Bible Art Journaling

We’ll look at this I have another new hobby! When will I have the time?

So a friend from my church Bible Art Journaling(and frankly her Bible is gorgeous!!!) And she introduced me to it and roped me into an art event my church is hosting next month. Yikes! I will be giving a 15 minute presentation on how to do Art Journaling with your kiddos as part of your devotions to a projected 100 people… Only slightly nervous.

Hebrews 6

So what is Art Journaling?? Glad you asked! It is exactly what it sounds like. Taking something you learned in your Bible Study and transforming into Art!

Genesis 22

Obviously I love water colors so that’s primarily what I use, but you can use any medium you’d like! The church event is going to cover how to inductively study the Bible and then give you examples on how to express that throw art. To the glory of God and the encouragement and beautification of those around you.

I Thessalonians 1

It’s only slightly addicting as you can tell. And it amazing how once you start looking at what you’re learning as a device to meditate and shape the Scripture into “masterpieces”. (I use the term loosely for my work) And yes kiddos can do it to! (I will be doing a separate post about that)

What do you think? Have you ever tried Bible Art Journaling?

Lots of love,


Culinary Week #6

It’s good to be back! After a week missed by sickness I was so ready to get back to cooking and baking(and thus eating really good food) It’s funny how accustomed you get to always having some homemade bread or baked good in the fruit basket(which occasionally houses fruit as well). Or some yummy leftovers in the fridge. My sister was constantly asking me what was for dinner and my sad answer was… frozen chicken tenders… again. Well we’re back and eating actual food! I mean there’s nothing wrong with frozen chicken… but real food is better.

This week as you will remember(and if you don’t here’s the last post in the series) our word this week was Redwall, based on the children’s series of books by Brian Jacques. A collection of epic adventures by rabbits, mice, moles and the like.

We actually cooked from the official cookbook written by the author himself! Which was fun and the recipes, since they’re geared more to children were simple and sweet… and vegetable based. No meat what so ever. But I guess a mouse wouldn’t eat pork now would they? So here’s what we made:

Vegetable Casserole A La Foremole 8 out of 10

We started off with this layered veggie casserole. The layers were made of potatoes, carrots, leeks and a turnip, topped with more potatoes and a breadcrumb cheese mixture. A very simple yet tasty meal.

Strawberry Frizz 5 out of 10

Basically a strawberry ice cream float. Tasty but not exactly wow worthy.

Spiced Gatehouse Tea Bread 8 out of 10

Soooo yummy and spicy! I used a vanilla, blueberry green tea for this recipe and it really lent it a sweet bloom to another wise dense bread. This is amazing toasted with marmalade- Yum city!

Roasted Squash 7 out of 10

So this was not from the cookbook, but I saw them at the store and just couldn’t resist. I feel any respecting badger or hedgehog would gladly partake of these brown sugar and buttered roasted acorn squash.

Hare’s Haversack Crumble 7 out of 10

A very, very simple blueberry crumble recipe that tasted exactly like it should. Though if I make it again I’d add my own spice combination for the crumble top to make it a little more exciting.

Stone Inna Swamp 10 out of 10

Our stand out recipe for the week was this amazing veggie stew topped with parsley and oat dumplings. I love this soup so much. Again simple flavors yet in this particular dish it’s so charmingly plain. Like in a good way.

So that’s it! Week #6 is all wrapped up in a pretty bow and we’re on to week #7!! Our new word is… coffee. Oh man! Guys it’s my week- lol!

Lots of love,


How to Build Habits

So my sister was lamenting the other day how she can just not set up a habit to save her life. She’s knee deep in her second semester of film school, plus working full time, plus trying to live and has found the balance hard to establish. I very casually(though I am not trying to juggle school and work) commented how easily I set up and fall into routines/habits. At which point she asked me to give her some pointers on how to get habits going for someone who is a non habit former, but thrives in that kind of environment.

So here is my attempt at doing that. And since I am doing it for my sister I thought I would share with you guys as well.

Consistency, Consistency

The first step I think to setting up any long lasting habit is to be consistent. Especially for the fist month or two. It will be tough and it may seem like it’s not gonna take, but trust me if you do whatever habit(whether that’s working out three times a week, reading a chapter a day, going for a walk everyday) for at least a month you’ll be well on your way to forming that habit.

First Hurdle

Getting a habit started has to include a good thought out goal. That end result your wanting to achieve. Whether that’s reading a book in a month, or getting all your homework done before the weekend. The point is to have a goal in mind so when you reach it you can check it off your list. Now you can be like me and actually write out a list(kinda crazy about lists) or obviously just have a mental one.


I think the other most important thing(behind consistency) about setting up a habit is making sure it’s grounded in reality. Setting up the goal to go from zero workouts to working out everyday a week is most likely doomed to fail. I found that gradually adding that new habit in is the best way to go. So yes maybe your end goal is to work out everyday, but if you start consistently working out two to three days for the first month you’ll give yourself breathing room and a good footing to keep going.

Being grounded in reality is also important, because if you think out your goal well enough you can account for all those excuses that will come along. For instance I wanted to get up earlier(even earlier) before work to read and do my Bible study(since doing them at night I’d just fall asleep) But this seemed impossible since getting up at four every morning sounded like torture. So I started with just one day a week, Tuesday since it’s my shortest work day. And I got up at four to four-thirty without beating myself if it was later. Gradually adding in Wednesday, then Saturday and Monday. (The only days I don’t do this is Sunday and Thursday, Friday since they’re my days off) Now I consistently(there’s that word again) get up at four and read from my multiple books till I go to work at six-thirty. This has resulted in me finishing five books since starting the habit.

The point is I gave myself a tamed down, smaller goal to reach first(getting up on just Tuesday early) and established that habit before working towards the next step.

Reaching that Goal

And there’s nothing like reaching that goal. For me anyway- I super goal oriented. I hope this was actually helpful and not just a major spewing of words on my part. Let me know down below if you’re a habit former, or what is a habit you’d like to establish.

Lots of love,


P.S. I find it easier to establish one habit at a time as opposed to trying to change your whole lifestyle. Again I feel like that is just setting yourself up to fail.

P.P.S. Also some habits just won’t stick(stretching every other day for me is just not working) and that’s okay. You can either try switching it up(going back to just stretching one day a week) or maybe revaluate if that habit is really one worth having.

Book Review: Imagine a Forest

Another possible title for this post could have been “Shout-out Book of the Month: Imagine a Forest”. If y’all follow me on Instagram(which you should be doing by the way) then you saw my post about dabbling into the realm of Folk Art painting. I know, I know I don’t need another hobby. What with writing, knitting, sewing and watercolors, who needs one more art stimulus? Well apparently I do. I keep telling myself that folk art will not just be an excuse I use to buy paints. (Though I did have a ridiculously fun time at Hobby Lobby yesterday arranging my color pallet- look below)

Before we get into discussing the actual book by Dinara Mirtalipova(you should follow her on the gram as well) I thought I would give you my brief reasons, or reason, for choosing folk art as my next creative outlet.

So it basically boils down to the fact that my Mom(my chief inspiration for all things art and creativity) was first hooked on art by taking a folk art class back in her twenties. When I was growing up my Mom had this black, wooden box in which she kept all of her paint supplies(brushes, paints, etc.) On the box were these beautiful, colorful and delicate birds and flowers. This was the box my Mom painted while taking her folk art class. And she has kept it(still has it) through moves and even downsizing into an RV. So she suggested that I look into this style of art. (She’s an enabler what can I say)

A day of research later and I purchased Imagine a Forest on Amazon and eagerly awaited it’s arrival!

This isn’t the first art book I have purchased(and won’t be the last… seeing as how I bought one yesterday) And one thing I am learning about art books is that not all books are created equal. There’s one particular watercolor art book that springs to mind when I write this. The book is great don’t get me wrong- As in there is nothing wrong with it. But it doesn’t inspire my to paint or stretch my wings. It’s just kinda… blah. The author/artist’s tastes run opposite to mine. She is very modern in her style and color pallet, while I am learning I like art inspired by nature and history(shocker) From the colors and tones to the subject matter. Birds, beasts and especially flowers get my creativity juices following.

