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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Party Day 1 Join the Fun!

It's party time!!!!!!
I'm so glad you all could come to my very first party. I've never hosted a party like this before so please stick with me and enjoy yourself. :)
When I first heard of Magnabilities, I wasn't quite sure I was interested. I mean, after all, I didn't wear a lot of necklaces. But my sister got me a Magnabilities necklace and two inserts for Christmas that year. They were more fun than I had thought. And then earlier this year, Hannah held a Magnabilities Open House and got to play with them, try them out, and even win an new insert! I loved them! And I hope you do too!
Now I'll let Hannah have the floor. Hannah?

Hello! My name is Hannah Covington and I am your Magnabilities consultant for this party!  I am a homeschool graduate, interested in all things books, gardens and fashion! Having grown up not far from Rebekah, we’ve always been close so it seemed only natural to get with her to share this fun jewelry!
http://hannahgrace.magnabilities.com/party/15736

   When I first heard about Magnabilities jewelry almost 2 years ago I was enthralled. My sister and I were at a vendor event and stopped at a booth with all sorts of fun inserts and pendants. I am a fashion lover so I naturally fell in love with it. My sister tends to care more for comfort than styles and so rarely wore jewelry but even she was very interested in the new concept of interchangeable jewelry and now, 2 years later she wears Magnabilities frequently.

http://hannahgrace.magnabilities.com/party/15736


 Magnabilities is interchangeable, customizable, magnetic jewelry that can transform any woman’s jewelry collection! It’s a simple concept really: choose a pendant and necklace and add the insert of your choice!
http://hannahgrace.magnabilities.com/party/15736


With only a few pieces you can match almost any outfit and occasion you need! Plus, we have matching earrings for many of the sets! Like I said, any outfit, any occasion. 

http://hannahgrace.magnabilities.com/party/15736
http://hannahgrace.magnabilities.com/party/15736
http://hannahgrace.magnabilities.com/party/15736

  I hope you’ll join Rebekah and I over the next few days as we share Magnabilities unique new jewelry with you! Check out my site through her special party link and don't hesitate to ask any questions in the comments!

 Also, be sure to enter to win our awesome door prize! I’ll be giving away this lovely set at the end of the party! You won't want to miss out on this one! 

"So many books, So little time" insert, pendent and ribbon necklace! I just love this one!  And if you are a book lover, enter! And if you know someone else who loves books, share this party with them!
(Sorry, we can't ship outside the US and Canada.)



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for more delightful things!
Which of these is your favorite?

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Lesson in Contentment - Part 6

Good morning Friday Fiction Fans!
It's a rainy morning here. It rained some yesterday, but the sun came out mid afternoon and it was lovely. It's supposed to be in the 50's today and tomorrow, then back to being warmer.

This week has been delightfully empty. :) No weddings, receptions, nursery, elections, or friends from Canada. I've gotten a lot done on my projects and a lot of writing. :)
  • Monday I wrote 1,600+ words. And, for those of you who are interested, I finished writing "Dylan's Story" and now it waits for the editor to read the last of it. (If any of you are interested in being test/beta readers, you can sign up here and I'll be in contact.)
  • On Tuesday I started a little bit early on my writing and with the help of many word sprints, I reached a record breaking total of 3,200+ words!
  • And then came Wednesday. Since I joined Camp NaNo, I have been wanting to spend one day writing. Not all day mind you, but most of it. So Wednesday became the chosen day. I sprinted before breakfast. I wrote and sprinted after breakfast, and then took a brisk walk with Sis before writing some more. After lunch I wrote. After supper I wrote until my brain was so tired I had to say I was done. I had reached a record of 6,030 words!!!!!! Yeah! Crazy! But it was so much fun! And all those words were on "Hymns in the Hills" in case you were interested. :)
  • Yesterday my brain was still tired so I only wrote 1,200+ words.
  • So far this week I've written over 12k words!
We'll see if I write any today since the kids are all coming over after naps and we'll eat supper together before my brother and his wife come and we all go out for ice cream to celebrate my mom's and my birthday (which is tomorrow.)
I should write some tomorrow as my cabin is doing another "cabin sprint" at 9 in the morning. That's fun. :)

Oh, next week there is going to be a party right here on this blog! It starts on Tuesday and ends on Saturday! I hope you all can come! I was going to do it this week, but things weren't working out and we decided that next week would be better.

I hope you'll come join me!

And now that I've taken up a lot more of your time than I usually do, I'll let you read the final part of this story. Enjoy!

A Lesson in Contentment
Part 6
The End

    After the prayer, Kelsey yawned and remarked, “I’m glad my bed isn’t on the top bunk.”
    The other girls laughed and Mrs. McKenzie, reminded of the lateness of the hour, hustled the younger girls off to bed. “Let Lottie and Kelsey have some dinner. I declare I’m so bewildered that I don’t know what I’m about. They should have eaten when they got home!”
    “Don’t worry, Mom,” Lottie called, “I had popcorn at the party and wasn’t very hungry until now. Too much excitement, I guess.”
    “Kels, are you hungry?” Lauren asked.
    Kelsey shook her head. “No, I guess not. I’m just tired. Where are my crutches, Lot? I think I’ll go to bed with the younger ones tonight.”
    Mr. McKenzie stood up. “No crutches tonight for you, Kels. And no stairs either. At least not on your own.” He scratched his chin in puzzlement. “How’re we going to manage it, girls? The stairs are a might narrow, and I don’t think I could manage to carry you up.”
    Lottie stood in the doorway leading into the dining room, a plate of food in her hand, as she listened. “Couldn’t Mike carry her up tonight? The doctor said she could use the crutches tomorrow, if she felt up for it. She could come down then if she wanted.”
    Kelsey looked from her father to her sister’s fiancé. She trusted Mike, but she was puzzled about going down the stairs on her crutches. What if she ended up being stuck up there?
    “What do you say, Kels?”
    Blinking, Kelsey realized she had stopped listening. “What?”
    Mr. McKenzie chuckled. “I was just asking if you wanted Mike to carry you up, or if you’d rather sleep on the couch tonight.”
    An exhausted feeling swept over her right at that moment and she fought to keep her eyes open. “I don’t know,” she mumbled in the midst of a yawn.
    “Maybe she should sleep here tonight, Dad. Then she won’t have to move tomorrow if she wants to be in on the action.” Lauren was good at solving troublesome problems. “I know Mike could carry her up, but the stairs are rather narrow, as you said. She might bump her leg. Besides, if we talk a few more minutes, I think she’ll be asleep right where she is.”
    Kelsey gave a slight smile and let her eyes close. “Night,” she murmured, nestling her head into a more comfortable position on the pillow and relaxing into sleep.

*

    “Kels, guess what?” Belle and Shannon came racing into the room where Kelsey was reclining on the couch with a book.
    She looked up at her eager, excited sisters. “What?”
    “The car is here again!” Belle exclaimed.
    “What car?” Kelsey didn’t bother to attempt to turn and look out the window.
    “You know. The one that was here yesterday to take you and Lot to the party. With Zoe and her brother,” seven-year-old Shannon said.
    “Just the car is here?” questioned Lottie, coming into the room. “My, I didn’t know it was such a remarkable car.”
    “It’s not just the car, it’s them too.”
    Finding her bookmark, Kelsey slipped it between the pages, saying as she did so, “Don’t stand talking, go answer the front door, Lottie.” She wondered if it was both Zoe and Wally or just one of them.
    It turned out to be both, and Lottie ushered them into the living room.
    “Hi,” Kelsey greeted them quietly. “Would you like to sit?”
    “Oh, Kels!” Zoe cried, rushing over to her and carefully hugging her. “I’m so glad you weren’t hurt any worse! How’s the leg? Does it hurt awfully? How long are you going to be laid up?”
    “Hold up a minute, Zoe,” laughed Wally. “You haven’t even given her half a chance to answer. How are you doing, Kelsey?”
    “I’ll be all right. The pain isn’t bad, but the doctor said I was to rest and take it easy for the first week, and then he thought I could get out and about, if I were careful. I just wish I could go see how Mrs. Stuebanks is.”
    “Oh, Kels,” broke in Lottie, perching herself on the arm of a chair since Zoe had seated herself on the couch next to her sister and Wally didn’t seem interested in sitting. “I forgot to tell you, Mair and I went up there this morning and they said she was doing just fine. They said to thank you for saving her life and they’re going to keep a better eye on her.”
    At the news Kelsey relaxed, a happy smile on her face. “Thanks for checking, Lot. And thank you, Zoe.”
    “What for?”
    “For inviting us to your party and for convincing Lauren that we should go. If you hadn’t, I wouldn’t have been there to see Mrs. Stuebanks when she needed help.” She gave a little shrug. “What’s a broken bone compared to being killed or at least seriously injured?”
    Zoe had no reply.
    Before the silence had a chance to grow awkward, Lauren entered the room, casually greeted the visitors whom she knew from school, and before long the younger girls, unable to remain away from the action, drifted in and were introduced.
    It was a delightful afternoon, and when Zoe and her brother reluctantly said they must leave, Zoe promised to return again soon.
    “There isn’t any need to,” Kelsey said. “Don’t feel obligated or anything.”
    “I won’t,” Zoe promised gaily. “I like you McKenzies, and I plan to be here as often as you’ll let me. Good bye!”
    The girls, except Kelsey, gathered on the front porch and waved as Wally pulled away from the curb.
    “You know, Wally,” Zoe remarked, when the house with eight girls had disappeared behind them, “I really like them, and Kelsey never once complained about being laid up this summer. All she could think about was the old woman she had saved.”
    “She could be a lesson to us all, couldn’t she?” Wally said thoughtfully. “A lesson in contentment with what God brings into our lives, as well as a reminder to think of others more than ourselves.”

