The Letters of Sarah Norman: The Second Letter

Dearest,

I was very sorry to miss a day writing to you, but truthfully, I was too busy.  Everything has been in uproar these last two days.  Mrs. Sheepshanks discovered my friend Fredrick, the mouse, and I only barely averted her attempt on his life.  She was angry with me, but even more angry with her beast of a cat.  She refused to feed him, since he had obviously failed in his job to keep down the mice.  I think she hoped that if George was hungry, he would try to catch my little friend.  I did the only thing I could think of, which was to feed the dragon in the hopes of pacifying it.  I’m beginning to believe the maid was right, and that George came straight from hell, for as soon as I placed the scraps I’d painstakingly collected for him on the floor, the demon swatted my hand and left me with bloody scratches.  I’ve been terribly tempted to catch him and use a little ether to get rid of him.  If I didn’t have a conscience I would have by now.

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The Letters of Sarah Norman: The First Chronicled Letter

Darling,

I miss you dreadfully.  This room is cold and still.  My only friend, a small mouse, is nibbling a few crumbs I put out for him.  Mrs. Sheepshanks is downstairs, moping sullenly.  She fought with the maid again last night.  This time, the poor girl fought back, and Mrs. Sheepshanks is currently sporting a black eye.  The maid was immediately fired, of course, which leaves me no one but you to talk to.  You and Fredrick; the mouse.  He is a handsome fellow, as mice go, and I wondered that he wasn’t married until the other day I caught him sneaking a crumb to a pretty little field mouse that lives in the hedge that borders this wretched place.  So far, his clandestine meetings have gone unnoticed by George:  Mrs. Sheepshanks’ cat.  I’m going to try and keep it that way, even if it means playing up to the fat grouch. 

Mrs. Sheepshanks is screaming at the boys next door, now.  I can’t repeat what she’s saying, but it’s funny.  Apparently, she thinks they were the ones who left the scrub brush on the cellar stairs for her to trip on.  She either forgot, or doesn’t care, that she left it there herself.

Oh, dear!  It’s time to go down for supper, and I must conclude.  I won’t pain you by saying how much I miss you, but I do so long for the day when you come for me.

Your own,

Sarah Norman

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Introducing: The Letters of Sarah Norman

A collection of letters written to her fiancé in the west, the letters of Sarah Norman chronicle the somewhat dreary life of a young woman, and her friend, Fredrick, a mouse.

I wrote the first letter as a sort of bored exercise, but I really liked Sarah and Fredrick, and their war against Mrs. Sheepshanks and her wicked cat: George, had to be continued, so I wrote the second, and I hope there are more to come.

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Proper Andi Part 4 (Conclusion)

This is the fourth of a four-part fan fiction story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures. This story also won first place in the 14-17 age category of Mrs. Marlow’s annual short story contest. ‘Proper Andi’ is meant to fill the gap between Mrs. Marlow’s ‘Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers’, and ‘Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure’, dealing specifically with Andi’s struggle with growing up, and still doing the things she loves…which don’t happen to be considered ‘proper’.

After supper they adjourned to the sitting room. Mitch and Justin buried themselves in their respective dime novels and newspaper, Chad picked up a harness he was mending, and Elizabeth and Melinda sat down to sew.

Andi avoided sewing. Her stitches didn’t lie, no matter what kind of manners she put on for the moment. She hoped Jenny would do the same, but the cheerful tomboy from Washington state plopped down in a chair and brought out an embroidery hoop.

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Thy Will Be Done

Who hasn’t heard this phrase being used in connection with a tragic event or sudden loss?

It is odd to me that the only time we pull out our it-must-have-been-God’s-will card is when something horrible happens.  Kind of funny nobody uses it when somebody gets born again, or a miracle happens, huh?  A little bit fishy that we claim the God we serve loves us and died for us, only to turn around the next minute and lay the blame for everything wrong in our lives squarely on God with that one little phrase.

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Proper Andi Part 3

This is the third of a four-part fan fiction story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures. This story also won first place in the 14-17 age category of Mrs. Marlow’s annual short story contest. ‘Proper Andi’ is meant to fill the gap between Mrs. Marlow’s ‘Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers’, and ‘Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure’, dealing specifically with Andi’s struggle with growing up, and still doing the things she loves…which don’t happen to be considered ‘proper’.

