30 May 2010

Book Review: Anne of Avonlea

And now, for the book review on Anne of Avonlea. I have to say that this book is sometimes a bit hard to adjust to, since it is the first book that Anne is truly almost an adult, and practically grown-up. Like I said in the post on the first Anne book, you feel a slight sadness for the loss of little Anne. :(

But this is a fantastic book all the same. Anne and Gilbert still have a wonderful, friend-oriented relationship throughout the book, and that is nice to read about. Of course, their romance is not at all inappropriate, so it is nice to read about as well, but it seems like Anne and Gilbert go through a lot of turmoil and misunderstanding throughout Anne of the Island, before finally getting engaged. Quoth Anne (after Gilbert proposes) "oh, now you've spoiled everything!" I appreciate that Anne is not (or rather, thinks she isn't) in love with Gilbert yet, but you cannot stop the hands of time. It almost seems like Anne is clinging onto the past, rather than moving forward and accepting change.

Here is my review/synopsis, whatever you want to call it!

Anne of Avonlea
By L.M. Montgomery

Little Anne Shirley has grown up into a beautiful young lady, with radiant hair that her friends call "auburn" and starry gray eyes. However, Anne is not quite an adult yet, and she still has a few lessons to learn, which will be taught in abundance when she undertakes the job as schoolteacher of the little Avonlea school. Making friends was never difficult for Anne, and so she becomes a much-loved teacher to her students, a caring friend to the new people, young and old, that she meets, and an altogether unforgettable heroine. 
But Anne faces new challenges as she vainly tries to make a stubborn schoolboy mind her, eventually resulting in the use of an instrument she had vowed never to wield, Marilla adopts twins, one of whom is most mischievous, and experiences the trials and hopes of growing into a young woman. She feels the weight of change and reluctance as she witnesses a proposal of marriage to her best friend, and she gladly does all she can to rekindle the romance between her favorite student's father and a delighful older lady whom she has grown to love. Turning the page on childhood, Anne steps into that confusing time between childhood and adulthood with a heart full of hope and ambition for the future.

I am getting the knack of writing these synopsis' better now - I think I may like doing this! 

On Anne of Avonlea... it was a very funny, good book. It had a lot of wholesome, simple, funny happenings in it, as is usual to Anne. It makes the transition from Anne of Green Gables to Anne of the Island quite nicely, for Anne of the Island is definitely a very complicated new book, as Anne goes to Redmond college in Kingsport and steps outside of her previous social circles and... well, I'm getting ahead of myself! You can hear all that you want about the 3rd Anne book in my next post on this series, but for now we must focus on the book at hand.

Anne is getting just a bit quieter - she doesn't chatter on so much in 100-word paragraphs such as she did in the last book. Of course, she still talks a great deal, but she has learned discretion. Anne is also growing up and getting more mature, in her speech, manner, way of dress, etc. She will still gasp aloud at the beauty of flowers, trees, and such, but she is not so dramatic and she doesn't use as many big words.

Altogether, Anne of Avonlea is a delightful, simple book about a young girl growing into adulthood. It contains none of the tension, worry, or strong emotions of the next book, Anne of the Island. And it has many funny parts, such as when Anne falls through the duck house roof on Tory Road... well, you'll have to read the book to know what I'm talking about! 

Anne of Avonlea is a great light-read and will be sure to make you smile!

A BIT O' READING FOR THE DAY

"There are so many unpleasant things in the world already that there is no use in imagining any more." ~ Anne of Avonlea

25 May 2010

Patterns, Please?

I know I already posted today. Does an apology count as a full-length post?


We bought the patterns for my regency gown! Oh, I'm sorry, that wasn't emphasized enough. Here you go... We. Bought. The. Patterns. For. My. Regency. Gown. How's that? Can you feel the excitement brewing? I am such a feminine girl, a girl who loves dresses and long skirts. I am very thrilled about getting to try out my sewing skills on this gown. The pattern I am using is actually very similar to a gown that Marianne wears in the 1995 Sense & Sensibility. She wears it in the piano scene - you know, when Colonel Brandon comes in when Marianne is playing the pianoforte... oh, such a romantic moment! A good, wholesome, romantic moment. Here is the gown she wears...

