Wednesday, May 23, 2018

I'm Getting Published!

I'm getting some of my short stories published! And I'm just like so so, so, SUPER EXCITED. 

One of my best friends loves to send me emails full of links to places looking for submissions.

Most of the time I find I have an hour or so to kill soon after these emails... so what better way to spend that time but submitting? 

I have received many rejections. But I've always understood that was a part of the game. You write, you submit, and you mostly get rejected. 

I sent three stories for the Clarion Call anthology, little dreaming they'd want two of them! 

The anthology, Clarion Call, Volume 4: FairyTale Riot is due to release end of July 2018.

I think this makes me a published author??? 

Oh, and look at these fun covers they did for announcing the stories last week! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I'll Love You, Unless...

I'll love you, unless we don't get a long. 

I'll love you, unless you aren't my type.

I'll love you, unless we aren't compatible.

I'll love you, unless we are just too different.

I'll love you, unless you annoy me.

I'll love you, unless you are an idiot.

I'll love you, unless you hate someone I like. 

I'll love you, unless you tend to make the same mistakes over and over... and over.

I'll love you, unless you go against what's really important to me.

I'll love you, unless our families don't get a long.

I'll love you, unless you don't stick up for me.

I'll love you, unless you don't hold the same goals as I do. 

I'll love you, unless you are weird.

I'll love you, unless it doesn't make sense to love you.

I'll love you, unless... who are we kidding??? I'll only love you if I feel like it. 

I'll love you, unless I hate you. 

God never gave us exceptions when He said love. We are the ones that add all these extra exceptions (excuses)

I'll love you... but we aren't friends. I'll love you, but I don't like you. 

Or sometimes we are even honest... I just don't love you because I hate you and don't want to listen to what God has to say about love right now.

Are you making excuses to not love someone?
If so, what are you going to do about it?

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Lawrence Children: Chapter 8

 A Friendly Visit

Fred-O ran into the house leaving the front door wide open. Wind rushed in after him and the snow followed his footsteps.
“Tom and Mary are coming! I saw their wagon on the down the hill.”
Lucy was bending over a pile of dough, kneading it on the table, “Fred-O, the door.”
He acted as if he didn't hear, “Shall I go and meet them?”
“No,” answered Lucy, punching her bread dough. “They will be here soon enough. In the meanwhile close that door and clean up your wet mess.”
Fred-O stood still half a moment as if deciding whether or not to obey. He chose to listen, first closing the door against the wind.
Noah was not here, but at the mines with Vern today. Ann helped Lucy with the kitchen, cutting and washing a pile of potatoes Fred-O had brought up from the cellar. Julie sat at a corner of the table, scribbling on a piece of scrap paper.
“Noah will be disappointed about missing out on seeing the O'Rallies,” Ann said.
Lucy punched her floury hands into the dough, “Maybe we should invite them to stay for supper. That way he won't have to miss out.”
Ann smiled, approving of the idea.
By the time Tom and Mary arrived Lucy had her hands washed and the dough rising by the oven.
“Hello, Lucy!” Tom and Mary greeted Lucy as she held the door wide open for them. Mary carried a pail of milk in each hand. “I hope you all want milk.”
Fred-O ran forward, “Of course we do!”
Tom laughed, giving Fred-O a pat on his head. Fred-O took the pails of milk from Mary and put them away.
“Thank you,” Lucy said. “We can always drink plenty of this – especially Noah.”
“That's good! Because we have plenty,” Tom said.
Mary laughed, and her eyes searched the room, “The boys must be at the mines?”
Lucy nodded, “Noah is almost always down there all day Saturday to help Vern.”
“Good boy,” Tom said.
“But I know Noah will be so disappointed to not see you,” Lucy added, directing her words to Tom. “Why don't you all stay awhile? And have supper with us?”
Mary nodded, first looking to Tom before replying.“I think we can do that – there's something we needed to talk about with you children, anyways. And we need Vern to be here.”
“Oh,” Lucy said, her tone indicating she wasn't sure how to take Mary's words.
Mary didn't say anything further to put Lucy's mind at ease.
Ann rose from her pile of potatoes. Obviously something was up – both girls knew it. But there was nothing to be done, and worrying wouldn't help. They tried to silence their questioning thoughts.
“Fred-O, why don't you show me the wood pile?” Tom said. “We'll see about refilling it and bringing more kindling inside for your sisters. Save some work for your brothers.”
“OK!” Fred-O still had his coat on from previously. He slipped on his overshoes and followed Tom out.
“I supposed there's something I can do to help?” Mary said.
She went over to Julie and picked up the baby, kissing her right on the forehead. Julie let her and hugged Mary back.
“We were just cooking – supper and for tomorrow. Not too much left.” Lucy said.
Mary sat on the bench at the table, “Well, I'll just hold the baby and talk with you girls as you finish up your things.”
Ann smiled, sitting back in front of her potatoes, “That sounds nice – Lucy is hard to talk to as she's full of directions.”
Mary laughed as Lucy stuck her tongue out at her younger sister.

