Friday, April 27, 2018

From the Shelves {Spring Reads}

Welcome to the Spring edition of From the Shelves! 

Once again, I've compiled some book recommendations for the spring season. I hope y'all enjoy these as much as I enjoy coming up with the books and putting the post together! 

Won't you join me? :)


Oh my stars, I love these books so much! Out of all eight of the Millie books, this is one of my favorites. (Gordon, y'all... <3) A truly beautiful story of trusting God when all seems dark and hopeless... trusting that spring will come. 

christian fiction // historical // life in a small town // family stories // faith-filled 

Although a bit slow in the beginning, this book was so good and packed with oodles of historical details. It covers many months, but begins in the spring of the year—and its most definitely a story of new beginnings! 

christian fiction // historical // early 1700s // amish

Similar to the previous, this book covers over a year, but much time and several chapters are spent through the spring portion. The romance was sweet and learning about the canal was super cool. :D 

christian fiction // historical // romance // canal setting 


Ahh, this series is so amazing! I've read all ten of the books multiple times, and the first five which are included in this volume are among my favorites. Secrets in the Willows (book #2) is a springtime story! 

christian fiction // contemporary // YA fiction 

I really enjoyed this 6-part serial, The Discovery: A Lancaster County Saga," when I first read it in 2013. This wasn't my favorite of the series, but it was still good, and since I loved the serial over all, I chose to include the 'spring' segment. :D

christian fiction // contemporary // amish // part 3 of a serial 


// Spring's Gentle Promise by Janette Oke // 

Josh Jones realizes his family isn't typical, but it's the only life he's ever known. Aunt Lou, Gramps, Uncle Charlie, Grandpa—they all have shaped the young man he has become. But as he grows into manhood, Josh begins to face important questions about life, love, and faith.

Every Janette Oke book I've read has been darling. I'm looking forward to finishing up this series soon! :) 

// Laylie's Daring Quest by Kersten Hamilton // 

Laylie, an energetic and intelligent seven-year-old girl born into slavery, must keep a secret---she and her older brother Luke are planning an escape. Whentheir plan takes them south to Roseland's Plantation, Laylie meets fifteen-year-old Millie Keith, a strong abolitionist who helps Laylie understand a freedom more precious than any other. With this new discovery, Laylie's life of faith begins as she and Luke make their way north, against impossible odds, to New York City and to true freedom.

After adoring the A Life of Faith: Millie Keith series last year, I can't wait to read this tie-in story. :D 

Have you read any of these? What are your favorite spring-themed reads? 


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Beautiful People // Farewell + Favorites Edition

Happy Wednesday night, readers!

(We are totally going to ignore the hour at which I'm writing this. That has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the sarcasm that will follow. Nope.)

I decided to take part in Cait and Sky's Beautiful People link-up once more, because... *sniffs* it's the last one. The farewell edition. At least for now.

Because it's my Camp NaNo project this month (but mostly because I love it so), I'm going to be answering these in regards to A Soldier's Freedom. (Someday I may stop talking about this darling, but I kinda doubt it. Don't hold your breath, that's all I'm saying.)

Moving on!

Favorite genre to write in?

Contemporary. *wince* I know, I know. Probably sounds bad coming from a gal who's written as much historical as anything else, but yeah. Contemporary. Historical is fun and I have no doubt I'll continue to write it, but contemporary is my thing.

What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

I could totally say the Bible on this one, but I'll try to be creative. Although that would be a good and accurate answer. xD

I haven't read them, but autobiographies by wounded warriors like Travis Mills and Noah Galloway would be good for James, I believe.

Favorite piece of dialogue you’ve written?

Oohh, snippet time. Here's one of my favorites from this book...

Brian leans back and crosses his arms across his chest. “Guess we’re stuck with you since you’re not exactly welcomed in the seat next to Miss Allie.”  
“Alex,” I shoot back.  
“You got her name wrong again.”  
“Whatever.” He picks up a slip of paper from the seat next to him.  
“And what do you mean, stuck with me?” I shift in my seat, scouring the area for Alex. She must not have arrived yet. “Here I thought y’all liked me.”  
“Ehh, that was all put-on and little heart,” Brian mumbles, perusing the weekly bulletin like his life depends on it. “We were just trying to make you feel included.” 
Wait, what?  
“Just drop it, both of you.”  
I turn back to Lester. “Do you know what he’s talking about?”  
“Kind of.” Lester yanks on his earlobe, cocking his head to look at me. “I mean, c’mon James, you’ve got to admit you’ve been a bit ornery lately.”  
“Ornery?” I repeat, incapable of imagining the preposterous contortions taking place in my facial features right now.  
Lester shakes his head. “I’m not finished.”  
Let it never be said again that this guy is quiet and oblivious.  
“Just be real be real about it, man. She broke up with you—I get it. But life goes on. Either man-up, apologize to her, and try to win her back, or just get over yourself and quit whining.”  
Whining. He called me ornery and whiny within the space of a minute, tops. What does a guy say to that?  
“Um, okay. Thanks for the advice.”  
“You’re welcome.’’

