Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence Day - 2020

Have you ever spent the late afternoon
Watching the purple shadows deepen in Arizona desert?
Or seen a herd of Elk plough their way
Through waist deep snow on a cold Colorado dome?
Did you ever see the sun go down in Hawaii
Or seen the stormy waves break over the rock bound coast of Maine?
Or have you ever see an eagle fly up out of the mists of Alaska?
Or a big October moon hanging full over the still Dakato badlands?
Have you ever tasted the gumbo in New Orleans, Bar-B-Que in Carolina
Or the chicken wings in Buffalo?
Have you ever had Brunswick stew in Maken, or cornbread in Burmingham?
Or briskets slow cook over hill country mesquite wood?
Did you ever drink the water from a gurgling branch in Utah
Or, stand on the mountain above El Paso Del Norte
And see the lights twinkling clear over in Mexico?
Did you ever jingle horses in the pre dawn stillness of a perfect Texas day
And watch their shodded hooves kicking up sparks on the volcanic rock?
Or attended a truck line on a foggy Carolina morning
Or heard the distant love song of a lovesick whipperwill
On a pristine Tenneesee late night?
Have you seen the faces on Mount Rushmore or stood at the Vietnam monument?
Have you ever crossed the mighty Mississippi
Or been to the daddy of them all in Cheyenne, Wyoming?
Or seen the mighty Volve run out on the football field on a chilly autumn afternoon?
Did you ever see the Chicago skyline from Lake Shore Drive at night?
Or the New England follage in the fall
Or the summer beauty of the Shanandoah valley
Or Indiana covered with new snow?
Did you ever seen a herd of wild horses running free
Across the empty spaces in Nevada?
Or, caught a walleyed pike out of a cold Wisconsin stream?
Or, marveled at the tall ship docked in the harbor at Baltimore?
Did you ever see the early morning dew sparkling on the blue grass
Or, the wind stir the wheat fields on a hot Kansas afternoon?
Or, driven the lonely stretches of old Route 66?
Have you ever heard the church bells peal their call to worship
On an early Sunday, in some small town in the deep south?
Or pass through the redwood forest just as the sun was going down?
Have you ever been to Boise or Batchlee or Boford or Billings?
Have you ever passed through Sanford or Suffacer San Angelo?
Have you ever seen the falls at Nigara?
The ice palace in Saint Paul?
Or the Gateway to the west?
This then is America!
The land God blesses with everything
And no Effel Tower: no Taj Mahal
No Alps; No Andes
No native hut; nor Royal Palace
Can rival her awesome beauty
Her diverse poplulation, her monolithic majesty
America the Free!
America the mighty!
America the beautiful!
I pledge alligence to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic for which it stands
One nation under God indivisible
With liberty and justice for all!

-My Beautiful America, Charlie Daniels 

It seems that every day there's something else threatening our freedom and frowning on anyone who dares to be patriotic. But you know what? I'm proud of my country. I'm proud of our history, as flawed as it may be. And I'm proud to be an American. 
Happy Independence Day - may we never take our freedom forgranted, and maybe always be willing to fight for it. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ❤️

Friday, June 26, 2020

Dealing with Tough Topics in your WIP

Hey guys! I hope your summer is off to a fabulous start! I've been keeping busy with work, school, an surprisingly enough I've also managed to get a nice amount of writing done. I just finished up the first draft of my WWII novella, Untitled, and I'm excited to move onto the next steps and work toward getting it ready to share with  you all! <3 

If I've learned anything through writing it, it's how hard it is to deal with, well, hard topics. You know, PTSD, suicide, homosexuality, abandonment, single parent homes, divorce, abortion, racism, politics... all those things we don't really like to think about. 
I'm the kind of person who's all for reading a book that will make me think and challenge me, but when it comes to writing it? Ehh, no thanks. I'm going to pass. I'll let someone else do that. 
It doesn't come easy to deal with controversial topics. Especially in today's day and age where disagreeing with someone is drawing battle lines. Even a suggestion that someone may be wrong is considered wrong.

So how are we supposed to deal with that as Christian authors?

I had decided to avoid it. I mean, no one would really care if I tackled hard subjects. I write historical fiction, it's not like I'll be dealing with current events. 
But sometimes current events aren't only current. They've been going on for years, simply in a less visible way. And sometimes God puts something on your heart and doesn't give you a break about it until you give in and write it. 

