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Friday, November 17, 2017

Something Different - Part 7

Good morning FFFs,
I'm more in a fall mood this week than I was last week. The weather has been warmer this past week which might have something to do with things. Not that it's been really warm, but it's been in the upper 50s - upper 60s. And the last few days have been sunny. Our yard is covered with leaves! And I mean covered. When we rake all the leaves down to the sidewalk for the city to collect (isn't that nice of them to come collect all our leaves?), we fill up almost the entire section near our house with mountains of leaves. Of course kids love playing in them.

This week I've already written close to 4k! I did get stuck on this Christmas story on Wednesday, but I was able to connect with some of the girls from my "NaNo Cabin" and they helped me brainstorm. Now I just have to get it to all come together. I will tell you right now though, this is too long of a story to post on my blog. It's already 14k words. And I haven't reached the end. But you can expect a new Christmas book next year. πŸ˜‰

Today is the last day of my Christmas Collection Blog Tour. Stop by Read Another Page if you haven't already done so, and go read the reviews and interviews. You might learn something new.

And here's the final part of this story. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Something Different
Part 7

    Abby nodded and Lindsay continued.
    “Mrs. Willman was there! I wondered if she had something to do with this since she seemed to know so much about it when I talked to Dr. Willman that first day. And several other people were there as well. The principal of the Christian school and some board members, or something. Anyway, they showed us around and let us ask questions. Then they let us write on the chalkboards and sit at the teacher’s desk. Oh, Abby, I want to teach there!” And Lindsay’s hands tightened into fists at her sides as she tried to fight back her almost overwhelming desire to scream. Drawing a deep breath, she went on. “Then we were all told to find a seat. Everyone else went outside except one older gentleman who is the son or grandson of someone who actually taught in that school! Doesn’t that just give you chills to think about?” She kicked off her shoes and tucked her feet up under her before going on. “He gave us a set of papers and a pencil, and then told us we were going to take the teacher’s exam!”
    Abby’s eyes widened. “Just like that? No time to prepare or anything?”
    “Just like that. I was so thankful that I had looked up what they were like, so I at least had an idea of what to expect. I don’t think anyone was really prepared. Unless it was Sharon. But that gentleman is a certified teacher and had the right or authority, or whatever it is, to give us the tests. And we had to do them right there. In those desks. And no phones were allowed. I forgot to mention that he asked us to turn our phones off for the duration of the test.”
    “Didn’t he trust you?”
    “Probably, but they don’t want your phone to ring, or beep, or something when you are in the middle of a test. The test took us a good long while. Next came lunch. Most of us ate out on the porch. I discovered Grandma’s friend and spent the entire lunch time hearing all about the schoolhouse and the history of it. Oh, Abby, it was so exciting!”
    “Sounds like it. But it’s several hours after lunch, what happened next?” Abby prodded when Lindsay sat staring at the opposite wall with a dreamy expression on her face. “Lindsay. After lunch?”
    “Huh? Oh, sorry. They had us all stay outside, and we took turns going inside to be interviewed in person for ten or so minutes.”
    “Were you nervous?”
    “Yes! I don’t know how well the interview went because I can’t really remember a thing about it except that I had to tell why I wanted to teach there. I don’t think I’ll get the job though, even though I want it so badly.”
    “Why ever not?” Abby demanded.
    “I probably looked like a scared kid. Sharon and one of the guys, Jared, were as cool as though they applied for positions at one-room schoolhouses on a regular basis. One of them will probably get it, if one of the outside group doesn’t. I wish I had more of your poise when talking.”
    “My poise? Ha! Lindsay, you have the poise you need. You get passionate about what you love, and you give all you have to whatever is before you. If you don’t get the job, it’s because God has other plans for you. But don’t give up hope until there is a definite no. Got it?”
    Lindsay nodded. “Thanks. We’re supposed to hear by Monday evening. I’m not sure I’ll be much good in class that day.”
    “How do you think you did on the test?”
    “No idea. Dr. Willman was right. It was harder than I was expecting. I’d like to take it again when I’m not so nervous and see how I do.”

    Lindsay’s phone rang while she and Abby were eating supper Monday night. Picking it up, she looked at the  number and her face grew pale.
    “Answer it,” Abby ordered.
    Swallowing hard, Lindsay tried to say something, but it was only a croak. Quickly clearing her throat, she tried again. “Hello, this is Lindsay.”
    There was a long silence on Lindsay’s side as she listened to the voice on the other end.
    “Uh huh. . . . You did? . . . Yes. . . . I will. Thank you. Goodbye.” Her hand was shaking as she hung up and set the phone back down on the table. “I . . . I . . .” She lifted her eyes and looked at her best friend. “I got it. I’m going to teach. In the little one-room schoolhouse!” Her voice rose as the reality sank in. “Abby, I got it! I get to do it!” Her excitement was met with a delighted hug from Abby.
    “You’ll do a great job. Did they say anything about what you have to wear?”
    “An e-mail is being sent to me with more information.” Shoving away her plate, Lindsay grabbed her laptop from the counter, and opened it. “I didn’t think I’d get it,” she breathed almost to herself. “But I did. I’m going to teach!”


    The scarlet leaves of the sumac, the yellow of the silver maple, and the brown of the oak trees danced in the breeze outside the windows of the small schoolhouse. Energetic clouds raced across the sky in a constant game of tag while the sun shone benignly down from its blue throne.
    “Good morning children,” Lindsay said with a smile as she stood before her first class, “My name is Miss Crawford.” Turning around, she felt the gentle swish of her soft brown dress about her ankles as she picked up a piece of chalk and deftly wrote her name on the blackboard. She was doing something different, and she prayed that her influence would tell for eternity.

Do you like surprise tests?
Do you get nervous waiting to hear about something?
Did you visit my Blog Tour?

Friday, November 10, 2017

Something Different - Part 6

Good morning, FFFs!
It's a lovely fall morning here. There's a light frost on the ground, but the sun is coming up and the sky is mostly clear. There are leaves all over the ground, but some of the trees are not ready to give up the last of their leaves. After five days of cloudy weather, we were delighted to see the sun again on Wednesday.

I taught my last writing classes this week. Well, at least until January. 😊 I am working on my list of things to get done before Christmas! But my desk really needs cleaned off. It's a mess. I've done some reading this week, and worked on blog posts.

Speaking of Blog Posts, put it on your calendar to come to Read Another Page on Monday! That's the start of the Christmas Collection Blog Tour! I think there are 22 bloggers signed up to be a part of it not counting myself. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ I'm super excited about this as it's my first ever Blog Tour for any of my books! There are interviews, book spotlights, book reviews, and I can't wait to read all the posts.

Writing. Yes, I did get some writing in this week. I actually got two days of writing 1k or more! This story is really coming along. And then when this is finished, I have another short Christmas story to write.

Everything is going by much too quickly! I want to enjoy things, not rush through them. So, let's take time to actually enjoy each day this coming week, shall we?

Something Different
Part 6

    “I don’t know for sure. Grandma said her friend had told her that each applicant would hear back even if they didn’t get the position. I just don’t know when that will be. Oh,” Lindsay wailed, “I hope I can concentrate on my own classes!”
    “You’ll have to, if you want to teach,” Abby informed her bluntly. “You don’t think they’ll choose someone who is failing in her classes, do you?”
    Somehow Abby’s words calmed the butterflies in her stomach, and Lindsay drew a long deep breath of the chilly air. She would wait. And while she waited, she’d put a hundred and ten percent effort into her own studies, if for no other reason than to keep herself too busy to think.

    Days passed. They marched steadily onward with a relentlessness that left no doubt that autumn was not going to drag its feet. Though she worked hard on every assignment she received in class, often doing more than was required just for the sake of keeping busy, Lindsay felt that the days must surely have passed for choosing the teacher. But she still had heard nothing. She said not a word to Abby, but her friend seemed to know what she was thinking and tried to encourage her.
    “It’s only been a week since you turned in your application,” she said one evening. “If it’s as Dr. Willman told you and people are applying from across the country, it’s going to take a long time to go over them all. And if everyone wrote as much as you did, it’s going to take even longer,” she finished with a little laugh.
    “I know. I just wish I could hear something. No one on campus seems to have heard anything either. And there wasn’t much time to get the word out on campus here before we had to turn the applications in.”
    A tune began to play from the pocket of Lindsay’s backpack, which sat on the floor near the couch where Lindsay was reclining. Reaching over, Lindsay felt around and pulled out her phone. A glance at the number brought a puzzled expression to her face.
    “Anyone you know?” Abby asked.
    Lindsay shook her head and answered. “Hello?” A sharp intake of breath and then a slightly quavering, “Yes?” alerted Abby that it was an important call. “Uh huh. . . . Of course!” Fanatically Lindsay sat up and made writing motions to Abby.
    Quickly handing her a notebook and pen, Abby held them steady as Lindsay jotted down an address, a time and a date.
    A few more words were exchanged before Lindsay hung up and, dropping the phone on the couch beside her, sagged against the back.
    “What?” demanded Abby. “Was it about the school?”
    “Yes. They want to meet me out at the school Saturday morning, but they made it clear that they haven’t made a decision yet.” She stared from the writing on the paper up to her best friend’s face. “I’m going to go see the schoolhouse.”

