Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Peachy Keen {part 3}

Well, here is the last part of Peachy Keen. I hope everyone enjoyed it, even though I'm not sure if anyone's actually reading it.

(find part two here)



Three weeks later…

I sang as I washed the dishes, soapy foam flying everywhere. I always had such fun washing dishes. I liked to make things clean and shiny. I rinsed the last dish, and still humming, skipped into the living room where my mother was sitting at the computer. She turned to me, a look of anger crossing her face. “What’s the matter, Mom?” I asked, but before the words were out of my mouth, I knew. Splashed across the computer monitor were the words, “Congratulations! You’re in the TOP TWENTY!” and a picture of my cake, Peachy Keen, was below them.
It had been about three weeks since I had sent the recipe, and I hadn’t thought about it much, except for a few pinpricks from my guilty conscience. My family had eagerly devoured the peach cake, destroying the evidence of my crime. Just at that instant, looking at Mom’s furious face, I wondered why I thought she would’ve been happy with my disobedience. I was in so much trouble, and it was all my fault. I backed up a few steps and squeaked, “Mom, I’m so—
“Olivia Helen Thompson,” she growled, “what have you done?”

I sat at the end of my bed, miserable, my eyes red from crying. My parents stood before me, glaring their hardest. Not that I would’ve blamed them at that moment. I was furious with myself. I wanted to glare at myself, too, except that I had a splitting headache from crying too much. “This is what we are going to do,” my father started to slowly pace up and down, thinking of my punishment, “You obviously didn’t care what your mother said. She told you no.”
“Yes, Daddy,” I sniffled.
“So now we need to make a decision.”
“Yes, Daddy.” Sniffle.
“You can either pull out of the contest willingly, or we’ll do it for you.”
“But… but, I wanted to—” I jerked my head up, “I thought—”
My mom glared harder. “You thought you could do whatever you wanted, that you wouldn’t get in trouble, that we’d be happy about it?” Her voice rose.
My head dropped again. Even though I wasn’t happy with myself, I thought maybe they would let me participate, and then I would be punished. That maybe they were secretly proud of me. Of course that’s not the case, I thought rebelliously, turning my face away from my angry mother.
“Look at your mother,” my father rumbled, frightening me, and my head whipped toward her. “Olivia…” she shook her head, softening, “You know we love you, and I want to trust you. But this is a lie, a big, big lie. A sin. I thought we taught you about what God thinks about liars.”
A tear escaped from my eye, running down my cheek. I didn’t really think much about God. Only at church.
“I want to trust you,” Mother repeated, “But now I can’t. Don’t you see? If you lie once, that makes it easier to lie again, and again. And then I can’t trust anything you say. That’s why it’s so serious, don’t you see?” She tilted her head to one side, and raised one eyebrow.
I saw, all too clearly, and flopped myself onto my bed, sobbing again. My mother and my father both sighed deeply. “Let’s leave her alone for a while,” I heard my father say, and they both left the room, my mother stopped to pat me on the back.
“It’ll be ok, sweetie,” she said quietly. I only cried harder.

