Families With Grace

Helping Christian moms create homes filled with grace, love & faith

How gaming made my marriage better

Going from a gamer’s wife to a gaming wife changed our marriage

From the time I met him in high school my husband has been a gamer. He enjoys games of pretty much any variety from video to computer to roleplaying and more. I wasn’t so much a gamer. As a kid I played some Nintendo (I loved “Paperboy!”) and played family board or card games, but that was it. When we got married 21 years ago, I knew he was a gamer, but gaming was his hobby and not mine.

The early days of gaming and married life

In the early days of our marriage when we were still in college, my husband and his friends even had a weekly roleplaying night. I would sometimes bake treats for them (like brownies), but that was about the extent of my involvement with gaming. After all, I reasoned, spouses should have their own interests and hobbies.

I remember some of the other girlfriends and wives complaining about the guys’ gaming. It didn’t usually bother me. I knew my husband was a gamer when we got married. And his roleplaying nights gave me a chance to have some downtime of my own. The times he played video games through the week didn’t bother me so much. He didn’t put them before me, and I could easily tune them out while doing homework and such.

But, I began to realize that since gaming was such a big part of my husband’s life, I wanted to learn more about it. So, I took on a writing assignment for my college newspaper about a new gaming console. Off the record, I interviewed my husband for background information. After all, he wanted the new console, and I wanted to understand how it was different enough for us to budget money to buy it!

Slowly, I was starting to learn about his hobby, but I still wasn’t so into it. Every so often I played a video game with him, but I never participated in roleplaying games.

Starting to shift from gamer’s wife to gaming wife

Then, about five years into our marriage, things slowly shifted. We were no longer college students but young professionals. My husband’s video gaming with his friends was now more online than in-person. And he asked me to go along with him to a nearby gaming convention on a Saturday. It was a convention for tabletop games like roleplaying, trading card games, board games and the like.

I agreed to go and was overwhelmed by how many people attended and how much stuff there was. My husband tried a couple of game demos in the convention hall, and I watched. I didn’t feel comfortable at all with trying any demos myself.

Around this same time, my husband also shared with me a book series related to the role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons. We decided to start reading R.A. Salvatore’s “The Legend of Drizzt” books together. As a lifelong avid reader, I’d never been into fantasy books at all. But, it wasn’t long until I was so wrapped up in the story of Drizzt that I couldn’t put the books down. I passed up my husband and kept on reading.

(The series is now 36 books long and I’ve read every single one of them. We have a painting of Drizzt on our living room wall and a figurine of him on our mantel. To say I became a complete fan girl is a bit of an understatement!)

We returned to the same gaming convention the next year. I found myself getting more drawn in and fascinated to see so many things related to what I had read about.

Giving gaming a try

Soon I started playing games with my husband. I joined in on some video games (my favorites were when he could lead the way through a board). We started playing some board games that were more fantasy-related rather than family board games.

And then I decided to give roleplaying games a try. I started with my husband and his friends. It was a little weird to go from being the snack maker to being one of the gamers as well. But, you know what I learned? It was fun! My shifter from gamer’s wife to gaming wife had been made and there was no turning back.

Each year, we attended the same gaming convention for multiple days and played various games. I was hesitant to try demos at first for fear of not learning the game well and embarrassing myself. After a couple of years, though, I got more confident and could learn most games pretty well from the start. Demos no longer intimidated me.

Once we had children, gaming became more challenging. Many of our gaming buddies moved away from us, which made it challenging as well. But we still loved playing together whenever we got the chance. That remains true to this day (well, it will once we are through this pandemic). And as a result of gaming, our marriage grew stronger.

Gaming and marriage

While our marriage was first strengthened by my taking an interest in a hobby my husband enjoyed, it grew even stronger once I started gaming as well. I know some women grouse about their guys playing games. I get that. And I also understand video game addiction is real.

However, my experience with gaming and marriage has been positive. I learned early on to look at my husband’s gaming time as time for me to do things I wanted to do. My husband has always made me (and later our children) a priority over gaming. That helps as well.

Gaming together has brought us closer. We now get to see each other in new ways and have fun stories to recall together. We still laugh about the time my character nearly died just trying to walk around a valley in a roleplaying game years ago because I got one bad dice roll after another.

