Friday Fiction: Home for Christmas

>> Thursday, December 23



MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Welcome to an unofficial, spur of the moment Friday Fiction, hosted by Mari LaVell on her awesome blog, A Mari Heart. This is old one from the "Christmas" quarter at FaithWriters. I don't know why the judges didn't like it; it's one of my favorites. Maybe I connect more with the snarky MC than they did. [smile]

Enjoy your holiday, and remember to thank God for the best gift ever given, and the reason we celebrate Christmas - JESUS!! (And if you forget, it's right there in the name of the holiday.)



***************



HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

Irving was at it again. Frankly, I was over his whining. One more word about missing his precious Aunt Betty's sweet potato soufflé tomorrow and I was going to drop kick him to the curb. Besides, just the thought of sweet potato soufflé makes me want to gag.

I shot him a look that could melt diamonds and put my nose back into Grisham's "Skipping Christmas." Boy could I relate to Mr. Krank; I was ready to skip the rest of December and move straight into January.

Irving was acting like it was my fault I had to work on Christmas this year. Maybe I could tell the patients they'd need to care for themselves tomorrow because the nurses had to go home to mommy. Wait, I've got it - we could just shut down the hospital tomorrow. I should ask Irving if he'd call the director and suggest it.

I gave up reading and closed my book none too quietly. "Let's go. You're taking me shopping. Bring the credit cards."


Read more...

Friday Fiction: Nothing to Wear

>> Thursday, December 16


Our host for Friday Fiction today is....ME! Thank you Karlene, for giving me this honor! If you'd like to join the fun, scroll down and add your link to the linky tool at the bottom of this post. Then be sure to come back and follow the links to our other participants. And don't forget to leave an encouraging word to let the writers know you are reading! (We thrive on that, you know.)


I started this story over a year ago for the "Black" challenge at FaithWriters.com, and I finished it up today so I would have something new for Friday Fiction. It's based on a true story, but a lot of the facts have been changed for the sake of creative writing. 

Happy reading and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!


---------------


NOTHING TO WEAR

Stacy rifled through her clothes for the third time, toppling stacks of sweaters and yanking clothes off hangers, hoping something suitable would magically appear. She had a classy black sleeveless sheath that still fit, but it was December and she was going to the frozen tundra of Iowa. Her two black suits and countless black skirts, sweaters, and dresses were all too small. In a fit of rage, Stacy screamed at the ceiling, then crumpled to the floor. The dam holding back her tears exploded and she curled up in a ball and wept.

That’s where Kevin found her. The arm she had flung over her face to block the light didn’t hide her tear stained cheeks. Her lips whispered prayers that stopped when Kevin turned off the closet light. He knelt down beside her and combed the hair away from her face with his fingers, and Stacy breathed a sigh.

“Bad day, huh?”

Read more...

Can you hear Him now?

>> Thursday, December 2

I came of age in the dark ages of communication. The first personal computers made their appearance when I was in high school, pagers were a Godsend in my twenties, and shortly after I married Brad, the portable cellular phone was birthed.

Brad worked for a paging company back in the 90’s, and because he needed to be reachable 24/7, his employer issued him one of those newfangled portable phones. It measured about 10” x 3” x 2”, weighed more than my new puppy, and rode on the floorboard of our car.

When we got our first “modern”, 21st cell phones, their purpose was “for emergencies”. We stored them in our glove compartments and tried to remember to check the batteries’ charge every couple weeks.

Gradually, our definition of “emergency” morphed from “I have a flat tire," or “I’m broken down on the shoulder”, into “I’m running late,” and “We’re out of milk.”

Now, me forgetting my cellphone is cause to turn around and go back home. I feel lost without it. I haven't reached the extreme of the smart-phone junkie, but the thought of not being able to reach someone IMMEDIATELY brings on a panic attack.

Read more...

Connecting Now: The Great Movie coNUNdrum

>> Friday, November 26

I'm sharing what my friends the MikChiks are passionate about. They stir me to conviction and action. Please read!

Connecting Now: The Great Movie coNUNdrum:
"Greetings Readers, With December so close, I thought we could make one final push for the December movie boycott. The plan is to stay away ..."

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: The Video

>> Friday, November 19

Thanks for reading my offering for Fiction Friday today!! The fact that this story was unveiled at FaithWriters on Veteran's Day was entirely coincidental. This is a moment in time - a part of a much longer story that may just be that novel idea I've been waiting for.

Enjoy!!



---------------

THE VIDEO

The young soldier was ready. Just one more thing to do.

He tilted his laptop so the webcam centered his face on the screen. The worry lines and sad eyes had to go, so he took a breath and composed a smile. One more quick adjustment to his uniform, and he started recording.

***

“Hi Dylan. I hope that’s what your mom ended up naming you, cuz that’s the name we had picked out when I had to tell you goodbye, and that’s who you’ll always be to me.

I wish I could've stayed around to find out if you ended up bein' a girl Dylan or a boy Dylan, but that don’t really matter.

What matters is that you know who I am.

I’m your dad, Dylan, and you’re my kid.

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Truth Endures

>> Friday, November 5

Welcome to Fiction Friday! I wrote this story way back in May of 2007 for the Sci-Fi challenge at FaithWriters.com. Wow! I've been doing this for a while! I think my writing has improved, but I really liked this story. I hope you do too.

I think everyone might be busy with NaNoWriMo - I don't know if we have a host or hostess today or not! Let me know If I missed it. :-)

Be blessed,
Cat




---------------


TRUTH ENDURES

Eight-year-old Cody Brandon sat at the smooth, rock table, pouring over his schoolbook. His feet swung a foot from the dining room floor. Teacher had started his class in History, and today she told them about the days of their ancestors, the Above-The-Waters.

Five pages of Cody’s schoolbook were devoted to the Above-The-Waters. A few washed-out, grainy photos showed what was supposed to be the Above-The-Waters’ home. Cody’s imagination made the pictures come to life. The blue of Mama’s Sunday dress painted the sky, and herbs in Papa’s kitchen garden provided the green of the grasses and trees. The ever-present flow of air from the wall vents was the wind, and the grass swayed and the trees danced as it blew.

“Cody, my boy, are you reading or wool gathering?”

“Grandad!” Cody leapt from his chair and flew into the old man’s open arms.

“Whoa, whoa! You’re getting big enough to bowl me over, boy.” Earnest Brandon’s deep chuckle shook his belly. No one in Farlow had weight to spare, but Grandad Earnest was well loved. The Aunts and Cousins and Meeting ladies made sure Grandad didn’t go hungry.

“Grandad, what’s wool gathering?”

“Always wanting to learn, you are. Speaking of that, what are you pretending to be studying there?”

“The Above-The-Waters. Look at these pictures. And here, on the next page, pictures of the first tunnels.” Before Cody could turn the page, his Grandad reached down and stopped him.

“Cody, I’m old. I’ve seen those pictures and lots more.”

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Come Harvest Time

>> Friday, October 29

It FINALLY feels like fall today! Not that I mind summer weather lasting until the end of October, but wearing short and flip-flops on Halloween just doesn't seem right.

This poem was my entry for the "Fall" challenge at Faitwriters.com last September, and I thought I'd share it in honor of the changing weather.

Be blessed,
Cat



---------------



COME HARVEST TIME


Ava wakes to sparrow’s song
heralding dawn
and the balm of fall
fluttering in on dawn’s wing:
a harbinger
of harvest time.

Rising from her slumber,
she welcomes another day’s breaking,
but Ava is not mistaking
the herald’s proclamation of fall
riding in on dawn’s wing
with the hope
of harvest time.

