Merry Christmas and welcome to day two of 12DOC! Today, as a gift to you, I wanted to share a Christmas Short Story I wrote last winter. It will be in 8 parts, so be sure and check back for the next installment! Enjoy!
Based on the True Story of Elisabeth and Fritz Vincken
Part One: Will Papa Be Here for Christmas?
Christmas Eve, 1944 - Somewhere between Allied and Axis lines
Marta watched sadly as little Hilde pressed her button nose against the window pane. “Isn’t Papa coming home, Mama? He knows it’s Jesus birthday, ja?”
Marta smiled and came to stand by her little darling, all in the world she had left. “Yes, Hilde, my little angel, Papa knows. But remember, it’s not quite His birthday yet. You have to wait one more day. Maybe Papa is waiting until then to come, Ja?”
Hilde’s cheeks dimpled as she looked up at her mother. “Ja, Mama. He waits so he can be with us all day long!” Marta nodded and gently tugged on her five-year-old’s braids. The poor dear had no understanding of war and all the terrible things that went along with it.
Their family had never been touched by war…until 1938 when Gunther and their only son, Peter, had been called into the Wehrmacht, the German army. Marta had been given work in a hospital until she was nearly seven months pregnant with Hilde, their little surprise. Since Peter was seventeen, they had assumed they would not be able to have more children. What an unexpected blessing! How excited Gunther had been! A little girl! All other men may have wanted many sons, but not Gunther Engel. His dream had come true of having his own little girl, who adored him and waited at the door for him whenever he was on leave. Peter had written about wanting to meet his little sister very badly…
Marta forced a smile. Whenever she looked at Hilde, she saw Gunther: in her dimpled smile, her crystal blue eyes and her dark almost jet black hair…even the way she cocked her head to the side and grinned with mischief. She was Gunther Engel’s girl, that was easy to see.
But she couldn’t dwell on that now. She had to get supper on the table. “Are you hungry, Love?”
A giggle and bobbing black braids was her answer. Marta grinned and turned toward the fire place where their supper simmered in a large black pot. “Hmmm…Mama has got potatoes for her angel. And, oh! She found a carrot to put with it! And some mushrooms, too! Doesn’t that sound nice?”
“Ja, ja, Mama! Papa loves mushrooms. Me too!”
That was no surprise. The child loved anything her father loved.
“Will we have stollen this Christmas?”
Marta tried to keep her voice steady as she prepared to disappoint her daughter. “No, dear. Mother couldn’t get what she needed to make the stollen. Maybe Papa can find some and bring it. And if not, we’ll get some from Auntie Mem at New Years.” The bread-like cake was one of Hilde’s favorites.
Hilde pushed her bottom lip back and forth. “I really like stollen…maybe Auntie will make lots for New Years to make up, ja?”
Marta stirred their supper; it wasn’t quite ready yet. Hilde played with the doll her father had sent her last Christmas from France. It wasn’t a fancy porcelain one like he wanted to send her but it was sturdy and Hilde adored the cloth bodied doll as if it were a real baby.
“Well, I think the soup is almost ready. Shall Mama make some tea for our supper?”
Hilde clapped her chubby hands and giggled. “Ja! Ja, Mama!”
“Then tea we shall have, love. I just-”
Heavy footsteps from outside sounded near the window. Marta scooped up Hilde and blew out the candles on the table. Hilde’s smile disappeared as her mother tucked her between the bed and a stout trunk. “Not a sound, darling.”
The last thing Marta wanted was uninvited guests. A knock sounded. Marta took a deep breath. She prayed before opening the door. Lord, let it be Gunther.
Slowly, she pulled up on the latch and slid the door open a crack. She gasped.
And that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed part one! Tune in next time for part two! And don’t forget to swing by Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Hello everyone! I’m here today with a blog tour for a truly special story collection! And since two of the stories in this collection are World War Two stories, I felt it was the perfect day to post, since today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. May we never forget…
Happy release day to Miss Faith Potts! Her brand new book Behold, a Christmas short story collection was one of my three beta-reading projects this year, and oh! I so enjoyed it!
A collection of short stories honoring the birth of the Savior
From two siblings caught up in the harrowing days of World War II to separated foster
children in the US…
From a memorable road trip across the Southeast to the reunion of a war-torn family…
You’ll be swept into the Christmas spirit with the endearing stories tucked inside these
pages. The storylines range from family to romance to the bond of community, with
settings scattered across America and beyond.
Behold the beauty of the Savior’s birth with this gathering of stories that warm the soul
and bless the heart.
Saved by God’s grace, Faith Potts is a teenage writer and homeschool graduate, living
with her family and beloved yellow labs in the North Carolina mountains. When she’s
not weaving stories, consuming large amounts of coffee, reading stacks of books, or
studying American Sign Language, she can be found laughing harder than is healthy,
daydreaming, and—of course—blowing dandelions.
Now, for my review of the book…
Oh, Behold was so sweet and a perfect Christmas read. Now, that being said, I didn’t read one of the stories…she told me ahead of time it had some minor spoilers for another of her stories I haven’t read yet ? So with that in mind…I read three of the four stories and instantly fell in love with the characters.
