Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Memories

Hello everyone! I hope this week has treated you well. :) I had a super busy week, and as such, I didn't have the time to write the last post in the Guadalcanal series. Which, actually worked out since I wanted to focus on Memorial day this weekend. ;)
And don't worry! The final post will be up next week!

I've had a fantastic response to the Memorial Day Memories blog link up, and I can't wait to get it kicked off tomorrow! Also, if you would like to join but haven't yet, please remember this is the last day to let me know. ;)
 I'd like to know what days you guys are posting, so I can include the links in each of my posts. However, you don't have to tell me ahead of time if you'd rather not. Just know your post link won't be in my post. :)

After my last post, I had someone ask if it was okay to include police officers. The answer is YES! They and their families also sacrifice so much to keep us safe in our day to day lives. Any post on an officer who has fallen in the line of duty is welcome. :)

Just as a quick review... the link-up runs from Saturday, May 27th, through Monday, May 29th. I will be posting each day, but you're welcome to post as many or as few times as you wish! Below I've included three graphics I made for the link up. Feel free to use them if you wish, or make your own.




And . .  that's all I can think of right now. If you guys have any other comments or questions, feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment below. :)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Memorial Day Memories: Three days of honoring our fallen heroes {A blog link-up}

Hello all! I hope your week is off to a fabulous start! So, as most (hopefully all? xD) of you know, Memorial day is this coming Monday, the 29th.
The other day I got to thinking about how a lot of people don't really understand just exactly what memorial day is about. And I'd like to remedy that. ;)
Introducing . . . Memorial Day Memories!  How many of you would be interested in joining in a memorial day blog link-up?



It's going to be a three day link up, from the 27th through the 29th, and you can post anytime you'd like within those three days. You can create your own graphic, or you're more than welcome to use the one I'm going to make. (I'll post it later on this week.) The goal of each post is to recognize and honor the men who have paid that ultimate price for our freedom. I want the posts to be pretty open to whatever, but I do have a few guidelines for you to follow.

1.) You must include a story about someone who has died in the line of duty. If possible, I'd like to have it be someone from your city/state, or from your family. Make it personal. UPDATED EDIT: I realize that most of us don't personally know people who have died in the line of duty. And for that I'm incredibly thankful! So when I say make it personal, I mean make it about someone from the area you live. ;)

2.)  I'd appreciate it if the stories you chose about our fallen heroes come from the past 100 years. No later, as it can be hard to find conclusive documentation on much before then. (Unless, say, it's someone in your family tree who was in the Civil war, or some such thing.)

3.) These posts are to honor our fallen men and women in uniform. So even if you may not agree with the ideology behind war or our American political system, please be careful to not say anything that will dishonor them and their service.

And . . . that's about all. You're free to post just one day, or all three! You can add wherever you want to the post. A story, poem, song, etc. Whatever you'd like to do!

If you'd like to participate, please let me know no later than Friday! I'm going to add a page to my blog for the link-up, and I would like to include the links of all the participating blogs there.

So . . . does his sound like something you'd be interested in? Something you'd enjoy participating in? I hope so! This memorial day weekend, let's take over the blogging world with stories that will honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I can't wait for you to join me!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Dressmaker's Secret/Ivy Introspective Cover reveal!

Yesss, it's time for a cover reveal! It's been a while since I did one of those on here. ;) I'm joining Kellyn Roth in the cover reveal for two of her books! :) The covers are beautiful, ESPECIALLY the one for Ivy Introspective. It's my favorite, and oh, so pretty! But, you probably want to see the covers, not listen to me talk about them. xD



After a revealing conversation with the first children of her age she’s ever met, curious eight-year-old Alice Chattoway realizes that one ought to have a father … and she doesn’t. Having determined that his absence is making her mother unhappy, Alice resolves to find him and create a family for herself.

However, Alice’s mother, Miss Chattoway, is reluctant to answer any questions posed about a man she’d much rather forget. While Alice investigates, Miss Chattoway tries to balance her own spiritual turmoil with her need to be both mother and provider to her daughters.

Will Alice ever unravel her mother’s secrets? Can Miss Chattoway let go of the past to reach for the future?




Trapped in a world where she doesn’t belong, twelve-year-old Ivy Knight struggles to keep her head above water as her simplicity is brought to light by her new position as a young lady growing up at Pearlbelle Park.

Worried about their daughter’s inability to fit in, Ivy’s parents decide to send her to McCale House, a boarding school in Scotland for boys and girls like her. However, alone and frightened without her beloved mother, sister, and nurse, Ivy can’t seem to focus.

Will Ivy ever learn what Dr. McCale is trying to teach her? Or will she remain lost in her own mind forever?



Also, I had to come back and edit this, BECAUSE I FORGOT TO INCLUDE IT IN THE POST! *gasps* I know, how terrible of me. But. anyway. Here are the places you can connect with the lovely author, Kellyn Roth. :) (SO sorry for not remembering to add them in the beginning, Kellyn...)


Website · Blog · Newsletter · Facebook · Amazon · Goodreads


Don't they sound amazing? Something you'd want to read? I'm looking forward to doing so sometime! :) 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Operation: Guadalcanal - Part 2

Guadalcanal: Henderson Field 

So . .  .  it wasn't a trap. The Japanese were initially stunned by the landing and attack on the island.
Taking advantage of the initial panic and retreat, the Marines quickly pressed forward a mile inland, and captured the unfinished air strip. From then on, the air base would be know as Henderson field.  Immediately after it was captured, construction battalions began work to finish the airfield for the arrival of the Marine Air units, which would support the Guadalcanal operation. 

