Flash Fiction

So I’ve never tried flash fiction, though I’ve read several and heard about it quite a bit. But I saw a writing prompt and I thought I’d give it a shot.

Here you go!

 

He glanced up at the towering tree, moping the sweat from his forehead. One more and the day was done. He couldn’t help but feel sorry for what he was about to do. Of all the trees he’d cut down, none were as strong, as magnificent, as this one. Who could tell how long it had stood there?
Sighing, he hefted his ax and swung, the blade biting into the trunk.
As soon as his ax had touched the bark, an ear-piercing shriek surrounded him. He dropped his ax and took a step back in horror, in confusion.
No one was around. No one but him and…the tree?
He peered closer at where his blade had cut. Placing a hand over the scar, he felt a slight tremor. He pressed his ear to the bark, unsure of what he might hear.
Sobs. Body-wracking, heartbroken sobs that chilled him to the bone. Sobs of a child. How did this make any sense at all?
Feeling rather foolish, he tapped the bark. “I-I’m sorry?”
The response came between hiccups in a sorrowful voice. “You should be. I just stand minding my own business and you come along and try to chop me down!”
“I didn’t know I’d be hurting anyone.” The excuse sounded paltry, even to his own ears.
The voice came again, slightly muffled. “Just go away. It’ll take me a long time to be back to full strength again. I can’t waste energy talking to someone who doesn’t care.”
“But I do care! How can I fix it?”
There was a long pause. The bark shimmered slightly and a girl’s face, no more than eight years old, peeped out. “Do you mean it? Honestly and truly?”
He nodded.
The shimmering widened as if a door was being opened more than a crack and the child stepped out. Though she looked no older than his own children, her eyes were deep and dark, carrying secrets beyond decades. Her legs were cut at the ankles and he felt again the deep anguish at what he had done.
She gazed up at him. “If you want to help, you must carry me away. You must take me somewhere quiet where I can be replanted and never bothered.” Her eyes gleamed and it seemed to him that she was already seeing where she wanted to go.
He smiled and held out his arms. “Where to?”

She giggled as he lifted her up. “I’m not sure. I’ll know it when I see it.”
And they disappeared together as the lumberjack journeyed to make amends for the tree he had injured.

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My Life For the Past Few Months

You know you’re becoming an adult when you leave off doing stuff for a long time and have the same excuse for it.

“Sorry it took me so long to…” Fill in the blank. “I was really busy.”

So I’m not going to apologize because 1.) There aren’t a whole lot of you reading this. And 2.) I really was super busy.

So I think the last time I posted was before the Summer. Here’s a brief overview of what I did in June, July, and August.

  • -Worked at and attended a camp. (3 weeks)
  • -Worked at and attended a Christian Education Center. (3 weeks)
  • -Went to Canada and PA with the Family. (1 week)
  • -Did Behind-the-Wheel. (And thank goodness that’s over!)
  • -And got a bit clobbered by some ocean waves.

It was all good, just really full. I’m learning to accept that my summers are always going to be super busy and super hot. (Bleh. I’m so glad fall is here. Kind of. [Blast you, OBX!])

So then it came.

SEPTEMBER.

And here is what I’ve been doing since then.

  • Hosted a couple families.
  • Started my senior year.
  • Applied for jobs.
  • Practiced driving. (Stay off the roads!)
  • Attended a conference.
  • Attended a conference.
  • Attended a conference. (Broken record, anyone?)
  • Went to the Ark Encounter in Kentucky.
  • Went to Emmaus Bible College for a weekend.

This list looks a bit formidable after the fact. I’m glad I waited til now to write it out.

So, as it turns out, I’m growing up. Not in my head, thank goodness. But I’m finishing high school and peeking round the corner at college and career life. (Can you imagine?)

