Saturday, April 29, 2017

Camp NaNo April ~ Week #4

Current word count: 52,803
This week's word count: 15,580

The good news? I won Camp NaNo. The bad news? War Tears is rebelling and still growing and like HELP SOMEONE PLEASE. 

Day Twenty-Two // Saturday // 2,800 words 

Saturday I didn't do much but lounge around and eat soft foods and write a lot. So yeah... #thispostislamealready 

But can I JUST say I am so thrilled with that perfectly even number?! 

Day Twenty-Three // Sunday // 388 words 

Heh. Not so good. I spent most of my 'spare time' chatting with people and browsing Pinterest. 

-- Pinterest 

Day Twenty-Four // Monday // 2,670 words 

Again, I...don't even know what I did. I wrote a lot, apparently? And that night I sat on the couch and wrote words and ate strawberry pudding and laughed really hard and that's basically all I remember about Monday. 

Day Twenty-Five // Tuesday // 2,761 words 

I warred a ton. I went to the library and people watched (so fun. People were almost tripping over stools and asking weird questions). I went to Bible study. I warred some more. And I stayed up until 12:23 AM. 

Day Twenty-Six // Wednesday // 1,941 words 

Class, writing, school, church, and stayed up until 12:06. (Good grief, these summaries are getting wore and worse.) ALSO....look at my number. It's a WWII date. ^-^ 

Day Twenty-Seven // Thursday // 

I spent the morning catching up on homework and then like wrote a lot and... 


Day Twenty-Eight // Friday // 

Class, reading, writing, eating. Just the norm. 

I also hit the second climax of my story if that's even possible. Like, it's all downhill from here to the end. Lots of drama and hurt and pain and happiness. :P But, eeeepps, I'm getting close to the finish!! :D :D 

// Snippets // 

  He felt the impact as the bullets slammed into his right leg and shoulder, an explosion of pain throughout his entire being. As he crumpled to the ground his surroundings spun madly around him, whirling into darkness. 


  Sacrifice… Mr. George's words came back to her. 
  Though she wanted to cry out that she couldn't, that this was too soon, that it hurt too bad still…Bethany knew that to do this would be to do right. To follow God’s leading. 
  Tears trickled down her face. On the deserted street, she lifted her face to the breeze. Wisps of hair, tickled by the wind, blew into her face and caught in the rivulets of moisture.


  Erin glanced her way, questions in her eyes as she smiled. “What about Bethany?” 
  Mrs. Lyroy beamed. “Oh, I was hoping someone would suggest her. Such a kind dear, and she would be so good at it too. What do you say?” 
  Bethany flattened a sweaty palm on her lap, needing to answer. This was her chance. “Well, I've never been…in charge of anything like this before, but…I would love to help out in anyway I can.” 
  “It's settled them,” Gladys exclaimed, clapping her hands and causing Bethany to jump. “Our new coordinator will let us know details of the drive at the ladies circle meeting on Thursday afternoon. Is that okay with you, dear?” 
  Bethany smiled and nodded. “Sounds lovely,” she said, although she had no idea what was even going on here. What have I gotten myself into? 

How is Camp/April going for you lovelies?? :D 

*scrambles away to write because I'm still in a crazy hurry to finish this baby* 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Camp NaNo April ~ Week #3

A day late...I know...forgive me? Explanation near the end of the post. ;) 

Current word count: 37,223 
This week's word count: 10,292 

Day Fifteen // Saturday // 2,193 words 

Okay, so on Saturday...I, um...I kinda hit 100k... *SCREAMS* And I went through with my resolution, raised my Camp goal to 50k, and I'm still ahead. *is so happy* 

Day Sixteen // Resurrection Sunday // 1,254 words 

Easter was absolutely lovely. We had a Sunrise service at 7:00 AM, followed by breakfast. Then Tucker and I helped our youth group leader hide Easter eggs for the little kids. We still had oodles of time before the worship service at 11:00, so my family got in the car and drove down some back roads (during which time I wrote my Easter post). After an epic church service, we had lunch, visited my granny, and came home. I wrote for a while before twin seven-year-old cousins showed up (those two + Tucker about killed me, y'all), and then collapsed into bed late that night. :P 

Day Seventeen // Monday // 1,023 words 

Monday was kind of 'bleh' as I started back to school after a week off. Writing wasn't going so well either, but there was thunderstorms/dark clouds which SHOULD have helped my writing mood. But didn't. XDD 

Day Eighteen // Tuesday // 1,513 words 

Tuesday was just an ordinary day with school, writing, Bible study, and going to the used book sttooorreeee. <3 <3 *beams* 

Tuesday was also the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. Whether you're interested in WWII history or not, I totally suggest reading this epic article.

Day Nineteen // Wednesday // 1,509 words 
Writing went well Wednesday! I got more than my word goal in around pottery class, school, and church. ^_^ 

Also, we went to a a nursery that had some GORGEOUS dahlias. <3 <3 

Day Twenty // Thursday // 1,700 words 

Thursday was eeepiicccc. School, writing, supper with a couple from church...yeah, that's about all I remember. :P 

Day Twenty-One // Friday // 1,100 words 

Friday morning at about 11:30 I had...wisdom teeth cut out. Ouchie. :P I wasn't planning on getting any writing done, but I actually did do some Friday night which was nice. :) 

Sorry, but y'all aren't getting pics of my swollen face and wild eyes. If everyone minds their p's and q's, such photos may appear in the April recap. ;) 

// Snippets // 

  Bethany felt a smile sliding across her face as it was obvious that Lenore was going to come up with anything short of a flat-out lie to keep the heat off herself. 
  “And who would you say loves that little dog the most?” Erin inquired next. 
  “God,” Lenore replied, twisting her fork into the pie remains. “God loves everyone a whole lot, and all the animals too.” 
  Michael snickered, looking away from the table. Bethany pretended to cough. James and Lydia smiled, containing their mirth with the ease of years of experience. But Erin was the only one who didn't find the answer amusing. 
  “Yes, He does, honey. But that does not mean you should be deceitfully feeding pie to the dog.” 
  Lenore paused for a second before, turning to Michael with lips pursed. “What does deceitfully mean?” 
  “Deceitfully…” Michale repeated, tracing the top of his water glass with his finger. “Well, it means that you're hiding what you're doing from your mother. Deceit is almost another word for lying.” 


