IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE, PEOPLE!!!! Tomorrow is Christmas! And as a present for you, come back tomorrow for two special surprises! For now, let's get to the conclusion of Expected End!
Part Seven: Returning the Favor
“…James, darling, please won’t you answer mother?”
James moaned and rolled onto his side, barely hearing the muffled words addressing him. His face drew up and his whole body shook as a holler exploded from his lips.
“Oh, darling, it’s going to be all right! The doctor’s coming. I’m sorry, you’ll feel much better soon, I promise.”
James bit down on his lips to keep from screaming again, but it didn’t fully keep his cries silent. A gentle hand rubbed his face, then wrapped him in a tight hug. James felt constricted and tried to push the person away.
“Here’s the doctor now. Just a bit longer, darling…”
Something lukewarm splashed into his mouth, nearly choking him, but after a few moments, the pain subsided and he’s breathing regulated to it’s normal tempo. He heard a snap, but felt nothing but the doctor wrapping something stiff around his leg. He dropped his head against the pillow and with a dull moan, he slipped into a medicated sleep.
“…Darling, can you hear me? Won’t you talk to me now?”
He slowly opened his eyes. It was his beloved mother, cradling his head in her arms. “Oh, you are alive! The doctor said you would die. You’re so sick and that wagon broke your leg, oh!” She kissed his dirty cheek and hugged him tightly. He could feel her tears as she pressed her face against his. Tears of anguish at what had almost happened and joy and relief at what had happened.
James could hardly believe what was happening himself. He was in his own home, in his own bed. His mother was hovering over him, providing long denied comforts for her beloved son. Among those were a warm, wet cloth passing over his face, cleaning away the dirt and grim, just as she had done when he was just a child. She pulled another blanket over his shivering frame and continued a running commentary on how the doctor had made an improper diagnosis. It wasn’t until she left him to get some nourishing chicken and veggie soup that he noticed the two soldiers sitting nearby.
“Andrew,” he whispered. “Gabriel.” He tried to sit up.
The two came to his side and told him to lie quietly, to save his strength. Gabe’s arm was in a sling and Andy had a blood- stained bandage wrapped about his head. “You had us in a tight spot, Jamie,” Andy remarked. “Took us ten whole minutes to scare off your redcoat captors. Are you all right?”
The young man shrugged. “Been better, been worse. Thank you—”
“No, James,” Gabe cut in, kneeling beside him and gripping arm with his good hand. “Thank you. That night you were caught, twenty-seven prisoners were able to escape because of your work. And your papers were dropped in the snow. You must have dropped them in the scuffle. One of the men were able to get them and bring them back to camp. We got the ammunition you detailed about. Thank you for risking it all. Thank you for not giving in to the tyrants. Thank you for your sacrifice.”
James looked at his two friends as his mother returned. She took his hand and squeezed it tightly. James was overwhelmed with gratitude to his friends and his Savior for his rescue. He turned his face away for a moment. His mother gently rubbed the moisture off his cheeks as the tears trickled down. “I’m too old for this,” he said with a laugh.
He faced his friends once more, only to find that they too were wiping their eyes. The three were like brothers and the fact that they were all safe, out of British hands was a relief. James didn’t know of their sleepless nights spent searching for ways to get on board the Hawk without the Redcoats’ knowledge; of the bribes they had used to gain information about him; or the times they had tried to negotiate his release. He didn’t know how close they had come to getting caught by the Brits trying to free him, or of the tortured thoughts they’d had about his being killed or otherwise dead. That is a story for another time.
The important thing now was that James was safe, on the road to recovery… and no longer condemned to die.
Mrs. Tanner helped James with his supper. By the time he had finished his food, he was exhausted. Mrs. Tanner stayed by his side until he fell asleep. She turned to Andy and Gabe. “How’s the other patient?”
Gabe shrugged. “If the towns people had their way, he’d be dead right this minute. As it is, he’s still not doing that well. Doctor Ames said the bullet went very deep. He still hasn’t woken up yet.”
Mrs. Tanner filled a bowl with warm water and picked up a cloth. “Will you boys sit with James? I’m going to see to the lad. What was his name again?”
“Cpl. Howard Percy, that’s what the other soldiers said anyway,” Gabe replied.
Mrs. Tanner nodded and left the room. James mumbled, stirring, “Percy… help Percy…”
Andy bent over him. “What?”
“He’s asleep again. I guess hearing us talk leaked into his sleep.”
The next morning, Mrs. Tanner took a seat next to James and opened her Bible. “Let’s read some of the Word together, shall we?”
James smiled. He had missed this.
When the reading was over, Mrs. Tanner insisted that if James felt up to it, he should tell her everything. And when Mrs. Tanner said everything, she meant everything. Slowly at first, James told her his story, beginning with his volunteering for the mission on impulse. Then the words tumbled out one after another, telling her everything that he could remember, omitting only the very worst parts.
