Check out my short story published on the Wordhaus website as part of the Spring Contest.
Bunkered by Lauren Sisley
I’m still awaiting feedback from the judges of the contest, but in the meantime would appreciate your comments!!
One of my favorite parts of this summer’s stay in England has been my weekly Hoola Fit class with my Mother-in-Law. She has been taking the class since January so she has been kicking my butt. My first week was a bit rough, but each week I’ve progressed. I was bound and determined after a sixty year old woman out-hula’d me that I would work on my skills.
It may not seem that difficult, but one hour of continuous hula and cardio is one heck of a workout. At the end of each class I’m winded, sore, and ready for the five minute yoga cool down.
Once I thought I was doing well and catching on the instructor started having me throw in moves with the arms and legs, then pivots, and finally gallops all while keeping the hula hoop revolving around my core. My first week I spent much of the class just chasing my hoop, but with each week I’ve grown stronger.
I love the simplicity of this aerobic workout. All you need is a hoop and some good workout music!
The Ameri Brit Mom
Not many three year olds can say that they’ve enjoyed seeing the world the way that you have. From a young age you’ve been a traveler. Along with Mommy and Daddy you take in the sights and enjoy the scenery with a big, beautiful smile. You understand several cultures, and get that just because people look and act differently to you that they are still people and should be treated as such. Instead of a cold shoulder you give the world your smile. Never ever forget the power of your smile.
Your smile makes the world happier, clearer, and calmer. In the face of adversity your smile makes things light. The cackle of your laughter fills the room with sunshine.
In a world captivated by fear you remind me everyday of the beauty in being brave. When we visited Paulton’s Park and you saw a roller coaster blazing away on the tracks instead of cowering in fear you grabbed my hand and said, “When can I ride that?” A few minutes later you were hanging onto my arm assuring me that you weren’t afraid as we descended the first hill. I aspire to have that kind of bravery. To see the mountains in front of me and cling onto God without fear.
Everyday you make me a better mother because you are a wonderful daughter. Each day I learn something new as I attempt to see the world through your eyes. Because in your eyes everything is beautiful, new, and exciting.
The Ameri Brit Mom
The following is a book review by The Ameri Brit Mom. This post expresses the genuine opinion and experiences of The Ameri Brit Mom and is in no way endorsed by authors, publishers, and outside influences.
Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Copyright Date: 2014
Another book down in The Selection series and at the conclusion of this third book I’m left with awe. Awe for the characters I’ve grown to love, the decisions they’ve had to make, and the author who can make me so happy, stressed, and sad all in the span of three hundred pages. I’ve leapt into the world of Illea with both feet and have yet to be let down in the three books I’ve finished so far.
At it’s opening the Selection is down to four girls. A Perfectionist, A Sweetheart, A Diva, and America Singer are left in the fight for Prince Maxon’s heart. Throughout the competition rebels from the South have been attacking the palace. With each attack they are more violent and precise. In an act to protect the kingdom Maxon and America cut a deal with the Northern Rebels. They sneak out of the palace to meet with August and Georgia of the rebel group to form a plan of protection.
Meanwhile, the King is growing impatient with Maxon’s quest to find a wife. Disapproving of America and her caste the King gives her an ultimatum which would expire on Christmas Day. With the time ticking away America must choose to abandon her convictions about the future of the caste system in Illea or to become the next Queen of the country.
In the midst of her decision tragedy strikes her family. America is sent home to bury someone she loves dearly. Her family is monitored closely by guards of the palace during her stay at home in Carolina. With a short reunion with the rest of the Singer family America remembers what she is fighting for and chooses to be honest with Maxon upon her return about her intentions. America also plans to make things right between herself and her first love, Aspen, who has followed her to the palace as a guard.
The love between Maxon and America is so real and evident in this book. Adversity brings them together even when strong forces threaten to tear them apart. Just as Maxon is about to declare a winner for the Selection the rebels seize the moment and mayhem is brought upon the nation as never before.
In the end Maxon must choose one girl to be the next Queen of Illea…
This portion of the series is brought to a beautiful finale. I especially enjoyed reliving the relationship and story thus far in the final chapters of this book. Looking back on where the main characters began at the beginning of the Selection left me with feelings of nostalgia. If you haven’t guessed I’ve been rather smitten by this series and I believe it is truly worth all of the hype it is receiving. I look forward to the new adventures of the final books The Heir and The Crown which bring new characters to the palace.
