisp, and the snow sparkled and glittered across the farmyard in the late afternoon sunshine. Inside the house all was warm and cozy. Smells from the kitchen pervaded every nook and cranny of the snug farmhouse, from the living room where the large tree stood looking bare with all the gifts gone, to the farthest corner of the attic where empty boxes stood waiting to be filled once again with the ornaments and decorations of Christmas time.
    Rousing from his afternoon nap, Farmer Jones yawned and stretched. Standing up he sniffed the air and then, tucking his thumbs in his suspenders, he ambled from the living room. “Sure smells good, don’t it?” he remarked to his second son.
    Eighteen-year-old Jeremiah looked up from hanging his coat on the hook. “Sure does. Think Mother has dinner about ready, Pa?”
    “Sure hope so. I’ll go find out.”
    Sauntering down the hall through the dining room and into the kitchen, Farmer Jones sniffed again. The turkey smelled divine! His wife, an apron tied about her ample waist, was bustling here and there, a smudge of flour on her cheek and wisps of her hair curling about her face instead of staying properly in her bun.
    “Mother,” Farmer Jones said, “everybody’s starvin’. Let’s eat.”
    Mother Jones, as she was known far and wide, turned around, a wooden spoon in her hand. “Hold your horses, Father. I’ve got a million courses to get ready, and,” she waved her spoon with a shake of her head. “I’m fixing a treat! I could use some help though.”
    Quickly Father Jones turned around. He heard someone whistling and called out, “Jeremiah, go and help your mother.” Then, catching sight of the thirteen-year-old twins on the stairs, he added, “Jane and Jonah, you too.”
    The clatter of the twins’ feet was heard as they rushed down the stairs. No doubt they had been smelling the feast and were hungry.
    After checking in the living room and the library but not finding his other children, Farmer Jones looked out the front door. “Ah, there’s another one,” he thought to himself, hurrying to the door and swinging it wide open. “Hezekiah!” His shout caused the head of his third son to raise from the wood he had been stacking.
    “Yes, sir?”
    “Go and fetch your brother.”
    “Sure thing, Pa. Which one? And where is he?”
    “Jud. I ‘spect he’s in the barn with his horse.” When Hezekiah nodded, Father started to shut the door and then stuck his head out once more. “Then fetch Amy and Sue.”
    Hezekiah’s brown head nodded as he strode off toward the red barn.
    Patting his round stomach, Father shut the door and sighed. He could smell all those dishes Mother was fixing and he couldn’t wait to sit down with his family and partake. It was a favorite part of the Jones family Christmas day.
    It wasn’t long before Hezekiah and Jud could be heard stomping the snow off their boots on the porch. A gust of cold air came in with the boys and Father, turning from watching Jane, her pretty dark hair tied back with a red ribbon, set the table, saw Hezekiah start up the stairs, no doubt in search of the two youngest Jones girls.
    Things were in a bustle as Jed, and then Hezekiah, Amy, and Sue all joined in to help Mother get the food on. Father stayed out of the way. He was no help in the kitchen and knew it. As each steaming dish was brought to the table, his mouth watered even more. Finally he stationed himself before his chair at the head of the table and Jeremiah set the turkey down before him. It was golden brown and steam rose in a fragrant wave.
    As everyone found their places, the three oldest boys, Jud, Jeremiah and Hezekiah, on one side, Jane and Jonah, Amy and Sue on the other, and Mother at the food, Father smiled.
    “Mother, everybody’s happy. We’ve got a reason to smile.”
    Mother laughed her bright, bubbly laugh which caused smiles and a few giggles among her children. “That’s ‘cause you know that I’m about to serve a Christmas dinner country style.”
    “No doubt, Mother, no doubt. But let’s all sit and bow our heads. I’ll say grace, then we’ll break bread.”
    There was a slight shuffling as each person quickly sat down. Every head, light, dark, and a few browns, bowed reverently as Father gave thanks for the dinner and for Christmas and what it meant. After a hearty “Amen” from everyone present, heads were lifted and eyes sparkled at the knowledge that they were about to partake of Mother’s wonderful cooking.
    “Put your napkins in your lap, girls,” Mother reminded Amy and Sue.
    “While Jud pours cider from the tap,” added Father. “Is it fresh cider, Jud?”
    “Sure is, Pa. I made it yesterday with some of the apples from the cellar since we had such a lot.”
    There was so much food and it was passed along from one person to the next, across the table, clock-wise and counter-clock-wise. Turkey, both dark and white meat, ham, chestnut stuffing, huckleberry muffins, marshmallow yam, and cranberry sauce, rhubarb, and black-eyed peas. It was a feast to fill any hungry boy or girl. Or a dozen of them. Everyone ate and talked and ate some more. Seconds were had by everyone and the four boys even had thirds.
    “I think I’m ‘bout to explode, Mother,” Jane said, leaning back in her chair.
    “Me too,” echoed Amy and Sue.
    “Have a little pickled quince,” Jeremiah offered, holding out the dish.
    “Choose your pie, everyone,” Father instructed. “Pumpkin or mince.”
    No one refused. How could they when it was Mother who had made them? But at last no one could eat another bite.
    Leaning back in his chair, Father looked down the table at his wife and said, “Oh, dinner was grand, to say the least!” Glancing at his children seated on either side of the now ravished table, he added, with a nod toward Mother Jones, “Honor the lady who cooked this feast.”
    “Mother, thank you for the dinner!” Chorused all seven children.
    And Jonah added, “All the fixin’s were great!”
    A broad smile crossed Mother’s face. “Nothin’ to it. I’m mighty glad to do it, seein’ how much you ate! Now I shouldn’t have to feed you until spring.”
    A general laugh filled the dining room and then Jud pushed back his chair. “Well, it’s time to clear it all away. Come on. Jeremiah, get the turkey, or what’s left of it. Hezekiah, the ham platter. The rest of you start collecting the dishes. Mother, you and Father go sit in the living room and just relax.”
    With a smile, Mother stood up. “All right, but don’t you go and break any of my good china now.” It was something she said every year, and none of it had been broken except one saucer when Jeremiah was no larger than the family dog.
    Beaming, Father rose slowly, tucked his thumbs in his suspenders and stood a moment watching his children clear off the table. Then, with a sigh, he ambled slowly into the living room and built up the fire in the large stone fireplace before sinking down into his favorite chair. “That sure was a Christmas dinner, Mother,” he remarked.
    Wearily Mother rested her feet on the footstool and nodded. “It sure was.”

    Before long the children appeared in the doorway, their faces bright and no sign of having stuffed themselves.
    “Jeremiah,” Jane begged, “go and get your fiddle!”
    “Yeah, go get it,” eagerly pleaded Amy and Sue, while his brothers all nodded in agreement.
    “All right.” Jeremiah sauntered into the other room, and they could hear the sounds of the fiddle strings as he tested them. Soon he was back, lightly drawing the bow over the strings in a tune which set each foot to tapping.
    “Come on, Father, let’s dance,” begged Jane, hurrying to her father’s side.
    But Farmer Jones shook his head and patted his full stomach, “I’m too full of turkey and stuffing. Sorry, Janie, I ain’t takin’ a chance. Get one of your brothers to take you for a spin.”
    So, while Mother and Father sat watching, the six children, Jud and Amy, Hezekiah and Sue, and Jane and Jonah danced to the lively tunes Jeremiah brought forth from his fiddle.
    When at last the fiddler ceased and everyone sank laughing onto chairs and sofas, Father said, “It’s been a very, very merry Christmas. We’ve got reason to smile.” He looked around at each shining face “Mother, everybody loved your Christmas dinner country style.”

