Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

Luke 1:5-80

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[e] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

46 And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord, 47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.     For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,     and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him     from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm;     he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones     and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things,     and the rich he has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel,     in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers,     to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him.

67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,     for he has visited and redeemed his people 69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us     in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we should be saved from our enemies     and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers     and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us 74     that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75     in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;     for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people     in the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God,     whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,     to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

 

Posted in Natalie

Natalie:Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment Five

TIMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Sorry, Grandpa!” A boy around Paige’s age said. Mr. Stewart was the man he was calling Grandpa. And oh great, Emily was with them.

Mr. Stewart walled into The Treasure Chest and Timmy followed. I saw Emily walk up to the door but she didn’t come in. Darcy saw her standing at the door and walked out the shop.

“I’m sorry about my grandson,” Mr. Stewart said. “We’re going hunting today and he fired his gun by accident,” Mr. Stewart said. Paige nodded.

“My dad went to Monroe on business,” Paige said. “I’m in charge of the store.”

“I’m sorry this had to happen while you were watching the store,” Mr. Stewart said. “But I promised the grandkids I take them hunting.”

“Let me call my dad,” Paige said. She picked up the phone. I looked at Nelson. He just shrugged.

Soon Paige was in a conversation with a man I assumed was her dad. She told him that the damage wasn’t that bad but they needed a new window. Then Mr. Stewart talked to him and apologized for Timmy.

“Grandpa, this is why we shouldn’t go hunting,” Emily said walking into the shop after Mr. Stewart got off the phone. “Timmy doesn’t know how to handle a gun!”

“It was an accident, lil sis,” Timmy said. Emily looked mad.

“Come on kids, I’ve worked it out with Mr. Chadwick. Let’s get a move on,” Mr. Stewart said walking out the shop. Emily and Timmy followed.

“Now what is it that you wanted?” Paige asked me.

“The perfume,” I said.

“Oh yeah,” Paige said. “Christmas Dreams right?” I nodded.

She took the perfume from the glass case and put it in a bag.

“Twenty-Five dollars and fifteen cents please,” Paige said ringing me up. I gave her the money.

“Got an iron for these?” Paige joked as she tried to flatten the money. She gave me a receipt and I took my bag.
“Have a merry Christmas,” Paige smiled. I nodded and Nelson followed me towards the door.

“Are you coming, Darcy?” I asked. Darcy was looking into a glass case.

“I’ll be right there,” Darcy snarled. Nelson and I walked out the door. Soon Darcy walked out the store with a bag in his hand.

“You buy your little girlfriend a Christmas present?” I teased. Darcy didn’t answer.

Snow started to come down and I lost my footing. The perfume flew through the air.

“NO!” I screamed. Darcy dropped his crutches and caught it before Nelson could even move.

“Thanks,” I said as Nelson helped me up.

“You’re welcome,” Darcy grumbled. He hobbled along. What a strange boy.

“I was about to worry about you kids,” Ms. Donna said when we got back to the B&B. “They say a real bad snow storm is coming.”

“The roads are not good for crutches,” I said remembering my fall.

“Looks like you’ll have your first ever white Christmas,” Momma said smiling. I smiled back. This was not how I imagined my first white Christmas would be.

“What’s in the bag?” Momma asked.

“Oh, nothing,” I smiled. Momma winked at me.

I sat on the couch and watched the weather. Then there was a knock on the door.

I got up wondering what fool would come out here in this weather. A blizzard was going on!

“Tom! Joan!” Ms. Donna shouted. “What are you doing out in this weather?”

“Our power is out,” Mr. Rivers said. “We went looking for someone who had power.”

“Come in,” Ms. Donna said. “Get warm. It’s freezing out there!”

“Hopefully they can get out here and fix the power,” Mrs. Rivers said taking her coat off.

An hour later there was another knock on the door.

“Carlson clan!” Ms. Donna shouted.

“Our power went out thirty minutes ago. It got so cold in our house that we had to go and find somewhere with power,” Mrs. Carlson said.

“Come in,” Ms. Donna said.

Five minutes later Erin and her family were at the door.

“Our power is out,” Mrs. Cooper shivered.

“Natalie, meet my two little brothers Brandon and Toby,” Erin huffed as she walked through the door.

Brandon stuck his tongue out at me and I stuck mine out at him. Toby laughed.

“Your power out too?” Mrs. Rivers asked the Cooper’s. They nodded.

Ten minutes later Victoria and her parent’s showed up at the door.

“Our house is so cold!” Victoria cried. “Feel my hands.” I felt them. Coldness rushed through my hands.

It went on like this for about an hour. Everyone in town lost their power and came to the Sunshine B&B.

“I guess since I’m not exactly in Florida I might be on a different power circuit,” Ms. Donna said when I asked her why our power wasn’t out.

“How many people are here?” I asked as Mr. Steve moved the couch to make more room for people to sleep.

“All most the entire town!” Regina said. “There’s the Young’s, the Hardy’s, the Clark’s…………”

“Have any of you seen Emily?” Darcy asked hobbling over to us.

“No,” I said. “Why?”

“Cause she, her brother, and Mr. Stewart went hunting and then it started to snow,” Darcy said.

“Do you think they’re stuck in the snowstorm?” Victoria asked. Darcy nodded.