    It took every bit of Lindsay’s effort to concentrate on her own studies, but when Friday afternoon arrived and she had nothing to work on, she grew restless. If it hadn’t been raining, she would have walked off some of her nervousness and excitement on campus, but it was, and Lindsay paced the hall, the stairs, and the small confines of their apartment. Finally Abby tossed aside the book she was trying to read.
    “Sit,” she ordered as Lindsay wandered through the room for the seventh time. She pointed to a chair she had pulled out from their small table. “We may as well see if we can get your hair to go easily up in the correct style for a one-room schoolhouse. If you get chosen we won’t have hours to spend each day getting it up.”
    “Oh, Abby, I hadn’t thought of that. If I have to dress the part, what am I going to wear? I don’t have anything that looks like it’s from the eighteen hundreds.”
    “Don’t worry about that. Let’s just focus on your hair right now. Do you know how it’s supposed to look?”

    The autumn sun was bright in a sky washed clear by yesterday’s rain, and only a light breeze tickled the splendidly dressed branches of the trees on campus. It was after noon when Lindsay parked her car and climbed out in front of her dorm. In a daze she entered the building, not paying any attention to the alluring colors and warm sunshine. Slowly she walked up the stairs and down the hall. Stopping before her own door, she stood, silently staring at nothing until the door was flung open and Abby stood before her.
    “Well? Did you get it?”
    “I don’t know.”
    Abby pulled her inside and shut the door. “What’s come over you, Lindsay?” She gave her a little shake and then pushed her down onto the couch. “What was the schoolhouse like?”
    Some of the stupor left Lindsay, and her eyes began to glow as she told of the small schoolhouse, painted red on the outside with a bell in a little shelter on the roof, a stack of wood beside the porch, and the white trim around the windows. “Oh, Abby, it’s the most delightful place I ever saw! There’s a stove inside to keep it warm, real blackboards, old fashioned desks, and a little platform with the teachers desk up on it. There’s a door near the platform that used to just go outside, but now it goes to a little hall and the bathrooms. There is an outside door in the hall though. And there’s a coat room when you first come in, so the children can hang their coats and a shelf for them to put their lunch pails.”
    “But who was there, and what did you do besides look around?” Abby demanded.
    Lindsay blinked. “Oh, sorry. Sharon and three other students from college were there as well as five other applicants. I didn’t know the two guys who were from here, though I recognized them, but the other girl is Jeanette–somebody, the friend of the Carmichaels.”

What makes you give 110% effort into something?
Even if you weren't going to teach, would you like to visit that schoolhouse?
Will you be joining me on Monday for the Blog Tour?

Friday, November 3, 2017

Something Different - Part 5

Hello FFFs,
It's dark outside. Can you believe the time change is this weekend? Or that it is November? That's crazy. And, while I'm getting excited about Christmas and all the decorating, and books, and music, and such, it doesn't seem right. It can't be almost Thanksgiving, can it? The weather certainly didn't help the feeling any yesterday. It got to around 80ΒΊ! Not the kind of weather that makes you think Christmas and Thanksgiving.

So, what have I been doing this week? Let me think a minute.
Oh yes.
On Sunday the choir sang for church, then Sis and I went down to the gym early and set up the food for the fellowship meal afterwards. We also had a baby shower for a family in church. The afternoon I spent reading.
Monday was a busy day with getting things done and then my nieces and nephews came over. Even the baby got to come over and spend a little over two hours! He did great. He talked and smiled, laughed with Grammy, took a nap on Papa, and was happy to watch his siblings. We also celebrated Funny Boy's 8th birthday! How can my buddy be 8?
Tuesday I sent out a lot of review copies of my Christmas books to those who are participating in my Blog Tour. (If you have a blog and haven't signed up, but want to, let me know.) I taught writing classes, then worked on other projects. I did get just a little bit of writing in.
Wednesday was one of those days when I just couldn't seem to think, couldn't focus on anything, and didn't want to. So I read. I did get things done in the afternoon, and in the evening I worked as a substitute in Cubbies at church.
Yesterday Mom and I went shopping. We actually were looking for some new Christmas decorations! That was fun! We found some and I'm looking forward to using them and sharing pictures with you all later. I did write last evening and am now ready to get a new Christmas story to my editor.

And that, my dear readers, is a quick look at my week. How was your week?

Something Different
Part 5

    “I don’t know,” replied the first speaker, “but they’ll probably want some outgoing personality type. I mean just think how hard it would be to teach twenty kids all different ages, all at the same time. And no computer.”
    “Yeah, that would be hard. Hey, I wonder if Sharon would be interested. She’s always talking about teaching and has so many ideas. We should make sure she’s seen it.”
    The other nodded and then they turned to leave, saying a casual hi to Lindsay as she stood against the wall as though waiting for someone.
    As soon as they were gone, Lindsay crossed the hall and read the paper. It didn’t tell her anything she didn’t already know. But hearing the talk had raised her doubts about getting the position. If someone as vibrant, friendly, and creative as Sharon applied, what chance did she have? Sharon was always a leader in things, and she was outgoing and brimming with ideas on any subject. She could direct twenty children in a one-room school with no trouble at all, of that Lindsay was sure, while she, on the other hand, loved children and worked well with them, but when it came to large crowds or her peers, her confidence vanished.
    The words of Dr. Willman came back and she squared her shoulders. “I’ll just forget about Sharon and everyone else. I’ll do my best on the application and leave the rest up to God.”

    It was mid afternoon before she had a chance to do more than look over the application. She was a little surprised that there was so little about what qualified you to teach. But if that part was lacking, other parts were not. She was requested to tell why she wanted to teach, and what she wanted to get out of it. It also asked her to give an overview of what she thought a typical day in the school would look like under her care. At this she nearly laughed. One of the things she had done over the weekend was research one-room schools and what was taught and when and how. Grateful for the ideas she had gleaned, she started her outline on a blank paper in her notebook. It wouldn’t be perfect, she knew, but it was at least a start. She could rework it later before copying the final version down to hand in.

    Tuesday evening, Abby arrived after a late class to find Lindsay hard at work, papers spread across the table, her shoes kicked off and her hair pulled back in a ponytail.
    “Homework?”
    Lindsay shook her head and scribbled madly for a few minutes. Then she looked up. “No, the application.”
    Abby’s eyes widened. “It takes this much effort to fill out an application to teach in a one-room schoolhouse? Yikes!”
    Glad of an interruption, Lindsay stood up and stretched. “Maybe I am overdoing it a little, but Dr. Willman said I would be up against people from all over the country.” She looked down at the papers. “And I heard today that Sharon is applying.”
    “Sharon Gladstone?”
    “Yep. And if I’m to stand any chance against her, I have to do my very best.”
    For a moment Abby was silent. Setting her backpack beside the couch, she said, “Let me change into something more comfortable and then I’ll come help.”
    Staring at the door that had closed after her friend, Lindsay was dumbfounded. Abby wanted to help her? She knew she had been praying with her about it, but this was different. As soon as Abby came back, Lindsay burst out, “You want to help me? Why?”
    “If you want to teach in that schoolhouse this badly, the least a best friend could do is lend a hand in applying or preparation. Now,” she continued, seating herself in the other chair at the table, “what do I do?”
    For hours the two girls worked. Abby reading over answers, pointing out grammar mistakes, or suggesting better, clearer ways of saying something. Together they made a school schedule, not just of one day, but getting a little carried away, they planned the entire week, which Lindsay then copied in her neatest hand. “I thought of typing it,” she told Abby, who had risen to find something to throw together for supper, “but they didn’t have computers back then, and I thought they might want a sample of my penmanship.”
    “I hadn’t thought of that,” Abby replied. “I wonder if it’ll make a difference. Sandwiches or pizza?”
    “Sandwiches. I don’t want to risk pizza sauce on my papers. I don’t know if it’ll make a difference either. Maybe it’ll hurt my chances.” She frowned. “Perhaps I should send both. It doesn’t say what form to send them in.” Twirling a piece of hair around her finger, Lindsay looked at the schedules she had already copied. “Abby, if I don’t get to teach here, what am I going to do with these schedules and lesson plans? I don’t think I want to just throw them away. Not after all this work.”
    “You could use them in the school play and be the teacher.”
    Lindsay’s eyes grew wide. “No thanks! Dressing up and acting on a stage is not my idea of fun.”
    “Yet you call dressing up and spending a full day teaching a room full of children fun.” And Abby shook her head.

    “Abby, save me a seat,” Lindsay said as the two friends hurried down one of the leaf strewn paths toward their first shared class. “I want to drop these off at Dr. Willman’s office.” And she held up her application, all neatly stapled together as the instructions had said.
    “Why don’t I just wait for you?”
    “Do you mind?”
    Abby shook her head. “Why would I mind? It’s a lovely fall morning.”
    It took only moments to drop off the papers, and then the girls continued on their way. “When are you supposed to hear back?”

