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This is the first post in a series, about a woman named Amara. It started as an idea for a short story, and it grew as I grew to love this fictional character. There are 20 parts on my site (linked at the bottom of each segment). This summer I have been re-posting from my first year of blogging, so as to avail my writing time to working on the completion of this story, hopefully in book form. I’d love to know what you think.
CW

As Amara sat behind the steering wheel of her car she got increasingly frustrated.

She looked around her empty front passenger seat for clues as to why she might have driven to this professional building, in the middle of her small town. She could not remember why she drove there, all that she could remember was steering her Oldsmobile into this parking lot. It was as if in turning her wheels towards the lot, her purpose for being there had disappeared completely from her memory.

She tried to look around, hoping to see if something around her might twig her memory as to why she had driven there. Nothing sparked her memory.

Maybe if she retraced her steps, but all she could remember was the moment her front tires turned into this parking lot. ‘Oh, what is happening to me? I cannot even remember any other part of my day, and here it is already eleven in the morning!’ The last thing that Amara could remember was climbing into her bed the night before.

That memory was vivid. The striped bedsheets had felt cool on her skin, as she had climbed into her side of the bed. Her side of the bed … after almost ten years of living without him, she still had her own side of the bed. She started every night there, and she would awaken in the morning, never having passed the invisible center line of the mattress. Once, having given herself a talking to, she purposefully lay in the very middle of the bed … and awoke the next morning where she always awoke, on her side of the bed.

As she pondered thoughts of him Amara’s anxious heart ached for his presence, for his companionship, for his wisdom and laughter in frustrating circumstances like this one. He had a way of seeing a lighter side to the tough stuff of life, and he had a way of lightening any anxiety that she was feeling.

But, he was not here with her, and Amara sat feeling more and more frightened. She wanted to let the tears that were filling her eyes fall down her cheeks, but that would be ludicrous for a woman of seventy-two crying like a baby where anyone could see her.

There must be a sensible reason for this odd bout of forgetfulness …

Unfading – Part 2

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For the next week, I will be featuring guest posts, as I spend my regular ‘writing time’ preparing for a speaking engagement. If you feel led to pray for me in this regard, I would so appreciate it, and specifically that Pinterest does not pre-occupy my writing time 😉 … I am so weak !

master

The guest post today was a guest post from a blog I subscribe to and read regularly. It is a heartwarming story that had me hearing that older story/song A Touch of the Master’s Hand.

Enjoy this lovely story.

“There was an elderly grandfather who had dementia and was in the last stages of that illness. The grandfather lived with his son’s family. One of his grandchildren was a girl of about 10 years old who loved her grandfather very much and couldn’t understand why he said things that didn’t make sense. She didn’t understand why he would yell out words in the middle of the night and wake everyone up. She didn’t understand why he didn’t know who she was. She didn’t understand why he changed and didn’t laugh and joke with her like he used to.

One day the granddaughter was exploring her grandfather’s possessions that were all stored in the attic of their home. She opened one of the trunks that she thought appeared to be a ‘pirate’s’ chest. To her surprise among other things it contained a violin case which she immediately opened. No her young eyes weren’t trained or she would have been able to recognize the caliber of musical instrument that this violin was.

From that time and for many days she would sneak up to the attic, take the pristine violin out of it’s case and hold it. One time she actually took the bow and ran it across the strings, which produced a squeaky sound. From that time on she kept practicing on the violin’ She was cautious to play softly so that no one would hear the ‘out-of-tune’ sounds she made on it and take it away from her.

The grandfather’s health was deteriorating rapidly and this was hard for the little girl who deeply loved her grandfather or “Papaw” as she called him. The girl’s name was Sierra. Sierra had been told that her grandfather was very sick and that she wasn’t to go to his room unless her mom or dad was with her. One day she decided to break those rules. Sierra decided to go into the grandfather’s room with her newly found violin and play him a song, howbeit she knew no cords but she could make noise” …

To continue this story click http://rogertharpe.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/.

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I was skeptical about the television production of The Bible when I first heard the radio advertisement.

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But, I have loved being wrong about this!

I loved that we were told of the story of Creation through Noah, as he was telling his family on the ark that God had provided for their survival. Their ark, a living exposition of Creation itself.

I loved that in the story of Abraham being tested, Sarah worried that Abraham had taken her son, her only son, to give sacrifice to God … without a lamb, and she raced off to them.

I loved the telling of the story of young shepherd boy, David, defeating the giant, Goliath, with a small stone, and a big faith.

I love the way the Jesus interrupts Peter on his boat, and how He offers a new life to Peter.

I especially loved the way that Jesus told the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The story that tells of the two going to the temple to pray and how Jesus finished his parable with words from Luke 14:11, “for all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I loved the way they portrayed Joseph, the husband of Mary, the earthly father of Jesus, a good and strong man, willing to obey the word of God.

I am still waiting to watch the finale, and cannot wait to see how they have re-created the stories that I have already imagined in my mind.

Oh, I am not saying that I view this production as the total and complete … gospel truth. Certainly there are inaccuracies, additions and omissions that make it … well a translation (like the Message), rather than a version (like the English Standard version).

