Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Again?

Please tell me it's not Friday!
I'm not ready for it to be Friday. I haven't even replied to comments from last week! Sorry! *promises to do that today*

You want to know why I was caught by surprise by Friday? Let's see . . .

Last Friday and Saturday I was at the TPA Convention in Wichita. It was a lot of fun. Somewhat slow on Friday, but more people on Saturday. I sold about 20 books which was nice. My best friend and I drove home Saturday night.

Sunday morning I was so tired from several nights where I didn't sleep well. (I never sleep well the first night in a hotel.) I had a hard time staying awake in Sunday School. But my sister was kind enough to let me take her place in the nursery during church so I could stay awake playing with the little ones. That afternoon I took a nap. I don't usually take a nap on Sunday afternoons as I like to read. But I just couldn't stay awake.

On Monday I played Catch-Up. I'm afraid I didn't do so well. I was still tired.

Tuesday was kind of different because I didn't have writing classes to teach. Instead I worked on a lap quilt for someone and listened to an audio book with my sister. But that was in the morning. I was able to get some other things done in the afternoon and wrote! I also kept playing "catch-up."

Wednesday found the sun shining again though it was cooler. But it wasn't cold. It was more of the same with listening and hand sewing the binding on the quilt in the morning. Then other things and writing later. I thought I might start sharing a bit of this new story I'm working on with you all, but I haven't gotten anything ready yet. Hopefully next week.

Yesterday I finished the quilt. Wrote another thousand words, and babysat my three youngest nieces and nephews. I'm also fighting allergies or a cold of some sort. Not fun.

So, sorry I don't have a story for you. I did think about it once. But then forgot all about it. But you'll have to come to Read Another Page on MONDAY! Yes, I am going to be posting a day early next week on that blog. Why? Because. *whistles Happy Birthday* *looks innocent* *hints at something special* You'll just have to come and find out. I'm excited about it!

And that, said John, is that.
Where is that quote from?
What did you do this week?
Would you like to read a bit of my new story?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Convention Day!

I'm getting this ready at night when I want to go to bed. :P

Good morning FFFs!
Sorry, no story today. I was too busy this week to get anything ready. I had my final writing classes to teach, followed by a pizza party.

Then things were rather crazy trying to keep writing for Camp NaNo, and get things ready for the trip to Wichita! But I did it! After a fashion. ;)

And here we are. My best friend and I drove to Wichita, met up with Jesseca, and set up part of our booth. Then BF and I went back to check into the hotel and waited until Kate arrived. Then the four of us went out for ice cream, and then took a walk in the 80º or warmer weather. That was fun. After dropping BF and I back at our hotel, Jesseca and Kate headed on their way. So, to tide you over until later (check my Read Another Page blog on Tuesday), enjoy these pictures. Sorry there aren't more.

Best Friend and me on the 3 1/2 hour drive.

 This is our corner of the booth. Look like fun?

Wish you could all be there tomorrow!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Hurray for Newsy Jones! - Part 2

Hello FFFs,
I don't know about you, but I feel like I've been trying to win at "Catch-Up" all week and still haven't done it. Not to mention the crazy weather we are having! Of all the crazy weather we've had, this week has got to rank in some of the craziest.

Sunday– Easter, it was cold and rainy, and we actually had things coated with ice because it got so cold. Now some of you won't think that strange. But our daffodils have bloomed, we have buds on our lilac, the tulips are starting to bloom, and the trees are covered with buds and blossoms. Some trees have even lost their blossoms and gotten leaves.

Monday– It got into the 40s. The ice melted. I tried to catch up on things and get some things done. But . . . I had to get the key to my polling place, Mom and I went to a thrift store, and so that put me behind. I managed to get 520 words written for my first day of Camp NaNo. Not impressive, but some.

Tuesday– It was really windy when I got up at 4:30. And it was in the 60s! It was a slow day at the polls as far as voters go. We only had 82 people come vote all day long. But it didn't really feel slow like we all expected. Two of the ladies read my Christmas story that isn't published yet. Then in the afternoon I asked for some ideas for my new story that I'm working on this month. Boy, that was fun! They had all sorts of ideas! Suddenly the story that had a good start but had kind of died, had new life and plenty of things to have happen. I even have an ending. :) Oh, sometime during the late morning the temperature dropped from 70º to about 40º in about 15 minutes.

Wednesday– Started off around 25º. Dad and I took my car to get it checked out before my trip next week. The all 7 kids came over about 11, and didn't leave until 1:30ish. It was fun to have them, and to get to play with the little guy. :) I did get a wonderful amount of writing in that evening thanks to a lot of sprints with fellow Campers.

Thursday– This morning I actually got to go listen to an audio with my sister for a while. (I'd been trying to do that all week!) But then I worked with my BF on her website for over an hour. I attempted to get the April story finished in the afternoon, but I didn't. I haven't found a scene break image yet. And I don't have a synopsis written. But I did get 1,400 words written. It was up to 75º in the afternoon.

Today– I haven't had much of the day, but I know I need to clean the house. And finish the April story, And write. Oh, and we're supposed to get freezing rain, snow, and sleet tonight with a low of 21º. :P So much for spring.

But if you actually read all that, I'm impressed. I'm not even reading it all again. I have other things to do. I'm sure you do to. But here's the end of this story. Oh, and just so you know, personality wise, these characters fit the actors. ;)

Hurray for Newsy Jones
Part 2

    From her window in the library, Miss Marian saw the sheriff stride back toward his office. Those men must have denied robbing the bank. “But I wonder what that soldier has in his saddlebags,” she mused, eyeing the soldier’s bags leaning against the side of the hotel. For Miss Marian, to wonder was to act. Quietly she slipped from the library, crossed the street, and crouched down using her parasol as a shield from prying eyes. Had Newsy Jones been nearby he would have heard her startled, “Oh!” But he was not nearby.
    Giving a sigh, Sheriff Tompkins reluctantly turned around. Why couldn’t Miss Marian stick to being the librarian?
    Newsy Jones also heard the call and quickly drew near.
    “I saw money in that soldier’s saddlebag! Quite a lot of money. Of course, I didn’t go digging in it, but it was quite visible on the top!” Miss Marian was almost out of breath with her discovery.
    “What?” ejaculated the sheriff. Suddenly all signs of discouragement and worry vanished. Without so much as a thank you, he hurried to the town square once more.
    “Sir, come with me,” he said, gripping the soldier’s arm firmly. “You’re under arrest.”
    “For what?” sputtered Private Sam, dropping his paper and looking about him in confusion.
    “For robbing the bank. Now let’s go.”
    Watching it all, Newsy Jones shook his head. He knew it was doubtful that the soldier had helped rob the bank because he had just bought a paper from Curly not long before the bank was robbed. “But I suppose there might have been time,” he thought. “But I need proof.” He looked around. Where was Curly? She was never around when he most needed her.
    It took Newsy Jones a good twenty minutes before Curly was found reading their own paper. Quickly he told her what she needed to do, and Curly, always eager to help her friend, rushed off to the library.
    Walking back more slowly so that Curly would have time to distract Miss Marian and get her away from her window, Newsy Jones passed by the jail.
    A sudden commotion caught his attention. Juan, from Mexico had been standing at the barred window talking to the soldier when the sheriff suddenly appeared.
    “Ah ha!” Sheriff Tompkins exclaimed, grabbing Juan from behind. “I caught you! You’re under arrest now too, for robbing the bank.” With that, poor Juan was hustled inside and locked into the cell next to Private Sam.
    “Juan would never rob the bank,” Newsy Jones said to himself. “I’ve known Juan for a long time now, nearly eight days. He would never do a thing like that. I must find a way to prove he and that soldier didn’t do it.”
    Quickly he neared the hotel where the soldier’s saddlebags still rested in the shade of a bush. A quick glance at the library window showed that Miss Marian was not there. “Good,” Newsy Jones thought, “Curly will keep her busy for at least ten minutes.”
    Darting behind the bushes, the newsman pulled the saddlebags over and looked inside. “Army pay,” he muttered, finding a slip of paper with the money Miss Marian had seen. “It’s just his Army pay.”
    After crawling from behind the bushes, Newsy Jones set off for the bank, hoping to find something there to help him. Soon his sharp eyes spied two shiny gold pieces in the dust. At first he thought they were gold coins, but picking them up he discovered that they were tokens from a fancy club in the nearby city.
    “Hmm,” Newsy Jones thought. “This looks an awful lot like someone from the city robbed the bank. And it reminds me of something . . . What was it? That’s it!” He snapped his fingers. “About four weeks ago another town was robbed, and the robbers had dressed to look like two newcomers in town. But they were caught later, however, and they were both members of this special club. I wonder if it’s the same two men, or if it was other members of the same club? I’ll wire my friend.”
    Trying not to attract attention, Newsy Jones hurried to the telegraph office. The attendant was friendly but not nosy. Within five minutes of sending the message to his fellow newsman, Newsy Jones had a reply. The robbers had escaped from jail just the other week.
    “It has to have been them,” Newsy Jones murmured to himself as he turned to go.
    “Wait a minute, Newsy Jones,” the telegraph operator said, “Here’s another message for you.”
    It read: Robbers just caught trying to rob city bank. No other money found.
    Rushing from the telegraph office with the tokens and telegraphs in his hand, Newsy Jones paused on the sidewalk. Should he go to the sheriff first or look for the stolen money? The money. It had to be found and the sooner the better. Remembering the sort of places the robbers had hidden the stolen money from the other town, Newsy Jones hurried to the edge of Little Silverton There, after a little looking, he discovered a large sack filled with the stolen money in a hollow among the rocks.
    In great excitement, he went back to town and got the sheriff. After showing him the tokens and the telegrams, he took him out and showed him the stolen money.
    “I guess I should let those other two men go,” Sheriff Tompkins said. “I’m glad they didn’t do it, but I wish I had gotten the real robbers.”
    “Don’t worry, Sheriff,” Newsy Jones said, “they’ve been caught trying to rob another bank.”
    Somehow Miss Marian heard about the discovery of the bank money and hurried over, not even remembering to lock up the library. “Sheriff!” she called when she arrived.
    Sheriff Tompkins sighed.
    “Sheriff, this is the second time you’ve locked up the wrong people,” she scolded. “You really should be more careful.” She shook her head and her hat fell off. “Oh, I really should get a new hat,” she exclaimed, brushing off the hat and setting it back on her head.
    Newsy Jones didn’t say anything, but he couldn’t help thinking that Miss Marian herself was largely to blame for this mistake, for if she hadn’t been so nosy, the sheriff would never have suspected Private Sam and Juan.
    When the two innocent men were let out of jail, they thanked Newsy Jones for his help.
    “Hurray for Newsy Jones!” Curly shouted. “He saved the day.”
    “Si,” Juan, from Mexico agreed, “that he did.”
    “If it hadn’t been for Newsy Jones, my two day pass from the Army wouldn’t have been any fun,” Private Sam said. “Three cheers for Newsy Jones!”
    These were given heartily, but Newsy Jones didn’t stay to listen to them. He and Curly started off for the newspaper office. Newsy Jones had a story to write.

