Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday - L'il Brother

Last week I posted on how I was thankful for my sisters, and I am - but I don't just have sisters, I also have a 6 year old little brother, Roley, who I'm also thankful for.

My brother is funny, often on purpose. While opening presents this week, he would grab the bows and stick them all over his face, and scrunch up his nose in the way that is so him. He has a wonderful imagination as well as a Monster under his bed. Not a bad monster, though. This Monster is named Poley, and scares away his bad dreams. Poley has a sister who lives under my bed named Googi.

Oh, you NEVER know what our Roley is going to say next!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Memory Monday - Christmas Treasure Hunt

First of all, I would like to say thank-you to everyone who downloaded my book yesterday - my KDP Report page says that there were 137 units purchased! Hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! Make sure you leave a review - I'm running a contest here on my blog!

Now, for the Memory Monday:

There once was a girl who wanted a bike for Christmas. So, on Christmas, she ran downstairs to look under the tree. Unfortunately, there weren't any packages quite big enough for a bike, so she decided that there probably wasn't any bike for her under the tree.

Her disappointment was fleeting, for there were many, many stupendous presents. Soon, the thought of a bike had all but been forgotten.

Now, her family had a fake tree - a six-footer - and they liked to hide smaller presents within the tree. So, when they opened all the presents, or were pretty sure they had opened all of the presents, they instructed the girl to give one last check through the branches and make sure they had gotten all of the presents.

Well, there weren't any presents - but there was a slip of paper. It said Snack Drawer. Huh. Well, the girl decided to check this out. She ran to the snack drawer and found another slip of paper with another location on it. She ran all over the house, wherever the slips of paper dictated.

Until she got to a slip that told her to go to the garage. She went to the garage - but there weren't any slips of paper in there. The girl, however, was not to be dissuaded! There was a huge pile of boxes there in the corner - perhaps the next slip of paper was somewhere in them.

So she pulled down the boxes. Imagine her surprise and delight when, there, was a BIKE!! It was pink with streamers on the handles. She fell in love at once.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Spiritual Sunday - Born to Die

Today is Christmas, the day of Christ's birth. Now, we don't know if today was really the day he was born, but that's not really the point. The point is, God, the Holy God in heaven, became man, became a tiny baby humble enough to be born in a STABLE.

And why? What did it do to serve Him? NOTHING! Coming to earth and being born in Bethlehem was of absolute no use to Him! Then why did he do it? Why did the Lord and Creator of the Universe decide to clothe Himself in human flesh and be born as a baby?

He was born to die.

Now, every baby who gets born will die at some time or another (or at least most will), but Jesus' whole purpose in being born as a tiny baby in Bethlehem was to die! And why did He come to die? It wasn't for Him - He would have much preferred not dying, indeed, in the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed that the cup be taken from him - no, he came to die for us. He, the Creator of the Universe, Lord of all Creation, came to earth, was born as a tiny baby, so He could grow up and die so He could take our place, so he could take our sins and wash us white as snow.

People like to keep Jesus in that manger. If He stays in the Manger, they don't have to worry about Him being the almighty God who has the power to judge them forever. Indeed, His Justice REQUIRES Him to punish those who do not accept the world. They argue that if he's a loving God, he wouldn't send any to Hell. Yes, he is a loving God, but he's also Just, and a Just God cannot allow sin into heaven.

He sent Jesus to be born in that stable so He could die on that cross because he is a Loving God. By having Jesus die in our place, his Justice was satisfied, and his Love allowed us a way to get to Heaven.

But people don't want to accept this. Why? Why would they turn down an offer like this - Jesus, the Son of God dying in there place so they can get to Heaven? Because they don't want him to follow his rules. If they admit that Jesus is Just, then there are Rules, rules like no lying and stealing, no coveting, no messing around outside of marriage. Even though their lives would truly be so much better if they followed these rules, they don't want to follow them.

Yes, Jesus was born in Bethlehem and laid in a Manger - but he didn't stay there. Indeed, if he had only come to stay in that manger, he would never have come at all.

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas, and as a Christmas present to all my loyal readers (and anyone else who I've told) the Kindle Version of "Sew, It's a Quest" will be free on Amazon all day today. Get your copy while you can!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Celesta's Christmas

Celesta lived with her mother and father and three older brothers, Peter, James, and Henry, and her two younger sister, Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha were twins.

Now they lived in a smallish house, and Celesta had to share a room with the twins, and all three of the boys had to share a room. It was also drafty, so in winter, Celesta often woke up with both of her sisters in her bed.

They didn't have much money, but they always made do, especially since they had plenty of love to go around.

Now, it was Christmas Time, and Celesta was excitedly looking forward to it. Imagine her disappointment when her parents told them that the didn't have enough money for presents this year. The twins were still too young to understand Christmas presents, and the boys were old enough to understand going without, so only Celesta ...

"But ... but ..." Celesta complained, her lip trembling, "Christmas isn't Christmas without presents!"

"Now, Celesta," said Father. "It's not our choice. Besides, I'm sure Grams will still be sending us a nice package."

Celesta wrinkled her nose at the thought. "Grams always just sends us socks!" she complained.

"But they keep your toes warm," said Mother. "And you know how cold it gets."

But Celesta refused to be talked out of her disappointment. She had been looking forward to Christmas and all the presents she would be getting. Well, they never had many presents, but there always had been presents.

When Mother pulled out the tree, she refused to help put it up. "What's the use?" she asked. "There won't be any presents."

"Celesta," said Mother, "I know you're disappointed that we won't be getting any of you any presents, but you're stubbornness is going to completely ruin Christmas. Christmas isn't about Presents, you know."

"But Presents are so much fun!"

