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Archive for November, 2012

Thanks, Lyn, for letting me share this wonderful lesson.

DJ

The Call of the Pen

Many years ago when my granddaughter was just three-years-old, my son-in-law and I had a serious, yet unnecessary disagreement as a result of non-communication on his and my daughter’s part, and a quick temper on mine.

For several weeks, the atmosphere was very cool, as we both played ‘no speakies.’ My poor daughter was caught in the middle, and it was causing her quite a bit of distress as you can imagine.

Then one night after grace had been said, and we sat around the table for dinner, my granddaughter, looked at her father and said, ‘Daddy, you need to tell Grandma you’re sorry for being angry at her.’

Dead silence ensued for what seemed like several minutes, but was probably more like 30 seconds, then my son-in-law said, ‘Yes, you’re quite right, I should,’ and looked at me and said, ‘Grandma, I’m very sorry for being angry at you.’

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NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close, and so is my effort to reach 50,000 words for the month. And here is your last look inside Operation Romeo Sierra before it comes out next year in print. I do hope you have enjoyed getting to know the characters.

The officer in front of him approached and Andrew put his window down.

    ‘Detective Hallen, please turn the engine off and step from the car.’

Andrew turned the key and slowly opened the door. His heart was pounding, but he didn’t let his fear show. The officer indicated for him to walk towards him.

‘Turn around and place your hands on your head.’

Andrew obeyed the instruction. ‘What’s this all about?’ He suspected that Kat was somehow behind this. 

    Once the handcuffs were on and he was moved further away from the car, other police officers poured out of their cars, swarming over his. 

  As he was being led towards the back door of the patrol car in front of him, he heard Sam cry out and his heart dropped. Pulling away from the officer that had hold of his arm, he spun around in time to see two officers dragging Sam from her hiding place on the floor behind his seat. She was screaming at them, hitting and kicking out with all her might.

            ‘Sam,’ he yelled. ‘Sam…’

            The officer grabbed his arm and shoved him towards the open door, but he dug his feet in as he tried to see what was going on.

  ‘Dad,’ screamed Sam. She struggled desperately, lifting her feet off the ground and almost twisting free. 

    Another officer moved in and she was successfully pinned down.

  ‘Don’t hurt her,’ shouted Andrew, trying to go to her. Another officer grabbed his other arm and he was dragged backward towards the patrol car and he shouted again for them to not hurt her. 

  ‘You’re already in enough trouble,’ warned one of the officers. ‘Don’t make things worse for yourself.’

            Sam was still yelling and he couldn’t see her anymore. ‘I didn’t know she was there,’ Andrew said helplessly, repeating it over and over. But nobody was listening to him. 

            From inside the patrol car, he twisted in his seat and saw Sam being bundled into the unmarked car that had been following him. She was crying and still struggling.

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Good Monday Morning to you all :) Here’s a story I came across a number of years ago and thought you might enjoy it…

An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard.
I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. 

He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; 
he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the 
hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep. 
 

An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.  The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. 
This continued off and on for several weeks.  
Curious I pinned a note to his collar: ‘I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is 
and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.’  
The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar: 
’He lives in a home with 6 children, 2 under the age of 3 – he’s trying to catch up on his sleep. 
Can I come with him tomorrow?’

Have a great week, everyone.

DJ

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I was asked once if I wrote about real things that happened in my life. I laughed and picked up all 5 off my books, quickly finding a story in each that I could use as an example.

In the book I am working on now, I have a particularly amusing incident that happened with my son. He had just been to a car dealership and signed up to trade in his little Datsun on a ‘wonderful’ green Ford. He had rushed in the door so full of excitement, that he told me at least 5 times it had a sunroof. I was highly amused and it was something I never forgot. It happened just like this…

excerpt from Operation Romeo Sierra.

Out in the car park, casually running a hand over the green paint work on the roof of Scott’s car, Andrew looked over at his partner. ‘Did I ever tell you about the time Sam went for a ride in a green Ford with a sunroof?