Mrs. Tanner bent forward, listening to her son’s saga with rapt attention.
“I was coming very close to dying when a fellow named Percy… Percy! Didn’t you say something last night about Percy?”
“Well, yes, but—”
“It was a fellow named Percy that saved my life! He helped me when I was about to die in the hold of the ship! Mother, what were you saying about Percy?”
“Dear, I seriously doubt it’s the same fellow. Remember, you said you were in New York when this happened. We’re all the way down in Virginia.”
“But it could be! Our ship was boarded many times! And I didn’t get a good look at all of our guards. It could be him! Mother, is he here?”
“Calm yourself, darling! Yes, I have a redcoat here in my care, a young one named Howard Percy. He was shot, and the colonel had him brought here until further notice. But—”
“Please, mother, let me see him!”
“Mother, he… he prayed with me. He was the only man who prayed with me when I needed it the most.”
Mrs. Tanner looked at her son, and gently rubbed his shoulder, seeing the tears gather in his eyes and feeling the tears welling in her own. “I’ll see what we can arrange. For now, you need to rest yourself. I’ll do what I can for him and talk with the doctor when he comes.”
“Please, mama, don’t let him die! Please!”
“That’s not up to me, darling, that is up to our Heavenly Father. Why don’t we talk to Him about it?”
Later that evening, Cpl. Percy was carried into the same room as James, so they would only need to light one fire to keep the boys warm. James took one look at his face and knew at once that it was his prayer warrior.
Day after day, the Tanners carried for and prayed over Percy. When at last he awoke and had eaten some of Mrs. Tanner’s delicious soup, he turned to James. “Looks like we’re destined to bump into one another. Thank you for praying.”
James smiled at him. “Thank you for praying with me when I needed it most. You really helped me to rest in the Lord.”
Percy’s smile widened. “We might not be on the same side, but we serve the same God I see.”
James nodded. “Praise the Lord for a Savior who doesn’t care about the color of your coat.”
Did you like the ending? What did you think of the story? Are you excited for Christmas? Don't forget to hop over to Stories by Firefly for more Christmas fun!
Merry Christmas Eve!
Today’s devotion is a little different than normal. Its more of a verse and a list of thoughts on the subject…I hope you enjoy!
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends
(King James Bible)
We all have Heroes…two of them in fact. The first I plan to talk about it more of a group than an individual…a group of individuals.
He started out wearing his usual clothes, that of a farmer or a blacksmith, a miner or a clergyman. Perhaps he went into the field of battle in that same attire. Eventually, perhaps some kindly woman took the time to make a uniform of Continental Blue to show which army he belonged to.
As the years passed, his uniform changed in style and shade. Some wore blue, some wore gray. Some fought to keep America united, some fought for the Rights that united America. Both fought and died for what they believed was right. Our country has never been the same since. It never will be.
Today, his uniform is much different. It is camo, of various colors, shades, and patterns. His hat has been traded in for a helmet, his musket for an M16. Instead of a horse, he takes a HUMVEE or a BRADLEY.
His battlefield is no longer on American soil but in the deserts of the Middle East.
But one thing has not changed.
He is willing to die for you to be free. Some of his brothers in arms have paid the price for you. And he is ready if it’s his turn this time.
Our second Hero also was willing to die for you. In fact, He did.
He is the mighty Creator.
The Prince of Peace.
The Alpha and the Omega.
The First and the Last.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The All-Knowing One.
The One Who listens when we cry out to Him and calms our fears in the midst of the storm.
And the beautiful thing is, He never changes. His motives, thoughts toward us, His Gift of Salvation, none of it has ever changed.
Jesus Christ gave up His throne in Heaven, His Glory and the very presence of God, to come to a sin sick world and live a life as 100% man and 100% God. He lived under the authority of His earthly parents and submitted to their care…when He was the One Who kept them breathing. He preached for 3 years, sharing the Gospel as only He could. He suffered through an unjust mock trial, severe scourging, and the unthinkable agonies of the cross, laying down His Life for our miserable souls. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and of His own power raised Himself to Life on the third day. He did all that for you, so that if you would admit that you are a sinner and repent of your sins, you could spend eternity with Him in heaven.
Two Heroes. One died for freedom. The Other died for your soul. We didn’t ask either of them to do it. But they voluntarily gave their lives for us. What are you gonna do with the gifts they are offering to you?
Thank God for the American Serviceman and the Blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
Have a Blessed Memorial Day!
Everyone, I must start this post with a disclaimer 😊 I always have been and always will be loyal to the Army, first and foremost 😉 My Grandfather and Great-grandfather were both Army veterans, the man who bought my first laptop for me was in the Army National Guard, my favorite figures in history were in the Army…you get the point.
