Saturday, December 6, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Kellums!

It’s been another year of firsts and lasts, bests and leasts! While it would be entirely possible to fill several pages with our highlights (and a few lowlights), we thought it would be a little more fun to present you with a quiz. 

Ready, Set...What Do You KNOW?!!

Connect the Kellum with the Correct Answer:

#1 -- Favorite Meal/Food:

a. Pizza on the Grill (and an impromptu peach crisp when the oven was on the fritz)
b. Tacos, Burritos, Carnitas, Tostadas...anything with guacamole
c. Thanksgiving Meal with all the family
d. Any dinner on the back patio of our new house
e. Noodles with white sauce
f. Saturday night pizza, specifically Margherita

(How did you do? Are you hungry now?)

#2 -- First Time Experience:

a. 1st season of competing in gymnastics
b. 1st time with all the kids in school -- and 3 hours to breathe
c. 1st time learning to play the clarinet
d. 1st time to take one day to decide to buy a house
e. 1st time going to school
f. 1st time to be a middle schooler

(Okay...that was an easy one. The next one will be tougher.)

#3 -- Favorite Book:

a. The Giver Quartet 
b. Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business
c. Sahara...and all things Clive Cussler
d. Harry Potter #7
e. Any Judy Moody
f. The IIA’s CIA Learning System - Sections 1 & 2

(Hmmm...did you guess right?)

#4 -- Favorite Family Memory:

a. Going to Water World and riding an inner tube with cousins
b. Seeing “Tarzan” at the Arvada Center
c. Moving into our new house
d. Making it to the tippy top of Mt. Sanitas
e. Trip to Casa Bonita
f. A day at Elitch’s...roller coasters rule!

(In all honesty, you could have selected any one of us for any of those terrific experiences! )
(Okay...last question. This one is for the big money!)

#5 -- Biggest Challenge of the Year:

a. Doing math and the monkey bars at school
b. Finding balance in the midst of a full life
c. New gymnastic skills (round-off, back-handspring, back-tuck, oh my!)
d. Making new friends
e. Adjusting to more homework
f. Starting yet another new school (3rd school in 3 years) did you do? How well has email and FaceBook kept you in the loop of our fun-filled and loopy lives? We certainly look back over the year and marvel at where we started and where we’ve ended up. Through all the ups and downs and ins and outs of 2014, while we might have felt at times that we were taking a quiz we weren’t quite prepared for, God proved Himself, again, to be faithful and to know the answers to our every question. What a good and gracious God to take refuge in!

We hope that you, too, can look back over your year and see the ways that God stretched you, met you in the midst of bumps and bruises and how He sheltered you and shepherded you along. We’d love to hear all about it! Drop us a line, send us a postcard, shoot us an email, give us a call...or better yet, come for a visit!

May you experience the gift of God’s presence in your heart this holiday season!

With Much Love,

The Kellums

#1:  a-Brett, b-Aaron, c-Ashley, d-Morgan, e-Lydia, f-Norah  #2:  a-Ashley, b-Morgan, c-Norah, d-Brett, e-Lydia, f-Aaron
#3:  a-Morgan, b-Lydia, c-Aaron, d-Norah, e-Ashley, f-Brett  #4:  a-Lydia, b-Brett, c-Aaron, d-Morgan, e-Norah, f-Ashley
#5:  a-Lydia, b-Brett, c-Norah, d-Morgan, e-Aaron, f-Ashley

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 12

"Alright, pipe down, ya newbies!"

Swifty stiffened as she craned her neck toward the center of the circle. Hovering a few feet above the field was the toughest looking fairy she had ever seen. He had the face of a bulldog, his jaw thrust forward and his eyes glinted in the lantern light. His grey hair was buzzed close, flat on top and bristling. As he barked his orders, Swifty felt every muscle in her body tense.

"I said, pipe down!" A hush fell over the crowd, each fairy melting under his stern glare. "That's better. I am Sergeant Striker and I understand from Miss Marshland that some of you have been unsuccessful in your covert bedtime operations." The fairy crossed his brawny arms over his thick chest and surveyed the crowd. Swifty scooted back into the shadows, avoiding his piercing glare. "For this reason, I have been brought in to tighten up the ranks. To bring you all up to speed. A fairy who cowers before a sleeping child has no place on our team for the first day of school. Do you understand?" he barked. The cowering crowd only managed a mumbled response. "I said," he growled, his hands on his hips, "do you understand?"

"Yes, Sir," Swifty spluttered, joining the trembling chorus of voices around her.

"Let's see what you've got. I want every last one of you newbies on your feet and lined up behind..." His eyes scanned the circle, searching for his first target.

Swifty clenched her eyes shut. Hands clasped in her lap, willing the sergeant to pick someone else, she could hear Snap muttering under his breath, "Not me, not me, not me, not me..."

"You," Sergeant Striker barked. Beside her, Snap gasped. Opening one eye, Swifty grimaced. Sergeant Striker was pointing one beefy finger directly at her.

"Me, Sir?" She scrambled to her feet, wings quivering.

"You. Everybody...line up!"