Did you enjoy this story?
Who was your favorite character?
What has your weather been like?

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hurray for Newsy Jones! - Part 1

Good morning FFFs,
The sun is coming up in a clear sky!!! We've had rain or clouds almost all week and we're supposed keep getting rain and clouds starting tomorrow, or several more days. At least they took the snow out for the forecast for Easter. :) The birds are singing and everything is green.

This week has been busy. Not like last week when we had the kids the last three days. This was a different busy. This was an "I can get things done so let's get started" busy. And I have gotten things done. I need 510 more words to reach 5k this week. I sent out my April story to my beta readers, so hopefully I can get that published next week. I've read some, I've send many emails, taught writing classes, planned for an event two weeks from now, pulled out my spring and summer clothes even though I had to leave some long sleeve shirts out. And did other things.

Next week I work as an Election Judge on Tuesday. And next week also starts Camp NaNo! We still have plenty of room in our cabin if anyone is interested in joining me and other Christian young ladies. Anyone? We've already started getting a few sprints in, and are gearing up for April.

Okay, your story. This is based on a play I helped my nieces and nephews do. They wanted to do a play when they were over one time, so I got them all dressed up and had to figure out the story, the characters and what was going on all on the spur of the moment. They loved it! Then I wrote it up in story form. Enjoy the first part!

Hurray for Newsy Jones
Part 1

    It was a lovely morning in Little Silverton. The townsfolk were going about their daily lives, little dreaming of what lay ahead in store for some of them. On the corner of the street Newsy Jones and his sidekick, Curly, were at work selling their papers. A young soldier, his dark hair showing a bit from beneath his infantry cap, stopped, bought a paper, and then continued on down the road.
    Miss Marian, the local librarian, was coming down the street carrying a few books. Miss Marian always had at least one book with her. She nodded a greeting to Sheriff Tompkins and continued her way, her white parasol shading her face from the warm summer sun.
    All at once a shout interrupted the quiet, peaceful morning. “Sheriff!”
    A local rancher, who lived a short distance from town, rushed down the street from the direction of the bank. “Sheriff, the bank’s been robbed!”
    “What?” Sheriff Tompkins sprang from the bench outside his office where he had been cleaning his pistol, and looked around. “What happened? I didn’t see anyone!”
    “They went that-away,” the rancher gasped. “Two of ‘em. They would a shot the teller if he hadn’t given ‘em what they wanted.”
    By this time Miss Marian and Newsy Jones were close by listening.
    “Just two of them, you say?” questioned the sheriff.
    “Yes! Hurry, Sheriff! They got my money!”
    It only took the sheriff a few minutes to get his horse and take off in the direction of the bank robbers, but to those waiting, it felt like hours.
    When the sheriff had disappeared, Miss Marian began to question the rancher. “Are you sure you saw two men?”
    “What did they look like?”
    “They had black masks over their faces, but one looked like he might be Mexican, and the other, oh, I don’t know, he might have been an army man. I just don’t know, it happened too quickly.”
    “What were they riding?” persisted the librarian.
    “Horses. Black.”
    “Were they completely black?”
    “I don’t know. I didn’t get a good look at ‘em. I suppose one could’a been dark brown.”
    “Oh, why didn’t you pay more attention to details,” Miss Marian fussed, tucking her books more firmly under her arm and walking off with a frown. She liked to think of herself as a detective, for her favorite stories were mysteries.
    Meanwhile, Newsy Jones, who had hung around to listen to the conversation, walked thoughtfully back to his corner. He knew his paper tomorrow would be carrying the story of the robbery, but he hoped it would include the recovery of the stolen money as well.

    When the sheriff returned in the afternoon, he was dejected. Not only had he not recovered the money, he had found no trace of the robbers. After leaving his horse at the livery, he began to make his way to his office.
    With a sigh, the sheriff turned around. No doubt Miss Marian would have something to say about his inability to catch the thieves.
    “Sheriff,” the librarian began in low eager tones, “I talked with that rancher after you left. You know, the one who told you about the robbery.”
    The sheriff nodded as Newsy Jones edged up to listen.
    “Well,” Miss Marian went on, not giving Newsy so much as a glance, “he said that one of them might have been a soldier, and sheriff, I noticed that there’s a soldier in town today that I’ve never seen before.” She pointed toward a bench in the town square. “He might know something. And,” she added quickly before the sheriff could move, “the rancher said the other man looked Mexican. You know there was a strange Mexican fellow hanging around town last week–”
    Her sentence remained unfinished, but the sheriff had heard enough. “Thank you, Miss Marian, I’ll go have a talk with them.”
    Satisfied that she had done her job, Miss Marian retired to her library where she could watch everything through her large window.
    Newsy Jones, determined to learn all he could, trailed behind the sheriff as he approached the young soldier who was reading a newspaper.
    “Hey,” Sheriff Tompkins began, “who are you?”
    The soldier looked up in surprise. “Private Sam, of the U.S. Army,” he drawled.
    “Where are you from?” continued the sheriff, his voice gruff and stern.
    “What are you doing in Little Silverton?”
    “Got a two day pass from the army, an’ jest came ta see the town.”
    “Did you rob the bank?”
    Private Sam looked amused. “Nope, never been in the bank.”
    The sheriff wasn’t done with his questions. “Do you know that Mexican over there?” He jerked his thumb in the direction of a happy-go-lucky Mexican with a large nose, bushy black eyebrows, and a small black mustache, who was cleaning his guns.
    After a careful look, the soldier shook his head. “Nope, never seen him before.”
    “Were you ever in the bank?” the sheriff demanded next.
    “I already said I haven’t been in the bank.” Private Sam was growing irritated.
    Turning abruptly, the sheriff stalked away toward the Mexican, leaving the soldier to shrug at Newsy Jones and return to his paper.
    The Mexican looked up with a grin when the sheriff and Newsy Jones stopped in front of him.
    “Who are you?” The sheriff began his questioning right away.
    “Juan,” was the easy answer.
    “Where are you from?”
    “Me? I’m from Mejico. Cannot you tell with my sombrero and all?”
    “Huh,” grunted the sheriff. “Did you rob the bank this morning?”
    “No, Sheriff, why would I rob the bank? I get my money from the bank, so why should I rob it?”
    “Were you ever in the bank?”
    “Si, I have been many times,” assured Juan, nodding. “But I only go to get money from it, not to steal.”
    “Do you know that soldier over there?”
    Juan leaned around the sheriff to get a better look at the soldier. “No, Sheriff, I do not. Should I?”
    Mumbling something to himself, Sheriff Tompkins turned away, nearly bumping into Newsy Jones.