The time I spent at Emmaus was wonderful. It’s always been top of my list for colleges to go to, but now I’m thinking it’s the only one. It has a lot to offer and I think it’s a good place to start as I become a boring adult. How long I’ll stay there is still in flux. Maybe one year, maybe four, but I’m praying for the Lord’s will in my life.

So that’s it! What I’ve been up to for the last four months. This was a bit of a boring post, but hopefully I’ll have something a little more exciting next time.

Ta-ta!

I Spy A New Favorite Show!

There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call, The Twilight Zone.
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So guess what I did last night?

Actually, it started last September when my family and I went to Disneyworld. We went to Hollywood Studios the first day and the first ride we went on was the Tower of Terror. And it was a blast! We loved the décor and the narrative and the overall thrill of it. Fast forward to Yesterday. We were scrolling through lists of old TV shows on Amazon Prime and found a few we hadn’t seen, among which were The Twilight Zone, Doctor Who, and some Period Dramas(those will have to be saved until my father is absent: he has an aversion to chick flicks).

Anyway, we managed to convince him to let us watch the first three episodes of the Twilight Zone. And they were fabulous! So eerie! So mind-boggling! And, at times, kinda cute!

I’ve always loved the older things in life. Whether it be movies, TV shows, books, or games. So I am thrilled to be finding another favorite, and one so unlike all my other favorites.

Onward then! To The Twilight Zone!

It’s Time To Take A Breath

Thank you, I think I will.

In all honesty, the last…oh, six months have been so full. I’m not talking to the brim full, but overflowing and gushing full.

Since last December, my life has been changing and shifting and turning into something new entirely. And that’s not a bad thing, I guess. Change is good and to be expected. But when change happens at the speed of light(or what feels like it, anyway) any poor, slow human caught in the middle of it all, needs time to stop and recuperate before anything else happens. In case you couldn’t guess, that’s where I’m at now.

Here is what I’ve experienced in the whirlwind that is the last 6 months in chronological order:

  • a funeral
  • an engagement(not mine!)
  • wedding planning(again, not mine!)
  • a birthday(uh…yeah, this one’s mine)
  • almost all my family members’ birthdays
  • a bridal shower(I planned it)
  • driver’s ed-the classroom portion(AKA 30 hours of torture and nerves in a public high school!)
  • a bachelorette party
  • a wedding
  • another funeral
  • the rearranging/relocation of my bedroom
  • and on top of all that, 11th grade.

I’m not looking for sympathy or pity. But I’m here to point out that life is busy. There are going to be portions of time when you feel like you have a billion things to do and those things are probably important. Crucial, even. I just want to remind you to take a break when you need it. If you don’t take care of yourself, where are you going to be the next time a mile-long to-do list is hurled at you?

So pause. Take a breath. Put your feet up. Have some tea. And get ready for whatever comes next.

How peculiar is peculiar?

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:9

 

But are we? Do we show his praises? What I’m asking here, is are we truly a peculiar people?

So I looked up the definition of peculiar. Here it is: “Strange or odd; unusual.”

Christians as a whole are regarded as peculiar because of our beliefs. But individually, do people wonder, “There’s something different about that girl.” Or, “That boy is not like anyone I’ve ever met.”

Now some things make it easy to tell why someone’s different. Maybe the girl always helping out with a cheerful smile is wearing a cross necklace. Or maybe the polite boy is wearing a Newsboys t-shirt. But is our conduct enough to spill the beans, so to speak?

In this day and age, it’s easy to conform. To be just like our neighbors and friends. Trust me, I’m as guilty of it as the next person. But we should remember that as Christians, we bear His name. Are we wearing it worthily? The word “Christian” literally means “mini Christ”. Is that what people see? They should be able to pick us out of a crowd because of our love for one another. Our kindness, our gracious spirits, our servant’s heart. The list goes on.

I encourage you to be a light! Be peculiar! It’s not a bad thing to be different because you have Jesus in your life. Let Him work in your life and be bold in telling people why you’re different.

Let’s work on it together.

