Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Imagine This ~ #9

Who else is ready for another Imagine This challenge?! :D I figured it was about time and, since I've been so neglectful of this blog lately *cough*, I needed to post something. And this was pretty quick and easy for me to get up. ;) 


The Rules 
// Write a story based off what you imagine is happening in the picture below. 
// Keep your story around 700-800 words. If it's a little over, that's okay, but please try to stay under 1,000. 
// Send your story to me via the contact form, located at the bottom right of this page. (Or my email address, if you have it. :)) 
// The deadline is Saturday, May 27th and I'll post the entries shortly thereafter. 


--from Pinterest 

I feel like I do a lot of military-related pictures, but this one was just too sweet to pass up. Thanks for suggesting this precious picture goes to Livi Jane!! 


Can't wait to see the sure-to-be amazing entries!! :D 
~Faith

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Deliver // The Blades of Acktar // Book Review

Helllooooo people! Well, here I am. Jumping into all the Deliver release excitement a bit late. :P Quite honestly, April was INSANE and I didn't get around to reading this whole hunk of loveliness until it was all over. But...wow. On to the review... :D 



~ Synopsis 

Can something broken ever heal?
Martyn is broken. After torturing his best friend, he doesn’t belong anywhere in Acktar. No matter how far he runs, he can’t lose his guilt.
Leith is broken. While healing from the torture he received at Nalgar Castle, he struggles to find his new role. But can a Blade ever outrun his past?
The country is broken. Bitterness divides town against town, neighbor against neighbor. What will it take to deliver Acktar from itself?
They face their hardest battle yet.
Peace.


~ My Review 

5 of 5 stars 

*spoiler warning for those who haven't read books 1-3* 

When a book keeps me up late, it usually isn't because I don't like. I am a night owl, but the book has to especially good for me to stay up into the wee morning hours to finish it. 

And that was Deliver. Once I got pulled into the story, I just couldn't put it down!! 

According to Goodreads, it took me two weeks to read this book. That's not entirely true, as it was more like I started it, set it aside for two weeks only reading once or twice, and then read the remaining 65% in about 24 hours. 

Parts of the beginning felt a little slow to me, but I think that was just because it wasn't *quite* as fast-moving as the prior three books. Which makes sense, when you think about it. The war is over now and everyone is trying to rebuild their lives as best they can. 

And that brings me to... The characters. When I started this book, I was afraid that it was going to have only Martyn's POV. Which...would've been cool, but I needed more Leith and Renna (ya know, while they're living in HAPPINESS.) Needless to say, I was thrilled to discover that this book had Leith and Renna's POVs as well as Martyn's. :D 

Martyn... I've always loved his character. He's tough and hard and yet he makes you feel for him. Like, at the end of Defy. He was hurting my precious one (both physically and emotionally), but I still couldn't help but hurt for him. And GOOD HEAVENS the snarkiness!! Without 'getting inside his head' you would never know about all these sarcastic thoughts he's having. And let's not forget about annoyingly-perfect lord's son over there... :P 

Kayleigh... Enters another awesome character. Just when I think there isn't any possible way for Ms. Mingerink to create another unique character in the same series. And yet here she is. Strong, independent, good-hearted, and...outcast. (Am I the only person who totally shipped them from the beginning?!) And the whole thing with the cursing and ordering and SOAP?! *grins* I'm totally going to be walking around saying "blistering soapsuds" now. :P 

Leith... I loved seeing how he grew and changed through this book. Figuring out where he belongs in a world of peace, without the Blades, without anything to fight for. Ahh, twas lovely. The fatherly talk with Lord Alistair, the little brother jokes with Ranson and Jamie... <3 <3 

Renna... So wonderful to look back on her whole character arc from the weepy, clingy, scared girl in "Dare" to the strong Lady Faythe of Stetterly. With head held high as she stands up to the town for the man she loves, and stands up for the town against those who seek to destroy all they hold dear a second time. (Speaking of which... *Deliver spoiler here* I LOVED the part where Renna spoke to the town concerning Leith, and then he stood up next to her. *swoons* They are so precious. <3 *end of spoiler*) 

The other characters... Brandi, Jamie, Ranson, Shad, Lord Alistair (LOVED his words to Leith in the last chapter <3)... They're all there and just as amazing. 

