Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful For...

close friends who are always there for me
my noisy family
an unexpected day off from school
being able to read even though I'm a girl
living in the beautiful mountains
handwritten letters
living in a country where I don't have to worship God in secret
three purring balls of fur curled up at my feet
okay, I guess I'll be thankful for the crazy dog, too...
my flute
cozy winter evenings
warm mugs of chai tea in the mornings
my warm house
our right to bear arms (just went deer hunting Monday, in fact!)
winter sunrises

Lately I've also come to realize some things that are blessings in disguise. God has been showing me lately that I need to be grateful for the things that are hard to see the good in. These things aren't always pleasant, but I need them in my life because they're good for me.
  • The long commutes to and from school
  • The funny idiots in my history class
  • My alarm clock; enough said there!
  • The ache of missing someone-- it makes seeing them again all the sweeter
  • Crowded hallways-- they teach me patience
  • My baby brother who won't sleep unless he's being held

May God's grace be with you all both this Thanksgiving season-- and every day of your lives.
What are you most thankful for?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter Wasteland Tag!

We've all been there. Autumn is over, but the holidays aren't quite here yet.does certainly doesn't feel like "the most wonderful time of the year." It's cold, wet, windy, and you're already sick of this think called "snow."

Well, Clara tagged me for this awesome Winter Wasteland tag! You can see her original post here. This tag is really simple. Just come up with 5-15 things you like to do in the winter, then tag 5-10 people!

  • Write a letter. If you don't have a pen pal, you should get one! They're awesome! Or write a letter to a cousin or friend. It's always a treat to get something in the mail.
  • Spend a few minutes on Pinterest. (A. FEW. MINUTES. Don't be like me and go on Pinterest for one quick recipe, and then find yourself still there three hours later reading a Tumblr Pin about whether penguins have knees.) Find some cute winter craft ideas, then go make them!
  • Do a winter photo shoot outside with your friends or siblings. Or, if you don't like the way your nose turns cherry red out in the snow (I know mine does), do a photo shoot of your dolls or pets.
  • Play hide and seek in the house.
  • Make tons and tons of paper snowflakes and leave them everywhere for people to trip over. Just kidding-- hang them up as decoration!
  • Have a winter party! Make winter-y crafts and Christmas cookies, go sledding or have a snowball fight, drink hot chocolate, listen to Christmas music, and use extra time to work on your gifts for other people. (Don't work on your gifts for each other, of course-- they're supposed to be a surprise!)
  • Give your pets some quality time.  They get bored sometimes, too!
  • Find a really good series and read through it. Or if you don't like reading, find a new show to obsess over.
  • Try out some yummy new recipes.
  • Create a blogging tag. Yup, just like this one. Be original-- come up with a new tag that will blow away the minds of your readers! Or at least help them beat winter boredom, too.

I tag:

A Girl Without A Name
Vanshi Mehta

And the first person to comment "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!" :D

Adventures of the Spare Oom

via Google Search Results
So, my family took a little weekend trip...

This time last night, my cousin Isabelle  and I were braving the "Spare Oom" at Mommaw Hatfield's house in Kentucky. She and I got promoted to the little room adjoining the kitchen, the one with a closet that makes funny noises and the heavy purple drapes blocking out all sunlight. The Younger Six were sleeping in the basement-- where we normally hang out too-- but last night they were being particularly rowdy, so it was decided that an adult would supervise the Younger Six. After all, Isabelle and I were old enough to sleep on our own, weren't we?

As it turns out, we are not.

via Google Search Results

 At first the idea of our own bedroom was exciting. We felt grown up and privileged. Now we would finally have the chance to talk privately. (And look through all those old photo albums in the closet we aren't allowed to touch without adult supervision.)
Bedtime rolled around. Suddenly the idea of sleeping without all the others seemed lonely.

That, however, didn't stop us from vigorously running and jumpig into the big queen-sized bed. (No, before you ask, there were no Aunt Josephines sleeping in it. Thank goodness.) It was like landing on a giant pile of cotton candy, all soft and fluffy. We turned out the light. All was silent for a moment.

