…Imagine the globe
Earth sitting on a table; spinning
You sit beside it, face glowing in its light
…Imagine the speed, a thousand times,
Faster than actual time.
History whirling, each important deed
Flashing by like a spark.
…Moments are delineated you don’t expect,
For the measurement of flame is love,
Kindness and sacrifice.
…War is blackness, a brief sludge of battle,
Scarring the globe.
Murder a pinpoint of ink.
…Each life goes too fast to see,
Smiles forgotten; passions too common to color,
Except, in France, or Rome or Native America.
…Big, important history. When one person
Died to save a group. When love triumphed,
Evil was driven back.
…If you stared at your spot in the globe,
And watched long enough,
Would you see your mother’s love?
Or your own, bright contribution?
…Now look, back and forth in time.
To when, Jesus Christ came.
…Like thunder beginning in the West,
Of the ancient and scoring beyond,
The East of the End.
…Once you saw that flash,
So big your eyes hurt,
The globe obliterated with light.
So long, it’s still going on…
I remember being 9 years old, and it was the birth of the 70’s. In Kansas City my mommy was exploring her different sides. The country was challenging the status quo. People were wondering how to become ‘free’. Jobs, and responsibilities, old-time values, and wars we didn’t want to fight, were shackles.
How amazing everything is when you’re 9 years old. I was just about to be introduced to Narnia, and a lifetime love of reading. I saw the world through the safety of my family’s lens, yet I was absorbing so much. My oldest brother and his explosion of music, of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Bob Dylan, and Cat Stevens. My mother meeting a lot of sash-wearing, long-haired, folksy people and bringing me along: I caught the nuances of their feelings, the way they chased sunlight, and craved ankle skirts in bold colors, and danced barefoot. One of these was a young mother, with a baby, who’d just been born again and told me about Jesus. She taught me to serve Him free. To take out a verse from the Bible, and find it exciting, like a jewel meant just for me.
One evening my mother took me to an old Kansas City building somewhere. Or maybe these memories I’m about to relate are an amalgamation of experiences my child-mind jumbled together. But I think there was old wood paneling wrapping the walls inside this building, smelling caramelized in beeswax. A carpenter-built stage four feet from the audience, with dancers in flowing, hippy skirts. Bare arms and sashes, wound through and braided in their hair. They did a dance called ‘clogging’. It swept me away, for I’d never seen anything like it.
‘May the circle, be unbroken, by and by, Lord, by and by, there’s a better, home awaitin’, in the sky, Lord, in the sky’.
These words were sung by guitar players and drummers in a simple band, and expressed by dancers, pounding the syllables into the warm, dark-brown floorboards. They weren’t a famous pop group. They weren’t up and coming. It wasn’t about that. They all felt the heat of this atmosphere, of the swirly world of bright colors, longing to burst out of a person, like freedom.
There’s a verse in the Bible that says this: ‘The Kingdom of God is within you’, or, as is more correctly translated, ‘in your midst’. Meaning, it’s Jesus. He’s here, in the middle of everything. He’s here.
We haven’t felt free lately. We can’t go and dance together, holding hands. We’ve been clogged. But Jesus has given me a lifetime of freedom, and a future home waiting for me.
Down deep inside me, I can still find that child I used to be. I can sing and hold His hand. I can pound the floorboards with my faith. I can hope God will give us more time. I want all my friends, who don’t know this peace, to come. Jesus’ hand is outstretched. He loves us all. Believe it.
Inside a single raindrop
A globe perches on a branch, made up of what sits inside diamonds.
Some drops hang upside-down, tempting fate.
Because one day that raindrop is gonna fall, or explode, dropping it’s load,
To water the ground.
I could speak on new birth,
Of temporary, bursting, water houses losing life to gain the larger good.
Instead I contemplate the large, dreary day.
Outside one more bursting drop adds to the mud, and the hidden, gray sky.
Puddles, melting earth, pounding leaves.
The large picture of life is too big for me.
The changing weather, like experiences, goes from sunny to overcast, cold rain.
So, back to what I can handle.
The single, clear little raindrop of right now.
A globe of rounded purpose, innocent and full of possibility.
Actually, that little drop is beautiful.