The plot was amazing. I loved all the parts with Martyn and Kayleigh, seeing the eventual change in him, and then that surprise character that showed up *cough*, and rebuilding Stetterly... Gahhh, Acktar, would you give me my heart back please?! 

The epilogue seriously made me so happy. Not the fluffy, girly, sunshine kind of happy that can change with the weather. But really happiness, where even if things go wrong and their hearts are hurt, they will still be able to live and laugh and love. Through Christ. <3 

Deliver was an amazing story of redemption, betrayal, and love. Rebuilding from ashes, starting anew, and finding a new normal in the strange world of peace. An absolutely incredible finale to the series -- a series that I can see myself re-reading again and again in years to come. 


**I received a review copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.** 




~ About the Author
Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country.
You can connect with her on FacebookPinterestGoodreadsTwitterInstagram, and her blog.



If you haven't read The Blades of Acktar series, I would totally recommend them. Here's the links to my reviews of the previous books, if you want more info. :D 



Thanks for reading, guys! Check back soon for a new bookish-series!! :D 

~Faith 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Camp NaNo, Wisdom Teeth, and I FINISHED ANOTHER BOOK // April Recap

Well, peeps, the time has come again. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I'm writing these post every other week. XD 



// Life. // 
ya know the segment that is really lame because all of Faith's life fell under 'writing' this month 


>> Since when does GR send you emails when you finish a book?? Like, do you realize how many of those emails I get?!

>> *drops my fork for no reason at all* My hand is rebelling.

>> Easter happened. Lots of wow-ness as always. 



>> Wisdom teeth...very meh. Here's the pictures that were sort-of promised. (And yes, I'm fine now. XD) 



>> Discussing with fellows writers who's killed more charries... "I think you might have killed more than me." "I don't think so..." "Well, maybe, if you count *insert name*." 

>> Cherishing time and relationships. *nods* Always good things. 



// Books. // 
hashtag epic fail goes right here, y'all 


So...I epically failed at reading this month. *cries* I think I ended up finishing 8 books, most of which were liiittlleee. 


Millie's Unsettled Season by Martha Finley -- 5 stars 
Choices for Max by Rebekah A. Morris -- 3.5 stars 
Gentleman of her Dreams by Jen Turano -- 4 stars
Esther -- 5 stars 
Flowers by Kellyn Roth -- 4 stars 
Christ Arose by Faith Blum -- 5 stars 
Amish Prayers compiled by Beverly Lewis -- 5 stars
Philippians -- 5 stars 


As far as good news goes...I got ten lovely books this month... ^_^


Thriftbooks: 
Millie's Faithful Heart by Martha Finley 
Laylie's Daring Quest by Kersten Hamilton 



Used bookstore: 
Theft and Thanksgiving by Emily Thomas 
The Christmas Key by Emily Thomas 
Love Me Tender by Janice Hanna 
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis 



King's Blood by Jill Williamson -- giveaway win 
The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis -- review book
The Silent Blade by Jesseca Wheaton -- gift 
Violet's Defiant Daughter by Martha Finley -- gift 



// Writing. //  
loads of awesome...read on 

So I participated in another NaNo makeup from March 15th to April 15th. And then Camp NaNo was running through the month of April so EEPSS. Double epicness. :D 

Total word count: 59,958
Camp word count: 57,063

I technically won Camp on the 27th...but I didn't validate my word count, because I was like "hey, let's see how much more I can get in." Welp, guess who forgot to do that...AT ALL?! Yep, until Monday morning. Like, heh, too late now, dork-brains. BUT...I still technically won... ^_^ 

Okay, announcement time. On April 29th at 10:19 PM I typed the lovely words "the end" and finished War Tears. Like...wow. Such a feeling of completion, y'all. I've been writing this thing on and off for like 25 months... I was about ready to cry!! How can I say goodbye to my precious charries?! But I have a ton of editing to do...and ideas for a sequel and prequel. :P 




// Music & Movies. // 
good stuff, as always 

Movies... I saw The Case for Christ at the theater and it was EPIC. Go see it NOW. I also watched Last Ounce of Courage at a friend's recommendation and... *bawls* THAT WAS BEAUTIFUL. America needs to see that, y'all. 