Vern and Noah came home to find all their chores had been done by Tom and Fred-O. Noah grinned wide upon seeing the O'Rally horse. He ran past Vern, and inside to the aroma of the supper meal greeting.
“Hello!” Noah called out to everyone inside. He kicked off his boots and hung his jacket over a nail behind the stove. Vern entered just after Noah.
“You look happy,” Tom said.
“I am – you all are here,” Noah grinned.
“Sure it isn't just because of the milk?” Tom laughed.
“Partly,” Noah laughed, “Couldn't live without that stuff.”
“Well, you never know,” Vern said from behind as he shed his boots and coat. “With all these city people moving into town and trying to put their sophisticated ways on us, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to make milk illegal or something.”
“Imagine that,” Lucy laughed, disbelief and sarcasm mixing. “They couldn't find anything wrong with milk.”
“Ignorant people can always find something wrong with everything,” Tom said. “Either it's wrong to take the mother's milk from the baby, or it wasn't designed for human consumption, or it carries some disease, or -”
“I don't care what people say,” Noah cut into Tom's words. “God promised us a land flowing with milk and honey – and I plan to embrace that truth. No one is taking away my milk.”
Everyone laughed. Vern and Noah sat at the table – already heaped with food. Potato chunks mixed with dried onions and peppers and venison, large, soft wheat rolls, and warm milk.
Tom prayed over the food, and then silence dwelt over the table as everyone began eating. Both Vern and Noah ate as ravenous beasts. Working in the mines always made certain their appetites were burning.
Mary spoke, “So, what have you children been up to in your free time.”
There was a slight pause. Everyone had agreed not to tell anyone about the mystery. Lucy had told some to Patty, but the children had decided to remain quiet on the matter here on out until something was discovered. Especially on anything to do with the murder.
“We don't really have much free time with school and chores,” Ann said.
“Any free time I have is spent studying books that Lucy and Mr Farrows think I should study,” Vern added.
“And that's hard to make happen as most the time he tries to sneak off and sleep,” Lucy teased Vern.
“I'm sure it's hard to keep up with both,” Tom said. “School takes a lot of mind-will. And the mines already drain one past the point of one's brain shutting off.”
“No kidding,” Vern replied.
“Have you had a chance to take up any ore to Norris?”
“No,” Vern said. “I have a couple wagons ready to go up. I just haven't been able to find the time to negotiate the horse around the kids going to school.”
“I plan to be taking mine up next week,” Tom said. “I'll need help – maybe we can arrange a day? Take all the loads up to the station, and help each other out?”
Vern nodded enthusiastically, “I'm for that!”
“Great,” Tom smiled.
Ann and Lucy fidgeted. All evening – actually, all afternoon – they'd been waiting to hear what Mary had to say to all of them. It would seem she had forgotten, though. But as soon and Vern and Tom finished making their plans for next week, Mary put her fork and knife down and began speaking slowly.
Vern didn't pick up the girls' uneasiness, but Mary's uncertainty was obvious.
“There's been some talk at town,” Mary started. “Some of the women are worried about you children living out here on your own.”
Vern laughed. Then stopped. “Seriously? I'm nearly eighteen.”
Tom kept his fork midair and looked to Vern, nodding.
“I've been trying to tell them you all are fine and don't want help. That Tom and I come down often.”