Favorite character name(s)?

I hadn't really thought about it? I do love the names Sydney and Adelaide though. They're twins and Alex's nieces. ;)

What makes your character feel loved, and who was the last person to make them feel that way?

(Since James got the second question, Alex is getting this one.)

Her uncle, Joe. Hands down. Joe and his wife Gloria took Alex and her brother, Kellon, under their wing from a young age. They don't have any kids of their own, but they 'parent' lots of young people in need of love.

Favorite character you’ve ever written?

Ever?! Well, let's see... I love James. And David from War Tears is such a dear. But Ryder and Charity from Dandelion Dust will always be extra special. So...I don't know. One of those. xD

Which story has your heart and won’t let go?

Currently, A Soldier's Freedom. (Obviously. That's why I'm talking about it and working through all it's muck.) But all of my stories have my heart, each in their own way.

Favorite relationship between characters you’ve written?

Ohh, tough one. Besides James and Alex (that's nearly a given...), I love Lester and Brian, especially Lester. (He's getting his own story! <3) And anything that has to do with Uncle Joe is bound to be #gold.

When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?

Hope. Encouragement. Freedom. With the reminder that God is bigger than all their struggles. <3

So what did you think? :D Have you ever taken part in Beautiful People? 


P.S. Did y'all notice that I didn't number the questions so no one would notice if I skipped around? Until now. (We're going to label that epic time management.)

Monday, April 23, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Three {April 2018}

Three weeks in...and I'm back on top of things!! I also didn't take any picture worth sharing last week, so I'm throwing in a few from the storyboard to liven things up. ;)

day sixteen // monday // 115 words 

So...Monday wasn't that great. I spent the day doing school, reading, exercising, etc....and put editing off until that night. And then I was too tired to even care. :P

day seventeen // Tuesday // 2,247 words 

On Tuesday, I lowered my goal to 40,000 words. I was pretty far behind, and I just wanted to feel like I was making some progress instead of chipping at a seemingly-unconquerable goal.

The good news? *grins* I edited until 11:30 that night and got caught up (for 40k goal)!

day eighteen // Wednesday // 924 words 

Wednesday was pretty busy with homework, pottery class, and church. Somehow, in the midst, I planned weddings with two friends...even though none of us are even in a relationship. (I mean, it isn't like the groom is necessary or anything...right? xD)

Tonight, I only crave peace.  
Drawing the thin covering over my head, I cower and stuff my face into a pillow. My shoulders wrack and tremble.  
“I’m okay,” I whisper, but my voice sounds broken to even my own ears.  
Hollow. Lifeless. Worthless. 

day nineteen // Thursday // 5,229 words 

I edited for about an hour and a half on Thursday morning (procrastinating school, you know) and got nearly 2,000 words written/edited. got caught up - edited in the evening and night

I also got my prologue written! I had a prologue in the first draft, but I didn't like it that much and it doesn't match up to the twist the story decided to take. Anywho, I wrote a new one and I love it soooo much. <33

day twenty // Friday // 4,475 words 

Friday was pretty ordinary. I upped my goal, though, and edited several times that day. Ahh, it's so nice to be back in this story. I've missed my dears. <3

day twenty-one // Saturday // 5,319 words 

Saturday morning was spent working on blogging and emails. That afternoon I went to a wedding shower with my mom, and edited that evening/night. ;) I also raised my goal back to my original—60,000 words!

“I’m going to be completely honest with you. I like you, James, a lot. But I think you’ve about broken my little girl’s heart and that makes me not like you. Do we understand each other?”  
“Yes, sir,” I wince.  
“I don’t need to know details—that’s between the two of you—but I’m not stupid. She’s hurt. I haven’t seen her this upset since the last numbskull she let into her heart turned out to be even more of a jerk that I feared he was.” 

day twenty-two // Sunday // 5,512 words 

On Sunday, I snuck in a tad bit of editing midday and then edited until late that night. Got caught up on my goal!! :D I also hit a rough spot that I hadn't resolved during brainstorming, so I had to figure out what I'm going to do about that. Pretty pleased with the outcome, though. ;)


Goal (for 60k): 44,000 words
Current Progress: 44,097 words
Status: Barely ahead! The book is actually fluctuating around 63-64k, so hopefully I can hit my goal and then finish it as well. :D

How are y'all? Are you doing Camp? Can you believe April is nearly over?! O.O


Friday, April 20, 2018

Calling All Wanna-Be ASL Learners! {Classes for Homeschoolers}

Greetings, readers! I'm dropping in for just a moment to let y'all know about an amazing opportunity—geared toward homeschoolers! 

