Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book blurb... Fangirl

To continue my summer I just finished the book Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I picked it up because lately I have caught myself having some fangirl moments and I thought maybe this book would help me understand the obsession some of get into.  Okay I am a fangirl but I don't write fanfiction but the main character Cath does. She writes fanfiction about the Simon Snow books (which seems kind of like Harry Potter to me) and while this seems crazy to her college roommate her writing is actually her escape from the world (which I understand). 

The book takes place in Cath's freshman year of college. She and her twin Wren go to the same college but Wren seems to have no interest in being with her sister anymore and this leaves Cath feeling a bit abandoned and instead of embracing college and all its new experiences she kind of holds up in her room. This pushes her into the presence of Levi (who is always hanging out in their room). Cath tries to ignore her growing crush on him as she thinks he is her roommate's boyfriend... but her crush grows and so does their friendship. On the other side her world is feeling like it is more and more falling apart with no Wren and her dad is struggling back home... That is all I will say about the plot because I don't want to give Spoilers. 

I don't know why, but this summer I felt I have read more YA books than any other, and I have loved them. I think this is my first YA book that is set in present time (not like Hunger Games or Divergent) and it felt natural and true in her thoughts and the conversation. This book is full of college crushes, angst about finding who you are, and first loves. There were so many passages of the book I felt like I knew exactly what she was going through. And on multiple occasions I would be reading and pull the book close to my chest as to give her hug (I am sure it looked weird on the T). I also like the fact though Cath and her roommate, Reagan, didn't get along at first eventually they got into their own rhythm and they grew to like each other and there was a few moments that Reagan even stood up for Cath. 

What I didn't like was occasionally an F-bomb would be dropped... it only threw me off once then it just felt normal for the tone of the book (so if you are sensitive to that I wouldn't recommend it).  
Illustrations of the main characters