“Ms. Donna!” I shouted. Ms. Donna walked over.

“Yes?” Ms. Donna asked. She had a bunch of blankets in her hands.

“Mom, are the Stewart’s here?” Darcy asked.

“No. Maybe they have power,” Ms. Donna said.

“They went hunting today,” I said.

“I better call Mr. Stewart to make sure they’re all right,” Ms. Donna said. She dialed their number but there was no answer.

“If you want Donna, I’ll go out and look for them,” Mr. Steve said. Ms. Dona sighed.

“I don’t want to think about what could happen if we don’t find them soon,” Ms. Donna said. “Let me go boil some water and make coco.”

“I want to go too,” Darcy said.

“I also want to go,” I said.

“Why do you want to go? You don’t care about the Stewart’s,” Darcy snarled.

“I want to go because I want to help,” I said. “Sure I don’t like Emily too much but I don’t want her to die.”

Darcy looked at me like he didn’t believe me. I hobbled to the closet to get my coat and when I put it on my mother stopped me.

“Where do you think you’re going in this blizzard?” Momma asked.

“I want to help find the Stewart’s,” I said. Momma got a worried look on her face.

“I promise to stay in the car,” I said. Momma sighed.

“Fine but stay in the car,” Momma commanded. I nodded.

I walked outside to find Darcy and Mr. Steve ready to go. I got in the back seat and Mr. Steve started to drive.

“Where does Mr. Stewart like to hunt?” Mr. Steve asked Darcy.

“He always takes me to this place behind town,” Darcy said. Mr. Steve nodded.

The snow was coming down hard now and I had no idea how Mr. Steve could see. The windshield wipers weren’t working too well now.

“Mr. Matthews, you’re about to fall into a ditch!” Darcy screamed but it was too late. We were already stuck in the ditch.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1- Christmas Dreams Installment 4

**

               “Good morning, Natalie,” Momma said to me with a smile. I nodded. Maybe what happened last night was all a really bad Christmas dream.

But it wasn’t. Darcy hobbled into the family room on his crutches. His knee cap was broken. He looked at me with an evil eye and hobbled into the kitchen.

“It wasn’t your fault, honey,” Momma said. Did she think I felt sorry? I didn’t feel sorry one bit for that Darcy. Ok maybe just a little. It was rotten having a broken foot but a broken knee?

“Can you hand me my crutches?” I asked. Momma nodded and handed them to me. I started to hobble into the restaurant.

“Look, who’s up,” Mr. Steve said to me. His face lightened up and then I saw that my Momma was behind me. Momma smiled back at him. I hobbled away not wanting to even think about my Momma liking Steve Matthews.

“Good morning, Miss Natalie,” Ms. Donna said to me. She smiled and put a plate of waffles on the table where Darcy was sitting.

“Good morning, Ms. Donna,” I said sitting at an empty chair at the table. Darcy gave me a look that clearly said I wasn’t welcome but I didn’t get up.

The door to the restaurant banged open and Emily Stewart walked into the restaurant with her grandfather not far behind.

“Mr. Stewart,” Ms. Donna started walking up to him. Emily walked to the table were Darcy and I were sitting.

“Move, clumsy,” Emily said. I got up. Not because I was afraid of this girl but because I really didn’t feel like fighting.

“My granddaughter would like an apology from both Natalie and Regina,” Mr. Stewart said. “We’ve already taken care of Erin.”

“What did Natalie do?” Momma asked. “Your granddaughter pulled her hair!”

“I did not! She told a lie about me in front of the entire school!” Emily cried.

“It wasn’t in front of the entire school,” Regina said. “Claire wasn’t there.” Emily balled up her fist.

“You! You assaulted me!” Emily shouted.

“Look, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be apologizing for but I’m sorry for whatever I did,” I said. I took one look at her before I walked out the door and hobbled down the road.

The log cabin was the first thing that caught my eye when I got close to town. Christmas lights hung from it and Mr. Rivers was on top of the roof trying to put a snowman on top of it. He waved and I smiled.

“Hello, Natalie,” Mrs. Rivers said. She had a box full of lights under her arm. “How’s the foot?”

“Still broken,” I sighed. Mrs. Rivers smiled.

“So what brings you down the road?” Mrs. Rivers asked.

“I don’t know,” I sighed. “I bet you heard about what happened at the Christmas party.”

“It’s all over town,” Mrs. Rivers said. “How Ms. Ross let things get so out of hand surprises me.”

“It was all Emily Stewarts fault. She pulled my hair in front of everybody and then denied it,” I said.

“A Stewart will do that to you,” Mrs. Rivers said taking some tinsel out of the box.

“And she came by today asking Regina and I to apologize. I understand Regina but what did I do?” I asked.

“From what Erin told me, you did nothing wrong but if you dig deeper into Emily Stewart’s past you might figure out why she feels like you should apologize,” Mrs. Rivers said putting the tinsel on the mail box.

There was no way I was digging into that girl’s past.

“I should probably go back home,” I huffed. “My mother doesn’t know I’m here.”

“Do you need a ride?” Mrs. Rivers asked me. I shook my head no and hobbled down the road.

When I got back to the B&B Emily and her grandfather were gone. I hobbled back to the couch in the family room and found a note.