 

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

1 Peter 3:15

Happily Ever After, Tragedy, or Bittersweet?

I am, of course, referring to endings. Books, movies, TV shows and so forth. Some people want all the stories to end, perfectly wrapped up with the main characters forever safe from harm and living with the people they love in a world that is peaceful and calm, all evil eradicated with no threat ever to light the horizon again.

Yes, yes, yes. I like it, too. And up til my 11th birthday, I didn’t want it any other way.

As LaBuff Birthday tradition, the birthday person gets to pick a movie. I didn’t know what I wanted to watch, so I began rooting through all the Rodgers and Hammerstein we owned. I came across a VHS (yes, they still exist) of The King and I. It sounded interesting enough, so into the VCR it went.

No spoilers for those out there who haven’t watched it, though I must wonder why not, but it introduced me to the concept of bittersweet endings. It was the point of no return. Of course, Happily ever after, still gives me the warm fuzzy feeling. And I won’t complain when favorite characters live to see another book/movie/episode. But the negative emotion woven into bittersweet endings gives it a certain volume that is lacking in HEA. I mean, come on! These characters are supposed to be human, right? They’re not going to have happy endings all the time. It makes fantastical stories feel more relatable when the people don’t get everything their heart desires.

In case some of you aren’t understanding, I’ll give an example:

Cinderella. We all know the story. Kind and beautiful orphan is abused by step-family. Meets and marries handsome prince and never has to work again. Lives in a palace with riches galore, etc. etc. and so forth. To me, and this might be just me, it sound flat. What if, instead of falling in love with the prince(and the whole one ball thing makes it even more flat), he gives her a house and business of her own in town. She then supports herself, free of moneyless working, but still has to deal with her step-family when she sees them. There’s more emotion. Yes, Cindy still works. But she’s independent. Maybe along the road she’ll marry a baker or something.

Okay, yeah, yeah. Not as romantic as the story we all know and love, but do you get my point?

Alright, also in my title, I mentioned tragedies. Hm. My first experience with stories and depressing endings was actually fairly recently. About a month ago, actually. Romeo and Juliet. “And everybody died. The End.” That there, is a little too much negative emotion.

I like the happy medium. Enough, but not too much. Just a preference.

 

Which do you like? Leave an answer in the comments below.

 

Top 9 Christmas Specials.

You know those movies that you love. The ones that make you feel so warm inside, the ones you watch with a blanket and some cocoa.

The ones you only watch once a year. Honestly, because Christmas specials are so wonderful, I’d want to watch them more often, but then I’d feel like I was breaking some sacred rule about watching them at a time other than the six or so weeks after Thanksgiving.

So I’m going to talk about 9 Christmas specials that are very near and dear to my heart, but are still only watched during the Christmas season. (let’s not get too crazy)

 

#9 and 8: The Santa Clause and The Santa Clause 2

 

Sorry, these must stay together. And seeing as I despise the third one, we’re not going to discuss that one. Hmph.

These are such a unique take on the North Pole, and Santa Claus  and all I adore it all. Charlie was such a cutie (in the first one) and all the elves (though Curtis from the second one was SO aggravating) and it’s so fabulous.

#7: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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I prefer this one to the more recent Jim Carrey version. Because Thurl Ravenscroft’s version of “Mr. Grinch” is so much more fabulous. Also, there are some crazy awkward moments in the newer one whereas the one from way back when was just adorable fun.  Just a preference. Moving on.

 

#6: The Polar Express

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My mom’s personal favorite, but who doesn’t love a magical train that’s always on time? Singing and dancing waiters? Check. An eccentric/wise conductor? also check. A trio of different yet lovable kids? Check! This is such a cozy movie with a fabulous soundtrack. We’ve watched it every year since I can remember.