Then it kinda becomes something you can't avoid anymore. We can't always stay neutral. Sometimes the only choice is to take a stand. 

Untitled  is about two soldiers in the Pacific war. But it deals with more then that. Specifically, it deals with PTSD and homosexuality. And even typing that is kinda terrifying because I know there are a lot of people who are not going to be okay with it. 
But I know that God's okay with it. And that's the most important thing. 

So I thought I'd do a quick post today with some tips I've learned through writing this book. These are things I've learned along the way and I hope they might be helpful to y'all as well. <3 

1.) Pray. A lot. And then pray some more. Because writing and thinking about releasing such things out into the world is terrifying. What if no one likes it? What if all the reviews are negative? What if I somehow someone takes it the wrong way? What if it does more harm then good? What if I'm not portraying things the right way? Friend, if you're writing the book to please the Lord, He will bless it. There will always be that one person who needs your book. Who is struggling with that very topic and needs the encouragement. Write it for them. 

2.) Check your motive. Are you trying to instruct or inform people? To shine light on a little known or talked about fact? Or are you trying to prove you're right? Even if you *are* right, trying to prove it through a fictional book is probably not the best way to go about it. The only people who will read it are those who agree with you, and you won't end up reaching the people you wanted to or the people who need it. 

3.) Don't use the book as an argument.  Trust me, I more than anyone else should know how easy this is to do. When you believe something strongly, it's only natural that you want to share your opinions. And sometimes the easiest way to do it is through characters. But there's a fine line there, because you have to make sure you're not using the book as a platform to preach. 
If you have something to say, then say it. But don't try and muffle the voice behind your characters.  

4.) Give it to God and watch Him work. Because He will. He'll take our struggles and imperfections and use them for His glory. And you'll be surprised how much you grow through the writing of it. 

5.) Write it. Just do it. Do it scared. It's okay to not have it all figured out. It's okay to not have the answers. When God prompts you to do something, you don't have to have it all figured out. Because He does. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day - 2020

Hello all! Long time no see. XD I could make som fabulous excuse about how life got crazy and Covid messed things up buttt...that woudln’t be true. To be honest, Covid didn’t change much of life, beyond bringing classes to a stop. I’ve had more time on my hands then I have in a while and I’ve spent a lot of time just hanging out with siblings, playing games, and enjoying the slower pace of life.
Now that things are picking back up and I’m trying to get back to somwhat of a schedule, I’m going to work on getting some blog posts written and scheduled for the summer.
But anyway. Today is Memorial Day and if y’all know anything about me, you know I’m not about to let the day go by without some sort of patriotic post. ;) In a world where so many see this weekend as just another holiday, we need to remind people that it’s so much more. Countless lives have been given in order to preserve our freedom. It’s our responsibility to make sure that we don’t forget the price they paid.
If you're in the mood for a little short, patriotic read, I wrote a flash fiction piece that I've posted below. I hope y'all have a blessed weekend. <3

A shout broke the eerie silence and they whirled around. Before his partner could pull the trigger two shots were echoing in the stillness as they both fell to the ground. His shoulder burned like fire and pulsated down his arm. But Joss… the large dark stain that had soaked the front of her uniform made him forget his own injury as his heart nearly stopped. No. Not her. Not here. Not now. Fighting his own pain, he crawled toward her and cradled her head in his arms. Her breath came in short, labored gasps, and her eyes flashed around wildly. He could see the agony written across her face as her arm reached up to clutch his uniform. “John, I—”
She stopped, unable to go on. The gurgling in her airway could only mean one thing. John swallowed against the sudden rush of emotions that threatened to overwhelm him. He’d seen many deaths. He’d been the cause of many. But not like this. Not his partner in his arms as she choked on her own blood. 
Joss opened her mouth again, making an effort to speak, but John shook his head. “No, don’t try and talk.” He took a deep breath and clenched his teeth. He wasn’t going to break down and start crying. Not now. His emotions could not get the better of him. He needed to be strong - for her. “It’s going to be okay, I promise you. Just focus on your breathing. Focus.”
Her eyes met his and didn’t look away, catching him with a desperation that tore at his insides. 
She was dying. She knew she was dying. And there was absolutely nothing he could do to save her.