"Yes," said Mother, "they are fun - but so are so many other things about Christmas. And we're still getting the best present of all."

Celesta looked up. "The best present of all? And what's that. Or can you not tell  me because it will spoil the surprise on Christmas day?"

Mother chuckled. "It's Jesus! The whole reason we have Christmas. So we can remember that God sent us Jesus as a baby to earth."

Celesta frowned again. "But that was years ago! We can't unwrap him on Christmas day!"

Mother sighed. "Celesta, sometimes the best presents are the ones you can't unwrap - like Jesus. It might of been years and years and years ago, but it's still just as important today that he came to earth as it was when he came to earth two thousand years ago."

"But I want to unwrap my presents on Christmas Day!" moaned Celesta.

Mother, seeing that there was nothing more she could say, left Celesta to pout while she finished putting up the decorations with the other five.

When they went caroling on Christmas Eve Celesta didn't want to go. However, since the rest of her family were going, she had to go, too. So they all got bundled up, and headed down the street to sing. Since her heart wasn't in it, Celesta just mumbled the words. Luckily, since the rest were singing so much louder, the people they were singing to didn't notice.

When they finally got home, Celesta plopped down on the couch and sat there dejectedly while her family got ready for bed. She must have dozed off, since next thing she knew, it was morning! Christmas Morning! And, to her amazement, there were too many presents under the tree to count!

She rushed to the tree to examine the gifts. Somehow she was no longer in the coat she was in the night before, but in her pajamas - which she thought was strange, because had her mom had dressed her the night before, she would have thought that Dad would have also carried her to bed. As she was looking at the to-from labels, her brothers and sisters appeared in the living room doorway. They didn't seem surprised at all to see all the presents.

Soon their parents came in, and okayed them starting to unwrap, so they did. There seemed to be no end to the presents - dolls, crafts, dress-up clothes, books with lots of pictures, and on and on. She kept expecting them to find the last present, but every time she looked the tree, there were still lots more presents left. She was starting to get overwhelmed - how was she going to be able to PLAY with all these presents?

Then she noticed the Nativity. It didn't look at all like it should. Mary, Joseph, the Shepherd and the Wise Men were all opening presents and the Baby Jesus was stuck off in the corner.

"That's not how it's supposed to be," she told her Mother.

"What?" said Mother.

"Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds and the Wise Men aren't supposed to be opening presents - they're supposed to be worshiping Jesus!"

"What do you mean, dear?" asked Mother. "Aren't presents what Christmas is all about."

"But ..." said Celesta, confused. "Jesus is what Christmas is all about. It's Jesus."

Suddenly she felt as though she was being shaken, and heard the twins calling her name and telling her to wake up. She opened her eyes and realized that it had all been a dream. She was still on the couch, but the only thing that had changed about what she was wearing was that her coat and shoes had been taken off, and a blanket had been put over her.

She looked at the Nativity. It was how it should look - Mary, Joseph, Wise Men and Shepherds all worshiping the Baby Jesus - the true meaning of Christmas. The tree only had the box from Grandma under it - but Celesta didn't mind any more. She liked socks, after all.

They ate breakfast - pancakes and syrup - Celesta's favorite, then Dad read the Christmas story from Luke, answering questions as they were asked. Then they opened the package from Grandma. As predicted, everyone got socks - two or three pairs each.

Celesta thought that she had never had a better Christmas, despite the fact that there were no presents. Just then, there was the sound of the doorbell. Dad opened the door. It was Celesta's friend, Gerta from Sunday School, as well as Gerta's little sister, Hallie, and Gerta's parents. Gerta's dad was holding a good-sized box.

"Gerta and Hallie found out that your children weren't getting any presents this year," said Gerta's mom, "so they insisted that they give them some of their presents."

Celesta's parents invited them in, and they had cookies and hot chocolate, then Gerta and Hallie insisted that Celesta and the twins open the presents they brought them. They hadn't brought any for Peter, James or Henry, since Peter, James and Henry were all boys, and Gerta and Hallie were both girls, and had only gotten girly presents. They didn't think the boys would have liked dolls. The boys agreed.

It doesn't really matter what they had brought them, because, as Celesta learned, presents weren't the reason we have Christmas - they're just a nice bonus. Jesus is the reason.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Foto Friday - Robert

Prince Robert of Locksley, Robin's twin brother. He's as calm and steady as she is excitable and unpredictable. Being the best sewer in the world, he's considered strange by his fellow princes, so Robin's pretty much his best friend. Despite anything she might say, Robin's very attached to him, and might have never gone on the quest without him. Indeed, she probably would have gotten herself completely lost.

But, then, they would have never gotten back their horses without her ...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thankful Thursday - L'il Sisters

I'm thankful for my little sisters - I have two of them. The older one, V. Kathie, is not much younger than me, and enjoys picking my brain for her books (!). I actually don't mind that too much, since I'm constantly picking my mom's brain. (well, often, when I get stuck!). She's much better with music than myself, and loves teasing me about how I never hit notes, and if I do, it's the wrong ones! She has, however, retuned my harp for me, so that I can play in different keys.

The younger of my sisters, Miss Full of It, is much younger, at only two. She's such a sweetheart, and so talkative. She's opinionated. Her chair has to be just so, and everyone has to be just right. Her toes taste good, too, and she's so ticklish. I just love tickling her. She enjoys watching me play games on my computer, especially the ones that go BOOM!!! She's a riot.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fan Page!!

Check out my new fan page! I will be putting fan comments here - and I need comments! When I have fifty, I will be holding a drawing, and will be giving out a free copy of my next book, Saffron's Big Plan, which is a collection of short stories, one of which is a prequel to Sew, It's a Quest. 

