Tuesday, April 25, 2017

One God, One Savior: A Belated Easter Poem

Yes, I know. This is late. Like...a week and a half late. Keep in mind that I'm part of a pastor's family, though, and we get even more busy around Easter time, so give me a little grace. At least I still WROTE an Easter poem, ok?

After doing two other Easter poems (this is my third annual poem) I was hard put to make one unique from the other two, while still keeping the same message. You'll have to tell me how I did. ;)

One God, One Savior

One God who created our wonderful world
One plan for all our salvation unfurled
One baby, one manger, and one humble birth
One Holy Gift given to the whole planet earth

Two parents who heeded God's sovereign voice
Two people who actually made the right choice
Two parents who raised the Savior of men
Two who did not know just how it would end

One disciple was paid for one dirty job
One kiss to betray his Lord to a mob
One disciple said he would stay by His side
One who later denied Christ and cried

Three men were killed on a Golgotha cross
One was Christ, one was saved, and one was lost
Two deserved the terrible death given them
One would die innocent for the sins of all men

One anguished cry toward His Father above
Two tears dripped down in sorrow and love
One cross took the life of our Savior and Lord
Three bloody streams from His body out-poured

Three days in darkness the body then laid
Three days for the people He had just saved
Three days he was dead in a cold, lonely grave
Three days until the stone rolled away

Two disciples who ran to the tomb that dawn
Two who saw that His body was indeed gone
One who doubted saw his Savior alive
One who then touched His hands, feet, and side

One sacrifice of love which set us all free
One Savior who now hold the eternal key
To one heaven that we can now all enter in
If we cast on Him our guilt and our sin

Believe this one thing and you will be saved
Believe in the sacrifice of love which He gave
Believe me when I say that there is no other way
If you want to see heaven from the inside one day

I hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating our risen Savior! I know our family did. :)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

21 Answers to the Question: Are ALL Those Kids Yours?

It's that time of month again...another 21 Answers post that you all love so much. ;) This time, dealing with one of my favorite questions we big families get asked: "Are ALL those kids yours?" Oh man, I have WAAAAAY too much fun coming up with answers to this one. Not to boast, but I think my siblings and I have come up with some of the most clever comebacks for this particular question. *puts on sunglasses and a fedora* B-) 
Let me know in the comments which answers YOUR family use when asked this question (or something similar). Until then, sit back and enjoy some Eddy snarkiness. ;) 

1: "No, they actually belong to my parents..."

2: "This is only some of us. There's more at home."

3: "Yes. And yes, we know we're incredible. Thanks."

4: *Pick out a sibling at random* "Well, HE/SHE'S a robot. But other than that..." 

5: "No, we just randomly pick up stray children while shopping for groceries." 

6: *in a whisper* "Are they?" *walk away mysteriously*

7: "I gave them free candy. Now they won't leave me alone."

8: *look behind you in surprise and gasp* "Oh my goodness! I'm being followed!"

9: *glance around in bewilderment* "What kids? I don't see any kids."

10: "I would HOPE so!"

11: "So I've been told..."

12: "Pretty sure."

13: "It depends...why are you asking me?"

14: "It has come to this."

15: "You tell me!" 

16: "Be that as it may, still may it be as it may be." 

17: "What sort of a question is THAT?"

18: "With God, all things are possible."

19: "Are you sure you want to know the answer to that question?"

20: "How strong is your heart?"

21: "Becoming a poacher is never a good idea. Sorry, did I hear the question wrong?"

Which answer was your favorite?

Coming up next month:
21 Answers to the Question: What is Your Dream Job?