Monday, July 28, 2014

we can be alone together

Christa stood up and helped Ginny on to her feet. Christa knew Ginny would want to hide away when she really just needed someone's shoulder to cry on. However, Christa believed no pain couldn't be healed when eating cheesecake, if only temporarily. And just as if they were kids again they climbed out the window and down the tree and ran as fast as they could through the lawn. Ginny couldn't help but give a little giggle as they jumped into the car. This action took her back to happier memories and right then that is what Ginny needed.

~~~~~~A Month Later~~~~~~

"Ginny, you want to go to Essie's house, I have some cleaning I have to do?"
"No thanks," Ginny responded without taking her attention off the TV. 
"Come on Ginny, I could really us your help, Essie wouldn't want you just sitting around."
"I am not just sitting around."
"I'll buy you a milkshake." 

Ginny rolled her eyes, that trick hadn't worked since Ginny was a child but she knew if her mom used that line she was desperate. 

"Oh alright," Ginny faked grumbled. 
"Thanks Gin bean." Her mom was over dramatic.

Ginny didn't know what to expect going to Essie's house without Essie being there. She hadn't gone back since she and Christa snuck out of the funeral. Her mom had gone back a few times always to do cleaning. Essie had kept the house so pristine, with the excuse that the Queen might drop by, that Ginny really couldn't tell what her mom had to do. Dad and her uncles decided to keep the house at least for the time being. Even though her extended family had moved  out of town they still came back to Essie's house for Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, and other important gatherings. It held so many memories for everyone no one could imagine getting rid of it, but Essie was the true soul of the house. Even just looking up at the house it felt empty.

"Take your time Gin bean," her mother said seeing the deep breath she took.
"I'm fine," she said defensively.

Her mom reassuring put her hand on Ginny's knee. "It's okay not to be fine. Essie was a wonderful, loving, and irreplaceable woman. It is understandable to miss her." 

Ginny took deep breath and got out of the car all the while playing with the cross between her fingers.

"Good day Mrs. Camden," his voice called out over the lawn.
"Hello Alex, good to see you. How is your mother?"
"Oh she is fine, a little busy with my niece and nephew staying with them for a week."
"I am sure she loves it."
"Yes m'am she does it." Then he looked at Ginny. "Hello Ginny, it is nice to see you."
"Hi Alex," her tone was short.

Her mom nudged her in the rib cage telling her to be nice.

Alex Panswick, had been working for Essie for the last three or four years (Ginny couldn't remember exactly) but he had always been around. He was close friends with her cousins and every one kind of accepted him as family. Though he was considered family his high school crush on Ginny was wildly teased about. He used to leave roses for her outside on her window ledge, slip copied poems in her locker, and always bought her a gift for her birthday. Ginny just found it pathetic. He was not her type at all being a minor computer geek, president of the Purity Club, and he even sung in the church choir (without being forced to). While Ginny was away at college he bulked up a bit and got some muscle, which you would think would add to his appeal but Ginny just saw him as the annoying boy from high school.

That was until the night after Essie's death. Ginny couldn't remember all the details of that night, she just remembers sitting in the large oak tree that was in the middle of the wheat field. Ginny came there whenever needed solace. Essie had told her that her grandmother wouldn't let her grandfather chop it down even though it was in the middle of the field, she had said it was the most beautiful tree she had seen and she felt it was a special gift to them. Since then it had become more of a family treasure. There Ginny was sitting watching the sunset. She hadn't cried yet and could not be surrounded by all the tears of her mom and aunts. It must of been later than she imagined for she heard her mom's call out to her but she didn't want to get out of the tree. She kept searching the sky for the first star.

Then she heard his voice. "Hello Ginny."

Ginny wouldn't admit it, but his voice was always sweet to her.

"Did my mom send you out to look for me? I am adult you know."
"No, I came on my own. But she is just worried about you."
"Tell her not to worry."
"I think she rather see you for herself. Moms are like that."
"Thanks Alex, but I just want to be left alone."
"All right."

But he did not leave her, he actually climbed up the tree and sat next to her.

"I said I wanted to be alone."
"I know. I want to be alone too and this is my favorite spot." He frequently said corny lines like that even if they were truly sincere Ginny only heard them as cheesey. "You think we can be alone together."

"Fine, just don't say anything."
"Fair enough."

Then without her realizing it his hand were on top of hers. She didn't know if she was angry at him being so bold or comforted because he was there. But she started crying right then. He put his arm around her and she buried her face in his shoulders and he didn't flinch with her crying on his shoulder. When she calmed herself down she looked up at him, he took his thumb to graze away a tear and then held her chin. He acted like he wanted to kiss her and she was about to let him. He abruptly pulled away as if he saw something, someone that disgusted him. Without saying a word he slid off the tree and walked away.

He hadn't said anything to her since that evening and when ever she looked at him she still had flashes of that moment. And she was confused why she cared so much if he didn't like her.

beautiful picture of a tree

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Only Promise that Remains

I know this song is suppose to be a love song but I think the words can be applied to faith as well. 
God has always been the truest constant in my life. When I feel hopeless He is my hope. When I am lost He is there with me.  