Facebook me, Email me, comment somewhere on my blog, just get me those comments so you can have your chance at winning a free copy of my book!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Memory Monday - Oooooh ... Ahhh ...

There once was a little girl - no older than four, and it was a tradition in her family that every year at Christmas they would all climb in the car and drive around and get lost while they looked at all the houses with all the pretty Christmas decor.

"OOOOHHH ..... AAAAHHHHH ...." They'd say, or if it where in a a spot with LOTS of houses it'd be "Ooah, ooah, ooah," really fast so they'd make sure that they oohed and ahhed at every house. Of course, they all knew that you weren't supposed to ooh and ahh at the traffic lights.

So when, this year, they were stopped at a traffic light and the little girl went ooh and ahh ... her parents thought she was oohing and ahhing at the traffic lights.

But she wasn't. She was oohing and ahhing at a house way off in the distance that she COULD see. Her parents didn't listen to her, but she knew - she KNEW she was oohing and ahhing at a house. To this day, she stands by that fact. Just ask her!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Foto Friday - Robin

Okay, so I'm not the best artist in the world. But, anyways, this is my drawing of Robin, the MC of "Sew, It's a Quest."

Princess Robin of Locksley is the best swordsman in the world - apparently due to the fact that she and her twin brother were given gifts by their Fairy Godmother and that these gifts got mixed up. She's hardheaded and hotheaded, yet loyal and protective to her friends, especially her twin brother. Her moto seems to be "Fire! Fire! Fi- wait ... was I supposed to aim?"
She's a bit of a rebel, refusing to wear a dress except when absolutely necessary. And she refuses to let her parents arrange a marriage for her, insisting that she will only marry a man who can best her with a sword. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Woods

I am thankful that we have woods behind my house. You see, these woods are great to hide in, and no one ever can find you there. (even though there isn't much to them). They're a great place to retreat to to think and get control of your feelings when you're mad or sad. They're also a great place to run to if you're being chased.

Yep, I love my woods - because I know them like the back of my hand!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Apple Cake

This is one of my favorite recipes.

You'll need:
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
4 Granny Smith Apples
Chopped Nuts (opt)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and Flour pan. Mix sugar, oil and eggs until blended, then beat it up for a minute. Add remaining ingredients excluding apples and nuts. Beat it up again. Chop up apples and stir them in. Stir in the nuts. Pour in the pan, stick it into the oven.

Bake until you can put a toothpick in and pull it out the way you put in (No goo!) 35-45 minutes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Memory Monday - How did he ...?

Once upon a time, there were three girls playing school with barbies. The two older girls were playing the teacher barbies, while the little sister of the one girl was playing the dad doll. (Ken?)
The school had a "no pets policy" but the dad kept disregarding it and insisting on bringing pets. "Why can't there be pets?" he finally asked.
"Because we have no place to put them," the teachers replied.
The dad drove silently away in his car, and the teachers thought that they would have some peace for a while - but no! Within minutes, the dad had returned - with a huge, double-story cat and doghouse balanced on top of the car. "Now," he said, "you have a place to put them."
As the two teachers stared, one turned to her fellow and said, "How did he get that up there?"

- True Story!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Infiltration - Chapter 1

Chapter 1
In the Beginning.

Tiger's Memoir:

Perhaps I might have had a different life. Perhaps the events that happened to me could have happened to another. But they did not. They happened to me. Whether they happened due to any merits or faults of mine, I will not pretend to say. They happened to me. That's all I know.
This is my story. Snap’s too, but she comes later.

I was born in the second month of the year 1006. My Ma was Daffodil, an herbalist, and my Pa was Aspen, a scribe. They named me Tiger Lilly. Tiger Lilly Bunnitoes. I have thick, curly light brown hair and blue eyes. I'm short, even for my people. I prefer trees to the holes that many of my people live in, and I always envied my friends who lived in trees. My feet, which have almost never had shoes on them, are covered in thick curly hair that is a shade darker than the hair on my head, which helps protect my feet while I climb trees.
I was the oldest, and in the years to follow, I gained a younger sister, named Mary Gold, who is five years younger, a brother, Sugar Maple who is eight years younger than her, and another sister, Vi Olet who is six years younger than Sugar. I also had many, many cousins.
Zinnia Moustail and Mag Nolia Eaglewing (though we always called her Maggi) were my favorite cousins. They were also the two closest in age to me. We did everything together.
We’re Elvings, half elf, the other half long forgotten. Not human, only that we’re sure of. Each of us, upon our births, received a ring, our Ring of Innocence. This would remain on our finger until our 24th birthday (though I have since learned that you would say that we look 12). On our 24th birthday, our Ring of Innocence would fade and we would receive our Ring of Faith, which would remain on our finger until our death. Usually. Sometimes, an Elving doesn’t get their Ring of Faith, and they were cast out of our homeland, the Rowa, into Limbo.
Nothing lives in Limbo.

I shall begin my story at about the time of the 24th birthday of a friend of mine, Black Walnut Turtle Shell. I was 19 at the time.
Black Walnut was a funny boy. I could sit at his feet listening to his stories for hours. He had a friend, Petune Ia Skunktail, who had appeared out of nowhere some time back. She had no Ring of Innocence. She always said that it was because, where she came from, they don’t give Rings of Innocence. I didn’t quite trust her. Black Walnut always said I was just jealous.
I have since realized, maybe I was. I had a crush on Black Walnut, even though I was only nineteen.
The day before his twenty-fourth birthday, he showed up just outside the door of our hole, in which we lived. (I was always so envious of my friends and cousins who lived in trees)
“Tiger,” he said, as I passed with a basket of herbs for my Ma’s apothecary. “May I speak with you?”
“Sure,” I said.
“Tiger,” he said. “Have you ever considered what is beyond the Hedge?”
“No,” I answered. The Hedge was what surrounded the Rowa, and protected us from the evils of Limbo. It opened only when an Elving was unable to get his or her Ring of Faith and thus had to leave our safe haven. “Nothing lives beyond the Hedge.”
“But what if something does?”
“Nothing does. If there was, we would know of it.”
“But what if –.”
“Black Walnut,” I said. “If you talk like this, you might not get your Ring of Faith tomorrow. Now, I need to get these herbs to Ma.” I disappeared into the tree that held Ma's apothecary.
Then he left.