"It's dark." remarked Isabelle. I sat up, peering into the blackness.

"You're right." I said.

I got up and hunted around the house for a flashlight. Mommaw found me-- as luck would have it, the Younger Six hadn't driven her into a bad mood yet-- and gave me one of those old fashioned night lights.

When I returned, the door was locked. I knocked.


"Mr. Tumnus."

"Oh, good. It's you." Isabelle let me in. She and I spent the next hour making shadow puppets that battled each other. (Ahem, "teenagers" doesn't mean "mature.") When we got bored with that, I got out an armful of photo albums from the closet. These were carefully scrutinized. "Haha! Look, here's  you-- you looked like a boy when you were three!" "Shut up. Here's one of you." "Oh. That's embarrassing." When I returned the books to the closet, I noticed two little boxes near the back of the shelf. Being of curious nature, I got them out. I handed one to my cousin and opened the other myself.

"This one's of my parents' wedding!"

"And this one is my parents' wedding!"

Around midnight we were finally tired out. Isabelle helped me put the photos back up. When I went to put the boxes back on their shelf, I started to lose my balance. I put my arm out to steady me, but found that there was no wall there! I caught my balance just before I slammed into the shelf.  The closet was much deeper than I'd thought. "Isabelle, look how far this goes back. Come on, I bet Narnia's in here!"

"If it starts snowing, I'll go back for coats." she said. We went as far back as we could.

Unfortunately, there was no Narnia behind the old coats. Just a big boiler that made a lot of noise. We were disappointed, but at least now we'd have a good hiding place for the next time all the cousins played hide and seek.

Unable to sleep with the nightlight on, we yanked it out and finally laid down. It was dark-- the kind of heavy, suffocating dark that presses down on you like it wants to smother you. Sensing Isabelle's tenseness, I began drumming my hand rhythmically on the wall. Thump thump, thump thump, thump thump...

"It's the beating of the Telltale Heart," I whispered. "That eye... you can feel it staring at you, can't you?"

"Stop it!" she hissed. "Listen." I stopped. She was right-- there was something. It was a hissing, growling noise. Something rumbled, too. It all came from the closet. We whimpered, curling up in the center of the bed together, barely breathing. "What is that?!" "I don't know!" Slowly we peered over the top of the covers, trying to see through the darkness. All we could see were a few glowing lights. And from here, they looked like glowing yellow eyeballs. Everything seems evil at night-- even the innocent ticking of the clock.

Tick, tick, tick...

"It's the alligator." I whispered.

"What alligator?"

"The one that swallowed the clock and Captain Hook's hand! It's coming for us through the closet!" I was rewarded with a sharp dig in the side.

"I thought we had a Narnia theme tonight, not Neverland! And stop trying to scare me."

"I'm just as scared as you are! You never know what that closet could lead to..." I said. My words ended in a yawn, and the next thing I knew it was morning. The smell of sausage floated in from under the crack below the door. "Isabelle," I whispered. "Wake up and smell the bacon."

"We made it through the night." she said, yawning.

"Darn," I sighed. "I kept hoping Mr. Tumnus would come out of that closet in the middle of the night and take us to Narnia." Then, "We are never doing that again. At least not in this room."


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Blogger Recognition Award

I was nominated by Clara at Reasons To Smile for this award. Thanks so much, Clara! She runs a beautiful little blog here. You should check it out!
1. Thank the person who nominated you and share a link to their blog.
2. Give a short story of how you stared your blog and some tips for other bloggers
3. Choose 15 bloggers to nominate for the award, and comment on each of their blogs so they know you nominated them.
4. Have fun!
How I Came to Start My Blog:
Well, I read a lot of blogs already and blogging looked like a lot of fun. I also read this post at The Write Practice about building your writers' platform, and decided I wanted to show my writing to someone besides my cats. :) So when I finally got my own email address, I started a blog where I would post pieces of my writing. Now it's more of a personal blog than part of a writing platform, but I think I like it better that way.
Tips for Other Bloggers:
 Blog about things you love, and don't worry about who reads it or how many followers you have. Just be you, and other kindred spirits will find you. :)