Hope you enjoy... 

"The Only Promise That Remains"
(with Justin Timberlake)

When the ground beneath you starts a shaking
And you forget the place we came from
Came from
When your lost and looking for a way home
Your way home to me
I'll come out and find you
When the world around you starts a moving
And you should wonder if I still love you
Love you
If you feel a darkness coming
Rising inside
I'll make a light to guide you back home

And after all the sky is falling down
And after all the waters washed away
My love's the only promise that remains

When your doubts have got you thinking
Nothings ever really sacred
[Together:] and you're afraid you might believe it

Believe in me
And I'll give you a region
Cause the world around us keeps on moving
[Reba:] and there's no doubt that
[Together:] I still love you
Love you
So when you feel a darkness coming
Rising inside
I'll make a light to guide you back home

And after all the sky is falling down
And after all the waters washed away
My love's the only promise that remains

And after all the sky is falling down
After all the sky is falling down
And after all the waters washed away
[Justin:] after all the waters washed away
My love's the only promise that remains

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Passions and Impact (pt.2)


I have been thinking and writing about my passion. I think as I face hopefully my last semester it has somewhat been haunting me. I have basically been in school for the last 23 years minus the year I took off in between undergrad and graduate school. When I went from undergraduate to graduate school I was on a plan that I thought about my sophomore year of college. I knew then me majoring in history was not going to get me a career so still following my dream of being Abigail Chase (the girl from National Adulthood Angst) I looked into Library Science school and that was the plan.
Since then things really haven't changed... but my thoughts have changed on life. One that year I had planned to take off became a year and half and during that year and a half I probably faced the hardest heart ache I have had to face. And while I struggled on this side of it I have felt a lot of growth in my life and my faith.
Library of Congress

Well when I started Library School I had my heart set on working in the Library of Congress, I had visited after my senior year of school, and it was just an incredible place of books... and the geek in me could not help but falling in love with it. But over time I discovered that the Library of Congress in all its big and grandness I probably wouldn't be able to interact with people as much as I would like to. Yes some librarian actually want to talk to people. I have had my mind set on being a reference archivist because I figured it would be a nice blend of handling old documents, interacting with people, and helping with research (which I actually like to do). 

Maybe I am just feeling burnt out by school, but while my mind has been set on being a reference archivist, my heart has been longing for something else. Well generically I am passionate about my friends, family and my faith. But yep its pretty generic.  Since I have been thinking, praying and posting about my want of passion, I have been thinking:  When was the last time I was truly passionate about something?  During my prayer time my answer came to me: Honduras, Living Water, those children.
I know I have probably over used this picture but I love it

I have always had a heart for children from my nieces and nephews (biological and the friend's kids I have "adopted") and for a long time it has been on my heart to adopt. I don't want any kid to go through life feeling un-special or unloved. And if I can provide that love and that feeling of special-ness... then what do I care if they look like me or not. That is a long term dream and passion of mine... but what about the present?

We are still going through the book of James in my church. If you know anything about the book of James he is really about doing your faith and not just saying you have faith. My pastor said something that struck me that "we create the kingdom of God here on earth." I had never thought of it that way. I mean I knew "our goal" as Christians was to bring heaven to Earth (typing that out...sounds like weird wording) maybe better to say to represent the Kingdom of God here on Earth. But I never thought about creating that... as a wanna-be-writer I think about creating a lot. So I liked the analogy of creating the kingdom of God here on Earth.

I think that is what I need to do more in my life... doing my faith not just reading my Bible, praying and talking about my faith. Not that those are bad but I don't think they are enough. I am not for sure what that looks like right now so I am just praying about it. But I know being open to God and what He wants will lead me down the right path. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lots of Love

I can't exactly explain it but for some reason the summer I met one of my best friends this was our jam. I remember a few times we would just walk up to each other with a completely straight face and say "What is love? Baby don't hurt me." That was a great summer and I have been blessed to know my dear friend these seven years. So in honor of her wedding day here is our song and pictures.

Probably our 1st picture together. Camping in Acadia National Park
And you know what they say about camping... It-Tents

Probably my favorite pic of us 
and we were probably dancing to this song.
Up in Hampton Beach
Trying to figure out what to buy for the group dinner... 
Probably not the best idea to send the 2 girls who didn't cook to pick out food.
Before my first Red Sox game
After my first Red Sox game... excited to see Lester's no hitter but very cold
Seeing Legally Blonde

Celebrating birthdays... she was a good sport to karaoke with me. 
The first time I met her future husband when he was just an interest.

When she asked me to be a bride's maid... it was very special. 

So excited to be apart of her special day. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sitting down and Writing

