Monday, March 31, 2014

40/60 Rule

Please Break This Rule
When our wrongs are too obvious to ignore, we practice what I call the 40/60 Rule. It goes something like this: "Well, I know I'm not perfect, and I admit I am partially to blame for this problem. I'd say that about 40 percent of the fault is mine. That means 60 percent of the fault is hers. Since she is 20 percent more to blame than I am, she should be the one to ask for forgiveness." I never actually say or think these exact words, but I often catch myself resorting to this tactic in subtle ways. By believing that my sins have been more than cancelled by another's sins, I can divert attention from myself and avoid repentance and confession.

Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 120.


Food for Thought

Jesus tells the perfect "40/60 Rule" story in Luke 18:10-14. In this passage, Luke says that Jesus addresses the story to those "who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else." This is the story:

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Next time you're tempted to invoke the 40/60 Rule to minimize your part in a conflict, remember that few subjects raise more disdain in Jesus than moderated mercy or a "righteousness ranking" where we give ourselves an unequivocal first place vote.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trim Healthy Mamma Reciepe Box


Recipe Box 

***These ALL come from The Journal Gratitude blog,each recipe will link you back to her site.  It was such a great list of recipes that I wanted to be able to find it again easily for myself. **

Almond Flour Pancakes {gluten free}
Chewy Chocolate Bars {gluten free}
Muesli {Our Favorite Summer Breakfast}

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Top THM Pantry Staples to Have on Hand


Top THM Pantry Staples to Have on Hand

Yesterday I introduced you to the most wonderful nutrition/recipe book to hit the weight loss shelves; Trim Healthy Mama!  I can’t stop raving about its awesomeness (is that a word?).  I definitely believe that everyone needs to read this book, if not just to have a basis of understanding for how food works in the body.  There are so many diet fads out there, and everything has the “latest and greatest” ideas about nutrition, and yet our country is only getting fatter (let’s face it, America!)

Picture of Pantry Staples for THM
Today we are going to focus on my top recommendations for THM staples to get you started.  This is not an exhaustive list.  THM includes all kinds of awesome, healthy additions to your ingredient pool, but you do not need them all to simply get started.  I am more focused on you (and I) to be able to learn how to implement THM with the greatest ease and least expense possible, while enjoying great health and delicious meals!
**Some links below may include affiliate links, so if you choose to follow the links and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission from the sales.  Thanks!**

Top THM Pantry Staples (and where I get them)