The next day was his birthday. It was a grand occasion, for we Elvings love birthdays. There was plenty of food, plenty of games, plenty of laughs, plenty of people to talk to.
We were all enjoying ourselves, but I had a strange foreboding – which sprang in part from our conversation the day before. It didn't help that I caught him and Petune talking to him in a low voice, the words of which I was unable to catch.
At 3:43, for he was born at 3:43, all of the festivity stopped. Everyone watched as Black Walnut's ring faded from his finger. Then Black Walnut's father put his hand next to his son's. Everyone caught their breath.
Nothing happened. They stood like that for a full minute. Nothing happened.
“Son,” said Black Walnut's Father at last. “Do you not believe? Your Ring of Faith will not form itself, have your rejected our teachings?”
Black Walnut looked his father in the eye. “I don't know … I … How can I believe if I have no evidence?”
“Very well,” said his Father, his face hardening. “You are no longer my son, Black Walnut. Leave.”
Black Walnut glanced around, but he was met with hard looks from everyone. When his eyes met mine, I looked away. “Very well,” he said. “I will leave.”
The party was over. Since he had been unable to exchange his rings, the day had turned from one of joy to one of sadness and sorrow.
I heard many, “Pity that he has to leave's,” and “But he was always such a nice boy's,” but I don't think the speakers really knew.

That night, I was sitting in the lower limbs of a tree, thinking. I've always thought better in trees.
“Tiger!” I heard Black Walnut's voice. I ignored him. “Tiger!” He called my name several times, but I ignored him. “Tiger ...” he finally said, “Please listen.”
“Leave,” I said. “You're no longer Rowan. I cannot talk to you.”
“Very well,” I heard his voice say. “But, good-bye, anyways. You've always been a good kid.”
I could hear the hurt in his voice, but I ignored it. He left. Maybe, had I responded differently that day, my life might have since turned out differently, maybe not. All I know is that that I responded this way and that my life has since turned out this way.
It was only after I heard the distant sound of him hacking into the Hedge, for we lived very close to the Hedge, that a tear slid down my cheek and I whispered, “Farewell.”
But I knew he was going to his death. Nothing lives in Limbo.

It was only days after that I realized that Petune had disappeared. I later, after asking many questions, learned that she had disappeared the very night that Black Walnut left.

I threw myself into my studies – I was my Ma's apprentice and was studying to be as good an herbalist as she. I tried to forget, as everyone else did, or at least seemed to, that Black Walnut had ever been among us. Yet I could not. I played and explored the trees with Zinnia and Maggi, and watched my younger siblings and cousins. Mary got apprenticed to a goatherd – for she loved animals.
We lived on with our lives. But I couldn't forget.

Snap's Journal:

My name is Snap Dragon Skunktail. I am in training to be an Infiltrator. My sister, Petune, was an Infiltrator, a successful one, too. She brought back Black Walnut, who she's in love with. Bleh, I say. I haven't been told who my Target is, yet, but I'm hoping that it's not a boy.
An Infiltrator has to be smart. They have to know how to blend in with the Rowans and keep the Rowans from discovering where they came from, for Rowans don't know that there are people here in Limbo, that there are many, many people here in Limbo.
It'll be hard; especially since we Limboians don't get Rings. Those Rings mess with the Rowan's aging, making it take four years for them to age as little as it takes us to age in one. They count their years differently, though, so they have two winters, two springs, two summers, and two autumns each year! This means that, when they say they’re 18, they’re really 36, but only look 9. I’m up to the challenge.
They're superstitious, too. They believe that they have a God named Yshew. They claim that they get their Rings from him and a whole bunch of other baloney. Those Rowans are so backwards. We got rid of our gods centuries ago. They also claim that their Rings give them the ability to talk to their friends long distance – through thoughts! And they claim that the gems change colors and stuff like that to help them with whatever their “job” is.
My instructor, Mr. Eucal Lyptus Snakeskin, was the best Infiltrator of this century. When he Infiltrated, he brought TEN Rowans back with him! My sister was aiming for two, but the little girl didn't come. Black Walnut had been her main Target, though. She doesn't talk much about the girl, never even says her name.
Well, I need to get back to work,

         Snap Dragon.

Tiger's Memoir:

I was collecting herbs with Maggi and Zinnia one day in the middle of first summer. Now, Maggi was apprenticed to a seamstress and Zinnia to my Ma’s Ma, or my Mama, as we Elvings call our maternal grandmothers, Baby’s Breath Elkhyde, who was a baxter. Baxters are women bakers. We were close to the Hedge – maybe a hundred feet – when I came across a stream. In the middle of the stream was a bundle of some sort, so I waded in and pulled it out.
The wrapping was a strange material – a sort that I had never seen before, one that kept out water better than oilcloth, but it didn’t feel quite like oilcloth. Inside was a book.
Something told me that my Ma and Pa wouldn’t quite approve of this book, so I hid it in a nearby tree. I later snuck back there and read the book. Often.
It was an interesting book. It was full of ideas and stuff that had never occurred to me before. Perhaps, had I left that book in the stream and had never read it, my life might have turned out differently – perhaps not. I cannot say.

