"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

5/28/10

Investigation: Friday Fiction

Fiction Friday,button,karlene


I have the distinct privilege of hosting Friday Fiction this week, for the lovely, charming, and sweet Karlene at Homespun Expressions. Whether you are a writer or not - please participate. Read all the wonderful stories writers are sharing on their blogs, by clicking on the links below this entry to lead you to these pieces. If you're a writer - join us! Post a story on your blog - or anywhere else on the internet - and link up in the Linky Tools gadget. And be sure to check out the others!

I wrote this entry earlier this month for the Faithwriters' Writing Challenge (was a rare appearance for me - lately anyway - that I'm hoping will be the start of a trend of somewhat more frequent submissions). The topic was "Manuscript." This story has LOTS of questions - some of which I don't yet have answers for. I have a feeling this is going to be a story I'll be returning to at some point (did a bit of that as I posted this - added a few new details and such). Hope you enjoy it!

INVESTIGATION
by Joanne Sher

It had been a year since this particular room had been full of children. Still, the silence felt odd and unsettling. The walls were still covered with brightly colored bulletin boards and childish works of art. Even odder, perhaps, was the yellowed sheet Melody had just picked up off the ladybug beanbag chair in the center of the room.

“I’ve never seen anything like this.” Melody held the paper, by its crinkled edges, in front of her, putting it up to the sunlight streaming through the classroom window. "In the months since we began searching these buildings, this is definitely the most unusual find I've come across."

“What? What is it?” Jake peered over her shoulder.

She shrugged. “I’m not positive, but it looks like a page from something—much older, it seems, than this building, much less the hurricane damage that isolated it for so long.”

The swirling script and elegance of the primary lettering certainly hearkened to an earlier time. Yet, the scribbles above the script and in the margins were just as certainly modern.

“But the other writing is in marker.” Jake spoke what Melody had only pondered. “And markers have only been around for 50 years or so.”

Melody nodded. “What would something like this be doing in an elementary school classroom? And why would someone write, in marker nonetheless, over script like this?"

Jake shrugged and reached for the paper. “Let me see.”

“Just by the edges, Jake. This looks extremely fragile.” She glided her hands toward him, her fingers scarcely keeping the document from falling to the floor.

He rolled his eyes and slipped the page from her fingers. “I’ve been at this longer than you have. I’ll be careful. Trust me.”

Melody scanned the rest of the room. Just like any other elementary classroom. She expected more of a mess, what with everyone having to get out so suddenly. Apparently the teacher kept an organized room.

From what she had been told, the weathermen had warned the people on the island--and in the school in particular--that the coming winds could take down the bridge. There had been mandatory evacuations. Apparently, everyone had heeded them, as not a single human body had been found (so far, anyhow) once the island was accessible again.

There had been plenty of interesting finds, but none as baffling as this single sheet of parchment.

On a hunch she lifted up the beanbag. Her eyes sparkled and widened.

“Jake: more papers.” Her voice was scarcely above a whisper. “Several dozen at least.”

She looked toward him to find that his eyes had not left the paper in his hand. “I know what this is.”

Melody leaped toward him. “What do you mean? What is it?”

Jake shook his head. “A handwritten text from Foxe’s Book of Martyrs."

Melody’s eyes shot open. “Seriously?”

“I recognize this paragraph.” He pointed to a spot near the top of the page.

She read it over Jake’s shoulder. Though it had been a few years since she’d read the book, the words before her certainly seemed familiar.

“Wow. Do you think this is an original manuscript?”

“Could be.” He handed the paper to Melody. “Did I hear you say you found more pages?”

Melody pointed at the pile on the floor. Jake knelt down in front of them, spread them out, and looked at the flowing letters, and marker scribbles, on each one.

She reached down and picked up several of the pages, focusing this time on the more recently penned script.

Why?

Such faith

Must be crazy

Unfair

Where did he get this hope?

These statements, and others like them, were scribbled on nearly every page.

Melody broke the silence. “Sounds like she was searching, doesn’t it?”

“Sure does.” Jake looked up and chuckled. “And if I’m reading this right, she may have found just what she was looking for.”

Jake gave Melody the first sheet they’d found and pointed to some large lettering in the right margin.

I want what he had.

**

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to link up with your own fiction below, and/or read the wonderful contributions from my dear writing friends. You won't be sorry!



Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/26/10

One Flesh - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by Susan at Forever His. Be sure to stop by her blog for more visual inspiration from scripture.

