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"And so ..." Lizzie finished her story, "that's how it was!"
"Oh, I wonder how this will all turn out?" Mandy sighed.
Lizzie loved Monday evenings when she could tell stories about her weekend, interesting bit by interesting bit, to her younger sister Mandy who always listened with wide-eyed admiration. With dinner over and the dishes done, the sisters worked outside with Mam, planting flowers in the new rock garden that Dat had built beside the house. Lizzie mixed peat moss into the topsoil while Mandy set up the rubber garden hose from the water hydrant by the barn.
Spring had arrived, filling the days with warm, mellow sunshine. Buds burst forth from the maple tree in the front yard, and even the old walnut tree beside the sidewalk shone with a light green mist which, if Lizzie looked closely, was actually thousands of tiny green buds erupting from the dark branches. The swollen creek churned on its relentless way to the river, already muddy brown from all of the April showers. Little green shoots emerged from moist brown earth, stretching through the blanket of wet, decaying leaves.
During the warm days, Dat worked the horse hard, preparing the soil for another crop. Clyde, the big workhorse, was back in the harness, still bouncing around as if he had springs in his legs, but now he was settled down enough to pull his share of the plow.
In the evenings, barn swallows dipped and whirled through the air like little acrobats, chirping their evening song as they caught mosquitoes for their baby birds in the mud nests inside the horse barn.
"Ach, Lizzie, you're still so young. I wouldn't get too serious about either Amos or Stephen or too worried about Ruthie. You have plenty of time to run around yet. Besides, more importantly, you need to pray about this," her older sister Emma said, as she gently pushed the porch swing back and forth with her foot.
Lizzie flicked some dust off her black bib apron, adjusted the navy blue sleeve of her dress, and shivered. The cool evening breeze reminded her of the evening before when she had paddled across the pond with Amos, handsome Amos, who had always paid more attention to her friend Ruthie than to her until last night. Everything had been perfect until Stephen appeared as they were pulling the boat to shore.
One moment she had felt warm and a little confused as she watched Amos tie up the canoe. The next moment, Stephen had stepped beside her and told her she was the prettiest thing he had ever seen.
Lizzie shook her head and snorted impatiently. Something about Stephen bothered her. They had become friends, real friends, in the year since his family moved to Lamont County. But even though Lizzie saw him every weekend, she never quite felt like she knew what he thought about her. He was too quiet, not as outgoing and funny as Amos or her Uncle Marvin, and sometimes she caught him watching her as if he knew something more than even she knew about herself. He bugged her!
Besides, how could she know that Stephen liked her in that way? Maybe he didn't really. He was just teasing her, or he thought she was pretty but nothing more. Or what if he wished he hadn't said anything to her now? She certainly wished he hadn't because she felt all mixed up inside.
"Emma, I do pray. You know I'm not as scared of God as I used to be. And you have nothing to say. How old were you when you started dating Joshua? Huh? How old?" Lizzie turned her head and squinted teasingly at Emma.
Emma reached down and playfully pulled at Lizzie's dichly, the little kerchief on her head. Lizzie grabbed the top of her head to stop her, but Emma was too fast, and she snatched it and flung it over the porch railing.
"You should have a real worthwhile project in your life like drawing, crocheting, embroidering ..."
Lizzie pretended to gag, and Mandy threw her head back, whooping and laughing. Emma may enjoy crocheting and embroidering, Lizzie knew, but not she or Mandy.
"I know what I would like to do more than anything in the whole world!" Lizzie said.
Mandy and Emma looked at each other, rolled their eyes, and said simultaneously, "Teach school!"
"Yup. That's right. Teach school," Lizzie said.
They had often listened to Lizzie's vivid accounts of what her classroom would look like, her methods of discipline, her way of teaching, the songs the children would sing, and on and on until both of her sisters became quite weary of listening and started to tease her. It wasn't that they scoffed at the idea of Lizzie teaching. It just seemed a bit improbable to them that the very proper school board would even think of asking 17-year-old Lizzie to teach school.
"But Lizzie," Mandy protested, "you're too young."