It was a little later, and the sun had swooped down from the middle of the sky. I watched the sunset. The sky was mostly pink and orange and the sun dyed the clouds around it the same color. It was a lovely sight, but I was thinking.
After my parents left, I thought about what Mother had said. Lying was a sin. They told me that when I was younger, but they stopped after a while. I guess they thought I was old enough to remember. Or maybe too mature to try to deceive them.
I sat on my bed, leaning against my pillow, and cracked open my dusty Bible. I knew that my mother read hers daily, and she often talked about what God was teaching her, but I never listened too hard to her. I liked the Bible stories in the Old Testament, the ones about parting the seas and knocking down the walls. But when it came to the psalms and prophets and letters, well, they were just plain boring.
First I read the Ten Commandments, and I sort of flinched inside when I got to number eight, “Do not steal.”
Then I flipped around the New Testament and got caught up in Paul’s epistles. I read for a while, flipped some more. Thirty minutes went by, and by then, I was pretty interested in the Bible.
My door opened, quietly, as if the opener expected me to be sleeping. I looked up, and there stood Mother. “May I come in?”
I nodded assent. She came and sat down next to me on my bed. “How are you feeling?” she asked, putting her hand on my shoulder. “Alright, I guess,” I admitted, and then I hugged her hard. “I’m so sorry, Mother! I didn’t think!”
Mother took me by the shoulders and looked into my face.
“Yes, you did,” she said sternly, “But you didn’t feel like listening to the thoughts that told you it was wrong.”
 I sighed, and hugged her again. “I’m still sorry, though.”
“I forgive you, and so does your father.” She smiled, and kissed me. “So what are you going to do to get our trust back?”
I thought for a minute. “Well, first I’m going to ask Dad to forgive me,” I looked at the floor, because I was about to say something that felt weird, “And then I’m going to ask God to forgive me. I was reading my Bible, and now I know it was a sin.” I tapped the cover of the book in my lap. Mother suddenly lit up. “I’m so glad you read your Bible!” she glowed, “was there anything that stuck out to you especially?”
“Stuck out to me?” I flipped through to Exodus and pointed. “Well, I read the Ten Commandments. And some of what Paul wrote about.”
Nodding, Mother took my Bible from me. “Well, that’s a good start. Can I show you something?” She flipped through to the back, to Revelation.
“Oh, Mother, not that book,” I protested, “It’s so weird and creepy.”
 She ignored me, turning the pages, and then she pointed at the page.
“Here it is. Revelation 21:8,” she said with satisfaction. “But for the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part shall be in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.”
I shivered. “Fire and brimstone doesn’t sound very comfortable, does it?” Mother asked.
“No,” I admitted, “It doesn’t. And it says that’s where liars go?”
“Yep,” Mother said, and then changed the subject, “So your father and I have been talking.”
I squirmed and looked down at the Bible, “What have you decided?”
“We’ve decided that we haven’t taught you enough about God, or talked about God enough.” Mother sighed, and closed the Bible, “and although we’ve told you lies were wrong, you obviously didn’t know enough to not do it.” I looked up at her, a smile playing around my face. “So… I can… still enter the contest?”
She frowned. “Olivia, you think we’d let you?”
 My smile disappeared. “No, but I... still wanted to.”
Mother got up, patted my back. She walked to the door. “I’m sorry, Olivia. But you do need to be punished. First you will write an email to the contest officials, telling them why you can’t continue.”
I looked up, and almost protested. But a look from Mother told me she wasn’t taking complaints.
She continued. “Then you will not be allowed to speak to your friends for a week. You can call Sophie and tell her why, if you want to.” I shook my head. I really didn’t want to tell Sophie about the contest and my lie. I knew she would not be happy with me either.
“You must stay in your room for the rest of the night. No TV or computer. I’ll bring your dinner to you.”
I smiled sadly. “Ok. I understand. Thanks, Mother.”
She closed the door quietly and I turned over on my side. “I wish I’d never lied in the first place,” I whispered to the half-moon, which had risen while we were talking. Suddenly I remembered something I had to do. I rolled off the bed and kneeled down, my folded hands resting on my bed. Then I whispered, “God, I really made a mistake…”

Usually when we go to the church service, I sit with my friends. We whisper and giggle and have a great time. I like to doodle on the bulletin with Sophie. But this Sunday was different. I sat with my family. When we filed into our pew, I sneaked a glance at Sophie. She was talking and laughing with the other kids. I felt a little bit sad at not being able to join them, but I was looking forward to the sermon, too.  When the preacher stood up, I settled down to listen.
The sermon was about Job, who I’d never read about before. It was an interesting sermon, and Mother asked me if I wanted to read the book of Job together. Of course, I said yes.
After the service, I waved goodbye to Sophie, and she waved back. Her smile was sympathetic, but she looked disappointed in me.

