Writing Prompt #239: Fall Fridays, Number 1

Autumn Images

Image Credit: Unsplash

As the wonderful season of autumn / fall approaches us, I wanted to create an original writing prompt series to celebrate!

I invite everyone who sees this to participate, if you choose.

The idea is to look at the prompt, take at least five minutes on three Fridays in September 2019, and come up with a story/poem/scene, or whatever strikes your fancy with those words.

I may extend this further than the end of September, but we shall see. Until then, have fun! You can use the image at the top of this post – Just please make sure to credit it.

Ready?

Here we go!


  • September 13th: Apple Picking
  • September 20th: Fall Leaves
  • September 27th: Pumpkin Patch

“What makes you think that going apple picking was a good idea?!”

Cheryl winced at Sam’s words. She tried to listen to him, while holding back hot tears.

“I thought this was going to be a weekend away, Cheryl – A weekend just for us. But, having the kids come along with us? That’s not a weekend away in my book!”

Two-year-old Abby stopped examining her apple, and looked up at her mom. Her face said it all.

Cheryl swayed back and forth, trying to see if baby Ezra was still asleep in the carrier on her chest. At ten pounds, her shoulders ached. He was a beautiful baby, her answer to prayer for a boy, but heavy.

Sam continued. “I can’t believe we drove all this way for this. I would rather be anywhere else than here.”

Cheryl sighed. She loved Sam, but he lost his filter when he got frustrated. This, this was borderline anger though. And it wasn’t the first time.

Abby had moved on to another apple, but didn’t speak. Or dance. Or sing. Cheryl let one tear slip, hoping it didn’t smear the makeup she’d worked so hard to apply that morning.

As Sam started to berate her, growing louder among the beautiful apple orchard, Cheryl adjusted Ezra’s weight. He sighed slightly, and Cheryl knew he wanted to nurse.

“Cheryl? Are you listening to me?”

As she got Ezra settled, she looked at her husband. She nodded, and turned her attention back to Ezra.

“There’s a good boy, my sweet boy.”

“You’re not paying attention to a word I’m saying. Fine. I won’t say anything at all.”

Sam crossed his arms. Cheryl patted Ezra’s back, and kept an eye on Abby. She hated the silent treatment. But only a few words came out of her mouth, with the perfect red lipstick.

“I’m sorry, Sam. I’m sorry. I ruined this. All of this.”

Abby finally spoke up, with her sweet voice breaking the painful silence.

“Mommy, can we pick more apples?”

Cheryl felt another tear escape, but smiled at her firstborn.

“Of course, sweetheart. Let’s go this way.”

Abby smiled, and started singing to herself as Cheryl took her sticky hand. Ezra finished nursing, and burped. Cheryl smiled a little as she walked away from Sam, leaving his plaid shirt and quilted vest behind. She wasn’t sure what was in store after this, but she didn’t care one bit. Her children, sweet and innocent, gave her courage.


Come back next Friday for another prompt post!

If you do decide to participate, please link back to this post. Thanks!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Florida Edition (Round 4 – Family Visit)

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One of the views from the boardwalk at John’s Pass, the entertainment district of Madeira Beach. This is part of the Intracoastal Waterway, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico.

After resigning from my job on August 13th, I was asked to leave the company immediately. Given I had a bit of paid vacation ahead of me before starting my new job on September 3rd, I was toying with the idea of visiting my Grandpa Stricker in Florida. Thanks to the encouragement of Mom, Dad, and Al, I decided to book a flight and spend several days in the sunshine.

I flew down on Tuesday, August 27th. Southwest was great. I changed planes in Baltimore, and landed in Tampa a little earlier than scheduled. I rode the Super Shuttle with several people from the airport to Grandpa’s condo.

After I got settled, I caught up with my Aunt Marny. I hadn’t seen her in person since my wedding in 2015!

For dinner, we had amazing chicken salad from this place called Chicken Salad Chick. It started in Auburn, Alabama. It has 135 locations total, as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, and up through Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Ohio. There is one location in Virginia! If you live in the Richmond / Glen Allen areas, you’re in for a treat!

On Wednesday morning, Aunt Marny asked if I wanted to have brunch at the Sweet Sage Cafe and Boutique in North Redington Beach. I didn’t hesitate!

I had their delicious “two’s two’s” item, where I chose French toast, bacon, and yummy eggs. There was sangria, too.

A happy accident happened to me, too. I had been casually searching for a 4ocean bracelet after one of my co-workers at Riverside had bought one. The boutique sold them! I picked the green one, and found out later it’s the “sea turtle” one. Perfect!

One of the many funny signs inside the Sweet Sage Cafe.

The exterior is so colorful and calming.

Love Radar!

Hook, Line, and Drinker.

After brunch, we went to John’s Pass, the entertainment district of Madeira Beach.

Pelicans taking a rest.

A fun tiki bar boat tour.

A beautiful heron.

An old-fashioned taffy pulling machine in action.

On Wednesday night, we went to PJ’s Oyster Bar early for happy hour and seafood!