Do you think Miss Marian is right?
Have you ever written a play before?
Are you doing Camp NaNo?

Friday, March 23, 2018

No Story Today

Shhh! *whispers Good morning, FFF,*
Please don't wake the kids! All 6 are still sleeping. Or at least they are all quiet. I'm hoping they are all sleeping still because when some get up, it usually wakes the others up. And the younger ones need their sleep. They probably won't get any naps today unless they sleep in the car because we are planning on going to Prairie State Park today! The kids have never been, but when my brother, sister, and I were young, we used to go there all the time! We experienced all four seasons at the prairie, we watched Prairie Chickens mate, we hiked the trails and saw the bison, we drew wildflowers, caught grasshoppers to feed to the salamander, held snakes, dressed in prairie clothes, and learned so much about the prairie. It should be fun!

This past week was busy. And a bit crazy.

Last Friday I said we were at my grandparents. We didn't come home until Monday afternoon. Then I had to teach writing classes on Tuesday, attend election training on Wednesday morning, practice music Wednesday night, and then the kids came yesterday. We'll have the kids through Sunday morning. Needless to say, I didn't get much writing done.

I'm hoping to write next week and get back into regular writing so I'll be ready for Camp NaNo! Speaking of Camp, there is still room in the cabin I'm in. Does anyone want to join us? You can set your own writing goal of words, or hours. You can write a new story, or edit one you already have written. Or you could even be like me and work on multiple stories. :) I'd love to have you come and join the fun.

Well, I had a story I was going to post, but I didn't get it ready. And now three of my nephews are up and having a whispered conversation with my sister nearby. And there's the other nephew. Now just waiting for the two nieces to wake up.

I'll be back next week.

Friday, March 16, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 5

Good morning!
I know this is late. But I'm on vacation of sorts at my grandparents. And it's a rainy morning. We slept in, and I'm hurrying this quickly because I want to go eat breakfast. :)

Last night I got to do something that I've wanted to do for a very long time. I got to eat supper in a little hole-in-the-wall cafe. My mom and aunt were eating supper together at my aunt's house, and that left my sister and I to eat supper with our grandparents. We tried one place, but they weren't open. So we went to "Ambrosia." We actually went inside just after they had closed but their door was wide open and so they let us stay and eat. There was no music playing, only one other table with people who were planning their wedding, and were there for a tasting since "Ambrosia" was catering for it. And then us. Only three people work in the cafe, and the chef came out after we had started eating to see how things were. It was so much fun! After we were finished it felt like we should go back to the kitchen and tell them "thanks for supper." :) Anyway, now I've eaten in a little hole-in-the-wall.

Today we're going to help at my aunt's house with some organizing. And I'm hungry so I'm going to post this and go eat. Enjoy this last part of Chapter whatever it is. :)

Simply Trusting
Part 5

    Without a word, Belle turned and held out the slate to Ali, “Then you can practice.”
    “Will ya help me write my full name like ya did Kade?”
    Leaving Ali to write and erase and write some more, Belle moved over to a window and stood watching the rain. “Simply trusting every day, Trusting thro’ the stormy way.” She hadn’t realized she had sung the line until she began the next one. “Even when my faith is small, Trusting Jesus, that is all.”
    “Belle, I’m finished with my letters.”
    Hurrying back to the table, Belle admired Ali’s work. Then, erasing the letters she wrote her name and Ali set to work copying it. “It ain’t as long as Kade’s name. He’s got a long one, but I reckon I still got ta practice ta make it look like yours.” And Ali frowned at her name. “It don’t look right.”
    “It will with practice. Riss, do you want to practice?”
    “Kin I Ma?” Riss had been mending a shirt and now looked questioningly at her mother.
    Aunt Lillian nodded. “I’ve always had a hankerin’ for my youngun’s ta learn ta read an’ write, but the school’s been too far away. I learned the older two ta read a might ‘fore the young’uns took up too much a my time.”
    “It must be the right time now, Aunt Lillian,” Belle remarked softly. “I didn’t see the work Jesus had for me to do and I didn’t want to leave Mama and Papa, but I was trusting that He knew best.” She smiled brightly though a film of tears blurred her vision. “I’m glad I came.”
    “So are we!” Ali hugged her cousin impulsively before changing the subject. “Ez, ya reckon this rain’ll be gone tomorrow?”
    “Then Ma, kain’t me and Belle, I mean, Belle and me, go see Aunt Claire? She ain’t never met Uncle Nate’s family. Ya think we could, Ma?”
    Aunt Lillian was silent for a few minutes, rocking and letting her darning needle fly in and out of a gaping hole in a stocking. At last she spoke. “I suppose if’n Belle wants ta cross all the creeks, I don’t mind. Yer aunt most likely would like a might a help. I might let Riss go ‘long with ya.”
    “Me too, Ma,” Kade begged.
    “Ya’d jest get in the way,” Ali began to protest.
    “Rome an’ me don’t get in the way. An’ I reckon we kin help Aunt Claire’s much as you.”
    “We don’t want ya comin’ this time, Kade. It’s jest gunna be me and–I mean Belle, Riss and me. Ya always get in ta trouble ifn’t ya go ‘long.”
    “Do not!”
    “That’s enough,” Aunt Lillian’s tired voice broke up the argument. “We’ll decide who’s goin’ tomorrow.”

    Lying in her bed that night, Belle tried to keep back the tears. The bickering and arguing of the day had made her wish she was back home. Why didn’t everyone just get along? “It’s because they don’t know Jesus,” she realized. “Does Aunt Lillian?” It wasn’t a question easy to answer. Aunt Lillian had never said so, Belle had never seen her stop and pray about things as her mother had, nor had she reminded Ali and Kade that fighting wasn’t pleasing to the Lord. “Perhaps she has forgotten. Maybe she has been so busy that she doesn’t have time to read her Bible and pray each day. Poor Aunt Lillian. She looks as tired out as Mama used to look when Papa wasn’t feeling well. If she’ll agree, I don’t mind if Kade and Rome come with us. It would leave fewer children to keep an eye on. In fact,” she smiled in the dark, “if it was possible, I’d take everyone.” Then a slight frown puckered her brow. “Perhaps Uncle Nathan wouldn’t like so many extra children. Ali did say that he had almost as many children as they have.” She paused and counted on her fingers. “There are an even dozen here.” She nudged Ali and whispered softly, “Ali, are you awake?”
    There was no reply, and Belle lay still listening to the soft patter of rain on the roof “I suppose I will find out how many children there are tomorrow. If it does stop raining.” With that thought she turned over with a yawn, closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Have you ever eaten in a hole-in-the-wall?
Would you have invited Kade and Rome to go with you?
Do you want more of this story?

Friday, March 9, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 4

Happy Spring days, FFFs!
It looks like spring now. The grass is really turning green, daffodils are blooming, the trees and bushes are budding, and a visiting flock of cedar waxwings have descended on our trees and birdbaths. We usually get them twice a year. Once when spring is coming and they are heading up north, and then again in the early fall when they are heading south. They are so pretty!

Okay, this week. I haven't done a whole lot of writing because we had my nieces and nephews over Tuesday evening and then I actually got to work in the nursery on Wednesday evening. But Monday and Thursday I did write 1k words each day. Last night it was on "Hymns in the Hills." On Monday it was on my other story that doesn't have a title. :P I need some sort of working title for it.

Oh, the big news around here is that my brother is running for County Collector. The County Collector we have now is retiring after 29 years, and so my brother is running for the office. He does have an opponent right now, but so many people in politics and everyday life know my brother, that I have a feeling he'll win the primary. He's already been endorsed by two judges, two State Reps., and possibly the current County Collector. And I'm sure he'll probably be endorsed by others as well. It'll be different this year. My dad and I will only get to work the April election because we can't work when a family member is on the ballot. Oh well.

