This Day’s Race – Day Seven

 

Day Seven of the 2008 Southern Cross Novel Challenge. Inspired by the Belmont Race, I realize…some days, it’s just not your day.

It was really not my day for videography–took me five hours to get this one uploaded. But I learned a lot, so that was good. Oh, and keep watching even after the picture freezes–it doesn’t end when you think it does. 😉

 

 

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And God Spoke through Peacocks and a Cable Guy…

 

Peacock Blue by StacyJMT

 

As I awoke this morning, my thoughts filled with a certain dream of mine. Not the singing-the-National-Anthem at-a-Dodgers-game in-your-skivvies kind of dream. The goal-in-your-heart kind of dream. The one that fills your waking hours, and sometimes seems as unlikely to occur as the Nation Anthem solo.

This was a morning when the dream seemed far from being achieved…mostly because of my own shortcomings, as I see them. It can take a long time to wait for a dream. After a while, waiting becomes the status quo; and it begins to seem as if the dream will never be anything more than its name.

I turned over to take up my Bible for morning meditation. As I did, my eyes fell on a Dasani water bottle on my nightstand. Sunlight filtered through the semi-transparent label, catching my attention with a beautiful blue-green color. I had a passing thought that it would be a lovely color to use in one of my art pieces; then picked up my Bible, said a prayer, and opened to a random page.

Nothing is ever random in God’s universe. I found myself looking at Ezekiel 39:8: “It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.”

A little ripple of shock, followed by excitement, went through my heart. The Lord had heard me, and was telling me that my dream would come true. It reminded me of the Daily Word devotional for this date–“With God, all things are possible.” Even if I couldn’t see how.

So I arose and went about my day. Who knows—maybe, somewhere ocean-deep in my heart, I didn’t really believe my dream would come true. In any case, God must have thought I needed a clearer message. So He sent me peacocks.

Peacocks. Four of them.

I live in the Central California coast—like, in a condo, in the middle of an area that has streets, industry, homes. No zoos. No aviaries. The wildest bird I’ve ever seen here was a white dove.

But today there were four magnificent peacocks taking a leisurely stroll across the deck outside my window. All I could do was stare at them. Peacocks.

With beautiful Dasani-blue feathers.

I watched them, bemusedly, till they disappeared. Who knows where they came from or where they went.

A few minutes later, a cable guy knocked on the door. On a Saturday. And we don’t have cable. However, our DSL is coming up for renewal, and we’ve been thinking of changing to cable. That has been my job, to research the services, and discover which company and which plan would give me the bandwidth speed I need for video conferences. I’ve been distracted with this—I’ve been fretting about it, trying to figure it out, worrying that I wouldn’t get it done in time, doubting that it was even possible to get faster internet where we live.

Suddenly, there was the cable guy on my doorstep. He gave us a flyer that had every plan we could possibly need on it. Told us that they would be installing cable in other condos around us next week. Mentioned that there were no contracts to worry about, no installation fees, no prime-time slowdowns of service. Just effectively answered every one of my questions, dispelled my worries, and took the matter out of my hands, giving me exactly what I hoped for.

Peacocks and a cable guy.

When something that unusual happens, I can’t help thinking that there must be a reason. Within moments, it sank in.

With God, all things are possible.

I may think this dream of mine is way out there, too impossible to come true. But so are peacocks in a condo complex. I may think I need to work extra hard, earn my dream, be worthy enough before it can come true—do a whole litany of tasks before I can have what I want. When all along it’s really a gift of God’s grace, which He will lay on my doorstep at exactly…the right…moment.

Dasani blue. Whenever I see it, I’ll think of peacocks, a cable guy, and God’s clear, eclectic voice speaking to me on a sunny Saturday.

With God, anything’s possible.

Even the unlikely.

 

Photography by Stacy J-M Taylor

 

Four Days Late–in the Knick O’ Time

 

 

Gotta love irony—or maybe it’s serendipity.

A couple weeks ago, I created an original watercolor piece as part of “Home for the Holidays,”an online auction event presented by the group Art for Critters. To quote A4C, “Artists from around the world, with a desire to help animals in need, have committed to donating a portion of their art sales to help animal charities…Home for the Holidays is a special auction this holiday season to help raise awareness and funds for animals seeking a forever home or permanent refuge.”

I chose a horse charity to benefit from my auction—I love the beauty, spirit, and heart of horses. My experience in drawing them has been limited, but I long to try more often. What better time to practice than now, I asked myself? Since I was right smack dab in the middle of organizing Art for 1000 Wells, though, I didn’t have time to create a new work for home for the Holidays—so I happily took a work I already had in progress, and completed it for the event. I named it “Home for the Holidays,” imagining this fantasy heroine and her faithful companion were heading home after a long journey.

 

 

For me, art inspires words. As my work takes shape on the paper, a tale begins weaving through my mind. I see possibilities in nuances—by the time I’ve completed the artwork, there’s a very good chance I have a short story outline to go along with it. This piece was no exception. As I painted, a longer tale came to my mind—one which may very well end up as a novel in the next few months! But I filed it away in my thoughts and went to create my listing for the charity.

Time got in the way—Art for 1000 Wells was wrapping up, and a few days passed before I could give attention to getting the charity information for my fantasy work. In the meantime, since I really enjoyed this one, I used it as the background for my Twitter page. Every day—many times a day—I would glance in, see the work, and be inspired yet again by the story it had prompted.

Then, on December 4th, I received a message from Twitterer seamusspeaks—a writer himself (with an awesome Star Wars story on his blog,I might add). He had come up with the idea of TwittyTales—one story serial a month, one part per day, one Twitter post at a time. A chapter in 140 characters, as it were. Not as easy as it sounds, and it doesn’t sound easy!

