Thursday, February 25, 2016

Writing Challenge #5

Are you ready for another writing challenge? Here are the rules:

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 March 5, next Saturday. Shortly thereafter I will post the winners.

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. . .

Don't jump to conclusions.

I'm very curious to see what you come up with for that one. Have fun!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Favorite Books

Awhile back I was tagged to answer a few questions about my favorite books/series/authors, etc. I'd love to hear your answers to these questions too! Enjoy!
What are your top two favorite books?
Makilien Trilogy
I don't think that I could pick—honestly. But if I had to choose some of my favorites would be The Pirate Daughter's Promise, Every Tear, Truth, Courage, and Trust, all by Molly Evangeline. Also Heartbreak Trail, by Susan Marlow and a not-yet-published book by a friend. (You know who you are :D)

What are your top two favorite series?
Probably the Makilien Trilogy by Molly Evangeline and the Circle C books by Susan K. Marlow. However, there are many, many series that rank high on my list of favorites. They would include the whole Black Stallion and Island Stallion series by Walter Farley and the Pirates and Faith series by Molly Evangeline. I also really like the Golden Filly series by Lauraine Snelling. The Chronicles of Narnia are also high on my list with the Left Behind series.

Who is your favorite fictional character?
Pirates and Faith Series
Other than Amber or Maddie, the main characters in two of my own stories, it would have to be either Andrea Carter from the Circle C series mentioned above, or Makilien from the Makilien Trilogy also mentioned above.

If any one of your favorite books could be made into a movie which one would you want it to be?
I would personally love to direct a movie of the Makilien Trilogy myself (then I would be certain that it would be made right!) The others that I would really like to see would be good movies of each of the books in the Chronicles of Narnia.

What is your favorite genre to read?
I don't have any one particular favorites. I like reading contemporary, mystery, somewhat fantasy (to the extent of The Lord of the Rings). Mostly, I love adventure and if I can find that in a historical fiction novel, a well-written biography in novel form, or anywhere else, I'll read it!

Do you have a favorite author?
This is a DANGEROUS question to ask a book lover. Very, very dangerous. So, the answer is no. I do not have A favorite author. I have many. So, now you get my list . . . hang on tight and don't fall asleep on me!
  1. I have to start with my Grandpa, Randall Reinstedt. He writes fascinating California history books. And no, I am not just being partial. I really do enjoy what he writes!
  2. I enjoy anything by Jerry B. Jenkins
  3. A new author that I discovered and LOVE is Molly Evangeline, aka. Jaye L. Knight
  4. Lauraine Snelling
  5. Susan K. Marlow
  6. Walter Farley
  7. Jesseca Dawn
  8. Rebekah Eddy
  9. Dandi Daley Mackall
  10. Wendy Lawton
So there you are with some of my all time favorite authors! Of course, I could go on to list many, many more but that would make this post way too long. Thanks for hanging with me!

Is there a book that you can hardly wait for it to come out?
Well, for starters, The Silent Blade, and A Question of Honor, by Jesseca Dawn. Also, the fourth book in the Circle C Milestones series by Susan K. Marlow. I am also eager for the third book in the Ilyon Chronicles series by Jaye L. Knight.
What was one of your favorite childhood books?
The many books written by Bill Peet. They are fun childrens' stories mostly about animals. Another book that was special to my mom and me was "The Kissing Hand."

What was one of you favorite books when you were late elementary to middle school age?
I really like/liked the High Hurdles series by Lauraine Snelling. I read the entire 10 book series twice! I also like/liked the Trixie Belden series, Red Rock Mysteries, and the Wormling series in addition to the Winnie the Horse Gentler series.

What is your favorite book of the Bible?
I really like 1 and 2 Timothy because it is a reminder to me that even young people can do great things for God!

Thanks for reading, Everyone! I hope that you have a great rest of the week! I'd love to hear your answers to these questions. Do you enjoy reading any of the above authors/books/series mentioned? If you haven't heard of some of these authors, I highly recommend them. God bless you!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, Friends! I hope that you have had (and continue to have) a wonderful day! Last year I did a post about the meaning behind Valentine's Day. To read it, click HERE.

While you celebrate with family and loved ones, please remember the greatest act of love ever done for any of us. God gave us His only son, who was perfect, to die a horrible death to save us. That is the greatest love of all. Come on, you all know the verse, say it with me. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

Please take some time to reflect on a few verses about the importance of love that I have placed below.