  Joshua flopped to the ground, stretching to lie flat of his back and slinging one arm across his face to block out the sun from his eyes. “This is exhausting,” he mumbled. 
  “Aww, it isn't so bad,” David grinned and sank to the ground next to him. “You're just miffed that all the big guys ganged up on you.” 
  Joshua lifted his arm from his face and glared at David. “This is coming from the man who was up against two fellows that might have equaled a third his weight between them? Don't even talk to me.” 
  David rolled his eyes. “That's an exaggeration.” 
  “Maybe,” came from the ground beside him, and David figured that was as much of an agreement as he was going to get. 

How's Camp going? Hit your goal yet? Have a good Easter? Do you have wisdom teeth? (Or did some human with a knife steal your wisdom from your head...? XDD) 


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Focus ~ April 2017

Today I'll be participating in Allie Taylor's new linkup, Focus!! :D For details and info about how to participate yourself, visit her blog, The Depth of my Faith

Since Camp NaNo is going on right now, I'll be talking about my Camp project -- namely my precious novel, War Tears. *hugs the darling charries* 

// Questions // 

We're halfway through NaNoWriMo. How's you're novel going?
Pretty good! War tears was about 71k before Camp, and it's now 105k, sooo... *bounces excitedly* 

Where are you struggling the most in your writing?
Um, probably the part where you sit in front of a screen and type a bunch of words, except these words are actually supposed to do things like 'tell the story' and 'bring the characters to life' and 'make sense to people other than Faith'.... Yeah, it's difficult. 

Where are you doing the best in your writing?
Hmm...I'm not sure. When asking a person this, the answer I got was "romantic scenes" or "the heartbreak." *grins* So maybe that. XD 

Music helps. So, what are your writerly idyllic tunes?
Well, at the beginning of the month I created a playlist for War Tears. It's something like this... 

If You're Reading This // Tim McGraw 
Even If // MercyMe 
There You'll Be // Faith Hill 
Rise // Danny Gokey 
Saving Amy // Brantley Gilbert 
Brothers // Dean Brody 
Just Be Held // Casting Crowns 
For Freedom // Avalon 

Where are you in your wordcount goal? And how do you do with word sprints?
I'm at 34,500 of 50,000 (YES I UPPED MY GOAL YALL.) And word sprints/wars? They are like my life. Not sure how I would get this many words in at other times, especially when I'm just not feeling the story. XD 

What encourages you to keep writing?
People who want to read my book. Like, seriously. My alpha-readers are amazing...and they're reading the wretched first draft!! 

PUSH! How much will you try to write one of these days to burst forward in your wordcount? 
I would like to do a 5k1day sometime...maybe closer to the end of Camp? Anyone with me? ;) 

What's your strategy for focussing?
Uh...I don't have one? I get sidetracked sooo easily, no matter what I'm doing. So war sprints/wars and just writing when I feel like writing helps somewhat. (If you have tips on staying focused, TELL ME.) 

What is your favorite element of your novel?
The emotions. Making the characters cry and laugh and smile and scream. Breaking their precious little hearts.. *sniffles* A told someone the other day that War Tears is just 'one big, dramatic mood swing' which is basically the truth. B-) 

What is your plan after your first draft?
Printing a first draft copy, handing War Tears over to alpha-readers a chapter at a time, and returning to editing Dandelion Dust for publication. After that? Editing. Loooaaddsss of editing. The first edit may be closer to a re-write, which is kinda intimidating. O.O 

Ten more days of Camp!! Anyone else a bit freaked out by that realization?? :P 


Monday, April 17, 2017

Coming Home ~ part two {Pinterest Stories: April edition}

And now! I bring to you on this lovely Monday afternoon, the second part of Coming Home!! 