A good front view


Full-length view


Side view


At the piano



Now, here is the pattern for the gown I plan to make. The fabric color is a bit bright and it looks stiff, so I wouldn't use that. However, the style is very similar. I wasn't even looking to imitate the *above* dress, until I realized how alike they were. Well, why not? I thought. Here is the gown, courtesy of Sense & Sensibility Patterns.



Front view


Side view


Another side view



Do you see the resemblance? I know, the fabric totally throws you off - that color is just a tad bright. :) But I wouldn't use fabric that color. Don't worry, I have sense. Ha ha, unintended pun.

Of course, to achieve the Regency-era look, you need proper undergarments. So, here are the patterns we got. It included patterns for a chemise, a set of short stays, and two different chemisettes. Here are the pictures...

Chemise with short stays, front view and back


Chemise


Short stays front


Short stays back


Chemisettes (which are basically a long cotton, sleeveless gown you wear underneath your gown)



I don't think I am going to use the chemisette pattern - I'll just make the neck high enough on the gown


Alright, that's them all. Now that you know what patterns I'm working with, perhaps you will be able to read the step-by-step updates and have more of an understanding of how the process is going. :)

The amazing second Anne book, Anne of Avonlea, is coming up soon!

22 May 2010

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables

Before we start, I have a short quiz...

"Which best describes how Lizzy feels about the Anne of Green Gables series?"

a. She loves the humor
b. She's passionate about the writing style
c. She adores the characters
d. All of the above

I hope you answered "d" because that is the answer! And what better way to sum up my feelings involving this series than that?

Of course, the first book is the most humorous... Ah, Anne Shirley... One of the most well-known characters of all time. Shall we begin?

Anne of Green Gables
By L.M. Montgomery
*Credit to ME! (I am going to try my hand at this synopsis-writing. Let's see how I do...)

Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are brother and sister, unmarried, and live together at Green Gables, in the fictional town of Avonlea. They arranged to have a boy sent from the asylum to help out with farm work, but the girl who is waiting for Matthew at the station is nowhere near their original ideals. Skinny, freckled, and decidedly red-headed Anne Shirley is an imaginative, inventive being, and not at all what the Cuthberts expected. Anne's life has been a sad history of being passed from family to family, unloved and unwanted. From the first moment of viewing Green Gables, Anne falls in love with it, and it breaks her heart to think of leaving it. Matthew is won over by Anne from the start, and even Marilla comes to love her.

As is her nature, Anne's life at Green Gables is soon filled with up's and down's, rapturous joy and heartbreaking misery. She makes friends with the neighbor girl, who is indeed a 'kindred spirit,' makes enemies with a schoolboy who calls her 'Carrots,' and has an altogether unique gift for getting into scrapes. Even though they don't know what to make of her at first, soon the Cuthberts, and even the whole town of Avonlea, can't imagine life without little Anne of Green Gables.


Now, that wasn't too bad, do you think? I just may try writing the synopsis' from now on. And I have decided that I rather do like cliffhangers. If I tell you the whole story, what reason do you have to read it? 

Anne is entirely a character unto herself. She is decidedly against her fiery red hair, is a passionate lover of beauty, has an un-praiseworthy habit of holding grudges, possesses a talent for getting into odd scrapes, and all-in-all is an unforgettable heroine. This book is a true delight to read, for Anne does get into many funny accidents, coming about them in a completely innocent manner. Those are the best kinds, don't you think?

Although I loved all the books, this first one was truly one of the best. Over the years, Anne grows and matures, as most of us do. She grows into a beautiful young woman, inside and out, but part of you still longs for the inquisitive, imaginative little red-headed Anne Shirley. Nothing can ever replace this first book.

(I am feeling regret that this post is a bit... um, shorter than my other book reviews. Well, I guess it is best. As I said, if I told you the whole story, what purpose would you have in reading it?)

And now for some pictures... I am only going to post movie pictures for this first Anne book, because I really dislike the other two Anne movies. Really, is it so hard to make an accurate movie? Apparently it is for this director. However, the first movie is very good, and the characters are almost identical to the way I imagined them.