When my punishment was over, I invited some of the girls at church (including Sophie) over for a Bible study. We read, talked, laughed, and ate lots of snacks, and we had such a great time we’re going to do it every week. Mom and I are reading the Bible every night before bedtime, and the whole family is memorizing some Bible verses. I pray and talk about God a lot more than I used to for sure.
Now that I’ve won my parent’s trust back, they’re allowing me to enter the upcoming town baking contest. And I know exactly what I’m going to enter.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Peachy Keen {part 2}

(find part one here)

Here's the second part of Peachy Keen. Enjoy!




I looked up the contest on the internet. The deadline was in a month, and you had to write your own recipe, and send it in with a picture. If your recipe got into the top twenty, you had to travel to Washington, D.C. and make it for the judges. The prize was one thousand dollars! I just had to enter. My mom entered the room, and I turned to her, putting on my best pleading face. “Hey, Mother! Look at this contest! It’s  the First Annual National Baking Contest for Youth, and I really, really want to compete! And plus, entering is free!”
“Let’s see,” she said, and I moved out of the chair so she could sit down. I watched her face as she read. When she finished the email, she shook her head. “Sorry, Olivia.”
I made sure my face looked as disappointed as possible. “But… but why? I’m a really good baker, and I think I could win!” Mother tapped my nose with her finger. “Sorry,” she repeated, “But there are several reasons I could think of, even without talking to your dad.” I crossed my arms grumpily. “Like what?
“Don’t use that tone with me,” Mother sounded dangerous, so I tried to cheer up.  “What are the reasons?” I asked nicely.
“Number one, you’re too young. This contest is for kids fifteen to eighteen,” she counted off one finger. “But I’ll be fifteen in two months! It’s close enough!” I interrupted.
 Mother ignored me. “Number two,” she said loudly, counting off the next finger, “You haven’t been doing so well on your school work. All the tests you’ve done in the last six weeks have been Ds.”
I snorted. “I can catch up later. It doesn’t matter when you homeschool.”
She ignored me again. Obviously, she wanted me to be quiet and listen. “Number three and last, if you do get into the top twenty, we don’t have enough money to go to Washington. We just took a long vacation and your braces are going to be very expensive!” I flung my arms into the air. “But I don’t even want braces! I hate the way they look!” Mother looked at me with her arms folded and eyes narrowed. “Young lady, that’s enough. Don’t be rebellious, God tells you to obey your parents. The answer is no. And it’s final.” She swept out of the room. I could tell she was not happy with the way I was acting.
I stood next to the desk for a minute, clenching and unclenching my fists, my anger growing within me. Then I rushed to my room, flopped onto my bed, and pounded on it with all my might. I sobbed into my pillow. “Why can’t she just let me do it? I really want to and I know I could win! Ugh!” I heard footfalls in the hall, so I stopped pounding my bed and lay there, panting. My clock ticked and tocked slowly. Suddenly the door burst open, and my dog Cream Puff came in, tail wagging. She’s a German shepherd, and really smart. She can always tell when I’m feeling blue. She padded up to me and started licking my tears away. That made me start sobbing again. “Oh, Creamy, I wish I hadn’t been so bratty to Mom. But I really wanted to enter that contest!” I pet her for a while, and then an idea came to me. What if I entered the contest without my parents knowing? That way, by the time they found out, I already would have won, and they’d be so happy for me that they wouldn’t even be mad! I felt a small doubt at the back of my mind, but it was so tiny, I ignored it. Won’t they be surprised when they find out that I’ve won!
And I began to plan it out.

