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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 80ยบ. 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?