What I did love was that:

  • it was done … well, and anyone who has seen any older versions of Biblical tales knows that it was time!
  • the focus of the story of the Bible was not changed
  • the person of Christ was not created to be something He was not (although … I did think it was wrong to have such a good looking man play Jesus … after all Isaiah 53:2 says, “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him” 😉 )
  • my kids, who would not join hubby and I for any other television shows, would wander into the room, once the music (Hans Zimmer, you are brilliant!) started
  • millions of people … more than 50 million … have been exposed to the truth!

I read a Time online article titled, “Behind the Hit Bible Miniseries? The Man Who Helps Hollywood Get Religion” and I sighed. Sure, I would love that Hollywood produce more movies that are entertaining and unoffensive, but my hope with the visibility of the greatest book ever written is not that it become ‘trendy’ but that it become KNOWN.

I think Matthew said it well,

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock (Matthew 7:24-26 … The Message).

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“He who has ears to hear,
let him hear”
Matthew 11:15

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The guest post for today came from a story that I read on Facebook. The story touched my heart, encouraged me and reminded me of how sweet, and how rare stories of integrity are in the media of today.

This is the story of a race, where the one who wins does so because another was willing to give up their rightful place, for the success of the one who was coming up short (hum, this might even have a parallel to the redemption of humanity through the Savior … oh, how I love a story where the theme is redemption! But, I digress 😉 ).

IVAN+12_redimensionarMeet, Ivan Fernandex Anaya, a Spanish runner, who might just be the best athlete to encourage your children to follow. I will not give his story away, just click on his name and enjoy a real, authentic feel-good story.

This is also a story of the power of social media over traditional media. Traditional media has done little to share this good news story, and we need to remember, as discerning individuals, that the traditional media has it’s own goals, it’s own worldview, it’s own agenda. Thankfully, through social media, we, the people, have the opportunity to share the stories that we believe need to be shared. I think this is a good reminder that not all that is new is bad.

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At the end of each year WordPress send me an annual report for this blog, and again this year I thought I would share it with you who read what I write.

I cannot believe that there were approximately 14,000 views of this blog, last year.

I cannot believe that views came from 103 countries from around the world (some days a view from a country I had not previously heard of will be listed).

Honestly, I cannot believe that there are any readers, because, although I do dream of being ‘discovered’ by Oprah, and offered a great book deal, I sit at my computer and click at the keyboard for very selfish reasons.

This screen that I face each day has provided for me:
therapy for my woes,
a stage for my praises,
and a voice by which to be heard …

I need to tell my stories, to share my life’s successes and failures, and to be ‘real’ with myself like I need air to breath.

Thanks to any and all who read each day or who are reading for the very first time. It really is a Wonderfilledlife!

Carole

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

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This is another the final post in a series, about a woman named Amara. Every Friday I will post another segment in this story. Today is the final segment that will be added to this series on my blog. This summer I will be editing and adding to this story, in preparation for publication (hopefully) by the end of summer. When it is completed, and ready for purchase, I will provide information on my blog. I have enjoyed getting to know Amara, Joy and their family, thanks for walking this journey through their story!

Joy watched Joe and Jilly walk slowly down the corridor of the hospital, then disappear as they turned the corner to the elevator.

She let out an audible sigh.

“It sounds like you have more on your mind than just your mother.”

Joy turned quickly to face Dr. Lewis, who had such a gentle, grandfatherly face. Joy was certain that he was most sincere in his concern about what was occupying her thoughts.

“Oh, Dr. Lewis, it has been a stressful time, and so much has happened in just the past week.” Joy said, trying to be both honest, and not fully transparent at the same time.

Dr. Lewis nodded knowingly, but only knowing of the stresses of her mother’s events in that time. He reached into his pocket,  pulled out a prescription pad, and scratched something onto it.

“If you need anything,” he paused, ensuring that Joy was fully engaged in his eye contact with her, ” I mean anything,” he sounded so lovingly firm, yet concerned. “You call this number, and I will return your call before you can hang up your phone. The healer is only helpful if she has a place to go for strength,” and he placed the paper in Joy’s hand, and held it for a moment. Then he smiled, and walked towards the elevator.

Joy watched him for a long time, thinking how she had not been cared for by a father figure for a long time. She missed her father deeply in that moment, and as the doctor turned the corner towards the elevator, tears flooded from her eyes. She could feel the weight that on her shoulders, causing them to sag.

I must keep moving, Joy told herself. She took a deep breath in, and held it for a moment before forcing it out again, ever so slowly.

Then she turned towards her mother’s room, and walked determinedly towards it, where she stopped, took another breath, and slowly, ever so slowly pushed the door so that she could peek in.

Jessica was still curled up on the bed beside her mother, both with their eyes closed. Joy took in the picture before her as she had with the breaths of air … whole, fully, and not wanting to let the image go, in fear that she might never get it back again. It was a beautiful, peaceful image before her. One that put her at ease, at rest, simply by being a voyeur to the intimate moment so close to her, and yet she was so removed from it.

