A Christmas Story-‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

by Dr. Carrie Wachsmann

(inspired by a true event) Originally posted December, 2015. Some stories are simply worth repeating.

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old,

From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.

‘Peace on the earth, good will toward men’,

from heaven’s all gracious King!

The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.” 

Christmas music gently filled the little coffee-house. Unlike the carol heralding a ‘midnight clear’, this night was everything but. Snow fell fast and thick.

In the corner, a young man sat alone.


The young man © 

He looked out the window and watched as the last patron of the night plowed their way out of the parking lot.

“Young man, we’re closing.”

He nodded, put on his coat and made his way to the exit. He looked to be about fourteen, fifteen at the most.

As the door closed behind him, the cold quickly bit into his face and hands.  He pulled his collar up close to his face.

“Do you have a ride?” a voice called to him.

The young man turned to see someone standing in the shadows of the building.

”No, I’m good,” he answered firmly.

The man persisted. “I’m not so sure about that. It’s Christmas eve. Shouldn’t you be home with your family, sitting by the fire and enjoying hot chocolate, or something?”

The lad shrugged his shoulders as if to say… yah, so what. Who cares anyway.

The man stepped out of the shadows.


The old man © 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 2 – Carrie  ©] 

The young man saw that he was an old man. Old enough to make him wonder what someone this old was doing out in a snow storm at this hour of the night.

The old man continued. “Where you’re headed… it is not worth it… You do have options you know.”

The young man was beginning to feel somewhat uncomfortable. He stared at the old man not sure what to make of the encounter.

“How do you know where I’m headed?” he finally asked.

“I know that place, under the bridge.” The old man continued.  “You won’t find what you’re really looking for out there. Running away isn’t the answer.”

Now the young man paused.

How did this old man know that he was going to that “homeless place” where he might make it through the night?

Maybe if he was lucky someone would share their Christmas “spirits” with him.

And how did this old man know that he was running away?

The old man smiled knowingly and said. “I’ve been young and now I am old…but I have never seen God’s children forsaken”… The old man talked so strange…and yet he was most compelling.

“I know a place.  A place where you can get a hot bowl of homemade soup, and a good night’s sleep.”

“Follow me,” the old man continued.


The mysterious old man leads the way © 

“‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” 3 – Carrie  ©

The old man began to make his way through the deep drifts of snow. The young man hesitated but only for a second or two. “Man…what do I have to lose,” he mumbled.

He began to follow in the old man’s footsteps.

After some time, the old man stopped at a building with a sign that read, “The Welcome Home Centre”.  He turned to the young man. “They will take care of you.  You can stay as long as you wish.” Then he paused, looked the boy in the eyes and added, “God loves you, you know. He’s got plans for you”.

The young man did not know what to think. No one had ever talked to him like this before.

They stood in silence and waited.

Eventually a pleasant sort of man answered the knock on the door. The young man’s last bit of resistance melted away as he breathed in a blast of warm fragrant air. He smelled something wonderful.

“Come in… welcome,” the man said sincerely.

“I…ah..need a place to hang till this storm’s over,” the young man said, hesitantly.

“You’ve come to the right place then,” came the reassuring answer.

The young man sighed.

He turned and started to thank the old man but no one was there.

“That old man, who was here with me. He brought me here. He was just here,” the bewildered young man exclaimed .

“I didn’t see anybody but you, lad,” came the answer.

“But he was here, I followed him here. He told me about you…he knew stuff about me…he…”

Bewildered, the young man took one last look out into the white night. He saw only lonely, empty  streets and a fast disappearing single set of footprints that lead to The Welcome Home’s front porch.

footprints in the snow

Putting a kind hand on the young man’s shoulder the man at the door said, “It’s not the first time this sort of thing has happened son. “I do believe you.  Come…I want to hear all about it.”

It’s now midnight and that brings our 2015 Christmas eve story to an end.

Yes, this young man’s life was changed forever that Christmas eve.

What will this Christmas bring you?

Will you let God’s love bring you a miracle this Christmas?

I wish for you, a life-changing kind of Christmas.

One that you will remember forever because it was…well…life changing.

You can find me on Facebook here:  – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

& here: Roadblocks to Hell – book

Fireside Reads for Book Lovers

When it comes to Christmas, books and gift-giving go together like a cozy fire and a cup of hot chocolate.

Being a book lover/storyteller/writer, I’ve got a few fireside book suggestions.

Like me, you probably have a bookworm or two in your life. You can’t go wrong with the gift of a good book.

Beware… you are about to enter the world of mystery, adventure and fantasy. You’ll find books for the young and books for the not-so-young; mostly books for the young at heart.

