Chapter 51:: FEBRUARY, DAISY’S BIRTHDAY

The February cross country meet scheduled to be held at Surfside Academy was cancelled. The shady dealings of Mr. Adams with the school leadership had become public knowledge. Mad parents pulled their children out of the school and moved them to other schools as lawsuits against Surfside piled up. The school was no longer in a position to host a public sporting event. This made the bright point of February to be Daisy’s birthday, not cross country running. She was now officially 16 and able to get a driver’s license.

At the Drivers of Motor Vehicles office, Connor encouraged her as they stood outside the DMV’s glass doors, “You’re going to do fine Daisy. Don’t get so stressed about it.” They were in line, but the line was so long that they had not even entered the building yet.

“If I fail, Andy will tease me for the rest of my life. You know how he is.” Daisy moaned.

“If you fail, I will bring you back on Monday, and I won’t tell Andy, okay?” The line moved an inch forward. Connor opened the door and they stepped inside the building.

“Oh gosh.” Being inside the building made Daisy feel even more nervous. “Do you promise?”

“I promise, babe,” he kissed her nose, “Now please, quit worrying.” He put his hand on her shoulder and inched her a few more steps forward as the line continued to creep.

When they finally reached the place where the testing was to be done, Connor went over to analyze the “Wanted” posters while Daisy continued through the DMV stations, one at a time.

Two hours later Daisy proudly showed him her new license. “My photo stinks, but I got it! I’m all legal now!”

“Let me see. Yep, I saw that mug shot up on the wall over there. It was right next to that crazy-eyed serial killer I think,” he teased as he opened the glass door for her and they left the building.

“You did not!” She marched across the parking lot in search of the car that she was going to drive, legally this time, with Connor trailing behind her.

“Where is my Daisy girl gonna take me? I’m yours for the whole afternoon?” He playfully yanked a strand of her hair as he opened the driver side door for her.

She looked at the bright blue sunshiny sky. “Ummm, wanna get some ice cream at the boardwalk?”

“Sounds great.” Connor cranked up the music, rolled down the windows and Daisy drove to the boardwalk ice cream shop without a care in the world.

February Saturdays were unique in that you had both hot sun and cold ocean breeze combined. The water was also cold but on beautiful days like this, people found other reasons to be at the boardwalk. The picnic style tables were speckled with families eating. Teens whizzed by on skate boards while Daisy and Connor meandered down the platform eating ice cream.

Connor pointed up into the sky at the gulls. “Look Day!”

She looked up into the sky at the gulls playing in the air. Connor quickly snuck a huge bite of her ice cream. He took almost the whole ball right off the top!

“Hey! That’s mine!”

“Mine now!” He grinned as he swallowed the huge bite in one gulp.

“I want some of yours! You ate almost my whole cone!” She scowled and punched him in the arm. “You animal!”

“Ow!” he howled playfully. “Want mine? Here you go.” He held his cone out to her angelically.

Daisy became suspicious of his sweet looking face. She just glared at him.

“Come on babe, you can have some. Really, have some.” He continued his angelic appeal.

Deciding to give it a try, she reached out and took a cautious bite.

“Like it?” he asked sweetly.

“It’s okay, mine is better,” she mumbled with a half grin.

He threw his arm around her happily and kissed her head. “Have another bite, come on babe.” He held out his cone to her. A little more relaxed, she took a second bite.

“Maybe yours is okay. It’s hard to get used to nuts though. I don’t like nuts in my ice cream.” She held out her cone for him. “Want another bite of mine?”

He gulped down another huge bite. “Thanks, babe.”

Daisy’s mouth hung open. Her cone was empty. She stared at him in disbelief while he crunched on the end of his own cone. With one last mighty gulp everything was gone. He laughed at the face she was making at him.

She wanted to fuss again but his big happy grin melted her heart. She decided to just let it go and be happy.

“Ya know Daisy, Coach Peggy told me to try running backwards. She said it’d be good for my knees.”

“Really, go for it then. I’ll run behind you and tell you if you’re gonna hit someone,” she offered.

“Deal.” Connor turned around and started running backwards down the boardwalk platform. Daisy jogged along slowly, right after him.

“Left, left, go left!” she squealed.

Kaboom!“Hey, watch where you’re going!” a stranger scolded.

“Sorry, sorry about that,” Connor apologized to the stranger then turned around and gave Daisy an irritated look.

“I was saying, left, left, left,” she returned. “Why didn’t you go left?”

“My left or your left.” Connor shook his head confused. “Okay, okay. Just raise your hand on the side that you see people then.” He started off running backwards again and Daisy followed.

Whenever she raised her left hand he knew to veer to the right. Whenever she raised her right hand he knew to veer to the left.

When they came to the end of the platform they climbed over the railing and continued walking in the dunes. Up and down the sandy mounds they went until they came to the highest one. Climbing to the top, they looked out across the ocean, admiring the bright blue horizon speckled with boats.