It didn't take the Japanese long to see the threat caused by the Americans, and Japanese bombers and fighters from Rabaul, over 500 miles to the west, were on their way to storm the beachhead. Fortunately for the American troops, Navy fighter from the three carriers were able to drive the enemy off. However, as a result of this, the American Naval fliers faced heavy losses. 

For many months following, the Marine's hold on Henderson Field would remain precarious. The Japanese were determined to drive the Americans back to the sea, and the Americans were just as determined not to go. 

The Cactus Air Force 

The Cactus Air Force was the name adopted by the Marine fliers at Henderson field. Many of these men and planes had been flown over from Pearl Harbor, taken to Henderson field by the carrier Long Island
In the words of one of the marines present when they arrived on the island, "It looked so good to see something American circling in the sky over the airfield. It was like being alone, and the lights come on, and you've got friends from home in the same room with you." (Quote taken from the book The Conquering Tide by Ian Toll) 
This small band of fliers would face many difficult days ahead. Though the carriers and their aircraft stayed around to help for a while, all too soon the ships left to avoid getting captured by the Japanese Navy. This left the small air force as the protectors of the island. Though, by now, the U.S. Army also had come to assist the Marines. 
The fliers, planes, and commanders all played a crucial role in the capture and conquest of the island. And though it would still be many months before the battle was considered over, the men who were a part of the Cactus Air Force contributed to the eventual American victory more than they were ever given credit for. 

Unknown Hero

Harold W. Bauer

(All information below taken from Wikipedia. I cross referenced with different sources, and found it all to be true. In fact, the first place I read about him was in the research book United States Naval Fighters of WWII. 


(Fun fact, this guy was born in Kansas. He gets extra bonus points for being amazing. xD) 
Harold Bauer, known more commonly as Joe Bauer, entered the Naval Academy in 1926 and was appointed a Marine second lieutenant upon graduation in 1930. Bauer's two younger brothers also followed him into the Academy.
 Following his commissioning, Bauer attended the Officers Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. He was then assigned as a company officer with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines at Quantico.
In 1932, he became assistant basketball and lacrosse coach at the Naval Academy and an instructor in marksmanship, until his assignment to the San Diego Naval Base, where he was the Assistant Range Officer. He was promoted to first lieutenant on May 29, 1934.
He was then assigned to the Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, in December 1934 where he earned his wings as a Marine aviator in February 1936. He was promoted to captain on June 30, 1937 and served with several squadrons at Quantico including Marine Scouting Squadron 1 (VMS-1) and Marine Fighting Squadron 1 (VMF-1). Bauer was transferred to the Naval Air Station San Diego, California, in June 1940 where he served as executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221). While stationed at San Diego, he participated in carrier group exercises on the USS Lexington (CV-2) and USS Saratoga (CV-3). The December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor found Bauer and VMF-221 preparing to embark aboard the Saratoga for transport to Hawaii.
Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Bauer and VMF-221 were transported to Hawaii and were slated to reinforce Wake Island, but were diverted to Midway after Wake fell. Transferred to Hawaii in February 1942, Bauer took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Eleven, stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa, and on March 1, 1942 commissioned and took command of Marine Fighting Squadron Two Twelve (VMF-212). Promoted to Major on April 29, 1942, Bauer and VMF-212 were deployed to the South Pacific and were stationed at New Caledonia, and later Efate, Vanuatu. Although still the commanding officer of VMF-212, Bauer was also responsible for the operation of the airfield the squadron operated from and was utilized to select possible sites for additional airfields in the South Pacific. Bauer's promotion to lieutenant colonel, after only three months as a major, was effective
August 7.
On September 28, 1942, Bauer performed the first feat cited for the Medal of Honor. His squadron was attacked by a superior force of Japanese planes. He engaged the enemy and shot down one of their bombers. Again attacking a superior force on October 3, 1942, he shot down four of the enemy and left a fifth badly damaged.
While leading a reinforcement flight on October 16, 1942, from Espirito Santo, Vanuatu to Guadalcanal, 600 miles (970 km) away, Bauer was about to land at Henderson Field when he noticed a squadron of Japanese planes attacking the USS McFarland (DD-237) offshore. Though the long flight from Espirito Santo had almost exhausted his fuel and he knew no friendly planes were able to assist him, he immediately proceeded alone to attack the enemy and succeeded in destroying four of them before lack of gasoline forced him to return to Henderson Field.
On November 14, 1942, he was shot down over water after downing two enemy aircraft in an attack 100 miles (160 km) off Guadalcanal. He was seen in the water in his Mae West water flotation device as light was fading. He did not appear to be seriously hurt. The following morning began days of intense searching by planes and Russell Island natives, but no further trace of him was found.
The squadron under his command at Guadalcanal was officially credited with downing 92 Japanese planes and helping to sink two destroyers. Lieutenant Colonel Bauer was commended for his action in the South Pacific by commanders of Army, Navy and Marine Corps units including Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., then Commander of the South Pacific Area and South Pacific Force.
Bauerfield International Airport in Port Vila, Vanuatu is named in his honor.

