Friday Fiction: Entertaining (Ideas of) Angels

>> Friday, December 30




is hosting Friday Fiction this week at



I meant to enter this story in the FaithWriters challenge for the topic "Hacker or Virus", but it didn't quite make it. I didn't think it was "finished" enough, but when I tried to add a beginning and and end, I got stonewalled. (Not to mention, being out of routine because the Christmas schedule, I lost track of what day it was and missed the deadline.)

So here it is, as is. I'd love to know what you think. (I keep changing the title, too. Titles and I don't get along, as you may have noticed.)

Blessings!
Cat

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

ENTERTAINING (IDEAS OF) ANGELS

Lissa? Hi, sweetie.

I’m good.

It’s going okay. I was going to work on that stubborn plot-transition chapter some more this morning, but…that’s why I called.

Lissa, did you maybe mess with my computer?

Well someone did.

Because I fell asleep while I was writing last night and ...

I know! Like mother like daughter right? Anyway, when I realized I was sleeping, I shut my laptop lid and went to bed. And then when I opened it this morning, there was a chapter written that I didn’t write. Or I don’t remember writing. I don’t know which is scarier.

I don’t know how you did it. You’re the computer whiz. I figured you hacked in somehow from your apartment …

Okay. Sorry. I just didn’t know who else to ask. I was actually hoping it was you, otherwise, some random person has access to my computer. And out of all of the malicious pranks he could pull, he chooses to add to my current work in progress?

Yeah, actually, it was—SO good. Even better than my writing, which is another reason I thought it might have been you.

Yes you are! I’ve always said that, because I’ve always known that. You inherited whatever talent I have and then some.

Oh, hush, admit it. Okay, so let me ask you an off-the-wall question. You know that TV show you liked so much, “Angels Among Us” or something like that?”

Yeah, that’s the one. So do you think that maybe it could have been … I mean could an angel have helped me with my novel? I was stuck, and this new chapter is the perfect transition to the next scene.

Who do you think it was then?

Yeah, right. Sleep-writing. If I could do that, I’d have a lot more time to spend with my grown-up baby girl.

No. I know you told me to watch it, but I just haven’t yet.

I said I know you did. And I’ve been meaning to, really.

So, listen, why don’t you bring an episode or two over now, and we can watch them together?

Because I gave you the entire series for Christmas, that’s how I know. Come on, I really want to see what these angels do. Plus I need some mommy-daughter time anyway.

Good. I’ll start the popcorn. See you in a few.

Love you too.

= =


Roseanne snugged her robe tighter around her. She was kind of spooked now. When Lissa had as much as laughed at the idea of hacking into her computer, Rosanne had thought she was at a loss for words.


So where did that question about angels come from?


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




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Friday Fiction: Christmas Fiction!

>> Friday, December 23

 Rick (Hoomi) Higgenson is hosting Friday Fiction this week, and he put out a call for Christmas stories. I knew I had plenty of those to pick from, and I rediscovered this diamond in the rough I started for the "Christmas" quarter at FaithWriters.com in 2008. I worked on it off and on then forgot about it. I like it so far, but I'm clueless on title. :) 

Merry Christmas one and all!! Don't forget to visit Hoomi at Pod Tales and Ponderings for more Christmas fiction!

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



John peeked around the doorjamb and spied his young wife, Marcy, still asleep, and tiptoed across the rough plank floor to her bedside, the package hidden carefully behind his back.

His tender gaze caressed her face, and his eyes misted as love clenched his heart. A tiny noise escaped his throat.

Marcy stirred and squinted against the intrusion of the light streaming through the window. “What a fine sight I behold as I open my eyes to the world this morn. Good morrow, my love.” Marcy turned her face up for a kiss.

“And a good morrow to you, my wife.” John bent down to oblige her, and Marcy’s arms struggled out of the bedclothes and wrapped around him. Her hands found the package John secreted behind his back

“Well, now, what’s this?” Marcy sat up in bed, and tried to see what John was hiding.

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It's coming! Are You Ready?

>> Thursday, December 22

Only a few days remain until the church bells start ringing in Christmas!!!

So....will you come sliding into Christmas on a a wing and a prayer, diving for home under the tag, or will you jog around third base and on into Christmas morning, smiling and waving your cap to the sold-out host of angels cheering you on from the bleachers?

Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosAre you lying awake at night, dreading the beginning of the end, or are you jumping up and down like a kid on Christmas Eve, refusing to go to sleep in anticipation of what’s to come?

A few weeks ago, the holiday panic started rising up in me--until I remembered past Christmases, seasons when things were even more hectic and stressful. Specifically, I recalled the years I finally admitted I couldn’t do it all, and turned it over to God. I mean really let go of all of it.

I embraced the truth: If it absolutely MUST be done, God will make a way, and it WILL be done. (Can I get an Amen?)

Besides, Jesus may come back tomorrow! Then what would all the gifts and trimmings matter? Nada.

As a result of my letting go, nothing critical was ever left undone. My stress level, however, went way down, and my joy level went way up.

That was God.

And He doesn’t just work on major holidays.

Whenever I don’t worry about it, just do what I can (or what I chose to on occasion) and let God work out the details, the details start ‘mysteriously’ start falling into place ‘on their own’. [wink]

This week, Amazon emailed me twice to notify me of a status change on orders scheduled for post-Christmas delivery. Everything for Christmas will be here PRE-Christmas now, plus my sister, daughter, and I all got boxes a day early.