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Search has Begun (Also, a Sneak Peak of My Newest Work)

Well, the time has come. I'm ready for beta readers. My little novella, "Ocean Mist" is as edited as I can get it in my current state of business, and I'm sending it on to the next level. But, I need some help.
In fact...I need a LOT of help. So here I am, holding up a HUGENORMOUS "HELP ME PLZ" sign to all you potential beta readers out there. :)
In order to give you a little idea of what this book is about, I stole the snippets tag questions and I'm going to use them here. Also, you get to see the current cover picture. (This is probably going to change...knowing me and how I am, but anyways...)
Finally, at the end of this post, I'm going to give you the link to where you can sign up as a beta reader for my beloved story. Ready? Let's do this! :D

Here's the current cover, (NOT the finished work, I promise. ;)

Share your gripping, fascinating, and hooking first line of a story:
Not sure if this is necessarily gripping, fascinating, or hooking...but it IS the first line of my story, so:

Vacations never end up going the way they’re supposed to when you are a part of a pastor’s family.

Share a snippet that made you want to shout to the world that you're SO. HAPPY:
Oh, by FAR the last snippet of the story. I was so glad I was DONE. XD (I may have squealed out loud when I ended the snippet below and triumphantly wrote THE END at the bottom of the page. :)

“Well, one thing I know,” Nicole declared the next day while they drove to Washington, “I was not expecting our vacation to end this way. But then, when do pastor’s vacations ever go as planned?”

Share a snippet that gives some insight into one of your most favorite characters ever:
Oh, man...I love all my characters in this story. So, I'm going to give you snippets that describe each of their characters the best. K?

(Oldest PK)
           Nicole slipped into the house after her brothers and walked into the small kitchen. Good smells assaulted her nostrils, and for a moment, the growling in her stomach almost made her forget why she was in there.
         Her mom was standing over a pot, stirring something in it. She looked up and caught sight of her oldest child standing awkwardly in the doorway. “What is it, honey?” she asked softly.
         Nicole chewed on her lip. This was turning out a lot harder than she thought it would be. Just tell her everything! her impulsiveness yelled. What will she think? the timid side answered softly. She’ll understand, she’s MOM for crying out loud! replied her sensible self.
         “Can I have a mother-daughter talk with you later this evening?” Nicole finally managed.
         A puzzled frown settled between her mom’s eyebrows, but she nodded. “Of course sweetie. Now help me with dinner please.”
         Relieved that it was over for now, Nicole enthusiastically plunged into dinner prep. Later…she would tell her mom everything later.

(Nicole's Twin)
          The first thing Shawn was aware of in the morning was his brother kicking him violently in the shin and exclaiming in a groggy voice, “Quit snoring already! You’re being so loud!” It crossed his mind that he couldn’t have possibly been being louder than Ray’s talking. With a resigned sigh, he bore the kicks and tried in vain to go back to sleep.
         On his side, his eyes determinedly shut, Shawn cleared his mind in order to drift off. Instead, his ears began picking up sounds. Ray’s even breathing told him that his brother had successfully made it back into dream-land, and the clock on the wall ticked louder than he would have liked. Far away, from down the staircase, he could hear his dad already up and it sounded like he was making coffee. Good, Shawn thought tiredly, I’ll need a cup of that to keep me awake today.
         Finally, giving up on going back to sleep, he opened his eyes and squinted at the red numerals on the room’s alarm clock. 6:35 am, it read accurately. Shawn rolled from the queen-sized bed he shared with his brother and opened the door as quietly as possible. He didn’t dare to look in the mirror, knowing his dark hair was probably sticking in all directions of a compass, plus a few more invented directions, and not wanting to accept the reality yet. Already he was painfully aware of his bed-rumpled appearance, but rested in the assurance that he would be put together by breakfast since he had been forced awake before 7:00. He padded down the stairs in his stocking-feet and arrived in the living room.