Click, clack, click. I was sitting at the computer, typing. It was a few days later, and I finally had my recipe. It was called Peachy Keen. It was a peach cake, of course, and it was definitely a work of art.
 I had had a time, trying to figure out how to make it without my mom noticing (and taking a picture of it. I never took photos of my food, so she would’ve suspected), but she went to run some errands, taking baby Anthony with her, and I quickly took the opportunity to whip up the cake. I took a picture, and was now filling out the entry form online. I clicked the box for age.
15 years old. I’m close enough! I told myself. Next the form asked if I had permission from parents. I clicked yes. They’re going to be happy I won! Just think what we can buy with one thousand dollars!
I was convinced. The recipe was good enough to win, and the judges would never know I lied.
 My parents would know later, but I tried not to think about it. This contest was really important to me.
As I typed away, copying the recipe into the Your Recipe box, the phone rang. I ran to answer it, and it was Sophie. “Hey!” I said, “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing much,” she answered, “I was bored and I called to see what you were doing. So…?” I glanced guiltily at my computer screen. “I’m, uh, just surfing.”
“Oh,” she joked, “I didn’t know you were into that. Is the water cold today?”
 I burst out laughing. “On the internet, silly!” She started laughing too.
When we calmed down, she asked, “Are you going to enter that contest?” I sighed, with a growing sense of discontent. “Yeah, but don’t tell my mom. It’s a… surprise.”
“Ok. I won’t. I like surprises. Alright, Mom,” she said suddenly.
 “Mom?” I asked in confusion.
“Oh, sorry, Olivia, I’ve got to go. Mom needs me to help with the laundry!”
“Ok, bye!” I hung up the phone and flopped back into the office chair. Looking over my recipe one last time, and checking to be sure the picture was attached, I clicked ‘send’.
I leaned back in my chair and spun around a few times. I wondered why I didn’t feel more satisfied.
What if Mom wasn’t happy after all?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Avengers Review

The Avengers Poster

So we watched The Avengers on Saturday.

Actually we started it on Saturday and finished on Sunday, but anyway...

I really liked it. There was lots of adventure, action, and explosions. Lots of explosions. Here's what I thought of it.

Pros:

The story line was very good, and the story didn't lag at all.

The special effects were very real-looking.

The part when Captain America says, "There's only one God, ma'am, and I'm pretty sure he doesn't dress like that." Even though it only mentioned God once, I'm still glad they put it in.

When the Hulk smashed Loki. "Puny god." Hee, hee!

I loved how even though there was romance, it was portrayed in a very nice way. And the way Black Widow's outfit was kind of tight, it was still pretty modest. So were all the women's outfit's, come to think of it.

Not as much swearing as there could have been.

Cons:

The last fight scene was kind of ridiculous. I mean, the city could never recover from that much damage! And it's hard to believe that the Hulk could take down one of those giant centipede things just by smashing it. There was also a few things that weren't very tasteful. And some of the language could have been avoided I think.

I'm sure there's something else I didn't like, but I can't think of anything else. 


But I really liked it. Some of the lines were just... great.
"So that's what it does."
"I'm always angry."
"He's adopted."
"I'm not overly fond of what follows."
"This usually works..."
"I'm listening."
"Doth mother know you weareth her drapes?"
"I understood that reference."

Anyway, it was a good movie. NOT a Christian movie, but still fun to watch. I would recommend it.

Grace be with you,

Abby :D

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Peachy Keen {part 1}


Sorry for another picture-less post- I'll post something with pictures soon!- but it's been a while since I've posted something I've written. I like having people critique, so please feel free to tell me if you think something needs to be changed. I wrote this for my sister's birthday. Enjoy!