And . . . that's it for today's post! Are you guys enjoying this mini-series so far? Come back next week for the third and final installment! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Operation: Guadalcanal - Part 1

Guadalcanal: Introduction

Early June, 1942 

Hello all, and welcome to the first post in the Operation: Guadalcanal blog series! Right now, the plan is to have three parts. A bit of an introduction to the island and the war in this post, next week's will have the battle over Henderson Field and the final post will be on the battle of Guadalcanal. So, are you ready to join me? Awesome! 


Background

By late June/early July, the American Navy was in a bit of a precarious position. The battle at Midway, taking place the first few days of June, had sent the aircraft carriers back to the docks for repair. While the men enjoyed some shore leave, the Pacific commanders consisting of Admiral King (Commander in Chief, United States Fleet), Admiral Nimtz (Commander in chief, United States Pacific Fleet), and General MacArthur(Chief of Staff of the U.S.army) planned the next offensive.

Why is General MacArthur listed above? Well, the invasion of Guadalcanal was going to be an amphibious assault, and would consist of not only the navy, but U.S. Marine and Army troops as well. Such cooperation between the branches of the military was almost unheard of, and none of the commanders were too happy about it. Problem was, the Navy couldn't do it alone. Neither could the army. And for the first time since the war had begun, they had to depend on one another.

But why Guadalcanal?

On the island, there was a group called the Coastwatchers. This consisted of an Australian man and a group of native who monitored the coast, and sent reports back to the U.S. high command.
Their latest report had transmitted to the U.S. command that the Japanese were building an airfield and runway on the island. This was a concern to the U.S, because whoever controlled the islands also controlled the shipping lanes to Australia.

That helped to decide the matter. The first landing and U.S. offensive of the war would be at Guadalcanal.

Landing 


They date was set for August first. However, it didn't take long before the decision to delay a week was made. Various uncontrollable delays got in the way, and it was rescheduled for the seventh.

Task force 61 set out for Guadalcanal on July 22nd, 1942, consisting of the carriers U.S.S Enterprise, and the U.S.S. Saratoga, and their accompanying battleships, cruisers, transports, fleet oilers, and cargo vessels. They made good time speeding across the Pacific, and were ready to begin the operations right on schedule.
On August sixth, it was time to put the first part of the plan into action. Carrier fighters were launched before dawn and they made their way to the island and began strafing runs over the unfinished airfields. Dive bombers, also from the Enterprise, and Saratoga, planted bombs in marked enemy targets just inside the shoreline.

When they were finished, it was the Destroyer's turn. as August 7th dawned, they began blasting the landing beaches. This went on for several hours as the Marine forces made their way from the ships into landing craft, and at last, onto the island.
As the first boat touched the sand, the guns fell silent, and an eerie stillness settled over everything.

And nothing happened. For the next several hours, the island was quite and peaceful. None of the attacks that had been expected. Some of the men were uneasy. Could it have somehow be a trap?

Come back next week to find out. ;) 


Unknown Hero

James Southerland


(All information below taken from Wikipedia. I cross referenced with different sources, and found it all to be true. In fact, the first place I read about him was in a research book.) 

James Julien "Pug" Southerland II (October 28, 1911 – October 12, 1949) was a United States Navy fighter pilot during World War II. He was an ace, being credited with five victories (some accounts say seven), flying Grumman F4F Wildcats. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit and the Purple Heart.

At the beginning of the Battle of Guadalcanal, August 7, 1942, American forces shelled Guadalcanal and neighboring Tulagi in the Solomon Islands. Soon after the attack began, 27 Japanese bombers and an escort of 17 fighters took off from Rabaul, Japan's stronghold and strategic base in the South Pacific. Their mission was to bomb the ships that were supporting the American attack.

Lieutenant Southerland commanded a group of eight American Wildcats aboard the U.S.S. Saratoga as a part of VF-5. Due to planning errors and the loss of planes to a recent training exercise, this was the only fighter cover available to patrol the landing area. Southerland (flying Wildcat F-12) and his flight took off to intercept the Japanese bombers before they could reach the American ships.

Southerland shot down the first Japanese aircraft of the Guadalcanal campaign, a G4M1 "Betty" bomber of the 4th Kōkūtai, under the command of Shizuo Yamada. After shooting down a second bomber, Southerland was engaged in a dogfight with an A6M2 "Zero", piloted by Yamazaki Ichirobei of the Tainan Kōkūtai. He lined up the Zero in his sights only to find his guns would not fire, probably due to damage from fire by the tailgunner from the second bomber he had downed.

Although he was now defenseless, Southerland had to stay in the fight. Two more Zeros engaged him, as Kakimoto Enji and Uto Kazushi joined Yamazaki's assault, but he successfully outmaneuvered all three of them. Southerland analyzed their tactics. Two fighters worked their runs from opposite flanks, while the third waited to take its turn. He coolly and carefully executed his defensive maneuvers. The dogfight was spotted by Saburo Sakai. Sakai also joined the battle. These Zeros finally shot down Southerland's Wildcat. 
Yamazaki, Uto and Sakai shared Southerland's Grumman kill. 

