Monday, June 30, 2014

That's All Folks: Farewell to a Month of Plot Bunnies

Barney, Opie, and Andy - The Andy Griffith Snow
Andy Griffith show
via Pinterest

     Many thanks to Anne-girl for hosting this month's Plot Bunny event.  And also congratulations to all the participants.  It was neat to see the stories that everyone came up with.
  If you go quickly, you can head over to Anne-girl's blog and find links to the other plot bunny participants on the right-hand side of her blog.
   And I earned this award for participating:

    We now return to our regular programming...

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Plot Bunny #8: First Scene

     Kevin leaned his head against the back of the couch and watch scenes flick across the television screen through half-opened eyes.  He was bored.  Bored with the television.  Bored with the day.  Bored with his life.
     Over the sounds of explosions and screaming emanating from the television, Kevin heard his mother enter the room, her low heels clicking across the rich wood floor.  She stopped behind him and Kevin felt a brush of fabric tickling his forehead.  Kevin swiveled his eyes up and saw the lower edge of a dishtowel sweeping over his hair.  His mother held the other end of the towel in her hand and seemed completely oblivious to Kevin as she stared at the television with a furrowed brow.
    She could be so aggravating sometimes.
    "I wish you wouldn't watch that garbage," his mother said, still frowning at the characters portrayed in the movie.
     Kevin turned his eyes back to the screen with a bored expression.  "Why not?  Dad watches it," Kevin retorted laconically.
     This was an intentional jab -- more for the purpose of making his mother stop nagging him than for the purpose of validating anything -- and it worked.  Kevin didn't look up from the screen as he listened to his mother's footsteps retreat from the room. 
     But the movie seemed to have lost what little appeal it had for him.  He watched a few more minutes so that it wouldn't seem like his mother had influenced him, and then he cut it off and headed upstairs to his room.
     As he passed the kitchen, he heard a ragged intake of breath.  Peering around the door, he saw his mother, leaning against the counter with tears streaming down her face.  Guilt jabbed at him, knowing that it was probably his words that opened a wound for her.  For a moment, he stood wavering in the doorway, unnoticed by his sobbing mother.  He wished there was some way of comforting her, but he couldn't think of any.  It wasn't his fault that his father was a crooked politician who rarely came home.
      Kevin sucked in a breath and jogged upstairs to his room.  The whole world was falling apart -- starting with his family.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Plot Bunny #8: The Third Revolutionary War

     The Third Revolutionary War

     The Lost Truth

Back Cover:
     When the nation was born, its leaders warned of what could happen if the people lost sight of the Truth.  But, nearly three hundred years later, that warning has been forgotten or dismissed as old-fashioned.  As the government begins to crumble, the nation totters on the brink of its third revolutionary war.  Is there any way to stop it?

     son of a crooked politician
     disillusioned with the world
     torn between pursuing a religious or political path
     a budding writer
     longing to do something or write something of great importance


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Joy's Q&A: Day 2

Joy is hosting the second day of her blog event and you can check it out HERE.  Today's theme is "Faith and Fantasy."  Since I feel that I do not have much experience in the fantasy genre, I can't answer all her questions.  I'll be skipping over the ones I don't know how to answer.  You can go to her post to see what I was supposed to be doing and didn't.  ;)
BELLA COUTURE ®FINE JEWELRY of BEVERLY HILLS, CA - - Lovely butterfly in nature with flowers - pink butterfly

1. Taken from a Christian perspective, what are your thoughts and feelings on the fantasy genre in general? Do you hold to any convictions or guidelines on things like magic, sorcery, fantastical elements or allegory in fantasy books?
Her first question asked about my guidelines regarding magic, sorcery, fantasy, and allegory.
This is something that I am in the midst of evaluating. I was raised to know that things like magic and sorcery were wrong. Our God is so powerful, and magic was the devil's twisted copy of that power. That meant that it is not nearly as strong as God and also that it is coming from the wrong source. Some stories were written to make magic look good and innocent, but that did not mean that it was. If God didn't like it, neither did we. That was the stance we took. Magic does exist and I was not against a story that accurately portrayed magic on the wrong side (such as Moses against Pharaoh's magicians or a modern story about a missionary and a witchdoctor), but I didn't want one that made me want to pretend that I was using magic. If you are trying to decide for yourself what is okay and what is not, then I encourage you to look it up in the Bible. See what God says about it. For starters, you can check out Ezekiel 13, Acts 19, and Galatians 5.
I have recently been introduced to the Chronicles of Narnia (the first two movies and the third book). I loved them. I love the big epic feel to them. I love swords and battles. And I loved the allegory. When Aslan was slain, I cried -- not for the lion but for what Jesus did for us. It was so powerful. I absolutely loved the story.
But there is "magic" in the CoN story -- or, at least, that is what C.S. Lewis called it. So that creates a bit of a rub for me, and makes me evaluate it with a "what would Jesus think of this story?"

3. Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia books, or watched any of the movies? Which, if so, are your three favourite books?
I have watched the first two movies and I have read the third book.

4. How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read and enjoyed so far? Can you choose a favourite book (The Lord of the Rings can be considered one book ;)?

5. Uhm. . . since, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were friends, I will not risk causing further estrangement to the history of their friendship by pitting them against each other! However, being the mastermind of mischief that I am, I will toss this question your way: which of the two are you most fond of in sense of storytelling, characters, themes and what personally touches/inspires you the most: The Lord of the Rings, or The Chronicles of Narnia?
I haven't read Tolkien.  The quotes on the sideline of Joy's blog look inspiring, though.

7. Have you read any Christian allegories, such as Pilgrim's Progress, Holy War or Hinds Feet on High Places?
Yes, I have read Pilgrim's Progress, Hinds Feet on High Places, and some others.

29. What would inspire you to pick up a work of fantasy literature or watch a fantasy film? What do you believe are both the benefits, negatives and overall effects of enjoying this genre?
I watched Chronicles of Narnia because I liked other works of C.S.Lewis and I heard good things about the film and somebody lent it to me.
Benefits of fantasy stories:
     It is so easy to make points with these stories because you are not bound by normal contraints.  Sometimes the different setting and rules make it easier for the reader to see the lessons within the story.
     They are also fun.  The use of imagination, the ability to make things idyllic or otherwise, and the "epic" feeling of these tales are some of the biggest attractions for me.
The negatives of this genre: 
     It can be easy to make lies seem true and wrong seem right when you leap into another world.
     The fun premise is a little bit like junk food -- easy but not healthy, especially not in large quantities.
    When it comes to magic, why wouldn't you want the "real thing".  Why would you spend all your time admiring the powers of an imaginary character when you could be admiring the true power of God?

