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Monday, 26 April 2010

Eye of the Storm ~ Chapter 2

(Click here for Chapter 1)
(Click here for Chapter 3)

“No!”  Grace sat upright in a flash.  A cold sweat made her skin shine.
Deep, heaving breaths raised her chest in rapid up and down movements.  She lifted her hand and pushed some damp hair off her wet forehead and cheeks.
She looked at the clock through the tears in her eyes.  3:30 a.m.  Half an hour since she woke up last time.
Sighing she pulled her knees up to her chest.  Resting her arm on her knees and her head on her hand she tried to calm her rapidly thumping heart.
It was always the same: the same nightmare, the same scenes, the same ending: the same pain, tears, heartbreak and devastation.
Her nightmares were always about Collin.  And they were always replays of her actual life.
Collin, her wonderful, handsome, husband of three years.  Three wonderful, amazing, blissful years.
Then he was deployed to Iraq.  He was supposed to be overseas for just over a year.
So, he’d packed his cases and all the things he’d needed.  He’d waved goodbye, that dreadful, early morning the day the large silver monster, known as a bus, shuttled him and the other men in his unit to the airport.
He’d kissed her and their five-month-old son goodbye, with a promise to, “be back before you know it.”
Then the end of her life, as she knew it, hit her hard.
A week before he was due home, two men in important-looking uniforms showed up on base in a shiny black car.
It was the car that every Marine wife shunned, dreaded and feared.
The car slowly drove through the base streets and every wife, whose husband was deployed, held her breath as the car slowly snaked by her house.  Then, when it was past, they’d let their breath out in a whoosh of relief and then watch to see where the car would stop.
Grace had also stopped what she was doing in the front yard and held her breath as the car approached up the street.  Although, for her there was no whoosh of relief.  As the car pulled to a stop in front of her house and the click, click of their shoes echoed in the still air, the breath she’d been holding in came out in a choked sob.
Cole had been playing happily on the lush, green lawn nearby.  Grace wanted to grab him and run inside, hiding her and her son away from the cloud of hurt, pain and grief that floated above the men.
The men’s faces were solemn, yet soft and caring eyes watched her as they came to stand in front of her.
Grace had started to shake her head, making the tears in her eyes spill down her cheeks as she gasped, “No, please no,” in a quiet, scratchy whisper.
The men had suggested that they go inside.
Grace had shakily gathered Cole and went inside, trying to get a hold of herself, but was unsuccessful.
Many more tears, many sobs from Grace and many, “I’m sorry,”s from the men.  Even more, “He was a good man and Marine.”
Then it was, “When we have his personal effects we will be sure to get them to you right away.”
Then they’d left.  Then there was silence.  Then Grace had fallen apart.  Unable to control herself, she sobbed and sobbed.
The funeral was torture.  So many people trying to console her broken heart, but only making it worse.  They had no idea what she was going through.
That was three weeks ago, almost four.
Her hand went to her neck and found the little chain that had become practically attached to her.
Pulling on the chain produced a soft clanking sound as metal hit metal before Collin’s dog tags fell over the collar of one of his old t-shirts that Grace wore to bed each night.
She quickly snatched them up and held them in a tight fist.
A gentle sigh rose from beside her on the bed and she turned to look down at Cole.  He looked so much like his father.  More and more each day, in fact: his dark brown hair, his big brown eyes, his smile, his facial structure.  He was, no doubt, Collin’s son.  It almost hurt to look at him.
She laid back and propped herself up on her elbow and studied Cole in the faint light filtering through the curtains.  She lifted a hand and ran her fingers through his hair.
She doubted Cole remembered Collin.  He was only five months when Collin had left and he had never seen Collin again.  And neither had she.  She wished, with all her heart, that Cole had had a chance to meet and get to know Collin.  He was his father, after all.
“Oh, Lord, what am I going to do?”  She laid all the way back and stared up at the dark ceiling.
Big tears seeped from the corners of her eyes as she pulled the blanket up.
She rolled to her side, scooted down further in the sheets and pulled the covers up more to tuck under her chin, trying to give herself even the slightest feeling of comfort and security.  Yet, she found none, and as the tears slid silently from her eyes, she felt more and more lost and alone.


