#FWF – Focus On The Good

fwf2016I originally had two ideas for the prompt that popped into my head: photography and singing. It came to me after I realized I had already used a good batch of spring-y photography for today’s post. So I have go with singing for today!

I’ve only had two separate years of choir while I was in school. I did want to try out of Swing Choir when I was a freshman but I was basically talked out of that by a number of people. I liked choir mainly because our director was a great teacher but I’ve always loved the sound of choirs. Which I rediscovered while I was doing Blogmas last year, when I watched Home Alone and he goes into the church and the children’s choir are in there singing so beautifully; I remembered that’s how I fell in love with choir in the first place!

I didn’t start singing until after I had my back surgeries. I’d say it was like a year later that I really started to sing because I finally could! Before, my spine was basically crushing my right lung and all throughout my childhood I had a hump and I couldn’t inhale big enough to hold out long notes or go louder. Different programs from my childhood are playing in my head as I sit here think about it! By the time I was actually singing well enough I was in middle school were we no longer had grandparent’s day programs anymore! So when I was allowed to be in choir I was very happy because then I’d be able to improve things!

What I find interesting is that I don’t think we were taught like the ones in Swing Choir, quite a few of them had to take voice lessons and were probably given excerises to improve their breathing and how to reach those harder notes with ease – who knows! I didn’t think I was given ways to reach certain notes or either I did I just didn’t care! All I remember was in 2013 I really started to find different songs that challenge me. I started listening to Katherine Jenkins and Sarah Brightman and I really loved how they could just shoot up high and make that note last. At that time I was also listening to bands like Within Temptation, Nightwish, and Xandria who had singers that were trained in classical/opera music. So they became great influences for me and I really started to train my voice in their light I guess.

And then somehow when I finally reached those high notes that I had longed for I stopped training myself and sort of lost my magic! I’ve been trying to find ways to bring it back, so I’ve been using different types of music and songs to hopefully coax it out of me again! That’s one of the reasons why I’ve been listening to a lot of Celtic Woman lately! I finally learned a song that the Swing Choir used to sing all the time called “You Raise Me Up” and I was so happy but I am so hard on myself when I have an imperfect moment that I just stop singing altogether! Sometimes when that happens I start the song over and try it again. I’m presistant like that!

It’ll be six years in May that I’ve been on a stage. If I was given a chance I would like to redeem myself after my first solo performance. I would like to do a song that I really knew by heart and felt comfortable performing, but my luck I would get sick like the last time! One thing that does bother me, as much as I would take a chance at being on stage again I would be worried that nobody would care about the actual performance of the song and pay more attention to the fact that a girl in a wheelchair is singing the song. That’s the other factor that always seems to push it out of my mind. I think I would still do it though!

snowflake

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Bumping Into Strange Boys

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It’s hard to say how this started…

I was in this hipster looking little diner, minding my business with a couple of my friends. We were eating the Americana type of food. The type that you’ll have to do about 100 pull ups and squats afterwards. The taste of the cheese burgers and fries would make it seem worth it though!

We were only there for about a half hour, which seemed longer to me. Maybe it only seemed longer because the conversations between my friends and I weren’t very stimulus. They were too busy talking about the attractions like the lush park we just came back from visiting and where they had planned on going to next. As much as I was having fun with my girls and getting away from our normal lives. My mind was elsewhere.

We all had finished with our food when this group of guys came strolling in, full of energy and laughs! They were so loud that I was glad that they decided to come around when we were just about to leave the place. As soon as I started grabbing my coat off my chair, I was startled by one of their sneakers. I am very sensitive to hearing certain sounds, and this squeak was loud inside my head! I dropped my jacket and when I went to pick it up off the checkered floor another set of hands grabbed it from the other side at the same time and as we stood up together, our eyes never losing contact with each other.

“Hi.” this fairly good looking man looked up and said to me.
“Hello.” I said back at him with a slight smile on my face.
“Are you okay? Do you need some help putting this on?” He said, pulling my coat away from my hand and attempting to put it over my shoulders.
“Oh, no! It’s okay. I’m not cold right now.” Obviously! “but thank you!” I said back to him.

This strange guy looked as though he had just found his whole world, but I’m far from ever being an angel. He looked cute with his baby face charm and piercing green eyes. I’m usually a blue eyes kind of girl too. He looked so young, but I couldn’t help feel attracted to him in a tiny way. He had me written all over him, he just didn’t know it yet—Oh snap out of it Catie!

“Well, do I get a name to a pretty face?” This voice appeared back into my conscious.
“Oh, sorry! Sometimes I just space out! My name is Catie.” I said in a panic, gosh, does he realize how I’ve been staring at him!
“It’s all right. My name is Devon.” He said, looking over at my friends who were now staring at me like I was part of the statue they were looking at in the park earlier. “Where are you ladies from?” He said and the rest of his posse circled around us.
“We’re from a small town.” Jessica said, trying not to reveal too much of ourselves to them.
“Okay, well that doesn’t really help! Where? Do you live outside of NYC?” One of his friends said trying to push the topic a little more.
“No, we live in Boston!” Tracy said in a shrieking voice. Jess and I took our focus off the hunks in front of us for a second and turned to look at Tracy. “Look, sorry about to break up your little love fest. but we gotta go! Come on girls!” She said while tugging onto Jessi’s left hand and pushing me with all her might away from Devon’s gaze. I couldn’t blame her, by that time I was already imagining what he looks like without his shirt on! Tracy was moving so fast that I braced myself with impact of the front door. Thankfully, there was a gentleman ready and willing to open it for three crazy, lovesick girls from Boston!

Once outside away from the group of boys, I grabbed my jacket off my shoulders and put it through my arms and got a whiff of musky scent that he had left behind. It definitely wasn’t the normal teenage cologne I’m used to smelling at my house full of pre-teen brothers, but it smelled of something much older! I cherished that smell for hours, walking in the cold air with my crazy friends. I was back to my old self, distracted by missed opportunities!