Today is not Army day; Today is Navy Day! And where would we be without our dear guardians of the sea? No rhyme intended😆
I must say, the Navy does fascinate me. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t look up to the Navy SEALs? So today, I’m going to give you five times the Navy came through for America in Amazing ways!
The Turtle. Many of you have probably seen a submarine whether in real life or in pictures. But have you ever wondered when the first one was invented? In 1775! Yep, that’s right! David Bushnell built the Turtle, the first submersible vessel ever created! (Click here for more information.) It’s goal was to plant a bomb under the HMS Eagle, and while their mission didn’t go quite as planned, they did succeed in loosening the blockage the British had imposed!
Ironclads. Developed by both the Confederate and Union Navies, respectively, these ships showed everyone that the future of Naval warfare was in iron ships, not wooden ones. Nothing like American ingenuity!
Razzle Dazzle Camouflage. While this was actually an idea shared with us by the British during WW1, this is an amazing Naval feat! I’ll link the article here, but the idea was to paint the ships in ridiculous patterns and use the contrasting colors to make the distance and type of ship hard for the enemy to judge. Truly fascinating!
Uncle Sam Wants YOU! Avenge Pearl Harbor! Following the attack on our Hawaii Military base, damaging several ships, costing 2,335 lives (2,008 of those belonging to the Navy) and dozens of planes, there was an outcry for our men and boys to join the Navy. And they showed up! There were even politicians who left office to support the cause! Hats off to those boys in “Bell-Bottom Trousers, Coat of Navy Blue” 😊
May 2nd, 2011. While I would never celebrate the death of a non-believer, I must say that the day Osama bin Laden was announced dead, I gave a sigh of relief. I felt safer, knowing that at least this man could no longer bring pain and suffering to American servicemen or to his own people. As a child, I remember praying that he would come to know Christ as his Savior, but unfortunately, that never happened. Thank God for the U.S. Navy SEALs who brought a little more safety to the world as we know it!
Take a moment to thank God for all of our servicemen, but especially our Sailors.
Happy Navy Day!
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Hello everyone! I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I was in school, I loved starting school. As a homeschooler, member of a large family, and serving in our family ministry, each day was an adventure! Would I be doing school in my room or the kitchen table, or would we be balancing our books on our laps as we drove out of town for a meeting? Or would today be an out of book school day, taking a field trip to Ft. Macon, the Zoo or volunteering at a special event at a church?
Something I enjoyed doing when we were traveling was to double up. To those who don’t know what that means, doubling up is simply doing two or more days’ worth of school in one day. Since we have less distractions learning at home than in a class room, we were able to finish our school earlier in the day, which allowed us the time to double up. The reason I would double up was because…I am a lover of books and never go on trips without bringing a stack along. While I do write up the road as well, reading is still a favorite pastime on hours’ long trips. With the school year upon us, I thought it would be fun to give you a few musts for your reading list 😉 I hope you enjoy!
1. Autumn with the Moodys and Autumn Days with the Moodys by Sarah Maxwell
Yes, I will count this as one, since they are book in the same series 😊 Part of a 10-book set (plus 2 amazing Christmas novellas!) book #2 and #6 give readers a nice peek into the lives of a homeschooled family during the beginning of the school season. Add in the wonders of Autumn, my favorite season, and you have a pleasant read, for any time of year, really. I recommend the whole series! Please note that this is a story of one family’s homeschooling experience. Every family is different, and every method doesn’t work for every family. But Ms. Maxwell paints a beautiful picture of a family perusing home education. Click here for more information!
2. Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May? by Jean Fritz
Ah…my favorite founding father and protector of religious Liberty! Who can forget his marvelous “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!” speech? He was truly a Patriot to be admired…but what else is there to know about him? This book answers that questions, sharing his highs and lows, his greatest moments and a few things that remind us that we are all human and make mistakes. Regardless of age, this book is a must read! No school reading list should be complete without a book about our Nation’s founding! Pick up this one today! Click here for more information!
3. The Willow Valley Kids Book #1: The Treasure Hunt by Jean Pennington
Any Patch the Pirate fans out there? How about Patch the Pirate Club members? What does this have to do with this book? Mrs. Pennington for years now has dedicated hours of work, creating material for the Patch club literature. And as of the last few years, she has started righting these amazing series of children’s mysteries. Remember how I told you we got to see a Patch the Pirate play last month? Well, we took a chance and purchased this book and the next two in the series. We were a little nervous…but we needn’t have been. These stories are so sweet, mysterious and filled with biblical lessons for the children. These are probably supposed to be for 8-12-year-olds. Ignore that! I loved them, and I’m an adult! My mom just read this book out loud to the family and we all loved it!
This first book is set on the first day of school and continues through the entire school year! It all starts with five kids hearing about Redcoat treasure buried in the valley where they live. Can they do what no one has been able to do in over 300 years? What is at stake if they can’t find the treasure? Is it even still there? The clock is ticking…and that’s all I’m going to tell you 😊 Click here for more information!