I love getting a chance to see my husband’s creativity come to life. He is a magnificent game master (meaning person in charge of the gaming session). He is quick-thinking and can come up with all sorts of scenarios and handle whatever the players throw his way. I also get a chance to see his leadership ability (which is one of his innate skills).

Gaming together helped me understand more why he is so good in a crisis; he sees multiple options and contingency plans. He’s a smart guy. He’s also a fabulous strategist. Once after my husband finished a demo of a new game at one gaming convention, the game’s creator shook his hand. He raved about how my husband had come up with such a great strategy.

Gaming has taught me more about my husband. I think it’s taught him more about me as well. And it’s helped me grow and evolve. Real-life Stacey wouldn’t be nearly as bold as some of the characters I’ve played. As an introvert, thinking quickly on my feet is often challenging for me, but I’m now much better at doing so.

Gaming as a team

The final aspect of gaming and marriage is working together as a team. In roleplaying type games, players work together for the common good. When my husband and I get to play together (when he isn’t in charge), we also get to work together. It’s good practice for real life. Just as real-life Stacey and Chris know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so we also learn those of our characters and as gamers. We can better work together as a result.

And when we are on opposite sides and my husband is the game master in charge of the bad guys, I have learned he doesn’t have it out for us players. I don’t take things so personally. (It was a bit of a struggle in the early days, I admit!) I know he is working to ultimately make sure we have a fun and interesting gaming experience.

While gaming isn’t for everyone, it’s been a really good hobby for my husband and me. He’s still the bigger gamer between the two of us. However, I’m glad to have this hobby we can share together whenever we get a chance. Gaming and marriage really can go together quite nicely!

Tips you need for road trips with kids

12 Ways to have easier road trips with kids

Whether you’re hitting the road for a vacation, family reunion or something else, taking road trips with kids are always an adventure! Patience isn’t exactly easy for little ones, and vehicles are small spaces for your family to be so close in.

But, road trips with kids can be fun, too. Our oldest child is 11-1/2. In her lifetime, we’ve only traveled by plane once. Every other trip we’ve taken has involved a road trip that’s taken anywhere for two to 12 hours. We’ve not only survived them, but even had fun with them.

In a summer that may have more families thinking road trips to avoid flying, I figured this is a great time to share 12 tips for making road trips with kids a bit easier. If you have any to add, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you!

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

1. Utilize some snack hacks for family road trips.

It has to be a given that road trips with kids are going to involve snacks. I mean, road trips are made for snacks. I literally have some foods I eat only on road trips! I’ve found a few ways to make the snack business easier for our family.

Bring along your own snacks.

One of the easiest things to do is bring along your own snacks. You can pack a cooler with drinks, string cheese, yogurt pouches — whatever your family likes. Pack a bag with non-perishable snacks as well. Go for things that aren’t so messy and are easy to share.

Use zip-top bags.

I’m a big fan of zip-top bags for a variety of reasons. Before leaving home, you can transfer snacks into large zip-top bags for easy sealing and storage. And you can bring along snack-sized zip-top bags to divide up snacks on the go. For example, if I open a box of cheesy crackers, I can fill a snack-sized bag for each of my two children and pass the bags back to them. Everybody gets an equal portion and the bags keep messes to a minimum.

Another plus of serving up food in snack-sized zip-top bags is kids can more easily open and close them than individual portion bags. It also saves you money because the individual bags of snacks cost more. And you can mix snacks. For example, I might include a few M&Ms in with the cheesy crackers as a road trip treat.

Serve beverages with lids.

My kids love their insulated Thermoses. The steel Thermos keeps cold beverages cold forever. I love the 12-ounce Funtainer for traveling because their lids close and it’s nearly impossible to spill them. They’re prefect for the car! (We also use them for lunchboxes, on picnics and pretty much everywhere. They last forever!)

Let older kids help pick snacks.

One of my kids’ all-time favorite things to do on a road trip is pick out their own snacks. While we bring along snacks and food to eat on our trip, we usually let them go into a gas station once on the trip to pick out something savory and something sweet. They love picking out gas station snacks, and I tend to agree to snacks (within reason) that I wouldn’t otherwise.