Also, this is something I learned from Emily over at Lynde Avenue. Ever wondered how to put a direct link to your blog in a comment? Even if you're like me and you're not very good at HTML codes, you can do it. Copy and paste this code into the comment, and then replace the letters in all caps with your information.
So mine looks like this:
<a href="">The Silver Flute</a>
When I publish the comment, it turns out like this:
The Silver Flute
And the Nominees!
Chloee: Yes I'm Irish
Lydia: Planet Lydia
The other Lydia: Peanut Butter Girl
RussianPsych: A Russian Girl's Diary
A Girl Without A Name: Sunsets and Sundays
arushee bhoja: Unadorned Gifts
Amy-Anne Williams: The Blog Hermit

Hope y'all have fun with this award!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Little Excuse

I haven't posted much in the past few weeks, but believe me, I have a very good excuse. He's a little excuse, but... :)

This is my newest baby brother!

Andrew James (AJ)
9 lbs., 3 0z.

Why are you all looking at me!?

He was born late last Tuesday, and my house has been crazy busy ever since. I think little AJ is wondering if he got sent home with the wrong family. He always looks at us like we're insane! But he has nothing to worry about. Since he's the youngest, I have a feeling we're all going to spoil him a bit.

I will try to post more tomorrow. See y'all!

--Rebecca Jane

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Caramel-Covered Apple Slices

All right, so this afternoon I had a bit of a craving for caramel-covered apples. When I looked in the cabinet and discovered that we had no caramel, I decided to make some. Just thought I'd share the recipe with you!

Okay, so for the caramel, you'll need
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 stick of butter or margarine
  • a large saucepan
  • a spoon
Melt the butter on low, then add in the brown sugar. When the sugar has dissolved into the butter completely, pour in the sweetened condensed milk. While stirring, very very slowly raise the temperature to high until the mixture is thick and golden brown. It should take about 15-20 minutes tops.
(Another alternative for easy caramel is just to boil the entire can of sweetened condensed milk for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours, but I didn't have time for that.)

I then used an apple-cutter to make some apple slices...

And dipped them in the caramel. Then I set the slices on a sheet of wax paper.
When that was done, I put them in the freezer until the caramel was hard. Voila! Caramel-covered apple slices.
My family apparently thought they turned out pretty good because they devoured all of the apples when they were done. :)

(Note: Sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, but the lighting in our kitchen is horrible.)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Happy Birthday to My Blog!

Once upon a time, a girl started a blog. Today, she has been posting for a whole year!

Unbelievable! (You can see my first post here. Oh, how much I have changed. And yet, in so many ways, I'm still the same-- if that makes any sense. :)

So, as my 1 year blog-anniversary, I was thinking about doing some sort of writing contest or something... maybe, since y'all liked the six-word-story so much, I could do a six-word-story writing contest? Or maybe just a regular writing contest, or a poetry showcase, or... well, what do you think? Tell me in the comments!

-- xoxo Rebecca

P.S. Sorry this is so short-- we have a guest speaker at church tonight, and we're leaving in just a few minute!

P.P.S. I just felt like writing a second P.S. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cats, Violins, and Letters

Quick piece I wrote that is part of a novel I've been working on... you like? It's still pretty rough:

