Balloon Busters

Oh shiny rubber wonder
Bobbing along beside me
Tugging at your tether
Longing to be free

Oh, bouncy balloon of delight
You hold the best
The brightest parts of me
Within your supple skin

The hopeful dreams of ‘someday’
The whispered bliss of ‘maybe’
The terrified promise of tomorrow
Swirl endlessly within

I keep you safe and silent
For the dreams you hold inside
Could shatter and die within
If I dared to give release

This week’s sermon dealt with finding your God-given dream. To find the passion that he laid on your heart and to go with it.

Well, I know my dream, I know what he has called me to do. Or I know about as well as any of us can truly know the heart of God. One of the few things on this earth that can really fire me up is an increasing ignorance of the Bible. More and more I come into contact with people, average American adults, who have no idea what is in the scriptures. Many of them don’t even know the most basic stories that were once common knowledge like Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, David and Goliath, to name a few. Or if they know the story, it is from a simplified children’s story or a blockbuster Hollywood film.

Yet there is so much more within those wonderful pages. The stories within are about real people, real events, and a very real God. My passion is to reacquaint today’s people with those people of long ago. To make their stories come alive and awaken the world to the God who loves them.

I have the calling. I have the talent (or so I believe). What I don’t have is the courage. Yesterday, the pastor spoke of turning away from the dream busters, the people who tell you that you are not good enough, not worthy, and you don’t belong. But what do you do when the biggest ‘balloon buster’ (I like the alliteration) is yourself?

I read the words of other authors and often think to myself; I could never write like that, I will never be that good, and other self defeating phrases. I could go on all day. Yet even with such negative ‘self-talk’ God keeps bringing me back to the computer to type another scene, another chapter, another section. Because like the prophet Jeremiah,

If I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name’, his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in, indeed, I cannot. Jer 20:9

I am no prophet, and my stories are not earth-shattering messages to God’s people, but there are stories within me that beg to be told. I have stories of God’s faithfulness and grace, of his love and provision for everyone and they burn to be told.

And yet, lack of faith holds me back. Faith in myself, in my words, and yes even in God. Even then, in my darkest place of despair, in that vast sea of hopelessness, He meets me there and encourages me.

Oh, faithless child
Your dreams are safe with me
Let go the chains that bind you
Yield them to my hand

Look close, you will see
That my dreams are also yours
I put the spark within you
To brighten up the night

So trust me, child
To lead you where you want to go
To feed your dreams of ‘someday’
And take you safely there

 

So while others may not understand the dream that I hold close and tight, a dream that I can barely speak of (unless it is couched in a joke) because it is too important to risk the attention of a ‘balloon buster’. I know that God understands the dream and the weakness that holds me back. And he will never bust my balloon, he is waiting for me to find the courage to release it so that He can make it come true.

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‘Catch’ My Newest Story

After a short hiatus in January to recover from the marathon of story writing in November and December, I have a new e-short out on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TEE1HZK

Caught! Is my take on the story of the woman caught in adultery. Found only in the Gospel of John, it is a tale of forgiveness and second chances like only Jesus can provide. The dramatic scene on the steps of the Temple has been told and retold in words and art through the centuries.

I think the words that ring loudest are those of Jesus.

‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Jn 8:7

What an example of love and compassion! Of all those in the Temple watching, Jesus was the only one qualified to judge. He alone was sinless. Yet he chose to forgive and offer a second chance at life.

‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’    ‘Then neither do I condemn you. go and leave your life of sin.’ Jn 8:10,11b

Perhaps we should remember those words before we judge and condemn those around us. Sin is sin, none bigger or smaller than any other. Adultery is no different than lying, or gossip, or envy. Are there any of us who can claim to perfectly keep all 10 Commandments?

No.

So before you pick up a stone to cast or a finger to point, remember that Jesus alone is worthy to judge. He loves all of us enough to die for us. Can you say the same?

Caught!

Caught!

Fall Behind, Hurry to Catch Up

I am a few thousand words short of where I should be if I want to stay on track. But the John and Sary’s story is slowly coming together. They have just met for the first time on Christmas Eve day . . .  Want to read it?