Just to be clear, this list includes things that I believe are staple items to enjoy the most well-rounded selection of THM recipes and delights.  If your budget cannot allow for some of these items, do what you can with what you have.  Tomorrow we will focus more in depth about exactly what it means to eat the “THM way”, so if these items seem outside of your price range, hopefully tomorrow you will feel better able to implement THM without any of the added products.  It can be done!  If that is where you begin, then maybe this list will be your “goal” list to work towards as a little extra money becomes available.  Either way, you can definitely enjoy THM eating on any budget!  Enjoy!
  1. Swanson Whey Protein Powder - I know there is some controversy over whey and protein powder, etc, especially in the homesteading world, but I personally think the pros far outweigh the cons.  The proportion of protein to carbohydrate in this particular brand, Swanson, cannot be beat, and it is worth its weight in gold!  It’s a great price of $25.99 for a large canister of 45 servings.  I try to stock up on this whenever I can afford it.
  2. Almond Flour – At this moment, I use a few different sources for my almond flour.  I purchase Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour at Wegman’s because the best price I’ve found.  For my money, I am typically looking for around $6-$7/lb for almond flour, if I can help it.  The next best place I have seen great almond flour is at the Honeyville website.  Honeyville is another brand of almond flour, and I have used it in the past with delicious results.  The price on the website is $35 for 5 lbs ($7/lb), and if you do not need it right now, they often have free shipping offers, so be sure to sign up for their emails too.  **Note: If buying bulk almond flour, you can freeze extra until ready to use and then just thaw before using.  If you do not thaw thoroughly you will likely have mixed baking results.  My top method is extras in the freezer with open container in the fridge.  Then I can use it as needed without any baking issues.**
  3. NuNaturals White Stevia Powder – Stevia has gotten a bad rap over the years for having a bitter aftertaste, but NuNaturals has done a great job of removing that bitterness and leaving just sweet, calorie-free goodness.  The best prices I have found for this have been on Amazon and Netrition.com.  **I recommend trying to purchase a group of these top THM items together from the least amount of places to save on shipping costs (yet another reason I love Amazon Prime…FREE shipping!)**
  4. Konjac Glucomannan Powder – Also lovingly known in the THM community as Gluccie, Glucommannan Powder is an awesome addition to your pantry shelves!  This is an amazing thickener with zero effect on your blood sugar, so it goes great to make frappes, syrups, stovetop jelly/jam, homemade puddings, and more.  I love having this bag on my shelves and since I typically only use 1/4-1/2 tsp at a time, it is lasting forever!  Only $19.99 for a 500g bag from Netrition.com.
  5. Xylitol and Erythritol – Both of these products are alcohol sugars and can be substituted for sugar in regular baking recipes.  Xylitol has been known to affect digestion in some, so I keep both on hand and mix it up in recipes for added balance.  I usually substitute sugar with a combo of these plus NuNaturals for ultimate sweetness.  YUM!  Netrition has the best prices for these products.  Xylitol is $11.99 for 2.5 lbs, while Erythritol is $15.99 for the same size.
  6. Defatted Peanut Flour – Although peanut butter is perfectly okay for S meals, defatted peanut flour is awesome to get that same peanut butter fix in an E meal or dessert.  Protein Plus Peanut Flour is delicious and the best price I’ve found is on Netrition.com again…$11.99 for 2 lbs.
  7. Dreamfield’s Pasta – If you want to enjoy a dinner of real BEEF sauce over actual pasta, this is the go-to of THM lovers.  Since beef falls into the S foods because of higher fat content, it cannot be mixed with a high carbohydrate food like pasta.  Enter Dreamfield’s!  The creators of this amazing product figured out a way to bind the carbohydrates so that they do not affect your blood sugar but pretty much pass right through you.  Serene would not be thrilled at the recommendation, but I enjoy some Dreamfield’s with our weekly pasta dinner!  Yum, yum, yumm!!!  I can find this at Wegman’s for a little over $2.  I have heard that Walmart also carries it, so check out your local grocery store before looking to buy online…the cheapest I have seen so far online is $3 a box…yikes!
  8. Nuts (Raw Almonds, roasted peanuts, etc.) – I love, love, love nuts.  I KNOW they are calorie dense, but I just don’t care!  Some days I just want a huge bowl handful.  By far the best place I have found for nuts is Costco.  I buy my bulk raw almonds and canister of roasted peanuts there which I use to make Homemade Almond Milk, almond meal, Crispy Almonds, and Homemade peanut butter all at a serious discount.  The almonds alone save me tons of money, since I pay $12.99 for 3 lbs…a far cry from the $9.99/lb charged at Wegman’s.  If you are a Costco member and have not yet taken advantage of the savings on nuts, you must begin now!
  9. Legumes (Beans/Lentils) – We choose to buy our legumes and grains in bulk (I’m talking 25+lbs at a time) because of our family size, plus the long-term savings.  Since we live in Northern, VA, we work with Quail Cove Farms for purchase and delivery of our massive orders.  These wonderful, protein-rich, E-friendly meal additions are super shelf stable, so buy them up and hang onto them for a long time.  **If you have not yet started saving by buying dried beans and soaking them yourself vs. buying cans, now is the time.  Your budget will thank you!**
  10. Meats – So far we really only use chicken and ground beef with the occasional ground turkey thrown in here and there.  Right now I buy our ground beef organic (I buy beef organic because of the higher fat content, and fat is where the greatest concentration of hormones/pesticides/chemicals gets stores) from Costco, which is one of our most expensive food items, and I buy chicken that is on sale in the area.  I am still working on the best deals in this arena, but I think it will mostly be subject to your locale and what you have going on near you.  Pearl is not a stickler on using organics, and I definitely think that we should be mindful of our budget more so than idolizing organic above all the rest.  Balance is key.  When the price/budget fits, I buy organic.
  11. Dairy Products – I love that dairy is A-Okay on THM!  Again, same as meats, find the best place at the best price for these items, including cheese (low fat/full fat), cottage cheese (same), ricotta, sour cream (I love Daisy Light), cheese spreads, butter (Mmmmm butter), etc.  You will learn as you go that lower fat dairy goes well with E meals, while the higher fat regular stuff is AWESOME with the decadent S meals.  Yes, it is the best of both worlds!
  12. Vegetables – This typically goes without mention in a healthy living plan, but I figured I would mention them just to be safe.  I LOVE salads, and I usually have at least one huge bowl of it a day, made either S, E, or FP style (more on that later).  Stock up on these wonderfully nutritious additions to your meals to make sure you are hitting all the necessary food components.  I purchase bulk Romaine lettuce at Costco, berries when in season, and most of my other produce is from either Aldi’s or Wegman’s.
  13. Coconut oil – No THM Pantry Staples List would be complete without the mother of all foods: Coconut oil.  Whether you prefer the superfood coconutty-tasting virgin coconut oil, or the less flavorful but also good for you Expeller-Pressed, you can benefit greatly from these additions to your diet.  Recipes like Skinny Chocolate would not be complete without this delicious saturated fat!  I bought a 5 gallon bucket of Expeller-Pressed Coconut oil close to 2 years ago that I have still not even come close to finishing (and since Coconut oil is very shelf stable and heat tolerant, it is still completely delicious and safe).  I also have a 54 oz jar of the Virgin I bought from Costco ($16.99 I believe) which is delicious.

