Free-Range

chickens

For several days, I’ve had chickens on my mind. I helped Bekah chicken-sit while my friend was off camping. I remembered a funny video about chicken keeping I saw on youtube. I’m glad my friends so enjoy having chickens, but I don’t want to take up the lifestyle myself. I never realized that it was God bringing chickens to my mind. Last night Rick was watching a show he’d recorded about Homesteading. The plot is that these people go out to homestead and then they don’t have enough training and they get wasted out there. So some experts are brought in to analyze their homestead and save it. On this episode one of the major problems these homesteaders had was that they’d decided they must be entirely ‘Free-Range’ with their chickens and pigs. No pens, ever.

Now, some months later, their pigs (big scary boars) were running the farm. From fifty chickens they’d gone down to fifteen, and their 20 acre plot of land had more vultures and hawks circling it than the experts had seen. The predator birds were waiting for the sows to give birth so they could swoop down and rip at them for food. These people had to be convinced that ‘Free-Range’ didn’t mean utterly so, in fact, they weren’t responsible animal owners unless they protected the various creatures in their care.

And its true. My dear friends who have chickens let them roam about their yards during the day, but they work hard to keep them safe at night. They drive them into the pens they’ve built for them, and they actively keep the wolves, hawks, coyotes and other predators at bay.

So today I was praying. I was asking God- since He is such a God of love, why He can’t just forgive everybody, wholesale, and fix them into Heaven? Why does He have rules that we need to be saved from the consequence of?

And of course it all came together. My Jesus is so cool! He spends all these days putting chickens in my mind just so He could answer my question today. Here’s the first part of my favorite psalm.

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

In the spiritual world evil thoughts and crushing belief structures are delivered by predators we humans can’t see. In the war zone of our mental acreage, the battle God fights is for the hearts and minds of humans. He knows us inside and out. He wants us to be free and happy but He also must keep us safe. When He hems us in, it’s because He loves us.

So cling to the Morning Star during the day of our safety and love, and huddle in a clump with our human loved ones when we are lost in the night. God is the great chicken keeper!

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ActressMexicoOriental

Today’s Cast of Failure: yet another start that I didn’t go and write. But maybe I will!

‘Sallee Almay’s happy dream of being an actress was already ruined. She’d been cast to play the Femme Fatale at a Mystery Hotel. But to see Edwin Monterey join her at the make-up mirror, acting as none other than the leading man, caused her to run her mascara wand right into her eye. Now she had to pretend that she’d never met him, and that she didn’t melt every time he spoke a line. But most of all she had to deliver the greatest performance of her no-doubt stunted career. She had to pretend that she didn’t love him.’

From one blog to another…

I’m bringing this chapter over from my blog- SnoValley Hobbit today. Faire4

     In my recent trip to All’s Faire, this little bit of path tantalized me. I kept wanting to wander off and invent a new tree-lined tale. I remembered the tree in town I may have inadvertently saved. Right on the main street in historic Snoqualmie there’s a little square yard of patchy grass. It has a low metal fence and the road blows dust upon the broken sidewalk when the dry days come. Attached to the yard is a gas station/ mini mart- or the Town Pump as I’ve heard it called. Nothing much of pretty or grand in such a sight, except for one thing. In the middle of the small yard is the biggest Magnolia tree ever. When it blooms it’s glorious, and you can watch the process of life as the petals yellow and fall. This tree always comforted me when the town changed and cut back other trees that were my favoritesMagnolia.

   ‘At least they’ll never cut down that Magnolia tree! Too much history!’ I’d think to myself.

     But one day the new owners of the gas station, who’d bought the station and moved here only recently, got tired of cleaning up the discarded petals and wanted a drab, easily tidied front yard. I came along to see a man with chain saw stripping down the outer branches. Now it’s rare for me to confront a stranger or have an outburst like this, but I pushed into the store and demanded of the cashier…

    ‘Never tell me that they’re cutting down that tree!’