I was just in the mood to write something last night and this was the ending result of one of many prompts you can find on Pinterest! I ended a free write type of thing before the blog chat started! 

snowflake

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Free Write Friday: Love Nest

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Free Write Friday prompt. I’ve been looking forward to it all day long and when today’s prompt I actually squealed! This is a time and scenario prompt so I hope you enjoy it!

Source: We Heart It
We Heart It

“Late summer, You’re wondering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out, “hello?”

Alex was loving her time out with her best friends Chloe and Sophia. It was so nice of her dad to have kept their old camping gear in the garage as she didn’t want to buy all new stuff for only three nights out, especially when she knew that it would be the only outdoor experience that her friends would want to do. Chloe and Sophia were NOT the type of girls to do anything that has to deal with camping in general. They were too high-maintenance for all that, which meant that Alex would be the one to put the tent, make the fire, and find hiking a pleasure instead of a pain in the ass like they would. Alex was surprised to hear that Chloe was willing to learn though, as long as she break her nails. Alex’s reaction to Sophia’s text message if she should pack her black high heels instead of her new red flats made her worry about what the hell she was doing. It might end up being the biggest regret she’s ever made in her life.

When Alex and her father packed everything up into her small car, she headed out to Chloe and Sophia’s apartment. Alex walked up the stairs and knocked on the door, when Chloe opened the door, she was dressed all in white and said, “I’m all ready!” Alex couldn’t help but giggle. “Um, Chloe. You may not want to wear all white.” Alex said, trying to contain herself. “Why? You don’t think it’s cute?” Chloe said in her high-pitched voice that she always pulls out when she’s worried. “Well, no, it’s adorable, but you are going out in the woods. There’s mud, grass, and well, animal poop.” Alex said as she broke the news to her friend, who was now in disgust and looked like she was on the edge of tears. “I’ll go change…” Chloe said as she sprinted out of the room. “Help yourself to anything you want in the kitchen, I’ll be back. Sophia should be out of the shower soon. Should I tell her not to wear white too?” Again, Alex tried to hold on as best as she could, she hollered out to her friend, “yes, that might be a good idea.” “Okay, I’ll do that.” Chloe said, within two minutes later all you could hear next was Sophia saying out loud, “WHAT?! Don‘t people clean that shit up?” Alex was basically at this point dying of laughter. Sophia walked in, wrapped into her towel, hair going crazy, “well, it’s not the zoo.” Alex said as she wiped away her tears. “Oh my god, I’m going to die.” Sophia said as she stomped out of the room.

After an hour of explaining and coaxing Chloe and Sophia to go with her even though they had the wrong idea about everything. Poor Alex had the job of going through their bags beforehand and checking out their clothes, between both bags they had about 40% of what they really needed. An additional thirty minutes later, she finally got their things figured out and all three girls were on their way out into the outdoors. While riding in Alex’s car that was literally packed with all of their stuff and needed camping gear too. The girls spent the whole two hours of driving soaking up as much internet as possible before pulling into the dirt road to the deep woods. The car tumbled all around on the road and as they went deeper and deeper in the woods, the sisters noticed that their signals in their phones was getting lower to the point were nothing worked on them. “Oh my god! My signal’s gone! What the hell? I just charged you up!” Sophia screamed out from the backseat. “Alex, you didn’t say our signals would go out.” Sophia said as she leaned up to Alex’s seat. Alex kept her eyes on the narrow road, while Sophia’s younger sister had her face pressed up against the window in awe of the trees, bright green leaves, and dead little critters along the side of the road. What little happy moment she was having, it was quickly ruined and she started bawling! “Aw, a little squished possum! Poor baby!” Chloe said as she leaned back on her seat.

“We’re here!” Alex said as they pulled into the end of the road and turned off the car. She was all smiles, but when she looked over at her friends they were both in tears. Scared shitless. Alex was already rethinking everything she wanted for the next three days. “Come on!” Alex waved to the girls to come outside of the car. As soon as she unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door, she took a deep breath of the fresh air. This was pure heaven. Something you just can’t get in a Glade freshener. After a few seconds walking away from her car and closing her eyes to hear all of the sounds of the trees, animal noises and birds singing. She turned around to see both Chloe and Sophia were still inside the car, probably locked themselves in there. She put her hands at her waist. “Get your asses out of there!” Alex voiced to the windshield. Apparently the girls read her request because all she got back were four middle fingers. She was less than pleased, but then again she didn’t except anything better than that. Alex started walking back to the car and unlocked the car with her keys, and grabbed everything out of the car. “If you don’t get out of this car right now, I’ll roll down all the windows and have you suffer your first night fending for yourselves.” Five seconds later Chloe and Sophia bravely climb out of the car.

Chloe and Sophia were more scared of Alex then they were the whole camping thing. Because they knew Alex was a hard ass. She meant well though. Once the girls were out of the car, they started looking around, looking for a soft and even ground to set up their tent. They watched Alex feel the ground with her feet to see if it was all the same level or not. She grabbed the bag that had their tent supplies. “I’ll set up the tent and you guys find sticks and medium size logs for the fire. Think you can manage that?” Alex said in a harsh voice, both girls nodded swiftly before heading out onto the walking trail. They looked around and were both in awe of nature. They spent too much time on their phones, to realize the Earth’s true beauty. Chloe was generally welcoming to the whole camping thing, she started collecting random sticks in her hands while Sophia watched her closely, she followed what she saw her sister do, picking up the smaller sticks. Before you knew it, Chloe had probably 25-30 good sizes of sticks and Sophia had about five tiny sticks. When they arrived back to camp, Alex had managed to get the whole tent up and was unloading the air mattress from the car, she saw that they actually brought something back. She was impressed with Chloe, but seeing Sophia’s offering was reassuring that should could be taught as long as her sister was around.