Here’s a snippet from Exili Saves the Flintelf. It’s book one in the first mystery series I’ve ever attempted! I didn’t get enthused with you before because, until I finished the second book, I couldn’t claim to have succeeded in a series. I’m editing the two books now, and trying to find plot in my head for the third. Woo hoo, such fun! My main character Exili, is the elucidator, or detective, who’s a hobbit-type creature with sensitive feet. His client is Goodall, a stubborn flintelf unaware of who could be trying to murder him.
‘Exili scolded himself as they continued walking towards the hut. He wondered why of all things; he’d thought this elucidating business such a good idea. Especially, he’d been so smug about running a ‘preventative’ agency. As if that were so simple to do! Much easier, wasn’t it, to examine the clues after the victims were safely dead like the other elucidationists he’d met. There was no feeling of impending doom that way. He realized he’d been over-nervous ever since he’d laid eyes on Goodall. Like walking on fire embers. He glared at his old schoolmate’s back, who’d still not consented to becoming his client. “Ungrateful wretch,” he muttered.
“What was that?” Goodall said in surprise, turning.
Blast! Exili had forgotten the creature’s excellent, pure-elflike hearing. “Nothing,” he grumbled.
“What did I do?”
A list of offences popped effortlessly into his mind.
“Never mind,” said Goodall, holding up a hand.’
But as for me, I trust [confidently] in You and Your greatness, O Lord;
I said, “You are my God.”
My times are in Your hands;
Rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from those who pursue and persecute me.
I love the way this is put. I’m not sure if it’s just a trick of translation into today’s modern English, but saying my ‘times’ are in His hands is beautiful.
When I first read that verse I confess, I wimp out. I’m scared of suffering. I look back on those times I had things even a little bit hard, and I shake my head. I don’t want to be one of those braggarts, the ‘bring it on, I’m ready’ kind. I’m NOT ready, Lord.
He knows all about it. He’s been there when I whine, and get overcome by fear. And He was there when my great fears were realized. I could spell out exactly the lowest moments of my life.
In ways I feel weaker to deal with hardships, not stronger. Yes, I went through a few storms and lived to tell the tale, but when the rain falls too hard now or a distant flash of lightning looms, I run behind the nearest set of bigger legs like a terrified two-year-old.
YET, I was thinking this morning of my ‘times’. All of my times. This moment, right now when I sit here, safe. My husband and children, amazing. My grandchildren, beautiful. There’s a roof over my head and breakfast in my tummy. My mind is working and clear enough to write.
All those times when I laughed with friends, and lifted my face to my Heavenly Love and wept with the majesty of worship, and feeling His love for me in reply. All those times when my imagination went wild and became another world that only I could see. Not to mention holding babies in my arms or getting kissed by a handsome fellow. Wow. I’ve had some powerful, exceptionally goood, times!
I can trust in His greatness, without any problem. I know He’s great. I know He carried me, too. I put my ‘times’ in His hands, because I’ve been doing that all of my adult life. I can’t tell you He answered every prayer in the ways or time periods I desired. But absolutely I should be confident by now. What a dear, constant, ever-guiding, forgiving, comforting and loving friend He is. I’m grateful.
My spatula broke. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t seem like such bad news. It was really old. I bought it in some distant long-ago garage sale or kitchen aisle. I was young then, just starting out in marriage, parenting and life. A handy metal spatula, scraping up enumerable eggs off of sticky skillets, or flattened chip cookie failures. Many, many family dinners, wolfed down by hungry children. One day I realized that ten years had gone by and my spatula was still working. I had a metal spoon, same thing, and an old metal colander. ‘They don’t make things like they used to!’ And then it was twenty years old and then more than twenty-five. This spatula has been with me through everything.
And now, tonight, it finally broke. On the same day that my youngest went off for her last weekend before she moves out. I’m sitting here crying about a spatula. Those years past are precious.
The Lord is telling me there are two ways of looking at this. One is that the spatula is old and broken, beyond its usefulness. The other way is this: This spatula broke, not as a way of saying that everything good is over, but because its job was completed. I’ve served my family through a bunch of scrapes, and bent and got cracked. But I held on till they were strong enough to become adults. I should feel this as a huge accomplishment. It’s been such a privilege! I’m not crying now, but feeling peace.
The cover will look like this above, and below, the back will be similar to this.
It took me a long time to write Santiago’s In Trouble, from when I had the original inspiration. I thought it would be written like a dime novel. ‘Sensational!’ ‘High Drama on the High Seas!’ or perhaps just a plain ‘AIEEEEEEE!’