“But people are busybodies and think that their recommendation must be law,” Tom inserted.
“Not quite,” Mary tried to defend the town women. “They are just concerned.”
Lucy had been afraid of this for quite some time. She should have known that people with authority wouldn't allow them to take care of themselves. Lucy had Julie close to her. She wanted to hug her little sister – they were doing well.
“Concerned how?” Vern said.
“They don't say much about you Vern, but they don't like that Lucy is not finishing school with the girls her age. Or that Julie doesn't have a mother. Or that Lucy is having to take care of so much. And that there must be little supervision with the others.”
There was nothing the Lawrence children could say that wasn't already obvious. It wasn't like they had any other choice. And they were doing fine. Sure it wasn't ideal. But this was the life God had given them, and they were surviving.
“One of the women have volunteered to take Julie.”
Lucy laughed sarcastically wrapping her arms around her little sister, “Absolutely not. Concern or not no one is telling us what to do. This is our home, our land, our family. I am not letting anyone take her away.”
“I understand how you feel,” Mary said. “But we don't always have a choice when those above us make a decision.”
“And what makes these women above us? Because they happen to live in town? Are a part of the church? They have no say over our lives,” Even as Lucy said the words she felt a little silly knowing that these women did and could have a lot of say over her life in the government's eyes. But that didn't change the fact of what was right.
“I don't understand the worry,” Vern said. “Lucy and I are both doing well, and the children have great grades. No one has been sick or hurt.”
“Prevention – just because something hasn't happened doesn't mean it won't.”
“Are you on their side?” Ann questioned quietly.
At that moment every child felt very betrayed by the O'rallies. Even Noah.
“Actually, no,” Mary said. “I can can tell you children are doing a great job. And I volunteered to watch over you more often. But they think I am too old.”
“We are all trapped,” Tom said.
“No we aren't,” Vern said. “They may be trying to bully us – but we will not be victims just because our parents are dead.”
“It's not quite like that...” Mary said.
“It's exactly like that,” Lucy said, her voice crisp and clear. She did not mean to be rude to Mary and Tom. But she wanted to make sure everyone knew that she would not back down. No one would take her family away. “We have decided how our family is going to be run. And no one has any say in the matter. We do not mind friendly concern – but no one shall be dictating our lives.”
Vern nodded.
Noah and Ann agreed with quiet their yeah's.
Fred-O just stared, eyes darting back and forth. He barely understood what was being said except the town people were trying to interfere in their lives. He did not approve.
Julie was the only one that continued to eat uninterrupted and unaffected.
“We appreciate you telling us this,” Vern said. “It's hard to hear what is being gossiped or any rumor when we are snowed out of it all. So, it's good knowing this. But you may inform these busybodies that we aren't interested in their charity concerns. And we won't be complying under any circumstances.”
Tom answered, “Alrighty, Vern. I hope they accept your answer.”
“They haven't a choice.” Vern began eating signaling to the rest of his siblings to do the same. This conversation was over, and as far as the children were concerned, it was over forever.