Previous post Inspiration Strikes 
I was actually thinking about this scene from Raising Helen when I wrote Ginny hiding in the closet
Ginny closed her grasp around the cross necklace hanging around her neck, she wanted to yank it off, but no strength came. Essie had given her this cross on her last birthday with the inscription "Always love" on the back.

"Here you go my love," Essie pushed the little box in front of her.

Essie wasn't a fan of big celebrations, she rather preferred to have a quiet tea and cake to celebrate her granddaughter's twenty-third birthday. Ginny opened the little box seeing the gold cross a little antique looking in the details. It was beautiful to be sure, simple but eloquent, and just like Essie to give something of a religious nature to Ginny. Ginny remembered the years of Easter egg hunts that had Bible verses in them instead of candy. It was beautiful though and Ginny knew it meant a lot to Essie.

"My grandmother gave that to me on wedding day, and her mother gave it to her before she came out west. I only had sons so you are the next girl to inherit it."

"Thank you Essie, it is beautiful."

"My grandmother, told me that it was passed on when the woman was about to start a new adventure."

"What new adventure is that, Essie?"

"I am not sure, I can just feel your life is about to change in great ways."

"Great ways," Ginny thought in that closet, did great ways include losing Essie one of the few people Ginny truly loved.

Ginny turned the cross over in her hand remembering the words Essie told her, "remember no matter what happens God will always love you, you can be separated from His love." Ginny nodded her head. She remembered going to Essie's church's camp for youth when she was in her preteen years and one night the speaker was giving a very compelling message and it broke Ginny's heart and that night she prayed for the Lord to come into her life. She said the words and it felt so genuine she even spent the next few weeks pouring over passages in the Bible. That was all before, before her parents fighting (even though they reconciled with lots of counseling) but still their words,their seeming hatred for each other, and their almost abandonment of her still scared her. Those scars sent her running her into the arms of Kyle, the first boy she thought she loved him and she gave him her most precious gift (as Essie called it) and then when she didn't feel like having sex with him again he dumped her. Ginny held these scars close to heart, so close that she almost put a wall around her and only Essie and her best friend Christa ever got beyond.

"There you are? I was getting worried. I hadn't seen you since the grave site," it was Christa this time.

Christa Evanston, had been her friend since preschool as she shared her snack pack with Ginny. They had grown up to each other with their houses only being a few blocks away apart and they had spent their childhood playing dress up, ridding bikes and having a lemonade stand together. Christa was almost a sister to Ginny and another grandchild to Essie. Christa had moved to San Francisco after college but when Ginny called her to tell her Essie died Christa was on the next plane. That's just they way it was between them.

"Personally I think it is odd to go to the grave site and see a body lowered into a hole. I don't think we should be contained in such a small box. I want my organs donated and then cremated." Christa sat down next to her putting her arm Ginny's shoulder.

Ginny naturally let her head rest on Christa. "I don't want to think about it."

"Then think about this, why don't we sneak out the window and down the tree like we used to and go out for a drink."

"No thanks," Ginny said softly.

Ginny couldn't think about drinking not after what happened to Essie. Christa understood without asking why Ginny said no, she felt a little pain about even mentioning a drink, of course Ginny wouldn't want a drink not with Essie getting hit by drunk driver.

"Cheesecake then?"

"All right."

Christa stood up and helped Ginny on to her feet. Christa had been friends with Ginny would want to hide away when she really just needed someone's shoulder to cry on. Christa also believed no pain couldn't be healed when eating cheesecake, if only temporarily. And just as if they were kids again they climbed down the tree and ran as fast as they could through the lawn. Ginny couldn't help but give a little giggle as they jumped into the car. This action took her back to happier memories and right then that is what Ginny needed.

I know I have said this before but I have never been one to just and look a blank screen and come up with a story but when I started writing this story it just came to me. It feels great just to sit down and type and to be honest I am not sure how long this inspiration will last. I have a couple of  ideas 1) I want this to be a multi-generational story ( I was inspired by the novel The Girl Who Came Home) 2) I want this to be a pure blog story. I know I could write this out traditionally but I kind of like the idea of this story being like a serial to follow through my blog. This isn't a thought, purely a noticing that this is my first work of Christian fiction... I will try not to be too cheesy/ I love reading books with characters of faith as a strong protagonist but sometime I feel it is too over the top and it turns me off. 

Keep following Ginny and Essie's story through the Ginny tag. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Words of Wisdom: Win a date with Tad Hamilton

When the movie Win a Date with Tad Hamilton movie came out I didn't see it because I was in love with Josh Duhamel (in fact I don't think I even knew who he was back in 2004)... I was in love with Topher Grace. 
Topher Grace vs. Josh Duhamel
I recently re-watched this movie in need of some lighthearted romantic comedy, and I realized how insightful it is mostly due to the wise bartender, Angelica, played by Kathryn Hahn. So here are some insightful quotes...

This is referring to love.
This quote reminds me of a post I wrote back in 2011...

From my post "Timid or Playing it safe"
{link to post}