As some of you already know, I'm studying American Sign Language as a high school elective. This is my second year, and I'm planning to take a third this fall. (Who knows—maybe I'll end up an interpreter or ASL teacher myself. ;))

I have greatly enjoyed the experience, and I have to say that a lot of the credit for that goes to the amazing teacher I've been blessed with. He's fun in the classroom, making the online class sessions entertaining and interactive.

If you're considering studying ASL, I would wholeheartedly recommend looking into Mr. Dally's classes. With ASLYouCanDo, he offers live classes in ASL 1, ASL 2, and ASL 3. He also offers JumpStart tutoring sessions and conversational classes. There's so many options!

You find all the information by clicking on the image below. :)

Is your student a visual learner? Struggles with spoken foreign language? Looking for a sign language class? A satisfied parent says this about learning ASL with Mr. Dally:

"Mr. Dally's ASL classes are superb! My child learned so much during her ASL 1 class--vocabulary, grammar, conversational ASL, deaf culture, and much more. She especially enjoyed the breakout sessions with other students that enabled her to practice her signing while also learning about her fellow peers. My daughter's interest in ASL grew throughout the year and she can't wait for ASL 2 with Mr. Dally next year."

Have any of y'all studied sign language? 


Monday, April 16, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week Two {April 2018}

Well, I survived another week. But I'm so far behind on my original goal it's insane. *sobs*

day nine // monday // 1,906 words

Monday was pretty ordinary. School, reading, writing, a run, blogging... Oh, and a NaNo song that you totally need in your life.

day ten // tuesday // 2,865 words

Tuesday was pretty typical. We went out to get pizza that night to celebrate a friend's birthday, and then afterwards, I edited most of the evening/night. ;)

day eleven // wednesday // 1,364 words

Wednesday, I had pottery class and church on top of life, school, and editing. Still got some squeezed in though. ;D

I give the magazine a quick yank, expecting it to come free from where it’s cemented into the rack—probably by some kid’s bubble gum. The stupid thing comes free in my hand, but only after avalanching the rack and the rest of its contents into the floor.  
My face colors in embarrassment. I’ll never be able to pick all those up. I swallow hard, forcing aside those ideas. Those suggestions of being rid of my excuse for a life in any way I can.  
Those thoughts, those whispers in my head that say it’s not worth it. I’m not worth it. You’re not enough… 

day twelve // Thursday // 3,991 words

Thursday was pretty ordinary as well. We had some lovely sunshine (<3) and I got loads of editing done. :D Apparently so much that my brain didn't want to do, ever...

“Look, this isn’t easy, okay?”  
I wince—that was a jab. “I’m sorry, I never met to insinuate that this is easy for you either physically or emotionally. But you can do it and you are going to do it.”  
He stands there a minute, brows furrowing. “I’m not sure I appreciate your condescending tone.” He pushes off the wall, glaring at me, but I know I’ve won. “Move out of the way, Lil’ Miss Therapist.”  
Grinning over the nickname, I duck back out of the bars and stand off to the side, arms crossed. “Show me what you’ve got, Semper Fi.”

day thirteen // Friday // 69 words 

Friday was, again, a normal day. (See? My life is really boring. I just post the best parts in recaps... okay, kidding. xD) I didn't get much editing done though... I tried to start working on the entirely new prologue, but I just couldn't get anywhere.

I did, however, take a nice walk, snap some good pictures, and wade in the creek. ;D

Also, on Friday night, I lowered my Camp goal from 60k to 50k. I didn't want to—I still really want to get this edit finished this month! But this is what works best for right now, so I'm trying to be okay with that. ;)

day fourteen // Saturday // 0 words 

Saturday...I didn't write or edit a single word. I didn't even open the document. *cries* So what did I do? Exercise, drink Starbucks, write a blog post, drive 4 hours, attend my first ever deaf event, and get lost in a city at 9:00 at night.

Thankfully, my mom was with me, and we made jokes about chickens and Dollar Generals (don't worry, I'm confused too), so all in all it was a good night.

day fifteen // Sunday // 0 words 

Again, I wrote nothing...but I did reply to emails and comments, go to church, try to stay dry from the pouring rain, and laugh insanely at John Crist videos. (Look him up, y'all. xD)


Goal (originally, for halfway through): 30,000 words
Goal now (for halfway through the reduced 50,000): 25,000 words
Current progress: 20,276 words
Status: Still behind. Even with the lowered goal....

This post feels kind of lame to me, but I can't think of anything else to add... Instead of fretting over it too much, I'm going to go work on my neglected Camp project. xD

How's Camp NaNo going for y'all?! 