My anniversary is coming up this weekend - Saturday, to be exact. We will be married 16 years on May 29, 2010.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; Ephesians 5:31

I love this verse (and the picture ain't bad either LOL - that's one cute husband I married, dontcha think?), and I love that it is in both the Old Testament and the New. I grew up knowing it from my Jewish background (but not really understanding it) - and it's quoted three times in the Christian canon -both by Jesus and Paul.

This "one flesh union" is almost as mysterious at the trinity. How two can become one is not easy to explain. I only know that it is true. After 16 years, we are more joined than we were 10 years ago, and shall be even more so in 20 years, God willing. He is just what I need, and I'd like to think he feels the same way about me.

We have problems--internal and external, physical, emotional, practical, and spiritual--but we are still one. We mess up, but are still there for each other. We may not be perfect, but we are perfect for each other - and perfect in Him who created us and brought us together.

After 16 years, I am still thrilled and blessed to have the wonderful husband I have. There's no one I'd rather be one flesh with.

**
Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Susan's blog for more
 
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/21/10

Cori's Box - Friday Fiction

Fiction Friday,button,karlene


Welcome to my contribution to Fiction Friday, hosted this week by Christina Banks at "With Pen In Hand". Make sure that you head over to her blog and link up with your own fiction. Or, if you just want to read some great fiction (ALWAYS great in my opinion!), head over to Christina's blog and check out the links there.
This is a new story that I JUST finished writing last night. I got the idea for it in a VERY strange place (a garbage can in the restroom at a McDonald's), and I've been trying to get it written for several weeks now. Hope you like it. (Not thrilled with the title - but I can't think of anything else!)


Cori's Box
By Joanne Sher

Corrine gripped the shopping basket until her knuckles turned white. She looked inside. Only one item. And thought it was all she really needed, it wasn't enough.

She wandered the grocery section, her head down. The first aisle was dairy and soda. She grabbed half a gallon of milk and a 2-liter of 7-Up.She lay the bottle on top of the box she'd put in first, and then headed for the cookie aisle.

As she turned the corner, she spotted Samantha Higgins. Corrine stopped and spun around.  All she needed was a chat with the junior class president. She was having enough trouble keeping it together now. Throwing Miss Prissy Gossip into the equation was certain to be a disaster.

The next aisle was chips. She peeked around the corner and, seeing no one, walked toward the middle. She quickly grabbed a bag of salt and vinegar chips and headed toward the front of the store.

She glanced into the basket again. The box was well covered. Corrine sighed and began scanning the checkout lanes.  She found one with no wait at the far end of the store, but the checker looked vaguely familiar. She doubled back and found one with just one in line. She placed her basket on the conveyor belt and looked over the tabloids.

"Jenny has Thomas' love child" "Alexis tells all" "Scientists grow one-ton potato."

"Miss?" A middle-aged voice startled Corrine out of her daze. "Paper or plastic?"

She gulped. "Paper please. Thank you."

She watched the checker ring up the items. Corrine couldn't quite read the woman's thoughts when she got to the box, but she could certainly guess. She paid, grabbed the bag, and plodded toward the parking lot.

Now what? Home certainly wasn't an option: at least not yet. And she had no desire to go back into the store.  She scanned the parking lot and stores nearby. When her eyes met golden arches, she nodded and bit her lip.

"There's that entrance by the back. It's right next to the restroom. I should be able to get this done without anyone seeing me."

All at once her face reddened as she realized she'd been speaking aloud. A quick glance about assured her nobody had been close enough to hear her. She sighed and began her walk across the parking lot.

The parking spots around the building were filled, which meant the restaurant likely was as well. She entered by the back as she'd planned and speed-walked into the ladies' room. All the stalls were filled, but at least there was no one in front of her in line.

She glanced into the sink mirror and rolled her eyes. She looked ridiculous, standing in this bathroom, eyes puffy, hair disheveled, a grocery bag against her chest. She put the bag down and pulled her hoodie as low over her forehead as she could.

Just as she picked the bag up, the stall to her right opened. Corrine dropped her eyes.

"Hey, Cori!"

She knew the voice. Shawna Elliot had been a friend since before she could remember. Their mothers had gone to high school together. Shawna was a couple years behind in school, and they hadn't done much together lately besides youth group, but they were friends.

"Hi Shawna." She pointed into the stall. "I really gotta take care of that."

She nodded. "Want me to hold that bag for you while you're in there? I don't mind."

Corrine's stomach tightened and her eyes darted toward the floor again. "Um, no thanks, Shawna. I've got it."

"You sure? There isn't much room in those stalls, you know." She reached her hands out.

"No. Really. I'm fine." Corrine scooted into the stall and slammed the door shut. "Thanks anyway."