Even though it has been 3 years I am still a little timid. I have admitted that recently I have felt scared to take chances. Though I want to change it is hard to let go of my scars and embrace the good thing in my life. 

I like this quote because it reminds me that even when you don't feel special you are special to someone. Before my mom (my most avid reader) worries that I don't feel special... trust me I do. I have lately been overwhelmed with the love of my family and friends. This is just a nice reminder. *

I know we as an audience are suppose to feel bad for Pete (Topher Grace) because he is watching his "great love" falling for someone else and he in a very cute scene tells Tad Hamilton that he will step aside because he wants Rosalee to be happy. That is a true friend and a true love.

Mostly sharing this because it is just so cute

*-Writing this post I realize all these insightful quotes are really just from one scene when Angelica is telling Pete to tell Rosalee how he feels.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Feeling stuck....

I wish I looked this happy writing. Even when I love a story I get stuck and I have to step away and get some perspective, or find something that helps me with my inspiration. Mostly for this I turn to Pinterest. I collect many things on Pinterest from my love of Edwardian fashion, to beautiful country side landscapes, and my obsession with certain TV shows and movies. Sometime it is just filled with beautiful nature scenes. 

In my story The Grand Days I will admit I have gotten stuck. I am trying to write about Mattie's first time in London and all that she experiences. And while I have spent hours on pinterest looking up ideas I am not sure what I want to happen here.  So I need to step back and think things through. I think I want to develope Daphne a bit, develop her into a softer character. She has been rather harsh in the past.

One thing that has helped me in the past of getting unstuck is to spend lots of time typing up my story (as right now most of it is still hand written). Doing this somehow gives me focus on what my story is about and helps gives me insight into what to do next. 

Looking up pictures has been awesome...
Crowds at Paddington Station- July 2, 1908
Life is like that sometimes... In the recent past I have felt "stuck". I have wanted to do things in my life but because I still have to finish grad-school I haven't been able to do. Sometimes I let myself get down on the feeling of being stuck because I anticipate the future being so much better. However, I have had a personal conviction that I live so much in hopes of the future instead of enjoying the present. (I am trying to work on that more.) Though there are things I want for my future... I can't let my desire for those things stop me from living now. I have found the best cure for getting out of the "stuck" feeling is taking a step back, reflect on what is going on, and praying God to use me in this moment.

I am not feeling so "stuck" now... I more feel like things are shifting. In my church our pastor has left to move back to Illinois and that feels like a huge shift because he and his family have been a part of my life for 7+ years. Hank baptized me. Also my community group (Bible study) is taking a formal break for the summer (first one in years) and I have started attending a new group at Park Street church. Personally I feel things are shifting. I have been in grad-school for so long (at least it feels that way) and now I only have my thesis to write. But I am wondering if the library world is where I see myself... I don't know. As I have posted about I want to use my passions for God's Kingdom but I am not feeling passionate about Library stuff. I kind of would like just to write to my hearts content and be of service to people (over coffee, missions or whatever). I have been praying about this and more asking God for my heart to stay steadfast in him. 

I am excited more and more about my story of Ginny and Essie (still untitled) I am using some autobiographical things from my own life and Ginny will be facing some questions I have faced and continue to face. I hope using my love of writing stories and my faith will be a good outlet. 
Not really related to post but awesome Roald Dahl quote

Monday, July 7, 2014

Inspiration Strikes

Or a phone with a "note pad"
I follow a blog called Inkwell Inspirations that mainly has the focus for Christian writers. It is a great blog to read  in order to remember to combine my faith and my passion for writing. In a recent post they discuss the idea of being a "The Subconscious Writer." She explains this: "Because so much of my creative process takes place on a level even I do not understand. Ideas percolate under the surface, maybe for weeks, maybe for months, maybe for years. At some point they burst out like a geyser. Characters are talking to me, scenes unfolding in my head, worlds evolving, and I’m frantically trying to get them down on paper before I lose them. I’m sure if push came to shove, I could sit down and come up with an idea and craft a book like a normal person, but that’s not the way I typically do it, and it’s not the way I desire to do it."
I feel this is totally true of me. For example I was walking to my dentist I saw these houses and I thought they were beautiful and all the sudden a scene came to me... it is not a scene for the story I am currently working on... it just came out of no where. I took out my phone and pulled out my "notepad" on the phone and began to type. I love when scenes like this come to me it makes my walk abouts more interesting. She ends the post saying "In the end, being a “subconscious writer” isn’t the goal. It’s just the process. The ultimate goal, whether pantser or plotter, is to be led by the Holy Spirit and allow him to flow through every word we put on the page. This is how to write with a godly passion that will cause our readers to fall in love with our stories and transform them from the inside out." 

I agree with this... I don't always want to be a subconscious writer one day I would love my faith to be more and more about of my writing but you got to start somewhere, right?