So there is my meager input, and I am looking forward to the next set of questions by Joy.

New Followers, Welcome!

    I'm just popping in today to say "welcome" to my new followers and "thank you" to those who have been with me already.  A couple of you joined this month, and I was soooo excited to see you here.  I am immensely grateful to each of my followers and hope to write excellent things worthy of you!
      Thanks again!  And welcome!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Plot Bunny #7: First Scene

     There are a number of rules impressed upon a new cashier.  These largely revolve around speed, precision, and customer satisfaction.  And you learn very quickly that most customers think merely of themselves and that the cashier gets blamed for everything from a slow-moving line to the increased price of bacon.  I say "most customers" for not every customer falls into this category.  Scattered throughout the day, a different type of customer appears.  Like salt on a bland dish, they make the whole day better.  And it is for this reason, that I remember them.
The Shoe Fixer - an old man, in Old Jerusalem’s Market, fixing, polishing and selling used shoes

     We had a customer -- he was what we call a "regular," coming in several times a week.  He was an old man with a thick Polish accent and a shuffling step.  With his little European-style hat and jacket, he looked like he belonged to another world.
     On this particular day, he came through my line.  Slowly, he set his little collection of grocery items onto my conveyor belt, and he began to talk.  His accent was so thick, I could barely understand him.  Once he started talking, the words did not stop.  He told me about his life in his country before he came to America.  He talked of wars and of a beloved wife.  He talked of the struggles of adjusting to a new country and of the great hope that this new start stirred in his breast.  It was better than any historical fiction story because it was real.  I wished I could sit the old man down with a tape recorder, for his tale, though filled with sadness, was a great one.  And my heart went out to him for the things he had lived through.
      In spite of this wonderful tale, I felt a twinge of nervousness, too.  A cashier's line is not the place for a long conversation.  I shot a worried glance at the people waiting in line behind him.  I dreaded the fidgeting and the angry looks.  I dreaded the explosion of an impatient customer.  The man's bill was waiting to be paid, but he had not yet reached for his wallet.  I hated to interrupt him.  What should I do?
     At last the old man finished his broken tale and paid his bill.  He walked away looking more cheerful than he had when he arrived, and I gave him a parting smile.  Then I took a deep breath and turned to face the next customer.
     It was a woman with dark hair, and she looked at me with full eyes.  "You did the right thing," she said.  "That old man is lonely, and you are probably the only person who has listened to him all day.  You did the right thing."
     Her kind tone took me completely by surprise.  No impatience.  No heavy sighs.  No angry looks.  No rebuking words.  Just patience, love, and encouragement.  Whatever she was in a hurry to do next, she put aside, just as I had, to listen to an old man.
     I rang her order up with speed and precision, wishing there was some way to let her know how much I appreciated her.
     Her encouragement to me continued to have a positive effect.  Her words were spoken loud enough that the people behind her in line traded their fidgety expressions for ones of introspection and thoughtfulness.  And I have a feeling that more than one person went about their day with a little more consideration for other people.  It is for this reason that I will always remember that woman with the dark hair.
     Sometimes the very best thing we can do is to slow down and listen to an old man.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Plot Bunny #7: Tips for Shoppers

    Tips for Shoppers: Anecdotes from the Life of a Grocery Store Clerk

Back Cover:
     A clerk in a grocery store sees all manner of people.  From proud old ladies to rude gentlemen, from compassionate customers to selfish shoppers, from the most upstanding citizen to the sneakiest thieves -- the stream of people is a never-ending series of life lessons.  From the eyes of a humble clerk come a set of stories that every shopper should read.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Plot Bunny #6: First Chapter

     Aldrich awoke with a start.  Sweat trickled from his brow.  Instinctively, he reached up and placed his hand over his left eye.  Then slowly he sat up and looked around the room.

     The moonlight poured into the room through the open square window, lighting the floor.  Aldrich could see his two sisters sleeping on their pallet on the other bed in the room; Hope was nearly lying on top of her older sister.  The two boys were on a pallet on the floor.

     Aldrich put a hand against the wall, gaining comfort from the familiar, rough boards, and lay down again with a sigh.  It had been a dream that woke him – the same dream that haunted him for as long as he could remember.  Voices, a flash of light and pain, and then darkness.  And he always woke up in a cold sweat.

     What did it mean?

     Aldrich remembered the time he had asked his wise friend, the old hermit, about it. 

     “What are dreams?” Aldrich had asked.

     “That is a question that has yet to be answered – though many a philosopher and doctor and spiritual man have searched the subject,” the old man said complacently as he stirred a broth over his tiny fireplace.  Then he pattered barefoot into the yard and loaded his arms with pieces of chopped wood.  “Some say dreams are from God.  Others say dreams are but the act of a creative mind rearranging the information you have given it over your lifetime,” he continued, his voice sounding strained as he carried his heavy load back into his hut and dumped it by his fireplace.

     “I have a dream,” Aldrich said, slowly.  “Voices, blinding light and pain, darkness…and then I wake up.”  The boy ducked his head.  “It frightens me.”

     The old hermit studied the boy for a moment without saying anything.  Then he turned back to his broth.  “It may not be a dream,” the old man said, “but perhaps a memory.”

     “A memory?” Aldrich queried. “While I sleep?”

     The old man stirred his broth without looking up.  “A memory,” he repeated.  For a moment, he was silent and the only sounds to be heard were the rhythmic sound of the spoon scraping the bottom of the pot and the chirping of birds outside the hut.  “What happened to your eye? The left one…the one that is white,” the old man asked.

     Aldrich’s hand went self-consciously to his face.  “It’s blind,” he answered in a low tone.

     “What happened?” the old man repeated, still stirring his broth.

     Aldrich shook his head.  “I don’t remember,” he said.

     “Or maybe you do,” the old man said, lifting his eyes to meet the boy’s.

     Aldrich’s eyes opened wide at this thought.  He had never considered the possibility before.

     The old man lifted the spoon to his lips, blowing across the hot liquid until it had cooled.  Then he sampled it, nodding and smacking his lips in satisfaction.  For a moment, the boy wondered if the old man had ended his talk, but then the old man spoke one more time.

     “There’s no need to fear it,” he said.  “Let the dream come…and see what else you remember.”

     The dream still came with a sense of terror, but Aldrich found that it ended when he awoke.  He was no longer afraid of the dream itself, but he was no closer to finding out what it meant.  The voices in the dream were blurred so that he could not understand the words.  And the dream was too short to afford many other clues.  Aldrich rubbed his forehead fitfully and rolled onto his stomach.