    I sat on the porch railing with my violin like I always do. I lifted my bow to the strings and began playing “Greensleeves”, like I always do. And, like always, a curse word rang out from the open door of the kitchen of the next door restaurant.
    I smiled wryly, continuing to serenade the cook. He hates it when I play my violin outside, which is the entire reason I do it. I’m contrary like that. And there's nothing he can do about it.
    “Claire!” came my grandmother’s voice. “Quit harassing Michael. Get in here and finish peeling the potatoes.”
    “In a minute, Mercedes!” I yelled. Meanwhile, I continued to draw the bow across the strings, smiling at the swearing in the background which created a sort of... harmony. Michael hates it when he hears me play. And not because it’s bad-- I’m actually first chair in the high school’s orchestra-- it’s because Michael says all the noise I make scares away his business.
    I say Michael scares away all his business. I mean, a gruff, bald, biker-man with pictures of demons tattooed on his arm isn’t likely to draw in families with little kids. And families with little kids is pretty much the only customers you’re going to get in a town like Jessimon.
    Oh, and another thing Michael doesn’t like: cats.
   Which is why I now have three.
    “Good girl, Topaz,” I murmured, rubbing the slinky black cat fondly under the chin. I’d trained Topaz since kittenhood to catch rodents and birds and lay them at the exits of Michael’s restaurant. My cat had just completed another dirty deed. “Now wait for it. Three… two… one…”
    A man’s scream pierced the air.
    “What the devil!” Michael bellowed. “That d--ned cat of yours! When I get my hands on that--”
    I smiled to myself, patting the feline once more.
.    “Claire!” screeched my grandmother. “I mean it!”
    “Okay, Mercedes, I’ll be in in a minute!”
    But first, I said to myself, to put another Letter in the Tree.
    I stretched my legs slowly towards the ground and lowered myself down. Clomping briskly down the steps, I felt in my pocket for the Letter.
    It was a small, square piece of paper, eight inches by eight inches, folded in half twice. I smiled with satisfaction as I read over my words, which I had written carefully in a sprawling, spidery script.
    I made my way through the hemlocks on the other side of the road. Mr. Strauser is fine with kids playing in the part of his property that’s covered in trees. As long as you stay out of his fields, he won’t shoot you.
    We used to play here, Isaac and me. We were little kids. We didn’t get along with the children our own age-- they were all stupid--  and yet we were still knee-high to all the kids who had brains that didn’t revolve around the latest episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
     All we had was each other.
    We used to leave each other letters in the Letter Tree. But now Isaac’s gone. His mom died in a car wreck and his father killed himself not long after. He got sent away to a foster home when we were twelve. They didn't even let him say goodbye.
    So I just fill up the Letter Tree. Some tiny, foolish part of me keeps thinking maybe-- with some miracle-- he’ll answer someday.

A Post That is Actually About Flutes! (I've Got the Badinerie Blues)

I haven't posted much this week! But good news-- the PSAT test is finally over, so I can start posting on a regular schedule! Yay! I am so sick of studying. And it was all pointless, since what I studied wasn't even on the test. Seriously, the math section was all Greek to me.

Something else, though, has come up and it may interfere with my blogging as much as the PSAT did. It's called all-state band. I got the music yesterday and, well--

(Sorry it's sideways.
My computer is being stubborn today and won't fix it.)

AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Help. It's a level five. The highest level of music you can possibly play is a six, I believe. I did a quick Youtube search of the song-- Badinerie, a very famous piece by Bach-- because my head was spinning and I couldn't make sense of it and, well, this is what I found:

After watching that amazing display of talent, I just sat there for about thirty minutes, not moving. How. On. Earth... no. No way. No way! How am I supposed to do that!? In less than a month!? If anyone needs me, I'll be curled up in a fetal position on the floor....

I did eventually snap out of it and start trying to make sense of the sheet music. It's starting to make a little more sense, and I can play the first three measures. I know most of my readers aren't flute players, but do any of you have any advice?

So, in summary, I may be practicing every spare moment for the next few weeks! In fact, that's what I'm off to do right now! Cheerio!

--xoxo Rebecca

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Six Word Story

When Jonathyn plays, the world listens.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Chocolate Book Tag

Clara tagged me for this wonderful Chocolate Book Tag. Before we begin, I'll hand out some imaginary internet chocolate for you all to enjoy while you're reading this. *gives out chocolate* Okay, is that everyone? Good. Let's get started!