Now GET STARTED living the THM way of life!

I hope this gives you a better picture of where to get some of the basic THM items mentioned in the book.  These are items I ALWAYS have on hand.  They are staples!  When I make sure to keep these foods in my house, there is always a healthy and nutritious meal or snack on hand to be made.  Munch Happy!

Guest Post- 13 Tips for Divorced Parents

When you and your ex-spouse fight, it's your children who suffer.

by Ron L. Deal
Shortly after my wife and I married, we went with my parents to Kenya for a brief missionary effort. My parents continued to lead an annual trip to Kenya for about 17 years, coordinating volunteers' mission efforts in East Africa. I will never forget going on safari in the Masai Mara and seeing animals in the wild: lions, cheetahs, giraffes, and hundreds of other wild animals Americans can only see in a zoo.

But what I remember most distinctly was the radical change in culture that we experienced. Clothing was different, social customs seemed odd, the economy and systems of government were unknown to us—we even had to learn to drive on the left side of the road. Despite all these shifts in customs, ritual behaviors, and rules of conduct, we learned to adapt quite quickly. Because my parents returned to Kenya year after year, the changes grew more predictable for them and, therefore, were not as traumatic as our first trip together. But they always experienced an adjustment period when traveling between countries. One year my father returned to the U.S. and began driving on the left side of the road. The oncoming traffic abruptly reminded him of the change in driving system!

You can see the parallel with children living in two homes because their parents are divorced. At first, the fact that the two countries have different rules, customs, and expectations may require an extended adjustment. Later, when the territory is familiar, only a brief adjustment time is required, especially when the rules and expectations are predictable. Sometimes children need gentle reminders from their parents about what the rules are ("You may be able to play before homework at your mom's house, but here the rule is ...").

Can you imagine what travel for my parents would have been like if Kenya and the United States had been at war? Getting on a plane and heading to the "other side," even to do mission work, would have been considered treason. And once they landed, they would have been met with anger and rage as co-workers protested how awful the other country was because of their wartime tactics.

How would my parents function under that kind of stress? How would they cope with the external pressures to choose an allegiance to one side or the other? Every comment and criticism would be loaded with a battle for their loyalty, and trust would be defeated at every turn. And what if they decided to be ambassadors between the warring governments—would they have a voice? Depending on how suspicious the governments were and how convinced they were that the other side would never change, their attempts to bring peace would likely fail. What a losing position to be caught in.