“Aaah, what a beautiful Birthday-day,” Daisy sighed.

“Yep.” Connor tossed his flip-flops to the side and handed Daisy his watch. “Time me, I’m gonna do some sprints up and down these dunes. I need to get my strength back.”

“Kay.” She adjusted the setting on his watch. “Ready, GO!”

Sand flew everywhere as he ran up and down the dunes as fast as he could. He ran the length of five or six dunes then returned. On the last one he just rolled down the side of the dune into Daisy’s feet, laughing so hard he could hardly breathe. “Oh gosh, I’m so out of shape!” he panted. “When you see Coach Peggy, make sure you tell her you saw me do these dang things, or she’ll never believe me.”

“I wanna try.”

“Yea, give it a go, girl.” He grabbed the watch and reset it.

She tossed her flip-flops and crouched down into a starting position. Her grin signaled Connor that she was ready.

“On your mark… get set… GO!”

She ran up and down the dunes until her muscles burned, then slid down the last dune giggling, “Oh gosh!” She lay in the sand looking up into the sky exhausted. “Who in the world thought up that exercise?”

Connor chuckled. “Our beloved Coach Peggy. Who else?” Then he gave her a little kick. “Come on.”

She held out her hand. “Help me up.”

Connor grabbed her hand and pulled her to her feet. Hand in hand they walked down to the edge of the water and stuck their toes in the ice cold waves.    “Aaaaaah, that feels so good,” Daisy purred.

Connor smiled at her happy sound. “I got you a birthday present. But you have to search me for it.”

“I am not going in your pants Connor, so you can just wipe that smirk off your face,” Daisy playfully returned.

“What smirk? If I wanted you in my pants I would have just grabbed you like this.” Connor grabbed her around the waist and threw her up in the air.

She screamed out in playful laughter as Connor tossed her around energetically.

“Okay, okay, okay, I believe you! I believe you! I’ll search you! I’ll search you!” she hollered.

“Alright then, that’s what I wanted to hear,” Connor laughed. He held his hands up in the air and stared at the sky while she searched his pockets.

She found his wallet first. There was only a five in it. She looked up. “It’s my birthday and you only have five bucks in your wallet?”

“I had more this morning, babe. But after your DMV fee, gas in the car and ice cream, I lost a few bucks.” He rolled his eyes at the sky and shook his head like she should have known that.

“Oh.” She resumed her search.

There was a little something in the front pocket. “What’s this?” She pulled out some tissue.

“Open it.”

Daisy unraveled the twisted up piece of tissue. Inside she found a silver coated sharks tooth with hook on it. “Oooooo, how did you get it silver coated?” she asked in amazement as the sunshine bounced off it brightly.

“I took the tooth to the jeweler’s and just told them my idea and they did it for me.” Connor smiled, thinking himself pretty clever.

“It’s beautiful. Can you put it on the silver chain I’m wearing?”

“That was the plan, turn around and I’ll do it for you.”

He gently unhooked her silver chain, added the new silver coated sharks tooth and carefully hooked it back again. “There we go. Now, let’s have a look.”

She turned around and beamed a special smile for him.

“Happy Birthday, babe.” He leaned over and gave her a simple kiss. She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tight. “Thank you, Connor. I love it. No one else in the whole world has one like it.”

Her overflow of appreciation made Connor feel very warm inside. “There’s no one like you in the whole world either.” He chuckled shyly.

“Maybe there are some more teeth out here.” Daisy looked down at the myriads shells at her feet.

Picking up an empty drink carton from the sand, Connor followed Daisy along the shore in lazy lover’s bliss. No thought of time or school crossed their minds.

Soon the carton was full of ocean treasures and a tooth or two. “Let’s take all this back to the car. I have some wire in the glove compartment. I’ll hook the teeth you found to the leather strip necklace around the rear view mirror.”

“Yea, okay.” They turned around and headed back to the car.

Connor opened the driver side for Daisy to get in. Then he hopped around to the passenger side and dug in the glove compartment. He found his needle nose pliers and wire. Daisy sat back and watched him wrap the wire carefully around the teeth and add them to the necklace. There were now five shark’s teeth on the thin leather strip. He placed the necklace back up on the rear view mirror.

“It looks nice,” Daisy complimented in a dreamy voice.

“It does. I like sharks teeth.” He admired his creation hanging on the mirror then turned to Daisy and touched the silver tooth around her neck. “I like this one too.”

“This has been a perfect Saturday afternoon.” She smiled at him. “Thank you.”

“Yea,” he kissed her, “Now tell me, what’s next on the birthday agenda?”

“It’s nearly dinner. Let’s head home.”

“Great, I’m starving!”

“You’re always starving.” Daisy giggled as she cranked up the engine and backed out of her parking spot. “I guess eating both ice cream cones wasn’t enough for you, huh?”