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge (that is turning into a much loooonger challenge!) to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 11

Swifty landed soundlessly in the grass and tiptoed to where Snap sat, joining him. Folding her legs, criss-cross-applesauce, she cleared her throat and waited for him to turn his head. Snap didn't move. Undaunted, Swifty scooted to her right a few inches until she bumped into Snap, giving him a gentle nudge. With a sniff, Snap shifted further to the right and mumbled something, his words lost in the cavern he had made with his tangle of arms and legs.

Shaking her head, Swifty made a second attempt and scootched over again, brushing up against Snap's side. This time, Snap raised his head a few inches and looked at Swifty out of the corner of his eye. "What do you want? Come to poke fun at silly ol' Snap?" He removed his glasses and ran his sleeve across his face, his glistening eyes reflecting the lantern's light.

"I'm sorry, Snap," she mumbled, her heart heavy. "I'm sorry for hurting your feelings." Snap shrugged, but didn't turn away. Swifty continued, gathering her courage. "I was going to fly with you, you know. But you left..."

"Because you left first," he croaked. "You and Pip and, and all the rest of them." He glanced across the field at Dot and his fan club, his round face scrunched up and his glasses smeared. "Never mind." He buried his face again.

"Look," Swifty said, fists clenched. "I said I was sorry. Back at the Gnarled Log, I hurt your feelings, but I'm here now and I'm, well, I'm hoping you'll be my friend." Silence. In a last ditch effort, Swifty leaned against Snap, pressing her shoulder into his. "Please."

This time Snap didn't scoot away, but looked up at Swifty, his glasses two white orbs of lantern light. "Really?"

With a grin Swifty cocked her head in his direction and nudged him with her elbow. "Friends stick closer than a brother, right?"

"You've been talking to Murt, haven't you? That sounds like something he would say."

"No. That sounds like something wise you would say and Murt is just repeating it because it's true. So? Do you forgive me?"

A smile stole across Snap's face as he flung his arm around Swifty's shoulder. "I forgave you the minute you sat down."

Swifty felt the weight of the past half-hour fall away and she sighed happily. But her joy only lasted a moment. With the clanging of the bell, class began and her dinner turned back into stone. Tonight they would be tested on covert bedtime operations and Swifty still hadn't gotten the hang of maneuvering around fidgety sleepers. She could only hope her luck continued...or didn't get any worse.

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge (that is turning into a much loooonger challenge!) to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 10

Swifty allowed Pip to tug her down several of the front steps of the Gnarled Log before shaking free from her friend's grip. "Pip," she protested, "I'm going to fly with Snap." Turning back toward the cafe entrance, however, she was saddened to find herself alone. Snap was gone.

"He went off that-away," Murt made a vague gesture toward the darkness with his broom as he swept the front step, closing up his restaurant for the night. "That sweet boy can't compete with the likes of Dot, ya know. And he shouldn't have to. He's got more courage in his little pinkie," he raised his meaty hand and wriggled his little finger, "than most fairies have in their entire bodies. I'd hoped you would've appreciated that." He shook his head sadly. Where he stood in front of the half-opened door, Swifty could only make out his silhouette, the warm glow from inside casting his face in shadow, but she felt his disappointment and her face burned, ashamed.

"I'm sorry, Sir," she stuttered. "I just, um, my friend..."

Murt cut her off. "Just remember, a true friend sticks closer than a brother or a sister." With a nod, he closed the door and turned off the porch light, leaving Swifty in the dark all alone. Kicking off from the darkened steps, Swifty flew through the forest in the direction of the training field. Her eyes burned with unshed tears and she chewed on her lower lip, determined to do the right thing. If only she knew what that was.

Through the trees, she could spy the lanterns that encircled the lush clearing and the several dozen fairies who had arrived for the evening class. Swifty hovered over the field and scanned the crowd. Pip was seated near Dot and appeared to be, once again, enthralled with one of Dot's heroic tales, her sparkling eyes riveted to his face. Swifty scowled and continued her search. The class was a buzz of activity, fairies flitting here and there across the dark sky and as she scanned the faces of her classmates, she feared that perhaps he had decided to play hooky in an effort to avoid her. She wouldn't blame him, but she hoped he was somewhere so she could try to make things right. On her third pass over the crowd she finally spotted him.

Sitting below a lantern, directly across the circle from Dot, sat Snap. He was hunched in a ball, his round face hidden, his forehead resting on his bent knees. Only his blonde tuft of hair was visible, but Swifty knew it was him. She also knew she had hurt his feelings and what little she'd eaten for dinner turned to stone in her stomach. Taking a deep breath, Swifty flitted toward Snap.

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge (that is turning into a much loooonger challenge!) to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Running Buddies

I perch on the bench to tie my running shoes, waiting for Becca and Emily. There is a definite chill in the air this crisp fall morning and my icy fingers don't want to cooperate at my second attempt to double-knot my laces. I hear their laughter before I actually see them: my fellow runners, both dressed in lycra pants and sweatshirts. Their breath turns to frost in the air.

"It's about time you got here," I tease, jumping to my feet and rubbing feeling back into my hands. "I thought I was going to have to go it alone today."

Becca grins and points at her sister. "Poor Emily just spent the last ten minutes scouring little Teddy's room for all the pieces to his chess set. He was supposed to bring it to school this morning for show and tell."

"Unfortunately, the white bishop is still MIA," Emily says, shaking her head. "Why he felt the need to sleep with it last night, I'll never know. It can't have been very comfortable."