Have you ever known someone who taught you
something without knowing they did?
Did you enjoy this story?
Will you be at my party next week?

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Lesson in Contentment - Part 5

Good Morning Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
It's overcast this morning but not cool. Yesterday was sunny and 80º. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same which is good because we have a wedding to attend. :)
Yesterday I spend most of the day helping decorate for the wedding. It was such fun. :) The colors are navy and white and yellow. And she has daisies for flowers.

It's been another one of those crazy weeks. With a wedding last Saturday, then my best friend #2 and her family were down for a visit from Canada, and I went to the park with them on Monday, went out to lunch with just my best friends on Tuesday and then got to bring her 2 year old down to play on our swings and slide for a while Wednesday morning, I've been busy.

I have almost gotten 5k written. Hopefully I can get the last few hundred words written today and tomorrow morning. "Dylan's Story" is almost done. I'm wrapping things up. :)

There are probably other things I could talk about, but I don't feel like I'm making much sense, and as I have other things to do today, so I'll let you get on with this next part of the story. Enjoy!

A Lesson in Contentment
Part 5

    “Of course we’re not going back,” Zoe exclaimed. “The party was almost over anyway. Wally and I are going to drive you and Lottie to the hospital in his car. Your parents will meet us there. We thought you’d like that better than going in an ambulance.”
    “I don’t need a hospital,” Kelsey scoffed, wincing slightly, but determined. “I’ll be fine after a few days of rest at home.”
    Wally spoke up. “Kelsey, we think your leg is broken.”
    “Who’s we?” Kelsey’s eyes moved from the young man’s face to her leg stretched out before her, and then back to Wally’s face.
    “Mr. Parson, the officer, me and another gentleman. Somethings wrong with it, Kelsey. It needs an x-ray, and a doctor.”
    For a long time Kelsey sat in silence. How could her leg be broken? The car hadn’t hit her, had it? If it was broken, why didn’t it hurt sooner? She didn’t want to ride with Wally and Zoe. It was kind of them to offer, but she’d rather go with Mike and Lauren. If she had only called them sooner– No, then Mrs. Stuebanks would probably have been hit by that car! But there was still time if Lottie would go call Mike–
    “Kels,” Lottie whispered, leaning close to her sister. “I’m going to go get our skates, okay?”
    Kelsey nodded. They should get them even if they waited for Mike. The throbbing in her temples had returned, and she leaned her head back, wishing the back of the chair was higher.

*

    They were home. Kelsey looked wearily out the station wagon windows at the lighted windows of the house. Night had settled around, and Kelsey remembered how long the shadows were becoming when she had sat outside the skating rink. Was it only a few hours ago? The front door was flung open as the car pulled to a stop in the street before it, and her younger sisters rushed out followed by Lauren and Mike. Kelsey glanced at her leg. It was in a plaster cast and lay resting on the backseat, while a pair of crutches was in the back with Lottie. Her leg had been broken. The doctor said it wasn’t a bad break, but she wouldn’t be walking on it for at least six weeks. Six weeks of hobbling about the house. Six weeks of not going up to the home to visit the old folks who had become her friends. Six weeks of–
    The car door opened and five voices all talking at once broke the quiet of the car. Though her leg still ached, and she felt tired, Kelsey couldn’t help smiling. She knew she had become a very important member of the family because she was the only one to have broken any bones. At least so far.
    “Kels,” her dad, after gently pushing aside his younger daughters, leaned in to say, “I’m going to let Mike carry you inside, all right?”
    “Sure, Dad. I’ll take to the crutches later, after I’ve had a bit of a rest.”
    “Good girl. Just wait until tomorrow, like the doctor suggested.” Mr. McKenzie patted her shoulder and moved back to let Mike take his place.
    As he carried her across the yard, Mike grinned down at her. “If you didn’t want to stay at the party, you could have just called me instead of taking such drastic measures,” he teased. “And I thought you were the one who hated to be the center of attention in a crowd.”
    Feeling her cheeks grow warm, Kelsey gave a little laugh. “I really don’t know where all the people came from. There was no one anywhere except me and Mrs. Stuebanks. And then suddenly there were people everywhere. I think people just come out of the woodwork when accidents happen.”
    “It sometimes seems that way. Well, I’ve a feeling you’ll be the center of attention for quite some time now,” and he gently placed her on the worn couch in the living room.
    Instantly her sisters swarmed around her, talking and asking questions, trying to get her a glass of water, a blanket, a pillow, and begging her to tell them all about it.
    “All right now, all of you be quiet,” Mrs. McKenzie ordered firmly. “Give Kels a chance to catch her breath. Mair, fetch her a glass of water. Hand me that pillow, Ell. The rest of you be still.” As she had talked, Mrs. McKenzie had deftly slipped the pillow behind Kelsey’s back while Lauren carefully settled the injured leg on another one and then spread a light blanket over her.
    When the water was brought, Kelsey drank thirstily. “You know,” she remarked, after draining the glass and handing it back to her sister, “I think that was the first water I’ve drunk since I left for the party.”
    “No, it wasn’t,” Lottie laughed. “Mr. Parson gave you a glass of water and you drank some of it.”
    “I did? I don’t remember that. But everything was rather a blur for a time.”
    “Tell the story now, please?” Belle, the youngest sister, begged in a whisper.
    Kelsey was a remarkably good storyteller and, in spite of the pain and exhaustion, she told the tale well. Lottie had to fill in much of what had taken place once Kelsey had been carried to the drugstore, for Kelsey didn’t know everything and wasn’t sure just what had happened.
    When the story was finally told, everyone fell silent until Mr. McKenzie said, “I think we need to take a moment and thank the Lord for His protection this afternoon.”
    Every head bowed as he thanked God for protection and asked for healing for Kelsey and Mrs. Stuebanks, if she was also injured.

Have you ever broken a bone?
Do you like being the center of attention?
Was your week busy, or just normal?

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Lesson in Contentment - Part 4

Dear me! I forgot all about it being Friday. Is it really Friday?
It's been a rather crazy week and next week will be even more crazy. :P It's called "Life." Yeah, I know, it would be nice if things weren't so crazy and I could get a lot written, but it hasn't happened. Yet. Perhaps I can write more today. I sure hope so. Here's a quick look at my week.
Saturday: I actually got a good amount written for the first day of April.
Sunday: I worked in the nursery Sunday School for my mom, and then after church we had choir practice. The rest of the day was relaxing and I got to read. :)
Monday: Preparing and teaching my final writing classes. Then I had to grade papers and get everything ready for the next day. I did get 800+ words written.
Tuesday: Only 368 words written while I sat at the polls. We had a record breaking number of 19 people show up to vote! But we talked a LOT and I learned a lot about the history of the area. (There might even be an idea for a story.)
Wednesday: I was tired. And I was catching up. I did some writing sprints with some of my cabin mates which was fun and I was able to get a little over 1,500 words written.
Thursday: I got more things done and the day was more relaxed, but there wasn't much writing done. One of the girls from church who is getting married next week, came over to try her dress on (my sister was doing some altering for her) and we talked for quite a while. And after supper I had to edit what I had written the day before and then only got 280 words written. Not much. We'll see if I'm able to reach my 5k goal this week. I have a wedding to attend tomorrow afternoon. I feel that I'm so close to the ending of "Dylan's Story" but I could use prayer as I write it.

Here's the next part of this story. It gets more exciting in this part. :) Enjoy!

