Sunday, January 31, 2016

Antarctica Journal Entry—Part 2

Here is part 2 of the fictional journal entry I wrote that ya'll have been waiting so patiently for. To read part 1, click HERE. Now, without further ado, here you go! Enjoy!

April 1916—Elephant Island

Since my last journal entry in last November, much has befallen me and my partners. Life has treated us harshly and it is a miracle we are still alive. After that fateful day when the Endurance shattered and sank, we have been using every ounce of strength for mere survival. For months we have struggled to reach somewhere—anywhere that is solid ground. Our camps have been made upon ice flows on the Weddell Sea. Sometimes, we awaken during the night to the ice splitting beneath our camp and we all must hurry to break camp and get on the same side of the ice lest we be split up and certainly die.

During the days, we have little time to rest. We must trek forward when we can, even though we are cold, exhausted, and hungry. Many times our boots fill with snow and threaten to freeze our feet stiff. Every step is an effort. Were it not for the firm and steadfast leadership of Captain Shackleton, we might give up in despair. However, thank God for the man who does not let us give up. He pushes us on through thick and thin, exhaustion and cold, hunger and fear. He has kept our hope alive, though it often is meager. Some days we have more hope than others, but always we have an inward struggle that threatens to overwhelm us. I suspect even the Captain has his own difficult moments though he tries hard to conceal it. It is such as blessing to have him lead us. Without him, I know that by now we would not have survived even this far.

Many days we have difficulties finding food. It is wonderful when we can eat seal, fish, or penguin. Yet more often than not we cannot find any form of food that is trapped behind the ice. On days such as these, it sorrows my heart to admit that we have had to eat our faithful dogs. No matter what, our rations are little and we are constantly hungry. Sometimes it is a wonder to me that some of the men have not resorted to sneaking food but I am sure that it is because of Captain Shackleton's firm hand. He has made it very clear that if we are to survive this time of hardship, we must stick together.

Six days ago, we spotted the ice breaking up. Some might think this a relief to us, but it is not so. With no other way off Antarctica, we had to drop the lifeboats in the water and brave the icy waves and icebergs. We knew that this might well have been the end for us if a boat were to be sliced open by ice. Even the freezing waters that splashed upon us could have frozen us to death. Most certainly, every part of our bodies felt frozen but we rowed on for many sleepless nights. We pushed onward as we knew that this was our only chance of survival. Our frost-bitten fingers grew painful blisters—had we been able to feel them. Even these blisters were frozen! For several days, I thought that we would die of, if nothing else, the cold water drenching us.

However, after five days being tossed about on the sea, our hope was once more restored by the sight of land! True, it was uninhabited, but it was solid ground! It is called Elephant Island. It is the first solid ground we have set foot on in 497 days! This is where I currently write from. We arrived yesterday. Captain Shackleton and a few of the men are trying to devise a plan for rescue but it seems that the treacherous Drake Passage stands in our way. Many of the men are discouraged, including myself.

I pray that the Lord has not brought us this far only to die, but maybe He has. I continue to pray daily for our rescue, safety, and that each of us may return to our families unharmed before too long. The longing I have for my wife and children is overwhelming. My heart aches to think about them. I miss them more than words can express. How I hope that we will soon be reunited!

I did not realize until this moment that the men are gathering around the Captain. Hopefully he has a plan. I will do my best to record the going-ons of these next few weeks, but I know that we will be having much difficulty and may not have time to write. Perhaps I will manage to record some later, but now I must go.

And that concludes part two! I hope that you enjoyed it. The concluding part will come soon— stay tuned! Let me know what you think and if you have studied the various south pole expeditions. Would you like to see more posts of this sort? Have a good evening!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

November 21, 1915

Do any of you know the "significance" of that date? In history class I studied various expeditions to the south pole. As an activity, I wrote a fictional journal entry of a crew member on the mission to be the first to cross Antarctica. As I wrote it, I thought that you might enjoy reading it. Remember, it is a FICTIONAL crew member, but the event is real as are all statistics. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!