(find part two here)
(find part three here)

Ding! The kitchen timer rang loudly, letting me know my cake was done. I jumped up from the recipe I was writing, and rushed into the kitchen. I opened the oven door to reveal a beautiful moist chocolate cake, which was filling the room with a delicious smell. Pulling on some oven mitts, I slid the cake out of the oven and placed it on the cooling rack. “Ahh…” I groaned contentedly and smiled at my creation. “You are perfect. Just lovely.” I turned the cake out of the pan and touched it lightly with my fingertip. “Whoever buys you will be one happy camper.”
A voice came from the doorway. “Talking to your food? That’s almost as bad as playing with it.” I turned around, and there was my mother. She is an expert at food. She taught me everything I know. “You know you do it too!” I retorted with a grin. She walked over and took a deep sniff. “It looks good,” she admitted, and then held up a finger, “but… you might have done something wrong. We should taste it to make sure.” Mother reached towards the cake playfully. “Take your greedy hands away!” I shouted, smiling and slapping her hand aside, “This glorious bit of pastry is for the church bake sale tonight!” We both giggled, remembering the time we had eaten a whole cake accidently by ‘tasting it just to make sure’. Just then, I heard my baby brother Anthony crying. “Oh, look what you’ve done!” Mother whispered loudly. She dashed out of the room, and then swung back in for a minute to call, “You’ve got one hour for that cake to cool. Bake sale’s at six-thirty!” I smiled down at my cake, adjusted the rack, and left the room, whispering “Perfect. Just perfect.”

I stepped into the bake sale room, holding my cake. I looked around the room. The bake sale had started already, and customers were crowded around the tables that lined the walls. I recognized a few people from church. My friend Sophie spotted me and bounced over. “Hi, Olivia! Ooh, whatcha got?” She peeked under the wrapping, while I smiled and replied, “Chocolate cake.”
“I’m in charge of the cake table,” she exclaimed, pointing, “Let’s give it a place of honor!”
We walked over together, pushing through the crowds, and I placed my cake in the center of the table. “Nice,” Sophie commented.
“It does look nice there,” I agreed. She rattled her money box and grinned. “I’m ready for customers.”
 “Let them eat cake!” I declared, and we both giggled.
I browsed for a while, wallet in hand, but I didn’t see anything that looked good enough to buy. I’d be ashamed if I made any of these desserts, I thought, but then quickly banished the thought. I knew Mother would be shocked. I could almost hear her saying, “Being prideful is like boasting. We should never boast except in Jesus Christ.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but since Mother and Daddy didn’t like pride, neither did I.
Near the end of the sale, I bought some chocolate-chip cupcakes. As I took a bite, I noted that they tasted better than they looked. Yum.

We stayed after the bake sale to help clean up. I volunteered to take the trash out, and Sophie went with me. “Don’t take too long, though,” Mother cautioned, “Your father will be home soon, and I suspect he’ll be hungry.”
Sophie and I walked to the big garbage cans out back, several bags in our hands, and talking all the way. “Your cake was the first thing sold!” Sophie said gleefully, “There was almost a fight over it!”
I opened the can and giggled. “That one’s a keeper, then. It was my mom’s recipe, but I added a few things.”
Sophie sighed and dumped the bags into the trash, and we slowly began walking back.
I don’t see how you can add things to a recipe and just hope it’ll come out,” she remarked. “I don’t hope it’ll come out,” I exclaimed, “I know it will!” We both laughed and headed out to the parking lot. “By the way,” Sophie said, “did you know there’s going to be a national baking contest soon? I think it’s called like, the National Youth Contest, or something.”
“I hadn’t heard,” I murmured, “When is it?”
“Not sure, you’ll have to look it up,” Sophie looked up at the setting sun, which was coloring the sky orange and purple, and pointed a finger. “Look, isn’t it pretty!”  
I wasn’t interested in sunsets. “I hope I’ll be able to enter.”
“What? Oh, the contest. I’m sure your mom will let you enter,” Sophie hooked her arm into mine. “You are such a good cook!”