     Sleep refused to return to Aldrich.  He lay quietly until a purplish hue in the east began to erase the stars from the sky.  Then he quickly pulled his clothes on and stepped over his sleeping brothers.  If he got his chores done early, there would be time for lessons with the old hermit this morning.

     Ducking under the curtain that covered his doorway, Aldrich stepped into the tiny kitchen.  His mother was already up, quietly gathering breakfast preparations.  She smiled at him and motioned for him not to wake his brothers and sisters.  He nodded and smiled in return, pointing out the door.  She nodded, tucking her red hair behind her ears and wiping her hands on her apron.

     Outside, Aldrich sucked the cool air into his lungs.  He loved the forest life.  Already it was coming alive.  Birds were chirping.  Aldrich’s dove pigeons were cooing.  After breakfast, his brothers and sisters would feed the dove pigeons and gather their eggs to sell at market.  Aldrich shouldered an axe and walked to the woodpile.

     The little woods-cow leaned her head over the side of her small pen and lowed a greeting.  She would calf soon and would remain in her pen until she did.  It wasn’t safe to let her wander deeper into the forest to have her baby.

     Aldrich set a log upright and lifted his axe over his head.  He was a tall boy for his eleven years.  He would never be as big of a man as his papa, but a life of work had put muscles on his young form.  He swung the axe down with confidence, splitting the log in two.  His mop of roughly cut dark hair fell across his face as he bent to set his split log upright.  Then he raised his axe over his head and swung again.

      When he had split enough, Aldrich lifted his load and carried wood back to the house.  As he put the axe back in its place, he overheard his parents talking inside the kitchen.

     “I don’t like him spending so much time with the hermit,” Papa growled.

     Mama made no response, but Aldrich could hear her setting wooden plates on the small table.

     “The fewer people we have contact with the better,” Papa continued.  “And what’s he going to do with booklearning?  It’s asking for trouble, that’s what.”

     Aldrich heard the rattle of the big spoon against the pot as Mama poured porridge into each plate.

     “If we get caught over this…” Papa said, raising his voice.

     “We won’t get caught,” Mama’s soft voice interposed.  Her footsteps crossed the floor, and Aldrich knew she had gone to her husband’s side.  “We’re safe here – you know that.”  For a moment, it was quiet in the kitchen.  Then Mama spoke again, her voice as muffled as if her cheek was pressed against her husband’s shirt.  “I feel like we owe it to him,” she said wistfully.  “After all, we were a part of bringing him to this world.”

     “We didn’t have much of a choice,” Papa retorted, but he sounded in much better humor than before.  Aldrich breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that, for the moment, his lessons with the hermit would continue.

      “Get the rest of the children up, Mama – daylight’s wasting,” Papa ordered.  Then he raised his voice, “Boys!  On your feet!”

      Aldrich stomped his feet against the threshold and ducked inside the hut with his load of wood.  His mama smiled at him. 

     “Hurry up!  Breakfast is getting cold,” Papa said, sitting down at the small table.

      The younger children stumbled out of the tiny bedroom in various stages of sleepiness.  Only a year younger than Aldrich, Patience alone emerged with her golden hair combed.  Justin, Jacob, and little Hope all had tousled hair and sleepy eyes, but the sight of breakfast brought them to life quickly.

      “Mind your manners, Jacob!” Patience scolded, as her 7-year-old brother lifted a spoonful of steaming porridge to his lips.  “Papa hasn’t said the blessing yet.”

      “I was only smelling it,” Jacob protested, squirming hungrily in his seat.

      “Heavenly Lord and Father, we thank Thee for Thy many blessings,” Papa prayed as every head bowed.  “Amen.”

      For several minutes after the prayer, the only sound was the sound of eating.  Papa finished first and pushed his chair back from the table. 

     “Justin, I promised the Georges you would have that harness mended by noon today.  I’ll take it to him after lunch.  Jacob, you might as well start your planting without your brother since he has to finish the harness.  Patience, help your mother,” Papa assigned as he pulled his boots on and plopped his hat on his coarse blonde hair.  “Aldrich, tell the hermit you won’t see him next week.  They’ve called for all able bodies to do the planting for the town.  There will be a few shillings in it for us, and Lord knows we need them.”

      “Yes, Papa,” the children chorused.

     “Me?” Hope pleaded.  Her name had not been mentioned in her papa’s list, and she didn’t like it.

     A smile tugged at the corner of Papa’s mouth and he bent over and kissed the top of her tousled red hair.  “Hope, be good,” he said, and she was content.

If she were wearing a peasant girl dress, this might be Hope.
via Pinterest

Friday, June 20, 2014

Plot Bunny #6: The Forest Prince

     The Forest Prince

Back Cover:
     For as long as he can remember, Aldrich has known no life other than that of a woodsman's oldest son.  But, thanks to an old hermit, Aldrich learns that he was born a prince.  As a baby, he suffered an accident that caused a blindness in one eye.  Fearing the reaction of the people, the lords switched the deformed prince with another baby.  When Aldrich further learns that the replacement prince is a spoiled brat, he journeys to the castle to set things straight, one way or another!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Joy's Q&A: Day 1

     Joy at her blog is hosting a special event this week in honor of her blog's 3rd birthday.  You can read about it in her post here. 