The dream was always the same. Her death, in every last horrifying detail. John took a deep breath to try and gain control of his beating heart as he sat up on the edge of the bed. He was getting tired of the nightmares. Tired of reliving the same thing over and over again. 
He’d been able to save a lot of people. For better or for worse, he’d made it out of every mission alive. He’d obeyed orders and never looked back.
But he hadn’t been able to save someone when it mattered. He hadn’t been able to save his partner. 
He made his way over to the window of the modest sky-rise apartment he called home. The sun was just barely rising over New York City, and already the city was coming alive. Running his fingers through his short-cropped hair, he made his way to the kitchen. A hot cup of strong coffee. That’s what he needed. Then it was time. 
He’d only been to the cemetery once since she died. But he couldn’t remember much of the funeral. It had seemed too routine. Too rehearsed. It had fallen far short of honoring who she really was. 
Not only a dedicated officer, but also a loving mother. A fighter. Someone who cared about others more than she cared about herself. A friend. He had to see her one last time before the next mission. Before he shipped out again.

A light spring breeze that flirted with summer drifted across the cemetery. Rows and rows of simple stones stood out in stark contrast to the lush, green grasses that surrounded them. 
Small flags had been placed by many of the graves, including hers. One small flag to honor such an immense sacrifice. 
Kneeling down by her grave, John rested his chin on his hand as he studied the headstone. 

Joss Cartwright
U.S. Army 

How do you sum up a life on a gravestone? John shook his head. It was impossible. He’d come here ready to say something. Goodbye, maybe. He was ready for closure. But this wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. She’d given so much, yet she had died while he lived. He had no family. No one who cared. 
But Joss had. And now her son would grow up without the person who’d loved him the most. 
Why? It was the one question he couldn’t wrap his head around. Why her and not him? There was so much injustice in the world. 
But Joss … she’d fought for justice. For what was right. And she’d believed in it with every fiber in her bring. 
She’d fought for freedom. So that everyone could have a chance at a better life. She fought for her country because she believed in the values it stood on. She’d been willing to die for it. 
And she’d want him to do the same.
The thought hit him hard. She wouldn’t have wanted her death to distract him. She would have wanted him to keep fighting. To keep protecting the innocent. 
As hard as he’d tried to stop it, a tear trembled in the corner of his eye and trailed down his cheek. She’d fought for freedom. For what she believed in. He’d keep fighting for her. And he’d do his best to make sure no one forgot her sacrifice. 
He stood and ran a hand across his face, wiping away the tear tracks. She was done fighting. She’d given everything. Now she could rest. 
But not him. He wasn’t finished yet. 
He stood there a moment longer, then gave a quick salute. “Thanks, Joss. For everything.”

All gave some. Some gave all. Remember. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Being feminine in a feminist world

Wellll...that once a month posting idea worked great until February hit. Then life took over. XD I have a post today that's a little bit different, but it's something that's been on my heart a lot as of late. 
Hopefully it's something that speaks to you, though I know it's something not everyone will agree with. 

*Cringes using pic of myself but it fit the title rly well* xD
There's a lot of talk today about how women are supposed to act. We're to be bold and confident, not afraid to challenge age-old stigmas. We’re supposed to show that we can do anything we put our mind to. 
On the other hand, there's those who say it's wrong that way. Women were meant to raise children and stay home, not start careers and do everything "as good as the guys." They’re to be meek and quiet, not bold and unafraid to forge their own path.
And I’ll be the first to admit that It can be confusing to know how to act, how to respond. Does it have to be one extreme or the other? Is there anyway to have some middle ground? Is it possible to have a voice and at the same time, encourage our brothers in Christ and not take over the role they play?

Then there's the guys. It's considered sexist when they open a door for us, and if they offer to help carry something they may as well be living in the dark ages. We need to prove that we can do everything they can. There's no such thing as gender roles anymore, and chivalry is a thing of the past. 
We complain when guys don't help us. We become infuriated when they do. 

It's been something I've been thinking about a lot as of late. My field internships for AEMT are at a fire/EMS station. It's been the first time that I've been in a primarily guy-dominated career. In the whole program there are 3 girls, and it took me a little while to adjust. It was a huge switch from the hospital, where nursing is definitely a female-dominated career. 
It was also different in another way. When out on calls, I'm treated as an equal. When we're at the station it's different. They open doors for me and refuse to let me do the same for them. They insist I go first when getting food, and are extremely protective.

 And I surprised myself by being unsure about how I felt about it. 

On one hand, it was how I was raised. I should have been used to it. 

