Friday, March 29, 2019

Being Decisive - Part 5

Happy Friday, FFFs!
Can you believe it's the last Friday of March? That means that Camp NaNo starts on Monday!!!! Yikes! I'm not sure if I'm ready. I might be since my story is moving now instead of being stuck. And I have a few back up short stories I can work on if I get stuck again. Are you doing Camp NaNo? We still have room in our cabin Next Door. It's not too late to jump in!

This week has been a busy and rather exciting week. I designed the cover for "Hymns in the Hills" and got it all formatted, and ordered the proof copy!!! The proof is supposed to arrive by Tuesday!!! :D Yes, I'm excited! I started writing this story in February of 2016. Yeah, it's been in the works for quite a while. And it's been over a year since I've published a full length novel. I'm happy about getting this story published and released into my readers hands.
Who knows, maybe I can also finish "By Paths Unknown" and get it published this year too! Wouldn't that be fun?

I also have a giveaway going on my Read Another Page blog. My book "Finding Joy" is now available on audio! So, head over and enter if you haven't already. And if you have, tell your family and friends about it.

This is the last and final part to this story. I'm not sure what I'll post next. Any suggestions?

Being Decisive
Part 5

Last week . . .
Mel’s aunt and uncle were there waiting, and Dick was swiftly transferred from the truck to the car in the midst of a babble of words from the excited younger girls, calm, direct instructions and replies from the older boys, and soothing ones from Cath and Aunt Mary.
    During the confusion, Mel managed to slip unnoticed from the truck and hobble up the steps and into the kitchen. Dropping into the first chair she came to, she leaned her tired, aching head on her arms and gave a little whimper. She wanted to go up to bed, but the pain in her feet made her delay just a little longer. The noise outside died down and then the sound of boots on the porch was heard. How Mel wanted to go hide right then! If it hadn’t been for her, no one would have gotten hurt. Oh, why had she agreed to go to Lookout Rock?
    Reluctantly, tiredly, Melody lifted her head though her eyes remained lowered. “I . . . I . . . I’m sorry,” she stammered and then bit her lip in an attempt to keep back her tears lest her cousins think her a baby.
    “Sorry?” Don exclaimed. “Sorry for what?”
    And Cath added, as she knelt down beside her cousin, “You saved Dick’s life, Mel. If you hadn’t gone to him and stayed with him, he probably would have tried to move and would have fallen again.”
    “I still don’t know how you managed to climb that cliff, though,” Tom put in.
    Mel shrugged, and winced from pain. “I just had to do it.”
    “You were decisive when it counted,” Cath whispered.
    Gently Tom turned her hands over and looked at the raw palms. “Next time you try climbing a cliff, wear some gloves,” he teased with a smile, drawing up a chair as Don set a bowl of warm water down next to a first aid box. “Now let’s get them taken care of and then we’ll have a look at your feet.”
    Mel did her best not to cry as her cousins washed her cut hands and bandaged them, though they stung and smarted. Looking at her bound hands, she wondered how she was going to be able to do any of her assigned chores. It seemed impossible to hold anything right then.
    “Did you climb with your socks on, Mel?” Tom asked, scooting his chair farther back and looking down at her stocking feet.
    “No, but—” she added quickly as Don brought the bowl with fresh water back and sat down. “Could you please not do anything to my feet yet?”
    Don looked up quickly. “Why?”
    Mel shifted in her seat and hesitated. Her cousins waited in patient silence. “They don’t hurt too much right now if nothing touches them and I don’t move them. Please!” she begged, not sure she could keep back the tears if there was more pain.
    Slowly Tom shook his head. “Sorry, Mel,” he apologized, “but if your feet are anything like your hands, the sooner they are taken care of the better it will be. If you didn’t climb in your socks, when did you put them on?”
    “As you came down.” The reply was half whispered and Melody pressed her lips together as her socks were gently pulled off, exposing her cut and bruised feet.
    Don couldn’t hold back a low whistle which brought Cath and Lou over to look. Liz, who couldn’t stand the sight of blood, remained on the other side of the room. “How you ever managed to keep climbing with feet like this . . .” Don shook his head and left his sentence unfinished.
    Jim arrived before the feet were bandaged and raised his eyebrows at the sight, though he only said, “Here are your boots, Mel. The horses are fine. Dad call yet?”
    It wasn’t until much later, after supper was eaten that the phone call came. Dick was going to be fine. He had a broken leg, as Tom had suspected, but, because Melody had reached him quickly and had kept him quiet until help arrived, it wasn’t made worse by moving.
    Melody went to bed that night feeling much relieved by the good news, but the pain in her hands and feet kept her awake for quite a while. She was still awake when a car drove down the driveway. Sitting up in bed, she listened. Yes, it was her aunt and uncle bringing Dick home. With a sudden longing to see for herself that Dick was going to be okay, Melody managed to limp out into the upper hall. There she sat down at the top of the stairs and peered through the banisters.
    Moments later her uncle came in carrying Dick, followed by Aunt Mary. Don and Cath, who were the only ones who had waited up, said a few low words to Dick before he was borne upstairs. Melody knew she wouldn’t be able to slip back to her room before she was noticed, so she remained where she was.
    “Why, Mel,” her aunt said softly, “I thought you would be in bed.”
    “I just wanted to see that Dick really was . . .” her voice faltered as her eyes rested on the doorway into which her uncle had just disappeared.
    Aunt Mary must have understood for she patted Mel’s shoulder and whispered, “I’ll be back just as soon as I make sure Dicky is settled for the night.”
    A sob welled up inside her and suddenly all the tears she had been holding back began to trickle down her cheeks, and when her aunt and uncle returned, Mel was shaking with half suppressed sobs. Without a word Uncle John lifted her and carried her down to the living room. In the tender embrace of her aunt, Melody cried as she had rarely cried before. All the fear, self-reproach and anxiety she had held in check for so many hours, poured forth, and it was some time before her tears could be checked. At last, however, her sobs lessoned, and she leaned, exhausted against her aunt.
    “Mel,” Uncle John said, taking one of her bandaged hands in his, “your quick thinking and the swiftness with which you acted saved Dick’s life today. Thank you.”

