Foreword

Every moving line of poetry, every vivid work of prose is composed of the same twenty-six letters of the alphabet. This, of course, occurs only to English and select other languages, but the concept applies internationally. The power of these many characters simply through their arrangement is astounding. Spirits are lifted, friends are made, glory is shown, disappointment is dropped, enemies meet, and terror finds its way to our hearts.

I don’t think you can call what I am creating a book. Perhaps a garden is a better description. Every work is a flower, a spot of color that has been carefully revised and tended so that its beauty shines. Some blooms are older than others, some brighter and more carefully pruned. They are all pieces of a life, my life, and as I grow, so will the garden. I hope you enjoy your stroll through my growth as a writer.

Bridges

Signing a peace treaty is like crossing a bridge over a crocodile filled moat, thought Andrew,  they both obscure any hint of the danger lurking beneath. The man, sitting across from Andrew, and at the other end of the long and elaborately carved table, finished his signature with a flourish of the quill pen. He handed the pen to a waiting servant, while another servant picked up the parchment. The man, a duke, actually, nodded to Andrew in what seemed to be a reverent manner.

“My liege.” He spoke in what seemed to be a respectful tone. Andrew nodded in return as the servants placed the parchment and quill on the table in front of him.

“Thank you,” Andrew told them. Now came the difficult part. He glanced at the Duke again. Was that a glint of condescension in his eyes? He sat too far away to be certain. The doubt that this peace treaty was to be permanent whispered in the back of his mind. Andrew pushed the thought, and the fluttering in his stomach, away and picked up the quill pen. He hoped no one noticed his hands shaking as he signed his name. He drew the pen over the parchment in large flowing cursive, just like he’d practiced hundreds of times. Placing the quill back in the inkwell, he sighed. That was finished, at least, and nary a spot on the parchment. Taking a deep breath he stood, smiling at the Duke with all the kingly regalia he could gather. It didn’t feel like much. What was it about noblemen, and this one in particular, that forever reminded him he was only fifteen? The Duke of Dormere stood also, smiling a little too widely, his dark imposing features negating most the friendly intent. Andrew tried not to focus on this, he had to get this just right.

“We are pleased that Dormere is once again under our great and benevolent protection, and hope she will flourish under our benevolent rule.” Andrew tried to command with his words like a king should, but the words still sounded ridiculous to his ears. He hated ignoring the rebellion, but his subjects didn’t need more conflict than had already occurred.

“Oh, I hope so as well, your majesty,” the Duke bowed. “Now, allow me to retire to my quarters. My party will inconvenience you no longer than will be necessary. We will leave tomorrow morning.” The Duke did little to hide the sinister air his words and smile conveyed. Andrew’s stomach dropped. Tomorrow? The duke was to stay at least another week. This could prove detrimental! How should he respond? Andrew quickly searched for an appropriate answer. None came to mind, and not for the first time did he wish Di, his sister, had handled this event. He cleared his throat.

“If-” His voice squeaked a bit, and the Duke’s mouth twitched with silent laughter. Andrew cleared his throat again. “If you must leave, so be it. You may retire.” He dared not drop his ‘regal’ gaze until the duke left the room. Peace treaties are exactly like crocodile infested bridges, he thought. The hidden danger has to make itself known eventually. 

Stuck

God is enough-nough…never to much-uch…You are enough for me…

Savannah hummed along with the radio as she finished up her breakfast. She slipped her shoes on, checked her hair in the mirror one last time and headed out the door. As her car started, the song came on again, and she smiled. What a wonderful thought, right? She took a deep breath as that nice thought was replaced with nervous jitters. This would be the third interview, and she could only go so long before she really would need a job. Unless she found a husband, but that was going nowhere. There didn’t seem to be any single Christian guys out there, much less up to her standards. Not for the first time did she wonder if she should try something other than waiting. She stopped a red light, and remembered where she was going. She frantically pulled out her phone and got the directions up just as the light turned green. She was only a block away.