But on the other, I'm used to proving myself. I'm competitive. I've learned that the world I work in is different then the world I grew up in. I've worked hard to earn my independence and show that I can be "as good as the guys." And letting them help me made me feel as if I was giving it up. 

It made me stop and think. Just because guys use manners and treat us with respect, how does that, in any way, make us feel threatened? 

They're not denying that we can do something. They're not telling us to stop. They're not pushing us out of the way. They're simply showing courtesy and treating us as if we're special. 

Society has trained us to value independence above all else. But you know, maybe that's not the best way after all. Independence will only get you so far. 
All of us, at one point or another, will need help. We depend on each other; no one person can do everything alone. 

And yes, that means that there are times when a guy can do it better and he's the one who's helping you. 
It goes against everything the culture teaches, but there are gender roles. Women tend to want to be protected and loved while guys need to feel that they are needed and that they need to protect. 
Is it possible to work in a guy-dominated career, and yet still be a lady? 
I would say yes, and this is why. There is a time for everything. In the Bible you have Deborah, Lydia, Esther, Ruth - all women who stepped up to the plate and took on the roles God gave them. 

There’s a time to be strong, to be a leader. A time where we’re the ones in charge, and *that’s okay*. It’s okay to do something that may be considered more a "guy job" and to work alongside them. And it’s also okay to step back and let them do something when they are willing and able to do it.

I’m not sure this is coming across the way I want it to so I’m gonna use an example. XD When a guy offers to help me with a chore, carry something for me, or even open a door, my first response is generally, “Oh, no I got it. Thanks tho.”
And it’s hit me lately that I’m doing it all wrong. How hard is it to let someone open the door for me? How much pride do I have to swallow to let him carry something I’m struggling with?
It’s not hard to let him help. Yet I struggle with it. As if I’m somehow admitting that I’m not good enough. And ya know what? I’m not. I’ll never be as strong as a guy; I’ll never be able to do quite as much. But that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I’m weaker, it means my gifts and strengths are different. It means I’m letting a guy treat me with respect. Every girl wants to be treated special — so why when a guy treats us that way to we protest?

We can’t send mixed signals without causing things to go haywire. There’s a time to step up; there’s a time to step back and let a guy go first. Both are perfectly acceptable - in their own times. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Current WIP - according to Pinterest

So today is apparently national Holocaust remembrance day, so what better day to introduce my current WIP? 
I've had so much fun creating a Pinterest board for it and finding the perfect pins. And oh my goodness y'all it's gonna be a good story. These guys, oh my goodness...<3
 I don't have much written about it. I'm the person who doesn't write the synopsis until 2 days before publishing soooo...xD 
But I do have some things I've typed up that'll give you a glimpse into the kind of story it will be. 
It's set in WWII and has at least two POVs. I've been toying with the idea of adding a 3rd, but I haven't done so yet. 
So, without further ado ... 

Your best friend or your brother. If you had the choice, who would you choose? 

• Twins • brothers • pilot • adventures • medic • betrayal • heartbreak • goodbyes • new beginnings • change • secrets • best friends •

So I know it isn't much more then kinda a teaser post, but what do y'all think? Does this sound like a book you'd be interested in? Let me know in the comments below! πŸ‘‡

*All pics taken from Pinterest* 

Friday, January 17, 2020

2020: A look ahead

*scuffles into the room* *clears throat* *taps mic* Uhh, hey guys. 2020 is here ... when did that happen??

So all of 2019 saw me pretty much absent in the blogging/writing world, and 2018 was only slightly better. Let’s be honest, writing and blogging have not been my strong suites as of late. Life changed a L.O.T. These past two years, and I’ve been trying to stay alive and not get completely overwhelmed by everything.
I’ve survived. (Obviously.) Thrived, even. So many new experiences, new opportunities, and new seasons in life. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve completed school for both the EMT + AEMT levels of Emergency medicine, and I’m working full time in an ER here. I’ve loved every bit of the journey (minus the finals) and I have learned so darn much. And through it all, I’ve realized just how much I missed writing and blogging. Stepping away was good. Really good. I was able to try new things, adjust to college life, and focus on working full time. Lotsssss of new adulting experiences. I’ve also been blessed to travel quite a bit, which I absolutely LOVE.
But I missed this. I missed being part of the Indie/writing/blogging community. I missed knowing what new releases were coming out, I missed being a part of blog tours, I missed giving a story to all the voices in my head. (Yes, I’m fine. No, I don’t need a psychiatrist.)

