Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Fiction -- "Six Lights Shining" begins

Bear joins the fun...

Bear decided "Friday Fiction", a weekly happening where many talented Christian writers share stories and snippets each Friday, looked like great fun. Plus it looks to be a great way to give and receive feedback and improve her writing. So she's going to dive in and start contributing each Friday, even though she doesn't feel she can match some of the outstanding writing done by others.

Shelly Ledfors is the hostess this particular week. So, to view other writers' contributions (or to join in the fun and add a link to a contribution of your own) be sure and drop by her website, "The Veil Thins".

Six Lights Shining

"You did what?" The exclamation pierced through the babble of voices and laughter in the cafeteria. At nearby tables conversations stopped and heads turned toward them.

"Shhh! Jeff. Ya better chill." Debbie glanced over her shoulder in mock furtiveness. "Brown's lookin' our way. "

Undeterred, Jeff reached a long arm across his macaroni and cheese, and grabbed the collar of Richard's shirt, pulling him forward across the table. "Are ya nuts?" The Styrofoam cup of Coke between them toppled, spilling the last few tablespoons of its contents. A brown, fizzling puddle flowed slowly across the white table top.

Wanda, noting that Mrs. Brown had come out of her casual lean against the wall, hissed, "Jeff! Deb's right. She's gonna think you're totally serious, and we'll all be in for it ... "

Jeff abruptly released his hold on Richard, shaking his head in exaggerated despair. "You're worried 'bout Brown? Don't ya see the hot water this kid's takin' us into? It's gonna affect us all. Not just him! The frowns of some cafeteria monitor are gonna be nothin' compared to what we're walkin' into. We're talking blood here -- real blood. And I for one don't wanna be in the middle of it."

Gradually, the buzz of conversation was picking up again at surrounding tables.

Dan, just arriving with his loaded tray, dropped into an empty folding chair. "Blood? Did I hear blood? Are we talking about Jesus, here?" he asked quietly.

Mrs. Brown had relaxed and begun a conversation with the perspiring dish worker, who was methodically pulling dirty dishes off the conveyor belt, scraping food scraps into a garbage can. But she was keeping a watchful eye on them still.

Jeff groaned. "Not even close. But maybe we're talkin' His disciples. No, not even that. This is worse. At least they could move to another city when things got hot. How we gonna move out of Castle High School?" He glared at Richard. "Why'd God stick me with a John the Baptist for a friend? What'd I do to deserve this?"

Richard blushed as the others laughed. He straightened the wadded collar of his shirt. "Aw, come on, Jeff! All I did was speak the truth."

"Ya sure did that all right, Kid. Fat's in the fire, now. " He looked at Richard, a hint of humor returning to his eyes. Jeff, a sophomore on the basketball team, took great joy in calling freshman Richard, the "kid."

Dan bowed his head, "Father, Thank you for this food You have set before me. Please lead our conversation and fellowship through the power of Your Spirit working in us. In Jesus' Name. Amen. "

Echoes of "Amen," went rapidly around the small table.

Dan looked up. "So what's it all about, people? Fill me in."

Carol dropped into the last empty chair, bowed her head, said, "Thanks for the food Father! Amen." Then looked up, eyes twinkling, and added, "Me too! I saw Jeff attacking Richard. Don't ya know that's frowned on? Did ya see the look on Brown's face? Beautiful!" She laughed.

"Oh yeah, Richard. Fill 'em in. They'll love this!" Jeff, mopped up Coke with a wadded paper napkin.

Richard looked over to Dan. "Well, it's no great disaster. I don't know what Jeff is so worried about. All I did was get into a bit of a debate over Evolution versus Creation with Linden in Bio."

Dan's fork-load of peas and carrots stopped halfway to his mouth. "Praise the Lord!"

"Praise the Lord? Are ya outta your mind?" Jeff rolled his eyes, tossing the soggy napkin onto the remains of his lunch. "I've lost my appetite."

"No kiddin', Dan. This could be like, really serious." Debbie ran a hand through her short blond hair, not noticing the chaos left behind. "Wait'll ya hear the rest of it. If it'd caused much more of a hassle, I coulda probably sold it as a story to Editorial Planning 7th period." Another freshman, Debbie's one desire in life was to become a writer. Being accepted onto the staff of the Castle News her first year was a dream come true for her.