  I passed through the door and wiped my eyes, hurrying on toward the car. Dusk had fallen while I was inside, and I mentally berated myself for leaving the boys alone for so long. How long has it been? Fifteen minutes? 
  Titus voice met my ears before I spotted him. 
  “‘I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river,’ cried Little Nutbrown Hare. ‘I love you across the river and over the hills,’ said Big Nutbrown Hare.” 
  I peeked into the back window of the car and saw Titus, picture book open in his lap, reading aloud to his younger brother. The sighting warmed my heart. 
  Titus looked up when my shadow fell across him, his eyes serious and concerned. I opened the door to be bombarded with questions. 
  “Are you okay, Momma? What happened?” Titus slid out of the car and hugged me. “Why are you crying?” 
  “I'm fine, sweetie.” I bent and kissed his sunny blond towhead. “Everything is okay.” Christopher crawled toward me, and I leaned into the car and scooped him up and onto my hip. He rested his head against my shoulder, reminding me how close it was to bedtime. 
  “There's someone inside who wants to see you.” I closed the car door and grabbed Titus’ hand, starting back towards the house. 
  Titus tugged on my hand and looked up at me, light eyes blinking. “Who is it?” 
  I didn't answer at first, debating over whether or not to try to explain it to him. Will he even know Chris? Christopher squirmed next to me, his breath warm on my neck. I kissed my sweet little boy’s head, wondering how long it would take him to accept Chris as his father. 
  “Momma?” Titus jerked on my hand again as we reached the front door. “Did you hear me?” 
  “I'm sorry, buddy.” I smiled down at him. “Yes, I heard you, and I need to explain something to you.” 
  He eyed me warily. “What's wrong?” 
  “Nothing’s wrong, I just…” I reached out and touched his cheek. “Do you remember when Daddy left before Christopher was born? And then he…he didn't come back?” 
  He nodded slowly, eyes deep with sorrow. “I miss him.” 
  He does remember… Tears stung my eyes and I wrapped my arm around his shoulder, guiding him in the door. “C’mon, buddy.” 
  We stepped into the living room a moment later. At our approach, Chris turned from the window where he must've been watching my interaction with the boys. 
  He cleared his throat and slowly walked toward us, hands at his sides. He glanced at me and then back and forth between the boys. Seeing Christopher nearly asleep on my shoulder, he knelt in front of Titus. 
  “Hey Titus.” Chris smiled, looking into his son’s face. “You probably don't even remember me.” 
  Still holding my fingers, Titus slowly nodded. “I-I do…” he said, chin quivering. “You’re my daddy.” 
  At those words, tears filled my eyes. Thank You, God, for bringing my family back together. Titus released my hand and found his way into Chris’ waiting arms. The little boy didn't say a word, his arms around his father’s neck. 
  Chris looked up at me then, his eyes brimming with tears. Nestling Christopher closer, I smiled and nodded. Yes, this was how things were supposed to be. 
  Within a few moments, Titus hiccuping sobs subsided. Lifting him to his side, Chris stood and moved toward the couch. I followed, skirting around the pile of glass shards he had indeed swept out of the way. 
  Chris sat on the couch with Titus in his lap, and I sank to the cushion next to him. Leaning my head against his shoulder, I squeezed my eyes shut, staying as close to him as possible. 
  Christopher lifted his head from my shoulder at the jostling. “Why Ty crying?” he mumbled. 
  “Titus is okay, sweetie.” I kissed the top of his head, and looked over at my eldest, stilling crying and holding to his father. 
  Christopher sat on my lap, eyeing Chris as if he were a complete stranger. The toddler seemed entirely uneffected by the strange man Titus and I were clinging too. I began to worry how I would explain Chris’ appearance to the toddler. Whenever he'd asked after his father in the past – not often – I'd told him that Daddy went to be with Jesus. But now? It wasn't like I could take those words back. 
  Christopher soon decided that Chris was harmless and settled back against my shoulder, nodding off. Between going to the grocery store and Chris’ appearance, it was long past the boys’ bedtime by then. 
  “Do you think I should try to explain this to Christopher? I mean, how do I tell him…about you?” 
  Smiling sadly, Chris reached over and slid his finger into Christopher’s grasp. “Maybe we don't need to try to explain things right now. Let's just give it some time. Let him get used to having me around before we try to delve into all the details. He's not used to having a daddy.” 
  “That sounds like a great idea,” I smiled. “And I think he’ll catch on quickly.” 
  I looked over at Titus, snuggled against Chris’ other shoulder, and found him looking back at me. He grinned, an expression so boyish and carefree especially in comparison to his usual solemn eyes. 
  “Yes, Titus.” 
  “I'm hungry.” 
  Laughing, I replied. “We can fix that. C’mon you two.” 
  I set Christopher down and made my way to the kitchen. Chris and Titus went outside and brought in the groceries while I whipped up grilled cheeses for the four of us. The boys clambered up into their seats, Chris taking the fourth chair at the table. I'd never really paid much attention to it until that night, but that extra seat had always been there. Just waiting to be occupied. 
  I brought food to the table and sat the plates in front of them, stopping to kiss Chris’ cheek. He grinned and kissed me back. 
  We sat at the kitchen table and ate grilled cheese sandwiches and milk. All of us, our little family. My heart filled to overflowing. 


  As it turned out, Titus was the one to explain things to his brother. In his grown-up-before-his-time way, with brotherly love, in a kid-language Christopher could grasp. 
  After cleaning up the kitchen, I crept down the hall in search of Chris. I found him at the door to the boys’ room, watching them sleep. 
  I stepped up beside him and leaned my head against his shoulder. He threaded his arm around my waist, nudging me closer. 
  As we watched, out of their sight in the near-darkness, Christopher climbed out of his bed and crossed the strip of carpet to his brother’s bed. 
  “Ty?” He whispered, tapping Titus on the arm. 
  Titus lifted his head. “Yeah?” 
  Christopher squirmed his way up onto his brother’s bed and didn't stop until he was under the quilt. “Ty?” 
  The toddler leaned back agaisnt the pillow, one arm behind his head as if contemplating the greatest questions of mankind. “Who's that man Momma kissed?” 
  Chris’ arm around my shoulders tightened. 
  Titus’ head appeared from underneath the covers. “That's our daddy, Christopher. Didn't you know that?” 
  Christopher continued staring up at the ceiling. “No, it's not.” 
  “Yeah, it is. Why don't you believe me?” 
  “Momma said Daddy went to be with Jesus in Heaven. And she said people don't come back from there. So that can't be him.” 
  Titus raised on his elbows, chin in his hands, and eyed his brother. “Well…maybe she was wrong.” 
  “Momma’s never wrong.” 
  Titus was quiet for a long moment before he spoke again. “I don't get it either. But it is him, I know it. Don't you want to think that too?” 
  Christopher gave the matter special consideration. I pressed closer the Chris, praying that the boy would answer affirmatively for his sake – for our family’s sake. 
  “Yeah…” Christopher finally admitted. “I like him.” 
  “Good,” Titus nodded as if concluding the conversation. “You wanna sleep with me tonight?” 
  Instead of replying, Christopher scooted down into the bed, grabbing the blanket and yanking it over his head. 
  “I guess that's a yes,” Titus mumbled, and he too dropped his head to the pillow. 
  Within a few moments, the sound of twin deep breaths drifted from the bed in corner. Satisfied they were fast asleep for the night, Chris led me down the hall and into the living room. 
  We sat on the couch, and he took my hands in his. “I'd say it's time you heard the whole story.” 
  I nodded once, knowing these details will be difficult to hear. But I needed to hear, needed to know what he's been through. 
  We talked for hours, not going to bed until well after two o’clock. And at eight thirty the next morning we were pounced on by two pajama-clad boys. But when hearing their laughter and seeing their smiles as they hugged their father, how could I complain? 
  He had come home. 