Anne, Diana, and others ~

(Anne and Diana in the much-desired puffed sleeves)

(Anne upon arriving at Green Gables)

(Anne, Diana, and Jane Andrews after Anne's unfortunate dunking)

(Anne and Diana in school)


Gilbert Blythe and the Cuthberts ~

(Marilla Cuthbert, probably after one of Anne's odd speeches)

(Gilbert Blythe)

(Matthew Cuthbert)


 A BIT O' READING FOR THE DAY

"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?" ~ Anne of Green Gables

Alright, I think that concludes this post. Keep coming back to read the coming post on all of the Anne books!

20 May 2010

Sweet gowns and ribbons, sashes and string, these are a few of my favorite things!

Did my title give you a hint? Yes, it is true - I am going to make a regency gown!! We currently are getting a new sewing machine, and then we will begin! This will be my huge summer project, and I am all giddy over the thought of it. I mean, to all of us crafty ladies, isn't it ideal to spend your summer making a costume styled after that of Jane Austen's time? Yes, rather. We will most likely be using a Sense &Sensibility pattern, because those make very historically-accurate gowns. 

In honor of this exciting process I will be posting every few days as soon as we start with pictures of fabric, ribbons, trim, and so forth, as well as notes on the costume-making process, updates, status reports and such. When the gown is complete, you will see a picture of it. 

So, leave me a comment to let me know what you think of this idea o' mine!

18 May 2010

HE carried you through your trials...

I was just visiting one of the blogs I follow, Repeat the Moment, and I found this lovely poem:





Footprints in the Sand
By Mary Stevenson



One night I had a dream.
I dreamed I was walking along the beach
with the Lord...

Across the sky flashed scenes from my life..
For each scene, I noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand,
one belonging to me, and the other to the Lord..

When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along
the path of my life there was only
one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened
at the very lowest and saddest times in my life.


This really bothered me
and I questioned the Lord about it:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why
when I need you most you would leave me."



The Lord replied:
"My precious child, I love you and would
never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints, it was then
that I carried you."

Isn't that beautiful?! It almost brought a tear to my eye. It was so beautiful that I couldn't pass it up! So, I had to jump right onto my blog and post about it. Such an encouraging poem for all those times when you feel as though you have been abandoned, and yet you don't know how much you are really being taken care of... 

08 May 2010

And now... for the moment you all have been waiting for...

THE WINNERS OF THE SHORT STORY CONTEST!!!!! *hold for ecstatic screaming* I know, I know, we're all excited here, sitting on the edges of our seats, our fingers crossed, thinking "please pick me, please pick me!" But that will have to wait for just one minute. (What, more waiting?) Yes, more waiting. Patience is a virtue, friends. Take that into account.

Before we start I would like to say how much I LOVED all of your stories and how much I really wish I could award you all with a prize. But, alas, I cannot do that - it would not be fair to you to not pick a just winner... or a few just winners.

I would also like to say what a splendid, lovely, (to quote Mary Poppins) supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time I had. And this is my definition of the word: lovely, splendid, etc. It just seems more exciting to sum it up in this way.

But you all are reading this post for one main reason: to learn of the winners. And now you're thinking "Come on, Lizzy! Stop delaying! I'm sitting here in anxious turmoil wondering if I won or not! And you're quoting Mary Poppins!" And your thoughts are entirely correct. So...

Now...

For the winners...

Of the short story contest...

Getting anxious yet?

Good.

That's part of the contest.

And 3rd Place goes to...

Chef Gianna, author of Falling Up!!


