Friday, September 27, 2019

He Answered My Prayers – Part 2

Hello, Readers,
I don't know about you, but this week has been CRAZY! But I'm loving the days of coolness! We have had hot and humid, but only a few really warm days. Yesterday it was still 59º after 8 in the morning! Perfect to go out and walk.

Monday– I felt like I was trying not to drown in projects! I had so many things that needed worked on, and it was hard to know which had the greatest priority. And that evening I wrote 2,448 words to get the first draft of the second Christmas play written.

Tuesday– I taught classes all morning, graded papers in the afternoon, and then worked on the Christmas play again. I started formatting it.

Wednesday– Formatting the play was top priority, and I had to do some editing to add another character who had just let me know they wanted in. (Well, I knew he wanted to be in, but his parents hadn't said yes or no yet.) Then I proof listened to some chapters of "His Law is Love" audio. In the afternoon I joined my best friends (one is down from Canada!) in running errands, and then finished proof listening to "HLiL. I was supposed to work in the nursery that night, but was needed in Cubbies instead.

Thursday– Preparing for writing classes, working on turning regular music into the special music that could be colored that we use for bells. There was a glitch in the FFF and that had to be ironed out, then I did some editing of a new short story, and replied to some emails that had been waiting.

What's going on today? Cleaning house, putting some things away, hopefully working on blog posts and this and that. I might end up mowing this evening.

Life. Business. But things are getting done. I have to remind myself that God is my strength and my wisdom. Even when things are chaos and everything feels like it needs done NOW, I can still have peace and joy as I go in His strength. I sure can't do it in my own!

And now the next part of this story. And don't forget the FFF starts on Monday!