Twas twelve months past
she last awakened
heart breaking open
and taking wing at dawn
to welcome fall,
recalling once more
his promise to come home
come harvest time.

The words he whispered
before he closed the door
behind him,
sealing off before from the morrow,
echo in her heart the year round.
“I’ll be back, you’ll see.
Pray for me.
And look for me this fall
come harvest time.”


Holed up in their shanty
Ava waited, marking time
by moon’s phases
and lines scratched on the door
that sealed off tomorrow from before
his promise to return
come harvest time.

Far too many
years
of months
of empty days
and lonely nights
have passed
for Ava to grasp
how long she’s been biding time
marking days
and seasons
waiting for
another
harvest time.

On this morning Ava rises
answering the sparrow’s call
with psalms of praise
and promise
of hope restored,
of bounties
stocked up for the morrow
that could be waiting now today
just outside the door.
It’s harvest time

She bathes and powders,
dresses in her Sunday best
dons jewelry, bracelets, rings,
adorns herself in finery,
and perches on the front porch swing
to watch, and listen, for signs
of his return
riding in on fall’s wing.
It’s harvest time.


There Ava passes
from today
into the harvest
of evermore.

© 2009


---------------


 
Christina Banks is hosting Fiction Friday today at
her blog, With Pen in Hand. Please come join us!!






Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Sunday School Sendoff

>> Friday, October 22

A light piece of fluff today for Fiction Friday. (and a shout out to my Canookian friend, Timmy Boyle.) Have fun! And don't forget to follow the link below to more fiction!

---------------

SUNDAY SCHOOL SENDOFF

Macy lifted a 6-foot long, L-shaped package from the top of the pile of presents. "Gee, I wonder this one is?" She caught the card dangling from the end. "From John and Debbie. Seriously, guys. A hockey stick?

"Everyone plays hockey in Canada, eh hoser?" John snickered, and poked Dianna with his elbow.

"John's right. I think it's a law there. 'All Canadians will participate in the game of ice hockey.'"

"And what kind of impression would that make on your new church, the pastor's wife breaking the law right off the bat? They might send you back."

Macy tore the last of the bright red wrapping from the blade. "Ha ha. Watch it or I'll find another use for my new hockey stick." She waved it toward them and scowled before bursting into laughter and grabbing another present from the stack.

"From Jerry and Linda." Macy ripped the paper off the box and opened the lid. "Oooh!! Did you make this?"

Jerry piped up, "Yeah, I slaved for hours knitting under a hot lamp. Killed my arthritis."

"Riiiight." Macy extracted the end of scarf created from the softest, deepest blue yarn and brushed it across her cheek. "Mmmm, nice. So, seriously. Did you make this, LINDA?" She continued unwinding the scarf out of the box and wrapped it around her neck, and wrapped it, and wrapped it. "And did you make it long enough?"

"We know how cold it is up there in the Great White North. We wanted to make sure you were covered."

"Thanks, guys, I love it. And I love you. I love all of you." Tears started shining in her eyes. "I can't believe you did this for me."

"You've been the best Sunday School teacher we've had, and we're going to miss you. We wanted to do something special for you, as a class." Linda had to grab a tissue and dab her own eyes.

"Don't worry, the church will have another party for you and Pastor Stephen," Jerry said. "You know us. Any reason to get together and eat." As if to prove his point, he plucked another donut off the plate in the center of the table bit off a mouthful.

Laughter danced around the room, and Macy was grateful the somber moment was over. She dreaded breaking down in front of her class, her family, and she had come precariously close. The day was nearing when she would have to say goodbye to them, but until then she wanted to fill every minute with joy.

She opened another brightly wrapped box. "Electric socks? They make electric socks? Oh, I forgot, this one's from Deb and Ernie. Very cool, guys. Thanks!"

"Oh, you betcha," Ernie said. "Can't have you getting frostbite, now can we, eh? Mighty cold up there like Linda says."

"You guys crack me up. Ok, this one is from Amelia. Thanks for missing your youth class to come to my party today, Amelia." She removed the delicate pink tissue paper from the box. "Oh, a book light! Thanks, sweetie."

The girl seemed transfixed by the button on her jacket she was fidgeting with. "I wasn't sure if they had electricity up there yet, and I think it's like completely dark for like 10 or 11 months out of the year, and I knew you wouldn't want to go that long without reading your Bible, so I figured it would come in handy, you know?" She finally lifted her baby blues to look at Macy.

"Beauty."


"Ernie, hush."


"Sorry, Deb."

Macy wasn't sure which part of Amelia's answer to tackle first. "You're right - I sure wouldn't want to go that long without reading my Bible, but I'm almost positive they have electricity where we're going. It will be great for reading in bed, tho! I'm going to love it." She opted to let the rest of it go.

"See, Mrs. Macy, that's why I'm going to miss you so much. You're always so nice even when you're correcting me. What am I gonna do without you?"

"Oh, Amelia, you'll be just fine. See, I've been teaching Mrs. Deb and Mrs. Diane and Mrs. Linda for a whole lot of years now. They're just as nice as I am, I promise. Give them a chance to show you."

"And the rest of you, the bell's about to ring. So, take off hosers! Wait! Just kidding. I need you to help me clean up this mess."

© 2009




---------------


 
Karlene is hosting Fiction Friday today at
Homespun Expressions. Please come join us!!






Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Book Review: Cardan's Pod

>> Monday, October 18



Cardan's Pod
by Rick Higginson

I was intrigued by the premise of a book about mermaids, and being familiar with Mr. Higginson's work, I've been especially looking forward to reading "Cardan's Pod."

It exceeded all my expectations.

I didn't expect the "mythical" creatures to be so human - complete with emotions, needs and desires. Mr. Higginson makes the unbelievable easy to believe.

But this isn't just a sci-fi story about mermaids - also it's a murder mystery, love story, adventure novel, and medical thriller, where mermaids happen to play central roles in the unfolding drama.

I only wish the ending hadn't come so soon. The last few months covered in the book were skimmed over, and I wanted more details! That is a compliment to the author - he drew me so into the life of the Pod, I felt let down when I was shut out of their lives.

Cardan's Pod is a quick read, but is by no means shallow. You will not regret reading this book.


My rating: 4.5 out of 5




Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Genesis: Morning Has Broken Me

>> Friday, October 1

The stunning rainbow God painted this week made me think of this story I wrote for the "Wow" challenge topic at FaithWriters. I've done a little tweaking - hopefully I helped it instead of hurting it. Enjoy!





GENESIS: MORNING HAS BROKEN ME

"Mommy, come look!" Bounce. "You gotta come see." Bounce bounce. "Come on Mommy, get up!" bounce, "get up!" bounce, "get up!"

Grrr. Seriously, God? My grand plan to sleep in on my Saturday off has been thwarted. My exuberant five-year old is causing a small earthquake in the region of Ma Bedville.

I yank the covers over my head and growl for real. "What little Bear is bouncing on Mamma Bear's bed?" My attempt at a ferocious roar is cut short by a squealing, 24-pound Beatrice plopping on top of me.

"Momm-MMY! Come ON!" She yanks at the covers, starting a wrestling match that, of course, I let my Beatle-Bear win. How can I not? Losing means I get to harvest joy from looking at those big brown eyes swimming inside her swarming halo of golden tresses.

"Whyyyy?" I whine, "I don't wanna get up. Come on, snuggle with me, Beatle-Bear." I try to pull her into a spoon, but she won't have it.

"No, Mommy, you gotta come see. It’s a wow!"