"And too fancy," Emma finished soberly.
"What do you mean?" Lizzie wailed. "I'm not fancy!"
"You're way too fancy with your hair, your clothes, your covering. The school board will not ask a girl like you to teach," Emma said quite matter-of-factly.
"I'm not fancier than any other girl in our entire church," Lizzie argued.
"Well, you could wet your hair down and roll the sides more sleekly. You often look so ... well, I hate to say 'sloppy,' Lizzie. Maybe you'd like it better if I used the word 'fancy,'" Emma said.
"The school board shouldn't judge me by my hair," Lizzie said, her hands on her hips.
"They don't really, Lizzie. But ... well, I don't know quite how to describe it."
Lizzie plopped down beside Emma on the swing. The chain of the porch swing creaked against the hooks in the ceiling as they swung silently together. Across the lawn, the girls' twin sisters, KatieAnn and Susan, were playing in the freshly mowed grass by the clothesline, while Dat whistled as he swept the horse barn floor with his wide broom. The sun was sinking behind the hills in a grand show of yellow, orange, and red. Streaks of dark blue and lavender made the colors seem almost like heaven, Lizzie thought.
Mam clapped her hands, brushing off the dirt as she straightened her back. Lizzie eyed her newly planted petunias. The old farm had been vastly improved in many different ways since they had moved in. It was their home now, and a cozy, homey one which Lizzie had learned to love with all her heart. Her heart always sang when she returned home to Mam's comfy kitchen, whether she had been at work or coming home from running around during a weekend in neighboring Allen County.
Lizzie truly yearned for only one thing now, and that was to become a real teacher. So if the school board thought she needed to change some things about her dress, she would. She knew there was nothing else in all the world she wanted to do more than be a teacher, so she would show them she could be a plain, old-maidy kind of person, quiet, sober, and very, very mature for a 17-year-old. She made a mental note of who was on the school board, wondering how she could persuade them that she was capable of doing the job.
Lizzie could still remember her first day of school. Emma was six years old then, and Lizzie was only five. Actually, Lizzie was almost too young to go to school, but Mam wanted the two girls to start together. They were only a little over a year apart in age, so she thought it was good for them to start first grade the same year.
On that first day, when the little white one-room schoolhouse came into view, Lizzie's heart had done a complete flip-flop. There was a porch and a fence with a gate that was pulled open. A horse shed and two outdoor bathrooms stood in a corner of the schoolyard. There were already lots of children at school, and Lizzie felt very afraid.
Emma said, "Good morning," to the teacher, but not very loud. Lizzie didn't say anything. She had just stared at the teacher. She was very thin with a long black dress. Her forehead was wide, and she wore glasses, and her white covering was bigger than Mam's. She looked friendly enough, but she also looked scary. Lizzie wondered if she spanked little first-graders. She looked like she could really spank.
"Come, girls, we'll find your seats," the teacher said. "You'll find your name written on a piece of tape. Let's see if you can find your seats. Can you write your own name?"
Emma nodded her head. Lizzie was too shy to do anything except walk along under that hand on her shoulder. It had seemed so far across the classroom, and she felt like many pairs of eyes were staring at her. She hoped her dress was buttoned properly and that her bob was not falling down.
Lizzie squirmed a little to make herself more comfortable on the slippery varnished seat. She tucked her legs underneath, and her new shoes crinkled at the toes. Teacher Sylvia handed out blue songbooks to some of the children.
"Now we're going to take turns picking songs," she said. The singing started and welled in the room, growing louder and louder. Lizzie bit her lip, trying hard not to feel lonely.
"My Lord, what a morning, My Lord, what a morning, My Lord, what a morning, When the stars begin to fall."
On and on the children sang, and lonelier and lonelier Lizzie became. She tried to think of happy things, of good things to eat, and of silly things, but the huge lump in her throat only grew bigger. She looked down and bit her lip, shuffling her feet, but the lump in her throat would not go away. She glanced at Emma, and Emma smiled a weak smile, trying to cheer her up.