Do you have a friend who would help you like Abby helped Lindsay?
Do you ever worry that something could be done better by another person?
Are you getting excited about Christmas?

Friday, October 27, 2017

Something Different - Part 4

Good morning FFFs!
We might have had our first real frost last night. :) It's too dark to see what the roofs look like, but it was supposed to be in the 30s. And tonight is supposed to be 28ΒΊ!!!!! Finally we're getting real Autumn weather. πŸ˜‰ Maybe this will be what we need to turn the trees fully before all the leaves come off. Of course our yard only has trees that seem to turn yellow. But there are others in the neighborhood that turn red.

Guess what I did last night? I wrote! You know, like on part of a story kind of writing. I actually remembered how! πŸ˜²πŸ˜› I only wrote 400 words, but I realized I hadn't written anything since the 3rd! That's 23 days of no writing!!!! I know, that's just sad, but I'm really hoping that I can now get back into it every day since the books are all published.

Oh, if you didn't read my post on Read Another Page, you might not know that Finding Joy is finally published! But it is. πŸ˜€ The Christmas books are published, but not available yet. Unless you want to pre-order the kindle versions. I'm releasing them on the 13th of November in my first ever Blog Tour. If you have a blog and want to be a part of their release, let me know and as soon as I get the form to fill out, I'll send it your way. 😊

But now back to our regularly scheduled program. Enjoy this next part of the story.

Something Different
Part 4

    “Show me what to do, Father,” she breathed. “I feel like I should try to teach there, but I only want what You want.” With her heart still asking for wisdom, Lindsay strolled slowly along, her hands in the pockets of her sweater.
    The unexpected tones of the clock tower striking the hour filled the late afternoon air. Lindsay started and turned to look up at the black face of the clock which stood out clearly against the white ornate work around it. Surely it wasn’t that late? “Abby is going to think I did something crazy,” she thought, quickening her pace.

    Arriving somewhat breathless at the door of her room, Lindsay pushed it open and stepped inside. “Whew! That wind is really picking up. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had rain tonight.”
    Abby walked into the living room from their small kitchen. “Good, I’m glad to see you didn’t let them do it. Where have you been?” she demanded, adding, “I was about to call your phone.”
    Taking off her shoes, Lindsay pulled out her phone and dropped it beside her backpack. “Glad I didn’t do what?”
    “Let some of the girls cut your hair.”
    Lindsay laughed. “If I’m going to teach in a one-room schoolhouse, I’ll need long hair to look the part. Besides, I like my hair the way it is.”
    “So do I,” Abby retorted good-naturedly. “Now come help me in the kitchen and tell me what on earth took you so long.”
    After washing her hands, Lindsay donned an apron and set to work, telling Abby about her phone call and her impromptu meeting with Dr. and Mrs. Willman. “They suggested I spend the weekend praying about it, and talking to Mom and Dad. I have another meeting with Dr. Willman on Monday morning to talk about it again. I think Mrs. Willman must know quite a bit about this project, for she asked me several questions and pointed out some things I hadn’t thought of.”
    “Maybe she’s part of the group getting the whole project organized.”
    Lindsay shrugged. “Maybe. I’m going to call home tonight and talk it over with my parents and see what they think. You’ll pray about it too, won’t you?”
    “Of course I will. I may not have any interest in teaching, but it sure would be fun to photograph!”

    On Monday morning Lindsay arrived for her meeting a full ten minutes early. For a minute she was surprised to find Mrs. Beck behind the desk instead of Amy, but then remembered that Amy only worked there part time when she wasn’t in classes herself. Sitting down in the outer office, Lindsay tried to still her racing heart, and wiped her sweaty palms on her skirt several times. She didn’t know what was going to happen at the meeting, but it was difficult to wait.
    When the door opened and the dean stepped out, Lindsay rose, her mouth suddenly dry. Would the doors of the school be shut in her face?
    Dr. Willman motioned her in with a smile, and as soon as she was seated, he asked, “What do you think now?”
    “I still want to do it, sir. If I can. My parents are both on board too. I know it won’t be easy, but–” she broke off and swallowed hard.
    Folding his hands, Dr. Willman rested them on his desk and leaned slightly forward. His brown eyes held a friendly twinkle that his students all had come to know and love, while his gray hair demanded the respect he deserved. For a long few minutes he didn’t speak, only looked at Lindsay until she was sure he could read every her every thought and could tell how quickly her heart pounded.
    “All right, Lindsay,” he said at last. “I’m going to give you the application to fill out. You are not the only one who will be applying though. And probably not just from here. The school spread the word about this project pretty far, and there are probably going to be applicants from across the country who, like you, think such an opportunity is too good to pass up.” He paused a moment as her shoulders dropped, then went on, “But no matter who applies and who gets chosen, I want to remind you that God never makes a mistake. Fill out the application as well as you can, and turn it in to Amy or Mrs. Beck no later than Wednesday evening.”
    Almost numbly, Lindsay nodded. She would get to apply, but so would hundreds of others probably. What could a lowly sophomore have to offer? Though she was studying teaching, she had never taught before, at least not in a real classroom. Yes, she had helped with her younger siblings, and had even done a pretend one-room school with the neighbor kids when she was sixteen. But this–well, this was different. After several tries she managed to swallow the lump that rose in her throat and took the papers the dean offered her.
    “Now,” Dr. Willman said, leaning back in his chair behind the wide desk, “lets talk a little about your classes and what you would have to do if you were chosen. And don’t get your hopes up,” he added quickly. “I have no part in choosing a teacher. This is just to be prepared if something should come , as I don’t think you’d have much time later.”

    There was no time for Lindsay to even look over the application papers after her meeting with Dean Willman, for her first class of the morning started ten minutes later across campus. It wasn’t until she was ready to leave a building to head for lunch that she overheard some other students talking about a notice on the bulletin board.
    “Teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. That would be different.”
    “Yeah, but who’d want to do it?”

Do you have trees that turn red?
Are you excited about cold weather or would you rather have hot?
Do you want to help with my Blog Tour?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Something Different - Part 3

Hello FFFs!
I can't decide if it's supposed to be spring, or fall. Yesterday my sister and I went walking in the morning and it felt like spring and smelled like spring.🌷 But it looked like fall.🍁 And the leaves crunched underfoot. Funny weather. We still haven't had a hard frost yet.

So, what did I do this week? I corrected Christmas book after Christmas book. I corrected "Finding Joy" and got the cover finished. I uploaded it yesterday, so we'll see if it is ready to go. Hopefully so, because I'm wanting to release it soon. πŸ˜ƒ (Stay tuned to Read Another Page!) The Christmas books are still not quite done. I'm getting the covers in the final format to upload, but I do have all the interiors ready. I was going to do them all last night, but I accidentally uploaded the wrong interior and cover to the wrong title. πŸ˜› Yeah, crazy. I decided I should stop.

I can't believe it's the 20th of October! Only one full week left! This is crazy! My mind is spinning with the things I need to get done before December comes around. It didn't matter before, but suddenly I don't have a lot of extra time. And as for writing? Ha! What's that? 😜 I'm really, really hoping that after I get these books finished, I can write again. Pray for inspiration! I have a story started that I think you would all like (it's Christmas, so probably won't come out until next year), but every time I sit down to write, my mind goes blank. I'm going to have to just do it, I think. Anyway, I'd like to write some other non-Christmas stories too.

Anyway, that's that. Here's the next part of this story. I hope you enjoy it!