Snap’s Journal:

I’ve found out today the name of my Target. It’s a girl named Tiger Lilly Bunnitoes. When I told this to Petune and Black Walnut, they immediately changed the subject. Of course, I would never of guessed what they changed the subject to!
Petune’s going to have a baby!
I’m not sure what to say.
I asked them if that meant they were now going to get married. They just laughed. “Maybe,” they said.
I hope they do, Petune would be so pretty in a wedding dress.
Then he kissed her. Bleh!
I can’t wait until I can go to the Rowa in two years and get away from those two. Those lovebirds!

-          Snap Dragon

Tiger’s Memoir:

Autumn has always been and always will be my favorite time of year. In autumn the trees have exchanged their uniform greens for all sorts of beautiful colors – reds, oranges and yellows! – and have not yet lost all of their leaves. There’s just something about fall that makes me want to sing!
I just couldn’t stay inside our hole.
So I snuck out while Ma and Mary Gold were washing the dishes and made my way down to the stream where I had found the book. On that day I heard a song on the wind … I was never after able to exactly remember what the words were – but I do know that the theme of the song stuck with me. It was a song I knew my parents wouldn’t like, but I always was trying to unearth the words from my memory.
Zinnia found me. “Tiger,” she said. “Aunt Daffodil is looking all over for you! Where’ve you been?”
“This is too pretty a day to spend inside,” I answered. “I just had to come out here and enjoy Yshew’s greatness and goodness!”
“But that’s not what you’re supposed to be doing right now,” said Zinnia with her hands on her hips. “You’re supposed to be at your Ma’s apothecary helping her. She’s worried about you!”
“I guess you’re right,” I said, and followed Zinnia back.
However, once Zinnia disappeared into Mama’s bakery, I started dawdling again. Autumn is just too pretty a time of year!
True, my Ma’s apothecary was in a tree, and for all practical purposes outside, but I still dawdled.
I felt a warmth from my Ring and looked down and saw that it was glowing. Nothing new, it meant that someone wanted to talk to me. And I had a good idea who, too.
I closed my eyes and a picture of my Ma formed itself in my mind’s eye. “Tiger, where are you?” I heard her voice in my mind’s ear.
“I’ll be right there!” I thought back to her.
“Never mind,” said my Ma, “I need you to find some St. John’s Wort instead.”
So went to find St, John’s Wort. I managed to bring it back in a somewhat timely fashion, but all through the day, I was dawdling.

Snap’s Journal:

Tonight’s the night! Tonight, I’m going into the Rowa, tonight I begin to Infiltrate my Target, that Tiger Lilly Bunnitoes. Tonight I’ll leave Petune, Black Walnut and their bratty little boy, Magnol Ia, behind. They said that they’ll get married after I get back with Tiger Lilly – they actually said her name this time! – so I don’t want to fail and I want to come back.
I’ll be leaving at dusk tonight. According to Mr. Snakeskin, it will take until past midnight for me to hack through the Hedge. I’m up to the challenge, though! I will hack through that Hedge and I will succeed. Tiger Lilly has a few friends that I’m supposed to be trying to Infiltrate as well – but Tiger Lilly herself is my main Target. The more the merrier, I say.
I’m up to the challenge!
Anyways, I need to go finish packing. You’ll be coming with me, too, book, so I need to pack you, too.
Talk to you next in the Rowa!

-          Snap Dragon

Friday, December 9, 2011

Foto Friday - Jess the model.

This is my doll, Jess, modeling a hat I made. I like how that hat came out, with it's swirl. Jess was a birthday present from a friend when I was nine.

I have more pics of Jess modeling my hats, but I like this one best.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Wrapping Paper

I am thankful for wrapping paper. I just think I'll remind myself of that before I get completely and entirely bogged down by this year's wrapping.

You see wrapping paper has it's uses, for instance, it keeps you from finding out what you're getting for Christmas. I, for one, don't enjoy ruined surprises.

And it is fun to wrap ... when you have space to do so. I especially like decorating the packages.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Dear Santa

Now, I know that Santa doesn't exist and that we get presents at Christmas only through the grace of God, but Dear Santas seem to be the best way to word things like this.

The first thing I want is a Kindle. You see, I love my mom's for a few reasons - first, I can carry hundreds of books around with me anywhere I go and not break my back. Second, it has a read-aloud feature - although the Kindle for PC and the Kindle Mini do not - which enables me to read while I crochet or knit. Third, it's harder to skip around and read the end and not the middle. That might sound silly, but I have a very bad habit of skipping ahead and neglecting to read the middle with hard copy books.

Second, I would like the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum: OYAN. I got a trial version of it in the mail, and really liked the sample lessons, and would like to go through it - it will help my writing so much.

Third, I would like some money to buy craft supplies, like yarn and hemp. I have a GiraffeCrafts business, but my supplies are running out. There's only so much you can make out of mismatched yarns.

Fourth, I have a 15.6 inch laptop ... with no case. This summer, it hasn't been too bad carrying it around in a messenger bag, but the messenger bag is open top and thin, and therefore offers no protection from blows and the elements. I would like a purple case for my laptop. A purple skin would be nice, too, but not necessary.

Fifth, I have been into art of late, and I love colored pencils ... but my colored pencil collection - most of which were bought for me years ago - is starting to run out. My favorite colored pencils are Prang and Crayola. Not Roseart, though - Roseart colored pencils are nasty.

Sixth, I've been having issues with my laundry ending up in everyone's but my own laundry piles when my sister folds laundry. Therefore, I have decided to started doing all of my own laundry. However, in order to do laundry, I need a laundry hamper all to myself. I would like a nice tall purple laundry hamper.

