Friday Fiction: "Scurvy Sue and the Quest for Abundant Treasure"

>> Friday, March 23



Ahoy, Mateys! It's a glorious day in Georgia. Creation is springing to life in full technicolor, and the pollen count is down. Yes, it's a Happy Friday!

Rick is hosting Friday Fiction today at Pod Tales and Ponderings.
He's got the linky-thingy on his blog. Come on over!


This family-friendly, pirate adventure bubbled out of my imagination while brainstorming and outlining possible creative directions and Biblical lessons for my church's upcoming, original VBS (Vacation Bible School.) We're stepping out of the box this summer - the box of curriculum and the box of expectation, and creating something new. Thanks, Blake, for the inspiration.


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Scurvy Sue and the Quest for Abundant Treasure

Scurvy Sue scurried up the gangplank clutching her leather satchel to her bosom. "Pete! Joe-Joe!" Her boot-falls echoed through the Merry Marauder as she ran pell-mell across the scarred wooden deck.

A burly man crashed through the door from the hold, sword drawn and eyes on fire. "What scallywags be on yer tail, me girl? I'll take their sorry heads off."

"Ye like t'take me own head off, ye oaf. Watch where ye be swingin' that saber. Ye surely be dubbed correctly, Perilous Pete."

Sue started at a barking laugh. She peered around Pete's massive bulk to see Joe-Joe hitching up his britches.

"There ye be Jolly Joe. Not everythin's a laughin' matter."

"We all be carryin' monikers t'fit us, Scurvy Sue." Joe-Joe sniffed the air and chuckled. "Now, what be causin' this ruckus if yer not bein' hounded by no-good landlubbers?"

"Treasure," Sue whispered, eyes darting left and right. She leaned closer, patting her worn satchel. "I found a map."

"Shiver me timbers!" Pete roared. "Up anchor, hoist the sails. Let's be heavin' ho!"

"Quiet yer trap," Sue hissed. "We got some decodin' t'do first."

Safely behind closed doors, Sue laid her satchel on the wobbling table. "I might o'been misleadin' ye a wee bit. 'Tis not a picture map. More like a word map. But I snatched the decodin' book, too."

Pete's eyes flared, but Joe-Joe stopped him with a smirk.

Sue pulled a yellowed page from her bag. "This be the map. See that at the top? The Road to Abundant Treasure."

Pete scowled. "Don't be lookin' like no road t'me. It' be lookin' like a lot o'words. An' we don't travel by road, we sail the seas. What be the meanin' o'these letters an' numbers?"

"Secret code. But look here." Sue drew a thick, leather-bound book from her satchel.

Joe-Joe's eyes widened. "Holy Bible. That missionary ship we looted had some o'em. Where'd ye pilfer this?"

"Big fancy church. Thought t'find some doubloons lyin' 'round."

"Looky here, twas written by the late King himself. Thar's his moniker on the cover." A giggle burbled from Joe-Joe's throat. "Kings surely know where treasure's hidden, arrr?"

"Arrr, Joe-Joe. Me thoughts ezactly. That be why I took it. The map was inside." Sue crossed her arms and stood her full 5'2". "So let's be crackin' the code."

The three sat and put their dirty heads together over the documents.

"Gadzooks, Sue. Can ye back off a bit? Yer stench be stingin' me nostrils." Pete rubbed his nose. "Here, ye take the book, an' Joe-Joe the map. I'll do the thinkin'."

Sue snorted, but chose not to mention he never learned to read. "Right then. Joe-Joe, what be the first clue?"

"Romans 3 23. They all be startin' with Romans."

Sue gasped. "Blimey! This frontish page holds a list o'names an' suches. One o'em be Romans. There be a number aside o'it, but it don't match that'n. I think it be a page number." She flipped through the thick book and found the right place. "Arrrr, there be numbers all through this writin'. I think I cracked the code! What be the rest o'that clue?"

"3 an' 23."

Sue bent closer, scanning the lines with her finger. "Aha! 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.'"

Pete smacked the table. "Arrrr. We be pirates. 'Course we be sinnin'."

"But it said "ALL have sinned." Joe-Joe's puzzled face didn't erase his steady smile. "That'd include priests an' the good king hisself. Let's gander at the next one. Romans 5 an' 8"

Sue searched the pages, and found the right place.