“Nope.” He smiled.

At home, Grandma was in the kitchen making birthday specialties. “Don’t come in here! OUT! OUT!” She shooed Daisy away from the kitchen entrance. “Connor, keep her busy somewhere else. I’m not ready for her yet.”

“Let’s go sit in the recliner.” Connor tugged on her hand and she followed him to the living room.

Daisy grabbed her notebook and plopped into the huge lazy boy chair. Connor squished in right next to her and pulled the foot rest lever. “Perfect.”

“I wonder what God would say to me on my birthday?” Daisy leaned back with her finger to her lips. “Hmm… I think I will write a letter, no a poem, from God to me.” She opened her journal, excitedly pondering the possibilities.

Connor smiled at her energy but, “How are ya gonna do that?” His eyebrows raised high at the unusual idea.

“I’m just gonna start writing, and whatever comes… comes.” She looked out the window wistfully searching for her first thought.

Connor yawned. “Okay girl, you go for it. I wanna hear it when you’re done.” He shut his eyes for a little Saturday snoozing.

Daisy wrote:

Dearest Daisy,

Come on out here and let Me see you!

You’re so cute, running around free as a bird!

Others catch the breeze that your free running creates.

They run in your wake… and you… they appreciate.

You have nothing to fear.

I’m watch ‘in out for you, from here!

Just relax and move… cause you are in a good groove!

With Love, Your Heavenly Father

 ***

              “Connor, wake up, wake up, I got it!” She jiggled his arm.

“What’s that, babe?” He drowsily turned to his favorite friend.

With deep, heartfelt excitement she read her new poem aloud. “Do you like it?”

“It’s great.” He rubbed his arms and stretched a bit. “Hmm… I wonder what He’d say to me?”

Daisy held out her pen. “Do you wanna try writing a poem?”

“Naw… ” His eyes roamed the room quickly. “Isn’t your Bible out here somewhere?” He sat up. “Aha, there it is.” He grabbed her Bible off the coffee table and opened it to Matthew 8:23 and read aloud, “The disciples followed Jesus into a boat. Jesus fell asleep. A big storm whooped up and the disciples got scared so they woke Jesus up. Jesus spoke to the storm and it calmed down. When they arrived on land, there were two demon possessed men who wouldn’t let Jesus and his men pass into town. Jesus rebuked the demons and cast them out of the two men. Jesus and his men proceeded to go into town, but the town people came out and asked Jesus to leave. He listened to them and left.”

When Connor finished reading aloud Daisy asked, “So… what is God saying to you?”

He rubbed his chin. “Well, I see lots of things here. I see first that with following Jesus, there might be storms. Second, Jesus can calm storms. Third, Jesus doesn’t listen to demons, he casts them out, and fourth, Jesus did listen to the town people, and he left when they asked him to.

Connor kept on thinking, “Jesus won’t listen to demons, but he will listen to people. If you want Him, He comes. But if you don’t want Him, He leaves.”

Connor and Daisy sat there looking at each other as they chomped on this brand new thought for a while.

“We’ve already asked Him to be with us. He’s here,” Daisy finally concluded.

“Yea, and since He listens to us, I’m put ’in in a request.” He bowed his head, “Dear Lord, please make it easier for Andy and Maria to understand each other and quit fighting, amen.” Connor’s stomach grumbled. “Man, I’m so hungry, let’s go see if Grandma is ready yet.”

The minute the two of them managed to pull themselves out of the gigantic, lazy boy chair they heard Grandma in her sing-song voice, “Dinner is ready!”

“YES!”

***

              After dinner, the door bell rang.

“Happy Birthday!” Maria yelled when Daisy opened the door.

“Come in! Come in!” Daisy excitedly hugged Maria and Andy.

“Here, I got ya something.” Andy handed her a heavy box.

“What’s this?” She returned to the table where Connor and her Grandparents were sitting to open it. “Andy got me something,” she said to those at the table while she studied the wrapping job. “I’m guessing you wrapped this all by yourself, eh Andy?” She giggled as she found a place that wasn’t covered in tape and ripped it open.

“Of course, who else?” Andy plopped down in the chair next to Connor then patted the chair beside him. “Here Care-Bears, sit here.” Maria propped herself on the arm of the chair next to him.

Daisy pulled out an enormous blue candle from the ripped up mess.   “Wow! I’ve never seen one this big before. Where did you get it?”

“Man, that thing is the size of my head!” Connor chuckled.

“My mom got two of ’em for our house.” Andy smiled. “When I saw them I thought of you and I nabbed one for ya.”

“This is your Mom’s?” Daisy kicked his leg. “You’re such a cheap skate!”

“Ow! I asked her first. Besides, that thing will last forever, she doesn’t need two.” Andy pointed at the candle. “That’s your favorite color, right?”

“Yea, but still.” Daisy shook her head like one might do at a small child.

