Elf-ish

>> Friday, December 13


My friend, "Aunt" Bonnie, is a Christmas Elf. She has been posting on Facebook about at least one "act of kindness" she's done each day this December. (She doesn't normally "advertise" her elfisms ,but I have no doubt she's on silent duty 365 days a year. Her goal in this is to encourage others to be "elves" also.) Today she posted that she was distracted by the passing of a friend and hadn't done any good deed except to pray. (The most important good deed in my book.) I replied that I'd done three elf acts so she was covered, and she asked me to tell her about it. My answer is way too long for an FB status reply, so I'm posting it here...


I have some awesome work hours at the church. On Fridays, I get off work at 11:30 am -- technically, that is. In reality, I rarely leave on time (be it Friday, Thursday, or any other days.) I don't mind; an extra 30 minutes or an hour is nothing compared to God's many gifts to me, so how can I honestly complain? But today... well...Ummmm, no.

Today is the Friday before the third Sunday of Advent. You can imagine how crazy-busy it must be at a church at this time of year, so I didn't get home today until my regular quitting time, and then answered work-related texts and worked from home until close to 6pm. And my shopping still isn't done and my Christmas tree is still in the attic. I had planned to take care of those things, plus laundry, etc. this afternoon.

Yeah, I know, I've got it rough. *wink* But I'm not here to complain - I'm here to tell you about how God used those extra hours I put in, not only to complete stuff that had to be done, but to bless others through me.

If I hadn't been there this afternoon (when I really wanted to be somewhere else) none of the following might have taken place:

 - A homebound, senior adult just out of physical rehab wouldn't have lights or heat tomorrow morning.
 - A 10-year old, coatless girl wouldn't have a brand-new winter coat - her only one.
 - The family attending the memorial service for their beloved patriarch might not have meat for their fellowship lunch tomorrow.
 - A mother might not have Santa presents under the tree for her children this Christmas.
 - A single mom might not have food for her children tonight.

I didn't orchestrate or provide any of the above needs--I was just God's liaison; His hands and feet--used by Him to ensure that His blessings were received by others. Sometimes, all we have to do is be there, in His place and at that time, in order for God to work through us. It doesn't take any effort on our part except to show up.

Back to Aunt Bonnie.... last night she shared this Facebook meme:




and I replied, "But is it okay if sometimes I DO ask God to make my life easier?" Being Bonnie, she answered, "Absolutely, just remember He may not answer the way you wanted or expected..." Boy, she got that right. And so did I when I said, "I always love His answers, and I love that I can ask Him anything..."




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There IS a Difference

>> Monday, December 9

The difference between Santa Claus and Jesus Christ:

Santa says: “You’d better not pout”.
Jesus says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Santa says: “You’d better not cry”.
Jesus says: "[I] keep track of all [your] sorrows. [I] have collected all [your] tears in [my] bottle." Psalm 56:8

Santa says: “You’d better be good”.
Jesus says : "No one is good except God alone." Mark 10:18

Santa says: “You’d better watch out, I’m telling you why”
Okay, Jesus says that too. But the “why” is for a different reason. Santa says he'll bring you your earthly desires one day a year IF you do what he says. Jesus says He give you all your earthly needs PLUS unfathomable, heavenly, eternal riches -- even when you fail. And, unlike Santa, Jesus ALWAYS delivers.

Jesus’ love is unconditional. All He asks is that you love Him back.
 
Christmas blessings and LOVE,
Cat


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Friday Fiction: Such a Time

>> Friday, October 25

Fellow writers,

Do you have dozens (or more) fits and story-starts in your writing file? I have more than I can remember writing. I was scrolling through my files today looking for something to share for Fiction Friday, and didn't recognize "Such a Time". I vaguely remember writing it, but I have no idea where I was going. Reading this snippet for what seemed like the first time, I realized it might be able to stand alone as a very flashy flash fiction, along the lines of Jan's "100 Words" series (but more like 175 words.) Or I might expand it .... some day. :)




Such a Time

Abigail shaded her eyes and searched the sky for a hint of a cloud, any small sign that the Lord would bless them with rain today. The clear blue morning seemed to mock her prayers; the devil’s laughter came disguised as sunshine.