    It was several days before Melody could walk about with comfort, and a full week before her uncle would allow her to return to all her chores. But Mel was happy. She felt that Don and Cath fully approved of her. Dick was getting well and she knew that she could be decisive when an emergency arose. When it came to the small things, however, she still couldn’t make up her mind.

Can you make big decisions but struggle with little ones?
Did you enjoy this story?
Are you excited about "Hymns in the Hills"?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Being Decisive - Part 4

I forgot it was Friday at first. My 5 youngest nieces and nephews are here so things are a bit different this morning. :) It is sunny and clear and supposed to be in the 60s today so I'm sure we'll be outside riding bikes and playing in the yard and maybe even going on a walk or two today. The kids came yesterday morning and will be here through tomorrow evening. Busy times.

Don't have time to write more. I'm going to go play "Herd Your Horses" with Funny Boy and Buddy. Doodle Bug is still sleeping, but Missy and Busters are both up. Enjoy your story!

P.S. If anyone is designing a cover for me, I won't be getting back to you until next week.

Being Decisive
Part 4
 Last week . . .
"Come on now. That’s right.” As she scooted back away from the edge.
    She wasn’t sure she really wanted to go up first. And she wasn’t sure she wanted to face Don and Cath. They’d probably never trust her again.
    Tom was talking again. “There, that’ll hold. Now stand up.”
    Stand up? Was he crazy? She couldn’t stand up on that ledge! Why she’d probably get so dizzy she’d fall.
    “Come on, Mel,” Tom urged quietly. “Everything is going to be okay. Don’t think about where you are. You won’t fall. Grab a hold of the rope and look up.”
    Somehow, she was never quite sure how, Mel managed to stand, though she trembled and her legs shook. It was one thing to climb up the cliff because you had to and you didn’t have time to think, but to stand up on the ledge after you have had a long time to fully realize where you were was something else.
    “Why, where in the world are your boots?” Tom asked in astonishment, realizing his cousin was only wearing socks.
    “At the bottom of the cliff,” Mel whispered.
    Tom didn’t say anything else to her, but hollered up that Mel was ready.
    The rough rope on her already raw hands almost made her cry out in pain as she was slowly drawn upwards. By keeping her eyes shut tightly, Melody tried to pretend she was being pulled into the hayloft of the barn. After what seemed like hours, she felt strong hands grasp her and pull her onto something solid.
    “Thank God you were decisive, Mel,” Don said softly as he quickly untied the rope from around her.
    “Oh, Mel!” Lou flung herself at her cousin and burst into tears while Liz hugged her without a word.
    “Come on, girls,” Cath directed calmly, though Mel thought she heard a tremor in her voice. “Let’s get Mel away from the edge and let her have a drink. Mel, you’re shaking. Are you cold?”
    Mel shook her head and sank to the ground. “I don’t know.” Eagerly she took the canteen, though her hands shook. Never had water tasted so good as it did then! At last, with a long, shuddering sigh, she let Cath take the canteen back. Lou still clung to her and Liz tried to tell her about the wild ride back to the ranch, but Mel didn’t hear much of it. She was too exhausted.
    Afterwards, Mel was never quite sure how the boys got Dick to the top of the cliff, but at last he was there and being placed on a hand-made stretcher. Feeling in a daze, she watched as Tom and Jim each took an end and started down the trail with Cath close beside.
    Vaguely she wondered where the others were and how late it was. Into her thoughts came Don’s voice.
    “Come on, Mel.”
    She looked up to see Don’s hand held out as though to help her up. Wishing her hands didn’t hurt so much, she offered one, but to her surprise, instead of gripping it to pull her to her feet, he turned it over and looked at it before holding out his other hand.
    “Let’s see the other one,” was all he said. After looking them over, he asked, “Where are your boots?”
    “At the bottom of the cliff. I couldn’t climb in them. Should I go get them?”
    Don gave a slight snort and shook his head. “Hardly. Jim can pick them up when he takes the horses back.” Then, without another word, he stooped and lifted her in his strong arms.
    “I . . . I think I can walk,” she stammered, not feeling at all sure of her claim.
    “Nope.” Don’s answer was quick, as he set off with his long, steady strides down the path after the others. Mel didn’t argue, but let her head rest on the broad shoulder of her cousin. It was wonderful to feel safe again.
    When they reached the horses, Liz and Lou mounted and Don helped Mel into the saddle of her horse. “You don’t have to worry about guiding him at all,” he told her. “Jim is going to bring the horses in as soon as we reach the truck and he’ll lead yours now.” As he talked, Don had unstrapped a blanket from the back of Mel’s horse and had put it around her. “Wind’s a bit chilly,” he remarked quietly.
    Mel didn’t protest. In fact, the arrangement was just fine with her, for though she loved riding, her feet and hands hurt badly and she felt rather lightheaded. The warmth of the blanket made her realize just how chilled she must have gotten sitting still in the shade for so long. Or was it the excitement?
    The slow ride down to where the truck was parked always seemed rather hazy in Mel’s memory. Several times a hand touched her and Jim’s quiet voice said, “Mel, are you all right?” Each time she nodded and wondered why he had asked.
    Upon reaching the truck, Mel remained seated on her horse and watched as Dick’s stretcher was carefully loaded in the back and Tom and Cath climbed up beside it. When she noticed Liz and Lou had dismounted and were climbing into the back, Mel wondered if she should follow them. Before she could do more than feel around for the stirrup with one aching foot, Don was beside her.
    “Here, I’ll carry you to the truck. You shouldn’t be walking on these rocks without shoes on.”
    “How’s Dick?” she whispered anxiously.
    “I think he’ll be all right though his leg appears broken,” was the reassuring answer. Don set her gently on the front seat of the truck. When she insisted she could ride in the back, he replied, “It’d be too crowded. Stay here.” And he shut the door. Moments later they were on their way to the house.