My husband was offered overtime for the first time in months, and he’s working late all week. I’ve been able to retrieve and hide the boxes from Amazon before he sees them.  Plus, the overtime will help TREMENDOUSLY to pay the January credit card bills.

God is Good, all the time!

"It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it??" ~Lisa Mikatarian

Yes, Lisa, it does, when you ‘let go and let God’, or as Carrie Underwood would woud say, when we let ‘Jesus take the wheel’.


Photobucket“Unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”*

“And you shall call his name JESUS, for He will save his people from their sins.”*

And this baby Jesus grew into a man who brought PEACE ON EARTH through his life, death, and resurrection!!

Until He steps foot on the new earth (and he will!), His Peace, in the person of the Holy Spirit, resides IN us, not AROUND us.

If you don’t know this kind of peace yet, God the Father offers it to you: Peace in your heart. Forgiveness for your mess-ups. Life abundant. Life never ending--in His presence.

Ah…the perfect Christmas present.

Will you accept it?

If you aren’t sure, will you attend a church service this Christmas and find out more?

And if you’ve received it, will you share the perfect present with someone else this Christmas?







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Christmas LOVE and Blessings!
Cat


~~~

PS: Wouldn’t it be ironic if God chose the morning of Christmas Eve for His Son and our Savior Jesus to return? Would He find find us stressing over our preparations for the end of the Advent or joyfully anticipating the Return of the King?


*Luke, 2:11, Matthew 1:21

Photos:
http://shannonphilpott.com/2011/12/15/the-christmas-balancing-act/

Light of the World
http://whowillyouserve.blogspot.com/2010_12_01_archive.html

Gift
http://www.sxc.hu/profile/canna_w

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We have a "Living Dead" Winner!

>> Monday, December 19

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~~THANK YOU~~
to all who read my review of "Night of the Living Dead Christian"!!
If you left a comment, you were automatically entered to win
your very own copy.





The drawing was held just few minutes ago in my den by my two assistants, neither of whom was a contestant.



The names of the entrants
were written out and cut apart:



My husband stirs them thoroughly
while my doxie Ralph supervies:


Ralph, picks out a name:




And the winner is:





LINDA C!!!  Woo Hoo!! Congrats, Linda!!!

I know how to get in touch with you, and I look forward to handing you a certificate for a FREE copy of "Night of the Living Dead Christian", redeemable at your local bookstore or by mail from Tyndale.

Thank you to Tyndale and to Matt Mikalotos!!

Christmas Blessings,
Cat


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God-Incidences: She will give birth to a son



You may or may not know this about me, but in real life I work with the children at my church.

Please don't get me wrong -- by “work”, I in no way mean “toil.”




In addition to teaching these amazing children of God, I get to play and laugh, pray and feast, and listen to and learn with and from "my kids".

And I get to share Jesus with them.

I teach the 5th grade Sunday school class  this year, and God blessed me with all girls - six of them – a perfect number.

Last Sunday, we made Christmas cards for our shut-ins and I had the radio on  a popular Christian station to listen to carols while we talked about why Jesus came to earth.

A commercial came on for a ministry to help those whose marriages are in trouble for a list of reasons. I wasn't really paying attention to the radio, but when one girl asked, “Miss Cathy, what's an affair?” I realized what the commercial had been talking about.

Part of me was angry with the “family friendly” station for allowing, in my opinion, a questionably family-friendly word, another part of me was realizing that these kids all surely know a friend whose parents have split up because of marital infidelity, but the biggest part of me was praying for the right words while continuing the conversation without any awkward, embarrassing pauses.

God was faithful (of course), and I managed to explain what an affair was without mentioning anything to do with birds or bees. They all understood and were sad, and after some discussion (which included someone asking, “Miss Cathy, have you had an affair”), a unanimous conclusion was reached that affairs were bad and the conversation moved on naturally.

Whew. Thank you God!

However, the part of me that was miffed at the radio station lingered and stewed in her own righteousness.

After we'd finished the lesson, made a couple dozen cards, and prayed, we still had about 5 or 10 minutes to fill. (Unheard of. I'm usually scrambling at the end--we tend to be long-winded.) I asked the girls if anyone had any questions or had something they wanted to talk about.

Conversation moved back to the Christmas story, and the same girl who asked what about the word “affair” told the class that Joseph was going to stone Mary, and that he actually had a stone in his hand but changed his mind.

Hmmmmmmmm....... God?

I told her I didn't remember reading that part in the Bible, but I did see it in a movie once. Of course, all of the girls thought it was horrible that Joseph was going to stone her. I told them that he did have the RIGHT to put her to death – and then had to explain why. And we read the Joseph’s story in Matthew’s gospel.

And that part of me that was mad at the family-friendly radio station for allowing the word “affair” blushed.


Because my girls understood, REALLY "got", what an affair was, they grasped a bigger sense of why Mary being pregnant was such a big deal.

Wow! Joseph thought Mary had an affair! Until the angel appeared to Joseph and told him what was really going on.

And the angel's words to Joseph were our memory verse.


“She will have a Son,
and you are to name Him Jesus,
for he will save his people
from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21



And that, my friends, is what I call full circle.

Was it a coincidence that we heard that commercial as we started our lesson?

Or was it a GOD-incidence?