"Sounds like something my Jimmy would do," I say. "Let's get moving, I'm frozen."

We start out at an easy pace, letting our muscles warm up, each lost in our own thoughts. We set out for the green space behind the neighborhood, headed for the miles of trails that weave through the fields. The path is wide enough for us to run three abreast and as we settle into our running, our conversation comes in spurts.

"Are we still on for the Halloween 5k," Becca asks. "I think registration opens this week."

"I think it sounds fun. We're dressing up, right?"

"They have a free lunch afterwards if you're in costume, so I think we should."

"We could dress as pirates. But I don't know about running with any extra gear clanging around. What do you think, Janey?"

I feel my legs burning as we head up an incline and I have to wait to answer until we reach the top. Pausing to catch my breath, I take a sip of water. "I think we should go as the Pink Ladies from Grease."

"Oh, my golly!" Becca grins. "That would be awesome!" She starts off down the hill and we follow, single-file. She calls over her shoulder, "Should we wear, like, a 50's frock? A poodle skirt?"

Emily laughs, "Or we could all dress like Sandy at the finale? We already have the spandex!"

We're nearing the parking lot and I can see my car. My lungs are burning and my legs feel like rubber. I also have a sinking suspicion that there's a blister forming on my right heel. Breathless, we topple onto the park bench. I clutch my side and wince. "How far did we go?"

Becca checks her phone and grimaces. "Uh, a third of a mile. Only six more times around."

I groan. "Maybe we should just dress up with the kids and go trick-or-treating. It would be a whole lot easier."


Linking up this week with Writings and Ruminations. 505 words inspired by the picture above and using the following 5 words: blister, grease, frock, pirate, bishop.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 9

Pushing her food around on her plate, Swifty was relieved when Dot eventually finished his tale. There was a murmur of approval from the surrounding fairies. "Oh my goodness, Swifty! Weren't you terrified? I would have been shaking in my wings! And you, Dot, are so brave! Taking on that owl single-handedly. You're amazing!" Pip positively glowed as she beamed across the table at Dot.

For the umpteenth time that evening, Swifty rolled her eyes, exasperated by Dot's bragging and Pip's gushing. Sipping her glass of lavender lemonade, she looked around the table at her fellow classmates, eight sets of eyes fixed on Dot. They hang on his every word, hungry for more tales of his heroics...and my humiliation. Everyone one is completely captivated by Dot.

All except one. Directly across from Swifty sat a little round fairy, a tuft of blonde hair sticking up from the back of his head, his eyes peering at Swifty from behind a pair of thick glasses. Snap.

Just as Dot launched into yet another retelling of last week's heroic rescue of Swifty, a feat involving a hungry spider and her sticky web, Swifty caught Snap's eye. He offered a lopsided grin and a shrug, the candlelight glinting off the lenses of his glasses. Swifty smiled back, grateful to find that she wasn't the only fairy that had escaped Dot's storytelling spell.

"...So with one flick of my razor-sharp seed pod, I was able to cut Swifty free. Then, grabbing her by her belt, I hauled her out of the spider's home and flew us to safety..." Dot's final words were drowned out by the bell ringing overhead, signaling the end of dinner. Relieved, Swifty jumped from her seat and began to clear her plate.

"Let me get that for you."

Startled, Swifty turned around. Standing just behind her was Snap, the top of his tuft of hair just barely reaching Swifty's chin.  "Oh, thanks."

"No problem," Snap said, reaching up for Swifty's plate and balancing it on his own. "It doesn't look like you ate much," he said, surveying her untouched dinner.

"Yeah, well, the dinner conversation didn't do much for my digestion." She slipped her bag over her shoulder and joined Snap in line to deposit their plates at the kitchen.

"Dot has a way of turning heads. And stomachs." Snap grinned, his green eyes twinkling behind his glasses. "I wouldn't give too much weight to his words, though. He's rather flighty, " he winked, "blown whichever way the wind takes him. As long as there are girls to impress and dazzle, that is." Turning his attention to the frazzled cook behind the counter, he stood on his tiptoes and smiled broadly. "Compliments to the chef, Murt. You truly outdid yourself this evening. The soup was delicious."

"Thank you, Snap. It's always a pleasure to cook for someone with such a mature palate," Murt said, wiping his brow with a kitchen rag. Upon eyeing Swifty's plate, however, his eyes widened. "Was there a problem, Miss, with your meal?"

Before Swifty could defend herself, Snap slid the dirty plates across the counter, shaking his head. "Poor girl. She's not feeling well tonight, Murt," he soothed. "No worries. She'll be back tomorrow and ready to enjoy whatever you've got cooking."

"Honey ginger bisque with a side of fresh greens," Murt sang. "And for dessert, blackberry pie à la mode!"

"I can't wait, Murt! Sounds excellent," Snap grinned as he made his way toward the door, Swifty following close behind, peering over his head into the night.

"Wow. You and the cook are on really friendly terms," Swifty remarked. "Are you a foodie fairy, or what?"

Snap chuckled. "Well, I do like to eat, but I've found that making friends with the people I encounter everyday, makes everyday a little more, uh, friendly." He shrugged, a little unsure of himself. "And now I know to leave room tomorrow for pie!"