"So. Tell me more." Dan's dark brown eyes gleamed with interest. "But I still bet I'm gonna end up praising the Lord." He was a junior and pastor's son, who was debating between going overseas in missions after he graduated, or becoming a pastor himself.

Richard looked down. "Wellll ... it did get kind of heavy, at that. Linden wasn't very pleased."

Wanda pushed her empty plate away, leaning back in her chair. "Don't ya think 'not pleased' is kinda an understatement? Better start at the beginning." She was a sophomore who loved sports of all kinds, as well as being a top student.

"Wellll . . ." Richard shot a hopeful look at Dan. "He was showing us all these charts that were supposed to be animals evolving into other animals over 'billions' of years. You know how it goes ... The flippers gradually changing to amphibian legs, and the monkey's skull gradually changing to more and more human forms ... "

Dan nodded, waiting.

"Well, anyway, he went through all that baloney and then assigned the class homework on it. Each of us was supposed to do research in the library, picking one branch of animals, and chart its evolutionary development over time. Due next week. One guy picked the kangaroo. So then it's his job to trace the origins of the kangaroo -- its evolutionary history know ... which animals came before the kangaroo in the evolutionary chain, and all that. Another guy picked the bat."

"And you?" prompted Carol through a mouthful of mashed potatoes, as Richard's words slowed. She swallowed quickly, preparing to shove in another bite, glancing up at the wall clock. "What'd you pick?" She was due soon at Varsity Band. The Band Director would be irritated if she was late, because as the section leader, she had to make sure all the flutes were in tune before practice began.

"Oh yeah, Kid. Tell her what ya picked, why don't ya? Explain it to her nice and easy, how you've paved the way for her to have a wonderful junior year..." Jeff crossed his arms, biceps bulging under his blue tee shirt, and looked sideways at Carol. "Ya do carry a handgun in that purse of yours, I hope?"

"Aw, come on, Jeff! It's not that bad! I just, kinda raised my hand, and said that I did not feel I could do the assignment on the basis he was assigning it. And Linden acted kinda put off, and wanted to know why not. So I told him respectfully that I did not believe Evolution was true -- that it's a fallacy. And that he's teaching it to us as if it's fact when it's not and it's never even been proven. Then I told him that, in all integrity, I could not do this assignment pretending that I actually believed man evolved from monkeys over eons, when the Bible clearly teaches man didn't evolve, but was created, right at the beginning, by the Hand of God."

"Which is when the classroom exploded and our lives exploded." Jeff raised his hands in frustration, then grabbed the wadded napkin and shot it into Richard's chest.

Richard caught it in mid-air as it bounced off his shirt, just before it landed in his milk. "Wellll ... things did get pretty lively, all right." He looked hopefully to Dan again for support. Encouraged by the beginning of a smile, he went on, "Debbie said, "Hallelujah!" ... "

"Oh that's right," cut in Jeff. "I'd forgotten that part. Way to go-o, Deb."

"And the rest of the class kinda got crazy for a few minutes. Most everyone laughed. Some hooted. One shouted, 'We got a Jesus freak! What do ya know. Right here in our class!' And most everyone laughed more. A few kept their mouths shut, and didn't comment one way or another."

"And Linden?" Dan leaned forward intently, propping his chin on his hand.

To be continued...

This is the beginning of a novel for teens that Bear started drafting years ago, and is working on rewriting and updating. If anyone out there has a lot of contact with teens and notices anything that seems outdated or could be modernized better, and has any suggestions (OR if anyone has any other suggestions or comments), please feel free to use the Comment link below the post to contribute (It's located to the right of "Posted by Bear at [time]"). Bear loves to hear from you!
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coming Through The Fire

Writing Challenge Troubles

Bear had a good writing day today, and is starting to get back into the swing of things. Although early this morning, she wondered if maybe it wouldn't be smarter to quit trying to be a writer at all.

She ended up having quite a bit of trouble with this week's Writing Challenge topic, "The pen is mightier than the sword." Twice this week, she's had what she had initially thought were good ideas in mind; but when time came to try writing each one of them, they felt like total duds. And this morning, the deadline for entries was looming large, and she had no new ideas. In truth, by that point, she didn't feel like writing anything at all ... was drawing a major blank on the whole thing.

And Bear prayed again, thinking maybe she should just skip this week's Challenge, based on the fact it's been such a rough week health-wise, and she's not at her best. But then an idea came to her that seemed like it might be worth a try.