She bounces off of me and out of the bed and tugs on my hand. I tumble after her with a flop and let her drag me to her room. She prances to the window and jabs her finger at the glass. "See? See the wow?"

I stand beside her and gaze out at the new morning. The sun has just peeped over the trees, painting a pastel backdrop on the sky, and dew sparkles like a web of diamonds spun over creation. God had, indeed, painted a wow.

I rnn my hand over her tousled hair. "Thank you for showing me the sunrise, Beatrice. That's a pretty good wow." I bend down and kiss on top of her head, stifling a yawn.

"NO, Mommy, over there. See?" She’s jumping up and down and pointing across me, to the right.

I sidle over to stand behind her so I can see what her pudgy little finger is pointing at.

"See the wow?"

"Oh, wow! Yeah, Bea-Bea, now I do."

I pull her warm little body into my arms and stand hypnotized by the sight. A dancing prism of color spans the dew-bejeweled trees at the side of the yard, creating a glittering rainbow across windbreak.

My little Beatle-Bear spins around and turns her face up to mine. "You always show me the wows, Mommy. An' I wanted to show you this time, kay?"

She grabs my hand again, spins around, and points out the window. "Wow! It's the raimbow of God's promise." She turns back and looks up at me. "Now, I'm gonna pray just like you do, 'kay? Bow your head, Mommy." She takes my other hand and watches to make sure I obey.

Tears drip onto the front of my rumpled sleepshirt as my little one leads me in prayer.

"Dear God, Thank you for wows. Thank you for raimbows and for promises and for loving us. Thank you for Mommy. Please tell Daddy I love him. And thank you for Jesus. Amen."

Wow, God. I snuffle in and swallow. That's my girl. That's Your girl. Thank you.

I squeeze her hands. "Dear God, Thank you painting beautiful sunrises and rainbows for us, because sometimes we need a wow to remind us how very much you love us. Thank you for Beatrice, God, my precious little Beatle-Bear. Please take care of Daddy. And thank you for Jesus and for our home with You in Heaven, the forever treasure at the end of your rainbow. Amen."


***


"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16 (NIV)


© 2010


Our host for Friday Fiction today is Rick Higginson (Hoomi) at Pod Tales and Ponderings. Add a link to your own fiction (after reading his story, of course), or just follow the links and read along. Don't forget to leave an encouraging word to let the writers know you are reading! 




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24

Read more...

Friday Fiction: The Insurrection of Procrastination Nation

>> Friday, September 24

Welcome to Fiction Friday!! My story is a little off the chain today, but please bear with me. The Lord is at work in me, and when "Our King" gives an order, this is a little of what goes on inside of my head - embellished for fictional entertainment purposes and your enjoyment.


---------------


THE INSURRECTION OF PROCRASTINATION NATION


ROYAL MISSIVE

From: Your Regent, Queen Kathryn,
by authority of Our King

To: All Current and Prospective Occupants of Innerland

Let a decree be heard throughout the realm:

We have summoned soldiers to scour the provinces of Innerland. Armed with the prayers of your Regent, they have been instructed by Our King to take up an official census, and to seek out and record all rogue projects, personal or professional, that have joined the insurrection and defected to Procrastination Nation. Tasks that have crossed the border from their home province of To Do into hostile territory currently under the ruthless control of the Enemy will be reclaimed for the Kingdom and put back into circulation.

We hope you have taken notice of the example made of your “hero”, Index.

As you are likely aware, Index, the most notorious offender, has claimed citizenship on our fair isle of To Do for over a year. Although his defection was not rectified, it did not go unnoticed. We have known for some time of the ulterior motives behind his repeated reassurances. We were not amused.

Last night, we dispatched an advance war party who captured Index and returned him to the control of your Regent. He was relocated to In Progress this morning, and, within three hours, he achieved the status of Complete. He would have already sailed for his next intended assignment, Awaiting Final Product, if not for the unfortunate meddling of our nemesis Missing Paperwork. That minion of the Enemy was stopped post haste, and, tomorrow, Index’s promotion will be complete.

Do not underestimate the power Our King has bestowed upon these soldiers.

We have also requested extra security be stationed in Awaiting Final Product, another weak area in our defenses against the Enemy. He and we constantly wrestle for control of this territory, and soldiers are necessary to ensure fortification. Malingerers will be accounted for and dealt with on a priority basis. We plan to be in constant contact with Our King to assure no gaps form in the hedges of protection.

As individuals, you may not be aware of the consequences imposed by the spreading insurrection. The whole of Innerland has been affected to some degree, as have parts of Outerland and the lands beyond. The scourge known as Procrastination Nation must be stopped before it damages you further.

Occupants of Innerland, take heed and take heart: we are not against you. Our desire is the desire of Our King--to protect you from the Ultimate Enemy. To this end, we are requesting permanent placement of armed patrols among you. Their mission is to defend you from attack.

The swords they wield will never be used against you; nay, their sole purpose is to slay the minions of the Enemy. The shields they carry will extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one so no further projects are swayed to the dark side.

Only when you all follow the same path can we reach our destination. If we allow ourselves to be divided by the Enemy, we risk being dominated by him.

Stand firm, citizens, and be strong in Our King and in His mighty Power. He will never leave us or forsake us.

With highest regards,
Your Regent,
Queen Kathryn of Innerland

Written with our hand, in ink on paper, in the year of our King, Two Thousand Ten


Author’s Note: Inspired in part by Ephesians 6:10-18


© 2010








---------------



Our host for Friday Fiction today Is Yvonne at her blog, My Back Door. Click on over and add a link to your own fiction (after reading her story, of course), or just follow the links and read along. Don't forget to leave an encouraging word to let the writers know you are reading!




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Outside In

>> Friday, September 17

Thanks for reading my offering for Fiction Friday today!!

Call me a rebel if you will, but I'm not posting fiction. The following is a non-fiction essay I entered in the FaithWriters "Think" challenge. As a rule, non-fiction does not do well in the competition, but I didn't enter this one to win. I entered it because God wouldn't let me write anything else. ;)

I hope you enjoy, and I hope it makes you think a little bit.

Cat




---------------



OUTSIDE IN

I hate getting caught outside the stadium when the national anthem starts playing.

When I'm inside, in my seat, I spring to my feet, place my cap over my heart, and add my voice to those of the proud fans surrounding me, at times becoming teary-eyed in gratitude for my freedom.

But outside in the stadium breezeway, among the hotdog vendors, t-shirt hawkers, and souvenir stands, pride in country all but disappears.

You see, whenever I hear those first beloved notes, my ingrained military training rises again, and, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, the command comes unbidden ... "THINK".

Out amongst the crowded masses, however, I can't concentrate on the brave soldiers who carried our banner into battle through the years; I'm too disgusted at the army of my countrymen scurrying to and fro in front of me, ignoring the musical symbol of our nation's freedom.

I can't conjure up an image of six valiant men raising a tattered flag over Iwo Jima, because the spectacle of a mom and dad herding four screaming young boys waving over-sized foam fingers makes me wonder what happened to teaching children respect for their country.

When I try to picture my brothers and sisters in service who made the ultimate sacrifice, all I see are the hundreds of citizens too busy getting where they're going to stop for just a moment in respect of the men and women who secured the freedoms they seem oblivious to.

I should be thinking about the mere children leaving their families and growing up too fast in a foreign land, unselfishly defending the rights of their fellow humans to simply live like humans, but my attention is focused instead on the children in front of me who feel entitled to clamor for more, different, better, and the parents who cater to them.

Oh, yes. Better I stand safely in my assigned place in the stadium thinking my righteous thoughts, oblivious to what remains unseen outside.

Or is it?