Naturally(I mean I think you can tell from the title) Dinara is heavily influenced by nature and the fairytale aspect of it. She is just a super captivating artist and her instructions are laid back and allow you a lot of room to improvise. Once I start a project from her book I can’t put the brush down! (Below are a few of my beginner creations- I can’t stress beginner enough)

If you’re wondering what I am painting all my little doodles on(you should follow my Instagram) it’s a wooden box I purchased on Amazon to keep my water paints and brushes in. Like Mother like daughter, what can I say?

A little random right now but I actually have a plan to tell a whole story through the sketches on the box. So they may seem random but by the end they will all be tied together. I think that might be one of the things I love most about folk art, the ability to tell stories and emotions.(Yes I know you can do that with all art, but for some reason folk art is just a more natural way for me to tell stories… I don’t know)

Anyway I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you are inspired to try out folk art yourself. Or maybe if you are already a folk art artist!! Also for you artists if you have any great art related resources(in any medium) please leave below!!

Lots of love,


May 2020 Media Favs

I’m so behind with posts- My apologizes but here is a quick run down of what I have been loving this month.

Tv Shows/Series

  • The Mentalist- Sometimes I do think it’s sad how many TV shows I haven’t seen and other times I don’t. (lol) I very rarely watch a show when it’s coming out because I am too impatient and want the entire story arc right away. I’m a binger. This show has been on my watch list for a long time and I am loving it.
  • Reign– So I’m gonna be honest with this one… I watched two episodes and then could stomach it no longer. While I loved seeing Megan Follows and loved her sarcasm I couldn’t get over the CW cheesiness of it all. Yes I know that’s the appeal of CW shows, but I love historically accurate(both in clothing, costume, speech and events) TV shows. This one is a no from me.


  • The Matrix– Just the first one so far. I have seen the first one before and parts of the second one and I think the ending of the third one. So yeah it’s like watching it for the first tine.
  • SCOOB!- Growing up watching Hanna-Barbera cartoons this movie hit my sister and I all in the feels. Just a cute, heart warming movie about a Shaggy and his Scoob.


  • Summer Feels by Lennon Stella- Probably my go to song for this summer. (Note this song and the next are both from the soundtrack of Scoob)
  • I Fly by Galantis(featuring Faouzia)- I’m so proud of this girl! She has one of my fav voices of all time and I am so glad she has been expanding her music. This is her first song on a feature film and it is so upbeat! Another great summer song.
  • Blinding Lights by The Weekend- Just a fun song to dance and sing to(sorry neighbors) Reminds me of the 80’s or 90’s. I don’t know why.


  • The White Horse King by Benjamin Merkle– Just one book this month, but that’s because I am waiting on a fresh shipment from Amazon. That being said this book is awesome!! If you are even remotely interested in learning about Alfred the Great(shout out to you Last Kingdom fans) then start with this book. Even if you’re not interested read this book! It is so good. Alfred has officially become one of my favorite heroes of history; right up there with King Nebuchadnezzar and Queen Elizabeth. Yes I know these people were not perfect- Not even remotely so- but such fascinating character studies. Seriously Alfred deserves some attention people. He was a really cool guy. Anyway I’ll shut up now.

Anything you have been loving this month?

Lots of love,


People of the Trees Prt.3

Chapter Five

Serene and Traek had long ago left the fire ravaged woods for the thriving and living forest. Birds chirped high above them. Their colorful feathers only visible for an instant before they darted back into the leaves. Over yonder a squirrel chattered none stop to his neighbors, and somewhere else a dove cooed. Deer tracks could be plainly seen in the soft earth and every once in awhile signs of a bear, or a pack of dogs, could be seen.

Tarek felt rejuvenated with every mile they walked, until the use of his walking stick was almost needless. Suprisingly with his better health came endless talk; he described the world around them with fascinating detail. He explained what everything was and sometimes why it was, while occasionally throwing in an old story about his people. Serene devoured every word with a ravenous appetite.

The constant dialogue helped in another way besides vital information. It served as distraction from Serene’s constant agnony. Her eyes, even though tightly closed, burned and in addition her head ached from the ceaseless effort to keep them closed. Her feet hurt from walking so far. And though her heavy clothing kept the sun’s rays from her, they couldn’t save her from the heat. Her skin was boiling, so that even Tarek’s gentle grip left her wincing in pain. She could only pray that the Cruz village wasn’t too far.

But morning passed into afternoon and afternoon into evening, while Tarek’s talk became whistling and her grief became excruciating.

Suddenly Tarek stopped.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, trying to keep the fatigue from her voice.

“There’s a slight drop-off here,” he explained, “I’ll go down first and then help you.”

He let go of her arm and half slid, half jumped down . Turning around, he firmly placed his hands on Serene’s hips and lifted her. The ensueing cry of pain, caused Tarek to drop Serene on the hard ground.

“Serene are you alright?” he rushed to her side.

“No,” she said, choking on tears.

“Keep your eyes closed,” he warned as he turned her over. Serene let out a sharpe gasp every time he touched her and at first he couldn’t understand why. When it finally did dawn on him, he cursed himself and swiftly looked for shelter, which he found in the form of a hollow tree.

“Serene I am going to have to pick you up-”

“Can we not rest!?” she accused him with disgust.

Tarek cringed at the anguish in her voice, “There’s shelter not far from here. I’m going to carry you there,” he explained softly.

“Oh,” she sighed.

Tarek wasted no time in scooping her up as gently as he knew how and starting forward.

An excess amount of leaves had gathered in the tree and the whole thing smelled of damp decay, but at least it was cool. Serene was laid among the wet leaves.

Kneeling beside Serene, Tarek helped her to remove the mask and hood, exposing horribly burnt skin. Tarek hated to see what the rest of her looked like.

“Why did you not tell me you were burning?”

All sympathy had left his words. He thrust a water jug into her hands, while he doused her blisters with the other.

“I did not think your village was so far away,” she answered, after chugging down half of the container, “It’s so hot,” she panted. Her face glowing red, even in the darkness.

Tarek growled and rolled his dark eyes. He should have known she couldn’t handle that much sun! But why didn’t she say anything? It wasn’t like he was gifted with the power to read minds.

“Maybe her people are,” he mumbled.

“How long will we rest here?” she cut into his thoughts.

“We wait till night fall.”


“If you move again you will die, understand? Sleep if you can,” Tarek draped the heavy curtain over the enterance. Deep darkness took hold of the small space, to the emmesnce relief of both.

“I can’t,” she said right away her voice still coming out is quick gaspes.

Tarek sighed, but said nothing.

“Will you tell me now, why the Foul invaded?”

“You want me to entertain you?” he chuckled.

“Why not?”

“Are you always so bold?”


“Fine. What do you want to know my little friend?”

“Why did the Foul invade?”

“How many do you have in your family?” he asked.

Serene didn’t see the correlation, but answered anyway, “I had two brothers.”

“Had?” he frowned. She didn’t answer, so he decided it was best to move on, “Is that a large or small family to the People?”


“To the Cruz, three children is extremely small. I only have my sister, but an ordinary Cruz household will contain seven to eight children.”

“Eight?” Serene was overwhelmed.

“For Foul’s it’s much bigger. They can have eighteen or twenty children. And that is why the Foul have invaded; they are running out of room and require more land, which they think they can steal from us.”

Serene thought that made sense, “I cannot believe so many people exist.”

“Are there not many of your People?”

“No more than two hundred.”

Tarek was stunned, “Why so few?”

“The caves are a dangerous place to live. There are cave-ins, acid pools, killer insects, snakes, floors that give way under you, lava flows, sudden floods and some people simply disappear in the dark. Death is always expected and rarely fails to deliver.”

“What an evil place,” he stated, horrified by all he’d heard.