Swifty paused, looking puzzled at Snap and letting the crowds of other fairies file past them into the night. "You've got an interesting way of viewing life, Snap. I like it."

In the glow of the moon above, Swifty could just make out Snap's face, tinged a bit pink, but looking pleased with himself. "Thanks, Swifty. Not everybody feels the same way, you know."

"Excuse us, coming through." Dot and his fan club pushed past, the girls tittering to one another. "Out of the way, Snappy," he joked, a new wave of laughter filling the air. "Are you coming, Swifty? I don't want you getting into any new trouble. Snappy may have a way with words," he snickered, "but in a fight with a hawk, I think you'd be safer with me."

Swifty's eyes darted to Snap's face. His ears burned red and his jaw was clenched, eyes blinking rapidly. Dropping his gaze, his round face was cast in shadow as he focused on his feet, refusing to meet Swifty's eyes.

"Come on, Swifty," Pip called, clutching Swifty's hand. "We don't want to be late."

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge (that is turning into a much loooonger challenge!) to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Err is...Embarrassing

"Are you sure this is the right lot? I'm can't imagine using this space for the Mayor's reelection rally. I mean, look at these weeds," Captain Trent gestured to the waist high tumble weeds covering the rocky ground. "How are we supposed to get this cleaned up before Saturday?"

"I'll check the message again, Sir, but I think this is the place." The driver pulled out his phone and scrolled through his emails. "Here it is. Uh...yep. This is it; at the end of Elbert Road, on the right-hand side. I'm with you, though, this looks a little rough."

"Well, let's get started," Captain Trent slid from the truck and waved to the firemen in the truck behind him. "Alright, gentlemen. Grab your gloves and equipment and let's get to work. Start hacking down the tumble weeds and we'll drag the brush and fallen branches to the center of this field for burning this afternoon. We've got about three hours before the planning committee shows up, so let's be finished when they get here. If they want a space in the middle of this wilderness for gunnysack races and croquet, I intend to give it to them. Got it?" Turning back to the driver of his truck, he barked, "Carson, I want you to pull the engine up next to the water truck. We'll want the hoses on hand when we burn this brush. It's so dry, it'll go up like a tinder box."

"Yes, Sir."

In a matter of hours, the field was cleared. Captain Trent stood facing the blaze, grimacing in the intense heat. He hollered to one of his men, indicating a portion of scorched earth that needed to be hosed. The phone in his shirt pocket vibrated.

"Hello? What's that? No, Sir, we're just finishing up. We've been at it all morning, Mr. Mayor. Here. On Elbert Road." The captain felt his face burning and it had nothing to do with the bonfire in front of him. "Yes, Sir. Right away, Sir." Shoving his phone back into his pocket, he spun on his heel and came face to face with Carson.

"Uh, Sir?" Carson gulped. "This is Mr. Granger. He's the farmer that owns this land, Sir."

"Well now, I sure appreciate ya clearing this here field for me, don'tcha know? I didn't know how I was gonna get it ready to plant and, lo and behold, you all showed up. I'm down right elated, I am." The old farmer, rested one gnarled hand on the split-rail fence and grinned, revealing an astonishing lack of teeth.

"Sir? It would appear that I, uh, read that address wrong," Carson cleared his throat. "It was actually..."

"Albert Road, Carson. A-L-B-E-R-T."

"Yes, Sir. Uh, to err is human..."

"Carson," the Captain interrupted, "When we get back to the station, you are to report to Officer Paxton in the Forensic Pathology Department. She mentioned recently that she had several hundred boxes of reports to be filed. Congratulations, you just volunteered."

Linking up this week with Writings and Ruminations. 500ish words inspired by the picture above and using the following 5 words: gunnysack, pathology, croquet (the game), elate and human.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 8

Pushing open the oval door, Swifty stepped into the hollowed-out trunk of the old maple tree. She was greeted by the tinkling of the bell overhead and a cacophony of voices. The Gnarled Log Café was full of fairies both young and old tonight. Standing on her tiptoes, she peered over the heads of the fairies already seated, searching for Pip and hoping that her friend had indeed saved her a seat.

"I think they're over there," Dot shouted from behind, pointing to a table on the far side of the circular room. Swifty forced a smile to her face, wishing with all her might that he would meet up with his own friends and leave her be. Scanning the room, she finally spied the tips of Pip's turquoise wings and her friend's blonde ponytail bobbing as she animatedly talked to one of her table mates.

"Thanks," Swifty mumbled over her should and then ducked into the crowd, tucking her wings tightly around her as she wove between the overcrowded tables. Swifty barely missed colliding with an exasperated server as he darted through the crowd with his overladen tray.

"Watch it, Miss," he grumped, swiveling to the left and deftly catching a bread roll before it hit the floor. He scowled at her before thumping the tray on the nearest table and passing out the plates with a clatter.

Apologizing, Swifty navigated the final few feet to the table and plopped into one of the last available chairs. "You made it," Pip squeaked. "I was beginning to worry, what with it getting dark earlier and also the trouble you had last week..."Swifty rolled her eyes and reached for the basketful of bread in the middle of the table, slathering honey-butter over it before popping a bite into her mouth. Pip continued, "All I could think about was you tangled up in another nasty spider's web, sticky and stuck." Grimacing at the memory, Swifty stuffed another hunk of bread into her mouth and continued chewing. "So, as soon as Dot walked in the door, I sent him back out to find you."

