Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Random Picture Accumulation

Please excuse the lack of posts lately - I went to another camp and am now (supposed to be) getting ready to go to the beach. So I thought today I would share some random pictures from lately. (Don't you just love my grammar?)

Trying to take a profile pic for a class I'm taking this year that I personally think makes me look okay :)

Samson the no-longer-kitten eating in his cat tree

a leaf (from camp, so that makes it a special leaf)

Will making his own cake

cooking in boots - the best way to do it
And there you go. A few quick pictures from before we go to the beach. Enjoy the rest of your week!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

To Write or Not to Write? - "Broken" Installment 1

[August 13, 2014 - I decided to take off a bunch of the story that I had posted after realizing it was soooo long. So that is why some is clipped off the end.]

I have a dilemma. I am trying to decide whether I should continue writing a "novel" that I have started. I have a few family members that have read it and they want me to continue, but I'm not so sure if I want to or not. So I am asking for your help.

Here's what I'm gonna do. I will post the first chapter of the said "novel" and see what you think. If I get a positive response, I will post the next chapter to see if it stays positive. After that I will probably stop posting it because I would really like to publish it someday if I end up finishing it. So here's the first chapter. If you enjoy reading it, please "+1" this post or "like" it or something and share it with a friend. Thank you, and I hope you "like" it! :)

P.S. It's kind of long ("long" as in four pages on Google Docs), so don't feel like you have to read the whole thing.


Kira Quintin

Callie shook her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe that. I’m sorry.” She choked up, drowning her slight Southern accent.

There was a sigh from the other end of the phone. “I know it’s very hard for you to accept this Callie. I’m terribly sorry, but it’s true. Your mother didn’t make it. I’m sorry.” The police officer really was telling the truth and Callie knew it. But, just like Officer Thompson had said, she didn’t want to accept it. “I’ll be over in about ten minutes, okay?”

Callie managed to stammer out a weak, “Okay. Bye.” She hung up the phone and sank to the floor. Officer Thompson had called earlier to explain to her about the accident and how her mother had gone to the hospital, still alive but only barely - and what would happen to Callie if her mother didn’t make it. She had been waiting tensely since that first phone call praying the entire time that her mother would make it. But she hadn’t. Callie began to sob.

She was still there ten minutes later, sobbing softly, when there was a knock on the door and Officer Thompson stepped in and quietly closed the door. The officer was of average height with straight, brown hair that was usually pulled back into a tight bun. She had been good friends with Callie’s mother before the accident and always treated Callie like she was the same age as herself, which made Callie feel good.

Callie tried to control her sobs and rose to greet Officer Thompson, but the kind lady spoke first. “I’m so sorry, Callie girl. Come here.” She drew Callie into a hug. As she wept into her shoulder, Callie smelled the familiar scent of Officer Thompson’s perfume. It smelled like pine trees filled to bursting with sap. 

She wasn’t sure how long they stayed that way, but by the time she pulled herself away, Callie’s eyes were red and her cheeks were soaked with tears.

“I’m sorry. I got your uniform all wet.”

“Callie girl, don’t you worry about it. You and I both know you have bigger things to worry about right now.” Wasn’t that the truth. “Now, sweetie, I have to take you over to the Department of Social Services. They’re going to find you a place to live for a while ‘til all this is sorted out, okay?”

Something inside her fell. Social Services. That meant foster care. That meant her world was about to be even more upside down and scrambled. She would be living with strangers and would be separated from everything she knew and loved. “Do I have time to pack some things before we have to go?”

“Sure, sweetie. I’ll wait here.”

Callie was so grateful for Officer Thompson. She knew that Callie needed some time to herself and that she might not get it for a while.

Callie came down about 15 minutes later with a backpack of clothing and a small bag of notebooks and pens. “Is this too much to bring?” she asked quietly. She wasn’t sure what the standard amount of stuff to bring was.

“No, that should be just fine. Are you ready to go?” Officer Thompson was so gentle with her, Callie almost started crying again. She had to fight back the tears before she could answer and then it was almost a whisper.

“Yeah. I guess.” They turned to leave when Callie thought of one more thing she wanted to bring. “Actually, could I go get one more thing?”

“I don’t see why not. Why don’t you let me take your bags on out to the car and you 
can meet me out there.”