Seventh, I'm going to be taking chemistry next year, starting right after Christmas. I need a nice chemistry set.

Eighth, I love calligraphy, but am running out of ink for my dip pen, and would like some more ink, especially bright colors. Something like this.

For more ideas, visit my wishlist.

Tasty Tuesday

Today, I bring you eggs and bacon for breakfast!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Foto Friday - Parsley

This is the parsley right after we planted it this spring - we bought them in pots. Today, I plan to harvest the parsley so I can dry it for winter.

The white powder is cornstarch to keep away hornworms.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday - Hands.

I am thankful for my hands. You see, without my hands, I would not be able to be typing this.

Other things I do with my hands:
Read books (hold the book)
Knit and crochet
Pick food in my garden
Cook supper
Bake cakes
Dig in the dirt
Pick up my baby sister
Draw a picture
Clean my bedroom
Get the mail

... and so much more.

I'm so thankful God gave us hands!

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Can I be a Better Listener?

Have you ever talked to someone, and when you ask them a question, they not respond? Maybe they did answer, but they didn’t answer the question. They might have said something completely irrelevant to your question. Maybe they did answer your question, but not in the way you wanted the question to be understood. Have you ever done any of that to anyone else?
All of those are poor listening habits. If the other person, or you, had truly been listening, the question would have been answered in a satisfactorily way. There are many poor listening habits, and most come from not paying attention.
Some people don’t even seem to be listening, others seem to, at first. Some only seem to hear some of what you’re saying. However, how could it be improved, how could you be a better listener?
First of all, think of the other’s speech as more important than your own thoughts. Don’t challenge what they’re saying, just listen. Conversations are not competitions.
Second, don’t interrupt. When you interrupt, you don’t hear all of what is being said, and it makes the other far less likely to listen to you.
Third, remember, that while you might like to talk, they like to talk too. If you’re talking, you can’t listen, so don’t hog the conversation.
Forth, remember that words are only a small part of speech. Pay attention to posture, gestures, tone of voice, and facial expression. They could say one thing and mean quite another, so listen with your eyes as well as your ears.
Fifth, listen to everything the other says. Only partially listening is not listening.
Sixth, try not to “zone out” even when the other is getting boring. They might be exhibiting their bad listening habits, but you don’t have to add yours to the show.
These are a few ways to improve your listening, and there are many more. So, thanks for listening!


Tammy: Hello folks! Welcome to the Past Times. I’m your host, Tammy Turnback. With me today is the brilliant philosopher, Aristotle.
Aristotle: And scientist.
Tammy: Yes. What sort of subjects interested you?
Aristotle: A good many of them, especially natural sciences.
Tammy: Such as?
Aristotle: Animals really interested me. I also liked plants.
Tammy: I see.
Aristotle: They are so question provoking. Have they always stayed the way they are now? Or have they changed over time? I am known for being one of the first naturalists.
Tammy: When we had Alexander the Great on our show, he told us that you were one of his tutors.
Aristotle: Ah, yes! Alexander! Yes, I went to Pella for a long while to teach him and his friends. His conquests so expanded my range of study.
Tammy: How?
Aristotle: He had several scientists with him, and would send back stuff that they found. That was some interesting stuff!
Tammy: So, he remembered what you taught him better than his other teacher?
Aristotle: As far as I could tell.
Tammy: Tell me about your early life.
Aristotle: I was born in the town Stagira. My parent’s names were Nicomachus and Phaestis. My father was a doctor and he instilled in me my life long love of science and learning, although we scientists were considered philosophers at the time.
Tammy: Interesting.
Aristotle: My Father was a good friend of Alexander’s grandfather, King Amyntas. That might have had something to do with King Philip later selecting me for Alexander’s tutor.
Tammy: You said that your father taught you, what kind of stuff?
Aristotle: Practically anything that would be useful for a doctor. He hoped that I would follow him in his trade. I learned what he taught me quickly, and he eventually enrolled me in one of the local schools.
Tammy: Where you did very well.
Aristotle: I did. However, both he and my mother died while I was a boy. My guardian, Proxenus, sent me to Athens when I was eighteen in order for me to get further education, when I got beyond the teaching of the local schools.
Tammy: And you liked the place so much you stayed a while
Aristotle: I did. I didn’t return to Macedonian until Philip invited me to be Alexander’s teacher. That is why I am better known for my connection to Athens.
Tammy: I see. What are you best known for today?
Aristotle: My questioning on whether or not life forms stay constant, or change over time.
Tammy: The second is the commonly accepted today.
Aristotle: Yes, but it still do not think it is necessarily is the correct one. Personally, I still think it could be either.
Tammy: My personal opinion is the first. What other things did you think about?
Aristotle: Plenty, of other stuff. If it pertained to life and could be considered science, I thought about it. I did experiments, too. My Father had taught me early in life how to dissect animals and other stuff. I used that skill often.
Tammy: I personally do not care for doing that sort of thing myself.
Aristotle: Nor would I expect you to. You’re a girl.
Tammy: Well, that’s all the time we have for today. Thank-you, Aristotle, for your brilliant insights. I’m your host, Tammy Turnback, tune in next time for more of the Past Times!
Aristotle: You’re welcome.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why Delegate?

Why should we delegate authority? Is it because we need to teach those we delegate authority how to do what we delegate to them? Is it to make it easier on our parts? Is it so the cow can jump over the moon?

Okay, so the last reason is rather facetious. The cow doesn't have to jump over the moon, but the other two answers are legit. Mothers and Fathers and other people who are teaching skills and tasks delegate authority to teach their children and students how to do what they are delegating. Think about it, if you don’t delegate – and teach them how to do them when you first do so – how will they know how to do what you’re trying to teach them?