Thursday, April 12, 2018

Stories by a SBF Fan. {pt.2}

Who's ready for the second part of the Imagine This stories, written by a fan of the blog? :D Katja did such an amazing job with this, and I'm tickled to have the privilege of sharing them with y'all. 

(Confused as to what's going on? Check out part one.)

~Imagine This #6~

Find the other entries here

A Day in Their Mountain Vacation:
A Family Tale

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” 
—Psalm 8:3-4

I only glanced at the first entry for this challenge, but I twisted my story to make it different.

  Sixteen-year-old Ashton Porteston stretched his long arms over his head. His eyes wandered over the magnificent view without, and he remembered an old verse their family had memorized at school: “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
   His elder sister (“by two years”, she would say emphatically) draped her arm over his shoulders and grinned, holding her iPhone out at arms’-length before them. Ash turned his head and also grinned, folding his fingers into a thumbs-up.
   While Cearra posted the selfie on her Instagram feed—for the benefit of family and friends eager to know what they were doing—Ash went back into the spacious cave and bent over a little bundle wrapped in a pink sleeping-bag.
   “C’mon, Wrennie,” he said, dragging out a pigtailed, pink-pajamaed figure and swinging her up over his head. “Time to get up. We’re going ‘x-ploring’ today!”
   Seven-year-old Wren giggled herself awake and watched Cearra and Ash trying to drag twenty-one-year-old Upton from his camouflage sleeping-bag. The lazy six-footer defied their efforts until Wrennie straddled his stomach and bounced up and down, chanting, “Get up, Upton! Get up. . . get up, Upton! Get up! Get—”
   Upton grinned, opened his eyes, watched Wren for a moment, then suddenly rolled over and stood, dumping Wren onto Ashton’s sleeping-bag.
   While Upton dressed behind the curtained-off “bathroom,” Cearra helped Wren dress and Ashton rolled up the sleeping-bags and generally “tidied up.” A quick breakfast, followed by half-an-hour of devotions, and the four siblings set out to explore the creek chattering by past the cave.
   Around noon, they stopped for a meal. Ashton posed for an Instagram selfie with his sandwich, and Wren threw her arms around his neck and dimpled over his shoulder.
   Snack-time, at 3:00, found them nibbling a trail-mix and admiring an adorable little waterfall, slipping over and sidling through rocks and prattling away to itself.
   “Isn’t it lovely?” breathed Cearra. She watched the clear cold water splashing through her hand.
   Upton rested a foot on top of a boulder and jerked his backpack straps with his thumbs. “It’s pretty amazing that the Creator with the power and wisdom to arrange and make all this cares for the very flowers—and us.”
   “Enough to send Jesus,” piped up Wren, who was standing in the waterfall-pool, looking down at the water bubbling over her feet. 
   Ashton, seated on a rock nearby, folded his hands and interlaced his fingers, leaning his elbows on his knees and his chin on his fists. “Enough to watch over us and care for each little prayer we pray, no matter how insignificant.” 
   Upton eyed Wren’s deep-blue jean skirt, which had several darker spots where it was being dampened by the water. “You’re getting your skirt soaked, Wren. . . get out now.”
   Cearra looked down at her own dampening skirt and dropped her hand. Stepping away from the water, she tightened her backpack straps. Upton stretched a hand out to his little sister, and Wren grasped it and stepped carefully over the slippery rocks back to the path. Ashton stood and made a stride or two forwards to stand closer to his siblings. 
   “When you go x-ploring,” Wren said gravely as they started off, “you’d better be ready to see just how good and great God is. ’Cause, ‘ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this?’ You can’t help seeing just how amazing and wonderful He is.”

~Imagine This #7~

Find the other entries here

The Touch:
A World War II Tale

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
—Matthew 5:13-14, 16

Ahab is inspired by a character from the I Am Canada Series.