He Answered My Prayers
Part 2

    A hearty laugh filled the living room and bounced off the large oak beams overhead. “You recognized me sooner than Uncle Garrett did, Auntie!” And he kissed her again. “I’m delighted, for it has been over ten years.”
    Stepping back, Lacey looked the young man up and down. “Well,” she said at last, “you do look like your mother, though you have your father’s nose. I always told Elsie you would have been the spitting image of your grandfather if you had the Redhead nose.” She shook her head. “What are you doing here? Where are your folks?”
    “I came for a visit. Wanted to surprise you. My folks are up in Canada with the boys. You’ll let me stay won’t you?”
    “Of course. Though I haven’t aired out the guest room in a week because of the weather, and the bed’s not made up. I couldn’t see the need of keeping the bed made up only to have to air it when company came. You’ll have to open a vent in that room since we never use it. Garrett, help him get his things up to the room. I have to check my rolls.” With that, she turned abruptly and hurried away.
    But once alone in the kitchen, she wiped a stray tear off her cheek. She had one older sister who had gotten married many years ago and had left the area. Her visits home afterwards were always short, and gradually, after their parents death, they had ceased all together. Charlie had only been a boy of eleven when he had come with his parents and younger brothers the last time. He had begged to stay for an extra week and, after much pleading, had succeeded in having his wish granted. That week had been one of immense delight to both Lacey and Garrett, and they had asked Elsie to let him come visit them again. But somehow the years had slipped by and nothing ever came of the promised visits.
    “Something sure smells good in here, Aunt Lacey!”
    Lacey turned quickly. “Supper will be ready soon. Did you wash up?”
    “Yes, ma’am.” There was a grin on Charlie’s face. “Should I set the table or make my bed?”
    Miss Lacey eyed him skeptically. “Can you do either?”
    “Why certainly! I made my own bed in college, and set the table.”
    The two bowls were handed over, and Lacey said, “You’ll have to get another bowl out of the cabinet there,” and she pointed “since I didn’t know you were coming. You’ll need plates for the rolls too.” She stirred the soup and then opened the oven door.
    With Charlie setting the table, it didn’t take much longer before supper was ready.
    The table looked small in the large room. All its extra leaves had been taken out and stored away, and one side had been let down, allowing more space in the dining room though it wasn’t really needed. Charlie had spread a tablecloth, carefully set the dishes and napkins, helped carry the serving dishes to the table, and then waited behind his chair.
    “Garrett!” Lacey called down the small hall. “Supper is ready.”
    When everyone was seated at the table, Charlie looked from his aunt to his uncle and then back again. “May I ask the blessing this time?”
    Lacey was somewhat startled but took hold of her brother’s hand and reached across the table to have her hand clasped warmly by her nephew. With her head bowed, she listened to a prayer of thanks such as she hadn’t heard in years. The letter came back to her mind.
    “Oh, Aunt Lacey!” Charlie exclaimed after the prayer as he watched her fill his bowl with the steaming soup. “How did you know I love chicken noodle soup?”
    “Humph. I didn’t.” She handed him the bowl and filled one for her brother before filling her own. “Go ahead and eat. Here Garret, start the rolls around.”
    The smell of the savory chicken soup, and the yeasty scent of the rolls mingled with a slightly sweet smell of the pies that had been baked earlier. No one spoke for some time as each concentrated on their meal.
    “Aunt Lacey, Mom’s cooking can’t hold a candle to yours! That soup–”
    “Would you like more?”
    “Yes, please!”
    Instead of serving it herself, Lacey passed the soup tureen over. “There’s more in the kitchen if that runs out.” Suddenly she shoved back her chair and marched to the windows and drew the curtains closed. “This weather makes the darkness settle down faster.”
    “Why do you need to shut the curtains? You don’t have any neighbors do you?” Charlie cut a noodle and then raised his spoon to his lips.
    “No, we don’t have neighbors, thank goodness, but the hiking trail in the state park has had many people out on it today in spite of the weather. With it this dark out, they could be standing there watching us eat!” She shook her head grimly before tearing a piece of her roll off and eating it.
    “There’s a trail just out there?” Charlie looked interested. “Have you ever walked it?”
    “No, we haven’t.” Garret spoke up for the first time. Reaching for another roll, he added, “But we should try it one of these days and see where it goes.”
    “Tomorrow?” Charlie looked eager.
    Miss Lacey didn’t answer the question. “There’s pie in the kitchen if anyone wants it.”
    “Pie too? Really, Aunt Lacey, a fellow could get used to this cooking in a hurry!” Charlie patted his stomach. “I’ll have to walk on that trail just so I have enough room to keep eating.” His smile was bright.
    Leaning back in his chair, Garrett nodded. “I think I’ll give my dinner a little time to settle and will have my pie in the living room before the fire.”
    This was exactly what Lacey had expected and nodded. During the cooler months Garrett always ate his dessert in the living room before the fire. In the summer he ate them out doors on the porch. He was as regular as clockwork about it. Rising, she glanced about the table. The soup tureen was empty, and there were only a few rolls left in the basket. “Go get a fire started. I’ll get the dishes done up.”
    “Let me help with the dishes,” Charlie offered. “I bused tables and washed thousands of dishes in college. Please.”

Do you like clearing off tables?
Do you think you'd like to eat at Aunt Lacey's table?
Are you planning on coming to the FFF next week?

Friday, September 20, 2019

He Answered My Prayers – Part 1

Good morning!
Is fall coming your way? There was all kinds of talk this year about an early fall, but that sure hasn't happened here! I'm SO ready for autumn! I'm tired of 100º temperatures when we step outside. Sure we've had some really lovely fall-like days, but only a few and they didn't last.

This week has been a bit different in that I've hardly written at all! I wrote on Monday, but haven't written since then. Tuesday I was stressed about a situation and decided I'd just work on something else besides writing. Wednesday I had other projects going on and then talked to my Best Friend on the phone for an hour. Last night my grandpa and I went to a concert to hear the Miro Quartet. It was lovely! And this evening we'll have the kiddos over. (Except my oldest niece who is going out with her parents for her 13th birthday.) But maybe I can get something written? I had an idea for another short story (that's not a Christmas story!) at the concert.

Preparation for the Five Fall Favorites is almost complete. We are all getting very eager for it! :D

But now here is your story.