Good Read suggestion #1 – Finding Christmas – A Mouse in Search of Christmas

Finding Christmas - A Mouse in Search of Christmas
Casey, a brave and handsome country mouse embarks
on a wild, winter adventure to find Christmas.
You are bound to be captivated by this charming little warrior mouse

and his best friend Bella.
Available on Amazon – in Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2qZRTLh
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com


Good Read Suggestion #2 – Newfies to the Rescue

Newfies to the Rescue is filled with intriguing stories of the Newfoundland dog –
both tales of yesteryear and tales of today.
Did you know the course of world history may have been changed had it not been for the lifesaving instinct of the Newfie?
You’ll find many extraordinary events recorded in history involving the Newfoundland dog in this little book.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/35F45Qu
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com




Good Read Suggestion #3 – The RYDER – A Fantasy adventure for the young at heart

What does one teacher have to say about The RYDER?
“My class read The RYDER and no one wanted the adventure to end.
It’s a captivating novel with a fast-paced plot and dramatic action which teaches life-changing lessons that only he (The Ryder)
can teach to the story’s three-dimensional characters.”
April P.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2rCATuM
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com


Good Read Suggestion #4 – Treasure Trap – a sequel to The RYDER

What started out as a sunny afternoon horseback ride for Jessica and David
turned into the search for a young boy they spot in the distance,
beckoning them to follow him.
As they attempt to keep up with him, they end up in an ice-cold, winter field

thousands of miles and a hundred twenty years from Grandpa’s farm.

This time-traveling adventure takes Jessica and David to the village of Skrytyy, where wicked, foreign-language speaking strangers have cast a spell over an entire valley; all for the love of a hidden and priceless treasure.

Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2OV4yHz
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com


Good Read Suggestion #5 – Roadblocks to Hell

Fiction based on a true story.
How Walther Colt survives the cruel, callous and cold-blooded convicts of a Federal Pen,
with the help of an unlikely ally.

A must-read redemptive, true crime story.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/35XhIe7
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com



Good Read Suggestion #6 – KickStart to a Healthier You

Kickstart to a Healthier You – Body, Soul, and Spirit
P
erhaps you’ve already been working at improving your health,

or perhaps this is your first real introduction to a healthier way of life.
Either way, this book will help you gain valuable knowledge and practical advice.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is well worth the effort, so why not start today.

Easy healthy recipes included.
Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/35H3EoG
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com



Good Read Suggestion #7 – Chuzzle’s Incredible Journey

Chuzzle, a young, adventurous porcupine, with many endearing qualities,
embarks on a dangerous journey to find his dear friend Whuzzle.
He must travel past the Little Stream, through the Deep Forest,

beyond the Blue Pond, and up the giant Big Hill.
He will encounter many kinds of dangers along the way.
Chuzzle invites you to join him on his incredible journey as he bravely leaves the safety of his home and enters the mysterious unknown.

Available on Amazon – Kindle or Paperback
https://amzn.to/2OyYMMU
Or contact the publisher – 1.866.533.4896
or purchase on Treasurebookstore.com

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin

The Hayloft

Feature image (2015): Grandpa’s barn doorway which leads to the stairs and the hayloft. Cats and kittens are welcome on the farm. They even have their own ladder and window entry for their safety and convenience.

Are you a fellow boomer who remembers the thrill of playing in the hayloft; climbing up the stacks of bales, jumping off and flying through the air, landing in a pile of prickly hay?

In 1984, a lovely “spinster,” who was my favorite Sunday School teacher and who often shared her treasure of books from her personal library with me, organized and put together a book called Horndean Heritage. I was asked to submit a special memory that reflected our little country pumpkin town.

I chose to write about grandpa’s hayloft…

The Hayloft

“Little Carrie struggled with the heavy barn door, leaning against it, and then pushing with her whole body. Slowly the massive piece of hardwood creaked open, groaning and complaining as if it did not want to be wakened so early in the morning. Carrie wrinkled her freckled nose in distaste as a strong whiff of warm, pungent barn air hit her full in the face. She stepped inside and scampered up the worn, creaky stairs to the hayloft. Ahh! The sweet fragrance of fresh hay greeted her as she reached the top stair.

A beam of bright sunlight streaked across the center of the otherwise dusky room, revealing particles of dust floating lazily. Bales stacked up to sixteen feet high lined the sides of the hayloft, and in the center of the room was a large pile of yellow hay. Carefully, Carrie clambered to the top of a stack of bales and looked down. Even though she had done this many times before, she still hesitated just a little, and her heart still fluttered just a little faster than usual.

Memory of Grandpa’s Hay loft©

Then she jumped. Her body flew downward gracefully. Her stomach took off on a flight of its own, like a bird swooping through the sky. She sucked in a mouthful of air and held it there. Then she hit the yielding prickly mountain of hay and sank deeply into it. Carrie lay there for just a moment, looking high above her at the vast ceiling with its great curved beams.

A few seconds of leisure and the itch became unbearable. Carrie scrambled out of the hay and began picking the straw off her body. It always seemed to find its way under her shirt and behind her trousers, in her hair and even in her socks. She brushed the last straws from her hair and stuck one in her mouth, thinking how much it tasted like the chamomile tea her mother often gave her before bedtime.

Carrie turned towards the open loft door when suddenly she tripped over a very irate brown and white speckled laying hen. She squawked and screeched and flapped her wings wildly, as she scurried away in fear, or perhaps exasperation and anger at all the commotion. Carrie was rather frightened herself and let out a surprised yell as she stumbled to the floor.

Then she saw the eggs. Carefully she slipped one into each pocket of her trousers, thinking how pleased Grandma would be when she gave them to her. Carrie looked out the loft door and waved to her grandfather who was feeding the pigs. He waved back and smiled, telling her not to come to close to the edge and to be careful.