  A sunny and happy Saturday surrounded us the next morning as I put the car in park in front of my in-law’s house. I turned to face Chris who sat in the backseat next to Christopher’s carseat. 
  “Are you sure you want to do this?” 
  “Positive.” He began unbuckling Christopher’s restraints, and I turned to hop out of the car. 
  I walked to the other side and opened the back door. Christopher slid out of the carseat and hit the ground running. 
  The boys scampered across the yard and up onto their grandparents’ porch with me not far behind them. 
  I cast a furtive glance over my shoulder to note that Chris had gotten out of the car and now stood around the side of the garage – awaiting his signal. 
  Chris’ mother had came to the door and was about to usher the boys into the house when I reached them. 
  “We have a surprise for you, Maria.” 
  “Oh?” My mother-in-law eyed me suspiciously, before glancing back down at the boys. “Do you two know what your momma is talking about?” 
  “Yes, Nana!!” Titus nodded excitedly. “Daddy is home!” 
  “Daddy?” Maria repeated, eyes wide as she looked to me for an answer. “What is he talking about, Julie?” 
  I smiled. “Titus means exactly what he said.” I stepped to the side, as Chris stepped up on the porch behind me. 
  “Hey, Mom.” 
  “Chris…” She murmured, her gaze becoming distant. Her legs weakened as she began to sink against the door casing. 
  Chris rushed forward and grabbed her before she could hit the floor. Maria didn't fully faint though, more like a swoon I guess you could say. Chris helped her to the bench seat a few yards away. 
  “Mom? Can you hear me?” 
  Titus and Christopher shrank back, their innocent eyes darting back and forth between Chris and their grandmother and me. 
  Maria didn't answer Chris’ insistent questioning, but she reached forward and pressed her hands to his face. “Oh, son…” 
  I pulled the boys to my sides and held them close, watching. Maria hugged Chris, her shoulders convulsing with quiet sobs. Soon Tom, Chris’ father, appeared from around the side of the house and dropped to his knees before his wife and son, joining the happy reunion. 
  I admired the beautiful scene, my heart full. I was honoring the memory of thinking we'd lost Chris, not willing to take him for granted now. I was thankful, so very grateful to God for bringing him back to us and giving our family a second chance. And I was happy. 
  What more could I say? There was heartache, there were tears. But in the end, it was all worth it. The thrill of joy and cheer outweighed the sting of grief and mourning. 
  All was right in my world. 


Before I forget, here's the pin that inspired the story in the first place. ^_^ Obviously, I did some creative tweaking to the original, but still... *nods* Lovely one-sentence-story. :D 

Hope you enjoyed! If all goes well, there will be another 'Pinterest story' appearing on this blog next month. :D 


Do you have an image or writing prompt you would like to see made into a story for this series or an Imagine This challenge? Feel free to send it my way! The link to my Pinterest account can be found under the About Firefly tab, or you can message me through the Blogger contact form at the bottom of this page to obtain my email! :) 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Camp NaNo April ~ Week #2

Current word count: 26,931
This week's word count: 13,429 (within 100 words from last week, LOL) 

So yeah, week two was as epic as week one. I think I'm gonna up my goal, but more on that in a second... 

Day Eight // Saturday // 3,509 words 

Saturday was a good writing day. Someone in the 5k1 group suggested doing a 5k weekend, spreading out 5k over Saturday and Sunday. So I was totally going for it, and figured I needed to get most of my words in on Saturday. And I did. ^_^ 

Day Nine // Sunday // 1,626 words 

Sunday XD Spring has arrived, y'all. Sunday evening before the night service, Mom and Dad both had meetings at church. So the Kid and I ended up hanging out in the parking lot for awhile. Which pretty much meant he wandered around the parsonage yard and I sat in the car in the A/C and attempted to write. 

But...writing didn't go so well because I was in the dumps. (In other words, Faith was feeling sorry for herself.) I decided that I hated this book and I was going to give up writing historical fiction entirely. I mean, the first draft of Dandelion Dust was sooo much better than this one, and that's totally a fair comparison, right? 

Heh. No. But my lovely critique partner came to my rescue again and...well, I'm still writing. So 'nough said. *wink* 

(Btw, I did make the 5k weekend unless you haven't figured that out. :P) 

Day Ten // Monday // 1,771 words 

So yeah, Monday rolled around and I was just so bleh. Like, life bleh. School more bleh. Writing, YES PLEASE. 

Mom, being the dear she is, declared the P. family homeschool on spring break this week and I was like THANK YOU, KIND LADY. (We never take spring break, y'all. NEVER. So this is epic.) 

Bullet is thankful for spring too. I mean, why else would he carry a log home...? Dumb lil' doggie. 