Here's the song that inspired it all. :)
Click on the image to find and enjoy more 12 Days of Christmas posts.
And have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Peter's Christmas - Part 3

Merry Friday before Christmas!
Wow! Christmas is the day after tomorrow! Hard to believe. This week, no– this month, . . . actually–this year have flown by. But much to my astonished delight, I actually have everything that I "needed" to do before Christmas crossed off my list. Yep, now I can go read. :)  I love it when I get things done and can go read without feeling guilty. How about you? Are you ready for Christmas?

This is the last part of this story. I hope you enjoy it. I'd love to know what you think of it.

Peter's Christmas
Part 3

    The walk home didn’t seem to take as long. The wind had picked up, and I pulled off my jacket to place over the child in John’s arms. As the light of my lantern fell on the boy’s face, I saw that he had fallen asleep. His dirty face was tear-stained and one arm was around the neck of his new friend.

    When we stepped inside the house, Virginia, forgetful of her injured ankle, tried to stand up, holding out her arms for her young brother, but John said quickly, “Don’t get up, he’s all right.”
    “Oh, Peter!”
    The little boy, roused from his sleep by the lights, wrapped his arms about his sister’s neck. “I tried to help you,” he sobbed, “but it wasn’t there!”
    For several minutes we all stood around and watched. Then my wife motioned us to the dining room. “I’ve kept your supper hot,” she said. “The girls and I have already eaten.”
    “Peter should eat too,” I said, glancing back into the living room where the reunited siblings continued to cling to each other.
    Mary nodded. “I know, but I don’t think Virginia is going to let him go.”
    “Let me try,” John said quietly.
    I don’t know what he said, but within five minutes he was back with Peter and, after the two of them had washed their hands, they sat down together to eat.

    Virginia wanted to return to their boarding house once Peter had eaten, but I shook my head. “No, the doctor said you weren’t to use that foot for a while, and I have a feeling that if you were to go home, you wouldn’t follow those orders.” The young woman colored and a small smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “Now,” I continued, “we’ll bed Peter down on a cot in the boys’ room, and you can sleep in Dorothy’s room.”
    “But I don’t want to put her out,” protested Virginia. “I can sleep on the couch. I don’t mind, really. The tree smells so lovely, and it’s decorated so nice . . .” her voice trailed off as her gaze rested on the tree.
    “It’s not putting me out,” Dorothy said. “I have an extra bed in my room, and I’d love to have a room mate. You can enjoy the tree tomorrow. You said you didn’t have to go back to work until the day after Christmas. Why don’t you just stay here until then?”
    My oldest daughter’s impulsiveness brought approval from her brothers and sisters.
    “But we can’t impose. Christmas is for families and–”
    But John interrupted. “Then pretend we are family. And, if you won’t do it for your own sake, do it for Peter’s. He needs a special Christmas this year.”
    The appeal for Peter’s sake was the deciding factor, for Virginia looked down at her sleepy brother as he sat beside her, and nodded.

    Peter’s chatter enlivened the breakfast table the next morning. His inquisitive questions sometimes puzzled even John and me, and we were obliged to tell the little fellow we didn’t know. Since it was Christmas Eve day, I didn’t have to work and enjoyed being home with my family. All morning long Peter was a shadow, and not a very silent one either. He followed John and Charles around the house, outside, and even down the road to return a lantern which had been left at our house the night before.
    Stuck on the couch with her injured ankle up on a pillow, Virginia didn’t suffer from lack of company. Dorothy seemed to think it her special task to wait upon our guest’s every whim, though Virginia was anything but demanding. Even Ruth and Alice could be found in the living room listening as Virginia told stories.
    After lunch, Dorothy suggested they make fudge. When Mary gave assent, John carried Virginia to the kitchen, while Charles brought a rocker, and Ruth and Peter dragged in a footstool. I was going to take a nap but paused long enough to see the candy making well established. There was a bright glow on Virginia’s face, and I wondered how long it had been since she had spent even a few carefree hours enjoying herself.
    “Christmas is coming!” Peter sang, climbing up on a chair beside John.
    “What would that child’s Christmas Eve have been like had he not run up to that cabin?” I mused half to myself.
    “It would probably have been a much lonelier and quieter one,” Mary replied.
    I nodded. “Mary, we’ll have to see to it that both those children aren’t forgotten after Christmas.”
    “I don’t think they will be.” And my wife smiled knowingly.

    That evening, after the supper dishes were washed and everyone had settled down, Charles plugged in the Christmas tree lights and turned off all the others. A hush fell even over Peter who sat on the couch between his sister and John. There was no snow outside and no prospect of any for tomorrow, but no one minded. Silently I let my gaze wander around the room. The younger ones were looking at the many presents which lay wrapped under the branches of the tree. That afternoon Dorothy and I had driven over to Mrs. Mead’s and picked up the few presents Virginia had for Peter. We did a little shopping of our own before we returned and now, though she didn’t say anything, I could tell my oldest daughter was fairly bursting with our secrets.
    Then Peter’s young voice broke the silence. Somehow I knew he would be the first to talk. “That house did do it,” he stated.
    “Do what, Peter,” his sister asked, taking one of his small hands in her own.
    “It made everything all right and made you happy again. I tried to find something for you for Christmas, to make your sadness go away, Ginia, but–” he giggled, “I didn’t find anything. ‘Stead Mr. John and Mr. Hampton found me, and now everything is happy again.”
    I didn’t miss the look my eldest son gave Virginia, and I didn’t need more lights than those on the Christmas tree to know she was blushing. It would be a very special day tomorrow. I reached out for my wife’s hand. Somehow I knew that none of us would forget Peter’s Christmas. Especially John and Virginia.

Did you like it?
What do you think happened after that?
Tomorrow I have a very short story for you. 
Will you be back?
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Let It Snow Lamp

I had so much fun making this Christmas-y, winter-ish lamp.

We already had the lamp part made and it had been filled with other things in the past. But my sis-in-law and I were talking about it after Thanksgiving and she suggested I fill it with red Christmas balls. I didn't end up with enough to add, so . . . I did something different. I had seen many different "snow-globes" the people had made on Pinterest. Some had used fishbowls and other jars. That's what gave me the idea.

First I put some batting in to keep things up a little. Next I put some of the "fake snow" you can get at any craft store. This wasn't much, just enough to cover the top of the batting and give it some "sparkle." Next came the lighthouse and trees. I sprayed the outside of the jar with "santa snow" so that it would look like it was snowing. The back of the jar I sprayed heavier, while the front was just a light snow so you could still see inside.

What do you think? Doesn't it sort of look like it's snowing inside? Have you ever made a "snow-globe" jar or something?
Join the fun and read other posts from the "12 Days of Christmas" by clicking on the image.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Deck the Halls

I thought I'd give you a look at some of our decorations this year.