© 2010



---------------



Our host for Friday Fiction today Christina Banks at her blog, With Pen in Hand. Click on over and add a link to your own fiction (after reading her story, of course), or just follow the links and read along. Don't forget to leave an encouraging word to let the writers know you are reading! (We thrive on that, you know.)




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Psycho Semantics

>> Friday, September 10

Thanks for reading my offering for Fiction Friday today!!
I'm posting my FaithWriters challenge entry for the topic "Touch". I hope you enjoy.



---------------


PSYCHO SEMANTICS

Zoe didn’t know which hurt worse – the desperate need to be touched, or being touched itself. Dr. Madison was helping her work it out. Trying to convince her that the pain was mental, not physical. All he’d managed to convince Zoe of so far was that SHE was mental. Not that THAT took much convincing.

Ever since the fire and losing her daddy, the horrendously painful skin grafts, and year-long healing process, she’d been waiting for the old Zoe to make a reappearance. It had been one l-o-n-g year. She knew she wasn’t ‘right,’ and Dr. M’s suggestion of “mental” sounded right on.

He never came out and SAID that she was mental, of course. Just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo head-shrinker talk about psycho semantics, but she knew what he was getting at.
She was mental.

So when Tristan walked into her life, you can understand why she was a bit paranoid. First off, he was gorgeous, and Zoe felt that “need” to be touched again – but different this time. It was more than physical. Second off, the first thing he did was reach out to touch her.

Yikes!

Her mom had invited him to dinner. Zoe knew it was a hook-up--even though her mom had told her it was so “the new neighbor boy could ‘meet kids his own age.’”

‘Kids.’ Whatever. I think with all I’ve been through, I hardly qualify as a kid anymore. So when the doorbell rang at 6:00, and her mom and little brothers were (conveniently) nowhere to be found, she was on her guard.

The vision that greeted her was nothing like the pimply-faced geek Zoe had been expecting. He offered his hand, and she hated the hurt she saw in his big green eyes when she gasped and shrank back--and she hated herself for her automatic reaction. But she couldn’t help it – it was automatic.

Zoe mentally (ha ha) rehearsed and practiced the exercises Dr. M had been helping her with. For the first time, she actually had the desire to. A deep breath; pull out a memory of a time when being touched used to didn’t hurt and was connected with good feelings; focus on that and not her fear; another deep breath. Relax.

Zoe opened her eyes, and was embarrassed to realize she had shut them. Tristan was still standing there, gaping at her, more confused-looking now than hurt, and she wanted to die. She pushed her hair behind her ear, and mincingly offered her shaking hand.

Obviously Tristan was no dummy. He didn’t grab her hand, but met her halfway, matching her speed, waiting for her make first contact.

This was an approach Zoe was definitely NOT familiar with, and she didn’t know what to do. So she did Dr. M’s exercise again (quickly), and added an exercise of her own (actually one of her Grammy’s) and said a prayer.

Then she slid her palm under his, wincing involuntarily but not pulling back.

The lack of burning pain startled her and she almost collapsed. A dream. This must be a dream.

Again, Tristan held back and let Zoe make the next move.

Zoe dropped her hand and stepped aside. “Come on in. Everyone’s in the kitchen.”

Lord, what IS this? And I’m not just SAYING the word “lord” this time. I’m really talking to you. And, WOW, I think you’re really listening.



© 2010



---------------



Our host for Friday Fiction today is my bffJoanne Sher at An Open Book. Click on over and add a link to your own fiction (after reading her story, of course), or just follow the links and read along. Don't forget to leave an encouraging word to let the writers know you are reading! (We thrive on that, you know.)




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

A Barren Mother

>> Sunday, September 5


"He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
Praise the Lord."
- Psa 113:9 -

For many years I read this verse as a promise to be taken literally, and I waited on the Lord to fill my home with more children. My daughter wanted a little half-brother or -sister, too! However, over the last 10 years or so, this Word has served to alternatively confuse, anger, and depress me. I've even (to my shame) scorned the Lord. "Yeah right."

I've been drawn to this section of the Psalms lately, and the Lord has given me a new revelation.

While I got settled in my new home, God was preparing my church home for me, and me for my new church home.

As I reluctantly gave up on the promise of giving birth again and prayed to understand His will, the Lord was preparing a place for me in the midst of his children, and preparing me to recognize and accept that place.

Today, I read Psalm 113 again, and did praise the Lord. He has fulfilled his promise, but not in the way I thought I wanted, or even expected. Me? Teach children? NO WAY! Or so I thought four years ago.

But He has settled this barren woman in her home at FBC as the happy "mother" (teacher, leader, friend) of many children.

And I couldn't be happier.

Praise the Lord. He is always faithful - lots of time in unexpected and delightful ways.


Here are a few of " my""  many children:





Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Someone Had to Write It

>> Friday, August 6

Thanks for coming to my blog today to read my offering for Fiction Friday! 

Just a short intro today: Every time you look at something with words on it, remember....


SOMEONE HAD TO WRITE IT

They say the first bite is the best. Gerald knew from experience that, when correctly prepared, each bite of a French Bread pizza is equally exquisite. Through trial and error over the years, he had tweaked and twisted the instructions on the box until the crust was crispy but not crunchy, and the cheese was hot and gooey but not chewy.

When precisely five minutes had elapsed, he gingerly took a bite. "Mm. Perfect. Now I can concentrate."

He put his pen to his writing pad, and ink flowed and ebbed across the page.

He labored over the perfect verb. Struggled to seek out the precise adjective. Does this sentence sound too commanding? Will the reader understand what I mean here?

More time was spent on this short piece of prose than was probably necessary, yet the hours put into it didn't matter. The quality of the finished work was more important than the quantity of time spent.

When the words had turned to blurry scribbles on the paper, the author laid the pen to rest on top of the pad and stumbled to bed, only to toss and turn, and mull over each word as sleep cowered behind his unfinished work.

---

Morning broke with the sweet lullaby of birdsong, rousing the Gerald from his slumber. Aside from a necessary stop at the lavatory, the half-filled page was the first, and possibly only, destination on his itinerary. His eyes were already scanning the words he'd written the previous night when he when plopped into the wooden desk chair and picked up his pen once again.

Only the fourth and final act of the drama was left to be created. Pen was put to paper and, after a moment's hesitation, began moving, creating something out of nothing with the words it formed.

Sleep had been good for the author. Verbs and adjectives and the occasional adverb were precisely inserted amongst the nouns and modifiers, all punctuated with ease, creating a harmony of language heretofore undiscovered.

He slipped the pen into the menagerie of writing utensils inhabiting the silver cup on the desk. With a satisfied sigh, he sat back and flexed his wrist and fingers, cramped and aching from gripping the implement of creation. Maybe this piece is the one. The one that will crack open the door to success.

---

"Mother! MOTHER!"

Mrs. McDaniel waddled around the corner, drying her arthritic hands. "Gracious. Such a ruckus. What is it, Gerald?"

"It's here! The letter! A FAT one too!"

"What on earth... Oh!" She flung the dishtowel over her shoulder and scurried across the den to where Gerald jumped up and down. "From the company? Open it!"

Gerald's shaking hands managed to tear open the flap on the cumbersome envelope without destroying its contents. The pages trembled in his hands, then fell to the floor as, one after another, they were scanned and absorbed.

Mrs. McDaniel searched her child's face, soaking in his joy and rejoicing as wonder, astonishment, and exaltation flooded his features. Before the last page touched down, Gerald began dancing again, and she whooped with glee, wishing she could waltz with her baby cradled in her arms again.

---

"Gerald! I'm home!"