And music? *drags out a list* Basically I listened to a ton of stuff because I almost always have music while I'm writing and I wrote a lot so. *nods* 

Fireflies // Owl City 
Can't Live Without You // Owl City 
Saving Amy // Brantley Gilbert 
If You're Reading This // Tim McGraw 
Live Like You're Loved // Hawk Nelson 
Even If // MercyMe 
When You Smile // Casy Darnell 
When the Waters Rise // Casey Darnell 
I Will Stand By You // Casey Darnell 
War // Icon for Hire 
Welcome Home, A Soldier's Song 
A Soldier's Memoir // Joe Bachman 
Sunshine Girl // Britt Nicole 



// Blogging. // 

Heeding His Call in Our Writing // Gods Peculiar Treasure Rae

Blessings and Thorns // Having a Heart Like His 

When I Just Don't Want to Write... // My Bookcase and I 

My King // Twilight to Dawn 

15 Dialogue Prompts to Re-Inspire You // The Cheapskate Bibliomaniac 

A Number of Little Things that Make Me Happy // Silver-Lined Ramblings 


One God, One Savior // Rebekah's Remarks 

A Moment // Second Star 


The Reliable Hope // Wonderland Creek 

The Why of It // Sugar Mountain 



// Goals. // 


~ April Goals 

>> Survive and win Camp NaNo (while eating AND keeping up with school).    #SUCCESS 

>> Write 40,000 words. *points to above*    *nods rapidly* 

>> Finish first draft of War Tears (YES YES YES ITS MY CAMP PROJECT *SHRIEKS*).    *NODS RAPIDLYER* IM SO EXCITED GAH. 

>> Stay semi-caught up on emails. (During Camp? Heh.)      Um...didn't happen... 

>> Alpha-read consistently.    For the...most part? I read 9 or 10 chapters, which was pretty good, all things considered. XD 

>> Read 10 books.    #epicfail *cries for the poor neglected books* 

>> Post on Chosen Vessels and Stories by Firefly once a week.    *cough* Um, SBF yes. CV...no. 

>> Stop making so many insane goals for myself. *grins*      Another failure. XDD 


~ May Goals 

>> Order first-draft copy of War Tears. *squealing* 

>> Finish A Soldier's Story. 

>> Host another Imagine This writing challenge. 

>> Apply beta-readers suggestions/critiquing to Dandelion Dust. 

>> Finish an alpha-reading project. 

>> Read 12 books. 

>> Write 10,000 words. 




So how was your month? Easter? Did you write words? Read books and posts? See those epic movies/listen to the songs? Am I overlooking something I should be asking you? ..... Are you looking forward to another writing challenge? TELL ME ALL, HUMANS. 

~Faith 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Camp NaNo April ~ Week #4



Current word count: 52,803
This week's word count: 15,580

The good news? I won Camp NaNo. The bad news? War Tears is rebelling and still growing and like HELP SOMEONE PLEASE. 


Day Twenty-Two // Saturday // 2,800 words 

Saturday I didn't do much but lounge around and eat soft foods and write a lot. So yeah... #thispostislamealready 

But can I JUST say I am so thrilled with that perfectly even number?! 


Day Twenty-Three // Sunday // 388 words 

Heh. Not so good. I spent most of my 'spare time' chatting with people and browsing Pinterest. 

-- Pinterest 


Day Twenty-Four // Monday // 2,670 words 

Again, I...don't even know what I did. I wrote a lot, apparently? And that night I sat on the couch and wrote words and ate strawberry pudding and laughed really hard and that's basically all I remember about Monday. 


Day Twenty-Five // Tuesday // 2,761 words 

I warred a ton. I went to the library and people watched (so fun. People were almost tripping over stools and asking weird questions). I went to Bible study. I warred some more. And I stayed up until 12:23 AM. 