Hayloft door where Carrie would sit and hang her feet off the edge ©

Here was the place Carrie liked best when she wanted to be alone. She would sit and dangle her feet off the edge and watch the world from a different perspective. She bent down to do just that when…crunch!

Yuk!… she had forgotten about the eggs!”

Published in Horndean Heritage, 1984 – Carrie Wachsmann

Storyteller’s Toolbox Creative Writing Course

Keeping the Art of Storytelling Alive

IF…

you would like to learn how to tell a good story…

or

you have stories you would like to pass on to your children or grandchildren…

or

you would like to publish your stories…

or

you are ready to enjoy the energizing and healing components of storytelling…

This course is for YOU…

Most people have stories to tell
Everyone loves to hear a good story

Where & When?

Dates: April 2 – June 4, 2019 (10 weeks)
Time: Tuesdays 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Location: 2631 Cyril Street, Abbotsford, BC
Instructor: Dr. Carrie Wachsmann

Contact information: drwin@chariscollege.ca http://chariscollege.ca/school-of-creative-arts/

604-852-3761

In this course you will:
• Learn good storytelling techniques
• Learn the basics of good writing
• Learn how to write a captivating story
• Learn about book publishing
• Learn about social media


Why is Storytelling so important?
• Good storytelling is a great way to leave a legacy
• Good storytelling is energizing & healing for the soul
• You get to share your stories with your children or grandchildren who can pass them on
• Stories are one way to pass on the nuggets of gold you’ve gleaned along life’s journey

How Much does it cost?

Cost : $250 special price – regular price $350

Note: Fragrance-free – for the health & comfort of people with sensitivities

Outhouses I Have Known

It may not have WiFi, but it gets the job done

Outhouses are interesting. Mostly, they are interesting because they bring back memories.

The most interesting of memories would be the ones connected to 30 degrees below weather, dead of winter, 8:30 PM…and it’s not only “cold outside” it’s dark outside.

My siblings and I pack on our warm parkas, wool mittens and wool lined high-top boots. Our little legs make their way down the snow-packed narrow path to… you guessed it… the outhouse, our bedtime ritual.

Not something I particularly looked forward to.


I am certain you can imagine what the worst part of that memory would be! 

A typical pit latrine outhouse, popular in Southern Manitoba in by gone days ©

Another interesting outhouse memory is connected to Halloween. Halloween in the country had its own terror. The naughty boys of the town would rampage the neighboring homes and tip over all their outhouses. All except for ours. My Dad was very proud of his outhouse construction – the one outhouse in the village left standing after the day was done. One year, an unlucky outhouse owner discovered his privy on the roof of the local auto mechanic’s shop!

In the country, outhouses remained the toilet of the house, long after city folks hooked up to the modern indoor flush toilet system.

In fact, today I can go to a friend’s farm right here in Abbotsford, and if I have the hankering, I can use one of her outhouses – she has not one, but two – two of the prettiest outhouses I’ve known.

Outhouse #1 – The Little Red outhouse – charming ©
Outhouse #2 – pink and lime – cozy! Even a window to enjoy the scenery.

One, brightly painted red, the other, dusty rose. I step inside the red one and notice the decor. A lace curtain covers a small window. The seat – varnished hardwood. Framed pictures of roosters and such, grace the walls. And there’s plenty of soft toilet paper rolls. 

I step back outside where I find a container of water, a basin, soap and a towel. How convenient is that?

These two outhouses have been the source of healing from those past chilling memories of years gone by.

©

Silverton, BC, and here we find a rugged, well-used and worn out outhouse; one which has seen some interesting times I’m sure. The door is broken and some of the weathered gray boards are missing… I suppose in a pinch, it could still do the job.

Outhouses had more than one purpose. I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows someone who, hoping to avoid a chore or two, disappeared into the simple structure to read a few pages of a mystery novel. 

pencil sketch

Enough of that… “I have to go see a man about a dog,” as my uncle would say when he had the urge to visit the outhouse.  Carrie Wachsmann ©


Set the Scene and You Set the Mood

Why is the setting in your story important?

 

Your characters need a time and place in which to move. The setting answers the “when” and the “where” of your story, giving it a frame of reference. This adds authenticity and credibility to your storytelling.

When you “set the scene,” you “set the mood,” the atmosphere.

 

Spooky scene Creative Commons https://pxhere.com/en/photo/744081

 

Creepy and spooky

is quite different from

sunny with ocean salt-air and sandy beaches.

A setting in the country

offers vastly different opportunities and possibilities

then one in the city.

 

 Since October is Halloween month, let’s work on a spooky kind of setting.

 

Creepy crow – Creative Commons  https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1215912

 

Fatigued and fighting fear, I followed the mostly hidden pathway through the misty forest glades. Perhaps it would take me back to the familiar.

I have no idea how long I had been struggling to find my way. In the early hours of the morning, I came upon a quaint and rather strange little cottage. Relief and then apprehension washed over me. How odd. Something one might find in a Grimm’s fairy tale, I mused. It had a spooky charm about it. The faded wood and moss-filled roof gave it plenty of character, and it was surprisingly well-kept.

The warm, flickering candlelight cast an eerie glow through several stained glass windows. I stopped for a moment, transfixed by their ethereal beauty.