2. Find some easy family activities for the car.

One of our all-time favorite things to do in the car is Mad Libs. I’ve tried printing some out and downloading apps, but hands down buying the Mad Libs books are best. The books don’t usually cost more than $5 and are totally worth it. If you aren’t familiar with Mad Libs, they are stories with blanks in them. On a separate page, you fill in all the words for the blanks without knowing what the story says. It makes for some very silly stories! Our family takes turns going around and saying words. (And since it’s only saying a word, the driver also gets to participate, which is awesome!)

Mad Libs offer all sorts of fun options, including one about road trips! You can find a Mad Libs book to fit with your family’s interests including ninjas, Peanuts (as in Charlie Brown and the gang), Dungeons & Dragons, Disney’s Frozen, Star Wars, Pokémon, Marvel’s Avengers and so many more.

If words and word games aren’t as much your thing, consider other activities to do as a family. Pick up an automobile Bingo game, a scavenger hunt for the road card game or a “Would You Rather” book.

3. Read a book together on road trips with kids.

If your kids are older and want to read on their own, go for it. Even with kids who are readers, we still love reading books together as a family. (In fact, reading out loud is part of our bedtime routine.) You can use library books, books you own, ebooks or even audio books.

Here are some great books to read out loud:

4. Create a family playlist for your family vacation.

If your family likes music, you’ve got to create a playlist for your family for road trips. We have had a wide variety of musical choices throughout the last decade for our family road trips. We love Spotify, but whatever you usually use for listening to music works.

If your road trip happens to take you through some remote locations, consider downloading the songs from the playlist in case you lose your signal or go through an area with a spotty signal.

5. Give the kiddos paper-based activities to use in the car.

Paper-based activities are great for the car because they don’t weigh much and usually don’t take up too much room. If your kids are going to be writing or drawing, a clipboard comes in handy. We have tried lap desks, but they are bulky. The last thing we need is something taking up more space! Clipboards work best.

You can get any clipboard, including cheap ones from the dollar store, which I’ve done. But, our favorite are these Crayola Color Wonder clip boards with storage in them. First of all, the Color Wonder markers and paper are awesome because you don’t end up with marker on anything except the paper. And having the built-in storage keeps it all together, in one place. We have used these for a few years now and even switched out what’s inside of them a time or two.

One caveat for paper-based activities is to take along writing utensils that won’t melt if you’re traveling during summertime. Mostly that means avoid crayons! Opt for colored pencils, washable markers or pencils instead.

Aside from coloring and drawing, other lap and paper-based activities are great for car rides as well.

Ultimate Kids' Road Trip Activity Book and Journal

Utilize activity books and travel journals.

Activity books and travel journals are another great way to keep kids entertained. For kids 8 to 12, don’t miss the “Ultimate Kids’ Road Trip Activity Book and Journal.” For tweens and teens, you’ll want to grab the “Ultimate Teen Travel Activity Book and Journal.”

6. Make sure your kids have road trip toys.

Whenever we are going on a road trip with kids, we have them pick out a few car toys, a.k.a. toys to play with in the car. My daughter is getting away from this now and instead picks out her own books to read and such. I usually pack what I call a “car bag” that holds our car activities like the Mad Libs, clipboards and car toys. The bag stayed up front with me when the kids were younger, but now I put it in the backseat with them. Car toys usually have to be approved by us. We have found toys that are smaller (but not too small) and don’t make their own noises are usually best.

Another toy option for road trips is getting a few new toys for the kiddos. My kids have kept themselves occupied for an hour with a small toy from a vending machine at a restaurant. (Seriously!) It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. Think about hitting up your local dollar store to find some things. I would suggest not letting them play with (or really even see the toy) ahead of time. New toys hold kids’ attention longer, which is great for road trips!

7. Use electronics for kids wisely when traveling.

For shorter trips, we don’t use electronics for the kids at all. But if the road trip is going to last for 8 hours or more, then we talk about electronics to help pass the time. When my son was a toddler and my daughter a preschooler, we took a long trip to the beach. In order to help keep them entertained for 13 hours in the car, we made a DIY tablet holder with a gallon-sized zip-top bag and string that hung between our two headrests. The kids watched some episodes of the old Batman television show. If you have a minivan with screens, then watching a movie or show is even easier for longer trips.

Keep in mind that since you’re in a small space, you’re probably going to hear whatever electronic your kids are watching or playing (unless they’re wearing headphones). So consider that as you’re deciding what to allow and what to say no to.