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Night of the Living Dead Christian: Book Review and Give Away!

>> Thursday, December 15

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Zombies and Werewolves and ... Jesus?
Oh my!!

I don't think any book has made me laugh out loud as much as Matt Mikalotos' ridiculously funny romp through theology, "Night of the Living Dead Christian". When I wasn't laughing, I was gasping in horror at the very real monsters he reveals. 

Matt himself is the main character in his novel. He finds himself teamed up with a mad scientist, a werewolf, a vampire, and an android in a hunt for monsters in his own neighborhood. He finds more than he bargained for behind the closed doors and leaking hearts of people he thought he knew.


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Holey Holidays

>> Sunday, December 4




Are you missing someone this Christmas?

Is there a hole in your holiday?

Me too.

I found some encouragement in God's Word - join me at
Jewels of Encouragement today. I'd LOVE to share it with you.



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, November 11


Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

You'll find me today at "Living Water", Edmond Ng's wonderfully uplifting blog "all about living in Christ and the Christian faith". 

I'm blessed to be Edmond's guest today. "God-incidences: The Lord is my Shepherd" was originally posted here in September 2009. 

Thank you, Edmond!

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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Jewels of Encouragement: Can't you SEE it??

>> Friday, November 4





Jesus asked, "Will you never believe in me
unless you see miraculous signs and wonders?"
John 4:48 NLT


Ponder that, and join me today at Jewels of Encouragement.

Be blessed,
Cat

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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And the winner is........

>> Thursday, October 13

If you left a comment on my review of "Her Safari", a collection of unbelievably fabulous short stories by Lisa Mikitarian, you've probably been salivating with anticipation to find out who won the coffee! My apologies for the late announcement - I think I lost a day somewhere this week. Thank you, Dr. Rita, for the reminder today.

Seeing as how I forgot what day it was and neglected to ask my husband to pick a name, I selected a new innocent bystander to do the honors -- our church's youth pastor. (Thanks, Austin!)

Excitement was brewing in the church office as his fingers hovered over the pile of little folded papers, moving from one to another to another before finally plucking one out.

And the winner...


of a $5 Starbucks card...



which is good for pastries and teas as well as latte's...


at Starbucks...


is...


LAURY HUBRICH!!! 

(and the crowd goes wild!!)

Congrats, Laury! Email or Facebook me your address and you'll you be on your way to visit your local barista lickity-split.

Thank you, readers, for tuning in.
And thanks to Dr. Rita for sponsoring the fabulous door prize.
And thanks again to Austin for being generally Awesome.
(ps: he wants to know how to pronounce "Laury". :-) )

The blog-tour bus stops tomorrow with Rachel Phelps at Par Excellence. I'll see you there, bright and early, with latte in hand.


Be blessed!
Cat


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



THIS LINK will take you to Demme House Publishers, where you can order "Her Safari." Lisa has partnered with Heart of God International Ministries, so that they’ll receive the proceeds from books bought on their behalf. If you wish to benefit HGIM with your purchase, there’s a special button on the publishers site at check out (HGIM).

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"Her Safari"

>> Monday, October 10

Hello!

Welcome!

You've reached the next stop on the safari!

Oops, I mean the BLOG TOUR for Her Safari.




If you're just hopping on the bus, our guest of honor is Lisa Mikitarian, author of "Her Safari: Snapshots Along the Way." I'm blessed that the tour bus made a detour mid-schedule to "speak to the mountain" with me. 


So many bloggers and reviewers on this tour have already written such glowing praise for “Her Safari” that I’m not sure what more I can add. I can tell you how much I enjoyed it, though.

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"T" is for TEMPER!

>> Thursday, October 6

My puppy was in serious danger of snapping my last high-strung nerve. The serenity of my peaceful afternoon in the back yard was shattered by Lucy’s shrill ark-ark-ark-ark at the family trying to enjoy their stroll through the neighborhood.

Heat was rising in face and steam was about to burst out of my ears. "No," "Stop it," Hush" and "LUCY!" have only added to the cacophony so I've (almost) stopped hollering at her.

So I sat, silently fuming, and not enjoying my fall evening any more than the strolling family.

It occurred to me I had the perfect T word to write about for Patty Wysong's "a2z 4u and me" meme this week -- TEMPER. But it would only be a complaining rant so I put the thought aside, counted to 10, and went back to reading my email.

The next message was my "verse of the day" devotion, based on this scripture:



That is what some of you were.
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified 
in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and by the Spirit of our God. 
- 1 Corinthians 6:11 -

There was a time, not too long ago, ok, to be honest, probably yesterday, that my temper controlled me. When something or someone sets me off…well, I’ll just say that my husband has a saying: “You don’t want to face the wrath of Cathy.” And, unfortunately, it doesn't take much to set me off some days.

But Paul’s words to the Corinthians reminded me -- that's what I USED to be. Now, with the Spirit of God living in me, I now have the choice to control my temper. I can swat it away like an annoying gnat.

Lucy
As I meditated on this verse and its promise, my anger melted away, I smiled, and I got up to cuddle  my excitable, adorable puppy and put her inside. I pray that, the next time my temper threatens to get the best of me, I will remember how easy it was to rise above it when I stood on the Rock.



