I’m going to approach this week’s blog post a bit differently. I’ve been hard at work on a number of writing projects including both the second full length novel in my Whispering Pines Celia’s Gifts series as well as a novella. The purpose of the novella is to introduce new readers to my series. I plan to offer it for free or at a very low cost—free is always a good incentive!
But I also thought you might enjoy reading about Renee and her siblings on their first trip to Whispering Pines back in 1980, when they were kids. If you have shared your email address with me in the past, you should already have an email in your inbox with links to download the free novella (if you don’t see it check your “promotional” or even “spam” folders in your email, sometimes emails end up there-unfortunately!).
If I don’t already have your email address, don’t worry. I provide a like at the bottom of today’s post. Just enter your email and hit submit – if I set things up correctly, you should automatically receive your own free copy. If I didn’t set it up right, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll get it to you. I spent most of Saturday learning the mechanics of how to get this into your hands but my fingers are crossed that things actually work. I’m practicing what I preach – we need to push ourselves and operate outside of our comfort zone!
So, for now, without further ado, below is a snippet from First Summers at Whispering Pines 1980. I hope you enjoy it!
In the summer of 1942, a young woman’s visit to the lake cottage of a friend would commence a series of events destined to weave her family’s future to a very special place for generations to come. The young woman was Celia and that place was called Whispering Pines.
That summer would prove to be a turning point in Celia’s life. The resort would call Celia back time and time again throughout her lifetime. Perhaps there was some truth to local lore, which suggested the allure of Whispering Pines captured the souls of a select few, but that when it did it rarely let go.
Muted laughter and the scent of pine floated through the cabin’s window screen. There was no breeze and the box fan on the floor did little to dispel the sticky air. Deep shadows cloaked the bedroom, broken only by a few stray moonbeams and the filtered glow of a young girl’s flashlight.
“Jess, you know you’re gonna be in trouble if Mom catches you reading under the covers again,” Renee warned her sister. “You’ll ruin your eyes.”
“Shut up, Renee,” the girl under the covers shot back. “You’re not the boss of me.”
“Why don’t you both shut up?” came a boy’s voice from the top bunk adjacent to theirs. “I can’t believe I’m stuck here in this cabin with three girls instead of being home for my baseball tournament. The guys need me. If they lose this year, it’ll be all Mom and Dad’s fault for planning this stupid vacation right at the end of baseball season.”
“Ethan! Two weeks at Whispering Pines is so much more fun than some dumb baseball tournament,” Renee argued from the bunk straight across from her brother’s. “How cool is it that Aunt Celia actually owns this place and rents cabins out to other people? She said we can come every year.”
“Great, I can hardly wait,” Ethan grumbled.
“What are you doing?” Renee asked, unable to see through the gloom, but hearing something from the direction of his bunk.
“Nothin’. Just tossing my baseball.” A slightly louder thump meant he’d hit the ceiling with the ball, the darkness making it hard for him to gauge distance. “I don’t see what you think is so cool about this place.”
“Just because we had to stay inside today doesn’t mean it’ll be like that for the whole vacation. The rain’s already stopped, you know.”
“Thank God,” he said. “Hopefully this weather won’t screw up the fishing. Dad promised we could go tomorrow.”
“But I don’t know how to fish,” Renee said.
“Who cares? You don’t get to go, anyway. Just me and Dad. You girls have to stay with Mom and Celia,” Ethan said, his tone smug.
Renee didn’t care. She preferred to spend the day with Celia. She wanted to spend her whole vacation with her aunt.
The woman had always fascinated Renee. Celia was her dad’s older sister. She knew Celia was different from most women her age: she’d never married, had no kids, and was rich. At least, Renee thought Celia must be rich if she could afford to buy a lake resort like Whispering Pines.
“So how do you suppose Celia was able to buy this place?” Renee asked. The question had itched at her brain ever since they’d driven up to the resort earlier that day. She hadn’t known what to expect, but the ginormous lodge and a bunch of smaller cabins was more than she’d guessed they’d find.
“No idea,” Ethan replied. “Maybe she has some rich boyfriend we don’t know about.”
Renee sat up in indignation, forgetting she was in a top bunk. She smacked her forehead on the ceiling, some of the old texture crumbling off and dusting her hair.
“Ouch!” she yelped, grabbing her head and flopping back down onto her back. She propped herself up on her elbows instead. “Ethan, I can’t believe you said that! Do you think the only way a woman can have money is if she gets it from a man? I didn’t know you were a male chauvinist pig.”