“Okay. Thanks.” She raced upstairs to her mom’s room and grabbed her mother’s favorite necklace. It was a silver A for Alice on a thin silver chain. Alice was her mother. Was. She fastened the necklace around her neck and tucked it under her shirt.

As Callie walked back down the stairs and out to the patrol car, she did her best not to think about her mother, but to focus on what was happening today. Where would she go? Who would she stay with? How long would she have to stay? Would she ever get to see her grandma again? She really loved her grandma. She had taught Callie to sew and cook and bake and always seemed to be there when Callie needed her.

Officer Thompson had both her bags in the trunk of the car and was standing by the passenger door, waiting. “Is there anything else you want to bring? You’ll probably have plenty of time just sitting around in a few minutes.”

“I got my notebooks and I put a couple of books in my backpack.”

“Okay. Ready?”

“I guess.”

Officer Thompson opened the passenger door for her then walked around to the driver’s side and climbed in. “I should probably tell you a little bit of what to expect,” she said as she started the engine. “I’m not going to be able to stay once we get to Social Services, but I’ve already called ahead, so they know that we’re coming.” The small bit of hope that Callie had left receded a little bit more. “So, once you get there, you’re probably going to meet a social worker who will ask you to have a seat. You’ll probably be there for a good long while, while she calls people to see if they are able to,” here she hesitated. “Host you for a while. Then, once they’ve determined the best place for you to go, the social worker will drive you over to the house where you’ll be staying. After that, she’ll talk to the adults and make sure you’re all right. Then she’ll go and you’ll get to settle in a little bit.”

Callie nodded. That didn’t sound like much fun, but there wasn’t much that she could do to change it. “Okay.” Her voice was small.

They continued in silence until they reached the one level brick building. It didn’t look very inviting from the cozily heated patrol car.

As she stepped out into the crisp late March air, Callie shivered and pulled her coat tighter against the cold wind. Officer Thompson opened up the trunk and retrieved her two bags. She glanced at Callie. “I’m ready,” she assured the officer, though Callie herself wasn’t quite so sure.

Officer Thompson nodded. “Okay then.” They started walking toward the glass front doors, Officer Thompson carrying the bags and Callie despairing at what was most certainly in her near future.

The glass doors weren’t the scary part - it was what was behind them that had Callie worried. What if her social worker was mean? What if the foster family lived too far away to ever see any of her friends? What if her dad found out where she was living? That was the scariest thought of all. Her dad. Callie’s mom didn’t talk about him much and she always seemed to make sure Callie was off with friends or family when he was around. It wasn’t just that he was disliked by Mrs. Holtz - he had been going downhill for some time now and Callie didn’t know why. From what little she had seen and heard, Callie had figured out that he was always drunk and hung around with awful influences. One time, when Mrs. Holtz had talked about him, she had told Callie that he hadn’t always been that way. She said that he had once been as kind and gentle and loving as any one. Then things got hard. He lost his job. When he he couldn’t find another, he had started going to the bar more and more often. He was out later and more often. Then, one night, he just hadn’t come back. Now he still visited from time to time when he wasn’t in jail. It was usually asking for money. And every time Mrs. Holtz had turned him away empty handed. Callie had once asked why and her mother had responded by saying she used to give him money but he never did anything good with it.

Callie pushed those thoughts from her head as they walked through the doors. The first room they walked into was large, tiled, and had chairs lining the walls. Callie glanced up at Officer Thompson for reassurance and was rewarded with a warm (albeit small) smile.

Officer Thompson led her through another glass door into a much smaller room with one of those windows that looked into another room with someone with a desk and a strained smile. “How can I help you?” the receptionist asked when she noticed them walking in.

“I’m Jane Thompson and this is Callie Holtz. I called ahead?” Officer Thompson clearly knew what she was doing.

“Oh, yes,” the lady said. She gave Callie a sympathetic look. “Mrs. Roffen will be ready to speak with you in just a moment.”

“Thank you.” Officer Thompson went over to have a seat in one of yet another row of chairs and Callie followed. “Now as soon as we meet Mrs. Roffen, I’m afraid I’m gonna have to go.”

Callie nodded. She had been dreading that moment since Officer Thompson had first mentioned it. “Okay. Thank you for everything.”