This is what you'll find out our font porch. My sister-in-law had the idea and told my dad what she wanted. He cut the pieces for her and she created this rustic Nativity. And yes, there are lights in the hay, I mean straw, that we turn on at night.

This is one of my favorite places to decorate. On top we have our Nativity scene. (Sorry, the picture cut off a bit of it.) Inside the cabinet, on the top shelf we have Mr. and Mrs. Clause from my dad's mom, or his grandma (I don't remember which.) On the next shelf we have two little angels from my mom's side of the family. And the stocking, that was my dad's when he was a little boy.
But the message on the top says it all.
"For unto us a Savior is born."

And here is our Christmas tree. Yes, it is fake. Sorry. We would have all loved to have our traditional huge Christmas tree, but sometimes we just don't have the money for something like that. So, we decided to get a fake tree that we can use on the years we can't afford a real tree. It's not too bad. :)
This year I ended up decorating it all by myself. And it ended up rather elegant. I used strings of gold beads, red, white and gold balls and little silver bells.  

This is something I cut out last year. It was so much fun to cut all the details. It sits on our piano.

Across the room from the tree, the cabinet, and the piano, is the village of Garlandsburg. Sorry, I haven't had any time to take you on a tour of it this year. Hopefully next year I can. This is probably my favorite corner of the village with the hill, the water, and the houses.

Now, let me take you into the kitchen.
This is my dad's desk. Well, the wall and part of what is on his desk. ;)
And our window seats. Yep, we have two large window seats in the kitchen. They open up for storage, and the windows look out into the "bird area" where we have a bird bath and feeders. We hang all the Christmas cards we get on the garlands over each window which makes it nice. The grandkids love the books on the shelves and are often found curled up on the window seats reading or looking at books.
And this is above the washer and dryer. Or rather, the shelf above them. I did a more out-doors, winter theme this year. Some years we've had a gingerbread theme.

  And here we are in the hall looking down through the garland and lights that frame the doorways. The lights you see at the far end are the village. And yes, those are bookshelves on the right side of the picture. And they are full of some of our over 5,000 books.

Now let me take you upstairs.
These trees are at the top of the stairs. The picture didn't capture the gleam of the beads. Sorry.

And this is another favorite place to look at. Our stair railing. Usually we have garland wrapped around the tall pillar and lights reaching from the ceiling to the floor. But this year my mom suggested we do a "peppermint" theme. It was so much easier to wrap the wide ribbon than the garlands! And packing tape holds them on! I added a garland and lights on the top railing and hung fake candy canes and draped sparkling red beads among the branches.

And that, my dear readers, is a glimpse of our decorations. We do have icicle lights on the porches, and a small tree in my room on my desk. My parents' room also has the rest of the village (we out grew the living room several years ago) and two little trees. This year we didn't do as much as we have before when we've held an Open House. Then we have every room decorated! But I was thankful we weren't doing that this year as I did almost all the decorating myself since everyone else was much too busy.
I hope you enjoyed the tour. 
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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Christmas Joy

I came across this video and thought you all might enjoy it too.

I hope you all feel the joy of this season!

We had the lovely winter weather hit our area yesterday afternoon and temperatures were in the single digits last night with windchill of -12º. Yeah. Cold. The roads were bad enough that church was cancelled this morning, but we're still planning on having the Christmas program tonight!

Join the fun and read other posts from the "12 Days of Christmas" by clicking on the image.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Beyond the Horizon - Review

You readers haven't had many book reviews on this blog. But today you get one.

 Eliana longs to see the world beyond the mountains that tower above Salzburg, Austria, but knows that dream will never see such adventure- and neither will she.
Surrounded by a world of cruelty, she lives for the weekly visits of Aron, a boy she met on one of her rambles through the countryside.

But as the years pass and she begins to grow older, a new and unwelcome world is opened up to her.
On a fateful night at a party she vowed she’d never attend, she comes face to face with a shocking truth.

As the world around her teeters on the brink of war, Eliana struggles to figure out just where her loyalty lies; a decision that will drastically change the course of her life. Will she ever be free to see what lies beyond the horizon?

 My Review:
The cover is what pulled me to read this story in the first place because I'm not really much of a fan of fairy-tale re-tellings (or fairy tales at all). But, I had read a few other stories by this author and decided to go ahead and try it. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The setting, the characters, the action were all interesting and kept me wanting to read.
This is a story I'll probably read again.

 And yes, it is a Christmas story as well, or at least most of it takes place in December and it ends on Christmas Day. :)
You can get your own copy by going here.

Does it sound like a story you'd enjoy?
Have you read it yet?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Peter's Christmas - Part 2

Good morning Christmas Lovers,
It's been another busy week here. I've actually gotten quite a bit done, but sometimes it doesn't seem that way. It's so hard to believe that Christmas is *gulp* 10 days away! (If you count today and Christmas.) Umm, I don't think I'm ready. Are you? Tomorrow is the last rehearsal for the Christmas play at church. I'm part of the music for it which is fun. But it means I'll be gone for about two hours tomorrow. But the program is Sunday evening, and next week it'll all be over.
So many things. So little time.

But I won't drag this out. I'll let you get right to the second part of:

Peter's Christmas
Part 2

    “At Mrs. Mead’s boarding house. We just moved there two weeks ago when I was transferred to this telephone branch. I’m the new Hello Girl.”
    “What’s that?” Alice wanted to know.
    “Shh,” Dorothy whispered. “It’s a telephone operator.”
    “When did you find Peter missing?” I was determined not to get too distracted.
    “When I got off work at four. I thought at first that he was playing with some of the other children in the nearby houses, but he never came home. I asked around, and several people said they had seen him walking down the road in this direction. You didn’t see a brown haired boy in a red shirt, did you?” Virginia looked hopefully at Ruth and Alice, but both girls shook their heads.
    The thud of feet sounded on the porch and John came in. “They’re on their way.”
    Quickly I filled him in on what we had learned. As I spoke, I could almost see the wheels turning in John’s mind. When I had finished, he turned to the couch and asked, “What does Peter like to do?”
    Virginia looked somewhat confused. “I don’t know. He likes to play marbles and play with other children.” Her brown eyes filled with tears. “I just don’t know!”
    “Don’t worry, we’ll find him. Tell me, did he like it when you moved here?”
    “Yes, he liked it better than I did. Grantsville was my home nearly all my life, and I didn’t like the thought of leaving. But I needed the better pay this job offered.”
    It wasn’t much to go on, but I knew we had to start searching. John said our neighbor had promised to round up as many men as he could.
    “I’ll keep looking too,” Virginia said, starting to get up. But there were instant objections from John, Mary and myself.
    “You stay right there and let us find Peter,” John said.
    Lying back with closed eyes, Virginia nodded. “I’ll be praying you find him soon.”
    As soon as the sheriff and Dr. Brown arrived, John, Charles and I went out to talk with the sheriff. Other men began arriving, and within fifteen minutes there were nearly a dozen men and boys. Dorothy begged to join the search party, but I shook my head. “No,” I told her. “I want you to stay home and help your mom keep Virginia company.”