She carried the dented tin bucket to the creek, hoping that she’d be able to fill it at the wade-in without trekking another quarter mile to the murky pool in the hollows. Without rain, the creek had grown thinner and stingier each day, much like her meager garden… and her mood.

It did no good to lament clear, cool water easily obtained with a few pumps of a handle and food she could collect from the market instead of from the sweat of her brow. Those days were behind her, as were company calling daily, socials in the square, and worshipping behind solid walls and stained glass. As were her family and her friends.

Michael should be home by sunset. She prayed he would bring with him a letter from home.

~~~

Yeah, that's it. *smile*.

But there is more reading to be read at Sara's blog today! Come check it out at


Friday blessings,
Cat

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Friday Fiction: The Year the Magic Died

>> Sunday, October 20

I'm very late for Fiction Friday, and this isn't even fiction... except where my early childhood memories might be jumbled. This vignette of Christmases past was inspired by the Faithwriters.com challenge topic "Curiosity killed the cat", and had I started writing before bedtime the night before it was due, I might have turned it into something more.

Vonnie (Yvonne Blake) is our lovely and loving hostess for Fiction Friday this week. Drop by My Back Porch to read her story about a different kind of turkey, plus follow links to more original writing. And don't be shy - add your own link!



The Year the Magic Died

Memories...

A tiny me, sitting in my big sister’s lap. She’s saying, “Santa brings us presents on Christmas because that’s how he celebrates Jesus’ birthday.” I wonder at the logic of that, and decide it makes sense.

A slightly less tiny me, sitting in my big sister’s lap. She’s explaining, “Mom’s handwriting is on the tags because Santa doesn’t label them.  But Mom knows who the presents are for, and she puts tags on them.”  I don’t question that answer. It makes sense to me.

An excited little me, snuggled in bed with my big sister. She’s hushing me. “Santa has a lot of houses to visit, and a lot of presents to deliver. How can his sleigh hold them all? He came early and put some of ours in the storeroom. Now be very quiet so he won’t know you hear him. Pretend you’re asleep.” And pretty soon I was.

A little bit bigger me, in the den with my big brothers. One of them brags, “I bet we can guess what Santa is going to bring you for Christmas. We’ll write it down to prove we’re right.” On Christmas day, we all looked, and their predictions proved true for both my little sister and me. At first I was amazed, then I grew skeptical.

A slightly older and taller me, in the den with my big brothers. One of them confides, “Our Christmas presents are in the storeroom.”  I knew I shouldn’t, and I didn’t… for a while. But then I did. I snuck in and I snooped. And then I knew the truth. I mean, I kinda knew before, but now I really knew.  And on Christmas morning, when I saw those same presents under the tree, I felt like the magic of Christmas died.

An even bigger me, huddled behind closed doors with Mom. “Will you help me wrap some presents?” She knew that I knew, and the magic of Christmas was reborn as I gleefully and giddily wrapped presents from “Santa” for my little sister. Later that night, we read one of my favorite Christmas storybooks about animals at the Nativity. On Christmas morning, I smiled when I sat that “Santa” had added my name to a couple of the tags on my sister’s presents.

And the real magic of Christmas lived on.




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Friday Fiction: Scurvy Sue and the Quest for Abundant Treasure

>> Friday, September 20





Ahoy, Mateys! 'Tis a most glorious day in Georgia! Perfect weather for International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Sweet Sara Harricharan is hosting Fiction Friday today - she's got the linky thing on her blog if you'd like to join the fun!



This family-friendly, pirate adventure bubbled out of my imagination while brainstorming and outlining possible creative directions and Biblical lessons for my church's own "The Pirates of the I-Don't-Carrribean VBS (Vacation Bible School) a couple of years ago. We stepped out of the box - the box of curriculum and the box of expectation, and created something new. Thanks, Mr. Blake, for the inspiration.


_______________


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."

A barking laugh nearly made Sue drop the satchel. She peered around Pete's massive bulk to see Joe-Joe hitching up his breeches.

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

"We all be carryin' monikers t'fit us, Scurvy Sue." Joe-Joe sniffed her and winced. "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 bag. "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?"

"It's some secret code. But look here." Sue took a thick, leather-bound book out of her satchel.