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.' Well, that don't be makin' much sense."

Pete scowled. "I be thinkin' we ain't close t'no treasure yet."

On and on they deciphered clues. With each code, Sue's eyes grew softer, her face brighter, and her smile wider.

"Scurvy Sue, ye be grinnin' like Jolly Joe. If ye've figured where 'bouts t'set our compass, attest an' let's heave off. Thar be treasure awaitin'!"

"Me thinks I was mistaken."

Pete sprang up, sending his chair crashing over. "Arrrr! Ya mean t'say thar's no treasure?"

"Oh, thar be treasure alrighty. But it's not out thar. The treasure's in here." She thumped her fist against her chest.

Joe-Joe nodded. "Ye might be right, me curvy wench. Back t'the church?"

"Aye. Back t'the church. T'find someone t'explain this abundant treasure we've discovered."
(c) 2012

ba1969

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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 Video

>> Friday, March 16



Hello friends, and happy Friday! The adorable and talented Sara Harricharan is hosting Friday Fiction today at her blog Fiction Fusion. Pop on over and see what she's got up her sleeve today!




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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.

I hate that I’m gonna miss your birthday, an’ that’s why I’m makin’ this. Since I can’t be there in person, I figured this was the next best thing.

So happy birthday, kiddo.


If you’re a girl I'd have thrown you the best party and danced you around the room, laughin at the ribbons bouncin in your hair. I’d plant a kiss on your forehead and wish you happy birthday under a spotlight.

If you’re a boy, I’d have taken you to the ballgame and we’d pig out on hotdogs and peanuts and drink too much Coke. An’ I’d have them spell out “Happy Birthday, Dylan” on the big screen.

Since I can’t do those things, I want you to at least be able to see me an' hear me tell you. I promise I’m thinkin’ ‘bout you right now, whether I'm still fightin' this war somewhere, or I'm in Heaven with Jesus.

I wanna tell you why I had to go, an’ I hope you understand.

See, Dylan, sometimes a person’s got to make a choice. You gotta choose what’s most important for everyone, and you gotta trust that God’ll see you through.

To me, fightin’ to keep our country free is really important.

Fightin’ to keep other people free is just as important.

We got it good here, kiddo. At least we do now. I joined the service to help make sure it stays that way for you. An’ I know that over there there’s a daddy who loves his kids too.

If it means layin’ down my life to save someone else’s...well, I wouldn’t be the first one to do it. I figure yer mom’s raisin’ you to know the Lord, so that’s all I’ll say about that.

Dylan, I love you so much it hurts, even though I've never met you. It’s a good hurt, though. A love hurt.

If you’re a girl, I know you’ll feel that kind of hurt someday. And if you are a boy, I hope you do. I really hope you do, son.

I love you, Dylan. Happy birthday.”

***

The Soldier pressed STOP and wiped the back of his hand across his eyes. After logging onto his web mail, he composed a last love letter to his wife.

***

“My Sweet Dumplin,

You know I hope with all my heart that I’ll be back home with you for good in two years. I’ll be praying for that as long as I’m gone, and I know you will too.

But you also know there’s a chance I won’t come back.

This war won’t be over anytime soon, no matter what the media says. There’s real fighting still going on, and people are still dying.

I made a video, just in case I don’t make it home. It’s for Dylan. I want you to play it for him or her on the day he or she gets here, so my voice will be one of the first ones the kiddo hears. I probably won't be there for birthday number two, so play it for the kiddo then. And on every birthday after that if I’m not there for whatever reason.

I don’t want Dylan to grow up not knowing me.

I love you my Sweet Apple Dumplin. And I’ll never stop. I hope to see you real soon.”

***

He attached the video and scheduled delivery for six months from today. After another swipe at his eyes, the young soldier shut down his computer, and stood to go.

The transport was waiting.

(c) 2011

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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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Cleaning up in a Blood Bath - Word Filled Wednesday

>> Wednesday, March 14



I might be making an assumption, but when you think of blood, you probably don't think of clean. It's illogical, right? Blood, especially in the age of AIDS and other raging blood-borne diseases, is something to be handled with care, or avoided at risk to your health and life. But since when are God or His ways logical to mankind? Since never.

When Jesus told His followers in John 6:54 "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day", they grumbled that this teaching was too hard, they were offended, and many turned back and followed Him no more. (It does sound creepy, doesn't it?)

