Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

Well everyone, today is Memorial Day. A day where we honor all of the men and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

It's unthinkable how many have given their lives so we could be free.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
John 15:13 (KJB)

We are complete strangers to so many of these, yet they fought and died so we could live freely.

Something that is also brought to mind is the thought that while these soldiers are giving their lives for our earthly freedom, Someone gave Their life so we could have eternal freedom and joy. Jesus came down from heaven all those years ago and died on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him!

So I encourage you on this Memorial Day, to think and pray for the families of those men and women who so selflessly laid down their lives for you. I thank God every day for the freedom and liberty we have in America.

I'm definitely not the best at poems, but I did write one recently that I'd like to share. Here it is:

Thank You:
As I kneel before this grave,
One of a soldier, unknown, but brave,
Tears are streaming down my face,
And I close my eyes in silent thanks,
For the life he lived, the battles he fought,
Buried here, likely long forgot,
My eyes open, and I gaze across,
The tombstones of many soldiers lost,
Now unknown to world, they rest here,
And I brush away another tear,
As I remember on this Memorial Day,
They’re the reason we can celebrate,
Our freedom, our rights, we owe it to these men,
Who fought fearlessly for our country, time and again,
To every soldier that fought, or paid with their lives,
There’s no way to thank you for your sacrifice
So we salute our fallen soldiers, the ones in action too,
And all we can say to repay is a heartfelt thank you!

And there you have it. :) Hope you enjoyed! There's really no way to repay those who have paid for our freedom with their lives.

I also have been jotting down several short stories based on our troops, and I'd like to share one of those with you today, as well. (Warning: It is a little sad, so prepare yourself.)