November 21, 1915—Antarctica

Today is a day that I will never forget. I have experienced such emotions as have filled me with turmoil. I wish that I could have written more in the past months but, alas, my days have been too busy. Perhaps I should explain. About a year ago, Sir Ernest Shackleton sent out an invitation to a dangerous mission—being the first to cross Antarctica. Being my usual adventurous self, I responded with much enthusiasm. Maybe too much. Shackleton must have liked what I wrote for he recruited me to be among twenty-six other crewmen. At this point, of course, I was thrilled and bid my wife, son, and two young daughters good-bye. This has been much more adventure than I ever bargained for. I know that my dear wife and children must be worrying, and for good reason. She begged me not to go, but I persuaded her with the promise of my safe return. That was a promise I wish I had never made. I have never yet broken a promise, and I will do all in my power to not break this one, but I now realize it is not a guarantee.

I set sail with twenty-six other crewmen and Captain Shackleton on his ship, the Endurance. We set out with high hopes, spirits, and eagerness. At first all was well. I enjoyed seeing the new sights and experiencing life aboard the Endurance. However, the closer we drew to Antarctica, the more our spirits were dampened and our hearts grew heavy as we processed how dangerous this mission would be. A sense of foreboding doom seemed to hang around the ship as the temperatures dropped. Before long, men standing at their posts grew cold and every effort was made to bring warmth to the ship. Despite the cold, we continued to sail toward Antarctica. Then it came about that as we traveled slowly onward the ice became encased around the Endurance. She was stuck fast. In a sort of trance, we gathered our things and disembarked with hopes that the ice would soon give up her icy hold upon our ship. Very suddenly we all realized that this journey would not be as easy as first anticipated. That was in January. Now we all know just how difficult and dangerous this trek is. For ten months we lived off of our supplies and camped on the nearby ice flows facing firsthand the harsh elements.

Then today it happened. Our worst fears were realized. After hoping and praying for ten months that the Endurance would be freed from the ice, she was. However, it was not in the least what we had hoped for. She was released . . . into the icy depths of the sea. We all watched as it happened. One minute she was there like she had been for the past ten months, then she wasn't. With enormous creaks, cracks, and groans, she finally yielded to the intense pressure of the shifting ice. Within ten minutes of these horrible noises having first begun, her four-foot-thick shell exploded into a thousand pieces. We all watched in horror as she sank below the ice, never to be seen again. I looked over the shoulder of a fellow crew member who also wrote about the event from his eyes. One line he wrote in particular caught my attention. He said that the ship “carried us so far and so well and then put forth the bravest fight that ever a ship had fought before yielding to the remorseless pack.” This touched my heart so that I nearly gave in to tears of hopelessness and fear, but did not. Frozen teardrops on a mustache are most uncomfortable. They often freeze even before they meet my mustache.
So here we are. We have plenty of supplies to survive for now, but who knows how long it may take for us to be rid of this frozen kingdom? If we ever do. We have only three life boats, a few dogsleds, and provisions. As I mentioned before, I have experienced a multitude of varied emotions today, and rightly so. At times I am hopeless, knowing the chances of all twenty-eight of us escaping here alive. But then my hope is restored by a small margin when I remember that we are under the good leadership of Captain Shackleton. Yet there is always the gnawing horror of seeing how easily the Endurance sank and how we are at complete mercy of the weather. I am afraid. I fear that I will never see my wife and children again. That my mates will never be reunited with their loved ones. Furthermore, I fear how I will die. If I die in this desolate place, I know that it will be slow and painful. I also am afraid of how my death will affect my wife and children. They will have to face the world without a husband and father to love, care for, and provide for them. The world can be a very harsh place for those who are left vulnerable. I feel like a wretch for ever leaving my family only for the experience and adventure of being among the first to cross the continent. I wish with all my heart that I was back at home in front of our fireplace in our lovely cottage with my children tugging at my mustache, my wife smiling from the entry-way, and the smells of a wonderful home-cooked supper wafting through the house. But here I am. Stuck in perhaps the coldest place on the planet at the mercy of the Weddell Sea. My only real hope is in Christ Jesus. To Him I plead for mercy. Him I will honor till the end.

