CHAPTER 2 OF “LOOK FOR THE RAINBOWS A Journey of Spirit and Heart” Part 1

Copy of Look for the Rainbows New full cover

Here is the first part of chapter 2 of Look for the Rainbows. This takes you back to Beth’s days as a child, to times she reminisced about in her deep grief (chapter 1). It seemed a little too long to post the entire chapter.

~Chapter 2~

A Very Special Tree

I can’t wait till they get here!” Beth pirouetted around the kitchen in excited anticipation.

“Well, Beth, Grandma and Grandpa Irving won’t be here until next Friday night, and Grandma and Grandpa Worthington are coming sometime the day after. So you’ll just have to contain yourself. Christmas isn’t for another two weeks yet!” Her mother smiled at Beth’s enthusiasm as she thought, She’s so much like me when I was her age.

“Christmas is my most favorite time of the year!”

“Don’t I know it,” replied her mom. “We hear it repeated over and over all year. Just the other day, didn’t you remind us of that scraggly tree we got last Christmas all because your Dad waited too late to get one?”

Beth looked downcast for a moment until she glimpsed her mother’s lopsided grin and realized she was only teasing, not scolding her. She grinned back and continued her whirling.

“Be careful, Beth. You’ll get dizzy twirling around like that. Sometimes I think we should have enrolled you in ballet classes. Whenever you’re not drawing pictures you’re dancing around in circles. Look out! You nearly knocked that glass off the table.”

“Sorry. But it’s fun, and I’m happy.”

“That’s fine, but just be careful where you’re doing it. It won’t be so much fun if you break something.”

An only child with no cousins, aunts or uncles, Beth looked forward to the annual Christmas gathering every year. She and her parents visited with her grandparents at other times of the year, and Beth spent a couple of weeks with each of them in turn during summer vacation, but at Christmas everyone was together. Even at the young age of ten, she recognized the importance of family.

“When are we going to pick out the tree?”

“After dinner. Daddy will need a few minutes to rest after working all day, and to let his meal digest. Talking about rest… don’t you think you should sit down and be quiet for a while? What about homework—don’t you have some arithmetic to do yet?”

“Yeah, but…”

“But what?”

“Can’t I do it later?” A good student, Beth usually enjoyed schoolwork, but her excitement prevented her from settling her mind to addition and multiplication problems without a little push from her mother.

“If you don’t get it done by dinner, you won’t have time before bed to help decorate the tree. Which is it going to be?”

“Decorate the tree! I’ll go do my homework now.”

“Off you go, then.” Mrs. Worthington chuckled as she watched Beth take the stairs two at a time and disappear into her bedroom.

***

“Mom, it’s perfect.” Beth was breathing hard as she dashed into the house that evening.

“What’s perfect?”

“The tree, of course. It’s huge. I’m going to look so little beside it. How am I going to put the star on top?”

“Harold, I hope this tree will fit in the living room. How big is this thing anyway?”

“It’s only about seven feet. And don’t worry, Beth, I’ll help you get the star on top. We’ll do that first. That is, after I stand the tree up in here and make sure it’s well anchored. And get the lights strung.” He winked at Beth; she grinned back.

Finally the tree stood in place in its designated corner. It truly did dwarf the petite Beth. Had the tree been much taller, they would have had to chop off some of the trunk and lower branches.

“You really did pick a beauty this time, dear. Look how thick the branches are. Remember last year? The tree had more spaces than branches.”

“Don’t remind me, Marg. That’s why I wanted to go tonight before they get picked over. It did pay off, didn’t it? And this one didn’t cost any more than last year’s, so it was a bargain as well. OK, let’s get those decorations out.”

“The boxes are all in the den. I brought them up from the basement this afternoon. Beth, honey, help me bring them in here. Beth!

“What, Mom?”

“What world were you visiting just now? I asked if you would help me bring in the decorations.”