Congratulations, Gianna! Here is your award:


And here is her wonderful story:


Falling Up 

My mother always told me that there was something special about the world. As a child, I thought this meant the world was magic. When my mother died, I tried to forget everything about her, resulting in the fact that the world was a special place, and I thought only of clothes and such. 
As an adult, this became my weakness – I almost forgot the most important thing my mother always talked about. Luckily, I was saved. 
I went through life carelessly, but soon became aware of a special person. My best friend Katy would always tell me about God, how you should obey Him, and so on. Then one day she happened to mention my mother.
Katy told me that my mother always wanted to tell me about something very important and special in the world.
        “She told me that one day.” I said quietly.
        “Oh, I should have thought she would, I just wanted to make sure that you knew what this specialty was.” Katy said simply.
        “Um, I have to go!” I said quickly, in order to get out of a long talk with Katy. I could not bear to talk about my poor dead mother. It was against all my rules to even think of my mother to often, for fear of crying tremendously. And talking of her would take me to the ground in a little ball crying, and unable to breathe - barely. I was not going to go through this again.
And yet, I pondered this subject many nights, and finally became so obsessed with figuring out this riddle, I nearly rejected my entire life. But one night, I had a dream. 
In my dream, I saw myself walking on a straight long path, up to a beautiful palace. On the path next to me, was a man with a burden on his back. He was taking the longer, more difficult path, witch lead to a place I did not know of. This man reminded me of Christian, from ‘Pilgrims Progress’.
Something was pulling me to follow the path that he was taking, and as I was a woman who followed her instincts, I went. The journey was tough and dangerous. Many a time, I would loose my balance on a tree root, or fall and skin a knee. But I kept on going. No matter what happened, I would keep following that path. And someone was with me; I could  feel the presence of someone or something, though I could not see it, nor did I try to see it. This being was just with me. 
Suddenly, I became aware of the fact that I was inside a forest, looking on the wonder at where the crooked path had brought me.
“How could this be?” I asked myself.
Then I knew the answer. This was heaven, the place so many of my friends had talked of. This brought me to the realization that the path I was on previously was the path to destruction. Destruction had looked good on the outside, but if I had followed the easy path, I would have found horrors not eligible to mention in this story. 
But I also realized something beautiful. Because I had chosen the harder path, it had a much greater reward. God’s love, though a complicated path, was the right way to go, for in the end, there was happiness and love, meant for anyone who was ready to take it. 
Now I awakened from my slumber with the last piece to the puzzle. If I continued going on in life without God’s love, I would end up in that awful place. But if I turned to God immediately, and asked His forgiveness, then I could be saved, and my Heavenly Friend would guide me throughout the ups and downs of life. 
As I painted this beautiful picture in my mind, I realized that my mother had meant that if I loved God, I would have a special life. No magic, no clothes, nothing could replace God.
I slowly pulled out my old Bible, and read the verse: “With God, all things are possible.” With that quote in my head, I knelt beside my bed, and professed my faith in Jesus. 
Now as a 40 year old woman, I tell this story to anyone who asks. The story of my life and faith in Jesus is always helpful to people of all ages. I gave my life to God, and he took me the right way.
As I grew older, I told this story multiple times. One day, I became sick with cancer. I asked God why He would put me through this, but already knowing the answer. It was my time to go to heaven.        And as I died I thought of heaven as something even better, even more special than earth. And when I died...
I was falling up.

THE END


Wasn't that lovely? And now for 2nd Place...

This one was harder, because I received two stories that I thought were equally good...

So, we have a tie for this one...

Winning 2nd Place in this short story contest is...

Lizzy, author of Streets Lined With Gold, and Melody, author of In The Dark!!! Let's give a big hand of applause for these magnificent stories!!

Your buttons will soon be complete, ladies. Leave me a comment letting me know a. you know that you won and b. details on how you want the button to be styled, colors you'd like, etc.

And here are their stories. First Melody's...