Serene laughed, “You do not know the caves. You mentioned you have a sister?”

“Banta,” Tarek spoke her name with true fondness.

“You said she was your only sibling, but what about that boy at the creek? You called him your brother.”

Tarek’s voice fell, “Garb was my best friend. He was like a brother to me.”

Serene asked the next question that came to mind, “Are you and your sister close?”

Tarek would have perferred not to talk of his sister, but something about Serene’s question struck him as funny, “How could we not be close? Banta is my sister.”

“Well sometimes families are not close,” Serene defended.

“To the Cruz family is everything. It is not so in the Deep?”

Serene would have liked to have said ‘yes’, “Tell me; what are Cruz families like? Besides for them being large.”

For a moment Tarek was silent as he carefully thought out his reply, but when he did speak it was in that tone of voice he used to speak of his forest. And Serene knew he could now easily talk for hours.

“A Cruz family is tight knit and well ordered. The father provides for the family and he specially trains his son to be a warrior. He also works a trade for the service of the tribe. My father works with skin and weaves. He made that shirt you’re wearing and the armor that I wear.”

“He is a very skilled man,” Serene said as she fingered the material in her shirt.

“As much as any Cruz man,” Tarek replied softly, “A son’s role is to honor his father and to focus on his training, until his Coming of Age.”

“Coming of Age?”

“It’s a ceremony in which a boy becomes a man. At twenty years of age the boy goes through a covenant ceremony. And then there’s feasting and music and dancing. The celebration literally lasts all night.”

“What is ‘dancing’?”


“And what is ‘music’? Was that the sound you were making earlier?”

“My whistling?” Tarek smiled, “In a way, I suppose… Excuse my curiosity, but what do your People do for fun?”

Serene shrugged her shoulders, “We climb things and we swim. We also have a yearly tournament.”

“As in combat?”

“In a way. We hold competitions and then anyone who is older than thirteen can take the Test.”

“Which is?”

“Well in the darkness part of the caves there is a thin bridge that crosses a pit. Beyond it is a cave filled with wonder and light and your true calling. Everyone of the People is given one chance to cross the bridge and to come back. Many never try and many others die. Only a select few have been found with the courage to pass the Test.”

“Have you made it a cross?” he asked with true interest.

“No,” she hestitated, “But my father and both of my brathers have made it,” she let her words fall off, “So this Coming of Age it obviously involves a great deal of celebration. Anything else?”

“The man marries.”

“You mean you have to marry at twenty?”

“Aye,” Tarek smiled at her shock.

“How is this accomplished? Surely not everyone can fall in love by twenty years!”

“Fall in love?” Tarek laughed, “You Cave Dwellers are very strange. No music or dancing, but you relay on love for marriage. Our marriages are arranged by the fathers years in advance.”


“Take my sister for example. Two days after she was born my father went to a friend and promised Banta to his eldest son. When that son comes of age he would marry my sister.”

“And neither he, nor she has any say in the matter?”

“No, of course not. I take it things are done differently in the caves.”

“Indeed!” she exclaimed, “A man can marry any woman he wishes and so can a woman. Or you can choose not to get married at all.”

Tarek huffed, “No wonder there are so few of you.”

That quited her, that is until she thought of something else, “What happens if your marriage partner dies?”

“Some men choose not to remarry, but most go back to their father’s house and allow him to select them a new wife.”

“I suppose the woman automatically goes back to father?”

Tarek grunted an affirmative.

“The Coming of Age Ceremony is very important.”


“‘It seems,” a yawn broke her words, “It seems so strange.”

“Strange to you maybe, but it has worked for hundreds of years among our people. Maybe if you Cave Dwellers had a little more structure to your marriages there would be more of you… Serene?”

No response came.

“Serene?” it was then that he heard her soft snore on the air, “Finally.”

Chapter Six

Darkness was behind her. Sweet, comforting darkness, yet it was to the light that she ran. The Council of Five was around her. All at once voices shouted out.

“You are chosen! You are chosen!”

She couldn’t move and she let out a blood curling scream. But no one could hear her. Blinding light.

“Serene wake-up,” Tarek called from far above her, “Serene we have to keep moving. Wake-up.”

“What? What’s wrong?” she sat up. The cobwebs of sleep still clinging to her mind and eyes.

“We need to go.”

Serene’s vision cleared enough for her to see Tarek’s face. She stilled it was much too pale considering his dark skin.

“Are you alright? Is your wound bothering you?”

He froze and looked past her in the oppressive blackness. Finally however he huffed, “I feel fine. I didn’t sleep very much… Too many nightmares,” the last was said so quite she almost missed it.

“Nightmares? Why didn’t you wake me-”

“I don’t need to wake my mother every time I’m scared,” he balked.

“That’s not what I meant,” Serene defended.

“That is what it sounded like,” his face was a mixture of embarrassement and anger.

Serene looked down, even though she knew he couldn’t see her and spoke softly. Her own grief still near, “I know what it is like to lose a loved one… Violently. You can’t stop thinking about it during the day and your mind won’t let you forget at night.”

“Is that what you were dreaming of?” Tarek’s voice had grown soft as well, along with his dark eyes.

“That’s all I ever dream of,” she sounded so weary.

Tarek stood and moved away, “We need to move if we are ever going to get back.”

Nodding, Serene pushed herself up only to yelp at her burns.

“Are you alright?” he was right back at her side.

“Yes,” she gritted her teeth to stand, “Just tender.”

In the painful moments that followed, Serene ate and readied her garments. She stood waiting to go, but Tarek only stood there with misgivings written on his face.

“What’s the matter?”

“How do you feel about rain?”


“That’s what I thought. I can’t explain it in words,” Tarek yanked down the curtain.

Serene was flabbergasted by what she saw. It was like the utter darkness of the caves and yet falling from above was water. Almost like the whole sky had decided to become a waterfall. Suddenly a light lit the skies, followed by the loudest bang she had ever heard.

Serene jumped back into the tree, her eyes wild with fear, “What was that?!”

“Lightning,” he explained, “We should be safe, if it doesn’t strike us.”

“If what doesn’t strike us?”

“Lightning,” as if on cue the blinding light returned, followed in quick succession once again by the bang.

“What is that noise?”

“It’s thunder. It is caused by the lightning- Look don’t ask me to explain it. I don’t even understand it all. But can you handle the flashes of light?”

“I… Yes, I think so.”

“Good, because I can’t see anything.”

Serene looked at him in disbelief.

“You are going to have to lead me,” he held up his hand.

“But I don’t which way to go,” Serene protested refusing to take his hand.

“Just head straight ahead,” he pointed blindly into the dark, “It will be slow going but we have to try.”

“This is madness,” lightning and thunder.

“I’m going with or without Cave Dweller,” Tarek stepped out into the rain his hand still extended.

Grabbing it without a second thought, Serene charged deep into the storm. They ran through mud puddles and over fallen trees, or under them. Sometimes they would have to double back, because of a swollen creek but always they moved.

Serene quickly decided, that though she loved the cool rain on her skin, she utterly disliked thunderstorms. It was not only the lightning and his faithful companion thunder. It was the strong, never relenting wind. It roared like a mighty beast and even the strongest tree bent to it’s will. Serene watched in utter horror as the heaven bound trunks were thrust back down by this invisible enemy. All at once the wind picked-up some more and began blowing the rain sideways in mighty gusts. Serene could no longer see. Slowing to a tentative crawl, she carefully lead Tarek along when the ground gave out beneath them and they fell down a ravine.

“Tarek are you okay?’ Serene called over the strom, her hand reaching out for his.

A firm hand ripped hers from the air as he coughed out, “I’m at least alive,” he laughed.

“How much further is the village?” she yelled.

“It’s a three day hike to the village,” he replied as he stood and pulled her up as well.

“Tarek, I thought it would be closer! We cannot keep going.”

“Silence,” he hissed and stilled, his hand closing over her mouth

Serene listened intently and heard a lone howl mingled admist the wind.