Aunt Marny and I both enjoyed a Yuengling. We all got something different – Grandpa had his shrimp, Marny got clam strips, and I got the crab cakes, fries, and Caesar salad.

There were Blues Brothers statues everywhere!

I had a really good trip. I’m glad I took the time to visit!

Have you visited Florida?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

 

Getting Personal #182: Reflections on September 11th, 18 Years Later

September 11th Tribute in Lights

Image Credit: CNN

Content warning: Some images and descriptions shared in this post may be disturbing.


Today marks 18 years since the horrific terror attacks on the United States. Two planes crashed into the “Twin Towers” of the World Trade Center in New York City, another crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth went down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Where were you?

I’ll never forget.

I had just started seventh grade at Jolliff Middle School in Chesapeake, Virginia. That Tuesday was absolutely gorgeous – Not a cloud in the sky. We had been in school for a week.

I have to give props to the administration and staff. The students had no idea what was going on, and they held their emotions in check the entire day. By the time I learned about it, it was near the end of the school day. I was heading into Mrs. Owen’s history class, and our principal, Mr. Glisson, was standing nearby.

I can’t remember if he was outside the seventh grade hallway, or outside our classroom door. I just knew something was wrong; it was highly unusual for him to be away from his office or the front of the school. He gave every student a quartered piece of paper, that read, in part, “Due to today’s events, we are cancelling the PTA meeting and all after-school activities. Please spend tonight with your families. Thank you for your support of our school.”

Immediate confusion came over my face, and I walked into Mrs. Owen’s class dumbfounded. I turned to my best friend, Melissa, and asked her what “today’s events” meant.

“Didn’t you hear? Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York, and another crashed into the Pentagon.”

Tears sprang to my eyes. I was born in Manhattan. I had walked by the Twin Towers many times. I had flown over the Pentagon. All my memories of New York flooded my brain, and I immediately felt overwhelmed and sad. I wanted to go home right then, but I said a prayer for everyone on those planes and their families.

I definitely don’t remember what was discussed in history class that day. For the first time, I felt like a zombie when school dismissed. Thankfully, Tuesdays were the after-school day for the youth at church, and I figured that was the best place we could be at that point.

Mrs. Rouquie picked us up in her gold Dodge Caravan, and I felt fresh tears when I spotted the magnetic American flag on her van door. We sat in absolute silence the whole ride from school to church.

There was a portable TV in the youth lounge. Dawn-Marie, our associate pastor, and Courtney B., were glued to the TV. Local reporter Andy Fox was reporting live from the Pentagon, and we saw the collapsed side of the building, still smoldering.

The next few days were a complete blur. Our local paper, The Virginian-Pilot, had “HORROR” in blood-red letters on the front page the next day.

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The front page of the paper, dated September 12, 2001. Image Credit: pilotonline.com – Found on Google Images

The coverage by the media was staggering. It felt like it was never-ending.

And, in a way, it is never-ending. Here we are, 18 years later, and there are still troops from multiple nations fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The babies who were born on September 11, 2001 are now old enough to vote, and old enough to fight in those wars.

It’s never-ending for the families of the 2,977 victims who died that day on American soil. More than 6,000 people were injured. Others have died from related cancer and respiratory diseases.

But, in spite of all the tragedy, the U.S. came together as a country. We came together, back then, at least.

I won’t get into politics here. Right now, I’m sitting in my kitchen, thinking of the victims and their families.

God Bless America.

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The flag raising at Ground Zero. Image Credit: CNN

The World Trade Center cross. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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The reflecting pools, part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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The Pentagon Memorial. Image Credit: Wikipedia

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Flight 93 Memorial. Image Credit: Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #78: “Glory Be”

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I love 2nd and Charles. It’s a great place to buy used books, among other types of media – They have almost everything you can think of. You can also sell your used items to them. While I was waiting for my most recent buyback to be completed on August 23rd, I found this gem of a book in the $1.00 clearance pile.

It’s designed for readers ages 9-12, but something like that usually doesn’t stop me from reading it.

I loved the different angle the author, Augusta Scattergood, took with the volatile summer of 1964. The main character, Gloriana “Glory” Hemphill, is going through many changes. She dreams of her twelfth birthday at the community pool, but then discovered it’s locked up tight, “closed for repairs.”

Angry, she turns her juvenile anger into action. She truly begins to come of age among her family and friends. She learns about how tumultuous the nation is that hot, sticky summer, especially the state of Mississippi. She works to fight prejudice from her 11-year-old eye. She also begins to discover who her true friends are, and the meaning of family.

This was a surprise book for me. I bought it on a pure whim, and felt pulled in from the very beginning. I flew through more than half in the first two hours.

I think the author did a good job creating the atmosphere, and capturing how dangerous the summer of 1964 was for many people. She took her own experiences from that summer in Mississippi and wove them into a compelling book that many can learn from and enjoy.

I think this would be a good book for a class to read in school, or simply kids and family to read together.

4 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #89: “3.2.1. Quote Me #5 – Inner Beauty”

Thanks, Kristian, for tagging me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was tagged:


Guidelines: 3.2.1 Quote Me!