"And I did," Dot said proudly as he slipped into the seat next to Swifty. "As promised!"

The bread turned to glue in Swifty's throat. Pip had sent Dot to rescue her? Not even her best friend had any confidence in her? What kind of fairy was she that she couldn't take care of herself? Swifty swallowed hard, the hunk of bread lodged in her throat. Wide-eyed, she clutched her throat, unable to breathe. Pip clamped her hands over her mouth, terrified.

In a flash, Dot sprang from his chair, wrapped his arms around Swifty and gave her a rough squeeze, freeing the lump of bread. Swifty coughed, eyes watering, cheeks burning. "Are you okay?" Pip cried, grasping Swifty's trembling hands.

"She'll be just fine," Dot remarked, settling back into his chair and crossing his legs. "I'm just glad I was here. And that I finished my Emergency Fairy Certification training yesterday. You've had quite a night, Swifty. I don't think I had better let you out of my sight." He grinned as he helped himself to the remaining piece of bread on Swifty's plate. "Did she tell you about the hawk tonight?" Swifty buried her head in her hands and groaned as Dot launched into his story, losing both her appetite and what was left of her confidence.

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 7

Swifty brushed dirt from the folds of her skirt while Dot crept back under the rose bush from which he had just pulled her. He had gone in search of her beaded bag, adding to Swifty's humiliation. "Of all the fairies in Frog's Hollow, it would have to be him," she mumbled to herself, incredulous at finding herself once again in debt to Dot. "How is it that he just so happens to be flying by when I find myself in trouble? Again. How humiliating! Infuriating! Exasperating!"

"I'm sorry...did you say something?" Dot peered out from under a thorny branch, his nose smudged with dirt.

"Umm," Swifty stuttered. "No. Nothing." She felt her cheeks burning, ashamed. "That is, thank you. Uh, for everything."

Dot stood up, handed Swifty her bag, and brushed his hands together. "No problem," he beamed. "I'm just happy to be of help. And I'm always looking for a chance to try out some of the new charms I've been perfecting. Pretty cool, huh?"

Swifty was grateful for the gathering dusk, ensuring that Dot didn't notice her rolling her eyes in exasperation. "Yeah, that was pretty great," she muttered.

"Did you see when I transformed into that hawk? You might have missed it, what with you falling headfirst into that bush." Swifty gritted her teeth, swallowing her retort. "That old bird never knew what hit him. I would love to hear him, back at the nest, recounting that attack to his bird buddies. I bet his head is still spinning."

"Right, well, thanks again. Umm, I'd better be going..."

"To the Gnarled Log? I was just headed there, too. I'll join you."

"Sure," sighed Swifty.

"Fantastic! I'm meeting Whiz and Flick there. They'll be so bummed they missed all the excitement. I guess we'll just have to fill them in." He winked. "You can demonstrate your fall and I'll wow them with my transformation."Swifty gawked, horrified at the prospect of reliving her humiliation in front of the other fairies. Speechless, she kicked off from the grass and took flight with Dot close on her heels, still yammering.

"They'll be so impressed! I don't know of anyone else from our class who has successfully performed a hawk charm, do you?" Swifty flutter her trembling wings faster, trying to distance herself from Dot, but it was in vain. For the next several minutes, Dot fine-tuned his retelling of his heroic rescue and with each version, he was braver and she was more bumbling.

As the warm lights of the Gnarled Log came into view, Swifty resigned herself to inevitable teasing that would ensue as soon as Dot opened his mouth. "It's going to be a long night," she mumbled, landing on the welcome mat of the cafe. "Let's get this over with."

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 6

The pursuing owl let out a piercing screech, filling Swifty with fear. Peering through the gathering dusk, she spied a hedge that surrounded the meadow of sunflowers. If she could make it to those rose bushes, she was certain that she would be able to squeeze between the thorny branches and find refuge, but there was still a lengthy distance to cross and with each beat of her predator's huge wings, he was inching ever closer to her. In a final burst of determination, Swifty tucked her head and willed her wings to flutter faster, aiming for the hedge directly beneath her.

Just a few feet from the rose bush, Swifty heard the owl's beak clicking at her heels. She wasn't going to make it! Any moment that razor sharp beak was going to find its target and she would be someone's dinner. The fairy closed her eyes, flying blindly, and prayed for a miracle.

Suddenly she heard another screech followed by a thud, like a heavy bag of flour hitting the floor. Swifty's eyes flew open and she chanced a glance over her shoulder. The owl was no longer chasing her, but had changed direction in pursuit of something else. Someone else. Swifty's last glimpse before tumbling into the rose bush was a burst of green glitter and owl feathers.

The exhausted fairy lay in a jumbled heap at the base of the rose bush. Her heart was thumping and her wings hung limp. Sitting up gingerly, she touched her forehead, feeling a lump already forming where she had struck the trunk of the bush in her haphazard flight to safety. She had also grazed her leg on a thorn and she grimaced as she dabbed at the wound with the hem of her skirt.