Pushing Tarek’s hand aside, she dared to whisper, “What is that?”

“Hounds,” his body had gone ridged, “Quick, do you see them?”

Serene spun around, “What is a hound- Duck!” she tackled Tarek just as a massive head of teeth leapt for his neck.

“Run!” Tarek yelled, whacking blindly at the monster with his staff, “Find a tree! Climb!”

Serene spun around again, but this time she saw a pack of eight grey beasts of enormous size surrounding them. The only tree close enough was equally enormous. Grabbing Tarek’s arm, she dragged him to it’s base. Serene ripped the stick from Tarek’s hand and wildly, but effectively, fought off the hungry hounds, who’s green eyes glowed eerily in the storm and who’s thick tuffs of hair swirled about them.

“Climb on my back and I’ll carry you up-” Tarek began, but never finished.

For at that exact moment Serene leapt onto the tree and made an effortless climb up. The stunned Cruz had to quickly recover and start up after her, or get eaten. And after some effort, he finally caught up with the ‘Cave Dweller’, who awaited him on the first suitable branches to support their weight. Though he was slightly winded, she appeared to be completely unaffected by the thrity foot climb in a thunderstorm.

“Care to explain how you did that?” he barked.

Serene laughed, “I told you my People could climb. We do it for fun.”

“I’m impressed little friend. Very impressed,” he relaxed and stood on his branch. The storm was abating.

“What were those things?”

“Mountain hounds. The storm must have driven from the hills. It’s been many a moon since they’ve been this Far East.”

“Charming,” Serene watched as the lumbering masses of dark flesh bounded away with the wind, “What now?”

A devilish look entered Tarek’s eyes, “How do you feel about Tree-hopping?”

Serene looked at him as their tree swayed slightly in the wind, “And what is that?”

“Watch,” he grinned and leapt into a neighboring pine, “It’s faster and safer than walking!” he yelled back over the expanse, “Think you can handle it?’

The girl beamed and jumped, landing right in front of Tarek, or rather right into Tarek.

Rapping his arms around her for stability, the Cruz boy laughed, “Hello there.”

“Hi,” Serene laughed as well, “That was fun,’ she declared.

Tarek let her go with a playful shove, “You’re crazy.”

“You wanted to run through the rain and you jumped first,” she pointed out as he perpared to jump again.

“We could race,” he offered without looking back at her.

“So we could,” her eyes went ablaze with excitement.

After she had taken up her position the race was on. And though Tarek was infinitely more graceful than she was, she could keep up with him in a very close Tree-hopping race.

Chapter Seven

The sun hung high in a blue sky. It’s warm and dazzling light piercing deep into the forest. Yet between two boulders it had no power and so it was here that Serene and Tarek slept off their previous night of travel. Nestled into the tight cleft, both travelers struggled between sweet dreams of peace and huanted dreams of the past. It’s amazing how a dream can take an already painful reality and turn it into a horrific and inescapable illusion.

It was during one of these particularly violent nightmares that Tarek awoke with a start and a cry of torment. Looking over to Serene, who’s small head rested on his shoulder mercifully undisturbed by his fear. Tarek leaned back against the cold rock.

He’d relived it all. All the death and the blood… The fire and Garb. A cold shiver rean down his spine. Would he always remember Garb’s death with such clarity? Or would it fade with time? But did he want it to fade? Garb had showed his ultimate love for him in dying in his defense. How could he ever forget that?

“Why is your world always so bright?” Serene asked softly.

Tarek’s brown eyes swung down to her, “I thought you were sleeping.”

She smiled, “I just woke up,” her smile turned sad and sympathatic at the hurt she saw so plainly in Tarek’s eyes. Her mouthed opened as if she intended to say something. But when no words came, she closed it again and looked away.

Tarek remembered his harsh words last night and now that he thought about it, sharing his sorrows with her didn’t seem at all that riduculous. After all she had lost a loved one to violence as well, maybe she could answer some of the questions that plagued him.

But how to begin? He had a pretty good idea who she had lost, but he didn’t want to insult her by bringing it up so suddenly. Maybe if he asked about her exile first, or her homeland. Which would be less painful? Or maybe he should just dive right into the hard stuff.

“Serene?” he spoke at last.


“Would you mind… Tell me about your brothers,” he didn’t mean to sound so demanding, but frankly he didn’t know how else to ask it.

“My brothers,” she smiled softly, “They were twins and were three years older than me. They always tried to protect me. Two of the bravest men I’ve ever known. They were so much like my father. He is a great man,” she stopped, having lost herself in the ever fading dreamlike image of her father.

“What happened to them?”

“They died,” she said bitterly.

“I’m sorry.”

Serene sat up, her body stiff, “They died within minutes of each other. I watched and did nothing to save them,” tears spilled over her lashes as a chill raked her body.

“And your mother?”

Serene flipped away from him, “I have no mother.”

Her words were filled with such betrayl that Tarek knew better than to press further, instead he let the silence rule once more.

Soon night again took hold and the two travelers emerged from their hide-away, cramped but rested. They ran to a near by tree, scurried up and tree-hopped away. As hours ticked by the forest grew in density, until Serene found herself unable to breath. She slowed and then stopped all together.

“It’s so thick in here,” she gasped, Tarek stopping beside her.

“We’re nearing the heart of the forest. The Cruz tribe lies in the very center.”

“How can you stand the pressure? The air is so old. It coats your nose with a stagnant odor.”

Tarek laughed as if he hadn’t a care in the world, “This smells and feels like home to me,” he took a long whiff of air, “But come on, follow me,” he started to climb upward.

“Where are we going?” Serene called after him.

“Even to a Cruz the forest can be oppressive,” he explained just as they broke through the canopy to the endless night sky above, “So we come up here.”

The stars at this vantage point were stunning, but Serene was far too busy breathing in the sweetest air she’d ever known, “This is amazing,” she exhaled and closed her eyes.

“I agree,” he cocked his head to one side as he studied her in the pale light, “But how can you say the forest was oppressive? I would think your cave would be worse.”

Serene grinned at him, “But as you said it was my cave and this your forest,” she looked out a cross the endless tops of trees, “And what a forest.”

Every direction she turned the sea of green spread on, except far to the West. There the mighty trees were forced to stop, before an even mightier force the mountains

“Those are the White Peeks,” Tarek said, following her gaze, “They encirle all lands, not just the Cruz.”

“Does no one know what lies beyond?”

“Water. The ocean lies beyond.”


Tarek just smiled.

“Does the whole forest belong to your people?”

“It does,” his air was proud and confident, “From the Western peeks to the grassy plains in the East. North the forest ends before a river that runs deep inside a gorge and to the South a vast desert of death.”

“It’s so big,” Serene breathed.

They fell silent for at least for a time.

“How long until we reach your village?” Serene questioned.

“Probably by the end of tomorrow night. We’ve made good time.”

“And how many villages do the Cruz have?” Serene had grown thoughtful.

“Just the one.”

“I thought you said the whole forest belonged to you?”

Tarek frowned, “It does.”

“But you only live in a small portion of it?”


“Then why do you fight the Foul for land, when you clearly have more than you need?”

Tarek’s ire rose, “Don’t speak in ignorance Cave Dweller!”

Serene however, did not back down, “It seems you are wasting the blood of your sons on causes that don’t make any sense.”

“Don’t make any sense?! And what happens when the Foul pull down the trees to make way for their farms? What happens to our way of life then? And what happens when the Foul out grow their bounds again? Am I to do nothing when they march on my village?” Tarek’s voice boomed with a passion that reminded Serene of her father, “If we don’t stop them here, we never will,” he stood, “This land was given to us in the Great Conference.”

Serene’s interest was peeked, “The Great Conference? What is that?”

“I have neither the time nor the inclination to indulge you in your quest for knowledge,” he seethed, “Let’s keep moving,” he dived back below.

Serene sighed and followed, “Tarek wait!”

“What is it now?”

“There’s no reason to act like a child,” she chided.

“I’m not acting like a child,” he growled out.