And in addition to eating his flesh and drinking His blood, we are to bathe in his blood. And THAT will make us clean. Yep. Sounds pretty illogical. But God says, "My ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)

That's where faith comes in. Faith that, even when I don't understand, I can trust God.

Be blessed,
Cat


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home of Word Filled Wednesday,
for more visual scripture,
and a daily dose of inspiration!




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

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Taking the High Road

>> Monday, March 12

I'm honored and blessed to welcome a special guest to Scattered Seeds today! Fay Lamb, author of the romantic suspense novel Because of Me, invites us to go on a very interesting walk with her. So lace up your hiking boots and grab your water bottle, and let's set out!




The High-Ways of God


"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways
My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

I love my walks around North Carolina's Lake Junaluska. As I stroll alongside the rose garden or hike the secluded trail, I spend time with the Lord, contemplating his path for me.

The prophet Isaiah wrote about the "high ways" of God, and I've wondered what those ways mean to me as I trod the paths God has for me. If God named his "high ways" what would they be?

Satisfaction Boulevard: Worldly satisfaction is often found in things we buy or produce, but God calls us to satisfaction in Him. "Ho, everyone one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea come buy wine without food and price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." (Isaiah 55:1-2) When I am dissatisfied, I'm telling God what He has provided isn't enough. When walking Satisfaction Boulevard, I see that everything He has given me is more than enough.

Security Circle: While my trek around the lake is a short one, I have to watch carefully for individuals who may intend me harm. So it is with my life. I must watch for everyone and everything that will pull me away from my journey with God. Isaiah 55:3 says, "Incline your ear, and come unto me, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." When we walk with God, we are safe—-He is an everlasting harbor.

The intersection of Surrender Trail and Salvation Lane: God's mercies are immeasurable. He met me where I was so I could continue a journey free from the burdening sin I once carried. God handed that burden to His son. "Behold I have given Him [Jesus] for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people. Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near." (Isaiah 55:4, 6) Because Jesus sacrificed for me, I can approach God's throne and ask Him to walk with me in the cool of the day.

Sanctity Court: In the North Carolina mountains, the picturesque setting changes from moment to moment, making it easy to understand that with God, each day is a new beginning. No matter what I've done, God is faithful to forgive me if I ask. Isaiah 55:7 declares, "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the LORD, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." God calls me to bring my sins before him. Each confession draws me closer to Him, the walk a more enjoyable one, as I move toward the future in God's abundant forgiveness.

Sharing Way: When I walk, I carry a camera to record the beauty of the lake, the plants, and the wildlife. I marvel that God spoke it all into existence. Isaiah 55:10-11 says, "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." God's Word is powerful, a gift for the ages—a gift that God says will accomplish its purpose of announcing salvation to mankind—the Creator's message to His creation.

Singing Street: Following God's paths leads to joy. "For we shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you in singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah 55:12-13) I've never broken into song during my walks, but I've enjoyed the song of nature in the honking geese, the lapping waters, the rustling leaves, and my heart has been lifted in praise to the Maker of that chorus and for the "high ways" He has made for me.





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Fay Lamb works as an acquisition/copy editor for Pelican Book Group (White Rose Publishing and Harbourlight Books), offers her services as a freelance editor, and is an author of Christian romance and romantic suspense. Her emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Because of Me, her debut romantic suspense novel is soon to be released by Treble Heart Books/Mountainview Publishing.

Fay has a passion for working with and encouraging fellow writers. As a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she co-moderates the large Scribes’ Critique Group and manages the smaller Scribes’ critique groups. For her efforts, she was the recipient of the ACFW Members Service Award in 2010.In 2012, Fay was also elected to serve as secretary on ACFW’s Operating Board.
 
Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and five grandchildren.





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Because of Me:

Not your typical Christian fiction.

Michael’s fiancĂ©e, Issie Putnam, was brutally attacked and Michael was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit. Now he’s home to set things right.

Two people stand in his way: Issie’s son, Cole, and a madman.


Can Michael learn to love the child Issie holds so close to her heart and protect him from the man who took everything from Michael so long ago?

Available through all fine book retailers, Amazon.com, and Mountainview Publishing, a division of Treble Heart Books.