An old African proverb says, "When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers." Divorced biological parents who fight and refuse to cooperate are trampling on their most prized possession—their children. Elephants at war are totally unaware of what is happening to the grass, for they are far too consumed with the battle at hand. Little do they know how much damage is being done.

Guidelines for co-parents

1. Work hard to respect the other parent and his or her household. Agree that each parent has a right to privacy, and do not intrude in his or her life. Make space for different parenting styles and rules, as there are many healthy ways to raise children. Do not demean the other's living circumstances, activities, dates, or decisions; give up the need to control your ex's parenting style. If you have concerns, speak directly to the other parent.

2. Schedule a regular (weekly to monthly) "business" meeting to discuss co-parenting matters. You can address schedules, academic reports, behavioral training, and spiritual development. Do not discuss your personal life (or your ex's); that part of your relationship is no longer appropriate. If the conversation turns away from the children, simply redirect the topic or politely end the meeting. If you cannot talk with your ex face-to-face due to conflict, use e-mail or speak to his or her answering machine. Do what you can to make your meetings productive for the children.

3. Never ask your children to be spies or tattletales on the other home. This places them in a loyalty bind that brings great emotional distress. In fact, be happy when your kids enjoy the people in their new home. ("I'm glad you enjoy fishing with your stepdad.") If children offer information about life in the other home, listen and stay neutral in your judgment.

4. When children have confusing or angry feelings toward your ex, don't capitalize on their hurt and berate the other parent. Listen and help them to explore their feelings without trying to sway their opinions with your own. If you can't make positive statements about the other parent, strive for neutral ones.

5. Children should have everything they need in each home. Don't make them bring basic necessities back and forth. Special items, like clothes or a comforting teddy bear, can move back and forth as needed.

6. Try to release your hostility toward the other parent so that the children can't take advantage of your hard feelings. Manipulation is much easier when ex-spouses don't cooperate.

7. Do not disappoint your children with broken promises or by being unreliable. Do what you say, keep your visitation schedule as agreed, and stay active in their lives.

8. Make your custody structure work for your children even if you don't like the details of the arrangement. Update the other when changes need to be made to the visitation schedule. Also, inform the other parent of any change in job, living arrangements, etc., that may require an adjustment by the children.

9. If you plan to hire a babysitter for more than four hours while the children are in your home, give the other parent first rights to that time. 

10. Suggest that younger children take a favorite toy or game as a transitional object. This can help them make the transition and feel more comfortable in the other home.

11. Regarding children who visit for short periods of time or spend time in another home:

• Sometimes it is tempting to only do "special activities" when all of the children are with you for fear that some children may feel that they aren't as special as others. Do special things with differing combinations of children (it's all right if someone feels disappointed he or she wasn't able to go).
• When other children come for visitation, let the lives of those living with you remain unaltered as much as possible.
• Keep toys and possessions in a private spot, where they are not to be touched or borrowed unless the owner gives permission (even while they are in the other home).
12. Help children adjust when going to the other home:


• If the children will go on vacation while in the other home, find out what's on the agenda. You can help your kids pack special items and needed clothing.
• Provide the other home with information regarding your child's changes. A switch in preferences (regarding music, clothes, hair styles, foods, etc.) or physical/cognitive/emotional developments can be significant. Let the other home know what is different before the child arrives.
• When receiving children, give them time to unpack, relax, and settle in. Try not to overwhelm them at first with plans, rules, or even special treatment. Let them work their way in at their own pace.
13. If you and your ex cannot resolve a problem or change in custody or visitation, agree to problem-solving through mediation rather than litigation.

Excerpted from The Smart Stepfamily by Ron Deal. Published by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Copyright © 2002.  Used by permission. All rights to this material are reserved. Material is not to be reproduced, scanned, copied, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without written permission from Baker Publishing Group

Friday, March 28, 2014

Quote of the week

http://www.pirategrl1014.blogspot.com


“All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”

Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

What I Love About Delaney-March 2014

Favorite Quote:"Swag with me mum". This is something new we started when we see a car go by and they are all leaned out looking like they own the world. So we will say "swag"and do our own lean while we look at the other car. Its fun and people look at us all crazy.