My skin began to tingle. The cottage was inviting in many ways, but my instincts warned me to enter with caution.

 hdwallpaperup.com – /fantasy-girl-house-land-wallpaper/

I really have no choice, I reasoned. The glow from a hanging lantern guided me to the entrance. I’m lost and cold. I’m hungry, I’m tired, not to mention, scared. At that point, I realized I was more scared of being lost than of what I might encounter behind the creepy door.” 

Carrie Wachsmann ©

Book Illustrations from Children’s Book on Asthma

Dr. Donna Matlach’s children’s book titled, Phoebe the Pug Asks, “Is My Asthma Changing” is soon to be published.

 

I had a lot of fun creating some 20+ illustrations for Dr. Matlach’s first educational book.

 

Because Donna has severe asthma, she knows first-hand the challenges and barriers that people with asthma face. She hopes this book encourages a meaningful conversation between children, parents, patients, and providers.

Here are some of my illustrations.

I sketched first, scanned my sketches and colored and created on Photoshop Elements. 

 

 

 

 

Sofia, the husky in proof #10, 2nd row, middle  – the stages of drawing



Carrie Wachsmann ©

Other samples of work in process…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Carrie Wachsmann

An “In Light of Eternity” Story

His name was John

 

We first met one afternoon when my husband and I stopped to shop for fresh vegetables at our local Fruiticana. He was slouched on the sidewalk, wearing a dark hoodie covering most of his eyes, a small bag beside him and his back to the wall. He waved as we entered the parking lot; I waved back, noting his tattered clothing and dirty hand.

 

As we left the parking lot, my husband felt compelled to stop. I was glad when he pulled out his wallet and called the man over. A single front tooth stood out as the man, who identified himself as John, smiled a big, broad smile. He thanked us for our “kindness” and then told us that Jesus was the reason he was here today and if it weren’t for Jesus, he would still be trapped by his addiction to alcohol. He added, “It’s been years since I’ve been free.”

 

That was the beginning of a rather unusual and rewarding relationship.

 

After that day, each time we visited Fruiticana, and John was sitting in his usual spot, my husband or I would stop to chat and leave him with a little something we prayed would make his life just a little easier.

 

On one occasion, I noticed a neighboring shop clerk stop to chat with John as she took her “coffee/smoke” break. On another occasion, I noted a bread truck driver hand John a soft loaf of freshly baked bread. He also took the time for a short chat. It appeared to me John had found community. In some small way, I determined I would be part of John’s unusual but caring community.

 

Once, in conversation with John, we talked about that no matter what happens, one day we will see each other in heaven. This journey on earth is for a time, but our forever lives are still to come.

 

2017 was one of the coldest and longest winters Abbotsford had experienced in many years. The weeks came and went, and I didn’t see John. I wondered, “Was he warm? Was he safe? Was he well? Was he still with us? Until one day while driving down Gladwin Road, I saw him walking down the street. Yes, John was still with us, and he seemed to be doing ok.

 

Finally, spring arrived. It was a wet and chilly April day, and this time Superstore was our grocery shopping destination. My heart did a little skip when I spotted John, sitting on a cement block in the underground parking lot, away from the bone-chilling, freezing rain.

 

I walked over to him, and he greeted me with his usual bright and cheerful, toothless smile. I shared some of what I had with him, and this time John shared back. He handed me a bunch of organic bananas. He asked if I would like to have them. He said he had too many bananas right now and they would just go bad. “Everybody gives me bananas,” he said.

 

I hesitated, but only for a moment. With a broad smile of my own, I took his bananas and thanked him. I told him I needed bananas and that he had just made my day. After all, I was part of his community, and that’s what you do in community. You share. I felt deeply honored to be officially accepted into John’s little community.

 

That was the last time I saw John.

 

Today, June 7, we stopped at Fruiticana to replenish our fruits and vegetables. When I saw the neighboring shop clerk taking her smoke break, sitting near where John usually sat, but this time alone, I walked over to her and asked her, “Have you seen John lately?”

 

“No,” she replied, “he passed away not long ago.”

 

I have to say my moment of sadness was but a moment, for you see, John is in heaven and most surely having the time of his forever life.

 

 

Are Dragons Real?

http://www.mytinyphone.com/wallpaper/94553/

Dragons

Why are we so fascinated by these mythological, fire-breathing, mysterious, treasure-hording, cunning, terrifying, monster creatures?

I think I just answered that question.

But could dragons be real?

Did you know the Bible has a lot to say about dragons?   

Isaiah 27: 1 (NASB) says:

In that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
With His fierce and great and mighty sword,
Even Leviathan the twisted serpent;
And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea..”

Job 41 describes this dragon “creature” as: 

  • having tough skin
  • being very strong
  • having scales
  • having eyes that glow
  • flames coming from his mouth
  • smoke coming from his nose
  • having no fear
  • having a long neck 

Now… if that doesn’t sound like a dragon

There’s more:

The Book of Revelation has some very descriptive words about an enormous  red dragon –  referred to as Satan or the devil.

red-dragon

http://wall-papers.info/
Revelation 12:3-17 New International Version (NIV)

“3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth…

7Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”

And, Revelations 13:3 says this about the dragon.

The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name…

An interesting article on   NeverThirsty.org website has some thought-provoking comments about Isaiah 34:13 (KJV)  reference to dragon.