Home for Christmas
She so needs to make this one into a full length novel! Basicly, it’s about a nurse worrying about her MIA brother in the midst of WWII, a journey home, and the healing that God brings through family and friends. Warning: There is some kissing/handholding towards the end of the story and I think some hugs. Not a whole lot, but just saying.
Told in the first person (a new favorite of mine) this story was short and sweet. It's modern, but I'll admit, I wish there was a little more to this story, as it left me with a lot of questions about these foster kids (a topic near to my heart.) But oh! The end, y'all! It was sooooooo good!
MY FAVORITE IN THIS BOOK! Again, this needs to be a full length novel! I just loved this story so much! I mean, who doesn't enjoy a WWII Homecoming?!? I could read WWII Christmas stories all day long...any recommendations, lol?
So, even though I can't say what I thought of the fourth story, since I didn't read it, these three stories alone make it so worth it! Miss Potts is a very talented writer and I've enjoyed getting to know her over the last few months!
And now, for an interview! *Applauds as Miss Faith Potts takes center stage, setting in the cozy vintage chair I have set out for her across from me*
Ryana Lynn: Good morning, Faith! So, lets talk about this book! What inspired you to write Behold?
Faith: I love Christmas stories, and every year since I started writing, I’ve written at least one Christmas story during the month of December. Compiling them into a collection to share with the ‘world’ was an idea that came to be a few months ago, and it’s hasn’t left my mind since.
RL: Christmas Collections are the best! And I always enjoy your short stories! Which story was the hardest to write?
FP: Oh, wow. Surprisingly, I’d have to say the final story, which is a sequel/spin-off to my novella, Dandelion Dust. I had previously been able to write these characters so easily, but between the time apart (18+ months) and no longer being able to relate to Charity quite as well, it was difficult to find my groove.
RL: That is certainly a very real challenge...One I know all to well. Where did the title for this collection come from?
FP: The title came from several Bible verses, particularly a few in the Christmas story, that speak of “beholding” and being in awe of God, His glory and power, and the beauty of the story of Christ coming to earth to be our Savior.
RL: Don't those verses give you chills? He truly is an amazing God! How long did it take you to write it from idea to now?
FP: Being a collection of short stories, I wrote Behold over quite a lengthy span of time—nearly three years. Each story individually, however, took only a week or two to write.
RL: Impressive! What do you hope people will take away from Behold?
FP: I hope the readers remember to slow down this Christmas. Don’t get so caught up in the craziness—the gift-giving (or getting), the food and celebrations, the lights and displayed trees—that you forget why we celebrate at all. Take the time to slow down and “behold” the Savior.
RL: Wonderful advice and so easy to forget! What better way to slow down than with a good book? Any lessons, spiritual or writing related, that you learned from Behold?
FP: That Faith isn’t as invincible as she likes to think she is? ;) Quite honestly, I got a bit stressed out about the release of this book, when the blog tour dates were rapidly approaching and many things had not yet fallen into place. God showed me, though, to not stress. To let Him have control. They are, after all, His stories anyway.
RL: I think everyone can learn a lesson from that, Faith! We get so stressed so easily these days. It's great when we can learn to just hand it over to God. Any Writing Advice you'd like to share?
FP: Don’t stop. Even when you think your stories don’t have a purpose, or they aren’t any good, or your message is stupid… Don’t feed yourself those lies. Writing is a gift from God, and someone out there needs to hear what you have to say.
RL: Wonderful advice! I don't know how many times those very lies pop into my head and then God sends someone to encourage me in my writing. This can also apply to any form of ministry you do for the Lord! Thank you so much Faith! It's been a blessing to have you here at Life of Heritage Corner!
And now for the giveaway!
If that doesn't work, click here!
And don't for get to check out Faith's blog for a list of other participating bloggers! (I would have linked them here, but when I copied them over, the links didn't work and...I didn't have time to relink them all. Sorry about that! #stillgettingthehangofthis
Until Next Time,
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
King James Version
From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli, the Marine Corps has been there, ever ready to defend America from any foe who dares to mess with us. Having lived near a Marine base and being a member of a church were nearly every man on the membership role has been or is a Marine, I've had quite a bit of exposure to Marine Corps culture. It's unique, like every other Military branch. For example, don't call them an ex-Marine or a former Marine, because "Once a Marine, always a Marine!"
They like to say that there are two kinds of people in the world: Marines and those who wish they were Marines. They found out this wasn't true anymore when they met me, lol! You could not pay me to go to Parris Island (MC Boot Camp in South Carolina)!
Well, instead of loading you down with tons of facts about the Corps, I decided to share a bit of flash fiction I wrote last year for a writing contest. The main character is a Marine and it showcases his relationship with his siblings...oh that I could tell you more about that! Anyway, here we go!
They say you learn from your mistakes. Not always.
Salem Springfield well knew that Becca, his sister, was a jumpy person. Very jumpy. And when startled, Becca often over reacts. Like the time when they were younger and he threw a rubber snake at her while they were working in the garden. She had screamed and thrown her hoe…barely missing Salem’s head. There were many other such incidents…far too many to list now.