and the peace of God, 
which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and minds 
through Christ Jesus.
- Philippians 4:7 -


 
If you're joining us for the a 2 z 4 u & me meme by posting on your blog this week about the letter T, be sure to add your name and the link to that particular post in the linky gadget at Patty Wysong's blog, Ordinary Lives.

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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Jewels of Encouragement: Sailing in a Box

>> Tuesday, October 4


Get out of your rut and come sailing with me today at Jewels of Encouragement!!!

Be blessed,
Cat

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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Jewels of Encouragement - Power and Plans and Listening for the Lord

>> Thursday, August 4


I'm posting today at Jewels of Encouragement I'd love you to stop on over and see how God spoke out to me from a wasteland.of destruction.

Be blessed,
Cat

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: "3 Angels"

>> Sunday, July 10

3 Angels
by Rudi London

I don't what, exactly, I expected when I cracked the cover of 3 Angels, but what I found inside the gold-embossed, blood-red binding sure wasn't it. What I did was find that Rudi London has managed to combine the best of two literary worlds in one entertaining book.

I tire of overused, formulaic fiction plots, so I admire an author brave to enough attempt something new. I'm easily bored by biographies, unless the biographer's prose is as captivating as the plot of a well written novel.


By my own design, I knew nothing about the plot or purpose of 3 Angels before I started reading. I was, however, acquainted on-line with Mr. London, and I was familiar with the title. I had been waiting anxiously for the book's arrival for review.

I read 3 Angels with a notebook by my side, and on Page 15, I stopped to note these thoughts:

First impression: What the...? What did I agree to? What have I gotten myself into?
  Second impression: Wow. This is BRAVE! And a little confusing.
     Third impression: Huh. It's kinda growing on me. [reads another paragraph]Ooh! That was funny!
          Fourth impression: I think I'm going to like this!

And I was right. I did like it.

Written as a vignette of sequential accounts, 3 Angels tells the tale of Mr. London's life from the moment of conception until the writing of his novel. However, not until I was a quarter way through the narrative did I realize it was his memoir.

I'm sure his family, friends, and mentors recognize themselves in the anecdotes cleverly reconstructed by the author, but the title characters are surely known only to Mr. London himself. Some probably doubt their very existence, while others may be offended by their quirks and worldliness. I found them originally created, hilarious, and--I confess--at times shocking.

These guardian angels are always watching, but instructed to act only when commanded, and extra "troops" are routinely summoned and deployed in response to a legion of prayers.

By the final chapters, one important truth was apparent: much of what comes down from Heaven is a direct result--virtually depends upon--what goes up from Earth: Prayers. Fragrant fruits. Love.

A final thought: My husband asked me who "N" in the subtitle was. At the time I didn't know, but now his question makes me grin--in a conspiratorial kind of way.

I recommend 3 Angels to anyone tired of the same-old-same-old that fills the bookstores. The editing isn't perfect, but I'm not letting that affect my review of the wonderful content.

I give this book 4 Stars.


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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Jewels of Encouragment - Exposed!

>> Monday, July 4


I'm posting today at Jewels of Encouragement!  Had I realized when planned and wrote my blog post that it would be up on the 4th of July, I would have written something patriotic - maybe about all the wonderful 4th of July's I had as a kid, or a tribute to our military or the great country we live in. Instead, I invite you to come read about how and why I exposed myself. (You know you want to - come on!)

But I do want to wish my fellow country men and women a happy Independence Day. Take a minute to think about how blessed you are if you live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Enjoy your parades, carnivals, picnics and fireworks, and have a BLESSED day!!!


Be encouraged!!

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

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"You Said Go"

>> Monday, June 13

For the past three years, I've run myself silly for a week each summer. A full day of work, immediately followed by the most anticipated, exhilarating, exhausting...and rewarding...five hours you can imagine. For five days straight. Yes, you've got it ....





When it all boils down to brass tacks, Vacation Bible School is not about the Serengeti heat outside or the air conditioning not cooling enough inside. It's not about the theme and decorations (tho they make it FUN and inviting for kids and workers.) It's all about introducing kids to Jesus on a personal level.

It's been three days since we said goodby to New York City and the Big Apple Adventure, and I'm almost recovered. And next year, I'll do it all over again. I'm already planning my room. :-)  Yes, I will endure sore muscles and sleep loss; I will withstand sweating and bad hair; I will do whatever it takes. It's all about bringing Glory to His Name.

God, you have blessed me and I thank you. You said "Tell." I am telling.







Be blessed,
Cat


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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Sparkling Creepy Crawly Things

>> Saturday, June 4


 

Are you scared of spiders? Skitter on over to Jewels of Encouragement and find some courage today!

Be blessed AND encouraged!!


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: Sir Ebon and the Knights of the Night

>> Friday, June 3

Hello friends!! Welcome to another exciting episode of Fiction Friday!! Our host today is Rick (Hoomi) Higginson at his blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Are you pondering what a Pod Tale is? The best way to find out is to wander on over and dive in!