It actually took about 5 or 6 hours to hammer it out into final form, but she was happy with the result. And very thankfully, got it submitted with time to spare, after all.

In much better mood, she then dropped over to visit the current class of Jan's Writing Basics, which is about learning to create good characters, and got some work done there also.

So, although she can smell just a bit of the smoke of singed fur, from "coming through the fire" this morning, she's feeling victorious tonight, and thanking the Lord.
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dancing Babies + Tackle it Tuesday

Bear is cheering up

Bear has been having a rough run with her health lately -- a lot of roller coaster ups and downs -- and needed some cheering up in the midst. But the Lord provided.

First of all, Bear is most happy to report that her laptop recovered from its drink of water and seems none the worse for the experience. It now purrs along with its happy "rrrrr" again. And everything seems surprisingly normal. However, Bear hasn't heard its little cooling fan come on at all -- possibly because the weather isn't hot enough today. But it's also possible the fan may be shot -- shorted out by the water. So, although thanking the Lord, Bear also made it a point to back up all her files, first thing, when the laptop started running again, just in case it fries itself later, when the weather gets hotter.

The second encouraging thing ... Bear stumbled onto a video that made her smile much. She found it when an article at the Institute for Creation Research caught her eye. The article's title was "Evolution Can't Explain Dancing Babies".

But Bear didn't know babies danced.
The article says, "Two researchers from Finland and the United Kingdom wanted to find out how soon in life people begin to dance to rhythms. They were surprised to find that babies as young as five months old match body motion to music."

It then talked about a Science NOW study and video, showing a baby dancing to Mozart.
And then the article continued, "Evolutionists had suggested that dancing evolved from social pressures, as if an external factor could somehow generate a novel internal response to it. But in the study infants began dancing spontaneously, unbidden by other people... The behavior must therefore be an innate part of being human."

A baby dancing to Mozart?

This Bear had to see.

Once she had seen it, she played it several times, and it gave her a smile many times during the day, just remembering it. So she decided to share it here. It's only about 30 seconds long, although Bear would have been happy to have seen the baby do an encore.

(Those receiving this by Feeds or on Facebook will need to stop by the Den to see it.)

On somewhat more serious subjects however, below is Bear's shot at this week's "Tackle it Tuesday" writing exercise from FaithWriter's Blog.

"Tackle it Tuesday Topic assignment ... You are twelve years old and all of your friends are going out of town for Spring Break while you are stuck at home. You resign yourself to the idea of being bored all week, but then something happens to add some unexpected excitement. In 100 words or less, tell about what happens to make your Spring Break anything but boring."

Bear wrote:
Ronnie stared.

Mrs. Dahlquist's plump form was teetering precariously on a ladder propped against the cherry tree next-door, nails clenched between her teeth.

She'd already nailed one board to the trunk, vertically ...

He vaulted the short fence and steadied the next board while she pounded in more nails.

It was a cross.

Brushing blossoms out of her graying curls, she smiled. "Easter, you know. Jesus 'tis the Reason for the Season."

"But MISTER Dahlquist ...?"

"Oh, let him fuss! Won't hurt him none to have a bit of church in his yard."

THIS was going to be interesting ...

And writing that was fun, and put Bear in a better mood also. God has His Ways of cheering up a bear having a hard day.
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Monday, April 12, 2010

Computers Don't Like Water + Welcome ScarletQuill!


Bear accidentally gave her laptop a cup of water to drink Sunday, and it didn't like it at all. Apparently, it wasn't thirsty. Or else it prefers coke, or hot chocolate. Or maybe it was even holding out for coffee.

The laptop sits on a box, below the table Bear works at. It has an extra monitor screen and keyboard connected into it that sit up on top of the table. It's kind of a similar setup to the way people use Desktop CPU's, with the CPU part on the floor. Bear uses the laptop like the CPU part of the computer.

Bear was relaxing in the Den, after church, watching a YouTube video, and knocked the cup of water off the table.

Bear always thought it was pretty safe to drink water and eat while working at the computer, because the laptop is so far away from the monitor and keyboard -- about four feet away.

But, amazingly, the water chose to target the computer directly, although it could easily have chosen any number of better places to land, in Bear's opinion.

And the laptop got mad at Bear. It choked and sputtered, as if it didn't think it kind for Bear to give it a drink. Then its little motor (which used to purr along with a nice, steady "rrrrrrrr" sound) started going rrr--chuga--clunk--cough, rrr--chuga--clunk--cough...