A rustling came from the bed below Ethan’s. Renee’s outburst had woken five-year-old Val. The three older siblings stilled, not making a sound until they could hear Val’s breathing even out again.
“How do you even know what a male chauvinist pig is?” Ethan hissed.
“I saw it on Phil Donahue.”
“You’re not supposed to watch that.”
“I wasn’t really watching it,” Renee said. “I was over at Missy’s house and her mom had it on. This lady was screaming at her boss and called him that. I asked Missy’s mom what it meant, so she explained it to me.”
“Oh, really? And what did she say it meant?” Ethan asked, his voice curious now.
“It means a man who thinks all men are better than women and it’s a woman’s job to stay home and take care of the house and babies. She said like Missy’s dad was, before he died.”
“Jeez, that’s harsh.”
“I don’t know. Missy did say her dad wouldn’t let her mom work. She didn’t work at the bank until after he died.”
Jess’s flashlight snapped off from below, throwing the room into more darkness. “Sounds like he was a pig to me,” came Jess’s muffled voice.
“I thought you were reading,” Renee said. She leaned over the side of her bunk and tried to see Jess just feet below her.
“I finished. It was pretty good. You can read it if you want,” Jess said. “I’ve got more.”
“Of course you do,” Ethan said. “If you keep reading like that, everyone’s going to think you’re a nerd, Jess.”
“Let ’em think that, I don’t care.”
If you think you might enjoy reading more about this first visit back in 1980 but you haven’t already received your free copy, please click on the link below.
My hope is you have as much fun reading this novella as I did writing it! Kim
Whoever coined the phrase “life is messy” was spot on. What I have come to realize is the mess is a vital part of change and progress, even if it can feel overwhelming when you’re in the middle of it.
Sometimes we look at what other people have in their lives and wonder how they got so lucky. Maybe we're jealous. How come they have it so easy while we struggle? We see their beautiful yard or their cute little house full of charm and warmth. Why does our own home feel tired and worn? Or we see the enjoyment some people get from spending time with their family and we wish we could have close relationships, too.
Great news! You can have the things you want in life, but you have to work at it, just like they did. Just because you didn’t see what they went through to get where they are today doesn’t make their struggles any less real than your own. Like us, they had to go through lots of messes to get that pretty yard, loving relationship or cute house.
We have two kids in the process of moving right now and things are messy. Belongings are in boxes and stacked everywhere. Beds are torn apart and muscles are sore from hauling things from one place to another. But I know it’s just a matter of time until both are settled and happy in their new surroundings. When things feel really messy, it often means you are on the path to something new and wonderful.
We have to stop comparing ourselves to other people. What if the only person we competed with is the one looking back at us in the mirror each morning? Ask yourself what one thing, if you can accomplish it today, will put you closer to where you want to be. Then do that one thing. Congratulate yourself when you look in the mirror tomorrow morning.
When we get really clear on what we want in our own life and start taking the necessary steps to make it happen, we can start to see real change. Dig in and don’t be afraid to get messy. I won’t pretend it doesn’t take work because it does. Depending on what you want to accomplish, it can consume your days. Perfect! When you are busy focusing on your own life, you don’t have time to compare yourself to others.
As Theodore Roosevelt famously said “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Be tenacious in going after those things that make your soul sing. Never give up and don’t settle. Don’t waste your precious time worrying that other people may not understand the path you have chosen. How boring life would be if we were all chasing the same dreams! Take chances and dive into the mess. Little kids know how fun it can be to play in puddles and stomp in the mud. As adults, sometimes we need to remind ourselves it’s OK to get messy.
If you stop and look around you and all you see are messes – congratulations! Neat and tidy is boring and tame. Stomp in those mud puddles, stir things up, and live life on your own terms. When you do, other people may start to look at you and wonder how you got so lucky. And when that day comes, sit back and smile. You will know luck had nothing to do with it.
I’m here to cheer you on as you pursue the life of your dreams - and if you have a speck of mud on your cheek the next time our paths cross, I’ll celebrate with you! Kim
Hello everyone and welcome to my blog! My name is Kimberly Diede and I'm a self-published fiction author and family girl. When time permits, I am happiest with a great cup of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. I love to alternate between reading and writing. Winters here can be long, dark and cold. Summers are unpredictable, lovely and always too short. Every season of the year, as in every season of life, is a gift. Let's celebrate it together!