095The warm light drew him. It became a window. John fell against the rough siding an peered in. Through the wavy panes of glass, a fire crackled beneath a spit where a giant bird slowly rotated.
A sleepy-eyed child crouched next to the hearth yawning as she turned the spit. A woman worked a mound of dough at a table. John stood transfixed as the dough became loaves of bread. His stomach rumbled but he was afraid to move for fear the delicious scene would disappear.
“What are you doing?”
John whirled around at the snap of the voice but ended up on his hands and knees once more.
“Mother, Mary, come help.”
Slender arms wrapped around his chest and helped him to his feet. A nearby door swung open spilling light and heavenly scents into the cold morning air. John allowed the women to lead him inside.
They ushered him to a chair next to the fire. The heat seemed to scald his skin. Phantom pain flashed through his numb hands.
The women worked at the knots holding the blankets around him around him. Then did the same to his woolen coat. As the soaked layers were pulled off, the heat flooded over him bringing on a violent fit of shivering. When they tried to remove the linen gloves from his hands, John curled his fingers and held them on.
“Now sir, we must get these wet things off of you. Let me have the gloves.”
With his teeth chattering, John was unable to speak but he shook his head and pulled his hands closer to his body. He was too cold to think, but still refused to show his hands.
“Well then, hold this tea, it will help warm them.”
John took the cup, but his hands trembled so violently the tea sloshed over the side. The young woman cupped his hands in hers and steadied them. The first sip scalded his tongue, then slid down his throat with blissful heat. He closed his eyes allowing the warmth to spread through his belly.
“Have another.”
He opened his eyes and met those of the young woman crouched before him. They were wide with concern and the fire reflected off the hazel so that they seemed to glow with tones of green-gold and bronze. Her cheeks grew red under his gaze, a perfect complement to the eyes. He stared until thick lashed fluttered down as a shield.
“What were you doing out there, young man?” The mother came back to the room with a thick towel and began rubbing it over his head and shoulders. The vigorous rubbing awoke thousands of red-hot needles in his skin. More woke in his feet as the youngest removed his sodden boots and rubbed with another towel. The agony brought a moan to his lips, tears threatened to escape regardless of how he tried to hold them in.
“I know it hurts, but we have to get the blood moving before frostbite can set in.” The woman continued to rub across his chest. The girl with the eyes had taken his cup and he spotted her hanging a woolen blanket near the fire. He followed her movements. She still wore the cloak and scarf showing that she had been the one to find him.
“Th-th-thank you.” It took several tries before his lips would obey his command. “Moth-th-er. F-f-father.”
“I’m sure you are welcome, but I am not your mother young man.”
“By th-the river.”
All three females stopped their ministrations and stared at him.
“There are more of you out there? Why, it is below freezing, what can you have been thinking of.” The mother offered another sip of tea then another.
He tried again. “Set ash-sh-shore by ship’s long boat. Mother sick. Had to find help.”
“Sary, you’re dressed, go out and find your father. Mary, put more tea on and get the quilts from the attic.”

What do you think? Is it an interesting meeting?Cutting-gingered-bread

Family Story

November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. Last year I used it to finish the rough draft of the novel I have been working on. I am still muddling my way through edits and rewrites, mostly because it is a daunting task and I have a tendency to put it off.

This year I am shooting for a somewhat easier project. I am going to write the tale of one my early ancestors and his journey to America.

Losing everything he owned in the Great Fire of London, John Perry had few options left to him. He could return with his father to the ashes of the city and try to salvage the scorched  fragments of his life and rebuild, or he could turn his back on the past and look to the colonies across the ocean for a new start. The black smoke hovering over the once great city merged with the gray clouds. The steady rain had finally turned the tide of destruction and conquered the flames. The smell of ash and charred wood clogged his every breath. Nothing remained of his life, his dreams. No, there was nothing left for him here. The colonies of the New World held the promise of hope and forgetfulness.

John Perry (the Younger) joined his parents, John Perry (the Elder) and Johannah Holland Perry on the trip to Watertown, Mass in 1667. There he married Sarah Clary within the same year. I can find information about births, deaths and marriages, but little else so many years later. I know bits and pieces and some stories that have come down through the family. My people were there during the French and Indian war, the Revolutionary War, Civil War and other important times in our country’s history. They were farmers, teachers and preachers. Simple people who grew up, loved, laughed and sorrowed just like we do today. They lived the history we learn about in books.

Their blood flows through my veins. It is enough for me to want to know them. Are they like the living, breathing family that I know and love? What parts of them have been passed down to me and my children?

Years ago, before I had any idea of being a writer, my Grandpa Perry and I sat together on the couch gazing out the window. He was telling me stories of his parents, aunts and uncles, their travels and their coming home. At fifteen I was keen to know who I was, where I had come from. As we talked about the ones who had gone, he said to me.

You should write a story about our family.

At the time, I eagerly agreed. I loved my family, I was fascinated by our history. I neglected to mention to him that I hated to write.