    The men spread out and began combing the woods; some went down the road, and the sheriff went back to town to check and see if the boy had returned to the boarding house. Charles had joined the men on the far side of the road while John was with me. It was dark in the woods though the stars covered the sky and the moon shone brightly.
    The call echoed in the silent night. Where would a small boy go? I offered a silent prayer for his safety and asked for wisdom about where to look. Where would my boys have gone when they were six? Charles never ran off, but John– Suddenly the thought struck me. “John,” I called. “The stone hut!”
    My son turned to me, and I could see his face in the light of my lantern. He nodded. “I should have thought of that myself.”
    He was right. He should have thought of it; after all, that was his favorite place to run off to when he was having a hard day. The two of us turned right and then cut back towards the house when we reached an old road before it wound away up the hill. Every boy in town knew of the old stone hut. It had been the refuge of most of them at one time or another.
    On we went up the old road, over branches broken by the late storm, through piles of damp leaves. Neither one of us called any longer. We didn’t want to frighten the boy if he was in the hut. I hoped and prayed he would be there. The sheriff had promised to blow the factory whistle if he was found in town, and there had been no sound of it.
    “Dad,” John said quietly, “where are we going to look if he’s not there?”
    I didn’t want to even think of that. “I don’t know. There’s the hut.”
    “Peter?” John called, and I marveled at how calm he sounded.
    There was a stir in the hut, and I held my lantern up praying we would see a boy and not just a wild animal.
    The small face that peered out of the doorway was streaked with tears.
    “Are you Peter Stone?” John asked kindly, kneeling down before the small boy.
    The brown head nodded.
    “Your sister’s been looking for you.”
    Peter sniffed and rubbed his eyes with a dirty hand. “It wasn’t true. I came here but it wasn’t true!”
    “What wasn’t true, Peter?” John sat down on the stoop, and I waited and watched.
    “The boys said that everything becomes all right when you come here and–” A hiccup interrupted his words. “And you get something to help you. But there’s nothing here. I looked all over and . . . and . . . now I’ve made Ginia fret, and I just wanted to make her happy again!” The pitiful story ended in a burst of tears, and Peter disappeared back into the dark house.
    “Poor kid,” John murmured with a sigh.
    I agreed with him. Life must be difficult for a lad his age, moving to a new town, having his sister at work nearly all day, and having no other family around. As I thought of these things, I followed John inside. By the light of my lantern I watched my son gather the heartbroken boy in his arms and soothe him. A lump rose in my throat. John would make such a good father, but his fiancée had been killed in an accident in the spring.
    “Let’s get you back to your sister,” John was saying when I pulled my thoughts back from their wandering. “It will make her happy to know you are safe.”
    If Peter gave an answer, I didn’t hear it, but his quivering sigh went straight to my heart.

Have you ever had to look for a missing child?
Have you had a busy week?
Are you ready for Christmas to arrive? 
Join the fun and read other posts from the "12 Days of Christmas" by clicking on the image.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas Cookies

I originally posted this poem back in 2011, but it was so well liked, that I thought I'd share it again. Enjoy!

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!

P.S. The little guy in the last picture is now 7! And he has three younger siblings. How quickly the time goes!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Peter's Christmas - Part 1

Happy 9th of December!
I wanted to post more this week, but besides posting on Monday, it just didn't happen. I was much too busy trying to get other things done and fighting a bad cold. My cold is almost gone now, for which I'm very thankful. (It's hard to sing in a choir when you have a cold.) And I've gotten a lot of my bigger things done. For now at least. :P Maybe next week I can post more often. ;) Though you can check out my posts on Read Another Page as I'm posting reviews on Christmas stories and movies on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Now, before you start this story, I need to tell you a little of the history of it.
It all started last autumn. It wasn't Thanksgiving yet and I was trying really hard to get a quilt done for a someone who had asked me to make them one. (Believe me, it's not a usual project to make an entire quilt. Doing the hand quilting, sure, but not the rest.) Anyway, I was sewing the binding on and my sister had the radio playing. We were listening to WCPE with their lovely classical music. A song came on, and I have no idea who wrote it or what it was, but I could hear words. (It was all instrumental.) Someone was calling Peter! I could hear it as clearly as though it were written out. "Peter! Peee–ter!" Then some other lovely music would fill the air before the call came again. And again. When I told my sister, she gave me that look. The one that says, "You're crazy." But I heard it. And I wondered why they were calling for Peter, and and who was calling.
So, a few days later, with that call still in my mind, I sat down and wrote "Peter's Christmas" and discovered the answers to my questions.
I hope you enjoy it.

Peter's Christmas
Part 1

    “Peter! Pe–ter!”
    I heard the call as I shut off the engine and opened the door of my truck. “What are they listening to on the radio?” I thought, glancing towards the house. It was a warm December evening, not the kind of weather you think of when you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Eve.
    Mounting the steps to the long front porch, I heard the call again.
    “Peter. Pe–ter!”
    That’s when I realized that the call didn’t come from the house but from the woods. Turning, I scanned the tree line in every direction but saw nothing. Who was Peter and why was he being called?
    “Peter! Pe–ter! The second call had a rising inflection in it, almost as though the name were being sung.
    “Strange,” I thought, opening the screen door. “I don’t remember anyone named Peter living around here.” I racked my brain trying to think of a family with someone of that name, but every time I came up blank. There just weren’t any Peters unless one was new to the area.
    “Peter. Pe–” The name was interrupted by a slight cry as though of pain.
    Quickly opening the door, I stepped inside. “John, Charles,” I called my sons. “Get the lantern and a flashlight. I think someone’s in the woods and needs help.”
    “Can I come too, Daddy,” my fifteen-year-old daughter, Dorothy, begged.
    Knowing that the one who had been calling was probably a girl, I nodded. “Get your jacket, the sun’s going down.”
    In less than ten minutes the four of us were crossing the road and entering the dark woods beyond.
    “Hello!” I called, hoping the woman would answer.
    We plunged deeper into the woods toward the sound of the voice, and soon our lights fell on the form of a young woman half lying on the ground.
    “Ma’am, what happened?” I asked.
    The young woman lifted a pain filled face. I could see a large scrape down one side of it. “I can’t find Peter,” she sniffed. “And then I stepped in a hole or something, and my ankle turned. Help me find Peter!”
    John had knelt beside her. “Did you get that scratch when you fell?”
    “I suppose so,” replied the woman, putting a hand up and gingerly touching her face. “I don’t know. I’m been searching the woods for over an hour.” There was a whimper in her voice, a sound of defeat and despair.
    “My name’s John Hampton. That’s my father, my brother Charles, and my sister Dorothy. Can you walk?”
    The girl shook her head. “I can’t get up. My name is Virginia Stone. But I have to find Peter. Could you help me up? Maybe I can walk if I can just get to my feet.”
    When John glanced up at me, I silently shook my head and nodded back towards the house. If the woman had injured her ankle, it needed proper attention. Besides, she only had on a light jacket and, even if the weather was unusually warm for the twenty-third of December, it was getting colder now that the sun had fully set.
    “Virginia,” I said, “we’re going to take you back to our house; it’s not far, and then you can tell us about Peter, and we’ll look for him.”
    For a moment I thought the woman would refuse, for she closed her eyes and stiffened. “I suppose it would help if I had a few more people looking for him.” She put an arm about John’s neck without a protest and let him lift her.
    John was in the army. He’d been called up just after Pearl Harbor but hadn’t been sent overseas. Instead he’d been stationed at the camp near our home as an instructor. Since he lived so close to home, he had managed to get a four day leave to spend the holidays at home, and now, as he easily lifted and carried the young woman with no apparent effort, I was thankful he was home. I missed having my eldest son around all the time.