Southerland later wrote:

My plane was in bad shape but still performing nicely in low blower, full throttle, and full low pitch. Flaps and radio had been put out of commission...The after part of my fuselage was like a sieve. She was still smoking from incendiary but not on fire. All of the ammunition box cover on my left wing were gone and 20mm explosives had torn some gaping holes in its upper surface...My instrument panel was badly shot up, goggles on my forehead had been shattered, my rear view mirror was broken, my plexiglass windshield was riddled. The leak proof tanks had apparently been punctured many times as some fuel had leaked down into the bottom of the cockpit even though there was no steady leakage. My oil tank had been punctured and oil was pouring down my right leg.At this time a zero making a run from the port quarter put a burst in just under the left wing root and good old 5-F-12 finally exploded. I think the explosion occurred from gasoline vapor. The flash was below and forward of my left foot. I was ready for it...Consequently I dove over the right side just aft immediately, though I don't remember how.

As Southerland bailed out of his doomed Wildcat, his .45 caliber automatic pistol caught in the cockpit. He managed to free himself, but lost his pistol, leaving him weaponless, wounded, and alone behind enemy lines. Suffering from eleven wounds, shock and exhaustion, Southerland struggled through the brush, carefully evading Japanese soldiers. He finally reached the coast, where he was found by some natives, who at the risk of their own lives, fed him and treated his wounds. With their assistance, he eluded Japanese ground forces and returned to American lines. Southerland was evacuated from Guadalcanal on the first patrol boat to land at Henderson Field, on August 20, 1942.

Conclusion

Well, that wraps up today's post! What are your thoughts? Did you enjoy it? Was it a bit too long? Any questions? Let me know! :) 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Victory in Europe-May 8th, 1945


GERMANY SURRENDERS! 


This is a solemn but glorious hour. I only wish that Franklin D. Roosevelt had lived to witness this day. General Eisenhower informs me that the forces of Germany have surrendered to the united nations. The flags of freedom fly all over Europe. 
-President Truman in his radio broadcast to America. 




It has been seventy-two years since this broadcast was first heard over the radio waves in America.  After four and a half years of fighting, Americans everywhere welcomed the news with great rejoicing. Hitler had been defeated. Europe was, once again, free. 

But that didn't mean things were over. In the pacific, the war with Japan raged on, showing no signs of slowing anytime soon. Many families had been torn apart by the war, and their boys in uniform would never come home.  Many had made the ultimate sacrifice, never living to see the day when they freedom they fought for became a reality.  

Yet, their sacrifice had not been in vain. Europe was freed from the iron fist of Hitler and the Nazi party. And even though it didn't mean the war was over, it was a cause for great rejoicing. The war in Europe had started over two years before the war in the Pacific. And when it started, it seemed as if Germany's win was inevitable. 

But he had been stopped. A few days before surrender, Hitler had committed suicide.  And the world had no more to fear from him. One by one the Nazi leaders either killed themselves, or were captured. 
The dawn of freedom was shining once again on the European countries that had been under the iron control of the Third Reich for over five years. 


"For the triumph of spirit and of arms which we have won, and for its promise to the peoples everywhere who join us in the love of freedom, it is fitting that we, as a nation, give thanks to Almighty God, who has strengthened us and given us the victory.
"Now, therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby appoint Sunday, May 13, 1945, to be a day of prayer.
"I call upon the people of the United States, whatever their faith, to unite in offering joyful thanks to God for the victory we have won, and to pray that He will support us to the end of our present struggle and guide us into the ways of peace.
"I also call upon my countrymen to dedicate the day of prayer to the memory of those who have given their lives to make possible our victory.
-Taken from President Truman's broadcast





*All pictures taken from google images*


I pray we may never forget the sacrifice made for freedom. And may we keep a vigilant watch over it, so that we may never have cause to say "we lost our freedom."

America. The Land of the Free. And the Home of the Brave. 

Friday, May 5, 2017

April happenings + Introducing a new blog series

It is Thursday night, May 4th, 2017. The time is at 10:50pm. And my brain has decided to die.

Someone help me.



It's May.

I can't--I just can't wrap my head around it.

Okay, so this is supposed to be a month in review post of sorts, but as we have already concluded, my brain is pretty much . . .  gone. I'm gonna thank NaNo. So if this post makes no sense. . . yeah, that's why. Hopefully, by next week, it'll have recharged fully. (My brain, I mean. Not the post.)

Shall we get on with it?

April was craziness. Piano recital, visit from a dear friend, missions trip finalizations, and of course, NaNo. Somehow I managed to keep up and actually meet all the April deadlines?! Like . . . I have no idea how it happened. Many of my goals went down the tubes, but the deadlines were met. So that was good. ;)
I'm gonna divide this into two sections. Or three, rather. Visit, Missions Trip, and then the idea I had for a new blog series.


-Visit- 

As I mentioned, I had a visitor for ten days in April! Emily McConnell flew down here and we had a blast! Honestly, I can't believe it's already over. It was amazing! We visited the zoo, fed the giraffes, toured museums, jaywalked our way over to an Air Force base (don't ask. It was her fault), became the president for a day, (shh, don't tell Trump), laughed till we cried over a goodbye scene in my story, walked around a cemetery, and touched the Berlin wall. Or, a section of it at least. xD
In between, we talked, laughed, were completely random, and then had totally serious conversations. Sometimes we would talk at the same time, other times we'd both sit in silence, thinking. 
It was the busiest and most wonderful ten days of my life. I'm so blessed Emily was able to come and visit, and I'm looking forward to going to visit her again next year!
We were also blessed to be able to visit a mutual friend of our, Kate, and spend the day with her and her sister. It was so much fun!