She latched the door and placed the bag on the floor and sat on the only "seat" available. She rifled through the bag and pulled out the box. Her eyes studied it as she fingered each side and corner of the small container.

She closed her eyes.

"Oh, Lord. Don't let this be what I think it is."

She took a deep breath and turned the box so the instructions were visible. Open. Pee. Wait. Sounds easy enough. Dealing with what she would find out was another issue.

She didn't even know his last name. He likely didn't know her first. She had seen him for the first time minutes before it happened, at a party at her best friend Michelle's house. Her parents were in the basement.

She'd heard someone call him Jeff. He was tall, muscular. Definitely cute. They'd exchanged smiles, but nothing else...until she'd come out of the master bathroom a few minutes later to find the bedroom door closed and Jeff standing there staring at her with his shirt off.

He had grabbed her before she could reach the door. Nobody heard her scream: or at least nobody had come. And by the time he was finished with her, most everyone had left the party.

She hadn't told anyone. Not Michelle: too sweet and sensitive. Not her youth pastor. Certainly not her parents. And she wanted to keep it quiet, but she might not be able to if things went as she figured they would

She wiped the tears from her eyes and sighed. "Might as well get this over with."

She opened the box, pulled out the test inside, and opened its protective seal. After rising, pulling her pants down, and sitting once again, she put the test in the proper position and followed the package instructions. After a moment, she dried the stick with a piece of toilet paper and held it in front of her. She couldn't stop staring. It was only when a faint line began to appear in the little window that she closed her eyes.

"Now what, huh?" She could barely get the words out past the lump in her throat.

"Cori, are you okay?"

Corrine couldn't stop shaking. Shawna was still there, and had heard everything. She must have never left. Now what?

Part of her didn't want to answer. Maybe Shawna would forget what she'd heard, assume that Cori had left, and just leave herself. Not likely.

Yet Shawna obviously cared, or she wouldn't have stuck around. And she wasn't a gossip, or one prone to dramatics. She was a friend, and a good listener. And Corrine knew she had some talking to do.

Corrine gathered herself together and opened the bathroom stall. She tossed the box in the trash and washed her hands.

"No, Shawna, I'm not, actually. Do you think we can go somewhere private and talk? I really need a friend right now."

**
Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by With Pen in Hand for more great fiction!


Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/17/10

Did The Blessing Stick? - Monday Manna

Welcome to Monday Manna. The purpose of this meme is to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word. On the first and third Monday of each month, anyone who wishes can post their thoughts on a verse I introduced at my blog the Thursday before. It doesn't have to be a long post -- just a few thoughts, a picture you feel helps express it, a poem, a short story, a devotional.

Anyone is welcome to participate. Just put a link to your Monday Manna blog entry in the Linky Tools gadget below, and check out others' thoughts.

This Monday's verse, courtesy of my loving husband (and, of course, his Heavenly Father), has a long history in my life, and that of the Jewish people in general. Yet, I'd never really thought about how rich it is until recently.
The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 NIV
This passage is  known as the Aaronic, or Priestly, Benediction. It was the words the High Priest was to use to bless the Israelites.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Mine are below.

**
On May 29, 1994, Cantor Mark Child put his hands on the head of me and my husband and recited the words above, just after he pronounced the two of us husband and wife. I didn't think a whole lot about it then: partly, I'm sure, because the whole "I'm married"  thing was at the forefront of my mind.

In a lot of ways, that was a lifetime ago. Two of the largest turning points in my life--my salvation and the appearance of my husband's health issues--happened since that day. But what about that benediction? Have I received the blessings that were pronounced over me and my husband 12 days shy of 16 years ago?
The LORD bless you and keep you;
Where do I start? I am blessed by the Lord in so many ways. A loving husband. Two wonderful kids. Incredible Christian friends. God's Holy Spirit. Salvation from my sins. And there is no doubt that the Lord has kept me as His child, ever since the moment I became His child through His Son, Jesus Christ.
the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
Grace - God's riches at Christ's expense. Yes - I have been inundated with the grace of God, despite my complete and total lack of worthiness. And that's just the beginning. Every blessing the Lord has given me - every time His face has shone upon me - has been an example of his graciousness.
the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.
Did you catch that? When His face is toward you, you have peace. We have no need to cower from His look, to turn away in fear of what He will do. Because I am His child, whenever I truly face him--whether in hope, grief, weakness, strength, or joy--He will give me His peace. And I can honestly say that He has kept this promise. The only time I lacked this peace was when I turned away--hid from His face something.