Years later he passed away, lost in the fog of Alzheimer’s syndrome. I was 1500 miles away and unable to get home. My biggest regret was that I never got to say good bye, second to that was that I had never fulfilled that request.

Still I waited. Now he has been gone more than ten years. I have been thinking about it more and more and have come to a conclusion. 4023864_origIt is time to grant that simple wish.

NaNoWriMo is coming.

Are you ready?

 

The Gift of Her Son

Available for purchase on Amazon

Available for purchase on Amazon

My new e-book is out! The Gift of Her Son tells of the sorrow of a mother beside the deathbed of her son. With his passing, she is alone in the world and loses all hope for the future. On the way to the tomb, the funeral procession is stopped by a man who tells her ‘Don’t Cry’. The grieving mother doesn’t seek his help. She doesn’t know who he is or even that he has seen her. Yet Jesus has compassion for her sorrow and dries the woman’s tears. Jesus gives her the gift of a future and love wrapped in the life of her son.

Here is a sneak peek:

The sun dropped below the horizon and I watched the colors shift to bright gold and scarlet. My husband and I had first come to Nain a few months ago along with our youngest son, Jael. I had loved the view from my new doorway from the first moment. Now I hated it. I had gazed on the scene too many times, seeking solace and finding none.
I turned my face to the darkness behind me. The single lamp cast flickering shadows on the ceiling. They looked like the shadows of demons waiting for death to claim its next victim. I shivered and drew my shawl closer. I shuffled through the familiar darkness to Jael’s bed.
He lay still, no longer thrashing beneath the bedclothes. I lowered my hand gently to caress his face. His skin felt as though it stretched over the dying coals of a fire. He flinched at my touch before pressing his cheek into my hand, seeking its coolness.
I took the cloth from his forehead and dipped it again into the basin of water on the floor beside the bed. I smoothed the cool cloth over the scalding skin of his arms and chest before placing it on his head again. He sighed at the cool touch of water then moaned as fever baked the coolness away.
Desperate to offer him any sort of relief, I searched the house for every scrap of fabric I could find. Armed with a small pile, I covered him with layers of water-soaked cloth. It seemed to help; he sighed and drifted into uneasy slumber. I brought the lamp closer and set it so that I could gaze on him as he slept.
I knelt beside the bed and laid my head on his chest. The cold water chilled my face. I could feel the rapid beat of his heart, like a bird fluttering to escape a net. It was no longer the strong, steady beat that comforted me when his father died. My boy had held me as my life shattered around me. Now I held him as his slipped away. Tears trickled down my face as I crooned to my baby.
“Mamma.” His voice was weak but it sounded like music.
“Jael, oh Jael, I’m here.” I raised my head and looked into his eyes. They were unfocused but they were open and looking towards me. The fever still raged behind them.       “Oh, my boy.” Nothing else would come out.
“Mamma, listen.” His hand felt around weakly until I grabbed it with my own and held it to my wet cheek. “I saw an angel, Mamma. In my dream.” I continued to weep  silently, for angels meant death. I was losing him.
“The angel said to tell you to be brave. It would work out.” He lay for a moment, his breathing shallow. He squeezed my hand weakly. “I’m sorry, Mamma. I love you.”
“Oh my boy, don’t leave me. You are a good son. Stay with me. . .” but he was gone. Not dead, but lost in that dream from which there would be no awakening until his final breath delivered him to Abraham’s bosom.
His breathing faltered, his chest hesitating in its rising. I heard the rattle that foretold death as the air escaped his lips. His chest rose again, slower and slower.
Then it rose no more. Sorrow built inside me, a trapped beast raging to be free. Screams tore from my lips as I howled out my pain and fury. On and on it went taking on a life of its own while I rocked myself back and forth clutching my son’s hand to my breast.

If you would like to read more, it is available for purchase on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MR3IFVE

Please share this post and the story with your friends!

My mom's hands

My mom’s hands

Read the Directions

I am one of those people that likes to buy new gadgets. I can’t often afford new toys, so when I can, it is a big deal. I bring them home, giddy as a kid on Christmas, and I unpack it right away. I read the instructions enough to put it together and start it up then set the booklet aside.

No worries, I can figure it out. And I usually can, at least the basics. I will refer to the book once in a while if I need a clue. It just takes too long to read the whole thing through.

A few weeks ago, I found out why you are supposed to read the whole thing.