A Lesson in Contentment
Part 4

    Before she could decide, the old woman started to cross the street. She didn’t look to see if any cars were coming, only stepped down off the curb.
    A horn blared. Kelsey found her heart in her throat as the old woman, startled and evidently bewildered, stumbled, almost lost her balance, and then moved forward right into the path of the oncoming car.
    Without stopping to think, Kelsey flew across the sidewalk, darted into the street and hurled herself at Mrs. Stuebanks.
    She was never quite sure just what happened then, for the next thing she knew she was sitting on the side of the road with the little old lady fairly in her lap.
    “Mercy me!” ejaculated Mrs. Stuebanks. “Whatever are you doing, Child?”
    Kelsey gave a nervous laugh. “I’m not quite sure, Mrs. Stuebanks. Are you all right?”
    A crowd was beginning to gather, though Kelsey couldn’t figure out where they all came from. The driver, white faced and shaking, pushed through to ask, “Is she all right? I didn’t see her until she was almost in front of me! Why didn’t she look? Has someone called for an ambulance?”
    Kelsey didn’t try to answer. She simply sat, bewildered, and thankful that Mrs. Stuebanks was alive.
    “I called for an ambulance,” once person said.
    “Where did the girl come from?”
    “Why, that’s Kelsey. Kelsey, what are you doing here?” It was the owner of the drugstore, and he crouched next to the odd couple sitting in the street.
    “I was at the skating party and saw her. Is she going to be all right, Mr. Parson?”
    The old woman, after her first exclamation, had fallen silent and sat quite still clutching her lavender purse.
    “I hope so.”
    The wail of sirens cut through the muffled chatter of the bystanders, and the crowd parted as a police officer and two medics came forward. Mrs. Stuebanks was soon inside the ambulance while Kelsey informed the officer that the old woman lived at the home.
    “I don’t know what she is doing this far away,” she said, not making any move to rise. “I didn’t see anyone with her. Is she going to be all right?”
    The officer nodded. “I’m sure she will be. Now suppose we move out of the street. It would–” He got no farther, for a new crowd, this time of young people, arrived on the scene and pushed forward.
    “Oh, Kelsey!” It was Lottie, and she flung her arms around her sister’s neck and burst into tears.
    Kelsey hugged her and then laughed somewhat shakily, “Come on, Lot, help me up and let’s get out of the street. How did you all know about the accident?”
    Pulling herself together, Lottie drew back and swiped at her tears with the back of her hand. “We didn’t. What happened?”
    Zoe’s face appeared beside Lottie’s. “Someone heard a siren, but by the time the word got around and we realized that it wasn’t just passing by, the ambulance was leaving. What happened?”
    “Zoe, let’s wait until she is out of the street first,” Wally suggested, offering Kelsey his hand.
    Taking it, Kelsey was pulled to her feet, but when she tried to stand, an involuntary cry of pain escaped her lips, and she would have fallen had not a strong arm gone around her and held her up. Her eyes closed with pain and her head dropped forward to rest on a sturdy shoulder as she fought back the waves of dizziness.
    “My leg,” she gasped, in answer to the questions that besieged her from every side. She rested her weight on her right leg, her breathing ragged gasps. It hadn’t hurt before. Nothing had. The medics had asked her if she was all right and she had assured them she was. Nothing had changed since then, had it?
    “Kels,” Lottie was saying when Kelsey could focus on something besides the pain for a moment, “it’s going to be all right.”
    Lifting her head, though she still felt lightheaded, she tried to smile. “Of course I’ll be all right, Lottie,” she whispered. “I probably just twisted my ankle–or something.”
    The policeman was standing beside her giving orders. “Two of you fellows make a chair with your hands and we’ll get her moved.”
    “Bring her into my shop,” Mr. Parson offered quickly.
    Kelsey felt herself being lifted gently by Wally and one of the other boys at the party. The crowd parted and Mr. Parson opened wide his doors. Gritting her teeth against the stabbing pain as she was lowered to a chair and the officer carefully settled her leg on another chair, Kelsey closed her eyes once more.
    Voices swam around her, but she didn’t know what they were saying Her one thought was, “Mrs. Stuebanks is all right. It doesn’t matter about me.” Something cold was settled on her leg and eased the pain.
    “Kelsey.”
    Drawing a deep breath, Kelsey opened her eyes to find Wally and Zoe crouched down before her. It dawned on her suddenly that the accident had interrupted their skating party. “Where’s Lottie?” she asked, not giving either one a chance to speak.
    Her sister’s voice answered. “I’m right here.”
    Forcing her lips to smile, Kelsey glanced over at her. “You should call the house and ask Mike if he’ll come pick us up. You’ll have to get our skates.” She turned back to the brother and sister before her. “Sorry for interrupting the party. We’ll be fine here–until Mike comes. You can all go back. There’s no use waiting–with us.”
Have you ever gotten hurt at a party?
If you were Lottie, what would you do?
Are you eager to read the full book of "Dylan's Story"?

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Lesson in Contentment - Part 3

Hello Friday Fiction Fans,
It's cloudy this morning and damp. It rained off and on all day yesterday. I think the sun is supposed to appear later today which would be very nice. We've had a lot of cool cloudy days. I think our weather has the hiccups. First it's sunny and warm, then it gets cold and rains, then it's really warm, then it's cold. It just can't decide if it should be spring or summer or winter. The Tulips have bloomed, the Irises are blooming in some yards, and it looks like it should be later in the year. We even get the joys of elm seeds early. :P

Anyway, enough about weather. Since I ended up working in the nursery again (third time in a row), I didn't write anything that day. But I have been working on "Dylan's Story." It's coming along. Though I've about reached a part that I really don't know what happens. Prayers would be appreciated.

Speaking of writing, this year marks a first. I decided to join Camp NaNo for April. My goal right now is to write 20,000 words. It could be interesting since I also have two weddings, a wedding reception, a wedding rehearsal, an election, my birthday, a party on here (stay tuned for more details), and the AWANA closing program at church. Not to mention other things that just come up. Hopefully I'll be able to reach my goal.

Here's the next part of this story. Enjoy!

A Lesson in Contentment
Part 3

    “Wow, you two are good,” Sharon’s praise was genuine.
    “Only because of practice,” Lottie laughed. “If you’d skated as much as we have, you’d be good too.”
    “I think I’ll go outside for a little while, Lottie,” Kelsey said as Lottie dropped down onto the bench beside her. “I’m getting a headache.”
    A worried frown crossed Lottie’s face. “Do you want to go home?”
    Though she really did, Kelsey shook her head and began unlacing her skates. “I’ll just get some quiet and fresh air. Have fun and don’t worry about me.”
    Lottie nodded. “But Kels, if you do want to go home, I don’t mind. I’ve been skating a lot and have had fun already. I won’t mind leaving.”
    Kelsey smiled. “Thanks, Lot, but I think I’ll be fine after some quiet.” She stood up and slipped her feet into her shoes leaving her skates next to Lottie’s shoes. Walking to the door, she skirted several kids she didn’t know, thankful that no one had said anything to her. Her feet felt strange, almost as though they no longer belonged to her. “They always do after I’ve skated,” she murmured, pushing open the door and blinking in the bright sunshine.
    Quiet. Blessed quietness settled over her as the door shut behind her. Only the noise of an occasional car driving past disturbed the lazy summer afternoon. Sitting down in the green grass, Kelsey leaned her head against the brick of the skating rink and shut her eyes. The pounding in her head dulled to a low but persistent ache. At least that was more manageable than the throbbing had been.
    Childish laughter made her open her eyes, and a smile brightened her face. Across the street a family was entering the drugstore, the children excited and eager, the parents laughing at some remark made no doubt by one of their children.
    “I wonder who they are,” she thought, her eyes resting on the door that had shut after the family. “I think I would like them.”
    From her shady spot she let her eyes roam around, and for some time she watched a busy little bird across the street.
    “Kels!”
    So busy had her thoughts been, that she started. “Zoe? What are you doing out here?”
    “I came to find you. I saw you leave, but you didn’t come back in. Are you all right?”
    “Yes, I’m fine. It was just too crowded and noisy inside.” She shrugged. “I’m all right, really. You can go back to your party. I’m not running away.” She smiled.
    Instead of leaving, Zoe sat down beside her. “It does get rather noisy with everyone talking at once and music playing. You probably wish you had gone to visit your elderly friends at the home instead of coming here.”
    “No, I’m glad I came. I know Lottie is having a wonderful time, and we’ll have stories to tell the other girls at home when we get back.”
    “But what about you?”
    Kelsey looked surprised. “What about me?”
    “You aren’t having fun.”
    Pushing back a red curl from her face, Kelsey laughed. “How do you know?” Then without waiting for a reply, she went on, “I just watched a family go into the drugstore laughing together over something. I think they are getting ice cream, and I was imagining what flavor they would each choose. And do you see that bird up there on the flag pole?” She pointed. “Well, he’s been snatching bugs and things from the sidewalk and going to a little hole in the awning over the barber shop and coming back with an empty beak. I think he has a family in there. Who says I’m not having fun?”
    Zoe didn’t look convinced. “It doesn’t sound like a very fun way to spend your afternoon.”
    “I haven’t been sitting here all afternoon.”
    “Don’t you want something to eat? Or drink?”
    Kelsey shook her head. “I already had a coke and I’m not hungry. If I get tired of sitting out here, I’ll come in. Don’t worry about me, Zoe.”
    Reluctantly Zoe stood back up. “I don’t feel right about just leaving you,” she admitted, “but–”
    A light laugh interrupted her. “If you lived in a house with seven other girls, you might enjoy some quiet time alone too. Now go on before they all come looking for you.” It hadn’t escaped Kelsey’s notice that Zoe was the life of the party.
    “All right.”

    The afternoon shadows were lengthening and still Kelsey sat outside. No one else had come to bother her, and she found herself growing sleepy just sitting there. The family had left the drugstore and only a few other people had been seen on the sidewalks. It seemed that most folks had either left for summer vacation, or were too busy getting ready to leave, to come get ice cream or a haircut.
    “I wonder what time it is,” Kelsey wondered at last, squinting toward the western sky. “I would have thought the party would be over by now.” She gave a little sigh. In spite of the things she had told Zoe, she did feel a little left out, but the thought of returning only made her head ache again. It was so crowded and noisy!
    At that moment her attention was drawn to a slightly stooped figure trotting down the sidewalk in a green dress. Her hair was white and she carried a lavender purse in one hand.
    Kelsey stood up. “Why, that looks like Mrs. Stuebanks from the home. I wonder what she is doing so far? I thought most of the residents weren’t allowed out alone. Oh, I wonder if she wandered off! Should I go to her, or call the home first?”

What would you do? Call the home or talk to Mrs. S. first?
Have you ever felt the need to just get outside at a party?
Have you ever done Camp NaNo?