    Back at the house, John set Virginia on the couch and then moved back so his mother could attend to our guest. It took but a moment before my wife looked around. “John, run next door and phone Dr. Brown. This ankle is badly wrenched.”
    “Yes, ma’am.” John started at once for the door, and I followed him to the porch.
    “John,” I said, lowering my voice, “phone the sheriff as well and let him know we’ve got a missing person. It wouldn’t hurt to round up a few more men either. I’ll see if I can find out more about Peter before you get back.”
    John nodded, took the steps in a single bound, and started off at a rapid dog trot down the road. I knew it wouldn’t take him long to reach the neighbor’s, and I wished again that our telephone line had been repaired. A storm five days ago had knocked it out, and there weren’t a lot of repair men in our area.
    Stepping inside again, I was accosted by the agitated voice of our visitor. “Please,” she begged, “we have to find Peter!”
    I nodded. “We will. How old is he and what does he look like?” I perched on the arm of a chair and glanced about the room. All the children were there except John; Charles, Dorothy, Ruth and Alice. My wife, Mary, sat beside the young woman and dabbed away the blood from her scraped face.
    “Peter is only six,” Virginia said. “He’s all I have left. You see, Mama died when Peter was just a baby, and Papa was sent overseas–he was a member of the reserves and got called up after Pearl Harbor.” She flinched. “He was killed in action three months ago. Peter’s all I have left,” she repeated in a whisper.
    Though my heart went out to the young woman who was no more than a girl herself, I kept my focus on the missing boy. “Where do you live?” I hoped this might help us in finding Peter.

Where is Peter?
Have you ever helped look for a missing child?
Will you be back next Friday for the next part of this story?

Join the fun and read other posts from the "12 Days of Christmas" by clicking on the image.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas Delays - Part 2

Happy 5th of December!
I hope you enjoy this conclusion to this Christmas story. Keep checking this blog because I'm not sure when I'll post something next. ;)

Christmas Delays
Part 2

    Linda introduced herself and found out the woman’s name was Alice. Her husband was somewhere in France. The three children spoke not a word but stared wide eyed. After Linda had helped Alice to the bed, she asked about wood for the fireplace.
    “We don’t have much left,” Alice whispered. “I haven’t been able to go get more, and Teddy isn’t old enough to send.” She moved restlessly. “What we have is through that door.” She motioned toward a door near the stove.
    In a very few minutes more, Linda was building a fire, and Dave came in. He pulled his coat off and rolled up his sleeves. Noticing a curtain hanging on a wire stretched across the room, he pulled it shut to try to warm up the makeshift bedroom. Motioning to his wife, he stepped to one side.
    “Honey, I brought the basket of food in. Can you heat up some water and give the children some food?” The youngest child had begun to cry when she could no longer see her mother.
    Linda nodded with a smile. Her experience of being the oldest in a large family stood her well now. Before long she had found out that Teddy was four years old, and he took care of his brother and sister. Bobby was three and Lori was only one. Lori cried for her mother until Linda opened the basket of food and put a cookie in her hand. While the kettle heated, Linda settled the three children around the table and began to make them some supper. Teddy informed her that Mama hadn’t gotten them any and added with childlike frankness,
    “Mama didn’t eat today either ‘cause she wasn’t feeling good. But did you know tomorrow is Christmas?”
    “I did know that, Teddy.” Linda smiled.
    Bobby had to tell his bit of news. “Daddy is gone away so we not have a Trismas tree.”
    “That’s okay,” Linda assured him. “You can have Christmas without a tree.
    Lori began to cry. Her cookie was gone. She was still hungry. Linda set a plate of food before each child and then stepped to the curtain to tell Dave the kettle was hot.
    Dave turned at sound of her voice. He spoke softly. “Make her,” he nodded toward the bed, “a cup of tea, and then can you handle things here a few minutes? We need more wood than we have. And don’t worry,” he added with a smile at her concerned look. “The baby isn’t coming yet.”
    His wife nodded.

    With a cup of tea in her hand, Linda glanced at the children who were busy eating and then slipped through the curtain over to the bed. Alice opened her eyes.
    “The little ones?” The question was low.
    A smile flashed across Linda’s face. “Are just fine. They are eating supper now and quite content. Don’t worry about them. I’m used to children. There was a whole parcel when I was growing up.” Gently she brushed the hair away from Alice’s pale face and raised her head holding the steaming cup of tea to her lips. “When was the last time you ate?”
    The answer came slowly. “Last night.”
    All was still then. The only sounds were the fire crackling in the fireplace, the noise of spoons at the table and now and then a thud of wood being set down. After a few minutes in which Alice seemed to doze off, Linda slipped back to the other side of the curtain. Dave was just coming inside. He carried a small evergreen in one hand and a bag from the car in the other. Linda’s smile when she saw him was very bright, and the children stared in astonishment.
    “She seems to be sleeping,” Linda whispered in answer to Dave’s nod of the head. “And Dave, she hasn’t eaten since last night.”
    Dave frowned. “I’m afraid this is going to be a difficult birth, Honey.” He set the tree in an empty bucket and handed his wife the bag. Then with a smile for the children, he stepped back to their mother.

    The children greatly enjoyed the decorating of that tree. From the bag, Linda brought forth some gilded pine cones, gay buttons and bright red yarn. The yarn was intended for a sweater Linda was knitting, but she decided the tree needed it more than the sweater. Dave opened the curtain a little that Alice might watch for a few minutes.
    Teddy paused suddenly and asked, “Where’s my stocking?”
    “And mine,” Bobby whispered.
    Lori just stuck her fingers in her mouth.
    Their mother heard and in a voice filled with emotion, whispered to Dave where they were. He brought them out, and Linda helped the little ones hang them up.

    It was growing late. The sun had long since gone, and the stars shone brightly in at the windows. Dave made another trip out to the car to bring in a few more of their things, for they wouldn’t be leaving that night. Linda sat in the rocking chair with Lori cuddled in a blanket in her arms while the two little boys sat at her feet. In a soft voice she told them the very first Christmas story of all. After that she began to sing. One Christmas carol after another filled the little house with its sweet sound of peace, joy and good will.
    As the boys began to nod, Dave, who had been standing by the partially opened curtain where he could keep an eye on his patient and his wife, came and tucked them into a makeshift bed on the floor beside the stove. Lori whimpered when Linda made a move as if to put her in bed as well, so with a smile, she settled back and continued rocking, her thoughts drifting back to the days of her childhood.

    “Linda!” Dave’s low but intense voice roused her some time later. Instantly she was wide awake. Quickly she placed Lori between her brothers, tucked the blanket around them and then hurried to the bedside.

