Flames

Here is a short story I wrote for in my writer’s facebook group.

The prompt was to write a short story based on your favorite painting. I don’t actually have a favorite painting, so I just perused google images until I found one that spoke to me. This is the story.

abstract-painting-change-of-seasons-largeThis is the image.

 

Allyandrah paused for a moment. What was that sound?

The faint roaring was vaguely familiar but she couldn’t quite place it. Her heart began to beat faster as though it recognized the sound as a threat. She glanced up through the trees, the black bark reaching for the sky, which was obscured by the red leaves at the very tops of the trees. The ground was moist under her bare feet and she felt the continual shifting of the insects everywhere. She had long grown used to the pinches, burns, and bites of walking across the forest floor.

Looking behind her, Allyandrah continued to move toward her destination, the rich mushroom garden where the forest sank into a low bowl. She relished the change in smells from the spice-infused forest to the dank, wet, musty smell of the mushroom garden. The oppressive heat of the forest even lifted as she descended. Quickening her pace, Allyandrah passed by hundreds of trees, looking for the cluster of six that indicated where she should curve slightly south to find the mushrooms.

The roar slowly but inexorably grew louder as Allyandrah moved through the forest. Her heart still pounded and she considered abandoning her usual silent walking for the careless crashing of the Hoomverdauns. The short, stout creatures moved loudly through the forest always giving away their positions. Their hair grew coarse and wild and their eyes always seemed to match giving an air of instability recklessness.

The Kjelgers, like Allyandrah, were much more reserved in every aspect. Tall and slender, they moved silently and purposefully through the woods. All Kjelgers kept their hair cropped short to avoid getting tangled on anything in the forest. Only the queen grew her hair and it was tremendously luscious with its silky, auburn look against her smooth peachy, iridescent skin. Allyandrah could always see the contempt for her people written on the queen’s face and Allyandrah loathed being in the queen’s service. She had no choice, though. One does not refuse the queen and live. The queen especially despised the blue-skinned and blue-haired forest Kjelgers. Their tasks were always the hardest, most dangerous, longest lasting.

Remembering her task, Allyandrah began to run. She knew she was close to the trees now as the ground slowly began to incline. She could not quite place why she felt so panicked, but indeed she was. Her breathing had quickened and her body trembled slightly. Finally! The six trees, four fat and two slender in their unmistakable pattern. Veering south, Allyandrah suddenly noticed the forest creatures running in her direction. Stopping suddenly, she looked around. Every creature was moving north.

Then she saw it.

The red horizon. It shimmered even from so far away.

Fire.

Turning to run with the animals, Allyandrah pushed her body as fast as it would go, trying to stay ahead of the flames. These trees burned quickly and easily and fire spread quickly. At least that’s what she had been told. In all her 89 years, she had never seen a forest fire, but her grandmother had. Allyandrah recalled the horror on the face of Gree-na as she told the tale of the last forest fire. It had wiped out the entire forest. Since then, Gree-na had been trying to plead to the queen to separate the sections of the forest so that should a fire ever start again, it would only burn part of it.

The roar now chased Allyandrah and she ran with the same terror as she could feel in all the forest creatures. She could feel the wind blowing through her cropped hair and her hands were a blur of blue in her peripheral vision. Weaving and dodging, she dared not glance behind her for fear of slowing down. It grew louder faster than Allyandrah could outpace it. The other creatures were faster than her and soon she found that she was being passed by all manner of creatures.

If only she was allowed to use Grojodans! The mighty, hooved beasts moved quickly and gracefully through the forest. No other creature came close to the majesty of the Grojodans. It was why the queen had captured them all for her own personal use. Tears began to stream from Allyandrah’s eyes as she realized her fate. There was no way she would be fast enough to leave the forest before she was burned alive. Still, she ran, her legs and lungs burning, refusing to give up.

She could now make out the crackling of the fire and not just its roar. She tried to push her body to run even faster. It must be right behind her if she can hear the crackling. Trying to keep her composure to maintain her breathing, Allyandrah pushed. She was by herself now, having been passed by all the forest creatures ahead of the fire. She felt terribly alone as she ran in terror.

Suddenly, ahead of her, she saw a tan dot grow larger. Something was running toward her?
She squinted to see but refused to believe her eyes. She must be imagining it.