If you know what’s best for you. You’ll stay away from Florida(especially Darcy!!)!!!!!!!!!!!!

No one needed to tell me who this was from.

**

    “Nelson,” I said all serious.

“Yeah, Natalie,” Nelson said.

“I have a mission for you,” I whispered.

Nelson looked at me like I was crazy.

“Nelson, I need you to sneak into my mother’s room and get the catalog sitting on her dresser,” I whispered. “I would do it myself but my foot.”

“Why are you whispering?” Nelson asked.

“Haven’t you ever watched spy movies?” I asked.

“Sure,” Nelson shrugged.

“I’m pretending to be the Christmas Spy,” I said. Nelson nodded.

“I will get that catalog, sir. I mean ma’am,” Nelson said. He tiptoed up the stairs in a dramatic way. Boy, did he look funny.

After what seemed like forever, Nelson came back down with the catalog I wanted.

“What do you need this for?” Nelson asked.

“I need to find out what my mom wants for Christmas,” I said turning to the page with an index card stuck in it.

“Why don’t you just ask her?” Nelson asked.

“Cause that’s not how Baldwin’s do it,” I said. There was only one thing on the page. It was an ad for perfume. The perfume was called Christmas Dreams.

Perfume? Why in the world would my mother want perfume?

She wants to smell good for Steve a voice in my head said. No way. That was NOT the reason.

“How do you know if she wants perfume or this book,” Nelson said looking at the two pages.

The page where the lines of the index card touched was what she wanted and I knew she didn’t want the book. The book was called, How to Enjoy Christmas.

                    “This page had the side of the card with the lines,” I said. “And my mother could enjoy Christmas with all the bones in her body broken.”

Nelson nodded.

“I need to go to the store,” I said. “Where’s the closet Wal-Mart?” Nelson laughed.

“There’s a little shop in town. I believe they sell perfume,” Nelson said. That would have to do.

“Will you take me?” I asked. Nelson shrugged. I hobbled off towards the family room where Ms. Donna was watching TV.

“Ms. Donna, I’m going out to go get my mom a Christmas present. Don’t worry, Nelson is coming with me,” I said. Ms. Donna nodded.

“Take Darcy with you,” Ms. Donna said. “DARCY!”

Darcy hobbled into the family room.

“Nelson and Natalie are going to town to get Christmas presents,” Ms. Donna said. “I want you to accompany them.”

Darcy groaned and then looked at me as if I had something to do with. I went through my suitcase and found my green fudge tin my dad had given me. It was where I kept my money.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Darcy said as we walked down the road. He started to hobble ahead of Nelson and me. That boy is fast on crutches.

“Do you hear that?” Nelson asked me. It sounded like an engine. I was about to say yes but Nelson didn’t give me the chance. He pushed me into a ditch and hid along with me.

“What did you………” I started but then a car drove by real fast. It drove right on the ground I had just when walking on.

“People don’t know how to drive these days,” Nelson muttered helping me out of the ditch.

“Hurry up!” Darcy called from far down the road.

When Nelson and I got to the shop Darcy was already there looking around. A girl around fifteen was standing at the counter.

“Welcome to The Treasure Chest. My name is Paige,” The girl said. “And you must be Natalie.” I nodded.

“Darcy said you were looking for a perfume called Christmas Dreams. You’re in luck. We have one bottle left,” Paige said. Darcy had told her that? Funny, I didn’t even think he was listening.

Just as Paige reached under the counter to get the perfume the sound of glass ringed through my ears.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment 3 Part 2

**

                                      My mother agreed to let me go to the party. She said it would help me get to know my new classmates better. Mr. Drew would be driving us kids to the party and at six we got into his car.

“There are so many people for you to meet!” Regina shouted. “Let me see there’s Claire, Erin, Victoria……….”

The drive to the school wasn’t long and soon we were at the school. The Memorial School was a one story brick building that I thought looked more like a church than a school.

Darcy climbed over me to get out of the car. What a gentleman.

As Mr. Drew was helping me get out the car, Regina screamed and another car hit the other side of Mr. Drew’s car.

“Mr. Stewart, are you all right?” Darcy asked running to the other car.

“I’m just fine, son,” Mr. Stewart said getting out of his car. “I’m sorry, Samuel, for hitting your car.”

“What happened?” Mr. Drew asked. He didn’t look too mad but there was a little bit of annoyance in his voice.

“Some kid ran out in front of me and I swerved,” Mr. Stewart muttered. He sounded mad. “Don’t worry, Samuel, I’ll fix your car.”

“That would be nice since it was your fault,” Mr. Drew said. He finished helping me out of the car.

“You kids go in while I sort this out with Mr. Stewart,” Mr. Drew said. Darcy ran into the school but Nelson and Regina walked at my pace as I hobbled into the school.

“I didn’t see any kid,” Regina said when we were inside the school.

“Neither did I,” Nelson said. “To me it looked like he was trying to hit the car.”

“But why would Mr. Stewart do that?” Regina asked.

“Cause he’s a Grinch,” I joked. That made them laugh.

“He really kinda is. I mean look at Darcy. Mr. Stewart is the father figure in his life!” Regina laughed.

I wanted to ask what happened to Darcy’s dad but I thought it might be rude to ask. And anyway Regina might not even know.