Sam burst through the door, radiating from excitement. ‘Heather’s brother just took me for a ride in his new car!’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s green and has a sunroof … It has cream leather seats … and a sunroof!’ She bounced up and down on the spot. ‘It has spinning wheel things and electric windows and a sunroof … You should see it Dad. The windows are tinted and it has two muffler things out the back, and a sunroof.’ She did another few bounces and Andrew laughed. ‘It has a built-in navigator and 8 speakers and a sunroof. It’s just awesome! He’s had it lowered, too, so we had to go slow coming up the drive.’

‘Wow. It must be a nice car. Does it have a sunroof?’ Andrew asked innocently.

Sam looked astonished. ‘Yeeessss! How did you know that?’

Scott laughed. ‘She sounds like a delightful girl, Andrew. I can see why you miss her so much.’

So yes, I do use incidents from real life in my books. When you have such memorable things happen in your family, why not?

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Here’s another snippet from Operation Romeo Sierra – and as of tonight, my NaNoWriMo word count sits just over 40,000.

‘Any news?’ Andrew asked as he dumped the shopping on the counter.

  Bobby shook his head as he headed out of the kitchen. ‘I’m just going to wake Steve up.’

    Scott saw the colour drain from Andrew’s face as his expressions clouded over, and asked what was wrong.

Andrew shook his head and dropped onto one of the kitchen chairs.

‘What just happened?’ Scott asked, pulling out another chair.

  Andrew shrugged. ‘Some kind of flashback, I guess,’ he said, still a little confused. ‘I suddenly remembered Sam waking me up one Sunday morning.’

‘Tell me,’ Scott urged.

  Bobby was back in the kitchen, pouring boiling water into a mug, reaching for two more coffee mugs he fixed a drink for Andrew and Scott as well. 

  Andrew began to relate what had happened. ‘It was just after Kat and I had separated,’ he said. ‘Sam was staying with me for the first week of the holidays and it was our last morning.’ He paused for a moment. ‘Sam had gone home covered in bruises after our roughhousing, and it had been another nail in my custody coffin!’ 

      

  ‘Dad,’ the whispered word in his ear became reality through the fog of sleep.

  ‘Dad,’ Sam said, a little louder. ‘It’s morning, and you said “in the morning”.’

  Andrew grunted. She was on his bed – he could feel it moving.

  ‘Dad, wake up.’

Andrew could tell it was only just light even without opening his eyes and he grunted again.

She shook his shoulder and he wished she would go back to her own bed. Perhaps if he ignored her, she’d go away.

‘Dad, Dad,’ Sam suddenly cried out in a panicked voice. ‘The Philistines are here!’

Andrew shot upright and looked at her blankly, trying to get his brain into gear. 

She collapsed on the end of the bed, laughing and slapping the bedcovers.

  ‘The what?’ he demanded.

  ‘The Philistines,’ she spluttered through her laughter.

   Andrew shook his head. He had no idea what she was talking about!

‘You know… in the Bible, Samson and Delilah.’ She scrambled up onto her knees and began acting out the scene with much gusto. ‘Delilah cried, “Samson, Samson, the Philistines are upon thee”. And he woke up in a real hurry.’ Her arms suddenly dropped limply to her sides. ‘But it was only a trick.’ She looked at him with a big grin. ‘It worked on you too. I’ve never seen you get up so fast.’

  That did it! Andrew lunged for Sam and dragged her down beside him. She squealed and wriggled and begged for her freedom as he pinned her down and tickled her. 

  ‘Never,’ he growled through clenched teeth. ‘Not until you promise to give me the most lavish breakfast within your power, and an apology for such a rude awakening.’

  ‘No-oo,’ she cried, laughing and twisting as she tried to get free. 

‘Say sorry,’ ordered Andrew, ‘And that you promise me a breakfast I’ll remember.’ 

The tickling continued until she gave in, crying, ‘Okay, Okay. I’m sorry and I promise.’

  He let her go and collapsed down beside her.