 

#5: Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol

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You just can’t go wrong with a near blind old man who’s playing Scrooge on Broadway. This is one of the must-watches of the many Christmas Carol renditions in my family. Mr. Magoo just brings a certain amount of whimsy and fun to the character and he’s pretty funny throughout the entire thing and some of the songs are wonderful. (But not that one with the Razzleberry dressing. *shudders*)

#4: White Christmas

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Bing Crosby. Need I say more? Actually, I do. We’ve been singing the song, White Christmas for years. It’s a favorite. So when we finally got our hands on the movie a few years back, it’s become another tradition to add to our ever-growing stack. The songs, the humor, the sweetness of the entire plot. *sighs* Nothin’ like the classics.

 

#3: Miracle On 34th Street

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I’ve always loved this one. Ever since my dad showed it to me when I was eight or so. I didn’t care that it was in black and white, I didn’t care that the women’s hairstyles were so short. I love this movie. It’s sweet and heartwarming and funny and will probably have you believing in Santa Claus all over again.

 

 

#2: A Charlie Brown Christmas

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My dad is a diehard Peanuts fan. Ergo, all his kids are Peanuts fans. Ergo, we watch the Charlie Brown specials every year. Plus, it’s one of the few Christmas Specials that actually includes the true meaning of Christmas. I can never hear Luke 2:8-14 without hearing Linus’s voice.

 

#1 Scrooge

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This is a marvelous version of A Christmas Carol that has been a family favorite for years. This is the movie we watch on Christmas Eve every year. Enough said.

 

 

So there we have it! Some of the specials that make Christmas for my family.

What Christmas Specials do you love? Let me know in the comments!

What Makes A Classic?

I have spent the last month, at least, reading almost nothing but what everyone calls classics.

You know what I mean. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Gray, Jane Austen Novels. I have a ton more on my to-read list such as Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, The Sherlock Holmes books, Great Expectations. I’m getting caught up. I’m reading more classics in this year than I have  in my entire life. Granted, a few of these I’ve read before, but most of them are completely new.

Recently, I was looking through book reviews on Goodreads and someone mentioned that they couldn’t see what all the hype was about over the so-called classics, which got me thinking. What does make them classics? Because they were written a few centuries ago? Because they’re so different from our culture today? So I figure since I’m in the middle of reading a great deal of the classics I can give my own reader’s opinion.

 

(As a fellow-blogger wrote, I like numbered lists.)

 

1.) The Intelligence

Maybe life was more difficult or complicated back in the 1800s, but the etiquette for the eras in which the classics were written made for a stricter way of living, which made humor less blatant than our today. I was reading Emma by Jane Austen and the subtle wit woven throughout was supremely enjoyable, more so than the modern, LOL humor we have nowadays.

 

2.) Complex Characters

To me, the characters in a lot of today’s books seem shallow. Like they’re only around for themselves. The characters written in many of the classics are surrounded by family and friends. They know their actions have consequences and they act accordingly.

 

3.) Plot

This is the biggie. Before I go into this, please know that I love fantasy. I love books dealing with magic and fantastical creatures. But you don’t see that often with the classics. Instead you see a mildly dramatized version of what life was like back then. Sure, maybe a duo of rich guys didn’t happen to rent a house in a small country neighborhood and end up getting hitched to two sisters, but that’s the type of magic that authors like Jane Austen and the Brontë Sisters used. And that’s just as good, if not better

 

And just a bonus: The Quotables!

This is probably the most reasonable point I have. Whether you’ve read Jane Eyre or not, you’ve no doubt heard the famous, “Reader, I married him”. Or “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” Classics are the most quoted books along with the Bible. (In all honesty, the Bible should be quoted more, if you know what I mean, but I digress)

 

So there are my reasons for how (or why) classics are classics. If you have any other reasons, please leave them in the comments below!

 

Characters That Annoy Me (For no apparent reason)

Have you ever met that person who just gets on your nerves? You don’t know what it is about them, or why they irk you so much, but they do. It happens to me all the time. Even more so with characters from books, movies, TV shows, etc. I mean, I live a pretty sheltered life, what with being homeschooled and all, so fiction acquaintances count too.