     When she shrugged and half-nodded I burst into tears which surprised me as much as her. I got out of there and went and sat in my car and prayed for that tree. Can you believe it? Wasted tears I thought.

    But as the day went by and I drove by the station with averted eyes something strange happened. No more of the tree was cut down. Praise God that he hears us and cares about our little troubles! Now, perhaps it wasn’t me who saved that tree. Maybe they were just giving it a trim and I misunderstood the cashier. But later that girl told me the owner heard that I cried. I think my favorite tree was saved by my tears.

   And so I wrote this first chapter on the SnoValley Hobbit blog. I’d been looking for a subject matter that went along with nature and my valley that I could insert a hobbit into. Here’s a picture of that tree and forgive the length of this posting as I add the story I wrote about it. Many of my friends have already read it!

‘Donago Greenhaven buttoned his new fawn-colored waistcoat. As a rule, hobbits don’t tend to dwell on overt fashion and vanity, but he loved it when his mirror reflected a brightness to his image. From the top of his reddish-gold curls, to the bottoms of his hairy feet, he wanted to appear cheerful, intelligent, and ready for any adventure that might await him over the next hill.

Donago plucked at the red handkerchief that peaked in a triangle out of the upper pocket, making sure it stood out. Tonight he was especially interested in making an impression. Traveling hobbits had arrived in Little Delving, bringing wares for the market, presents for friends, and news of the other regions. He wanted to share in it, the busy world of those who worked, and those who dreamed.

He beamed at himself, at his own bright eye, at the dimple an inch from the edge of his mouth, and his one crooked tooth. He’d been told that he was born ready to grin, and that he’d no doubt die with a last bit of laughter on his lips. He looked fine. From the little round window that overlooked his garden and the distant fields to the west a breeze filtered in a whiff of the sea. The scent must have traveled for many miles, must have flirted with clumps of silver grasses and coasting birdwings, holding its essence to arrive in his room and call to him. It always made him laugh.

“All right!” he told it, forgetting his finery as he hurried out of his bedroom and then outside his hole. His intention had been to visit The Brown Barrel, Little Delving’s busiest Inn, and hear the tales that might be told, but that could wait. The sun was just setting, and all around Little Delving hobbits were lighting lamps against the night. His hole was in the last mounded hilltop of Little Delving, and he was at the end of the row. His second cousin on his father’s side had left him the small abode in an intricate will in gratitude for making him laugh right when he’d been frightened of death. Donago loved his house, for it made the wilds beyond Little Delving seem like they belonged to him alone.

Over there, further west, was the sea, beyond the downs, and, he was sure, the end of the world that could be known. His relatives and friends all told him it was too far away to send him any whiffs. But he knew better. He trotted over the hilltop, through the knotted grasses that needed a good shearing, to where the land leveled and became silent. It was there he loved to settle, and climb a tall tree and dream. From the top of that tree, branches swaying only a little from his hobbit weight, he could see the downs peaking in the distance in the daytime and the blue nuance of stars and wind at night. And sometimes, if he was patient, he could see the tall and stately forms of elves on the far road. They seemed to float as they walked, round globes of light like tiny stars around their heads, graceful with patience, yet rushing towards elfin dreams of new worlds. They were going to their ship at the Grey Havens. He felt akin to them. He felt sure they would understand.

But tonight an unpleasant surprise awaited him, one that dimmed even his most inborn laughter. He could see them, a circle of intruders standing around his tree. This tree that was just flowering the multi-colored blooms it had put out for a hundred years. The tree that had been planted by a hobbit so long ago that no one remembered his name. On the edge of their village it had waved a farewell to the village to those who left it, and it always shared its beauty with great energy. But today it looked beleaguered, for reaching up he saw several hobbits sawing and hacking. Some others he didn’t recognize were standing there behind them, looking dark and impatient. He saw money changing hands.