Here is the scene...

It was a great big Victorian home with intrinsic molding, a minimum of two bay windows, and high pointed roofs. Built in the last decade of the nineteenth century in the heyday of the golden age. While it was all posh and prestige on the outside, it was Ginny Camden grandma's house. The house was filled of memories of her playing dress up and Essie (as Ginny called her Grandma) reading to her the books of Little House on the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables late into the night. She had memories of her summers spent there, she got her first kiss there from Lawrence (who she had a crush on all summer mostly because she was going through a Little Women phase and he not only had the name but had a slight resemblance of a young Christian Bale). In later years Ginny felt Essie was the only one who understood her, in years as a teenager when her parents fought non stop Essie's home was a place comfort. Today was not a day of joy.

Ginny rested her heads against her knees that she had close to her chest. She could still smell the dye in her new black dress. 

"There you are," her mom found her buried in Essie's closet. "I think you should come out and see some people, there are a lot of people who want to see you."

Ginny just shook her head. 

"Some of your friends are here. And lots of food."

Food? How was that suppose to comfort her? No one cooked as well as Essie. 

"Please Genevieve."

She didn't know how she was suppose to get up she could barely stand. Everything about this day felt wrong. This house would not feel the same without Essie sitting at the kitchen table that could look out to the street. 

Ginny just shook her head. 

"Alright Ginny, take your time."

"She's not up to coming out yet," she heard her mom say.

"God bless her soul," a woman's voice responded.

God? Where was God in this? Essie had always been a true believer attending church every Sunday morning and evening, and Bible study on Wednesday nights. If she hadn't gone out that Sunday night she would still be here. God could have protected her. Essie was always going on about how God was a great protector but He didn't protect her that night. God was obviously not there

Ginny closed her grasp around the cross necklace hanging around her neck, she wanted to yank it off, but no strength came. Essie had given her this cross on her last birthday with the inscription "Always love" on the back.
Okay I didn't write all that on my walk but it just started coming to me. I really want to see where this story goes.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Passions and Impact

This is not a typical 4th of July post. But I have been thinking a lot about my passions and how I can use them to make an impact in this world. I feel there is a quote from President Kennedy or Martin Luther King Jr. about how changing the world comes when desire and action meet, but I could be wrong. However, I did find this quote from Harriet Tubman and it is pretty spot on to what I was thinking (besides this picture has fireworks so that is 4th of July-ish).
I know I over think things... Sometimes people ask me questions and if I can't give a good answer the question just keeps rolling around in my brain. For example last week at Bible study the girl asked "How do you wake up in the morning?" I joked and said coffee (which is true). But what she meant was "Why do you wake up in the morning?" "What are you passionate about?"

When it came my time to answer I said story telling... I explained saying I love writing stories, I also love reading and getting invested in stories. But I also love meeting up (usually for coffee) with people and getting to know their story and to invest in people's lives. My answer was true but it just didn't seem to be enough. So I have been thinking about that question and the answer for the last week... yep I over think things.

Then in church we started a series called "Integrity" looking at the book of James. My pastor mentioned that being someone of integrity is being someone of good character, trustworthy, and sound. Sound being built to last. He gave a quote from the US Soccer Coach (from the World Cup) saying "It is better to start with the end in mind." He then talked about how he sits down with college seniors and asks them to think about their funerals and how they want to be remembered. He said "it is a vision, hopefully compelling enough that in the end our faith is still in tact."

Lately I have been feeling that I want to do something more with my life than just be doing my job and finishing school. I want my life to mean something. In the example given about his seniors he says the most common answers are about being loving, caring, and faithful... while those are good answers I want my life to be known for making an impact. I am not sure what that looks like I am still praying about that. I am praying that God helps me be open to His will.

Right now that is where I am... I am looking for a way to combine my passions and my desire to make an impact on the world.

Edit: After posting this I found this...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Writing Wednesdays

Previous post Fun writing Friday
~~~~~~~~Summer, 1910~~~~~~~~~~~
  It was a typical summer. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington had spent the season in London as they typically did attending the most fashionable events their money could afford. After a short visit to Southerton they left their children to attend a hunting party in Scotland. Mr. Harrington claimed it was important for his business connection, but business was hardly on his mind as enjoyment was his true pursuit. Mrs. Harrington was perfect partner for Mr. Harrington on this as she great joy in frivolity. Mr. and Mrs. Harrington also agreed that they found their four children to travel with especially when they had Mrs. Gardner, a diligent care take to watch over them. So the Harrington children spent most of their summers alone. As it was the last bit of summer Marcus and Parker were to return to Eton College in a few weeks and the children made every effort to make the most of it.