   Ahab slouched down into his train-seat, scowling at the world in general and “Prince Cal” in particular. Calvin King, or “Prince Cal”, as he was nicknamed, was a bit of a martinet, and if there was one thing Ahab detested, it was discipline.
   He therefore glared at Prince Cal, who scowled in return and ostentatiously turned his back on Ahab. Ahab returned the compliment and glowered out of his window, muttering something about the stupidity of aunts not worth remarking. He’d been signed up by Aunt Atosa, who was worn out by his eighteen years of mischief and petty crime.
   He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, wondering in spite of himself what had been the general village outlook upon this action of hers. He figured that the whole town had heaved a sigh of relief as it had heard young Alec Grange bawling out the news that “Pickle Ahab’s enlisted! He’s gone!” as Ahab, dressed in khaki, had crossed the station and entered the train.
   Don’t think of that, he commanded his mind. He attempted to focus on the outdoors, in order to shake off the unpleasant feeling of vague guilt.
   Suddenly he heard a high-pitched yell, and a little boy about ten came dashing up. “Daddy! Hey, Daddy!”
   The guy sitting in front of Ahab leaned out of the window and threw out his arms. A woman ran after the boy, and caught him up, puffing to raise him to her husband’s window. He leaned down and pulled up his son, and they enfolded each other in a tight hug—the kind you give when you’re about to separate and you just don’t want to let go—when you want to slow down time and never end that embrace, because it’ll seem like the end of everything—like the break of the tie, which will end with one or the other’s departure.
   The mother on the ground, had her head tipped, and she was clinging to the boy’s ankles, as if she felt some connection to her husband through their son’s arms. Her face was set, and Ahab knew instinctively that here was a brave woman—a woman who had given her dearest for other women’s dearests. It made him feel queer, and he sank down in his seat, almost nauseous. He’d always thought himself brave—hadn’t he messed with police and guard dogs and even dynamite and guns?—but now —well—she made him look like just a bravado.
   And that love. I didn’t ever really know it. Not a father’s love. His father had died just before he had been born. His mother had died when he had turned five. He aunt was as good to him as possible, but she wasn’t a mother, and it was hard to love such a pickle as he. But he wanted love like that—within him, deep inside, he wanted it. He was bold and brash outwards, but within—.
   Aunt didn’t even say goodbye. Well, not that she had the time. Actually, he was just relieved that she’d packed him off before finding his stash of dry cookies under and inside her best spare bed’s pillows. He squirmed at the mere thought. She had a sharp tongue sometimes. Besides, he never would have heard the end of it.
   He leaned out again and saw the father drop his son back into his wife’s arms. The boy held up his face and puckered his lips into a kiss as his mother set him down. Then his parents each stretched a hand and gripped each other’s in a silent, last-minute farewell. There was a quiet, peaceful smile on their faces and in their misty eyes. Neither one needed to speak. They knew.
   The train jerked, and Ahab’s back slammed against the back of his seat. But he hardly cared. He still remembered that peaceful joy. How come she hadn’t been bawling like some of the other women who came to see their menfolk off? Why wasn’t he crying and saying stuff over and over—stuff like, “I’ll come back—don’t worry—I’ll be okay—don’t cry—” But the father merely craned his neck around the widow-frame, smiled, and waved until the station had disappeared. Then he simply sat back and, pulling a little Bible from his knapsack, began perusing it attentively.
   Suddenly a light illumined Ahab’s puzzling mind. So that was why the fellow was so peacefully happy! He knew he was saved, and Who was ruling the world, and where he’d go when—if—he died, and that he’d see his family again—someday.
   What a blessing.


   That night Ahab was unable to sleep. As he turned and tossed restlessly, the scene seemed to pound continually against his eyes, with the words: “If you die tonight, who’ be sorry?”
   He knew the answer.
   No one.
   Even pronounced by his mind, the reply was sickeningly sobering in the silent dark.
   He was too big a problem. They’d just grunt and say, “Good riddance.”
   “So what are you going to do about?” his conscience prodded.
   All night he wrestled, but his conscience, now roused, seemed determined not to be beaten, and she stuck to her guns. At last he yielded and listened. Then he sat straight up in earnest determination, clenching his fists to emphasize his thoughts. He would straighten himself out. He’d find out about Jesus and know Him. He’d find out how to ask Jesus to save him, and turn his life over to Him. Then, by His grace and help, he’d come home, apologize and set things straight, get a good job, marry and have kids, and he’d love them and help them know the love of their Father, and the peaceful joy that He gives.
   And maybe someday, he’d see that guy again and thank him for this touch of love that set him on the right track.

~Imagine This #8~

Find the other entries here

Unexpected Opportunity

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
—Luke 15:10

     Lynn Brook rested his greasy hands on his helmet and glanced around. The young mechanic's eyes widened as he gazed around at the skirmish going on by him. (He sat with his legs dangling into the tank, and thus had a vantage-spot.) A grenade burst nearby, and he grimaced.
     Suddenly he was yanked from behind. Throwing up his arms, he flailed vainly for a hold. He tumbled down upon his attacker, and a fierce fight began. The Canadian boy was becoming panicked, when he heard his name shouted. Looking down, he saw he was lying upon Esias.
     Lynn scrambled to his feet, stammering an apology. His comrade rose too, shaking his head. He placed his hand on his knees and leaned forward, panting heavily. “My—fault. I—pulled—you down. Guess—I was—rattled—thought—you were—a—Japanese—guy.”
     Lynn glanced at his friend. The young Japanese-Canadian straightened, his eyes narrow and his jaw set. His bright, sunny, constant smile was not to be seen. He gripped his gun tighter and started forwards at a run. Lynn stumbled after him, his heart aching at the thought of Esias’ pain. It was hard for him to fight as he did. He knew he must fight—must stop Japan—he had his family's approval—but there was a dull pain at the thought that in the ranks facing him, there might be a cousin, an uncle, a family friend, or another relation. And Lynn knew, from their letters, that Esias’ elder brother Micaiah and younger brother Jeremias, who were also serving, felt the same.
      Suddenly he fell heavily, pain searing along his head.