    There was a blur of activity when the truck pulled up before the ranch house. Mel’s aunt and uncle were there waiting, and Dick was swiftly transferred from the truck to the car in the midst of a babble of words from the excited younger girls, calm, direct instructions and replies from the older boys, and soothing ones from Cath and Aunt Mary.

Do you have nieces and nephews who come visit?
Have you ever gone rock climbing ?
Are you enjoying this story?

Friday, March 15, 2019

Being Decisive - Part 3

Good morning, FFFs!
Wow! I was not expecting the kind of response I got for designing covers! It's been fun, but a bit crazy at times. So, if you are waiting to hear back from me about your cover design, just know that I will get to it. I've just been juggling 5 different covers this week. :) I've loved getting to see what everyone comes up with and how they arrange graphics and images, titles and fonts. Hopefully I'll be able to release these covers with their stories in the near future. But no rush!

Writing has been slow this week. I thought I had a breakthrough for "By Paths Unknown" and, while in a way I did, it's still stuck. I got through an important conversation, but that's it. So, while the story stews a little longer, I started working on another short story. I know, I know, it's not like I needed another story, right? Well, actually I did, since I don't know what to post next on here. :) This story is coming together quickly, but I'm in need of a last name for a family from Mexico. Any suggestions?

As far as our weather, it's been windy! We've had a bit of sun here and there, and two days of rain. But today and for several days after this, we're supposed to get sunshine and warmer weather! 50s and 60's! The daffodils have already started blooming a little, and I imagine that a week of sunshine will bring all kinds of blossoms and buds on things. Spring is coming!

So, what have you been busy with this week? Anything new and interesting? School? Have you read any good books lately? Are you still in winter or have you felt the fresh breath of spring?