Thank the Selector

Post 2 quotes for the dedicated Topic of the Day.

Select 3 bloggers to take part in ‘3.2.1 Quote Me!’


Here are the two quotes I picked for “Inner Beauty.”

Inner Beauty Quote 1

Image Credit: Quotabulary

Inner Beauty Quote 2

Image Credit: AZ Quotes


Tag – You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #77: “Mosquitoland”

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I’m going to go out on a limb here, and declare that Mosquitoland is my favorite book of 2019.

I had a feeling this book was special when I found it at Barnes & Noble last year, while I was looking for books to purchase with the gift card I received for my birthday.

I fell in love with Mim, the main character, right at the start. I loved how Arnold addressed mental illness, psychiatric care, and dysfunctional families. I was rooting for Mim the entire time on her journey, which became quite a map of routes, detours, and exits.

I admire Arnold and his creation of his characters. I love how he used music throughout the story. The resounding theme of being on a journey stuck with me the whole time. It was quite a ride.

Arnold is so good with his words and storytelling, that I felt like this story was a mix tape of coming of age, mystery, suspense, a bit of horror, and all of it was delicious. I could hardly tear my eyes away from the book. I wanted to know what happened next.

I found myself a bit surprised with the end of the book. No spoilers — But it was an interesting turn, something I hadn’t considered. It made me like Arnold even more as an author.

I look forward to reading more from Arnold – He has three more books I’m eager to devour.

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Tag #88: The Logophile Book Tag

The Logophile Book Tag - Page to Page

Image Credit: Page to Page

Jenna at Bookmark Your Thoughts is incredible in many ways. She’s a wonderful writer, bullet journaler, book reviewer, and a great woman!

Here’s the link where I was originally tagged:


From Jenna’s post:

Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall recently created her own book blog tag called The High School Stereotypes Book Tag. Always wanting to create my own book blog tag, Kelly has inspired me to give it a go!

The tag is called The Logophile Book Tag. A logophile is “a lover of words.” Since I’m truly fascinated with the concept of language and words, this seemed fairly appropriate. All the questions below are based off of remarkable yet seldomly used expressions or terms.


The Rules

  1. Thank the person who tagged you (you can skip me ha-ha)
  2. Pingback Bookmark Your Thoughts’ original post so I can see your lovely answers!
  3. Pingback the person who tagged you so they can see the post.
  4. Bonus: If you wish to, tag at least three people to do this tag.

Effulgent | Brilliantly radiant

A book with a beautiful cover

Caraval

Image Credit: Amazon

I think this book has been my standard answer for cover art/design. I keep circling around in terms of reading it. Maybe in 2020?

Metanoia | The journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life

A character who goes through a major transformation

Image result for dr jekyll and mr hyde book

Image Credit: Amazon

I remember learning about the book through Wishbone.

Sockdolager | Decisive retort; mic drop

A character who always has a good comeback

The Sherlock Holmes Collection by [Doyle, Arthur Conan, Classics, ReadOn]

Image Credit: Amazon

Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite characters of all time.

Sesquipedalian | Containing many syllables; long winded

The longest book you’ve read

Image Credit: Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

  • The Bible, roughly 1,200 pages.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 759 pages.

Ephemeral | Lasting for a very short time

The shortest book you’ve read

TheGreatGatsby 1925jacket.jpeg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

At 218 pages, this is a book I think everyone should read. I know some people don’t like it. I was assigned to read it in 12th grade, and I fell in love with it. I re-read it every year.

Serenity | The state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled

A book that makes you feel calm and happy

Image Credit: Amazon

I love this book. It’s a childhood staple for me. It always reminds me of the Christmas spirit.

Oblivion | The state of being unaware of what’s happening around you

A novel with a complex plot

Image Credit: Amazon

This was another book I was assigned to read in high school. I ended up eventually enjoying it, but magical realism is a tough genre for me.

Rantipole | To be wild and reckless

A reckless character

Image Credit: Amazon

Alaska Young – One of my favorite characters! This is also my favorite book from John Green. Highly recommend.

Nefarious | Wicked, villainous, despicable

Your favorite villain

Image Credit: Amazon

Lady Macbeth!

Ineffable | Too great to be expressed in words

Your favorite book or book series

Image Credit: Amazon

Harry Potter. Always.

Trouvaille | Something lovely discovered by chance

A book you didn’t expect to love

The Battle of Jericho - Amazon

Image Credit: Amazon

This was one of the first books I read from Sharon M. Draper. I’ve read nearly every book she’s written since then.

Nostalgia | A wistful desire to return in thought to a former time in one’s life

A book or character that makes you feel nostalgic

A Walk to Remember (Hardcover).jpg

Image Credit: Wikipedia

As an author, Nicholas Sparks makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I read almost all his books between middle school and college. I did my college senior thesis on his books and the perceptions of love and romance with female readers. This book, in particular, reminds me of middle school, high schools, and times gone by.


Tag! You’re It!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