Day Twenty-Six // Wednesday // 1,941 words 

Class, writing, school, church, and stayed up until 12:06. (Good grief, these summaries are getting wore and worse.) ALSO....look at my number. It's a WWII date. ^-^ 


Day Twenty-Seven // Thursday // 


I spent the morning catching up on homework and then like wrote a lot and... 

I WON CAMP NANO AT LIKE 11:47 PM AND HAD TO GET UP EARLY-ISH FOR CLASS THE NEXT MORNING. *dies because I'm so stupid to do this to myself* ALSO WT IS REBELLING AND WAS NOW OVER 121k AND STILL GROWING LIKE WUT. *pants* 


Day Twenty-Eight // Friday // 

Class, reading, writing, eating. Just the norm. 

I also hit the second climax of my story if that's even possible. Like, it's all downhill from here to the end. Lots of drama and hurt and pain and happiness. :P But, eeeepps, I'm getting close to the finish!! :D :D 



// Snippets // 


  He felt the impact as the bullets slammed into his right leg and shoulder, an explosion of pain throughout his entire being. As he crumpled to the ground his surroundings spun madly around him, whirling into darkness. 

~*~ 

  Sacrifice… Mr. George's words came back to her. 
  Though she wanted to cry out that she couldn't, that this was too soon, that it hurt too bad still…Bethany knew that to do this would be to do right. To follow God’s leading. 
  Tears trickled down her face. On the deserted street, she lifted her face to the breeze. Wisps of hair, tickled by the wind, blew into her face and caught in the rivulets of moisture.

~*~ 

  Erin glanced her way, questions in her eyes as she smiled. “What about Bethany?” 
  Mrs. Lyroy beamed. “Oh, I was hoping someone would suggest her. Such a kind dear, and she would be so good at it too. What do you say?” 
  Bethany flattened a sweaty palm on her lap, needing to answer. This was her chance. “Well, I've never been…in charge of anything like this before, but…I would love to help out in anyway I can.” 
  “It's settled them,” Gladys exclaimed, clapping her hands and causing Bethany to jump. “Our new coordinator will let us know details of the drive at the ladies circle meeting on Thursday afternoon. Is that okay with you, dear?” 
  Bethany smiled and nodded. “Sounds lovely,” she said, although she had no idea what was even going on here. What have I gotten myself into? 




How is Camp/April going for you lovelies?? :D 

*scrambles away to write because I'm still in a crazy hurry to finish this baby* 
~Faith 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Camp NaNo April ~ Week #3

A day late...I know...forgive me? Explanation near the end of the post. ;) 


Current word count: 37,223 
This week's word count: 10,292 



Day Fifteen // Saturday // 2,193 words 

Okay, so on Saturday...I, um...I kinda hit 100k... *SCREAMS* And I went through with my resolution, raised my Camp goal to 50k, and I'm still ahead. *is so happy* 



Day Sixteen // Resurrection Sunday // 1,254 words 

Easter was absolutely lovely. We had a Sunrise service at 7:00 AM, followed by breakfast. Then Tucker and I helped our youth group leader hide Easter eggs for the little kids. We still had oodles of time before the worship service at 11:00, so my family got in the car and drove down some back roads (during which time I wrote my Easter post). After an epic church service, we had lunch, visited my granny, and came home. I wrote for a while before twin seven-year-old cousins showed up (those two + Tucker about killed me, y'all), and then collapsed into bed late that night. :P 



Day Seventeen // Monday // 1,023 words 

Monday was kind of 'bleh' as I started back to school after a week off. Writing wasn't going so well either, but there was thunderstorms/dark clouds which SHOULD have helped my writing mood. But didn't. XDD 




Day Eighteen // Tuesday // 1,513 words 

Tuesday was just an ordinary day with school, writing, Bible study, and going to the used book sttooorreeee. <3 <3 *beams* 


Tuesday was also the 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. Whether you're interested in WWII history or not, I totally suggest reading this epic article.