    It was a long, difficult time. Linda could tell by the firm set of her husband’s jaw that things were serious. All she could do was follow orders quickly and to pray. Never once did she stop praying. Dave too was praying as he worked. This was by far the hardest delivery he had done outside of a hospital.
    At long last, just as the distant city bells were ringing out the Christmas morning, the baby arrived. A girl. Dave didn’t hear the bells, but Linda did.
    When a pale Alice reached to take the flannel bundle from Linda, she asked softly, “Did I hear the Christmas bells ringing?”
    Linda nodded. “Your little girl has come on Christmas morning.”
    Alice gave a tired smile as she snuggled the tiny bundle in her arms and gazed into the sweet little face. “Christmas bells. You are Mama’s little Christmas Belle.”

    Some time later, when Alice had fallen asleep with her new little daughter nestled in the crook of her arm, Dave and Linda slipped out to the porch. The stars were still bright in the heavens and the moon cast a silvery light over the snow. Dave looked down at his wife and smiled. He received an answering smile as he folded her in his arms; their lips met in a long kiss.
    “Dave, aren’t you glad now that we had so many delays?” Linda whispered.
    A puzzled look crossed Dave’s tired face. “What do you mean?”
    “If we hadn’t been delayed so long, that patch of ice might have melted, and we wouldn’t have stopped . . .. What would have happened?”
    Dave cringed, “I don’t even want to think of that, not on Christmas Eve.”
    Linda gave a soft little laugh. “Honey, it’s Christmas Day. The baby came right as the bells were rung. Merry Christmas, Dave! Merry Christmas. We may not have made it to my folks’ home, but we helped make this home a happy Christmas because of God’s Christmas delays.

Have you ever had delays upon delays that turned out for the best?
If you had a baby born on Christmas Mornings, what would you name her?
Do you like me posting when it isn't Friday?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Christmas Delays - Part 1

Merry 2nd of December Friday Fiction Fans!
Do you have all your decorations up? I wish we did. But, since I'm pretty much the only one who has time to do them this year . . . Yeah, it's happening a bit slowly. :) And, since I've always had a bit of trouble remembering the "odds & ends" of projects, it really feels like I can't get anything done because I keep remembering and then forgetting the little things that finish off some place. So last night I made a list. A rather long list, of all the decorating left to do. And I put down those "odds & ends" so I wouldn't forget them.
Now, if you have not been here before in December, I wanted to let you know that I don't just post on Fridays. I love Christmas, I love December, so I post here, there, and any time I want to. If yo don't want to miss a post, make sure you are following me or check back often.

My week has been a bit on the crazy side. Trying to decorate here and there, trying to read, trying to write, trying to get other things done and then releasing my new book. :) If you didn't hear about it, you can go here to find out. Here's the cover though.
Now, since it seems that everyone enjoys a WWII story, I decided to re-post this story. It was my 2nd Christmas story that I had written. I hope you enjoy it.

Christmas Delays
Part 1

    “Great! Here we are in a ditch! This is the third delay this morning!”
    A merry peal of laughter was the only response his wife gave him for a minute.
    Dave Quincey tried to frown but instead smiled wryly at his young, dark eyed wife. “At this rate we won’t make it to your folk’s house until New Year,” he grumbled good-naturedly.
    “Oh, Dave, I couldn’t help laughing. This is the fourth, not the third delay. First the alarm didn’t go off, then you got stuck talking on the phone, or listening rather, to a patient, then we had a flat tire and now we’re in a ditch.” Here she broke off to laugh again.
    It was Christmas Eve; the sun shone brightly on the snow covered trees and fields. This was Dave and Linda’s first Christmas together. Not only that, but Dave had received a notice to report to the Medical Corps for service by the 10th of January. The young couple knew well that it would only be a matter of time before Dave was sent overseas or to the Pacific  to join in the war against the power hungry Nazis and Japanese. They were determined, however, to make this a joyful Christmas, and had promised to spend it with her parents and siblings who lived hours away. They had planned to leave first thing in the morning, but first one thing and then another had delayed them. Now it was early afternoon, and they still had several hours left to travel.
    Dave sighed. “Did you tell them when we would be there?”
    Linda shook her brown head. “I didn’t know if you would have calls to make today or not. I said we’d be there before Christmas. If nothing else, we could get out and walk.” Her eyes twinkled.
    Dave grinned. It was impossible to stay upset with a wife as merry as his.
    Just then a truck slowed down and stopped in front of them. The driver got out and came back to their little car. “Do you need a hand?”
    “A pull would be more helpful I’m thinking,” Dave replied.
    The truck driver laughed. “I’ve got a chain. I’ll have you out in no time. Just wait there.”
    True to his word, within five minutes the truck had pulled them out of the ditch. With a hearty thanks and an exchange of Merry Christmas! they went on their way.

    “I can’t believe we are actually going to spend Christmas with my folks,” Linda’s voice showed her excitement.
    “Now Honey,” Dave spoke gravely though the corners of his mouth twitched, and when he glanced at his wife, his eyes twinkled. “Don’t get too excited, we have three more tires that may need changed.”
    “And miles of ditches to get stuck in,” she retorted gaily. “Oh, I didn’t tell you that the boys are planing a snowball fight if the snow doesn’t all melt. I have a feeling you’ll be initiated into the Stephens Sibling Secret Society sometime during our stay.”
    “And what might that be?”
    Linda shook her head with a laugh. “Oh, I can’t say. I just thought I’d give you a little heads up warning so to speak.”
    The car continued down the snowy road filled with merry talk, bright laughter and many an affectionate word. After a time, the sun which had been shining so brightly in its effort to melt the snow, disappeared behind a large bank of clouds that were piling up in the west, and the temperature began to drop.
    “I wonder if we’ll get more snow,” Linda mused, her eyes on the clouds.
    “We already have snow. What would we do with more?”
    “You never can have too much snow for Christmas.”
    Dave grunted, his eyes on the road before them. “I’ll remind you of that when we get caught out here in a blizzard.”
    “A blizzard!” Linda’s ready laugh sounded again. “Then we’ll head to that little house over there and seek shelter for the night. It is such a small house. See, Dave?”
    Dave glanced over and then nodded. “Yep, I saw. It looks rather abandoned to me.”
    “Perhaps there will be a light on the other side where it is closer to the road.”
    Dave didn’t reply as he eased the car around the curve in the road, eyes searching for hidden patches of ice, for with the cold deepening, ice was beginning to form once more.
    “There! I told you there’d be a light! A candle in the window. I love candles in the windows. They make a house so inviting.”
    Now that the road was straight again, Dave ventured a glance. At that moment the wheels of the car hit a hidden patch of ice and began to slide. With strong hands on the wheel, Dave fought to gain control, but in vain. The car turned around and plowed straight into a large snow drift.
    “Great! Now what!” Dave sighed.
    Linda couldn’t help a little laugh. “We could try to dig it out, or we could just stop and have a snowball fight.”
    “Honey, aren’t you even a little upset about being delayed for the fifth time today?”
    Linda looked surprised. “Why should I be? It wasn’t your fault. Besides, I haven’t had this much fun since I went camping with my Girl Scout Troop and a huge rain storm came up.” She chuckled at the remembrance. “And I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather be stuck with than you.”
    “Darling, you always see the silver lining. I don’t know how you do it, honestly. If it weren’t for you, I don’t know what I’d do.”
    “And,” Linda retorted brightly, “if it weren’t for you, I’d still be at home helping to get supper on the table.”
    Dave leaned over and kissed her.
    “The question is, what are we going to do now?”
    “Why walk over to that little house and ask for a shovel to get our car out.”
    “Or we could just ask if they have a horse and sleigh we could use,” Dave added dryly.