When we walked into the gym there were decorations and a large tree. Christmas music was playing. A bunch of children were dancing. Darcy and some girl walked up to us.

“You must be Natalie. I’m Emily Stewart,” The girl said offering her hand. I couldn’t shake her hand because if I took my hand off my crutch I would fall.

“Nice to meet you,” I said with my polite smile (a smile I was using a lot lately).

“When will you start attending our school?” Emily asked.

“In January,” I answered. Emily smiled.

“Well, welcome,” Emily said. She and Darcy walked away.

“Just in case you didn’t make the connection, Emily Stewart is Mr. Stewart’s granddaughter,” Regina said. I actually hadn’t made that connection.

“I guess that makes since,” I said. Emily’s niceness seemed kinda fake to me.

“Hello, you must be Natalie,” A woman said walking up to me.

“Did the cast tip you off?” I asked. The woman laughed.

“I’m Ms. Ross and I’m the sixth grade teacher aka your teacher,” The woman said. I smiled.

“Nice to meet you Ms. Ross,” I smiled.

“I look forward to having you in my class this year,” Ms. Ross said. “I will see all three of you in class a couple weeks from now.”

She smiled and walked away.

“You’ll really like Ms. Ross,” Regina said walking over to the refreshment table. “She’s nice and the best art teacher.”

I nodded. Someone tapped on my shoulder.

“Hi! I’m Erin Cooper!” The red haired girl said to me.

“And I’m Victoria,” A dark skinned girl said to me. I smiled at them.

“These are my best friends, Natalie,” Regina said.

“Hi,” I said.

“Where’s Claire?” Regina asked.

“I thought she told you. Because she got a C on the spelling test today her mother wouldn’t let her come to the party,” Victoria said.

“EVERYBODY PLEASE COME DOWN TO THE DANCE FLOOR EVEN IF YOUR FOOT IS IN A CAST. WE’RE GOING TO PLAY FREEZE DANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Ms. Ross screamed through a microphone. I hobbled to get in line. Just to be mean I stood next to Darcy which forced Emily to find someone else to stand next too.

Christmas music started to play and I hobbled in a circle. I noticed that Emily was making her way over to me. The music stopped.

“Erin, you moved!” Ms. Ross shouted. Erin groaned and stood next to Ms. Ross. The music started up and what happened, happened all too fast.

Emily pulled on my hair and I fell and while I fell I heard the worst scream in my life.

“What’s wrong?” Mr. Drew asked running into the gym.

“Clumsy hit my knee with her cast,” Darcy groaned. He sounded like he was in some serious pain.

“Your girlfriend pulled my hair!” I screamed.

“What a lie,” Emily said rolling her eyes.

“I saw you!” Nelson shouted. Emily gasped.

“Why would I do such a thing?” Emily asked.

“Cause your jealous,” Regina snapped. Emily laughed.

“Why would I be jealous of her? She probably just tripped like she did the first time she tried to break Darcy’s knee,” Emily said.

“That’s crazy! Darcy tripped her the first time!” Regina shouted. Emily laughed again. Regina snapped and jumped on Emily. They started to scream and pull each other’s hair.

I turned my head and saw that Darcy’s knee was out of place.

“That’s gross,” I laughed. Darcy gave me an evil look.

“Girls!” Ms. Ross shouted separating them.

“She assaulted me!” Emily cried. Darcy laughed.

“Darcy!” Emily screamed. She started to walk towards the door but Erin pulled her hair.

“That’s what she did,” Erin said.

“I’m being attacked!” Emily cried. She ran out the door.

What a wonderful debut, right? Who am I kidding? What a mess.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1- Christmas Dreams Installment Three Part 1

“The world is dizzy,” I giggled. I was laughing but the pain was so bad I went black for a second.

“Darcy Edwards! How could you trip her?” Aunt Jane shouted walking over to me.

“I did not trip her! Clumsy tripped herself,” Darcy grumbled.

“Darcy didn’t trip the girl,” Mr. Hank spoke up. “He would never do that to sugar.”

“I believe this town has raised Darcy to be a respectable young man and since we’ve known him all his life I believe it is safe to say that Darcy did not trip the girl on purpose if he even did trip the girl,” Mr. Stewart said.

“Ew! Her foot is blue!” Judy (or maybe it was Jody) cried.

“We have got to get you to a hospital,” Momma said worried. Darcy tried to stand up and screamed like a little girl.

I burst into giggles.

“What is all this racket?” A woman asked walking down the steps. Momma’s face fell when she saw this lady.

“Mrs. Walters, it seems we’ve had an injury,” Ms. Donna said.

“To my pride,” Darcy said under his breath. I kicked him with my one good foot.

“Donna, I told you children would be trouble!” Mrs. Walters shouted. She looked at me and then my Momma. She then marched up the steps.

“I’m sorry everyone but I will have to close the restaurant so we can take the children to the hospital,” Ms. Donna said. Everyone nodded their head in agreement.

Mr. Steve picked me up and helped me to Momma’s car. He did the same with Darcy. Ms. Donna hopped into the front seat and gave Momma directions to the hospital.

“This is all your fault, clumsy,” Darcy said.