Scripture: Philippians 2:5-12 (NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself  by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,   in heaven and on earth and under the earth,11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Where I hope to see you grow:  My constant prayer is that you will grow in your relationship with Christ. That you will make a faith that is our own and develop a personal relationship with Jesus that you can turn to daily no matter what the situation is. I continue to pray that when you face struggles and adversities that you learn to turn to scripture on how you should handle them and not just your friends and society.


What has impressed me most this month: Your overall attitude. You have been in a better mood lately. and not as pissy as you have been over the course of the last year. You are slightly more social and learning to express what you are feeling and what is bothering you.You have started to journal and draw again and those things seem to keep you from harming yourself and allow you to release some of your inner turmoil. You are actually being nice to your brother again and look forward to things that we have planned, which is a vast improvement from even 1 month ago.I just want to see you get healthy and strong and be positive about life and the hope that is found in Christ.

Favorite things we did:
1. Movie Night- You set up movie night for your AHG Troop and we went out to Forney to watch Black Beauty in one of my friends backyards.You loved watching the movie under the stars on a huge projection screen that covered the back yard. You made a lovely thank you sign for our host and had the whole troop sign it.You played waitress to everyone all night and helped with the clean up as well. It was just a really fun night and we were invited back this summer when the weather will be more cooperative.

2. AHG Camp Out- Our first AHG campout was this month and even though you did not want to go at first you ended up having a great time-minus the incredibly cold weather. You learned alot of new skills from pitching a tent, making a lean to, 3 different ways to start a fire, Emergency Preparedness, knot tying  and alot more. We even did our 2 mile highway cleanup, which was kinda miserable actually. Rockwall people are messy litterers.

3.Reel FX Animation Studio Field Trip-Although you did not get to do this with me,it was one of your favorite things you got to go and do this month. Your dad ended up having to take you since I could not get off work.:(  We know a guy that works here and they have made the Freebirds,  Beasts of Burden, El Tigre, The Adventures of Manny Rivera,  Rise of the Guardians movies and others and we got a tour to see how a movie is put together and all the elements at play. You loved the waiting room and all the art and graphics they have all around the building. Since you talked about it for almost a week, I am assuming yu had a really good time
.
4.Babysitting Adventures- Every Thursday you babysit for another church and you always come back with great stories of what the babies tried to get away with and do to you. They seem to love and try to eat your hair and nose-which is pretty funny. You also get to change the stinky diapers which you love oh so much (hehehhe). I know you love it though.You look forward to it every week and even made sure your dad brought you over spring break so you did not miss. Who knows maybe you will make the next Adventures in Babysitting movie.

Soul Control

Soul Control 7

~Book Information~

Soul Control by C. Elizabeth
Publisher: Wings ePress
Print Length: 454 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal
Purchase: Amazon

“Lead us not into temptation, deliver us from evil.”
Words that ring true for seventeen-year-old Saydi Gardiner upon discovering her ancestry.  But if she has doubts, further confirmation is forthcoming and it comes in the form of a wickedly gorgeous Nathanael Braxton, when he steals her heart and cuddles into her sole – the last place the boy should be.

Nineteen-year-old Nathanael’s unrelenting good looks aren’t the only thing that make him dangerous – and he knows it!  However, his caring human side struggles with a loyalty – a loyalty that binds him to the hunt for the soul that will give his family the power they seek. There’s only one problem: When he finds her, Nathanael falls in love with his prey – Saydi.

~ My Impressions~


Overall I enjoyed this book.I think this is a pretty typical YA book in regards to the theme of Good vs. Evil. Saydi (Good) and Nathanael (Evil) fall in love with each other even though she is half god and he is half demon. This puts the couple at a disadvantage and a lot of fighting erupts from this conflict and others. 

Overall I enjoyed this romance,but there were a couple of things that I did not like. The characters were at times a little hard to get to like and bond with, such as Saydi and her mothers complete willingness to take back her father after 17 years of being gone with no issues. My other issue is the example the relationship between Saydi and Nathanael sets for young couples. I am not so sure I would have wrote a female heroin that stays is a bad relationship as a role model for teenagers. 