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Lesson in Contentment - Part 2

Hello FFFs!
Here I sit with 4 of my nieces and nephews on the floor behind me. They just got up (at 7). We had a very busy day yesterday exploring the "forest" and the "river." (Translated: some trees and a creek.) It's been a crazy week.
Sunday evening my youngest nephew had to get 5 stitches in the middle of his forehead from running into the corner of the wall. (Dad and I went to stay with the other kids and didn't get home and to bed until after mid-night.
Monday a girl from church came over for sewing lessons.
Tuesday I taught writing classes. Wednesday my dad and I had election training and then I worked in the nursery again.
Yesterday I already mentioned. Last night my grandparents, oldest niece and nephew, Sis and I all went to a concert to listen to "The Academy of St Martin in the Fields." It was wonderful!
Today we'll have the kids all day and then take them home for bed. And then Saturday. Saturday we have nothing planned! :) Lovely.

And that's all I have to say right now. I hope you enjoy this next part of the story.

A Lesson in Contentment
Part 2

    Half a dozen voices from her younger sisters who were peering out the windows, shouted, “They’re here!” “Hurry, Kels, they’re waiting!”
    With skates over their arms, smiles on their faces, and many waves to the excited girls watching, Kelsey and Lottie left the house, crossed the yard and climbed into the waiting car.
    Kelsey was silent on the ride. Zoe introduced herself and her brother and chatted with Lottie all the way there, for Lottie wasn’t the least bit shy.

    There wasn’t a large crowd when they arrived, only a few schoolmates who welcomed the sisters with smiles and hellos. Once she was out on the floor with skates on, Kelsey was able, for a time, to push aside the thought that she didn’t belong. She skated with Lottie for a little while, getting the feel of the floor and warming up. Music played over the speakers, and the noise level rose as more and more kids arrived. Feeling warm and uncomfortably out of place, Kelsey skated to the side and stepped off the rink to sit on a bench and watch.
    “Get tired?” a voice asked loudly.
    Glancing up, she saw Wally standing beside her bench. “A little.”
    He sat down beside her. “I’ve never seen a kid skate like your sister can. Does she practice every day?”
    Kelsey’s eyes followed her sister’s path across the skate floor. She never wobbled, or bumped into anyone. Her turns were graceful, she could skate just as well backwards as forward, and she never seemed to tire. “Just about. She comes here every chance she can get and helps clean up after parties, so the owner lets her skate any time it’s not booked.”
    “Do you ever go with her?”
    Kelsey merely nodded.
    “Want a coke or some popcorn?”
    “A coke would be nice. Thank you.”
    When Wally had disappeared, Kelsey scooted to the end of the bench. It was a strange feeling, but she wanted to be able to slip away should many others come to join them on the bench, as she guessed they would if Wally stuck around. He was popular in school.
    “Here you are.” Wally appeared beside her once again and handed her a cold glass before taking the seat beside her.
    “Thanks.” Kelsey took a sip. It tasted good and the cold was refreshing. She looked out over the skaters and soon found her light haired sister among the crowd. Lottie had slowed her pace and was skating beside a girl Kelsey didn’t know, but who looked like she was having trouble getting used to the skates. “That’s just like her,” she remarked.
    “What is?” Wally turned questioning eyes on her.
    “Lottie. She’s found someone to help. Just watch, she’ll skate with her until she’s sure she can do it alone a few minutes.”
    “Then what?”
    “Then she’ll zip around the rink once just because she loves it, and then will come back to the girl’s side and help her some more.” Kelsey had had to speak loudly, for the music and chatter of the crowd made normal conversation impossible.
    Her predictions were right, and she smiled as her younger sister once more reached the hesitant skater, linked her arm with hers and pulled her on, somehow keeping both of them balanced even when one of the wilder skaters nearly crashed into them.
    Wally was soon called away from the bench by some of the guys, and Kelsey was left alone. She didn’t mind.
    Just then Lottie and her partner skated up. “There’s a bench you can sit on if you want, Sharon,” Lottie said to her new friend. “After a rest you can try it again. You’re really getting the hang of it, you know.”
    The other girl sank onto the bench gratefully. “Thank you for helping me,” she said. “I don’t know what possessed me to come to this party. I’ve never skated more than a handful of times in my life, and those times always ended up making me black and blue.”
    With a laugh Lottie reached for Kelsey’s drink and took a long swallow. “Now you have to come skate with me,” she ordered her sister.
    Kelsey shook her head. Just the thought of getting back into that crowd set her heart to racing and made her hands clammy.
    “Please,” Lottie begged. “They’re going to do the couples skating in just a few minutes, and,” she leaned down and said in lower tones, “I won’t skate with some boy!”
    Feeling torn, but not wanting to make her sister become a spectator for something they had always enjoyed doing together, she reluctantly agreed. Besides, she realized, spying Wally heading in their direction, if she didn’t accept Lottie, Wally would ask, and she had no intention of skating with him.
    “All right.”
    “Just forget about all the others,” advised Lottie as the girls crossed arms and began skating in step.
    Kelsey tried, but there was no shutting out the loud music, the constant babble of voices, or the rumble made by dozens of skates on the smooth floor. To Lottie the noise might have been intoxicating, but to Kelsey it was torture. “One, two, three. One two, side,” she began counting in her head as she tried to concentrate on the routine she and her sister had worked out over a year ago. Hanging on to Lottie’s hands, she guided her sister who was skating backwards. Around, down, backwards, forwards. Arms crossed, hands linked, one-handed–it all came together somehow, leaving Kelsey rather breathless when the music ended and she found herself once more on the sidelines.

Does the skating party sound fun?
Do you like to skate with someone else?
Have you ever been "exploring"?

Friday, March 17, 2017

A Lesson in Contentment - Part 1

Fond felicitations to my few faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
I hope your weekend is looking promising. Mine is. The weather has cast aside the cold frosts and cloudy days of winter (again!) and has welcomed the warmer days of spring with a mixture of sunshine and lovely rain. Well, I think the rain will be lovely. It's suppose to rain today, but be sunny the next few days and almost 80º. After it snowed most of the morning and into the afternoon on Tuesday (nothing stuck), we are glad to be back to warmer temperatures and balmy sunshine.

I was going to tell you about my week, but it was mostly a blur. Except Wednesday. Wednesday was one of those days. Things that you thought would hardly take any time took two or three times as long to do. I ran into some major problems with my big "Bike Trip book" project, and then I got called and asked if I could please work nursery at church and help out in "Puggles" since our pastor's wife wasn't going to be there. So, no writing that day. But I did get a little research done for "Dylan's Story." Do you want to know what I had to look up? Let me know in a comment or by email if you do.

Yesterday was my best writing day so far this week. 1,500+ words written. If you haven't checked the Progress bar on the Home Page of Read Another Page, you might want to go check it. :) 

Anyway, that's that and this is this. I wrote this story mostly last week after someone suggested that these characters might have some more interesting stories. She was right. And I hope you enjoy the first part of it today.

A Lesson in Contentment
Part 1

    “Come on, Kels,” Zoe begged. “Say you’ll come.”
    It was a warm, sunny afternoon. School had ended for the summer, and a group of friends were getting together at the skating rink for a party to celebrate their release from the confines of the classroom.
    Shifting the bag of groceries from one arm to the other, Kelsey hesitated. She liked roller skating well enough but didn’t feel like she fit in with the rest of her classmates. “I don’t know,” she began slowly. “I’d feel kind of mean going off to a party and leaving all my sisters at home.”
    “Bring them along,” Zoe invited impulsively.
    Kelsey laughed and tossed her red hair back from her face. “Your group wouldn’t want all eight of us there! Imagine how shocked everyone would be to find the rink full of girls from the other side of the tracks.” She shook her head. “That wouldn’t work, Zoe. Besides, Mama wouldn’t want the younger ones out late.”
    “Then couldn’t you and, who’s the girl right under you?”
    “Lottie.”
    “That’s it–Couldn’t you and Lottie come?”
    Before Kelsey could think of another excuse, a car pulled up before the supermarket where the girls were standing and a horn honked. “Oh, there’s Lauren and Mike. They said they’d pick me up. I’ll have to go now, Zoe. See you later!”
    But Zoe wasn’t to be dissuaded from her purpose and followed her friend out to the car. She had met Lauren before, and even Lauren’s boyfriend, Mike, so she folded her arms on the front window and leaned in to plead her cause. “Lauren, I’m having a party at the skating rink on Friday afternoon, and I want Kelsey to come. Don’t you think she can?”
    Lauren glanced into the back seat where the younger girl had climbed. “Did she say she didn’t want to?”
    Zoe shook her head. “No, she just said she didn’t think it would be fair to go off and have fun without the rest of the girls. I told her Lottie could come too.”
    Kelsey leaned forward and laughed. “After she had invited the whole bunch of us.”
    At that Lauren, and even Zoe, laughed while Mike chuckled.
    “I don’t see why she couldn’t go. Lottie too, if you want her,” Lauren said at last, “if we can get them there.”
    “Oh, don’t worry about that. Wally and I can pick them up,” Zoe said hastily. “And we can bring them home again too. Thanks, Lauren, I knew you’d help me.” Then, not giving Kelsey any chance to back out or come up with another excuse, she called as she stepped away from the car with a wave, “Remember, Kels, three-thirty on Friday. You and Lottie both.”
    Kelsey waved one hand and smiled. The next minute she was leaning forward again as the car pulled away from the curb. “Why on earth did you tell her we could go, Lauren?” she demanded. “We don’t even know if Lottie wants to go!”
    Without turning in her seat, Lauren answered, “Of course Lottie will want to go. You know how much she loves roller skating. Why the two of you can probably skate better than anyone else who will be there.”
    “That’s not the point,” Kelsey sighed.
    “Then what is? Zoe wanted you, and there really isn’t any reason for you not to go. Mother and Dad won’t mind, and you can tell us all about it when you get home. I thought you said you liked Zoe.”
    “I do.” There was a long pause. “It’s just–”
    “Just what?” Lauren prodded, half turning in her seat to look at her younger sister.
    A long sigh preceded the answer. “It’s just that I don’t really know most of the gang she does things with. Yeah, I know some of them, and most of us are in the same class at school, but–” Again she paused.
    “But we live on the other side of the tracks?” Lauren finished for her.
    “Yeah,” Kelsey mumbled. “And,” she added in lower tones, “I don’t like noisy crowds.”
    “Look, Kels,” Mike spoke up for the first time, “I’ll tell you what. You and Lottie go to that party, and I’ll stick around your house. If you can’t stand it after a little while, give the house a ring and I’ll come pick you up.”
    Kelsey’s face brightened. “Really?”
    “Sure thing.”
    “Thanks. I guess we’ll go then, if Lottie wants to. I don’t really want to, but Zoe seems set on us being there for some reason.”