                On this particular day Marcus, who was sixteen and should have known better had stolen Mr. Harrington's new atlas from the library and perched himself on a large rock that for years had been called Captain's Throne. When they were younger Marcus, Parker, and Shane had formed an explorers club and swore they were going to see the world and find new lands. Over the years only Marcus kept this dream alive but once Marcus showed the boys the new atlas with its gold trimmed papers and new country lines, the explorers talked as if they were children again.

                "Everyday people are discovering new lands and we can be the next great explorers!" Marcus spoke daringly to his comrades.
                "There are no new lands, Marcus, just government powers changing hands," Parker snorted.

                Thomas Edward Parker Welford, Parker as we called him was far too sensible for the dreams Marcus talked about. He never seemed to have much in mind for progress and change. He was the Earl's heir and found it only decent to keep up traditions. Sometimes Parker sounded as if the Jacobins were still beheading nobles and if progress maintained they would be coming after him and all nobility.

                "That's not true look at these parts of Africa and the Indies that haven't been touched by any Europeans. We could claim them."
                "We cannot claim them, we are servants to his majesty and if we find any new land it will belong to the Commonwealth, not to us personally," Parker was quick to respond.
                "He's right you know," Shane said.

                Shane Gray, who was then seventeen, and practically a grown up in the eyes of Mattie. They had all grown up together so the age difference did not always matter but sometimes Shane was far more logical than the rest of them. He was usually the voice of reason between Marcus' idealism and Parker's sensible and rather harsh thinking. Though Shane was reasonable  he too had grand ambitions of leaving his servants status and know the world's options so he often favored Marcus' ideals over Parker.