“It says on the sticker that it has an ocean fragrance, and it’s blue.” Andy crossed his arms like he’d said it all but he continued anyway, “I thought of you when I saw it. It’s yours, now show me some love Baby-Day.” He grinned his usual confident grin.

“Oh, alright.” She gave him a quick peck on the cheek. “Thank you.” She took the lighter from the other side of the Birthday cake and lit the huge thing. Everyone was silent as they tried to catch the fragrance. “Hmm… It does have a nice aroma.”

“That’s just what my mom said,” he chuckled. “Now, has the baby had her spankings yet?”

Connor cleared his throat. “Uh, nobody spanks Day but me.”

With humorous smiles Grandma Rose and Grandpa Joe got up from the table and retreated to the den.

“You’re no fun anymore Connor. Remember the good old days when we ganged up on her and chased her all over town?”

“Yep,” he winked at his girl, “But I just started running again.  I can’t catch her any more. She’s too fast.”

“Well I can!” Andy huffed.

“Oh, shut up, Andy.” Daisy put her hands on her hips defiantly. “I’ll just drop this candle on your foot and you won’t be running anywhere for a week.”

“Hey, is that strawberry cake?” Maria interjected. “Can I have some?”

“Sure.” Daisy pulled the cake to their side of the table and started cutting pieces. “Do you want another piece Connor?”

“Course,” he grinned.

Andy elbowed Connor. “Ya know, I need to ask your advice on something.”

“What’s that?”

“I got a package from you know who,” Maria announced as she bit into her cake. “This is really good. Did your grandma make it?”

“No.” Daisy put the knife down and went around to the other side of Connor to sit in the vacant dining chair next to him. “Davis bought it. He was here at dinner but left already.”

Andy cleared his throat. “Excuse me, the cake is great but can we move on to more important things please.” He stuck his hand out to Maria. “Let me show’ em what you got today.”

Maria pulled a brown envelope from her bag and passed it to him.

“Look at this, man.” Andy handed it to Connor.

Connor opened the puffy envelope and pulled out a long, black, rectangular piece of lace with rounded edges. It had one sheet of notebook paper attached to it which he read aloud, “My Mom is Catholic. Aren’t you sort of religious too? The Catholic girls wear these when they go to Mass. Merry Christmas, sorry it is late.”

There was no name, but they all knew who it was from. They stopped eating cake and stared at the odd gift.

After a while, Maria broke the silence with, “I told you he was different.”

“What do you make of it, Connor?” Andy asked seriously.

“Uh, well, Maria did him a favor by visiting his horse. This must be, ya know, some kinda thank you or something.”

“So the guy knows how to say thank you, big deal,” Daisy said in a hushed tone so her grandparents wouldn’t hear her. “We aren’t supposed to have anything to do with him.”

“Did you email him back?” Connor asked.

“Yea.” Andy shrugged. “We just said, thanks for the Christmas gift. That’s it.”

Connor tossed the envelope into Maria’s lap. “I’d get rid of that, if I were you.”

“Come on.” Maria hoped against hope that her friends would see what she saw. “I realize that I was wrong to visit his horse to begin with but don’t you feel anything when you read his note? He’s trying to be nice. Can’t we at least pray for him?”

“I don’t think he is nice,” Daisy stated emphatically. “Gift or no gift, he is not a nice person.”

The word prayer triggered a chord in Connor because of what he’d read in the Bible earlier. “I don’t really share your view of this guy but, uh, I can pray for him.”

“Okay, you lead the prayer then.” Maria waved him on and bowed her head before the others had a chance to disagree.

“Uh, okay. Dear Lord, uh, I know you created all mankind, and, uh, it is Your will that everyone, everywhere know who You are. So, uh, please reveal yourself to Gary Adams in a way that he can understand. I ask you to enter his life right now. And if his family is doing a number on him like Maria thinks then, ya know, take him out of that situation and put him in a safe place so he can have peace and learn to live right, amen.”

Maria was the only one crying at the end of the prayer, but everyone felt better that something had been said to the Lord.

Andy patted her back. “You alright?”

“Yea.” She wiped her eyes. “Thank you, Connor.”

***

              Connor stretched and looked at his girl sitting beside him. “Ya know, Day got her license this morning.”

“She did?” Andy stuck his hand out. “Let me see the mug shot.”

              And that is how Daisy’s Birthday went.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Take your place

Dear Readers,

This time of year things are cooling off… so I’ve been working on my running. Attempting to regain some momentum that was lost during the past, hot, busy months.

I think the track is the easiest place for this.

Some think the track is boring, uneventful.

But that is why I like it. The ground is flat ect. so you can focus on just what you are doing, alone.

The runner, the walker, the baseball, whomever is there…. they are the event, what they are doing is the point of interest.

Later on, when a person builds up strength the challenge of unpredictable terrain and unforeseen conditions seems more inviting I guess. Rightly so. The stronger you are the more challenging you like things to be. Fair enough.