   As she scrambled off his bed, she warned, ‘If you go back to sleep, I’ll send the Philistines in again.’

He made a grab for her, deliberately letting the pyjama top slip out of his grip as she squealed and took off running. He lay back against the headboard as his bedroom door slammed shut. He was wide-awake now, and his bed was a wreck! He missed her so much.

 

Andrew let his fingers run up and down the sides of the coffee cup in front of him.

Scott chuckled again. ‘She sounds like quite a character. What did she end up giving you for breakfast?’

  A grin spread slowly over his face as he savoured the memory before sharing. ‘A ten dollar note and some McDonald’s vouchers from the local paper.’ 

   There was genuine laughter from everyone. That was when Andrew realised that Steve was there too, leaning against the wall.

   Andrew nodded to him and asked if he had slept well.

  ‘Just fine, thanks.’

  Bobby sat down at the end of the table, a bunch of letters in his hand. ‘The mail came while you were gone.’ He handed Andrew four envelopes and held onto the fifth one. ‘You can open those, but with your permission, I will open this one. It is from Melbourne and has no return address on it.’

I hope you enjoyed that :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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Good Monday Morning to you all :)

I had such a discouraging week last week. Every day there was something that went wrong.  By Friday I was feeling really flat… but then, look what I found at my local supermarket for $1.00 – yes, ONE DOLLAR.

Amazing what a bunch of flowers can do to lift one’s spirits. So imagine how I felt carrying this and 3 other bunches of flowers out to my car. I felt like a winner as I placed flowers in vases around the house and couldn’t help smiling. It was like God was saying, ‘Here you go, DJ. Things are not all bad.’

Have a great week, and pick or buy a flower for yourself :)

DJ

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Have you ever seen a finer weed? I’m very proud of my healthy weed, and for the next month or so I will tend it with care, making sure it and a few other select weeds thrive in my garden.

Until this year, weeds never stood a chance in our back yard. If I didn’t get to them first, my husband got them with weed killer. But things changed when we started babysitting two little Zebra Finches. We now have 19 very happy Zebra Finches in a nice aviary, and they love fresh grass seeds.

For the last three months I’ve been picking the seed heads from one plant of Wild Oats and am amazed at the number of seeds that came from one little seed. The down-side of growing weeds, is that they are so prolific! I am seeing weeds come up in places I hadn’t expected, nor wanted.

It kind of reminds me of my bad habits. Before I know it, they are popping up in my life and have taken root. Once I acknowledge my bad habits, I can nip them in the bud or pull them out. But over time, I have to revisit that area of my life to make sure the bad habits don’t return. Because just like the weeds in the garden, I know the ground where my bad habits grew must have been fertile. Quote from James Allen: Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit and man is his own gardener.

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is well underway, and as of yesterday, my word count is creeping up nicely and stands at 28,353 words. Todays extract from the book I’m working on, Operation Romeo Sierra, is what was uploaded last night. To set the scene, Scott has arrived at the school hoping to catch the Smith kids before they went home…

Scott was momentarily stunned as he watched the young person flee from Doug’s car. Honing in on that person to the exclusion of everything else around, he noted how the feet hit the ground, how the arms swung, the narrowness of the shoulders, the twisting of the torso – it was a girl dressed as a boy. He was positive! He watched till she disappeared around a corner and then his attention jumped back to the Smith kids. Judging from the stunned expression on their faces, they were just as surprised as he was. But there was no point pursuing the youngster, the lead was too great. The back of his neck prickled uncomfortably. Surely that wasn’t …

Dragging his phone out as he walked backwards towards his car, he pointed to the teenagers. ‘Go home. Now! And nobody leaves the house till I get there,’ he ordered. ‘Do you understand me?’

He waited for their acknowledgement before turning and running back to his car.

‘Where are you?’ demanded Scott into the phone. ‘Drop everything… I need you to do something for me …’

Just after Doug arrived home, Detective Brad Carpenter’s car pulled in behind his and the teenagers watched as Brad and a female officer both got out.

