Friday, September 23, 2016

First Place!

Hello, all! I'm still in a bit of shock over this announcement. Apparently, I won first place in CLASSeminar's blog contest this year!

Umm…enough said? Do I need to say anymore? First place seems descriptive enough. Anyway, here is my winning post for your enjoyment! (By the way, the prize was a scholarship to CLASSeminar's Writers' Contreat in November. Super excited about that! Here is a link to an explanation of CLASSeminars if you are interested, also).     CLASSeminars

A Different Door

“Sit down, brother. Would you like some tea?” the little girl holds a plastic tea cup towards an empty chair across from her, “Yes, sister, I want a cookie! But I have to go get the baby a bottle, first.” She gets up from the table and skips across the empty yard and up the front steps, into her house. After grabbing a play bottle from her bedroom, she stops and leans on the arm of the couch, kicking her legs in the air.

“Mama, I want some brothers and sisters.”

Her mother smiles and takes another towel from the basket of clothes she is folding. “Then you should pray for some.”

So the little girl did, every day, for what seemed to her like years. First it was one sister, no, a brother. Then it was two, no, four sisters, and five brothers. Now, that would be perfect. An even ten kids to share her wonderful parents with. How exciting! And now all there was to do was wait for her mother to announce that the first baby was coming . . .

That was me, ten years ago. There was no doubt in my seven-year-old mind the Jesus meant it when He said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” [Matthew 7:7] I was sure that, if I asked enough, God would give me what I asked for.
But I never got those four sisters and five brothers, and my mother has never had another baby. Though I knocked and knocked and knocked on that door, it never opened. Sometimes I wondered if what Jesus said was really true. When I look back, though, I am very glad that door stayed closed.

You see, when I ask God if we can go somewhere, I usually have a detailed map in my head of how we are going to get there. When I ask God for a gift, I generally have a “flawless” strategy for how He's going to give it to me. I always do my planning from the ground, and I am only ever thinking of one person . . . that's right, me! But God makes plans from the sky, where He can see everything, and He thinks about everyone involved.

Like I said, I never got my ten siblings in the way I imagined. Later I found out that it was because God saw something I didn't – three little kids roaming their neighborhood, digging through trash cans, starving not only for food, but for love. He saw three precious gems who needed safety, security, and a family. He saw two girls and a boy that I now call my siblings, my answers to prayer.
So, did Jesus really mean it when He said, “ . . . knock and the door will be opened to you.” ? I think He did, only sometimes, it isn't the door that I'm expecting. It's a door that is much, much better!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

For Grins and Giggles

So I was searching through our boxes of over five-hundred books (for what seemed like the five-hundredth time) and happened upon this gem: a folder full of stories and papers I wrote in fourth grade! Apparently, I wrote more (and better) than I thought I did! Here is one piece, unedited or messed with by my now-experienced hand, that I thought you might enjoy.  :)

                                                         There's a Moose in the House!

                                                         One day when my family came back from the store,
                                                      We realized we forgot to shut the door!
Just when we thought everything was great,
I found a moose in my closet, wearing a skate!
"There's a moose in the house!" my brother told everybody.
"That's why my bed is muddy!"
Then dad burst in, "There's a moose in the shed!"
My sister screamed, "There's one under mom's bed!"
Then mom cried out, "Come here somebody, quick!"
"There's one in the bathtub, chewing a stick!"
And I stood amidst this,
But then came a moose, wanting a kiss!
After we shooed all the moose out of the yard,
                  The mailman came with a bright yellow card.
                                                      "I'm missing a moose!" the letter said,
                                                         "Will you help me find it, before it plays dead?"

I have to admit this idea wasn't original, but loosely based off of the card game "Moose in the House", which is another gem! (By the way, can you believe I rhymed? Like, good grief, what was I thinking? I never rhyme!)

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Exclusive Preview!

Hi, everybody! Here is an exclusive excerpt from my latest novel, To Be Free. Enjoy!

…The next day, Nillah found herself trying to ignore the fact that her and Jack had left for the Dammam Regional Museum more than an hour ago – when Dad's GPS had said it would take about five minutes. The sun slanted in the sky and bounced off of the windows of the tall buildings as she wearily put one foot in front of the o
ther. She could almost hear beautiful, colorful Mumbai taunting her as she trudged through the sweltering, almost colorless streets.
“Um, Nillah?” Jack caught her elbow and stopped to look around. “I don't think this is the kind of area they would put a museum in.”
“What was your first clue?” Nillah rolled her eyes. It was hot and tired versus politeness right now, and as far as she was concerned, hot and tired won.
Jack ignored her comment, “I think we're officially lost.” He rummaged in his pockets for his phone. “Ugh. No service. How's yours?”
“You know, I think maybe if we went that way and turned left – ”
“You forgot it, didn't you.”
Nillah bit her lip and winced. “Well, think of it this way. By forgetting my phone, I just plunged us into a spectacular adventure! Just picture it: we'll see sights the average tourist never gets to discover! Forget the museum.”
“Nillah, stop goofing around. Dad is going to kill us. I mean, losing the guard was bad enough –”
“Hey! That was an accident!” She had gotten confused with the bus stops and had gotten off with Jack before the guard had a chance to stop them. Was that really so criminal?
Jack continued, “But getting lost when I – we – specifically promised we wouldn't . . .”
She held up her hands. “OK. So we're lost. Without the guard. We're going to get in huge trouble. I get it. But standing around and talking about how bad it is isn't going to help. Now, as I was saying, this way, and then right . . . wait, is that what I said?” Nillah put a hand up to her cheek.
Jack shook his head. “I think I better do the navigating.”