Beth giggled. “I’m not in another world—I’m still here.” She had been envisioning last year’s tree, scraggly, not nearly as tall. The contrast with this fragrant spruce with its lush foliage astonished her, even in its untrimmed state. She breathed deeply, savoring the fresh scent before responding. “OK, let’s go get them.” She was already halfway to the door. Her mother smiled as she followed at a slower pace. She sometimes found her daughter’s enthusiasm a little overwhelming.

They opened box after box to reveal tinsel, lights and colored balls, many of them dating back to Mrs. Worthington’s childhood. Mr. Worthington strung dozens of multicolored lights on the tree first, then stood Beth above him on the ladder so she could put the star in its exalted place at the top of the tree. Her dad held her tight so she had no fear of falling.

“There. Put me down now so I can look.” Safely back on the floor, Beth stared in awe at the tree. The star had become an almost sacred part of the Christmas decorations. It had been handed down from Beth’s great-grandmother whose father had carved it from pine and painted it when she was still a child. “It looks prettier than last year.” Her dad made a face at her, and she wrinkled her nose back at him.

“Do you think it’s straight?” Her dad was just teasing her, but she did not catch on.

“What, the tree?”

“No, I meant the star. Isn’t it a little crooked?”

Beth looked up at the treetop, then deliberately placed her hands on her hips and turned a quizzical look on her father.

“Your dad is only teasing you, honey.”

Beth made a face at her dad before breaking out into a giggle, then turned again to admire the star. When she had satisfied herself that it was, indeed, perfectly straight, Beth joined her mother in untangling yards of silvery tinsel before they endeavoured to loop it evenly over the branches. This presented no small difficulty on the higher boughs. Gradually every part of the tree began to sparkle with the reflection of lights on tinsel. Mrs. Worthington carefully removed gold, red, green and silver balls from their storage containers. She and Beth lovingly placed them on the branches until the tree became a blaze of rainbow color.

“Tell me about the special ornaments, Mom.”

“Well, that one we bought the year you were born—baby’s first Christmas. And that pink one—up there,” Mrs. Worthington pointed her finger, “was given to you by your Grandma Irving when you were five. I’m sure you remember that.”

“Yeah, I remember, but I like you to tell about them.” Beth sat cross-legged on the floor scanning the different shiny balls. “That one was yours when you were little, wasn’t it?”

“Yes, there used to be half a dozen like that, but the rest have been broken over the years. That’s why it’s so special. And that Santa ornament hung on our tree as far back as I can recollect. It’s a miracle it hasn’t been broken. And those two plastic ones on the bottom branches, they belonged to Grandma and Grandpa Worthington. Your Dad could tell you more about them than I can.”

“Yes,” Harold said wistfully, “I remember the year we got those. They came in a box of twelve, each one different. There was a bell, a Santa, a gingerbread man, and, of course the star and the sleigh there on the tree. I can’t remember now what the others were, but it was always a special time when we put them on the tree. Just like now.”

“I wish I could have seen the others, Daddy. They must have been nice, too. I specially like the sleigh. Mom, don’t they remind you of the cookie cutters we always use to make the shortbread?”

“Yes, I hadn’t thought about it before, but they do look rather like them. But, don’t you think we had better stop reminiscing and get back to decorating this tree? What’s next to go on?”

“Let’s throw the icicles! That’s the most fun of all.”

Mom, Dad and child stood around the tree and tossed hundreds of shiny silver icicles all over it. Beth had them in her hair and all over her clothes. They made faces when they saw the mess on the floor. Mr. Worthington grabbed the camera and snapped some pictures.

“Mom, there’s an icicle hanging on your ear.” They laughed until the tears rolled down their cheeks.

“OK, let’s pick up as much as possible off the floor and put it where it belongs—on the tree. I don’t want to waste it when I vacuum later. And I certainly don’t want it tracked all over the house.”