One other thought is that we have found having time together that we are chatting, playing games or even just resting is far more fun than being on electronics. Kiddos don’t have to be constantly entertained.

8. Plan extra time for stops on road trips with kids.

While you can make good travel time with kids along, you also have to be prepared for extra stops and give them a chance to go to the bathroom and move around. We were a bit prepared for this because I have a bladder issue that means I need to make plenty of stops myself!

Plan some breaks from being in the car. You’ll want to stop for the bathroom, but also just allow kiddos a chance to move around and get out some energy. Being in car seats, especially, keeps them from being able to move around too much, so they need a chance to be out and stretch. In the baby and toddler years, we would even just let the kids have time in the car at stops to move around.

You can stop at rest parks and let them move around outside if the weather is nice. If the weather is cold or rainy, look for a big store or large gas station where they can stretch their legs. On one regular trip we take, we usually make a stop by Bass Pro Shops because it’s a fun store for the kids to explore with the live fish and various interactive displays.

When it comes to bathrooms, one of my favorite things when my kids were toddlers and preschoolers was a folding toilet seat. I kept it in a large zip-top bag in our diaper bag. It made using public bathrooms so much easier! For kids a bit older and bigger, these disposable toilet seat covers are ideal. It helps alleviate stress of finding great bathrooms, which can be challenging sometimes on road trips.

9. Play car games that don’t need anything.

Don’t forget about games you can easily play in the car with just your words. There are quite a few options that work as long as your kiddos can talk.

I Spy

My family likes playing “I Spy,” but it doesn’t last too long in the car because we have the rule it can only be an object inside the car while we are driving. Otherwise, there’s no chance we’d be able to spot it!

20 Questions

“Twenty Questions” is another good car game. One person has something in mind and everyone else asks questions to figure it out. If the guessers can’t come up with the item within 20 questions, then they lose. With kids, especially, you might want to have some parameters of items that are allowed and not allowed. As the mom of a little boy, I know some of the things he comes up with sometimes to be funny. And, of course, you also want to make sure the item is real and not imaginary.

The Alphabet Game

If your kids are preschool aged and up, a version of “The Alphabet Game” works well in the car. You can play it where you are all looking to spot words that start with the letters of the alphabet in order. Or you can play it where you build off of each other and come up with words that start with the next letter.

We have often done grocery shopping with “The Alphabet Game.” So I might say I’m going to the store to buy apples. Then my son would say he’s going to buy bananas. My daughter would go to by cheese. And so on and so forth. You can pick nearly any broad topic and come up with words related to it that go through the alphabet.

Tell a Story

Ultimate Teen Travel Activity Book and Journal: Road trip or plane activities for teens

Another creative option is to tell a story together. At home we use the game “Story Cubes” to do this. Because it uses dice, it’s not so conducive to playing in the car. So, we have told stories together where each person says one or two sentences and then the next person add their sentence or two and on it goes. We usually end up with lots of giggles!

Both the “Ultimate Kids’ Road Trip Activity Book and Journal” and the “Ultimate Teen Travel Activity Book and Journal” have story starters included along with other family verbal games.

10. Keep the vehicle and yourselves clean as you travel.

If you’re on a road trip with kids, you don’t want your vehicle to get too out-of-control messy. While messes and children go together, there are a few ways we’ve found to at least help keep our vehicle and ourselves relatively clean while on the road.

Have a bag for trash.

There is always trash to be dealt with on road trips. We use plastic bags from stores as a bag for trash and then toss them at our next stop. They hold enough but aren’t too big. Bring some along or just acquire them on your trip.

Be prepared for germs.

Even pre-pandemic, I was ready for germs and made my family clean their hands when we got back in the car from being in public places. Now, I’m even more vigilant. I have kept canisters of Wet Ones in the car to pass around. The original ones work well but don’t have alcohol to kill COVID germs. You can now get Wet Ones with alcohol in them to help kill COVID germs as well.

Since my kids are older, they use hand sanitizer gel effectively and without getting it everywhere. Find what works best for your family and go with it. You don’t want any germs tagging along on your vacation!

Bring wipes for faces.

Neither of my kids have been in diapers for a long time, but having unscented baby wipes along on trips comes in handy for messy faces.