I whimper. I know he’s gone, but I can't help it. It doesn't seem right. Everything had been going so well. And then it went chaotic.
The sound of gunfire echoed through the air; bullets whizzed by in every direction. I had been taught long ago not to be afraid of the loud popping sounds coming from the guns, and I wasn't. No, the fear overtaking me was because he was out of my sight. We had gotten separated somehow amidst the confusion. In fact, I could recognize no one from our unit through the haze of dust and smoke.
Then I heard it. The whistle. His whistle. And he called my name.
My German Shepherd ears perked up at the way he spoke the word. His voice lacked the usual ferocity that occupied his baritone at urgent times like this. It was weak, raspy.
I crawled on my belly, just the way I was taught, over to the area where the voice had come from and quickly sniffed out the rest of the way.
There he was. My handler. My trainer since I was just a pup.  
“Dagger, here boy.” This time his lips were too dry for a whistle.
I bounded over to where he lay on his back. His gun was on the ground a good five feet away, his dark hair a rumpled mess and his face scraped and bruised.
But the main thing that caught my eye was the liquid seeping from his chest. I knew from previous experiences that that meant bad things. Most of the men with that much of that stuff on themwhich I’d heard tell was called bloodnever came back from these battles. Or at least not alive.
I yelped helplessly and moved closer to his side, my big eyes glancing around for anyone that could assist us. But I knew it was useless. The other men would be fighting for their own lives.
“Goodgood boy,” he whispered, drawing in a ragged breath.
I gently licked his face, and for the first time in my life, I was unsure of what to do. A whimper escaped.
“It’s all right,” came the reassuring voice of my handler. I turned in a distressed circle. How could things be all right? I considered attempting to pull him back, but dragging him across these rocks would only make things worse.
I hadn’t heard a shot in a while. Maybe the men were retreating.
“Go...Go on, Dagger,” he prompted. “Go find the othersgo with the men.”
I whimpered again and moved closer.
“No, Dagger, go!” He was more insistent this time.
I hesitated. The last thing I wanted to do was to leave him, but he needed more help than I could give.
I took a couple of steps towards the direction we came and turned back to face him, my head cocked.
“That’s a good dog,” he assured me breathily. “Go on, git!”
I threw one last look his way and then took off, my paws carrying me as fast as I could go. I snuffed at the air, hoping to catch a scent of the direction the others were headed.
I paid no heed to my surroundings, only ran.
A pain-filled yelp echoed through my body as I went skidding across the ground. Gunfire started up again.
I clambered back to my feet and nearly tumbled right down again. My front left paw wouldn’t hold me up. I caught a whiff of the metallic scent of the liquidblood. I licked at it as it dripped down my left side and kept moving, using only my other three paws and occasionally limping on my fourth.
It was no use. The gunfire had suddenly erupted again and I knew I wouldn’t make it to any of the others in time.
I limped back to where he lay, still as death. The only reason I knew he was still there was the tiny, quick-paced up and down motion of his chest, giving me hope he was still breathing.
“Dagger, I thought I told you
I ignored him and snuggled up close to his side. He let out a sigh and gave his head a tiny shake. I was glad for the fact that he didn't realize I was injured.
“I’m glad you came back, buddy, I really am.” I could tell by the unhidden gratitude in his tone that he meant it.
He lifted a shaking hand. I slid my head under it.
And there we lay, a soldier and his dog, the loving bond between showing strong as ever.
The gunfire eventually died out and we were left in silence. The hours ticked by. I wanted to get up, go for help, but I couldn’t seem to make my legs move.
“Dagger…” I opened my eyes, looked into his.
“You’re the best dog a man coucould ask for.” He drew another shaky, shallow breath. “Loyal, smart. Brave.”
I wasn’t sure where he was going with this, but I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of it. Or the tear that ran down his cheek, leaving a wet track through the dirt smeared on his face.
“I...I love you, Dagger. So...much.” He struggled to get the last words out, and I licked his face and whimpered lovingly in return.
He reached up and gave my ear a final, playful squeeze. Then it dropped limply to his side, and the ragged breathing came to an agonizing halt. And I knew.
I threw back my head and howled for all I was worth.
Now, sitting in front of the concrete stone bearing his name, a bandage wrapped around my front and his best human friend–Brent–at my side, that final scene replayed itself in my mind, over and over. As did the memory of me refusing to leave his side, even when we were finally discovered sometime the next day.
I whimpered again, and Brent knelt down next to me.
“It’s all right Dagger,” he soothed. “He died doing what he loved, defending his country, and with the dog he loved. You.”
I knew he didn’t think I understood the words, but I did. And I took them to heart. He had loved me, and I had been devoted to him. I’d be as loyal to my next handler as I was to him; that's the way he would want it. But no matter how much time passed, no matter how close I became with the other soldiers, I'd never forget him. Not as long as I lived.
I knew I’d spend the rest of my life working the same as I had, doing my best to defend the country he loved so well. And I'd do it for him.

I have to admit, it makes me sad every time I read it, and I wrote it! (Not  to mention I rarely get emotional over books or movies.)

All right, well, in conclusion, please remember that this holiday was created to honor the men and women who gave their lives for us. There's so many, and we should be beyond grateful for their sacrifice. :)

Have an amazing day, everybody!

~Livi Jane 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Zip Your Lips!

I'm sure at one point in time, you've all heard the words, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

When you're annoyed at someone, it's easy to brush off that statement and speak your mind anyway! Later, you might realize that you were wrong, and ask for forgiveness. The other person may accept your apology, but the words said will likely still have had a lasting effect on the person to which you spoke. Because words are powerful.

"Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." (Ephesians 4:29) (NLT)

I love this song by Hawk Nelson, telling us how the words we say can build each other up or tear each other down, and asking God to help us speak words of life to others. :)

So sometimes, instead of making that snide remark or sarcastic comment to or about someone, the best thing to do is to stop and ask yourself, "Is this encouraging? Will it build this person up or tear them down?"
If the answer is no, the best thing to do is just to keep your mouth shut, even walk away if you must. Most times it won't be easy (believe me, it rarely is), but in the long run you won't regret it.