Make sure to return the second Monday of next month for the continuing installment of the Lawrence Children! 

Father Tells a Story posted 10/9/17
No More Good-nights posted 11/13/17
Lucy Learns to Live posted 12/11/17
Never Know, Noah posted 1/8/18
Grandpa's Mystery  posted 2/12/18
Ann Finds Answers posted 3/12/18
Vern Lead's An Adventure posted 4/9/18
A Friendly Visit posted 5/14/18
A Real Clue? posted 6/11/18
Fred-O is Frightened  posted 7/9/18
Good Job, Julie! posted 8/13/18
Hello, Life posted 9/10/18

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Life: Mommy's Helper and My Dad's Accident

Hello, people! My blog shows I've been active (thanks to scheduled posts) but to be honest I've been very quiet on the blogging world all of April.

And that's because I've been gone! Kinda... I went to help my friend after the birth of her new baby, Elizabeth, for a month. 

Basically, I was her live-in slave for one month. ;D Cook, clean, help with little girls. Give her 
conversation. I've been keeping up with rewrites for A Series of Thoughts, but besides that it was life with my friend! FANTASTIC LIFE. 

Here's a glimpse of what life was... 

Flying to Kentucky! 

I fly a lot. But I hate it. 
The flying part isn't so bad. But security hates me. They literally always have to pat down my left ankle! Almost always. This time around was no exception.

And running to my connecting flight makes stress have the time of my life. HAHA. Stress and I are thriving buddies, though. So no big deal.

This time I really didn't need to worry though. Because once my first plane landed... my second was cancelled due to weather. And I wasn't able to get another plane until the next day. So arriving barely in time to board my second plane really didn't matter as it wasn't leaving anyways until 5am the next morning.

When they announced our canceled flight many people got mad. One lady holding a small baby started screaming and crying, saying the f-word over and over and frightening her poor baby into tears, too.

I could have left the airport and bought a discounted hotel. 


1. Discounted isn't free
2. Who wants to go through security again!?

So... I just stayed at the airport, walking around. I caught up with some writing and beta reading. I found new writing spots, took selfies. 

Around midnight I found a chair to sleep in. After a bit a lady that worked at the airport brought me a mat, a lap blanket, and flimsy pillow which didn't matter to me as I never use pillows anyways. I used this pillow to block the light from my eyes.

Still, I slept for maybe two or three hours?

My plane left at 5am. I had a bit of a hard time finding my plane (a lady from Japan joined me on the search) as part of our gate was shut down due to construction.

I will say I was happy to sleep on the plane. And finally arrive in Kentucky.

Yay for bathroom selfies! 

A night at the airport? Hey, no problem ;D 

Hello, Friends!

Most of what I have now is pictures with story captions!

Quick introductions: Mary has been my friend since we were fifteen. She married Caleb when she was eighteen - I got to be Mary's maid of honor :)  Annalise is two. And Elizabeth was born March 31. 

Annalise likes doing "Keturah splits" with me :D 

"What are you doing here?" ~ Elizabeth

Mary and her babies.

Mary and I had to take a fun selife of Halo Top icecream to post on IG... Halo Top comments on many of the posts when you tag them in it ;D 

I did a lot of cooking in KY. Here are some pictures I took :)

I'd bought this chocolate for my whole trip.. but being stuck at the airport with only this and a couple protein bars I ate all of it ;D
Stuffed peppers.

Crock-pot roast, all ready to start cooking.

Chicken cut up and half stuffed with celery, onions, and spices. Potato and carrots made up the sides. 

(I like buying unique fruits) Ugli Fruit... 

Tasted like a sour orange or a sweet grapefruit. I liked it, Mary didn't.

Papaya (left) and mango (right)

Papaya seeds taste like black pepper.
They are actually really good for you, so Mary and I saved
them and added them to our milk shakes. 

This looked pretty and tasted great!

Opening cans with knives was a new experience .

Cauliflower soup.

Texas Beef Skillet.

Bananas with peanut butter + cottage cheese berry whip. The berry whip is one of my favorite things! Look it up and you'll find many easy recipes for it.

Stuffed peppers made with cauliflower instead of rice.

Breyers ice-cream, especially Rocky Road, is my favorite! 

The green cabbage
doesn't show it's

colors very well ;/
 But it was super yummy.
Part of below dish...
Cabbage and quinoa with chicken. I made a soy-like
sauce for the cabbage and quinoa. So yummy! 


Fried deviled eggs.

Don't Forget to Knit! 
Someday in the future (probably a ways off) I'm going to tell you all about a quilt I'm making for my hope chest! It's full of knitted lace, hand embroidery, and hand quilting. I took my knitting along with me, hoping to get a little done. Instead I got a lot done! In fact I knitted all the lace I need right now... two strips each 110 inches long!  I already had one knitted, three strips done totally now ;)

Hiking for Sweet William
One day Mary's father-in-law decided we should all go on a beautiful hike called "Natural Bridge". So we did. On the way we found my favorite flower, Sweet William - and I got in trouble with a park ranger for picking them ;/ But it was so worth it!

These used to grow everywhere where I grew up at in Missouri. Sadly I've seen little wild Sweet William in Montana.