But exciting? Awesome. I was totally up for that challenge—yet I had absolutely no idea what to write. As I thought through my mental filing cabinet of characters and scenarios, my eyes drifted up to my Twitter wallpaper.

And “Four Days Late” was born.

Marian stood in the empty camp and stared at the devastation. 4 days. She was 4 days late. How could one make up for 4 days lost?

A winter wind bit at her lips as she drew a gasp. Tents & supplies were scattered. No sign of life. She was afraid to start looking.

A messenger had been sent but was caught. He escaped after 4 days. Only then did Marian get the news: Her home camp was under attack.

Marian had grown up among the forest camps. Now she was lady in waiting to a baroness. But her blood was wild, & her spirit was free.

With no more aid than a knight, a horseman & the messenger, she had come to save her people from the enemy. But found home in ruins.

Movement behind her; a large form. A deep, quiet voice.“What next Milady?”
The knight. A nobleman, returned from war that very day.

He was a war hero & noble; Marian had a background lower than peasantry. Yet he quickly helped her. Eyes wet, she replied: “Search.”

The four combed the camp. Silent, cautious. Marian knew the enemy could hide. Raiders, thieves, they were. Covetous of home’s bounty.

Soundless minutes passed. Then a voice:“Everyone’s gone.” The wiry horseman, roughly clothed, eyes wary. “Fled? Captured?” he asked.

“Doomed,” whispered the messenger. A shell of a man, eyes blank. “The enemy took no prisoners.” The Knight stared. “They took you.”

 

Marian’s story continues every day on my Twitter posts. You can tell the story serial from the updates about what’s in my teacup by the story’s header, “TTa:” followed by the number of the installment. I have a couple weeks left…tune in daily, or catch my Twitter in my blog sidebar on the right, to find out what happens next…

And in the meantime, I have renamed my watercolor work “Marian.” It goes live on eBay tonight…and, to my thinking, would make a fabulous Christmas present for someone. (Hint, hint.) Especially since 20% of the sale price will help abused or abandoned horses find a caring, loving home.

Today I finally finalized the charity my work will benefit–Knick O’ Time Horse Rescue.Very ironic, I thought to myself—Marian’s story is “Four Days Late”…but for the “Knick O’ Time.”

 

TwittyTales!

 

TTa:01 Marian stood in the empty camp and stared at the devastation. 4 days. She was 4 days late. How could one make up for 4 days lost?”

…And so begins the saga of “Four Days Late,” a brand-new short story I’m writing on TWITTER! I’ve decided to participate in “TwittyTales” the challenge to write a full story in 1 month, 1 Twitter post at a time, one post a day. Very challenging, considering the fact that you only get 140 characters worth of space in a Twitter post. Plus I have six characters used up to identify and number my story. I’m finding it to be a great exercise for writing—teaches me to say more with less.

TwittyTales is the idea of Twitterer seamusspeaks. Check out his Twitter for his short story, “Meet Edward the BellyCat,” this December, and come visit mine to follow my mini-saga-in-progress! (Which I started…four days late.)

Here’s a preview of the first four installments to get you started:

“Four Days Late”

A TwittyTales Story by Christine Taylor, aka mousewords

12-04-07:

TTa:01 Marian stood in the empty camp and stared at the devastation. 4 days. She was 4 days late. How could one make up for 4 days lost?

12-05-07:

TTa:02 A winter wind bit at her lips as she drew a gasp. Tents & supplies were scattered. No sign of life. She was afraid to start looking.

12-06-07:

TTa:03 A messenger had been sent but was caught. He escaped after 4 days. Only then did Marian get the news: Her home camp was under attack.

12-07-07:

TTa:04 Marian had grown up among the forest camps. Now she was lady in waiting to a baroness. But her blood was wild, & her spirit was free.

To be continued…tune in tomorrow, same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.

 

Thanks to all!

The Art Helping Mountain Gorillas auction came to a close last night! I’m grateful to everyone who participated! We had a great time, and were able to raise something to help this worthy cause. My fellow artists and I are eager to continue to support the rangers of the Congo in their work protecting the endangered mountain gorillas…so I may be creating more gorilla themed artwork soon.

It’s been an exciting and rewarding experience, and I’m happy to have been included!

Published in: on September 19, 2007 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Today is the Day! PART 5

'A Cup of Tea' by Sally

To complete our group of family artists participating in the Art Helping Mountain Gorillas charity auction, I am happy to introduce my aunt, Sally Pointer.

As she lives in Oregon, and I grew up in the Midwest, visits among our family were not as frequent as we’d like. However, Aunt Sally was always present through her loving communication. No matter which holiday was near, my siblings and I knew we could expect a package from Aunt Sally and Uncle Harry, filled with craft supplies and project ideas—stickers, decorations, confetti, you name it, the packages were stuffed with it. We would dive into the cache of treasures and commence with an afternoon of creativity. Soon our home would be draped with our construction-paper constructions. (Just ask my dad, who is very tall…and had to deal with decorations hung by very short individuals.)

Aunt Sally always decorated her packages with colorful, cheerful drawings—which I always cut out and saved. As a cartoon enthusiast, I was awed by her caricatures. Yet another mentor in my art life.

When I see her artwork today, I think of the mental picture I have from one of our visits: Aunt Sally, relaxing outdoors, with a sketchbook in her lap and a box of colored pencils in her hand. A depiction of a delicate, flowering branch was the product of that day’s work…and her recent art gives another glimpse into the surroundings that she has made lovely.

'Pansies and Forget-Me-Nots' by Sally