Being Decisive
Part 3

Last week . . .
"Lou,” she told the silent, frightened girl who was clinging to her hand, “you have to be brave and help Liz keep Dick from moving. When she goes for help, you sit still up here and talk to us, okay?”
    Lou nodded.
    “And pray, girls,” Mel said, standing up and pulling her hand away from her cousin’s grasp. “Hang on Dicky,” she shouted down. “I’m going to come to you and then I’ll tell you a story.” Without waiting to hear if Dick would reply, Mel had begun to move toward the trees. The hillside was steeper than she thought but she didn’t care. Half running, half sliding from tree to tree, she made her breathless way down and at last reached flat ground. Here she had to push her way through a tangle of brambles before reaching the open. Once there she could see the cliff side.
    “Help me, dear Lord,” she panted, running along with eyes open, looking for the best place to climb up. At last, reaching a place that seemed most likely, she started up. But she had only gotten a short ways before her feet slipped.
    “I can’t climb the side of the cliff with cowboy boots on,” she muttered, jerking them off. Next her socks came off and were stuffed in her pockets. It was easier to climb after that, for she could grip rocks with her toes just as she used to climb the swing rope back home. As she climbed higher, she could hear Liz’s voice up above her. Not once did she dare to look down lest she panic. “Keep going, keep going,” she told herself each time she wanted to stop. “Dick needs you.”
    Persistently she continued upwards, unmindful of rocks which cut her hands and feet, ignoring the aching in her legs and arms as she pulled and pushed herself ever higher. Liz’s voice was growing louder and then she heard Dick’s voice. She was almost there! By this time she was breathing in gasps. “Just a little farther,” she thought. “I’m almost there!”
    It felt like months to the waiting cousins on top of the cliff who had watched the slow climb with pounding hearts, but to the climber, it seemed like years before she at last pulled herself onto the ledge with Dick. She had made it.
    “I’m here, Liz. Go!” she shouted up as soon as she could catch her breath.
    “Tell me a story,” Dick pleaded, whimpering a little as he moved his leg slightly.
    “All right, just you lie still now. Lou, can you hear me?” Mel spoke loudly.
    “Yes,” came back a tremulous voice.
    “Good, because I have a story for you and Dick. Listen up now.” And she launched into a story filled with excitement and adventure, making it up as she went along. She had told stories so often that this one just seemed to tell itself, for, while her mouth was telling the story, her mind was busy with other thoughts. How long would it be, she wondered, before help would arrive? How badly was Dick hurt? She knew almost nothing about first aid, but even she could tell he was suffering, though the gallant little figure didn’t utter one word of complaint. Why had Don left her in charge? Would her uncle or cousins ever trust her again?
    As the shadows began to lengthen, Mel began to wonder how long her voice was going to last. She was sure their canteens of water were still on their horses, but she dared not send Lou to get them. What if she were also to fall! And anyway, how would she be able to get them if Lou did bring them? No longer in the sunshine, for the sun had slipped farther to the west, Dick began to shiver. Mel didn’t know if it was shock or cold, but she pulled off the light jacket she had put on that morning and laid it over her cousin.