1. Dark Chocolate (a book that covers a dark topic)
The Night of the Hunter by Davis Grubb

This is an old book with a dark, creepy setting. It's told in a sort of ballad-like form, with no quotation marks. I was very impressed with the way Mr. Grubb wrote the character's dialogue. He got the West Virginia accents down to a tee. There were, however, a few words I don't exactly approve of. Definitely a book for mature readers.
Poverty-stricken Mr. Harper kills a clerk and robs a store in a moment of desperation, and hides the money before the police catch up to him. He goes to jail and is executed for his crimes. A murderous ex-convict, Harry Powell, knows about the hidden treasure and has come after Mr. Harper's two children. He calls himself "Reverend Powell" and cons their mother into marrying him, hoping they will tell him where their father hid the money. When they fail to share the secret, he does something terrible to their mother and the two children flee to the countryside. "Preacher" comes after them, hunting them like a fox stalks its prey.
The creepiest part? This book was based on the true story of Harry Powers, who was hanged in the 1930's for killing three widows and two children. (I apologize if I've just given you all nightmares.) Recommended for people who like thriller novels, Southern Gothic, and realistic dialogue.

2. White Chocolate (a light-hearted and humorous read)
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

The Willoughbys

A newer book by one of my favorite authors. Very upbeat and funny. I laughed out loud several times while reading it.
Tim, the twins-- Barnaby A and Barnaby B-- and their sister Jane are not a normal family. One day their parents decide they don't want to be burdened with children anymore and leave them in the care of a nanny. The four have many adventures, including encounters with an abandoned baby, a candy magnate, and a mother and son who were thought to be lost long ago.
Recommended for anyone who likes humor, references to classic works of children's literature, and parodies.

3. Milk Chocolate (a book with a lot of hype that you're dying to read)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I know you chose this one for Milk Chocolate, too, Clara, but I've been dying to read this book for so long! I haven't seen the movie, but I've heard it's amazing. I've also heard equally positive reviews about the book. I cannot wait to read it!

4. Caramel-filled chocolate (a book that made you feel all gooey inside)
Girls of Lighthouse Lane #4: Amanda's Story by Erika Tamar


A Victorian-era twist on Romeo and Juliet, but with a happy ending. This was the first "romance" book I really read, and it's just so sweet. Recommended for preteen girls, people who like happy endings, and people who like Victorian settings.

5. Wafer-less Kit-Kat (a book that surprised you)
Book Three in the Divergent Trilogy: Allegiant

Caution: Do not read unless you have several boxes of tissues. I can't tell you why this book was so sad and surprising without spoiling it for you.
Recommended for anyone who likes dystopian novels, The Hunger Games, and books with lots of action.

6. Snickers (a book you're going nuts about)
I would say The Fault in Our Stars, but I'm afraid I'd end up fangirling too hard and embarrass myself. So I'll say The Giver by Lois Lowry.

The Giver Cover.gif

I just read this book two weeks ago, after hearing about the movie which Taylor Swift plays in, and decided to read the book. AMAZING. Definitely a very original book.
Jonas lives in a society that has converted to "Sameness". Sameness got rid of all pain and strife, but also did away with all emotional depth and personality in people's lives. When Jonas turns twelve, he is chosen to be the Receiver of Memories, the person who stores all the past memories of the times before Sameness. He meets the Giver, who transmits these painful memories to him, and Jonas learns the truth about his dystopian society.
I didn't realize until halfway through the book that the people in Jonas's community couldn't see in color. Only he and the Giver could. This I thought very creative thinking on Ms. Lowry's part. Recommended for anyone who likes dystopian novels, futuristic settings, and different novels.
7. Hot Chocolate with Mini-Marshmallows (a book you turn to for comfort)
The Bible. God's word is my refuge and my comfort.
8. A Box of Chocolates (a series you feel has something for everyone)
The Dragons in Our Midst series by Bryan Davis. (Also Oracles of Fire and Children of the Bard, which are continuations of Dragons in Our Midst.)
This series is wonderful because it has something for all ages. It was written for teenagers, but kids and adults would enjoy it as well. It has believable characters, tons of action, a little romance, a complex plot, some laugh-out-loud moments, and-- most importantly-- it's a Christian series that is based around biblical stories.
Recommended for anyone who likes fantasy, knights and dragons, Christian books series, and humor.
I tag:
And the first person to comment "I love chocolate!"
--Rebecca Jane

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Autumn Stories-- Day 5

Just a quick something I wrote about the change of the seasons: 