(Nicole and Shawn's younger brother)
          “I am so done with doing nothing!” Ray exclaimed as he tossed the now empty backpack into the corner of the floor and shut his temporary dresser’s drawer with a loud bang.
         “Hey!” their mom’s voice drifted up the stairs. “Careful up there! This house isn’t ours! Treat their things with respect!”
         “Yes Mom!” Ray answered guiltily, checking the dresser for signs of damage. Satisfied that it was fine, he looked over at his brother who shared the room with him and watched as Shawn carefully, almost painstakingly, folded each shirt and pair of jeans into his portion of the dresser. His meticulous behavior caused Ray to roll his eyes heavenward and stifle an audible groan. ‘E’s ‘opeless, he thought with a shake of his head, the quote from Lord of the Rings coming to mind easily. There’s a better chance that Nicole’s done un-packing. Maybe after Shawn finishes finally we could take a walk down and along the beach. Something other than 
just sitting here doing nothing. Ray acted on his thought almost before it was complete, walking to the door across from his own room and knocking on it.
(Shady neighborhood kid. ;)
            Dillon glanced up at his best friends through the mangled remains of Ray’s rented bicycle; both were bent over in order to be at his eye level.  He heaved a sigh and continued fiddling with the wrench until the twisted metal gave way with a tired squeak. The appearance of Mark and Steven was the last thing he wanted right now. Dillon had fled to the garage in order to forget all about the day by fixing something…anything. It was how he coped with his anger. Somehow, it always made him feel better.
            “I didn’t hear you guys drive in,” Dillon said. Usually he was warned of Mark or Steven’s arrival by the sound of a car motor or gravel crunching in the driveway. Squinting against the setting sun that shone brightly through the open garage door, he shifted 
over until Steven’s shadow blocked the bright light from his face.
            “We were going to sneak up on you and dump sand down your back,” Mark admitted.
            “But your dad caught us in the act and told us you probably weren’t up to practical jokes right now,” Steven put in. “And since you’re in here, I can see he’s right.”
            “So we came out here to find out what was bothering you and have a man-talk,” Mark finished.
            Dillon couldn’t help smiling. Mark and Steven always managed to make him smile, no matter what he was going through emotionally. That was why they were his friends. He worked at the bent wire while working his frustration at himself out of his system.
Mark and Steven:
(Friends of Dillon's...so also shady neighborhood hooligans :P)
These guys are my equivalent to Merry and Pippen in Lord of the Rings. They were SO MUCH FUN to write dialogue for. XD Enjoy!
          Steven’s mouth hung open in disbelief. “She stuck her tongue out at you?” he asked.
         Dillon nodded before allowing himself a chuckle. “You should have seen the looks on her brothers’ faces. If they could look daggers, I’d be dead.”
         “Well, it’s understandable her not liking you,” Mark said suddenly. “If I had been the one to pick up her drawing, she would have swooned right there I bet.”
         Steven snorted. “Whatever,” he said. “Everyone knows I’m the handsomest of us three.”
         Both Mark and Dillon looked at Steven with disbelief.
         “Your hair alone is enough to give any girl a heart-attack,” Mark declared. “My hair, on the other hand—”
         “Makes you look like a girl,” Dillon finished with a grin.
         “It does not,” Mark shot back indignantly. “It’s gorgeous.” 
He twirled the end of it and fluttered his eyelashes.
         “Puh-leeese,” Steven groaned aloud.
         “It’s not fair,” Mark declared, glaring. “Dillon has girls falling in his pathway left and right, all he does is give them his Look and they swoon, yet he doesn’t ever take advantage of the opportunities.”
         Dillon gave his friend a puzzled frown. “My look?” he asked.
         “Yeah,” Mark shrugged. “I can’t do it, but you do it to girls and they loose themselves.”
         “I don’t think I give girls any looks. Not on purpose at any rate,” he added with a grin. “Personally, I don’t want to bother about them quite yet.”
         “It’s like you raise an eyebrow and give them a dashing I’ll-save-you-from-the-world smile,” Mark said thoughtfully. “It’s a thing you do.”
         Dillon shrugged. “I mostly try to be polite to girls. Maybe they like guys who are polite. I dunno. Hey, next time you catch me 
doing whatever you say I do, let me know so I know when I’m doing it.”
         Mark grinned. “Sure thing. Anyways, dinner’s on you tonight.”
         “What?!?!” Dillon exclaimed. “I thought it was Steven’s turn!”
         “Well, since Steven quit his job, and since I don’t have cash on-hand, and since it’s your dad who owns the pizza place…we voted for you to pay tonight.”
         Dillon sighed. “Oh, fine. Dad will probably give us a discount anyways.”
         “Exactly,” Mark nodded decisively. “Shall we go?”
         He rolled his eyes. “Sure, why not?” At least they weren’t teasing him about that girl.

