Swings and Lawn Mowers

My inspiration! Photo by Elizabeth Groves

My inspiration! Photo by Elizabeth Groves


Once upon a time, a little girl with flowing hair and a bright smile held a baby bunny in her hands. Her Daddy had found the bunny lost in their yard. The little girl stroked his extra soft fur. She cuddle him close to make sure he wasn’t scared.

With help from her Mommy, the little girl made the bunny a soft home and fed him lots of carrots. But, her Mommy said they could only keep him for a short time. See, the bunny was wild and wild bunnies have to live in the wild. The little girl was sad but she understood. She knew the bunny had to go home. So one bright morning, the little girl let the bunny go back into the deep grass. She let him go.

“Don’t forget me,” she called to the bunny as he hopped away. And the bunny never did.


Once upon a time there was a girl who kept a bookmark in a special place in her special book. She kept her most favorite picture marked so she could look at it anytime she pleased. And this special place, you ask?

This special place was a picture of a golden horse who could fly. The horse could bound over buildings. The horse could soar through the clouds and follow rainbows. Two best friends loved the golden horse, and the girl with the bookmark hoped that one day she could find her own magical horse and her own best friend

One day, one perfect day, she did.


Once upon a time, a little boy with blond hair and blue eyes had a birthday. On his very special day, the day the whole family celebrated his birth, his Grandpa and Grammie made him a swing.

Now, this swing was hung in a great oak tree. His Grandpa and Grammie came over on a special trip just for him, just to hang it.

The little boy was so pleased. He loved his swing. Almost every day he climbed up on the flat board, took hold of the ropes on either side and pushed up off the earth. Higher and higher he swung, pumping his long legs and laughing for joy. Back and forth, back and forth the swing swung make believing the boy could fly.


Once upon a time, a boy with a wonderful smile got a new pair of shoes. They weren’t like his other sneakers. They weren’t like his boots. They weren’t like his Sunday shoes or his sandals. They were magical shoes. Magical? Yes. With every step the boy took, his shoes lit up. Lights flashed across the back and sides.

Hop. Hop. Hop.

The boy bounced through the house watching his shoes flash.

With these new sneakers the boy could run faster, jump higher, and do great deeds of daring much to his mother’s great delight, for they were magical shoes.


Once upon a time, there was a little girl with blonde curls who delighted in everything. She loved the old hole in the parking lot. She loved her Sunday School teacher. She loved her Mommy. She loved her Daddy. She loved her Sister. She even loved the bathroom.

There was nothing in the world that the little girl didn’t find amazing. Bugs, rain, mud, coloring, singing, duck-duck-goose, Simon says, running, Grammie, Grandpa, everyone and everything was worth seeing and doing and that’s just what she did.


Once upon a time, there was a little ginger girl who lived out in the country far away from busy city streets and hustle and bustle. She lived with a tangled mess of a dog and a cat, tall weeds, trees and other neighbors’ pets. She lived where the bugs grew big in the summer and the old barn always needed to be explored again.

Every few weeks, her Daddy would drive the big old mower out and cut the grass back to a manageable height. The ginger girl was fascinated by the big old mower. She ran from window to window on her little legs watching her Daddy mow, watching the bugs fly out of the path, watching the grass blow away.

When, oh when, would she be old enough to mow, too?


Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved to smile. He smiled at his cousins. He smiled at his mommy and daddy. He smiled at Grandpas, Grammie, aunties and uncles. He smiled at everyone. But, most of all, he smiled at his big brother. He also growled and hollered with his big brother. He thought everything his big brother did was awesome and to be immediately copied to the best of his ability. And who wouldn’t with a cool big brother like his? Who wouldn’t smile?


Once upon a time, there was a little boy who tasted food for the first time. Now, this little boy’s Momma was a wonderful cook and she’d been waiting and waiting for the day he could try food for the first time. One day, he did. And oh how magical the world seemed them. Not just a world of color and light, night and dark, nor just a world of hard and soft, warm and cold, but a world of sweet, bitter, sour, salty, savory, lumpy goodness…and peaches were his favorite…though chocolate wasn’t bad either.


Once upon a time, there was a little unborn girl. Safely growing inside her Mommy, she listened to her sister, her parents, her dog and cat, her loud cousins (there seemed so many of them), her aunts and uncles, and her grandparents. She listened to them sing. She listened to them pray. She listened to the words of love they spoke to each other every day.

One day soon she would meet them all face to face. She would see them all and she would touch them all. One day she would feel and know the love she only now could hear.

…and they all lived happily ever after…

Bruce swinging with Grandpa Ronnie!

Bruce swinging with Grandpa Ronnie!



A Texas Cousins Adventure: Here there be Dragons (Part 2)

Texas Cousins (Picture stolen from Liz)

Texas Cousins
(Picture stolen from Liz)

“Aunt Abby, Aunt Abby,” Jules ran up with a large water bottle. “Now you can finish the story!”