Day Nineteen // Wednesday // 1,509 words 
Writing went well Wednesday! I got more than my word goal in around pottery class, school, and church. ^_^ 



Also, we went to a a nursery that had some GORGEOUS dahlias. <3 <3 


Day Twenty // Thursday // 1,700 words 

Thursday was eeepiicccc. School, writing, supper with a couple from church...yeah, that's about all I remember. :P 


Day Twenty-One // Friday // 1,100 words 

Friday morning at about 11:30 I had...wisdom teeth cut out. Ouchie. :P I wasn't planning on getting any writing done, but I actually did do some Friday night which was nice. :) 

Sorry, but y'all aren't getting pics of my swollen face and wild eyes. If everyone minds their p's and q's, such photos may appear in the April recap. ;) 



// Snippets // 

  Bethany felt a smile sliding across her face as it was obvious that Lenore was going to come up with anything short of a flat-out lie to keep the heat off herself. 
  “And who would you say loves that little dog the most?” Erin inquired next. 
  “God,” Lenore replied, twisting her fork into the pie remains. “God loves everyone a whole lot, and all the animals too.” 
  Michael snickered, looking away from the table. Bethany pretended to cough. James and Lydia smiled, containing their mirth with the ease of years of experience. But Erin was the only one who didn't find the answer amusing. 
  “Yes, He does, honey. But that does not mean you should be deceitfully feeding pie to the dog.” 
  Lenore paused for a second before, turning to Michael with lips pursed. “What does deceitfully mean?” 
  “Deceitfully…” Michale repeated, tracing the top of his water glass with his finger. “Well, it means that you're hiding what you're doing from your mother. Deceit is almost another word for lying.” 

~*~ 

  Joshua flopped to the ground, stretching to lie flat of his back and slinging one arm across his face to block out the sun from his eyes. “This is exhausting,” he mumbled. 
  “Aww, it isn't so bad,” David grinned and sank to the ground next to him. “You're just miffed that all the big guys ganged up on you.” 
  Joshua lifted his arm from his face and glared at David. “This is coming from the man who was up against two fellows that might have equaled a third his weight between them? Don't even talk to me.” 
  David rolled his eyes. “That's an exaggeration.” 
  “Maybe,” came from the ground beside him, and David figured that was as much of an agreement as he was going to get. 



How's Camp going? Hit your goal yet? Have a good Easter? Do you have wisdom teeth? (Or did some human with a knife steal your wisdom from your head...? XDD) 

~Faith 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Focus ~ April 2017

Today I'll be participating in Allie Taylor's new linkup, Focus!! :D For details and info about how to participate yourself, visit her blog, The Depth of my Faith



Since Camp NaNo is going on right now, I'll be talking about my Camp project -- namely my precious novel, War Tears. *hugs the darling charries* 


// Questions // 

We're halfway through NaNoWriMo. How's you're novel going?
Pretty good! War tears was about 71k before Camp, and it's now 105k, sooo... *bounces excitedly* 


Where are you struggling the most in your writing?
Um, probably the part where you sit in front of a screen and type a bunch of words, except these words are actually supposed to do things like 'tell the story' and 'bring the characters to life' and 'make sense to people other than Faith'.... Yeah, it's difficult. 


Where are you doing the best in your writing?
Hmm...I'm not sure. When asking a person this, the answer I got was "romantic scenes" or "the heartbreak." *grins* So maybe that. XD 


Music helps. So, what are your writerly idyllic tunes?
Well, at the beginning of the month I created a playlist for War Tears. It's something like this... 

If You're Reading This // Tim McGraw 
Even If // MercyMe 
There You'll Be // Faith Hill 
Rise // Danny Gokey 
Saving Amy // Brantley Gilbert 
Brothers // Dean Brody 
Just Be Held // Casting Crowns 
For Freedom // Avalon 


Where are you in your wordcount goal? And how do you do with word sprints?
I'm at 34,500 of 50,000 (YES I UPPED MY GOAL YALL.) And word sprints/wars? They are like my life. Not sure how I would get this many words in at other times, especially when I'm just not feeling the story. XD 


What encourages you to keep writing?
People who want to read my book. Like, seriously. My alpha-readers are amazing...and they're reading the wretched first draft!! 