Guess what else I got this week? A cover for my AZ Christmas story! And I love it! :D It's not what you would think of for a Christmas book. But it fits the story so well. I can't wait to show it to you all! But should I wait until closer to Christmas? (That's 9 months away!)

Anyway, that's my life this week. Enjoy the next part of this story. 

Simply Trusting
Part 4

    The following day wasn’t quite so busy, for the washing had been done and there didn’t seem quite so many chores. Again Belle spent hours under the old tree with her pupils, teaching them the letters of the alphabet. Some of the older ones caught on quicker, but even Sade and Si who, though they said not a word, and Tabby, who was taking a liking to her cousin, could form the letters A, B and C without any help.

    The next day it rained. The skies were gray, and if it wasn’t pouring rain, it was drizzling which was almost worst than the steady rain. There was no dirt patch to practice writing their letters, so Belle brought out her slate. It was such a novelty that Kade and Rome almost came to blows over who got to use it first. Before Zeke could step in and separate them, Belle had rushed over and taken her slate.
    “I can’t let either of you use it if you are going to fight,” she said softly. “I think I’m going to let Sade use it first because she hasn’t made any fuss about it.” Turning her back to the boys, she sat down beside Sade and asked, “Would you like to write your letters on here?”
    Sade shyly took the slate pencil and carefully traced her letters.
    “Very good, Sade!” Belle said, hugging her little cousin. “Would you like to show your mama before Si has his turn?”
    Nodding, Sade slipped from the bench and hurried to the rocking chair where her mother sat darning socks.
    Though she pretended not to notice, Belle saw Kade’s face change from angry to puzzled. He sat down on the floor and, leaning his chin in his hands, watched her. She was thankful he hadn’t put up a fuss, for she knew Zeke was also watching and she didn’t want anyone getting into trouble.
    After the younger ones had all had a turn, even Tabby whose crooked letters took up almost the entire slate, Belle turned to Kade, for Rome had gone to his room grumbling when he didn’t get the slate. “Would you like to practice now, Kade?”
    Nodding, the boy rose and came over. “What if I break it?” he asked.
    “If you are careful, I don’t think you will. You will be careful, won’t you?”
    Kade gave a nod and sat down at the table the slate before him and the pencil gripped tightly in his hand. With painstaking care he wrote every letter of the alphabet that he had learned. They weren’t perfect and some were very crooked, but Belle praised him anyway.
    “Now rub that out and I will write your name and you can copy it.”
    “My important name?” he asked. “The one fer when I’m gettin’ introduced?”
    “Yes,” Belle agreed.
    “Ya goin’ ta write that mister thing on there too?”
    A smile crossed Belle’s face. “Yes, I will write it all out for you.” Taking the slate pencil she carefully began writing, reading aloud as she wrote. “Mr. MacKaidric Russum. There it is, Kade, your full, important name. Do you think you can write all that?”
    After looking over it Kade nodded emphatically. “Sure I kin. Ain’t hard ‘cause I know all them letters already. Jest watch.”
    Belle did watch. Ali, Riss and Tabby crowded up to watch too. “Don’t get too close,” Belle warned them softly. “We don’t want to bump his arm and make him ruin a letter. Could you watch him from the other side of the table?”
    By the time he had finished, Kade was tired. His name was long and he wasn’t used to sitting still for that length of time. But when he sat back, his name was copied. True, it took several times and there were spaces where there shouldn’t be, and none where there should be, but it didn’t matter. He had written it. “I’m goin’ ta show Ma, can’t I, Belle?” At her nod, he scrambled from the bench and rushed across the room. “See Ma?” He shoved the slate into her lap. “I kin write my important name. Mr. MacKaidric Russum. I reckon I kin get me a job now.”
    Smiling, Mrs. Russum patted Kade’s shoulder and said softly, “I reckon ya could bring in some more wood for the stove, Mr. MacKaidric Russum.”
    Beaming, Kade strutted back to Belle and handed her the slate. “I got a job ta do, kain’t spend more time at school, teacher.”
    As he marched out of the house onto the porch, Belle smiled and erased his crooked name. “Where’s Rome? It’s his turn to practice if he wants to.”
    “I’ll fetch him.” And Zeke stood up.
    But when Rome came from the bedroom, he was in a contrary mood. He didn’t want to write his letters and he didn’t care about his name. “I ain’t goin’ ta do it,” he declared, crossing his arms and stamping his foot.

Would you feel a sense of importance writing your name for the first time?
How was your week?
Do you have any family members in public office?

Friday, March 2, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 3

Hello FFFs,
This has been a bit of a different week. Why? Well, one reason is that it's been sunny several days! Last week was all clouds and rain. And it's warmer. The daffodils are blooming, crocuses are up and blooming, there are buds on trees and bushes, and the birds are singing.

Tuesday I only had 2 of my 5 students to teach, so that was a bit different.
My grandparents came down yesterday afternoon, took us out for supper, and then Grandpa and I went to a concert by REBEL. It was quite lovely.

Oh, yesterday, being the first of March, I joined Camp NaNo. Are any of you wanting to join? I have actually been thinking of starting my own "cabin" if some other writer friends wanted to join me. Right now I'm in the Chatter Box cabin with a lot of the same friends who were there last year. But we can't fit everyone in the same 20 person "cabin" so . . . Anyway, if you are interested in being a part of Camp NaNo and want to be cabin mates with me, just let me know.

I'm hoping to get my "March" story out next week, but I don't know exactly when.

And that, is that. I think I need to sit down and do some planning for my writing, and my life for the next few months. What about you? Do you ever stop and plan things? Or are you someone who just does things as you go along?

Simply Trusting
Part 3

    When Mattie woke up the lessons were over and Ali and Belle took the younger ones inside. Three letters had been well learned and Ali, thrilled to be learning to read, was longing to learn the next ones.
    Jess had lunch ready when they reached the house again, and everyone sat down to eat. Kade and Rome were pretty quiet and subdued, making none of their remarks which had gotten them into trouble earlier. Uncle Benjamin ate with them but Ez and Zeke were missing, and Belle wondered if they were still working.
    When the meal was over, the younger ones were put down for naps, and Aunt Lillian shooed the rest of the children outside. “Jest get out a the house,” she said. “I still got work ta do an’ I kain’t seem ta get nothin’ done with ya’ll underfoot.”
    Ali, Rome, Kade, and the younger twins hurried outside, eager to escape more work. But Belle lingered with Riss and Jess. “Can I help with anything, Aunt Lillian?” she questioned softly. “I often helped Mama with some of her work.” The thought of her mama so far away brought a sudden rush of tears to Belle’s eyes, but she blinked them back valiantly.
    “If’n ya wants ta help Jess and Riss with the dishes, I ain’t goin’ ta stop ya.”
    As she wiped the dishes Jess washed, Belle softly sang the hymn she had read that morning.

“Singing if my way is clear;
Praying if the path is drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

And then came the chorus, sung sweetly, for Belle knew the trust she had in Jesus; she had felt Him there with her in times when life was hard and also when everything was sweet and lovely.

“Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him what’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.”

    When the dishes were finished, Aunt Lillian smiled a tired smile at Belle and whispered, “Ya sound jest like yer mama did when we were girls. She were always singin’ ‘bout the house. Now jest run out an have a good time with the rest of the young’uns. You too Riss an’ Jess. I ken git more done if’n no one ain’t botherin’ me none.”
    Following her cousins outside, Belle blinked in the bright glare of the sunshine. Still humming her tune, she wondered what they would do.
    “Kin ya teach us more?” Ali begged, running up to Belle and grabbing her hand. “An’ can ya teach the others their A, B and C, like ya did me an’ Tabby?”
    “It’s Tabby and me, Ali,” Belle corrected gently.
    “Huh? What is?”
    “The proper way to speak. You should say the other names before you mention yourself.”
    “Oh, like taken’ turns at somethin’ and lettin’ the others go ‘fore you?”
    Belle nodded. She hadn’t thought of it like that before, but it did make sense. “Do the others want to learn?”
    “I reckon. Don’t ya want ta learn ta read like Belle?” Ali turned to her older sisters eagerly.
    “I reckon.”
    To Belle the afternoon flew by on wings, for her little class of pupils kept her too busy to even think about her sick father, or to wonder if her mother was working too hard taking care of him. Though she was young, Belle had a remarkable talent for teaching and great patience. The patch of dirt had been smoothed over many times as each tried to copy the neat letters Belle made for them.
    When Uncle Benjamin, Zeke, and Ez returned from the fields, they paused and watched the busy intent group for several minutes. Only Mattie and Benny, though nearby, weren’t active in whatever was going on.
    The children’s attention was turned when Zeke asked, “What’s goin’ on ta keep ya so interested?”
    “Oh, Belle is teachin’ us ta read!” Ali exclaimed. “We already know lots a them letter things. Ya want her ta teach ya too?”
    “Ez and me knows how ta read.”
    “How come ya never taught us then?” Ali demanded, folding her arms.
    “Ya ain’t never asked. Sides, I ain’t good at teachin’. Ya’ll goin’ ta stay here till it gets dark or are ya plannin’ on eatin’ supper?”
    “Supper?” Belle gasped, noticing for the first time how far the sun was down in the west. “I didn’t know it was so late. School is closed for the day. We can work on it another time.”
    All through supper Ali, Kade and Rome kept up almost constant talk about learning to read. “She’s goin’ ta learn us our names” Rome announced proudly.
    “Not our regular names,” added Kade, “our important names.”
    “And she’s going ta teach us ta read her books. Won’t that be fine, Ma?”
    Aunt Lillian nodded. “Reckon so.”