That night, they got the fire going and all three girls sat on the ground next to their bright and warm fire. Chloe and Sophia had their arms around their legs as the sun faded the temperature dropped, even though Alex swore she packed a couple of sweatpants for them in their bags they were too in love with looking at the dimly lit sky above them. Alex sat by herself in silence and had her mind on other things like childhood memories of she and her family sitting by the fire eating dad’s fresh catch out of the lake. Alex and her older sister and younger brothers all cheered and laughed at the random jokes and stories their father told on their trips. She started to get kind of sad until they heard a faint sound of a guitar. All three girls wondered what the noise was, they looked at each other in horror before screaming and heading into their nice tent, but not before Alex grabbed a water bottle and poured it on their fire. “ALEX! Why did you do that for?” Sophia said, as she sat in the very back of the tent. “Do you really think it would be the best idea for somebody to find us if they saw our fire’s smoke?” Alex said before tossing the water bottle and hightailing it into the tent, zipping it up and locking her car. A little bit after hearing the strange noise, it was gone but the girls were exhausted. If they were going to go hiking tomorrow, they’d need all the energy they could get so they headed for bed.

The next day, Chloe woke up to the heat rising underneath her covers, she knew the temperature would be high for the day, so she tossed the covers off and looked over at Sophia still passed out with a blindfold over her eyes and Alex still snoozing over on the far end of the tent. She wanted to go for an early morning run before anybody decided to get up. So she tossed off her blankets gently to not wake anybody up, grabbed her iPod and digital camera from her purse and unzipped the tent and changed into her workout clothes while letting in some of the cool breeze from outside. She sat up and walked out of the tent and found the same walkway she and Sophia took yesterday to find the sticks and went on a run. Chloe stood in the middle of the woods, trying to grasp the beauty of everything she was seeing around her. She was glad that she brought her camera with her and began to take dozen of pictures. She stood in the middle of eight trees that were lined in a perfect circle. She had her earplugs in her ears so she couldn’t hear much of the animal noises as she knew if she did she’d just start freaking out like she did last night.

While she was walking through the deeper part of the woods, she came across a very strange camping ground full of different festive decorations. She started making assumptions that maybe what they heard last night was from a party, but this wasn’t no ordinary party when she continued walking through the grounds, there is a beautiful decorated wagon, that she could only think this is what the professor in The Wizard Of Oz, could’ve looked like in color. She wondered if anybody was still around, so she said, “hello?” Once she said it, a little cat came walking out to her. “Aw, how cute!” Chloe said and bent down to pet it, it leaned in to her hand and purred. “Who is it?” a man’s voice came from inside the wagon. Chloe had the urge to run the hell out of there, but her feet stood in their spot, unmoved. “Um, my name is Chloe. My friends and I heard some noises last night and considering the mess out here, I’m taking it came from here.” Chloe said trying to figure out what to do next. “There was no…” a tall shirtless individual came walking out of the wagon with some navy blue shorts on. “party last night.” They looked up at each other, completely gazed by one another’s beauty. Chloe was glad of the fact she talked Alex into letting her bring her workout clothes but regretted the fact of how sweaty she was too. “Oh, well then where was the music coming from?” She said, casually looking around for some kind of instruments. “Oh, it was me you heard.” The strange man said, “Who is it Nate?” a woman’s voice echoed from inside the wagon. This Nate turned around and then pointed at Chloe with the one second gesture.

As Nate left, Chloe could feel the sweat drip off her body, even though she was no longer running. Which only meant that she was getting hot because of him. When he finally came back, he came back with a woman who was hardly wearing anything but a thin summer dress. “Oh, you were right, she is beautiful. Hi, my name is Orlena.” This strange women looked to be in her mid-20’s and had brown hair, green eyes. She looked very athletic and could probably outrun Chloe in a heartbeat. “Hi, my name is Chloe.” She said, now even more nervous then she was just talking to Nate. “Are you two a couple?” Chloe said, just blasting through the awkwardness. “Well, actually…” Nate began to say, “We’re in an open relationship.” Orlena said to Chloe, which really made her uncomfortable. “We also like to share partners too.” That was a bit more than what Chloe wanted to know, but that’s what she gets after going for it. “Not all the time though.” Nate said lovingly. “Well, isn’t that nice.” Chloe said as the random cat was still rubbing up against her. Apparently the cat didn’t have a preference either. “Oh, that’s Jack. He seems to have fallen in love with you Chloe.” Orlena said as she walked over to the two of them. “We were about to eat some breakfast, would you like to join us?” Orlena said lovingly, and started gently touching Chloe red cheek, slowly drifting down to her neck and then to her left shoulder. Chloe could feel the heat within her heighten but she still couldn’t move. “We have plenty of room. We have strawberries, oranges, and Nate made these amazing pancakes.” Hmmm..pancakes! She didn’t even know what Alex had packed for breakfast, so in a way she wanted to stay but she knew that breakfast could be code for something else for all she knew.

“Oh come on, Ori, you’re making her blush!” Nate said as walked away for a second as his girlfriend was starting to get a little too friendly with her, and had a plate full of strawberries in his hands. He walked towards them and Jack began to beg for droppings. Orlena grabbed one of the strawberries and put it just above Nate’s lushest lips and as she began to hold it up higher, he stood up on his tippy toes and bit into the strawberries, juices dripped down his mouth and Orlena couldn’t help herself and began to give him kisses. Chloe was in a little bit of shock, but she couldn’t say anything. She was speechless. Nate and Orlena gave each other a look before Nate grabbed one of the strawberries and put it over Chloe’s mouth, he didn’t tease her unlike Orlena would have done. The juice dropped down from her lips, she tried to catch it all with her fingers but Nate’s mouth beat it to her. She groaned from the sensation. “Chloe! Chloe! CHLOE NICOLE THOMPSON, ANSWER ME NOW!” Alex and Sophia shouted into the woods. Their hollers took her out of the fantasy of her dreams, “I’m coming! I’m coming!” Thanks for ruining a perfect moment ladies! “I’m sorry I can’t stay I have to get back but thank you for the strawberry though.” That’s all Chloe uttered out, and she was lucky that’s all she could say! “Have a great day Chloe!” Orlena said as she came over to her and gave her a hug and gently kissed her on the lips. Chloe was feeling all sorts of emotions, but once Orlena let go, Nate came over and also kissed on the lips, his kiss was more aggressive. Once he left go of her, he lifted Orlena up in the air and carried her back into the wagon. Chloe stood there in a trance until she heard noises of passion and began to walk back along the trail. She was greeted to both Alex and Sophia. who were more than pissed off at her for leaving. “Where did you go?” Sophia said as she hugged her sister. “I’ve been out of the city too long.” Chloe said as she released Sophia and hugged Alex, they all walked back to camp together and Chloe grew to love being out of the woods a little more.