I know that in the coming days I will have little, if any, time to record the happenings of this trek. My life will be a battle to survive. Finding food is my primary concern, but disease and the cold are also high dangers. If I should die before leaving this continent, and this entry found encased in frozen ice, I pray that it will make its way to my wife, that she may know how I longed to apologize for leaving her. My dear wife, though I pray that you will never have to read this without me by your side, if you should, please understand that I love you dearly.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Writing Challenge #4 Entries

A round of applause to my three entrants: Kaitlyn K, Jesseca Dawn, and Faith P. Thank you! Each of your entries were wonderful! Every one did a great job expressing just how "appearances are often deceiving." Keep your eyes out for the next writing challenge!

Kaitlyn, your entry was very different from what I expected. I like it! Thanks for adding a different and not as common twist!

    It was the day after Christmas, and I woke up to the worst cold of my  life-- well, I suppose that’s what I would call all the bad colds I’ve had.
    I read my devotions while sitting on the furnace vent, attempting to warm  myself-- not a very easy job-- and then headed to the table to eat a warm  (but not so tasty, in my opinion) breakfast of oatmeal.
    “Morning, Kate,” Mom said, looking up from the sink, where she was filling  the coffeepot with water.  “Did you sleep well?”
    I shrugged.  “As well as can be expected with a nasty cold.”
    Mom raised her eyebrows. “Didn’t I tell you to take some medicine as soon  as you felt that cold coming?”
    I nodded and sighed.  “Yes, you did.  Do I really have to eat this  stuff?”  I complained as I stared down at my bowl.
    Mom nodded. “Yes, you have to eat that stuff.  I can’t believe you don’t  like it!”  She tossed me the honey bear.  “Here, put some honey in it; that  makes it better.”
    I thought for a moment, then shook my head.  “No thanks.  I think I’ll go  unhealthy.”  I got up and and a few moments later, I came back to the table  with the container of brown sugar.
    Mom sighed and shook her head as I plopped a spoonful of brown sugar into  my oatmeal.  “You’re already sick, and you have to make it worse by eating  sugar?”
    I shrugged.  “It’s better than suffering through a bowl of oatmeal.”
    “That’s why we have honey here.”
    “I’d rather have honey on bread, and brown sugar on oatmeal.  ‘Brown sugar  makes the oatmeal go down’,” I said solemnly.
     Mom raised her eyebrows.  “And where did you hear that quote?”
    “You’re quoting your big brother now?”  Mom chuckled.  “That sounds like  something he’d come up with.”
    I grinned and inhaled my oatmeal, sounds of my siblings playing ping-pong  downstairs drifting up through the vents.
    After breakfast, I headed downstairs.
    Head pounding and nose stuffed, I rounded the corner and watched my  siblings’ hands move swiftly.  Finally, Kon hit the ball too hard and it  sailed over the table.
    I smirked and looked at his face to see his reaction when I saw- the head  of an alligator?  Looking over at my little sister, I rubbed my eyes.  She  had the head of a... what was that?  A cross between a monkey and a snake?
    I closed my eyes and shook my head.   I was so tired; was I hallucinating?
    I trudged slowly back upstairs and located my mom.
    “Uhhh... Mom?”
    Mom smiled at me from where she was typing on the laptop.  “Hey.”
    I scratched my head and grinned sheepishly.  “I’m probably crazy... but I  went downstairs, and Kon had the head of an alligator and Kara had the head  of some sort of a cross between a monkey and a snake.”
    Mom raised her eyebrows and chuckled.  “Really?  They’re still having fun  with those Halloween masks?”
    I slapped my forehead and groaned.  I must have been so tired when I went  downstairs that my mind didn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together.
    “Appearances can be deceiving, Kate!” Kara’s laughing voice floated up  through the air vent.