I bought a camera about 3 years ago. It is a very nice camera and I get some great pictures with it. It has a long zoom and high pixel count and I have enjoyed it, carrying it around with me every time I leave the house. A few months ago, the display screen was really dark when I tried to frame a shot. Oh well, it is a few years old and the screen might be going bad. They just don’t make things like they used to. I can deal with it. And I did deal with it, using luck and instinct to take pictures that I couldn’t quite see. some of them even came out well. Then the screen went bright, washing out the colors. Hmm, that’s weird.

I dug the instruction book out of the bottom of a box of other discarded instruction books and hunted to see if there was something I could do to change the view screen.

There was, and a whole lot more besides.

Wow, this camera can do THAT?

I was amazed at all the features of my camera that I had been missing for years. I mourned lost opportunities and bad pictures that could have been saved if I had just known . . .. Now my pictures are more beautiful than before with a whole new range of possibilities.

But wait, there’s more . . .

I bought Photoshop at the same time that I bought the camera. Again, I started it up and have used it for years making my best pictures even better. But I didn’t read the instructions. How hard can it be anyway? I figured out how to tweak lighting and colors to bring out the best in the pictures.

We have seen a lot of publicity on Photoshopped pictures lately. Pretty women become flawless, cool landscapes become surreal art and so much more. Hey, I take some darn good pictures. I have Photoshop. Why shouldn’t I try some of those cool effects. The trouble is, I didn’t know how. So back to the instruction book and online tutorials. These were less helpful if only because the possibilities with Photoshop are nearly endless. I did get some good ideas of where to start though, so I began playing around and experimenting.

Wow. I have a new addiction. I have always wanted to be an artist and paint the pictures in my head but my fingers lacked the talent. Now, with my camera and a computer program, a whole new world of art has opened to me.

As I sat down to write this post, God tapped me on the shoulder. (He’s been doing that a lot lately)

Hey, Kate, Guess what . . . I gave you an instruction book, too. It’s sitting right over there on the shelf.

I look. Yep, right there where I left it the last time I checked some wording for one of my stories. My Bible. I haven’t  picked it up to really study it for a long time. I know the basics, enough to get on with life anyway, right? I have studied it through my teens, 20’s, 30’s . . . well you get the idea. I know it pretty well already.

Do you really know Me enough? Maybe I have something new and fresh to say to you, did you ever think of that?

Well, I guess. I did learn new stuff about things I thought I knew. I can give it a try. If my camera and Photoshop have hidden gems, I can only imagine what God might have hidden in the book He wrote. Maybe it is time to dig in again.

Dreaming Fairy

Where reality gives way to fantasy and art.

In His Right Mind

content_5019426_DIGITAL_BOOK_THUMBNAILI am fascinated by the stories in the Bible.

This wasn’t always the case, I was raised in the church so by the time I was a teenager, I figured I knew it all. Of course, most teens think so, but about the Bible it was surely true. It has been around for a long time and there is only so much new to find in it . . . or so I thought. After high school, I went to a Christian college where everyone was required to take at least one class in both Old and New Testament studies. Since I wanted to graduate, I did, I even learned some things, little details not taught in Elementary Sunday School.

I graduated, again knowing all there was to know, got married and had kids. Wanting to be a good parent, and because I enjoyed it, we went to church every Sunday. One day the pastor began telling a Bible story. Here we go again. I stopped myself from rolling my eyes but under my breath told the story right along with him. Until he changed it.

He didn’t change the core of the story. He added to it. The pastor painted a word picture telling about the heat and dusty roads. He told us what the person likely feeling in the middle of this crisis. It was only a few extra sentences, but suddenly the story was new . . . the people were real. People just like me.

I was hooked. The story the pastor told swirled around in my head for months until finally, in a slow hour at work, I grabbed pen and paper and wrote.

My first short story.

Since that day, almost ten years ago, I have written many stories and the rough draft of a novel. Not all of them are from the Bible, but most of them. Two years ago, I published five of them in The Other Side of Miracles through Inspiring Voices by Guidepost. That was a learning experience and since then I have learned and improved my storytelling craft.

Now I am publishing my stories as ebooks, hoping that others will find a new love for those old stories. My first ebook, In His Right Mind is now for sale on Amazon. A quick read, but an intense one. It is my version of what happened on the day that Jesus healed the man possessed by the demon Legion. I hope to have more ready to publish soon.

http://www.amazon.com/His-Right-Mind-possessed-Encountering-ebook/dp/B00LT5WAJE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405605207&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.com/Other-Side-Miracles-Looking-miracles-ebook/dp/B008F1ZM7W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405605377&sr=8-1