“13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.”

– ” … we can guess that dragons were extremely territorial and wild creatures, being that God placed them as curses to keep people away. This does not equate them to being evil, though. By that logic, one would need to conclude the other creatures above are also evil—such as the hyena, lion, ostrich, moko, jackal, night-raven, arrow-snake, and falcon. Admittedly, if Lilith is speaking of a demon, then that is bad, but the contextual words seem to indicate a demon is not being spoken of. Dragons are being grouped with common and rare animals of various species, and that would make the dragon yet another real animal and no more, though pretty high on the rarity scale.”

Regardless,  whether  dragons be real or not, they make for a

great storytelling adventure.

C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawntreader, Tolkien, Anne McCaffrey, and so on and so on.

dragon-wallpaper-free-3

wallpapercave.com 

What do you think so far? Are dragons merely imagery, mythical creatures, or could they be real?

This unidentified ‘sea-monster’ was found washed ashore on a New Zealand beach.

“… one of a series of photographs taken by YouTube user Elizabeth Anne on the Pukehina beach off the coast of New Zealand.”

sea-monster-carcass
By VICTORIA WOOLLASTON  |
Read more: dailymail.co.uk

This carcass of some sort of sea creature was found washed up on a remote Russian beach.

SAKHALIN MEDIA•SIBERIAN TIMES

“THE remains of a giant sea creature with a bird-like “beak” and fur on its tail have been washed up on a remote Russian beach.”

“One said: “It looks like some mutant sea monster with a beak.”

Have you ever seen a dragon? For real, or in your dreams?

If you’ve never seen a dragon, does that mean they don’t exist?

Where do you go when waiting in line?

In my other world – storytelling

Some time ago, I was waiting in line at the TD bank, deep in thought, when the person behind me kindly let me know teller #3 was trying to get my attention.

I  jolted back into reality,  then smiled and offhandedly said, “Thank you… I was in my other world!

The person gave me a look I could only interpret as envy as she responded with the utmost sincerity, “I wish I had an ‘other world.'”

I hesitated, then chuckled. Her response was priceless, making me actually think about what I had just said.

Now, this was before everybody began losing themselves in their iPhone or Android, which by the way is nothing like the “other world” I am talking about.  In my opinion, cell phones and anxiety are synonymous and an addiction I’m not willing partake of. I’m not giving up “my other world” for that.

Just ask my husband… I’m so not attached to my cell phone, I’ve resorted to posting a sign on my front door to remind me to take it with me when leaving the house. I know. Shocking!

phone-sign

As I walked over to the counter,  I realized just how true my offhanded comment was. I call it “another world.” Some call it daydreaming, something I’ve always been very good at. My teachers said so.  It’s the place where I go, think up stories, develop plans, talk to God or just simply listen.

John Tess, Intelligence for Life (free internet radio) says the average person will spend about 10 years waiting in line.

Put it that way…

Where do you go when you’re waiting in line?

Treasure Trap – “You’re not too young to read it… you’re not too old.”

Treasure Trap is complete and it goes without saying… I’m feeling really good about that.

But… by complete I mean the storytelling is complete.  I’ve still got some serious left-brain work to do… before I venture into my NEXT cleverish, imaginative narrative. (Just setting the stage).

For now I’ve got to concentrate on editing and proofing THIS present cleverish, imaginative narrative..

 

What do you think of the image for the COVER – above?

 

My recipe for the Treasure Trap COVER...

  1. Took a photo of a favorite chest sitting in my living room (a splash of jewelry included).
  2. Transferred the photo to Photoshop Elements.
  3. Googled and found some free source gold rock images for the background.
  4. Placed my chest image on the gold rock image.
  5. Cleaned and tidied up edges.
  6. Placed some of the sketches featured in the story, into the chest.
  7. Splashed a bit of gold dust here and there.
  8. …and had fun doing it.

 

What’s my goal – to have Treasure Trap available in both Kindle & print by the end of October, 2016.

 

Treasure Trap is the sequel to my first novel called The RYDER.  ( visit theryder.wordpress.com for the background story to the series)

 

As one grade 6 student who enjoyed The Ryder said …

You’re not too young to read it and you’re not too old to read it.”

The same goes for Treasure Trap.

 

Let’s take a sneak preview – 

Not of their own doing, David and Jessica (brother and sister)  encounter some unusual and adrenal pumping situations.

Here’s a sketch of David and Jessica… having just past through a portal into another time and place… only to find themselves smack dab in the middle of big trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure Trap - David & Jessica and lone wolf sketch - Carrie ©
Treasure Trap – David & Jessica and Mr. Lone Wolf, illustration – Carrie ©

David & Jessica & Mr. Lone Wolf

As for Mr. Wolf –  appearances can be deceiving.

 

Here comes our main antagonist – Mr. Polzin

Antagonist - Mr. Polzin and his very fine horse sketch - Carrie ©
Antagonist, Mr. Polzin and his very fine horse, illustration – Carrie ©

Antagonist, Mr. Polzin & his very fine horse

 2 of 18 illustrations you’ll find in Treasure Trap. 

David and Jessica combine forces with characters from their first adventure who are from the world of Antoch. They valiantly join to fight the evil that has taken over the once peaceful and perfect little village of Skrytyy.