Something Different
Part 3

    It was Lindsay’s turn to laugh. “I’m not sure, sir. That is, I have time to talk now, of course, but I don’t want to interrupt anything. I didn’t really think I could get in to see you now. I just came–”
    “Then let’s have a chat now since my wife is in no hurry.” And Dr. Willman opened the door to his office and flipped on the light. Motioning Lindsay to enter ahead of him, he asked, “Is this a private matter?”
    “Oh, goodness, no! I don’t mind talking about it on the lawn with all the students around, though I’d be afraid one of them would want to do it, and I so want to have the fun of doing it myself, if I could only make it work.” Lindsay took the chair he motioned to.
    The door shut, and Dr. and Mrs. Willman seated themselves in chairs facing Lindsay. “Now, suppose you start at the beginning and tell us what is going on,” Dr. Willman suggested. “I brought my wife in because she often understands women better than me.”
    Lindsay smiled at the look exchanged between the dean of the college and his wife, and then launched into her story with an eagerness and animation only her closest friends knew she possessed. She told about her longing to do something different, her grandma’s letter, and what she had learned from her grandma, finally ending with, “That’s the story. I really want to try teaching in that school, if I can. Have you heard anything about it? Do you think it’s a good idea? Would it work? I don’t need the credits for all the classes I’m taking, so I think it wouldn’t hurt my chances of graduating. But do you know about the little schoolhouse?”
    “Yes, actually I do. The principal of the Christian school has been talking to me for sometime now about it. But the schoolhouse wasn’t done and for a while it looked like it wouldn’t get done in time for any classes this fall.” The dean crossed one leg over the other. “But tell me, what makes you want to attempt such a challenge?”
    For a moment Lindsay was silent, trying to clarify her thoughts and emotions well enough to share them. “I guess it’s several things. I love history and I’ve always enjoyed reading about one-room schools. There’s something about it all that just seems to be calling my name and I–” she shook her head. “I just don’t know how to explain it. I feel that I have to do it, if I possibly can!”
    “Have you prayed about it?”
    Lindsay’s eyes dropped to the floor, and she fiddled with a button on her sweater. “No, sir. I just found out about it about an hour ago and was interested, so I called my grandma, then came here and . . .” her voice trailed off. She should have taken the time to pray before coming and bothering a man as busy as Dr. Willman. “I wasn’t sure that I could do it. I mean, I don’t know what is required from the teachers to allow them to teach . . .”
    “As far as the requirements, I think you would fit. They will do a background check on any applicants, and those who wish to teach must take and pass the teacher’s exam.”
    “The old one?” Lindsay’s head lifted and her eyes glowed.
    The dean nodded. “The old one. But don’t think it’ll be a piece of cake. I think their standards were higher back then than they are today in some areas. However, I have no doubt you’d be able to pass it. But, Lindsay, passing the exam, or even teaching in the one-room schoolhouse isn’t going to satisfy your longing, if it’s not what the Lord wants you to do.”
    Lindsay nodded.
    Mrs. Willman spoke for the first time. “Lindsay, you said you love history, but what about the other subjects? You know it will be all branches of studies, not just history.”
    “I know. I may not be as good at some subjects, but I could brush up on what I’m not confident in. I think science is my weakest subject.”
    “Are you prepared to start each day of school off with prayer, Bible, and a song?”
    Somehow Lindsay had a feeling that Mrs. Willman knew more about the one-room schoolhouse affair than her grandma. “Yes, ma’am. And I know there might be a lot that I haven’t thought of yet.”
    Shifting in his chair, Dr. Willman uncrossed his leg. “But it hasn’t scared you off?”
    “No, sir!” Lindsay’s reply was quick.
    “I see. We’d have to talk about your classes and other things, but that can come later. Why don’t you spend time this weekend praying about it, talking to your parents, and really seeking the Lord about it all. The teacher who takes charge of those children will have a huge responsibility. She may only have each group for one week, but it will be a week most of the children will remember for the rest of their lives.” His voice was sober, and Lindsay felt a strange sense of awe at the thought
    Was she up to such a task? Only a week, but remembered for a lifetime. She swallowed.
    Dr. Willman rose.
    Lindsay stood also. “I will. Thank you sir, for listening.”
    With a smile, Dr. Willman held out his hand. “I’m glad you felt like you could come, Lindsay. I’ll have Amy schedule you a meeting with me for Monday morning. Do you have any early classes?”
    Lindsay shook her head. “Not until ten.”
    Together the three of them walked into the outer office. The meeting for Monday was set, and after a few more words, Lindsay took her departure.
    A brisk wind had sprung up and the leaves swirled across the lawns, the trees danced, and Lindsay drew in a deep breath. Autumn. The longing to do something was still there, still gnawing on her spirit, and though her wild eagerness had abated with the reminder that nothing should be done without prayer, she still wanted to teach.

Would you want to teach in a one room schoolhouse?
Have you ever gotten excited over doing something and forgotten to pray?
Do you have spring or fall like weather?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Something Different - Part 2

Good morning FFFs,
It's quiet right now. Only the singing of a cardinal can be heard. The six kids are all sleeping still! They were all really tired last night. All except Ti-K, rode their bikes with me to the park and then back again yesterday. Well, L ended up going back in the van because his little legs were tired. We'll have the kids until after supper tonight when their parents get back from their anniversary trip. It's hard to believe they've been married for twelve years!

Let's see, this week. I didn't write. But I did make the corrections in one Christmas story. :) And I released my new book, "Dylan's Story." :D It's the first novel I've published this year! Kind of crazy since I was doing 2-3 books a year. But don't worry, I have another Long novel coming soon, and the eight Christmas books. Hopefully I can get more done next week.

Enjoy this next part of this story.

Something Different
Part 2

    She read the letter through once, then started over and read it more carefully, pushing herself up from her lounging position as though to better take in what she was reading. At last she gave a little laugh. “That sounds like fun. I wonder if I could.”
    Abby looked up from a long letter she was perusing. “What does?”
    “Grandma wrote to tell me that a friend of hers, who lives somewhere near here, owns land that has an old one-room schoolhouse on it. It’s been restored, and Grandma writes that they are going to use it for teaching before turning it into a museum.”
    “A museum sounds interesting. Wait! What did you just say about teaching there again?” Abby let her letter fall in her lap and gave her full attention to Lindsay.
    “It says here,” and Lindsay read from the floral stationary, “‘it’s been agreed to give the public school children a real taste of what a one-room school was like. They are going to take a mixture of students from first through eighth grade to attend the school together for a full week. They are estimating that it will take almost until Thanksgiving for all the children in the nearby Christian school to experience it. The only trouble is, they don’t have a teacher. They want one who is young, as many teachers of old were young, and one who wouldn’t mind teaching under such conditions.’ Doesn’t that sound like fun?” She looked up, her eyes sparkling.
    “No.” Abby was quick with her reply. “I don’t want to teach there or anywhere else.”
    Lindsay laughed. “Well, you aren’t learning to be a teacher. I think it sounds wonderful.” She glanced back down at her letter. “Grandma says that they did install real bathrooms in the back so the students wouldn’t have to use an outhouse.”
    “Well, that’s good. But still, how would you manage all the grades together?”
    “Just like a mom homeschooling, I guess.” Suddenly she bounced bolt upright. “That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to see if I can get the job of teaching in the little one-room schoolhouse. I wonder if I’ll have to dress the part?” She shivered with excitement, but her smile widened. “Oh, wouldn’t that be fun? I’m going to go call Mom, no, I mean Grandma right now. I’ll have to talk to the dean, and my professors. I wonder how much teaching experience I have to have? Back then they just had to have their teacher’s certificate. Hmm.”
    “Lindsay Crawford, you are something else! You haven’t even finished your sophomore year of college and you want to quit to teach in a one-room schoolhouse for a few weeks?” Abby shook her head and sighed resignedly. “What’s the use? You have that look in your eye. Go make your phone call.”
    Slipping her shoes back on, Lindsay reached into her backpack and pulled out her phone. “I’ll be back when I know something.” With a wave, she hurried from their room, down the hall, and almost skipping down the stairs, she darted outside and away from the front door. It took but a few moments to dial the number on her phone, then she waited. Grandma didn’t have an answering machine and sometimes took a few minutes to reach the phone. On the seventh ring, just as Lindsay was about to hang up, Grandma’s bright voice answered.

    By the time she had hung up, almost thirty minutes later, Lindsay was fairly bursting with pent up excitement. Tapping the phone on her hand, she thought. Should she run up and tell Abby where she was going? Or should she go directly to make an appointment to meet the dean. “I should make an appointment first,” she decided, knowing that she might not get to see Dr. Willman until Monday if she waited too long. Quickly she tucked her phone into the pocket of her sweater and set off at a brisk walk back across campus. If running had not been banned from the campus grounds except for track meets or things of that nature, Lindsay would have run. As it was, however, her rapid walking soon took her down the almost empty paths, through the maze of buildings, to the structure that housed the dean’s office.
    Stepping into the office, she smiled at the receptionist who looked up. “Hi, Amy.”
    “Hi, Lindsay, what brings you here?”
    “I want to make an appointment to see Dr. Willman.”
    “All right. What about?”
    Still breathing quickly from her rapid walk, Lindsay blurted everything out in one rapid sentence, not pausing except to catch a quick breath. “I want to talk about taking the teacher’s exam and teaching this fall in the one-room schoolhouse because I know I could do it, and– I’ve just got to do something before this weather drives me crazy!”
    Amy’s eyes widened and her eyebrows rose. “Are you feeling all right, Lindsay? You look rather flushed. Why don’t you sit down, and I’ll call the nurse.”
    Lindsay burst into laughter. “No, thanks. I’m fine, really, Amy.” She drew a deep breath. “I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the whole of the matter. I want to talk to him about it. Grandma’s going to talk to her friend, and I really hope I can get it!” She clasped her hands together.
    Amy didn’t look convinced but said, “Just a minute, I have–”
    The side door opened, and Dr. and Mrs. Willman stepped into the front office. The dean looked a little surprised to find one of the students there, but glanced from Lindsay to Amy. “Did I miss an appointment?”
    “No, sir,” Amy began, “Lindsay just arrived.”
    Dr. Willman looked at Lindsay’s excited face. “Is it an urgent matter?” he asked, smiling.
    “I don’t know. I mean it’s not urgent, but I’d rather have it than lose it to someone else because I’m just longing to try it!”
    Mrs. Willman’s bright laugh filled the room. “Take time to talk with her, Ken. At least find out what it is she hopes no one else gets before she has a chance. I’m in no hurry.”
    “Do you have time to talk now, Lindsay?” Dr. Willman asked. “Or did you just come to make an appointment.”