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

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

"Looky here, twas written by the late King himself. Thar's his moniker." 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 bumped 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 that besides, he couldn't read. "Right then. Joe-Joe, what be the first clue?"

"Romans 3 23. Looks like lots of 'em 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 too, but 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'. What be the rest o'that clue?"

"3 an' 23."

Sue bent closer, scanning the lines with her finger. "Aha!  I think I cracked the code! Listen t'this: '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 said. His puzzled face didn't erase his steady smile. "That'd include priests an' the good king hisself. Let's gander at the next one. Sue, find Romans 5 an' 8"

She flipped through a few pages, and scanned the text. "It says, "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. "I'm thinkin 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) Catrina Bradley 2012

ba1969

_______________




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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Friday Fiction: Play Me That Tiger Rag

>> Friday, August 30


Fiction Friday is at home with sweet Sara today -
be sure to visit her awesome blog, Fiction Fusion,
to find the Linky tool and join the fiction fun!!


I am not a fan of football, but I tolerate it for those I love. I've even been known to have fun watching a game. And being there in person is always a good time. This little ditty is in celebration of college football opening weekend, and in honor of my husband's alma mater. The setting and characters are real, but the rest is all fiction. Have fun!

Play Me That Tiger Rag

"The game you're attending
Depends on one hue;
Wear it; proclaim it,
At all costs to you.

"Do not don a t-shirt
Of red or of black!
You must wear the Orange
Or risk an attack.

"The Tigers of Clemson
Are king of this day;
The orange and purple -
They WILL have their way!"

I scoured my closet;
A tiger I sought;
The closest to orange --
A pale apricot.

(I did this because it's
My husband's one passion.
I rarely buy orange, see
It's not quite my fashion.)

I put on the t-shirt
And strode to the kitchen;
Where hubby awaited
Just itchin' to pitch in.

Although I'd been told,
and my brain is not lame,
I listened with poise
As he told me again:

"The snacks and the drinks,
Hon, they cannot be scorned;
Be clever; inventive!
Pumpkin pie! Candy corn!

"Is it orange? Then yes,
It will be most accepted.
Bring Cheetoes, Doritos.
Faux pas? Soon detected."

Do I need reminding
Of consequence grim,
If I make a fool of
Big tiger fan him?

On this, my first trip
To his old college haunts,
He'll not be subjected
To his buddy's taunts.

We can't take my car,
See, it's bright cherry-red,
So we pack up his pick-up;
It's full steam ahead.

Stuck to his truck with
Mechanical claws
Are flags of bright orange
Decked out with white paws.

We pull in the lot
To a welcome of cheers;
His friends are all jumping
And waving their beers

Hubby hops out and
Heads straight for our ice chest
While I contemplate
If I failed my first test.

I open my door and
Step out on the dirt,
Straighten my shoulders
And smooth out my shirt.

One look at his face
When he pulls from the ice
A bright can of soda
Says this won't be nice.

"Um, honey, is this
What you brought us to drink?
What were you thinking?
Did you even think?

"This is football, a tailgate!
Have you lost your mind?
I knew that I should have
Just left you behind."

I take a deep breath
And I say, "But my dear,
You gave me instructions;
You made them quite clear.

"I see that you're mad,
But I know you're no lush.
You said just one hue
So I brought Orange Crush."

***



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Friday Fiction: Child-Sized Armor

>> Saturday, August 10

Welcome back to Friday Fiction!
Today's hostess is Yvonne (Vonnie) Blake. I love her blog, My Back Door, and I think you will too. Please pop by
, say hello
, and read some awesomely creative fiction! You can join the Friday Fiction Fun by posting a link to a piece you've written. Read, enjoy, and please leave some feedback for the writers! 

I got distracted by life again this week, and let Friday Fiction sneak up on me. I can't wait to get back into the routine!  Anyway, I unearthed another golden oldie (from 2009) to share with you today at the last minute. I hope you enjoy it 

Love you all!
God bless,
Cat

---

Child-Sized Armor

The new workers were as nervous as fresh-born foals: eyes wide and darting; steps timid and halting. The factory foreman chewed the cigar stub jutting from the corner of his mouth and estimated their worth as they filed in

Jonas didn't completely dislike hiring kiddies. If they could do the job, they could make him money. And if not, they went back home to Mama.