 

This series is:

  • Well suited for family reading.
  • Recommended as a book study in the classroom (Grades 4-6).
  • Excellent for home schoolers. 
  • Complete with comprehension questions.
  • A great read for the young at heart. 
  • Filled with adventure and suspense. 

Watch for updates…

Facebook page – Carrie Wachsmann – Storyteller 

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Books

Just a few of the books on my bookshelf.

Do you love books?

I not talking about just any kind of books. I’m talking about the kind of books you can hold in your hand – with a cover and pages that you can feel and turn.

The kind of book you can put a bookmark in – not a virtual bookmark, a bookmark made of real paper – a book that you keep in your bookshelf along with all your other favorite books.

There’s something about sitting in your most comfortable armchair, with a cup of something on the coffee table next to you, lost in a really great book.

There’s something about sitting at a bus stop, reading, a really good book… or sitting in the park on a sunny afternoon, utterly lost in your favorite genre.

Don’t try to tell me you can do that with an Ipad.

So… besides reading & writing “real” books,  I’m contemplating putting up one of those intriguing mini front-yard  libraries.

 

Free library 2 image
  Photo Credit: Little Free Library 6034

For the love of books.

Time to Play in the Dirt – How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers

Growing up in a small farming community in southern Manitoba meant one had to learn how to grow a garden. I am blessed… my mother (and grandmother and great-grandmother) excelled in gardening, growing both vegetables and flowers – naturally and organically.

Our yard was the flower showcase of the town. The older I get, the more I appreciate those years. When we ate what we planted, and harvested, preserved and fermented our food supply for the winter.

When we saved our seeds.

When we came home from school at 4:00 PM and helped ourselves to a snack of baby carrots and tender peas – fresh out of the garden.

Gardening doesn’t get any better than that.

Does anybody else out there remember those days?

Planting a garden may not be practical for you… but what about planting your own flower pots?

 

Every May, Mother’s Day weekend, my daughter and I go shopping for potted flowers. (Yes, I’m passing it on – this lost art of gardening). We’re getting pretty good at arranging out pots with a variety of vibrant colored plants that give us pleasure for the entire summer… and then some.

 

Today we are going to help you put a little sunshine and happiness into your lives and onto your patio.

 

But… I don’t have a “green thumb,” I can hear you say…

One thing I’ve learned along the way is – don’t believe everything you say…

 

In this easy to follow, practical tutorial, my daughter Minde, does a great job  of showing and telling us  How to Plant Outdoor Potted Flowers.  

Time to play in the dirt … 

Introduction

 

© flowers just planted
© flowers just planted

Here’s a pot of flowers just after planting in late spring. 

 

 

© look at those blooms now just 3 weeks after planting.
© look at those blooms now just 3 weeks after planting.

Look at those blooms now – just 3 weeks later…

 

This article will guide you through the process of creating an outdoor potted flower arrangement. It will instruct on how to plant “partial-sun” flowers in a plastic pot.

This project should be done in spring in order to experience the full blooms in summer. Be prepared to use gentle hands throughout the entire process, and consider the idea that you may get a little dirty.

Before you begin – 4 basic things you need to think about:

1. The location of your flower-pot

The location of your flower-pot is categorized into 3 different types of sun exposure:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.

2. The type of flower-pot.

The two main types of flower pots available are:

  • Clay (ceramic) pots – for herbs and flowers that like dry soil.
  • Plastic pots – for most flowers.

3. The types of flowers you should buy

The types of flowers you buy should match the sun exposure of the flower-pot location. You should find similar exposure symbols on each of the plants when you purchase them:

  • Full Sun – minimum 6 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Partial Sun – 3 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  • Shade – less than 3 hours of direct sunlight.

4. Your ability to maintain and care for the flowers

You should be prepared to water the flowers each day and remove the dead flowers and leaves regularly. Removing dead flowers promotes new blooms.

 

You will also need the following materials & equipment 

All of the following materials can be found at Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Superstore, or any local garden shop. The flowers and equipment may vary in type and style. Some items are seasonal and only available in spring and early summer. Most items are available all year.

  1. Small Garden Shovel
  2. Water Hose with Shower Nozzle (or Watering Can)
  3. Small-Medium Rocks (approximately 2 liters)
  4. Flowers.

Minimum requirement for this project:

  1. 1 x 5” Saratoga
  2. 3 x 2” Petunias
  3. 4 x 1” Lobelia
  4. Potting Soil Mix – minimum 60 liters.
  5. Scissors
  6. Garden Gloves
  7. Sheet of Plastic or Garbage Bag (size: 3ft x 2ft)
  8. Plastic Pot with drainage holes (size:16”top with 10” bottom).

 

You are ready to plant

Just follow these simple steps 

Make sure to follow each of the steps and sub-directions in sequential order. The main steps include:

(Step 1) set up materials and equipment

(Step 2) prepare the pot

(Step 3) prepare the flowers

(Step 4) plant the flowers

(Step 5) water and care for the potted flowers.’

 

Step 1: Set Up Materials and Equipment

  1. Purchase and have all materials and equipment ready.
  2. Put on gloves.
  3. Place the plastic on the ground to keep the area from getting dirty.
  4. Place the pot on the plastic to one side.