So. I thought I’d post about a few of them that get on my nerves to no end.

Superman:

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Alright. The dude’s perfect. He’s literally got everything: Awe-inspiring powers, two good jobs, a girlfriend, and, to top it all off, he’s fabulously handsome. Why? Sure, I watch movies/read books to escape reality, but that just seems a little too over the top. And yeah, yeah. I know he’s got his junk in life too, but he has the stuff to deal with it. Grrrrr.

Rabbit: (From Winnie the Pooh movies)untitled

This one, I’m pretty sure I know why. HE COMPLAINS ABOUT EVERYTHING! It’s annoying. If I remember correctly, he isn’t all that bad in the books, but the movies everything about him ticks me off. Even when he’s caring for that bird he found (who also irritated me) he’s stinkin’ confining her to his house and refusing to let her fly. What did he expect? That she’d be content walking around her entire life? Good grief! *Ahem* Moving on.

Uncle Fester: (The Addams Family)untitled

This is mainly dealing with the Old TV show version, but I’m pretty sure all the Uncle Fester’s are just as annoying. His voice, his mannerisms, his behavior, Ugh. I don’t know. It’s probably just his voice.

 

Terra: (Teen Titans)

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So, I was too young to watch this show when it originally aired, but I just finished watching all the episodes recently (and loved it) and she aggravated me to no end. I’ve heard all the arguments: “She just wanted somewhere to belong” or “She was a hero in the end!” or “She defeated Slade!”. Bleh. See, what gets me the most, is that she had a place where she belonged and she threw it all away. She had friends who loved and trusted her and, in the words of Raven, she treated them like dirt. And for what? For a psychopath who enslaved her. Who manipulated her. Who controlled her for his own gain. And, yeah, maybe she didn’t know that, but in Aftershock part 2, when she said that it was fun to exterminate the Titans? Yeesh. Oh, and when she only realized how wrong she was when Slade took control of her suit and of her powers? That doesn’t sound like a hero to me.

 

Sabrina Grimm: (The book series Sisters Grimm)

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Daphne was always my favorite. Wanna know why? Because she embraced it. All of it. The kooks, the weirdos, the wacky creatures, the magic. ALL. OF. IT. Sabrina doubted and disliked everything. She tried everything to go back to being that “normal girl from New York” and when she found out that New York had Everafters too? She freaked! It took her until, I don’t know, the fourth book out of nine books to realize that it was worthwhile. And even after that, all her decisions were terrible ones.

 

So yeah. There we have some of the characters I just have to grit my teeth at.

 

 

Cabins and Creek Hikes and Mountains, Oh my!

I’m not new to summer camps. I’ve been going since I was eight years old and I was a staff kid for two years before that. I’ve been to numerous camps: Bethel Bible Camp, Camp Iroquoina, Camp Li-Lo-Li, and a camp type thing that technically isn’t even a camp called Aletheia Springs. I have much experience. . .sort of.

You see, All of those camps are Christian camps, stocked with Bible memorization, Bible sessions, and rules about modesty. Which is great. I love being able to escape the real world for a week at a time. But I’ve never been to a non-Christian camp. Ever. I actually didn’t know they existed until I watched The Addams Family Values. Which got me thinking a ton. What do they do? A lot of the time spent at Christian camps is spent studying or learning, with time for play as well, but I never really thought about which camps non-Christians went to.

So I figured they did something. Maybe sang cheesy songs around a campfire and went zip lining or kayaking. And after I figured that out, I felt sort of like a homeschooled recluse.

But I bring this up because I’m going to camp to train as a Counselor in Training. I guess that would make me a CITIT. But I’m super excited because I did this last year and had a blast and I’ll be leaving in 2 days and won’t be coming back for a month. So when there are no posts, don’t freak. Not that I expect anyone to see this, but just in case. 🙂