The Ameri Brit Mom
Okay, the title to chapter fifteen of The Irresistible Novel is actually– Gerunds, Participial Phrases, Sentence Fragments, Beginning with Conjunctions, Ending with Prepositions, and Passive Voice. A bit of a long title so I’ve shortened for my post title this week to Various Grammar Rules.
Now that I’ve got your brain all mangled with grammar terms let’s jump in and see what Jeff Gerke has to say about using any of these in the writing of your novel. (Disclaimer: As always remember there is not one perfect way to write. We each have a unique voice so please take everything below as helpful information not prescriptive absolutes! The author would agree!)
You may need a quick refresher on some of these grammatical terms:
Beginning with Conjunctions
Ending with Prepositions
Take a minute and remind yourself what each of these are if necessary. The one thing that each of the members of the lengthy list have in common is that many teachers, writers, and editors will tell you to avoiding their use in your writing.
Those who are opposed to cutting out the use of all of the above from their writing do so because fiction writing and academic writing are two different animals. Formal writing is best left to schooling and academic journals of educational purposes. Fiction is a form of writing with the purpose of entertaining and expressing oneself. Many people believe fiction is not to be bound by silly rules that readers don’t notice. The average reader (like many authors as well) won’t even know some of the rules from above. And if done correctly the readers won’t even notice when an author uses any of them.
“Fiction is not the place for grammatical purity” (Gerke 98)
Others believe that the use of the terms from above in your writing weakens it; therefore, they should all be avoided in the construction of fiction.
When it comes to how you should write do what is natural for you. If you are distracted by sentences beginning with a conjunction, then leave them out of your writing. But if you are anything like me you see that their use can be helpful in fictional or informal writing.
The Ameri Brit Mom
This week the topic for the Five Minute Friday link-up post is Rest. What is a link-up? Essentially a link-up is when you join other bloggers and write on a similar topic. You share your blog posts with one another and begin conversations via a host site. You can head over to Kate Motaung’s page to check out other entries from inspired bloggers. Here’s my five minutes of uninterrupted, unedited writing on this week’s topic:
Matthew 11:28-“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
If Jesus was ever frustrated it was most likely when the very people observing his miracles were so caught up in themselves to remember him. In Matthew 11, he speaks against those people in the towns where he performed his miracles because they refused to repent after having witnessed Him.”…I tell you it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.” (Matthew 11:22)
For a moment, the people thanked him, but when he moved on from them they returned to life as usual. The miracles he was performing had little to no impact on the lives of the people.
This is an issue of their heart not of the magnificence of the miracles of Jesus. (He is still LORD even when we don’t recognize it.)
It’s easy to read about places like Chorazin and Bethsaida in wonder. You saw the miracles of God, but still did not repent!?!
However, we live in a world filled with miracles, and we go about our lives often without regard for the miracle worker. We get so busy and focused on ourselves that we neglect to notice the miracle of each heartbeat, sunrise, birth, and more. Like the cities above we may acknowledge that Jesus is LORD, but we are quick to forget to search for his miracles or to give him praise for all he does.
It’s hard to always be on the go and acknowledge those miracles. That’s why rest is so important. It’s imperative to our souls to rest. Stop filling your mind with the worries of the everyday. Trust the God who performs miracles to take the yoke of your burdens and just rest. Stop trying to do everything on your own! Mark out some time to get away from your busy life and simply acknowledge the work of His hands.
The Ameri Brit Mom
While America may be dealing with a few hot debates such as gun control, Trump vs. Hillary, and transgender bathroom selection, over in Britain the big issue is whether the country should REMAIN or LEAVE the European Union. Today is election day. By this time tomorrow a resolve will be reached based on the voters of this country.
Since my stay in England began a week and a half ago not a day has gone by when the topic hasn’t been brought up. Signs are all over the villages. Taxi drivers have polled us on our opinions. Civilians feel the need to post or share their opinions openly. So although I am not claiming to know much about the referendum I will share with you some of the common reasons I’ve heard for both sides of the argument.
The European Union – often known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. (BBC) Since its beginning the EU has fostered trade amongst its members and has allowed for people to move about freely between the belonging nations as well. There are many reasons why people choose sides in this debate, however, I am going to focus on the two biggest issues I’ve been informed about: business and immigration.
Those in favor of remaining in the EU believe that the benefits reaped from the membership boosts the British economy. They see the trade relationships as essential and the immigration as providing workers for jobs that many within Britain would likely not fill. To those who favor remaining in the EU immigration isn’t seen as a stigma because the people who are flooding into the nation are not taking the jobs that many of the citizens are going for. Rather they are willing to work more manual labor jobs at lower wages. (As an American citizen this scenario reflects the Mexican immigration issue.)