Clomping footsteps echoing in the stairwell assured Mrs. McDaniel her son, her special gift, was on his way.

"There's a box in the trunk, Gerald. Can you get it for me?" She followed Gerald to the garage, barely keeping her feet on the ground. It was all she could do not to spoil the surprise.

"Mama?" Gerald stared into the opened trunk, "A whole case of French bread pizzas?"

"I thought you might want to give a copy of your first published work to all your friends."

Gerald froze, then his hands grazed the frozen cardboard, caressing the carton like a long-lost lover.

"Is this..." He looked from the case of pizzas to his dear mother and back again. "This is it?"

"Child, you did it." No longer could the woman contain the joy bursting inside of her. She broke into an awkward jig and let out a squeal.

Gerald grasped one edge of a flap and tore it loose. It's neighbors quickly followed, and soon Gerald was holding an icy box, his eyes devouring the backside.

There, in orange and white, were the words he'd so carefully crafted--the new and improved instructions he'd painstakingly prescribed--his first published work.

Perfect French Bread Pizza in Four Easy Steps.


© 2010



Our host for Friday Fiction today is Sharlyn Guthrie. She is literally Dancing on Rainbows over at her blog. (Fox)trot on over and add a link to your own fiction at the bottom of her story, or just follow the links and read along. Don't forget to leave an ecouraging word to let the writers know you are reading! (We thrive on that, you know.)




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: I'll Have What She's Having

>> Friday, July 30

TGIF!!! I hope everyone is having a great start to a fabulous weekend. I'm on pins and needles waiting for my daughter to arrive from Florida. She's coming up for a friend's wedding and only staying a day and a half, but I'm ever so grateful for the chance to see her.

So, on to the Fiction part of Fiction Friday. I've had a very full week (well, month, actually) so please forgive this "repeat" of an FF from May of 2009. It's one of my favorites.My thanks to "When Harry Met Sally" for the title. :-)

Giving glory, praise, and honor to God,
Cat





---------------



I'LL HAVE WHAT SHE'S HAVING


This is Ed, leave a message after the beep.

Hi, Ed, it's me. I finally figured it out.

You and me, we’re like coffee and ice cream. Yep, that’s exactly what we are -- coffee and ice cream.

It hit me today at the café. See, this stranger lady comes in, all poshy poshy poo poo with her hair done up and wearing this fancy schmancy outfit, and she orders coffee and ice cream. I’ve never had anyone to order that particular combination before, but I smile even though I think she’s coo-coo for coconuts and I go off to get her order. I’m wondering about it though. (You know me, always wondering about stuff.) I guessed that maybe when the coffee burns your tongue, the ice cream freezes the burn, and then the hot coffee thaws out your frozen mouth, and then…well, you get the picture.

That kinda reminded me of us, Ed. I’m like the coffee and you’re like the ice cream. (Wait - hear me out!) See, I get all het up and on fire about something, but it’s just too hot for you to handle and it starts burning you up. So you dowse the flame with your cold, clinical logic. (You’re sweet, Ed, but you tend to be as cold as … well … as ice cream.) Then my spirit ends up all frozen and numb with discouragement.

All this is going on in my head as I pour a cuppa for the poshy poshy poo poo lady and set her ice cream in front of her, and as I top off the other java drinkers, and as I snag the empty plates from the table of four. With each bundle of silverware I wrap, I count off another example of a burning bright idea that you’ve iced down.

I look over to check on Ms. Poshy Poo, and I watch how she savors the oppositeness of the two treats. She doesn’t let the coffee burn her mouth, or wait for the ice cream to freeze her tongue; she puts a spoon of ice cream in her mouth and then right away takes a sip of coffee. Then she smiles a blissful smile.

By now it’s time for my break, so I decide I just have to try this coffee and ice cream combination. (It was the blissful smile that convinced me.) I follow Ms. Poshy Poo’s lead, sampling a bite and a sip, and inside my mouth an amazing thing happens. The coffee melts the ice cream while the ice cream cools the coffee, and the two become one blissfully warm, ushy gooshy, sweet and pungent concoction.

Of course you know all this time I’m still thinking about us, Ed, about me being coffee and you being ice cream. But now I’m seeing a different take on the combination.

Ed, I’m so sorry that I only ever saw why we weren’t working out, and never even thought to look for how we could. I'm hoping you'll forgive me. After today, I’m thinking we might make this marriage work after all.

Can we try again?

I’d like to come home and melt you, Ed -- but just a little.

Call me?

© 2009

The "Ice Cream" to my "Coffee"





Our host for Fiction Friday today is Rick Higginson at Pod Tales and Ponderings. Are you pondering what Pod Tales are? Well pop on over and find out! Add a link to your own fiction at the bottom of his post, or just follow the links to some awesome fiction.







Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Off Season

>> Friday, July 23



TGIF!

And welcome to Fiction Friday! Please join the fiction frenzy! Post a short piece of your writing on your blog - a short story or an expert from a work in progress. Then follow THIS LINK to Christina Banks' Blog, With Pen in Hand. Add your link to the Linky Tool at the bottom of this post. Be sure to follow the links to the other fiction posts, and don't forget to leave a comment. Writers LOVE feedback.

By request, I'm posting my husbands favorite story. I hope you enjoy.




---------------


OFF SEASON


I should be able to relive it in my imagination, to recount what it was like to be on the field the day Central won their first state championship. Unfortunately, all I can relive is watching The Game.

Pride definitely goeth before a fall, and I fell hard. I didn't scrape my knee or bruise my elbow, but my ego sure enough got sacked.

Just the year before, I'd led my team onto the field every Friday night as the starting quarterback for the Central High Lions. (My record 32 touchdown passes from that season still stands.) I reigned as Sophomore Class King with my Queen (on and off the field), Alissa Avery. I had it made. I was invincible.

Or so I thought.

It seems Coach doesn't play favorites, even with his star -- his prodigy player. Even when school's not in session.

When the rarely-used back door of the school opened that afternoon, and Coach witnessed that cigarette falling behind me to the ground and smoke escaping my mouth, I swear tears came to his eyes.

"Jackson."

I covered the butt with my heel. "Coach..." I strangled on the word, on smoke still caught in my throat, on fear.

"My office. Now." The heavy grey door banged shut behind him, leaving a gust of rage in its wake.

I loathed what was surely to come next.

***

"The first four weeks? You want me to miss all of pre-season practice?" My careening spirits were sideswiped by a surge of hope. I'd still be starting opening night.

"Oh, no. You won't miss one day of practice, pre-season or regular. In fact, you'll be attending an extra, one-on-one, tutoring session every day." Coach took his feet off his desk and looked me dead in the eye.

"You're benched for the first four games."

My surging hope turned to a flood of anger. "You're kidding."

"I kid you not. You know the rules. No cigs, no sauce, no sex. No exceptions."

"But it's summer, and I was just..."

"You were on school property. End of argument." He leaned back in his chair, and rubbed the side of his face. "Sorry, Jackson, but you brought this on yourself. I'll see you next month at practice."

I got to my feet and stuck out my chest. "No, you won't. You think you can play without me? Then let's see how you play without me all year. I quit." I stared him down, daring him to call my bluff.

At least I thought I was bluffing.

Coach stood and offered his hand. "Sorry you feel that way, Jackson. I had hopes of the scouts getting an early look at you this season, maybe already having you staked out for your senior year."

I wanted to take it back. I wanted to cry out, 'I didn't mean it!' But pride silenced my heart and held my tongue captive. I shook Coach's hand and, through gritted teeth, said goodbye. My stubborn pride then turned me on my heel and walked me out of his office.