The world was a grayer and more frustrating place as Savannah stepped back into the parking lot. “We don’t need anyone of your skill set” “We’ll contact you if we have any open positions.” Like she hadn’t heard that before. She started heading home. On the sidewalk, she saw a couple, and that longing began again. She slammed the brakes at the stop sign a little too hard. If only…

God is enough-nough…never too much-uch…

The chorus echoed behind her thoughts, and she stopped her self-pity for a moment, but then her phone rang.

“Hi Lana!…You’re what? Sorry, can you repeat that? A job! That’s, uh, great! Congratu-”

The car lurched forward, and Savannah shrieked, almost dropping the phone. A blue truck honked loudly from behind her.

“What? No it’s fine. I think I got rear-ended. No no I’m fine, just, I need to call you back.”

She dealt with the more than annoyed driver, the insurance that would cover it, but would increase her rates, and by the end of it, she felt like crying. She was finally on her way back to her apartment, but she would need a ride while her car would be getting fixed. That on top of no job, no husband, and the futileness of her future just croweded in on her again. She felt crushed with all this weight and responsibility. What was she going to do? What if it didn’t all work? What if she got evicted, what if the car couldn’t be fixed? She was feeling a little hysterical, and finally the tears began rolling down her face.

God is enough-nough…

There it was again. She’d had that song stuck in her head the whole day. She pulled into the driveway and turned off the car. She just sat there for a moment, and let the song roll through her mind. And for the first time, she listened to the words.

Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want

Takes away my fears, you restore my soul…

Quench my inner thirst, there’s something more in life

No money, cars, relationships compare to joy in Christ…

God is enough-nough

You are enough for me.

Savannah bowed her head and poured her fears and dreams out to the Lord. She didn’t need them. God was all she needed.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

(2 Peter 1:3-4, ESV)

Song: God is Enough (feat. Flame) by Lecrae, Lyrics and Song here

Actions

Actions can be the things you do and say

The times when you hug and the times you run away.

But an action can also be doing nothing,

To take a stand, say no, refuse.

Ignore your own desire,

Your own comfort.

But however you act,

Do it right, selfless, and pure

Not apart of the world

But a servant of the Lord.

NaNoWriMo 2014: An Excerpt

Here’s an excerpt from my NaNoWriMo novel, Servitude and Rebellion, a story about a slave girl who learns the meaning of freedom and value in a world where the color of your hair determines your place in society.

-Please note that as is a first draft, there has been little to no editing taking place-

Claryssa waited for an eternity in the shadows near the buyers stage. Where was he? She wasn’t worried, but he was pushing up the details of their plan. Then a shadow slipped in through the shadows next to her. She sighed dramatically.

“Finally! I’d thought you’d become as soulless as a loyante and decided to stay there ‘for the good of your master’ or some other trash that they believe.” She laughed quietly.

Shawn said nothing, just leaned against the wall. His face, or what she could see of it in the shadowy alleyway, was hard as a rock, and, dare she say it, more, if possible, serious, that usual.

“What’s wrong?” She asked. Still he said nothing. She tilted her head to the side, a sign of her annoyance.

“Seriously, what is going on? You never laugh at my jokes, but now you seem almost seething. Is it…” The crowds where cheering again, another purple being brought out for show and tell, the necessary ordeal to gain their freedom. Shawn stared at the direction of the sound. Claryssa knew how much he hated it, but there was more to it today. She waited instead of prodding on. Her brother could be more dramatic than even she was at times, and he certainly felt more for the whole loyante population than she did.

“You don’t know the half of it.” He said, finally making a sound after a whole five minutes. She sighed.

“Finally. I’d thought you’d forgotten how to talk.”

Shawn turned to her with a really odd look, a reminiscing kind of look.

“I thought she had too. And I don’t think she would have said anything if I hadn’t kept talking and saying things that contradicted the lies that she had been believing. There was a lot of shock. They just don’t know.”

“Well right now, I have no idea who you are talking about. Who didn’t say anything. Have you been wasting mission talking to some loyante again? You know we don’t have much time before the breakout!” She chided with the air of an older sister. Little brothers were so hard to control!

