Friday, February 22, 2019

A Canoe Trip

Good morning!
It's cloudy. Again. So far this month we've had 4 days of sunshine, and 4 days with just a little sunshine. I'm missing the sun. And we don't even have snow to make up for the lack of sunshine! We've gotten snow several times this winter, but it's never been enough to cover the grass though the rest of our state has gotten lots of snow.

I've been writing this week. It's been fun to work on a different story. :) I'm hoping to get more written tonight since I probably won't write anything tomorrow evening.

Let's see, this week hasn't been that busy. I've taught writing classes, graded papers, worked in the nursery Wednesday night, written over 3k words, read, posted a controversial blog post, and proof listened to more of one of my audio books.

This story was written around 9-10 years ago. I was given the instructions to write a story in diary form, and this is what I wrote. It's short, but next week we'll start a longer story.

A Canoe Trip

Dear Diary,
I still can’t believe I agreed to this trip. Here I am nearly 75 years old, and I’m off with a group of girls for an overnight canoe trip. Right now I am sitting on a log on the beach waiting for the girls to stow the supplies in the canoes. There will be three canoes for our party. All three are a bright red and while two of them have white edges, mine is entirely red. The water of the lake is placid, reflecting the snow covered mountains and the lush green of the pine woods. We will see how the river is when we get into it later. The five girls consider this the greatest lark of their lives. I’m not sure but they are right. But dear me, imagine letting five young things go off into the wilderness with no one but me along.

It is night now, and finally the last laggard is in her sleeping bag and slumbering. We didn’t pack tents, so we are all out under the stars tonight. To my utmost surprise we arrived at our camping site with no accidents. I have a feeling in my bones though that this state of things will not last. We’ll see what tomorrow holds.

Dear Diary,
I really didn’t forget you, but you see, my bones were right in saying that something was going to happen. Since it is all over now, and has been for nearly a week, I will tell you all about it.

I was awakened in the morning with a wild shrieking. I sat up quickly to find Cathy jumping up and down in the water. It turns out that two rocks were pinching her toe, and she was sure it was a crab about to eat her. How the other girls laughed. While we were eating breakfast, Sandra burned her hand with the bacon grease, and we discovered no one had packed a first-aid kit. Thankfully I’ve had experience with burns like that, so we managed to soothe it. All was quiet and calm during our Bible time, but packing up camp was a different story. I don’t know who started it, though I have a pretty good guess, but before I knew it, I had a free-for-all pine cone fight on my hands! They were all shouting and throwing pine cones. How thankful I was to have thought to bring along my husband’s ship captain’s whistle. One shrill blast on that brought a lull, and we finally managed to get the canoes loaded. The girls were in wild spirits, and for a while water was splashing everywhere and canoes were turning in circles. Linda and Jane managed to tip their canoe over. Thankfully nothing was lost as most of it was tied in. After a good quarter of an hour at least, the canoe was righted, and the girls were once more inside it.

After that, they all settled down, and we made good time. It was almost noon when the storm hit. Without warning it came over the mountain tops and was on us before we could prepare. Everyone paddled hard for the shore, but we were drenched long before we reached it. We pulled the canoes up as high as we could and huddled together under a tarp I had pulled from my canoe. Sherry said it wasn’t supposed to storm. Her brother is a weather man, and he had said it was supposed to be nice. Well Diary, it certainly wasn’t very pleasant there in the storm. Thankfully it left almost as quickly as it came. The sun came out, and we looked around us.

I think it was Cathy who noticed one of the canoes was gone. I didn’t think it would be hard to find it with its bright red paint, but I was wrong. There was no sign anywhere of the missing boat. The girls were all clamoring to know how we were going to fit six of us in two canoes along with all our stuff. If they had been larger canoes, it might have worked, but as it was I wasn’t going to risk it. I told the girls to start thinking. And think they did. I always knew that girls could use their heads for more than primping and giggling. Jane made the suggestion that we build a raft to tow behind the canoes and haul the supplies. Sherry improved the thought by saying that if we were to rig up something to stretch across from canoe to canoe, like a platform, we wouldn’t have to worry about it floating. Also, the person in the middle of each canoe could help keep things on. This plan met with great approval and everyone fell to work. It took some doing, but at last it was in place and the supplies securely tied on. I cautioned the girls that we would all have to work together or it wouldn’t work. It took quite a little practicing to get the hang of it, but when Linda started singing it was easier to keep together.

It was more difficult to travel attached as we were to each other and carrying more weight, so we moved slowly. I was thankful we were going down stream to the lake and that when we reached it, it was calm, and we could make fairly good time. However, it was after dark before we landed to be met by a search party with lanterns and flashlights about to start out to look for us.