Keep a stash of napkins.

Not all messes need a wipe. A stash of napkins in your snack bag or glove compartment can come in handy. You can get them from a drive-thru or pack your own to bring along. (I usually do both!)

11. Use technology to your advantage when traveling.

Aside from your smart phone being a potential source of entertainment for music or games, it’s also a great help on road trips. Of course you can use it for directions to your destination, but don’t forget other things you can do to help yourself as well.

Use maps to find bathrooms.

With smart phones, it’s easier than ever to plot out stops for bathroom breaks. You can find rest stops or other places you want to stop for bathroom breaks. You don’t have to rely solely on road signs any more to help you find the next best stop.

Find restaurants you know.

You can use the map to find restaurants you know. This comes in handy while traveling on the interstate, for example. If you’re looking for a particular restaurant where you know your whole family will eat well, pull up your phone and find one nearby.

Check out reviews.

If you are feeling advantageous and want to try a new restaurant with your family, you can also pull up reviews for local restaurants in the area. Oftentimes menus are available online as well so you can even go over with your kids (and yourself!) what you have in mind to order before you even stop.

Do trip research.

I’m a planner through and through and do research before we take trips. If you aren’t, being in the car is a great time to do some research on your smart phone. Even if you are like me and have everything planned, you can read through some ideas you have saved for your trip or look up interesting places to stop along the way when everyone is getting cranky and needs a road break.

Be sure to check out this Family Travel Planner to plan your trip and stay organized! Use the code FWGFAN to save an extra 10%!

30-page family travel planner on Etsy

12. Prepare your kids before your family vacation.

I learned long ago that my kids do best when they know what to expect and what is expected from them. So, before we take a road trip with our kids, we talk with them about it. (We even do that when traveling just an hour away.) We go through a checklist of sorts to make sure everyone goes to the bathroom before we leave, the kids have whatever car toys they’ve chosen and cover our food bases.

When we start out on a trip, we also remind everyone that they need to let us know when they need bathroom breaks as soon as possible since finding a bathroom while traveling takes time.

Basically, if you can explain to your kids approximately how long you’ll be in the car and ideas you have to keep busy in the car, they handle it better. Remind them that where you’re going and the fun you’ll have once you’re there is worth being on the road for a while. And do your best to maintain a positive attitude about being on the road, so they will, too.

Find more great posts about traveling with your family:

Family travel advice

10 Family bonding ideas

Summer planning tips you can use

10 amazing uses for hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer can be used for more than just cleaning your hands!

Affiliate links are used in this post, if you make a qualifying purchase via my link, I receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services I use and love. It helps support my blog, so thank you for your support! Read my full disclosure here.

Nowadays, everyone has a bottle of hand sanitizer on them. Did you know you can use hand sanitizer in lots of different ways? Because they are alcohol based, they can do most of the great things alcohol can. Just make sure your hand sanitizer actually is alcohol based. Here are just some of the greatest uses I found:


I forget my deodorant often, so this could be helpful. Just rub it under your arms and you are good to go for a while.

Dry shampoo

Squeeze some on your hands, rub it through your hair and you’re good to go.

Clean your phone screen

Yes, I am pretty sure it’s messy. Whose isn’t? Therefore, CLEAN IT!

Remove many kinds of stains

Be careful, but hand sanitizer can remove lots of stuff.

Stop itchy mosquito bites

Awesome, right? I am a favorite amongst the bugs, so this is my new favorite information. Squeeze a bit onto the bug bite, and it should stop itching! Just be careful on super dry skin, cuts or super sensitive skin.

Remove sticky sticker or label residue

This is randomly helpful.

Clean white boards

I have had so many stained whiteboards I can’t even count, and so hand sanitizer is a lifesaver. Again.

Cleans glass

This is for people with glasses, windows, glass cups (Ok, maybe not for cups) or just about anything glass! I think you get it by now. Anyway, rub some on and magic! Super-duper clean.

Public toilet cleaner

Let’s face it, they are SO, SO disgusting. I always line the seat with toilet paper, and if I can, I will disinfect them with hand sanitizer.

To sanitize your hands.

The most shocking use yet I’m sure.