My "Writings" folder on my computer is cluttered with abandoned story-starts going to waste, so I thought, Why not post one for Fiction Friday? This start is one I want to end some day. The idea of a gallant knight and his fair lady leading a secret band of night-riders who save a kingdom from collapse and capture still intrigues me. 




**********


Sir Ebon and the Knights of the Night

The destiny of the kingdom weighed heavy upon Sir Ebon’s shoulders. The black stallion under him snorted and threw back its head, anxious to get on with the mission, but Ebon gave it no mind. His attention was riveted on his Destinee.

Princess Destinee, fair of face and delicate of countenance, but fierce and bold of spirit, was heir to the throne of Melidion. She spent her daylight hours at the feet of her father, the renowned King Alpheres, her nimble mind absorbing the knowledge and wisdom he imparted to his only child. Her nights were spent under the dark cloak of disguise, hastening to aid her lover and the future savior of the kingdom, Sir Ebon.

Fire flashed in Destinee’s emerald eyes as she quieted her own proud mount. “My love, how can I betray my father?”

“Tis not betrayal I ask of you, Precious. I ask you to side with right and let The One bring what justice is due.”

“But when siding with right would result in a knife in my father’s back, rendered by own his daughter’s hand, what then? How is that right?"

Ebon moved to reach out to her, but Destinee jerked the reigns and her mare obeyed by stepping a pace to the side. “Sorrow pierced Father’s soul and left a ragged hole in his heart when my mother was cut down by those marauders. I was just six years when Father made me his confidant. I filled the chasm in his heart and his life."

“Aye, King Alpheres groomed you to be Queen, there is no doubt.”

When Destinee was but six years old, King Alpheres witnessed, and was unable to stop, the murder of his love and lifemate, the mother of his child, Queen Raven of the Corbeau Valley.


© 2009

**********
 


Yep, that's all she wrote (for now, at least.) So, what do you think? Is this a novel (or long short story) you'd read? 

Be blessed,
Cat


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


Fiction Friday is a weekly opportunity for writers to share their work and receive a smidgen of feedback. It's also a GREAT place for readers to peruse inspiring and encouraging fiction from up-and-coming new authors. If you're new, don't be shy! Visit Pod Tales and Ponderings and add a link or follow a link at the bottom Rick's story.

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Friday Fiction: The Right Thing?

>> Friday, May 20

Hello! And welcome to another exciting episode of FICTION FRIDAY!!! My dear friend
Karlene is our hostess today. Visit her blo g "Dancin' in the rain" to find the Linky Tool and lots of great reading!


I'm sharing my most recent Faithwriters Challenge entry, for the topic OUTGOING.  I finished this story one minute before the deadline and entered with 30 seconds to spare. I even got up early that morning to write! (And I am NOT a morning person.) I am very pleased that the judges placed   "The Right Thing?"  7th in Level Four, and 12th overall.


Enjoy, and BE BLESSED!
Cat







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


The Right Thing?

Zach shifted his numb rear-end on the metal folding chair and checked his program for the millionth time. The silly hat threatened to slip, but he was afraid one more adjustment might send it sliding off. He cast his eyes down his row and caught Collin staring at him. Zach swallowed the rising bile and gave him a single nod.

Zach agreed the plan was do-able, but actually doing it was raising more than butterflies in his stomach; it felt like the Radio City Rockettes were dancing it up down there.

I can't do this. Dad's going to kill me! Why did I say yes?

Then he remembered why. The intersection of No way! and Okay. Collin's closing argument.

"If we all go at the same time, he won't be able to stop us. Come on, who's in?"

Zack had wavered at the back of the group of boys as Collin issued the challenge, but when everyone else shouted their assent, he was carried along on the wave of camaraderie and common convictions.

The first pang of regret and the first panic attack collided in his gut when Collin turned the spotlight directly on Zach.

"But it all depends on you, Zach. Are you up to it?"

How was he supposed to say "no"? He'd look like a wimp and a chicken. Besides, he believed it was right. And if everyone else did it, what could happen? Zach didn't trust his voice not to crack, so he just nodded and tried not to vomit.

Three bottles of antacid and three days later, it was finally time.

Zach watched Chris Rheingold, class salutatorian, shake the principal's hand and exit the stage to a round of applause. Zach hadn't heard a word of his speech.

The principal took the podium and, before he'd finished introducing him, Zach was on his feet and fumbling in his pocket for the notecards he wouldn't be using for his valedictory address. He needed something to occupy his hands.

He managed to make it down the aisle and up the steps to the stage without stumbling, and when he took his place behind the podium and looked at his classmates, he was relieved and lifted. Each one had a finger on one eye--the sign--"I'm in."

"Class of 2011, family, and distinguished guests. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize someone who has helped this class through four years of high school. He made sure we all made it here today. In fact, 25 graduating classes flourished under his teaching and mentoring. Coach Jacobson." Zach took deep breaths as the applause and cheers rang through the auditorium.

"I'm going to steal the principal's thunder here--I know he was planning to make this announcement. The Class of 2011 will be the last group of kids to benefit from Coach Jacobson's tutelage." Zach ignored the shuffling and shifting of the faculty seated behind him and plowed on. "He has been asked to resign."

As shouts of dismay and murmurs of disapproval swept through the room, Zack geared up for the hardest part of his impromptu speech.