“It was nothin’ sweetie. Don’t you worry about it.” She gave Callie another warm smile. “I’m gonna be sure and come check on ya - see how you’re doin’ real often, okay?”

Callie nodded again. That was one comfort that she could cling to. Officer Thompson would take care of her.

Just then, a large lady dressed completely in pink walked through another glass door. The pink ruffle on the hem of her pink skirt ruffled whenever her pink high heels clicked on the white tile.

She opened her pink lips and began speaking. It took Callie a minute to realize this as she was looking at all of the pink enclosing the short stout lady. “...must be Callie!” The lady gave a large smile showing lipstick stained teeth which Callie did her best to return. “I’m Mrs. Roffen and I’ll be your social worker!” She punctuated every sentence with a too-warm smile. Plus, she sounded like a flight attendant - like the next  thing she might say would be, “Please buckle up for take off!”

Officer Thompson was looking at Callie with concerned green eyes. “You all right, sweetie?”

Of course she wasn’t all right! Her mother had just died and this pink lady was about to have control of her fate. Despite all this, Callie managed to stammer out a, “Yes, ma’am.” When Officer Thompson still didn’t look very assured, she added, “It’s just been a long day.”

She still didn’t look very sure, but turned back to the social worker. “I’m afraid I have to go. Is there anything else you need?”

“No. Thank you very much, Officer Thompson,” Mrs. Roffen replied sweetly.

“Okay. How ‘bout you, Callie girl? You need anything?

“No, ma’am. Thanks again for everything.”

“Don’t mention it. Come here, gal.” Officer Thompson wrapped her in another warm hug. “I’m so sorry, Callie. I’m so sorry.”

Tears began streaming down Callie’s face again and when she looked up, she saw that Officer Thompson was crying silently too. Callie pulled reluctantly away.

“Bye Callie. I promise I’ll come and see you.” She reached out and brushed a strand of hair away from Callie’s face.

“Okay. Bye.”

Officer Thompson turned to go, but then glanced back. “I’ll always be here for you if you need anything. You know my cell number.” Then she left.

Callie was now in a world of strangers who got to decide what was going to happen to her. She almost broke down in tears again as she watched out the window while Officer Thompson started the car and drove off.


Thank you for reading it and don't forget to share it!


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Is It True?

My sister and I are off to camp today! We are going to an amazing Bible Camp for a really great week of fun, Bible studies, and memory verses. It's called (drum-roll, please) . . . Bethel Bible Camp!

At this camp, there are some pretty awesome things to do including (but not limited to): archery, waterslide, creek, cookout, soccer!, and much more. So all that is amazing stuff that I love doing and that's part of the reason I love this camp so much. Another wonderful aspect is the girls there. There are so many beautiful, lovely girls there, worshiping God and laughing together. By the time you read this, we will probably already be there.

But the best part is probably the Bible studies. Every morning and evening there is an hour or so of listening to some great seminar-like sessions. I, personally, have learned so much from these and I've only been going to Bethel for two years. Take for example last year's sessions. They were all about "Christianity on Trial: what does the Bible teach and is it true?" Here are some of my notes on the first session:

  • Is what the Bible says really true?
  • Does truth exist?
  • My life depends on whether the Bible is true or not.
  • "Belief in something doesn't make it true; only truth makes it true." -Os Guinness
Truth By Nature Is:
  1. non-contradictory
  2. absolute
  3. discovered
  4. discriptive
  5. inescapable
  6. unchanging
  • Truth has to fit reality and make sense.
  • Truth does not go away just because you don't believe it.
  • Truth that is "Truth Within" is non-existent, unless I put God's truth inside of me.
  • Truth cannot be a personal thing. It's the same for everyone.
  • "We see the world not as it is, but as we are." - Stephen Covey
  • Truth that matches reality is true for me and you whether you like it or not.
So that was the first session. What conclusion did I come to at the end of the week? Is the Bible true? Does it fit these criteria?  My answer:

  • I'm not alone. God's here.
  • God is real and He cares about me.
  • God provides. 
That's what I found. What will you find? Is the Bible true? I believe that it is. Is God real? I believe that He is. Does my salvation depend on Him? I believe that it does. And I know I need to believe it to be saved.