“Aren’t you? Look I’m sorry for speaking in ‘ignorance’. But this war makes no sense to me. If there’s so much land, why fight?”

“Great question,” Tarek crossed his arms, “Why don’t you ask the Foul-” Tarek stopped, looking past her.

“What?” she began to turn, but was thrust back against the tree by Tarek, “What is going on?” Serene cried louder than she had intented to and was rewarded with Tarek’s gigantic hand clasped over her mouth.

“There’s someone down there,” he whispered and slowly removed his hand.

“How do you know?”

“Something reflected the light for a moment.”

They waited in silence for sometime, expecting to hear something, but to no avail. It seemed not even the wildlife in this part of the forest was stirring. Of course this was only more alarming. After several more minutes, Tarek determined it was time to find out what was wrong. He pushed away from Serene and in one fluid motion dropped onto a soft, cushion of leaves. Serene was impressed by the action, but even more by the fact that he didn’t make one noise in committing it.

Watching from her perch, Serene followed his moventments as he crossed to a small tree and knelt down. He stayed on his knees for awhile, before motioning for her to join him. Knowing she could never recreate his trained fall, Serene chose the old fashion way of actually climbing down the tree. She quickly found herself standing beside Tarek and standing over a disfigured Foul and an equally dead Cruz.

“They haven’t been dead long,” Tarek whispered looking around them cautiously, “They were both scouts. They must have stumbled upon each other.”

“But we heard nothing?” Serene asked.

“We wouldn’t have,” he pulled out a small, but lethal blade from the Foul side. It was slick with blood, “Since these are recent deaths I’d say the Foul force was three days ahead of us.”

“But wasn’t the last battle meant to stop the Foul from getting this close to the village?”

“It was,” he stated as he searched the bodies throughly, “Gloves!” he declared after a moment. He jumped up and slipped them on Serene’s far too small hands, “They’re perfect.”

“I wouldn’t say ‘perfect’,” as if on cue the sun began to rise. Serene looked to the clearly distraught warrior, “We can travel alittle while, after all I have gloves now.”

“No,” he responded adimently.

“I promise I’ll tell you if I start to burn,” Tarek started to protest again, so Serene held up her hand, “I have to get used to the sun sooner, or later. Besides if your village is in danger, we have to warn them.”

Tarek nodded, “Very well, but if-”

“I promise, alright?” she held out one of gloved hands, “Lead the way.”

Her hand was snatched from the air and so began their break-neck run through the forest

Mansfield Park: Dream Cast

With the wonderful adaptions of Little Women and Emma that have come out recently, my mind has once again turned towards my favorite Jane Austin novel Mansfield Park. I believe(and I think few would disagree with me when I say) that it is the only(or at least one of the few) Austin novels that has never gotten a fair shake as far as Hollywood goes.

The reasons for this are many, but they basically boil down to the issue the novel had when it was first printed; Fanny Price is not Elizabeth Bennet. In fact she’s the exact opposite. Where Elizabeth is out spoken and strong willed, Fanny is quiet and seems to bend to everyone else’s will with little or no fight. I’m sure her character is a puzzle to many. But where most people see her being a door mat to introverted, people-pleasures like myself I see someone we can relate to. Did I mention she’s also very perceptive? She saw the faults in the Crawfords, where everyone else only saw their beauty and charm. Fanny takes the belittling of her extended family and never stands up for herself against personal affronts, but she won’t compromise when it comes to principle. (Case in point marrying Mr. Henry Crawford) Despite her ill treatment she still seeks the good in everyone, even her rival for Edmund, Miss. Crawford and her aunt Mrs. Norris. She refuses to participate in the play even with intense peer pressure(for those of you who have read Mansfield Park you know of which play I speak) She faithful takes care of all those around her with no regard for repayment.

Another reason Mansfield Park has trouble is because Edmund Bertram is not Mr. Darcy. Poor Edmund held up to such high standards. Edmund is presented as this upstanding, uncompromising figure of virtue that is until Miss. Crawford arrives. Then he seems to lose all reason and falls head over heels for a lesser woman. But he’s a young man(and last time I checked men can be stupid) And remember we are largely seeing him through Fanny’s eyes and she’s desperately in love with her cousin, so his faults aren’t as apparent at first. Besides in the end Edmund finally sees the light and stands up when it counts. I think people have a hard time with the male lead not being perfect, but this makes him human yes?

Another thing is people try to make Miss. Mary Crawford a villain, which she’s not. She’s just beautiful, self obsessed, worldly minded and of small character with no figure of virtue to model her life after. She even admits this to Fanny and how she wishes she was more like Fanny. She’s not wicked or intentionally after the shattering of Fanny’s heart. I honestly think she loves Edmund as much as she can share her heart with someone other than herself and her brother. So she’s not a villain.

Basically Fanny is ignored by her whole circle until by the end of the book they find her the most faithful, loving and sweetest of them all. She’s intelligent and thoughtful, resourceful and unselfish. In the same way Fanny is ignored and overlooked by her family and friends, she has been overlooked by Hollywood. They can’t seem to leave her fully rounded character alone. They have to make her spunky or sarcastic. They have to add a sex appeal or… something! She can’t be quiet and faithfully diligent in good, cause no body gets what they want by waiting for it. She has to be assertive! But in doing this they ruin her. They ruin the people around her and they ruin the whole story.

Anyway I have always thought, since first reading and falling in love with this story when I was fourteen, that this book had the tremendous potential to be a great film! Thus below is my dream cast and crew of…

Mansfield Park

Let’s kick it off with the chief protagonist, Fanny Price played Ella Fanning. Casting the lead was hard for me but when I finally thought of Ella I was like, “YES!” I think she could definitely pull off the sweetness of Fanny and her face is so expressive she could convey a lot with saying little. Audiences would instantly be drawn toward her and be unable not to care for her out come. Or at least not be able to ignore her.

Fanny Price played by Ella Fanning

Next up is our male lead Edmund Bertram played by William Moseley. When casting Edmund I needed someone the audience could/would like easily. And after watching Carrie Pilby a while back I thought William would be a perfect fit. He could give Edmund a sense of maturity and yet keep that playfulness of youth most actors have failed to bring to the role. (In my personal opinion)

Edmund played by William Moseley

Mary Crawford was a little harder to cast. As I mentioned above a lot of people try to make her the villain of the story, so I needed someone you couldn’t all together dislike. Someone charming and of course beautiful. When I hit upon Caitriona Balfe I knew instantly she’d be perfect. She would add sophistication to the role, while keeping Miss. Crawford not all together bad and not all together good.

Miss. Crawford played by Caitriona Balfe

So this is a shout out to one of my fav actors(Merlin fan here! #notashamed) Colin Morgan. Again I wanted you to not totally hate Henry Crawford at the first and almost pity him at the last. I needed someone(like Mary Crawford) who could be charming and attractive, but with actual character so you could see what Fanny saw; that glimmer of potential. Even if that potential is sadly never realized.

Mr. Crawford played by Colin Morgan

Sir Thomas Bertram had to be intimidating and frankly I could think of no one else than Charles Dance. I thought since he is so serious and… Well scary. That his overbearing personality would throw some humor into the pompous character of Sir Thomas.

Sir Thomas played by Charles Dance

Lady Bertram had to be lovably idiotic and Imelda Staunton has pulled off that kind of character off before. I draw your attention to Sense and Sensibility– love her in that movie! I think she could pull off the hypochondriac Lady Bertram with her little pug dog and needlework very well.

Lady Bertram played by Imelda Stauton

After casting William Moseley as Edmund I had a hard time finding someone to play Thomas Bertram. Someone who wouldn’t all together get lost in the thus assembled cast. In the book Tom is a gambler and a drinker and has a very redemptive story arc. He’s actually one of my favorite characters in the book. I finally settled on Eddie Redmayne. Knowing he had the kind of range it would take to pull of Tom’s evolving character.