     For today's part of her party, I am answering some questions.  Here they go:
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your tastes, and the little hobbies and things that your readers probably don't know about you!
     There is so much more to a person than can be introduced in a little paragraph!  So I will content myself with listing 3 things that you probably did not know about me.
     a. I work at unusual hours.  At my job, I have regular hours (something like 8am to 6pm on one or two days a week) but I also am on call 24/7.  That means at any time day or night, I could be called in.  And when I am called in, there is no guarantee of when I will return home (it may be a few hours or it may be several days).  How's that for a schedule!
     b. I want to be multilingual someday.  At the moment, I speak English and am starting to learn Spanish.
     c. I like running and climbing and catching things that people throw at me.  I have also recently discovered I love canoeing.
2. Books! We really do love them. . . but we all have preferences of what kind of books we love best. What is your favourite genre to read from (and to write in, if you happen to be a writer too)? Could you tell us why?
     I feel like I am fairly eclectic.  It will be easier to tell you what I don't like.
     First of all, I don't like books that set your imagination down the wrong path.  This has nothing to do with whether or not a book would be fun to read but is based on what I think is right.  Horror, certain magic, certain romances, strife, etc. would fall into this category.  This would apply to my writing as well.
     Secondly are the genre's that are okay in small quantities. 
          For example:
          This is personal preference, I know, but I get tired of some "inspirational" stories.  I'm not talking about Christian stories, necessarily, but the ones that are mushy-gushy inspirational.  I might read one every now and again, but they get very "blah" for me in large quantities.  Don't buy me a year-long subscription to Guideposts.  I prefer inspirational stories with a little more action.
3. Are you fond of classic literature or do you generally find them too "dry" and hard-going for your tastes? Alternately, how much of your reading diet consists of books written by authors of the 21st century? Are you more fond of the old books or the new. . . or maybe a little bit of both?
     I suppose it depends on which classic we are talking of.  ;)  I suppose I favor the old books more than the new, but I read a mix of both.
4. What is your favourite historical time period and setting? How did you come to be especially interested in it? Would you be happy to live in that time-period or era?
     I couldn't answer this one.  There are things to like and dislike about any setting and period.  I am glad to be living now, but I would have been happy anywhere.
5.. List three of your favourite classic authors (authors from the 1500s and up to the very early 1900s such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain etc. . . )? What makes you love them so much?
     I love Dickens.  I love the way he words things, respecting the reader's intellect to be able to understand him.  I love the way he weaves his stories and the way he ties the strands together at the end.  I love the way he makes me laugh and cry and think.
     I like Laura Ingalls Wilder.  She captured an era for me.  And hers were the books that could be read at any age.
     I took me a long time to understand or enjoy Jane Austen, but I find her delightful now.
     Mark Twain makes me laugh.
     Robert Louis Stevenson, at least what I have read of him, seems to combine action and morals in a satisfying way.
     Louisa May Alcott is a joy to read, and I feel like I shall be especially wholesome and hardworking after I read them. ;)  Sadly, it is easy to neglect one's own duties while reading about the dutiful girls in her books.
   And my list goes on!!!  Oh, why did you say only three???
6. What type of "Historical classic" is your favourite: Adventure and exploration, romance, mystery, social, memoir, or political?
     I am not sure.
7. Share some of your most well-loved heroines from historical novels in literature, and why you love them so much! What virtues/traits in them would you like to attain yourself?
     Esther, from Bleak House -- she is so good, so wise in her dealing with others.  (Disclaimer: I have only seen the BBC movie)
     Sissy, from Hard Times -- what a stifling world she was thrown into, and yet she managed to change it.  She touched the lives of everyone in that family for the better.
8. Who are your favourite heroes from historical literature? (You may share up to five). What makes them stand out among the rest as special?
     I liked Pa from the Little House books.  He was such a good Pa, and he loved his little half-pint (aka, his daughter, Laura).
     I liked Demetrius from The Robe.  He had all the potential of wealth and greatness and it was turned upside-down, forcing him into slavery.  Then he was a fighter and extremely smart and discerning.  He threw himself whole-heartedly into serving his master, becoming the sort of man you would want to have at your back.  And when he found Jesus, he became even more awesome.  You would rightly say that technically Marcellus was the hero, but I think Demetrius was.
     I liked Mr. Darcy in that he had this fault of shyness and was misunderstood in public circles while he was greatly loved by those who knew him (like his servants back home).  He made mistakes -- I think he could have handled Wickham better (perhaps) and certainly could have handled Bingley's heart better.  I also like the fact that he didn't just give up on Lizzie, hating her for turning him down, and that he did those things for her sister even though he did not expect Lizzie to change her mind regarding him.
9. List your favourite "classic" novels. . . (as this is a painful question, you may list more than one!)
     Oliver Twist
     The Little House books
     Pride and Prejudice
     Sense and Sensibility
     Huckleberry Finn
     Tom Sawyer
     Treasure Island
     The Count of Monte Cristo
     The Swiss Family Robinson
     Robinson Crusoe
     White Fang
     The Call of the Wild
     Lad, A Dog (and other Lad books)
     Bob, Son of Battle
     (all of Louisa May Alcott's books)
     The Five Little Peppers
     The Robe
     (all of James Herriot's books)
     Robin Hood
     (Grandma's Attic books)
     ...yeah, this list is getting to long, too.  So I'll stop now.
10. Which period-drama movies, (adaptions from historical classic works of fiction), fall under your favourite pile? Do you prefer the more modern adaptions or the old ones? Faithful renditions, or the more exciting ones?
     I like BBC, for I feel that they fall under both "faithful" and "exciting".  I tend to like versions from the 80's, 90's, and 2000's.  The primitive filming techniques from the very old versions are a distraction to me, and most of the very old version are not, in my opinion, very faithful.
11. Which historical classic has inspired and influenced you the most?
12. Give a list (preferably with pictures!) of your favourite period drama costumes (hats, hoops, gloves, parasols, etc) and from which movie/character they come from.
     I can't answer this with my time restraints, but I will say that I like:
          Prairie dresses
          Mid-1800s dresses with the small waist and big skirts
          and the comfortable skirts and shirts of the women on a Mexican rancho.
13. How accurate do you think classic authors were about depicting history and accuracy of different cultures? Were they sometimes prejudiced or melodramatic in their descriptions, or do you think they often had a point to make?
     Fairly accurate, but yes to the second question.
14. Think of the funniest "scene" in either a book or movie from classic literature, and share the quote/picture below (Gifs and animations allowed!)
     I can't pick one!
15. Which villain of historical literature strikes the most dread and loathing in you?
     Not sure at the moment...
16. How many Charles Dickens novels have you read? Do you enthusiastically love his stories, or sob in misery over them, or worse get bored by them?
     I have read Oliver Twist, Hard Times, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol.  And I have watched the BBC movies for Little Dorrit, Bleak House, and Our Mutual Friend.
     I started to watch Chuzzlewit and I got bored with it.  So I suppose some may bore me, but the ones I have read leave me enthusiastically loving his stories.
17. Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, or Elizabeth Gaskall?
     I have only read Austen so far.
18. Favourite French Revolution novel?
     A Tale of Two Cities?  The Scarlett Pimpernell?
19. North and South or Pride and Prejudice? Mr. Darcy or Mr. Thornton?
     I haven't read North and South yet...
20. Which historical classic struck you with the most sense and depth of faith and the author's perception of morality, ethics and the Christian walk? Can you share a little bit about it?
     This is a tough question.  I like Swiss Family Robinson for this.  And I am sure there are others.
21. Who is your favourite side-kick (secondary character) in literature of this genre?
     I liked Charlie in Oliver Twist because he turns from his life of thieving and becomes a good man.
     I liked Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice for his sense of humor.
     I didn't much care for Jane Fairfax in Emma until I saw the new movie with Romola as Emma.  In that movie, I fell in love with secondary characters: Jane Fairfax, John Knightly, even Miss and Mrs. Bates.
22. List five "Historical Classics" you are especially looking forward and eager to read in the near future.
     Bleak House
     Little Dorrit
     Our Mutual Friend
     Count of Monte Cristo ( has been a long time since I last read it)
     Good Wives ( has also been a long time since I read it and I just finished Little Women for the upteenth time)
23. What was the first historical classic novel you ever read and how did it strike you?
     I don't know which was first.  I know for a fact that I read Oliver Twist when I was 9 years old or younger, and I did not get the sarcasm at all.
24. What would inspire you to pick up a historical piece of literature - namely a "classic"? Do you believe it is important for our generation to get back to reading the classics? What do you believe are both the benefits, negatives and overall effects of treasuring historical stories written by authors of the past?
     I personally feel that a lot of modern literature is "dummied" down, and I love to read a well-written story that makes me think.  Plus, the old literature sometimes seems more epic -- perhaps because they wrote better or perhaps because they "lived" more.  There is nothing like personal experience to make a story more real.
    Classics have 3 special qualities that make them worth passing on to future generations:
     a. Because we should learn from history, the classics give us a picture of the past that will hopefully serve as warning and encouragement for our future.
     b. Because they have stood the test of time, the classic tend to be well-written.  They were the authors worth reading.  Some of our books today have not proven themselves over time.  A GOOD book should be passed on, and many of the classics are good books.  Why not pass them on?
     c. Because we love to pass on the things that influenced us for good, we will pass on the classics.  Just as I will tell my grandchildren about the things my own grandfather taught me and just as I will insist they know the stories that I loved when I was their age, so I will likely pass on certain classics to my children.
     On the flip side, no book should be passed on just because somebody somewhere has titled it a classic.