1 Corinthians 13 "If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

John 14:15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

1 Corinthians 16:14 " Let all that you do be done in love."

Mark 12:30 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

Please take some time to focus on these and enjoy the rest of your day. Happy Valentine's Day!   

Friday, February 12, 2016

Antarctica Journal Entry—Part 3 (The Conclusion!)

I feel terrible for keeping you waiting this long for part three. However, I finally got it done. Enjoy!

August 1916—South Georgia Island

I am writing with a smile on my face for the first time in a long time. Finally, I am safe. Finally, we are safe! Yes, despite all odds against us, we have survived more struggles than the average person would in three lifetimes. I also am writing with a smile because I know that very soon I will stand in my own home holding my wife and watching my children play. I am so very eager to see how they have grown the last two years in my extended absence. I do pray that they have fared well.

Now, I know that I have not written in a very long time. Part of this was due to the busyness of daily survival but the other reason was due to a nasty case of frostbite in my fingertips that needed to heal before I could properly use my fingers again. Although I would prefer not to relive this experience, I shall record it for future generations to learn of all that we endured on this fateful trip to the south.

My last entry left us stranded on Elephant Island with Captain Shackleton having just devised a plan of escape. As you can see by comparing the two dates of these entries, escape was a long time in coming. We landed on Elephant Island in April and I write now in August.

When we gathered around the Captain to hear his plan, I was shocked at what he said. Then again, I suppose that I knew it would have to be a drastic action. I just did not fully comprehend what that would mean. He revealed to us that the only way for survival is for him and five other men to climb aboard a twenty-two foot vessel and cross the treacherous Drake Passage—a distance of 870 iceberg and hurricane wind-filled miles! Now, can you imagine my surprise when he called my name among the five who would make this journey with him? I was shocked, and a bit afraid. But I knew that I must go if the Captain felt I would be of service to him. Despite my fear, I was indeed honored.

Just days later, we bid very emotional good-byes to those remaining on the island and set off. It was as though a cloud of fear hung over us. No one spoke. The fate of all remaining had been placed in our hands. We all knew the odds were against us surviving this two-week long journey, especially considering that the vessel we traveled in was hardly fit for this travel. The treacherous Drake Passage is infamous for its hurricane-like winds and cluttered with icebergs. Yes, the chances of survival were slim, but it was everyone's only chance.

The six of us took turns steering, rowing, bailing out the icy water, and scraping ice from our boat. On top of it all, we attempted to get at least some sleep. This was certainly the worst ride of my life. We all were soaked by the first hour on the sea with no chance of drying before more water drenched us. Conditions were horrible. Even by night we had to continue onward. Sometimes the moon shone; sometimes it did not.

Finally, we rested our eyes upon the rocky shores of South Georgia Island. Before we could go ashore, however, we had to find a beach not filled with dangerous rocks. When we did land, we had no time to rest or recover from the ocean's fury though we were dehydrated and exhausted. Even Captain Shackleton barely had enough energy to say more than “We've done it.” But our task was yet to be completed. We had yet to find help for those left on Elephant Island. The Captain chose me and one other to travel with him on the last leg of our journey, leaving three behind with the weather-beaten vessel. The three of us went on without taking time even to relish in the feel of standing on real land in search of the whaling station on the far side of the island.

We traveled up many a glacier in attempts to cross, but more often than not had to retrace our steps to find another way. Up and down, up and down, up and down. This was far more than a marathon, this was a race to survive with our screaming muscles and delirious state. Finally, when we were out of food and nearly frozen, the Captain gave us a plan that seemed even more impossible than what we had faced thus far. To avoid freezing to death during the night, we tied ourselves together with rope and slid down a glacier. The risk of hitting a boulder or flying off a ridge was great. When we reached the bottom we couldn't believe that we were alive and relatively unharmed. Shortly thereafter, we heard the sound of a whaling station's wake-up call. Relieved but exhausted, we stumbled toward it. For the three of us, the journey was over. We were little more than alive—but we were alive. We were safe at last!

But there were still the three men that we left with the boat and the twenty-two men who remained on Elephant Island that needed to be rescued. The Captain tried three times to send a rescue boat to those men, but storms and impassable waters sent them back. On the fourth try just days ago, the rescue crew got through and found all twenty-two men . . . all alive! They have returned only a day ago and have told their tale. It is a miracle that they survived on the island for 128 days huddled under the two lifeboats that we left there. It is only by God's grace. Praise be to Him!