Purchase the book at Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Because-of-Me-ebook/dp/B00722KIME/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327670357&sr=8-1
Or at Treble Heart Books at: www.trebleheartbooks.com/MVLamb.html





Thanks for joining us!
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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Friday Fiction: Taste and See

>> Friday, March 9


Welcome to Friday Fiction!! I may have shared this story before; I don't remember. I saw the title on my Challenge entries list, and couldn't remember what it was about. I read it again, and brought myself to tears. I hope you enjoy!

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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 wood 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 Micky 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 Micky 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 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 church 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 nothin' 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

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This week, Friday Fiction is at Rick (Hoomi) Higginson's blog, Pod Tales and Ponderings. Be sure to pay him a visit and follow the links to more Friday 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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Returning to My First Love

>> Thursday, March 8

I’ve been told that pulling a Bible verse out of context for interpretation is a no-no, and I wholeheartedly agree. But for application? I say “yes-yes”… especially when the Holy Spirit whispers it in my ear.

Today, I was meditating (daydreaming) about the weekly writing challenge at FaithWriters.com and my desire to start entering regularly again.

The Home for Christian writers!!FaithWriters is the sole reason “Catrina Bradley, Writer” exists today. When I joined the FW community in September 2006, I hadn’t written anything creative since high school. Today, I am a published author. I owe my comeback, or more accurately my rebirth, to FaithWriters and the FW family.

But somewhere along the road from 2006 to 2012, I drifted away from my FW family and into the Facebook vortex.

“Return to your first love,” whispered my subconscious.

I miss FW, and I miss the communal excitement encompassing writing for the challenge


It occurred to me that when my participation at FaithWriters started faltering, my writing as a whole stopped growing. At times, it has threatened to retreat altogether. Crafting, editing, and completing a story has become a chore.

Return to your first love.

Yes, return to the source of my passion for writing: the fountain of encouragement and love that springs from FaithWriters.

Return to your first love.

When I joined the site, the weekly writing challenge was on break, and spent that time delving into the website, reading past contest entries and winners, studying the FAQ’s, and getting to know the other members. I entered my first FaithWriters challenge the day the new topic was announced.

Over the next few years, hardly a week went by that I didn’t enter the challenge, and not a day passed that I didn’t spend a few hours (at least) chatting with my new family on the message boards. I learned the ins and outs and do's and don't's of writing. My skill was honed in the iron-on-iron give and take of God’s family.

Early successes in the writing challenge, followed by long spells of failure, interrupted occasionally by a brief spike or two, cultivated discouragement. Discouragement bred anger, and apathy followed on closely its heels.

Return to your first love.

Yes--I want to go back there! When writing was fun and not a burden. When I rose up to meet the challenge instead of shrinking in fear of failure and rejection. When I didn’t need to schedule time for writing--I scheduled everything else around it. Return to the FaithWriters message boards where love runs deep and relationships follow suit, instead of the shallow, two minute life updates that Facebook conveniently offers.

I want to get excited again.

I couldn’t keep following this train of thought without finding and reading the Word that kept whispering to me. Return to your first love.


In His Revelation to the Church, Jesus, through the apostle John, counseled the Church at Ephesus: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.” Revelation 2:4-5a

For sure, the Ephesians were faithful followers of Christ. Their boundless labor and perseverance for the Lord showed their belief. But Jesus said they had ‘forsaken their first love’ – the passion that kindled, sparked and was blown into flame with their first anointing of the Holy Spirit. The love and desire and pure faith that had driven their works.

I don’t mean to literally equate my relationship with Jesus to that with FaithWriters, but I can use the same application for both. And as I studied the letter to the Ephesians in Revelation, the spiritual side of that parallel became as evident in my life as the writing side.

Return to your first love.

It was clear that, in addition to my writing, I’ve also forsaken the passion of my fresh love for Jesus. Both relationships have lost their luster.

Talk about a double-edged sword!

With this fresh anointing, I’m going to take a long-overdue drink from the Well to refresh my love for Jesus. Then I’m taking a step on the return trip to my (second) first love.

Peace and love, and prayers for many blessings,
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)


Image Credits:
Pencil Pusher: Zsuzsanna Kilian
Empty Page: Iker

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Whitewashed Walls - Jewels of Encouragement

>> Sunday, March 4

God has me doing some housekeeping on His Temple - searching behind the whitewashed walls and cleaning out some garbage. It's a little scary in there, and I might need some encouragement in the days, weeks, months to come. Curious? Come have a read at Jewels of Encouragement!