So, I am the recipient of the Aaronic Benediction - both in word and in action. This blessing, pronounced over me by a nonbeliever before I had accepted Christ, has been, and continues to be, fulfilled.

And you too have been blessed this way. Can you see it?

**

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to checking out your thoughts on this topic. Please link up in the gadget below, and drop by other participants' posts to see what they have to share!




Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/13/10

Yup - It's Back! Monday Manna for May 17, 2010

SORRY for the longer-than-expected Monday Manna break - I've definitely missed it. SO glad to be getting back on track with it THIS week!

Monday Manna

The purpose of Monday Manna is to get together and get to know Christ more through His Word.

On the first and third Mondays of each month, anyone who wants to participate can post their thoughts on a specific verse--posted here at my blog on the Thursday before, to allow you to chew on it over the weekend. It doesn't have to be long -- just a few thoughts, a picture you feel helps express it, a poem, a short story, a devotional. Just post it on your blog on Mondayish (early OR late is fine, by the way!), then come back here and link up in the Linky Tools gadget that will be at the bottom of MY post at o'dark thirty that morning.

The selection I have chosen (actually, it was my loving hubby who picked it out! Thanks, Marc!) is one that I have heard many, many times - though mostly as a child and young adult. It was recited by the officiant at the end of my wedding, and often at the end of a synagogue service. It is one of the most dearly loved passages from the Old Testament - but I've never really thought about it deeply. That is about to change. (This passage is known as the Aaronic/Priestly benediction.)
'"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."' Numbers 6:24-26
Much to ponder, isn't there? Looking forward to your thoughts on the 17th! Hope you'll join me - and invite your friends to do so as well.


 
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/12/10

The Aaronic Blessing - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to my contribution to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by Lori at All You Have To Give. Be sure to check out her blog, and the links below it, for more visual inspiration from Scripture.

I was pondering what verse to do for Word-Filled Wednesday this week, when my wonderful husband Marc reminded me of one that I had "grown up on." It reminded me of my "Jewish roots," so to speak, but also helped me remember that there is so much richness in ALL of God's Word - Old AND New Testament. Praying that this blessing blesses you, as it has God's people for thousands of years.

 The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26 NIV

Who doesn't need this blessing?

Thanks for stopping by - be sure to come back tomorrow for a verse to ponder (hint: you may have heard it before) for my own wonderful meme, Monday Manna. Oh - and TODAY, be sure to stop by Photobucket for more

 
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/5/10

Dance - Word-Filled Wednesday

Welcome to Word-Filled Wednesday, hosted this week by Penny at Pennyraine. Be sure to stop by her blog for more visual inspiration from scripture.

Dance was on my mind, and I found this verse, and the picture to go with it, and it seemed to express my heart. Hope it blesses you!

Then maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13 NIV

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to visit Pennyraine for more
 
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

5/1/10

Peeking My Head Out

The rumors of my death (or the death of my puter LOL) are now officially dispelled :)

I KNOW I haven't posted here in several weeks, and that I THOUGHT my computer diet would only last a couple weeks, but all that really matters is that I'm back now - right? (I hope :D)

To be honest, I've been off my "computer diet" for a couple weeks. I just haven't made it back to my blog. It's amazing how easy it is to "get out of the habit" of posting here, or even of writing in general. But this is NOT something I plan to continue. I WILL be back to posting here regularly (and I'd LOVE to find time to read others' blogs as I used to!! I really miss that.).

Well, considering it is May 1, and this is the time I generally review my progress from the previous month and set goals for next, I might as well do that right now - don't you think?

I did NOT set goals for April...and I ACHIEVED EVERY GOAL I SET!!!(hey - I'll take my props where I can get 'em - right?) Seriously, we did get moved into the house, and we are mostly unpacked. We LOVE it in our new place - such a God thing.  I could go on and on about the blessings God has given us regarding this house (and I likely WILL share some on my blog in the near future).

But it's a new month, and it's time to get busy again with my writing stuff. So...here are my goals for May:

  1. Write 8,000 words in my current WIP, Handmaiden to a Princess (guess I'd better take that 500 a day button off my blog for the time being, eh??)
  2. Post to my blog a minimum of twice a week (with a TRUE goal of three times a week as the month goes on)
  3. Enter the FaithWriters writing challenge ONCE this month (feeling like I need to write a bit more fiction that is NOT my novel!)
It seems like there should be something else, but I cannot for the life of me think of what it is. But that's what I'm aiming for now.

Thanks so much, folks, for hanging in with me and praying me through. I appreciate you so much - and PROMISE to stay out of my mudhole more in this merry, merry month of May!
 
Paving Rough Roads With God's Presence

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