Here's a fun song from Hide 'Em in Your Heart (I watched this all the time as a kid), encouraging you to "Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking lies." (Psalm 34:13) (WEB)

Again, as another verse says,
"Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." (Proverbs 27:17) (KJB)

The things we do, the things we say. All of that influences/affects someone in some way. So be sure that everything you say is uplifting and God-glorifying!

And finally:
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
(1 Thessalonians 5:11) (NIV)

Little compliments can go a long way. Even just a quick smile at the person passing by could make their day. Something you think is no big could be a huge deal to someone else. You never know what God could do in a person's life.

So remember as you go about your week, to think about the things you are speaking and pray that God would show you the things He wants you to say.

God bless! Have an incredible week everyone!

~Livi Jane

Monday, May 16, 2016

Crawfish Boil!

Hello everybody!

So my whole weekend was one big busy blur, but a very fun one! First off, my cousin's graduation party was Friday, and we stayed out pretty late. Saturday morning was a little calmer, and then my sister and I had a fun time making Oreo balls for an English country dance some of our homeschooled friends host that evening, and finally, after church Sunday, we went to a crawfish boil! Here's some pictures from yesterday:

Lizard!! (This picture is actually from the other day at our grandparents' house.)

Crawfish! They were amazing! :D

There was a nature trail at the park where the crawfish boil was held, so my cousin and I went walk it for fun!

And there you have it! I wish I had more pictures, but oh well! I'm planning a post for Memorial Day coming up in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned! :D

~Livi Jane 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Writing/Dialouge Prompt

Hey everybody!

So sorry for such a long wait again; life's still been crazy. I've been babysitting every afternoon for the past few weeks, and I had two softball games tonight and another tomorrow. Adding in school and writing, there's just not enough time! But enough excuses. Here's my post now!

Writing had been getting a little difficult for me a few days back (I think I'm ready to roll again, though!), so I took a break from my story and, with a silly little prompt, wrote a short, completely random one-shot.

Here's the prompt, followed by my story. I encourage any of you who feel like it to try and write your own scene/story with it and even comment it below if you'd like!

Prompt: “Please stop putting things in my microwave.”

And here's my story! Hope you like it! It's about 350 words long.

“Please stop putting things in my microwave.”
My husky voice was completely monotone, followed by an exaggerated, exasperated sigh as I reached out and pulled the crayon away from Liam. The five year old glared at me as I removed the other half of his crayon from the inside of the microwave and tossed them into the basket–far out of the child’s reach–along with a plethora of other items. Rubber bands, thumbtacks, and a jar of peanut butter, to name a few. I turned back towards Liam and let out a groan.
“Do you really want to blow up the kitchen?” I asked, exasperatedly running a hand through my short, dark hair. “Where on earth did you even get a match?”
“Science is cool,” the blond-haired boy responded, frowning as I took the match away.
“Trying to put anything and everything you can find in the microwave is not science–”
 “I just wanted to see what stuff would do if you heated it up,” he cut me off.
“Probably explode.”
His eyes lit up. “Really? Cool! Let’s try the whipped cream can! Or would a plastic bag ignite faster?”
“I give up,” I muttered, tossing my hands up in defeat. “Why did I ever agree to watch you for the day?”
The blond-haired child smiled sweetly. “Because I'm your favorite nephew.”
“You're my only nephew,” I pointed out, rolling my eyes. I reached for my phone. “Seriously, if you try putting anything else in my microwave, I'm calling your mother.”
“It'll be too late by then,” Liam reminded me, a knowing smirk growing on his face. “It'll have blown up already and then it won't matter!”
I groaned and turned away with the phone and pretended to dial. “I'm calling her,” I warned, a hint of playfulness in my voice.
“Hey, Kel?” I said to the imaginary person on the other end. “Yeah, I think you need to speak to Liam about–”
I turned back towards my nephew as I spoke, and stopped dead in my tracks.
“Don't you dare press that start button!” I hollered, lunging for the boy.
Too late.

And there you have it! Haha. Hope you all enjoyed!

~Livi Jane