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: Forever Family

>> Friday, March 2

 I get to host Friday Fiction today!!!!!! Thank you Sara!  If you'd like to join the fun, just leave a link on the widget at the bottom of this post. If you want to read some great short stories, hop around and follow where the links take you.

This is one of my favorite stories, and I dedicate this one to my darling niece, Haley M., who has a HUGE forever-family of her own.

Blessings!
Cat



FOREVER-FAMILY

"Julie, honey-child, what's wrong?" Evelyn pulled her reading glasses off her nose and let them dangle from the silver chain around her neck. She set her Bible on the little table to her right and beckoned to the sniffling, weepy child fidgeting in the doorway of her sitting room. "Come tell your Grammy all about it."

Four-year old Julie stumbled across the room into her Evelyn's waiting arms. "They won't play with me. They're mean!" She wailed into the older woman's ample bosom.

"Ssh, now, shh." Evelyn took Julie into her lap and stroked her dark curls, rocking, murmuring, and cooing, until Julie's sobs subsided into hiccups. She sat the child upright and put a withered palm to each side of her face, wiping her tears away with crooked thumbs. "Now, tell Grammy what happened."

"I don't have anyone for me. The boys won't let me play with them, and Tammy and Sue have each other and they ignore me, and the big girls don't want to play at all, and I don't have anyone. They're all having fun and no one wants me. They don't like me."

"Nonsense. Of course your cousins like you."

"NO! They don't. They tease me and call me names and laugh at me and run away from me. I hate them." Fresh tears spilled down her cheeks.

"Now, child, 'hate' is strong word. You may not like how they're acting right now, and that's ok, but I don't want to hear you say "hate" about your family."

"They're not really my family. I don't have no family."

Evelyn pulled a few tissues from the box on her side table. "We are your family now--your forever-family--and we all love you. Here, wipe your face and blow your nose. I'll tell you a story about another forever-family."

Julie rubbed her cheeks and honked into the tissues, then handed the crumpled wad to her Grandmother. Evelyn set it aside and pulled the soggy girl close, setting her rocker in motion.

"Many, many years ago, a long time before my own grammy was born, there lived a man named Abraham. Now, God knew Abraham was a real special man, a real good man, and God loved him. So much so that he called Abraham His own child.

"All of Abraham's life, he lived to please God, and so, when they were very old, older than your Grammy, God blessed Abraham and his wife, Sarah, with a baby. Can you imagine? And they named that baby Isaac.

"God had big plans for Isaac. Isaac had lots of children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and he taught all of them about God and how special their family was to Him. Most of them loved God, too, and God considered all of Abraham and Isaac's family His children. In fact, God even renamed Isaac and his family Israel, which means the children of God. They were His chosen people.

"But see, God loved all the people in the world and He wanted all of them, not just Isaac's family, to be His children. So He made a plan to adopt them all."

Julie looked up at her Grandmother with wide eyes. "Dopt? Like me""

"Yes, honey-child, just like you." Evelyn brushed Julie's tangles away from her flushed little face. Love poured out of the older woman's warm, green eyes. "You know who Jesus is, right?"

"Jesus is God's son and He died for my sins. I learned that in Sunday School."

"That's right, child." Evelyn kissed the top of her head and hugged her. "That was God's plan--for Jesus to die. But that was only part of His plan. God made Him alive again. Raised Him right up from the dead."

"Why, Grammy" Why'd He do that""

"So we'd believe He was real, that He loves us THAT much. And so we'd love Him."

"But what about the doption?" Julie squirmed around to look at her grandmother.

Evelyn chuckled. "I'm getting there. See, the best part of God's plan was this: He said that anyone who believes that God's son Jesus died for their sins, that He rose from the dead, well, God said he would adopt them and make all of them His children, too. We'd all be his forever-family."

"Wow. Mommy and Daddy said they could only pick one kid to dopt and they picked me. God dopted everybody?"

"He'll adopt anyone who believes in Jesus, yes. Pretty neat, huh?"

"Yeah, Grammy, that's real neat." Julie's little brow wrinkled and Evelyn could see her processing this idea. "God must have an awful big house to dopt so many kids."

"Indeed He does, child, indeed He does. But that's a story for another day."

© 2008


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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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