He Answered My Prayers
Part 1

    Cold. Damp. Dreary.
    Those were the words to describe the weather. Had the sun been shining, the leaves would have glowed with the glorious colors of their autumnal dress and the cold would have been tempered by the light. But the sun wasn’t shining. Instead the leaves dripped moisture. If it had even been raining steadily, it would have been more bearable. However, the rain was just a drizzle. A miserable, depressing, finicky drizzle.
    Miss Lacey Redhead stood at the window and frowned. She was not redheaded; in fact, no one had ever considered her hair the least bit red. And now her once dark hair was liberally streaked with gray.
    “What an awful day!” she muttered, pulling her sweater tighter about her thin shoulders. “If Garret takes cold from being foolish enough to drive into town in this dampness, it’s not my fault. I told him not to go.”
    A movement near the far property line caught her attention, and she peered out. “Well, gracious me! Who would have thought that anyone would be silly enough to go hiking on a day like today. If it were up to me, I would have shut down the trails of the state park today. If people won’t be sensible and stay home in such weather, they should have someone making them do it.”
    To be honest, Miss Lacey wasn’t usually in such a grumpy and fault-finding mood, and one of her favorite pastimes was watching the hikers pass by on the trail that wound along the edge of their property line. Most of the time she kept a count of how many people went by and informed her brother at the supper table of the number of people who had been out.
    Garrett had always nodded and then remarked, “We should take a walk on that trail one of these days and see what it’s like and where it goes.”
    But as yet they had never done it.
    Now Miss Lacey left her pen and paper alone and turned from the view outdoors with a sniff. It had been cloudy for three days, and today had finally brought the rain, adding to the gloom Miss Lacey had been feeling ever since that letter had arrived the day before.
    It was a letter from an old school friend. A friendly, cheery letter, but there were a few lines in it that had bothered Miss Lacey and had put a frown on her face.
    “Lacey, do you remember all our old discussions,” the letter read, “about whether our parents were right about the Bible and religion? I wanted to tell you, they were. It is true, all of it. How do I know? I put it to the test in my life, and Jesus Christ has forgiven my sins. Oh, Lace, if you haven’t proved it yet, please do!”
    “Humph,” Miss Lacey had muttered when she first read the letter. “Tammy always–” She hadn’t finished her sentence but had put the letter in a drawer and tried to forget about it.
    Now, almost stomping from the dining room with its large windows, she entered the kitchen and jerked her apron off its nail. “Humph!” she muttered about nothing in particular or everything in general. “I suppose Garrett will want soup for supper after being out in this weather.” As she tied her apron firmly around her slim waist, she considered. “I suppose I’ll make chicken noodle since I made noodles yesterday. I might as well make rolls to go with it too. Then, if there’s time, I could make a pumpkin pie.”
    Soon Miss Lacey was busy. She had all afternoon to get supper made, but one of the secrets of her well loved soups was the length of time they simmered. “You can’t make a real good soup in a short time,” she always declared. “It takes time to get the flavors all combined.”
    Once the soup, except for the noodles which she would add later, was simmering on the stove, she prepared the dough for her rolls and then started on the pie as the dough rose. For some reason she decided to make two pies, one pumpkin and the other Dutch apple.
    “I don’t know why I did such a silly thing,” she muttered as she slid both pies into the oven. “Like as not one will go bad before Garrett and I can eat them both.” She sighed and looked out the window. The rain still fell in a maddening drizzle, and the gold and russet, brown, and yellow leaves hung like wilted flowers, Miss Lacey thought.
    “Everything is gloomy. If the radio was working, I might get some music–if there wasn’t too much static.” She gave a weary sigh and pushed her hair back from her face. “Not even a dog or cat to keep me company when Garrett’s away. Nothing but my cooking.” She thought about the letter for a brief moment but shoved the thought aside.


    The rattle of the old truck alerted Miss Lacey that her brother was home. She added the homemade noodles to the soup and checked her rolls. On the kitchen table the two pies sat cooling. As she opened the cabinet and took out two bowls, she heard the front door open.
    “Lace?” Garrett called, his voice echoing in the quiet house. “Come look what I found in town!”
    With a sigh and a shake of her head, Miss Lacey set the bowls down, checked her soup, and then left her kitchen. There was no telling what her brother had picked up in town. Whatever it was would most likely be a useless item they would never need.
    The dining room, with its large windows, opened up into the living room. A resigned expression covered Lacey’s face as she crossed the dining room. “What did you bring home this time?”
    Garrett stepped to the side and grinned.
    “Hi, Aunt Lacey, remember me?” And a young man hurried forward to wrap the thin woman in a warm hug and kiss the pale cheeks.
    Startled, Miss Lacey gave a faint gasp and looked up into the laughing brown eyes above her. “Charles Simpson?”