The surrey rolled into the yard and stopped at the barn. Chad jumped out and grudgingly held up his hand for Andi.

Andi took it and hopped down. “Why are we stopped here?”

“I thought you’d like to see Taffy first.”

Andi laughed. “I’ll see Taffy after dinner. I’m exhausted and dirty from my journey. I want to clean up and eat. Taffy can wait.”

Chad stared, speechless. Then an angry flush spread over his face, and he glared. “I want to know what’s going on, Miss Frills-and-manners. Do we mean nothing to you? What about Taffy? She’s missed you for two whole months, and now that you’re home, you don’t care?”

Andi bit her lip angrily. They all wanted her to be a lady, and now that she was acting like one, Chad was yelling at her.

“That’s touching, but I really must clean up. Tell Taffy I missed her too.” Andi blew a kiss toward the barn and glided to the house.

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Proper Andi Part 2

This is the second of a four-part fan fiction story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures. This story also won first place in the 14-17 age category of Mrs. Marlow’s annual short story contest. ‘Proper Andi’ is meant to fill the gap between Mrs. Marlow’s ‘Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers’, and ‘Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure’, dealing specifically with Andi’s struggle with growing up, and still doing the things she loves…which don’t happen to be considered ‘proper’.

“Welcome home!” The whole family stood smiling on the platform of the train station.

Andi smiled and waved a delicately gloved hand at them. She descended from the train straight into her mother’s arms.

Andi felt tears well up and she sniffed quickly. Fashionable ladies didn’t cry in the middle of a public place.

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When I Don’t Write, and Why I Need To

I hit a slump in my writing recently. In journaling, and blogging, and story writing.

And then I noticed I started to feel really purposeless. I wasn’t fulfilled, or happy with where I was at. Last night I broke out my journal again and started to explain to myself what was going on in my life…and all of a sudden I felt better.

For me, journaling organizes me. My mind and imagination need regular maintenance, and writing is the way I take care of them.

When I don’t write, my mind starts to clutter, like a room that needs cleaned, and I start to lose the things I need (i.e. my sanity and story ideas). By picking up a pen and facing my emotions, sorting them out, toning them down, throwing some out and encouraging others, I can get back to where I want to be. Some people might call writing a sort of therapy for me, but I just consider it to be the way I was made. Writing is a part of me, and I shouldn’t let it slide.

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Proper Andi Part 1

This is the first of a four-part fan fiction story based on the characters of author Susan K. Marlow’s Circle C Adventures. This story also won first place in the 14-17 age category of Mrs. Marlow’s annual short story contest. ‘Proper Andi’ is meant to fill the gap between Mrs. Marlow’s ‘Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers’, and ‘Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure’, dealing specifically with Andi’s struggle with growing up, and still doing the things she loves…which don’t happen to be considered ‘proper’.

San Joaquin Valley, California, late spring 1881

Andi crashed into her room at Miss Whitaker’s school for young ladies and jumped onto her bed.

Jenny slammed the door behind them and gave a wild-cat yell that made Andi shiver. “No more school!”

Andi flung her pillow at her, and Jenny reached for her own. She whacked at Andi until the seam in one of the pillows came open and a few feathers floated out. They stopped and looked at each other sheepishly.

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Make Your Own Skin-toner

I use this twice a day, and it has really made a difference in how often I get breakouts. It has also made my skin softer and smoother. Just apply after you wash your face, let it absorb into the skin and then use whatever moisturizer you like.

Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar, Filtered Water, and pure Lavender Essential Oils*.

Instructions: Combine one part Apple Cider Vinegar and two parts Filtered Water (I think I did like 1/3 Cup ACV and 2/3 Cup water). Shake in a few drops of Lavender Oil (not too much, I probably did five to seven drops), put into a cute bottle, and store at room temp. Done!

*Make sure the Lavender is pure, and safe for you to use directly on your skin.

I found this recipe on the blog ‘Don’t Mess With Mama’ under DIY facial toner. She has variations of the recipe for different skin types and a bunch of other cool DIY stuff, so check her out.

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