Would you want to teach in a one room schoolhouse?
Do you ever get so excited about something that you can't talk very well?
Are you eager to read "Dylan's Story"?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Something Different - Part 1

Good morning FFFs!
Today is the last day to enter the giveaway for the Five Fall Favorites Grand Prize! (Or 2nd or maybe 3rd place prize.) So make sure you go enter! (Just go click on the Read Another Page tab to get there.)

I don't have time to write much today. I have party posts to go read. :) And an interview for Homeschooled Authors for finish. (I'm being interviewed there next week.) I have a house to clean, "Dylan's Story" to make into a kindle book, things to take care of, and more. But . . .

I do have part one of a new story for you! :D So enjoy!

Something Different
Part 1

    The sky was overcast as Lindsay slung her dark backpack over her shoulders and stepped from the brick building with her classmates. There was some conversation about plans for the weekend, but Lindsay only heard it with one ear. Classes were over for the a long weekend at college, and she was glad. Not that she usually minding any of her classes, or her professors, but today she was restless. The air held a bite to it that spoke of colder weather, of crisp autumn days, and she longed to get off campus and do something. Something different, something special.
    Drawing a deep breath of fresh air, she started her walk across campus to her dorm. Already the trees were changing into their autumn dress, and she paused a moment to admire them. She loved the variety of colors and the diversity of the leaves when they fell and were swirled around together by the wind. There were orange, rust, and gold, mixed still with the green leaves that hadn’t yet succumbed to autumn’s call. It was glorious. She drew a quick breath and felt again that urge to do something new, to change, to follow a different path.
    Quickly she buttoned her scarlet sweater, glancing down at her brown shoes. A smile crossed her face. “I could almost be a tree myself with my brown shoes, brown hair, and my red sweater. Even my dress looks like autumn.”
    She gave another sigh, this one longer and deeper, and shook her head. “I can’t stand here dreaming all afternoon,” she told herself decidedly. “I don’t know what I want to do, but standing here isn’t it.” Her classmates were scattering like the leaves which blanketed the green grass when the wind blew. “Something’s going to happen, or I’m going to do something,” she whispered to herself, starting forward along the paved walkway behind another student. “I just know it.”
    This was Lindsay’s second year at college. She was enjoying it, thankful for its Christian focus and the friends she had made. It didn’t bother her that it wasn’t an Ivy League university; the college had a charm all its own, and she reveled in it.
    All the way back to her room, she pondered the question of the rest of the afternoon and the long weekend. Friday was a holiday from classes which gave her three whole days of freedom. A glance up at the light gray clouds which almost covered the sky made her predict that it wasn’t going to rain anytime soon. “But what to do,” she moaned, stepping inside and running lightly up the stairs. Hurrying down the hall on the third floor, she stopped before her door and pulled out her key. Before she could insert it, however, the door opened from the inside and her roommate and best friend stood before her.
    “I heard you coming,” Abby said, her blue eyes twinkling.
    “I’m not that loud,” Lindsay retorted with a grin.
    The door shut behind the girls, and Lindsay dumped her backpack onto the table before sinking onto the couch. “What plans do you have for this afternoon and weekend?” she demanded.
    Abby looked surprised. “None that I know of, why?”
    Lindsay shrugged. “I don’t know. I just feel like I’ve got to do something or I’ll go crazy!”
    Laughing, Abby kicked off her shoes and curled up in a chair. “That might be interesting. What do you think they do with students who go crazy here? Would you have to go to a counselor or would they just ship you home?”
    “Probably just ship me home.” Lindsay took her own shoes off, pulled loose her ponytail and ran her fingers through her long hair. “But seriously, Abby, I’m restless. I feel that I must get out and do something different. This weather is beautiful, and I want to do something! If I had a rake, I’d go rake the leaves into a huge pile and jump in them.”
    “That would cause quite a stir, I’m sure,” Abby replied. “And some of the other students would probably join you, if they weren’t taking pictures and videoing the whole thing.”
    Sighing again, Lindsay slid down on the couch and rested her head again the armrest. “Can’t you think of something we can do?”
    “We? I thought this was just you. Take a book and go read on one of the benches beneath the trees.”
    But Lindsay shook her head. “Too normal. I want something different. Maybe I should get my hair cut.”
    “Don’t you dare!” And Abby sprang upright as though Lindsay already held the scissors.
    “I won’t. But that’s how desperate I feel. Now can you think of something?” She watched as her friend relaxed once again in the chair. “Maybe a drive out into the countryside would satisfy me.”
    “I doubt it.”
    Lindsay had to agree. Just driving wasn’t going to fill the longing that gnawed inside her; she’d have to get out and actually do something. But what?
    A knock sounded on their door, and the girls looked at each other, neither making a move to answer it.
    “Come in,” Lindsay called.
    “Hi!” Sharon pushed open the door and stepped inside. She held a handful of mail. “I picked up my mail and saw you hadn’t gotten yours yet, so I thought I’d bring it up.”
    “Thanks.” Lindsay held out her hand. “Sharon, what are you planning on doing this weekend?”
    Turning around as she was about to leave, the blonde girl looked a bit surprised. “I don’t know. Probably catch up on my sleep and maybe read. There’s a book in the library I’ve been longing to get my hands on, but I haven’t had time. I just hope it isn’t checked out. Why? What are you two doing?” She looked first at Lindsay and then at Abby.
    “We don’t know.”
    “Lindsay is going to do something new.”
    Sharon looked interested. “Oh? What?”
    Idly flipping through the mail, Lindsay shrugged. “That’s the trouble. I don’t know.”
    “Well, have fun,” Sharon said. The door clicked shut behind her.
    “Anything interesting in the mail?”
    “I got a letter from home and one from my grandma. Here.” She held out the rest of the envelopes. Once Abby had them, Lindsay opened the letter from home and read it silently. It was full of home news but nothing really interesting or exciting. After folding the paper with her mom’s handwriting, she slipped it back into its envelope and opened her grandma’s. Grandma didn’t write very often, so Lindsay wondered what she had to say.

Have you ever felt like Lindsay?
What did you do?
Have you entered the Five Fall Favorites giveaway?

Friday, September 29, 2017

Update

Good morning!
Sorry I don't have a story for you today. But, next week I should have Part One of a brand new fiction story for you! So be sure you come back.

What was my week like? Well it was good. 😊😊 Yes, I did get all my files recovered!!!!!! πŸ˜„ I took my computer in Monday morning, but didn't hear anything that day or evening. Tuesday morning he called me and said they'd been able to recover everything, my files, my music, my pictures, my desktop. But I couldn't pick up my computer until Wednesday because he had to get everything copied over to the flash drive. That was okay with me.

Tuesday morning was busy anyway with teaching writing classes. My middle class is a lot of fun to teach as we get into some really good talks about why we do what we do, or the importance of learning whatever we are working on.

Wednesday was rainy and chilly. Autumn was definitely in the air! I went to the library and got a new library card. It had been many years since I had last used my old one, and I needed to get a new one. It's rather fun to have one again. And I checked out a book to read on Sunday. It's really hard not picking it up and starting it sooner, but I'm trying to be good and wait. When you get new books, do you start reading them right away, or do you wait? It was around 2 that afternoon before I went over and picked up my computers and the flash drive. Now I have them here. I'm just waiting now for my new computer to arrive so I can copy my files to that one. And yes, I already have a plan for backing them up. 😊

I got some writing done this week. Not much, but I did write Wednesday evening, and last night I got 1k written! We don't have the kids tonight, so I should be able to write again, and I should be able to write tomorrow night. I've already written more this month then I did in July or August. But that's not saying much. πŸ˜› Right now I'm a little past 9k words.

Oh, my Christmas books! You wanted to see pictures, didn't you? I'm warning you, they're cute. πŸ˜‰

 
Here they all are!

 
The backs. I can easily hold all of them at once as you can see.
I told you they were cute. 😊 They look even better in real life. Right now they are in line to be checked once more before I make the final corrections. Many of the covers need to be lightened up just a bit. For some reason they were printing darker than they should be. And yes, I am planning on making kindle books out of each of these, but the paperbacks themselves will only be $4.00 each.

And that's it for now. Don't forget to show up on Read Another Page on Monday for the first day of our Five Fall Favorites party! And next Friday I should have a story for you. Thank you for being willing to wait.
 Will you be back for the story next Friday?
Are you coming to the party?
Do you like the Christmas books?
 

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Rainbow Week

Good Morning FFFs,
Sorry, I don't have any fiction for you today. There are two reasons: One, I didn't have time to get something new ready, and two, Wednesday happened so I didn't get anything old ready. But let me tell you of my Rainbow Week.