Would you want to teach others how to read?
Would you rather be outside or inside for school?
Are you planning on joining Camp NaNo?

Friday, February 23, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 2

Howdy, FFFs,
I see you were all too busy to do much reading last week. That's okay. This story isn't going anywhere. Well, it's going somewhere as in I'm writing it, but it's not going somewhere as in leaving the blog. So you can read it later.

How was your week? I had a good week.
Friday we decorated for the Widows' Luncheon. We did a picnic theme this year and had such fun! It really didn't take long to decorate.
Saturday was the Luncheon. Everyone loved the decorations. And everyone wore a hat! We had invited everyone to wear their picnic hat, but since I knew many wouldn't have one, I brought all my hats, plus three from a friend, and set them all out so people could borrow one. I wasn't expecting everyone to wear one, but they did. Each person found a hat and wore it! The group picture was so cute!
Sunday afternoon I got to read. I finished my 24th book for my reading challenge, and then read another book. We watched "Chariots of Fire" while we ate supper.
Monday it rained, but it was warm. I wrote that night.
Tuesday it rained and got cold. It was almost 70º when we ate breakfast, but within half an hour afterwards, it had dropped to the 40s. And by the time I taught writing classes, it was in the 30s. I got 1,200 words written that night.
Wednesday was cold and icy, and cloudy. Church that evening was cancelled because we were supposed to get more freezing rain. So I wrote another 1,200 words instead of working in the nursery.
Yesterday was pretty normal. Except my mom took my oldest nephew out to shop for his birthday, and then out for lunch. In the late afternoon and evening the kids were over here so their parents could have a date. The kids wanted to play dress-up. So I let them. Then they wanted to do a play. So, spur-of-the-moment me, had to come up with characters, get them dressed, and then figure out what the play was about. It actually worked! And "Newsy Jones" saved the day! I'm thinking of writing this story in a play form and posting it here. Would you enjoy it?

That's it. Here's your story this week. I'll be back next Friday with part 3.

Simply Trusting
Part 2

    Monday was a blur of activity to Belle, what with the washing being done and the children rushing about here and there. Everything seemed utter confusion at times. Rome and Kade, as though to make up for their good behavior the day before, got into one scrape after another until Ali was sent up to the fields to fetch Pa or Zeke. Belle tried to help where she could, but not being used to the way things were done, felt as though she were only causing more trouble for her aunt.
    “Auntie, should I take Mattie and Benny outside out of the way?” she finally asked.
    Looking up from the washtub, Aunt Lillian pushed back her hair from her face. “Goodness, Child, if’n ya can keep track of ‘em, yer welcome ta take ‘em. Think ya can manage if’n Tabby goes ‘long too?”
    “I can try.” She picked up Mattie and held out her hand to Benny who had been clinging to his mother’s skirt and crying. “Come on, Benny, let’s go outside and I’ll tell you a story.”
    Tabby inched closer from the corner where she had taken herself. “Me too?” she whispered.
    “Yes,” Belle smiled. “And Si and Sade if they want to. Come on, Benny,” she coaxed.
    With Tabby there, Benny gave in and allowed his cousin to take his chubby little hand. As they started out of the house, Belle broke into song.

“Simply trusting every day,
Trusting thro’ a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all”

    Together the four children made their way to a rock on the sunny slope where they sat down.
    “Now I’ll tell you a story,” Belle began, settling Mattie in her lap. In a sweet voice she began to tell of the little children who came to Jesus and the disciples who tried to send them away. “But Jesus loves children. He told his disciples to let the children come to Him.”
    “Did they?” Tabby wanted to know.
    “Yes, and Jesus let them sit in His lap, and He blessed them. Jesus loves all children.”
    “What if they ain’t good?” Tabby demanded, looking over toward the house where Pa had disappeared inside with Ali.
    Belle gave a sad smile. “He still loves them, but it makes Him sad when they aren’t good. If they will let Him, He will help them be good.” She watched as her uncle came out of the house with Kade and Rome and led them around the house and out of sight. A sigh escaped her lips, for she wasn’t used to children as determined to get into trouble as those two young cousins.
    “Ya sing a song now?” Tabby asked.
    “Yes, I can sing now,” Belle replied, and she began singing the song that was in her mind.

“Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’re befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly doth His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine’
While He leads I cannot fall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.”

    Ali sat down beside her and Belle finished the chorus and then stopped. “Does Auntie need us?”
    Ali shook her head. “She said ya had taken the young’uns out ta tell a story. Did ya tell one?”
    “What about?”
    “Jesus blessing the children.”
    “I ain’t never heard that. What happened? They won’t mind if’n ya tell it again.”
    Belle looked at each young face. Four-year-old Tabby looked eager, Benny satisfied to listen to anything, and the weight of Mattie in her lap suggested that she had fallen asleep. “All right. I’ll tell it again.” It was a longer story this time, for Ali asked questions and wanted to know many things. Belle did her best to answer them until at last Ali fell silent.
    “Hmm,” Ali mused, looking at her cousin. “How’d ya learn that story?”
    “I read it in the Bible.”
    “Kain’t ya teach me ta read soon? I ain’t never learned how, an’ I reckon it’d be nice ta know.”
    “All right. We’ll have our first class here, but–” She looked down at Mattie’s dark head, “What do we do with Mattie?”
    Taking off her apron, Ali laid it in the shade and picked up her sleeping sister. “She can take a nap out here’s well as not.”
    “Everyone needs a little stick,” Belle began, spying a patch of dirt.
    At that Benny’s eyes lit up. He loved sticks.
    Soon Ali, Tabby and Benny were gathered around their teacher as she showed them how to write the letter A. Si and Sade, still hesitant and unsure about this stranger, hung back and watched for a long time until Sade ventured to get a stick. Belle, sensing that any word spoken to either her or Si might send them back into their shells, pretended she didn’t see them and went about instructing the others.
    Benny didn’t do well in copying the A in the dirt, but Ali did and Tabby, after some help from Belle, made a remarkably good A which brought praise from her cousin and a smile to the shy girl’s face. And, although she didn’t say anything, Belle smiled at how well Sade traced the letter in the dirt.

Have you ever been in charge of younger kids outside?
Did you ever try to teach someone their alphabet?
Do you want to read about "Newsy Jones"?

Friday, February 16, 2018

HitH - Simply Trusting - Part 1

Good morning Friday Fiction Fans!
I actually have a story for you today! Or at least part of one. :) I finally remembered to get it ready last night.

I've had a good week. It was busy at times, I got some reading in, and some writing. I babysat my nieces and nephews for several hours on Tuesday (9:45-2:30) and then in the evening from 7:30 until 9:15. That last time we got the youngest one. He's almost 7 months old and crawls. But he wanted held that night because it was bed time. He got mad at Papa's beard because it brushed his head and wasn't soft. Oh, did he cry! I finally got him calm, and he grabbed the zipper of my sweater in one hand, my shirt in the other and stuck his thumb in his mouth and sucked it fiercely as he cuddled. He later got over it, but would complain when he tried to play with Papa's beard. It was rather funny. :)

The weather here has been really nice! On Wednesday it was in the 60s and we had the windows open some. Then yesterday it got into the low 70s! It was really windy, but it was so nice! This morning it's cloudy and in the 30s.

Later this morning my sister and I are headed over to decorate for the Widows' Luncheon that is happening tomorrow. Three other friends are joining us to decorate. I can't wait! :D

But here's your story. If you haven't read "Hymns in the Hills" go up and click on the tab at the top. I added chapter 3 to it. This is the start of Chapter 4. Each chapter is about 4k words long. But instead of giving you a thousand words each week, I gave you 700-800 so that it would last 5 weeks. :) Enjoy!