But for myself however, I already have a lot of unpredictability going on in my life. I don’t want it in my “down time” too. Not right now anyway. Maybe later when I build up some more strength. Will see….

Anyhow, what I’ve been doing is alternating walking a lap / running a lap until I hit, 12, 16, or 20 laps, depending on the distance I’m wanting to go.

Yesterday I walked one opening mile first then ran 20 laps in the alternating method of run 2 / walk 1. I wasn’t tired at all when I was done. It was great.

This morning I just walked 1 / ran 1 until I hit 12 laps or 3 miles which ever way you want to say it. I don’t feel tired doing it this way so I have energy to face all the other unpredictable challenges that the day brings.

Key is –> do it

No matter how it is for you

Keep it moving

slow or fast

weak or strong

Take your place

find your pace

Don’t look back

just GO

I’ve also been studying the Hebrew calendar recently. It is kind of like that. There is a day set aside to just remember God’s goodness. Just that. Just remember God’s goodness.

It landed on our September 25th. On that day you just stop and do one thing. Praise God and remember His goodness.

Just like going to the track. You stop everything else and run. That’s it. Nothing else.

Next is The Day of Atonement. It lands on our October 4th. It is the day payment was made for our sins. Down through Hebrew History lambs or bulls were sacrificed yearly for the sins of the community on this day. The whole community would get together and repent. This was why Jesus died on the cross. He became the sacrificial lamb for our sins. No more animal sacrifices, Jesus was it once and for all. He is both our sacrifice and our High Priest. Anyone who calls on His name can be forgiven their sins.

On the Hebrew calendar there was a day set aside for just this. Just atonement. Which means: repentance + sacrifice + pardoning = atonement. It was done yearly.

Now, on any day of the week a person can repent + accept what Jesus did for them on the cross + and be pardoned = be atoned for, be accepted into the family of God.

Anyone at any time can just stop and do it. No waiting for a particular day.

Next would be The Feast of Tabernacle. This year this Feast falls on our October 8 and goes on through the 12th. On these days we are just supposed to hang out with God because He wants to dwell with us. Having awesome fellowship together!

Now how in the world could Jesus have orchestrated His death and resurrection all by himself when so many people were involved?

God did it.

And Jesus, the Son of God, our Savior, the Lamb, obeyed His heavenly Father every step of the way.

No one matches His level of obedience. No one matches His level of holiness.

He now sits at the right hand of the Father making intercession for the saints.

Hebrews 12:1 –> throw off everything that hinders you and run with perseverance the race marked out for you.

Key is –> do it

No matter how it is for you

Keep it moving

slow or fast

weak or strong

Take your place

find your pace

Don’t look back

just GO

It’s better than halloween for sure, Julia French

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Wings

I’ve been thinking about wings….

I saw some random pigeons at the convention center recently.

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I thought it was very sweet how the male strutted around the female.

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He doubled in size when he puffed up his feathers for her.

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The female pretended to ignore his efforts at first.

But eventually she came around.

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Psalm 94: 14

He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Psalm 63: 7-8

Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.

My soul clings to You and Your right hand upholds me.

Malachi 4:2

But for you who revere My Name

the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.

And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Luke 13:34

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,

How often I long to gather your children together,

as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

WINGS

Under His wings, that is where I want to be.

There is a song with that title.

“I just want to be where you are”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfUdm7S7YnI

Have a good week under His wings, Julia French

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Walking and Writing

It’s summer so

Of course I’ve been taking lots of walks in the morning.

On today’s walk I was accompanied by a beautiful fragrance.

The fragrance of  Plumeria flowering trees in full bloom.

Plumeria tree flower

Plumeria tree flower

Plumeria tree flower

Plumeria tree flower

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As far as my writing goes…

The editing of Daisy and Connor’s World continues.

I’m on chapter 48 now.

Daisy and Connor are still moving headlong into their future.

You know what they say…

If you can’t fly, run

If you can’t run, walk

With whatever strength you can muster

move forward

Julia French

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Waiting まてます

Flower name in Japanese is げっと (Ge-To)

Flower name in Japanese is げっと (Ge-To)

 Maybe 14 years I’ve had this Ge-To plant in my garden. Only leaves, no flowers.

たぶん14年 わたしの にわに げっと しょくぶつを ありました。はぱ だけです。はなは いないです。

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On Monday I was watering my garden and I found two flowers on it!

げつよびに わたしの にわに みずを かけました。ふたつ はなが みつけました!

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Yeah! I was so surprised and happy!

わあああああ!びくりです!うれしです!

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 いまは とても ちさい しろいの ばらも ありました。

I also have really tiny white roses now.

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スズラン Lily of the Valley

スズラン Lily of the Valley

Maybe 1 year back I bought this plant but it quickly died.