I love to bake, as you’ve probably already guessed. Some girls obsess over makeup and clothes, but I feel the same way about pie and cream puffs. My passion started about six years ago, when I was eight. Baking was alright, but I didn’t love it. That is, until my mother (who was a famous chef before she married) started showing me how to bake. The first batch of cookies I made turned out perfectly. After that, I was hooked. I wasn’t satisfied until every recipe was perfect. And now, I couldn’t stop even if I tried. I write my own recipes, or sometimes modify others. But I try to give each recipe my own special touch.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Catching up

Hello, everyone! How has life been lately? My life's been pretty good. I'm not certain that I told you, but my sisters and I have been taking a speech and composition class since September. It's been fun, and challenging. Lots and lots of essays. :P We finished the first semester in December. But-- oops! I forgot! Starting a sentence with "but" is not allowed in the writing class! What I meant to say was, I've really liked the class, and improving my writing has been nice. The class is on Thursday (just finished my homework from last week today), so that's where I'm headed tomorrow, and I can't wait! I really like the class, because the teacher is nice, the classmates are nice, and we get to learn. :) Learning is always fun, right?

Speaking of learning and school, my sister Leah is graduating this year! I'm so excited for her! She has been a really great student, and my mom has been a really brave teacher for homeschooling through high school. Yay! Next year I'll be a senior. I'm still not sure what to do after high school. I was thinking of being either a hair dresser or something with animals. I don't really want to have a job where I have to do excessive math or algebra. I'm working on accounting right now, and it's kind of confusing. It's not that I hate math. I'm relatively good at it, and I can understand most of it. I just don't like it. What kind of schoolwork is your favorite? What about your least favorite? :)

Oh yes. How was everyone's Christmas? Mine was good. For Christmas, our mother and grandmother told my sisters and I that we were fat, ugly, and lazy.

No, not really, just kidding! The reason I said that was because of the presents they gave us: a pedometer (a thing that counts your steps), an apron and a cookbook, and some supplies to make mineral make-up. Yes, mineral make-up. Ever heard of it? Because I had not until last year. It came from Glory Bee Foods. Here's the link to the make-up kit we got. It's been fun to experiment with. You should really consider getting it too, if you wear make-up, because it's a lot healthier than normal make-up.
What did you get for Christmas? I hope your New Year was good too, because mine was. We went to our aunt and uncle's house and ran around with the cousins and had yummy food. :) And then we went home and popped balloons and watched fireworks and screamed a lot. I really like the New Year.

Also, this year is, for our family, a year of No Dessert. Because sugar is not very healthy for us.Yep, no chocolate, no cookies, no chocolate, no cake, and most of all, no chocolate. Except on special occasions. I've been getting through alright (ok, cheating just a bit) with some yummy dark chocolate-covered prunes from Christmas. They're healthy, because they're prunes and dark chocolate, right? Right?

Well, I should probably sign off, because it's getting close to dinner, and we're having salmon patties and quinoa (keen-wa) for dinner, yum! If you don't know what quinoa is, it's a sort of grain that's really healthy. :)

Have a wonderful week!

Grace be with you,

Abby :D

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Approval

It's funny how everything seems to revolve around approval. Humans are social creatures. We need others' approval to feel liked and wanted.

"I just love the dress you're wearing!"

"Why do you have to act so childish?"

"Wow, these look great! You're so talented!"

Comments like these lift us up and dash us down. They make us smile, cry, and go through a whole range of emotions. I love getting a nice comment on my hair or outfit, because it makes me feel likable. Especially on blogging, you want to know people are reading and liking your blog, your words. Can you relate?

Our pastor recently preached a sermon in Galatians. One of the verses was Galatians 1:10.

 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
 Galatians 1:10

Of course, in this verse Paul is talking about how the Galatians were deserting the Gospel, and telling them to get back to it. But still, this is a valuable verse for us. I'll bet Paul didn't care much if people liked him and his beliefs, in fact he got a lot of rejection and disapproval. He didn't care what people thought about him, but God. And that's how we should be. It's so hard, though, not to care what others think of you! 
Even so, we should be thinking about what God thinks of us. We should ask Him to help us not to care what others think. Instead of, "I wonder if everyone liked the outfit I had on?", we should ask, "I wonder how I can please God today?"

Your thoughts?

Grace be with you,

Abby :D