Simply Trusting
Part 1

    Ali leaned closer. “What’d ya tell ‘em, Belle?”
    Staring off at the window panes where the evening light seemed to shimmer, Belle clasped her hands together and began composing out loud. “Dearest Mama and Papa, I have so much to say. First off, I miss you both, but I am safe at Auntie’s. You’ll never guess, Mama, at least I don’t think you will, at least you never told me, but I have a dozen cousins here. And these are just Uncle and Auntie’s children. I heard there are more, for Uncle Nathan is married, but I haven’t met them yet. I will tell you all about them once I have.
    “But I am going to start with the ones I have met. Zeke and Ez are the oldest and they are five years older than I am. Next comes Jess–” Belle broke off abruptly and said, “I know the names that you are called, but what are your given names?”
    “I weren’t given nothin’,” Rome complained. “She give you somethin’ Kade?” And the small boy glared across the table at his brother.
    “Hush,” Jess scolded. “Kade weren’t given nothin’ neither. Belle jest wants ta know yer real name.”
    “Rome is my real name,” insisted that fellow indignantly. “I ain’t got no other.”
    “Yes, ya has,” Ali said. “It’s the name ya get called if’n yer in a heap a trouble.”
    Rome’s eyes widened. “I ain’t tellin’ that when I ain’t done nothin’.”
    Before anyone else could say anything, Belle broke in. “Rome,” she tried to explain, “your real name isn’t just for when you get in trouble, it can be used if you want to be fine and proper. Then you tell someone your real name. Mine is Isabelle, but everyone calls me Belle. When I am introduced to someone of importance, I tell them my real name, not the short name that those who love me call me.” She smiled as she watched a look of understanding begin to creep across her young cousin’s face. “My name is Isabelle Standish, what is yours, sir?”
    “Roman Russum.”
    Belle’s gentle hand was reached across the table as she said, “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Roman Russum.”
    Coloring, Rome shook her hand quickly and then ducked his head.
    Turning to the cousin beside her she again introduced herself and asked his name.
    “I’m McKaidric.”
    “I’m pleased to know you, Mr. McKaidric.” Belle let her bright eyes rove over her other cousins. “Am I going to have to introduce myself to each one of you in order to learn your full name?” she asked.
    “Reckon so,” Ali giggled.
    “We’ll be here all night,” Jess sighed, and then without waiting for an introduction added, “I’m Jessica.”
    Belle smiled, nodded and moved her eyes to the younger twins. Sade and Si, having finished their supper, had been staring at their cousin, but the moment her eyes rested on them, they looked down and Si scooted closer to Ez. “How can I learn names when the younger ones won’t talk?”
    “It’s Sadie and Simon,” Jess replied. “An’ Pa has Tabitha; Benjamin,–he were named after Pa–is sittin’ with Ma.” She looked around, gave an exclamation and sprang from the table, but Zeke beat her to the stove and snatched up the baby before she could touch the hot surface.
    Mattie, finding herself deprived of her exploration, set up a howl and struggled to get down. That seemed to end the introductions and the lesson on polite manners, for Mrs. Russum rose and said, raising her voice to be heard about the screaming baby, “Start cleanin’ up the dishes girls.” She turned to take Mattie, but Zeke was handing her over to Ez and the child’s screams subsided.

    As the girls prepared for bed, Belle asked, “Ali, what is your full name?”
    “And yours Riss?”
    Riss’s voice was quiet as she replied, “Clarissa.”
    “Oh, what a lovely name. And are Ez and Zeke, Ezra and Ezekiel?”
    Climbing into bed, Ali nodded. “An’ Mattie is really Matilda. But we aint’ never called them longer names less we’re in a heap a trouble.” She gave a sigh and added, “Then we’re likely ta get a lickin’ an’ the name.”
    Belle didn’t answer but read her verse, knelt in prayer and then silently crawled into bed as Jess blew out the light and the room became dark.
    There was a long moment of silence before Ali whispered, “Belle, are ya mad?”
    “No,” came the whispered reply. “Why should I be mad?”
    “Well, ya ain’t never said nothin’ after I said that ‘bout our names.”
    “I was just thinking.”
    “‘Bout what?”
    “About how lovely your names all are, but no one ever uses them to make you feel proud of them.”
    “Weren’t you ever called yer full name when ya got in trouble? Or did ya never get in trouble? I kain’t seem ta picture ya bein’ bad.”
    Belle gave a long sigh. “Yes, I have been bad many times, Ali, and sometimes Mama or Papa would use my full name, but it was always said in a tone of loving reproof, and I knew I hadn’t pleased the Lord Jesus.”
    When no answer came from her cousin, Belle closed her eyes and thought back over her day. It had been a very different kind of Sunday than she had ever experienced before. “Did I please the Lord Jesus today?” she wondered, unaware that two other persons in the house were silently singing the hymn she had sung that morning in the wagon.
Do you get called your given name, or a  pet name?
Have you had to explain the difference in names before?
Have you enjoyed spring weather this week?

Friday, February 9, 2018

Searching for a New Story

Good morning Fans,
I don't have a story again today. Sorry. I was going to get some of "Hymns in the Hills" ready, but that didn't happen. I think it's because I'm missing a day or two. Not sure which days, but it can't be Friday already.

This week has been busy teaching Writing Classes and getting things ready for the Widows' Luncheon that was supposed to happen tomorrow, but due to a forecast of freezing rain tonight and tomorrow, we had to decide to postpone it. (Many people live a distance away.) So that'll hopefully take place next Saturday. But things didn't get decided until last night.

I worked in Cubbies on Wednesday night, so I didn't get anything written.
Earlier this week I heard that a cover designer was having a sale on all her pre-made covers. So off I went to look at them. Well I saw one. Actually there was more than one. But there were two I really liked, but one in particular caught my eye. But I didn't have a story that fit it. So the search began. Could I come up with and write a story for that cover? I figured if I could at least get a good start on one, I could get the cover and then finish the story. Well I started writing on Tuesday and got 1k written of a story. But after looking at the cover again yesterday, I don't think this story will fit it. So I either start again, or I forget it. Not sure what I'll do. I also have Hymns in the Hills that needs written. And eventually I'll have to write my June and July stories.

Oh, the other thing you might be interested in is the Christmas story that I finished, got corrected and am working with a cover designer. I would have done the cover myself, but all I could think of was a burning barn. Not exactly what you'd think of for a Christmas cover, right? And this is a different sort of Christmas story. It takes place in AZ.

If you haven't already heard, my February story is now published. I just haven't added it to my website. Maybe I can do that this afternoon. It's called "Forget Not."

Well, hopefully I'll have something for you next week.

Have you been writing anything?
Do you have bad weather forecasted for tomorrow?
Have you been reading any interesting books?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Just an Update

A lovely February to all you FFFs,
Changing the calendar yesterday felt so strange. I wasn't in the least bit ready to move on to another month. I wanted to protest.

So, I don't have a story for you today. That means you can do a little catching up reading from other places on my blog. Old posts with short stories or longer stories are just waiting to be discovered once again. It's probably a good thing I didn't have to worry about posting today. This week has been one of those crazy sort of ones where my brain just doesn't want to focus, or else there are to many things to focus on and it can't decide what is most important.

I did get my March story written, so that's good. Those of you who are signed up as Beta/Test readers will get notified near the end of the month. If you aren't signed up and don't know what I'm talking about, you can go to Read Another Page and find the place where you can sign up to be a Test/Beta reader. Right now I'm trying to get a short kindle story published each month this year. January's got done, and February's is almost ready to be released.

What is my brain so busy about?
  • Getting my February story corrected, formatted, and the cover finished.
  • Correcting 2 chapters of "Hymns in the Hills."
  • Editing my March story which still doesn't have a name.
  • Writing!
  • Planning for, preparing, and in general, getting ready for the Widows' Luncheon (at church) that's on the 10th and I'm in charge of it for the first time. We have 11 widows and almost all of them have 2 Secret Sisters, and this is the luncheon that we reveal who those ladies were.
  • Trying to get reading in here and there.
  • Taxes that need filed.
  • Organizing some files on my computer so I can find things and so I don't have quite so many.
  • Replying to emails.
  • Keeping up with all the books being read for the Reading Challenge (which is so much fun!).
  • Preparing blog posts for Read Another Page. (Part 3 of my bookshelf tour will be on Tuesday.)
  • Babysitting my nieces and nephews.
  • Life in general.
And that, my dear readers, is what I've been doing. And I'm sure I haven't mentioned some things.

