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 cafĂ©. 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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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
"

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