 

© Materials & Equipment
© Materials & Equipment

Everything you need …

 

Step 2: Prepare the Pot

  1. Put the rocks in the bottom of the pot
  2. Fill the pot with potting soil until just over ¾ full.
  3. Make sure you have enough soil reserved to fill the remainder ¼ of the pot.
  4. Dig 6 shallow holes in the soil.

 

  1. © Set up - get your pot ready
    © Set up – get your pot ready

    Plastic, pot, rocks and garden shovel ready for planting. 

     

     

© Shallow holes in the soil
© Shallow holes in the soil

You’ve made 6 shallow holes in the earth. 

 

Step 3: Prepare the Flowers

Be gentle and take your time when handling the flowers. Try not to crush or break stems and leaves. Some breakage may happen by accident; this is usually OK. Most plants will recover from damage if cared for properly.

  1. Water the flowers using a gentle stream until the soil and roots are moist.
  2. Cut the plastic flower containers into individual pieces with the scissors.
  3. Arrange the flowers in the pot to visualize how you would like them while they are still in the plastic containers.

 

© plastic flower containers cut ready to safely remove the plants.
© plastic flower containers cut ready to safely remove the plants.

The flower containers cut for safe removal of plants.

 

 

© Your flowers arranged in the pot.
© Your flowers arranged in the pot.

You’ve arranged your flowers and placed them in the shallow holes. 

 

Step 4: Plant the Flowers

When handling the flowers, grasp gently near the base of the stems where they are strongest. Take your time and be careful with the stems and leaves.

  1. Hold the first container by the flower base, turn it upside down and look at the bottom.
  2. Remove any roots sticking out of the bottom container by pulling or cutting them.
  3. Hold the flower base with one hand and squeeze the bottom of the plastic container with your other hand.
  4. Keep squeezing the container and pushing the roots upward until the flowers and roots are out of the container.
  5. Gently break up the bottom of the roots so they are hanging loosely. (This will help the flower plant to grow quickly, and to its full potential, in the new soil.)
  6. Place the flowers and roots in one of the shallow holes in the pot.

***Repeat these steps 1-6 with each flower container you wish to plant***

 

©
©

Squeeze the container and push the roots out.

 

©
©

Break up the bottom roots

 

Once you have all the flowers out of the plastic containers, the bottoms of the roots are gently broken up, and each plant is placed in the pot arranged as you like; you may proceed with the following steps.

  1. Scoop soil using the shovel, from the ¼ reserved potting soil, and put it around the base of the flower plant.
  2. Repeat step 7 for each flower plant in the pot.
  3. Fill the area around each flower plant from the remaining ¼ reserved soil until there are no roots showing.
  4. Gently press the soil around the base of each flower plant with your hands.

©
©

Scoop soil and fill the area around each plant.

 

Step 5: Water and Care for the Plants

  1. Water the base of each flower plant in the pot, using a gentle stream of water.
  2. Wait for the water to soak in, and water again.
  3. Gently wash any soil off the leaves and flowers.
  4. Let the water fully drain out of the pot. (This may take 5-10 minutes.)
  5. Place the pot of planted flowers in the location you chose. (The flowers in this example will require a “Part Shade” location.)
  6. Water every second day, or keep soil moist.
  7. Pick off dead flowers and leaves every day, throw them away.

 

©
©

Using a gentle stream of water, water the base of each flower plant. 

 

 

©
©

3 Weeks later, flowers are bursting with blooms. 

 

Trouble shooting and problem-solving. 

Below are some potential issues that you may encounter during this project and a list of suggested solutions.

Water does not drain from the soil.

  • The pot needs to have drainage holes.
  • Check to make sure the pot has drainage holes.
  • Check to see if the drainage holes are blocked.

The flowers are limp and the leaves are wilted.

  • Most flowers need to have moist soil.
  • Do not buy wilted, dried-out flowers.
  • Do not let the soil dry out.
  • Water the flowers before you begin planting.
  • Water the flowers after you finished planting.
  • Do not let the flowers sit exposed and out of the container without water for more than 1 hour.
  • Once you have finished planting the flowers and watering them, and the water has drained out of the pot; wait 24 hours for the flower plants to recover and leaves to strengthen.

There are many broken stems and leaves.

  • There may be flowers, stems, or leaves that break off in this process.
  • Be careful while handling the flower plants.
  • Remove any broken leaves or stems.
  • As long as there is a plant fully attached to the roots, the plant should grow and recover with continued care.

The soil dries out quickly.

  • Small pots dry out faster than large pots.
  • Small pots will need more frequent watering than larger pots.
  • Use water gel from your local flower shop to decrease watering times.

Warnings

The finished outdoor potted flowers in this project will be quite heavy and weigh approximately 50-60 lbs.

  • Bring the materials and equipment near the location you chose for your flower-pot.
  • Follow these directions near the location you choose for your flower-pot.

Some flower plants may be poisonous, and should not be eaten.

  • Read the labels before purchasing flowers.

Copy Right © All photos by Minde Wagner.

 

 

 

 

Read & Write by Candle Light to Step-up Your Writing

So…  how will reading and writing by candle light step-up my writing?