Within moments, it was close enough for her to know that it was no hallucination. She knew that only one Kjelger could be atop. He commanded the majestic beast with a bit and some leather reins, his auburn hair and peachy, iridescent skin. He held out his arm as he approached.

“Kru’Nah?” Allyandrah cried out.

“No time! Hurry! Grab my arm!” Kru’Nah reached down as Allyandrah reached up. Pain seared through her shoulder as they grabbed and she was yanked up and back. He skillfully swung her around to be seated on the Grojodan behind him. She wrapped her good arm around his waist and clung tightly as the Grojodan turned sharply and began to run the other way. Allyandrah buried her head into the black silk shirt of Kru’Nah and squeezed her eyes shut. She would surely die now. The queen would never forgive this.

Allyandrah did not care anymore. Her love had come. He had saved her and she would happily and gracefully walk the stairs to the execution platform.

He had come.
I’m extending the challenge to you! Use your favorite painting or find one that speaks to you and write a story to go along with it! Share your link in the comments or head over to facebook to share there! I’d LOVE to read your story!

Honor Who I Am and Where I’m At

I’ve been trying to incorporate exercise and daily movement back into my routine of life and right now I’m going through Yoga Revolution  over at Yoga with Adriene. The theme of Day 3 is honor who I am and where I’m at every day when I step onto the mat. Or just in life.

As I was going through the practice and she repeated that phrase over and over again, I really thought about who I am and where I am in life.

Recently, my friend Katie wrote a post about an interaction we had over text message. I was so blessed to read this post because after my second or third reply, I started to get this nagging feeling that I was annoying her. That I was bothering her and I needed to close down the conversation so that she could get back to things that weren’t, well, annoying. Like me.

You see, friends, this is where I am in life. I am constantly worried about annoying people. Let’s get some honest truth going on around here for a moment. I was ANNOYING as a kid. I was loud. I was energetic. I was obnoxious. I didn’t know when to quit or shut up. Oh Lord have mercy I was a handful. At least, that’s how I perceived myself. I suppose there are those around here who could probably speak to the accuracy of that statement, but I didn’t bother polling them yet again some random question.

I had a hard time making and keeping friends in school – in elementary, my closest friends always seemed to move away. In high school, I had friends, yes, but they were kind of strange friendships that ebbed and flowed and cycled and recycled. In college, I made some questionable friend choices. From ALL my  years of schooling, I still talk to ONE person on a regular basis. A small handful of others on a very irregular basis. And maybe a large handful of still others with whom I connect on social media (which to say we’re facebook friends but very little if ANY interaction actually occurs).

This lack of solid friendships has led me to believe that I am in some manner defective, because I am the constant in ALL of these relationships, and that other people would rather be around or talk to pretty much anyone but me. I imagine people rolling their eyes when a text from me pops onto their phone. I hesitate calling people because they are probably doing something much more important than talking to me.

This is where I’m at, friends. So, to circle back around to Katie, to read that she was blessed by our conversation, that she was excited to engage in it, that it actually made a difference in her day was INCREDIBLE. It had never occurred to me that she might feel that way. That she might be glad someone is excited about a project she’s working on.

I struggle a fair bit with doubt. Maybe this is normal. Maybe it isn’t. I doubt all kinds of things about myself. I have a hard time seeing the good things. I easily beat myself up over and over and over again about the bad stuff.

I don’t want to be like that anymore.

I used to think I needed to be someone else to be acceptable. If only I was Megan or Kristin or Ashlee or Kelly or Alli or Rachel or Anna or Jeney or Katie or Nicole or Kari – if only I was one of THEM instead of me, then people would like me. I spent a long time, years, imagining being someone else. Trying to be someone else. Never wanting to actually be me. Never really stopping to see who I was, what I liked, what made me special and unique, what made me likable. Never realizing that I was special or likable.

It’s only recently that I’ve begun to give myself a little credit and start exploring and EMBRACING what makes me unique. What makes me me. I’m finally embracing  my love of yarn crafts, of writing, of running, of reading, of connecting in a meaningful way with others. I have a gift of encouragement. I LOVE to see others succeed in their quests and journeys and goals. I LOVE helping to encourage them along. I love reminding them that yes, someone else cares about it too.

So stopping for a moment for another really honest moment. It’s been a real challenge to be an encourager because I always feel like I’m being an annoyance. Can you smell what I’m stepping in here?