    Would no one ever come? What if something had happened to Liz? Oh, why had they come? Her feet and hands hurt and she was starting to feel dizzy being up so high on such a small ledge.
    Then, just when she was sure she could stand the situation no longer, she heard voices above them.
    “Listen, Dicky,” she whispered. “Someone has come.”
    “Mel! Dick!” A voice called down to them.
    “We’re right here, Don,” Mel croaked back, her voice hoarse from her long story and lack of water.
    “Just hang on a few more minutes. Tom is coming down for you.”
    “You hear that, Dicky,” Mel asked, “Tom is coming.”
    Dick nodded his head slowly and a faint whimper escaped his lips.
    Looking up, Mel saw her cousin slowly start down the side of the cliff; a rope was tied securely around him and he moved like one used to such things. She noticed he wasn’t wearing his cowboy boots, but regular shoes. This fact brought to mind her own boots lying far below and quickly pulling her socks from her pocket, she gingerly pulled them on.
    “I thought you were supposed to go to Lookout Rock, Dick,” a cheery voice said just above them. “And here you are half way down a cliff. Is the view any better here?” As he talked, Tom had reached the ledge. “Slack off the rope!” he called up.
    There wasn’t much room for three of them on the ledge and Mel wondered how Tom was going to get Dick up from such cramped space with his injured leg. She couldn’t exactly move farther over, for she was sitting on the edge now. Tom’s next words answered her thoughts but didn’t make her feel more comfortable.
    “I’m going to send Mel up first,” Tom shouted upward and began untying the rope which was around him. “All right, Mel,” he said cheerily, “scoot back just a bit so I can get this rope around you. All you’ll have to do is hold on and Don and Jim will pull you up. Come on now. That’s right.” As she scooted back away from the edge.

Would you have had the courage to sit were Mel sat?
Have you ever tried climbing something barefoot?
(I used to climb a rope swing barefoot, gripping the rope with my toes.)
Any suggestions for a last name for Pedro's family? 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Being Decisive - Part 2

It never rains, but it pours!
Oh, hello.
How are you doing? Have you had a busy week? Mine has been busy, but things are about to get even busier.
Last Saturday was pretty nice and sunny in the morning even if it was cold. But that night we got even colder weather, and snow and some ice. Church was cancelled which was sad because the Wednesday service had already been cancelled because of weather, so it made for a long week.
On Monday I sent out "Hymns in the Hills" to beta readers. (If you are not on my beta reader list and want to be, head over to here and get signed up. And check out the other opportunities while you're at it.)
Tuesday was good and I taught writing classes. I finished writing a longer short story. Still have to get it edited.
Wednesday I graded papers, and spent most of the day searching for the perfect images to use for the cover of "Hymns in the Hills." Then I worked nursery at church.
Yesterday was one of those days where I try to see how much I can get done of all those little things I haven't been doing. It was kind of like playing "catch-up" but more intense. ;)
Today–well, today I have the morning to get things done, then my nieces and nephews will be over all afternoon. But I will have the evening to do other things. And tomorrow a friend and I are watching some kids for a ladies fellowship at church. My sister would have joined us, but she has a sewing order that has to be out Monday and she is supposed to get fabric today. :P Yeah, just sort of last minute.