I watched her leave tonight. She proudly gathered up her things and gave me a sweet breeze of a kiss on my forehead. She smelled of roses and sweet dry grass. As she spoke, her voice was like a bubbling spring.
"Remember me," she said. "I'll be back before you know it." Her smile was like a warm beam of sunshine. I suddenly felt sleepy.
As she drew away, I felt a sharp pain along the back of my neck, an unpleasant pins and needles sensation that I had not felt for some time: cold. The cold meant only one thing.
Autumn was coming.
Sure enough, there he was-- majestic and glorious, yet gruff and stern, garbed in a bright array of colors. He hustled her along, leading her away. She turned and waved to me over her shoulder, and already I felt an ache of longing. I missed her already. But I must be brave.
Forcing a smile, I waved goodbye to Summer.

Autumn Stories-- Day 3 and Day 4

Day three:

I love this poem and the picture it paints. I also adore the author.

An Autumn Evening
L.M. Montgomery

Dark hills against a hollow crocus sky
Scarfed with its crimson pennons, and below 
The dome of sunset long, hushed valleys lie
Cradling the twilight, where the lone winds blow 
And wake among the harps of leafless trees 
Fantastic runes and mournful melodies. 

The chilly purple air is threaded through
With silver from the rising moon afar, 
And from a gulf of clear, unfathomed blue
In the southwest glimmers a great gold star 
Above the darkening druid glens of fir 
Where beckoning boughs and elfin voices stir. 

And so I wander through the shadows still,
And look and listen with a rapt delight, 
Pausing again and yet again at will
To drink the elusive beauty of the night, 
Until my soul is filled, as some deep cup, 
That with divine enchantment is brimmed up.


Day Four
This is more of a journal entry than fiction. This happened yesterday at lunch:
Like many autumn mornings, it was a sleepy day. It was forty-five minutes past ten, and most of us had already been up for five hours. We were drooping over our lunches before us on the table. The cafeteria buzzed with conversation, but it was nowhere near as loud as usual. We were all too sleepy to be loud.
"It must be Monday," sighed my friend beside me.
"It is," I replied, playing with the button on my sweater. I gazed out the window. It was peaceful outside, with a sky bluer than I've ever seen before. Leaves fluttered by in the breeze. Inside, it was pretty quiet, too. The sign-ups for different clubs-- the chess club, the karate club, etc.-- was going on in the corner. All the club members were standing by their table with displays, practically begging for new members.
Suddenly two boys who had been standing near the table gave a shout. One was a lanky boy with blonde hair and dark, thick eyebrows. He had been shoved in the chest by the other, a thicker boy with a crew cut. The blonde one lunged back at him, knocking him to the ground. They rolled across the floor, snarling and clawing at each other like dogs. Fists and feet flew, and didn't seem like they were even touching the ground as they both struggled to gain the upper hand. My friends and I watched wide-eyed.
At first I thought it was acting-- probably they were part of the theatre club, looking to attract new members. Wait-- there's blood-- that's not acting-- there's no blood when there's acting--
"Hey!" It was Coach T., bellowing and running at the same time. "Break it up, boys, break it up!" They did not "break it up." Coach pulled them apart with some difficulty, shoving the blonde one backward and yanking the other up by his shirt collar.
"John!" a girl screamed, rushing between them. I learned later that she was the reason they were fighting-- it was ex-boyfriend drama, or something of the sort. She had been standing over them while they were attacking each other, yelling for them to stop. Now she ran to the darker, shorter one and stood facing Blondie with a glare.
"What happened here?" asked Coach.
"It was him-- he shoved him first-- it was all him!" she pointed at the blonde one, who gazed back defiantly. His dark eyes flashed like lightning, moving back and forth between the coach and his opponent.
"To the office, all of you." Blondie turned and stalked out, unashamed. The other two followed. The silent cafeteria became abuzz with conversation once again. Three of my friends returned to our table with their lunch tables.
"Did you see that?" I asked.
"No, what'd we miss!?"
So. I've seen my first real fight. It was very exciting!
Got to go. I'll do Day 5 tonight!