4. A Dozen of Them by Isabella Alden
If you’ve never read Mrs. Alden, you must start today! She’s that good! This book is part of her darling Golden Text Series. Each chapter begins with four or five scriptures. One of the scriptures will be used in the story. Our family likes to assign a verse to each person and wait to see who got the “Chosen Verse”. These stories encourage Bible memory, Character building and scriptural application. This particular story is about a young man named Joseph and how the verses that he selected, one for every month, changed his life. Click here for more information! *Note, this link will show you a three book set. We recommend all three!
5. Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee by Robert Edward Lee Jr.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I really enjoy the 1860s-time period. The War Between the States has always fascinated me, and I know write books on that topic. I read this book last year, a gift from my uncle (who is an Air Force and Police Force Veteran! Love you, Uncle Paul!). He had no idea how much I would enjoy this book. Who better to write a book about Gen. Lee, beloved to the South and the North alike, than his own son? This book is recommended for older readers, simply because it’s written on a higher reading level. Oh. Please, no matter where you are from, no matter what side of the war you side with, please, pick up a copy of this book. It will get you acquainted with this dear, Christian man on a personal level. The author even gives us a peek into his own life in one chapter, which is quite entertaining to say the least! Click here for more information!
So, these are my Back to School Recommendations! Hope you enjoy these books as much as I have! Something to think about. What are you favorite Autumn reads? Share your reading list with others and encourage them to try out a book they’ve never read. Speaking as an avid book worm, you can never have too many book recommendations!
Have a blessed day and keep reading!
If you’ve read my newest book, The Rivers of Sorrow, then you know that a major part of the story is centered around the Battle of Gettysburg. July 1-3 is the 155th Anniversary of that horrific fight. In memory of those who lost their lives there, I present to you 10 totally random facts about this small, Pennsylvania town. (I actually used to live about 20 minutes from there!)
1. The roads leading into Gettysburg form the shape of wagon wheel spokes. With the town at the very center, it is very easy to spot the fun shape of the landscape. This feature attributed to the armies meeting and fighting at Gettysburg.
2. Col. Rufus Dawes, a Union soldier commanding one of the Iron Brigade regiments, was a descendant of William Dawes. In case this name does not ring a bell, William Dawes is one of our Patriot forefathers who rode the midnight ride with Paul Revere 😊 One can’t help but wonder what William would have thought about Rufus fighting his fellow countrymen…
3. John Wesley Culp died on his relative’s land. John was a member of the 2nd Virginia Regiment, Stonewall Brigade, and was killed on Culp’s Hill on July 3rd, 1863. It is believed that the hill was named after an uncle of John’s.
4. At Gettysburg, the Wheatfield proved dangerous for a Sickle. Union General Daniel Sickle, after disobeying orders and moving his men into the field, was shot in the Wheatfield and lost his leg as a result. He survived to become the military dictator of North Carolina following the war.
5. Prior to the battle, when the Confederate troops marched through town for the first time, some girls met them with flowers and pieces of cake. If circumstances were reversed, I don’t think I could have done that 😊
6. At least one black Confederate was at the Battle of Gettysburg! According to the book, The South Was Right! by Walter and James Kennedy, a black soldier marched a yankee prisoner down the streets of Gettysburg, much to the surprise of the population. Seems this man didn’t buy into the Emancipation Proclamation propaganda 😊
7. Pickett’s Charge took place on Cemetery Ridge. What a chillingly accurate name for the location of such a brutal fight. Nearly 7,000 men on both sides were killed, wounded or captured during this fight alone. Between 46,000-51,000 men made up the casualties of the three-day battle at Gettysburg.
8. Pickett’s Charge might deserve a different name. While Pickett did send in a large force of fresh troops (three brigades) the other two divisions were led by men serving under A.P. Hill. The attack was coordinated by Gen. Longstreet. So, rightfully the battle should be called Hill’s Charge or Longstreet’s Charge. Perhaps it is named for Pickett because he is the one who conveyed the order to commence the attack.
9. C.S. Gen. Garnett was killed in Picket’s Charge. His body was never recovered, but he was last seen riding towards a cannon right before it went off. Many believe he was trying to restore his honor following his causing Stonewall to lose the battle of Kernstown in 1862. Even though Stonewall wanted him court-martialed, Garnett respected Stonewall to his death.
10. Following Pickett’s Charge, Lee declared it was all his fault that the attack had failed. The men declared that it wasn’t and begged him to send them back. While he appreciated their loyalty and drive, Lee wisely refused and began organizing the withdrawal of the army.
Well, that’s all for now. Know some interesting facts about the Battle of Gettysburg? Why not share them with a friend and take a moment to appreciate the heroes of the past?
Have a Blessed Day!
Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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