 Jesseca Dawn: your entry is an important lesson in itself and a perfect example of how people may not seem to be what they truly are and trust should not be easily given out. Thank you for participating!

Joyanna fought to get away from the grip of SS Lieutenant Erich Essler. "Please, I have to go. Luisa is sick and I'm supposed to get the doctor. Mrs. Carson said so."
Erich glanced around, "and where does the doctor live?"
"Not too far. Just pass the church."
"How about I take you there and then make sure you get back home safely?"
Joyanna, startled by his friendliness, stopped fighting. "Are you sure?"
He nodded.
"Alright, I'll show you the way." she slipped her hand in his and pulled him along as the made their way through the mud and maze of soldiers, tanks and bombed out buildings.
"Here we are," Joyanna announced, stopping in front of a small office. Knocking on the door, she called out, "Dr. Paul, Mrs. Carson needs you."
The door was opened by a smiling man who appeared to be in his late forties, "Ahh, Joyanna. Can I help you?"
"Luisa isn't feeling well and Mrs. Carson said she needed the doctor."
"How are your mother and sister doing?" he asked as he walked over to his desk and picked up his bag. "Are they home?"
"No, they were taken away last night. But I wasn't because I was with Mrs. Carson," she said sadly.
Paul glanced up sharply at Erich, "oh, I'm sorry. I hope they can come back soon."
Joyanna smiled, "Me too. Well, let's get going. Lieutenant Erich said he would make sure we got back safely."
"Oh, really?"
Joyanna nodded, "I don't like soldiers, but I decided he could help."
The doctor glanced nervously toward the Eric at Joyanna's words, but saw nothing but a blank look.
Shutting the door behind him, he joined them as they made their way back to the Carson's.
When they got there, Joyanna ran ahead and opened the door, "I got the doctor, Mrs. Carson."
Mrs. Carson hurried to the door, "Oh, praise God! I was afraid--" she stopped as she caught sight of Erich
"It's okay. he was just making sure I stayed safe."
"I see. Well, thank you," she said, addressing him.
He tipped his hat, "No thanks needed, ma'm. I'm happy to help anytime."  He turned to leave, but when he got to the door he stopped and glanced back at Joyanna. She caught his gaze and grinned. He smiled back, a smile that didn't reach his eyes, then closed the door behind him.
Joyanna walked over to the window and watched him. He glanced back at the house, and the expression of his face caused Joyanna to shrink away. What's wrong with him? she thought. Why does he hate me, but pretend to be nice?
Lieutenant Erich quickened his pace as he hurried away from the house and towards the building the German headquarters. He opened the door, letting a shaft of light into the otherwise gray building. 
Once, inside he strode over to the front desk. "I need to see Colonel Koby at once."
Koby's aid, Captain Herrick, glanced up at him, a weary look on his face. "Lieutenant, I'm afraid there are many soldiers who wish to see the Colonel."
"You don't understand. I have information that will be of great importance to him."
Herrick glanced at him for a moment, then stood, "Alright, but this had better be mighty important."
Oh, it will be. Erich smiled smugly to himself, Colonel Koby will be pleased to know of a way we can get all the information we need without lifting a hand. And out of a Jewish girl, no less. Yes, he'll be very pleased.

Faith: your story was a very cute illustration of the moral. It had a humorous angle that I liked. I really enjoyed reading it! Thank you for sending it in!