#FWF – Homecoming

When I was in school, during my junior year I was taking US History and at the beginning of second semester, we were talking about World War II and the Vietnam war and I had this major war kick going on that I literally read two different books about each wars and I watched different movies, we watched Saving Private Ryan in class, but I watched the movie Stop-Loss on my own. That’s where I figured out how good of an actor both Channing Tatum and Joseph Leavitt-Gordon was because of their roles in the film. That same year I made up a little story of my own. I still remember the outline of it and the characters’ personalities. I even remember the title I was planning on calling it, I got my inspiration for it after Saving Abel’s song “18 Days” So I’m drawing some inspiration out of one of the characters, the female character whose I am forgetting at the moment, so I’m renaming her Claire in this part. Enjoy!

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Image Credit: James Speed Hensinger | Vietnam 1970

It was the middle of summer, well for some it was the “end” of it. After the celebration of Fourth of July, there would be one more fair coming into town and that was it, another summer gone. For Claire, summer was no longer fun. I spent her time going to school throughout the year and wondering about her father and older brother being overseas, fighting for her family’s freedom, just like the rest of the soldiers out there fighting along with them. She and her little family stayed behind in their small town watching the people in town float on by and talking about the smallest things, not even caring about what she and other families were going through right now. Claire was old enough to know that her father and older brother Zak loved what they did, but missed being around too. Especially since there was a little Zak around the house, learning how to crawl and hearing about his brave grandpa and daddy from his mama, Brittany, Zak’s wife. Claire couldn’t help being sad that they were missing what they were seeing everyday.

Since the guys left eighteen months ago, Brittany and little Zak moved into the family house. Claire saw the joy of her new nephew being born, but the sorrow of Brittany having to raise him for her own for now. Claire’s mother Mary worked at Claire’s school as a lunch lady, she loved her job, but only because it kept her occupied during the day, but since it was the summertime she was without a job. So Claire took over providing food and shelter for mom and sister-in-law for the whole summer. Claire was fine with that, it kept her out of her head for a few hours. She struggled with finding peace that her family was safe and that her loved ones would make it out fine. She hoped that her dad and Zak would get to come home soon; she was to start her final year in high school in the fall. In a way, she hoped that maybe Zak get to come home one part and maybe her dad get to come home in the next half of the year. As much as she believed in God, once her dad’s friends started to pass away and families were to fade away, she questioned everything positive in her life.

Claire sat in the car, with the air conditioning turned all the way up in the backseat. She sat with little Zak sleeping in his car seat, dreaming of what babies would probably dream of, endless supply of milk and disgusting baby food. His little eyes flutter slightly and his body twitches and Aunt Claire can’t help but feel envious of this little creature’s pleasant dreams. Brittany stood outside the passenger door waiting for her mother-in-law to quit talking to the lady that was selling fruit; she already paid for her things and wanted to get out of the heat. Brittany groaned when Mary looked over to the car and then walked away towards the other side of the stall with the owner. “Zak is going to wake up soon, why does she have to take so long?” Brittany muttered to herself, at least Claire thought she was. Within ten minutes later, the owner’s husband walked over with a nice trey of two glasses with some pink drink in them full of nice cubes of ice. “Thought you ladies might appreciate a nice cold drink.” He said in a sweet tone, Claire rolled down her window and let the nice cool air out of the car to grab the glass from the nice gentleman. “Thank you sir.” Claire said just before taking a few good swigs of the raspberry lemonade. Not too sweet yet not too tart either!

Brittany declined her drink, but asked if the man had any straws so she could give Zak a sip or two. Claire thought that would for sure crank him up for the rest of the trip home if she actually got that straw. The man said that they rarely ever have straws, as they don’t have any grandchildren. Brittany nodded in annoyance. She was not yet used to the Texas heat. Quite frankly neither was Claire; she missed the other five places she used to live in. Since Claire was born, she had lived in five different states and surprising none of them ever had hot weather like this before. The coldest she had ever been around was when her father was transferred over in Sweden. The one year they moved there, they would have a gnarly winter full of ice and snow. As much as she hated the fact that her father’s job transferred their family to different places, she was pretty content with the whole process of traveling. She had a high case of wonderlust. Brittany had only moved once and she was not feeling Texas at all. Mary invited her out as she could have help if she needed some when she first had little Zak. Claire’s brother thought it would be a good idea as she lived in Vermont for two years and knew only the families on the base there. They were willing to do things for her, but she still felt alone without Zak being by her side. Seven months after giving birth, they moved out and the season changed to spring, but it felt like summer and Brittany felt like it was smothering her.

Finally after about thirty minutes or more, Mary came walking towards the car, passing the nice man with one full glass of lemonade and the other with only light pink melting ice cubes, he said something to her and she smiled back but kept towards us. Brittany quickly opened her door and climbed in, immediately waking up Zak from dreamland. He stretched out his little arms and legs and twisted around to face the window and closed his eyes again. Mary opened her door and sat down, turning on the engine which kicked off the nice cool air flow from the backseat for a second before working again. Claire rolled up her window, ready to watch the trees fly by as they drive down the long road again. She ignored her mom and Brittany arguing in the front seat and focused on the tops of the trees and wondering how it would feel like if she stood on top, could she see her father again. Two hours later, they pulled up to their driveway and the car stopped and Claire began to hear the noise from the ladies still passing words to each other. She opened her door and grabbed her small bag plus a few of the pieces of fruit and vegetables she purchased and went inside the nice cool house.