Also... As I have recently discovered, April 10th is Support Young Authors Day, so obviously that's worthy of celebration. I totally suggest reading Savannah's post, To All the Young Writers

Day Eleven // Tuesday // 1,266 words 

Tuesday was a good day where I legit did nothing but write and read some and go to Bible study that night. By then, I was seriously thinking of upping my Camp goal. 

I also stayed up until 12:24 after discussing 'theological questions' with two lovely friends. We had a fab time, peeps. ^-^ 

Day Twelve // Wednesday // 1,752 words 

Wednesday was...heh. Amazingness + craziness. I overslept my alarm, ate breakfast, wrote a couple hundred words, went to pottery class, came home, had lunch, made a prop for a skit the young group was putting on, took a shower, ate supper, went to church and did the skit, came home, and wrote some more. And crashed into bed as exhausted as you just became after reading that run-on. XD 

This was also the day I made a resolution. It was this -- if I can hit 100k in my book (which would be about 29k on my Camp goal, I think) by Saturday night, I'll up my goal from 40k to 50k. O.O Yeah, I'm questioning my sanity too... 

In case you were wondering, 1940s couples were THE CUTEST. I have a slight obsession in this area. Just ask Pinterest. 

Day Thirteen // Thursday // 1,260 words 

Thursday I went shopping with Mom. Which was AWESOME, but it also meant no writing. We had a lovely time though, and enjoyed goofing off... XP

Someone obviously needs to buy me this hat... 

All my writing happened Thursday night, but I was still pretty pleased with the outcome. Not making great headway toward that 100k, but it's coming. ;) 

Day Fourteen // Friday // 2,245 words 

Friday. Friday was lovely because I legit did nothing but sit on the porch and write oodles of words. It wasn't going well for awhile, but I ended up writing more than my goal. (Now I only need about 1,900 words to hit 100k. It's 1:17 as I write this, and I have yet to write a thing. Think I can still do it?) 

Also, it's Good Friday, so hey, let's take time to reflect on all Christ did for us. We're so unworthy, and yet He's so gracious and loving. <3 

Well, I guess that's all. See y'all lat-- Huh? What? You want more snippets? Oh, good heavens, people... I suppose I can oblige that... B-) 

// Snippets // 

  “There are good dogs and and there are bad dogs. Most of which, in my opinion, has to do with the owner and how they are treated. I'm sure Lenore would pick a good dog, be kind to it, and train it properly.” 
  “Well…” Erin bit her lip in thought. 
  As she mulled over Bethany's words, Lenore leaned in closer. “Thanks, Auntie Beth!” she whispered. 
  With a sigh of exasperation and another gulp of coffee, Erin gave in. “Well, maybe we’ll at least go take a look at them.” 
  “Yippee!” Lenore squealed. “Thank you, Momma.” 
  Despite Erin’s earlier trepidation, the ladies returned to the house on Seventh street that evening with an adorable part-beagle puppy. And a beaming little girl with eyes that danced. 


  Luke and I had a long talk the other night. (Longer than we should've probably, as I was nodding off during the briefing the next day and Joshua had to keep elbowing me. I'm thankful for a co-pilot who’s a believer and cares about the men’s souls more than their ability to drop bombs and shoot Germans.) 


Happy Easter!!! <3 Any plans? How's Camp going for you?


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Coming Home ~ part one {Pinterest Stories: April Edition}

Welcome to the trial-run/first edition of a new blog series titled Pinterest Stories! :D If this post and its companion (coming next week) are well liked, this series may become a monthly or bi-monthly happening. 

So what is Pinterest Stories? Basically it's this – whenever I come across story prompts are other inspirational things on Pinterest, the possibilities begin running through my mind. I have this desire to write short stories (which have been apt to turn into longer stories, but I'm trying to keep this at/around 5k). I have completed one of these such stories, and I have another nearly done. And I thought, "hey, why not share these on the blog?" 

A major request in the blog survey awhile back was for more short stories. So here ya go... :) 