Brad smiled reassuringly. ‘I have to keep an eye on you … Brings back memories, doesn’t it?’ he joked, referring to the times he’d kept an official eye on them in the past. ‘Scott says that I’m to stay with you boys, and Julie is to stay with you girls. No one is to talk to each other without one of us being present. Sorry guys. It could be a long afternoon.’

Back at Andrew’s house, Scott took a deep breath. He wanted to go in and demand to know what Andrew knew, but he sensed that a confrontation would just make Andrew defensive and could even result in him trying to escape them.

Walking around the back of the house, Scott could hear the low drone of the Kitchen-aid mixer as soon as he opened the door. Andrew was  oblivious to his arrival – studying an open cookbook, a tea-towel over his shoulder.

Bobby was sitting in the corner with his arms folded, watching.

‘He’s making a cake,’ stated Bobby dryly.

A cake? At a time like this, Andrew was making a cake? Now Scott was positive that Andrew knew something. He had stopped checking the computer for emails, and had stopped asking if there was any news, and he was making a cake

Scott sighed and silently shook his head. Without a word, he turned and left.

I hope you enjoyed that :)

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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A Bird in His hand.

Yesterday when I opened the door to go on my morning walk around the garden, the little Zebra Finches heard the door and started singing out. I could tell by their chatter that they were distressed about something.

There on the floor of the aviary, was a baby bird barely moving. The other birds were flying down and landing next to it, then going back up to the perch, as if showing me where the problem was.

I opened the door and reached in, gently gathering the little bird in my hand. It’s heart was pounding so I knew it was alive. As I carried it around the cage to pop it back into the nest-box, it fluttered weekly but didn’t try to escape. I smiled and spoke softly to it. It’s sibling (photo) was hopping around the floor, and looked much stronger.

For a moment I pictured myself as that little bird in the safe hand of God. It is comforting to know that ‘The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.’ Psalm 145:9

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley 2012

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It has been years since a particular event happened in my life, yet every time I see a $50 note, for a second I am transported back in time and reminded of a little boy.

Money was tight. Very tight! In fact I had made arrangements with our electricity and telephone companies to pay our overdue bills in installments. We had 4 young children, my husband was on minimum wage and my  mother was living with us while she was undergoing radiation and chemo treatments. Each day was a struggle to put food on the table and there was nothing left for clothing.

This particular day, I was in search of underwear for one of the girls. I spent ages comparing prices and re counting the cash in my purse. I decided to leave it. I just didn’t have the few dollars that was needed for a 2 pack of children’s underwear.

As I was heading for the exit door, I looked down and spotted something peculiar. It looked like a rolled cigaret where the floor tiles met the carpet. I reached down and picked it up. It was a $50 note and I immediately thought of all the things I could do with that $50. But I just couldn’t do it. I turned around and headed for the service desk and explained to the stunned girl behind the counter that I had found this $50. She asked if I was sure I wanted to hand it in, and I said yes. So she filled out a form with details about where I found it and my contact information. She said if no one came for it, they would call me to come and get it in two weeks. I left the store, hoping that no one claimed the money. I could surely use it!

The next day there was a knock at my front door. I opened the door to see strangers. A woman with a baby on her hip, and three other children close around her. The eldest child, a boy about 8 years old, held a bunch of flowers.

‘Are you Mrs Stutley?’ the woman asked. I said that I was, and she continued. ‘I just wanted to thank you for turning in that $50 you found yesterday. It belonged to my son, here, and it was pocket-money he had saved all year. We’ve come up from the country to Perth to do our Christmas shopping. When he lost his money we were all heartbroken because there is no way I could have replaced it for him. You see, he earned this money all by himself and money is really tight for us as a family. We didn’t think anyone would hand in money if it was found, but his has been a big lesson for him about honesty. He wanted to spend some of his money to buy you something and I suggested some flowers. I hope that is all right with you. We just wanted to come and say thank you.’

It was a big lesson for me too. Galatians 6: 9 says: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Things did get better, and I was able to pay the bills as they came in.

DJ

(c) DJ Stutley

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