So what does this mean?
Well, I’m back. At least for the time being. My goal for right now is to write at least 1-2 posts per month. It’s not a lot, but it’s a schedule I know I’ll be able to stick to. And I’m so darn excited.
I’ve done some updating here on the blog with the bio + look + pictures. (Apparently I hadn’t updated any of that sense I was 18...) And I can’t wait to get back into blogging.
And this is where I need to hear from my readers. (Well, at least those of you I have left. XD) I need to know what you want to see. What kind of posts do you want?
I have a couple ideas of things to share including introducing a WIP + history things, but I want to hear from you guys. Do you want to see writing posts? Medical? Life? Drop a comment below and let me know! I can’t wait to be back here with y’all! <3

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Auld Lang Syne - Part 3

Merry Christmas eve! Are y'all ready for Christmas?! I was supposed to have this up earlier but I ... forgot I hadn't scheduled it sooo...yeah. Better late then never tho, right? xD Today is going to be busy with last minute gifts, wrapping presents, Christmas eve service, and so much more. Are you guys last minute people like my family? Or were you ready weeks ago?

Well, here's the last part of the Christmas story. I hope you enjoy! And have a Very Merry Christmas Eve!

Christmas Eve came sooner that year. Or at least that’s how it seemed to everyone. Last minute shoppers lined the streets as everyone rushed to finish up shopping before everything closed. A chill in the air brought the promise of snow on Christmas morning, and you could almost feel the excitement and anticipation that seemed to drift in the wind. 
The bells above the post office door jangled as Lydia stepped outside, a bundle of envelopes and packages in her arms. She’d come just in time to collect them before they post office closed its doors for the remainder of the holiday. Trying to avoid any slick places on the pavement, she crossed the street and tugged on the rusted handle of the red 1975 Ford pickup that she’d driven for as long as she could remember. It opened reluctantly, and she tossed the packages and letters on to the middle seat. Her hands finally free, she decided to grab a cup of coffee for the drive back home. She really needed to get the heater in the truck looked at, but with one that old she wasn’t sure there was much anyone could do about it anyway. 
Glancing at her phone, she realized she had ten minutes before it would close. 
“Oh darn.” She slammed the truck door and began waking in direction of the coffee shop. 
As she walked down the sidewalk, the distinct sound of caroling met her ears. Just outside the bookstore, a group of high schoolers from one of the local churches was singing. Inside the window beside the tree, Mrs. Meyers listened, a beaming smile lighting her face. It was the perfect picture and Lydia wished she had time to capture it on camera. Two very different generations both enjoying the Christmas season. It was the perfect picture of what Christmas truly was all about. Bringing people of all ages, backgrounds, and histories together to enjoy and celebrate Christ’s gift to the earth. 
The warm lights of the coffee shop welcome her, and she opened the door and stepped inside. Behind the counter, the barista gave her a smile. “Cutting it close again, ehh?”
Lydia gave a sheepish nod. “I just got done at the post office and realized I wanted something warm before I drove home.”
With a laugh, the barista grabbed a cup. “It’s no problem. Your usual?”
“Yup, with peppermint.”
The ‘usual’ really wasn’t all that complicated. Coffee and cream with caramel and peppermint. It was sweet and simple and perfect for cold days like today. 
“All right, here it is for ya.” Lydia reached across the counter and grabbed the cup, and pulled out her card to pay. The barista waved it away. 
“It’s on me today. You have a Merry Christmas.”
Lydia hesitated, “Are you sure?”
“Yes.” The barista smiled. “Now go so I can close up.”
“Yes ma’am.” Lydia grinned and made her way toward the door. “You have a Merry Christmas!” 
The door shut behind her and she walked down the sidewalk toward the truck. Old snow crunched under her boots, and steam from the coffee she held in her hands wafted up into the air around her. 
She was halfway back to the truck when she passed the small, historic church that sat off to the side, a bit behind the shops. In front there was a simple manger scene, and a cross covered in Christmas lights had been erected up near the steeple. In contrast to the busyness around the town, it was simple and quiet. It didn’t demand attention or make people stop and look. It was simply there, waiting to be discovered. 
Just like the first Christmas Day. 
Lydia started up the steps and tried the door. To her surprise it was unlocked, and she stepped inside. 
The sanctuary was quiet, and two candles glimmered alone up near the pulpit. A Christmas tree and greenery were set up near and around the piano, completing the Christmas decor. 