Outside the hedge, Swifty could hear the owl still screeching and someone shouting. Silently, she crept to the edge of the bush and peered through the green leaves, watching the battle that raged in the evening light.  Twice the owl approached the mysterious fairy and attacked and twice the fairy dodged and struck, green glitter filling the night sky. As the owl circled for a third strike, Swifty realized that the fairy wasn't shouting, but laughing.

"Come on, Old Hoot! Surely you've got more in you than that! Ha, ha!"

Wide-eyed she watched as the owl, beak open for attack, dove at the taunting fairy, wings tucked back and talons at the ready. At the last possible moment before impact, the fairy let out a battle cry and threw his hands together. There was an explosion of glitter and suddenly, in his place, was a giant hawk, wings spread and claws splayed. In the collision that followed, the owl let loose an angry hoot as he was thrown backwards, tumbling through the night. The fairy laughed, spun a pirouette and transformed back into his usual self, calling to the retreating bird, "That will teach you to pick on somebody your own size, Old Hoot!"

With a final look at the sky, the fairy turned his attention to the bush from out of which Swifty was peeking. He smiled. Zipping toward the ground, the fairy added a nifty backflip to his descent and landed with a flourish. "You alright in there? That was quite a scare, but you can come out now. Old Hoot won't be back to bother you again." Swifty sighed before crawling out from under the thorny branches. The green-clad fairy offered his hand, raising Swifty to her trembling feet. "Swifty? Is that you?" he asked, surprised.

"Yes, it's me, Dot. You've come to my rescue. Again."

As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 5

The sun had begun to set as Swifty flew out from between the sweeping branches of the ancient willow tree, leaving Miss Flit to finish grading papers. Her grin stretched from ear to ear as she glided over the lush meadow below. With a squeal, she dipped and dove, unable to contain her joy. "This is it!" she shrieked. "After tomorrow I'll be able to presto-chango from fairy to butterfly and back again with the greatest of ease! I know I can do it! And when I do, I'll show Dot that he's not the only amazing fairy in Frog's Hollow!"

She truly felt lighter than air as she zipped along, zigging and zagging through the field of sunflowers like it was a slalom course. "Yahoo!" she shouted as she shifted direction, shooting up towards the clear evening sky. She squinted into the wind, focusing on the twinkling stars that had begun to appear in the darkening sky. Swifty's eyes were watering again, but this time it was due to the rushing air blasting her straight in the face as she raced toward the stars. Her shimmering wings were almost invisible, beating rapidly as she pushed herself to go higher, to go faster.

Suddenly, in spite of her blurred vision, Swifty caught sight of a dark shape to her right. Glancing over her shoulder, she wasn't sure what it was, but it was approaching quickly, gliding noiselessly on wings spread wide. Swifty slowed her ascent, blinking rapidly to clear her vision. She gasped.

An owl! An owl on the hunt.

In the next heartbeat, Swifty twisted her body away from the giant bird and began to dive, plummeting back to the meadow below. Straining her wings she shot like an arrow; her target:  the safety of the trees and bushes on the ground. She didn't need to look back to know the owl was still in hot pursuit. She could hear the beating of his wings, inching closer with each second.

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 4

Swifty twiddled with the buckle on her bag before speaking. "It's just that, um, I was wondering if, uh...I w-wondered if it would be p-possible for me to come in early t-tomorrow morning and work on my butterfly charm." The last words tumbled out in a rush. Swifty lowered her eyes and studied the floor. "I j-just thought that maybe if I had some help, I could have it all figured out by the first d-day of school." Daring to finally meet her teacher's eyes, she smiled tentatively.

Miss Flit pursed her lips, tapping them with her red pencil. "Hmmm...I see. Have you had any success with this particular charm?" Chewing on her lower lip, Swifty shook her head, her gaze slipping to the floor again. Miss Flit shook her head. "I don't know, dear. If you haven't mastered this charm by now, I don't know that you can expect to be ready in just two days. Which, of course, greatly hinders your ability to fully participate on the first day of school." Tears welled up in Swifty's eyes. "We can't very well have you fluttering about, undisguised, threatening our secrecy and our safety."

Swifty nodded briskly, fighting back her tears. "I...I understand," she choked, turning toward the door. "Thank you, Miss Flit."

"Swifty?" Miss Flit's voice softened as she slipped off her reading glasses. Swifty stopped, but didn't turn around, one fat tear rolled down her cheek and splashed on the wooden floor. The clock above the teacher's desk tick-tocked in the silence that filled the room. After a few moments, Miss Flit sighed. "Alright. I will meet you here at first light and we'll see what we can do."

Swifty spun on her heel, beaming. "Thank you! Oh, thank you! I really and truly think I can get the hang of it, especially with your help! Thank you, Miss Flit!" Fluttering her delicate wings, she hovered an inch off the floor and floated towards the door.

"You're very welcome, dear. And Swifty?" The young fairy paused at the threshold to the classroom. "Please, be on time," Miss Flit said, eyebrows raised.

Blushing, Swifty nodded and then soared out the door, headed toward the warm lights of the Gnarled Log Café.

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 3

The melodious warble of a goldfinch floated through the open window, signaling the end of the day. "Alright class, that's all for now. Please tidy up your desks and push your stools in. Harmony, I need your homework from yesterday's lesson on the proper methods for telling twins apart. And Glisten? Please work on your penmanship. I need to be able to read your homework if you expect me to give you a fair grade."