Sun leaked into the room through the curtains that didn’t quite touch in the middle.
The warmth of the sun streaked right across Grace’s swollen, tired eyes.
Coming out of a deep, exhausted sleep, Grace smeared one hand across her face, moaned and rolled over.
Couldn’t the world just pause when she actually did sleep?  Why was it that when she was generally falling into a deep sleep everyone else was just starting their day?
Hoping to fall back asleep she shifted ever so slightly to get comfortable and sighed to relax herself.
Thinking she might actually succeed in sleeping again, she started to drift slowly out of consciousness.
A second longer and she would have been asleep, if it wasn’t for the little hands on her arm.  Then the weight of a small body leaning over her.
Slowly and with great effort she forced herself to open her eyes.  The first thing that came into focus were two big, smiling brown eyes.
“Mom?”  A small happy voice filtered through her foggy cloud.
She closed her eyes again.  “Hmmmm?”  If she didn’t use words maybe she could still pretend to be sleeping.
“Mom?” his sing-song call came more easily through her fog this time.
“Cubby, Mommy is sleeping,” she mumbled.
Silence and then a giggle.  “No.”
The giggle communicated perfectly that he didn’t believe her, but the laughed-out “no” only emphasized that truth.
Slowly she peaked out of one squinting eye into the merry face of Colby.  The smile clearly showed he was not fooled.
Well, there was no chance for sleep now.  So she might as well try to be awake, like she belonged among the living.  And she was going to start by loving her little man.
Before Cole knew what was happening, Grace had wrapped her arms around him and was covering his little face with kisses.  Then she landed him on his back on the bed and proceeded to tickle his tiny, wiggling body.
Giggles washed over her as she mercilessly tickled and tickled.
A smile spread over Grace’s face as she saw the joy in Cole’s.
She wouldn’t say she was happy or joyful, she hadn’t been able to be happy or joyful the last few weeks, but she was enjoying herself.
A few more moments of tickling before she collapsed next to him on the bed, softly giggling to herself.
Sighing, she looked at the clock.  7:45 a.m.  If she’d slept the whole night, she would have gotten five hours of sleep.  But she hadn’t slept the whole night.  A couple hours at most.
She seriously needed more sleep.  The up-side of her nights, though, was Cole was sleeping better.  She was very thankful for that.
Laying her arm across her forehead, her mind went to her day.
She wanted to make it to somewhere in Louisiana today.  Right now she was in the middle of Texas.  If she drove all day she could make it.
Day three of her travel-across-America trip and she was already more than ready to done.
Another sigh lifted her chest before she pushed herself to a sitting position.
Moving the hair that had fallen into her eyes, she decided she should probably take a shower.  It had been a few days since she’d even thought of showering.  Pretty much all she’d been thinking about lately was Collin, where to go now, and how to get there.
Half an hour later she was showered, dried and dressed.  Walking around the hotel room, she tried to make sure that she’d gotten everything that belonged to her and Bear Cub.
She smiled.  When Collin had started calling Colby Bear Cub shortly after Cole was born, it just kind stuck.  It changed form every now and then, to the point where Colby was Cubby, Cub, Bear-bear or Bear but Grace liked it, and it reminded her of Collin and how much he loved her and also Colby.
When she was sure that she’d gotten everything packed up and ready to go she hauled her things outside, packed the car and headed for the front desk to sign out of her room.
Next stop?  Gas-station, her car needed gas and she desperately needed caffeine.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Eye of the Storm ~ Chapter 1

Please, if you find something that needs tweaked, changed or just suggestions (or just let me know what you think of it as a whole!) ... let me know, my e-mail is on the sidebar, or just leave a comment.  Also, please keep in mind, this is just the first draft and is likely to change, many times. This is just a "see-how-it-goes-over" try. Thanks! (For Chapter 2 click here)