That being said the book was a enjoyable, quick read with lots of great imagery.  The pages are filled with mystery,drama,suspense, and struggles that turn and twists that keep you engaged throughout.


My Goodreads Review
My Amazon Review
 


~ Purchase your copy:~


AMAZON


Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE 

~Book Excerpt~


One
When the summer was over, my friends and I settled into our last year of high school. All of us were looking forward to graduating and going to university. I wanted to be a teacher, but they still weren’t sure.
We lived in the small town of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan where time stood still and nothing changed. Every year it was the same--no new faces, no one ever moved to God forsaken Duck Lake, and anyone who started grade one on any given year would eventually graduate with the same classmates. If anything, it made the teachers happy, for there weren’t too many of us that didn’t have good grades. We had to... if we were ever going to escape.
Being a snore-fest, my small home town offered only three entertainment options. We could hang out at home, hang out at the local restaurant/billiards room (Sloppy Joe’s), or, last but not least, party every night with the beer heads. Our little group of four pretty much stuck with the first two, only because the last time we drank, it took me four days to recover! It also brought about other crappy consequences--I endured two weeks of no friends when my mom found out and grounded me. Of course, she cited my age of seventeen and, not to mention, what drinking did to the soul.
That was one of my mom’s little quirks. She was always adamant that I was special and needed to be extra careful. Yes, she believed there were people out there who would be particularly interested in me, working very hard to ruin the good I had. She always talked like it was someone she knew, when in fact, she meant the general population.
~ * ~
“Saydi,” Angie called, hurrying down the hall toward my locker. She was one of my three best friends, a trio that included Angie Kathers, Becky Meyers, and Norma Pasely.
Angie was the one who we liked to call the computer geek--all in fun, of course. She was the epitome of “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Five-seven, blonde and blue-eyed, she always turned heads wherever we went. She was also the only one of us who had a car.
Closing my locker door, I waved back. “Hi!”
We walked to social studies with her arm wrapped in mine. “Did you hear there was a moving van in front of the old Winslow house? Someone’s finally moving in there.”
That surprised me, because that house had been targeted for demolition. “Really? Are you sure?”
She nodded fiercely. “I heard it right from Pat.” Pat was the town pharmacist and the biggest gossip ever.
“Hmm, that’s strange. No one’s lived in that place for years.” I stopped and looked at her. “Weren’t they going to tear it down?”
Angie shook my arm. “Don’t you remember? A few months back someone bought the place to save it.” She rolled her eyes dramatically, throwing her other arm up in a flourish. “They’ve completely renovated or restored it, whatever it is. Remember?”
How could I forget the biggest news to hit Duck Lake in years?
“Um... not sure how that slipped my mind,” I admitted.
In typical Angie style, she rolled her eyes again. “Really, Saydi, how could you forget? It was only the biggest news all summer! Where’s your head?”
“Ladies, get to class,” Mrs. Jensen ordered, coming from around the corner.
“Yes ma’am,” I responded, tugging on Angie’s arm to move faster. Apparently, the quickness of our steps was a direct correlation to the speed of her words.
“Anyway, let’s go by there after school before we go to Sloppy’s, okay?”
There was never any reason for me to go near that old stinky house. It was on the other side of town, and besides, it gave me the creeps.
“Angie, it’s completely in the opposite direction.”
Just before entering class Angie managed, as usual, to get the last word in. “Come on, it’s Friday! We got nothing better to do.” She grinned a mischievous grin. The ulterior motive dancing in her eyes jogged my memory. Other news came along with the renovation--it wasn’t just the house she wanted to see, Angie was dying to see if the rumors were true... Supposedly, boys our age were going to move in.
“You love me,” she quietly proclaimed, sitting at her desk beside me.
Yes, yes I did...but how much? The day wasn’t over.
~ * ~
Lunch time was our first opportunity to meet up with Norma and Becky, our other two groupies.