In The Dark

The sky was dark and overcast, though there was still some light in the air. The trees shivered as a cold wind moaned.
I looked neither to the left nor the right, only straight ahead, taking in the dark woods as they closed around me.
Suddenly, a building loomed out through the gloom. An old building. Its crumbly walls had once been red, but now only a few flecks of the bright paint showed beneath a sheet of grey. 
I walked in.
I found myself in a large hallway, dirty and dingy. Everything was covered in grey. I began walking, churning up dust in my wake. 
I turned a corner, and found myself in a room. The room was lit with a faint light, like the glow of a candle, though there was none there that I could see.
I realized with a start that there was someone else in the room. She was sitting with her head in her hands at the teacher’s desk. I walked over slowly, curious as to whom it was. Then suddenly I recognized her. No! My mind screamed. The strength left me, and I sat down, suddenly, in a chair. My mind whirled in shock. How could – why was she here? 
She had been my best friend. At least in the beginning. At first she had acted all nice and had flattered me and wanted me to do things for her. But when she found me a willing servant, she had bent me to do her evil will. 
Now, every day, her face floated by mind in the crowd at school. And each time the bitterness and ache in my heart would spring forth again. I could not look at her now.
I put my head in my hands, but the images of what she had done to me would not leave my mind. Finally I looked up, determined to leave this dark place and the memories behind. 
But she was still there. And now, her startling blue eyes were riveted on mine, watching me. Surprised, I looked deeper into her face. Her gaze was not cold and calculating, but sad.
She blinked slowly, a tear leaving her eye. “Forgive me?” Her voice echoed in my mind, though I had heard no sound.
She seemed to have read my thoughts. But the bitter ache began to resonate deep within my heart as I looked at her face. Forgive her? Impossible.
But another voice spoke, singing sweetly in my ear. It told me of forgiveness, of peace, of newfound joy… My heart began to throb to the beat of that song, and I knew I must obey its summons. I must forgive her.
I looked back at her desk again, ready to say the words I knew she had been longing to hear. But she was vanished. Gone.
In a daze, I got up and walked on.


It was dark now, and I groped at the walls of the corridor so I would not stumble. I walked in the next doorway that presented itself. 
The dark was in this room as well, making only the outlines of the desks visible. I looked closer. There was another outline as well – one of a person. Though who it was I could not tell.
I tentatively walked forward. “Who are you?” I asked, my voice loud in ears that were used to silence.
The person’s head raised up and they looked at me. I tried to see their whole face, but I could not. Only their eyes were visible, shining with the reflection of some unseen light. They were haunting eyes, deep as a well.
“I am the friend you never had.” The voice was distinctly a girl’s, though deep and rich. Like her eyes. 
“Who are you?” I asked, unconsciously repeating myself. 
“I am one you have slighted. I have been ridiculed, left out, and become invisible. I am an outsider.” Her voice was so bitter I could almost taste it.
“But when?” I asked, tears staining my voice and my cheeks.
“Every day.” She said simply.
I looked at her shining eyes, and suddenly I knew who she was. What she had said was true. 
A tear fell from the well of her eyes, reflecting light as it dropped slowly to the ground. As if it had been a tear from my eyes, I began to cry. I put my head down on my arms and sobbed for the girl. For her loneliness. For me.
When I finally controlled myself, she was gone. Vanished.
I walked on.


The hallway appeared lighter now, lit with an old, grey light. It seemed to stretch itself out to forever, never stopping, never ending. Yet still, I walked on.
My mind was void of thoughts; my tears having drained them all from me. All I could do was just keep walking, and walking.
My eyes were looking down at my feet when I bumped into someone. Startled, I looked up.
His face looked familiar, like I’d known him sometime in the past. Yet I couldn’t remember ever seeing him before. He smiled at me and said, “What is your name?”
I looked up into his warm, smiling eyes, wanting so desperately to answer. But I could not. And suddenly, the walls of the room began to slide inwards. Yet at the same time they faded into nothingness. All that remained in my vision was his face – and the smile.


I opened my eyes slowly to see the morning light creeping across my bedroom ceiling. I sighed deeply. So it was only a dream, after all. But it had seemed so real!
As I sat up and began thinking about my day, my dream began to fade from my mind, like a song slowly dying away. I quickly grasped a hold of what was left – the song, the tear, and the smile – and tucked them into my mind. These I should never forget. For they are the keys to my past, present, and future. 

And that was certainly a creative story. I loved your inspiration and topic, Melody! Congratulations!! And here is Lizzy's lovely story...