Rain pattered endlessly on the windshield.  The wipers made another pass and the road came into view again.
Grace stared down the stretch of highway, or at least as much as she could see through the darkness that had quickly gathered.
The coffee in the gas station Styrofoam cup was becoming less than warm.  She didn’t like it when her coffee went cold.  If the coffee was meant to be cold she would have bought it cold, but when she bought a hot coffee she wanted it hot.
Her eyes scanned the signs as best she could in the passing light of her headlights.
Another thirty to forty minutes before the next town.  Her eyes dropped to the dashboard clock.
11:30 p.m.
Another late night.  She shouldn’t be surprised, late nights were becoming rather common for her.
A gentle shake of her coffee cup provided her with the information that her coffee was nearly gone.  And, cold as it may be, this coffee cup was her only source of caffeine.
She saw dim lights appear from the darkness ahead and hoped with all her might it would be a gas station.
Her eyes drifted to the review mirror.  Although there was no light in the back seat, there was enough light that reached its fingers back from the front to illume the little form in the back.
The shape of a car seat came to her eyes and a second later, after her eyes adjusted, the small form of Colby was barely visible.
His one-and-a-half-year-old frame slumped to one side of his car seat.  He’d fallen asleep hours ago.  But who could blame him?  This would be their second night in a hotel, once she found one, that is.
But, the truth of the matter was that neither she nor Colby, Cole for short, had been sleeping well the last couple of weeks.
Her mind started to drift back, memories flooded her tired mind.
Kind, brown eyes floated into her mind, a soft smile accompanied them.
She could still see every detail of his handsome face.  She could still …
Gas station!
She flipped on her blinker and moved to turn into the parking lot.
Pulling up to the building she sat a moment, contemplating her options.
She decided to turn her vehicle off and lock the doors, leaving Cole in his car seat to sleep.  She would be three or four minutes, five tops.
Digging through her purse, she searched for some kind of way to pay for her much-needed liquid caffeine: paper, plastic, coin, something.
Blue-silver light worked hard to make it across the parking lot and into her cross-over SUV.
Yes!  Success!  Quite a few tarnished looking coins and a crumpled dollar made up her payment method.
Grace shoved open the SUV’s door, hoping the shine from the dome light wouldn’t wake her little man.
As she stood and closed the door as quietly as she could, a gentle, warm breeze lifted the wispy hairs at the base of her head that couldn’t quite stay in the high ponytail.
The rain had all but stopped now, which was strange, since it was pouring a couple miles back on the highway.
The warm touch of the breeze’s soft fingers brought back a rush of memories.  She lifted her eyes to the star-filled, dark sky.  As the memories rushed by in her mind, one in particular came forward.
Staring up at the sky, she remembered a night, much like this.  A warm, strong hand held hers tightly as they meandered around the well-known acreage of the park’s woods.
Grace dropped her tear-filled eyes to the landscape around her.
Where was she?  All that came to her eyes were miles and miles of places she’d never seen before.
How did she come to be here?  What was she doing?  Where was she going?  What was she going to do?
Closing her eyes pushed big, hot, all-too-common tears down her face.  Hoping against reality and reason that when she opened her eyes she’d find this nothing more than a horrible nightmare, she sucked in a breath and slowly opened her eyes.  But, just like the last millions of times she’d tried to imagine this all away, she found herself right in the middle of this horrible, totally real nightmare.
Another deep breath was drawn in, in an attempt to calm the tumultuous storm in her heart.  Brushing the tears from her face, she lifted her head some and went inside.
The bright lighting in the gas station was a bit of a shock after the dark car and she squinted a little as she scanned the premises for the coffee she so desperately needed.
She quickly made her way to the machine, remembering little, sleeping Cole.  Coffee, check.  Cream and a little bit of sugar, check and check.
Making her way to the counter, she dug in the pocket of her jeans and pulled out her money.  Looking down at her sad excuse for money she waited for the clerk to tell her the total.
Grace had all she could do to not gawk at the kind-looking lady behind the counter.
Highway robbery!  Literal highway robbery.  Two dollars and thirty cents for a 20 ounce coffee!?
Okay, let’s see, Grace thought as she tried to smooth out the crumpled-beyond recognition bill.
$1.00.  Then a dollar in quarters.  Well, over half way there.  $2.10.  $2.15.
An embarrassed sort of smile lifted Grace’s lips as she brought her eyes to the lady’s.
$2.16.  $2.17.  $2.18.  $2.19 … Grace could have bawled.
$2.19?  That’s all she had?  Surely not!  Her hand went to her pocket again.  Searching, hoping, willing there to be more money.
Nothing.  Bummer!  The other pocket.
Another embarrassed, almost pitiful smile at the lady waiting on the money.
Back pockets.  Nothing in the right pocket.
Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please, Grace’s thoughts repeated.
Searching, probing, longing for something to be in her pocket.
Please, please, please.  Nothing.  Ugh!  Pa-leeze!
A nervous chuckle and a small grin.
Still searching, still hoping, still willing.
Wait!  What was that?
Her fingers grasped at the little metal circle in her back pocket.  Pulling it out she brought it up for examination.
A dime! Oh, yes!  A dime!  She smiled.
Okay, she quickly counted the money again.  Plus ten cents.  $2.29!
Her victory smile started to fade.  What?!  No!
She lifted discouraged eyes to the clerk again.
The lady behind the counter smiled and lifted up a penny.  “You look like you’re in desperate need of this coffee.”
Grace smiled and sighed.  “You don’t know the half of it.”
Grabbing her coffee she gave a heartfelt “Thank you so much,” to the smiling lady and headed back out to her car.
A sigh lifted Grace’s shoulders.  With the way things are going I’ll probably have locked my keys in my car, she thought dryly.
Reaching her car she dug her hand into her pocket for her keys.
She closed her eyes, defeated and ready to collapse from exhaustion and weariness.
She let her head fall back and let out a low groan.  She felt like bawling again.
She composed herself as best she could and bent to look in the car window.
No keys.  But there, sitting inside the locked car, on the passenger seat was her cell phone.  After the ordeal in the gas station, she knew the only money she had to use a payphone, if need be, was locked in the SUV as well.  She was sure she was going to bawl now.
She straightened and rubbed the back of her neck through the whisper of hair hanging there.
The question nearly startled Grace.  She hadn’t heard or seen anyone walk up.  She turned her head to see the clerk lady, then smiled with great effort.  “Yes?”
The lady’s red, sleek-looking ponytail moved in the breeze.  “You left these inside.”
Grace dropped her eyes to the lady’s outstretched hand.  “Oh,” she almost gasped as she reached out to take the keys from the clerk’s hand.  “Thank you so much, again.”  This time Grace’s smile was genuine.
The clerk’s gray eyes twinkled in the little light that there was.  “You’re welcome.”
Grace watched as the clerk turned to go back inside.
“Thank You, Lord,” Grace whispered softly as she raised her eyes to take in the stars one last time.
Another sigh.  “I feel so lost, Lord.  Like I’m falling apart.”
She waited only a second longer before she unlocked her car and slid behind the wheel.