How was your week?
Does you brain ever get too busy?
Which story are you going to go read? 

Friday, January 26, 2018

After the Fair - Part 3

Good morning FFFs,
It's still dark this morning. No bright colored sunrise, or anything like that. I think it's supposed to be cloudy today. Don't know about rain. Yesterday was windy and in the 60s! Delightful!

This week has been, for the most part, a good week. I did have trouble on Wednesday night and couldn't get anything written. I was trying to come up with an idea for my March story. I had a picture I wanted to use, but the only idea I could think of just wasn't working. But yesterday morning my mom gave me an idea, my brain started working, and last night I wrote 1,364 words of the March story. And I have ideas for more of it. 😀

I finally got the rest of my books and stories added to Read Another Page. I had managed to get "Dylan's Story" and "Finding Joy" added to the Bookshelf shortly after I published them, but I hadn't gotten any of my Christmas Collection added. Now you can find them all under the Christmas pop-down. And I added the January story under Short Kindle Stories.

Have you been reading any books for the Reading Challenge? I have. I love getting to read books like this! Not only do I find myself reading many different genres, but I read books that I might not otherwise have read. So far I've only read one book that I didn't like. Surprisingly, I've read half the categories, and have started on the 13th book. I don't know what I'll do when I reach the end of the list though!

Okay, here's the last part of this story. I want to know what you all think of it.

After the Fair
Part 3

    His wide eyes stared unblinking up at the darkening sky as the first stars peeked out. He lay still and silent. The sounds of the fair ended, and instead of the music, laughter, and happy voices which had filled the air, the gruff, tired voices of the workers, the metallic clatter of rides being disassembled, and the rumble of truck engines filled the night. They were all sounds Bear had heard most of his life, but this time it was different. This time he was not packed into a dark box with the rest of the animals and dolls. Instead, he lay all alone in the grass, his fur ruffled by the soft summer breeze. Forgotten. When the sounds of the fair being packed up had ended, and the last engine rumble had faded in the distance, a lone cricket came over to Bear and chirped sweetly. And the bear wondered if this was what happened to all the bears and dolls at the fair.


    Not very far away from the fair grounds stood a small house. One tiny light, as though of a candle, gleamed from a tiny window. Inside a mother, worn, tired, and anxious, sat beside the bed of her little boy. Her head was bowed and tears trickled down her cheeks. With a gentle hand she pushed back the brown locks from the flushed and feverish face. It was so hot in the room, but the noise of the fair made Bobby restless, and the doctor said he must sleep.
    As the mother sat, it gradually dawned on her that the gay music of the fair had stopped. Softly she rose and pushed open the window, breathing an inward sigh of relief at the breeze which caressed her cheeks and blew out the lone candle. She peered out into the darkness, but no lights were to be seen where the fair had stood. Perhaps it was over.
    Returning to her seat, the mother bathed the face on the pillow, grateful for the coolness of the breeze. This done, she slid to her knees and bowed her head wearily beside her small boy. “Dear Jesus,” she whispered, “I don’t know much about You. But the minister said You came to save sinners such as me, and I am a sinner. I ask that You would save me and forgive my sins. And Lord Jesus, the minister also said You care about the widows and the fatherless. Please, dear Lord, help Bobby to get well. Tomorrow’s his birthday an’ he’s sick, an’ I don’t have any money to get him a present at all.” The whisper ceased for a few minutes as the mother wiped away her tears and looked at the steady rising and falling of Bobby’s chest. “Lord Jesus, if You do care for us, for Bobby and his sisters, would You send something little for Bobby? Nothing big, just something so we’ll all know You haven’t forgotten about us.”


    The sun was shining and clouds danced on the warm summer breeze. Two little girls, hand in hand, with their brown hair loose about their thin faces, wandered toward the empty fair grounds.
    “I liked the pretty lights,” one girl said.
    Her younger sister nodded. “And the music was pretty too, but it made Bobby not sleep.”
    “Yes, Mama is glad it is gone now. Let’s go look around.”

    Some time later the pattering of eager feet sounded on the porch, and the screen door shut with a soft thump. The mother, roused from a doze, rose and, after seeing that Bobby was sleeping, hurried from the little room, hoping his sisters would not wake him.
    “Oh, Mama!” one of the little girls exclaimed softly, “see what we found for Bobby!”
    Together the girls held out a teddy bear. The red ribbon bow was untied, his smile was slightly crooked, and one ear drooped a little.
    “He was waiting for us,” the youngest girl said. “He wasn’t in any of the dirty places, just lying in the grass away from everything. Can we give it to Bobby for his birthday?”
    “Where did it come from, way out there?” the older girl asked. “It was far off from where everything was.”
    Tears filled the poor mother’s eyes. They hadn’t been forgotten. Her little boy would have a present when he woke from his nap, for the doctor said he was on the mend now that his fever had broken. “Yes,” she whispered, “we’ll give it to him when he wakes up. We have not been forgotten.”

Was this the ending you were thinking?
Did you enjoy this story?
Do you want to read more of "Hymns in the Hills"?

Friday, January 19, 2018

After the Fair - Part 2

Hello FFFs,
Guess what? I've been writing this week! Yes! Every day. (Except Sunday.) And three of those 4 days I've actually written 1k words or more. It's all been on "Hymns in the Hills," and I'm eager to write again tonight because the story is moving. I'm loving this story!

Let's see, the weather. That's a good topic, right? On Sunday it snowed. And we made it to Sunday School and Church, but the evening service was cancelled because of the weather. Then the temperature dropped. Usually we'll get snow and the next day it's mostly melted. Not this time. Monday was in the 20s, and Tuesday Writing Classes were cancelled because it was supposed to be high of 9º with a windchill of -24º Yeah. Cold. At least for this area. Yesterday is the first day since it snowed that it reached above freezing. It was in the 40's. Today is supposed to get to 50º and I'm sure things will really start to melt. It's been pretty seeing everything sparkle in the sunshine, because even if it was cold, we had sunshine.

I hope you all were able to check out my January short story. But I'm going to let you get to reading this next part of the story. At least if you have time. And don't forget to click a reaction button on the bottom of the post if you don't have time to comment.

After the Fair
Part 2

    Nearly choking, the boy leaned his face close beside the bear. “Is he my long lost twin?”
    Bear wasn’t sure what that was, but he smiled his crooked smile and gazed unblinkingly into the bright, sunny world of the fairgrounds. He wasn’t very old, just old enough to have already been to several fairs, but always before he had remained on the shelf as folks came and slapped down their dimes and five cent pieces, or carefully counted out their pennies. He had watched fellow bears, some with red bows like himself, and others with different bows, go off in the arms of some person. He had seen the dolls be whisked away, sometimes by awed little girls and other times by laughing ladies. He had always wondered what happened to the bears and the dolls, and now he knew. Or at least he thought he did.

    When the food had been eaten, Bear was tucked under the girl’s arm, and he stared at the world sideways for a time, watching swinging arms and people bumping into each other. He smiled at the eager faces of young children and listened to the happy music and laughter of those passing by. It was all quite fascinating to a bear just removed from a shelf and out into the real world of fairs. After a while the girl shifted Bear into her other arm, and he took a good long look at the ground. He wasn’t quite sure what the different items were which got trampled under the feet of every person, but at the least the shoes were different.
    “Oh, Johnny, let’s get some cotton candy,” Sally suggested.
    “All right. Then we can go take a look at the animals.”
    Bear, growing a little tired of seeing nothing but the ground, was delighted when he was righted and the girl wrapped her arm around his middle. He felt very secure and comfortable, and the world looked so much more interesting. The boy, Johnny, stepped back from some booth with two piles of fluff on sticks and handed one to the girl. Bear could only stare with wide eyes. He’d never seen anything like it. After the girl took the fluff, the two young people started walking on, not realizing that Bear’s nose was sticking into the sticky, sweet fluff. It had been an accident. He hadn’t done it on purpose, but when Sally held her cotton candy in her left hand, she had forgotten about Bear.
    Bear stared at the candy until the girl noticed and laughed at him. His face was wiped off with something damp and his nose kissed. He studied the ground some more, watched people sideways, sat on another table, and had his bow untied when it became caught on something.
    All in all, it was a very exciting day for a Bear who had never known anything but the little tent with the man who shouted, and urged the people to come spend money, and grumbled and muttered when he had to pack things up again.
    At last, as dusk was settling around, Bear was settled between Johnny and Sally on a hard seat. He could see their clasped hands in front of him and thought it must be nice to hold hands with someone.
    Suddenly there was a strange rumbling from the seat, then a jerk, and Sally screamed while a wind blew Bear’s untied bow over his face so he couldn’t see. He thought he might be glad not to see, for Sally screamed again, and Bear felt himself squished between the girl and boy. All that time the seat had rumbled and shaken, making bear think of those dark days when he had been packed with all the other bears and taken from one fair to another. He had heard somewhere that they traveled on a train, but he was never quite sure what a train was.
    The shaking stopped at last, and so did the screaming. Johnny and Sally stood up, and Bear fell over on his side. At least he could see again, for the ribbon fell from his face. Neither Johnny nor Sally seemed to have remembered the bear with the red bow, for they walked away, and Bear was left on the hard seat staring before him at the back of another seat.
    It was growing darker. Bear could hear voices.
    “Just once more, please, mister,” a young voice begged.
    “Well, all right, but then I’ve got ta shut ‘er down an’ pack ‘er up. Fair’s endin’ tonight.”
    The rumbling started again, and with a sudden lurch the seat began to race forward. At first Bear remained where he was, plastered against the back of the hard bench by the force of the air, but when the seat tilted, he slid, first one direction until his feet bumped the side, and then another until his head touched the opposite side, He was shaken and jostled about, and then, as the seat made a sudden movement, he was launched out into the darkness and sailed through the evening shadows until he dropped to earth with a soft thump.