So the three of them gathered the stray icicles. In the process, Beth knocked a red glass ball off one of the lower branches. As it hit the floor, it shattered. Upset, she bent to pick up the pieces. Without warning, a small fragment of fine glass pierced her finger. She let out a cry, and a tear escaped as she watched the blood ooze out around the crimson sliver and drip onto the floor.

“Ouch! It stings.” she moaned as her mother dabbed the cut with iodine before putting a small bandage over it.

Thank you so much for taking time to stop by and read. I hope you enjoyed your time. I would really appreciate it if you would leave a comment in the box below. I enjoy interacting my readers. And if you have not read chapter one, please click here. If you are interested in how this book came into being, click here to read about The Story Behind the Story. Also, please check out my Author Page on Amazon. If you are not already following, please take a moment or two to click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. And please feel free to share on your social media.

Have a wonderful week filled with God’s blessings.

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THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY

Copy of Look for the Rainbows New full coverI promised last time that I would tell you the story behind the writing of Look for the Rainbows A Journey of Spirit and Heart. 

It all started back in the 1990s. I cannot remember the exact year, but it was while I was spending some time out of town at my mother’s home, and most likely after New Year’s Day. After my father died in 1984, my mother would come here for Christmas then I would return with her for a couple of weeks to visit family and friends.

One night after going to bed, a whole story unfolded in my mind. Unfortunately I had no paper or pen to write with and the house being small, I did not want to disturb my mother by getting up to look for any. I had to rely on my memory.

I don’t know how long it took for me to start writing, but I worked over a period of a few years (obviously not very seriously) on developing the story. I used to read the Women’s Weekly books, and I thought I might be able to write something that they would consider publishing. Unfortunately, by the time it was even close to being able to submit it, their format had completely changed. My story had not changed.

The story began as a first person narration. Then came the day I decided that was not how I wanted to tell it. I started all over in third-person omnipotent. That meant I could get into the minds of all the characters. I was on my way again. Finally I finished the first draft only to realize this did not constitute a novel. It contained only about 26,000 words. A novel should have at least 50,000 and anywhere up to 150,000 words.

This meant a complete overhaul again. What could I do to add that many words? I had no intention of aiming at 150,000 words, but I knew I need to at least double the number to have a viable novel.

I had an idea which I passed by a friend who thought it might be possible. I had a few shorter stories and decided to incorporate them into the main story. That would mean I would have to write a lot of words in order to work those other stories in, so I was off again.

I wrote many drafts and edited it a countless number of times before I felt it was finished. But then I had other difficulties. I wanted to self-publish on what then was CreateSpace. Only a couple of problems prevented this. There were some technical things that I just couldn’t figure out, and could not find anyone to help, so it lay dormant in the computer, and, in paper form, in a folder.

Last fall I decided to take the bull by the horns again and try to figure out what I needed to know. I asked for prayer at church a few times, but the last time I asked, someone different prayed for me. A couple of days later I finally, after about seven hours straight working on the computer, figured out how to do the things I needed to finally publish.

I had some help to tweak my front cover. Lisa Frederickson, leader of a marketing group on FaceBook, was kind enough to do that for me. She also suggested a different subtitle. So I completed the formatting of the book and put the cover together to meet the standards for uploading to KDP Print. By the end of November, Look for the Rainbows A Journey of Spirit and Heart was available for sale on Amazon.

And so ends my story behind the story. Did you miss the post of the first chapter? If so, click  here. If you would like to know more about the book, please check out my Author Page on Amazon. Now you have the opportunity to read the book for yourself and see how the story ends. If you decide to purchase my book, I would love it if you would leave a review on Amazon once you finish reading it.

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and reading my post. I hope you will leave a comment in the box at the bottom and share on your social media. If you are not already following me, please take a couple of seconds to click on the “Follow” button to receive e-mail updates for new posts. I appreciate all of you, my readers, and wish you a wonderful day. May God richly bless you.