Tom Bertram played by Eddie Redmayne

I think I had the most fun casting the Miss. Bertram’s. I knew I needed two young ladies, who could play the ugly-step-sister role without being ugly nor unsophisticated. They needed to be handsome, well breed but as mean and cunning as sneaks. AnnaSophia Robb as Maria Bertram is absolutely the best! I think she’d have fun playing the vain and pretentious Maira.

Maria Bertram played by AnnaSophia Robb

Casting Maria’s fiancé(and future husband) Rushworth was very important to get right in my opinion. As a rich, imbecilic bore Rushworth is a side character, who I felt could add some of that outlandish humor. Harry Melling almost instantly came to mind and I love him as Rushworth.

Rushworth played by Harry Melling

Julia Bertram as played by Bel Powley. She could hold her own against AnnaSophia and add some of the air-headed silliness to any conversation. Can’t you just picture the afore mentioned cast traipsing about Rushworth’s estate? I certainly can.

Julia Bertram played by Bel Powley

Ah Mrs. Norris who could ever play your cruel, gossiping, miser of a character? (The true villain of the story by the way) Glen Close… I mean I think it’s perfect. As the sister to Lady Bertram and Fanny’s mother, Mrs. Price, I think Glen would be absolutely phenomenal!

Mrs. Norris played by Glen Close

William Price was my final character to cast. I needed someone heroic that could be everyone’s older brother, so I choose Dean-Charles Chapman. He could pull of that lovable rogue, who pops in everyone once and awhile to keep poor Fanny sane.

That brings us to Mrs. Price the youngest sister to Lady Bertram and Mrs. Norris. I needed a strong willed woman. Having just finished Sherlock I thought Amanda Abbington would be just that woman. Marrying a penniless soldier just to spite her family, Mrs. Price is the poor mother of many children. Her character is super interesting to me and would be fun to flesh out.

Mrs. Price played by Amanda Abbington

Mr. Price needs to be somewhat laughable and yet not all together repulsing. I think Mark Heap would be perfect. He could add the whimsical goofiness to the role and yet also be somewhat depressing as being a penniless man, who will never amount to anything.

Mr. Price played by Mark Heap

Finally if I could choose anyone to direct this film, who I would trust to do an amazing job and to do justice by Jane Austin’s story and characters, it would be Greta Gerwig. She wouldn’t see Fanny as some weak heroine, who’s character needed to be added to. She would see her quite strength and faithfulness and would finally give Fanny and Mansfield Park the justice in film it deserves.

Directed by Greta Gerwig

Yeah so this is how I’ve been spending my isolated hours. I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you agree with my casting? Who would you have casted differently? Would you see this movie? I’d love to discuss!

Lots of love,


Monthly Media Favs: March 2020

Hello everyone! Hope you are happy and healthy. This month’s media favs is gonna be a bit extensive, which is to be expected when one is stuck inside. I hope you enjoy!

TV Shows/Series

  • A Letter for the King- Let me first state that I have never read the book this show was based of off. So I have no preconceived notions or attachment to the original story. Maybe that is why I liked it so much. The biggest complaint I could find against this Netflix original was that it was a huge departure from the afore mentioned book. I would give this show a 7 out of 10. There were a few times that the horse chases(there are a handful especially in the first episodes) that got a little monotonous. But the characters were interesting and well rounded enough to keep me interested. Plus Netflix put some money into the production and there are a few surprise cast members I wasn’t expecting to see.
  • Sherlock- Don’t hate me but until this month I have never watched Sherlock. I know, have I been living under a rock? I greatly enjoyed the show- It’s obviously beautifully edited and shot… Plus Benedict and Martin are amazing. However the last season… It was great… But different… And I’m not sure I totally liked it. Does that make me evil? Does that even make sense? I’m still not totally sure how it rubbed me. I mean, cause the stories were so well thought out and you can tell they weren’t half baked… But yeah I can’t say I loved them.


  • Mary Queen of Scots- This movie was brilliant! If you remember last month I was on a Queen Elizabeth kick and so it was only natural to let that follow of history connect to Mary Queen of Scots. I think the story capsulized both Mary and Elizabeth perfectly. Saoirse Ronan was brilliant(as she normally is) but Margot Robbie I felt really stole the show. However that might just be because I am a Queen Bess fan. Anyway if you haven’t seen it; it’s a great film.
  • Emma- So my sister and I saw this in an empty theater when it first came out, ya know before the world ended, and it is superb. I went into it with low expectations however it is now my official favorite Emma adaption. All the cast was pitch perfect but Anya-Taylor Joy just steals all the attention with her unique and beautiful looks. Johnny Flynn who I hadn’t heard of before this is so charming and exactly what Mr. Knightly should be. I’m kinda obsessed with him right now, as you will see him appear later on in this list. This will be a definite purchase of mine when it comes out. However I still think $20 to rent a movie for 24-hours is a bit pricey. So I will leave that up to you, however it is a great movie.
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy(extended edition)— Stuck inside? Nothing is better then watching the 5 hour long editions of these masterpiece films. If you have never seen the extended editions than you’ve never seen these movies at all. Sorry not sorry. I am not going to go into depth here cause ya’ll know these movies are great. Next we are going to start on the not as great, but still pretty awesome Hobbit Trilogy.


  • Wonderful World by Butterscotch- So this month’s music has definitely gone to the ladies. Probably my favorite find this month came from watching a Wired YouTube video(here) about beatboxer, super awesome woman Butterscotch. I’m not gonna spoil it but watch the video and then get this song. Now if she would only keep mixing up old blues and jazz songs.
  • Better Days by OneRepublic- I am slowly becoming a OneRepublic fan. And one of their newer songs is so relevant to what’s going on now. So here’s to better days!
  • The Game of Cards by Maddy Prior&June Tabor- Remember the movie Emma from up above? Well the soundtrack for that movie is so folky and adorable. This song is been on repeat this month.
  • Fever by Peggy Lee- Told you this month went to the ladies. Peggy Lee is a fav of mine and I love her take on Fever.
  • He’s a Tramp by Peggy Lee- But this song from Lady and the Tramp is my jam!
  • Head up High by We McDonald- An old school sound that just makes you walk a little taller. It’s been my workout track this month for sure.
  • Queen Bee by Johnny Flynn- Here’s Johnny! (sorry for the movie reference. I’ve never actually seen the Shining) He’s charming, good looking and can sing. He definitely deserves a few looks.
  • Strong Tower by Kutless- If I could pick one song to sum up this whole month… This would be it. It puts everything that is going on into perspective. God is still King.


  • Bridge Over River Andau by James A. Michener- This book was recommended to me by my boss, who lived several years in Budapest. It’s a great book and gives you a peek into the Cold War, Hungarian culture and communism. It’s also gotten me hooked on world history books. Which isn’t too much a departure for me, but this has gotten a bit crazy… Even for me. You’ll see next month on media favs what I mean.
  • Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring King by J.R.R. Tolkien narrated by Rob Inglis- Stuck inside? Never read the Lord of the Rings? Now is the time. I read the books and the Hobbit when I was in junior high, I think and I got a hankering to reread them. However I can’t very well have five books going at the same time so I turned to audible, which is totally acceptable and counts as reading a book. And this unabridged reading of the Fellowship is… beautiful.
  • Far From the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy- I have got like 15, 17 chapters left to go and I am still enjoying, it’s just… World history and Lord of the Rings.

Board Games

  • Funko POP Strategy Game- Yes my sister and I have been playing with kids toys but this game is actually lots of fun and can get somewhat complicated. It’s not a half baked game concept. So it’s worth a try.

So what are some of the things you guys have been enjoying? What’s been your distraction these weeks? I might need to check it out. Until next time…

Lots of love,


People of the Trees Prt. 2

So I started releasing an old story of mine… a year ago… I think… ??? (Here’s the first two chapters) Anyway I thought since we’re all kinda slowing down and stuck in place you guys might enjoy a brief distraction. (Please judge this sampling with some grace as I wrote this when I fifteen) Anyhoo enjoy!