    Soon Dave and Linda were tramping through the snow towards the little house.
    “It doesn’t look as though anyone has been out since the snow fell two days ago.”
    “That’s a pity,” Linda said. “No one to make a snow man or snow angels.”
    “Perhaps no one is home.”
    “Oh, someone is there, I see a whiff of smoke from the chimney.”
    Dave assisted his wife up the slippery porch steps of the tiny weather beaten house and knocked.
    In a moment the door was opened, and a pale, tired looking woman looked out.
    “We’re sorry to bother you,” Dave began, “but our car is stuck in a snow drift, and we were wondering if you had a shovel we could borrow to try and free it.”
    “Come in,” the woman offered opening the door wider. “I’ll see if I can find one.”
    As she shut the door behind her two visitors, the woman suddenly leaned against it and pressed a hand to her side and her eyes closed momentarily. Linda noticed that the woman appeared very pregnant, and she glanced at her husband. Dave had also noticed.
    “Ma’am, are you all right?” he questioned. “Here, let me help you to a chair, you shouldn’t be standing.”
    “I’ll be all right,” the woman gasped as she sank into a chair. Both hands pressed on her stomach, and her breathing was rapid. “The baby has been trying to come all day, but I can’t get out . . . to the hospital.”
    “Linda, I’m going to get my medical bag.” Dave glanced around the dim room, noticing its bareness, three small children huddled close to the stove, and a bed in the far corner near a cold fireplace. “Help her to bed. I’ll be right back.” With that he was gone.

Have you ever slid on ice when in a car?
Every gotten stuck in a snowdrift?
If you want the next part, come back on Monday!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Dylan's Story - Part 7

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving!
(Or Black Friday if you prefer)
Got any big plans for shopping today? Any sales you just can't pass up? I purchased something on Wednesday that was on a "pre-Black Friday" sale. It was originally over $100.00 and I only paid $34.50 or it. :) I'm happy. :)
Speaking of sales, I managed to get two of my books on sale. The Graham Quartet kindle books are on sale. The first one if FREE, and the second is $.99. And, if you get or already have the first Graham Quartet book on your kindle (or phone or wherever you have the kindle copy), you can get the audio for only $1.99! It's perfect for Holiday traveling.

There is also a sale going on Indie Christian Books that you aren't going to want to miss! I can't recommend all the books because I haven't read them all, but I can recommend authors Sarah Holman, Amanda Tero, and Kate Willis. Check out their books! They have sales on the kindle books and on the paper books.

Well, enough about sales and things like that. I hope all of you American readers had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Did you have family over or did you go somewhere? My grandparents were here and my brother and his family came over to have Thanksgiving on Wednesday so they could go to her family's house for Thanksgiving Day. We rather like this tradition. That means that we can eat leftovers on Thanksgiving and do other things besides stay in the kitchen all day. Yesterday we got our entire yard raked! We have a large yard and a whole lot of trees! Now we have mountains of leaves down by the street. Anyone want to come play in them?

Okay, I have other things I need to get done before I head over to help my brother pull orders for his Black Friday sale at Light of Faith. Have a wonderful week! And enjoy this next part of:

Dylan's Story
Part 7

    Leaning over towards her, Scott said two words, “Fern, stop!” His voice was low but full of authority.
    To her brother’s astonishment, Fern’s cries stopped. She sniffed a few times and sat looking down at her plate.
    “Fern, you can either eat the eggs and piece of bacon now, or you may be excused from the table and eat them for lunch. But if you wait, they will be cold.”
    “Can I have more cinnamon roll?”
    “After you have eaten your eggs and bacon.”
    For a moment Fern looked at the army reserve man as though trying to see how far she could push. She must have realized that she had reached her limit, for her eyes fell again and she picked up her fork and scooped up a bite of eggs.
    No one said a word until Fern’s plate was empty, and then Autumn said softly, “Thank you.”
    “Can I have another cinnamon roll now?” the girl asked, looking at Mr. Wood.
    “I’ll give you half a one and then, if you are still hungry, you can have the other half.” Cutting the large sticky roll, Scott set half of it on Fern’s plate. “What about you, Dylan, still hungry?”
    Hesitating, Dylan looked at his empty plate, and then at the pan of rolls. They were really good–
    “Half a one?”
    Dylan nodded and held out his plate. “Please. These are the best I’ve ever had, Mrs. Wood.”
    “Why thank you, Dylan. With praise like that, I may have to make them more often.”

    After breakfast, before they went outside, Dylan managed to catch his younger sister in the hallway. “Fern,” he whispered, “did you make your bed and tidy your room?”
    “No. And I don’t have to. We’re not at home, you know.”
    “Of course we aren’t, but that just means we should make sure we keep our rooms neat and tidy. They aren’t really our rooms. You don’t want them to make us go back and live alone in that old cabin, do you?” He was pretty sure Mr. and Mrs. Wood would never send them back alone, but he hoped the thought of it would make Fern a little more responsible.
    Before Fern could reply, a voice called from downstairs. “Dylan, Fern, are you two about ready to go see the horses?”
    Ignoring her brother, Fern ran down the hall and disappeared down the stairs. With a sigh, Dylan followed more slowly. He couldn’t decide if it was worth the trouble to try and make his younger sister behave or not.
    “Something on your mind, Dylan?” Scott asked as the boy came down the stairs, his feet almost dragging. “If you don’t want to go see the horses, you don’t have to.”
    “Oh, I want to go. Mr. Wood–” He paused, hesitated, and frowned.
    “Suppose we change something in that sentence,” Scott said. “Suppose you call me Uncle Scott. Since you and Fern are probably going to be staying for a while, it might make things a bit easier. And I know my wife would enjoy being Aunt Autumn. Now, what did you want to say?”
    Dylan didn’t answer right away. He’d never had an uncle. At least not that he knew of. Would it make things easier? Pulling on his sweatshirt, he stepped outside, still in silence. It wasn’t until they were halfway across the yard that he spoke, trying out the new name. “Uncle Scott, Fern . . . well, she can be really sweet, but other times she’s just plain hard to get along with. Mom didn’t always make her keep her room clean or make her bed . . .” His words died away. How could he explain himself?
    “And you are worried that she might cause problems?” Scott looked down at the boy beside him.
    “Yes, sir.”
    “Well, you can stop worrying. Fern will get used to things around here in time, and we aren’t sick like your mom was. Give us a chance, all right?”
    Dylan nodded. He still wasn’t convinced his new aunt and uncle knew what they were getting into, but he didn’t know what else to say.