"It seems that Coach is too old to be a good teacher now. Well if that's true, then the education we received from him is worthless. And if our education is worthless, then so are the diplomas we're about to receive." Zach shook the principal's grasping hand off his arm and hurried on, raising his voice to be heard above the protests of the audience.

"Coach J, we love you, man, and if you're going, we're going with you." Zach was shaking as stepped away from the podium and walked back down the steps. The entire graduating class rose to their feet and, row by row, silently filed out of the auditorium to a growing chant from the crowd.

"Bring back Coach J! Bring back Coach J!"

When feet started stomping, the ruckus shook the building, and the pyramid of rolled diplomas stacked on the stage quaked. One by one, the diplomas slipped off the stack and tumbled to the floor.

© 2011

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: The Insurrection of Procastination Nation

>> Friday, May 13

It's my pleasure and honor to host Fiction Friday today!! Please forgive my tardiness!! Add a link to your own fiction at the bottom of this post, 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.)


This is one of my favorite stories - it was such fun to write, not to mention cathartic. For all the procastinators out there....

Be blessed,
Cat

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.

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


Catrina Bradley

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


LINK UP HERE!

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Friday Fiction: 'Tis Better to Give

>> Friday, May 6

Hello, faithful readers and new friends! I pulled an old story out of the archives for today's Friday Fiction. I remember writing this in the car, shortly after I joined FaithWriters. The topic was "Volunteer", and I pulled a lot of memories from working in a nursing home. This story is fiction, but is based on true emotions.

Be blessed,

Cat

**********

'TIS BETTER TO GIVE

The frigid wind turned Carrie's cheeks into roses. A gust almost ripped the door from her hand as she opened it and ducked inside the nursing home.

"Hi Carrie, I didn't think you were working today." The head nurse looked puzzled.

"I'm not, but Jim and I have exchanged our gifts and had breakfast, so I decided to come spread some Christmas cheer this morning."

Carrie pulled off her mittens and stuffed them in her pockets as she walked past the front desk to the coatroom. She already knew which residents were expecting family today, and which ones would be alone. She decided to start with Mr. Griffin on Wing A. His wife had passed away this year, and they had no children.

Carrie went from room to room, spending time with each of the residents on her mental list. Besides talking with them, she helped a few use the restroom, rubbed lotion on some aching limbs, and helped look through drawers for misplaced belongings. It was rewarding to spend time with these dear people for a change. She loved being a nurse's aide, but she never had extra time for the residents.

She saved Ada Larson for last. Carrie knew she really shouldn't have favorites, but this lady was special. She had been widowed for many years, her friends were all gone, and her daughter and grandchildren rarely visited. She was confined to a wheelchair, her body riddled with arthritis. None of this dampened Ada's attitude toward life at all. She was always quick to point out the silver lining in every black cloud, never complaining. She could barely hold a spoon, but was determined to feed herself as long as she was able. She wanted do all she could for herself; she wasn't ready to give up.

Carrie tapped lightly on the frame of Ada's open door.

Ada lifted her eyes from her book. "Carrie! What brings you here today? You have Christmas off this year."

Carrie walked in and gave her a gentle hug. "I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas."

"Oh, you are such a dearheart."

Carrie moved aside a large box so she could sit on the bed. "Did you get a Christmas present?"

"Grace sent it. She's a good daughter to remember her old mother."

A "good" daughter would drive four hours to visit her mother for Christmas. "Can I see?" Carrie was careful to keep judgment from her voice.

Ada smiled "Yes, of course."

Carrie removed the lid, and pulled out a beautifully crocheted blanket. "Oh, this is nice. She must have worked hard on it." Carrie stroked the pale yellow stitches, then hugged the blanket to her. "So soft and warm. I bet you love it."

"Yes, it's very nice. I don't think Grace made it herself, though. She was never interested in learning needlework. I tried to teach her, but..." A note of melancholy crept into her voice.

"I'm sorry, Ada."

"Don't be, dear. Grace may not have liked needlework, but she has many other talents. She's a very smart girl. She owns her own business, you know." She started perking up again.

"I've always wanted to learn to crochet. Do you think you could teach me?"

Ada beamed. "I'd love to! You'll be able to make something like this in no time."

"So, how are your grandchildren doing?" Carrie looked at the new photos Grace had sent with the package, and listened to Ada's boasting about the children.

After chatting for a time, Carrie glanced at her watch and reluctantly stood. "Well, Ada, I really should be going. I wish I could stay longer, but Jim's home waiting for me. He should have the turkey in the oven by now, and I've got to get busy with the rest of our small feast. I'm glad we had a chance to talk today, and I can't wait to get started on our crochet lessons."

"Yes, by all means, go home to your husband. Merry Christmas dear. And thank you for coming to visit with me today." Her voice was cheery, but sadness tinged her eyes.

"Merry Christmas, Ada."

Carrie retrieved her coat, and was almost to the front door when she heard her name. She turned and saw Ada wheeling toward her, the big box balanced on her lap.

"Carrie, dear, I want you to have this."

"Oh, no! That's your gift from your daughter."

"I saw how much you liked it. And your love means more to me than this blanket. Merry Christmas, Dearheart."


© 2006