たぶん1年 まえ これの しょくぶつを かいました。しかし それが はやく しんだ。

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So I put the pot behind the house and forgot about it.

それで ポトを おちの うしろに おきました と それが わすれた。

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On Monday it suddenly had leaves and flowers! Wow! It’s alive!

げつよびに とつぜんに はぱ と はな ありました!びくり!それが いきている!

Until next time, Julia French

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter 43: Running and Driving

“Zzzzzzzzzzz…”

“Wake up boy!” Davis slapped Connor’s feet to make a spot for himself on the side of his son’s bed and sat down.

“What? Am I supposed to be somewhere?” Connor murmured in a groggy tone.

“Not yet, ” Davis bent over to lace up his steel toed work boots, “But later today you and Daisy need to come to work. So wake up.”

“Da-a-a-a-a-d, ” he moaned. “It’s still the holidays. I don’t have to go back to school yet.”

“School holiday yes, work holiday no. Palmer has got its annual New Year’s Eve party come ‘in up. There’s a lot of clean ‘in to do. You two need to be at work at 3 o’clock sharp, got it?”

“Yea. Alright. I got it.” He pulled his pillow up over his head to muffle more moaning as his father left for work. Connor wanted to go running with the gang in the afternoon, everybody was going. Having to be at Palmer by 3 really threw a wrench into his plans.

“Maybe the gang would move the time up and run in the morning instead of the afternoon,” he wondered to himself. “I’ll have to call ‘em and find out.” He got out of bed and shook his sleepy legs. He twisted to the left and then the right giving his back a good crack, “Aaah.” After a few more stretches to get the blood flowing, he started making phone calls to his friends.

It turned out that everyone could make the switch. So at 8 a.m. Connor was knocking on Daisy’s front door. “Hey Day, let’s go girl!”

Daisy said good-bye to her Grandparents and they left for the boardwalk.

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At the boardwalk, Mark held hands with Susan as she chattered on and on about something that had happened to her over the holidays. Andy leaned against the platform railing with one arm loosely across Maria’s shoulders. Grace was to their left, sitting on top of the railing, while Willie leaned up against her, completely satisfied with his comfortable position. Everyone was laughing as Susan told her tale.

The teens were in high holiday spirits but the mood of the boardwalk was very different. Shops were closed for New Years. Except for the Maxwell bunch, the place was vacant. The sky was brooding and heavy with clouds. The water was a dark gloomy grey backdrop behind the chatty circle of friendly kids.

Connor knocked knuckles with Andy, Willie and Mark. “How’s it going, man?”

Andy looked up at the sky. “It’s probably good that we moved our running time up because it looks like it’s gonna storm big time. There’s gonna be no chance to run later on.” Everyone looked up at the dreary sky and nodded their heads in agreement.

Mark punched Connor in the arm. “I heard you got your Dad’s car for Christmas, man! That’s great! How’d ya talk him into that one?”

“I never tried to talk him into it. I think he just got tired of having George drive him to meet Peggy when I had the Firebird. He’s ditch ‘in George. That’s what I think.”

Everybody eyed their companion and grinned with understanding.

“When’s the big day for the happy couple anyway?” Andy asked.

“June 30th,” Daisy answered dreamily then added, “Peggy wants all of us girls to be in the wedding as bride’s maids and she wants you guys to be the ushers. George will be the best man, of course.”

“I like George. He’s a nice guy. He’s been hang ‘in around my Mom a lot. He had dinner with us and Maria on Christmas,” Andy shared.

“He’s pretty cool,” Connor agreed.

“Mom has had too many bad boyfriends. I wish she could settle down with somebody who would be nice to her, like George,” Andy confessed.

Everyone agreed that it was about time a nice guy came into Cindy Victor’s life.

“I think George would be absolutely perfect,” giggled Daisy.

Thunder boomed loudly from a distant place and everybody jumped with excitement at the sudden, untamed sound.

“We better get started,” Mark suggested.

“Yea and don’t stop at the end. Let’s loop around and come back down. Maybe we can miss the down pour,” Andy instructed.

Due to the weather, they skipped stretching out. They took formation quickly, guys on the left and girls on the right and were off.

After a short warm up distance of about a half mile or so, Andy pulled out from the group hollering, “Let’s take it up a few notches! I don’t like getting wet!”

Everyone picked up their pace in unison. A flash back of Grandpa Joe’s military photos popped into Daisy’s mind. She always had thoughts of Grandpa’s military days when her friends ran in perfect sync with each other.

They lifted sober faces, focusing straight ahead now. There was a light, misty drizzle that accelerated into a light shower. The rain gave them an additional reason to run faster. When they hit the end of the boardwalk they circled the center bench and ran straight back the way they came.

“Pick it up guys!” Andy yelled.

The simple shower turned into a drenching down pour.