 Seventeen year-old Samantha Wright hopped out of the driver's seat of the family SUV. She still wasn't sure why Dad had sent her to pick up her brother, Shaun, coming home from deployment. It was not as if she wasn't thrilled at being the first family member to welcome him home after fourteen long months away. But navigating the airport alone, although she'd did it numberous times before, made her a little nervous. 
 She sighed as she clicked the remote to lock the car and started walking across the expansive parking lot. Sure is hot today, she mused. The beaming sun, reflecting up from the black asphalt, made her feel like a melting Popsicle. She nearly laughed out loud at the ridiculous, almost allegoric, comparison. 
 Samantha quickened her pace to get inside the airport and out of the unbearable Arizona heat. 
 Although she didn't enjoy going to the airport alone, she was quite familiar with the whole setting. And soon, without encountering many difficulties, Samantha found herself searching through the crowds of people for Shaun. 
 A uniformed man with his back to her caught her eye. That has to be him. Samantha grinned and hurried towards him. 
 She was only a few feet from the young man when he turned around. Samantha gasped and stopped in her tracks, feeling her face quickly redden. This man was not Shaun. She offered a friendly smile and continued on her way, trying to act as if nothing was wrong and she'd been going that way anyhow. How could I have been fooled so easily? 
 After several more minutes of scouring the throngs of travelers, she spotted Shaun among them. Finally. "Shaun! Over here!" She waved to him. 
 He ran up to him and swept her up in his arms, spinning in a wide circle. She laughed with joyous tears in her eyes. "Welcome home, big brother." 
 He set her down and then hugged her again. "Good to be home, sis." 
 Samantha studied her brother and then glanced across her shoulder, searching for the man she'd mistook as Shaun. 
 He frowned. "Sam, what are you doing?" 
 She shook her head and smiled. "Oh, I was just thinking how deceiving appearances can be." 
 Shaun's left eyebrow rising, as it always did when he was confused or teasing, he smiled suspiciously. "What's that supposed to mean?" 
 Samantha laughed. "I'll explain it in the car. Let's go home."
Thank you, everyone for participating! I enjoyed your entries and I'm sure my other readers will also. I hope that you had fun and are as excited as I am for the next contest!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

My Earliest Memories

Though I will be calling this post a "tag," it is really about my earliest memories. I will write a little bit about mine and then "tag" a few other bloggers to answer some questions about their earliest memories. I think this will be a fun way to get to know each other's earlier life. Have fun!

1. What is your earliest memory?
Receiving Christ when I was two.
2. What is your earliest memory of a birthday?
My fourth or fifth birthday party that was at our house when we invited several friends from church.
3. What is your earliest memory of a food?
On my sixth birthday my mom made a butterfly cake for me. 
4. What is your earliest memory of a gathering?
My first clear memory of a gathering was participating in a potato sack race at a community picnic when I was really little. That same day I got my hair stuck in one of those sticky hanging fly traps! No fun. :-P
5. What is your earliest memory of non-immediate family?
I think getting a family picture at my grandparent's house when I was in the five to six year range.
6. What is your favorite memory?
I don't know that I have one in particular but I always enjoy taking trips as a family. We have gone camping at Peppermint Creek in the Sierra Nevada's, visited Hume Lake, Shaver Lake, many National Parks, and of course various family members throughout California.
7. What is your earliest memory of a gift?
I don't really have an early memory. Maybe getting a tether ball for a birthday when I was in first grade. (I think.)
8. What is your earliest memory of an embarrassment?
When I was in public school I got teased by a bunch of kids and didn't handle it very well since I was in kindergarten.
9. What is your earliest memory of when you were scared?
Probably a thunderstorm when I was really small. :-)
10. What is your earliest memory of a camp?
My counselors, craft-making, and kayaking at Camp Good News when I was eight.
11. How young were you when you received Christ? (optional)
I received Christ after watching the Jesus Film at two and one-half-years old.

I have below a list of these questions for the bloggers that I nominate. There will be quite a few and after you answer the questions in a post (if you want to) then you may pass on the same questions to a different blogger than has already been nominated if you wish. Have fun!

1. What is your earliest memory?
2. What is your earliest memory of a birthday?
3. What is your earliest memory of a food?
4. What is your earliest memory of a gathering?
5. What is your earliest memory of family?
6. What is your favorite memory?
7. What is your earliest memory of a gift?
8. What is your earliest memory of an embarrassment?
9. What is your earliest memory of when you were scared?
10. What is your earliest memory of a camp?
11. How young were you when you received Christ? (optional)

The bloggers I choose to nominate are below, but don't feel obligated. Anyone else who wishes to answer them in a comment or on their blog may. Please let me know so that I can check your blog!