Making her way to the nearest pew, Lydia took a deep breath as she sat and listened to the silence. In a manger, the Christ child had been born. He had been welcomed by shepherds, and angels had announced his birth. But no one else had known.
The greatest gift ever given, a baby born to be a Saviour, a baby born to die. He was the reason they celebrated. 
“Lord help me to never take You for granted.” The whispered words sounded loud in the silence. 
The lights and traditions; the stories and memories; the shopping and the people, those were a few things that made Christmas special. But they weren’t the most important. 
For several more minutes she sat there, sipping her coffee and enjoying the quiet. The minutes ticked by without her noticing and outside, the sun sank lower in the sky. 
A sudden squeaking of the hinges startled her, and she almost dropped the remainder of her coffee. With a gasp she jumped to her feet and turned toward the door. 
“Did I scare ya? The lady at the coffee shop said she’d seen you come in here.”
The face was still hidden in the shadows that were cast by the dancing candlelight, but the voice … she recognized that voice. But it couldn’t be. Not now. Not here.
He stepped forward and she could see him. His cap sat at a jaunty angle, and his backpack was swung over one shoulder. Unruly blond hair brushed his forehead and his dark brown uniform looked freshly starched. Dark grey eyes smiled at her from behind a pair of glasses.
“Clarence.” The word was a whisper and she put a hand over her mouth, not daring to believe it. 
He chucked. “In the flesh. Do I get a hug on Christmas Eve?”
His words gave wings to her feet. Setting the coffee precariously close to the edge of the pew, she rushed into his arms and buried her head in his shoulder. 
She could feel his laugh as his arms closed around her, pulling her close. His uniform was rough against her cheek and his strong hands held her tight. He smelled like woodsmoke and aftershave, the same way he always had. And there within his arms, Christmas was perfect, and she was home. 
Home for Christmas. 
After what felt like far too short a time, she stepped back and gazed into his eyes. "You're home. You're really here. How in the world…"
He quieted her by putting a finger over her lips. "I'll explain later but right now let's not talk." He reinforced his words by pressing a soft kiss to her lips. 
She kissed him back, then rested her forehead against his. “I don’t believe it. I just …”
“Shhhh. It’s true. I’m here and that’s all you need to know.”
She nodded, blinking back tears. He folded her into a second embrace.
As she stood there in her arms, she remembered. “Before we go home, there’s someone I need you to meet.”
Lydia stepped back and grabbed her coffee, not letting go of his hand. She led the way out the door and down the steps. The town had begun to close in preparation for Christmas. Lights in store windows had dimmed, and some had been shut off entirely. But near the town square, one shop still shone brightly. And atop the tree in the window, a star made of barbed wire stood proudly. 
Inside, Mrs. Meyer was shuffling around, setting books back in their places and finishing tidying up for christmas. 
The door was still unlocked, and the bells above it sang a merry tune as it opened. Mrs. Meyer glanced up, and look of surprise filled her face, quickly chased away by a knowing smile. “This is the second time I’ve had a man in uniform walk through these doors during Christmas time.” 
She walked toward them and clasped Clarence’s hands in hers, tears shimmering in her faded blue eyes. “It’s nice to finally meet you, my boy.”


Outside the shop, unseen by human eyes and oblivious to the snow that had begun to fall, another man in a uniform that spoke of a forgotten era watched as the Army pilot embraced the white-haired lady. A smile crossed his face as he nodded. Yes, until the good Lord called her home, this Clarence would help take care of his bride. She was in good hands. It may have been a man from another branch of the military in another era, but it didn't matter. 
It was all the same. The military looked after its own, and he could rest now knowing she would be taken care of. 
He stepped forward into the light and gave a crisp salute. Then as soon as he had come, he was gone. Above the tree, the barbed wire star caught the fleeting glimmer of a shooting star as it streaked across the sky. 
And as it had for over seventy years, it stood watch over the small bookshop and its inhabitants for yet another Christmas. 


Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind. Should all acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne. For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne.

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne

Monday, December 23, 2019

Auld Lang Syne - Part 2

It's the eve of Christmas eve! AI still haven't gotten all the gifts yet and most likely won't get them finished until tomorrow ... bad planning on my part. XD But hey, it makes it fun, right?
Are y'all ready for Christmas or are you more like me?
Without further ado, here's part 2 of the Christmas story! If you missed part 1, you can read it here.  
And be sure and visit Faith's blog to find more Christmas-y posts! 