Those were elements I thought were going inside this story.
When I finally committed the words to the manuscript page, the resulting story was a surprise to me. My main character was half Puerto Rican, and he’s being afflicted for that. I don’t know where that came from. I don’t usually presume to write about another culture’s difficulty with prejudice. I haven’t had to face those trials. But the story was rolling out and the original inspiration gave way so I went with it.
The result is like my other romances. It has some quirkiness, and some humor. I’m pleased with it, and enjoy re-reading it. But I still, once I typed ‘The End’, had no idea why Puerto Rico was on my mind, or why my subconscious associated it with trouble, striking. As I said earlier in this blog, I should’ve prayed. That horrible storm came just a few weeks later and decimated parts of the wonderful island.
Naturally, at that time, I didn’t want to self-publish this book out. So chirpy, and romancy, and happy-ending like, it didn’t fit what was going on.
But now I’ve come more to terms with it. Puerto Rico’s In Trouble, but in the end, her people are strong, resourceful, and worth getting to know. One day, I hope to go there and see the cities for myself. See how my prayers were answered. The President has recently signed a 19 million dollar relief bill, so that’s good.
There are still much-needed recovery efforts going on. If it so moves you, you can donate. Here’s a link.
According to the description that I got this from, this photo is of ‘one of Max Sparks’ children playing on a homemade teeter-totter’.
Now, I’ve been feeling a little low lately. Maybe for the past year or so. Not depressed, per se, but aware of those things that are drear. Oftentimes the beauty around me burns it up, and I’m the old Vicky again. I figured this malaise was normal, I’m 57 now, and feeling what old feels like for the first time and I need to adapt. I need to start walking and taking vitamins and build up to it, and age gracefully.
But I’ve been feeling my losses too. Realizing the writing dream isn’t going to go where I wanted it to go, and then, once that small grief is moved out of the way, seeing what that writing dream was hiding. Pretending is part of childhood play and now I’m older. Those losses in your life, and I mean the big ones, will hurt until you die. Maybe aging is the time that you finally stop pretending and see yourself and your life like a flower noticing that it’s wilting.
And then, God gives you surprise gifts. My beautiful daughter gave me an amazing necklace the other day. I saw her love for me and all of a sudden I was a child again, crying with the joy of it.
I got sick a few weeks ago, and I was weak for so long that I couldn’t even write anymore. Now I could really see behind the curtain. A dark garden of sadness for my lost child, and all the disappointments of what I couldn’t give my other children. And worry about my loved ones, and a longing to be able to solve all their problems. How odd to be older and realize that I haven’t learned anything about patience at all! I want God to fix everything now! I’ve waited a long while for everything to be perfect! Time is running out!
And just like that, another surprise. I’m not old. I’m a child yelling with all the passion in my being because that pretty trinket was pulled out of my resisting hand by stronger fingers. ‘Shhh, wait a little longer, my love. Everything will be all right.’
God is holding me, because I’ve just caught a glimpse of a world I can’t control. I’m small, and weak, but He is strong. The other night I told Him I was afraid to be this anxious or depressed and just like that He answered my prayer. Peace came and took the anxiety away. After that I started feeling the spark of creativity come back. A small gift from God but it feels so big. I have to cry with the joy of it. I may be a wilting flower but I’m open to see the light and feel the mist of rain to nourish me.
Look at that picture I found above. I think that ‘homemade teeter-totter’ is funny. It’s a big up and down, you can tell. Like if it goes awry or a heavy weight falls on the other side Max Sparks’ child is going to fly from a catapult. And that’s how children face life. Big ups and downs, and all an adventure. I’m learning that older people creak over the small bumps, and cry with joy on the upside.
Thank you, God for holding me, and being in my future until I see You face to face. I’m a child in my Daddy’s arms on this Father’s Day. I love Him.
I think faith that lasts through hardships is based on love, and the God you can’t bear to give up. You had faith before, the hard times come and all that lovely situational basis for faith is shredded and your emotions numb, sometimes in anger or bitterness. But you care about God. He is the One that you love. You don’t throw away a great love in your life because you’ve lost another one. You cling, in weak desperation. And in time, you discover, you begin to see again all the things God was doing to carry you through that hard time. You begin to feel and know His love for you again. And faith is not only restored, it is justified.