     When he came to, he recognized Esias’ face bending anxiously over him.
     “All right, Ez,” replied Lynn, wincing.
     Esias’ infectious smile beamed across his face, causing Lynn to smile involuntarily.
      “Needs a—a—” Another voice, strongly accented, struggled to find a word. A uniformed arm and its hand made a small circular motion.
    “Bandage,” injected Esias in Japanese.
    The soldier nodded and began bathing Lynn's head. Lynn eyed him narrowly. He was small and slender, with a handsome, distinguished countenance, pronounced by a pair of round glasses. His face was serious, but kindly, and nothing could be gentler than his movements. In a few moments he skilfully bandaged Lynn's head.
    Painfully moving his head around, Lynn noticed that he was lying in a tiny glade, removed from the battlefield.
     “Our men retreated just as you fell,” Ez explained. “I dragged you into here. Takehiko followed me, and insisted on helping me fix you up.” He grinned, and Lynn grinned in reply. He knew what Esias’ medical assistance was like—clumsy and inneffectual.
     Takehiko motioned to Lynn to sit up and offered his water bottle. Lynn drank greedily. Esias declined, but Takehiko insisted, and Ez complied at last.
    When he were satisfied, Ez and Takehiko sat back on their heels. There was an awkward silence. Finally Ez ventured to ask, “Will he be O.K.?”
     Takehiko nodded, unconcerned. “Oh yes. Quite. It's only a scratch.”
     Lynn frowned at little at this careless dismissal of his wound. It had hurt, after all!
     After a tiny amount chit-chat, and settling the way the Canadians would rejoin their  comrades, the Japanese soldier began to sigh and pluck nervously at his sleeve.
    “When will you rejoin the army?” enquired Ez.
     There was a pained look on Takehiko’s face. “I don't want to,” he replied in a low tone, “but—I suppose—I have no choice.” He looked wistfully in the direction of his army.
    “Why do you not come with us?” demanded Ez boldly. “You would be a P.O.W., but then, at least you wouldn't be here.”
       A speck of hope lept up into the beautiful dark eyes, then died away into longing grief. There was silence.
     “Have you eternal life, Takehiko?” Esias asked suddenly.
      The Japanese turned to look at him enquiringly. Ez repeated his question.
      “I don't—know,” was the hesitating reply.
      Then Esias launched into “the old, old Story of Jesus and His love”—how God's Son had left His throne above and had come to earth as a baby, had grown to manhood, and had been crucified. How He had borne the sins—past, present, and future—of each and every human being who has lived, who is living, and who will live. How, if we believe that His blood only can save us from our sins, and the judgement of eternal suffering and seperation from God in a lake of fire that awaits us (for “the wages of sin is death”), and if we call upon Him to save us, we are saved, and will live eternally with Him in Heaven.
     Takehiko was greatly affected, and then and there knelt, and called upon the Name of his Savior.
     A few minutes later, they set out to rejoin to the Canadian Army. Lynn’s wound was trifling, as Takehiko had said, and he and Ez were soon serving again. Takehiko was released at the end of the war, and made his way back to Saskatchewan with his two friends. There they settled down, married, and joyfully watched their families become staunch friends and grow together in the Way of the LORD. And none of the three, even Lynn, ever regretted the circumstances which made them meet, for it had given Ez and Lynn the opportunity to lead a lost soul to the fold.

~Imagine This #9~

Find the other entries here

Healing Gift

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. . .” 
—James 1:17

    Hayes Beste smiled across expectantly at his wife. She smiled in answer and glanced down at the wee girlie in her arms. Then both looked up, eyes focused on the barrier. 
    Then they saw him—Carrson. Their firstborn. In his military camouflage. 
    Hayes’ heart tightened. His son’s face was listless and weary—weary of the battle. Wounded. The first blow had been the death of his wife by pneumonia last year, a month after their wedding, when he was “over there”. The succeeding blows were the war. He was broken and bruised in spirit, although his tall, powerful frame was uninjured. ‘In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.’
    A faint smile lit up his face when he saw them. 
    When the greetings were over, Mrs. Beste pressed into Carrson’s arms his new sister. Hayes and Maxie Beste had been only nineteen when they married, barely twenty when Carrson’s had been born. Carrson was now twenty, and the little girl was hardly a week old. 
    Carrson held the baby in both hands, one hand cradling her head and the other her body. She slept on, oblivious, as he scrutinized her earnestly. Hayes gazed at the wedding-ring on his son’s finger and winced internally. A pathetic reminder of Melyssa—and of Carrson’s broken heart. 
    “She’s—amazing,” Carrson pronounced at last, a smile lighting his face. He cupped his arms around her and gazed into her baby face. “What’s her name, again?”
His mother grinned. Carrson had always been terrible at remembering names. Even Melyssa’s name had been forgotten the first month or two he had courted her. 
    “Jane—‘God’s gracious gift’,” she replied. 
    Carrson nodded soberly, without raising his eyes from his sister’s face. 
    That night, Hayes stood unnoticed in the dark doorway to Jane’s room and watched Carrson rocking her to sleep, and raised a grateful prayer of thanks for the little gift which was slowly healing her brother’s broken heart.