It was true, he didn’t own the tree. Someone else in Little Delving owned the property it grew on. Someone else saw it as a blot on the edge of the road that could otherwise be widened, or as a chore when the leaves fell and made a mess. He stood there, the light dying out of his eyes, until he ran forward in dismay.

“What are you doing?” his piping voice demanded, his bright clothes helping him to stand out. “Never tell me that you intend to cut down this tree?!” His voice was incredulous, and the group in the circle turned to stare at him. He stood frozen, a picture of misery, until his usual purpose returned to him. Darting, he pushed them all aside. He climbed the tree, making no more noise than a rustle, and disappeared into its tallest branches.

Exasperated, those at the bottom called up to him, threatened him even, telling him that his next post would be in a jail. But he clung tight and refused them. Then, since it was so late, the wood-choppers decided to go away, and return to their task in the morning.

That left him, swaying now at the top, staring at the distant night sky. Perhaps this was the last night he could sit here, where the inanimate world of tree and sky merged with the dreams inside him, drawing out yearning for beauty and a longing for a true tale to belong to. Bowing his head, he gave himself to it. Alone with the sure surface of the branches, and the soft light of the blossoms, he cried at the loss.

But he was interrupted. A voice spoke, from a person who had climbed to sit beneath him, moving as silent as only a hobbit can when it wants to hide away from big people in the grasses.

“What is this I see?” the voice asked, in tones that sounded like music. Donago lifted his head, shocked, and blinked open his tear-soaked lashes. An elf was sitting there, one with long silky black hair and eyes as blue as the night around them. Donago tried to hide his pain, but he’d never been any good at hiding his emotions. The elf reached out and touched his cheek.

“I’ve never seen a hobbit weep. You’re creatures of laughter, rather. Tell me, what has upset you?”

Donago sniffed. In all his life, he told no truer tale.

“They’re going to cut it down,” he said, sounding as forlorn as a five-year-old. “This tree that’s stood here so long, and while it’s blooming too!”

The elf tilted his head. He looked around, at the new stars peeking through the leaves, and nodded his head in understanding.

“Ahh,” he said.

Donago said no more, putting his head down on his knees. Sometime before he lifted it, the elf disappeared. But in the morning, although he stared with anxiety from his perch, no returning group of wood-choppers came. Breakfast passed, and then onto luncheon, but still no one came to finish off the tree. At last he climbed down. At the bottom he found it, a letter written on the finest parchment. It was addressed to him, although he had no idea how the elf had discovered his name.

‘To Donago Greenhaven, of Little Delving, on the morning of Mid-Spring,

Greetings halfling.

I came upon you ready to leave my home in Middle Earth. I’ve seen many things in my travels, and seen the loss of many spots of beauty. I’ve heard Dwarves stomp under the mountains until the earth shook, and watched tinkling waters wash away dust from the rocks like glass. I’ve seen men quarrel, elves grow weary, and woodland creatures birthing in their burrows. I’ve been frightened, loved and touched by mysteries no mortal can understand. But I never expected to be moved by a hobbit’s tears. Because of you, I’ve had to fall behind my companions, and waste one more day in Middle Earth. I’ve had to walk into your little village and plead, and then make payments. But, in return I leave with a little more grace, knowing that a heart like yours exists here in this land I leave behind.

Take this, as my last work in your Shire, and the last gift I care to give. I’ve had it drawn up with all the proper legal documents that hobbits require. This bit of land is now owned by none other than Donago Greenhaven, and I leave the tree you love in your care.

Journey forward, little Halfling, and remain ever the hobbit that saved a tree because of his tears.

Your friend, an elf of the Grey Havens.’

 

My upcoming weekend!

Where I’m going to have my very own booth for the first time at a Fantasy Faire!

For this event, I’ve written my books:

roots2justcover

I’ve made cute little pillows:

Pillows

And crafted my covers onto nifty painted jewelry dishes.

Plates2

This evening, I will pack my car with all kinds of pop up tents and stuff, stuff, stuff!