As beautiful at the image was, as peaceful at it was to look upon, Joy felt such regret that it was not she who her mother desired to be close to. As she deeply felt that regret, she also knew that she had been pushing her mother away from her for most of her life. Maybe, at some level, Joy had been punishing her mother for the choice she had to make all those years ago, to give her time and attention to her dying son. Now, as an adult and a mother, she considered what she might have done? What other choice did her mother have, but to leave her healthy daughter’s care to her own parents, so that she might be able to care for her desperately ill son?

Joy so wanted to walk over and embrace her mother, but she could not face the possible rejection that could very well be the response from her mother.

She stared longingly at the pair on the bed, when Amara’s eyes opened, and looked to Jessica.

“Oh my sweet little one, you look so lovely when you sleep,” Amara said, to Jessica, as she continued to embrace the child’s head with her hand. “You fill my heart with love. You make me smile. You are the answer to my prayers.”

Joy could feel tears welling up in her eyes.

Jessica moved in her sleep, closer to Amara, who was smiling with great satisfaction the closer Jessica got to her.

“Oh my sweet, sweet little girl. You bring me such … ” and Amara stopped speaking for just a moment, just long enough to kiss the top of her head. “That is why I called you, Joy.”

The tears that had been welling in Joy’s eyes were now loosed by the realization that her mother did not think that she was holding her granddaughter … but her daughter.

Unfading – Part 1

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This is another post in a series, about a woman named Amara. Every Friday I will post another segment in this story.

When Joe and Jilly got home from the hospital, Joe realized, for the first time since getting into the car, that he had been so pre-occupied in his own thoughts, he had forgotten that Jilly was with him. As he looked to the passenger seat, he smiled, as Jilly was sleeping peacefully.

How she had grown, from the little girl he often still thought of her as. She reminded Joe of his own mother, with her long eyelashes, chestnut hair, and petite nose. He missed his mother, and wished the Jilly could have known the woman who she resembled most.

Joe unlocked and opened the door from the garage to the house. He then, carefully, opened the passenger door, and lifted Jilly into his arms. He carried her to her room, when he lay her on her bed, and covered her with a quilt. He looked again at his firstborn and noticed how, her sleeping state reminded him of the many times he had carried her from a vehicle in the garage when she was little. The memories caused a smile to spread across his face, as he realized how fortunate a man he was, how blessed a man he was.

He walked from her room with a goal in mind, and now was the time to get going on it.

Joe walked into the small office in their home, and sat in the large, comfortable chair, as he reached in his pocket for his cell phone.

He clicked on the text button, and read, again, the text that Roxanne had sent, the text that Joy had read, the text that may have changed his life forever.

“Call me, I NEED to talk with you about a ‘business trip’ I am proposing. You owe me big time for leaving just when we were so close 😉 . Roxanne” Joe read it over again, and again, and again. Then he realized that this text, and that Roxanne herself, were not responsible for changing his life, his choices over the past months were where the responsibility lay. He chose poorly, and he had to accept that responsibility if he would ever be able to look Joy in the face again, if he were ever to even hope that she might accept his repentance.

When he located Roxanne’s number, identified as R. Baker, he looked at the time, but then realized that it was now or never.

As Joe heard the ringing of Roxanne’s phone, he realized he had not rehearsed anything to say, and started to panic, as he pondered hanging up. Just as he was about to lose his nerve, a familiar voice answered, “well now, I was beginning to think that you were never going to speak to me again.” Joe could almost see her cheeky smile as she spoke, but it did not have the same euphoric affect on him this time.

“Roxanne, I need to talk with you,” Joe was plunging in with both feet, and he wasn’t going to back down.

“Oh Joe, of course you need to talk with me, after all, we are partners … well, we were almost partners,” Roxanne said, with a giggle that insinuated the path that they had been following.

“Roxanne, it is very important that I get this all out, before I lose my nerve,” Joe took a deep breath, then proceeded.

“I need to apologize to you. I have been so wrong in pursuing this relationship with you. My marriage vows to my wife should have meant more to me than my actions have showed. I never should have kissed you …” Joe stopped and realized that there was more “… I never should have even thought of it. I want you to know that I was the one who blew it, not my wife. She could not have pushed me away if I had not been so easily swayed. Roxanne, I plan to put every effort into my marriage. I will die trying to prove that I have learned my lesson, and that I am fully and completely committed to my wife and our marriage together.”

Joe was done, everything that needed to be said, he had said, except … “good bye Roxanne. Please forgive me for bringing you into this sin of my own doing,” and with that, he hung up the phone. He looked out the window onto the front garden. It seemed as though he had never seen it in such detail before this moment. He had a goal, and it was one that he was going to do everything in his power to achieve.

He was going to win back the heart of the woman that he had hurt, deceived and broken.

Now, if only she would allow herself to open her heart up to him again? Then Joe pondered to himself, if I knew this whole story, and I was not the offending me, would I advise her to give me a second chance?

Joe sighed a deep sign, realizing that this was going to be far more difficult than he might imagine.

Unfading – Part 1

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