The Christmas War

Sinking into a darkened corner I quickly try to quietly reload. I know they are after me.

One is just around the corner at the far end of the front room and I hear another approaching from my left.

My best efforts aren’t good enough and a bullet whistles by my head just as I push in the clip to my own gun.

That was a close call.

Now that I’m armed I take off in pursuit of my enemies.

I think I am about to gain the upper hand, but there is a surprise attack and my tingling eye socket reveals that I’ve been hit.

I fire off without aiming but successfully catch an opponent from behind turning  just in time to also clip my best friend in the stomach. Ooops.

Thankfully it’s a foam dart and not only will she forgive me, but she’ll make me pay with another bullet in return.

It’s the annual Nerf gun fight or what was once an every Christmas fight. Now it just happens whenever we are all actually in the same town at the same time.

After half an hour or so of our war, we all sit huffing and puffing like old folks in the living room. We laugh and reminisce until someone playfully shoots a dart and the war begins anew.

This is a war worth fighting.

Nerf War
True Friendship

P.S. Watch out girls… I already have my eye on the next gun in my arsenal. Muahahahaha!

Christmas Makes You Do Crazy Things

Crazy things happen at Christmas.

It is Friday afternoon and so far the day has been a non-stop blur from the moment my eyes first tried to blink away this morning’s sunlight filtering through burgundy curtains.

I love Christmas at the Harper home. It is filled with family and friends. . . right after the cleaning and chaos.

There are floors to be vacuumed, dusting to be done, and food to prepare. The handsomest six month old you have ever seen is sleeping in his crib and we want to make sure he remains asleep.

Tables are piled high with the day to day knick knacks of life that never found their way back home and the non-shedding canine has, well, shed all over the place.

Oh and the house needs to be decorated for Christmas. Never mind that Christmas is a week away and the Harper’s leave in just a few days meaning they will not even be here for the holiday, but you cannot hold a Christmas party in this house without the decorations.

This is how I find myself hunting down a ladder and climbing atop to balance while holding wrapping paper and packing tape to wrap a window (of course!). Did I mention ladders terrify me? That’s how much I love this family, but it’s okay because my venture is uneventful and even successful.

In the process of trying to decorate and clean, the Harper’s youngest daughter takes off with friends to plan a Сhristmas surprise. It is sweet, but it is also really bad timing or proof that the youngest always gets away with things.
Baking cookies
So I have actually tried the whole cooking thing a few times this year, but doing it one handed was just a new experience.

The party is in a few hours. The house is still a wreck. The cooking isn’t finished. Cathy’s cell phone is messed up and the house phone keeps ringing and ringing and ringing. There are some essentials that have to be picked up at the store to finish the cooking. And the baby wakes up.

I have an option, and in some moment of insanity I take the one most unlike me. Cathy heads off to Bi-Lo for sugar, almonds and whatever else is on that never ending list.

The baby gets tired of watching me from his seat and wants to be held. So I find myself in the kitchen holding a six month old in one arm and mixing together ingredients for Cherry Delight with the other.

After fifteen or twenty minutes Cathy returns. I’m pretty sure the topping is turning out lumpy instead of smooth because I can’t stir fast enough without the other hand holding the bowl. I pass off the baby and continue trying to smooth out this mixture. I think to myself that I should have kept the baby and passed off the bowl or so I think until he needs changing about five minutes later.

Nothing happened that should forever ban me from a kitchen or deny me future motherhood, but maybe that’s why it is so crazy and surprising to me.

For most people this afternoon’s scenario is just normal life, but I have spent a lot of energy over the years avoiding all things baby and all things kitchen.However, crazy things happen at Christmas and I must say that I kind of enjoyed the crazy moment and the flash forward to my own possible future (if I ever find a husband that is…).

The Skin Map: A Review

The Skin Map“Had he but known that before the day was over he would discover the hidden dimensions of the universe, Kit might have been better prepared. At least, he would have brought an umbrella.”

So opens The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead.

In this first book, The Skin Map, we meet Kit, a Londoner with a less than inspiring daily life. He sets off on another normal day, but normality and reality as he knows it becomes forever changed when he is transported to another time and place to meet his great-grandfather Cosimo. He shares with Kit the paradigm shattering revelation that ley lines are not just legend, but real, and serve as pathways between different worlds.

It isn’t all fun and games, however, as Kit also discovers he has been pulled into a treasure hunt of sorts. The treasure is a map of tattooed skin that contains the schematic of this multi-layer universe filled with portals and ley lines. But as the book cover touts, “the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.”

My thoughts:
Initially intrigued by the title and description, I found myself completely drawn into the storyline with paragraph one. A bit of intrigue. A bit of humor. Then it all leads to a lot of mystery and adventure. There are a number of characters and story lines to follow, which can get confusing, but then I would assume jumping between portals and realms would also be a bit disorienting so in my opinion it adds to the feel of the story.

The Skin Map is wonderfully written and seems well researched. I must say that I am glad I read it on my Kindle as there were several times I needed the dictionary to define words, so I can say I even feel a wee bit smarter walking away from this read. An unexpected bonus.

I can’t wait to read the next installment in the series, The Bone House!

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255vf: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery #1): A Review

Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1)“She’s not your average crime fighter!”

Imagine a sweet, Christian little old lady with a desire for justice, a knack for finding trouble, and a stubborn streak a mile wide and you are probably beginning to get a picture of Ivy Malone in Lorena McCourtney’s book Invisible.

Forget knitting or Bingo for Malone, with what seems to be the gift of invisibility she decides to take up a new hobby – crime fighting! Spending the night alone in a cemetery after finding out that it is being vandalized is just the beginning of a an adventure filled with plenty of laughs and “uh oh” moments.

For me Ivy’s character makes me think of what it would be like if my Granny had tried to take up crime fighting. She’s got spunk and a strong belief in God, mixed in with a lot of sincerity, a white Thunderbird, lots of time on her hands, a couple of cute older men. Ivy also doesn’t back down from questions of faith in the midst of difficult circumstances. I love that when faced with dilemmas she always remains true to her belief and her conscious.

I picked up this book because it was free on Kindle and sounded interesting. Lorena McCourtney surprised me though and held my attention from the beginning. I absolutely LOVE her character Ivy Malone. While I wouldn’t say this is a believable read, it was certainly enjoyable and I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Ivy Malone digs up in the next book In Plain Sight (Ivy Malone Mysteries, Book 2)

Needy

To run like the wind until my legs are weak
Lungs refusing to accept air
Gasping, pleading, at the end of my strength

To scream out the rage that builds inside
Laugh out the childish giggles bubbling over
Fully feel it all without fear or hesitation

To pray and prophesy, praise and proclaim
Whine and weep, wail and whimper
Standing or sitting, any or all just to be in Your presence

To crack up into a million pieces
Let You put me back together
With artistry and beauty beyond imagination

That’s all I really need just now