PUSH! How much will you try to write one of these days to burst forward in your wordcount? 
I would like to do a 5k1day sometime...maybe closer to the end of Camp? Anyone with me? ;) 


What's your strategy for focussing?
Uh...I don't have one? I get sidetracked sooo easily, no matter what I'm doing. So war sprints/wars and just writing when I feel like writing helps somewhat. (If you have tips on staying focused, TELL ME.) 


What is your favorite element of your novel?
The emotions. Making the characters cry and laugh and smile and scream. Breaking their precious little hearts.. *sniffles* A told someone the other day that War Tears is just 'one big, dramatic mood swing' which is basically the truth. B-) 


What is your plan after your first draft?
Printing a first draft copy, handing War Tears over to alpha-readers a chapter at a time, and returning to editing Dandelion Dust for publication. After that? Editing. Loooaaddsss of editing. The first edit may be closer to a re-write, which is kinda intimidating. O.O 



Ten more days of Camp!! Anyone else a bit freaked out by that realization?? :P 

~Faith 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Coming Home ~ part two {Pinterest Stories: April edition}


And now! I bring to you on this lovely Monday afternoon, the second part of Coming Home!! 


*****

  I passed through the door and wiped my eyes, hurrying on toward the car. Dusk had fallen while I was inside, and I mentally berated myself for leaving the boys alone for so long. How long has it been? Fifteen minutes? 
  Titus voice met my ears before I spotted him. 
  “‘I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river,’ cried Little Nutbrown Hare. ‘I love you across the river and over the hills,’ said Big Nutbrown Hare.” 
  I peeked into the back window of the car and saw Titus, picture book open in his lap, reading aloud to his younger brother. The sighting warmed my heart. 
  Titus looked up when my shadow fell across him, his eyes serious and concerned. I opened the door to be bombarded with questions. 
  “Are you okay, Momma? What happened?” Titus slid out of the car and hugged me. “Why are you crying?” 
  “I'm fine, sweetie.” I bent and kissed his sunny blond towhead. “Everything is okay.” Christopher crawled toward me, and I leaned into the car and scooped him up and onto my hip. He rested his head against my shoulder, reminding me how close it was to bedtime. 
  “There's someone inside who wants to see you.” I closed the car door and grabbed Titus’ hand, starting back towards the house. 
  Titus tugged on my hand and looked up at me, light eyes blinking. “Who is it?” 
  I didn't answer at first, debating over whether or not to try to explain it to him. Will he even know Chris? Christopher squirmed next to me, his breath warm on my neck. I kissed my sweet little boy’s head, wondering how long it would take him to accept Chris as his father. 
  “Momma?” Titus jerked on my hand again as we reached the front door. “Did you hear me?” 
  “I'm sorry, buddy.” I smiled down at him. “Yes, I heard you, and I need to explain something to you.” 
  He eyed me warily. “What's wrong?” 
  “Nothing’s wrong, I just…” I reached out and touched his cheek. “Do you remember when Daddy left before Christopher was born? And then he…he didn't come back?” 
  He nodded slowly, eyes deep with sorrow. “I miss him.” 
  He does remember… Tears stung my eyes and I wrapped my arm around his shoulder, guiding him in the door. “C’mon, buddy.” 
  We stepped into the living room a moment later. At our approach, Chris turned from the window where he must've been watching my interaction with the boys. 
  He cleared his throat and slowly walked toward us, hands at his sides. He glanced at me and then back and forth between the boys. Seeing Christopher nearly asleep on my shoulder, he knelt in front of Titus. 
  “Hey Titus.” Chris smiled, looking into his son’s face. “You probably don't even remember me.” 
  Still holding my fingers, Titus slowly nodded. “I-I do…” he said, chin quivering. “You’re my daddy.” 
  At those words, tears filled my eyes. Thank You, God, for bringing my family back together. Titus released my hand and found his way into Chris’ waiting arms. The little boy didn't say a word, his arms around his father’s neck. 
  Chris looked up at me then, his eyes brimming with tears. Nestling Christopher closer, I smiled and nodded. Yes, this was how things were supposed to be. 
  Within a few moments, Titus hiccuping sobs subsided. Lifting him to his side, Chris stood and moved toward the couch. I followed, skirting around the pile of glass shards he had indeed swept out of the way. 
  Chris sat on the couch with Titus in his lap, and I sank to the cushion next to him. Leaning my head against his shoulder, I squeezed my eyes shut, staying as close to him as possible. 
  Christopher lifted his head from my shoulder at the jostling. “Why Ty crying?” he mumbled. 
  “Titus is okay, sweetie.” I kissed the top of his head, and looked over at my eldest, stilling crying and holding to his father. 
  Christopher sat on my lap, eyeing Chris as if he were a complete stranger. The toddler seemed entirely uneffected by the strange man Titus and I were clinging too. I began to worry how I would explain Chris’ appearance to the toddler. Whenever he'd asked after his father in the past – not often – I'd told him that Daddy went to be with Jesus. But now? It wasn't like I could take those words back. 
  Christopher soon decided that Chris was harmless and settled back against my shoulder, nodding off. Between going to the grocery store and Chris’ appearance, it was long past the boys’ bedtime by then. 
  “Chris?” 
  “Yeah?” 
  “Do you think I should try to explain this to Christopher? I mean, how do I tell him…about you?” 
  Smiling sadly, Chris reached over and slid his finger into Christopher’s grasp. “Maybe we don't need to try to explain things right now. Let's just give it some time. Let him get used to having me around before we try to delve into all the details. He's not used to having a daddy.” 
  “That sounds like a great idea,” I smiled. “And I think he’ll catch on quickly.” 
  I looked over at Titus, snuggled against Chris’ other shoulder, and found him looking back at me. He grinned, an expression so boyish and carefree especially in comparison to his usual solemn eyes. 
  “Momma?” 
  “Yes, Titus.” 
  “I'm hungry.” 
  Laughing, I replied. “We can fix that. C’mon you two.” 
  I set Christopher down and made my way to the kitchen. Chris and Titus went outside and brought in the groceries while I whipped up grilled cheeses for the four of us. The boys clambered up into their seats, Chris taking the fourth chair at the table. I'd never really paid much attention to it until that night, but that extra seat had always been there. Just waiting to be occupied. 
  I brought food to the table and sat the plates in front of them, stopping to kiss Chris’ cheek. He grinned and kissed me back. 
  We sat at the kitchen table and ate grilled cheese sandwiches and milk. All of us, our little family. My heart filled to overflowing. 