In that moment, huge, wet tears coursed down Lizzie's cheeks, and a harsh sob escaped her bitten lips. She was soon crying uncontrollably, wishing she could go home to Mam before the stars fell and the end of the world came. Wouldn't it be awful if the stars fell from the sky and she was in school and Dat and Mam were at home?
Emma took Lizzie's hand and tugged gently. Lizzie followed Emma across that big expanse of schoolroom to the door while the singing went on. Emma led her across the porch and down to the little outdoor bathroom. They huddled together while Emma tried to console Lizzie in earnest tones.
"Lizzie, it's okay. What's wrong?"
Lizzie cried horribly. She couldn't tell Emma about the deep black loneliness she felt when they sang that song. So she just shrugged her shoulders, and Emma wiped her eyes and told her to be quiet. She said Lizzie would have to be a good girl and grow up now and not cry in school. Lizzie gulped and choked and nodded her head. She would be all right, she assured Emma. And much to Lizzie's surprise, she really was.
And soon she learned to love school, in spite of sad songs.
The next morning when Lizzie combed her hair, she made sure it was all put up neatly in an orderly fashion. Dat looked at Lizzie once, then followed up with closer scrutiny before he gave Mam a bewildered look.
Mam checked Lizzie's neat attire, her covering pulled forward to cover her carefully combed hair. Lizzie's eyebrows were raised in a quite pious expression, her eyes downcast in her Herculean effort at humility.
Mam's eyes met Dat's and she shrugged her shoulders. Dat cleared his throat.
"Well, Lizzie, to what do we owe this change of heart you're displaying?"
Lizzie looked up at Dat, her eyes as meek and docile as a sheep's.
"Oh, the girls told me if I want to be a schoolteacher, I need to mend my ways. I mean, comb my hair more severely and act more responsible. How do I look?" she asked, batting her eyelashes demurely.
Mam sputtered. She made a brave attempt to keep from laughing, but in the end her shoulders shook until she gave up helplessly. Dat looked a bit stern, then seeing Mam wiping her eyes, he laughed with her.
When Emma came down the stairs, she was startled to hear everyone laughing so early in the morning until she saw Lizzie's hair and covering.
"Oh, my goodness!" she gasped.
Lizzie was a bit insulted to see everyone laughing at her real effort to appear grown up and responsible.
"Well, go ahead and laugh then," she said.
"We weren't laughing at you, Lizzie. But you are laying it on a bit thick," Dat said. "After all, Lizzie, you have to be yourself. You can't purposefully turn yourself into a whole other sort of person. I do admire you for dressing more respectfully, but I have a good feeling about the school board. If they know you truly want to teach school, they'll be kind enough to give you a try. I'm pretty sure they will."
"Of course, they will," Mam agreed.
Lizzie sighed. It was almost unbelievable that Dat actually thought the school board would ask her to teach! In this community there was only one school for Amish and Mennonite students, and as far as Lizzie knew, its teacher was getting married in the fall. That meant they would need a new teacher, and she knew of no one else who wanted the job. So maybe ... just maybe ...CHAPTER 2
The next Sunday, Lizzie dressed quite soberly. During church, she sang along with the congregation, singing quite purposefully, listening to the preacher with no fidgeting or whispering. She wanted the men on the school board to think she was a mature young woman, capable of teaching in the fall. She knew that the responsibility and seriousness of teaching could be completely overwhelming, which, really, sometimes if she thought about it, was about as frightening as ... well, as lots of things about the unknown.
Emma was very supportive, always being positive when they talked about it. She even told Lizzie that she thought she would be a teacher herself someday, but the way things were turning out, she just didn't know if that would happen. Lizzie knew exactly why Emma didn't seriously pursue teaching. It was because she still held the dream of being married soon. She probably thought that if she didn't commit herself to teaching, Joshua would ask her to marry him.
After services were over, Lizzie helped the other single girls carry trays of bread and pies, ham, soft cheese spread, pickles, and red beets to the long tables where the traditional Sunday dinner was served. She caught sight of Stephen standing on the other side of the room, laughing at something Uncle Marvin had said. Stephen smiled at her and Lizzie's heart sped up. But when Uncle Marvin turned to see who had caught Stephen's attention, Lizzie ducked her head and walked away.