Anyway, I have "Hymns in the Hills" to edit, format, design the cover, and so on, then I have a short story that will hopefully get published next week. (I really wanted to do it this week, but that didn't happen.) And I have the longer short story to edit. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned "By Paths Unknown" which needs a lot of thinking and some adjusting, and then I can get back to writing it. It is kind of strange just having one story to work on right now. I'm used to having 2-5 stories!

But here's part 2 of your story. I hope you enjoy it.

Being Decisive
Part 2

Last week . . .
    At that a cry of dismay arose from Dick and Lou. “We don’t want to go back yet!
    “And we haven’t gotten to show Mel Lookout Rock.”
    “Oh, do we have to go back now?”
    “Please let us stay longer, Don!”
    Don looked at Cath questioningly but spoke to his youngest siblings. “I can’t let just the two of you stay here—” he began.
    “But Mel will be with us,” Lou pointed out.
    “And I could stay too, couldn’t I, Cath?” Liz asked, her eyes pleading silently with her older sister.
    “Well . . . All right,” Don consented as Cath nodded. “But—” he added firmly. “Don’t stay too long. I want you all home in plenty of time before supper, and the horses are not to be taken off the trail, is that clear?”
    “Yes!” Liz, Lou and Dick exclaimed in one breath while Mel nodded, her mouth too full to talk.
    “Mel,” Don turned to his cousin, “you are the oldest, and I’m putting you in charge. You are to start back for the ranch no later than a quarter to four. Don’t let them talk you into staying one minute longer.”
    Nodding soberly, Mel looked down at her watch. A quarter to four was a long time away. They should have plenty of time to enjoy their excursion.
    Soon the oldest four, after giving many admonitions to be careful and to stay together and to keep the horses on the path, mounted up and rode off back to the ranch, leaving the youngest ones wildly excited behind.
    “Come on, Mel,” Dick called, trying to pull his cousin to her feet. “Let’s go to Lookout Rock.”
    Laughing, Mel allowed herself to be pulled up. “All right. Let’s make sure we have everything with us and then we’ll go.”
    After a hurried check, the others declared all was in order and, untying their horses, they mounted and were ready. “One of you lead the way,” Mel said, “because I don’t know where we are going.” She felt very grown up just then, knowing that she was in charge of her three younger cousins and that they were in the mountains not just back among the ranch buildings. Of course, Liz was only seven months younger than she was. She could hardly believe Don and Cath had agreed to leave them. “But I’m sure it must be perfectly safe or they wouldn’t have done it,” she thought.
    Before long Liz reined up her horse and looked back. “We’ll have to leave the horses here,” she said. “The path to Lookout Rock in just over there.” She indicated some place on her left before swinging down from the saddle.
    Rapidly the others followed her example, and soon the horses were tied to the trees which grew along the trail. Dick, eager to reach the special place first, hurried ahead of his sisters and cousin. And when Mel called after him to be careful, Lou assured her that Dick was like a mountain goat.
    Scarcely had the words died on the air when the rumble and crash of falling rocks sounded just ahead of them and then a scream! Madly the three girls rushed forward until Melody, gripping her cousins’ arms, stopped. “Wait, girls!” she cried. “We’d better be careful.”
    Cautiously the girls moved along the trail which now wound along the edge of the mountain.
    “Look!” Liz exclaimed, pointing ahead. “The rocks near the edge have slid! There must have been a rockslide since we were here last and Dick—”
    Thankfully the path widened just then and they were able to make it safely past the rockslide to solid ground. Here Melody and Elizabeth peered over the side of the cliff.
    “Dick!” they called together as they spied the boy lying on a ledge some twenty-five feet below them.
    “I’m down here,” his faint voice came back. “Help me!”
    “All right, Dicky,” Mel shouted back. “Just stay right there and don’t try to move.”
    “But I don’t want to stay here,” Dick cried. “I want to get up there.”
    “Just wait a minute, Dick,” Liz called down. “We’re going to figure out how to get you back up.” Then she turned a pale face to her cousin. “What are we going to do? Dick won’t be able to stay still down there for very long. Not by himself.”
    “Someone is going to have to ride back for help,” Mel said. “I don’t know the way, so it is going to have to be one of you.”
    Lou shook her head emphatically. “I can’t do it.”
    “I can go,” Liz said. “But how are we going to keep Dick still? If he moves too much he’ll fall again.”
    “If I could get to him, I could tell him a story,” Mel suggested hesitantly. Carefully she studied the rocky wall below her.
    “But you can’t climb down there,” Liz protested.
    “No,” Mel began slowly, “but maybe I could climb up to him.”
    She pointed. “See those trees over there, going down the side of the hill? I’m sure I could get down there and then once on the bottom of the cliff I could climb up. It looks like there are lots of places to step and hold on.”
    For a moment Liz looked doubtful. Something had to be done she knew, but . . .
    “We’ve got to decide—” Mel began and then stopped. Wait, she was the oldest. She had to make the decision and she had to make it quickly. The longer they delayed, the more chance they had of Dick moving too much. “I’m going to try it,” she said aloud. “Liz, stay here with Lou and keep talking to Dick until I reach him. Then get the fastest horse and ride as quickly as you can for help. Lou,” she told the silent, frightened girl who was clinging to her hand, “you have to be brave and help Liz keep Dick from moving. When she goes for help, you sit still up here and talk to us, okay?”
    Lou nodded.