    So there are my answers to her questions!
    She is also hosting a giveaway.  If you are interested, head over to her blog (Fullness of Joy).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Plot Bunny #5: First Scene

Reminds me of our Boundary Waters trip
via Pinterest
     The early morning dew filled Amelia’s sneakers with water.  She remembered choosing them that morning.  These are old,” she had thought to herself.  It won’t matter if they get wet.”  But she had been thinking of river water – not ordinary, everyday dew.  Amelia made a rueful face as she trudged down the hill in soggy sneakers.

     “Hurry, ‘Melia,” called her younger brother.  Luke had been a fireball of energy all morning.  The upcoming river trip was a dream come true for him.

     It was a dream come true for Amelia as well.  Not even her soggy sneakers could dampen her mood.  She had never been on the river before, but she had long hoped for an opportunity like this.  She tucked a stray strand of blonde hair behind her ear, tugged at her hat to make sure it was secure, and listened to the early morning chorus of birds.

     There was another sound, too -- one so subtle that it was softer and deeper than a whisper.  The sound of the river.  The water was nearly silent in its travel downstream, but it lent an atmosphere to the world around it.

     The gravel road turned and Amelia caught a glimpse of the river.  It was the same river she had seen many times before, driving across the little bridge, but with the knowledge that she would soon be floating in its power, the view struck her as it never had before.

     Her brother was already at the water’s edge, conversing with the old man who would carry them in his canoe.  Amelia surveyed the old man quickly.  His hair was white, neatly trimmed except for his beard, which was a little bit scruffy.  He wore a dark brown, wide-brimmed hat that would shade his face and neck from the sun.  His khaki pants were held up by black suspenders that contrasted with his light blue t-shirt.

     “Calm down, sonny,” she heard the old man say.  His eyes were crinkled up with amusement, but he held one arm out as if to prevent Luke from climbing into the canoe.  “You’ll tip the boat with that much excitement.”

     “Can I help?” Amelia offered as she got closer.

     The old man nodded.  “Put a life preserver on,” he said, pointing to a pile of gear on the bank.  “Then you can hand me the other oar and the sponge.”

      Amelia did as she was told while the old man tightened Luke’s life preserver to meet his satisfaction.

     “What’s the sponge for?” Amelia asked, handing him the oar.

     “For bailing water…if need be,” the old man said, matter-of-factly.  “Now you children hang on for a minute while I get the boat situated.”

     Amelia turned away from the old man and stared wonderingly at the river.  Her soul filled with the poetry of it.  And in every direction she looked, there was not a sign of man.  There was nothing to indicate the progress of the 21st century.  Amelia suddenly felt suspended in time.  The branches overhanging the river could have belonged to any period of history.  Amelia held her breath and gazed into the water, her mind floating far away until not even she was sure where it had gone.

     “Me first!” cried Luke, jarring Amelia back to the present.  She turned to see Luke clambering into the boat after the old man.

     “Hold your horses!” the old man yelped, with a disgruntled face expression.  “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not flip the canoe before we even get started.”

     Luke calmed down at this rebuke and carefully followed the old man’s instructions for climbing into the boat.  Amelia followed him.  The canoe trembled under her foot as she stepped into the center of the boat, and she quickly lowered herself to her knees.  The old man was seated at the back of the boat, Amelia in the front, and Luke in the middle.  Once everybody was in, Amelia sneaked a peak back at the old man’s face.  He looked pleased.

     “Not bad,” he said.  “Your first time climbing into a canoe and you didn’t tip it over.  I’ve got the makings to two good rivermen on my hands!”  Then he corrected himself, “Or a riverwoman and a riverman.”

     Amelia sighed with relief and once again looked around her, certain that she was absorbing the beauty of the river into her very soul.  It was everything she had dreamed of and more.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Plot Bunny #5: River of Time

      The River of Time

Back Cover:

     "Amelia stared wonderingly at the river.  Her soul filled with the poetry of it.  And in every direction she looked, there was not a sign of man.  There was nothing to indicate the progress of the 21st century.  Amelia suddenly felt suspended in time.  The branches overhanging the river could have belonged to any period of history…"

     Amelia and her brother are excited to embark on their first canoe trip.  But there is something unusual about their canoe, and the simple ride down the river turns into something of historical proportions, carrying them through 5 centuries.  Join Amelia and Luke as they journey down the River of Time!
james river richmond virginia
via Pinterest

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Plot Bunny #4: A New Reign

     A New Reign

Back Cover:
     What happens when an old legend comes to life?  Not even their wicked ruler could entirely kill the hope of the people who dreamed of the legend's return.  When their hopes come true and a new reign is instated, the people rejoice.  But the influence of the old, evil reign lasts far beyond its visible power, and the people find that the new reign demands more of them than they ever imagined.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Plot Bunny #4: A New Reign: 1st Scene

I am doing this plot bunny backwards: posting the 1st scene before the back cover blurb.  But it only seemed fitting as the first scene was written before I gave much thought to the rest of the book.  So, without further ado, I present to you the first scene of my fourth plot bunny:

Character from Narnia movie
via Pinterest
    “The boy belongs to me,” the woman said, her cruel eyes sending hateful messages.  She wrapped her fingers like claws around the small boy’s shoulder.