**********


Fiction Friday is a weekly opportunity for writers to share their work and receive a smidgen of feedback. It's also a GREAT place for readers to peruse inspiring and encouraging fiction from up-and-coming new authors. If you're new, don't be shy! Our host this week is Anna K. Jeffrey (Karls to us) at her refreshing blog "Dancin' in the Rain". Add a link or follow a link at the bottom her story.





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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Jewels of Encourgement

>> Wednesday, May 4


Are you hungry? Me too! Join me for a little spiritual snack at Jewels of Encouragement today!!!

Be blessed AND encouraged!!!

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: Taste and See

>> Friday, April 29

Taste and See

It weren't but about 10 feet from the door to the pretty lady's desk, but it seemed to take forever to cross it. My little brother 'n me toted' that big box between us and set it down. Starin' at my grimy toes, I said, "Our daddy says thank you, but we don't need no handouts. We're getting' along fine, thank you kindly."

Daddy'd tole us at least five times, "Be sure'n tell them church folk thank you. We don't want them thinkin' we ain't got no manners."

He sure was mad when he'd come home and saw that box sittin' on the table, bustin' with fancy food stuffs. He commenced to turnin' red, and he grabbed the back of the rickety chair so tight, I was waitin' for the wood to splinter.

He leaned over the box and stared me down. "What'd you boy's go an' do now?"

"Nothin' Daddy! Swear.'

"Don't you swear." Daddy stuck his face in mine, and his eyes got real dark. "You know the Good Book says just let yer yes's and no's be true."

"Sorry, Daddy. No, we didn't. Me 'n Mickey were doin' our homework here at the table when the doorbell rang."

"How many times I tole you not to open that door for no one." One of his hands let loose of the chair and I ducked under my arm.

"We didn't, Daddy, I sw.. PROMISE. We just peeked out the window--they didn't even see us. This man, he was holdin' this here box of food. And this lady, she rang the doorbell again. Then the man set that box down in front of the door, then they got in a car and drove off. When I was sure they was gone, me and Mickey drug it inside so's no one would steal it. It's ours now, right? They gave it to us?"

The box was overflowin' with cans and boxes and bags, but I was starin' at one big bag stuffed with cookies. My tummy was rumblin' and my mouth was waterin'. I jumped when Daddy spoke up.

"Did you boys eat anything?" He'd let loose of the chair, and his fists were balled up at his side.

"No! An' I didn't let Mickey, either, even though he cried." I was glad my tummy growled real loud right then. "But can we, maybe, have a cookie?"

"Tarnation, boy!" Daddy yanked off his sweaty cap and slammed it on the table. "If'n the Lorda meant for you to have cookies, He wouldn't of taken yer mamma. An' if'n he'd of meant for us to have this kinda food, He'd of provided it." He gave the box a shove, never minding the scratch it made on Mamma's table. He spied the card, and snatched it off'n the corner of the box, snappin' the pretty red ribbon it was fastened on with.

"'A gift to you from McClerran Community Church'. Figures. You boys, go wash up. You gonna take this here "gift" right back to those meddlin' church folk. They got no right assumin' we in need of charity. 'Gift.' Huh. Handout's what they mean, and the Anderson's don't need no handouts. Be sure 'n tell them thank you, now. We don't want them thinkin we ain't got no manners, ya hear me boy?"


"Did you hear me, little boy? It's a gift -- it's yours." I looked up at her then, that same lady from earlier at the house. Her smile was so nice and her eyes were so soft, I wanted to tell her everything, I wanted to take the gift, but then I thought about Daddy.

"Yes, ma'am. And Daddy says to tell you thank you, but we're fine." My tummy rumbled again and I hoped she didn't hear it and know I was lyin'. I grabbed Mickey and we scooted out the door. I wanted to get home quick. I didn't lie to Daddy?we didn't eat anything out of the box. What I took wasn't somethin' to eat.

Evelyn watched from the window as the two waifs ran across the parking lot and down the sidewalk. She wiped away a tear and turned back to the giftbox she'd prepared for the Anderson's. Not even her freshly-baked cookies had been touched. But then she noticed what WAS missing; her son's old Christian comic books she'd tucked under the cookies were gone.

"A child shall lead them, and Your word will not return void. Thank you, Lord."



--

Author's note: Scriptures referenced in closing prayer: Isaiah 11:6, 55:11

© 2011






**********



Fiction Friday is a weekly opportunity for writers to share their work and receive a smidgen of feedback. It's also a GREAT place for readers to peruse inspiring and encouraging fiction from up-and-coming new authors. If you're new, don't be shy! Our host this week is Debra Elliott at "Writing with Debra. Add a link or follow a link at the bottom her story.

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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Have you met Patty Wysong?

>> Thursday, April 21

Do you need a blog spring-clean? A little tweaking and adjusting?

Are you craving a complete blog make-over, something fresh, new, and YOU?

Maybe you want to learn how to tweak and adjust your blog?

Or have you shied away from starting that blog because you have no idea where to start?

I know just the person to help you. Patty Wysong has a passion for HTML and CSS and all things bloggy. Her designs are beautiful! AND she's an all around awesome person. She even conducts workshops to share her knowledge, Check out her VERY reasonable and VERY professional blog design services at her own blog, Ordinary Lives.


Finding the Extraordinary God in our Ordinary Lives


Oh, yeah, to celebrate her faith-step into professional status, she's giving away a FREE premade blog layout - just leave a comment here for a chance to win! Double your chances by clicking the link to her blog, and leaving HER a comment, too! WOO HOO!

Happy and Blessed Blogging!
Cat

Happy and Blessed Blogging!
Cat

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: The Storm

>> Friday, April 15