*****

  As it turned out, Titus was the one to explain things to his brother. In his grown-up-before-his-time way, with brotherly love, in a kid-language Christopher could grasp. 
  After cleaning up the kitchen, I crept down the hall in search of Chris. I found him at the door to the boys’ room, watching them sleep. 
  I stepped up beside him and leaned my head against his shoulder. He threaded his arm around my waist, nudging me closer. 
  As we watched, out of their sight in the near-darkness, Christopher climbed out of his bed and crossed the strip of carpet to his brother’s bed. 
  “Ty?” He whispered, tapping Titus on the arm. 
  Titus lifted his head. “Yeah?” 
  Christopher squirmed his way up onto his brother’s bed and didn't stop until he was under the quilt. “Ty?” 
  “Huh?” 
  The toddler leaned back agaisnt the pillow, one arm behind his head as if contemplating the greatest questions of mankind. “Who's that man Momma kissed?” 
  Chris’ arm around my shoulders tightened. 
  Titus’ head appeared from underneath the covers. “That's our daddy, Christopher. Didn't you know that?” 
  Christopher continued staring up at the ceiling. “No, it's not.” 
  “Yeah, it is. Why don't you believe me?” 
  “Momma said Daddy went to be with Jesus in Heaven. And she said people don't come back from there. So that can't be him.” 
  Titus raised on his elbows, chin in his hands, and eyed his brother. “Well…maybe she was wrong.” 
  “Momma’s never wrong.” 
  Titus was quiet for a long moment before he spoke again. “I don't get it either. But it is him, I know it. Don't you want to think that too?” 
  Christopher gave the matter special consideration. I pressed closer the Chris, praying that the boy would answer affirmatively for his sake – for our family’s sake. 
  “Yeah…” Christopher finally admitted. “I like him.” 
  “Good,” Titus nodded as if concluding the conversation. “You wanna sleep with me tonight?” 
  Instead of replying, Christopher scooted down into the bed, grabbing the blanket and yanking it over his head. 
  “I guess that's a yes,” Titus mumbled, and he too dropped his head to the pillow. 
  Within a few moments, the sound of twin deep breaths drifted from the bed in corner. Satisfied they were fast asleep for the night, Chris led me down the hall and into the living room. 
  We sat on the couch, and he took my hands in his. “I'd say it's time you heard the whole story.” 
  I nodded once, knowing these details will be difficult to hear. But I needed to hear, needed to know what he's been through. 
  We talked for hours, not going to bed until well after two o’clock. And at eight thirty the next morning we were pounced on by two pajama-clad boys. But when hearing their laughter and seeing their smiles as they hugged their father, how could I complain? 
  He had come home. 