What did y'all think? Be sure to leave this talented gal a comment on which story was your favorite! :D 


Monday, April 9, 2018

Camp NaNo // Week One {April 2018}

Welcome, dears, to the first installment of my Camp NaNo updates for this month! I'm planning to post one of these each Monday for the next few weeks. :D

day one // sunday // 648 words 

Easter began for me at 6:05 Sunday morning, thanks to a blaring alarm clock. ;) We had sunrise service at 7:30, Sunday school at 10:00, and worship at 11:00, followed by lunch and a visit with my grandma.

My family spent the evening at home, just chilling and hanging out. I had inspiration for a short-story idea on the way home, so I wrote my first 648 words of NaNo in it that afternoon.

My NaNo project is technically to edit A Soldier's Freedom (or, at least 60,000 words of it), but I was okay with counting this short story toward my word count goal, since I hadn't did a ton of writing lately. :)

my Easter dress that I forgot to get a decent picture of ;D

day two // monday // 734 words

Monday was pretty ordinary. Aside from school and life, I wrote some more on the story. Gahh, I love it so much. Enjoy a snippet...

“What’s your name?” 
“Annalyse. Yours?” 
He shook his head, smirking and grinning at once if that’s even possible. “Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you.” 
“How do I know you’ll be here tomorrow?” 
He shrugged, then held his hands palm-up. “I’d say we have quite the pattern going.” 
“Every pattern has been broken.” I actually wasn’t sure if that was true or not, but it sounded intelligent and philosophical so I went with it. 
“Then I guess we’ll have to be the exception.” 

day three // tuesday // 1,243 words 

I FINISHED MY SHORT-STORY!!! *happy dance* I barely got those last few words out before midnight though, haha. Would y'all like to read this story on the blog sometime?

I also read all of the entries from the Circle C contest! Great job, everyone. :D

day four // wednesday // 983 words 

On Wednesday, I edited my short story (which resulted in adding 102 words to it!) and then dove into editing A Soldier's Freedom. Nothing else noteworthy happened that day that I can think of.... ;P

day five // thursday // 0 words 

Yup, Thursday was the climax of the week...actually, it was whatever the opposite of a climax is. I read basically alllll day. Soaking up The Proving by Beverly Lewis. :)

a quote I found <33

day six // friday // 1,787 words 

Another pretty good editing day. Another day of school and life and laughter and books and words. And also food. These posts are getting to sound pretty much the same... I'm thinking I'll take notes next week... ;D

How about a snippet from A Soldier's Freedom? *wink*

Rolling onto my side, I stare out the window into the dark night sky, broken by only a scattering of stars. The familiar night sounds of a hospital swirl around me, drawing my mind back to the days and nights I spent in a similar room a few months ago. Where I learned I was no longer whole. Where I faced rejection of the no-longer-enough creature I’d morphed into. 
I squeeze my eyes shut, searching for sleep...and dreading the nightmares that I know will come. 

day seven // saturday // 3,700 words 

Saturday was pretty fun! It was rainy that morning, so I lounged around and did some editing and reading. Then, that evening, the sun appeared somewhat, so I got out and exercised before supper. I got a ton of editing accomplished that day! :D

Mom having a 'talk' with the dog about how he's not supposed to be on
the furniture... Guess who won? Wrong! She did. ;)

day eight // sunday // 986 words 

Not much. We spent about 4 hours in the car on Sunday, because church + hospital visit an hour away. It was a pretty good day though, and I got a little editing squeezed in before bed. :D


Goal (for 8 days in): 16,000 words
Current progress: 10,081
Status: a tittle behind. Hopefully I can remedy that soon. ;)

Do y'all like these types of post, a sort of mashup of my life and writing? Thoughts on the snippets? 


Sunday, April 1, 2018

New Release, Good Books, & Snow || March Recap

I would be cliche and say that March flew by. (Which would be true.) But instead I'll just say that I have no idea where it went.

|| Life. || 

>> It snowed like three Wednesday mornings in a row this month. It'd be warmer over the weekend, and then snow midweek. Kinda cool. ;P

>> I had some crazy conversations with my family. Not that that's unusual...