Feeling slightly acrobatic, Grace balanced the heavy car seat on one hip with a bag and purse on her other arm, watching so as not to trip over the small rolling suite case on the floor by her feet, which she’d just set there.  Careful not to drop anything, she slid the card key into the hotel door lock and opened the door.  Pushing it open more with her foot, she then proceeded to carefully kick the small rolling case into the room and slowly, somewhat tipsily, moved herself into the room as well.
She then kicked the door closed behind her before she dropped the bags on the floor, then turned her attention to carefully set the car seat on the floor.
Not wanting to wake Cole she’d just unbuckled the car seat and carried it in, rather than removing him from the seat.
With that accomplished, she sighed and ran her hands down the front of her jeans.
Her head hurt, her body ached and if she didn’t go to sleep soon she’d start seeing double.
Carefully she pulled out her ponytail and let her hair fall.  Trying to bring some semblance of order to her hair, she ran her fingers through the tangled mess.  The first couple passes went well, but on the third try her hair got wrapped around and stuck on her diamond ring.
It took a little bit of work to get it out, but soon it was free and she was pulling the last few strands off her ring.
The diamond glittered and shone even in the dim light of the room.
A sad smile spread across her face as she remembered the day it was put there.
Everything was practically perfect.  Things went smoothly.  It was like her fairytale life had come true and nothing could have made it better.  She’d married the most handsome, most kind, most wonderful man she’d ever known.
God had blessed her with so much more than she’d ever thought of.  How wonderful, how blessed God had made her life.
But then, it was as if God had removed His hand.  The blessings He’d bestowed upon her had been ripped painfully from her heart and life.  Well, most of them anyway.  She still had Colby.
She looked over at his sleeping form, still safely buckled in his car seat.  How she did love that little boy!
Tears formed in her eyes.  She sighed and rolled her eyes.  She’d never been a cry-baby, but these days everything made her cry.
She moved to open her suite case and ready herself for bed.
After she was ready for bed she unbuckled Cole, changed his diaper and snuggled him under the covers on the bed.  He woke and stirred some when she moved him and changed his diaper.  She decided he could sleep in his clothes.  The less she moved him the better, if she wanted him to stay asleep.
With Cole tucked in, she made sure she did everything she needed to do and then crawled in bed, next to Cole.
Rolling over, her eyes took in the red numbers on the bedside clock.  2:30 a.m.
At least it was earlier than last night.  But if she slept like she had been sleeping, it wouldn’t really matter what time she went to bed, she wouldn’t sleep much anyway.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I do remember ...