Are you ready for fall?
Would you like to live near a state park?
 Do you think you'd recognize someone you hadn't seen in years?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Triplets - Part 9

Good morning readers!
I'm actually getting this ready Thursday afternoon since I'll be gone most of the day tomorrow. With leaving around 8 in the morning, I didn't think I'd have time to also get a blog post written. :)

Not much going on right now. I did get my FFF blog posts almost ready. Yay! Speaking of which . . .
I hope you are marking your calendars for the fun event! :D

This week I also spent quite a bit of time preparing my blog posts for December. Yep, Christmas books! And I can't wait to share 24 more of them with you this year.

Oh, I started teaching writing classes again. I had 9 students in three different classes. It is sometimes a challenge for teachers and students alike to get back into the groove of classes, but I think everything went well.

Now here is the final part of this story. Let me know what you think of it.

Part 9

    “I’ll be all right. You can watch me from the window if you want.” With that Vienna disappeared from the house and half ran, half jogged over to the shed. She didn’t want to admit that her heart was pounding rather hard and her palms were sweaty. “It’s just warm,” she told herself, wiping her hands on her shirt. She ventured a glance back and saw Geneva at the window.
    The man she had seen had disappeared by the time Vienna had left the house, but as she approached the cleared path she heard noises coming from the shed. Pausing a moment, she drew a quick breath and then followed the cleared path to the open door.
    The shed was dim and full of shadowy piles. She couldn’t see the man.
    “Hello,” she called when there was a lull in the noise.
    A loud crash answered her and then a chuckle. “I wasn’t expecting company.” The voice was friendly and not as deep as Vienna had been expecting. A shadow emerged from the dark room, and the man came to the doorway. His hair was gray and his face wrinkled. “Hello. I’m Joe Cassidy. No, not related to Hop-Along Cassidy.” At Vienna’s blank look, the man chuckled again. “That was before your time. And who are you?”
    Suddenly remembering her manners, Vienna held out a hand and introduced herself. “What are you doing with this place? Do you own it? Were you here last night with a light on?”
    “Yes and yes, to the last questions. The first one takes a bit more to answer. I’m trying to clean this place out. I don’t know the last time someone was in here. It’s full of old junk and stuff. I have a son and his family who are coming back here to live, and he and I were talking about this old place. We thought it might make a good community room to hold Bible studies, or for the kids to study for school, or to have birthday parties. I don’t know.” He shrugged and looked back over his shoulder. “But we can’t do anything unless it gets cleaned out.”
    “Could you, maybe, use some help?” Vienna asked.
    “I sure could! You want to lend a hand? I’ll pay you. Won’t be much, but it’d be something.”
    Pushing back her hair, Vienna smiled. “Can my sisters help?” She thought of Sofia’s shoelaces. If they could all earn some money, they could help Grandma.
    “How old are they?”
    “My age.”
    The man blinked. “You mean–”
    “Triplets. I’m sure they’d help, and I don’t think Mrs. Shannon would mind, but I guess I should ask her since Grandma is in the hospital.”
    “Oh, I know Mrs. Shannon. Let’s go talk with her.”
    To this Vienna agreed quickly.
    Though the walk to the Shannon home was short, by the time they had reached it, Vienna felt as though she had found a grandpa, for Mr. Cassidy asked questions and seemed genuinely interested in her and her sisters.
    Mrs. Shannon was pleased to find out Mr. Cassidy owned the brick shed and readily gave permission for the girls to help him clean it out. “How about my bringing you all some lemonade in a little while?”
    “That would be wonderful,” Mr. Cassidy said. “Your lemonade tastes like my wife’s used to.”
    Outside the triplets walked with Mr. Cassidy back to the once mysterious building.
    “I cleared a path yesterday and found the door again, but it was so late that I had to go home and eat before I could do any real looking around,” he told them.
    “So you had to use a flashlight?” Sofia asked.
    “Well, it was an old lantern that we used to use when we went camping.”
    They reached the path and Geneva hesitated. “Is there any poison ivy around here?”
    Scratching his head, Mr. Cassidy scanned the area. “Don’t see any. And I didn’t see any yesterday either. I think you’re safe.”
    It took a few moments for everyone’s eyes to become adjusted to the gloom inside, but when they did, the girls looked around in wonder. The place was full of junk, and boxes, and piles of all sorts of stuff.
    Vienna opened her mouth to say something when a sudden moaning creak almost over her head startled her and her sisters.
    With a slight scream, Geneva jumped and grabbed Mr. Cassidy’s arm. Sofia and Vienna found each other’s hands and hung on.
    “Oh, don’t worry about that,” Mr. Cassidy said calmly. “See,” he pointed up, “that board is loose, and when the wind blows just right, or some mouse or something bumps it, it swings on the rusty nail and moans and creaks like it’s dying. Once we clear a spot for a ladder, I’ll pull it down.”
    The girls laughed a little nervously. They had been afraid of a loose board and a rusty nail. Vienna looked from the board to the open window and thought about their attempt to look inside.
    “And now we know what caused that terrible noise. And we know where Grandma is.” She stood still while Sofia quickly braided her long hair so it wouldn’t get in her way. “Now I just need to find out if there really is a God like Mrs. Shannon and Grandma say.”
    “What was that, Vivi?” Sofia asked.
    “Nothing. I’ll tell you later, when we’re all three together and alone. Now let’s get to work.”