                "I for one cannot imagine having any interest in seeing such barbaric places," Daphne said in a conceited tone.
                "Well no one asked you," Marcus shouted down to her.

                Daphne, who was the fifteen, was in a phase of becoming a young lady. Her dresses were now at least ankle length and if she attended a dinner she could now wear dresses with a demi-train. She now constrained herself to tight fisted rules of propriety. She could no longer go tramping through the woods, or wading in the creek. She would not allow her dresses to have a mud stain or a rip. Though Mattie could never remember a time when Daphne was ever so careless as to stain or rip her dress. Today Daphne was wearing her cream shirtwaist blouse  with a light violet skirt, and highly impractical shoes. Daphne had tried to climb the rock and be a part of the explorers club but it was impossible in her outfit that she wouldn't dare ruin.

                "Be nice to her," Shane said. "Women cannot imagine the thrill of discovering new lands."

                Shane, the real reason why Daphne wanted to climb on Daphne on Captain's Throne. They had grown up together and for the most part Shane was like an older brother to her but last winter Shane saved Daphne's life (as she put it) and now she was head over heels in love with him. Though Daphne never admitted it and thought it was a great secret. Unfortunately for Daphne all the party had know about it, even Shane, however he was close to three years her senior and he hardly noticed her. That didn't put Daphne out, she did everything she could to get Shane's attention. In that morning she had spent two hours primping herself for our hour or so in the back woods. She had braided her hair down her back making sure her curls were perfectly around her face. She had even put on some of mother's rouge and perfume. It had not made the impact Daphne had hoped for, for Mattie had heard Shane snicker about how the rouge made her look like a clown and the perfume had made him want to chop off his nose. At that moment Mattie had wanted to push Shane in the creek with all the sisterly affection she could muster.

                Besides Shane's harsh jokes, that Mattie had overheard, Shane barely noticed Daphne that day because of Mr. Harrington atlas. Daphne had been left to her own devices of picking flowers to determine Shane's feelings. A waste of a good flower Mattie thought. Mattie was too young, at twelve to understand, why her sister liked a boy especially when it was so clear he did not like her in return. Shane had actually had had a crush on Susan Sedly, a girl from town who had paled around with Daphne  during picnics and such. Though Daphne dissolved all kindness towards her when she found out Shane kissed her at the May Day picnic. Even though Daphne had heard that Susan had given Shane two hard slaps she still did not renew her kindness. Now for the past few weeks Daphne had heard nothing of Susan's name from Shane and that made Daphne hope again. Mattie silently laughed at Daphne's behavior and how idiotic it all seemed.

                Though nothing extraordinary happened, and the days all seemed to blend together one right after the next with a few minor highlights of the years that passed, in all this these were the grand days for the Harrington children at Southerton. Without Mr. and Mrs. Harrington present they were under the  care of Mrs. Gardner, and in the heat of summer she was known for taking long naps and expected the children to do the same. Instead many times they snuck a few pastries and would run away to the back woods not stopping for any breath. It was here they would plot out the grand adventures they desired for their lives.

                Mattie, was at the age when the idea of adventure began to creep into her brain. She loved her home of Southerton Greens and really could not imagine her life apart from it. It had been in the family since Charles II and while it wasn't grand like Cranston Court it was still a prized estate. Southerton was built in the high days of Georgian Architecture with tall columns along the front making it look like a Romanesque temple in a beautiful English garden. Large enough that on miserably cold or weary rainy days Mattie still enjoyed finding nooks and crannies to hide in for hours on end. Mattie's grandfather used to tell her that Southerton wasn't just a home or an estate it was part of her blood as a Harrington. She remembered those words clearly and could never really envision leaving but still dreams of exploration began to creep into her mind and she started to imagine what the world beyond Southerton looked like. 
Mattie running to the back woods