How has your week been?
Did you check out the page I gave you the link to?
What would you have done if you were Mel?

Friday, March 1, 2019

Being Decisive - Part 1

Good morning, FFFs,
It's cold here. And cloudy. But at least we got 3 days of wonderful sunshine Saturday, Sunday and Monday! And then even some sunshine on Tuesday. Now we're back to clouds and cold. Yesterday didn't get above the mid 20s. Of course no snow, but there was a freezing mist Wednesday night, so things have a fine layer of ice. We are supposed to get some snow tomorrow night and Sunday morning. But I don't think it will be much.

This week I approved the "hopefully" final audios for both "Finding Joy" and "Dylan's Story." Both have been in the works since last summer. One had a host of technical difficulties, and the other just got forgotten by my producer. Now we just wait and see if ACX (Audible) says they are fine or not. I'm really hoping they will be fine as I'm so ready for them to be done!

On Tuesday afternoon, after I taught writing classes, I went to the library. I hadn't been since December, but since there was a chance for some nasty winter weather, I decided to go and get a few books I had been wanting to read just in case church was cancelled. I ended up coming home with 5 books. We'll see if I like them all. I've read one and enjoyed it though I still have to write a review for it. (I finished it last night.)

I am almost ready to line up my beta-readers for "Hymns in the Hills." Just a few names I need to fix. That might get done today, or it might not. I do have a list of things I need to work on and get done today if possible.

Oh, I have been writing this week. Maybe not as much as I had hoped, but I'm also not disappointed by the word count. This is a different kind of story than I usually write. I'm just praying that it all comes together without being rushed, or dragged.

Anyway, this story was first published back in the summer of 2014. Since that was almost 5 years ago, I thought I could repost it. :) I hope you enjoy it!

