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! 👇

*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!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

12 Days of Christmas - Auld Lang Syne - Part 1

*crickets chirp* Ehh, hello there. Yes, life has been crazy. And yes, I haven't posted in six months. More on that to come later. XD
But for now I've decided to pop back in with a  new Christmas story and join in the 12 Days of Christmas blog party! Faith over at Stories by Firefly has hosted this for the past several years,  and it's such a fun link-up.


It's honestly been a while since I've written anything. But earlier this month I was in the mood for a Christmas story, and since I couldn't find the perfect one to fit my mood ... I decided to write one. #authorlogic It's part contemporary, part historical, and 100% Christmas. ;) 



And yes, even though it's a short story it needed a cover. Obviously. 


It was a gingerbread Christmas town. Everyone who visited during the Christmas season remarked it was as if they’d stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting. Lampposts dotted the cobblestone brick road that formed Main Street, and wreaths framed in red bows adorned each one. White fairy lights were strung around the top of the shops, inviting the passers by into the warmth they offered. In each and every window, a christmas tree sparkled in the darkening dusk. The ornaments and lights were different on each and every one, making each unique to the shop in which they sat. Oldies christmas music from the post-war era played softly in the background adding to the old-time feeling.
Set off toward the end, the town square was lit by a huge Christmas tree trimmed to the top with every ornament imaginable. The lights danced on everything around them, and benches sitting just a few feet away invited passers by to take a moment to sit and just enjoy a moment or two. 
Above the town a full moon was rising, accompanied by a thousand stars. The only thing missing was snow, and that was forecast to come sometime in the next few days. It was a retreat from the business of the shopping malls, traffic, the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Lydia took a deep breath and watched as it frosted in the air around her. In involuntary smile came to her lips. This was her town. This was Christmas. She’d often joked that she should have lived in a different era, one from years gone by. And every year when Christmas came around, it was as if she had that chance. 
Tucking her hands inside her coat pockets to keep them front he cold, she made her way towards the bookstore. Shoppers with their arms laden with Christmas gifts and hot chocolate in their hands passed her with a nod and smile. 
The bookstore was one of her favorite places. Set a bit apart from the rest of the shops, it was situated just outside town square. 
Lydia opened the door and stepped inside. She was instantly enveloped in warmth mixed with the scents of cinnamon, apples, and old leather. Antique bookcases lined the walls and filled up the entire space, save for the front window where the checkstand and christmas tree sat. Three chairs made a semicircle around the front of the tree, while a gas fireplace lit up the area between the checkstand and the tree itself, making the room pleasantly warm. 
“Lydia!” A white-haired lady who could have been mistaken for Santa’s wife greeted her with a beaming smile. The red sweater and black skirt she wore only added to the illusion. “I knew we’d see you in here before too long.” 
Mrs. Meyer was nearing ninety-three but she was still spry as ever. It scared her children half to death how she still insisted on working at the store, but no one could stop her. 
With a laugh, Lydia nodded. “You know me well Mrs. Meyer. I can’t stay away from here during christmas.” She made her way toward the tree. “I want to see how you decorated this year.”
“I’m quite proud of that tree.” Mrs. Meyer stood and shuffled over towards it. “I think this is my best one yet.”
Miniature book ornaments, pens, and bookmarks adorned the tree, illuminated by clear Christmas lights and nestled between rows of silver tinsel. At the top, a simple star made of barbed wire sat proudly reminding everyone of the reason for the season.
Lydia caught her breath. “Oh, it’s beautiful! So Christmasy and bookish!” She clapped her hands together, unable to contain her excitement. “It’s perfect!”
Mrs. Meyer chuckled. “See you so happy makes me happy. It took me a while to get up, without Dick to help me this year.” A shadow passed across her normally cheery face and Lydia wrapped her in a quick hug. 
“I’m sorry Mrs. Meyer. We all miss him.”
“I know.” Mrs. Meyer returned the hug and stepped back. “Married sixty-eight years. And this will be my first christmas without him.”
Her voice broke with the last word and she shook her head. “But I know he’s in a better place.” Before Lydia could respond, she swiped at her tears and drew in a shaky breath. “But I know you didn’t come here to listen to me. What can I do for you, dear?”
Lydia didn’t answer. For a moment she gave Mrs. Meyer a long, searching look. “Are you sure you’re doing okay?” 
“Yes, just fine. A bit sentimental is all.” A wistful look drifted across her face as she looked up at the star atop the tree. “You know, he’s helped me decorate a tree in this window for nearly seventy years. That star … he brought that star home.” A faraway look shone in her face as a million memories danced across her face. “Have to told you that story?”
Only a million times. A soft smile rested on Lydia’s face as she watched Mrs. Meyer relive memories from years gone by. “You have, but I would love to hear it again.” Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without hearing the story of the star in the window. 
“And I will always tell it.” Mrs. Meyer turned from the tree and motioned to one of the three chairs that circled it. “Have a seat and I’ll get you some hot cocoa. Then I’ll tell the story.” 
Knowing from past experiences that it was useless to offer to help or to decline, Lydia obeyed. In no time at all Mrs. Meyers reappeared with two steaming cups in hand. 
“I put peppermint in yours, I hope you like it.”
Taking the outstretched cup, Lydia caught a whiff of the fragrant aroma. Chocolate, peppermint, and a cluster of marshmallows that floated on top. “It smells wonderful, as always. Thank you.” 
“Ahh, you're more than welcome.” Mrs. Meyers sighed as she lowered herself into a chair. “Hot chocolate adds the finishing touch to the Christmas season I think." She set her cup on the table between them and settled back in the chair. Now for my story.”