Mary and Claire put all of the fresh fruit and vegetables on the sink counter. Brittany came walking in last with the diaper bag in one arm and little Zak on her chest, still passed out. Lucky kid. Claire stood against the sink, washing each one while Mary looked around for her pots and pans, still quiet from the car ride. Claire decided to break the silence first, “Chuck makes mean raspberry lemonade, you know?” Mary put her pot on one of the stove tops and turned on the heat, Claire was still trying to figure out what she was going to make for supper. As there were tomato, cucumber, carrots, and some herbs. She could make anything really but when she went into the fridge and grabbed onions and celery and a knife from the drawer, she cut them up but talked to her daughter. “Is that what was in that cup? I love it when he makes that flavor.” Mary said while she was peeling the carrots. “Yeah, it was definitely what I needed.” Claire said with a half smile on her face. “I know I’m sorry I was taking such a long time but Helen said she heard some good news from the guys though.” Mary said in a chipper tone. Helen’s son Charlie was in the same barigade as her father and Zak.

“What did she say?” Claire said eagerly, “Well, according to Helen, Charlie and Zak might be coming home soon.” Another let down. Claire was happy that her brother was coming home but she wanted both of them home. “Since Britt was being an ass in the car, I never got the chance to tell her. So I have no idea if she even knows that they are or not.” Mary said as she put down her knife and piled all of the diced vegetables into her red pot, “How reliable is Helen’s word though?” Claire said as she finished cleaning and drying the fruit and vegetables and put them in the pantry. “Well, Helen is an old board but when she hears something especially about her son and his whereabouts, I think I should believe her.” Claire was concerned about getting too excited about Charlie and Zak’s homecoming just in case they were all wrong. “Did she say they might come back? Like the date?” Claire said now standing up against the kitchen sink. “I think she said the fourth, which is convent in a way, coming home on Fourth of July and be celebrated for fighting our freedom and being around family. I mean, we could go out to the park and fireworks…” Mary kept carrying on what kind of plans they could do together, but in Claire’s mind she was back to her sad self again.

Back from a young age, Claire and her father Jack have always had a great relationship. The best friendship a father and a daughter could have. They did everything together. Claire was always compared as Jack’s twin. Even though between Claire and Zak, they looked their father, but Claire took after her father’s personality the most. Zak got married and had a child young and then enlisted into the army. Claire was raised by country boy at heart, she loved her farm animals, to go mudding, and of course country music. She kept most of her father’s army stuff in her room, on top of her dresser that some part of him was close to her. After they got the news that Zak and Jack were being set off together, they were stunned. Claire’s whole world was just about to get a whole lot bigger and happier, got turned into hell again. She honestly wanted to move again, maybe closer to the rest of her family. They lived in North Carolina, she only saw them on Skype and text her cousins as much as she could, but it wasn’t enough for her. She missed them. She wanted a stable environment and being a daughter of an army sergeant just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

She suffered from depression after they left, but she didn’t go off the deep end until her uncle from her mom’s side died after being caught in a blast. She wanted to kill herself several times, but knew she would be dishonoring her family if she gave into temptation. Since her faith was already fading, she didn’t rely on a God or anybody to make her feel better about herself. That’s why she always had to be kept busy. She worked two jobs; one in the fall was at the nearby Starbucks. It paid great, but it also got pretty boring! In the summertime, she loved to read outside so she got a job at the library and always came home with a new book. If she read about somebody else’s troubles she wouldn’t feel too bad about herself and always saw the other side of life. At night, things were different. She was alone with her thoughts, the dark thought lingered deep inside her mind, telling her lies and showing unthinkable images of things she wished would just go away. She cried after each nightmare but remembered how her father cradled in his arms when she’d have a bad dream when she was little, her tears dried and she’d start to smile and go back to sleep.

Claire sat in the living room, didn’t watch any TV though. She had gone into her room after a second after her mom stopped talking about Charlie and Zak to grab her book. She sat on the massive brown couch facing away from her mom who was turned to the other side cooking away. Brittany walked into the living room with the newly dressed Zak, “do you think he looks adorable?” She said in peppy voice, Claire looked up in a glare and Mary turned her head for a peak but quickly looked back to keep stirring the pot of homemade spaghetti sauce for tomorrow‘s dinner. “Aww, look how cute you are Zakky!” Mary said in a cheery tone! She loved being a grandma, little Zak looked like his daddy but sadly had the same attitude as his momma which Mary hated. He was spoiled rotten and not by his grandma, Brittany did everything for this kid. He wasn’t even a year old yet and she was dressing him like she was going to put him in kid pageant. “I know! I saw it in that new store down in main town. I think it’s called Rachel’s Trunk and I thought it would be perfect for next week!” Brittany said as she stood him on his feet, the poor kid even had red and blue sneakers on. Little Zak looked annoyed. Claire went back to her book and ignored the nice chat.


 

Claire looked over at her clock as it went off, it was seven thirty. It was time to get ready to go to work. Claire sat up and went into her closet, picked out her outfit. It was a white t-shirt with pink, orange, and green streaks through it. She wore her short Capri’s and put her hair up in a ponytail before grabbing her phone off the charger and heading out the door. It was now quarter to eight, she had only five minutes to grab her normal morning coffee and scone (a habit she picked up while living in Sweden) and get to the library. Claire wasn’t good at getting up and getting everything done early enough where she didn’t have to worry about anything. After picking up her coffee and strawberry scone, she raced to the library trying to eat, drink at the same time. Surprisingly, this time she didn’t make that big of a mess in her car. She looked decent and when she walked over to the door, it dawned on her. It was Sunday! She forgets to turn off her alarm the night before and now that everything was actually going her way, she was off for the entire day.