Overall those in favor of leaving the EU feel that their membership in the union is causing England’s business and economy to be held back by certain EU rules and regulations. Mostly, those sympathizing with this viewpoint are those who are involved in big business. Another reason that I’ve heard often enough during my stay is that Britain needs to secure its borders against immigration and being a member of the EU has made that impossible. This argument only makes sense if the immigration that one finds troubling is the immigration of people from other EU nations. Many people have cited the immigration of Syrian refugees and even I understand that to be a completely separate issue from the referendum. The referendum would only protect the UK’s borders against European immigration by requiring passports for travel in and out of Britain as well as a trip through customs.
Tomorrow the results are believed to be tallied. I assume it will be close so it’s hard to predict an outcome. If I had to guess based on those I’ve been in contact with I would say that the vote will be to remain in the EU, but my experience is very limited and the people I’ve spoken to are all roughly from the same area in England.
Best wishes, Britain, as you make this important choice!
The Ameri Brit Mom
Inevitably it’s been a cool and rainy stay thus far in England. With only a few downpours we’ve been graced with more of the drizzle type of rain. Not enough to change our plans, but enough to be quite annoying. For a while I’ve been in need of some nice rain gear. I purchased Sperry rain boots this spring, but held off on a jacket for my trip to England. I really wanted to buy an English style rain jacket.
I ended up finding a lightweight olive colored rain jacket at Primark for nine pounds (or roughly $15.) Primark is a store unlike anything we have in America. The shop has fashionable and affordable clothes and home decor. It’s one of my favorite shopping spots when I visit each year. I was drawn to this jacket because it folds into its pocket for an easy pack in the suitcase for my journey home.
This jacket has a cinch waist, large hood, thin lining, and front pockets. It isn’t meant for a cold rain, but rather for the warmer rains of the English summer. It’s trendy and performs its function well. Another successful Primark purchase for me!
The Ameri Brit Mom
Luckily my little family was able to sleep during our flight over to England, because we landed on the Queen’s birthday. Queen Elizabeth II turned 90 this year and although her birthday truly falls in April the birthday celebrations were held all over the country on Sunday June 12.
Shortly after unpacking and settling in to our room at my in-law’s house we were off to several church organized street parties throughout my husband’s hometown of Eastleigh. The entire town gathered in celebration of the figurehead’s birthday with free barbecues, games, bouncy castles, and crafts. In the spirit of patriotism to my husband’s home country we spent the day out celebrating the life of Her Majesty.
Here’s a look at some of the fun we had. Arianna enjoyed the day more than anyone in the whole city. It’s so much fun being a family blended with both British and American cultures.
I am a proud Ameri Brit Mom.
This year my lovely in-laws booked a Cream Tea/Coffee reservation for my husband and I for my birthday. Just before our departure for England I received an email invitation from my English family. This couldn’t be a more perfect birthday gift for me, the coffee lover.
We set out on June 16 for the quaint town of Lyndhurst. It’s one of those picturesque British towns that you see depicted on postcards or old movies. Because the city is nestled in the heart of the New Forest (a national park) it is also a large tourist stop. The streets are lined with cafes, pubs, and small shops. The skyline is filled with patriotic bunting (the triangular British or celebratory flags.)
We arrived a bit early so we took the time to tread about the cobble stone pavements. Stopping into a few shops we embraced the tourist role in the town. Just before our reserved time we made our way up a steep hill to The Crown Hotel.
Once checked in for our afternoon tea we were escorted to a small library room in the hotel. Almost immediately a tall waiter with a thick French accent took our drink orders. I broke the rules of a traditional tea by ordering a coffee, but in the end I was quite pleased with my choice. The coffee in England is generally stronger than the stuff I’m used to back home. I added a dab of cream and a sheave of sugar and a perfect cup of coffee was concocted. My husband was my date for the tea and being the natural born Brit that he is he ordered a black tea.
After our first cups were finished the waiter brought out a tray of assorted treats. We were served several type of sandwiches, small chocolates, pastries, scones, and cakes. Being as each treat was small you wouldn’t think that this would fill us up, but we were so full by the time we finished the tray that we decided a dinner would not be necessary that evening. Everything was lovely (except the salmon sandwiches because neither of us prefer to eat salmon.)
I can now tick a new item off of my to-do list. A posh afternoon tea was a remarkable time. Nothing beats a good coffee in a serene setting with the company of my husband. If you ever find yourself in the south of England I highly recommend an afternoon tea at The Crown Hotel in Lyndhurst.
The Ameri Brit Mom