Being Decisive
Part 1

    Thirteen-year-old Melody laughed. She hadn’t been out to her uncle’s ranch for many days, but already she loved it. She loved the early morning breakfasts, the chores, the horses, everything. It was so different from the life she knew back in Chicago. Here the air was fresh and clean, the streams clear and cold. All the men she had met were gentlemen who at the least touched their hats to her or nodded. No longer did she have trouble getting to sleep at night, for the outdoor life she led brought on a feeling of tiredness quite new to her, and she dropped into slumber almost as soon as her head touched her pillow.
    There were a few things which bothered her, though they weren’t much and she hoped they would soon pass. One was her oldest cousins, Donald and Catherine, or Don and Cath as they were more commonly known. They were as polite and kind to her as the others were, but somehow Melody could sense that for some reason they weren’t sure they approved of her. “Perhaps it’s because they think I’m really a city girl at heart,” she thought. “But if I was, why would I do the things I do?”
    The other problem was her perpetual fault of indecisiveness. For as long as she could remember, Melody had never been able to make up her mind quickly about anything, whether it was a new dress, what to order at the ice cream shop, or even which pair of white socks to wear with her Sunday dress. So indecisive was she that her cousins had almost quit asking what she wanted to do and just told her what she was going to do. She didn’t really mind that. But just the other day her uncle had scolded her a little for not making a decision until the opportunity was past. “One day, Mel,” he had told her, “you are going to be faced with a grave decision which you will have to make at a moment’s notice. If you aren’t ready, it may be too late.” This has caused her a new concern. What would happen in a crises if she couldn’t be decisive?
    Other than those things, Melody was greatly enjoying her time at the ranch and was glad fall was so far away.
    “Mel, come on!” A voice called.
    With another laugh, Melody ran after her cousin. That was another thing she liked, the nickname she had at once been given by her country cousins. It sounded much more interesting and daring than Melody did.
    Dashing up the steps, Mel caught up with Lou and Dick. “Why are we in such a hurry?” she panted.
    “Come on,” Lou, who was ten, urged impatiently. “Inside.”
    Still puzzled, but willing to follow if someone was leading, Mel allowed herself to be pulled into the large ranch kitchen.
    “Here she is!” Dick shouted with all the lung power of a healthy seven-year-old.
    “Goodness, Dick, you don’t have to shout,” Liz scolded with a smile and a shake of her head. “We’re not deaf.”
    “Eh, what was that?” sixteen-year-old Tom asked, putting his hand to his ear.
    A burst of laughter filled the kitchen. Tom was always cracking a joke or doing something to make others laugh.
    After the laugh had died away, Melody looked from one face to another. “Well, what are we doing?”
    Every eye turned to Don. “Before Mom and Dad left, they said we could go out for a ride and,” he added quickly before Dick or Lou could speak, “Dad said that since you have improved so much in your riding, we can take you up to the promontory.”
    Loud squeals of delight came from the two youngest who had known of the coming picnic, but not the location.
    “Liz and I have the lunches packed,” Cath said. “So, Mel, Lou and Dick, get your boots and hats.”
    “And hurry,” Jim called.
    By the time the three had their hats and boots on, the boys had the horses saddled and everyone was ready. Just before they rode off, Don had a few words to say.
    “You all know the rules No goofing off when you are on your horse going up the mountain. Or down either. No riding off alone and no bringing home any live creatures.” Here he looked at Dick who was known for filling his pockets with grasshoppers, snakes or any other creatures he could find.
    “All right,” Dick sighed. “Then let me ride with Mel. She’ll make sure I don’t bring any home.”
    Melody enjoyed every moment of that ride up the mountain with her cousins. The views were breathtaking and by the time they reached the promontory, she was hungry and even sandwiches tasted like a feast. However, once the edge of hunger had been dulled, she forgot the rest of her food and sat staring out over the valley, completely lost in her own thoughts until someone shoved part of a sandwich in her mouth. That brought her back with a start and she nearly choked.
    “Tom,” Cath scolded with a smile, “be nice.”
    With a wink at Melody who was glaring at him with a half grin on her face, Tom replied, “I was. I could have dumped water on her head.”
    Hastily swallowing the bite thrust in her mouth, Melody said, “I’d rather eat than take a shower, thank you.”
    “Then hurry or we’ll have to leave you behind,” Jim told her. Jim was two years older than Mel and Liz and never said much.
    “The rest of us are finished,” Liz added.
    Instantly Melody was filled with remorse and ate the rest of her lunch as quickly as she could while Don explained that the boys had chores they had to get back to and Cath needed to start supper.
    At that a cry of dismay arose from Dick and Lou. “We don’t want to go back yet!

How has your weather been?
Are you decisive or not?
How many books did you get the last time you went to the library?