***

That's how I ended up cheering from the bleachers instead of celebrating on the 50-yard line the night of The Game. Like many of the macho players dancing on the field, I shed a few tears, but mine were tears of sorrow over yesterdays that would never be.

Central High's new quarterback, a senior transfer from Middlebrook, didn't touch my passing record, but he did lead the Lions to an undefeated season and the Two-A State Championship, The Game of which I was only an observer, one fan among hundreds.

***

So I sit here now, in the lingering emotional aftermath of The Victory, holding my wounded heart in my hands. I tear my eyes away from its weeping redness and look up at Coach. "So, I was hoping you'd let me .. if I could ... come to practice next season. Maybe start over." The lump I swallow is surely my pride, on its way to being digested and purged.

"If I let you come back, it's the same deal. Double practices, and you spend the first four games on the sidelines."

The lump churned in my gut, threatening to come back up. Before Pride could make an encore, I said, "Ok, deal. You know, I've been watching that sophomore second stringer, Willis. He should get the team off to a good start. Then I can take us the rest of the way to our second state championship."

*

Author's Note: The line "Pride definitely goeth before a fall" was inspired by Proverbs 16:18 - "Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (KJV), and is misquoted herein for effect."


© 2008

Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Book Review: An Army of Ordinary People

>> Tuesday, July 20

AN ARMY OF ORDINARY PEOPLE
Stories of real-life men and women 
simply being the church
by Felicity Dale.  
Forward by George Barna
Non-fiction, Tyndale House Publishers

I had never considered what would happen to our world if all 21st century, American Christians literally followed in the faith-steps of Christ's first followers--the central characters of the Biblical book of Acts. Now that I've read Felicity Dale's An Army of Ordinary People, I can't stop thinking about what the next decade could be like if they did.

This collection of twenty anecdotes shows what happens when a handful of ordinary believers dare to step out of their comfort zones and put their faith, and the example set for us by the early Church, into action. Each individual highlighted in Army does something I long for the confidence to do: they obey the urgent call to share Christ with their world, whether boardroom or bowling alley, with their all their heart, soul, mind, and strength--not with force and might and pulpit pounding, but with love and concern and kindness.

You've likely heard stories of missionaries venturing into the wilderness and bringing record numbers of third-world and/or openly anti-Christian natives to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Army is nothing of the sort.

Instead, this volume is filled with well-told, engaging tales of, as the title states, ordinary people from all walks of life living out their ordinary lives--with one exception. Each chooses to consciously BE Jesus--in word and deed--to those in their personal circle: co-workers, family, friends, and acquaintances.

Without even realizing it, these simple people become church planters. The churches they plant, however, resemble in no way the church I (or likely you) attend each Sunday morning.

Their "simple" or "house" churches spring up from such seeds as one couple inviting another over for dinner and saying grace before the meal, or a mother giving her daughter permission to invite a friends over for the family's Sunday breakfast and devotion time, or a cubicle-dweller offering to pray for his co-workers when they tell him their troubles. Things you and I can easily do.

Each chapter is followed by an insightful commentary from the author citing and expounding on Biblical examples and references, and reinforcing Jesus' command in Acts 1:8--"Go and make disciples of all nations." This "Great Commission," as Christians refer to it, instructs us to start our mission in our own back yard.

Army is an inspiring look at an arm of Christ's Body I knew existed but didn't realize was actively vibrant and multiplying all around me. Even if the particular flavor of "church" Felicity Dale savors in Army sours you, you will be motivated to take a deeper look at what you thought "church"--the gathering of His followers--was meant to be. It will send believers scurrying to the scriptures to find that 2000 year-old teaching is still relevant.

My rating: 4 out of 5

My thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me with a complimentary copy of “An Army of Ordinary People”.




Catrina Bradley
"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Better than a Hallelujah

>> Sunday, July 18

Sunday Song of Celebration
Better Than a Hallelujah, by Amy Grant

Brian Russell, also known as the Old Man, hosts a handful of blogs all dedicated to the Glory of God. Today on Oldman's Inspirational Thoughts, he has posted a Sunday Song of Celebration and issued an open invitation to join him. He took my favorite song this week [wink], so I'm posting my second favorite, Amy Grant's "Better than a Hallelujah".

Her lyrics remind me that God not only wants me to share my innermost thoughts and worries with Him, my cries from the pit of despair are better than praises. Half-hearted praise can be offered with false joy, but groanings and desperate pleas for mercy and grace come from a humbled and surrendered heart.





Visit the Old Man and join the Sunday Celebration!



Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes." Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Second Thoughts

>> Friday, July 16

Today's Friday Fiction is a repeat from 2008. This version of Second Thoughts is elongated edit of my FaithWriters.com challenge entry for the "Truth or Dare" topic. This is what I WANTED it to be, before hacking 350 words from it to meet the word count limit. Enjoy!


---------------


SECOND THOUGHTS

I don’t know how to tell this, or even where to start really. I guess I should start with Tessa, seeing as how it this is mostly her fault.

She’s so much different. Most girls my age are all about their make up and their hair and dressing like a hottie, but Tessa – she is what she is and she’s happy with that. She’s the only girl I know who is happy looking like herself, that being the girl next door. And I mean girl. She could probly pass for 10 even though she’ll be 14 on her birthday come December. Besides her cute little nose that turns up at the end, she’s got gorgeous eyes – big and brown and shiny. Hair just as brown and shiny all the way down her back.

Anyway, back to the story. I wasn’t real happy about the plan but I didn’t want to be a wimp. It’s a guy thing, ya know? See, I never was one to back down from a dare, so I went along with it, and Tessa, she followed me like always. She must watch outta her window for me to walk past cuz she came out her front door right when I crossed her driveway.

She looked up at me all expectant like and asked me, “Where ya going? What’s going on tonight?”

I had tear myself away from those eyes of hers, and I told her, “Nothing you need know about. Whyn’t you stay home tonight?” I stuck my hands in the pockets of my jeans and shuffled around a bit.

Just like her, she said, “Pah. I’m going.”

I rolled my eyes, shrugged, and started walking again. Tessa was glued to my side like my shadow. One thing about Tessa, she don’t babble on like most girls. She’s all right to talk to if she’s all I got. Mostly she likes to talk about Jesus and Bible stuff. I don’t mind – Jesus was a pretty cool dude and she knows a lot about him. I wasn’t sure I bought it all, but her eyes get even shinier when she’s talking bout him so I’d been wondering lately if it might all be true. She didn’t even pester me bout where we were headin that night, just told me how Jesus dying made her feel.

When we crossed Main and hung a left on Turner, and we saw Charlie and Rick hanging out in front of First Pres, she asked me, “We going to church?”

Her eyes lit up the night, and that’s when I had my first second thought about this plan and specially bout letting her tag along. I told her, “Sorta, but not really. Just come on if you’re coming.”

“They know you been going here?” She sounded shocked, and I reckon she had reason. That’s when I had my second second thought.

“Nah, I haven’t told no one. An you don’t need to neither,” I said.

Charlie held out his fist as we came up and I gave it a bump. He flicked his eyes at Tessa and asked me, “What’s SHE doin here?”

“Chill, Dude. She’s cool.” I told him, and asked, ‘You check it out?”

He grinned at Rick then at me. “Yah, Dude. Wide open.”

“Then let’s doooo it.” Rick started baying like a banshee and we had to hush him up and hustle around back before anyone saw us.