*****

  A sunny and happy Saturday surrounded us the next morning as I put the car in park in front of my in-law’s house. I turned to face Chris who sat in the backseat next to Christopher’s carseat. 
  “Are you sure you want to do this?” 
  “Positive.” He began unbuckling Christopher’s restraints, and I turned to hop out of the car. 
  I walked to the other side and opened the back door. Christopher slid out of the carseat and hit the ground running. 
  The boys scampered across the yard and up onto their grandparents’ porch with me not far behind them. 
  I cast a furtive glance over my shoulder to note that Chris had gotten out of the car and now stood around the side of the garage – awaiting his signal. 
  Chris’ mother had came to the door and was about to usher the boys into the house when I reached them. 
  “We have a surprise for you, Maria.” 
  “Oh?” My mother-in-law eyed me suspiciously, before glancing back down at the boys. “Do you two know what your momma is talking about?” 
  “Yes, Nana!!” Titus nodded excitedly. “Daddy is home!” 
  “Daddy?” Maria repeated, eyes wide as she looked to me for an answer. “What is he talking about, Julie?” 
  I smiled. “Titus means exactly what he said.” I stepped to the side, as Chris stepped up on the porch behind me. 
  “Hey, Mom.” 
  “Chris…” She murmured, her gaze becoming distant. Her legs weakened as she began to sink against the door casing. 
  Chris rushed forward and grabbed her before she could hit the floor. Maria didn't fully faint though, more like a swoon I guess you could say. Chris helped her to the bench seat a few yards away. 
  “Mom? Can you hear me?” 
  Titus and Christopher shrank back, their innocent eyes darting back and forth between Chris and their grandmother and me. 
  Maria didn't answer Chris’ insistent questioning, but she reached forward and pressed her hands to his face. “Oh, son…” 
  I pulled the boys to my sides and held them close, watching. Maria hugged Chris, her shoulders convulsing with quiet sobs. Soon Tom, Chris’ father, appeared from around the side of the house and dropped to his knees before his wife and son, joining the happy reunion. 
  I admired the beautiful scene, my heart full. I was honoring the memory of thinking we'd lost Chris, not willing to take him for granted now. I was thankful, so very grateful to God for bringing him back to us and giving our family a second chance. And I was happy. 
  What more could I say? There was heartache, there were tears. But in the end, it was all worth it. The thrill of joy and cheer outweighed the sting of grief and mourning. 
  All was right in my world. 

*****


Before I forget, here's the pin that inspired the story in the first place. ^_^ Obviously, I did some creative tweaking to the original, but still... *nods* Lovely one-sentence-story. :D 



Hope you enjoyed! If all goes well, there will be another 'Pinterest story' appearing on this blog next month. :D 

~Faith 


Do you have an image or writing prompt you would like to see made into a story for this series or an Imagine This challenge? Feel free to send it my way! The link to my Pinterest account can be found under the About Firefly tab, or you can message me through the Blogger contact form at the bottom of this page to obtain my email! :)