LOOK FOR THE RAINBOWS A Journey of Spirit and Heart

Here is the first chapter of my newly-published novel. I hope you will enjoy reading it and that you will leave a comment in the box  below before leaving. In another post I will tell the story of how this book evolved from a nighttime vision to a finished book 20 some-odd years later.

Copy of Look for the Rainbows New full cover

~Chapter 1~

Rainbows After the Storm

Headly Herald, October 10,1971: Davies, Jonathan Edward, in his 26th year, died October 9 at Headly General Hospital as a result of injuries received when struck by a car. Predeceased by his parents Edward and Katherine (Jones) Davies. Beloved fiancé of Elizabeth (Beth) Worthington of Headly. Visitation at Wilson Brothers Funeral Home October 11 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Funeral service will be held October 12 at 1:00 p.m. at the Headly Community Church. Pastor Jim Dale officiating. Donations to the Headly Community Church benevolent fund in lieu of flowers will be gratefully received.

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Beth clung desperately to the wedding ring quilt wrapped tightly around her shoulders, but its warmth had no power to penetrate the icy burden in her heart. She huddled in the well-worn blue armchair that had once filled a cozy corner in her childhood home. Through misted eyes she stared blindly out of the window. Although the heart-wrenching sobs had diminished, teardrops still trickled silently down her flushed cheeks. She sat motionless. Her eyes, shadowed and swollen, exposed deep anguish of soul.

The fire in the grate had almost burned itself out; a fragile warmth tenaciously clung to the few last embers, powerless to dispel the late afternoon chill. A shiver ran through her body. Terrible loneliness and the overwhelming sense of loss had brought her close to emotional collapse.

Heavy black clouds swirled in constant motion across the leaden sky, an ominous herald of the approaching storm. Except for a few leaves which stubbornly refused to fall, the trees had cast off most of their foliage, and the bare branches lashed in fury at an invisible enemy. A blanket of crisp, lifeless leaves mingled with clouds of dust as they whirled through the garden. The once lush lawn now resembled dirty straw. Flowers lay brown and shriveled in their beds, forgotten, their former beauty betrayed by autumn’s demise. The atmosphere of sadness and desolation was almost palpable.

A cold wind howled through the trees, and bowed the few saplings nearly to the ground. It whipped around the corner of the house and brought the first large splatters of rain which signaled the onset of a heavy downpour. In the distance the lake raged. A sudden flash sizzled across the sky. Thunder crashed overhead. Sheets of rain pelted the dry earth and bounced off in fountains of spray.

Still she did not stir. The scene that played within Beth’s agitated mind was as desolate as that which, outdoors, seethed as if in sympathy. At that moment, her life was rapidly spiraling into a vortex so deep she felt there was no escape. As she cast her thoughts back to that fateful day, a flood of emotion almost drowned her in despair. The weight threatened to crush her.

Why, Lord?…Why?…Why?… A single tear trickled down her cheek and spilled onto the quilt.

Why Jonathan? Why me, Jesus? Why us? Why now, when our

whole future was before us? She glanced toward the ceiling as if expecting an answer. Silence.

Where are You, Lord? Have You left me all alone? Why can’t I hear Your voice when I need You so desperately? Please…answer me, Jesus! Still no word from heaven.

Oh, Lord, I loved him so!

Her head dropped into her hands as though too heavy to hold itself up. From the depths of her spirit she sobbed and poured out her burdened heart to the Lord in unspoken prayer. Words could never express such pain. To her troubled heart it seemed that God was not listening. The moaning of the wind was the only response she heard. Deep in her spirit she knew that God had promised never to leave her. She truly believed He loved her, but sorrow deafened her to His voice of comfort; grief deadened her ability to sense His presence.

Jonathan…head bandaged, tubes everywhere…that final moment of recognition, then… Her mind refused to complete the picture.