And now, Dear Diary, I must end this and get some sleep. The girls are going on an overnight hiking trip tomorrow, and I said I would go along.
The End
Have you gotten much sun this month?
How does this story rate compared to my writing now?
How has your week been?

Friday, February 15, 2019


Good morning FFFs,
Sorry, I don't have a story for you today. I've been busy this week and haven't had a chance to decide on which story to post.
Right now it's sleeting. I can hear the tiny balls of ice tip-tapping on the skylight and roof. Yesterday it was in the 60's and my sister and I went out and walked. Later in the evening the wind shifted from the south to the north and the cold started coming in. And today we get sleet, a chance of snow and ice. That's Missouri weather for you.

This has been a good writing week for me. I already have 4,600 words written. And yes, they were all on "Hymns in the Hills." I'm so close to being done! I think I can finish it in about 4k words. At least I'm hoping I can. Oh, I can't wait until I'm done! This short story that has been dancing in my head for some time now really wants out! Yesterday I even went to Pixabay and found three pictures that might work as my main characters. I'm still trying to decide which picture I want to use. Which do you think?

Picture 1.

Picture 2.

Picture 3.

Let me know. They are all sisters. Triplets to be exact. And no, they don't look alike.

Last week I mentioned the Widows' Tea I had to decorate for at church. Well, we had a lovely time! Some of the widows said it was a best one yet. (We do this every year to reveal who the widows' secret sisters for the past year were.) One lady who had never been before was just amazed by it all and said it really blessed her and was just what she needed. Here's a few pictures of the decorations.
The corsages I made each widow.
Here's one of the tables.
And now that the tea is over, I've been working on getting the new list of ladies who want to participate in the ministry this year. Some only do it one year, others do it every year. But I usually have to ask a few new people and see if they want to join. Some just love being secret sisters to these dear ladies. Since every widow gets 2 secret sisters, we've had to do pen names for them. And this year we are doing gem stones. There are your usual stones, and then we had to find some unusual ones as well. :) If there are widows in your church, pray about being a blessing to them by becoming a secret sister. If you want more information about how we do it, let me know.

And that's it. I have other things to do. Hopefully I'll get a story picked for next week.

Which picture do you like best for a story?
How's your weather?
Do you have any widows in your church or that you know?

Friday, February 8, 2019

Wonderful Peace – Part 4

Hello FFFs,
This morning everything is coated in silver. The trees sparkle and glitter. And the sky, for the first time since Monday morning, is clear! It's cold. Probably single digits right now, and it's not supposed to reach above freezing today. But the roads are clear! Wednesday night it rained. And then froze. Yesterday we had snow almost all day though we have no idea what happened to it because it was cold enough to stick, but it didn't except for a very light dusting on some things. But that's okay with me this time. You see, I have to go and decorate for our Widows' Tea today that is taking place tomorrow. And we really don't want to have to post pone things. And tomorrow is supposed to be 41º. :)

I really haven't gotten much writing done this week. I wrote Monday, and then was really tired on Tuesday. Wednesday I was gone, and last night I was working on seating arrangements for the Tea. Maybe tonight? We'll see. I really, really want to finish this book, so pray I get inspired and the words come.

And now, here is the final part of this story. I hope you enjoy it.
Wonderful Peace
Part 4

    “Arthur,” Julia said, as she seated herself before the piano, “when we get together like this we take turns picking songs to sing. What would you like?”
    From his lounging place on the sofa, his wounded limb resting comfortably on a cushion, Arthur smiled faintly. What song would he like? “How can I chose just one?” he asked, dismayed at trying to make such a decision.
    “Oh, let us have him pick them all this evening, since he’s only just come home,” Katie impulsively suggested.
    “Yes, let’s,” chimed in Amelia, Virginia and Edna.
    The others nodded and a hymn book was passed to Arthur who took it quietly. He noticed it was a new one and upon opening it his eyes scanned a few pages noticing such composers as Bradbury, Doane, Bliss, Sankey, and McGranahan. “Is this the same as . . .” he whispered, hastily turning the pages. A smile of pleasure lit his tired face and he said, looking up at his mother, whose chair was drawn near his couch, “I had this very same book in the hospital and it was such a friend to me in those long, lonely hours. I could read the words, but only if someone else in the ward knew the tune could we sing the songs. How I wished then, Mother, that I had stuck to my music lessons. Julia, play, “Savior, More than Life to Me,” please. I loved reading the hymns by Fanny Crosby.”
    Obediently, Julia began to play and her clear, sweet voice was joined by the others.