Share a snippet that gets you beaming with pride and you’re just like ‘yep, I wrote that beauty':
I had a tough time coming up with a snippet that fell under this category...I don't usually write things where I make myself beam in pride. I've made myself laugh, and I've made myself cry (not on this story, I promise) but never made myself beam with pride. *shrugs* Maybe I'm missing something, I dunno. But here's A snippet that MIGHT fall under this. Maybe.

           Ray managed to wait until after his dad had said the final “amen” before blurting, “Can we ride our bikes today?”…a question he had obviously been waiting to ask all morning.
            The pastor and his wife shared an amused glance at their son’s eagerness. “You’ll have to wait until after breakfast for our answer,” their dad answered.
            From the look on Ray’s face, “wait until after breakfast” could have meant “wait until you die or have grandchildren…whichever comes last”, but, like the obedient child they were training him to be, he suffered his impatience in silence… At least until the said time was over and the three teens had helped clean up after their breakfast.

Share a snippet of genius, deliciously witty dialogue between your characters.
Oh, goodness. My whole book is made up of dialogue between characters. If you've read this far, you've already seen some of my favorites...but for you, I'll add a couple more. :)

         “Ray, buddy, talk to me,” Dillon was saying, down on his knees by her prostrate brother. Concern was showing in his eyes and leaked through his request.
            To her relief, Ray let out a groan. He could understand them. That was a good sign. She knelt on the other side of him and noticed the gash in his side for the first time.
            “Guys, we need to stop the bleeding,” she said.
            “Um…does anyone have a Band-Aid?” Dillon asked the small circle.
            Nicole let out a groan herself. “You didn’t pack a First Aid kit?”
            Sheepishly, Dillon shook his head.
            “Boy, what is it with guys and not being practical?” she muttered. “What we need,” she continued in a louder voice, “is actually not a Band-Aid, but some sort of absorbent cloth. The cut in his side is too big to be covered by a Band-Aid. Also, we’ll need to wash it before we can wrap it up.”
            “Oh, like in movies,” Mark said, nodding to himself as if it all made sense now.
            Steven handed her his mostly unused water bottle, the first helpful thing any of the boys had done, and she dumped the better part of it over the gash in her brother’s side. She did her best to use the remainder of that water bottle and Ray’s to clean the rest of the abrasions. Now to find bandage materiel…


            “How are you feeling?” she asked him.
            “Like I was run over by a car and then trampled by a herd of horses before being carried off and eaten by a dragon,” he said.
            She smiled, and he heard chuckles of amusement from around him. “So, a little better, I take it.”
            Ray nodded, but winced when the movement made the pain levels skyrocket. “Yeah, I guess.” He paused, and watched as her busy hands went to find every cut and bruise. “You can say ‘I told you so’,” he offered. “I totally deserve it.”
            Nicole raised an eyebrow at her brother’s confession, but shook her head. “It’s too late for that,” she said. “I could stand an apology for scaring me out of my wits though.”