Though we did not come close to meeting our original goal of crossing the continent of Antarctica, our priorities quickly changed near the start of our mission. Our goal became to survive. This goal we achieved. Every single original member of this crew survived the journey of a lifetime and are starting on our way home. Yet, it was only by a miracle!

Each of us crew members have agreed that Captain Shackleton was that miracle. He is the greatest leader that ever came on God's earth, bar none. Mostly, I am grateful that God gave me the strength to remain faithful to the Captain to the end of this journey. I will always praise him!

And now you can understand my overwhelming joy and gratitude. I am safe, healthy, and soon on my way to seeing my family again. I am indebted forever to the wonderful Captain who is the only one who could have gotten us all our alive. Also, I believe that through this entire ordeal, my faith in God has been strengthened mightily. If He can bring twenty-eight men through the worst conditions imagined, He can do anything and I will always be full of gratitude to him. Praise be always given unto Him!

And that's the conclusion! What did you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts! I hope that you really enjoyed reading it—I had a lot of fun writing it. Would you like to read more short stories that I write? More journal entries from different events similar to this? Thanks for giving me your feedback and thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

January Highlights 2016

Hello, everyone! While I work on writing the concluding part of the journal entries, I wanted to share with you a few highlights of my January.

The side of our boxsled that we put up at church.
On January 8-10, I went on a trip with my youth group to Hume Lake Christian Camps. I had a great time hanging out with my friends and in chapel. The theme this year was "I Am." This refers to God and His holiness. The speaker used Isaiah 6 to explain it. As far as the activities, I enjoyed ice skating and going down Hume's very long tube run. On Saturday night they held the "Boxsled Blitz." (Explained in previous post about Hume last year.) Basically, you build a sled out of only cardboard and duct tape and take it down the tube run (with a jump added in) at around 11 at night when the snow is iced over. The winner gets to take home the "golden mailbox" and add something to it, then bring it back the next year for the next winner to get and take home. Previous to this year, the SAME CHURCH had won it for 8 YEARS!!! However, our little country church broke their streak and brought it home with a fire engine that held 10 high schoolers—me included! (I got the idea for the sled because of the Rough Fire that was up there.) That was really awesome!

Then . . . school started back up. But that actually hasn't been too hard. Most of the time I enjoy school. :D So far, I've been able to keep up (mostly.)

Last week we took off school to take our annual family winter trip. A good friend came to our house to visit and then watch it for us while we were gone. We went to Shaver Lake where we got lots of family time, snow, and were able to visit with the friends that we have made there over the years. We were blessed to use some cross-country skis for two days. One day we went on trails for about three miles and the other day we made our own trails through five feet of powder—TRUE cross-country! We also went sledding, tried to snowboard, (I ACTUALLY didn't do too badly . . .) and filmed a hilarious family movie. The snow was beautiful and I had a wonderful time.

Selfie! (I think I look like an eskimo...) :D

For the most part, January was a very relaxing month. I read many more books this month than I had in a long time. In all, I read ten books:
  1. Makilien Trilogy: Courage, Molly Evangeline (478 pages)
  2. Makilien Trilogy: Trust, Molly Evangeline (331 pages)
  3. Circle C Milestones: Heartbreak Trail, Susan K. Marlow (166 pages)
  4. 'Nama Beach High: New Girl in Town, Nancy Rue (170 pages)
  5. Pirates and Faith: The Pirate Daughter's Promise, Molly Evangeline (217 pages)
  6. Pirates and Faith: Every Tear, Molly Evangeline (458 pages)
  7. Circle C Milestones: The Last Ride, Susan K. Marlow (175 pages)
  8. Red Rock Mysteries: Instant Menace, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (234 pages)
  9. Red Rock Mysteries: Escaping Darkness, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (218 pages)
  10. Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe (499 pages)
In all, that's a whopping 2,946 pages! I don't think I've ever read that many pages in one month! But it felt really good! I enjoyed all the books. Well, all of them but Uncle Tom's Cabin. That one I read for English class. :( However, my favorites of these books was Heartbreak Trail, and the books by Molly Evangeline. Check her out—she is one of my absolute FAVORITE authors! She's really good.

So, how'd your January go? What highlights did you have? What books did you read? Let me know! Have a fantastic February, friends!