“How can you say that?” I asked outraged. “You tripped me! Whether you meant to do it on purpose or it was an accident, only God knows.” I waved my hands wildly.

Darcy grunted.

When we got to the hospital my foot was swollen and a darker shade of blue. Darcy complained as he hoped into the hospital. At least he could walk in. Some man had to help me into a wheelchair.

The doctors gave me some pain medicine and said I was in shock. I didn’t think I was in shock but I guess since my eyes were all over the place.

“That is a nasty break,” The doctor said looking at the X-Ray. Momma took one look at the X-Ray and said there was no one I was seeing it.

I requested to see it and when I did I passed out.

**

                                  I woke up in a hospital room and my foot was in a cast and everything hurt. Why did we have to leave our home in Miami and come here?

“Glad to see you’re awake,” The doctor said walking into the room.

“How could Darcy’s knee cause me to break my toes and cause two breaks in my foot?” I asked. Knees were hard but not that hard.

“Oh it wasn’t just the knee. Your foot hit the ground hard too. I believe this is what happened. You tripped and started to fall backwards. Darcy was still walking and your foot hit his knee. This is when your toes broke. Then when your foot hit the ground hard and that caused the two breaks,” The doctor said. I sighed.

“Don’t worry. You’ll learn how to use the crutches and then you can go home,” The doctor said smiling.

Home? Home was not that B&B I can tell you that. And home wasn’t Miami either. I had no place to call ‘home’.

“How you feeling?” Momma asked walking into the room.

“Pain,” I said. Momma laughed.

“I remember once I fell from the monkey bars and broke a toe. I guess that can’t compare to breaking your foot,” Momma said. I nodded.

“I promise you’ll go home today,” Momma said. Something sparkled in her eyes when she said home.

She may have found home but I was still looking.

**

                                    News of a broken foot travels fast in Florida.

When I got back to the Sunshine B&B there were flowers, balloons, candy, and teddy bears from complete strangers. Darcy got a couple of cards.

“Natalie, where are you?!” Regina shouted when she came back from her last day of school before Christmas break. I wasn’t to start school until the New Year and I was rather glad.

“I’m in the family room!” I called. I had to sleep on the couch because Ms. Donna didn’t want me to risk using my crutches on the stairs.

“Your foot is the talk of the school! Everybody fells so bad for you. Well anyway they wanted Nelson, Darcy, and I to ask if you were up to going to the Christmas Party tonight,” Regina said. “Darcy said you wouldn’t want to come but I told them you love Christmas.”

“I’ll have to ask my mom but I would like to go,” I said. Actually I wanted to go just to spite Darcy.

“We have so much to do! We have to find you the perfect outfit since you can’t show up in your pajamas!” Regina shouted. “This is your Florida debut!”

I wanted to laugh. Just about everyone person in town had come by to see how I was doing.

Regina skipped up the stairs and I laughed. If only I knew how crazy my debut would be I would have forgotten all about spiting Darcy.

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment Two

We parked in front of a huge house and Momma told me to get out of the car so that we might ask the people if there was anywhere we could stay.

“How can I help you?” The woman who answered the door asked.

“Do you know of a place that my daughter and I can stay?” Momma asked.

“This is your lucky day,” The woman said. “This is the Sunshine Bed & Breakfast.”

Momma smiled. This had to be one of the worst days of her life well at least for me.

“What do you charge?” Momma asked walking through the door.

“Depends,” The woman shrugged. “How long you planning on staying?”

“For a while,” Momma said.

“Everybody’s got a different idea of ‘a while’,” The woman said frowning. “I have day, week, month, and year.”

“How much for a month?” Momma asked.

She wasn’t serious about staying in this small town for at least a month could she?

“For one room its one thousand a hundred dollars due at the end of your month,” The woman said. Momma looked shocked. How was she supposed to come up with that much money by the end of the month?

“But since its Christmas I charge nine hundred dollars for a month,” The woman said.

“What’s your yearly price for the Christmas season?” Momma asked.

“Eight hundred and fifty dollars a month,” The woman said.

“Does it include breakfast?” Momma asked.

“Yes, it includes breakfast. I serve breakfast and dinner,” The woman said. Momma sighed.

“Are there any jobs around here?” Momma asked.

“Not many,” The woman huffed.

“Maybe I can be of help to you,” Momma said. “I know how to cook and clean. I decorated people’s homes back in Miami for the holidays.”

“I could use some help in the kitchen,” The woman mumbled.

“I’d be willing to do the yearly plan,” Momma said. I wanted to scream. Spend an entire year here?

“You got a deal. You help me around here and I give you a paycheck. It won’t be much but it’ll be better than nothing. I’ll see if I can help you get jobs with people in town,” The woman said. “Oh and by the way I’m Donna.”

“Riley. And this is my daughter Natalie,” Momma said offering her hand. Ms. Donna smiled and shook it.

“How old are you?” Ms. Donna asked me.

“Twelve,” I answered.

“I got a son who’s thirteen,” Ms. Donna smiled. “DARCY!”

A tall boy who I assumed was Darcy walked up with an empty plate in his hands. He had dark brown almost black hair and blue eyes. He had pale skin and a couple freckles. He had a huge scowl on his face.

“This is Mrs. Riley and her daughter Natalie. Say hello,” Ms. Donna said.