    There was no need to ask Lottie a second time. As soon as she heard about the party, she was wild with excitement. Skating was her passion, and last summer she had talked the owner of the rink into letting her help clean up after parties in exchange for time to skate. Now she could do just about anything on a pair of roller skates.
    “Is Zoe the one who walked in the rain with you the day you went to Miss Olive’s?” she questioned Kelsey.
    Kelsey nodded. She had told the entire story of that visit a dozen times to her sisters.
    “Oh, good, then I know I’ll like her.”

    Friday arrived, and Kelsey began to wish Lauren hadn’t said they could go. Her mother and dad had given their consent right away, especially with Mike’s promise to stick around and pick them up should the party grow too much for them. As Kelsey watched Lottie’s excitement, however, she began to be glad of the invitation, if only to give Lottie a treat. She seldom got to skate with a crowd, and it would be fun to watch her. But when a car horn honked outside, she wished Lottie could go alone.

Have you ever gone to a skating party?
Do you like to roller skate?
Would you be more like Kelsey or Lottie when it comes to crowds?
(Oh, do you want to know what I had to research?) 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dylan's Story - Part 8

Hello Friday Fiction Fans,
I had to scramble this morning because I had completely forgotten that I didn't have anything ready to post. I had finished writing a short story last night, but it wasn't ready to be shared yet. And I hadn't picked another already published story either, so . . . I decided that I'd give you another part of Dylan's Story. I hope you won't mind. (Jesseca, you asked for it, so I hope you can read it.)

Last weekend was one of those crazy, busy things. On Sunday night I told my sister I had no idea what I needed to work on this week because we'd been so busy that I hadn't had time to even think about the coming week. :P We had a birthday party (okay, we celebrated 3 birthdays), a wedding shower, babysat the kiddos twice, had church, had choir practice, saw some friends I hadn't seen in a year, and somehow managed to get my last 500 words written so I could reach my 5k goal.

This week I need about 500 more words as well, though I'm hoping I can get 1,500 words written and reach 6k. I just don't know what I'll write this evening. Dylan's Story got stuck, Finding Joy needs some major work, Hymns in the Hills might work, I haven't tried it, or I might be able to start a new short story. Maybe one for Project 12. What do you wish I would work on?

Now I'll let you read. You probably didn't even bother reading this part, did you? Don't worry, I won't hold it against you.

Dylan's Story
Part 8

    “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!”
    Autumn nodded, kissed her husband quickly, and then stood and watched until he disappeared into the rain. Turning back to the children, she saw Fern pressed against her brother. “Perhaps she is a little frightened at times after all,” she murmured to herself. Before, Fern had given the impression that nothing could bother her.
    “Aunt Autumn,” Fern whimpered when Autumn returned to their side, “I don’t like it in here anymore. Can’t we go back to the house?”
    “Uncle Scott went to get the truck. The wind and rain are too cold for us to go all the way back to the house on foot.”
    Clutching Autumn’s hand, Fern lifted dark eyes wide with fear. “Then won’t Uncle Scott get sick?”
    “Fern, he’s an Army man. Army men don’t get sick from rain and wind,” Dylan scoffed. “They’re tough.”
    “I don’t think he’ll get sick, Fern,” Autumn reassured the little girl whose eyes had remained fixed on her, completely ignoring her brother’s words. “He is more used to the elements than we are. Now, while we wait, let’s make sure the horses are ready for a long day in the stable.”
    As they worked, Autumn kept one ear open for the sound of the truck. In spite of her assurance to Fern, she couldn’t quite rid herself of the worry that nudged her mind. What if Scott slipped and fell on the way? Would he be able to make it all the way to the truck if he was injured? What if the truck became stuck in the muddy lane? It had happened before. What if–
    “Aunt Autumn.” Dylan’s voice brought her mind back into focus.
    “Yes?”
    “Is there anything else we need to do?”
    She looked around. There wasn’t anything else to do except to wait. Shaking her head, she smiled. “No, it looks like everything is ready in here. Let’s go watch near the door.”
    The time passed slowly to the three who were waiting and watching the falling rain. Fern pressed close to Autumn and even Dylan shivered. At her suggestion, they moved farther back and shut the door almost all the way. Conversation was almost non existent for the rain on the metal roof was loud. Suddenly a new sound was heard. Thudding like golf balls being dumped on a hard floor caused Autumn to catch her breath and look anxiously out the door.
    “What is that noise?” Fern’s voice was almost lost.
    “Hail.” Though she tried to hide her concern, Autumn wasn’t sure she had succeeded for Dylan moved up beside her and looked out at the small balls of ice bouncing around. Where was Scott? Had he even made it back to the house before the hail came? Autumn had no way of knowing.
    Finally the hail stopped and only the rain fell, though not as heavily as it had.
    “I’m glad we aren’t in the cabin,” Dylan remarked, sitting down on an overturned bucket.
    “I’m thankful you aren’t too!”
    Soon the truck was seen coming down the road. Pulling up as close as he could to the barn before stopping, Scott reached over and opened the passenger door. “Hurry in, kids!”
    Fern needed no urging but dashed for the truck and scrambled in. Dylan was right at her heels. Shutting the stable door securely, Autumn followed. There was barely enough room in the cab for the four of them to fit, but after Fern had wiggled her way across her brother and onto Autumn’s lap, it was less crowded.
    “Home, James,” Autumn ordered, her voice prim and proper.
    “Very good, ma’am,” Scott replied in some funny accent, pretending to touch a cap he wasn’t wearing.
    Fern giggled, and even Dylan smiled. They were all safe in the truck and headed for a warm house and dry clothes.
*

    Arriving at the house, Autumn said, “When we get inside, Fern and Dylan, I want you to both run up to your rooms and change into dry clothes. And make sure you put on dry socks, Fern.” Autumn patted the little girl’s knee. “You stepped right in that puddle.”
    “But my shoe is wet, so my dry sock will just get wet too.”
    “Do you have slippers?”
    Fern shook her dark head.
    “Well, I think I have something you can wear around the house.”
    “Bring any wet shoes down and we’ll dry them by the fire,” Scott promised before he opened his door.
    Quickly rushing inside, everyone scattered to their rooms to get into something dry and warm.
    Dylan shivered as he pulled on his last clean shirt. “I wonder if they have to go to town to wash their clothes?” he mused, pulling off his damp socks. “I should have looked for puddles before I followed Fern. Now where are my socks? Surely I have another pair.” Carefully he dug through his suitcase one more time. Nope. All of his socks had been worn and needed washed. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, Dylan gave a sigh that was almost like a sob. He was tired of trying to be responsible for everything. “I’m only ten. I want to be a boy, not a grownup.” Sniffing, he let his shoulders sag and rested his chin in his hands. Why was life so hard?
    “Dylan! Lunch is ready!”
    The call from his sister brought Dylan to his feet. Picking up his shoes, he made his way downstairs where he left his shoes on the hearth with the other pairs. The warmth of the fire felt good to his bare feet and for a minute he stood warming his toes.
    “Dylan!” Fern’s voice was impatient. “I’m hungry, so come on!”
    “Fern, talk politely, please.”
    Dylan heard Uncle Scott’s low voice and turned away. He knew he’d better go before Fern got really upset. Besides, his breakfast had disappeared some time before and his stomach was begging to be filled again. The smell of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup quickened his steps.
    “There he is,” Aunt Autumn smiled as he entered the dining room. “We can–Why, Dylan, where are your socks? It’s too cold to be going around barefoot.”

Have you ever run out of clean socks?
Have you ever been stuck in a building other than a house during hail?
Do you like grilled cheese and tomato soup?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 5

Hello Faithful Fiction Fans,
Have you come back for your Fiction Fix this Friday? :)

How has your week been? Mine's been good, but busy. I felt for a while that I was never going to get to the end of my "to-do" list. I still don't at times, but I've made good progress. My writing has been a bit on the slower side this week. On Monday I wrote 1,200+ words in just under an hour, but on Wednesday I only wrote a few hundred. In order to reach my 5k goal for this week, I need to write 1,500 today. (I would say between today and tomorrow, but tomorrow we're going to have all six nieces and nephews over from about 4:30 until 9 or so at night. No writing then.) Yes, I'm still working on "Dylan's Story" though I am thinking of trying to write another short story or two soon.