Green Saturday
Green for progress, lots done, being outside, etc. Dad and I washed 22 out of 23 windows in our house both inside and out, and the screens. It took us nearly all day as 11 of those windows were upstairs and that meant we had to get out the ladders to reach them. And many of these windows hadn't been washed in years, so they were filthy!

Sunday was some quiet pastel.
Not sure just what color it was. We had rain that morning during church. We needed a good rain as things were dry. Then, in the afternoon, I spend about 4 hours readings. I got the last half of an almost 500 page book read. :) And yes, I will admit that toward the end I read a little faster.

Blue Monday
Aren't many Mondays that color? You have a long list of things you are going to work on and get done, but things always seem to take longer, and you have more interruptions, and other things happen you weren't expecting. And I didn't get as much writing done as I had hoped.

Yellow Tuesday
It was a good day. Nothing spectacular. Writing classes went well, I made good progress on things, and I got 1,000 words written! I even had time to read a little in the evening.

Black Wednesday
No, I wasn't selling anything like on Black Friday, and no, it wasn't storming. My computer, the one with all my book files, my covers, my short stories, my images, my fonts, my–well, everything really, that wasn't backed up–decided not to turn on. Well, it did turn on at first, but it was having trouble, so I restarted it. It hasn't turned back on since. I took it somewhere and they said it had a corrupt operating system. That means that all those files are stuck on that computer. I was told it might turn on sometime for a few minutes, and then I can get as much off as I can, but . . . I'm hoping and praying we'll be able to get the hard drive out and be able to get at least some of my files that way.
Now you know why it was a Black Wednesday

Purple Thursday
Still unsure of my files on my computer, but thankful I have an old computer I can use for some things, I was able to send emails and such. My mom, sis, and I went to our new library that morning. Wow! Very nice. I'd like to go there and write. We checked out some things and then came home. So that was some of the red in the purple. The blue came in the afternoon when I waited and waited, and waited, for the mailman, hoping he would bring me my proof copies. He finally arrived just before supper time. No books. :( But the evening was better because my grandpa had come down and we went to a concert together. It was good, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I sometimes do because my mind kept going back to my computer and all my missing files.

I don't know what today's color will be. Perhaps my proof copies will come today. We might be babysitting the kiddos. If you could be praying that I could at least get my book files off my computer, that would be very much appreciated. And I am going to get something to back them all up from now on! Every time I create a new book, I'm backing it up. If I design a new cover, I'm backing it up.

Anyway, this is really long. It's probably a good thing I don't have a fiction story for you. You wouldn't have time to read it. :)

Here is an invitation for you! I hope you all can come and join the fun! The Grand Prize is sitting on my desk here and I'm getting a bit jealous of the one who wins it. ;)


I can't ask you about the story.
Have you ever had a computer act this way?
What colors would you describe your week?
Are you excited about the party?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Started and Story Prompt

Hello, FFFs,
If there are any faithful Friday fiction fans left. ;)

The weather has warmed up and now feels like summer again. But we've had some really lovely, cool mornings, some chilly nights, and some beautiful days. Now a few days of heat won't be too annoying. :) We haven't had a frost yet, so the trees haven't turned. But it is a little early for that.

This has been a good week. A busy one, but a productive one. All my Christmas books were ready to order the proof copies by Monday. I got Dylan's Story corrected and ready to order my final copy. No, it's not published yet. But I'm going to be doing a blog tour of it when the time comes, so if you have a blog and want to be a part, let me know. :) (I've never, ever done a blog tour with any of my 15 published books! I'm excited, nervous, and have no clue what I'm doing, so it's a good think I'll have someone putting it all together for me.)
And then on Tuesday, after I taught writing classes, I worked on formatting Finding Joy. And some on the cover.
On Wednesday I finished the cover.
Yesterday morning I ordered all 9 proof copies and copies of Dylan's Story! :D I can't wait till they come! I'll try to share a picture of the Christmas books on here if you want to see them.

Now, on to other things. For some time now, I've been thinking of this blog. I guess it started last year when I decided to re-post stories I had posted years ago. Now I'm wondering if I should keep doing that. I could keep posting my personal updates every Friday, since some of you only have time to read that anyway. And then when I had a new story to share, I could post it. But it's a bit difficult to decide on what story to re-post, and then wonder if it's just filling space or if it's being read. What do you all think? July and August were terrible for writing anything to post. This month I've been working on a story, but it's not finished yet, so I can't post it.
Let me know what you are thinking.
  • Should I keep re-posting every Friday if I don't have a new story?
  • Should I just post my personal update if I don't have a new story?
  • Should I just post when I have something new for you to read?
Help me out! :)

As I was telling you, I haven't had much chance to write anything new. And I didn't have much chance to pick a story to re-post. So  . . . I decided to give you the start to one story. I needed to just write something and this is what came out. If you'll give me some basic ideas for what you think happens next, maybe I'll actually write it. :)

And the other is a story starter, or a story prompt that I dreamed. Yes, I woke up just after I thought this line and found it rather amusing. So, either write a story using that line, or give me an outline for a story for it. :) Have fun!


    The day was warm, warmer than most autumn days, and I knew it wouldn't last. Before long the air would be brisk and frosty. The leaves of the tall trees which marched across the landscape like a rag-tag army were changing already. Soon they would spread a carpet of riotous colors across my lawn and the long driveway. Nuts dropped from the few nut trees with soft thumps and from somewhere a chattering squirrel could be heard, the cry of a bluejay and softer twitters of sparrows and finches sounded from the feeder. I gave a long sigh and started my rocking chair creaking slowly back and forth, back and forth.
    Time slipped by slowly as it so often does when one is alone and idle. I had nowhere to go and nothing to do, so why shouldn't I sit there and enjoy the warm afternoon? That was before it happened.
    It was so startling, so unexpected, so . . . well, perhaps I should just tell you the story.


And now the Story Starter or Story Prompt.

She was heartbroken, and so was her dishwasher.

Did you laugh over that last Story Prompt? I do.
What do you think happens in the other story?
And what should I do about this blog?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Riding "Bear"back

Good morning FFFs,
It really has felt like fall here this week. One night got as low as 49ΒΊ which, for us, is quite unusual for this early in September. There are crows out, the squirrels are acting crazy with their nuts and just in general. We had a Rough Legged hawk in our yard the other day. We've never seen one before. Nuts are dropping from our pecan tree onto the sidewalk and our roof. The trees may not be turning yet, but fall is coming!

I've had a productive week. Not only did I get some things for the Grand Prize for the coming blog party (if you're excited about the coming Five Fall Favorites party, let me know in a comment!), but I got some writing in! This is the first time since back in July that I've written every day so far this week. Except Sunday when I don't write. Now, I haven't written 1k each day, but I have written. And I'm working on a fall story. Hopefully I can get it done in time to let you all read it before winter comes. :P

And guess what? I got all 8 Christmas books formatted (using a very lovely template designed by Perry Elisabeth!), and the covers all put together with the spines, and everything uploaded yesterday. I hope you are excited about these cute Christmas books as I am! Now I need to format the interior for "Finding Joy" and design the final cover. Then I'll have to make corrections in "Dylan's Story" and hopefully I can order everything at once. Wouldn't that be a fun box to arrive! Nine proof copies and a final copy of another new book. Sounds exciting to me!

I had no idea what to post today. I didn't have anything new, and I wasn't sure if I should try to do a two or three part story or not. So I went looking in my archives and came across this story. Actually it is an essay about a "family vacation" that I wrote about seven years ago. My students and I were tossing out ideas for a made up vacation story that was to be written as an essay. We made a key word outline and then all of us wrote our version of the story. They were hilarious! So, enjoy this lighthearted story, get a good laugh at it, and please, tell me what you want to read next week.

Riding "Bare"back

My family and I love to go hiking. When we go we usually explore many trails hoping that there will be one which will lead to an exciting adventure. Unexpectedly I found it. After it was over I wished I hadn’t found it since it involved getting lost, encountering a bear and being out in a thunderstorm.

We were hiking along a path which had many curves and turns in it, so when I got distracted, it was easy to get lost. At least I think so. Spying something shiny on the ground, I stooped to examine it. Was it gold? After testing it with my teeth, I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t gold, but I dropped it in my pocket anyway. When I glanced up, I discovered that my family had vanished! I started on again; however, I unknowingly took the wrong path. Rapidly I sprinted, trying to catch up with my missing family. Hearing a sound just ahead around the next turn, I hurried on so as not to get lost.

Imagine my terrified surprise when suddenly, instead of my family, I encountered a bear! I screamed! I couldn’t help it, I was so scared. The grouchy, grumpy grizzly turned slowly with a growl. Before he could come close to me I was clambering up a slender tree very quickly. Gasping for breath, I paused on the highest branch just out of the bear’s reach. Then, with an unexpected crack, the branch broke beneath my weight which dumped me on the bear’s back. Instantly the bear began to lumber away in fright while I hung on for dear life. Never will I forget that ride. Before I could gather my senses enough to let go, a branch smacked me on the side of the head, causing me to tumble into a small stream. Although I was thankful to have survived my encounter with the bear, I was still rather bewildered.