            “I really, really messed up today,” he said.
            “Ok.” Mark plopped down and crossed his legs Indian-style. Leaning backwards on his arms, he regarded Dillon with a raised eyebrow. “But what made this mess up worse than the mess ups you always make every day?”
            “Gosh, you really know how to make a guy feel better,” Dillon grumbled, unscrewing the ruined tire and rolling it out of the way.
            “Seriously though,” Steven said. “What happened?”
            Little by little the story came out. The more Dillon talked about it, the worse he felt. He took out his irritation on the helpless bike with various jabs and twists. Once he was finished, a heavy silence hung over the three friends. Dillon didn’t dare meet their eyes, and continued working in silence.
            “Wow.” Mark, no surprise, was the first to find his voice.
 “Bro, tell me that you didn’t actually say all that out loud. You only thought it, right?”
            Dillon groaned, resting his oil-stained forearm against the upside-down bicycle skeleton and putting his forehead on that. “I did say all of it,” he answered. “Yelled it actually.”
            “Dude…” Mark’s word of admonishment died and mixed with a moan.
            “You’re going to have to apologize, buddy,” Steven said.
            Again?” Dillon quailed from the idea. “I’ve known these guys for less than a week and I’ve already made an idiot of myself twice.”
            “Well, if you want to still be their friend, you’re going to have to apologize,” Steven repeated.
            “I know,” Dillon agreed miserably. “But what on earth am I going to say?” He gave his friends each a pleading look.
            “Hey, I wasn’t the one who made an idiot of myself to a pastor’s family,” Mark said defensively. “How would I know what 
to say? Don’t give me that look!”
            “You could try, ‘sorry I opened my big mouth and said all that stuff, I shouldn’t have’,” Steven suggested, and then shrugged. “But it’s your apology, not mine.”
            Dillon sighed and turned back to Ray’s bike. “I’ll think about it,” he relented. “I do want to keep our friendship, but it’s going to be awkward no matter what I do or say at this point.”
            Mark and Steven nodded and then stood up together.
            “Welp, good luck,” Mark said.
            “Have fun storming the castle, boy,” Steven added with a grin.
            Dillon took the bait and asked, “Do you think it’ll work?”
            “It’ll take a miracle,” Mark and Steven both chimed in together.
            All three boys burst out laughing, and when it died into chuckles, Dillon was feeling better already. His blues had effectively been pushed out of his mind by the good-humored banter his friends always supplied.


          “Now, what did you want to tell us?” The pastor sipped his cocoa, then grimaced and began fanning his mouth, his tongue sticking out. “Hot,” he explained to his wife who had an amused look on her face.
            “I did warn you,” she said. “There’s a very good reason it’s called hot cocoa.”
            “I know,” he answered, “it thtill hurt’th.”
            “Do you need thome ithe?” She mimicked his lisp while a smile danced in her eyes, for a moment looking very similar to Ray when he made a witty remark.
            “That would be nithe,” he said.
            Once the ice cube had been placed on the sore tongue and licked a few times, he pastor returned his gaze to Dillon 

Share a snippet that leaves you breathless, in a cold sweat with action-induced intensity.
This story has very few moments like this...its more character driven than plot driven, so there's not a ton of conflict. However, I did get one snippet that was close enough to fit in this section for you. :)

            Ray relished the feel of wind rushing against his face. He shut his eyes for a moment as the bike’s wheels carried him smoothly along the sidewalk. His legs pumped the pedals up and down, around and around, as he worked his way up the hills. He was becoming seriously addicted to vacations. They were so awesome!
            “Hey, dude! Watch out!” The frantic cry came from behind 
            Ray’s eyes flew open in time to watch himself crash into a telephone pole. He jumped sideways, off the bike and away from the object in his path, only to land on the sidewalk and skid a foot before coming to a halt in a haphazard heap. Scrapes from the cement were all over his hands, arms, elbows and knees. His shirt was ripped and a gash from the handlebars was beginning to bleed heavily. Pain. The world was full of pain. Everything hurt.
            Nicole watched her younger brother ride with the careless abandon he was known for, and heard Steven’s frantic warning come too late. Her first reaction had been one of concern, but that soon mixed with angry frustration. Her brother must have had his eyes closed in order to run into a telephone pole without realizing it. With her teeth clenched, she mounted her bike along with Shawn and rushed to the scene of the accident.
            Her brakes jerked her bike to a stop, skid marks showing up clear on the light pavement. She stumbled over to Ray who lay 
groaning on the ground. A few tears had squeezed their way out of his eyes, which was a bad sign. Ray never cried in front of people.