Chapter Three

Tarek grew warmer as he lay next to Garb. This either meant that you feel warmer just before you die, or that the flames were getting closer. Looking down at his bloody chest, Tarek realized it didn’t really matter at this point. His beaten and torn body ached with every heaving breath. He thought death was supposed to be peaceful but it wasn’t. It was painful and loud. In the distance he still heard the rage of battle. The cries of pain, grief and death. Death. An all consuming void. He was entangled it, being dragged to the grave by it. As a warrior death had been a constant advisory; a challenge to beat, but now it was all so clear that death had only been toying with him. It could claim him whenever it wanted. There was no escaping it.
Curious his world was moving now. Trees passing in a blur. It took him a moment to realize he was being dragged away from death. From Garb and into the recesses of a cave’s mouth.

“No,” he whispered and tried to claw his way back. He had no strength and the force which held him was unyielding.
“No,” Tarek said again, louder this time, “he’s my brother.”“You can’t help him now. He’s gone,” the voice was firm but soft.In the silence that followed, Tarek watched as his friend’s body was consumed by fire. A right normally reserved for chiefs or warriors of high honor.
“You died with honor,” Tarek whispered, “be at peace.” 
A heart breaking wail filled the cave and Tarek only barely realized it was his own voice crying out, when darkness replaced the image of flame and fire as oblivion took a firm hold. 
He began to stir hours later. First feeling cold, then hot, then cold again. And wet. His eyes fluttered open, once twice before he was able to keep them open. The cave’s dark ceiling was above him, illuminated by the silver light of the moon. At first his thoughts were a jumble, one running upon another. But it was inevitable for his mind to put back into terrifying order what had happened to him and Garb sank in. Tarek sat up quickly and yet was instantly knocked down by a wave of dizziness and a sharp pain from the very core of his body.

“Try not move. Your wounds are very severe,” a voice said in the darkness.

Tarek stilled, “Who’s there?” his weak voice croaked and as his dry lips cracked.

The voice didn’t answer at first, “Who are you?” she finally replied.
SHE! His rescuer was female?!? What was this? Foul women did not fight and the Cruz wives were back defending the village. Who was this?

“Do you fear me so much you hide in the shadows?” Tarek challenged but each word was a struggle.

“I am not hiding,” came a stunned answer, “Can your people not see in the dark?”

“See in the dark! What kind of trick is this?” Tarek cried, his temper rising and adrenaline starting to pump. If she was close enough he might be able to defeat her.

“This is no trick-“

“Then answer me! Who are you?”

“I… I come from the caves,” her answer was tentative.

“A Cave Dweller?” Tarek laughed, “Do you take me for a fool!” he sat up, ignoring his pain.

“Please lie back down-“

“Shut-up Foul! I will not be lied to or mocked-” Tarek stopped short as the girl emerged. 

The moon caught the colorlessness of her hair making it glow like the palest of stars. To a dark Cruz the whitish purple of the Cave Dweller could have not been more stunning or contrary to himself. She was so small she was almost childlike and she had no eyelashes or eyebrows. Her skin, even in the dark light, was almost transparent so you could see her veins. She barely looked human with those large pale blue eyes.

“I tell you no lie Surface Dweller,” she said slowly as she pushed him back down.

“How is this possible?” Tarek’s voice was hollow and distant, any thought of fighting gone.

“I will explain, but you are still weak. Sleep awhile.”

“Sleep,” his voice was almost mocking, “I can’t sleep, my people will be looking for me. How long has it been…” 

Suddenly a wave of nausea rushed through him. Rolling over to his side, Tarek ratcheted up anything that was left in his system and began to cry and bleed all over again. The Cave Dweller injected a small needle into his arm and rolled him back over as he slipped into sleep. She carefully and skillfully rebadged his wounds. She had so many questions about this world she had never seen and yet she knew she would get all the answers she could possibly want. She had all the time in the world.

The next several days passed with Tarek waking for short, inconsistent periods. If he woke at night he would find the Cave Dweller sitting just outside the cave. Yet it was stranger still to wake during the days, when the girl draped a thick cloth over the entrance and shied away from any form of light. 

“What is wrong with you?” he roared as black circles danced before his eyes.

He heard a muffled sob and watched as the girl quickly reached for the water jug. Gasping in pain, she poured the cool liquid over a giant welt that had formed on her hand. She shook with the pain and gingerly rapped her hand in a clean bandage from her bag. She looked up at Tarek in defense and suspicion.

“I’ve never seen the… Big light in the sky before,” she spoke at long last still tense as if waiting for him to prey on her weakness.

“The sun?” his eyebrows shot up.

“Is that what you call it?” he nodded, “I was born in complete darkness. Your light is only heat and blindness,” she said as if accusing him.

“I find it healing and delightful,” he cooly replied, “In fact I think I would heal faster if I was in the light and not in this damp cave.”

A look of horror like nothing he had ever seen crossed her face. Her wild, blue eyes instantly darted to the curtain as if it would fall at his very words.

“It will have to come down eventually my little friend,” she looked back at him, “I cannot stay in here forever. How long have we been here anyway?”

“Four days- But you can’t leave now! You can barely stay awake for more than a few minutes.”

Tarek smiled, “Do not worry. By the time I am well enough to leave this place you will have retreated back into your beloved darkness.”

“You don’t observe your surroundings very well, do you? This cave is only big enough to hold us. There is no darkness to retreat into.”

Tarek’s head snapped around to see that she was right. Reaching out his left hand he touched the very back wall with his fingertips. This wasn’t right… How did she get here?

“How did you come here if this is so small a cave? Surely you have not dwelt…”

The Cave Dweller read him like a book, “What’s wrong?”

Tarek glared, “How did you come here?” his voice was deadly even.

The girl shifted uncomfortably, her eyes straying from his, “This is a form of punishment practiced by my People.”

Her straightforward answer clearly wasn’t what he expected, “You’re a criminal?”

“You do not know my People, so you cannot understand my exile.”

Tarek didn’t care for this reply. Crossing his arms with some pain, his intrusive stare speared her, “Then help me understand.”

It was not a request, it was a demand. She could play this game too, “I will answer one of your questions, if you will answer one of mine.”

Tarek held back the impulse to grin and instead tried to sound disinterested, “If it cannot be helped.”

The Cave Dweller grinned,  “I shall go first. What are those tall things that burned?”

“Trees?” Tarek’s brows rose again.

“The tall things? That touch the sky?”

“Yeah those are trees.”

“What are trees?”

Tarek huffed. This girl knew nothing. He could tell her anything and she would believe it!

“The trees are plants- You know what plants are, right?”

“Oh, yes. But plants are normally small and weak.”

“Well on the surface we have giant plants. In fact the trees belong to my people. We climb them. We live in them.”

“Your people?”

“No, it’s my turn to ask a question. Let’s start with an easy one: your people, who exiled you, what are they called?”

Now the girl looked at him like he was the clueless one, “The People,” she answered.

“That’s it?”

“Yes. What are your people called?”

“The Free People of the Cruz,” he said with pride.

“That’s very a strange name,” she said with a smirk.

“It is better than most,” his sarcasm was clear, “So your ‘People’ live in caves?” she nodded, “In complete darkness? Why? Haven’t they ever heard of fire? Or why don’t they just come back to the surface?”

“My People believe only death resides above, which judging by what I have seen isn’t untrue. Though our darkness is not like yours. I can see through your darkest shadow. To me it is a bright as flame,” she smiled, “Now, how many Cruz are there? Are you the only people up here?”

“No,” Tarek yawned, “There three tribes, but us Cruz mainly deal with the Foul.”

“The Foul, these were the people you were fighting?”

“It’s my turn,” Tarek’s eyelids started to droop, “What’s your name?”

The Cave Dweller started and then smiled again, “Serene.”

“That’s it?”

“Yes, that’s it. What’s your name?”

“Tarek son of Warn, of the house of Drain. Son of the Free People of Cruz, but you may call me Tarek.”