You probably didn't expect that to happen, did you?
Did you get any snow this week?
What do you think will happen to Bear?
(There is one more part to this story.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

After the Fair - Part 1

Good morning FFFs!
As you can see, I'm not shutting this blog down yet. :) So you'll at least get to enjoy it for a little while longer.

This week has been pretty good as far as getting things done. Except writing. That has been terrible! I had a full evening on Wednesday to write, but I couldn't get a single sentence of anything written! It was as though every idea I ever had ran away or hid. I couldn't write on any started story, nor could I write on any new story. Bother. So I pulled out my newly printed Character sheets (for my WriteMind Planner) and started filling in characters for two stories. The first was the Kelsey stories. Since I will probably write more of them, I needed to know all the characters names and if I said what color hair or eyes they had. So I re-read the stories and got the characters written down.
Next I turned my attention to Hymns in the Hills. That took more doing since I had more chapters (each about 4k words) to read. And lots more characters! I didn't finish it until yesterday. And then, guess what? I wrote! I wrote 656 words of Hymns in the Hills! It was so delightful!

Yesterday we had some interesting weather. When we got up it was in the 50s. My sister and I walked mid-morning because it was 58º. But within 5 minutes after we got back home, the wind shifted from the south, to the northwest and the temperature started dropping. By noon it was in the 30s. And by supper time it was 20º. And boy, was that wind strong last night! I heard we could get gusts up to 34 mph! Brrr!

This story was just something I wrote while trying to get back into writing. I'm changing the reaction buttons on the bottom of the post. So, if you don't have time to comment, if you could at least check a reaction button, that will let me know that someone read the post. :)


After the Fair
Part 1

    Sitting high up on the small shelf, the brown teddy bear looked down with dark, unblinking eyes at the faces of the crowd. Its smile was stitched on slightly crooked, and one of its ears flopped just a little, but around its neck was a large, red bow. Perhaps the bear was hoping to hide its smile, for it seemed to have tipped its head just a little, its nose barely showing above the perky ribbon. The voice of the attendant rang loudly over the babble of talk around the small tent.
    “Come and try it! Only ten cents for five throws. Come on, little lady, step right up and win a prize. Everyone wins a prize. Just throw the ring over one of those pegs and win yourself a doll, a teddy bear, or one of the other fine prizes! Ring ‘em all and choose yer prize. Step right up, sir. Win something for the little lady. Here we go! A gentleman!”
    From his lofty seat right under the roof of the tent where no cooling breeze ever blew, the bear, warm from the sun on the tent roof, watched. A young man with sandy hair, scarcely into his teens, plunked down a dime and picked up the rings. “What d’ya want, Sally?” he asked the girl beside him.
    “Oh, I don’t know. Just win me something, Johnny. I’ll like anything you get me.”
    The crowd laughed a little and nudged one another.
    At this the young man’s face grew red, and he tossed the first ring. It landed over a peg and the crowd cheered. Another ring circled the pin, and a grin of confidence settled on the face of the boy. Each successive toss earned him a ringed pin. With a laugh, after the last pin had been snagged, the boy pointed up towards the top of the tent. “I’ll take that bear up there.”
    The attendant turned around and grabbed the arm of a lower bear, one with a green bow.
    “No, not him. I want the red bow.”
    “Listen, bud,” the attendant said, “you can pick which prize ya get, but that don’t mean you can decide which of them specific things ya get.”
    “Aw, come on,” a man in the crowd called, “let ‘em have the one they want.”
    “Yeah,” cried out another voice. “What’s the matter with that other bear? Got a diamond ring hidden in it?”
    A laugh went around the bystanders.
    “Come on, be a good sport and get ‘em the bear they want.”
    The attendant was growing flustered. “There’s not diamond rings or anything else different about that bear,” he snarled. “It’s jest hard ta get without knockin’ everything over.”
    Looking down, the bear saw the girl tug on the boy’s arm, and though he couldn’t hear what she was saying, he thought she might be pleading for the bear with the green bow because the boy shook his head. “It says on the sign that I could pick my own prize. I want the red bow.”
    “What for, sonny?” a man asked, pushing his way forward, the hot summer sun shining on his policeman’s badge.
    The boy shrugged. “I like red is all. My mom’s cherry pies, the red geraniums on the porch, the scarf my grandma knitted me last winter–” He gave another shrug. “Just like red.”
    With a scowl, the attendant turned back around and reached up. Snagging the teddy bear’s foot, he jerked him down. It was a good thing the bear’s head was stuffed with soft cotton because he hit it against the shelf on its way down after his legs.
    The world spun a bit before the bear landed in the boy’s arms upside-down. He was quickly righted and passed into the girl’s arms. “Now let’s go get something to eat.”
    The bear wasn’t hungry, being stuffed with stuffing until his tummy was round and firm, but he didn’t mind going along for the ride.

    Soon the bear found himself seated on a table leaning against nothing. It took him a little while to get the hang of hunching forward instead of resting against something solid, but it wasn’t difficult he decided, after the boy and girl had helped him.
    The boy shoved the bow down a little and grinned. “His smile looks like he’s got a joke.”
    Laughing, the girl fluffed the bow again, careful to keep the bear’s face from being hidden this time. “I think he looks a bit like you,” she retorted, picking up her hot dog.

Have you ever been to a fair?
If so, have you ever won a prize there?
What color ribbon would you want on your bear?

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year, New Things

Good morning dear readers,
I'm not sure how many of you actually get on here each Friday, but I know it's not many. I've been doing some thinking and praying about this Friday blog. For months now I've struggled to come up with something to post each week. I've reposted stories from years ago, I've posted new stories, I've skipped the stories all together, and it never seems to make a difference. I might get a comment from one, maybe two faithful readers, but that's it. I don't even know if this gets read. But I don't want to just get rid of this blog altogether, after all, I've been posting on Friday mornings for almost 9 years! But that's another thing, even though I've been posting for so long, I've barely reached over 50 followers, and many of them no longer read blogs. So is this little blog worth keeping up?
Right now I don't know.
I've toyed with a new idea for my short stories. Since I've had people sign up to test/beta read my short stories, I may start sending them to those on the list, and then getting them published as kindle books. What do you think? If you are signed up on the list, you'd get the full short story all at once instead of in 1k word sections.

This week we had the New Year appear on Monday. (Not sure where it came from, because it wasn't there when I went to bed.)
On Tuesday we finally got to do Christmas with my brother and his family. That was fun! We do brunch together, and then open presents. Followed by playing new games, hanging out, eating snacks, and things of that sort. They all went home around 2:30 so the younger ones could have naps. Later that afternoon, Mom and I started the task of un-decorating the house. We got some done.
Wednesday meant taking down more decorations. We actually had it almost all down.
Yesterday we packed things in boxes. Now they're ready to go in the Christmas closet until next time.

I wrote some this week. I started the sequel of "Through the Tunnel" and wrote a short story. Hopefully I can write more tonight. I have so many ideas that it's hard to know what to work on. You can be praying for the right ideas. And that I'll be eager and ready to write.
And you can be praying that I'll know what I'm supposed to do about this blog.