Amy with Living in Faith and Fun
Lydia with C'est La Vie
Rebekah with Rebekah's Remarks

Andrea Carter with Andi and Taffy's Blog
Jesseca with A Kansas Wind

Emily with The Imaginary World of Emily McConnell
Faith with Take Me Deeper
Blessing Counter with Counting Your Blessings One by One
Faith with Chosen Vessels (or Stories by Firefly)
Lauren with Lauren's Amazing World
Lydia with Through the Wardrobe
Marci with Two God Crazy Girls
Laura with Harvest Lane Cottage

Have fun, everyone!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Writing Challenge #4

I have heard from at least two of you that you would be interested in another writing challenge. Here are the rules and the new due date:

1) I give you a "moral." (See below)
2) You write a 500-600 word story that reflects this moral.
3) Send it to me via the "Send Me an Email" gadget on the right sidebar of my blog. (Or just through my email if you have my address.) Please include your name or an alias. Thanks!
4) The due date is January 15, a little over a week away. Shortly thereafter I will post the winners.

Please have fun! That is the most important part of this contest. Don't be afraid to come up with something strange, that's what makes it fun. Just enjoy being creative! Now for the moral. Drum roll please!

Appearances are often deceiving.

You should be able to do anything from lighthearted to deep with this moral from one of Aesop's Fables. I'm very excited to see what you send me and I hope this is good timing for you to participate! Have a good week!

Monday, January 4, 2016

My Life: An Update

Happy New Year! It has been awhile since I last posted. Sorry about that! However, as I'm sure you all understand, life gets very busy for me around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then my birthday. :-) So I'll give you a brief update.

Before I do, I suppose that I should let you know that this is my 100th post over the course of about three years! This will be my fourth year of blogging! I am so pleased that I have been able to keep this running for this long with every intention of keeping on. Thank you for staying with me so faithfully! And now for the update.

We had a relaxing Thanksgiving. I helped my mom make the meal and as a family we read praises that we had collected over the year. We celebrated our Thanksgiving on the day before the actual Thanksgiving. The next day we went into our local town and delivered meals to seniors before heading up to my grandparents house where we enjoyed another Thanksgiving meal!

Two weeks after we came home, we traveled to visit my other grandma, aunt, uncles, and cousins. While there, we finished up our school semester.

Next thing I knew, we were at the Christmas Eve service and it was Christmas the next day! I was so blessed by all the love shown to my family by friends in our fellowship. Two days later my grandparents came and we celebrated Christmas and my fifteenth birthday together.

On my actual birthday, my family and I went to see the new Star Wars movie. I had been counting down to this for a long time. Though I personally feel that numbers 1,2,4,5, and 6 (chronologically) were better, I really enjoyed it. The day was special and once more, I was so blessed by the love shown to me by family and friends.

We didn't do much on either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day except spending good time together.  However, we watched the first Lord of the Rings movie on New Year's Eve and the second on New Year's Day. Yesterday we finished the final one of this series that quickly climbed to among my top favorites. I love that non-stop action found in movies such as this, the Hobbit, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones. Which of these movie series are your favorite?

This next weekend I will be going to Hume Lake. I would really appreciate your prayers for me as well as all the other youth, and the counselors. 

And that brings you up-to-date on my recent life. Hopefully you can understand why I have been so absent online recently. ;-) However, I hope to do some more posts soon. Also, I have a question for you:

Because I didn't get any entries last time for my writing challenge, I'm not sure if you are still interested, or were just too busy like I was. Please let me know if you would be interested in entering my previous one, or if I should even do another. Also, check out my new wintery blog look and let me know your thoughts! Thank you and have a blessed New Year!