Remember that post where I said I was going to post the first couple chapters of my new book? Yeah, me, too. :)  I'm still planning on it, I just have to re-read the chapters, make sure they are just-so, and then post them.  The only thing ... I'm lost.  I was really excited to start this book.  I had a great idea about how to start the story and the main characters and such.  My problem?  Well, see, there's this thing that most writers have when they start a book, it's kinda minor and all, but still good to have, and that's a plot.  An idea, an "I know what's going to happen after this, and after this, and how it's going to end, and what is going to happen."  But like I said, purely a minor detail ... surely.  My thoughts?  What. Is. Going. To. Happen!?  I have no clue!  I'm thinking and pondering and mulling ideas over and over in my head and come up with ... nothing!  It's so discouraging.

The good news?  I'm thinking of working on some other books that I've started and abandoned left to simmer and perfect.  So, maybe you'll see a peak at one of those sometime too.

So, all that was to say, I'm still planning on posting the chapters ... sometime soon, and then maybe some others, too.

Gotta run! Thanks for stoppin' by!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

And the little boy is ...

Colby, Cole for short.

But actually, all the names in my story kinda went under reconsideration.  The mom, Gina, is now Grace.  The father, Lane, is now Collin.   At least I think ... for now ... unless I change my mind. *Wink*  And I finally decided to call the book 'Eye of the Storm'.  I was having a hard time deciding between 'Eye of the Storm' and 'Abundantly Above'.  So, I think I'm finally settling down on some things ... for now. :)

A BIG thanks to every one who commented on the post about the little boy's name.  There were many that I really liked (there are always stories that need boy names) and I appreciate the help!

Aaaannnnnndddd .... I think I'm going to post the first couple chapters of my new book on here (one at a time, of course) just to see how it goes over.  So, stay tuned.

Friday, 2 April 2010

My writings from my other blog ...

Time with Jesus 
My Jesus Prays for Me
Comfort in the night ... my Jesus 

I Envision ...

Be Near to Me

Okay ::~*

The dreams were many,
the thoughts were more.
I thought too much,
on what I thought was real.
But the Lord showed me,
as was my prayer,
that I had been making
this almost more than He.
And so, with many tears,
along with some sobs,
I realized it was not to be,
and perhaps God was just testing me.
The pain was real and strong,
as I thought of two things.
One: I made this too big,
two: God is enough for me.
So as I cried in the dark,
my heart prayed and cried, too.
"Lord help me love You,
much more than this."
I asked for peace and trust,
to do what I knew I must.
And with a sense of being weary and worn,
a word formed in my heart and mind.
A word I hadn't thought of,
in my cries for comfort and peace.
"Okay," my heart said,
"Okay, my Lord.
I know You are all,
I know I need no more than You.
I know You love me,
I know You are kind.
So when You ask me to resign,
I say, with a heart of love and faith,
pain, hurt, awe and peace,
such wonderful, all-consuming peace,