     The man opposite stood staring at her, wondering at the twistedness of this remote country.  “Impossible,” he said, simply.

     The crowd that had gathered around them stepped closer, unwilling to miss any word of the confrontation between their reigning lady and the stranger.

     The woman laughed lightly.  “You are not from this land,” she said patronizingly.  “You don’t know the customs or the laws.  Regardless of how they do things in your land, that has no bearing on what happens here.  You are in my world now.”  She was triumphant and mocking.

     “That is not true,” the stranger said. 

      The woman raised an incredulous eyebrow.  “You are a native?  Really?  Name your parents!” she demanded.

       “Have you forgotten Kapulchen and Irea?” the stranger asked quietly.  His face looked reproachful.

     A gasp went up from the crowd, mostly from the older generation, and several of them glanced nervously at their leader.

     The woman’s eyes grew darker but she showed no other sign of recognition.  “Folk tales,” she scoffed.  “Children’s stories.  Some far away king who owns this country and all the surrounding countries.  Bah, no one even remembers the stories anymore.”

     “Your denial means little,” the stranger said.  “The land is mine.  I write the laws.  There are no customs aside from the ones I put into place.”

     At this treasonous statement, the woman pulled a knife from her hip, and three score men in the crowd drew their weapons.  “Watch your tongue, stranger, or you will die,” the woman threatened.    A faint but deadly smile flickered over her face.  “I believe you are outnumbered,” she said.

     The stranger was unmoved.  His steady gaze matched hers, unnerving her slightly.  Why didn’t this fool submit?

     “Put down your weapons,” the stranger ordered.  He spoke loudly so the crowd could hear him.  “I have heard of this woman’s wickedness and here I find the rumors confirmed.  She is now removed from her command.  I will set up a new ruler here.”  He raised a fist high over his head, slowly turning to look at everyone in the crowd that encircled him.

     “Fool!” the woman hissed.  “You will be dead before your next breath.”

      The stranger lowered his fist, signaling his own men to advance, and faced the woman again.  “That is not true,” he said firmly.  And as he spoke, an army of 800 men emerged from the trees with their weapons ready.  “And it is you who are outnumbered.”

     The woman lowered her knife, turning slowly to see the surrounding horde.  Anger and hatred seethed from her, but years of bullying had taught her the power of superior force.  Her guards were no match for the stranger’s army.

     “I will go,” she said, tightening her grip on the boy’s shoulder.  “But the boy is still mine.  I bought him.”

      The boy turned pleading eyes to the stranger.

     “With what?” the stranger demanded.  “What was his price?”

     “A handful of coins,” the woman retorted, her voice rising angrily.  “What does it matter?  It was a price agreed to by his parents!”

     “In all our lands, the price for a life is another life,” the stranger announced.  “Unless you gave yourself in his stead, then his price was not met.  He is not yours.”

     The woman released her fingers from the boy’s shoulder and shoved him unceremoniously from her mound.  “Fool,” she cried, spitting out the words.  “Will you take everything from me?”

     “I have taken nothing that was yours,” the stranger said.  “But you have betrayed the people I entrusted to you.  You will be punished.”

     For a moment, the woman stared at the stranger.  Her mouth moved silently.  Then she turned to the people.  “Will you let him speak to me like this?” she demanded.  “I have been your leader for a generation.”

     The crowd was silent.  Years of oppression created a deepset fear in the people.  Even with the stranger’s army surrounding them, they could not quite believe themselves safe from the wrath of their reigning lady.  Yet, their fears were coupled with a repulsion that would not let them speak on her behalf.  And so they were silent.

     Then one old man’s voice rang out from the crowd.  “Long live the son of Kapulchen!” the voice quavered.

     The little boy, now free, joined his young voice with the old man’s.  “Long live the son of Kapulchen!”

     One by one, the people in the crowd added their cries to the chant.  “Long live the son of Kapulchen!”

      Even the lady’s guards lowered their weapons and cried, “Long live the son of Kapulchen!”

     The lady turned her eyes, glittering with hatred, to the stranger.  “They all forsake me, but it does not matter, oh son of Kapulchen.”  She raised her knife again and shouted, “I will kill you myself!”  With an evil look in her eye, she leaped from her mound with the agility of a cat.

     But her intended blow was not to be.  Two guards intercepted her, pinning her arms harmlessly behind her back.  She screamed, a terrible scream like an angry panther, and then fainted dead away into her guards arms.

      For a moment, the crowd was silent, staring at the limp form of their wicked ruler.  After years of suffering her oppressive power, it was stunning to see her so quickly defeated.  Not a man of them would have believed it possible if they had not seen it with their own eyes.  As the seconds of silence ticked by, there was an air of waiting – as if they half-expected her to rise before them and send them scurrying to their graves.

      But the evil leader remained motionless in the guards’ arms.  She was powerless, and the days of oppression were truly over.  Once certain of her defeat, a victorious shout rose in the voices of the people.

     Long live the son of Kapulchen!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Too Much Excitement; Not Enough Action

     I am sharing words of wisdom from my dog this morning.  He is nearly exploding from the need to do something.  All morning, there has been a great deal of commotion in front of our house.  Honking, beeping, thumping, banging, scraping...people moving, machine digging and dumping, cars moving slowly.  He's never seen a construction crew like this at work before.  He wants desperately to do something about their presence, but I insist that he stay indoors and reduce his barking to a minimum.  He feels keyed up by the outdoor activities but restricted in his own release of that energy.

    I thought that this might apply to books as well.  It is perhaps my own perception, but it seems to me that sometimes an author can pour so much internal conflict into a story that it is a tremendous relief to have some actual action.  As a reader, I appreciate that outlet as much as my dog does.