Norma was about an inch shorter than me, which would put her at about five four. She had dark black hair cut really short, so it framed her face and made her hazel eyes shine. Her cheeks were always rosy and she had an exceptionally small nose, but it suited her. She was also the one that struggled with everything, including boys.
Becky, on the other hand, was five six and had the same blonde hair as Angie, but it was always tied up in a ponytail. Becky hated hair in her face and she wore glasses over her dark blue eyes that rested on her little flat nose. Becky could be categorized as not the sharpest tool in the box, but she was fun.
Angie filled Becky and Norma in on her plan. Norma was on my side, arguing our case that the old house was out of the way. Becky was on Angie’s side. That was a no brainer... Becky was just as boy crazy as Angie.
Unfortunately for them, my logical side kicked in. “If they’re just moving in, we’re probably not going to see anybody, anyway.”
Becky stuffed a potato chip in her mouth. “Of course we will. They gotta come in and out to unpack the truck.”
“Duh!” I jeered playfully. “By time schools out, the moving part will be done.”
She hovered a chip close to her mouth looking off to the side, in her own world. “Oh, never thought of that.”
“Don’t look now, but we’re not going to be the only ones who’ll be doing a drive by.” Angie directed a nod behind me. “Look who’s planning.”
Turning around, I took a bite of my apple and grunted. “Of course,” I drawled with my mouth full.
Segra, Jocelyn, and Mattie were all wide eyed and talking with their hands. Segra Tittle had long curly brown hair, brown seductive eyes (I heard boys say that), was about my height, and had a body that made movie stars look saggy.
Jocelyn Adams was the one I kind of felt sorry for. They only allowed her in their group because she let them push her around. She had mousy brown shoulder length hair that always looked messy, blue eyes, stood about five nine, and was a little chunky around the edges. Unfortunately for her, she hadn’t mastered how to be graceful with her height and always seemed clumsy.
Then there was Mattie Drunes. She’d fit in anywhere with her long auburn hair, freckles and green eyes. She was about five seven and slim, and I never understood why she wanted to hang out with Segra. Mattie always had a smile, even with braces.
Those three were the most popular girls in school and had been since, well... forever, and only because boys liked the type of girl Segra was, for a short while anyway.
Angie moved in closer. “So... let’s skip last period.”
“No,” I argued. “I have an English test then. I can’t skip it.”
Angie turned her attention to the other two. “Well?”
Becky nodded with excitement.
Norma declined. “No thanks, we’ll know soon enough who lives there. What’s the big deal about today?”
Becky gave Norma a crooked smile. “Because if there’s boys and they see us first, we’ll be the first on their minds and they’ll remember us!” It was a warped logic, but a Becky logic nonetheless.
Norma flirted with the idea Becky presented. “Oh, maybe that is a good idea.” And as if someone hit her in the head, she snapped it toward me. “Are you sure you don’t want to come?”
It wasn’t something I could even consider, and they knew it. “No, I can’t. I’ll meet you guys at Sloppy’s after I drop off my Sunday School lesson. Father Lacombe wants to take a look at it to make sure it’s okay for me to teach the kids.”
Being our resident, not so bright, drama queen, Becky threw her hand over her mouth. “Oh! I forgot! Darn it! I’m teaching next Sunday, aren’t I?” She looked at all three of us, wanting an answer.
Angie dug in her purse. “Hang on, let me get my calendar,” she said as she pulled out her cell phone. All of our schedules were meticulously imbedded into that little electronic calendar of hers, not that we had any kind of elaborate agendas, but it pleased her to feel important.
After some furious button pushing, Angie had Becky’s answer. “Yup, sure are, Becks.” Then she tucked it away and looked at her. “Have you even got an idea what to teach?”
“Not a clue.” Becky slouched down in her seat.
The bell rang.
When I stood to leave, I patted Becky’s shoulder. “You’ll think of something, hopefully soon. It usually takes you two weeks to prepare a lesson.”
She ignored the bell and rested her chin in the palm of her hand, sulking. “I know.”
~ * ~
My spare class on Friday afternoons usually found me in the library studying, and that particular day was no different. I laid out all my materials and methodically began reading the first chapter of five we were being tested on in English.
“Hey, Saydi,” Todd said, as he sat down across from me.
I peeked up. “Hi, Todd.”