“Drink, drink,” said Ellie.

Constance, Joshua, Bruce, Jude, and Imogene gathered behind the two sisters encouraging Aunt Abby to hurry up with the drinking and get back to more important matters like saving the dragons.

“You know, I could really go for a snack,” Aunt Abby said.

“No,” whispered Constance. “We want to save the dragons.”

Aunt Abby laughed and gave her a big hug. “Okay, story now, snacks later.”

All the cousins cheered.

They settled in around Aunt Abby on Great-Auntie Janet’s quilt under the bright blue Texas sky filled with white puffy clouds.

“Once upon a time…”

Alchemist plummeted down down down. Some of the cousins screamed in delight and some in fear, but Alchemist didn’t let a single one of them fall off his back. Spinning in a tight cork-screw, he tucked in his wings and dropped through some large pine trees to the forest floor.

“Where are we? Jules asked.

“We’re in the forest,” Constance said waving her hand to indicate that the flat Texas yard had turned into a tree-filled forest.

Jules squinted. “Oh! I see it.”

“This is my forest,” Alchemist said. He spread his wings so the cousins could slide off his back down to the forest floor. Jules required a little cajoling, but Bruce and Joshua promised to catch her at the bottom, and she finally slid down too.

“Follow me,” Alchemist said.

The older cousins took the hands of the younger cousins and they all followed Alchemist through the tall swaying pines.

“It smells like Christmas,” Imogene said, smiling.

“We should sing a Christmas song,” Constance said.

“No,” said Bruce. “Don’t do that.”

“Yes,” said Joshua.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,” Ellie started. Everyone, even Bruce, joined in. They sang loudly as they walked along through the Christmas smelling forest.

“I do hope you children are aware that it is June and Christmas is far away?” Alchemist said.

Before anyone could argue, Alchemist came to a stop. The forest had ended at the base of a large mountain topped with snow. A glimmering silver dragon passed back and forth, back and forth, at the mountains feet in front of a small hole.

“Oh Alchemist, you found them!” the dragon said with a smile.

“Of course I did, my dearest.”

“You’re a girl,” Ellie said.

“A girl dragon!” Jules hissed. “Is she a party girl?”

“Dragons aren’t party girls,” Joshua said, appalled at the idea.

“My dragon is,” Jules said.

“So is mine,” Constance said.

“Mine’s not,” said Ellie.

“Mine either,” said Bruce.

“Yours isn’t cause your dragon’s a boy,” Jules said wrapping her arms around her invisible dragon.

“Mine breaths FIRE!” Bruce said.

“Mine too,” said Jude, copying Jules and pretending to hug his dragon with little baby arms.

“Mine’s red,” said Imogene.

Everyone started yelling their favorite colors. It took Aunt Abby a few minutes to remind them of the story.

“Yes, I am a girl,” the silver dragon said nuzzling Ellie.

Ellie giggled.

“My name is Oceana. I’m Alchemist’s wife.”

“Why do you look sad,” Imogene said.

“Well,” Oceana turned her slim head to Imogene, “my egg is trapped in this mountain and I can’t get it out.”

“Oh, that is sad,” said Jules. She gave Oceana a hug around the neck.

“Why can’t you get your egg out?” Joshua said.

“It’s trapped inside. The hole is too little. Can you help us?”

“Yes!” everyone said at once.

“Come look,” Alchemist said. He led the cousins to a hole in the mountain. Seven rocks lined the hole each in different colors. “It’s guarded by a curse that we can’t break.”

“What’s a cures?” Jude asked holding Imogene’s hand as he studied the rocks around the hole.

“It’s something evil, and it’s keeping us from our egg.”

“Will it hurt?” asked Jules.

“I do not think it will. See, the hole can only be entered by seven children related by blood but not siblings.”

“Ellie’s my sister,” Jules said.

“Jude’s my brother,” said Bruce.

“Josh is my brother,” said Constance.

“Then you will have to enter by different pairs,” said Oceana. “Cousin pairs.”

The cousins studied one another. Jules took Constance’s hand. Imogene took Jude’s. Joshua and Bruce stood next to each other.

“What about Ellie?” Jules said. “She’s all alone.”

“Dear one,” Oceana said in her soft voice, “are you brave enough to walk through by yourself?”

Ellie grinned from ear to ear. “Jason’s my Daddy. Of course I’m brave enough!”

Settled into none sibling sets, and Ellie coming last, the cousins approached the hole in the mountain. Seven stones lined the hole, each one glowing a faint different color.

“What do we do now?” Bruce asked.

“Pink’s my favorite color,” Jules said touching the soft pink stone.

“Mine’s red!” Bruce said.

“Purple,” said Ellie.

“Green,” said Constance.

“Brown like a puppy,” said Joshua.

“Blue,” said Jude.

“Pumpkin,” said Imogene.