Tune in tomorrow for part #2! 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Sunset Summer


From my vantage point in the backseat of the van, I watched as the sun sank behind the glistening waters of the lake below. The church van had begun its descent from the mountains, and we had nearly reached the campsite where we would spend the next two weeks at the retreat our church hosted every year for high school graduates.
Turning my attention from the horizon, I twisted around to look at my bestie who had claimed the seat beside me. Her eyes were closed, and I gently shook her. “Hey, Anna. We’re almost there.”
“Really?” Anna rubbed her eyes as she straightened and glanced out the window. As she did so, she gasped. “Oh, Ellen, it’s beautiful!”
I had to agree. The sky was nearly gold, and the colors reflected in the water below, making the lake come alive as it danced in ribbons of gold and dark blue.
“Is everyone else asleep?”
Leaning forward, I checked the other two benches. The guys were sprawled out all over each other, and I was suddenly thankful Anna and I had the back bench to ourselves. “Uhh, looks like it. Except for Pastor Dan, of course.”
“Right, because I happen to be the driver.”
How he could hear me from the front of the van was a mystery, and I shook my head. “Well, that’s a good thing. Keep up on the coffee.”
In reply, he picked up a thermos and held it up.
I grinned and settled back into my seat. Pastor Dan was epic. He was the kind of youth pastor I wished everyone had. He was funny and so easy to get along with, but you also knew that he’d take you seriously and listen if you needed him to. I couldn’t count the many times I had gone to him with a problem, and he’d helped me through it.
His wife was every bit as amazing as he was. However, this year she’d decided to stay home, and I couldn't blame her. Being seven months pregnant, she deserved a couple weeks of rest, not tramping around the wilderness with a bunch of high school graduates.
Every year our church put on this camping trip. Along with two other sister churches, it was a time for all the graduates to get away and get two weeks to focus on God while they searched for His will and direction in their lives.
For as long as I could remember, I had been envious of each group that had made the trip...it was still so hard to believe I was going this year.
Beside me, Anna had pulled out her phone and I could see the open Facebook App. Leaning over her shoulder, I peeked at the page. “Mr. Handsome post any more amazing pictures?”
“Oh, hush, Ell!” But the words didn’t keep a smile off her face. “But no, he didn’t.”
I sat back and let her browse in relative privacy. “Tsk, tsk. When do college classes let out?”
She looked at me. “And why would I know?”
“Really child?” I raised an eyebrow. “Y’all are dating. I hope he would give you at least that much info.”
“Technically, we’re not exactly dating.”
“You’re both dating.” Before I could reply, Pastor Dan’s voice testified that he had been listening to our conversation.
I snickered. “Thanks for backing me up, Pastor Dan.” With what I could only imagine was an impish grin, I turned to Anna. “See? Y’all are dating.”
Anna’s face had turned red and I held back a smile. She looked so adorable when she blushed. One reason I loved teasing her about Jared. He had an effect on her no one else had.
“Okay, maybe we’re dating. But really, we’re pretty much just friends. I mean, he has college to finish. And me?” She shrugged. “I don’t even know what I want to do with my life.”
“Well, that’s the problem you get when the guy is two years older than you,” I pointed out. “Just take things slowly, one step at a time.” I loved being able to give Anna advice, even if I had never been in a relationship myself. The best part about it was, most of the time the advice was good.
 I knew because it was advice my parents had given me for some future day if I ever was interested in a guy.
If I ever were in a relationship, I was pretty sure I’d know most of the answers.
“I know. And we are.” She turned off her phone. “But we don’t need to talk about him right now. We have two weeks ahead of us that are going to be amazing.” She let her gaze wander out the window. “I have a feeling that these two weeks are gonna change a lot.”
At her words, a strange feeling twisted me inside. “I know,” I admitted. “I’ve felt the same way. I don’t think I like it either.”
She turned and gave me something of a half hug. Which wasn’t easy, seeing as how we were surrounded by every bit of luggage imaginable, as well as strapped to the bench with seat belts. “It’ll be an amazing time, Ell. Change… well, change is good sometimes.”
I forced a smile. “I know. I just like life how it is right now.”
Anna laughed. “Ell, honey. You’ve just finished high school. You’re looking at going into college this fall. Trust me, this year… it’s gonna change a lot.”
The sun slipped out from behind a stray cloud and filled the sky with light one last time before slipping away for the night, and I watched as it turned the clouds from gold to pink. “I feel like this is a sunset summer.”
For a moment she didn’t reply, then she asked, “sunset summer?”
I nodded. “You know, the summer where the sun sets on one part of life before rising again the next day, where life looks totally different. Like...oh, I don’t know. Like when seasons change or...something.”
“Sunset summer, eh?” Her voice was soft, and when I turned to look at her, I realized her gaze had joined mine out on the fading sunset. “That sounds beautiful.” She turned. “What do you say we make it a summer to remember?”
I grinned and nodded. “Sounds fabulous.”
My last summer before life changed, with my best friend, at a camp that was committed to focusing on the will of God in our lives.
Anna was right. These next two weeks were gonna be amazing.


*coming soon*