When the thunderstorm broke just after I landed in the stream, it took several minutes to register the fact that I needed to get out of there. I lay in the water stunned. A blinding flash of lightning followed by ground shaking thunder roused me from my stupor. “I must get away!” I thought as I staggered to my feet. Stumbling along, I tripped over a tree root and fell. Beyond the trees I glimpsed a dark hole. Slowly, painfully, I worked my way towards the cave which I had seen. Once I fell. Twice I tripped. On I went. At last I made it only to fall exhausted and breathless on the floor of the cavern. It was then that I noticed other sounds besides the thunderstorm; my family was there waiting. Boy, was I surprised.

I will never hear a thunderstorm again without remembering the grumpy bear which I rode when I got lost. After that experience, I don’t love hiking as much as I did. Seeking an adventure is no longer as extremely important to me as sticking with my family. The most exciting part of my getting lost was riding “bear back.”

 
So, did you laugh at it?
What is a family vacation memory you have?
Are you excited about the coming Five Fall Favorites party?

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 5

Good morning FFFs,
It's the first of September! Can you believe it? Already summer has come and is now waving goodbye. Soon we'll have trees dressed in their fall leaves, the nights will grow chillier and the days shorter. . .

Here I sit dreaming. I'd better get on with this or I won't get it posted. :)

This week has been busy and good. I've gotten things done, and that always feels good. :) The planning for Kate's and my Five Fall Favorite party is coming right along! Yes, we are doing another one of those really fun blog parties. And we have new bloggers to join us, an incredible Grand Prize, and more! So, mark your calendars for the first week of October!

I still haven't written at all. Writing seems to have slipped away into some hidden corner of my mind and is sleeping. What will it take to rouse it again? I do need to do a little writing and add a new ending to one of the Christmas stories before I publish it. But after that, I don't know. I'd like to get back to writing, but I feel that I need to get some books finished and published first. Would you like that?

And now, here's the last part of your summer mystery. :) Enjoy!


A Good Summer
Part 5

    It was mid afternoon when Patrick, Kathleen and Angelina, armed with cookies and cool water from the well and feeling very brave, set off for the barn. At the foot of the ladder they hesitated and looked about. No one was to be seen and all was quiet in the loft. Without a word, Patrick started up, followed closely by his twin and a little more slowly by Angelina.
    “If you are up here,” Patrick spoke bravely though his knees were shaking, “we wish you’d come out just, for we brought you more cookies and—”
    “We’d like to be your friends if you aren’t a bad person entirely,” Kathleen finished.
    “Kath!” Patrick hissed reprovingly.
    A sudden noise arrested their attention. It was coming from a shadowy corner.
    Angelina, still on the ladder, froze, clinging to the sides and staring, not sure if she wanted to stay, and yet not quite daring to move. The twins, without realizing that they had done so, clasped the other’s hand and fairly held their breath.
    “No I ain’t a bad person entirely,” a voice said, followed by a slight groan. “Mama brought me up better’n that.” A slight figure crawled from behind a pile of hay and stood up. The boy wasn’t much larger than the three children and he moved towards them with a decided limp.
    On seeing that, Patrick let go of Kathleen’s hand and moved over to help him while Angelina climbed up into the loft and Kathleen made a place to sit.
    It wasn’t until the boy, who wasn’t much older than eleven, had eaten three cookies and drunk two glasses of water that anyone spoke.
    “What is your name? Where did you come from and why are you hiding in the barn loft?” It was irrepressible Kathleen who broke the silence.
    The boy gave a slight laugh. “Name’s Harry. Came from New York originally, but my folks died an’ I was sent out to live with some cousin who didn’t want me. He died an’ I’ve been on my own ever since.”
    “But why were you hiding in the barn?” persisted Kathleen.
    “‘Cause I hurt my leg an’ didn’t figure nobody’d give me work if I was hurt. Thought I could stay here for a day or two . . .” his voice trailed off and he looked down with such a look of discouragement that Angelina said,
    “There is no need to stay up here.”
    “Not at all,” Patrick agreed quickly. “Uncle Dan and Aunt Nancy would be for taking you in.”
    “I ain’t goin’ back to no orphanage,” Harry declared fiercely.
    “Tis not likely they’d be sending you neither,” Kathleen put in.
    It took some persuading by all three children before their new friend, for so they considered him, would come with them to the house.

    Mr. and Mrs. Cutlass were both sitting on the porch when they saw the children approaching.
    “Now who is that with them?” Mrs. Cutlass asked.
    “I’m not sure, but I suspect it is the same one who has been using our pump and sleeping in our barn loft. I’m glad the children have convinced him to come up to the house. I’m sure he could use a good meal tonight, Nancy.”
    “I’d be happy to fix him one. But he’s hurt,” she added, noticing that the young stranger limped and was helped along by Patrick.
    Mr. Cutlass only nodded.
    Uncle Dan and Aunt Nancy welcomed the new young guest with smiles and kindness. Uncle Dan attended to the injured leg while the girls helped Aunt Nancy prepare supper, though Angelina was of more help than Kathleen who kept running back to say something to Harry or Patrick.

    It was while everyone was still eating that a sudden rumble startled them all.
    “Look at them clouds!” Harry exclaimed.
    “And feel that breeze!” Aunt Nancy added as the wind tossed the curtains about and ruffled the tablecloth. It wasn’t dry and hot as it had been but pleasant with a hint of moisture.
    Uncle Dan had stood up and moved out to the porch. “The rain’s coming!”
    A few minutes later the rain did come, gently but steadily and everyone gathered on the porch to watch it, breathing in the fresh scent and listening to the drops pattering on the roof.
    Mr. and Mrs. Cutlass looked about them and exchanged smiles. Kathleen was sitting on the porch rail alternately sticking a foot out in the rain and bringing it back dripping wet, laughing and chattering. Angelina on the floor, her arms clasped about her legs, was sitting silently with her chin resting on her knees, watching the rain. Patrick was roving about the porch, commenting now and then about the effects of the rain on different parts of the yard, while Harry sat on the porch swing, his injured leg resting on a chair, a look of contentment on his face.
    “Well, Nan,” Mr. Cutlass remarked quietly, “We’ve got rain and four young ones. It should be a good rest of the summer.”

Do you think Harry stayed with the Cutlasses?
Did you enjoy the ending of this story?
What do you want to read next?

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Summer Story - Part 4

Good morning FFFs!
Well, it's about an hour later than I usually get this posted. But I'm on vacation. Just be glad I remembered it was Friday at all! ;)
My mom, sister, and I are spending a week at my grandparents' which has been fun. We've gone out to eat, helped clean out some things, watched several games of the Little League World Series, watched the eclipse from the driveway, and have enjoyed our time. We head back home tomorrow afternoon. Back to the business of life, of teaching, writing, publishing and planning a blog party. :)

And, since I am on vacation, I'm not going to write more here. I'll let you read the next part of this story. Enjoy!


A Good Summer
Part 4

    Off the shoes and stockings came in a flash and Kathleen sighed, “It’s cooler I’m feeling already.”
    “Come on,” shouted Patrick, racing to the barn with Kathleen and Angelina at his heels.
    Stopping in the shade, the three children began whispering.
    “Let’s see if the blanket is still in the loft,” Pat suggested.
    “Tis the pump we should check first,” Kathleen countered.
    “T’would give him more time to hide entirely,” objected Pat.
    “Tis not a long time we’d be taking to see if he’d been at the pump,” Kathleen persisted.
    Then Angelina said quietly, “How do you know it is a he? Perhaps it is a she.”
    The twins looked first at Angelina and then at each other. A girl? Neither one had thought of that. “But thieves are always men.”
    Pat gave his sister a disgusted look. “And it’s not certain you are that this one is a thief.”
    At last Kathleen ran off to check the pump while Patrick and Angelina softly entered the barn. The contrast between the brilliant world outdoors and the dusty darkness of the barn was greater than it had been the night before. Kathleen soon joined them, reporting that there was no sign of anyone having used the pump recently.
    Beckoning to the others to follow, Patrick led the way over to the ladder and climbed up. Since all three children were used to going around without their shoes in the city, the hayloft caused no problems.
    “Over here,” whispered Kathleen, pointing to where the blanket had showed the evening before.
    It was gone. They dug in the hay but found no sign of it anywhere.
    “Oh dear,” Kathleen wailed, sitting down, “tis certain we’ll never know who it was now.”
    Sitting in a dejected bunch, the children were silent until Angelina suddenly turned around, her dark eyes scanning the farther side of the hay loft. She didn’t see anything, but she again felt as though she was being watched. “Come along,” she breathed, her eyes wide and half frightened.
    Wonderingly, the twins followed her down the ladder, out of the barn and across the grass until they were under the sheltering branches of a tree. There they stopped breathless and Angelina shivered.
    “Why did we come out here?” demanded Patrick panting from the run.
    “Aye,” Kathleen echoed.
    “Someone else was in the barn,” Angelina gasped.
    “Where?”
    “Did you see him?”
    Angelina shook her head. “I felt the eyes on me. He or she was on the other side of the loft.”
    The twins looked at each other. Then all three children looked back at the barn. Who was hiding in the barn and why?
    It was Patrick who broke the silence. “It’s hungry he must be living out there.”
    “If we could only feed him . . .” Angelina sighed. She couldn’t help feeling pity for this stranger who had to live in a barn loft, hiding away from others.
    “Ah, tis a grand idea entirely! I’ll run and ask Aunt for some cookies.”
    “Kath,” Pat caught her arm before she raced away, “don’t tell her.”
    “I won’t,” she promised and dashed off.
    Soon she was back with a hand full of cookies and the three children ran back to the barn. Slowly, looking about everywhere, they entered. Cautiously they climbed up the ladder and all felt relief when nothing looked changed. Patrick pulled out a clean handkerchief from his pocket and on it they placed the cookies and Pat said, “I hope this tells him or her that we want to be friends.”
    Then, as though their own actions had frightened them, they clambered down the ladder quickly and rushed out of the barn as though afraid the mysterious person was chasing them. Nor did they stop running until safely under the sheltering arms of the tree.