Sure nuff, the back door to the kitchen was unlocked and we all snuck in. Tessa I had to grab by the hand and tug on, but she came too. We started with the big blackboard in the fellowship hall, erasing the announcements. Charlie grabbed a piece of chalk and wrote in big letters, “Jesus…” He only got the first two letters of the next word down when Tessa grabbed my hand and drug me away.

“Come on, I want to do something.”

Well that got Charlie snickering and Rick hootin and a hollerin. “Go on you two – and have fuu-uun.” I turned my head to give them a look, and seeing those words so big…well I gotta say I wanted to throw up. My third second thought. I was happy to go on with Tessa.

She didn’t let go of my hand, or say a word, just drug me all the way to the sanctuary, then right up to the altar and dropped to her knees. She looked up at me with those big shiny eyes, cept now they were shiny with tears. “Pray with me?”

I figured, what the hay, I wasn’t too much into the dare anymore anyway. She still had hold of my hand, and I got on my knees beside her. I wasn’t sure what to do next so I just bowed my head and thought I’d wait till she was done, then we could go. I didn’t know she was planning on praying out loud.

I don’t remember much of what she said, but it was how she said it. I’ll tell ya, I never heard no one pray like that before. It was like she was really talking to someone. She said “Father” like God was really her daddy. She’d even stop ever once in a while like she was waiting for Him to answer. I started getting more comfortable, and that was weird to me.

Then she told Him she wanted to pray for Charlie and Rick and me, and I remember this part. She asked Him to open our hearts to His truth. And it hit me like a hammer. All those things we talked about, bout Jesus, and Him dying and why, and how He was really alive and He was really God. I felt like my heart was ripped open and real tears ran down my face. Before I knew it, I was praying. Me! And it wasn’t weird at all; matter of fact if felt real right.

That’s when the cops busted in and hauled us off. I’m thankful to the preacher for getting out of bed to come get us. My folks wouldn’t have believed my story, but he did. Course, Tessa was there to back me up. Us two tried to get Charlie and Rick to see the truth while we waited at the station for the preacher, but they just laughed. And for once I didn’t care, neither.

So, anyway, I guess that’s my testimony. That’s why I’m standing here in front of ya’ll in this big bathtub in a white nightgown today. Jesus is my Lord now.

Besides, Tessa dared me.


© 2008



Please visit my BFF  Joanne Sher at An Open Book.. She is our hostess with the mostest today. Pop on over and follow the links to more fab fiction. Feel free to join the Fiction Friday Fun by adding a link to your writing..




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Turnabout

>> Friday, July 9


Thanks for stopping by on Fiction Friday! My offering today is one of my early pieces. It earned me 3rd place in Level 1 of the Faithwriters Writing Challenge back in 2006, bumping me from Beginners to Intermediates. I hope you enjoy!



Turnabout

"Strike! Oh yah!" Anna danced in jubilance when her neon orange bowling ball hit the sweet spot and sent all ten pins tumbling down. She returned high fives and grins from her cheering friends. Friday night out with "the girls" was just what Anna needed after the week she'd been through.

The shrill interruption of her beeper caused her spirit to nosedive. For the first time since being named attending at Mercy General, the sound of pager on her hip depressed Dr. Anna Cowart. She had lost three patients this week Three! And now her "services" were needed again. She reluctantly picked up her cell phone and dialed the hospital's number.


**


Anna pocketed her keys. Usually, the sight of her trusty Camry parked in the hospital lot behind the sign reading:  RESERVED FOR DR. ANNA COWART would be enough for pride and fulfillment to swell Anna, reinforcing her decision to sacrifice family, sleep, and nutrition in order to follow this path. Today, though, even the comforting sight of her hard-earned car in her well-deserved spot couldn't lift her out of this pit she had fallen into.

"I wonder whose life is depending on me?" After losing Mr. Nichols yesterday, Anna had all but decided to hang it up. Self-deprecation was triumphing over her desire to save lives, change lives. After the week she'd had, Mr. Nichols had been the last straw. She was ready to quit. "What good am I doing? I've made a huge mistake."

**


"Ma'am, my name is Dr. Cowart."

"You call me Miss Beth, now, ever'one does."

Anna melted at the warmth in her patient's quavering voice. Miss Elizabeth Murphy had had the misfortune of stepping out of the market just as a local boy whizzed by on his new skateboard. In addition to countless broken bones in her frail, aged, body, "Miss Beth's" skull had fractured when her head thumped the concrete sidewalk.

Anna's heart's burden wrestled with Miss Beth's infectious joy. She kept one ear tuned to the constant stream of jargon flowing from the nurses and interns as she examined Miss Beth.

" Do you know where you are?"

"Why I reckon I'm in a hospital. Least ways it shore sounds like one. Glad to know they put a female doctor in charge of me, I am.

"Can you tell me your name?"

"Ain't bin called nothin' but Miss Beth for years now. But I'us christened Elizabeth Margaret Murphy, if'n that's what you mean." Miss Beth's green eyes twinkled with merriment, but Anna didn't like the unfocused stare and the dilated pupils.

This lady could have passed for Anna's own sweet grandmother, five years gone now. Concern seeped into her professional doctor voice. "You've been hurt badly. Is there anyone we should call?"

"Oh, no. Never did marry. I bin by myself for many a year, an' I done alright, upta now." She chuckled even as her voice wavered.

I can't do this any more. What good is it when death is the result? Why again? Why can't I save her? Anna life's dream lay shattered. Today she would turn in her resignation. Miss Beth would the last person to die at her hands.

"Dr. Cowart!"

Yanked back from her journey into herself, Anna focused on her team in the trauma room again. "One cc epi." Her eyes blazed with fervor; she resolved to make a difference somehow.

Miss Beth warbled, "Doc, forgive me, but you seem a might down an' distracted 'bout sumpthin'.

At death's door she senses that? How can she be worry about me right now? Anna administered the injection but still Miss Beth's vital signs continued to faltered..

Miss Beth's trembling voice began to fade. "I ain't got long, now. No, don't try an' patronize me. I kin tell. Listen up, this is important. There's sumpthin' I need ta tell you afore I leave this wrinkled ole body

"I bin blessed with a gift for readin' people. I kin tell when sumpthin's botherin' a person, an' if'n the Good Lord sees fit I kin figger out what. Now, I'm pretty shore you bothered at the idea a my passin' on yore watch."

Miss Beth could barely produce a hoarse whisper at this point. Anna leaned closer.

"Ever' day, circumstances is throwed at us. Sometimes you kin see 'em commin' atcha from a ways off. Those is things you kin try'n head off. But comes times when sumpthin' jus' jumps atcha unexpected like, an' all the good deeds an' good intentions in the world ain't gonna stave it off. Those things is God's will, and it ain't no use fightin' Him.

"I know you doin' yore best ta try an' save me, that's yore callin'. I'm shore you a fine doctor, but you gotta realize sumpthin'--you ain't God. If'n He's decided ta call me home, why then, I'm ready ta go."

Miss Beth wheezed one last contented breath, and as the monitor's beeping became a solid whine, Anna began to rethink her decision.


© 2006




PatteringsWe'd love you to join us for Friday Fiction!
Our host today is Patty Wysong, aka Peej, aka Peejers, at her wonderfully encouraging blog, Patterings. Pop on over and add a link to your own fiction, or just spend some quality
reading time.




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Word Filled Wednesday: Let My Teaching Fall Like Rain

>> Thursday, July 8


Teaching 1st and 2nd grade Sunday School has been an unexpected blessing, like a German Chocolate Cake on my birthday when I thought no one remembered. And Vacation Bible School during the summer is the cold glass of milk to wash it down.

Halfway through my joyous, challenging week of Vacation Bible School this year, I turned my calendar to July and was brought to my knees by these words: "Let my teachings fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants."