Tucker: Why does food get cold but drinks get warm?
Me: Because we like our food hot and our drinks cold.
Tucker: Not necessarily. What about coffee? Or ice cream?
Me:....Ice cream doesn't 'get cold'. Unless you like, put it in the freezer.
Tucker: No, no, you don't get it.
Me: Mhm. Okay. There is no logic here.

*at play practice*
Someone: *gives the cue for the guy who's playing Jesus*
Tucker: *walks out, flipping through his copy* Where are we?
Me: Go back, Thomas. We need Jesus.
Other narrator: We all need Jesus, Faith. It's not just you.
Me: *dies*

Mom: Why isn't all our grass the same?
Mom: Seriously! In some places we have real grass, and then we have this weird other grass, and then we have spots of just weeds!
Me: *dies*

>> Our church youth group put on an Easter skit! No pictures, but I would say it was a definite success. :D

>> I read my critique partner's new book. (Translation: I flailed over her new cast of characters and left 9274 comments in the document that were 78.3% inside jokes and 21.7% helpful stuff.) (But hey, at least I can do basic math.)

>> My desk was a disaster most of the month. Like, seriously.

>> I saw I Can Only Imagine at the theater and it was amazing. Give it a watch, y'all. You won't regret it. ;)

>> Amy and I did a 'one-arm day' in the name of research. We attempted to spend the entire day doing most tasks with only one arm/hand. I believe I can speak for both of us in saying that it was more difficult than we expected. ;)

|| Books. || 

I read some really good books this month, y'all. Likkeee... *heart eyes*

// Reads 

Kindred Souls by Patrica MacLachlan -- 5 stars
Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliot -- 5 stars
Revelation: In Christ You are an Overcomer by Warren W. Wiersbe -- 4 stars
I Don't Dance by Jesseca Wheaton -- 5 stars
Wedding a Warrior by Hannah R. Conway -- 5 stars
100 Days with Jesus by Diann Cotton -- 3 stars -- Review HERE.
When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke -- 4.5 stars

I also read the books of Judges and Ruth....and my own, Love Needs No Words. xD

// Books

You're the Cream in My Coffee, Go Teen Writers, & When Tides Turn -- B&N
Judah's Wife & Cinderella -- giveaway wins

|| Writing. || 

Things in the writing world went pretty well this month! I'm specifying writing world here, because most of it wasn't actual writing. But that's okay, because I'm still around the stories and all. <3

(Come to think of it, the only writing I can recall was a short story that I wrote off of a song I heard. Speaking of which, would y'all like to read something like that on here?)

On the publishing side, some things that happened were...

       ~ Love Needs No Words was published in paperback and ebook formats.

       ~ I finally published an ebook version of Dandelion Dust on Lulu! 

In other news... *deep breath* I've had some inspiration in the area of War Tears. (Yes, my 127k word baby that's sitting alone on the shelf right now... *cries*) It's not enough to dash into edits yet, but I do have several handwritten pages of notes. So hopefully I'll have more soon. I've been praying about it, and I think I'll be able to dive back into it come June. *fingers crossed*

I'd originally planned to get into the editing of A Soldier's Freedom this month, but I ended up setting that aside and considering it my Camp NaNoWriMo project.

I also had some inspiration for another aforementioned story! Goodness, I have a lot of them, don't I? Some of y'all may remember when I mentioned a prequel to Dandelion Dust last summer? I didn't put much time or effort into it then, but a week or so ago, I had some ideas and made an outline. I don't think it'll be more than 15-20k words, but I'm looking forward to digging deeper into that one sometime soon! (Translation: I'm having Ry+Char withdrawals. It's bad.)

|| Blogging. || 

// Favorite Posts

Ladies, Stay on God's Path for You ~ Lady Grace

God is Always There & Hello! ~ Apples of Gold

What If ~ The Ramblings of a Book Worm

Friendship ~ Whimsical Writings for His Glory

Being Single ~ Colorful, Creative Cards

// My Posts

|| Goals. || 

~ March Goals 

>> Read 8 books.        YUSS!

>> Stay caught up on emails.        Ahh...haha. Pretty much. xD

>> Publish Love Needs No Words.        Yeppers!!

>> Edit 9 chapters of A Soldier's Freedom.        No...but for a good reason. ;)

>> Finish my Grammar, Bible, and History courses.        YES!!! I barely got history squeezed in there, but YES. xD

~ April Goals 

>> Read 8 books.

>> Edit A Soldier's Freedom.

>> Win Camp NaNoWriMo.

>> Finish my Math and Economics courses.

>> Finish trip planning.

How was your month, my friends? Are you doing Camp NaNo?? Happy Resurrection Day!! <33