  I didn't expect anything unusual when I came home that day. Just another day when the bills outnumber my income, when the pension we receive from my deceased husband isn't enough to cover groceries, much less the mortgage. 
  After doing my father-in-law’s bookkeeping and spending a shift waiting tables, I picked up the kids from their grandparents’ and swung by the grocery store. It wasn't even dark by the time we got home, but I was really to keel over. And I still needed to fix supper and get them to bed before collapsing myself. But it was Friday night and that meant two days of rest and stress-less housework stretched out before me. At least when I was working at home, I could be with the kids. 
  People often questioned when they thought I couldn't hear them, and others were blunt enough to express their concerns to me directly. That I work too much, that I'm wearing myself down, that I never look happy anymore. But my reply is always the same. I only work enough to keep the bills paid, I'm not wearing myself out, I'm fine… And I would brush it off, always trying to avoid the happiness question. 
  Because there would only be one answer – the bare truth. That I find happiness in my boys, my family, and my God…but happiness doesn't mean the same since he left. 
  I stepped up onto the porch with an armload of groceries and two little boys trailing me. Almost-three-year-old Christopher Jr. jabbers about something his grandpa told him, while Titus, at seven, does his best to help me with the groceries. 
  I didn't even notice that the front door was slightly open until I reached it. I felt my eyes grow wide at the realization. Someone has broke in on us… But the question was, were they still in there? 
  “What's da matter, Mommy?” Christopher wanted to know, tugging at my skirt. 
  “Um, nothing, sweetie,” I assured him, depositing my groceries in the lawn chair. Thinking fast, I grabbed the two bags form Titus’ hands as well and placed them beside mine. 
  “Titus,” I laid my hand on the boy’s shoulder. “I want you to take your brother back to the car and wait there until I come for you, okay?” 
  “But why, Momma?” 
  “Just do it, please? I'll be out there in just a minute.” 
  Titus’ eyes met mine – as grey as his father’s had been. “Okay,” he murmured, no longer questioning me. I watched as he grabbed his little brother’s hand and led him back toward the car in the drive. 
  Knowing the thief could appear at anytime, I stuffed my car keys into my pocket – thinking I can set the alarm off and arouse the neighbors should the need arise. 
  With timid steps, I pushed the door the rest of the way open and stepped inside. Nothing looked to be disturbed in the entryway. I took a couple quiet steps and stuck my head into the kitchen to my left. Everything looked untouched there too. 
  Could I have forgot to lock the door? No. I was certain I did. And even if I hadn't, I knew I shut it tightly. 
  Heart pounding in my chest, I stepped over the creaky middle floorboard and peeked around the partition wall and into the living room. 
  And immediately ducked back out. 
  Someone was in there. 
  A man. Alone. Sitting on our couch and facing the opposite way. He didn't appear to be disturbing anything, but that didn't solve the mystery of his presence. 
  Summoning courage from somewhere deep within – or Someone – I again turned to look into the room. 
  The man hadn't budged from his spot, where he seemed to be looking down at something. But what?
  My curiosity getting the better of me, I tiptoed around the corner and into the room, wishing I'd left my shoes outside. The man was sitting with his elbows on his knees and his chin on his clenched hands. And he was studying our family pictures sitting on the coffee table. 
  My temper flared and I wanted nothing more than to yell for this intruder to get out of my house. To get rid of this person who’s wrongfully invaded our haven. But the picture frames caught my eye and I paused to see what he was seeing. 
  The one of the right portrayed a beautiful and happy family. I was in the center of the picture – happy, smiling, great with child and held in my husband's arms. Chris was grinning his boyish grin and wearing that uniform…that uniform – the same one he was wearing when he was killed two months later. Little Titus stood beside us, just happy to be in the golden sunlight. 
  And the one on the left was last Christmas. Me with my arms around two handsome, grinning little boys. Boys without their earthly daddy to love them and raise them. I hadn't felt like having our usual yearly pictures taken until then. Nothing was the same without Chris here. 
  I returned my attention to the man on my couch. Maybe he's homeless and just needs a place to get out of the weather… But I think the covered porch would’ve been sufficient, opposed to breaking into my home. He had not noticed me yet, so I decided I would have to say something and make my presence known. 
  In walking forward while not watching where I was going, my hand collided with a ceramic vase on the small table behind the couch. The vase crashed to the floor and shattered.
  At the sound, the intruder jumped to his feet and whirled around. Finding me there, he stopped and stared. 
  And I stared back. The uniform made me wince – the same way I had with every serviceman I had came in contact with since he’d been gone. Do they have families that will be broken apart? I always found myself wondering. 
  I studied him closer, noting the way the uniform hung on his tall but thin frame. My gaze continued climbing until I reached his face. 
  His face… 
  I took a step back, shocked. No, it can't be. That's not possible. He's dead… he's… Reeling from the familiarity, I forced my eyes to return to his. Grey eyes… 
  “Hey Julie.” He spoke my name so tenderly, watching me as if he was afraid I was going to pass out or throw something at him or something. 
  “No…” I shake my head. “I don't know who you are, but–” My voice broke, as he continued to watch me, the scattered glass shards separating us. Could it be? Could it really be? 
  “Chris?” I somehow got the word out around the choking lump in my throat. 
  He nodded, giving me a little smile, eyes wary. “Yeah, sweetheart, it's me.” 
  A million questions raced through my mind. I bit my lip, holding in the tears and starting towards him. 
  “No, wait. The glass.” 
  Glass? I looked down at the brokenness glistening across my clean floor. Oh yeah. Forgot about that. 
  Chris moved along the length of the couch and I followed, meeting him at the opposite end. He paused a foot from me, reaching out his hand toward me, hesitating. 
  Oh, don't hesitate. I smiled at him best I could through the emotions and tears that seemed to have paralyzed my facial muscles. 
  Before I even knew what was happening, he'd wrapped me in his arms and pulled me snugly against his chest. My right arm went around my husband’s waist – my husband! – and i brought my left hand up and clenched the fabric of his shirt in my fist. 