“Savior, more than life to me,
I am clinging, clinging close to Thee;
Let Thy precious blood applied,
Keep me ever, ever near Thy side.

Ev’ry day, ev’ry hour,
Let me feel Thy cleansing pow’r;
May Thy tender love to me
Bind me closer, closer, Lord, to Thee.”

    Lying there with eyes gazing at nothing, Arthur listened to the sweet music, recalling those days in the crude hospital out west. How dreary it had been, but how much worse it would have been had not those few hymn books appeared. As the song died away, Arthur smiled and turned to his father.
    “These songs are sermons themselves, Father. If you ever don’t have time to write one, all you have to do is pick up one of these songs and read it from the pulpit.”
    Song followed song for some time but at last, pausing in his search for yet another hymn, Arthur again became lost in thoughts of the past, his eyes staring blankly at the pages before him. It was only his mother’s voice, softly suggesting that perhaps it was growing late, that roused him. He looked about. Everyone was still there though David seemed to be preparing to escort Margaret home and Julia was shutting the music book.
    “Please,” he begged, sitting up quickly though his leg protested and he winced, “don’t go yet. There is one more song that has meant so much to me all these years I’ve been away.”
    Quietly David laid Margaret’s wrap over the back of a chair and they stepped closer. John picked up the hymnbook, ready to find the song for his wife, and the others who had begun to separate returned to the circle about the piano and fire.
    “I left home,” Arthur continued, lying back and gazing about, “because I was missing something in my life. I didn’t know what it was then. I thought it was because I was hampered here, forced to conform to a life I didn’t want. I thought I wanted freedom, freedom from the constraints of being the son of a minister.” He offered his father a smile of apology. “I didn’t know what I truly wanted or needed, but I didn’t think I could get it here, so I headed west. The whole story of those twelve wasted years would take too long to tell. Much of it I’m not proud of and would change if I could. After trying my hand at this and that, I at last joined up with the army and was sent to a fort. I was restless and, well, just plain hard to get along with even there. All this time I knew my life was missing something, something that Mother and Father had, something that kept them smiling during those difficult years of trouble. It was peace. God’s peace. But I wasn’t ready to admit I needed God. No,” he sighed, “I thought I could find my own peace, I didn’t want help, not even the help of such a loving Friend as Jesus Christ. Oh, wasted years,” he exclaimed, “why was I so blind?”
    Wiping away her tears, Mrs. Fowler reached out and clasped the tightly clenched hand of her returned son.
    He turned to look at her. “Did you pray for me, Mother?”
    “Every day, my boy, every day.”
    He lay silent for some minutes. “Well,” he at last went on, “it wasn’t until I was wounded during a skirmish that my Heavenly Father won the victory over my stubborn, foolish self. I gave in and a peace filled my heart such as I never even imagined I could have! And it’s stayed!” On his face was such a look of awed wonder that no one spoke.
    “Julia,” Arthur turned to his sister, “won’t you play Mother’s song? Whoever wrote those words certainly knew what it was like.”
    Soon the music of the song which had welcomed him home was filling the music room.

“I am resting tonight in this wonderful peace,
Resting sweetly in Jesus’ control;
For I’m kept from all danger by night and by day,
And His glory is flooding my soul.

    Arthur’s voice broke as he remembered all those times when dangers had threatened his very life, dangers which made him cringe even now and yet he had been preserved. It was true, all true. There was peace, wonderful peace. Arthur closed his eyes and listened to the dear voices singing the song which had gone with him in memory until he found it for himself.

“And me-thinks when I rise to that City of peace,
Where the Author of peace I shall see,
That one strain of the song which the ransomed will sing,
In that heavenly kingdom shall be:

Peace! Peace! Wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love.”

Do you have cold winter weather?
What do you want to read next?
Do you have plans for Valentine's Day?

Friday, February 1, 2019

Wonderful Peace – Part 3

Hello, FFFs!
This week has been cold! We had one day of barely reaching into the 20s. And the night was 10º. Schools were cancelled because of the cold. I know, I know, some of you think that kind of cold is nothing. But you don't live down south. ;) We got another dusting of snow on Friday later afternoon, and a very light dusting just the other day. But nothing that covers the grass. Maybe someday.