Oh.You want pictures? Okay. xD



Yes, people. I just signed a bill into law. No, I have no idea what it was,
but it must have been of grave importance. 

With Kate and her sister. 
Emily and I. 


-Missions Trip-
I'm preparing to go on a missions trip to Mexico this June. We're going to be up in the mountains near the bottom of Mexico, almost into Guatemala. Most of the stuff for the trip got finalized in April, and I'm really looking forward to it. We'll be spending ten days in a small village up in the mountains. I believe we'll be running a clinic, as well as doing some bible study groups. I've never been out of the country before, so this will be a new experience! 
I'm going with two older couples from our church, and I'm looking forward to getting to knowing them better on the trip, and seeing what God has in store for me. 
So far, that's about all to report on this end. Oh, except for the passport. Do you guys have any idea how scary that application is? Okay, so it wasn't bad once I started. But seriously. It's supposed to take you 85 minutes to fill out. In black ink. You'd better not get anything wrong. xP And the photo... *shudders* Whyyy do official photos seem to constantly get the worst side of you? xD
But, oh well. At least they're done. For the next ten years. ;) 


-New blog series?-
So yes. There's a small peek into how my life was this past month. Crazy, wonderful, and blessed. 

That brings us to May. And . . . a new blog post series. Or, at least, maybe. Depending on what y'all think. 
As many of you know, I've been researching a lot on WWII from the pacific side of things as I worked on my camp NaNo project. As I did so, I wondered why I'd never learned any of it before. And how I wished someone had at least given me a bit more thorough of an introduction to it than my 11th grade history class did. It seems that a lot of books, instructional posts, etc., focus on the European theatre. And while I think that is awesome to study, too, I realized how many amazing stories we've missed by glossing over the War in the Pacific. 
All that to say . . . . a blog series on the battle of Guadalcanal? It's one of the main battles of the early war, and one I'd never heard of before. It's eclipsed by battles such as Midway, and Okinawa, or the battle of the Coral Sea. But in reality, it was one of the major turning points in the war. And it's pretty cool to research and learn about. 
So. Now it's your turn to let me know. Would you enjoy a 3-4 part blog series on The Guadalcanal Campaign this month? Each post would include a spotlight of one major battle fought over the island, a list of facts/statistics related to that battle, and also spotlight one of the many unknown heroes who fought in it. Does that sound like something you'd read? Enjoy?

Let me know in the comments! Also, I hope you had an amazing April! :) 

And, this is a bit unrelated, but . . .  last week, my dentist told me that I could help him pull my wisdom teeth. Like, I about fell out of the chair. He'd actually let me do that?! So now I'm looking forward to, instead of dreading, the operation. Which will probably happen sometime in June. ;) His take on it was: "It's gonna look great on a nursing application." We'll see. xD My mom's a bit worried . . . though dad just said something like "good deal", when I told him. ;)

And . . . It's now 11:54pm, but hey, it's still the 4th. So I'm gonna hurry and schedule this before it becomes the 5th. ;P 
Have a wonderful weekend! (If you made it though this post, you deserve chocolate. And lots of it. xP *hands it to you*) 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

“To the stars, through difficulties.”

(Basically, I didn't have a good title and David, my character, is very quotable. *nods*) 



Well, look at that, I'm back. ;P First off, I'm so sorry for disappearing like this! I planned to still post once a week during NaNo, and then... I didn't. A dear friend from Washington State came and visited the 12th-22nd. I decided to let blogging kinda go to the wind. I was already continuing to do NaNo, and didn't want to keep doing anything else that would interfere with the time we spent together. 

Then, after she left, my life decided to get crazy busy. I'm going on a missions trip in June (more on that in a later post) and all the documents, official and otherwise, needed finished before May. So. Yes. That is how the past few weeks of my life have been. Crazy, hectic, and totally and amazingly wonderful! 

Amidst it all, I did persevere with NaNo. I think that was my only plan for the month that actually got completed. The ten days my friend was visiting, I got a bit behind, but then, the last week of NaNo, I made up for it, writing 27,991 words. (Yeah, I think I'm slightly insane. That's an average of about 3,500 words a day.) 

Word sprints and wars are seriously the best, people. They saved me this past week. As did the AMAZING Mary and Faith. These two somehow ended up being my unofficial writing buddies. It seemed we were almost all on around the same time, so we'd all get together and sprint. It was the best thing ever! *hugs you both* Together we totally crushed NaNo!

So. How did I do with NaNo? (I crushed it . . . obviously. . .xD)
Well, my goal was 90 pages. Which is around 48K words for me. I honestly wasn't sure how much writing I'd get done, so I figured it was a decent goal. (*whispers* Also, if need be, when you put your goal in pages, you can enlarge the font to make more pages...but of course I'd never do a thing like that.;))

My final page count was 145 pages, all written in point 12 Times New Roman Font. So I didn't cheat! xD I far exceeded my goal. God really blessed me with words that just kept coming. 
In fact, I was able to finish the first draft of A Question of Courage. It ended up at 65,623 words. That blew my mind. First that I actually finished the first draft, secondly that it ended up as long as it did. 