She got back into her car, instead of just driving back home to where her mother and sister-in-law would be getting ready to head over to church. She started up her car and backed out to cruise around the city. She put her phone on silent so when her mom went to text her if she wanted to go to church, she wouldn’t get it. Claire was used to the quiet; she actually preferred it that way. She found a vacate lot nearby the church where she knew her mom would be at, and pulled in and parked it. She switched her radio on and found an actual easy channel where she could read to and not be interrupted by the ads or disc jockeys. She only had a little bit to go before she officially finished it. She was relaxed and comfortable, until she heard a tap on her window and was amazed to see the person on the other side. Thankfully, she screamed while she was still in the car. It was the week of the fourth of July, and there was Zak and Helen’s son and Claire’s Charlie still in their uniforms but happy to see a familiar face.

“What are you guys doing here?” Claire said as she was trying to wipe away her tears. “I thought you were coming home on the fourth?” She said to them, still wiping. The boys looked at each other, “who told you that?” Zak’s deep voice sounded just like their father’s, which made her kind of sad to now see that he wasn’t going to be with them for the holidays. “Helen told mom and she told me.” Claire said as she looked at Charlie, who was now rolling his eyes. “I swear that woman is phsyic or something.” Charlie said in a sarcastic voice. “I talked to her once this month and made sure not to say anything. How the hell did she figure it out?” Zak had a big grin on his face, knowing how much their mother didn’t like surprises that much, but surprising neither did Brittany! They were going to kill him. “You must’ve had a different tone or something and figured something was up.” Zak said looking back between Claire and Charlie. “What are you doing sitting in your car, reading what does not look like a Bible, in dressy clothes?” Charlie said with a mischievous grin on his face. Zak had his arms folded, “I thought I had to work this morning. I forgot it was Sunday.” Claire said in a soft voice, the boys chuckled at her.

“Well, do you want to join us in our little scheme?” Zak said leaning up against her door. “Depends, what are you planning to do?” Claire said now with her arms crossed. “We’re going to go up to the church and surprise the shit out of everybody in there.” Charlie said with a huge smile on his face. “Well, if you’re going to do that, you might want to stop cussing or Reverend Burns might throw holy water on you.” Claire said and Zak looked at his buddy Charlie, who was now looking down on the ground. “I’m not going to make any promises but I’ll try.” “Do you think you can give us a lift?” Zak said to his younger sister. “You do realize the church is like right there?” Claire said back to him. “Yeah, but we don’t want anybody seeing us and spoiling the surprise.” Zak said in his sarcastic voice. “Yeah no, standing out here for ten minutes plus another two minutes while you two bicker back and forth is any better.” Charlie said which stopped both Claire and Zak in their tracks. “You shut up Charlie, or I’ll let Claire kick your ass.” Zak said to him in response. “Oh, she won’t kick my ass, she’s had her chance before and she didn’t take it then.” Charlie said while he glared up at Claire, Zak looked confused but thought about not even asking what the hell that meant. “Will you just give us a ride?” Zak said, Claire turned to him and nodded, “but Charlie sits in the back.” Ouch!

When they pulled into the parking lot, it was an hour and a half into the service. The boys got out of the car first and Claire climbed out to fix herself, as she thought she still had crumbs on her pants. “How are we doing this?” Claire said, as she turned to face them. “Go in and walked down the aisle and holler that you found some strangers that need some blessings.” Zak said, looks like he had been thinking about this for a while. “Okay, I’ll do that. Wish me luck that Reverend Burns doesn’t throw me out first!” Claire said as she entered inside the church first, followed behind her were the guys who stood by the doors to go inside the service hall. She walked like she was walking down the runaway for the fashion show. “Excuse me Reverend Burns, but I’m going to stop you right there, because we have two strangers that need blessings.” Claire shouted with all might, everybody in the room turned around facing her. Mary looked like she was about to explode in horror as her only daughter just interrupted the pastor. All of a sudden cheers came from the back and both Brittany and Mary stood up, to see Zak and Charlie walking down the aisle in their army uniforms. Nothing like half of the town being in one church, screaming and cheering for two of their own soldiers. Mary, Helen, and Brittany walked out of the pew and hugged the guys tightly. Claire was full of glee of seeing her family happy that Zak was home and seeing Charlie with his parents as well. She stood next to the pastor and leaned over and told him that she was sorry for interrupting his sermon, but he looked over at her and said “not as sorry as this though.”

Claire looked over at him and in the back part of the church doors where the pastor lives was a very tall and decorated male and even more cheers came from the church. It’s one thing to find her brother home, but to see that there was a God and that he had answered her prayers. Jack stood up and walked down towards his daughter, who was now on the ground trying to find a balance between gravity. The tears she felt earlier when Zak and Charlie scared her, found her once again but this time she didn’t try and stop them. He leaned over and pulled her up to her feet, she clutched him tightly and a second later Mary came over to hug her husband. “What are you doing here?” Mary said with her puffy eyes and tears still streaming down her face. “Oh, I thought I’d join the boys on their homecoming and spend my freedom with my family.” Jack said to her. “Hey, pops!” Zak said as he was wiping away his tears while holding his son in his arms. Brittany came over to Jack and patted him on the back and he kissed her on the forehead. “Hey, son, this was a good idea to do you know that?” Jack said to him with a chuckle. “I told you.” Zak said as he wrapped his arms around his family and watched the crowd of people still standing and clapping for their services. This was what Claire wanted on this imperfect Sunday.

#FWF – Fire Breather

campfire

It’s been far too long since I’ve done my last FWF post. I’ve actually missed it. Is it weird that in the summer heat, we like to hold bonfires? I think of bonfires in the fall, because of the cooler weather in the evening. It’s just perfect climate for one and even though your eyes will just hate the embers and ash floating up above face the heat feels pretty good on your feet. Our neighbors have a pretty gnarly bonfire by the side of their house. It was quite nice because it wasn’t as hot and the sun was finally starting to go down, but the mosquitos were out causing havoc on my arms and feet. If they land on my arms or fingers, I can’t really feel them. I’ve got sensitive arms but it’s affected more underneath my hand instead of up top. So unless there is something crawling on my arms I can’t free it. Now on my feet, there’s a totally different story. A couple of weeks ago, I had three bites on three different toes and we didn’t have any itch cream and we didn’t get any until a few days ago when Blondie got helping of 165 bites on her body. 