Most of the tykes could be trained to do the simple tasks required, and those who couldn't either weren't grown up enough for their age (Jonas picked off those weaklings easily); or their learning abilities fell below the standard required (their parents were encouraged to seek special education).


**


Sylvia bowed over the small sacks. Each one held an egg-salad sandwich, an apple from the orchard, and a fresh-baked oatmeal-raisin cookie, and was marked "LUNCH" in either pink or blue crayon.

Lord, I'm glad I can do this simple thing. Please bless each boy and girl with nourishment to their bodies and their spirits. Amen

Into each sack she slipped a scrap of paper. The sacks with pink crayon got the following words: "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The sacks marked with blue got: "And whatsoever ye do, do heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men."

Sylvia breathed one last prayer and rolled the tops down.


**


Jonas looked up from his paperwork to eye the huge round clock on the factory wall. Time to do a check. Gotta reinforce the rules while the brats are still green.

Especially those Nielson brats.


He couldn't decide if the girl would drag her brother down into her well of self pity, or if he would pull his sister up with his stubborn tenacity. The boy could be a good worker if he'd focus more on the line and less on the pathetic crybaby.


**


Sylvia settled each sack lunch into her shopping bag then toted her burden to the 13th Street trolley stop.


**

A scowl was Jonas' answer to Sylvia's timid knock on the frame of his open door.

Sylvia lifted the bag. "You know the new children might not have lunch."

"Bah. Spoiling the brats, you are."

"We can't fault them for not knowing on their first day, can we? It's just this once, Jonas. And they'll work better fed than hungry."

The noon whistle shrieked and the assembly line rumbled to a halt. Jonas lumbered to his office door and hollered out, "Lunch break. Twenty minutes."

The conglomeration of ragamuffins staggered to their feet and stretched their cramped muscles. The new ones looked to each other with fear and uncertainty. Only a few had brought a crust of bread and some cheese, or a scrap left over from last night's meager supper, wrapped up in a handkerchief.

Sylvia sought out the hungry and distributed her offering, along with a soft word and a stroke to matted hair or a gentle hug to a tiny unwashed body.

Jonas watched her until the last sack was handed out and she was on her way. He then retreated to his office to spy on the brats through the door and eat his roast beef and freshly baked bread.

He didn't exactly approve of his wife's charity, but he found malicious satisfaction watching the newbies open their gifts. Most tore into the food, leaving the silly scrap of paper with the rest of the rubbish. A few took their time, seemingly in wonderment of what they held.

The Nielson brats were different. First out of the sacks came the scraps of paper, and before they even looked at the sandwiches or sniffed the apples, they read the words Sylvia had printed, traded papers to read each other's, and then traded back read their own again.

"Bah. Blabber-jabber is all that is." Jonas redirected his attention to the food in front of him and his thoughts to putting his feet up tonight.

Out on the factory floor, the Nielson children joined hands in prayer.

Outside the factory door, Sylvia paused to pray.


**


Another shrill whistle signaled the end of the break, and Jonas scanned the floor to make sure the brats all hurried back to work.

Especially the Nielson brats.

His eyes widened, then narrowed as he watched the tiny girl square her shoulders and set to task with new determination and confidence, and the boy actually grin and work faster.

What in the world did that woman put in the egg salad today?


**


Scripture KJV
Eph 2:10
Col 3:23





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Friday Fiction: Choose Wisely

>> Friday, August 2


Sara is our host for Friday Fiction today - you'll find links to some awesome (quick) reading on her Fiction Fusion blog.




Friday Fiction is BACK! I'm so excited! I don't have anything new to share, but I wanted to take part. This is an old (2009!) FaithWriters challenge entry I brushed off for today. A allegory, I guess you would call it. Thanks for reading! Comments of critique (or praise :) ) are welcome.

Love
Cat


Chose Wisely


The dark squeezed Katie like a vice. Behind her, somewhere, an orchestra of wails and screeches created a symphony of terror that chased her onward. She didn’t know what horror was concealed in the inky murk, what could be making those sounds, but she knew she had to escape. Tethers of fear constricted her lungs, but her feet propelled her. Her arms scrabbled into the black air as she careened forward over the cobbled surface.

Her outstretched hands met a wall, and her frantic fingers traced the outline of a door.