Todd Lethars, eighteen, had been my boyfriend off and on since sixth grade and completely off since grade nine. It was never anything serious; we’d never even kissed, so I guess you could say he was one of my best friends, too. But a couple months prior he’d started acting weird, following me around, and even went as far as to corner me and ask me out on a real date.
I told my Mom about it and she laughed, saying he was finally a young man and was showing interest in me. “That’s what boys do,” she informed me. Well, though he was tall, maybe six foot, with blonde curly hair, perfect skin and beautiful brown eyes and... get a grip! Something just didn’t feel right when he asked me. It felt like my brother was asking me out, and ever since then I stayed away from any boyfriend/girlfriend talk whenever he was around. I also tried to avoid him.
“What can I do for you, Todd?”
He folded his arms on the table and rested his chin on them, grinning.
“Todd, I’m trying to study.”
Continuing to grin, he nodded. “That’s okay, you study, I’ll watch.”
My mouth turned up in a soft smile. “You’re making me lose my concentration.”
“No! I’m sorry!” he goofed.
I giggled. “Todd!”
He pushed his chair back. “Okay, I’ll let you get back to it.” Then he pointed at me. “You heading over to Sloppy’s after school?”
“Yeah, right after I drop my lesson off with Father Lacombe.”
“Kay, we’ll see you there.”
“Bye.”
Across the room, two girls were whispering and gawking at him as he walked away. Todd could probably have any girl he wanted. He was pretty cute.
~ * ~
With another exam under my belt I scanned the extra noisy hallway for my friends, then remembered they skipped last period. It would be interesting to see what they discovered, and as I stepped out the doors it did make me a bit curious as to who moved in to the old house. I had to admit a little jolt of excitement came along with that curiousness. What if there were some new boys? That would be the highlight of the year for all the girls no matter what the boys looked like. It was appealing just to have new faces in town.
The rumbling of an engine crawled up behind me.
“Hey, get in,” Todd called, from his car.
“Thanks, but I’d rather walk,” I responded, forcing a smile.
“Come on, Saydi,” he begged.
I stopped to study him, debating whether it was a good idea or not.
His hands slapped together in prayer fashion. “Please, with sugar on top.”
“Oh Fine!” I grumbled and got in. “The least you could’ve done is be a gentleman and open the door for me.”
The tires squealed against the pavement as he pulled away from the curb. “I’m not that desperate.” He laughed.
When Todd rounded the first corner he slowed down to the speed limit, not wanting to alert the Father to his erratic driving ability. Once parked, he insisted I stay put. Then he opened my door for me and bowed, holding his hand out. “Me lady.”
Taking his hand, I stepped out. “I thought you weren’t that desperate?”
“Well... maybe a little bit.”
“Hmm.”
It felt uneasy how closely Todd walked beside me, giving me the impression that he wanted to reach for my hand and in turn made me shudder. A quick interception was warranted.
“You don’t have to come in,” blurted out.
Smiling, he responded, “I know, but I need to talk to Father Lacombe too.”
“Oh.”
There was a sly look on his face. “Don’t you want to know why?”
There really wasn’t any interest on my part, because I knew what he was doing, but I humored him anyway. “Okay, why?”
“I wanted to see if he’d let me attend Sunday School,” he said, being a rascal.
And there it was...letting me know, in a roundabout way, he wanted to spend time with me. “You’re a little old, don’t you think?”
“Well...” He ran his fingers through his hair. “That might be a problem.”
“You think?”
He laughed, finding the small of my back with his hand.   

~About the Author~

C. Elizabeth lives in St. Albert,  Alberta, Canada and during her short writing career she’s learned a lot about herself, sometimes to the point that she wonders how the heck she got this far in life and know so little about herself.

For the majority of her life she dabbled in many things, such as drawing, photography, sewing, only to find that after a while, she would lose interest, but writing is a different story — it found her and continues to be an addiction, as well as a most wonderful, incredible passion.

Not only does she write novels, but she does whatever she can to hone her craft.  Such as attending the New York Pitch Conference, seminars and the like, as well, she writes for online magazines on the topic of… you guessed it, writing.

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 Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book pumpupyourbooks.com in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

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