I'm wanting to finish up my "Project 12" stories and get them published. But I need some more Bible verses to use in my stories. If you have a verse that you think would be good to put in a short story, let me know.

Help me out!!!!! What should I post next week? Is there a short story that you started on here a long time ago and never got to finish? Is there one you'd just like to read again? Please let me know!!!!! Because I don't know what to post next week!


And now my faithful few who have been reading this story each week and are waiting for the conclusion, here it is. You need wait no longer.

Smiling in the Rain
Part 5

    A half sob came from Zoe, and Kelsey gave her hand a gentle squeeze.
    “It’s all right to cry. I did. I still do some times, but when I see one of these lovely little flowers,” and Aunt Olive leaned forward and with gentle finger touched a golden petal, “I am reminded of something my old friend told me the day before he died. ‘Olive,’ he said, holding my hand in his, ‘life isn’t easy. It’s hard, and we may want to hide our faces, but don’t do it. Be like those bright yellow flowers out there. They bloom in the rain because when the sun is shining they kept their faces turned toward it. They may not live long, but they brighten the world wherever they grow. Keep your face toward Jesus Christ, and you’ll be able to smile in the rain as well as in the sunshine. Don’t stop brightening the world just because Ernest has gone. Promise me you won’t turn bitter, Olive Child.’ With his tired, worn hand in mine, and a vase of lovely coreopsis blooming beside the bed, I promised. And, God helping me, I’ve kept that promise. It hasn’t always been easy, but the sight of these flowers always helps.”
    Giving a long sigh, Miss Olive smiled. “I haven’t told that story before, but Kelsey’s gift was such a sweet reminder that I thought you all might like to hear it. You all have the same choice I have, you can frown and wilt under the rain of trials, or you can keep your face bright with the light of Jesus Christ.”

    It was a more subdued group who gathered their things together and prepared to leave Miss Olive’s hospitable home.
    “How are you getting home, Kels?” Zoe asked, noticing the other girls dashing through the light rain to cars where a parent or friend was waiting. Several of them left together, but Kelsey didn’t seem in any hurry.
    “Oh, I’ll just walk home,” was the easy reply. “That’s how I came.” She started up the steps to change her clothes.
    “But it wasn’t raining then,” protested Zoe.
    Kelsey shrugged with a smile. “It won’t hurt me. I’ll just put on my wet clothes, and I’ll–”
    “Kels!” Zoe exclaimed. “You can’t go out there again and get wet! You’d end up sick.”
    At that Kelsey burst into a merry laugh. “Me? Sick? Zoe, I don’t think a little more rain will hurt me. I’m not going to melt and it isn’t cold.”
    “Aunt Olive.” Zoe called for reinforcements. “Tell Kelsey she shouldn’t think of walking home in the rain after she’s already been out walking in the rain once today.”
    Coming out of the kitchen with Aunt Olive, Wally said, “Why don’t we take her home, Zoe. I have my car and nothing else to do the rest of the day except drop Candace off at her house.”
    “Oh, say you’ll let us, Kels, please!” Zoe begged. “Aunt Olive, tell her it’s all right to accept.”
    Aunt Olive shook her head. “Zoe, Zoe, why don’t you ask her and then give her a chance to answer?”
    “Because I’m afraid she’ll say no.”
    Kelsey looked from one face to another. “I don’t want to inconvenience you if you have to take Candace home–” she began.
    Just then Candace burst into the hall where the others were standing. “Wally, you’re a dear to offer to take me home,” she began not seeming to notice she was interrupting someone, “but I’m going to go with Violet. Her father came to pick her up and said he’d take me too. He’s driving his new car, Zoe! I’m sure you’d be welcome too unless you want to ride in Wally’s old car.” She smiled at her cousins.
    “I thought you liked my car,” Wally said.
    “I do, when I can’t get a ride in a newer model.” She flashed a dazzling smile at him before turning to her other cousin. “Zoe, do you want to go with us?”
    But Zoe shook her head. “No, Wally and I are going to take Kelsey home. Have fun.”
    It was only then that Candace acknowledged Kelsey. With a nod, she said, “Bye, Kelsey.” Then not giving anyone time to say another word, she whirled around and disappeared.

    In a little while Kelsey found herself riding with Zoe and her brother, giving directions for how to get to her house but not saying any other words. She was still thinking about Miss Olive’s story.
    “That’s our house,” she said at last, pointing to a narrow brick structure two stories high. “You can let me off here. Zoe, I’ll bring your dress back to you.”
    “Oh, keep it. It looks better on you than it does on me. Besides, I never looked good in it, did I Wally?”
    Kelsey didn’t hear his answer, if he gave one, for she was already out of the car, her wet garments clutched in her arms. “Thanks for the lift,” she turned to say, her smile bright.
    “You’re welcome. See you on Monday, Kels!”
    As Kelsey ran across the yard to the porch, Zoe watched as the front door opened and girls of all sizes poured onto the covered porch and the sound of their laughter and chatter reached the car.
    “She reminds me of Aunt Olive.”
    Zoe turned to her brother. “I was thinking the same thing. And she’s just like those flowers she picked this afternoon. She brightens things up considerably. I want to take her home.”

Well, what did you think?
Do you know anyone who always seems to brighten a room?
Do you smile in the rain when life is hard?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 4

Good morning Friday Fiction Fans,
It's cloudy this morning, but I don't think it's supposed to rain today. The last few days have been sunny and warm. Upper 70s to 80º warm. Yep, spring. Flowers blooming, trees budding, birds singing madly, squirrels acting crazy. (I actually saw one push another one off the tree the other morning!)

I was writing this week. Only got 20 words written yesterday though. I seemed stopped. Not as though I had taken a wrong turn in the story, but as though there was a pause. I'm hoping and praying I can write tonight. You can be praying too. :) I'm about 2/3 of the way done with "Dylan's Story" and I'm still wondering how it is all going to end.

I hope you enjoy this next part of your Friday Fiction. It ends next week. And then I really don't know what to post. Again. :P I keep having that problem. If I could get a short story written I could post that, but . . . I don't seem to have time to write a short story. But maybe if I got a few started I could work on them if I get stuck in my book. Sound good?

Smiling in the Rain
Part 4

    “Nonsense! You look fine!” remonstrated Zoe. “I love your curls. They fit you. Now let’s go down before Wally eats all the cake. What do you suppose the other girls have done in our absence?”
    Kelsey had completely forgotten about the other girls. Perhaps it had been rude to run off and leave them even if they had offered the others a chance to go with them. Candace would be sure to make some remark about her hair or her borrowed dress. For the first time since she had arrived, Kelsey wished it was time to leave and she could set off for home. But Zoe didn’t give her time to think any longer, for she linked arms with her in the friendly fashion she had, and together they descended the stairs.
    Aunt Olive called them into the living room and when they made their appearance, they were motioned to an empty section of the sofa. Plates of the moist lemon cake were handed to them and glasses of root beer. On a low table stood the vase of coreopsis.
    Glancing about half shyly, Kelsey found the other girls, except Candace, looking at Wally who was seated on the love-seat beside his cousin. With a slight shake of her head, she dropped her eyes back to her plate. Why did girls have to be so crazy about boys?
    For some time the room was full of small talk, Kelsey keeping silent and listening as she did every day in school. Finally Aunt Olive set her empty plate down and said, “I think I would like to tell you a little story, if you don’t mind. It is the reason I love these bright flowers so much.” And she nodded to the full vase.
    At her words silence fell on the room; only the soft patter of rain could be heard through the open windows.
    “I was young, just out of high school in fact,” Aunt Olive began, settling herself in her chair and folding her hands. “I had a job in the soda shop and loved every minute of it. But my favorite time was when a certain old friend of mine would walk through the doors. No,” she said, shaking her head at the significant smiles several of the girls exchanged, “he was much too old to be my boyfriend. In fact, he was more like a grandfather. But when I was young, I had found him an interested listener when I needed someone to pour out my troubles to, for my parents were both quite busy. Mr. Williamson would often bring me a posy when he came. It might be a rose, or a wildflower he had picked along the side of the road.
    “One day he came in with a single coreopsis in his hand. ‘For you,’ he said, handing it to me. ‘Because you make every day like sunshine.’ It was so sweet of him, and I didn’t notice the young man who was standing beside him. The young man was his grandson and we were introduced. For several days Mr. Williamson brought me a coreopsis or two each evening. They brightened up my room at home.
    “Over the next few weeks I began to notice his grandson, Ernest. We would talk, and before long he would show up at the soda shop when Mr. Williamson couldn’t. Yes, girls, we fell in love over the course of the following months. We got engaged and planned on being married the following early summer when the coreopsis were in full bloom. But the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor that December. Ernest wasn’t in the army, but he joined before Christmas.”
    A long pause followed, and the room was so quiet that Kelsey distinctly heard the purring of Miss Olive’s cat from across the room where it lay curled up on the back of the love-seat.
    “He was given a short furlough before being shipped out,” Aunt Olive began again, one hand holding something which hung from a chain about her neck. “It wasn’t very long, but it was time I have always been grateful for. We could have gotten married then, but neither of us wanted to. Ernest said he wanted me to be free should anything happen to him, and I–well, I didn’t want a rushed wedding. We wrote to each other often. I wrote every day, and when the coreopsis were in bloom, I pressed one and sent it to him. He carried it tucked inside his small Bible the rest of his life.” Closing her eyes, Aunt Olive drew a deep breath. “He was killed on the beaches at the invasion of Normandy.”
    A gasp came from the girls in the room, and Kelsey felt her eyes fill with tears.
    “The fields here at home were full of coreopsis.” Tenderly she took off her necklace and held it in her open hand: a pair of dog-tags and a ring. For a long minute she sat looking at them. “Mr. Williamson died shortly after the news of Ernest’s death reached us. He hadn’t been well for months.”
    A half sob came from Zoe, and Kelsey gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

What did you think of this part?
Do you like listening to stories about others?
Will you return next week for the final part of this story?