Did the story end the way you thought it would?
What did you think of the story?
Are you coming to the Five Fall Favorites party?

Friday, September 6, 2019

Triplets - Part 8

Good morning!
Welcome to September! Doesn't that sound strange? I love the fall months, but I wasn't ready for September yet. It is still supposed to me June or something. But, as a 4-year-old told me Wednesday, "we can't grow any backwards." ;) He meant he couldn't get smaller again, but it also means we can't get our months back even if they seem to have gone missing or we feel that we were cheated with only half a month. ;)

But, September is an exciting month! I start teaching again next week. Then next Friday we are joining my brother's family, my grandparents and aunt at "Wonders of Wildlife" for the day. It should be fun. The kids are looking forward to it, and so are the rest of us. September also holds the start of the Five Fall Favorites. That means I have to get the final things planned and ready. Exciting! It also means a new project.

I was asked by my pastor to write two short Christmas plays for the children at church. Usually the pastor's wife writes all our Christmas plays, so I'm a bit nervous. Prayers would be appreciated. I have ideas, but turning them from ideas to plays might be a challenge. I've never actually written a play before. Stories yes. Plays no. I think I may have to write them as stories first and then turn them into plays. If you have any tips on play writing, let me know.

Well, I'll let you get on with the story. There is only one more part after this.

Part 8

    Stepping outside into the darkness, Vienna was thankful for the reassuring presence of Mr. and Mrs. Shannon. It had been agreed not to use the car, which was in the garage, as they didn’t want to bother their neighbors. Though she tried to keep her eyes away from the mysterious brick building and its glowing light, Vienna couldn’t help stealing a glance at it. “Mrs. Shannon,” she asked, her voice hushed, “why is there a light in that old building?” She looked over her shoulder at her grandma’s friend.
    “What light?”
    Vienna whipped her head around. The light was gone. “There was a light just a moment ago in that upper window under the roof. Sofia? Geneva? Didn’t you see it?”
    Sofia nodded. “Yeah.”
    But Geneva shook her head. “I had my eyes closed so I wouldn’t see it,” she confessed.
    “Are you sure there was a light?” Mr. Shannon pressed. “Because I’ve never seen one in that old place before.
    “We all saw it on our way to your house,” Sofia said. “It was spooky.”
    “Let’s not talk about it,” Geneva begged, her voice wobbly.
    Mrs. Shannon quickly changed the subject. Arriving at the house, the girls quickly unlocked the door and hurried in, thankful they weren’t alone. It took only a few minutes to throw some clothes for the next day, their pajamas, and toothbrushes into plastic bags, and the triplets were ready.