So. Yes. There's a bit of an update for you. And now some snippets, since I deprived you of them the past few weeks. xD


-----

Finished, Art  walked over to the side and watched the white trail of foam the ship left in her wake as it made its way back into the harbor. 
Here, in friendly waters, the ship seemed huge. So unmovable. And it was, to an extent.  But it only took one explosive to put her out of action. 
Just as it only took one bullet to end the life of a man. 
Life was fragile. Every day he was brought more awareness of that fact. Dying was a common occurrence once you got out of harbor and into the enemy’s territory. 
The wind played with the edges of his unzipped jacket, and threatened to toss his cap into the sea. But at the moment, he didn’t care. The drizzle had drifted away till it was only something of a mist, mixing with the spray that the ship’s engines tossed up. 
The sun was setting now, and for a moment it came out from behind a cloud in all its radiance and glory. It seemed to pave the waves the ship left behind in pure, liquid gold, shimmering with every crest of the waters.
Art watched it, feasting his eyes at the beauty and splendor. Right now, it looked as if he were in paradise. 
And then, just as soon as it had come, the sun slipped behind the veil of the clouds, and the glory was once again concealed. A dark grey light took over in its place, shrouding the world in gloominess. 
This looked more like what war should be.  War shouldn’t afford any beauty. No, it should always be harsh and unrelenting, so that those who fought in it learned to never let it happen again. 
Not that it would make much of a difference. It was the sons that went back to war. The older men had learned. 

-----

 The lyrics of Shoo, Shoo, Baby drifted across the hospital hallway as Lily made her way to the supply closet. 

You've seen him up and down the avenue
And now he's wearin' the navy blue
She had a tear in the corner of her eye
As he said his last goodbye

Why is everyone obsessed with the Navy blue? She wondered. Then she held back a smile. It did seem to help a guy’s appearance. Something about a uniform did that, thought she couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Perhaps it was what it seemed to stand for. Courage. Courage to fight for one’s country. To fight to protect the women and children left back home. It almost seemed to say something of a man’s character. Though, she knew it wasn’t always the case.


-----

“I swear, if these mosquitoes don’t leave me alone, I’m gonna kill them.” 
Jerry’s proclamation was met by a laugh from the rest of the men trying to catch a bit of shut eye in the tent. 
“Please, do it. That way they’ll leave me alone, too,” Darren added from his spot in the corner. 
Jerry’s lips drew back into a snarl. “I’m gonna hate these things till the day I die. And even after that. They’ve got no use living in the same place as human beings.” Despite the heat, he punched his pillow and drug the blanket up over his head. 
Rafe sighed and turned over, trying to force his brain to ignore the pesky insects that had still managed to find a way into the tent, despite the men’s attempt to close all the holes. 
-----

And . . . I think that's all for today. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to a normal posting schedule this next week! I have some new ideas, and I'm really excited to share them with you all!

So tell me, how did NaNo go for you? Or if you didn't do NaNo, how did April go? Are you looking forward to summer?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Tomb is . . . empty.




Matthew 28:1-9
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.



Because the tomb is empty . . . we have hope
Because the tomb is empty . . . we have a Savior
Because the tomb is empty . . . we can find forgiveness
Because the tomb is empty . . . we need not fear the grave
Because the tomb is empty . . . HEAVEN IS OPENED!

We have access to the throne of grace, though Him who loved us enough to sacrifice himself for us. 

But remember. The empty tomb came through the cross. Easter morning came after the darkness of death. 
Pain came before glory. Humiliation before victory.
But death was defeated! The grave was swallowed up in victory.

He endured that for us, that we may be forgiven. Guys. He's forgiven us everything. That's the power of the cross! And the empty tomb. He's alive, He's alive, now in heaven glorified!

I hope and pray you and your family have a very blessed Resurrection day as we set our eyes on remembering the event that forever changed history . . . and the world!

Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Camp NaNo --Week #2

And . . . week #2 has come and gone! And I have a friend staying here, so this post is gonna be a bit on the short side. ;) My total word count is now 24,828 words!
12,837 were written this past week. I have a friend visiting from Washington, so we've been having fun together. So far I've managed to keep up with writing... we'll see if that continues. ;)
So now. Snippets. Enjoy. ;) And I'll have a better blog post come your way sometime in the next few days. xD

The man grinned at him. “Hi again. Looks like we got stuck on the same ship.”
Rafe nodded. “It would appear so.” Out of the hundreds of ships in the navy, and the three hundred or so designated to the pacific, they just would have been stuck on the same ship. He shook his head.
Art pointed at the fighters. “You a pilot?”
“Yeah. You?”
Waving a dismissive hand, Art shook his head. “No. I’m just your normal, ordinary, run-of-the-mill sailor. I specialize in having a peculiar sense of humour, dressing smart, and being handy with the ladies.” He paused, and then put up a finger. “Oh, did I mention sarcasm?”  
Rafe shook his head. “No, no I don’t think you did. Quite the resume.” 
“Isn’t it? I worked quite hard to get it just right. I think I’ve perfected it now.”
Shaking his head again, Rafe rolled his eyes heavenward. This guy had an ego the size of the Pacific. 