  “Chris…” I murmured, my frame racked with sudden sobs. 
  “I'm here,” he whispered, his kiss brushing my forehead. “I'm finally here.” 
  I buried my face in the front of his uniform, breathing in his presence. “You w-were missing and then w-we were told you were…probably dead and…I mean, it's been…nearly three years…and…” I finally brought my blubbering to a stop. He probably couldn't even make sense of it. 
  “I know.” He shifted his arms around me and, for a second, I thought he was releasing me. Unwilling to let this embrace end so quickly, I tighten my hold on him. No, not yet…please… My worry was for naught when he merely held me closer. 
  Until then, my confused brain had held onto the silly idea that this wasn't even my husband. That this was all a joke. That he would let go and disappear from me again. That the magical moment would end and I would be back to the grieving, single mom with two little boys depending on her. But no; this is him. Chris is the only one who's ever been able to read me like this, to know when I need comfort and affection. Oh, sweet Jesus, thank You… 
  I lifted my head from his chest and leaned up to kiss him, and he kissed me back, brushing his thumb under my eyes. Drawing back, I gazed into his eyes, finding tears there too. 
  “I love you.” 
  Another choked sob escaped me at his endearing words. “I love you too.” I finally summoned the courage to ask him what I was dying to know. “All this time…where have you been?” 
  I felt him tense against me. He didn't answer right away, pulling me to him again. “Prisoner.” He whispered the single word against my hair, starting a tingle down my spine. 
  Images, grotesque and flithy, flitted through my mind. “…what?” 
  Chris shook his head, pressing his cheek to mine. “Never mind. We can talk about that some other time.” 
  “Okay.” Right then I would've agreed with anything he said. “How long have you been here, then?” 
  He kissed my nose and pulled back, hands pressed to my back. “Not long. I hitchhiked from the airport, planning in my head what I would say to you and how everything would go. Felt kinda stupid when no one answered the door.” He grinned, and what remained of my heart turned to mush. 
  I laughed, tucked under his arm. “So then you broke in.” 
  “Hey, I didn't break in. Key was in the same ol’ place.” 
  But that's about the only thing that's stayed the same… I quietly observed the way his face changed as his eyes roamed the room. 
  “I didn't mean to scare you,” he said, squeezing me back to his side. “I figured I'd take a look around, make sure you still lived here, and then wait for you outside.” 
  Arms around his waist, I tilted my head to catch his expression. “And…?” 
  “And then I saw the picture frames,” he finishes softly. He looked back at me, eyes melancholy for all he's missed. “We have two boys now?” 
  My breathing hitched. He doesn't even know our youngest. I nodded, unable to imagine how he feels right now – unable to give a title to my own confused emotions. 
  “His name is Christopher,” I whispered. “He's almost three.” 
  Our son’s namesake repeated the shared given name, shaking his head. “I don't know what to say… Tell me about him.” 
  “That could take awhile.” I smiled, resting my cheek against Chris’ shirt still damp with my tears. “He talks enough to make a saint’s head hurt, and Titus…” I trailed off as a wave of realization swept over me, jerking my head up. “Oh my goodness, the boys!” 
  Chris’ arms fell away from my shoulders. “What's wrong?” 
  “The boys,” I began again. “I thought someone had broken in, so I sent them back to the car.” 
  He visibly winced. “I'm sorry, Julie, for scaring you like that.” 
  “You don't need to apologize.” I hugged him again. “I'm going to go get the boys, okay?” 
  Chris nodded, forcing a nervous smile. “It’ll be awkward for awhile, but I'd like to see them.” He cocked his head to the right. “And I'll, uh, clean that glass up so no one gets hurt.” 
  I figured that was just something to do before being reuniting with his boys – meeting one for the first time – but I just nodded. Kissing his cheek, I reluctantly released my hold on my husband. “Don't go nowhere.” 
  He grinned, but it didn't reach his eyes – his eyes that didn't meet mine. “Don't worry; I'll be here.” 
  I moved away from him and across the room. I was nearly to the doorway when Chris stepped forward and grabbed my arm. “Julie, wait.” 
  I turned back. “Yeah?” 
  He glanced down at our entwined fingers and released my hand, as if distancing himself from me. 
  My eyes jumped from his hand to his face. “Chris, what–” But he cut me off. 
  “Three years is a long time. If it would be easier for you and the boys to not make this adjustment, I'll leave right now, and you won't hear from me again. The boys don't even have to know.” 
  My heart dropped to my stomach at what he was suggesting. Oh Chris, don't… But I fell in love with him all over again knowing he would do whatever I asked in this situation – that he would sacrifice raising his sons if it was deemed in their best interest. 
  With staggering steps, I moved back across the room to him. “Don't you dare walk away from us again.” 
  I was hardly through speaking when he tugged me back into his arms, cupping his hand against my hair. By that time, my tears were replenished and spilling down my face again. I pressed my face into his shirt, my heart still hurting from his words. Could he really walk away so easily? 
  “We need you, Chris.” My words are muffled against his shirt. “I need you, the boys need you. We need to be a family and–” I halted, shoulders trembling. 
  “Sshh, don't cry. That's all I need to know. I won't bring it up again…promise.” 
  Promise… The word brought unbidden memories flooding into my mind. My mind flashed back to the airport where Titus and I said goodbye to Chris before deployment. I had confided in him the night before that I was worried, scared for his safety. When he released me for the final time and shouldered his bag, I knew he was thinking of those words. 
  “I'll be back,” he had said, smiling at me. “I promise.” 
  “I’m not sure how good you are at keeping promises,” I whispered in the stillness of the living room. 
  He continued to hold me and didn't answer, but I knew he heard me. I winced, recalling the harshness of my words. 
  “I'm sorry, Chris.” I pulled away and sought out his face. “I didn't mean that the way it sounded.” 
  “I know you didn't.” He leaned in and kissed my cheek. “I'm sorry for all you've been through.” A darling twinkle brightened his eyes. “And I did come back.” 
  I grinned, leaning back into his shoulder. “You're only two years late.” 
  A moment of silence passed before he spoke again. 
  “Go get our boys.” 
  This time when I drew back from his embrace and started across the room, his face was serious. But his eyes met mine, and when he smiled at me so did they. 