The room filled with giggles and the rustling of papers as the students packed their belongings. Swifty sat quietly at her desk, looking over her notes and waiting for the hubbub around her to fade. Pip, looking over her shoulder, called to her. "Swifty, do you want to join us?" The little fairy gestured to several other fairies near the door. "We're headed over to the Gnarled Log to have some dinner before this evening's flight lessons."

Swifty peeked at the line of students in front of Miss Flit's desk and sighed. " go on ahead. I'll try to catch up in a bit."

"Okay. We'll save you a seat." Pip and the others flew off, leaving Swifty to pack her bag alone. Once her fellow-fairy students had finally left the classroom, Swifty slipped out of her seat, pushed in her stool and made her way toward Miss Flit's desk.

Miss Flit was busy grading papers, humming off-key to herself and didn't notice Swifty standing there. After several awkward moments, Swifty cleared her throat, causing her teacher to jump. "Oh! Swifty, dear! I thought you'd left."

"No, Miss Flit. I hoped I could talk to you for a moment."

"Of course." Miss Flit gazed up at Swifty, peering up at her through her thick reading glasses, making her look more frog-like than fairy. "What's on your mind?"

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taking Flight pt. 2

Only Miss Flit's voice could be heard in the school house that sat nestled in the knot of an old maple tree. Twenty-three fairies, heads bent over their papers, scribbled notes, trying to keep up with their teacher. "So as you can see, class, it is extra, extra important that you keep your bag of jitter glitter well stocked. You never know when your child might experience additional bouts of nervousness during their first day.

"Why, I remember my very first student. Her name was Heidi and she was adorable. She had little freckles on her nose and her long hair was curled into little ringlets for the first day of Kindergarten. Poor little Heidi clung to her mother from the moment she walked out the front door of her home until she arrived at school. As they waited for the school bell, her dear mother managed to peel herself free from her daughter's fierce grip. But only for a few moments. As soon as Heidi's teacher opened the door, she spun right around and latched back onto her mother. I used almost my entire bag of glitter on that dear child before she had even hung up her backpack!

"Then, on top of it all, Heidi's sweet mother started to tear up and I feared for a moment that she wasn't going to be able to leave her little girl in the care of her most reliable teacher. I was forced at the last minute to sprinkle her with a few generous handfuls of glitter, too. Gratefully, my fellow fairy, Violet, had a brave little boy that day and she shared some of her glitter with me. What a relief! Otherwise, I fear Heidi would have sat in her chair all morning, lips quivering and nose sniffling. And her mother would have sat outside the classroom door until school was over. As it was, with a few extra doses of jitter glitter for both of them, Heidi made two new friends and greeted her mother (who had enjoyed a lovely morning walk all by herself) with a smile, wearing an adorable crown she had made with stickers and crayons!"

The fairies clapped and cheered. Swifty, using her favorite magenta pen, wrote the words, "Extra Jitter Glitter" in her notebook and underlined it several times.

Image courtesy of Pipii


As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. Be sure to start at the beginning...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Taking Flight

Swifty glided through the open window of the miniature schoolhouse and landed without a sound on the old wooden stool at the back of the room. She was late, as usual, and hoped Miss Flit hadn't noticed. Of course, that old hawk-eye had.

"Nice of you to join us, Swifty," Miss Flit clicked her tongue. Swifty's already pink cheeks flushed as she mumbled an excuse, eyes downcast. Miss Flit peered at her a moment over her half-rimmed glasses before turning her attention back to her class. "Alright class, as I was saying, school begins in just two days..." The class erupted into a chorus of cheers, drowning out her voice.

Pip, the littlest fairy, beamed up at Swifty. "Aren't you excited," she squeaked. "I've waited my whole, entire life to be a First Day Fairy and now it's finally my turn!" Pip clapped her hands resulting in an explosion of turquoise glitter around the two fairies. "Oops!" Pip clamped her hands over her mouth and giggled, clouds of glitter hovering over her blonde head like a halo.

Swifty simply shrugged, her pale pink wings quivering. Turning her gaze to the front of the room, she looked past the hour-glass in the center of the room and the iridescent grains of sand trickling down, counting down the final moments until the first bell rang on the first day of school, and focused instead on the black ornate plaque that hung behind Miss Flit. The plaque read: Star Fairy of the Year. Swifty screwed up her delicate face as she read the name below the gold stamped words: Dot.  Not this year, Dot. This year it's going to be me. 

"Class," Miss Flit tapped her desk with her ruler. "Please quiet down, class. We have lots to talk about today." The commotion in the small classroom quieted down and another handful of iridescent sand fell through the crystal hour-glass. "Very good. First, we will discuss the use of Jitter Glitter for calming the nerves of our newest students. Please open your books to Chapter 1." There was a rustling of pages being flipped. Swifty sat up straight and tall in her chair and gave her fairy wings a flutter, determination etched in her face. I'll be the best Star Fairy they've ever seen. Just you wait and see.

Image courtesy of Pipii

As part of a personal 30-Day challenge to write everyday and in light of this new season of life with all the kids in school, I have begun a little tale. A story of new beginnings, bumpy landings and finding our wings. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Artist

"Oh! My feet are killing me," Myrtle moaned.

"You ought to kick off those old sling-backs and stuff them in your handbag." Gertrude responded.