They met halfway, each holding twelve shoelaces. Quickly they tied the ends together. Two shoelaces for each bunk. They were long enough that they could be tied to either side, making it impossible for the guys to sit up and swing themselves out of bed.
Art glanced at his watch. Two minutes. He quickly started work on the beds nearest to him, and they both finished with thirty seconds to spare. Art grinned, surprised none of the men had awoken. We must be able to be quieter then I thought.
They both stepped out of the room and shut the door behind them. Rafe turned. “You be the commander.”
He nodded. “Okay. Just keep me from getting killed.”
“No promises.”
The wake-up bell rang, its clattering waking even the heaviest of sleepers.
“Now!” Rafe exclaimed in a whisper, pulling the door open and shoving him inside.
“Up, every man at attention, now!” Art did his best to make his voice low, inserting a note of demand. As if by magic, all the men’s eyes shot open, and then scrambled to get to their feet.
Only to be stopped by the shoelaces.
Art couldn’t help it any longer. He doubled over, slapping his knee as he roared with laughter. The guys went to work trying to free themselves. Rafe walked into the room and stood behind him, a merry grin on his face. “Mornin’, fellows.”
“Aww, come on!” a frown creased Darren;s face. “Seriously? Our shoelaces?”
Art shrugged. “Well, as the old saying goes, you gotta pull yourself up by your bootstraps. We decided to teach y’all how to do that today.”

Gus slid out from under the shoelace, and busied himself with untying the knots. “Apparently I’ve got to get up with you guys if I want my possessions to stay intact.”



She started down the sidewalk, and signs of the little town waking up from its sleep were everywhere. Strains of Don’t sit under the Apple Tree drifted out from the cafe, where the strong smell of coffee was wafting its enticing aroma into the street. Lily slowed as she walked past it, and then stopped and turned. Coffee sounded heavily before heading home. The door opened into the small shop that was tucked close to the hospital. Lily was quite sure that the owners benefitted greatly from the business that was brought to them by the doctors and nurses. She slid into a seat up at the counter, and the waited for the waiter to turn to her. “Well, what can I get you this fine morning, dearie? Long night?” Glancing down at her uniform, Lily nodded. It was a symbol of long nights and service. And that was fine. “I’ll just take coffee, please. A little cream, no sugar.” “Comin’ right up.” Lily brought up a hand to smother a yawn. It had been a while since she’d worked the night shift, and had forgotten how demanding it could be. Her eyes strayed to the cinnamon buns that were so fresh they were still steaming. Her mouth watered. She really shouldn’t buy one when she could grab one at home . . . Her stomach defied common sense, and when the waiter brought the coffee, she pointed to the rolls. ‘May I have one of those, too, please?” The waiter nodded and grinned. “Sure look good, don’t they.” She reached over and used a napkin to grab one of the steamy pastries and set it on a late in front of Lily. ‘There ya go. Enjoy.” Lily pulled the outside of the bun away, eating the outer layer first and making her way to the sweet, gooey middle. Nothing made her day quite like one of these heavenly things. Wiping her hands on her napkin, she reached for the coffee. Taking a sip, she winced. It was good, but hot. She blew on it before taking the next sip, and then closing her eyes to enjoy the blissful taste. The song on the speakers changed to The White Cliffs of Dover. There'll be bluebirds over The white cliffs of dover Tomorrow Just you wait and see I'll never forget the people I met Braving those angry skies I remember well as the shadows fell The light of hope in their eyes The words were slow and peaceful, yet wistful and sad, too. I’ll never forget the people I met, braving those angry skies. The words made her mind travel to London. And the bombings. The planes. And Gil. She turned back to her coffee with a sigh. The morning seemed empty, somehow. A picture of what her life was becoming, And what she was trying hard to not let it become. Eating alone is just wrong. The thought came to her out of the blue, and she almost laughed. Apparently, her brain couldn’t decide whether to be serious, or random. She was tired. The sound of someone clearing their throat behind her startled her, and she turned. A uniformed man stood there, his crush cap held in his hands and a hopeful look in his eyes. “Can I join you for breakfast, Ma’am?” Lily smiled, trying her best not to let her mind wander to where life would soon send this young man. She nodded. “I’m almost finished, but sure.” The man gave a boyish grin, and slid into the seat next to her. “Are you married?” “Holding up her left hand, Lily smiled. “I was. Now I’m engaged.” “Ahh, well, hopefully your intended doesn’t mind me keeping you company this morning.” The man motioned the waiter. ‘I’ll take what she had.” “Oh, following my example, eh?” The man leaned back and grinned. ‘I’ve learned that women end to have the best tastes in food. So I try and do my best to follow their example in that respect.” She nodded. “That sounds like a good idea. My name’s Lily Wilson, by the way.” She popped the last bite of the cinnamon roll into her mouth and savoured the flavor. “What’s your name? Oh, and where are you headed?” “Oh, I’m sorry, forgive my manners.” He put out a hand to shake hers. “My name is Evan. Evan Pedersen. As to where I’m headed? The pacific. Sometime this next week.” The sparkle left his eyes for a moment as he spoke, but the look quickly passed and he turned to her. “How about you? Where’s the lucky guy who’s got his ring on your finger?” Lily sipped the last of the coffee before answer. “He’s in the pacific, too. He’s a pilot on a carrier.” She pushed the cup away and smiled. “Maybe You’ll meet him.” Evan took the coffee the waiter gave him, and downed the whole thing in nearly one gulp. “Maybe. If I meet him, I’ll be sure to tell him he's got himself the prettiest woman in the state of Kansas.” Lily smiled and glanced down. She’d gotten used to the compliments of guys in uniform. For the most part, they were grasping for any and every sense of normalcy. And pretty girls, well, they were just a part of normal life. They chatted for a moment longer, and Lily waited until he finished before bidding him farewell and good luck. And promising to pray for him. He seemed a bit more cheerful when they parted, and Lily had a new spring in her step as she made her way toward the car.Thank you for giving me the chance to brighten his life. The prayer was heartfelt. It was what she had needed this morning.