“Hi,” Darcy grumbled.

“Darcy, help these ladies with their things. I’ll be putting them in the Miami Room,” Donna said. I felt like laughing.

Darcy handed the plate to his mother and walked out the door.

“Wow, I’ve never seen licenses plates from so far away,” Darcy said when he saw our Florida tags. Momma smiled and opened the trunk.

“We’re going to need more manpower,” Darcy gawked as he looked at all the stuff in the car. “Did you pack your entire house in this car?”

“Actually, yes,” Momma laughed. At least someone was having a good sense of humor about all this.

“I’ll be right back,” Darcy said walking back into the house.

“And entire year, Momma?” I asked. Momma looked at me.

“Natalie, you do realize that we have nowhere to go?” Momma asked me.

“We can go back home!” I cried.

“We are home,” Momma said picking up the wreath. I wanted to cry but Darcy and two other men and another boy walked out the house.

“Ladies meet Steve Matthews, Samuel Drew, and Nelson Drew your housemates,” Darcy said.

“Hello!” The boy said offering his hand. “I’m Nelson.”

“Natalie,” I said not shaking his hand.

“I’m Steve Matthews,” One of the men said. He took one of my mother’s hands and kissed it. My mother’s cheeks turned bright red.

“Hello, Natalie,” Mr. Steve said to me. He took one of my hands, the right to be exact, and kissed it. I smiled politely.

“And I’m Samuel Drew. Welcome to the neighborhood,” Mr. Drew said. Momma smiled.

“That’s one interesting tree,” Mr. Drew said looking in the trunk.

“I’ve had it since Natalie was a baby,” Momma said. Darcy snickered.

“It’s very gold,” Darcy commented. Nelson shook his head.

“Let’s start helping the ladies with their things. I’m sure that they’ll want to get settled in as soon as possible,” Mr. Steve said. The men started to move the tree out of the trunk and the rest of the things.

“Thank you all so much,” Momma said opening her purse. “I have ten dollars in here……….”

“That won’t be necessary,” Mr. Drew and Mr. Steve said at the same time. Darcy looked disappointed.

“Here young men,” Momma said giving Darcy and Nelson both four dollars.

“No ma’am I can’t take your money,” Nelson said.

“Take it. It’s Christmas,” Momma smiled. Darcy had already put the money in his pocket.

“How long do you plan on staying?” Nelson asked me as we walked up the steps.

I wanted to say, “I want to go back to Miami and I don’t care that stalker dude Ryan is there.” But instead I said,

“At least a year.”

“Cool! I’ve been living here since I was three,” Nelson said. “I have a twin sister named Regina and a younger brother Fred.”

“You must be the new girl,” A blonde girl said when I walked through the door. “I’m Regina Drew.”

“Natalie. Natalie Baldwin,” I smiled.

**

                              “Miss Natalie Baldwin, you are the newest waitress for the Sunshine B&B,” Ms. Donna said to me that night. As part of the deal I would help out in the restaurant.

“Do you get a big crowd?” I asked worried I might drop the food. I’m not exactly the most balanced person in the world.

“Depends on what you call a crowd,” Ms. Donna laughed. “During the Christmas season there are a couple more people stopping in but it’s mostly the regulars.”

“Miss Donna, are you open for dinner yet?” An elderly man asked walking through the Sunshine B&B restaurant door.

“I sure am Hank,” Ms. Donna said. “My new waitress, Natalie, will be helping you today.”

“Hello, sugar,” Mr. Hank said to me. I smiled politely.

“What can I get you?” I asked.

“My regular of course!” Mr. Hank shouted like I had just asked what country we were in.

“Regular?” I asked.

“Sorry, sugar,” Mr. Hank said. “My regular is beef carrot stew with a glass of root beer. I’m so used to Darcy taking my order. Sorry, sugar.”

I nodded my head and walked towards the kitchen. No one’s ever called me ‘sugar’ before.

“Here’s Hank’s root beer,” Ms. Donna said when I gave her his order.

When I walked back to the restaurant Darcy was talking to Mr. Hank. He scowled at me when I put the root beer on the table.

“Fix your face, son,” Mr. Hank said to Darcy. He quickly turned his frown upside down.

A man and a woman walked into the restaurant and sat down.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’ll be…..serving you today,” I said unsure if serving was the right word to use.

“Well hello Natalie, how long have you been living in Florida?” The man asked.

“Which one?” I blurted out. I soon realized that he meant Florida, Massachusetts.

The man and the woman laughed.

“I’m assuming you’re from the other Florida? The state?” The woman asked. I nodded to afraid that I might say something else stupid.

“That’s ok,” The man said.

“I’ve been here for about two hours,” I sighed.

“Did you here that, Joan? The girl’s only been here two hours and she already has a job!” The man laughed. I smiled politely.

“Well we’re Tom and Joan Rivers. We live down the road,” The woman said. “If you ever need anything honey you just walk down the road to the log cabin.”

I nodded. It wasn’t like I ever intended to actually do that.

“We already know what we want,” Mr. Rivers said. “I would like Seafood Salad and Joan will have the beef carrot stew with a glass of ice tea. I’ll also have an ice tea.”

I nodded and wrote it down on the pad.