Streets Lined With Gold


Gavriel leaned over the side of the boat, inhaling the sea air. Gavriel was a young Romanian who, like most was going to America.  She wore a deep red skirt with a white blouse.  Her dark black hair was braided and fell past her waist.  For three months she and her mother and siblings had been on this boat to America. Three months ago her Papa had sent them tickets, after two years of waiting.   Gavriel’s black eyes grew sad has she thought of her father.  Not a word had they heard from him, for two long years.  Then out of know where they had a letter and tickets.  
“Keep papa safe please Bun*” she said silently.  A tug on her skirt made Gavriel look down.  There was her little five year old brother Alin.
“Mama wants you Gavi.”  He said.  Taking his hand in hers Gavriel walked back to their cramped cabin. The cabin was only supposed to hold three people, but they had managed to fit seven.  The cabin was dark, damp and smelled of the sick.  Inside Gavriel’s ten year old sister Emilia was feeding the two year old Falvius.  
“Where is Mama?” asked Gavi to the next oldest Irina.  
“Over there changing Sorin.”  Sorin was Falvius’ twin. 
“Mama?”  
A very tired woman in her mid-thirties looked up with relief to see her eldest.
“Gavi I need you to take the children out for awhile.”  She said handing Gavriel, Sorin.  
“Yes Mama you had better rest.” 
The mother smiled and said “Multumesc draga mea**” 
Putting Sorin on her hip Gavriel called to Irina, “Iri we have to take the children out-side”
The girl, almost identical to her older sister, nodded and grabbing Falvius she helped Gavriel take the children out for fresh air.  
Once out Gavriel sat down and had her siblings sit around.  
“Tell us a story!” Alin begged her
“Yes,” Emilia chimed in, “Tell us The Boys with the Golden Stars.”
“Alright, I will, but you all must be quite.”  Gavriel said with a smile.
The children all gathered ‘round, faces eager to here one of their favorite fairy tales.
Gavriel had just begun her story when a cry from a sailor interrupted her and caused her to look up.  
“LAND HO!”  
The children scrambled to their feet as passengers came pouring to the main deck.  Each one wanting to see the new world.  
“Irina hold Alin tight, don’t let him fall over!” Gavriel cried as she saw her brother on his hands and knees trying to get a look at the land in front of them.  
The boat slowly grew closer and closer till they were in the port.  The rest of her siblings had long gone back to the cabin, but Gavriel wanted to see America.  She remembered her father telling her.
“Gavi, there in America there is work for all. They say the streets are lined with gold.”
There was hundreds of people in the port, she scanned the faces for ones she might paint.  Gavriel loved to paint.  But there was one faces that she most wanted to see.  The face of her beloved papa.  
Tears welled up in her eyes when she did not see him.  Then she gasped, a dark strong face, so familiar to her's made her heart beat faster.  It was her father. 


*In Romanian this means God.
**Thank you my dear


Well, did that put you in suspense? It certainly did me! Very well-written, Lizzy! I loved the incorporation of Romanian into the story - it added a nice element. 

Again, a reminder to Melody and Lizzy: leave me a comment letting me know how you would like your button to look. Thanks!

And, of course...

We couldn't forget about 1st Place...

2nd and 3rd are very nice...

But 1st takes the cake...

So...

Winning 1st Place in the very first short story contest at Lizzy's Library...

The grand honor will be bestowed on only ONE author...

And that author is...

Merriette, author of The Sacrifice!! (sorry, Merriette, I had to give it a title! I hope you don't mind!) Let's give a HUGE  applause for this young budding author!!!

Merriette, your story was lovely. It almost made me cry... until the end, where it made me smile. What is that Scripture? "Weeping may endure in the night but joy cometh in the morning." It made me think of that verse. But why just hear it from me? Here is Merriette's story...

The Sacrifice (again, this is the title I added. It is just a sample, so as to have something to call the story)

Elena flew through the front door of her home. Sobs bursting from her lips, she ran around the corner of the house, not noticing the swishing of her long skirt nor the feel of the moist grass brushing against her bare feet. Flowers and trees she did not heed until at last Elena collapsed at the base of the great oak tree, deep in her parents' backyard. Covering her face with her hands, she cried, sobs shaking her shoulders and her tears flowing between her fingers.

"Oh God, I can't take it!" she whispered brokenly. "Why does it have to be this way?"

