Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

Psalms 115:16-18

The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth he has given to the children of man. The dead do not praise the LORD,
nor do any who go down into silence. But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the LORD!

Posted in Willowfield Falls

Willowfield Falls: All I Want For Christmas Part 2

I have dreamed of this moment for years, and now that it’s finally here, I feel like puking.

The entire drive from the foster home to the Willow Estate, no one spoke a word. Jonathan did a lot of talking to me with his eyes, though. I knew his icy stares all too well. I’d heard it all before. I was unwanted. A pest. An intruder that didn’t deserve to even breathe the same air as him. Jerk. If I had known I’d have to spend two weeks with him (The Willow’s were keeping me until New Years), that stupid wish would have never even entered my mind.

Lizzie looked at me with interest the entire time, but she said nothing. I saw the words on her lips, but she swallowed them out of fear of something. Perhaps her brother’s wrath.

“Welcome to your home for the next two weeks,” Mrs. Willow breathes when her husband pulled into the garage. I smile at her before getting out of the car. The garage is huge and filled from several cars. I avoid looking at the car’s makers so I don’t feel even more out of place.

It doesn’t fully hit me that I’ve just entered the world of the ‘honest’ rich (The Stewart’s are considered the ‘dishonest’ rich’, at least that’s what I’ve heard people say) until I get my first glimpse inside the Willow Estate. It’s only the laundry room, but its even more covered in Christmas decorations than the outside of the house. The Elf on the Shelf sits on top of the washing room. His creepy smile sends involuntarily shivers down my spin. My grandmother had an Elf on the Shelf one year–every year until I threw it away when I woke up to find it sitting at the foot of my bed.

“As you will soon discover, Mom’s a little bit of a holiday decorating Nazi,” Jonathan smirks. His eyes tack more onto his criticism of his mother’s hobby. “Not that you’ll around long enough to see the house covered in red for Valentine’s Day or green for Saint Patrick’s Day.”

“I think it’s lovely,” I say just to be contrary.

“Wait until you see the Family Room,” Jonathan mumbles.

I follow Mrs. Willow through the house. I take a glimpse in the several rooms I pass. Even the kitchen is covered in Christmas decorations. I think I might have even saw some mistletoe in there.

“You might want to take note of where all the mistletoe is hung,” Mrs. Willow says as we climb the tinsel covered stairs. “It might be…awkward to be caught under it.”

I wonder if I should take offense in this, but it’s the truth. I’ve never been kissed (well on the cheek, but like twice), and that was defiantly not a gift I wanted to receive that gift from a Willow.

“I hope your room suites you,” Mrs. Willow says. “We’re expecting some company closer to Christmas, and this room was already prepared for my sister’s daughter. She’s half your age. We couldn’t completely get ride of the childish theme in so little time, but that can and will be fixed.”

You know how in every movie, TV show, and book when a character is suddenly thrust into a world much more wealthier than theirs and every time someone says their room is terrible, it turns out to be spectacular?

This time was no exception.

The room was covered in purple and pink, little girl colors that this little girl still loves. A white bookcase filled with everything from Nancy Drew to Jane Austen sat in the corner of the room. A 45” (I’m guessing) flat screen TV was mounted on the wall. A footstool to reach the side of the TV unintentionally poked fun at my small size. A shelf with several familiar movies was right underneath the television. There was one lonely stuffed animal, a Santa teddy bear, sitting on the King sized bed. The comforter had flowers on it, but that was ok. The room was huge and all mine.

Mrs. Willow shuffles to the bed and snatches the bear off it. She tries to hide it behind her back and puts an embarrassed grin on her face.

“He can stay,” I smile. Mrs. Willow looks shocked. She quickly recovers and holds him out to me. I take him and smile. I’ve never had a teddy bear before or even a real stuffed animal. I hug him to my chest.

“Dinner is at six o’clock sharp. You are free to explore the house, but if you encounter a closed door–knock.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I nod.

“Manners,” Mrs. Willow smiles. “I like that.”‘

And with that Mrs. Willow left me to squeal.


I decide to go exploring after not finding anything I wanted to watch on TV. Quite a few movies on the shelf had caught my eye, but so did several ares of the house we rushed past.

I start downstairs in the Family Room. It’s abandoned.  A TV that’s got to be larger than me is the room’s centerpiece. Modern furniture is covered in red and green stripes. A small Christmas tree with few decorations hides in the corner. The sight pulls at my heart-strings. Even the family room at the foster home is full of life.

I poke my head in the kitchen yet. A lady, who’s shouting in French at a young man that’s shouting French back at her, is furiously whisking away. My eyes float to where the young man is standing. His body is just shy of being under the mistletoe.

“NON!” The lady screams. She speaks rapidly in French. I have no idea what she said, but it sure rills the boy. He screams at her in French–calling her name in English I don’t feel comfortable repeating. The lady gasps after the word leaves his lips. He takes a step forward–putting his body right under the mistletoe.

“You despicable boy!” The woman screams in English. She walks to the young boy. “Vous êtes viré!”

Regardez!” The boy shouts. He points to the mistletoe above the two of them. The lady, quickly blushes while the boy smirks. The woman starts to give the boy a quick peck on the lips, but they end up kissing. I duck my head out–disgusted.

I walk into the foyer and crane my neck to look at the Christmas tree that’s about four–no seven–times my sizes.Every limb is covered with an ornament and my head hurts just looking at it. I feel an urge to take several of the ornaments and put them on the lonely tree in the family room. I shuffle into the next room before I can grab a handful of them.