The icy doorknob burned Katie’s clammy palm, but she gripped it like a life preserver nonetheless. Her sweaty hand slipped on the metal knob as twisted it, and she yanked the door open. Blinding light flooded the passageway, and she threw her forearm across her eyes before lurching through the doorway. Her lungs were freed from their tethers, and she sucked in sweet, fresh air, then released it with a groan and a whimper. In and out. Again and again she filled, and emptied, her aching lungs. Behind her was blessed silence, her unseen tormenters banished by the light.

The door swung closed behind her.

When her eyes grew accustomed to the light and she was able to take in her surroundings, she sank to her knees and wailed.

This was where her nightmare flight through the dark had begun. She was back where she had started.

The room was circular and empty, save for the gleaming, throne-like structure in the center, and its occupant. The light permeated every corner leaving nary a shadow. She could see no source for the brilliance illuminating the burnished floor and opalescent walls; instead, it seemed to be emanating from the one seated on the throne. The one who had sent her on her trek through that hellish tunnel.

No, I sent you not. You chose your own way.

Katie gasped at the intrusion into her thoughts. She sprang to her feet and thrust a finger toward him. “You tricked me!”

How so? I simply gave you a choice. His kind eyes were clouded with sorrow.

“Some choice. Who wouldn’t have picked Door Number One?” she said, turning and gestured toward the shimmering door she had just stumbled through. Light prismed off its bejeweled surface like a beacon, beguiling her, seducing her again to seek out what treasures it might conceal.

Before Katie could take a step in answer to its siren call, His hand embraced her arm, filling her body with warmth and her mind with sudden clarity.

Do you truly want to return there? I say to you again, choose wisely. Take heed: things are not always as they outwardly appear.

Her chin fell to her chest and her eyes squinched closed.

Look at me, Katie, and listen closely. How many times have you chosen that way?

She jerked her head up to look at Him, finally. “How many times? What’re you…?”

This is not your first test.

“I don’t…” Her indignance was choked off by a surge of visions. Visions that didn’t make sense, but evoked familiar emotions...familiar fears. Evil chasing her through sunny, wide-open gateways and into darkness beyond, talons clawing into her, infecting her, with guilt, despair, melancholy. Hideous laughter echoing in her ears and her heart. And of herself, never stopping, never giving in, never giving up. And always returning for more.

“I don’t remember…”

No, you remember those trials differently. You did not have my eyes, but now you see what I remember.

Katie pressed her palms to her eyes and fell to the floor. “Make it stop!”

I am able to stop your visions for you, but only you can stop me from seeing them. Only you can.

Katie’s mind was next flooded with minutiae of her past: shunning the stuttering new girl in 7th grade in order to be popular; not stopping her 12th grade boyfriend when he said, “If you love me you will;” accepting the corporate position with a fancy-schmancy hotel because it came with a tidy salary and her own office, instead of following her dream to open a homeless shelter and soup kitchen.

Deep in her consciousness, Katie heard His words echo, like an unremembered memory tickling her mind.

I offer you a choice. Two doors. Choose wisely.

She turned and cast a longing gaze at the bejeweled door, then circled around to view its counterpart on the opposite side of the circle. This door’s frame was narrow, and peeling paint adorned its weathered boards. Its doorknob and hinges were rusted from disuse. Katie was sure she saw light flickering through the keyhole.

She turned to look again at her new friend. “You said you’ll go with me?”

I’ll never leave you.

Katie took a faltering step toward the creaky old door…then another. When she looked back, for the first time, the Man was not seated on His throne. He was standing at her side, smiling.


(c) 2012

_______________


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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The Antique Photo Challenge

>> Sunday, July 21

I stumbled across a fun new writing challenge,and I'm so excited! Ritty's Writing Challenges seems to be just the thing to spark my writing fuse and light a fire under my muse.

This challenge is called "Antique Photo". 
(Okay, the title alone was enough to get my interest.
I love old photos.)


The challenge:  Write an "excerpt from a story. This can be from a current work in progress or one you have not yet created." 
Imagine, the photo above is representing a moment, frozen in time, from the life of your characters.
Ask yourself: What might my characters dialogue sound like, if I were to reach in the middle of my story, and pull it out? What intriguing excerpt would draw the reader in and cause them to read more?


My imagination took off, and this was the result. Thanks for reading!

*****


Millie pushed past the clump of sawgrass and caught up with her energetic youngest child.