“I thought, dear sister,” he said with a bitingly polite sense of sarcasm. He was irritatingly nice that way. “That our mission was to the loyantes, to give them freedom that they really don’t know that they don’t have. You should’ve seen the bars of that cage, how wide apart they were. And she just sat, huddled in ball, on the inside. The guards are nothing. They can leave just like that.”

“Assuming we motivate them enough. They are so thick, they’ll barely understand what we’re doing for them.”

“They’re not stupid,” he snapped, his eyes lighting fire. This was something he felt very passionate about. Annoyingly so.

“They sure do a good job of hiding it then. Come on, we have to make sure they have a clear exit. There’s only five minutes until Tomas said it was time. And there’s definitely going to be a storm coming.”

W-H-O-A

Why does there have to be so many different types of milk? Corinne scanned the refrigerated shelves of the grocery store, and the colorfully labeled 1%s and 2%. Finally, she picked up a half gallon of vitamin D milk.

Corinne got in line behind a young mom and her three kids, a girl with a mane of dark brown hair that couldn’t have been more than four, a chubby, red faced boy that must’ve been two, and a newborn that lay almost asleep in a car seat at the front of the cart. Corinne smiled as the girl pointed to something and whispered to the boy, tugging his arm. The mom finished paying and pushed the cart towards the exit, the little girl and boy tromping behind her. Corinne walked up to the checkout counter and put the milk and a five dollar bill she’d pulled from her small shoulder bag onto the worn plastic counter. The checkout person asked if she wanted a bag, but she shook her head.

Outside, she headed towards the bicycle rack, a good block from the store. A light drizzle had started, but it was cool and refreshing, washing off the grime of the buildings around her. Her apartment would sure smell nice when she got home. Corinne quickly flipped through the combination on her bike lock. W-H-O-A. That could sure be a conversation starter. She smiled as she threw a leg over the wet and rusted frame of the bicycle. The asphalt shook. She immediately jumped off her bike and whirled around. An horned, slimy monster was inspecting the mom and her three kids, who were on their way home; no one drove cars around here. Corinne raised her eyebrows. This was new. The monster took a step forward. Right into some power lines. It gave a loud roar, and stepped forward again, snapping the power lines. Corinne started her stopwatch and ran.

The world froze. She darted around raindrops and through the extremely slimy monster’s legs and grabbed the sparking power lines trailing behind it. A couple tight laps wrapped them securely around the monster’s legs. She dashed back to the store for a pack of fertilizer. The money clinging on the counter, she dumped the fertilizer in a circle around the monster, who was about to step down again. Pulling up a rawhide cord that hung around her neck, she yanked off the stopper of the bottle that was attached to it and shook some pinkish purple glittery stuff in the circle and on the monster. Then she raced around the monster. Again and again she circled it, rain hitting her face like a cool mist. The monster was surrounded by a whirlwind of black dirt and glitter, and soon, began to glow a pinkish purple color. It became brighter and brighter until it faded completely. She slowed to a stop, and, gasping a little, stopped her stopwatch. 59 seconds. She smiled. A new record. She walked over to where the monster had been and picked up the piece of paper with a pinkish purple picture of a very horned and slimy monster on it. Folding it up and placing it in her shoulder bag, she strolled over to her bike and picked up the half gallon of milk. She twisted of the cover and downed it the entire thing, then threw the carton in the trash. Glancing over her shoulder as she jumped on her bike, she saw the open-mouthed expressions of the two little kids and their mom. She smiled as she pedaled through the drizzly rain and down the street. That was an expression she liked to call W-H-O-A.

Passed Away

Life is a whirlwind
Of moments and feelings
All are interminable
But only for a moment
So often we forget
Trials last
For only a breath
When we rest in our Father’s arms

Lives will start
And friendships end
Joys too will burst through
With shining light
From the walls of sadness, pain, and doubt
But all will pass away
Like the fading flowers from summer’s glory
All will fade away
But only
For the good of those
Who rest in the our Father’s arms