How perfect!

It's too easy to get caught up in the theme, the decorations, the hype, the numbers, and the inevitable snags along the chaotic way. It's too easy to lose focus on what Bible School is all about.

I may frame this calendar page and hang it in the children's area at church so, long after I turn the calendar page to August and the next Scripture, I'll still be reminded to pray it each Sunday before I enter my classroom.

Be blessed,
Cat

Catrina Bradley
"

Read more...

Friday Fiction: Expunging Muck

>> Friday, June 25

After many weeks of failed attempts, I managed to finish a story and enter the FaithWriters weekly writing challenge again. And once again, the talent was fierce. (That's my excuse for losing, and I'm sticking with it!)
Actually, if I'm honest with myself, maybe the muddled thoughts of my Main Character weren't as clear to the readers as they were to me. ;)

Be blessed,
Cat


---------------



EXPUNGING MUCK

A pebble of ink quivers under my trembling pen.

Blaire screams at me, and Peter curses. My hand jerks, smearing ink across the pure white page.

I grab my hair and pull. My shout rattles the windows. "I can't!"

Blaire's screams morph into a banshee's wail, and Peter demands I set him free.

My growled command for silence does no good.

The morass burying me in this miry pit has entrapped with me the two lives I birthed.

I tear a page from the back of my notebook and slash the blankness with angry blue strokes. Maybe if I can expunge some muck from my mood, the would-be lovers can be set free to embrace their fate. And maybe I'll be set free with them.


words Words WORDS!
Words all around me
Words surround me

Yet

my search for words
to articulate the thoughts
swirling like a cyclone
touching down for a moment
to deposit a modifier
or dangle a participle
in the peripheral vision
of my mind's eye
comes up dry



"GARBAGE." Peter's commanding voice shook me from my vain scribblings.

Blaire was no longer wailing, but her words warble with sobs. "That's not it."

"I'm just warming up...getting a flow going." I take a deep breath. It's just for me. No one has to see.

A shuddering line slowly carves out cursive letters, spilling my guts onto the paper.


Where am I?
I can't find me.
All I see
is a smiling visage
masquerading
as me.

The mirror says
that I am me
but mirrors lie;
they don't reveal
what lies beneath
the mortal seal.

Ebon sea and endless night
play hide and seek
with me and I
waste endless days
and sleepless nights
mulling over life
and why

and when

the sunshine went away

and where I might be hiding

and why.



A groan escapes my lungs and I'm torn between flinging my pen across the room and snapping it in two. Hideous excuse for poetry.

"Poetry schmoetry. You're avoiding the question."

My joy at hearing coherent words spoken by my female lead is increased exponentially by a hint of the melodious tinkle usually accompanying her voice. I search for Peter, but he's retreated to his room and shut me out. I know better than to pry when he disappears like that.

"Hello-o, anyone home? Forget the bad poetry. No one cares. You asked the right question, though; now answer it."

I was used to hearing Blaire talk to Peter this way, but rarely did she address me directly, let alone in such a forward manner.

"You mean, 'Why?'"

"Yeah. 'Why?' And speaking of Peter, he's too under-developed, you know."

I'm taken aback. "Under-developed? You mean scrawny? And who was speaking of Peter?"

"Speaking, thinking, same thing. We're all in here together. Except when you guys are in your rooms. I'm getting kind of tired of that, you know. I get lonely."

"You guys...you mean me and Peter?"

"Well, yah, duh. Who else is here? Wait--don't answer that. You don't know Peter at all, do you?"

"What do you mean?" I pick up my pen in a huff, tempted to conjure up an horrific natural disaster to befall her. "I created Peter."

"Yeah? Why is he in his room right now, ignoring us? Ignoring ME? Aren't I going to be the love of his life?"

"Yeah, but he doesn't know that yet."

"Which brings us back to 'why' and to Peter. Underdeveloped. Maybe it's time you got to know him. Knock on his door; demand he talk to you. And ask him why."

This might officially constitute the longest conversation I've ever had with one of my creations.

I'm not mad, of course. I know they live only in my head. I'm also sane enough to realize they speak only what is already known to me on some level, conscious or no.

"Exactly!" Blaire says. "So make Peter speak. He is you, you know. We all are."

"And you, Blaire? Why do I know you and not Peter?"

"I'm easy--I'm joy; I was created with light only touched by shadows.

"Peter was created from the dark that hides in you. That part of you is afraid of the light. He hides. If you can find him, get him to speak, you'll find the part of you you've hidden.

"Only then can you be set free.

"Come on, let's write more bad poetry. We've got some muck to expunge."

I pick up my pen.


© 2010


Our host for Fiction Friday this week is Laury's blog Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart Pop on over and add a link to your own fiction, or spend some time reading some wonderful writing.



Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...

Friday Fiction: The Storm

>> Friday, June 11

It's a stormy Friday afternoon here in mid-Georgia. Whenever it storms, I think of a certain stormy night from my childhood - one of my earliest memories. Today, I was motivated to "fictionalize" it.

I did my best to not embellish my memories, although I did add a little "flavor' to the opening. I wanted to write this as a children's story, but I don't think children would enjoy it much. Too scary. Maybe I'll use my "artistic license"  to make this a truly awesome piece of fiction someday. For now, though, I hope you enjoy "The Storm".











---------------



The Storm

KatieBelle was having a nightmare. A giant was coming to get her. He was screaming, and every time he took a step toward her, a loud BOOM shook her bed,

And the screams and BOOM's were getting closer together.

Usually, KatieBelle didn't like to be woken up. This time was different. When her mama shook her awake, she was glad. But the BOOMing and screaming didn't stop. And now there were bright flashes of light that lit up her whole room.

KatieBelle flung herself into her mama's chest. "It's a giant, Mama! A giant's coming!"

Read more...

Friday Fiction: what good?

>> Friday, June 4

My Friday Fiction isn't fiction today. I occasionally dabble in a little poetry, and this free verse was my entry for the FaithWriters challenge "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

Be blessed,
Cat

---------------

what good?

what good is Your Word
if the ink on Its pages
remains as still
as quiet
as dead
as the blackest night?

what good are Its lessons
if the Wisdom yearning to be unleashed
remains as constrained
as trapped
as caged
as a lion behind bars?

what good is Its Breath
if the Life It bestows
is neglected
starved
smothered
before It grows wings?

what good is It on the tongue
if the reciter understandeth not
doeth not
loveth not
liveth not…

so is heard not?


what good is the world
if they don’t hear
won’t hear
aren’t told,
nay, shown
who you are?

what good am I
if I go into the world
without You
without carrying Your Word
Your Love
Your Life
to them?

what good are my
hands
if they labor
contrary
to Your works?

what good are my
feet
if they walk
contrary
to Your way?

what good are You
to the world
if they see You not
witness You not
experience You not
in the world?


but how?

How can I
ever fill
those Footprints
that You ask,
nay, command
that I walk in?

How can I,
my heart,
so small,
be so filled
with Your love?

surely I will leak
leak You
overflow with You
spill You
for nothing of me
could contain
all that flows
from
You.


And that is good.


© 2008


We'd love you to join us for Friday Fiction! Our host today is Yvonne "Vonnie" Blake at My Back Door. Pop on over and add a link to your own fiction, or just read some fiction by the best writers I know.




Catrina Bradley

"God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes."
Psalm 18:24 (Msg)

Read more...
A work in progress.... Powered by Blogger.

  © Blogger template Simple n' Sweet by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009 * © customized by Mari @ Free2Bedesigns.com/

Back to TOP