How about you?  Have you ever seen a story with too much excitement and not enough action?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stories You Might Have Missed: Abishai

     It always tickles me to find someone who hasn't heard a particular Bible story.  I start talking about one of my favorites, and somebody says, "You're kidding!  That's in there!?!?!?"
     My dad had a similar experience the other day.  He and a friend (I'll call him Frank) were swapping stories of tough Bible characters -- you know, the kind that could be on an action adventure movie -- and my dad started talking about Abishai.
Artos, from Pendragon: Sword of His Father
Perhaps Abishai looked something like this?
(Artos, son of the Pendragon
Pendragon: Sword of His Father
via Pinterest)
     Now Abishai was a mighty warrior, loyal to David even before David became king.
     For those of you who don't know anything about David, let me catch you up.  David was a mighty warrior himself, and God was with him.  He won many victories for Saul the king -- so many that his renown was greater than the king's.  Needless to say, Saul was fiercely jealous against David.  He made several attempts to kill him -- all of which failed.  Finally David fled altogether and began living on the run.  Men flocked to David, and he soon had his own band (like a small army).  It makes me think a little bit of Robin Hood and his Merry Men, without the robbing and stealing. 
    Saul set out after David, determined to track him down and kill him.  There were some exciting times as David and his men narrowly avoided detection.
    Then, as Saul continued to hunt David, some townspeople squealed on David.
Now the Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is David not hiding in the hill of Hachilah, opposite Jeshimon?” 
     So Saul headed out to find David.  Hearing of this, David sent some of his spies out who returned the report that Saul had indeed come.  Then David went to a place overlooking Saul's camp one night.  And David decided to sneak down into the midst of the camp.  He looked to two of his men (Ahimelech and Abishai) and said, "Who will go down with me?"
     What would you answer?  If the leader of your band wanted to stroll into the camp of the people trying to kill him, would you go with him?  But Abishai said,
“I will go down with you.”
     So David and Abishai crept down into the camp in the middle of the night.  They made it all the way to the center of the camp where Saul lay asleep.  Standing over the enemy, Abishai said to David,
 “God has delivered your enemy into your hand this day. Now therefore, please, let me strike him at once with the spear, right to the earth; and I will not have to strike him a second time!”
      That is one tough dude.  Already, I have a pretty good idea of what kind of man Abishai was, and I'd rather not have him as an enemy.
      David didn't let him kill Saul; he had a much wiser plan.  You can read the whole story in 1 Samuel 26.

     But here is another story with Abishai.  This is much later in history.  David had been king for many years, and one of his sons rose up to take the throne from him by force.  Instead of fighting his own son and his own people in their initial storming of the throne, David left.  As he and his men were escaping, a man named Shimei followed them, throwing rocks and cursing and calling David names.  Abishai didn't much care for this so he said to David,
“Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please, let me go over and take off his head!”
     In my imagination, I see Abishai under the raining rocks and dirt and curses, throwing an angry sideways glance at Shimei and pleading with David for permission to take this guy out.
     David didn't let Abishai harm Shimei either; again, he had a much wiser plan.  There's a reason David was king and Abishai was not.  ;)  [You can read the story of Abishai and Shimei in 2 Samuel 16.]  Sometimes I think David had his hands full, keeping Abishai in line.  But, still, if I were in battle, Abishai is the man I would want with me.  The same was true for David -- Abishai saved his life in battle once.  Here is the story:
When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines; and David grew faint. Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant, the weight of whose bronze spear was three hundred shekels, who was bearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him.

     Can't you picture that battle?  Here are David and his men fighting against the Philistine army.  Then David grows weak.  It doesn't say why; who knows?  But one of the Philistines sees that David is vulnerable.  He dives in to kill David.  Can't you see the raging battle?  Can you hear the cries of fighting men and the clanging of swords and shields?  Can you see Abishai, fighting madly, look around and see that his king is in trouble?  Can you see him charging in and attacking the Philistine with all of this might?  That story can be found in 2 Samuel 21.

     Abishai was definitely one tough dude.

     Oddly enough, my dad's friend Frank had never heard of him.  He was thoroughly enamored with the stories, though.  It was one of those, "Man, I have GOT to meet this guy" moments, except instead of meeting we can only read about him for now.

     But how many other cool stories have you missed?  I have heard people read a Bible story in a monotone voice, glossing over stories that have so much life in them and making it sound like they are reading a grocery list.  That's why people miss the stories.  That's why, when you talk in admiration of this one tough dude who said "Let me strike him and I will not have to strike him a second time", people look at you with budding excitement and say, "THAT STORY IS IN THERE?!?!?!?"

     Yup.  It's in there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Plot Bunny #3: First Scene

     Isaiah wove his way through the lunch line like all the other children, but his mind was not on food.  His imagination painted a scene before him where he and his faithful dog climbed a treacherous mountain, forded a raging river flood, and fought an attacking pack of hungry wolves.  Nearly every day now, he dreamed of the adventures he would have with his dog; and nearly every night he prayed for God to please give him a puppy.

     "Earth to Isaiah!" called his good friend, Carl.  "Are you going to sit with us, or are you just gonna stand there?"

     Isaiah flushed, embarrassed, and hurried to join his friends.  Carl was already sitting with Jake and Roger at a table near the center of the room.

    “One of our hound dogs had puppies,” Jake said.  He drew circles in his soup with his spoon.  “Anybody want one?”

     “I would but I got to ask my dad,” Isaiah said, with a glimmer of hope, leaning forward with his arms on the cafeteria table.  A hound dog would be good for adventures.

      “I thought you wanted a wolf pup,” Carl objected.

     “I did, but my mom said there was no way she was going to have a wolf at her house,” Isaiah grumbled.

      “Wolves scare me,” Roger said.  He was a small, timid boy with black hair that fell across his eyes.  “Can we talk about something else?”

      Isaiah scoffed.  Imagine being scared of a wolf.

      “Wolves are one of my favorite animals,” Isaiah said.  “I like wolves and collies and big dogs like that.”

      “Can we talk about something else?” Roger pleaded again.

     “My aunt has one of those little tiny dogs.  It weighs only 15 pounds,” Carl said.

      “Those are cute,” Roger said.

     “They aren’t even real dogs,” Isaiah protested.  Roger was such a wimp sometimes.  “You couldn’t do anything fun with them.”

     “My aunt dresses hers up in clothes and paints her toenails,” Carl told them.

     “Ewwww,” Jake gagged.  “Dogs aren’t supposed to wear clothes.  That’s why they have fur!  My dad would never let me work the hounds again if I ever took a notion to put a sweater on one of them dogs.”

     Isaiah pictured one of Jake’s hounds wrapped up in a fancy sweater and started laughing.


     That night, Isaiah asked his dad if he could get one of Jake’s hound puppies.  His dad said no.