Welcome to Fiction Friday!  Whenever the weather turns tornado-y, I flash back to one night stormy night when I was a tot. What KatieBelle experiences during "The Storm" is  drawn from that vivid child-hood memory.



**********


The Storm

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

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

KatieBelle didn't like to be woken up, but this time was different. When her mama shook her awake, she was glad. But the BOOMing and moaning didn't stop. they got louder And now bright lights were flashing in the window and lighting up her whole bedroom.

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

Her mama wrapped KatieBelle in a hug. "No, KatieBelle. It's not a giant. It's a storm. A bad storm."

The nightmare was fading away, and another loud BOOM woke KatieBelle all the way up. Her daddy lifted her out of bed, and said, "We have to go now."


Before she knew what was happening, KatieBelle was in the back seat of the car. Her mama must have remembered to get her pillow and blanket off her bed, because they were nestled around her as she drifted in and out of sleep.

Thunder BOOM's turned into crackle-snap-POWs, and KatieBelle could feel the car being tossed around like a ship on a stormy sea.

The car stopped moving, and a cold wet wind rushed in. KatieBelle tried to pry her eyes open, but she was just too tired. Then she was in her daddy's arms again, until he set her on her feet was pushing her forward.

"Go!"

KatieBelle was frozen in place. Daddy wanted her to go, but go where? She was so glad when her mama picked her up.

Her daddy ran ahead and flung open a wood door in the ground. He hollered at them to hurry up, and mama carried her door.

The steps down into the cellar scared KatieBelle. It was dark, and there were cobwebs and spiders in the corners. She wished Mama hadn't put her down. The concrete steps were crooked and uneven. She couldn't see the bottom.

Her mama shone a flashlight down the stairs, and took hold of KatieBelle's hand, but she was still afraid she was going to fall.

Finally, she slumped on a rough bench up against a dirt wall, with a dirt floor under her feet. The air was damp and cold, and smelled of damp, cold earth. KatieBelle knew this smell; she knew this place.
She was in Aunt Hilda's root cellar. KatieBelle had been her before, with her mama, to put up boxes of potatoes and turnips and apples.

Her daddy lit his camping lantern, and the hissing, bright light made KatieBelle feel safer. She was so cold, though! She was shivering, and she started to cry.

KatieBelle didn't hear her mama ask for Daddy's coat, but when Mama wrapped it around KatieBelle, it She breathed in her daddy's smell and felt like she was under blanket of peace.

KatieBelle lay her head down on her mama's lap, and the thunder, the wind, and the hiss of the lantern rocked her to sleep.


© 2007


**********



Fiction Friday is a weekly opportunity for writers to share their work and receive a smidgen of feedback. It's also a GREAT place for readers to peruse inspiring and encouraging fiction from up-and-coming new authors.
Our hostess this week is is the bubbly, vivacious, and multi-talented Sara Harricharian. Dash on over to her fiction blog, Fiction Fusion for more ... yes you guessed it,  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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Book Review: Promises to Keep

>> Tuesday, April 12

Promises to Keep
by Ann Tatlock

When a family wakes one morning to find a strange old woman reading the newspaper on the front porch of their new home, they have no idea how their lives are about to change. Although Tillie Monroe is the catalyst of the changes to come, she isn't the main character.

Promises to Keep is told from the first-person perspective of 11 year-old Roz Andrews, whose family has been broken by alcohol and abuse. Her mother has taken her, her teenaged brother, and her baby sister to live close to her grandparents. What Roz wants more than anything is to have her daddy back.

Roz' voice has a youthful, yearning quality that made me want to keep listening to her. Add to that an odd and intriguing opening, and I quickly became enamored with this book. Within two or three chapters, I felt a connection with Roz. Her simple but deep narrative made me want to befriend her. Her experiences and emotions brought memories of my own pre-adolescent confusion and pain, hopes and dreams, and best-friends-forever pinkie-promises.

This was my first book by Ann Tatlock, and I'm sorry I didn't discover her earlier. My thanks to Bethany House for providing a review copy of Promises to Keep in exchange for my honest review.


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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Party with a Purpose!!!

>> Tuesday, April 5


You’re invited!


I am hosting an online e-party benefit for Haley's Place...a playground in honor of Haley Eason. 

Haley is a young member of my church who has been fighting cancer for 9 years - since she was 13. Her faith, bolstered by the prayers of many, has healed her time and again, but it appears her fight may soon be over.

We are installing a new playground in her honor, and all proceeds from this E-Benefit will be donated to Haley's Place by my gracious and loving Mary Kay consultant, Kathy Wylder.


Would you shop with her between the days of Wed. April 6th until April 10th?!?!?!


This is what you do…

Get comfortable!!  You can even shop in your
jammies!! Visit my consultant, Kathy Wylder’s web page
at www.marykay.com/kathywylder

Kathy Wylder will confirm your order and arrange payment and
free delivery/shipping.



Thanks in advance, I hope I can count on you!!!

Host:

Me

When:

Wednesday,
April 06, 2011 8:00 AM ET -

Sunday, April 10, 2011 12:00 AM ET

Where:




RSVP!


Mary Kay® Personal Beauty Profiler

Mary Kay® eCatalog

Mary Kay® Virtual Makeover


Kathy Wylder

Kathy Wylder

Independent Beauty Consultant



If you don't want to shop, but feel led to make a small donation, you may do so through my church's website! Just click that button to the left.
<---


Be a blessing, and Be blessed!!





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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