I nearly faint when I enter a hallway that is not completely covered in Christmas decorations. You can’t even tell what season it is. Only a little sunlight lights the dark, dingy walkway.

“Can I help you?”

I scream. Mr. Willow stares at me strangely.

“Sorry,” I stutter.

“Nothing to be sorry about,” Mr. Willow says. He looks at me with squinted eyes.

“Did Mrs. Willow overlook this hallway?” I stutter.

“This is what the kids and I call a holiday free zone,” Mr. Willow says with a laugh in his throat. “It’s taken three years to get this place of safety, but a man’s got to have some time away from green, red, and decorations.”

I nod. Mr. Willow nods back and walks towards the end of the hallway. I stand in the hallway like a dork for several minutes before I move on.

I walk out of the holiday free zone and back into the Christmas madness. I explore all the rooms on the first floor to discover a spa, an indoor pool, and another family room like room.

I was just about to explore the top floor when the clock rung six o’clock. I ran towards the dinning room and fall flat on my face. I slam onto the floor and watch stars.

“Are you all right?” Mr. Willow asks as he helps me up.

“I’m all right now.The stars have stopped,” I say.

“Should we take her to the hospital?” Mrs. Willow asks.

“The food is getting cold,” Jonathan mutters,

“Jonny!” Mrs. Willow shouts. “Go to your room!”

“What! Why?” Jonathan–Jonny–yells.

“I will not tolerate that tone, young man,” Mr. Willow loudly says sternly. “Apologize to your mother.”

“But–” Jonathan protests.

“Jonathan Robert Willow the Second, apologize to your mother and do as she says,” Mr. Willow says raising voice even louder.

Jonathan looks at me. His eyes have turn from icy to deadly. He looks like he would like to make me see stars again–or worse.

“Sorry,” Jonathan sneers.

“Go upstairs,” Mr. Willow says. “We’ll talk later.”

Jonathan stomps up the stairs and slams the door.

Even though Lizzie and Mr. and Mrs. Willow were still standing by me, I broke down crying.


“Mademoiselle Vera?”

I groan as I wake up to someone knocking on my door.

“Mademoiselle?” The door opens and the French cooking lady peeks her head in.

“Mademoiselle,” The lady says walking closer to my bed. “I’ve brought you your dinner.”

I stare at the lady as she places the tray on my quilt covered lap.

“I can eat up here?” I ask.

Bien sûr!” The lady shouts. She walks towards the door.

“Excuse me,” I say. The lady stops.

“May I ask you a question?”

Je suppose,” The lady says with reluctance.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

Mon nom? Juliette Lefebvre.”

“I saw you in the kitchen this afternoon arguing with a young man. Is he your assistant?”

“That’s deux questions.”


Mais je vais répondre à la question,” Juliette says. “Jacques is my husband.”

“Do you fight like that all the time?”

Vous posez trop de questions,” Juliette says shaking her head. “You ask too many questions.”

“I guess. I do have another one.”

Qu’est-ce que c’est?”

“Could you maybe speak a little bit more in English? I can’t really understand you.”

Oui. Yes.”

By the time Juliette left me with many questions unsaid, my food was cold. I tried not to choke at the taste of stone cold meatloaf.

“Listen, brat.”

I look up and half expect to see Juliette standing there, but the voice is male and the speaker is Jonathan.

“What do you want?”

“I heard you put on quite a show this evening,” Jonathan says.

“And you had quite a performance also,” I snaps.

“At least I didn’t cry,” Jonathan says.

“At least I didn’t snap at my mother,” I say with a sad voice. “I’d take that over crying any day.”

“You think that you can just shed some tears and that you can fool everyone into think you’re some kind of broken angel, don’t ya?”

“Get out of my room,” I sneer.

“This isn’t your room. This is my house therefore my room,” Jonathan says. I snicker at the thought of this room being Jonathan’s room.

“It’s my room for two weeks so get out,” I say in a low voice.

“This isn’t over, Vera,” Jonathan says in a low, dangerous voice. “You will be out of here by Christmas.”

“How much do you want to bet?” I spit.

“I’m no Stewart,” Jonathan sneers.

“You fooled me.”

Jonathan let out a frustrated breath and stormed out of my room.

Score-Vera: 1, Jonny: -1

Posted in Hightlight & Read

Highlight & Read: January/February Book Club Date

As you know, this month we’re reading Jane Eyre. I have yet to get very far in the novel so the book club will take place as late in February as I can possibly make it 😛 . This meeting of Highlight & Red will take place on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 10 A.M. Please comment if you plan on attending. If that doesn’t work for you please comment or contact me personally. The meeting place will depend on who attends.

Now get back to reading!

Do you have a book club book suggestion? Leave it in the comment section or email it to the blog at All entries must be clean, have minimal violence, and no adult content.


Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

John 1:35-51

The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

1 Samuel 16:14-23

Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the LORD tormented him. And Saul’s servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him.” Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day (February 7)

2 Timothy 3

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men. You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day (February 6)

Jeremiah 4:19-31

My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Crash follows hard on crash; the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment. How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? “For my people are foolish;
they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’—in doing evil! But how to do good they know not.” I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. For thus says the LORD, “The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end. “For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back.” At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them. And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint?In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life. For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands, “Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

Psalms 10:16-18

The LORD is king forever and ever; the nations perish from his land. O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day

Matthew 4:1-17

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles—the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Posted in Verse of the Day

Verse of the Day (February 1)

1 Samuel 16:1-13

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.