This night was actually kind of special because my parents and I are usually never on this side of our neighbor’s house. I always thought they had a fireplace in their house but then they wouldn’t be calling it a bonfire if it was. I’m slow sometimes. This night was perfect. Chevy was in a mood to lay and sit on my mom and I’s laps and my neighbor had made this special drink. Since I’m still new to this drinking thing, I like to try new stuff but only drinking small sips! I’m pretty careful about this actually. Well, this drink was pretty good. Nice and cold, icy and flavorful. It was a orangeicle drink. It was awesome! It didn’t even burn my throat so I really liked it! Maybe if I remember I can ask her for the recipe and post it here for everybody! Besides that I sat next by the bonfire and enjoyed the heat of my freezing and sore feet also loved the embers float up to the sky and just disappear. We sat outside just listening to music and hearing the guy talk about different topics. The next day, I went out by the bonfire again but it wasn’t as big as it was the night before. The sun was still shining and it wasn’t hot but warm enough to overtake the heat of the fire.

That day I went from the barn to the bonfire to going on the walk with them. Little Chevy practically walked by me the whole time. It’s pretty adorable to have a toddler walking barefoot right beside a motorized wheelchair. I leaned down to her level so I could see her feet and so that she could still hear me. She had her hand on my arm rest, just hanging and walking at the same time. We’d let her hang on to the back of me but there the bar of the head rest that pokes out literally reaches the top of her head and we don’t want her to get hurt so she’s been doing this instead and I feel lots better about it. I’m still worried I’m going to run over her toes one day accidentally, that will pretty much break my heart right in half if that ever happens, but everybody is usually watching her whenever she’s around me so that’s good. I have a feeling she’s going to want to be more involved with this year’s fourth of July activities. I might actually have to share my sparklers with her and she’ll probably sit on my lap for the whole thing but I’m perfectly fine with that! Let me enjoy my piece of heaven!

Blogs That I Love #5

blogs

I think I should probably do something that I should have done a long time ago. I have a page called “Writing Challenges” up in the top right corner of my blog. It’s a place where you can find what kind of writing challenges I do on a weekly/monthly basis. It’s a thing to do to keep a variety! The more I find, the more I want to do. However, having too many can lead to a mini burnout for a few weeks at a time. I love all of these challenges with my heart. However, I think it’s time to recognize the writers behind each of these challenges I do every week and month. I know there are more than my normal routine of five bloggers but they all deserve special notice since they are apart of the challenges. So let’s get on it.

  1. Ketchup With UsMel runs a blog of  According To Mags, it’s about her life as a teacher, wife, and mother to her kids. Michele is also a mother, wife, and goes with life with a lot of humor. They literally have these ketchup costumes and wear them for their posts. Both ladies are so sweet and fun to talk to on Twitter.
  2. Bloggers Do It BetterGemma has created BDIB challenge recently and I really love her blog, it’s very girly and simple! She’s also very helpful when you don’t have anything for that challenge, she’ll help you out and she loves fashion and beauty, so if you’re into beauty she does a LOT of product reviews.
  3. Picture It & WriteErmisenda and Eliabeth own the blog, and it is everything about books kind of blog. They have their own book that they wrote called The Blind Side and it’s on there and they are the owners of one of my favorite writing challenges, it’s probably one of the easiest challenges to do. The girls are so sweet and I think every book lover would love their blog!
  4. Five Sentence FictionLillie owns Lillie McFerrin Writes and I love her because she’s so nice and thanks to this writing challenge, before I started on this I wasn’t willing to do anything to do with writing and shrinking things down. I was always asking teachers in school to go more on assignments and with this, it really was a challenge to start for the first few weeks. Every word that is selected can be difficult for me, but I still love it. I like only writing a tiny, five sentence story each week.
  5. Free Write FridayKellie owns FWF and it’s another one of my favorites to do. My favorite ones she does are the word banks, time and scenario, and image prompt. Kellie’s very nice and something that she does is that there is no deadline with any of her prompts and you have the freedom to go where you want to with each prompt and you can have mistakes. I’m pretty sure that’s every writer’s dream right there!

#FWF – The Beginning Of The End

Hello and Happy Good Friday! I actually got to sleep in this morning and so if you start to see some sentences not making any sense, just bear with me. As soon as I saw today’s Free Write Friday prompt I thought I was going to jump for joy. I don’t know why but destruction prompts are somewhat fun and can be easy sometimes to write about too. Even if you don’t like these kinds of prompts, you can still change it up a bit. This image is copyrighted so you’re going to have to click here, if you want to see the image.  I hope you all enjoy!

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It all sounded like a really bad storm. Like a tornado had whipped through our little city and tore it to pieces. The power was gone, the wind was gone, but the sun was still out as bright as it could be. When we started hearing screams, cries, and heavy knocks at different doors, we ran for our shelter house door and peaked a look at what was going on. My uncle had tried to see what all the fuss was about by actually going outside, we tried to get him to stay inside but he was too drunk already to stay inside. Once my dad and grandpa opens those doors, he stumbled up those narrow stairs and as soon as he was in the clear of the way of the doors, they closed him again. We all stood there in silence, wondering how everything was going to play out. At first it was quiet, you could hear little talk from the outside, but not very much. Next minute we started to hear every voice on our block stop talking within five minutes of themselves like a Gen. Sargeant had went and commanded them to shut up. Even Uncle Boris’ voice was gone. We knew that wouldn’t be an easy thing considering when he’s drunk, he’s the life of the party. Next thing we heard was a sworn of bees flying over us, high up in the air. We were all scared down in the shelter of what that noise could be, but we stayed quietly in our places until it stopped completely.