Slowly her sobs subsided and her tears subdued. Wiping her eyes, Elena saw a book lying beside her, the one she had unknowingly clasped in her pain-filled run and had been cast aside as she fell to the ground. With a catch in her throat, the girl leaned over and picked the volume up, its cover warm to her touch. Tears blurred her eyes so she could not read its title, but she hugged it to herself, softly crying as her mind faithfully repeated the words she had read just minutes before. The knife plunged deep. One shuddering breath, one gasp of pain, one look filled with anguish and it ended. The wind ceased to blow, the stars grew dark. Black. Cold. Still. All life ceased for the Creator of life had died. 

"Oh God," Elena whispered again, trying in vain to still the flow of tears, "I can't bear it--I can't bear it!" She drew in another shuddering breath and looked down at the book in her hands, wondering for the first time why this should mean so much to her. The girl had known the story of Christ's life for as long as she could remember, she had often read allegories about His sacrifice, but never had anything tore her to pieces as this did. She felt empty, like her very soul had been ripped from her body. Raising misty eyes to the setting sun, Elena felt no warmth from its golden rays, she saw no beauty in the majestic colors. It was all lost, a shadow of what once was. The Creator, her Creator, the One who had loved her, the One who had always been by her side even when it was too dark to see Him, for He had given His life, but without Him there could be no life.

The book had fallen from her hands and now lay open upon the turf. A soft breeze drifted over the tawny earth, rustling the book's pages, lifting Elena's limp hair, and bringing warmth back into her numb face like a mother's breath, stirring something within her. Closing her eyes for a moment to clear away her tears, Elena reached out with a trembling hand and lifted the writing from the grass, until her eyes rested on the open page. For a moment they did not focus, she could hardly bare to understand, but a tremble running through her body, the girl gazed at the printed words, one sentence glowing on the page. But Life was not defeated for the King would rise again even as the sun rises each morning, so He will not remain in the shadows of death.

Elena's skin tingled, her body flooding with warmth. Covering her mouth with her hand, Elena could not cover her smile nor the sobs that again rose within her. Joy such as she had never known before overwhelmed her, breaking over her like the waves of the sea, filling her, lifting her. Unknowingly, Elena rose to her feet, gazing into the sky with unseeing eyes that shown with love.

"Oh God," she whispered. "I can't bear it!"

Though her tears flowed down her face, a smile grew until she could smile no more joyfully. Clasping the book tightly in her hands, she let two more words fall from her lips. The only words that could express a tithe of her emotions.

"Thank You."

And I have no words for that story. Merriette said it all. It was heartbreaking, beautiful, and glorious. And it was true.

Here is your award, lovely author...



Merriette, you will receive your banner and button ASAP. Please copy and paste this form to fill out in the comments section:

BANNER
Colors:
Text/Subtext:
Any specific image (if so, give link):
Themes/Icons:
Any notes:

BUTTON
Colors:
Text:
Any specific image (if so, give link):

Note to Lizzy and Melody: You may also use the *above* form for your buttons.

And also, Merriette, I personally love the banner and button that you have currently. You probably do as well. So, if you would wish to decline the prize, that is fine. We may work out a replacement if you wish.

Well, that is the end. As I said in my end-of-the-contest post, I'm really sad to see this end. But do not fear! Contests will always be in full supply here on Lizzy's Library.

Oops! I almost forgot. Kira was the first person to submit a story, and so she wins a prize that she will soon receive in the mail. What is it? Ooh, that will remain between Kira and I...

NOW it is the end. I am in the process of making a page in which you can read all the other stories I received. That will be up in the next few days. And, as said before, I will be getting the prizes to the winners ASAP. Do not worry, ladies.

So, with tearful eyes and a wistful smile, I close the door on a very exciting contest I had enjoyed holding. 

One last word to all the winners: FEEL FREE TO JUMP AROUND, SCREAM IN A CRAZY MANNER, HUG YOUR SISTER FOR NO APPARENT REASON, ETC. - ANYTHING THAT SHOWS YOUR HAPPINESS OVER WINNING!! CONGRATULATIONS!!
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