Hand sanitizer is practically a gift to humanity which may be why I have it stashed in every possible nook and cranny. Fortunately, it is in stock pretty much everywhere again. So if you don’t have any, stock up! The big bottles are great to have at home and to use to refill your smaller bottles.

Don’t forget to get hand sanitizer sized for on-the-go as well!

Girls with Grace, a tween blog written by a tween girl, has new posts on Tuesdays two to four times a month. Find out more about Girls with Grace:

Greek mythology versus Christianity

Greek mythology and Christianity have some similar stories

Some of the parables and stories in the Bible relate to Greek mythology. In fact, Greek mythology and Christianity overlap in quite a few stories. Which came first? The Bible stories, which are true.

I have thought of two stories — one Greek and the other from Genesis 19 — that are quite similar. But before you read those, I recently wrote a short story that goes along with Greek mythology, so I thought I would share that first.

The Campfire (fiction story by Lexi)

Lilly Grace Thomas was currently sitting in front of a campfire eating s’mores. Her class happened to be on a field trip to the zoo, which was fun because they rarely went anywhere due to having such a small town. She was staring off into space, thinking about a book she was reading. It was good really, all about the old stories that people used to tell in Ch-


Lilly was snapped out of thoughts by the bush of brown curls and pale skin that was her best friend Hailey.

“You really need to pay more attention! Mrs. Shelina announced we could tell a story or two, and then Austin told us his. I thought you were listening but-” 

“Shhh!” Lilly whispered to her rambling friend. She giggled, and they both began to listen as their tour guide, Jane, began her story.

“My grandma used to tell me this story, though I’m not sure if I will ever understand why.” Jane began with an odd almost-but-probably-not forced laugh.

 “A long time ago, there lived a girl named Elinette. People would call her Hephaestus (or Vulcan if you were on the eastern side of town) spawn. She was a great blacksmith, and incredibly good with the fire. Not only did it never affect her, but she could generate it. Therefore, she logically became the town’s blacksmith, even though she wasn’t exactly favored. However, Elinette had never wanted the role of blacksmith. In fact, she had always dreamt of working with animals. 

“So one day, she decided to make that dream come true. Elinette wanted to go to Africa, and she did exactly that. Whilst in Africa, she befriended the animals that lived there, like the elephants. There was something so… different about animals. They were, in fact, organic creatures, unlike machines, but they weren’t as horrible as the human race. 

“Ellinette began to send letters back to the town, telling about her adventures. The town grew to like the girl, and her letters were incredibly entertaining. Around three months later, however, the letters stopped. Days went by, then weeks, and weeks turned to months. Sooner or later, somebody sent out a group of explorers to find Elinette. No one could. It was as if she had never existed, but here’s the thing, even in the town, all traces of her totally vanished. It was as if she were an imaginary friend, because the only thing left, including her house and workshop, were memories. Everyone had memories of Elinette. More groups were sent, but they were only able to find both spearheads and vulture feathers. 

“The main rumor was that Ares (Mars) had kidnapped her in revenge on Hephaestus for marrying Aphrodite (Venus).” Jane finished.

Lilly began walking back to her tent, shivering lightly. The story did NOT help her paranoia.  

Hailey began ranting all about her new Wildlife Expedition Journal as they walked into an old elephant enclosure. It was where they would be sleeping for the night, because it was a lot of empty space, and perfect for camping. They walked into the girls 2nd girls tent. Slipping off her shoes, Lilly walked around the tent a bit to set her sleeping bag up. The cold grass crunched under her as she kneeled on the thin fabric. Changing to her PJs, Lilly snuggled into the sleeping purple sleeping bag she had bought at the beginning of the trip. 

Suddenly, she heard a noise. Lilly assumed it was just an owl flying back towards her nest with a tasty mouse. Or maybe it was a bird, singing to her chicks before bed. However, when the sound came again, she identified it as a hiss. 

“AAAAAAAAHHHHH!” The most girlish scream rang around the enclosure. 

‘Probably Austin,’ Lilly thought, smiling to herself. 


This was when Mrs. Shelina yelled at her students, telling them to calmly exit the enclosure. 