"Mummy, what are they doing?"

"Hmpf." Millie quickly grabbed the boy's shoulders and turned him around. "Come Samuel, let's take the other path."

"But, Mummy! Why? It's so much longer. I'm hungry."

A swat to the rear silenced Samuel and got him moving. "Never you mind," she said. "You just mind me."

As he trotted off, Millie looked back and scowled. "Hmpf."

Discraceful. In broad daylight! I would never kiss my Arthur anywhere but behind our closed bedroom door. With the lights off. And I would never kiss him like that. And if he ever kissed me like that, why, land's sake, I'd… I'd… Oh! Well…

A flush rose from Millie's neck to her cheeks, and she swiveled on her sturdy heels. Never mind. Where's that boy got off to now?

"Samuel!"

© 2013

*****


You read more excerpts or if your imagination is jumpstarted - enter one of your own at Ritty's Writing Challenges. Hhope to see you there!

Blessings,
Cat



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Jewels of Encouragment: FREEDOM!

>> Thursday, July 4

Happy Independence Day, America!!

Come join me at Jewels of Encouragement, where I'm talking about the 4th of July, fireworks, and what freedom really means.





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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How Much is Enough?

>> Sunday, June 16

Random thoughts from a pondering writer,
regarding the fact that she doesn't much write anymore,
and wondering why…


Why I like to write devotions:
* Writing down verses that pop out to me and the lessons I learn during my quiet-time Scripture reading helps cement them in my memory.
* Crafting a coherent, publishable devotion leads me to meditate and pray even more to make sure I “get it” before I share it.
* Editing– re-arranging and rewording and re-reading my thoughts over and over – buries the Word and its Truth in my heart.
* Publishing the final product leaves a permanent record of my personal revelation, life application, reaction, and Spiritual growth. At any time, I can revisit my own experiences and learn from them again, or easily share them when needed
* Sharing the wisdom and knowledge God has blessed me with brings me joy. Before I started writing devotions and Christian fiction, I didn't have an effective outlet to share the Gospel with others. Like Moses, I stumble over my words and blunder in conversation.

Why I haven't been writing devotions:
* I haven't felt inspired enough. I've had no earth-shattering, mountain-peaking revelations to write about. Who would want to read about the trivial truths I've been gleaning?
* I haven't felt creative enough. My thoughts are unoriginal and my writing is forced, stilted, and boring.
* I haven't felt the “flow” enough. It's been WORK to put words on paper (or screen). Writing is much easier when thoughts rushes in like a river and words flows through my fingers. These days, it's been like straining muddy water dredged from the creek bed.
* I haven't felt educated enough. Who am I, a mere church secretary with only five years of behind-the-scenes ministry under her belt, to be teaching anyone anything about God, Jesus, or the Bible.
* I haven't felt mature enough. Sure, since I was a wee child in love with my Savior/Prince/Only Friend, I've believed in Jesus, God's Son, who died for my sins for my sins. But my surrender to Jesus as my Lord and my intimate relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit is only a decade old – and still rocky in places. And my writing “career”? It's is even younger and more precarious than that. Who am I to compete with so many devotion writers years my senior in so many aspects?


As I typed this list, begin to wonder…. How much inspiration is 'enough'? How much creativity is 'enough? How much maturity? How much……

And God stopped me. He reminded me.

My grace is enough. My gift is enough. My Son is enough.

Jesus is enough.


Yes, Jesus is enough. He's proven it over and over.

So who am I to silence the message He has entrusted me with because I doubt myself? Who am to stifle the voice of the Holy Spirit because I don't think I'm good enough to share it? Who am I to judge His vessel unworthy?

Fortunately, God didn't call me to be faultless - He called me to be faithful. That's not always easy either, but I plow on, trusting the Master Gardener to send workers to this fertile desert I trudge through, scattering my little seeds as I go.

Blessings,
Cat



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Phoebe! The Peddler's Wagon! And a book give-away!!

>> Wednesday, April 3

I hear him It's Zeke! Zeke's coming! Nothing but his peddler's wagon makes that kind of racket coming across the old covered bridge. I think I can hear the pots and pans clanging and clanking despite the thunder of hooves and clatter of wagon wheels rattling the wooden planks.

It's about time, too. I've read all of the books I traded in last time Zeke's horses pulled that wonderful wagon across the bridge to this side of the river.