Dat was talking with an unfamiliar man who looked to be about his age. Lizzie wondered if he was part of the Beiler family who had recently moved to the area. She remembered that Dat mentioned one evening at the supper table that this Jonas Beiler was pushing for the development of an Amish school board to help the Mennonites run the local school.
"Who's that?" she asked Emma.
Emma smiled and shrugged.
"I don't know," she said.
Lizzie sighed and went on with her duties, hoping with all her heart that she was making a good impression.
By the next week, Lizzie had almost forgotten about impressing the school board with her good behavior. She was so busy working as a maud for a local family, and her days and evenings were full of spring cleaning and planting. She didn't have time to worry about teaching school. Mandy said they probably wouldn't ask her anyway, because she was only 17 years old. Lizzie quickly reminded her that she would be almost 18 in the fall, and that was plenty old enough to teach school.
She was upstairs cleaning her closet one warm evening, just as the birds were twittering their good-night songs, when the door of her room burst open.
"Lizzie, get down to the kitchen! The school board is here!" Mandy hissed.
Lizzie dropped the dress she was holding, her mouth open in disbelief. "The real school board?"
Lizzie felt her heartbeat accelerate, and the color drained from her face. Quickly she dashed to the mirror, checking her hair and covering before she nervously wiped a few fuzzies from her apron. She could think of nothing, absolutely nothing to say. For some reason it felt as if they were there to spank her, like she was still a little girl who had done something mischievous in school, and the stern-faced school board had come to tell her what her punishment was going to be.
Her knees hardly supported her as she went slowly down the stairs, clutching the sides of her covering, checking that it covered part of her ears. Who knew? They might change their minds if she didn't look too fancy.
In the kitchen, Dat and Mam sat at the kitchen table with three men. Lizzie recognized Jonas Beiler from his conversation with Dat at church. The other two men, Elam Glick and Elmer Esh, had lived in the community much longer, and Lizzie knew them well. In one glance, Lizzie could see that Mam was nervous because her hands were closed with her thumbs tucked under her fingers. That's what Mam always did when she was worried about something.
Excerpted from When Strawberries Bloom by Linda Byler. Copyright © 2010 Good Books. Excerpted by permission of Good Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted January 29, 2014
Posted November 22, 2012
Action caputure = fun. This is your future story. Love kittypets patrols hide fright= boorrrinnnggg . This is your present story . Wheres the drama ? Wheres the action ? Plz take this advise . Otherwise great grammer and setting . Add action . Ivyteller greenclaw sparklestar spirtleaf savhannah .
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Posted November 22, 2012
It's really good!! Great grammar and spelling, and good lenght. However, I too think you could use a bit more background on your charecters. Otherwise, it's great!! Read my story at "old woods" all results!! ~ L&K
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Posted November 22, 2012
"Get off me!" The young red colored she cat squealed. "I think I'm comfortable where Im at right now!" The tom replied. His amber eyes gleamed in happiness as the young she cat, called Berry, pushed him off of her. "You know something?" He asked. "What?" She asked. "I love you! I don't care what anyone thinks... you're the right she cat for me!" He purred as he gazed into her green eyes. "I love you too!" She purred. He then stood up suddenly, his amber eyes alert as he looked around and peered outside the den. "What's wrong?" The she cat asked as she got up. Her plump belly growled and she mewed "We aren't in trouble, are we?" He kept looking outside and took a step outside and said "Im afraid so, we have to get moving... there's a patrol coming. We have to get moving now, or they'll take us prisonor and we have no chance of escape if that happens, believe me my sister was captured by a clan patrol one day... I mever saw her again." The red she cat scanned the outside her green eyes shone with worry. She smelled like a kittypet but the tom smelled of forest and pine. He motioned for her to follow as he then led them out. The sky was a pitch black with a sliver of moon and no stars. "Excellent. They won't be able to spot us as easily." The tom, who was called Tiger, said. " But where will we go? We could always go to my twoleg's nest... we could eat and they might even let you stay." She suggested. "No! Im not a kittypet any longer!" He spat, his amber eyes blazed with fury. Then they settled. "Sorry, Berry. I love you, but its just... I can't return to my old life. I have to move on." He apologized. "Its okay." She meowed quietly. She followed him as they crossed through a stream and soon he found a den for the two of them. It was Windclan territory, but it was a den connecting to the tunnels, so they'd be safe. "We can spend the night here, for now." He meowed and paded in. She followed him in…
End of chapter one! Next chapter is in the next result and so on!!!! Please leave comments and say how I could improve my story. Thanks! The writer!