“Ahh You're more than welcome.” Mrs. Meyers sighed as she lowered herself into a chair and set her own cup on the table in between. “Now for my story.” 

Her eyes twinkled. “And keep in mind that this is my very favorite christmas story ever. It was 1945, and the war in the pacific had come to an end a few short months before. I was just nineteen that year, and Dick was twenty three. We’d known each other for years, grown up together. It was always expected that we would marry. But me?” Mrs. Meyers chuckled and shook her head. “I was never one to do as I was expected. I didn’t want to get married,”
She paused her story for a drink of cocoa, and Lydia did the same. Part of the magic of listening to Mrs. Meyer’s christmas story came with the way she told it. It was as if she was reliving it for you, and she made it come alive. It wasn’t just another story; it was a part of her life. 
“Anyway. Dick had been in the Navy for about five years, and somehow that crazy boy made it through Pearl Harbor, Midway, all those battles in the pacific without getting himself killed. He came home every now and then to visit his family, and he always made a point of coming to see me.” Mrs Meyer gave Lydia a knowing look. “I always figured it was because he felt obligated since his family was convinced I would make him the best wife.”
It took all Lydia could do to not choke on her hot cocoa as she held back a laugh. This was a part of the story she hadn’t heard before. 
“Like I said, I wasn’t interested in getting married. I loved reading, always had, and decided I wanted to own and open my own bookstore. And back then, respectable women would never do such a thing on their own, especially if they were married. but Dick always said nonsense. He didn’t care if I wanted to go be a lawyer, he’d still marry me if I’d have him. But of course, I always turned him down. I was young, I wasn’t sure what I wanted. And marrying a boy I had grown up with sounded incredibly boring. And I told him as much, but he was insistent.” A fond smile stole across her face. “Well as the years went on and I got a bit older, the times between his coming home seemed to get further apart, and I found that I looked forward to them more. He wasn’t the same boy who had left. No, the war, the Navy, it had slowly turned him into a man.” She turned and winked at Lydia. “And a rather handsome one at that.”
Lydia grinned in response. “Having an attractive man never hurts.” 
“Oh, that it doesn’t. But I was still insistent. I knew what I wanted in life. Now, this building here used to be the old library, and I began to volunteer at it. The war ended, and all anyone could talk about was when our boys would come home. Now, secretly, just between you and me, I wondered the same thing. Though I would never have let anyone know. I was beginning to miss Dick and it was driving me crazy. My heart was doing something my head told it not to.”
With an emphatic nod, Lydia gave her agreement to that statement. That was far too relatable. At this point in the story, she set her cup down on the table and let her gaze wander to the fireplace. Her favorite part was coming, and if she closed her eyes she could almost see it happen. 
“Well it was about two weeks before Christmas and we were just getting the library tree up.  The rest of the place had been decorated for several weeks, but we were still missing a tree. Finally the guy who took care of the place found some time to chop one down and bring it in. It was late in the evening, after we had closed, but I had stayed late to decorate the tree. I was just about finished, but I couldn’t find the star anywhere. Suddenly, I hear footsteps and the door opens. To my surprise, in walks Dick, uniform, cocky attitude and all. My heart did a little skip when I saw him like that. I hadn’t realized just how much I’d missed him until then. I jumped up and gave him a hug, then realized I may have been a bit too forward. Of course, he didn’t seem to think so. He just gave me that sideways smirk of his and said he’d missed me and was glad to see the feeling was mutual.”
Try as she might, Lydia could not imagine Mrs. Meyers as a young girl who impulsively hugged a soldier. In fact it was hard to imagine Mrs. Meyers as a young girl at all … until you looked in her eyes as she told the story. It was as if reliving the memories took off all the years and hardship that had happened since then. 
“Anyway, I realized I may have given myself away and tried to backtrack, but of course it doesn’t work. I can’t think of a thing to say and he’s just so confident and sure of himself. Dick takes a look at what I’m doing and asks about the star. It was a simple question and I found my voice long enough to answer it. I told him I couldn't find it anywhere. He tells me not to worry and starts rummaging around in the pack he’s got on his back.”
Her speaking slowed and Lydia stole a glance toward her. Mrs. Meyer’s gaze was shiny with unshod tears, but the same resilient smile stayed planted on her face. Her eyes were locked on the barbed wire star atop the tree. 