There was a time when this antiquated practice was the one and only option. But today??!! Is this really necessary? Certainly not. But, why not humor me?

Something doesn’t have to be necessary, to be effective.

Doesn’t simply the thought – the visual, translate you into story land?

What marvelous stories can one conjure up with an image like this?

And then… what if you actually did light that candle…?

 

Go ahead… light your candle.

Here are 5 sure-fire, practical tips to step-up your writing.

 

1.  Take time to read... and read some more.

Intentionally expose yourself to different writing styles and genres.

Stretch yourself – get out of your comfort zone.

Familiarize yourself with authors whose work captures your attention and inspires you.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from these authors?”

Take notes…. which brings us to our 2nd. point.

 

2.  Keep a journal.

Keeping a journal improves long-term memory retention and sharpens your ability to visualize what you are reading or hearing.

A journal is also used to document events; events with details you might wish to include in your writing at some point in time.

Write down your ideas when you think of them. Keep your pen and paper close to your candle – or laptop – or notepad – or iPad –  or cell phone.

If something catches your attention, intrigues or interests you, make a note of it.

 

3.  Join a writing group.

This group can be online or in your community.

This is an excellent way to meet fellow writers and authors.

Note: Be sure to ask them what they do to improve their writing skills. Perhaps introduce them to reading and writing by candle light.

Joining a writers group in your community has greater benefits then just the online connecting.

 

Why? You get to practice your out-loud reading skills – to present to a live audience. Every aspiring author needs this experience. Don’t bypass this important part of your writing journey. Everybody has stage fright. You’ll just have to get over it.

 

Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©
Practicing my out-loud reading skills. ©

4.  Attend a writer’s workshop – or take a writing class every now and again.

 

Even though I had no interest in technical writing, I took a technical writing course because I knew it would improve my overall writing skills. I gained new perspectives about writing for my audience.

I also took expository writing, writing for children, essay writing, journalism, and, of course, creative writing courses.

My husband taught me script writing.

Workshops and seminars/classes are also a great way to meet other authors, writers, editors and publishers; people you need to have in your sphere of influence if you are a serious writer.

 

5. Who’s your writing buddy? 

Someone whom you can trust with your creative endeavors. Someone who will give you honest feedback. Someone who’s rooting for you. Someone who’ll light that candle with you.

And you can do the same for them.

 

 

Why Do We Love Fairy Tales ?

My rendition of “Little Red Riding Hood” © – Pencil sketch & colored in Photoshop

Good Fairy tales are DANGEROUS and often FRIGHTENING!!

 

So why then, do we love fairy tales so much?

 

The TV show Once Upon A Time, has captured many a fairy tale/fantasy fan’s time and attention.

I admit I am one such fan. Sometimes I love where the creators are going with the story; other times… not so much…

 

Why are fairy tales so appealing?

Why do they have the power to shake the heart, mind and soul to the very core?

 

Let’s look at the characteristics of fairy tales…

 

Fairy tales:

  • Teach lessons and impart values.
  • Are direct and simple enough for a child to grasp
  •                  but are also
  • deep, solid and sound to the core, with meaning and wisdom that speaks to the mature.
  • Are timeless and seamless, crossing all boundaries and cultures.
  • Include a conflict that needs to be solved.
  • Include magic/fantasy/supernatural elements – helping us to transcend our belief system for a moment in time, and allow us to think outside of the box.
  • Make heroes out of the rejected, lonely, unnoticed, the imperfect.

Let’s take a break here and ask George McDonald, (one of my favorite authors) Why do you always write about princesses?

His answer – “…every little girl is a princess, and there would be no need to say anything about it, except that she is always in danger of forgetting her rank, and behaving as if she had grown out of the mud.” 

Moving on…

  • Fairy tales teach us perseverance, faithfulness, courage, kindness, love, and sacrifice, (among other things).
  • They teach us about life and death, good and evil.
  • The good and happy endings are reflections of our hope of heaven.
  • These good endings do not come without a price.
  • And what about the evil and harsh endings? What do they teach us?
  • We live in a fallen world, and evil is all around us. That is our reality.
  • Fairy tales remind us that God lifts up the humble, (James 4:10)” but also deals with those who are proud. (Proverbs 16:5

G.K. Chesterton (1874 – 1936) says this in the biblical story Voyage. 

“…an apple is eaten, and the hope of God is gone” (p. 259). And so these tales teach us the lessons of character we need to pick up and keep on going..”

 

C.S. Lewis – in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – the great Aslan represents both the triumphant Lion of Judah, Root of David and the Lamb –  the ultimate sacrifice for all man kind.

This wonderful Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy, “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.” 

 Good literature is dangerous!!! And can be frightening!!!

 

Editors of “Excerpts Complete Book of Everyday Christianity” Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens say this about fairy tales… “…Any good literature is dangerous and often frightening, because it forces us to deal with these questions-and thus more deeply with spiritual issues.”

I would have to agree.

You can find me on Facebook here: 

Carrie Wachsmann – StoryTeller 

Roadblocks to Hell 

(I share storytelling tips and bits of my writing journey)

 

Watch Once Upon a Time – 

 

Little Red Riding Hood 2 - Carrie Wachsmann ©
Little Red Riding Hood 2 – Carrie Wachsmann ©

Pencil sketch & colored with Photoshop