They won’t. And it’s the job of teachers and parents to make sure that their students and children learn how to be worthwhile adults. When we delegate, our students and children and other subordinate will learn what we delegate.

Also, when we delegate, there is less that we have to do, others can take care of it. If we delegate to others the less important stuff, we have more time and energy to take care of the more important stuff. And if we have more time to get the more important stuff done, everything will just run smoother. And that’s what counts, right?

Also, if we delegate authority, the ones we delegate the authority to will often rise up to the challenge we present them with and fulfill our expectations. People often do.

Therefore, we delegate authority for three basic reasons, to teach those subversive to us, to make things easier on us, and to make more responsible people of the ones we delegate authority to.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gawain and Lancelot and the Golden Knight.

You’ve heard the legend of how Sir Gawain chopped off the head of a green knight, and then, a year later, had to have his own head chopped off? Well, that wasn’t the only colored knight he came across. One day he and Sir Lancelot were questing and looking around for damsels in distress to rescue, when they saw a figure in the distance. They rode up to this figure and found that it was a golden girl.
“Good sirs,” said she. “I am Lady Nanette of the Gilders. I serve the Princess Mayrette.”
“Well,” said Gawain. “I have never seen a girl of pure gold before. How came you so?”
“It was the Golden Knight, good sir. He came to our castle and enchanted everyone into golden statues. And I alone did he leave the power of movement and conscious thought.”
“And how may this spell be broken?” asked Lancelot.
“By besting the Golden Knight in sword play …” said Nanette. “But if one fails, he is added to the collection of golden statues.”
“And where might we find this castle wherein we would find your mistresses?” asked Gawain.
“It is three weeks journey by foot down this road,” said Nanette.
And, of course, this was all that Sirs Lancelot and Gawain needed and they were off on this quest down the road to find the Golden night and best him in swordplay and turn all of the golden statues back into flesh.
Of course, since they were on horseback, it didn’t take them three weeks to find this golden castle, but far less time. How it glinted! It was solid gold, every bit of it, even the moat ran with golden water.
“Who goes there?” asked a voice, as they approached the gates.
“Sir Lancelot.”
“And Sir Gawain.”
“Why come ye here?” asked the voice.
“To break the spells that the Golden Knight has afflicted upon this castle,” said Lancelot.
“Are you prepared to fight?”
“We are,” said they both at once.
“Very well,” said the voice. Then the drawbridge lowered and the voice said, “Enter … if you dare.”
They rode in and found a courtyard filled with golden statues of knights - the men who had tried to rescue the inhabitants of this castle and who had failed.
“This sends shivers down my spine,” remarked Lancelot. “All these fine men converted into golden statues - what foul magic caused this?”
Suddenly, into the courtyard rode a knight in golden armour riding a golden horse. “Which of you shall I fight first?” he asked.
“I shall fight you,” said Sir Lancelot.
They both dismounted, and Lancelot drew his sword and the Golden Knight drew a solid golden sword.
The fight was long and well matched, but eventually it was Sir Lancelot who surrendered. “You fought well,” said the Golden Knight, “But you have failed.” He took the glove off his right hand and touched Lancelot’s head. In a flash, Lancelot was a statue like all the others.
The Golden Knight turned back to Gawain. “Do you still care to fight me?” he asked him.
“Yes,” said Gawain, and he drew his sword. “I fight not only for the souls of them I know not, but for Lancelot, my friend, also.”
“Very well,” said the Golden Knight. And this fight commenced. It lasted deep into the night and into the small hours of the morning when the Golden Knight finally surrendered.
“Now,” said Gawain, “restore everyone to their proper compositions.”
“But …” said the Golden Knight, looking up at Gawain. He raised his visor and Gawain saw that there was fear in the man’s eyes. “But I don’t know how to turn them back.”
“You don’t?” said Gawain. “Then why did you turn them into statues in the first place?”
“I - I,” said the man, clearly ashamed.
“Why did you turn them into statues?”
“Because, in my youth, l loved money and gold. I once did an old woman a favor and in reward she said she would give me whatever my heart desired. I asked that whatever I touch would turn to gold.
“This wish she granted, but she told me that I would regret it. I have. When I touched the girl I loved, she became a golden statue. I had no idea how to bring her back. She was the Princess Mayrette of this castle. In my despair, I turned all of the inhabitants to gold.”
“What of Nanette?”
“I do not know who Nanette is.”
“And your challenge?”
“It was news to me when my first challenger came. But as I am a swordsman of great skill, and have never been beaten until this day, I thought little of it.”
Gawain frowned. “How then will they be freed.”
“I do not know,” said the man.
Nanette appeared suddenly before them. “I am glad to hear you repent of your love of money, good Knight,” she said. “I was the old woman who you helped and who gave you your wish. I am also the golden Nanette who has noised your challenge abroad. You have a good, kind heart, and earnestly wish to return to the right, and for that I will put an end to the foul magic that has bound this place.”
And at that, all of the Golden statues returned to flesh - and all of the other things that the knight had touched returned to their proper compositions as well - including his armour, which turned back to steel.
The Princess Mayrette and the former Golden Knight were married that day, and Lancelot and Gawain rode off again to do more good in the world.

Via Pinterest
5. Except for their hair, the Hidden are immune to fire. In fact, they use it for healing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sneak Preview!!

Eric had been watching Robin when he suddenly notice her freeze, her eyes fixed on something in the grass. He followed her gaze and saw a movement. He crept closer and saw that it was a snake.

With a quick movement, he grabbed it, and twisted its head to break its neck – then he flung it in the nearby gully.