When the time was right and Uncle Boris never returned back, my dad and grandfather, grabbed their hunting gear and rifle guns and told us all to as far back into the shelter house as possible. Which means, they wanted us to use the tunnels. Our family has been here for centuries and according to legend, at the end of these tunnels sources say that there are others making their way to other states. We would be a long journey, but we’ve been told by stories that it was well worth it. When my dad gave these orders, my mom and Aunt Sally, gathered all of the kids including me, which I thought I could be a bigger help by staying with them, but they forbid it because they needed somebody old enough to protect everybody else. “Come on, Olivia! Let’s go!” Aunt Sally yelled as my mother and my brothers and cousins were already heading down the tunnels. I was such a daddy’s girl that I didn’t want to leave him and grandpa behind to fend for themselves but I didn’t want to disobey them either so I gave them both a hug and ran over to the tunnel door and climbed in. Lucky for me, I am such a tomboy that I could hear my cousins complaining about the dirt and roots getting into their hair and clothes. It didn’t mind me, but as soon as Aunt Sally was in, the doors from the outside world were gone and the lights entering the tunnels came on. One by one we crawled into the underground in search of our next hideout. We knew that they would follow us but we didn’t know how it would take them to explore what happened to our neighbors.

We entered our first rest stop, All of us were exhausted, we had been crawling on our knees for about two hours. In every storm, mama goes and put out bottled water in the hideaway pockets of the tunnels just in case. They get changed out every three months in case the water was to spill overtime or get bad from being around the dirt, bugs, and roots. We had less than amount of water for all of us, but we made do because we only needed a little bit before we reached our destination. After our nice little break, we tuckered onward and I hadn’t even taken a few steps before the ground started to shake violently. Dirt was falling over head and we were all praying that the tunnels didn’t collapse on us as we scooted over them. After it was over, we just stood in our places for five to ten seconds and moved on. A little bit of an hour later, we had each the other end of the tunnel into another old family home. Once we were inside the basement, we locked the tunnel door and went silently up the stairs. We all kept our guards up in case there were any strangers inside the house, but our grandfather keeps the house very clean and comfortable in case we’d have to use it like right now. All around the house were blankets, pillows, and clothes by the dozen like he was about to go on a big camping trip. Aunt Sally and my mother went into the kitchen and collected as much food and water as they could, I kept walking around the big slightly empty house, it didn’t have windows he had them dark to make it look like the house was abandoned and unusable. Every room in that house was dark except for the first room by the living room. He kept that room covered in blinds and drapes. I decided to look inside and saw the stuff everything on the floor, big books of maps and drawings of different things. Grandpa was a thinker and thought about everything, he was a news story junkie. As I was going through his stuff, I kept hearing noises from outside.

The noises weren’t normal, as it’s generally a quiet neighborhood but this was strange noises like crowds of people on both ends of the block directing people from that entire area to be inspected. I gently put my hands up against the blinds to help see out and everybody had red faces and tears streaming down their cheeks. My oldest cousin Jan came in and went to the other window next to me and got a glimpse of the chaos outside. “Liv, what’s going on out there?” Jan said as he just stared out and watched his friends and their families walking in a line to the top of the line. They watched Jan’s best friend Sean and his family get to the front of the line and they went up the men in gas masks and heavy skin gear, either this was a government cleanse or it was for something much worse. When Sean got examined by the “doctor” he looked scared and worried because the kid had asthma, when he man asked him to take a deep breath he had to take out his inhaler in case he’d go into an attack and when he reached for his pocket, the guards behind me got antsy and saw it as a threat and shot him in the back of the head. “NO!” Jan shouted out the window. I grabbed him and pulled him down and away from the windows. He was crying and wanting to scream for his friend. I covered his mouth and shushed him but the guards had heard him yell and I could hear gun click outside and we both stood up quickly and the windows and walls started to explode ad bullets came from different directions. Jan’s little sisters started screaming and my brothers grabbed them and directed them back into the basement for safety. Aunt Sally and my mother was just trying to get money out of the safe in back room so they didn’t hear us screaming and the guns firing at us. When they both came out of the kitchen, the bullets were still coming out of the front of the house and then all I saw was blood and their bodies collapsed onto the floor. I knew I had to get my family back into the tunnels.

Olivia didn’t want to tell her brothers and cousins that their mothers were dead, because they wouldn’t stay by her side and then get killed like them. She assigned everyone to a different gear that they needed to get through the next part of their journey, because this one would be longer than the first. She pulled Jan aside and he was still wiping away his tears with his skinny arm, she hugged him tightly and asked him if he would go behind the younger ones. Jan looked at her and nodded, not even asking about his mom or aunt. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and our dads and grandpa are already there at the compound.” Olivia said trying to brighten his spirits a little bit. After seeing Sean get shot and then our mothers, seeing how all three males come meet us at the compound would have to be a big miracle. When I heard the people talking upstairs I knew it was time to get the hell out of there. I switched roles with Jan and he led the younger ones in first and I climbed in and shut the door behind. It was completely dark for five seconds and then the lights switched on to help guide us into the long journey.

Two hours and three breaks later, we had reached our next spot. Another relative of ours that knew about the tunnels had his family in their underground house, which it didn’t matter what you called it, it was still a cave nevertheless. Dennis, another uncle of ours and a big number of our family members helped getting us out of the tunnel. Jan and the kids enjoyed seeing some familiar faces after such a long and hard journey. When I managed to get out of the tunnel Uncle Dennis looked at me with a worried look on his face. “Where’s your guys parents and grandpa?” he asked his oldest niece, but she took him aside and told him what had happen. He started to break down inside but forbid himself to show his emotions to his nieces and nephews. “The world has been taken over. There’s nothing much left except for the ones that were appointed by the government to inspect its people.” Uncle Dennis said to Olivia. “I don’t think it’s anything to do with the government.” Olivia said to me, as everybody around them started to surround them. “They were killing people in cold blood. I’m starting to think it’s World War II all over again.” Olivia said back to him. Which made everybody nervous inside the core of the cave.