“We all want to beat the rain but the rain is faster,” Connor thought to himself. Nature always seemed to speak to him and give him ideas about God. It was speaking to him now. “You are fast Connor, but I am faster… race Me. Pull out of formation and race Me.”

Connor pondered the words that he thought he was hearing, then grinned. “Was God wanting to actually race with him? Wow, how cool!” He continued to listen.

Thunder boomed suddenly like the shock of a gun in a race, and Connor automatically took off at top speed. He pulled out of formation and passed Andy without even noticing him. He was now racing with someone else!

Connor’s sudden burst of speed exhilarated Andy and the rest of the gang. They all copied him and pushed to do their best. They stretched, pushed, and pressed to catch him. For the first time ever, Andy could not catch Connor!

They were elated when they finally hit the original starting spot. Running in circles with their hands on their hips, breathing deeply, they slowed down. Turning their faces up into the pouring rain they laughed at their soaking state.

Connor spread his arms out wide. “God likes to run with us!” He yelled with all his youthful strength.

Everyone listened to Connor’s praise as they stared up in awe at the dark, pouring sky.

Andy slapped him on the back. “That was fantastic! How did you do that?”

Connor’s shining, wet face turned in Andy’s direction, noticing him for the first time since the booming crack of thunder told him to go. “I think I heard God say, ‘Race Me!’ So I did!” Uncontrollable laughter burst forth from Connor and he shouted some more. “It was great!” he yelled out to God and all the world around him.

The rest of the group ran around playfully stomping in puddles and chasing each other energetically.

Connor grabbed Daisy around the waist and spun her in circles. They laughed together enjoying the rain until they were out of breath. When he put her down he gave her a traditional victory kiss (No need for the water bottle tradition since she was already sopping wet). Then Connor stood still, just holding her in the rain. He could feel her steady heart beat against his chest. Her heart had a calming effect on him. Finally, he exhaled and relaxed. He turned to his friends, “Well you guys, it’s been great but we have to go. Daisy has driving lessons and then we have to go to work.”

He knocked knuckles with each of his wet friends and they all sloshed through the rain to the cars.

“Hey Connor, since you have this great car now… can you give us a ride to Grace’s house?” Willie grinned hopefully. “We don’t really fit in Maria’s car.”

“Sure, get in.”

Grace and Willie got in Connor’s car. Andy, Mark and Susan got in Maria’s car. Connor dropped Willie and Grace off at Grace’s house. Then he returned to his apartment building with dripping wet Daisy at his side.

“Give me a call when you’re dressed. We’ll go to Shop-Smart and eat in the deli then drive around the parking lot for a little while before work.” Connor kissed the side of Daisy’s head as they parted in the apartment hallway.

“Kay.”

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Daisy and Connor made their way through the holiday shoppers of Shop-Smart to the back of the store where the deli was located. The line was long and the place was crowded but after some time, they managed to order a large sub sandwich and find a booth.

Connor smiled and stuck out his hand. “Let’s pray, babe.”

She took his hand and bowed her head.

“Dear Lord, thank you for this food and this time together. Thank you for Your peace and Your strength. We ask that you help the police catch Mr. Adams soon, amen.” He passed Daisy her half of the sub sandwich and took a giant bite of his half. “Mm… good. I was starving…”

Daisy just held her sandwich with a studied look on her face. “Connor.”

“Hum?” He looked up with chipmunk cheeks full of sandwich.

“God spoke to me too. While we were running…,” she hesitated to continue.

“What’d He say?” Connor stopped eating and stared at her curiously.

“He told me not to be afraid. Why would He say that? I mean, I’m not afraid. So why would he bother to tell me not to be?” She fumbled with her sandwich, unable to decide which end to bite.

“I don’t know,” he took a swig of his tea, “Maybe there’s something come ‘in you don’t know about.”

Daisy’s eyes enlarged. “You think something scary is gonna happen?”

Connor watched Daisy’s expression move from puzzled to alarmed. “Now, you see that?” He pointed his finger at her. “You see how easy you changed your emotion? I just said m-a-y-b-e something was gonna happen in the f-u-t-u-r-e and you’re ready to have a panic attack. How should I know what’s gonna happen?” He shrugged his shoulders. “But no matter what happens, God told you, don’t be afraid.” He went back to his sandwich.

Daisy’s expression moved from alarm back to puzzled again. “Hmm.” She finally took a bite of her sandwich and chewed slowly. After a while she spoke again. “He told you you’re strong.”

“Well actually, He said I’m fast but He’s faster, Race Me.” Connor pushed up his sleeves and proudly displayed his muscles. “Look at those bad boys!” He slapped his biceps. “I’m fast and I’m strong!” At that, Daisy giggled with all her heart. Her outburst gave Connor a huge amount of pleasure. He couldn’t help but laugh too.

When they finished eating they walked back out to the parking lot and Connor tossed her the keys. “Don’t kill me babe, I still got a lot of living to do.” He laughed at his own little joke.