Hope you enjoyed! Check back next week for part two, along with the Pinterest image that inspired this story! :) 


P.S. Yes, I'm aware that I have one-million-and-thirteen comments that haven't been replied to. I'll get to that...soon. XD 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Only Children Chase Sawdust // Blog Tour + Book Review

Today I'll be sharing a review of Only Children Chase Sawdust by the lovely Willowy Whisper! I've had the privilege of reading (and reviewing) many of this author's works, and I've enjoyed them all. :) On to the review!! 

~ Synopsis 

Their whole life turned to sawdust and blew away... 
Please don't leave me, Jacob. I need you. I know you're grieving. Maybe we all are. But you're chasing something you'll never catch . . . and we both know you won't come back alive.

~ Review 

Oh my goodness, what an amazing book. <3 <3 

To date, I have a read all but one of Willowy Whisper's published works, and I think I would have to say this is my favorite. The hurt, the angst, the romance, the sharing of the salvation message... Ahh, it was all so well-done and beautiful!! <3 

Jacob and Annie were such a darling young couple, but I guessed from the beginning that they would experience heartache... But I didn't expect all *that*!! (And that scene...when Annie knew he was hurting... *hugs them*)

The separation and various points-of-view were all amazing. I can happily say I connected with all the characters!! (Well...except the bad guys...but ya know...) I don't know that I could pick a favorite, but Jacob and Annie were both wonderful. :) And Akando!! I wasn't sure what to think of it him at first but... *spoilers* I loved him and you will too. 

The only con I can think of is one phrase that was used several times in the same chapter. It was a good one, but it was used numerous times and I started picking up on it. ;) Not bad, but a bit repetitive. Also, there is kissing and some violence (torture and killing), but it was all very well-done. :) 

All the way around, this was an amazing story! One I heartily recommend!! 

~ Favorite Quote. 

Without needing told, without Jacob's lead, Akando dropped to his knees and lunged into the throne room of Christ. 

**I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 

Author Bio: 

Willowy Whisper is a young Christian fiction author. She lives somewhere in the middle of nowhere, smack-dab in the country hills of West Virginia. She is the author of seven novels, six of which are published, and numerous short stories. She is also a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, an incurable romantic, and a passionate dreamer. To follow her, visit her blog at

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Camp NaNo April ~ Week #1

The first seven days of Camp NaNo has come and gone, and what a week it was!! 

Current word count: 13,502 

Like, woah, what a lovely number. I have one word to explain it... Word wars. (Oh, wait. That was two words. My bad.) Word wars are so awesome though y'all. xD 

Day One // Saturday // 4,909 words 

So, I kinda broke my all-time high for the most written in a day... *shrieks* I MEAN YALL IT WAS DAY ONE OF CAMO AND I WAS JUST SO HYPED. I was actually going for 5k but at the stroke of midnight (literally) I was 91 words away... Ehh, close enough. ;) 

It was a LOVELY day which I spent most of outside – writing and reading. ^_^ 

Hyped, yes. But I look dead. XD 

Day Two // Sunday // 923 words 

Ah, yes, Sunday. I pretty much re-familiarized myself with my entire plot. (Not even kidding y'all. I totally should have did that in March. XD) Then I got *some* words in and didn't care that it wasn't technically *enough* because I was sooo far ahead from Saturday. :D 

Day Three // Monday // 1,205 words 

So, writing went well... BUT. I was jumping around all over the doc, because the parts I was at were NOT turning out. Like, at all. 

By Monday night (11:24 PM to be exact – I have screenshots) I was wailing about how annoying my main character was being, and how I just wanted to work on another story. (Yes, I really thought that, now shush.) More in this in just a sec... 

Day Four // Tuesday // 1,268 words 

*beams at the higher-than-the-last-two-days word count* 

Um...I don't even know what happened here... I did school, wrote a lot, and went to Bible study? *nods* 

Day Five // Wednesday // 1,173 words 

Another good writing day + pottery class and church. Remember the 'wailing' I mentioned in day 3? Yup, well it came back into conversation on Wednesday night. My critique partner, being the dear she is, said like ten measly little words and BOOM. Idea formed in Faith's mind about how to solve all this mumbo-jumbo. (But she waited until the next day to actually write it because #exhaustion) (btw, I could have my days mixed up on this, but I *think* this was when it happened...) 

I also started using the old laptop (the one that is legit so fried it won't even power on) as a 'prop' so that I could sit my iPad and keyboard on it and write in my lap. XD Happy to say, it works really well... :P 

Day Six // Thursday // 2,654 words 

Lots of WORDS = HAPPINESS. My minor plot hole started clearing up and my characters started making friends and ACKK YESSS. :D 

I also ate half a cake because CAKE IS GOOD FOR MY BRAIN YALL. 

Day Seven // Friday // 1,370 words 

Yesterday was great as well and my precious War Tears is now over 84k... O.O EEPSS!! 

// Snippets // 

  Bethany's attention was brought back to the room she was an occupant of when a strange choking sound came from the other end of the table. 
  “What is this?” Luke sputtered. 
  Erin's face reddened and she poked her fork timidly into the conspicuous casserole. Sticking it in her mouth, she instantly made a face. She jumped up and rushed across the room to the sink. 
  Turning around moments later, she exclaimed, “That’s horrible!” 
  “Tell me about it,” Luke grumbled, reaching for his water glass and downing the entire contents. 


  Dusk swept over Cana with a sunset of orange and pink hues and a jar full of fireflies, releasing them to the yards and surrounding woodland. 


  They’d just gotten it situated against the only wall that wasn't blocked by other furniture and collapsed to the rug, when Bethany stuck her head into the room. She laughed out loud when she saw them sprawling in the floor. 
  “This work too much for you fellows?” 
  “Sorry, Bethany.” Luke flapped one limp hand in her direction. “I'm too busy trying to force air into my lungs to come up with a sarcastic reply.” 
  David rolled his eyes. “You're pathetic.” 
  “Guilty as charged, brother.” 
  Bethany chuckled. “I didn't come in here to stir up an argument. I–" 
  “Trust me, you're having no affect on my feelings toward him,” Luke smirked. “I'm about dead and your husband is too blame.” 


So tell me... How's Camp going for you? Not doing Camp? Then how's April and Spring going?? Thoughts on the snippets?!