Robin blinked for a few seconds. “How could you stand to touch that with your bare hands?” she asked, finally.

I didn’t exactly have anything else to kill it with,” said Eric, “and I couldn’t let it sneak up and bite you before you saw it.”

Robin imitated a fish for a few seconds. “Thank you,” she finally stammered out.

Now, she knew he knew she saw it, and she knew that he knew that she knew that he knew she saw it … but he hadn’t said so. She didn’t have a single thing negative to say. For once in her life, she couldn’t say anything negative to Eric.

Maybe …

The next morning, she handed him a small knife. “In case you need to defend yourself against another snake,” she said. “The next one might not be so tame.”

Hardly more than a whittling knife,” he observed as he took it.

It’s all the larger knife Robin Hood would let me give you.” She sounded a bit disappointed.

Buy the book here:

Sew, It's a Quest

Or here:

Sew, It's a Quest (The Bookania Quests)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Interview with Archimedes

Tammy: Hello folks! Welcome to The Past Times. Today we have the brilliant thinker Archimedes, who has written several thought provoking books on math.

Archimedes: and variations on the subject

Tammy: Yet you never traveled from your hometown …

Archimedes: Except for when I went to Alexandria. I often thought about going back, but I never did.

Tammy: Why not?

Archimedes: I found that my own city needed me more.

Tammy: What sort of things did you do there?

Archimedes: Well, we were at war, so I built war machines. They were various types of catapults that could throw stones much larger than others that had been made before.

Tammy: Who were you at war with?

Archimedes: Rome.

Tammy: Tell me about your early life.

Archimedes: There isn’t much to say. My father was Phidias the astronomer, and I grew up like just about any other boy in Syracuse.

Tammy: Your home city?

Archimedes: yes.

Tammy: I heard somewhere that you were a favorite with the king in that city.

Archimedes: No, the Tyrant, King Hiero. I solved many a knotty problem for him.

Tammy: Like what?

Archimedes: One time he had had a solid gold crown made, but it didn’t seem to weigh enough. He had it weighed and it was the same weight as the original piece he had given the goldsmith, but it seemed to be too big. The only he could account for it was if the goldsmith had mixed the gold with silver.

Tammy: Because silver is lighter than gold?

Archimedes: Yes. But he couldn’t be sure. So he sent for me. I didn’t want to come. I was already on a very interesting problem. Hiero persisted and I finally reluctantly came. The crown proved to be one of my more interesting problems.

Tammy: Did you solve it?

Archimedes: It took a long time. I sat and looked at it for days on end. If it hadn’t of been for my slaves I never would of figured it out.

Tammy: How’d they help?

Archimedes: Whenever I got really involved with solving a problem, I ignore everything. I even forgot to eat and bathe. They’d bring me food to eat, so I didn’t starve, but I would get very dirty. When that happened, they would pick me up and, despite my screaming and kicking, carry me to the public baths. This time the bath master filled the tub almost to overflowing. Then they tossed me in.

Tammy: And water spilled out?

Archimedes: Exactly. I thought to myself, If water spills out when I get in, maybe it takes up the same amount of space as I do, and if the amount— I jumped out of the tub and ran back home, yelling, “Eureka!” which means “I have found it”

Tammy: Was it pure gold?

Archimedes: Nope. It took up more room than the piece of gold I had borrowed that was the same size as the original piece.

Tammy: I see. But I learned that back in high school geometry!

Archimedes: Yes, thanks to me.

Tammy: I heard that you once pulled a boat one-handed.

Archimedes: I did. And were I to have but another earth to stand on I could move this earth itself! It’s simple really; all I needed were pulleys and screws.

Tammy: Amazing!

Archimedes: Hiero thought sure so. After that event, he always had me solve all his difficult problems.

Tammy: Like the crown?

Archimedes: Exactly.

Tammy: Any other times you helped him?

Archimedes: I defended the city for him.

Tammy: How’d you do that?

Archimedes: With math.

Tammy: would you mind explaining?

Archimedes: Not at all, I designed several different types of machines and Hiero had them built and men trained to run them. The attack didn’t occur in his lifetime, but when it did, we were ready.

Tammy: What kinds of machines were there?

Archimedes: Rock catapults, arrow catapults, boat grabbers, mirrors… stuff like that.

Tammy: mirrors?

Archimedes: I made some with a curve that was just the right angle to focus the sun’s rays in one point in such a way that the object focused on melts or bursts into flames.

Tammy: That’s – amazing.

Archimedes: It’s just math. Anybody could figure it out.

Tammy: If they work at it. You do it seemingly effortlessly.

Archimedes: I don’t exactly figure things in five seconds though

Tammy: You find some things we can’t even fathom simple

Archimedes: You don’t think hard enough.

Tammy: Let’s not argue.

Archimedes: Anything else you would like to know?

Tammy: Yes, I heard that you were killed because of math.

Archimedes: Yes, when Syracuse was finally conquered, the Roman leader told his men that he wanted me brought to him alive, because he wanted to talk to me. I was working on an interesting problem at that point and didn’t want to go anywhere. The soldier who found me just laughed and stood on my work. I got mad and stabbed him with my drawing stylus. He got mad and ran me through with his sword.

Tammy: What did the Roman leader do?

Archimedes: had the soldier killed as a common murderer and me buried with highest honors. On my grave stone, he had the figure of a sphere inside a cube engraved.

Tammy: Why?

Archimedes: I always considered that my most important achievement and had asked for it to placed there.

Tammy: Well, that’s about all the time we have for today. Thank-you Archimedes for being with us today. I’m Tammy Turnback and this has been The Past Times.

Written 11/20/2009

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