Zeke's got all kinds of sundry goods in his peddler's wagon. If you need it, it's likely he'll have it. It's a regular general store on wagon wheels. Plus but you never know what treasure you might find stashed amongst the needles and tubs, buttons and pans, kettles and tools - an exotic perfume maybe? the perfect lace for your new dress?

I think we might be kin, Zeke and me. When he hops down from his seat, his floppy hat doesn't seem to fit quite right, but he wears it comfortably. His arms poke way too far out of the sleeves of his gray coat, but he doesn't care. His eyes sparkle and his mustache twitches, and he seems as tall as the weather vane on the top of the barn.

He doffs his hat and bows low. “Well, good day, folks. What can I help you with? This here is a regular gen'ral store on wheels! Anything you want or need - I have it. and things you never saw before, and maybe didn't know you needed."

The men are drawn to the gadgets and tools, the children to the toys and trinkets, and the other women to the calico and kettles.

I, of course, go for the books. Zeke's carrying a crate of Yvonne Blake's newly released and muchly anticipated novel, "A Home for Phoebe", and I've been waiting IMpatiently to get my hands on it.

Zeke smiles and nods. "Good choice," he says.




A Home for Phoebe


A Home for Phoebe is an historical novel of an Indian woman and a young girl wandering the hills of the Hudson Valley during the mid 1800's.

One flees prejudice, while the other yearns for a home.

Through the friendship of a peddler, a blind granny, and blacksmith's family, they learn of forgiveness and faith.




You can follow Zeke and his peddler's wagon from blog to blog, and at each spot you'll find something new! Not only does Zeke bring you Yvonne's book, he brings you the scoop on the author.

For example, did you know that Vonnie could put together a puzzle of the U.S. when she was 2 yrs. old, and that knows how to say “Hello” in Navajo? I didn't either!

Meet us at Zeke's next stop in Michigan (brr! snow!) at Karlene Jacobsen's spread, Legacy to learn more about A Home for Phoebe and Yvonne Blake. But don't wait until then to bookmark Karlene's blog. Her heart is WARM and beautiful, and you will love her.

And you'll also want to visit Vonnie's website, of course. The back door is always open, and she welcomes everyone with love, encouragement, and FUN!

Yvonne Blake
Oh, and PLEASE --  leave a comment somewhere? Yvonne will be giving away a free copy her book at the end of the month, but you can't win unless you leave a comment!! (And it doesn't have to be here.) She'll be drawing a name from everyone who comments on any of the blogs on Zeke's tour, OR on her author page on Facebook.

See ya tomorrow at Karls' place!

Many blessings, and blessed reading,
Cat




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What's in a NAME?

>> Monday, March 4



I belong to the best church EVER! My pastors love to share the wisdom, truth and promises of God from the Bible. Their passion is to lead their flock into a full and abiding relationship with God through His Son, Jesus.

The month of February was devoted to helping my church family understand the Holy Spirit and how He is at work in our lives. Many lessons brought teaching and encouragement from the New Testament, but the message that led me into a meditative study, and down a bit of a rabbit trail, was from Ezekiel.

Want to know what I found at the end of the rabbit trail? I posted it at Jewels of Encouragement today. Click to read more!!


Blessings, and happy hunting,
Cat





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




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To Everything Burn, Burn, Burn...

>> Monday, February 4



Do you smell smoke? Something's burning! What is it??

Find out at Jewels of Encouragement today

Blessings!
Cat





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




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I'm Listening - Jewels of Encouragement

>> Friday, January 4



Do you ever feel like no one is listening to you?

Do you ever think God might feel the same way?

Hmmmmm........

Come read about "Shema" at Jewels of Encouragement.

Blessings!
Cat





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





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Pray Without Ceasing - Word-Filled Wedneday

>> Thursday, January 3

A Word Filled Wednesday quickie...


My #1 resolution for 2012:



And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,
encourage the fainthearted, help the weak,
be patient with them all.

See that no one repays anyone evil for evil,
but always seek to do good to one another
and to everyone.

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Do not quench the Spirit.

Do not despise prophecies, but test everything;
hold fast what is good.

Abstain from every form of evil.

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22 ~




"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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