So . . . there they are. *cringes* I know, they're not the best. xD Tell me, how is camp NaNo coming for you? 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Week #1 of camp NaNo + Snippets I SURVIVED!

Well, well, well, the first week of NaNo is over and I'm still alive! *whispers* Okay, so, that isn't a huge surprise . . . but seriously, I didn't think I'd get through the first couple days. Life was crazy last weekend. But I did manage to get my page count in! And now I'm about three pages ahead of my goal, so I'm really happy right now.
Alrighty, well, let's get on with the post . . .

Since Camp NaNo has the option to use pages instead of words for your goal, I set my goal for the month at 90 pages. Which ends up somewhere between 45K-50K words for me. Right now I'm at 21 pages, and I'm thinking that this story is going to end up a lot longer than I thought. ;)
I've also gotten better at keeping up with my daily word count . .  . because I've been writing a chapter a day. Which has been a  new experience, since I normally don't write in chapter.
Also, I owe a huge thank you to Faith P. and Kellyn Roth for allowing me to send them all sorts of questions and story snippets this weekend. You guys are the best! ;)

-Day 1: Saturday, April 1st WC: 1,921 

Day 2: Sunday, April 2nd WC: 2,339 I might have written some of this chapter on Monday . . . but honestly, I can't remember. ;P 

Day 3: Monday, April 3rd WC: 987 New character + new POV = I had no idea what I was doing. ;P

 Day 4 Tuesday, April 4th WC: 2,634 Yeah . . . I was writing a really sweet scene and it took forever to get where I wanted it to but... *grins* Yeah, it was so worth it! 

Day 5 Wednesday, April 5th WC: 2,001 

Day 6 Thursday, April 6th WC: 1,698

Total words written: 11,580 


Snippets: 


Flying fighters off the deck of an aircraft carrier wasn’t exactly what he had in mind when he entered the service. Water, planes, and every explosive imaginable. What could go wrong?
Rafe shook his head and chuckled as he folded the paper containing his order. He then placed it back in the envelope, and slid it in his breast pocket. The open skies above him, the mysteries of the sea below, and his own personal fighter to go out and defend his homeland. It sounded pretty good. The problem was, he knew there were at least two people who wouldn’t see it quite that way.


He turned from the window, giving Sadie his full attention. She was pretty, this sister of his. Her red hair curled around her chin, and her green eyes shimmered with unshed tears. He knew she understood. Reaching out an arm, he pulled her into a gruff hug. “I’ll do my best, Sadie girl. You just be sure no other dapper dressed in navy blue steals your heart while I’m gone or he’s gonna have me to deal with.”
Sadie laughed, and the sound was music to his ears. “I’ll be sure and send them all to your ship for your approval before they come near me.”
“That’s my girl. You do just that. I’ll put them through the gauntlet before I let them near you. The ones that survive, I’ll send back home.”
At that, her face twisted into a frown. “The poor sailors! They’ll probably wish they’d never heard of me!”
Art chuckled. “No, I won’t be that hard on them. Just hard enough to see what they’re made of.”


David turned and caught Rafe watching him. “Is it my imagination, or were you drilling a hole through my head with your eyes?”
Raising his eyebrows, Rafe shook his head. “I don’t see any hole in your head, so there’s no need for that claim.”
David’s face cracked a smile. “You know, I’m gonna feel sorry for your commanders.”
“Why? You do know I’d obey their orders even if I don’t obey yours, right?”
“What did I ever do to get stuck with you for a younger brother?”
“You were born.”
“Like I said, I’m gonna feel sorry for your commanders.”



Rafe shoved his brother toward the window with his shoulder.
Catching himself, David turned and narrowed is eyes. “What in the blazes did you do that for?”
It had been a while since David had thrown that death glare his way, and Rafe grinned. “Nothing. Did you ever consider joining the Navy?”
“The Navy.”
Rafe nodded. “Yeah. You know, it’s another part of the Armed Forces. Sorta like the Army Air Force, just on the water.”
Rolling his eyes, David leaned back against the seat. “Well, thank you Mr. Sullivan for that explanation. And in answer you your question, no, I didn’t. The thought never even crossed my mind.”
“It’s a pity.”
Now looking mildly curious, David cocked his head. “What’s a pity? That I get to enjoy the feel of solid ground beneath my feet, while all you get is the pitching and rolling of the ship’s deck? I agree, it is a pity.”
“Nope. It’s a pity you’ve got to have the green and brown of the earth beneath you instead of having the blue of the sea.”
“Well, you do realize that your lovely ocean of blue can be interrupted at any time by the single dark blot of a Japanese carrier. Or a Zero coming straight at you.”
“Oh, I realize that. But see, I want that Zero coming at me. Then I have a chance to shoot it down. If it dives and starts doing fancy aerial maneuvers, I’m shot.”
“Literally.”


And . . . that's all for today! Tell me, did you enjoy the snippets? How is Camp NaNo going for you?