Hoo Hoo

Lilly screeched, running from the enclosure, Hailey not far behind. After emerging from the tent, she was greeted with a scary sight. Snakes were slithering towards screeching children, all of whom were pushing and shoving toward the exits. They were snapping at any flesh they could reach, sinking their teeth into their victims, seeming to smile from the cries of agony their venom bought as it spread through veins. Owls were flying from above, scratching and chomping at whatever they could. Blood was in puddles on the floor. Lilly screamed yet a second time, running from the enclosure. The contents of the pond seemed to scream with her, freaking out equally.

Flashes of the ocean and horses clouded Lilly’s vision as she ran. Then, a wizened, yet almost war-ready voice rang through her head. 

“My revenge.”

And just one thought later, everything went black. 

The group were never seen again. They had disappeared just like Elinette. None of their rooms, photos, belongings, etc., had evidence they ever even existed. Not on the receipts for Hailey’s Wildlife Expedition Journal, not even their classroom or school records. It was as if they had never existed. But everyone still had their memories, like the group were just imaginary friends. No evidence was found but the snakes and owls. Jane was the only survivor, though she claimed to have no memories at all. 

However, the last comprehensible thought one Lilly’s mind was this:

 Cursed. The story is cursed.

Greek mythology: The story of Orpheus

After the death of his beloved wife, Orpheus was no more the same carefree person he used to be. His life without Eurydice seemed endless and could do nothing more than grief for her. This is when he had a great but yet crazy idea: he decided to go to Underworld and try to get his wife back. Apollo, his father, would talk to Hades, the god of the Underworld, to accept him and hear his plea.

Armed with his weapons, the lyre and voice, Orpheus approached Hades and demanded entry into the Underworld. None challenged him. Standing in front of the rulers of the dead, Orpheus said why he was there, in a voice both mellifluous and disquieting. He played his lyre and sang out to King Hades and Queen Persephone that Eurydice was returned to him. Not even the most stone-hearted of people or gods could have neglected the hurt in his voice.

Hades openly wept, Persephone’s heart melted and even Cerberus, the gigantic three-headed hound guarding the entry to the underworld, covered his many ears with his paws and howled in despair. The voice of Orpheus was so moving that Hades promised to this desperate man that Eurydice would follow him to the Upper World, the world of the living. However, he warned Orpheus that for no reason must he look back while his wife was still in the dark, for that would undo everything he hoped for. He should wait for Eurydice to get into the light before he looked at her.

With great faith in his heart and joy in his song, Orpheus began his journey out of the underworld, joyful that he would once again be reunited with his love. As Orpheus was reaching the exit of the Underworld, he could hear the footfalls of his wife approaching him. He wanted to turn around and hug her immediately but managed to control his feelings. As his was approaching the exit, his heart was beating faster and faster. The moment he stepped on the world of the living, he turned his head to hug his wife. Unfortunately, he got only a glimpse of Eurydice before she was once again drawn back into the underworld.

When Orpheus turned his head, Eurydice was still in the dark, she hadn’t seen the sun and, as Hades had warned Orpheus, his sweet wife was drowned back to the dark world of the dead. Waves of anguish and despair swept over him and shuddering with grief he approached the Underworld again but this time, he was denied entry, the gates were standing shut and the god Hermes, sent by Zeus, wouldn’t let him in.

Bible story: The story of Lot

And here is the comparing Bible story (found in Genesis 19 NKJV):

Sodom’s Depravity

19 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.”

And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.”

But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

Now before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both old and young, all the people from every quarter, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.”

So Lot went out to them through the doorway, shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brethren, do not do so wickedly! See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”

And they said, “Stand back!” Then they said, “This one came in to stay here, and he keeps acting as a judge; now we will deal worse with you than with them.” So they pressed hard against the man Lot, and came near to break down the door. 10 But the men reached out their hands and pulled Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. 11 And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they became weary trying to find the door.

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

12 Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city—take them out of this place! 13 For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, “Get up, get out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city!” But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.

15 When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, “Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city.” 16 And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17 So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed.”

18 Then Lot said to them, “Please, no, my lords! 19 Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. 20 See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live.”

21 And he said to him, “See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”

Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23 The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. 24 Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. 25 So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.

26 But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord. 28 Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. 29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when He overthrew the cities in which Lot had dwelt.

Lexi’s thoughts

Can you see the similarities? In both, there are extreme consequences for looking back. In both, the God(s) themselves got directly involved. I am going to tell you that each demonstrate the idea to not look back on what was.

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