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Posted November 22, 2012
Posted November 10, 2010
When Strawberries Bloom is the second book in the Lizzie Searches for Love series by Linda Byler.
In this book our main character Lizzie seems a bit more mature, we don't hear nearly as much about the things that she hates. Instead she is seventeen and really wants to become the next schoolteacher at the Mennonite school where she had been a student and her siblings still attend. She knows that she would be a great teacher, but she isn't sure what the school board will think, could they possibly give her a chance to prove herself?
Lizzie has always been a worrier and now her dad's health is in question, he has been having some issues with his eyesight and and his health in general is failing some. She becomes worried about what will happen if he can no longer run the farm, her younger brother, Jason, has been taking on more of the responsibilities of the farm but with him not being quite 16 there is no way that he can do it alone. If the health issues with her dad are as serious as she thinks, will they be able to earn a living from the farm?
Emma, Lizzie's older sister becomes engaged and married in this book and Lizzie still hasn't had a date, even though Stephen has shown some interest in her, she just can't seem to figure out the dating thing, will she ever marry or is she destined to become an old maid?
I really felt like this book was much better written, even though the story doesn't always flow as smoothly as it could, with time lines sometimes being a bit confusing, it still was a very enjoyable read. I really felt as if Lizzie had matured quite a bit from the last book, although she still sometimes reverts back to her rebellious ways, once she realizes that her biggest problem is not listening to and submitting to God's will, she starts getting control of her temper. Without giving to much away I felt that there was one issue that was totally left hanging, when she slaps a child at school, I was sure that there would be repercussions from that, but it wasn't dealt with at all, it was like once she told her mom, it was forgotten.
The author includes several more fantabulous recipes in this book as well, and also includes a glossary for the Amish words used in the book. This book really shouldn't be read unless you have read the first in the series, because I think a reader may feel lost with some of the things going on. Even though this is a book is written more for pre-teens and teens, I really enjoyed reading it and can't wait to read the next book in the series titled Big Decisions, due out March 2011.
Even though I was provided a review copy by FSB media, thanks Julie, it in no way influenced my opinion of this book!
Posted October 21, 2010
Lizzy was a but shy around boys and had never had a date. She was seventeen and wanted to be the next
school teacher in the Mennonite school where she had gone and her siblings were still going. But she was only seventeen and would the school board think she was too young? She just knew she could be the best teacher they could choose. Lizzy love Mondays as she and her sister Mandy could talk about all that happened over the week end. Her oldest sister Emma was already engaged and knew what she wanted out of life.
Lizzy liked boys but they never liked her back, she always choose those that had other girls in mind. But Stephen really liked her and she just though of him as a friend. She started to teach school and loved every minute of it until they build a new school and she had more students then the older boys started to give her some trouble.
Mandy Lizzy's younger sister already had a steady boyfriend and she was only sixteen, what was wrong with Lizzy? She was so jealous of the girls that always got the boy she liked, but maybe she was not looking in the right place. Her Mama told her that God always knew what was best and she would know when the right one came along.
The school board had some to her school to observe her and the students then they asked her to be the teacher the next year. What will Lizzy decide? Will she continue to teach school or will she give up that dream so that her wish for a husband and family can come true. In the Amish schools the women teachers could not be married, so they had a choice to make.
Great book and it was sent to me Julie at FBA Associates for review.
Posted August 23, 2013
No text was provided for this review.