“Tarek,” she tested the word on her tongue, “Very strange,” she whispered as the boy fell back asleep.

Chapter Four

Serene occupied herself while Tarek slept by exploring the surface as much as she could during the night. She could never go too far from the cave in case Tarek needed her or the sun started to rise. And everything she discovered only created new questions for Tarek to answer. The moon fascinated her the most. It was so bright and the stars were so wonderful. They reminded her of the glow worms that inhabited her People’s
main cavern. It’s low laying ceiling was simply covered in six inch glow worms. And they all glowed a different color. If the worms were frightened they would swarm and melt the skin off the aggressor. Their slime could metal through even the thickest metal or stone. Just like everything else in the Deep, they were dangerous. Her family should have remembered that. Three years ago she had been chosen. Her father had said that of the entire family she was the bravest. That she would be the one to protect them, when the time came. Does he still believe that?

On one of these nights of quiet reflection the present was brought back to the fore front of her mind. She was sitting upon a flat stone just a short ways from the cave, when she heard heavy foot falls behind her. Turning sharply, she peered into the darkness and saw as clear as day, three massive men walking through the forest. It was as if they were looking for something. Her pulse quickened as she realized they were nearing the cave. Without thinking much about her own safety, Serene let out a long sharp, scream before darting into the trees. Needless to say the men chased after her and were about to catch her, when she suddenly stopped disappearing into the shadows. Though her pursues slowed down they didn’t stop. They kept chasing a phantom deeper into the woods.

After Serene was sure the danger had past, she tried her best to double back in a silent, graceful fashion. But her efforts were wasted, Tarek had heard her long before she was even near him. As she entered the cave, he kicked out her legs from underneath her and pinned her to the ground, a sharpe stone pressed against her throat.

“What were you doing? Leading your Foul comrades here?” he hissed.

“Get off me,” Serene said calmly, too calmly.

Tarek only pressed the rock harder against her skin, “Answer me! Are you working with the Foul?”

“I know nothing of the Foul, remember?”

“Then why did you scream?”

“Three men were nearing the cave. I screamed to save you. I was afraid they might find you.”

Tarek’s grip weakened as doubt flickered through his eyes, “What kind of men?”

“Get off of me and I will tell you,” she commanded. Tarek hesitated, but eventually obeyed. As Serene sat up, her back and neck screamed from the pain of being slammed to the floor. Still it could have been worse… He could have just killed her. Maybe he was more healed than she had thought.

“The three men were big,” she began, backing up to the cave’s damp wall, “and they were fast. They wore loose woven tunics and didn’t carry any weapons. They seemed to be searching for something.”

“Foul,” the word was bitter in Tarek’s mouth, “And you say they were nearing the cave?”

“Actually they were on top of it. So when I screamed to draw their attention I saved your life… again.”

“And you woke me up,” he stated simply.

“Pardon me?” Serene glared.

“We have to get out of here, before the Foul find us. How many days have we been hiding?”

“Seven. Why? Who are the Foul?” she asked seemingly unconcerned.

Tarek huffed, “I have neither the time nor the inclination to answer all your questions Cave Dweller.”

“The Foul are the other tribe that your people are fighting against. But why?”

“Because they invaded our land. Our forest.”


“The trees! They invaded our home, so we had to fight them off,” Tarek tried to keep his temper from boiling over, but every moment they tarried made their lives more dangerous.

“But why would the Foul invade?”

“I will answer all of your questions later when we are far from here,” Tarek answered as he used the wall to stand. He grunted at the terrible pain, but refused to collapse again. He’d wasted enough time here.

“You are still too weak-“

“Enough woman,” he warned through clenched teeth, “Run out and find me something I can use to steady myself.”

“This is ridiculous-“

“Be quick!” Tarek roared.

Serene ducked out into the quite night and after making sure there was no one around, she creeped a crossed to the creek. She quickly passed the charred remains of Tarek’s brother and then stooped over the half brunt, decaying Foul brute. Reaching down, she yanked free the spear from his abdomen and even though the spear head was missing, she knew it would make a perfect staff. Rushing back into the cave, she presented the prize to Tarek. A sick look crossed his face as he instantly recognized it, but he took it anyway. After all he needed it.

“Now we must do something about you,” he said, looking her top from bottom.

Serene looked down at herself. She was clothed plainly in the garb of her People: black boots and pants with a tunic that offered her arms no protection.

She saw his point, but was still shocked, “You plan to travel in the day?”

“I plan to make the best time we possibly can,” he replied. He looked about them at their supplies, which were none and finally huffed. He slipped off his own shirt, revealing a tightly woven banged underneath and then he slipped his gigantic garment over her tiny frame. It covered everything.

“Well it certainly smells,” Serene said, wrinkling her nose.

“I’ll just go out wash it, shall I?,” he replied as he tightened the collar and cuffs, so they wouldn’t slip and expose her skin to the sun, “Keep your hood up and,” he ripped a strip of cloth off the bottom of the shirt, “tie this around your face.”

“Brilliant. What about my hands?” she asked, holding up her white digits.

“Keep them in your pockets.”

“Okay,” she said sarcastically, “And my blindness?”

“Simple,” he grabbed one of her arms, “I’m going to lead you… But first give me your hands,” he solemnly held out both of his.

Serene looked down at them curiously, but finally slipped her tiny hands into his giant ones, which quickly closed around them, engulfing them. Next Tarek kissed each palm and recited some strange ritual, “Serene of the People twice you have saved my life and now I owe you a debt, which I can never repay. But here, as the trees and the stars as my witness, I swear Libia Sora to you, who has the highest courage.”

Serene stood in shocked silence. Never had she seen such seriousness in a man’s face and the fact that she had no idea what had just happened between her and the Surface Dweller wasn’t helping anything. One thing she knew; she wouldn’t have to worry about Tarek anymore.

To seal the promise, Tarek kissed each hand again, before dropping them and grabbing up her satchel, “Let’s move.”

Lots of love,


What’s in My Book Bag?

I think a better question is what isn’t in my book bag. Over the course of last summer I took to carrying a book bag instead of trying to stuff everything into my purse. And at first that’s all I’d carry around. But summer turned to fall and I found in addition to these items I had like five billion other things to carry around. I tried leaving some of it at home, but of course that’s when I needed it. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. My solution? Carry around three separate bags! Yep I have become a bag lady… If I don’t leave the house with three bags you know something is up. Or that I won’t be gone for long. I am going to do three separate posts on my bags and the first one is my book bag!

The Bag…

First things first I will introduce you to my canvas bag. For those of you who know me I am sure you will be shocked to find out it is Kate Spade. I know… Shocking. I got this maybe over a year ago and am still digging it. Now let’s start unloading it shall we.

What’s in the Bag?

  • Book(books)So at the time of writing this I am between books. Normally I have 3 to 4 books going at one time. Im waiting for two new books to come in the mail. I have really taken my goal of reading nonfiction by the horns… I think now I have a problem. I want to read about everything!
  • Daily Planner- My daily planner(as my faithful followers- love you guys- know) is more like a journal than a planner. I normally fill out after the month has passed as a way to remember what I had done as opposed to what I am going to do.
  • Pencil Bag- Can’t doodle in my journal without my markers and pens. And yes of course I have a Kate Spade pencil case. I mean how could I not?
  • iPad- iPad, laptop… Whatever you’d like to call it. This is my most loved item in the bag(if I had to choose) My instrument of prose and silliness. Just think, without my iPad you guys wouldn’t get to read my weird rambles! Aren’t you lucky?
  • Journal/Prayer Journal- Not featured in this picture, but I also normally carry around my prayer journal and my regular journal, so I can write down my thoughts which tend run rampant if unchecked by the pen.

Whew! One bag down for the count. Stay tuned for the rest of the month for posts on my other bags. How about you? Are you a fellow crazy bag lady? Do you carry your whole house around with you too? I’d love to know that I am not the only one. Don’t forget to sign up for email notifications and follow my social media accounts.

Lots of love,