Daisy rolled her eyes as she got in the car.

The Firebird was a standard vehicle, but it had a stick shift between the bucket seats that you used to put it into park or drive or reverse. Connor explained this, and a few other driving tips to Daisy, while she started the engine.

She carefully pulled out of the parking spot and drove around the perimeter of the lot. As her confidence began to build, so did her speed.

Her mounting speed made Connor a little nervous. “Speed bumps, speed bumps, speed bumps coming!” His voice got louder with every word.

Ka-boom!

“Crap, Daisy!”

Daisy ran over some speed bumps going way to fast. After a brief airborne moment the car returned to earth with a gigantic bang. The banging car scared Daisy even more than Connor’s hysterical yelling did. She floored the brakes which caused the car to slide sideways and skid noisily to a halt, leaving a rather long line of black tire tread marks on the pavement.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God,” Daisy chanted, nearly in tears.

“It’ll be okay, babe, everybody does that once,” he assured her as he tried to catch his breath. “But, uh, you have to understand, there is a reason for speed bumps. Whenever you see speed bumps coming, you need to slow down. Okay, babe?”

“Okay, I’m sorry. Should I stop now?” she asked meekly.

“No, no, you can keep going, but just watch out for the speed bumps.” Connor leaned back in his seat and tightened his seat belt.

Daisy drove around the perimeter again, at a snail’s pace this time.

“That’s much better. Why don’t you go down that back road over there?” He pointed to a road shooting out the back.

She drove slowly through the small, quiet, residential area behind the store without incident.

Connor looked at his watch. “You’re doing great. Now go back to the parking lot.”

She did so perfectly.

“You’re not too bad.” He smiled and relaxed a little more. “I think you could drive to work. Why don’t you try?”

Daisy left the parking lot again. She went down the street to the Palmer Company which was just a few blocks away.

When she finally got the car parked exactly the way she wanted, in the middle of the white lines, she looked over at Connor quizzically. “Do you think I could pass a driving test?”

“You did great, but uh, just for confidence sake you should practice a little bit more. Plus you need to learn some of the laws. I’ll have to get you a book for that. Maybe tomorrow, okay?”

“Kay.” She played with the steering wheel and pushed some buttons on the dash. “What do these do?”

Connor laughed at her playfulness while he un-pushed everything she pushed. “This one pops the trunk. This one is the gas tank cover. This one pops the hood.” It suddenly dawned on Connor that there might be more to sharing a vehicle than he had originally thought. “Let’s get inside. Dad’s gonna be look ‘in for us. He says there is a lot of cleaning to do.”

They hopped out of the car. Connor pushed the hood of the car shut then went to the back and shut the trunk on the way inside the Palmer office.

 

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Friendly Walk

A while back I took a walk with a friend of mine.

Neighbor’s Garden

We saw some cleverly put together homemade gardens.

Newly built blue house

We came across an extremely blue house. Obviously newly built. I wonder who will live in such a brightly painted house? It’s a pretty blue, don’t get me wrong, but wow…. I’ve just never seen a house this particular shade. I guess whoever does decide to live here will not have a hard time giving direction. “Come on over for a BQ. Our house the blue one on the hill.”

Blue House on the Hill

I think about you still

As a cool place to chill

With a family around a grill.

You’re bright as bright can be

So friends can find you easily.

“A mile away you can see,

my blue house on the hill.”

Says the happy family.

manicured trees

In this part of the world, people often manicure their trees meticulousness.

Garden fish pond

This house has turned their entire front yard into a fish pond. Saves on mowing the lawn I guess. But then they spend a lot of time trimming the trees too. So I’m not sure which would be easier. Lawn mowing or tree trimming…. hmmmm…..

Papaya Tree

We passed several really good looking Papaya trees.

Chrysanthemum

Rows and rows of Chrysanthemum too. This plant makes very nice tea.

Friendly dog in a pink shirt

On the way home we passed a friendly dog in a pink shirt. She had pleading, ‘come pet me’ eyes. I am too chicken to pet dogs I don’t know so I just took a picture and left it at that.

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Dear Readers,

My walk being done. I’d like to give a little update on Daisy and Connor’s World.

Chapters 1 to 30 have been revised and re-posted.

You can find them by clicking on the Daisy and Connor’s World icon on the right side of your screen.

Revised version of chapters after 30 have not been posted yet. You can read them if you want but they don’t exactly match the first 30 chapters and may cause confusion.

Chapters 1 to 30 = good to go, happy reading.

Chapters after 30 = revision incomplete, read at your own risk.

Have a great day, Julia French

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Butterflies

Dear Friends,

This is just a note to inform you that the edited chapters of Daisy and Connor’s World

have been posted up to chapter twenty-two. Just click on the sunset icon and they will appear. Happy Day, Julia French

Papilio Helenus or Red Helen Butterfly

Papilio Helenus or Red Helen Butterfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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