“Here are the Rivers’ ice teas,” Ms. Donna said when I got back to the kitchen.

There was another customer by the time I put the ice teas on the Rivers’ table. Darcy was helping the lady.

“You sweetheart! The one with the dirty blonde hair! Come here!” The woman shouted across the room.

I walked over towards her a little embarrassed.

“Darcy, introduce me to your new friend,” The woman smiled.

“This is Natalie. She and her mother live here now,” Darcy mumbled.

“You must love Christmas,” The woman joked. I nodded.

“You should see their gold Christmas tree,” Darcy mumbled.

“Speak up, Darcy Edwards!” The woman scolded. “Hi, I’m Jane Powers but you can just call me Aunt Jane. Everybody does.”

“Nice to meet you Aunt Jane,” I said a little uncomfortable. Aunt Jane smiled.

I curtsied. Why I did that I have no idea but I walked back to the kitchen and got Mr. Hank’s food.

“Thanks, sugar,” Mr. Hank said with his mouth full of stew.

I nodded and walked back to the kitchen and delivered Mr. and Mrs. River’s food.

“Thank you, Natalie,” Mrs. Rivers smiled at me. Another customer walked in. This time it was a man and I walked up to his table.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’ll be serving you today,” I said with my best smile.

“Eh? What happened to Darcy?” The man asked.

“I’m right here, Mr. Stewart,” Darcy said walking up.

“Who’s this Natalie girl?” The man asked rudely.

“She’s a new waitress. Her mother and her live here now,” Darcy said. He scowled at me and I had a feeling Mr. Stewart wasn’t going to tell him to fix his face.

“Darcy, I would like to try to Seafood Salad tonight and I’ll stick with the root beer,” Mr. Stewart said. Darcy wrote it down and walked away. I walked away feeling a little awkward.

A family of six (three girls, one boy, and two parents) walked through the doors of the restaurant and since Darcy was off in the kitchen I walked up to them.

“Hi, my name is Natalie and I’ll be serving you today,” I said with a smile.

“Hello, Natalie we are the Carlson’s,” The man said.

“I’m Libby!” The youngest shouted. I smiled.

“And I’m Michael,” The boy said.

“Judy!” The other girl shouted.

“Jody!” The other girl shouted.

“And I’m Michael the second and this is my wife Kaitlin. We’ll all just take the beef carrot stew all with lemonade. Please make three bowls children sized,” The man said. I nodded and walked towards the kitchen.

Darcy was walking out the kitchen at the same time with Mr. Stewart’s drink. I don’t know if he meant to do this on purpose or not but he tripped me.

If he meant to do it on purpose the joke was on his because as I started to fall and I banged my foot HARD into his knee and he fell on me. Root beer splashed everywhere.

“My foot!” I groaned. I couldn’t move my toes.

“My knee!” Darcy groaned holding on to it.

Ms. Donna and Momma walked out of the kitchen and Ms. Donna knelt down next to Darcy and me.

“Darcy’s knee with be all right but Natalie’s foot is broken,” Ms. Donna said touching Darcy’s knee and my foot.

What a wonderful way to start off in Florida.

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)

Posted in Natalie

Natalie: Part 1-Christmas Dreams Installment One

How can a person not love Christmas when their name is Natalie?

Even thou my name means born on Christmas day I was really born on November 25th but my mother didn’t care. She’s a Christmas freak just like me.

As long as I can remember we’ve had a gold fake Christmas tree that when we first got it smelled like a real Christmas tree but since we keep it up all year it’s lost its smell.

We have a fake wreath on our door from September to July and we blast my mother’s greatest Christmas hits all year long.

There’s just one problem. We live in Miami, Florida so I’ve never actually seen snow.

How can you not love Christmas when it’s all around you and in your blood?

My father was a fellow Christmas lover and Momma and he had some pretty Christmases together.

But that all changed when my father was killed in a car accident when I was five. My mom found refuge in Christmas time and soon everything in our little apartment had something to do with Christmas.

For a long time Momma and I went on living our lives then everything change. My mom got a boyfriend.

His name was Ryan and he was a mall Santa during the winter and a big pain during the rest of the year.

I don’t know what my Momma saw in this man. He’s rude and kinda fat (just saying). But he’s her boyfriend of two years and finally I told Momma I didn’t like him.

She was of course shocked at first but when it wore off she called him and broke up with him. I just wish she hadn’t told him that I didn’t like him.

Cause right now he standing outside of his car waiting for me to walk out the door of my school and I’m going to tell you it aien’t going to happen.

School has been long over and my mother was probably getting worried. We were supposed to make Christmas cookies today.

The school janitor looked at me was he passed by. I had been sitting here for about an hour and I think he was getting curious.

“Miss, you waiting for a ride?”

I looked out the window. I couldn’t sit here forever. I had no way to tell my mother that Ryan was stalking me. This is why i need a cell phone.

“That’s my mom’s boyfriend.” I hesitant for a second should I tell him that I was scared of Ryan.

“And he’s my ride,” I lied. I picked up my red sparkly backpack and walked out the door.

“Natalie! Natalie Baldwin!”

Just ignore him I thought. Our apartment wasn’t too far away maybe if I was fast enough……..

“Natalie, did you hear me?!”