Friday, February 17, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 3

A lovely Spring morning to all my Faithful Friday Fiction Fans.
Yes, it's spring. We seem to have thrown away winter and welcomed spring with open arms. The trees and bushes are budding, the crocuses are blooming, the daffodils are coming up and the sun is rising in a clear sky. It's supposed to be 70º today. Doesn't sound much like winter, does it?

This has been a good week. Kindle of crazy and such, but good. I've gotten some writing done though I couldn't write Tuesday or yesterday. And I wrote until I made myself nervous on Wednesday night. (I was home alone in the evening writing "Dylan's Story.") I'm hoping to write more this evening, but we'll see how things go. My grandparents came down for supper last evening and then Grandpa and I went to a concert. We are going out to breakfast with them, and my brother and his family this morning. Then my grandparents will stick around here until after lunch. It will be nice to visit with them.

If you haven't noticed, I have an audio giveaway going on at Read Another Page. Go check it out!
And now, because I need to get some other things worked on, I'm going to let you all get to the reason you get on here in the first place. The story. I hope you enjoy this next part of:

Smiling in the Rain
Part 3

She wasn’t content to remain on the slope at the edge of the water, for she saw more lovely ones growing on a tiny island in the stream.
    “Kels! Be careful!”
    Zoe’s shout made Kelsey pause in the middle of the stream and look back at the bridge. Some boy was standing beside Zoe, but she wasn’t sure who it was.
    “Don’t worry, I’m just going to get a few of the ones with more red in them, then I’ll be done.” She chose to ignore the presence of the stranger though she couldn’t help wondering who he was. “If it’s someone from school, the news will be all over by Monday that I was seen walking barefooted in the stream picking weeds. But these are not weeds. Humph! Why do I care what they think of me?”
    When she couldn’t hold another flower in her hand, she carefully walked back up stream and then paused glancing at both banks. Which would be easier to climb up?
    “Here, I’ll give you a hand up,” a masculine voice said, and the young man left the bridge and stood on the bank of the stream with his hand out.
    It would have been rude to refuse, and Kelsey hated to be rude. In a few minutes, therefore, she was standing on the road again while Zoe exclaimed over the beauty of the flowers.
    “Oh, excuse me, Kels,” Zoe said after a moment, “let me introduce you to my brother, Wally. Wally, this is Kelsey.”
    “Hi,” Wally greeted her cordially. “I’ve seen you at school but have never been introduced. It’s nice to finally get to meet you.”
    “Hi.” Kelsey nodded and focused her attention on rearranging the flowers so that the ones with red were more mixed with the others. Having grown up with a house full of girls, she wasn’t sure what to say around boys. Except for her sister’s friend; he felt like one of the family.
    “Say, do you girls want a lift home? Aunt Olive told me where to find you and said you’d been out a while.”
    “We’d ruin your car, Wally,” Zoe laughed. “In case you hadn’t noticed, we are rather wet.”
    “You can stand on the running boards on either side. I’d drive slowly. It would be faster than you could walk. And easier on your feet.” He glanced significantly at Zoe’s bare feet. “Come on,” he coaxed.
    Linking her arm in Kelsey’s Zoe replied, “What do you have up your sleeve, Wallace?”
    “A piece of Aunt Olive’s lemon cake,” admitted Wally with a grin. “She promised me one if I’d bring you two back.”
    Kelsey, having finished arranging her flowers, looked at Zoe and raised her eyebrows. It really didn’t matter to her what they did. She wouldn’t mind a lift, though she had never ridden on the running board of a car before.
    It only took Zoe a moment to give in, provided that Kelsey would come with them. Not feeling the need to refuse, Kelsey nodded and was soon laughing with delight as the gentle rain pelted her face and the wind tossed her wet curls.
    The ride was brief and when they had reached the house, Kelsey gathered her flowers which had been laid on an old shirt on the seat, and thanked Wally shyly.
    “Come along, girls,” he said, motioning them forward. “I believe Aunt Olive would rather see you dripping water in her kitchen then in the hallway.”
    Aunt Olive’s greeting was cordial and she handed each girl a towel, telling Zoe she’d probably find clean, dry clothes in the guest room. “Come down when you’re dry,” she told them.
    Kelsey held out her flowers. “These are for you, Miss Olive. I thought they matched your kitchen.”
    “Coreopsis! Kelsey, did Zoe tell you these are my favorite flowers?”
    “No.”
    “I didn’t know they were, Aunt Olive,” Zoe turned around at the door to say.
    “They are. Wally, would you get that vase.” She opened an upper cabinet and pointed. “I think there are enough flowers to fill it.” She was right, and soon the vase with its bright nodding flowers stood on the table. “These take me back a long time ago,” she mused half aloud. Her hand reached up and she clutched something inside her dress. “I–” With a quick shake of her head, she turned to the girls. “Go on. Get out of those wet clothes and then come back. I’ll have some lemon cake waiting for you.”
    Kelsey soon found herself dry and in borrowed clothes. The dress was a perfect fit and Zoe nodded approvingly.
    “Candace and I have spent so many nights here at Aunt Olive’s that we’ve taken to leaving some of our clothes so we don’t have to pack every time. That dress fits your slender figure much better than it ever did me. Are you ready to go down?”
    Giving another look in the mirror, Kelsey shrugged. “My hair looks terrible, but it always does after it gets wet unless I spend a long time fixing it properly.”
    “Nonsense! You look fine!” remonstrated Zoe. “I love your curls. They fit you. Now let’s go down before Wally eats all the cake. What do you suppose the other girls have done in our absence?”

Have you ever ridden on the running board of a vehicle?
Have you ever picked flowers for someone else?
Will you be back next week?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 2

Good morning Friday Fiction Fans!
It's a lovely morning! The sky was a glowing pink earlier and now the sun is coming up. I can hear a dog barking in the neighborhood. A bird chirping. Traffic on Broadway. Yep, life is stirring this fine morning. And it's supposed to be 70º today. Spring. We still haven't gotten much winter yet, but there is a chance of snow Monday night. Ha! Crazy, I know. 70's today and 80º tomorrow, and then snow on Monday night. But that's our weather for you. If you don't like the weather today, just wait till tomorrow.

But I don't think you came to read about the weather.😊

I've had a good writing week which has been nice. I'm working on "Dylan's Story" and am over half way done! It's been fun because twice now I've reached a "dead end" so to speak where I didn't have a clue what came next. Then I prayed, the idea came, and away my fingers went. I don't have quotes or pictures on Pinterest for this story. Only one lone picture. But I have never really used Pinterest much for stories except to get an idea.

Anyway . . . Today is going to be busy. We are going to clean the house (it needs it!), and then this afternoon my sister and I are going to go help set up and decorate for the Widows' Valentine Luncheon at church which is tomorrow. It's the time when all the Secret Sisters reveal who they are. The widows look forward to it every year! So do the rest of us.

Now I hope you will enjoy this next part of this story. Even  if you don't like playing in the rain. ;😉