Well today, they had been conveniently forgotten. He had returned earlier than expected from deployment and was finally going to get to do a surprise homecoming to his parents and siblings. After doing a little reconnaissance, he found out from a neighbor that everyone was home, except Becca and their younger brother Jason. They had run to the store for some ice cream and should be just about home.
It was getting late when Salem ducked behind their family’s small outbuilding. He saw headlights and watched at Becca pulled her dark green Volkswagen Bug into the driveway. He grinned. It was time.
He snuck around behind her car as Jason stepped out, holding the cartons of ice cream. “I hope we got the right kind of Butter Pecan,” Jason said. “You know how particular Tim is about his ice cream.”
Becca, who was still sitting in the driver’s seat, putting her keys away and impromptu cleaning out her purse in the process, laughed and continued rifling through the pockets. “I think I got the right kind…Jason, where’s my cell phone?”
“In the cup holder where you put it earlier,” Jason called, closing his door and heading for the house.
“Thanks,” Becca laughed, unplugging the device and putting it in its proper place. Salem noticed she was carrying the purse he had gotten her for her twentieth birthday. It was a patchwork style purse, featuring four different kinds of military camo, since they had family in each of those branches.
Finally, Becca stood and closed the car door, dug through her purse to get her keys back out, locked the door and replaced the keys. She was so predictable. She placed her purse on her right shoulder and headed for the house.
Salem made his move. He silently came up behind her and touched her arm, saying, “Hey, Becca!”
It all happened so fast, Salem was completely caught off guard. Becca screamed at the top of her lungs, whirled around and sprayed Salem in the face with her infamous can of Pepper spray…the one thing Salem had forgotten about her routine. She always carried it with her.
“Oh, my eyes!” Salem gasped, tripping backwards to the ground as Becca continued to scream. Jason came barreling out of the house with Tim, Randy and Dad on his heels. Every house light in the base housing neighborhood came on, or so it seemed.
“You just stay right there!” Randy, the oldest of the Springfield boys, ordered.
“Randy, it’s me!” Salem choked, fighting the urge to rub his eyes. That would only make the situation worse.
“Salem?” Tim shouted. “What are you trying to do? Get yourself killed?” he added, shoving his pistol back into his pocket.
Becca turned as reality sunk in. “Oh, Salem! I’m so sorry!”
Mom joined her family and when she saw, aided by Jason’s flashlight, Randy helping Salem up, she immediately took control of the situation. “Get him to the kitchen sink!”
“Is everything alright?”
Dad turned and saw their neighbor MSGT. Williams shouting from his porch. With a smirk, Dad called back, “It’s all good. Just a surprise homecoming.”
Williams laughed. “Sounded more like a cat fight!”
“When pepper spray’s involved, that’s about right,” Dad replied.
“Oh no! You’ve got to tell me about this tomorrow, Doc!”
Meanwhile inside, Salem was holding his head over the sink while his mother sprayed cold water in his eyes from the sink hose.
Rachel and Mary hurried down the stairs. “What happened?” Mary asked in alarm, observing what looked like a drowning in process.
“Salem’s home,” was all Jason could manage. Mary stared at her older brothers gathered around the sink. She looked at Rachel, then Becca, who explained what had happened.
“That was real bright,” Rachel snickered, patting her younger brother on the shoulder.
Salem wrinkled his nose at her. “Who’s bright idea was it to give Becca Pepper spray?” Salem defended, drying his eyes.
Randy grinned. “Yours, remember, Jarhead? You better be glad she wasn’t carrying her Navy SEAL knife Dad bought last week!”
“You beat all, Salem,” Tim said, laughing at his brother’s red eyes, still watering from the ordeal.
“Salem, I am so sorry,” Becca lamented, her voice quite pitiful. “You really startled me! I shouldn’t be on such a hair-trigger.”
Salem shook his head and gave his younger sister a side hug. “You did exactly what you should have done in that situation. You had no reason to think it was me and not some lunatic.”
“Uh, that’s debatable,” Dad said with a chuckle. “Seems like she was dealing with a lunatic!” Everyone laughed.
“The mighty Marine taken down by a civilian girl!” Randy teased.
Mom smiled and hugged Salem tightly. “Welcome home, son! It’s so good to have you back!”
“Thanks! I was wondering if that part of my presence had been forgotten!” Salem said, hugging her back.
Welcomes and hugs were exchanged by the family, their ice cream snack turning into a welcome home celebration. Salem smiled. It was so good to be home with his family.
Dear Lord, he prayed silently, thank You for our family. Thank You for letting us get back together, all safe and sound. Please protect us in the days ahead and guide us through whatever You may choose to bring our way…and help me learn from my mistakes!...
Copyright© 2017 Ryana Lynn Miller
Ahh, the Springfield family...one of dozens of story ideas that I have :) A few things have changed in my planning for this story, but the gist is the same. And the relationship between Salem and Becca is just so adorable...I so have to write this story so someday y'all can see just how close these two are!
Anyways, happy Marine Corps Day! Hope you enjoyed this somewhat random post, lol!
Have a Blessed Day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.