God has been doing a real work in me lately to help shed some of these lies, to help me understand myself better. To give myself more grace. To see me as I really am and not as the twisted mess I see myself as. I have seriously spent so many years just surrendering to these demons, not even trying to fight them, that I cannot see myself clearly. I see my achievements as noteworthy and cool, but not who. I. am. Without those notches on my belt, who am I? What am I? Is there anything special about me at all?

Over the weekend, I tried very hard to honor myself – who I am and where I’m at in life. Instead of beating myself up, I tried to give myself some grace, to try to see some positivity.

Can you relate? At all?

Friends, it is high time we start seeing ourselves clearly. It is high time I start seeing MYSELF clearly. I only peel back one layer at a time, but I need to start working on those layers. I have to stop believing the lies that who I am as a person isn’t enough. I have to start seeing my hobbies as things I enjoy instead of things that give me worth.

I already have worth. As a human. As a child of God. I need NOTHING else to give me worth. To give me value. My worth, my value, just as a human, cannot be measured. It wouldn’t matter if I’d never done a thing in my entire life. My worth and value would still be far beyond measure.

It’s time we start seeing ourselves and living our lives in light of this truth.

Especially me.

 

 

 

 

Did this resonate with you today? Leave a note of encouragement below or hop on over to facebook and join in the discussion! Thank you for stopping by!

I have PART of a plan!

guardians
(Image from the internet – I don’t know how to source images yet…)

 

Since the conception and inception of this blog, I have not really had a plan for it. I’ve had a dream of creating a community where people share life together, but no plan of how to do that. So for a year or so, I have been writing, blogging, sharing in random intervals with no real guiding direction or overarching plan. No road map.

That is pretty much how I live my whole – no real plan, just taking things as they come and trying to work it out. I have values that guide me, but no real plan. Anybody with an ounce of common sense will say that isn’t  a great or successful way to live life. (I know!) It sure makes me susceptible to the currents of the world, being tossed about in life like a wave in the sea (see James 1). I married a planner though, so it still works for me. Thank God for my husband. Seriously. Thank you.

Also, as many of you know, I am in the process of writing a few fiction novels. The beauty of writing novels is I can just sit and write (the term is ‘pantsing’) without planning. It’s how my brain works. It’s the beauty of the revision process. I don’t NEED a plan to write a story. However, if my goal is to create a real-life community, ‘no plan’ doesn’t cut it. I can’t pants my way into an online community. It has to be intentional. On purpose. Planned.

So, this is PART of my plan. The only part I know about right now anyway.

Step 1: Figure out how to create a community

How do I create a space where people share part of their lives with each other? A place where a quick button click doesn’t ever feel like enough. Where one is prompted to engage, to type words, to share. Perhaps I need to engage more with those who already read my blog. Perhaps I need to start there and begin to not only read but comment on the blogs of others? I feel like “I don’t have time” for that, but if it’s important, we make time, right? Just like reading. Just like writing. Just like yoga.

I think you get the picture.

For now, I am going to commit to reading and commenting more on the blogs of people around me already (that includes you guys! yay!). I’m not sure how good I’ll be or how often I’ll manage reading, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.

Step 2: Figure out how to connect my blog with my facebook page in a meaningful way.

How do I generate conversation, invite discussion, share life? I don’t really know how to do that yet, but I think I might have a trick or two up my sleeve. And they aren’t gimmicks. I want to engage with some thought provoking questions, perhaps. Or…other…things… that get people to talk. Clearly I have research to do. Perhaps questions that relate to whatever I’ve written lately. Or something interesting I read of someone else’s. I don’t know. Something.

Maybe this will work. Maybe it won’t. Maybe everyone has all the community they’re looking for.

But then again, maybe they don’t.

Maybe someone is looking for a community where he can reach out and others reach back. Maybe someone could use a little more positivity in her life.

I know that I’m no Rachel Martin or Becky Thompson or Jen Hatmaker, but I don’t need to be. I. Don’t. Need. To. Be (repeating for my benefit, not yours). Even so, we can still have community together. It can still be meaningful.

So friends, are you game? Are you up for taking a little journey together? Are you up for seeing where this goes and what happens?

I am. I hope you are too. I am really looking forward to what this next step will look like.

 

So, if you haven’t already, hop on over to facebook and check it out over there. I’m going to try to have some interesting questions  next week that will relate to the post I hope to have up on Monday. It’s in my head, just not written down yet.