    Part way through the morning, the sun, which had persistently poked through the clouds every little while, disappeared altogether and the rain began to fall. Out in the stable, Scott stepped to the doorway and looked out. A biting wind was coming from the north and the sky was dark. Everywhere the brightly colored leaves were falling in showers from the trees, leaving the branches bare.
    “I don’t think this is going to let up any time soon,” Scott called back over his shoulder. He had to almost shout to be heard above the torrents of rain. “And the wind has shifted. We may be getting snow or ice before long.”
    At his words, Autumn placed an arm about Fern’s shoulders. She wasn’t ready for winter yet, and she wasn’t sure if the children even had winter coats, but her concern at the moment was how they were going to get back to the shelter of the house. “Stay here, children,” she told Dylan and Fern, pushing the girl over beside her brother. “I’ll be right back.”
    Quickly she hurried over to the door. “Scott, how are we going to get back to the house? We can’t just stay here until the rain stops, for that might not be for hours. We only have on our sweatshirts or jackets. I didn’t think winter would come so suddenly.”
    Scott gave a sigh. “I know. It might not get cold enough for ice and snow today, but that wind has a feel to it that I don’t quite like.” He was silent a moment. “You stay here with the kids. Make sure the horses have enough water and food for the day.”
    “Where are you going?” Autumn thought she knew, but she asked anyway.
    “I’ll make a run for the house and get the truck. Then I’ll come back and get you guys.”
    “Be careful.”
    “I will. And don’t let either of them go out in this rain! We don’t want them ending up in the hospital with pneumonia!”

Do you ever try to get younger siblings to be tidy?
Does it work?
Are you excited about Christmas coming?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Dylan's Story - Part 6

Hello FFFs,
Are you still around? Probably lurking in cyber space, right? 😉 I don't know if this story will be able to pull you out of hiding or not. We'll try it though.

This has been a good but busy week. I've gotten a lot of work done on the Bike Trip project I'm working on, and on listening to the audios of two of my books. I'm hoping to have both TCR-2 and "The Unexpected Request" on audio by Christmas. Wouldn't that be fun? Writing has rather taken a back seat this week. I wanted to write, but I haven't been reading enough to enable me to really write well. Though last night I did get 1,000 words written in 50 minutes. I haven't written that much all month! And, in case you are wondering, it was on a Christmas story. 😊

Have you all gotten winter weather yet? Yesterday it was in the low 80s and very windy. Today it's supposed to drop to the mid to low 40s. Such strange weather.

Now I'm going to let you read more of Dylan, Fern and the Woods. You can read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5 here.

Dylan's Story
Part 6

    The sun was peeking through the clouds when Dylan woke up the next morning. The house was still and quiet, and for a moment he lay blinking, trying to remember what day it was. Today was Saturday. Quickly scrambling from his bed, he hurried to the window. Sometime during the night or early morning the rain had stopped, but the ground was covered with puddles, and water still dripped from the branches of the trees when the wind shook them. A glance at the clock showed him that it was nearly eight o’clock.
    “I wonder if Fern is up yet,” he mused, getting dressed hurriedly and making his bed. After putting away his pajamas, Dylan picked up his shoes and tiptoed into the hall.
    The door to his sister’s room stood wide open and he peeked in. With a slight frown, he turned and headed for the stairs. The smell of bacon and–something sweet–he couldn’t tell what, was making his stomach rumble. On the bottom step he sat down and put on his shoes. He could hear his younger sister’s voice chattering in the kitchen.
    “Well, good morning, Dylan,” a voice sounded nearby.
    Dylan looked up. “Good morning, sir.” Quickly he tied the other shoe and stood up. “Is there anything I can do?”
    Scott Wood shook his head. “Not before breakfast. From the smell of things I’d say it was about ready. You hungry?”
    Dylan nodded.
    Just then Mrs. Wood stepped into the hall. “Breakfast is ready. Good morning, Dylan. You got up just in time, I see. Would you like orange juice, milk, or water?”

    Soon everyone was seated at the table. Dylan’s mouth watered at the sight of the skillet of scrambled eggs, the plate of bacon, and the pan of large cinnamon rolls from which the steam was still rising and the icing was melting. After the blessing had been asked, Scott began filling the plates.
    “I want that big one right there,” Fern told him, pointing to one of the largest rolls that sat in the middle of the pan.
    “Can you eat that much?” Scott asked, glancing at Dylan.
    “Her eyes are always bigger than her stomach,” he murmured.
    “I’ll tell you what,” Scott said, placing a slightly smaller cinnamon roll on the plate, “if you’re still hungry after you’ve eaten everything else, you can have more.” He scooped up some eggs. “Do you want a lot of eggs or a little bit?”
    Resting her elbows on the table, Fern shook her head. “I don’t want any. I just want the cinnamon roll.”
    Dylan frowned and cleared his throat, trying to get his sister to look at him. He wished she wouldn’t be so demanding and rude. He also knew what she would be like if all she ate was sugar for breakfast.
    Autumn’s quiet voice broke into the conversation. “Fern, I want you to eat a few eggs and a piece of bacon along with your cinnamon roll. You are going to need something substantial if you are going to go out and see the horses this morning.”
    But Fern’s lower lip came out. “I don’t like eggs, and I only want the cinnamon roll,” she said.
    Dylan saw the looks exchanged between Mr. and Mrs. Wood, though he couldn’t catch their meaning. So much for a nice start to the day. It seemed that no matter which way things went there would be trouble.
    Scott put a small helping of eggs and one piece of bacon on the plate and handed it to Fern. “It takes a lot of good food to make you able to help with the horses.” Then he quickly filled another plate and passed it down to his wife before turning to Dylan. “How hungry are you?”
    Giving a chuckle, Scott heaped the plate and passed it over. “Think you can eat all that?”
    Eyeing the pile before him, Dylan picked up his fork. “I can sure try.”
    Several minutes passed as everyone focused on their breakfast. Then Fern broke the silence. “I want that other cinnamon roll now.”
    “You can have more after you finish what’s on your plate,” Scott told her calmly after a glance at her plate.
    “But I don’t like eggs,” whined the girl.
    “You do too,” Dylan whispered, glaring at his sister.
    She ignored him and repeated her statement, giving a sniff at the end for effect.
    To Dylan’s astonishment, neither Mr. Wood nor his wife seemed to even notice Fern’s complaint. Anxiously he watched his sister while continuing to eat. For a full minute Fern whimpered about not liking eggs, but when no one paid any attention to her, she folded her arms.
    “I want another cinnamon roll.”
    “You may have one as soon as you’ve finished the eggs and piece of bacon that are on your plate.” Mr. Wood took a bite of his crisp bacon. “Hmm. Autumn, is this from that smoked stuff we got last week?” he asked.
    His wife nodded. “I thought we should try it, and I think I like it better than what we have been getting.”
    “So do I. What do you think of it, Dylan?”
    With his mouth full, Dylan could only nod emphatically. He didn’t know what the other bacon had tasted like, but he knew what he was eating was better than any he had ever had.
    “Give me another cinnamon roll!”
    “Fern,” Mrs. Wood said, “you have been told you have to eat what’s on your plate first.”
    “I’m not going to!”
    “It will taste better warm.”
    “I won’t eat it!”
    “Then you may have it for lunch.”
    Nearly choking on his food, Dylan stared at the woman sitting calmly at the foot of the table. Was she crazy? Fern would never stand for something like that! Always before, Fern had been yielded to if she persisted long enough in what she wanted.
    The long moment of silence ended abruptly when Fern burst into loud crying.

Do you usually have to eat everything on your plate before seconds?
Do you want more of this story?
What kind of weather have you had lately?