"I can't stand here in just my stocking feet," Myrtle whispered. "No doubt Penelope would see me and share that scandalous tidbit with everyone and I'd never be able to show my face here again. Ever since she told Betty about the terrible crush I had on Betty's oldest brother, I don't trust her."

"That was well over 40 years ago, Myrtle. You really must let bygones by bygones." Myrtle dabbed at her forehead with a lace handkerchief and ignored Gertrude's comment, trying to wriggle her cramped toes. "Truly, Murt, nobody gives a hoot what Penelope Hatfield says. Ever since she showed up at the Fireman's Ball in that atrocious pink getup, wearing her white peep-toe heels, before Labor Day, mind you, she hasn't had a leg to stand on. Just take them off or stop whining. I'm trying to hear the speaker."

Myrtle shuffled her sore feet and craned her neck to see over the sea of perfectly coiffed buns and pillbox hats, peering toward the gentleman at the front. Thanks to the ancient sound system, it was almost as difficult to hear him as it was to see him. "Why on earth didn't they think to put him up on a stage? No one past the front row can see a single thing."

"Shush. At the very least, I'd like to hear him. He's been on TV, you know."

Myrtle rolled her eyes. "Maybe we should have stayed home and watched him from the comfort of your love seat, Gertie. Then we wouldn't be standing in this crowd, suffering this humidity..."

Gertrude shushed her again, "Pipe down, Murt. He'll be finished soon and then we can go home. Okay?"

Myrtle nodded, then she slipped off her heels and cringed, feeling the cold linoleum under her feet. Oh, heavens. When was the last time this floor was cleaned? I'll have to throw these stockings away as soon as I get home. And they were brand new, too. On top of it all, now I'm too short to see through all these blue-haired ladies. All she could see between the ladies in front of her was the curly brown hair of the guest artist. She elbowed Gertrude, "What's he doing now?"

"'s amazing! He makes it look so simple."

Over the crackle of the speakers, Myrtle heard the painter's mellow voice. "Now, let's add some little trees right over here. Some happy little trees. Just soft, gentle brush strokes. There. Now, aren't they lovely?"

A pitter pattering of gloved-applause filled the room followed by a chorus of "ooh's" and "aah's".

Gertrude beamed. "What a treat! Do think he would give an autograph? Come on, Murt, put your shoes back on and hobble along with me."

With a sigh, Myrtle eased her toes back into her shoes. Standing upright, however, she spied Penelope hanging on the arm of Bob Ross, gushing over his masterpiece. "I think I'll wait for you in the car," she mumbled and tottered away.

Linking up (just a bit late) this week with Writings and Ruminations. 526 words inspired by the pictures above.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Knit, Purl, Purl

Grandma Ruby adjusts her eyeglasses, peering at the knitting needles grasped in her gnarled hands. Squinting, she counts her stitches and scowls. "I dropped another stitch," she grumbles. "This blanket'll be skeedaddled if I don't pay better attention."

Lost in the cushions of the overstuffed chair across the room, Aunt Beatrice shakes her head. She looks up from the pink baby blanket in her own lap and says, "Tsk, tsk. I think it's the heat. And the humidity. This weather turns my brain to mush, I tell you. I can't keep count of my stitches to save my soul." She sits up straighter, her stockinged feet barely brushing the floor. Peeking over her bifocals, she glances at the blanket draped across her sister's lap. "You've chosen such a lovely shade of yellow. The color of sweet churned butter, I'd say."

Grandma Ruby gently shakes the blanket loose; a soft cascade of sunshine spills across her knobby knees and pools on the floor at her feet. "It is lovely and so soft. Perfect for wrapping up a wee babe. 'Course sitting under it today is a bit warm." She gathers the afghan and hangs it over the arm of her chair, dabbing at her brow with her lace handkerchief. "Could you fetch us a glass of that lemonade I made up this morning, dear?" Grandma Ruby asks, turning her gaze towards me. "It's in the icebox, Margaret. Be sure to add plenty of ice."

I smile at my grandmother, unfold myself from the wicker love seat and, placing my Jane Austen novel on the coffee table, shuffle to the kitchen. I can still hear them warbling to one another as I fill the Depression ware glasses with the frosty, sweet drink. After placing the drinks on my grandmother's silver serving tray, I return to the sunroom. Grandma Ruby stops mid-sentence and colors slightly before returning intently to her knitting.

"Grandma, were you talking about me again?" I tease, setting their refreshment on the coffee table alongside the vase of red roses from Grandma's garden. "You know that's not polite." Patting her gently on the shoulder, I peck her on the cheek before settling back into my seat.

My grandmother offers her thanks, but before I have a chance to reach for my book, she adds, "I was just saying that I hoped your little one enjoys this labor of love, that's all." My tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice slips to the floor as I gape at the two little old ladies across the room.

"Grandma! Don't you think you should wait for me to find my own Mr. Right first?"

"As long as you're not waiting for your own Mr. Darcy," Aunt Beatrice titters.

Grandma Ruby returns to her knitting, avoiding my eyes. Over the click of her needles, I hear her mutter, "Well...don't dilly-dally. This blanket is a dozen feet long as it is."

Linking up this week with Writings and Ruminations. 488 words inspired by the pictures above.