    Not one of the children ventured back to the barn until after supper when Uncle was ready to do chores. Angelina, more timid than the twins, again remained behind and helped wash the dishes. It was rather late when the chores were finished and Aunt Nancy sent the children off to bed.
    After they had been tucked in and Mrs. Cutlass had gone back downstairs, Patrick again tiptoed to the girls’ room.
    “Come quickly, Pat,” Kathleen beckoned. “We must tell Lina the new clue.”
    Sitting on Kathleen’s bed, the twins told Angelina about finding the cookies gone and the handkerchief folded neatly.
    “I only had time to shove it in my pocket before Uncle came up.”
    “Aye, it was a narrow escape just,” his twin sighed.
    “What Kath doesn’t know,” Patrick went on quietly, “is the note in the handkerchief.”
    “A note!” exclaimed Kathleen, but her brother slapped his hand over her mouth and glanced towards the door.
    Angelina hugged her knees and everyone sat still. Had anyone heard them? At last, after several minutes of waiting, they were satisfied that Kathleen’s involuntary exclamation had gone unnoticed.
    “What did the note say?” Angelina whispered.
    “It said, ‘Thank you’.”
    “Nothing else?”
    Patrick shook his head. “That was it entirely.”
    None of the children could decide what to make of the note and after praying once again for the stranger, Patrick returned to his own room and all fell asleep quickly.

Who do you think wrote the note?
Would you have fed the mysterious person?
Did you get to see the eclipse at all?

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Good Summer - Part 3

Hello, Faithful Friday Fiction Fans!
Even if you don't read it on Friday. :) I hope you are having a good week. I'm having a disappearing week. You know, the kind that starts out with a relaxed Sunday, you go to bed, and then suddenly it's Friday. I think there were some days in-between that, but it sure feels like I'm missing several days.

Right now the windows are open and the sun is up in the east. The birds are pretty quiet except for a Bluejay. I saw a squirrel in a tree, but not the "baby boing boing" as my 2 1/2 year old niece, Ti-K calls rabbits. :) I think it's supposed to get warm again, so we'll enjoy the open windows while we can.

I got "Finding Joy" corrected! Now I have to divide it into chapters, print it and take it to a test/beta reader on Sunday. I'm hoping to be publishing it some time in October with a blog tour, so if you have a blog and want to be a part of this new release, leave a comment, or sent me an email and I'll put you on the list.
Speaking of releasing new books, I'm hoping to release "Dylan's Story" next month. If it doesn't get released then, I might do a double release with both "Dylan's Story" and "Finding Joy." What do you think? Should I release them separately or together?
And I still need to get my Christmas stories finished. I seem to work on them here and there with days or even a full week between times. I have made progress, but it's just rather slow. I did get the synopses written for the rest of the stories I am publishing this year, so that's good. That means I can do the covers. These are going to be so much fun to release! I love Christmas stories!

Okay, okay, I'll let you get back to this mystery, and I'll get on to other things. Happy reading!

A Good Summer
Part 3

    Patrick, Kathleen and Angelina scampered and soon Aunt Nan came up, and after listening to prayers, kissed each one and tucked them in saying, “God bless you and keep you safe through the night. Sweet dreams.”
    After she had gone downstairs, Kathleen bounced up in bed. “Lina,” she whispered, “isn’t it such a quiet as you’ve never heard?”
    “Yes.”
    “And tis still light outside.”
    Angelina sat up. A rosy gleam from the setting sun seemed to make their pink room glow with a soft light. “It is so pretty here,” she breathed.
    “Yes,” Kathleen agreed, “but you remember that pump?”
    Angelina nodded but didn’t reply as a step outside their room was heard, the door softly opened and Patrick’s red head looked in.
    “Sure tis you’re wanting to talk about the mystery too,” Kathleen whispered and motioned to her bed.
    Patrick tiptoed across and perched on his sister’s bed. “Sure,” he replied softly, “tis a mystery for us all.”
    “When Pat and I went up in the loft, we saw a bit of a blanket in a corner, like it was thought to be hiding just, but—”
    “I asked Uncle all he keeps up there and he said hay,” Patrick finished.
    Sitting in bed with her arms clasped about the sheet around her knees, Angelina listened with wide eyes.
    “What do you think of it, Lina?”
    For a moment the girl was quiet, then in a whisper so soft that the twins crept closer to hear, she told them about seeing a movement and the feeling of being watched.
    “Ah, tis indeed a real mystery,” sighed Kathleen in delight. “Could it be just a thief or a desperate character?”
    Angelina shivered. The room had lost its glow and was growing dark. “I don’t think I like it,” she whispered.
    “For shame, Kath,” Patrick chided, “Tis not kind to say such things. Like as not tis someone in need of a friend.” Patrick’s imagination wasn’t as dramatic as his sister’s and preferred thinking the best of people and situations.
    “But,” Kathleen protested, “if it’s a friend he needs, why does he hide?”
    Patrick shrugged and the trio in the dark bedroom sat in silence for a full minute.
    “Whoever it is needs a friend sure,” Patrick at last broke the silence, “and a better friend he could not have than Jesus Christ sure. Why don’t we pray for him?”
    “Tis the right thing just,” Kathleen agreed and the three children slipped to their knees and prayed for the mysterious person.

    The sun was barely above the eastern horizon when the children rose. All were eager to see what the day held and hurried with their clothes. The twins, as soon as they were dressed, dashed down the stairs while Angelina remained behind. Being the second child in a family of eleven, Angelina had early learned that neatness and order were important, therefore, she made her bed and that of Kathleen and hung up their clothes before she slipped down the stairs.
    Aunt Nancy greeted her in the kitchen with a smile. “The twins are out helping Uncle Dan with the morning chores,” she told her young guest. “Would you like to go out too?”
    “May I set the table?”
    To this Mrs. Cutlass readily assented, delighted to have about her the quiet, helpful girl.
    By the time Mr. Cutlass came in with his two helpers, breakfast was ready to be served as soon as they washed up.
    During the meal, Uncle Dan asked what the children had planned for the day.
    As usual it was Kathleen who spoke first, “Ah, tis a mystery—”
    She stopped short as her twin kicked her under the table and finished for her, “for we haven’t talked with you.”
    Uncle Dan laughed. These youngsters were so amusing. “I haven’t any plans for you unless you want to learn to ride the horses this morning before it grows too hot.”
    An excited squeal came from Kathleen, all thoughts of a mystery vanishing at once from her mind.
    “It’s sure we would be liking that, Uncle Dan,” Patrick replied, eyes sparkling.
    “And what about you?” Uncle Dan turned to the still shy girl at his right. “Would you like to learn to ride a horse too?”
    The girl’s dark eyes looked eager, but she spoke hesitatingly, “If Aunt Nan doesn’t need me—”
    “Not at all, Child,” Aunt Nancy interrupted. “You’ve helped this morning and there isn’t much more that needs done. You go along. Uncle Dan could use a quiet person like you around for a bit. You can help me later.”

    It wasn’t until after lunch that any of the children thought about the mud under the pump or the corner of a blanket hidden up in the hay loft. Uncle Dan had gone off to work elsewhere on the ranch telling the children that after a few more days of riding he’d take them out and teach them to mend fences and bring in the cattle. Aunt Nancy was settled on the shady porch with her mending basket and when Angelina offered to help her mend, saying that she did it at home, Aunt Nancy said, “I’m sure you are a help to your mother, Dear, but I don’t have that much mending right now. You just run along with the twins and play. You can help me mend another time when Pat gets holes in his trousers and— Goodness, children!” Aunt Nancy exclaimed, “Take off those shoes and stockings! There is no need to wear them now!”

Is your imagination as wild as Kath's?
Would you prefer to run around barefoot or with shoes?
Have you ever ridden a horse?