The whole block can hear you I thought. Ryan got into his car and started to drive towards the exit. Maybe he was just going to leave me alone.

Nope. He parked his car in front of the exit. I was trapped.

“The janitor is inside,” I warned. “And I know how to scream.”

“I just want to talk to you. Your mother says that you don’t like me,” Ryan said.

I nodded.

“Why not?” Ryan asked. His voice sounded so innocent. That could be a reason my mother fell for this jerk.

I thought for a second what else my mother saw in this guy but I was taking too long for Ryan so he pulled my hair.

“Answer me, child! Why don’t you like me?” Ryan shouted.

“Get away from me!” I screamed.

“You’re being very naughty!” Ryan shouted yanking me hair more. I couldn’t see it. Why did my mom date this man?

I started to scream and kick. Ryan did not like it when I kicked him so he slapped and punched me.

“Help me! Help me!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I saw a familiar car drew up the the street and then there was a scream.

“You put her down NOW!”

It was my mother and she was not happy. Ryan put me down and turned on the charm.

“Hello, Riley.”

“Ryan, get away from me.

“This girl attacked me. I was just here trying to figure out why she didn’t like me and if it was anything I could change.”

“Stay out our lives, Ryan,” Momma said. I ran to her car and Momma drove us back home.

“Natalie, go pack your bags,” Momma said.

“Huh?” I asked.

“We’re leaving. I need a fresh start,” Momma said. “I thought Ryan was it but he is not.”

I was shocked. Where would we go? Momma’s family was in England and I never knew about my Daddy’s family.

“Where will we go?” I asked.

“Wherever God stops me.”

“So we’re just going to get into a car and drive?” I asked.

“Yes, sweetheart. Go pack your bags,” Momma said.

I ran into my room and turned that place upside down. I could barely close my suitcase but everything was packed.

When I walked into our living room I didn’t recognize it. There were no Christmas decorations. Christmas music wasn’t playing and our tree was gone.

Momma was waiting by the door with the wreath in her hand.

“Wherever this wreath is its home, Natalie,” Momma said.

I walked out the door not ready to say goodbye. All of this was happening so fast. I was leaving the only home I ever knew and all because of some mall Santa.

I had a hard time getting into our car since stuff was stuffed in it. I saw our tree in the trunk and felt like crying. It wasn’t like my mother had no money but we didn’t have a lot of it. My mother often did odd jobs to keep us alive.

My mother seemed to drive on forever but finally she stopped at a McDonalds near the border of Georgia and South Carolina.

“How can I help ya’ll?” The man at the counter asked.

I ordered a hamburger with mayo. Ryan also got his hamburger with mayo and ketchup.

We stopped for gas and then entered South Carolina. It was getting dark out and I fell asleep.

“Where are we?” I asked when I woke up.

“Virginia,” Momma said. She sounded tired.

“Momma, do you need to pull over and sleep?” I asked.

“What I need is to find a place open that sells coffee,” Momma yawned. I convinced her that she needed some sleep and she pulled over and we slept. I never wanted to sleep in our car on the side of the road ever again.

When daylight hit we kept driving. Then I saw a sight. The Washington Monument.

“You’ve been such a trooper honey,” Momma said. “I think we can take a detour and drive through the capital.”

As we drive down the streets for a second I forget what’s happened less than twenty-four hours ago. All I can think about is how awesome this city is. Too bad D.C. can’t last forever.

We enter Maryland and I thought about school. I had a report due today about tropical birds. Today in Art class was abstract day and I could paint whatever I wanted to. And in music class today we start singing holiday songs. And where am I on this day? I’m in a car and have no idea where God’s gonna stop us.

Maryland seems to go on for forever but Momma says Maryland is one of the smallest states in our country. We are in Delaware for a quick bit and then we’re in New Jersey.

Momma stopped and asked for directions at a tire repair shop in New Jersey. Had she found out where we were going?

“Look up, Natalie. We’re in New York City,” Momma said. I looked up and saw the Empire State Building. This could actually be a fun trip if we weren’t running away.

“This is special just for you,” Momma smiled. Sometimes I think God gave me the best mother in the world.

Then I see something come down. It’s snow.

As we were stuck in traffic I think that New York City just might last forever but it doesn’t. Momma gets us back on ‘course’ and we keep on going.

I fall asleep again and when I wake up we’re in Massachusetts. I try to think of the US map. We’ve almost driven up the entire Eastern Side!

Momma has to stop for gas for like the three hundredth time and we get something to eat and then we see a sign.

Welcome to Florida!

The sign has a snowman on it and some palm trees. For a second I thought we might be back home but the wreath is in the car so the car is home right now.

“I think this is it,” Momma said. She couldn’t possibly think that some little town in Massachusetts was where God was leading us.

But she did.

Posted in Natalie

COMING SOON: Natalie Part 1-Christmas Dreams

Coming Soon: Natalie Part 1-Christmas Dreams

“How can you not love Christmas when your name is Natalie?”

Meet Natalie; a Christmas Loving girl who suddenly finds herself in the middle of the night moving from Miami, Florida to Florida, Massachusetts and right before Christmas. Can Natalie get used to the sudden change? Can she achieve her Chrismas dreams? There’s something strange going on in Florida, Massachusetts that will change Natalie’s life forever.