“He pulls out the star and says it was one they had used last year when they were out on an assignment and didn’t have any fixings. Some of the boys had used some barbed wire to fashion it. He said he brought it home for the memories, but that he wanted me to have it. For my tree. I couldn't reach the top so he put it up for me, and it completed the tree like nothing else could have. He smiled at me and said, ‘when you have your bookstore we’ll have a tree like this in the window. And every year I’ll help you decorate. And I’ll put the star on top to remind you that there’s nothing we can’t get through as long as we’re together.”
As long as we’re together. Lydia’s heart ached as she through of those words and watched as Mrs. Meyers gave the star an almost reverent gaze. She couldn’t even imagine what this first Christmas without him was like for her.  After so many years and so many memories together, it had to be so incredibly difficult.
“And … the rest I guess is history. With a story like that how can a girl say no?” Mrs. Meyers stood and shook out her skirt, then grabbed both of the empty cups. “I’ve been one blessed girl, that’s for sure. But enough about me.” She raised an eyebrow and sent a sideways glance toward Lydia. “What about your man in uniform? I don’t think he’s as good looking as my Dick but he does have a nice face.”
In Mrs. Meyer’s mind, no one could be as good looking as her Dick, and Lydia was just fine with that. “Clarence is doing good, but his deployment got extended; he’s not going to be here for Christmas.” Again. First last year, now this year. They’d been dating for nearly two years now. And he hadn’t been home for Christmas or Thanksgiving since she’d known him. She’d been so excited because this year he would be. They were both counting down the days. Then … this. 
“Oh my dear girl I’m sorry to hear that.” Mrs. Meyer gave her a sympathetic look. “Loving a man in uniform is not easy, I’ll tell you that from experience. But mark my words, it’s always worth it. The distance, the goodbyes, the times you miss spending together… it’s all made up for when you see him again.” 
It was true. And Lydia knew it was true. But during the in between times, in the distance … sometimes it was hard to believe it.  “I’ve told him the story of your star. Goodness knows I probably talk about books and this place far too much in my letters to him. But he said he thinks it’s a sweet story. And he thinks he and Dick would have been great friends.”
Mrs. Meyer laughed. “Of that I have no doubt. They’re both the same. They try hard to understand us and our heads are just stuck in a land of books and dreams.”
Standing, Lydia slipped her hands in her jacket pocket. “This is true. And honestly they both deserve a medal for putting up with us.” 
“Amen to that.” Mrs. Meyer stepped up the single step to the cash register. “Oh good Lord, I swear that step gets a little taller every day.”
Lydia glanced around the shop. “Is there anything I can do to help you? You could take a break and I could watch the counter.”
“Break?” Mrs. Meyer laughed. “Sitting and talk with you was my break. No dear I’m fine. Just getting old is all and at times my bones don’t cooperate. Now tell me why you came in today. Surely it wasn’t just to see this old lady and listen to sentimental stories.”
“Actually, I came just to see the tree, but I got far more than that.” Lydia brushed her blond hair behind her shoulders. “Thank you so much for the cocoa and the story, Mrs. Meyers. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” Making her way up the step to the register, she enveloped the tiny lady in a warm hug. 
“Oh, you’re a sweet thing, making this old woman feel useful.” Mrs. Meyer returned the hug. “You have a good Christmas, dearie.” She stepped back and put her hands on Lydia’s shoulders. “Now don’t give up hope. Miracles can happen around Christmas time.”
Lydia nodded with a smile. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“You do that. Now go, and tell your Clarence that he needs to stop in and meet me sometime. I can’t believe I haven’t met that boy yet.”
Halfway to the door, Lydia laughed and nodded. “When he comes to visit, I’ll be sure and bring him by.”
She opened the door and was met by the chilly air and the merry jingling of the bells atop it.
Stepping outside, she took a deep breath and watched as it disappeared into the air above her. 
Mrs. Meyers was right. Miracles did happen at Christmas … and the miracle she wanted the most was impossible. But If Mrs. Meyer could still smile and enjoy the season without the man she’d had by her side for the past seventy-three years, then she could do the same without her boyfriend being there. 
Wrapping her scarf around her neck, Lydia put on a smile and began walking toward the coffee shop. No matter what, it was going to be a good Christmas.

Come back tomorrow for the conclusion!