Gradually, aware of a change in the atmosphere, Beth stirred. The rain had subsided. The thunder was now only a distant roll, the lightning a faint flickering glow. Through the gentle shower, a beautiful double rainbow filled the sky with brilliant arcs of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. A darkened band divided the two distinct bows. Splashes of iridescent color radiated above them as the sun’s rays glinted out from the clouds. Beth gazed at this awesome display of nature. Was this a sign from God? Had He taken His invisible paintbrush and slashed through the dark clouds with His divine colors to remind Beth of His promise of hope? Overwhelmed by the beauty, she was for one short moment set free from the torturous labyrinth of her reflections.

All too soon the flicker of hope waned like the now-fading colors of the rainbow. The icy fingers of sorrow once more endeavored to strangle all essence of hope from her heart. Anguished thoughts raged, stilling all memories of happiness.

When would the torment end?

Beth reached into past memories in an attempt to forget, if but for a moment, this past week’s heartbreak. Childhood memories of a happy Christmas struggled to the surface and she snatched onto them as to a lifeline.

Without warning, her mind was jolted by a long-forgotten image: blood dripping from her finger, a red glass Christmas ornament shattered at her feet, the sting of iodine. As quickly as that brief memory intruded, in a flash the scene vanished.

Check out Look for the Rainbows on my Amazon Author page along with Shadows in My Valley. 

Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read my post. To read Chapter 2, click here. I will respond to your comments. If you are not already following me, please take a moment to click on the “Follow” button at the top of the page. And feel free to share with your social media groups. Have a wonderful day. God bless you abundantly and meet your every need.

UPDATE

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My New Computer with Old Tower on Top

I have not been able to post anything for a time as I have been having computer problems. My old one kept crashing and was gradually dying. Thanks to a friend I got another computer, but it kept crashing, too. So I didn’t want to get in the middle of something and have a crash, especially if it hadn’t saved yet. And I was afraid it might damage the hard drive if it crashed too often.

All is finally well, but now I have to explore to find out what is on this computer. Going from Windows XP to Windows 10 is a bit of a challenge. Going from Outlook Express to Outlook is another challenge. I’ll get there, but it’s taking time. I got the computer on New Year’s night, but it has only been functioning well for the past week. Now I am trying to get caught up, especially with e-mail.

I have accomplished quite a bit of editing and expanding one of my books. Just a few more changes and it will be done. It is good to know that finally I have almost finished this particular manuscript. Now I can move on to something new. A new year, new projects. Sounds good.

I hope your year is going well so far. I pray for success in all you put your hand to. I pray for health and love and joy in abundance. May the peace of God rule in your hearts and minds through every situation. God bless you.

Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to read my post. I hope you will leave a comment to let me know how this new year has begun for you. If you are not already following me, I hope you will take a moment to click the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts so you can keep up-to-date. Have a wonderful day.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P1080917I can’t believe we are at the end of another year. It seems that every year longer I live that those years travel by me all the faster.

2018 has been, in some ways, a hard one. It has also been a good one in many aspects. God has blessed me in many ways. He is always faithful.

Many people make resolutions as the new year comes, but often they are all broken by the end of January. I find it a futile effort.

Our church will be starting the annual 21-day fast this coming Sunday. This is a wonderful way to begin a new year, to seek the Lord for His leading for the weeks and months ahead. Fasting can make us more aware of spiritual things, and provides us with more time to spend in prayer. That means more time to hear from God, too.

What will you do to begin the new year? Do you have any special plans for the coming year? What are your hopes and dreams for 2019?

I pray that you will all have a prosperous and healthy 2019 and that you will find great satisfaction in God and in what He has destined for your life. The happiest years we can have are those in which we are obedient to the Lord and learning to know Him better. The most satisfying years we can have will be in serving God and serving others in whatever capacity He leads. I pray for each of you the fulfillment of God’s plans for your life and a deep satisfaction in serving Him.

Thank you for stopping by. Please take a moment to leave a comment in the box below. If you are not yet following this blog, please click on the “Follow” button at the top to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. Have a wonderful New Year’s Day and may God bless you abundantly with His love, joy and peace.