Tomorrow morning, come what may and weather, I will go and actually talk to people about my books. Scary, but hopefully I’ll come  back better able to answer the big question. (So, what’s your book about?) If you have the time, it should be a fun Faire, here’s the poster!

All's Faire Poster

Ha ha, here’s another one just because I have it!

Alls-Faire-Another-Flyer-2015-Color-231x300

Grandkid Messes

happychildren

Yesterday’s play;

Gets all put away;

Except for the rips and stains;

of past giggles.

~     *     ~     *

Focus on the work;

Sigh over tiny fingers that jerk;

Away with the tidy- making you frugal;

And PRIM.

~     *     ~     *

Old Miss Grumpy-Frump;

Eyes piercing, back-a-hump;

Scolding and forgetting the joy of it all.

~     *     ~     *

But you’re a Grandma now;

You’ve learned the total truth;

It all goes too fast;

Little hugs, piping voices, and youth.

~     *     ~     *

So take the second chance;

ABSORB EVERY TRUSTING GLANCE;

Kiss the faces and hold pudgy, sticky hands;

And thank God this sweet love came your way again.

 

Horsies!

Horse

I hope they have horses in Heaven

Because I sure can’t ride very well now.

I’m old and stiff and too heavy

to sit high on a saddle and howl.

 

When I was young I ached to ride,

I dreamed and read books and sighed.

But when finally I rented a horse; travel bound,

He directed us back to his barn ‘stead of the other way around.

 

So I’m going to have to wait to feel that pleasure

of the horse’s speed taking me galloping down hill

The wildness inside driving him and the beauty

of the creature’s marvelous skill.

 

 

My Mommy’s Smile

Mom and Alisa

(My mom and sister in Kansas City, circa 1957, approx.)

My Mommy’s smile is bright and sweet,

Seen here over the bobby socks on her cute feet,

My sister is delighted to sit eye to eye,

With such a pretty mommy saying ‘Hi’.

This long ago moment happened years before me,

But my Mommy had so much love to set free,

You can see the delight she has in her soul,

I love her back from head to toe!

Today’s Snippet With Yawn…

nap

This is from my ‘Black Poodle Over Seven Hills‘ story, which will be released in October by my publisher, Satin Romance. I’m going through the edits right now and it’s hard when I read passages like this. Nap time!

‘It was three thirty now, and the rain outside had darkened the windows to yellow. The pink walls oozed comforting vibes as they blended with the parchment-yellow light. The bed Timothy had folded for her made her think of the child’s poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, “The Land of Counterpane.” She felt cocooned and suddenly very sleepy. She yawned and plugged in her new lamp. Its golden light was muted, and she put it in the corner to light the room should she wake in darkness. Then she lay down on her comforter and curled into Timothy’s blanket. Emotional upheaval followed by all of that shopping had made her tired. The apartment rested with her; no sounds from the outside intruded. The refrigerator ticked just to keep the environment from getting too silent. She drifted off and slept hard.’

Near Death Experiences

aDream

Death dreams come near as you sleep, awaken you with a jolt.

I’ve dreamed I was killed, but I was just in an action movie.

I’ve had my dreams nearly die too.

What is so poignant about the death of a dream?

When your dream of accomplishment nears death you understand things.

God had dreams, I think. Even He got hurt when His dreams nearly failed.

He dreamed we would all love Him. He dreamed we’d love each other.

To fulfill that dream He made the whole world.

His bright painting of pretty colors got splattered with dull grays and maroon slashes.

And His marvelous writing skills!

He wrote such wonderful words- even Jesus is called Logos.

Jesus who died to save us and express God’s love.

All are like our own dreams of art.

We want to express it, share it with the world and be understood.

Artists, don’t let your dreams die.

Awake with a jolt and see the beauty all around you.

Remember that God, the greatest creator of all, took many risks.

Among other things He’s made little flowers, grandiose sunsets, piercing stars, and you.