    Tired but restless, Vienna rose at last from the mattress on the floor. The steady breathing of her sisters told her they were both sound asleep in the twin beds across the room. Stealthily she crept to the window that overlooked the silent street and pushed aside the curtain. She gave a slight shiver, but she wasn’t sure if it was from the cool air coming from the ceiling vents or from something else.
    Outside the world was hushed and still. Even the one street light she could see appeared to have dimmed, as though it were about to fall asleep. There was no light on in the old brick building, and Vienna would have been inclined to believe she had been mistaken about seeing it had not Sofia and Geneva seen it too.
    “Why was there a light?” She didn’t know why it bothered her so much, but it did. Slowly her gaze traveled the length of the street and then rose to the star-studded sky above. As she looked, Mrs. Shannon’s prayer came back to her mind. She had sounded so sure, so confident. It hadn’t been a memorized prayer, that was obvious, but did she really believe there was a God? Could she be right? That would mean her dad was wrong. “He’s been wrong about a lot of things,” she sighed. “Maybe I’ll ask Mrs. Shannon about it tomorrow.” Not really thinking about anything specific, Vienna stood at the window until she grew tired and her whirling mind slowed down. Then she went back to her bed and fell asleep.


    Vienna sat on the shady front porch of the Shannon’s home. It was early afternoon. The triplets had been to the hospital and seen their grandma that morning. Arrangements had been made for the girls to stay at the Shannon’s home until Grandma was released.
    “I hope it won’t be long, girls,” Grandma had whispered with a tired sigh.
    The girls had brought over more of their clothes, and now Vienna sat alone, her eyes resting on the old building. Ever since they had first discovered it, the image of its brick walls had lingered in her mind, refusing to leave. Suddenly, drawn as though by invisible strings, Vienna rose, left the shady porch and began to walk. The building was only one house down and across the street.
    Pausing in the middle of the empty street, she glanced back. Sofia and Geneva were standing on the porch. She beckoned them and they came, slowly, reluctantly.
    “Why are we going back to that creepy place?” Geneva asked.
    “I don’t know. Let’s go see if someone cleared away some of the vines and things where the door should be.”
    “I’m not going in that stuff,” Geneva stated. “We don’t know if there’s poison ivy or not.”
    Sofia said not a word.
    Together the three sisters followed the road to the far side of the shed.
    “There!” Vienna’s voice was excited. “See, someone was in there last night. They’ve cleared a little path to the door.”
    “They must have done it after we left,” Sofia said, eyeing the path with a mixture of interest, curiosity, and hesitation. “But what are they doing with the old place?”
    “I don’t know. I think we need to take turns watching and see when someone comes. Then we can come ask them.” Vienna had looked all around as she spoke, hoping to find someone coming even then, but all was still.
    “Not me!” And Geneva’s eyes widened behind her glasses. “I’m not going to go talk to some stranger alone!”
    “I didn’t say we had to do it alone,” Vienna said with a smile. “Come on, let’s get back to the Shannon’s house. We can see this far from their windows.”
    “Yeah,” Sofia added, “from inside where it’s cooler. Come on, I’ll race you both back!”
    “And trip on your shoe laces?” Vienna asked, pointing.
    “Oh, bother. I’m going to have to find a job so I can get new laces.” And Sofia stooped to retie her shoe.

    It wasn’t until after several hours of watching and waiting, that Vienna, the only one who was willing to keep watching, saw an older man approach the building and turn into the newly cleared path.
    “Someone’s there!” she called.
    Geneva looked up from a book she was reading on the floor. “Well, I’m not going back there.”
    “Where’s Sof?”
    “Upstairs, I think, with Mrs. Shannon.”
    Squaring her shoulders, Vienna turned from the window and, stepping over her sister’s legs she hurried across the room,, and opened the front door. “I’ll be back.”
    Sitting up so suddenly that her glasses slid to the end of her nose, Geneva stared at her. “You . . . you’re going there alone? To that creepy place? Don’t you remember those noises? And there might be poison ivy! Vienna!”

Which triplet are you more like?
Do you have anything exciting happening this month?
Have you ever written or been in a play?