Not only are the flowers gorgeous, they have the best scent in the world. And an extremely long vase life. I keep hoping that some day I'll find a perfume that smells just like these flowers. Until then I'm content with getting in trouble with park rangers.

You can see part of the natural formation in the rock behind us - forming a natural bridge or arch.

Anni found a friend and grabbed her hand and wouldn't let go of her for a long time.

I literally love Sweet William so much ;D 

Always Time To Sew, Too! 
Mary and I both sew, though she loves it more than I do. At one time she did a lot of sewing and I called her a dreamstress (she likes dreaming, too).

We found the time to make matching dresses while I was at her house!

We each designed our own dresses. She made the patterns.

It started with me seeing this fabric at Walmart. Only $2.50 a yard for beautiful Rayon... of course I had to buy two whole bolts! And then Mary and I decided to make matching dresses.

I did my button holes by hand. I'm quite happy with how they came out.

We wore our dressed to a church tea party! 
People kept telling us we looked like sisters (before we wore the matching dresses). To be honest neither of us understand why. What about you? Do you think we look alike?

One of Mary's friends, Alyssa. So sweet and took pictures for us!

Just another fun mirror selfie ;D 

"Really? More Selfies???"

Can't ever have too many.

Baby hair is everywhere.

Ya know where a TV is meant to be? Outside as a selfie prop. 

Recognize art, Capture art.

Like this stuff.

Sunny walks and wild flowers.

New pens for journaling. 

Ready for town.
Sometimes kids don't selfies quite like the rest of us do.

"Don't Forget, I Wanna Laugh."
Been keeping my A Cleaning Gal page alive and strong. Decided to make a twitter page ;D 

Twitter handle is @a_cleaning_gal
I mostly post cleaning selfies with my own hashtag #amcleaning 

About a year and a half ago Mary and I started this comedy page called Ironic Skillet on facebook and instagram. 

Jolly face on top the pot of beans ;D 
I saw this written on a bathroom stall at the airport. I thought... this is not #facts. What is true?  “Earth is Earth and it’s all the same: stupid but home.” It was the one of the few times I've been tempted to do graffiti. But I had no marker ;D

Me: *sees sign* Oh, yay! We can get buggy rides ahead.
Mary: That's not what that sign means...
Me: sure what else does it mean?
*We both laugh*
Later, Mary: I'll never see that sign the same again.

Time To Say Goodbye ;/ 
A few more things and then this long post shall be over... 
First I had the honor of witnessing Mary be baptized!!! 
I think she was very happy. Though she is always happy ;) 

Two days before I came home I found out my dad was in a car accident, totaling the truck he was driving. He was life flighted to a hospital. His legs and an arm are broken along with twelve ribs. His spleen and liver burst. He's been going through surgery and has had a lot of blood and plasma transfusions.

I finally got to see him after flying home a couple days later (security only needed to pat down my right ankle and lower back ;b). He'd already had some surgery and was really swollen - he had breathing/ feeding tubes in, too. Looked rather sad.

People keep asking me if I'm worried... to be honest I haven't been? I've been sleeping fine, and haven't needed to cry... there's no need. I actually don't understand why others' think I'd be upset -- he's alive. He's healing.

Here's what I wrote to try and explain why my siblings and I are "weird" about this:

I continue to see mostly good, it’s so strange how I’ve not felt worried and upset. Just peaceful. All my siblings say the same thing.

The bad thing has happened. Now it can only be good from here on out.

While it’s good to keep praying for my Dad here are some things to thank Yahweh for!

•That my Dad wasn’t found dead in the truck.
•That none of my siblings were with him - he almost always has kids with him.
•That no one else was hurt (other strangers)
•That Dad will be able to walk again.
•That Dad will heal.
•That Dad will “have” to stay home a while 😉 He’s gone a bit too much.
•That the owners to the truck Dad was driving have been super supportive! 💚
•That my Grandma and Aunts are coming to visit!
•And that so many people have been encouraging and offering help!

It’s amazing how there’s so much to be positive about despite everything

 Well, did I overwhelm you with pictures? Do you have a favorite picture? Anything make you smile or laugh or make you hungry and ready to cook?

And thank you for praying for my dad and family as we figure out what this next year is going to be like, and get over the hospital phase! 

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