It's been a very good week for writing! Not only have I reached and surpassed my weekly goal of 5k, I still have tomorrow to write! (Probably won't write today because my nieces and nephews are coming over!!!!) Maybe I'll have "Hymns in the Hills" finished by the end of February and ready for beta readers! Now that's an exciting thought. :)

I'm going to keep this short since I have other things I need to do before I eat breakfast and then clean the house. I hope you all have a great first day of February! *stares in shock at calendar that still says January* *wonders if by not changing it the days will still be January*

Wonderful Peace
Part 3

    “Yes, Art, it’s me,” answered the young man who had discovered him on the porch, as he took the coffee cup from the hands that trembled. “Welcome home, brother,” he said quietly and grasped the cold hands held out to him.
    “Davy, my little brother all grown—” A spell of coughing halted for several minutes any further words the newcomer wanted to say. At last, limp and exhausted, wiping the dots of perspiration from his brow, Arthur leaned his head back in the chair, his eyes closed. There was so much he wanted to say. He hadn’t even greeted his sisters yet nor found out if John was Johnny Dunnington from the farm by Snake Creek. They would be wanting to know his story, and why he hadn’t written for such a long time. But he was tired, so very tired and the wound in his leg throbbed painfully. He would try to talk, however, try to say how wonderful it was to be home again, try—. Wearily he forced his eyes to open and lifted his head. Taking a slow look about the room, he discovered only his family. The one called John was not to be seen. “Perhaps I imagined him,” he murmured.
    “What was that, Art?” David was seated in a chair beside him watching him closely.
    Shaking his head, Arthur’s gaze slowly roved from face to face. They were all familiar, yet so changed that he wasn’t sure he knew them, except one. There was one that he would have recognized anywhere and there his eyes returned and fastened, his mother’s dear face across from him. She was watching him with a tender smile. “Mother,” he asked in a low, hoarse voice, “were you singing just before I came?”
    “No dear, I couldn’t sing tonight. Julia was singing.”
    “Julia?” Slowly he turned his eyes to the young lady seated still at the piano. Surely that lovely thing couldn’t be the little girl he had left so long ago. Why she was just a child! But this, this was— “You sound just like Mother and—” another spell of coughing interrupted his words.
    “You should be in bed,” Davy remarked quietly, rising.
    Mrs. Fowler rose also, “So he should, poor boy.”
    Arthur shook his head and tried to still his cough. “No,” he gasped out, pushing his brother’s hand away. “Not yet. Father . . . I . . .”
    “What is it, Son,” Reverend Fowler’s deep voice was gentle and he moved over to stand beside the chair of his returned son.
    “I . . . I . . . I can’t go until I . . . hear . . .” Coughing took his breath for a minute and it was only after he swallowed some more coffee that he could continue. “Father?” A firm hand was placed on his shoulder and he looked up into his father’s face. “I want to hear you pray again.” It had been a longing in the young man’s heart for years to hear his father pray once more before he slept.
    Gladly the father answered that request and poured out such a heartfelt prayer of thankfulness over his son’s return, and asked such a tender blessing on each one of his children, that the tears again trickled down the returned soldier’s cheeks.
    Only when the prayer was over and his mother leaned over to whisper that she would be up later, did Arthur allow himself to be helped from the chair, and up the stairs to his old room by his brother and John who had returned.
    The doctor came shortly afterwards and soon the weary traveler lay resting, exhausted by the excitement of the last hour and the fatigues of weeks of travel. His wound was dressed and felt better than it had for days. But so tired was he that, when his mother and father slipped in after the doctor had left, to bid him goodnight, he had already fallen asleep contented, for he had seen his mother’s face and had heard his father pray.
    “I wonder what he has gone through,” whispered Reverend Fowler, his arm about his wife as they stood looking down at the pale face of their returned son.
    “I don’t know, but there is a peace about him that I never saw before,” replied the mother, bending down to plant a tender, caressing kiss on his forehead and softly brush back a lock of his dark hair.

    It was several days before Arthur was rested enough to come down and join the family in the music room. He didn’t talk much that first hour, but sat and listened. He had discovered through Davy that John was indeed Johnny Dunnington and that he had married Julia two years before. Mrs. Fowler, on one of her visits to her son’s room, told him that Margaret Wilson was soon to become Mrs. David Fowler. At that Arthur smiled.
    “If she’s anything like she was a dozen years ago, Mother, she’ll make a good wife for Davy. But, it is hard to think of little Davy as a college graduate, a successful businessman and getting married soon. Oh Mother,” Arthur had sighed deeply and turned his head restlessly on the pillow. “I missed such a lot by leaving home when I did.”
    With a gentle smile, Mrs. Fowler had patted his hand and replied, “But would you have found peace had you stayed?”
    “I don’t know. Not in the state of mind I was in then. It sure took a lot of trouble and hardship to bring me to my knees, Mother. But the Savior found me and gave me the peace you always sang about, the wonderful peace. It is wonderful, Mother, truly wonderful!” His eyes had closed then and he slept.
Have you had any snow this week?
Have you been really busy?
Are you ready for the final part of this story?