Share a snippet of a most interesting first meeting between your characters.
Oh...wow. I have the perfect snippet for this. *rubs hands together* You guys are in for a treat. :)

       Unbeknownst to the three teens, another set of eyes had been watching their little drama with amusement. The boy’s eyes watched as one drawing scuttled his direction, stopping only when it caught on his sandal. He bent automatically and picked it up. It was a picture of a car traveling down a highway with a family of five squeezed into it. The dad driving, the mom showing him something on the map, the girl drawing, the darker haired boy reading a book with a disposable coffee cup in one hand, and the last boy looking out the window with a look of obvious impatience 
on his face. He grinned. The girl was talented.
         As he looked over the picture, the girl was coming closer, stooping every once in a while to get one of her drawings. Closely following her, the two boys were also gathering the strewn papers. Finally, she noticed him standing there with one of her pictures in his hand.
         Nicole looked up and found herself a yard away from a boy holding one of her sketches. “That’s mine,” she said. “Can I have it please?”
         He gave it to her with a smile. “Sure. It’s a good drawing.”
         “Thanks,” she answered guardedly.
         “Anytime,” he replied, with a confidence that was unnerving. Nicole was glad that her brothers were standing behind her now.“So, what’s your name?”
         “I’m Nicole, and these,” she nodded towards her brothers, “are my siblings. This is my twin Shawn, and this is our younger brother Ray.” The boys shook hands cordially, but with hidden 
suspicion of each other. “And you are…?”
         “I’m Dillon. Nice to meet such an accomplished artist.” Dillon’s eyes were twinkling. “There aren’t many who live around here.”
         “Oh, well,” Nicole began, we don’t live here, she was going to say, but Shawn warned her with a look to not tell a perfect stranger all about themselves within the first five minutes. “I’m not very accomplished,” she finished a little lamely.
         “Sure you are!” he replied with a dashing grin. “Accomplished and pretty,” he added suddenly.
         Caught off guard, Nicole’s mouth dropped open in surprise and she stuttered for the right words, a frown darkening her face. She felt the tension thicken in the air around her and knew her brothers were stiffening behind her.
         “Well, I have to be getting home. Good luck with your artistic endeavors,” Dillon said quickly, showing Nicole that she wasn’t the only one feeling the growing animosity in the air. 
         Impulsively, she stuck out her tongue at the boldly-spoken boy, but when he had gotten a safe distance away, a sudden idea came to her and a twinkle of mischief appeared in her eyes. She gave a long sigh. Taking on what she hoped was a far-away, dreamy look; she gave another sigh for good measure before commenting in a thick voice, “Wow, he’s so handsome.” She was rewarded by gagging sounds behind her as her brothers now stuttered on words that refused to come out of their mouths.
         “Ick!” Ray finally exclaimed in a decisive manner. “You can’t be serious!”
         “Don’t tell me you like that dude!” Shawn put in, horrified.
         Nicole, no longer being able to act as a love-stricken teenaged girl, let out a giggle. Her cover blown, she burst out into laughter, tears appearing in her eyes and streaming down her face as she doubled up. Gasping for air and holding her stomach, she couldn’t stop herself. The comical looks of complete puzzlement 
that her brothers gave her didn’t help. The explosive mirth soon died into hiccups and she wiped at the tears still streaming down her face.
         “You-hic,” she began, pointing a shaking finger at her brothers, “you-hic thought I liked that guy-hic?” she asked. “You’re both-hic crazier than me-hic.”
         “Well you said,” Ray pointed out.
         “You acted like a-a…” Shawn struggled for the right wording.
         “Love-struck teen-hic?” Nicole supplied, breathing deeply to try to stop the hiccups.
         “Well, I don’t,” Nicole said firmly to her brother’s relief. “Now shall we finish that walk we wanted to go on?”

Here's the moment you all have been waiting for...the link you all read through my post to get to.


Now I'm off to stalk the link myself and see who all joins me. :)
I dedicated this book to a very special group of friends...and you can't know who they are unless you join...so yeah. B-)

How did you enjoy the snippets? Which character do you think is your favorite? Are you looking forward to its release? ;)

*EDITOR'S NOTE: I have no idea why the fonts and font colors are acting weird. Please forgive my lack of sufficient techiness. I beg your pardon a thousand times.

Blog Tour for Project Canvas!! *cue intense celebration*

GUYS, I couldn't be more excited to share about this incredible book that is going to be available for you to get your hands on in just ...