     “We don’t need a dog and a dog doesn’t need us,” his dad said.  “Those hound puppies will find good homes, and hopefully they will go to somebody who knows how to hunt with them.  Hounds were made for hunting, and you have never done hunting with dogs before.”

     “I could learn,” Isaiah said eagerly.

     “If you want to learn, then you need to get yourself a job working with the men around here that have hunting dogs,” his dad said.

     “I sure would like one of those hound puppies,” Isaiah said, trying his dad one last time.

     “My answer is no,” his dad answered, and that was the final word.


     Isaiah’s dad was right.  Within two weeks, all of the hound puppies found good homes with hunters in the area except for one.  That puppy got adopted by an older couple and was destined to grow up as a house dog.


     A few weeks later, Isaiah was exploring the banks of the Silvertwine Creek.  SIlvertwine Creek ran through their woods about a half mile from their house.  Usually Isaiah could find crawdads burrowed in the ground near the creek, but he had found none that day. 

     Finally he gave up and headed back to the house.

     To his surprise, his dad and mom were in the family room waiting for him.  Isaiah decided they had not been waiting long because his dad still had his coat on.

     “I got you a dog,” his dad said.

     Isaiah’s heart started pounding.  A dog?  A real live dog?  His very own?

     His dad unzipped his coat and revealed a little furry creature. 

     It was a tiny dog -- probably half grown -- but it could not have weighed more than five pounds.  The little thing wasn’t any bigger than dad’s boot.  It's hair was long and wavy.  It was a golden color around the face and chest, and it was black across the back and tail.

     Isaiah had never seen an uglier dog.  It wasn’t a hound.  It wasn’t a collie.  It wasn’t a wolf.  He didn’t even consider it to be a real dog.

     “I picked her up from a family over on Southside who couldn’t keep her.  Poor thing has had several different homes in her puppyhood.  She needed a home, and I knew Isaiah wanted a dog, so I couldn’t refuse.  She is a beautiful little dog.  She will give Isaiah good training on how to care for a dog.  Her name is Georgianna.”

     “Georgianna!”  Isaiah exclaimed in disgust.  His eyes pleaded with his dad: please let this be a joke.  “Dad, she is not even a real dog!”

     Isaiah’s dad frowned at him.  “She is your dog.  I expect you to care for her,” he stated, and that was the final word.


     His mom and dad left Isaiah in the family room with the dog.  Neither one of them understood Isaiah’s deep disappointment or his prejudice against the little dog.

     He looked at the little puddle of a dog that was sitting on the floor.  “Georgianna,” he muttered in disgust.

     Georgianna immediately jumped up into Isaiah’s lap.  Isaiah quickly redeposited her onto the floor.  “I don’t want a lap dog,” he growled.

      Georgianna tried again to get into Isaiah’s arms, but he wouldn’t let her.  So the little dog gave up and curled up on Isaiah’s feet instead.  When Isaiah went in the kitchen to eat supper, Georgianna followed him and sat at his feet while he ate.  When he went back in the family room and sat on the couch to read his history book, she again laid on his feet.

     To Isaiah’s surprise, he felt his heart softening a little.  After all, real dogs are supposed to lay at their master’s feet.  Isaiah could feel the heat and weight of the little dog on his feet.  If Isaiah didn’t look down, he could pretend that the dog on his feet was really the head of a majestic wolf stretched out beside him.

     Isaiah’s dad brought a dog crate into the house for Georgianna to sleep in.  Isaiah set it up in the family room.  Then he locked the little dog inside and went to bed.

     Georgianna began to bark and whine.  She did not like being left alone in the big dark family room.

     Isaiah tossed and turned on his bed.  Finally he got up and moved the crate into his room next to his bed.  He made sure Georgianna was securely locked in the crate, and then he crawled back into bed.

     For a moment it was quiet.  Then Georgianna gave a little whimper.  Isaiah hung an arm over his bed and wiggled his fingers where Georgianna could reach them.  She licked his fingers, and was satisfied that she was not alone.  Then boy and dog fell asleep.


     The next morning, in addition to his regular chores, Isaiah also fed and watered his dog.  Then he pulled on his coat and boots and headed outside.  As he shut the door behind him, he heard Georgianna whine.

     “She’s too little to be outside, I guess,” he told himself.  “If I had a real dog, we could go exploring together.”

     Isaiah started running, but he only made it to the edge of their big yard when his mom called him.

     “Isaiah!  Your dog is barking and whining!  I can’t have her making a racket when I am on the phone.  You need to take her with you,” his mom said.

     “Mom!  She’ll slow me down,” Isaiah shouted back.

     “Isaiah, she is your dog.  You have to take care of her,” his mom answered.

     “Bother!” Isaiah muttered to himself.  He trudged back to the house.

     Georgianna met him with happy barks and licks.  “Come on then,” Isaiah grumbled.

     Outside Georgianna was a completely different dog.  At first, she was startled by everything. It was like she had never been outside before.  She tucked her tail and ran a few steps every time the wind blew. 

     Well, there was no use taking a frightened dog exploring.  Isaiah lay down in the shade and resign himself to being lazy.  Georgianna immediately lay next to him pressing her body close to his for comfort.

      But Georgianna didn’t stay still for long.  Feeling safer by Isaiah’s side, her curiosity began to overwhelm her.  She sat up suddenly and lifted her little black nose to sniff the breeze.  How interesting!  The wind died back down, and Georgianna started to lay down again.  But something was moving in the grass only a few feet away.  It was a grasshopper.  Georgianna had never seen a grasshopper before, and she was fascinated.  She crept closer and closer.  Isaiah lifted himself up onto his elbow to watch.  Georgianna’s tiny body was quivering with excitement.  She was very close now.  Ever so slowly, she stretched her neck to reach the large insect.  Then, just before she touched it, the grasshopper leaped into the air and landed several feet away.  Georgianna was so startled that she erupted in a fit of barking.

     Isaiah laughed.  “What a greenhorn,” he chuckled.  Georgianna ran back to him with her tail wagging delightedly and licked his face.  She knew that somehow she had made her young master happy, and she was eager to do it again.  She ran back across the grass in search of the grasshopper.

      Isaiah clambered to his feet and followed her.  The two of them teamed up to hunt grasshoppers.  Sometimes Isaiah, with the advantage of his height, saw them first.  Then he would call her attention to it.  She would leap toward it with both front paws, and Isaiah would laugh as she did her best to catch it.  When the grasshopper escaped, she would put her nose to the ground and criss-cross the yard in search of another one, with her tail wagging excitedly the entire time.

     It was sort of fun, actually.