Smiling in the Rain
Part 2

    Kelsey shrugged. The afternoon was not starting off as she had thought it would. Well, it had started off with the usual stiff circle of girls, and one in particular who didn’t want to do anything, but things had rapidly changed.
    Before Kelsey could think of something to say, Aunt Olive was back. “It looks like you girls are on your own. Have fun and don’t catch a chill, or your mothers will never let me invite you again.” With that laughing remark, Aunt Olive waved the two dripping girls back out into the rain.
    The walk was delightful. Kelsey, used to walking barefooted through wet grass, over rocks and along broken sidewalks, thought the paved road an easy path and walked along confidently. But Zoe, her feet tender, felt each small pebble and, though she said nothing, half wished she had worn her sandals. To keep her mind off her feet she asked, “How many brothers and sisters do you have, Kelsey?”
    “Seven. One older sister and the rest younger sisters.”
    “No brothers?”
    “Not one. Poor Dad always wanted a son, but he got daughters instead. He likes to tease Lauren, she’s my older sister, and me by saying that all the girls have been used up in the family now and we’ll no doubt get a house full of boys when we get married.” She laughed brightly and tossed back her wet hair.
    “Do you believe him?”
    “It doesn’t matter if I believe him or not. Neither one of us is married. Lauren does have a boyfriend though. And I think–” she hesitated and then lingered in the road until Zoe was right beside her. “I think he’s going to propose soon.” The sparkle in her eyes and the bright smile showed just how delighted she was.
    “Oh, Kels! How exciting!” And Zoe clapped her hands.
    “But you must not say anything about it, because I don’t know for sure, and I don’t want Lauren to suspect anything.”
    Zoe promised silence and then exclaimed, pointing ahead, “Look, there’s the bridge!”
    Soon the girls stood leaning over the railing watching the water dance and swirl below them.
    “Kels,” Zoe asked, “why are you so quiet at school?”
    Without turning around, Kelsey replied, “I’ve never been good in large crowds; besides, everyone else always has things to say, and I like to listen.”
    “Well, what things do you like to do? Besides take walks in the rain.” And Zoe smiled.
    Kelsey laughed and tipped her face back and closed her eyes against the falling moisture. “I often ride my bike to the old folks home and visit with the residents. Sometimes one or two of my sisters will go with me. I could sit and listen to them tell stories for hours.” Shaking off some of the water from her face, she looked over at the girl beside her. “I suppose you think I’m strange.”
    “Why? Because you enjoy visiting the older folks?”
    Kelsey nodded. “Most girls give me a sympathetic look and soon after find an excuse to leave me.” Picking up a pebble from the side of the bridge, she dropped it into the water below. It made a soft splash and the ripples spread out to mingle and combine with the ripples from the raindrops.
    “I don’t think you’re strange. I like listening to my grandmother, well, actually she’s my great grandmother. She lives with us, you know. You should come see her sometime,” she invited warmly. “I know she would enjoy a visit. And so would I.”
    Stealing a glance at the speaker, Kelsey wondered if Zoe was just being polite or if she was in earnest.
    Almost as though Zoe read her thoughts, she added, “I’m mean it, Kels. I would love to have you come over. Sometimes it gets rather dull in our large house. Do you live in a large house? I would think you’d have to with all you girls.”
    A merry laugh escaped Kelsey’s lips. “Large house? Us? You wouldn’t call it large.” Another laugh burst forth. “Zoe, the eight of us girls share two bedrooms and in each bedroom are two sets of bunk beds. Mom and Dad have the other bedroom. There are two bathrooms in the entire house, and the kitchen is so small that if anyone is in there cooking, you have to practically go outside to turn around. I could invite you over some time, but it’s not exactly the kind of place most people want to come to.”
    “Well, I want to see it.”
    “You’d be the first person who does.” There was no bitterness in Kelsey’s voice, just a matter of fact statement. “Come on,” she suggested, changing the subject. “Let’s see what the water looks like on the other side of the bridge.”
    Quickly the girls crossed the road and leaned over the railing.
    “Oh, Zoe! Look at those flowers!” Kelsey pointed to the golden yellow coreopsis which bloomed all along the bank. “Wouldn’t those look lovely in your aunt’s kitchen?”
    “Yes. And Aunt Olive does love flowers. But Kels, we’d get drenched trying to pick some in this rain with the grass so tall.”
    “Zoe, we already are drenched,” Kelsey chuckled. “We have been out in the rain, you know. But you might tear your dress. Mine will be fine. Wait for me; I’m going to get a handful.” So saying, she hurried from the bridge, and was soon pushing her way through the long wet grass down to the water’s edge where the flowers were growing thickest. Looking up, she waved at Zoe before proceeding to gather one flower after another. She wasn’t content to remain on the slope at the edge of the water, for she saw more lovely ones growing on a tiny island in the stream.

Have you ever picked flowers in the rain?
Is your house large or small?
How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Friday, February 3, 2017

Smiling in the Rain - Part 1

Hello Faithful Friday Fiction Fans,
The sun is just coming up this cold Friday morning. Is it cold where you live? Do you have any snow? I want snow so badly right now. It just doesn't feel like we've really had much winter yet. Hmm, maybe that's because the weather keeps changing from winter to spring to winter to spring. It has us all confused.😕

I really haven't done much writing this week. I know, it's sad. I did finish, edit and correct this short story, and worked on something for another story, and tried starting another short story, but I guess it's just been a slow writing time. I'm really hoping that I'll be able to get back to it next week. Though I don't know what I'm going to write. Short story? Long story? Hmmm . . .

This week I taught writing class, spent time knitting, made corsages for the Widows' Luncheon next week (and did some other things for that ministry as I'm taking over after the Luncheon), worked on the Bike Trip book, wrote blog posts for Read Another Page, sent emails, talked to my best friend, and other things. No, I haven't gotten to read since Sunday. 😞 It's quite sad. And I'm not sure I'll get to read this coming Sunday either because we are hopefully going to have my youngest niece's 2nd birthday party then.

This story was started last year some time, I think, when I was stuck on all my stories and I needed something to just write. I didn't get very far. In fact, I think I only got the first 5 paragraphs or the first 13 lines written then. And the story sat. And sat. Then in the fall I wrote a little more on it before leaving it once more. Last Saturday I didn't know what to write, so I started on this and finished it on Monday. 😃 hope you enjoy it!

Smiling in the Rain
Part 1

    Feeling foolish, Kelsey ducked her head and stared at her sandal as she spun it around with her toe on the wooded floor of the neat living room.
    An uncomfortable silence pervaded the room for thirty seconds before Zoe laughed. “Of course I think that going outside in this rain would be fun. Who cares about our hair. Come on, Kelsey, let’s go.” Springing to her feet, Zoe almost skipped across the floor and pulled the blushing girl to her feet.
    No one else made a move to join them as they disappeared from the room.
    Once the two girls were alone in the hall, Kelsey stopped short. “You don’t have to go outside, Zoe,” she whispered. “I just made that suggestion because the others wanted something new to do, and Candace kept vetoing every sensible idea. I–”
    “I know.” There was a merry twinkle in the taller girl’s eyes. “Candace likes to rule the girls, and most of them are more than willing to follow her lead. But she’s not the only leader. I’m just glad you did suggest this. I’ve been longing to get out in the rain all day!”
    “You have?” And Kelsey eyed the well-dressed girl in astonishment.
    “Yep.” At Kelsey’s continued stare, Zoe went on. “Look Kels, just because I come from a family with considerable means doesn’t necessarily signify that I’m a snob.” Her grin took away the sting such blunt words might have caused. “Now come on, let’s go have some fun.”
    Leaving their sandals on the covered porch, the two girls, one from the upper, wealthier side of town and the one from the other side of the tracks, ran down the steps and into the light summer rain.
    Kelsey loved the rain. Tipping her head back, she squinted her eyes against the drops. With a toss of her head that freed her red hair from the confines of bobby pins, she laughed in pure delight.
    “Oh, this is fun!” Zoe exclaimed. “Kels, do you ever stomp in the puddles?”
    “Of course! Where are they?” And Kelsey, feeling that for the first time in years she might have a friend, blinked the drops from her lashes and hurried over to Zoe who was standing before a large puddle. “Come on, let’s jump on the count of three.”
    “All right. One, two, three!”
    The splash sent the water as high as their knees and caused both girls to laugh merrily.
    After several minutes of enjoying the puddle and the rain, Kelsey ventured to remark, “I love to walk in the rain.”
    “Barefoot?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “All right, where shall we go?” questioned Zoe, apparently ready for anything.
    Kelsey looked around. “I don’t know. I’m not in this part of town very often. At home I like to walk down to the creek and watch the water. Sometimes I go visit old Mrs. Mead. She always has a fire going on rainy days and I get dried off there and listen to her tell stories.”
    “Oh, Kels, that sounds like fun. How far away is Mrs. Mead’s house?”
    Kelsey raised her eyebrows. “Too far for us to walk.”
    Zoe looked disappointed, but she shrugged and said, “Oh, well. Let’s walk down to the drug store. We could get something to drink there.”
    At that suggestion, Kelsey burst into laughter. “Zoe, we look like a couple of drowned rats! We’d never hear the end of it at school if we did such a thing, for someone we know is bound to be there with it being Saturday!”
    Reaching up, Zoe pushed back a bit of her dark hair which was plastered to her face. “I suppose so, but don’t you think we could walk down to the stream? It’s not too far from here.”
    Looking back toward the house, Kelsey hesitated. “I wish some of the other girls would come out,” she remarked softly. “I feel sort of bad going out and leaving them.”
    “Well, don’t feel bad. Aunt Olive invited all of us girls so we could enjoy the day together. She loves both her nieces, but she knows Candace can be a snob and overly bossy. Suppose we run around to the kitchen, I’m sure Aunt Olive will be in there, and we can ask her.”
    With a feeling of relief, Kelsey nodded and squeezed Zoe’s hand as hers was taken in a friendly clasp.
    Aunt Olive was indeed in the kitchen and stared in astonishment at the two girls standing on her back porch before she began to laugh heartily. “Oh, girls, are you having fun?”
    “Yes, Aunt Olive,” Zoe nodded. “But Kels and I want to walk down to the stream, but we want to know if you think it would be rude to run off and leave the others.”
    “Didn’t they want to join you?”
    Zoe shrugged. “Candace is in one of her moods, and I don’t know if we can convince any of the others to join us or not. But may we take a walk, Aunt Olive? You have no idea how delightful this rain is!”
    “Suppose I go and find out if any of the others want to go too.”
    Zoe nodded quickly and Aunt Olive disappeared.
    “I don’t think anyone will come, do you?” Zoe asked in low tones.
    Kelsey shrugged. The afternoon was not starting off as she had thought it would. Well, it had started off with the usual stiff circle of girls, and one in particular who didn’t want to do anything, but things had rapidly changed.
Do you like to play in the rain?
Have you ever taken a walk in the rain? 
Do you think any of the other girls will join them?