They each put their hand on one of the stones and the stones gleamed. The tiny hole opened enough to let the cousins from Texas walk through. Jules and Constance stepped through first. Jude and Imogene followed them. Bruce and Joshua came next with a glance back at Ellie. She turned and waved at the dragons before following her cousins into the mountain.

“Okay, break time,” Aunt Abby said.

The seven cousins gasped.

“You can’t stop there,” Joshua said.

“Do you need more water?” Constance asked.

“I’m brave,” said Ellie with a wide grin.

“I need a snack. Let’s go as Grammie for something to eat.”

“Then you’ll finish the story?” Bruce said.

“Promise,” said Aunt Abby.

To be continued…

(Part 1)

One of my favorite faces!

One of my favorite faces!

Jude, our littlest man!

Jude, our littlest man!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Bruce showing off some muscles!

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Imogene testing out her first lemon.

Jules and her Daddy, Jason!

Jules and her Daddy, Jason!

Constance and Joshua!

Constance and Joshua!

Boys and Leaves: A Tale of Two Cousins and their Aunties

Stolen from Liz Groves.

Stolen from Liz Groves.

Once upon a time, two Aunties watched two cousins every day after church.  They would take these two precious, beautiful little girls out to run in the grass, soak in the sun, and expend excess energy.  Jules Ethel expended her energy chasing after a little boy named Tristan, the son of a family friend.  Constance Lydia Galadriel expended her energy chasing after blowing leaves, picking up every rock she saw, and waving sticks around – which her Aunties called wands.

Auntie Abigail followed after Jules Ethel to ensure she stayed safe and out of trouble as she chased the boy named Tristan.  Auntie Elizabeth followed after Constance Lydia Galadriel to ensure she stayed safe and out of trouble as she chased after nature.

As they passed, one chasing a girl chasing a boy, and one chasing a girl chasing a leaf, Auntie Elizabeth quoted one of their favorite authors.

“‘What are men compared to rocks and mountains?'”

Auntie Abigail laughed.  “Jules Ethel’s father should have fun when she grows up.”

Auntie Elizabeth sighed.  “Maybe neither of them will ever grow up.”

“Maybe we can send them off to Never-Never Land…” Auntie Abigail also sighed.  “But then we’d miss them.”

The Aunties agreed that it was better to chase boys and leaves and be here, then to miss their nieces who, though different, they loved very much.

One Sunday, the Jules Ethel and Constance Lydia Galadriel gave their aunties a slip.  Jules Ethel spotted Tristan headed towards the creek and hurried after him.  Constance Lydia Galadriel saw a lovely tree by the creek shedding its leaves and hurried to stand in the leaf-rain.  The two girls came by different paths to the same creek.

“Where are the leaves?” Constance Lydia Galadriel said finding the tree finished shedding for the moment.

“Where’s Tristan?” Jules Ethel said finding the boy gone again on some other adventure.

The two cousins shared a glance.

“Jules! Help!” Someone yelled.

The girls spun in a circle.


It was Tristan in a spot of trouble.  He had slipped down the edge of the creek and couldn’t get back up.

“Oh, Tristan!” Jules Ethel said.  She started for him.

“Wait,” Constance Lydia Galadriel said.  “If you go, you’ll get stuck too!”

“You’re right, what should we do?”

Constance studied the rocks, sticks, and leaves in her hands.  “We could get a branch and hold it out to him?”

“Yes!” Jules Ethel said.  “Tristan, we’ll be right back.”

Jules Ethel and Constance Lydia Galadriel rushed off to find a branch or a log.  The first one they came to was short, stiff, and broke in their hands.

“No good,” they said.

The second was big and heavy.  It was so big and heavy they couldn’t lift it.

“No good, again,” they said.

Then they saw it.  The perfect branch: long, thin, and strong.  Plus, they could carry it.

With Jules Ethel in the lead and Constance Lydia Galadriel following, they carried the branch back to Tristan.  Getting angled correctly, they lowered it down to him.  He caught hold of it and the cousins pulled.  They pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled.  They pulled as hard as they could.  They pulled until they were out of breath.  Suddenly!  Tristan’s head popped up above the edge of the creek.  He was safe!

“Thank you, Jules for saving me,” he said, ever the polite gentleman.

“You’re very welcome,” said Jules Ethel.  “But I couldn’t have done it without my cousin.”

Tristan gave both girls a hug.

At this moment, the Aunties discovered them.  They had frantically searched high and low, up and down, this way and that way, for their two nieces.  The cousins excitedly told them how they had rescued Tristan.

“Well,” said Auntie Elizabeth, “I guess it’s a good thing Jules Ethel always chases after Tristan or he would still be down in the creek.”

“And, “said Auntie Abby, “I guess it’s a good thing Constance Lydia Galadriel chases leaves, sticks, and stones or Tristan would still be down in the creek.”

The two Aunties gathered the cousins up and covered them with too much love.  They took the girls, and Tristan, back to their Mommies and Daddies with stories of rescue and adventure.

The End