If Bear had been feeling better, she probably would have had it unplugged before it got to that point. But Bear was kind of dragging Sunday, and her reflexes were not up to snuff. So, by the time she got it unplugged, and had scooped it up and flipped it upside down to try and keep the water from getting farther into its internal workings, it seemed to be too late.

It didn't look good.

But after praying on it, Bear propped the laptop up, using file boxes along its edges, to hold it upside down in midair, and stuck a fan by it, that's steadily blowing air on it. And plans to leave it that way for 24 hours before testing it.

And will hope for the best.

Meanwhile, she's now working, using the Den's backup computer -- an old clunky desktop whose hard drive is dying. It only boots up about 75% of the time, and sometimes refuses to boot up at all, for days. But today it did finally boot up on the fourth try, so Bear's going to leave it turned on overnight, so it won't have to try and boot up anymore, and is hoping it doesn't die completely. And hopes that it will last until her laptop revives, if it does.

She did think that maybe the backup computer might need just a bit of caffeine to get it going. Because Bear herself sometimes has trouble "booting up", and a bit of caffeine sometimes helps her. But she decided, after her laptop got so mad over the water, not to offer the backup computer a cup of coffee.

Computers just don't seem to appreciate that kind of thoughtful gesture.

Welcome, ScarletQuill! Glad to have you on board as a regular Den visitor, and look forward to getting to know you, as time goes on. Your smiling face at the Den made it a cheerier place Sunday, despite computer glitches.
Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Happenings -- Why does God let His people suffer?

Joni and Dave slay the Goliath in their lives

Two internationally famous people with severe handicaps are visiting the Den today to give "no holds barred" accounts of what it's like when God doesn't heal and lets pain continue. Each acknowledges times they wanted to die, and how they overcame that battle. Each talks, near tears, about the tough times, and how they won through. They talk of their trials, their faith, times when faith seemed as distant as the stars, and what keeps them going.

Dave Roever (aka "Davey") was severely burned by an explosive when stationed in Vietnam, and went through years of endless pain and plastic surgeries, before his condition became stabilized. Despite severe disfigurement and scarring, he has gone on to become a leader in Veterans' issues, and also has a nationwide youth ministry to teens.

Not one to pull punches, he says, in the midst of his video talk here at the Den...

"And she..." (NOTE:  He's referring to Jan Crouch of TBN who was interviewing him on a show some years back.) "And she said to me, 'You know why God let you be maimed, scarred, and burned, don't you?'"

"And I'm thinking to myself, 'No. But this blue haired wonder is going to explain all that to me.'  I was so mad at her, I could have pinched her little head off. But this was not the Jerry Springer show. This was Christian TV, where you fake it for Jesus..."

However, in his 10 minute video here (after a two minute intro video biography put together by High School Students who admire him), Mr. Roever sure doesn't fake anything.

Joni Eareckson Tada also is transparently honest in her video discussion.  She became a quadriplegic in her late teen years, from a diving accident. And afterward became famous through her paintings (which are painted using her teeth to hold the brush); as well as through her best selling books, her beautiful singing, and as a prize-winning radio broadcaster.

In her talk (a nine minute clip recorded out of a longer Larry King Show interview), she comes near tears, talking about the trials she faces daily, and lays things on the line with total openness ...

"Honestly Larry, 37 years later," she says (referring to the original time of the accident that caused her to be paralyzed), "Don't be thinking I'm spiritually strong. I'm no veteran at this paralysis thing. I'm not a professional quadriplegic. I wake up in the morning many times, and I'll hear my girlfriend come in the front door ... and I know she's going to come into my bedroom in a minute, and she's going to give me a bed bath, get me dressed, sit me in a wheelchair, brush my hair, brush my teeth, blow my nose. And there are times when I'm still having my eyes closed, thinking, 'God, I have no strength for this! I can't face this...'"

And then in the final eight minute clip, she talks about another challenge she faces, and then sings.

Bear edited these four clips from Joni and Davey into one continuously playing video that lasts just 30 minutes. Because Bear had a very rough day this week and was discouraged. And listening to these people's talks, and seeing their tears and their strength and wisdom, encouraged Bear much. And she thinks the video footage is well worth sharing, and likely to lift and encourage others as well.

So Bear is honored to have Joni and Davey visit the Den for this week's "Sunday Happenings", telling how they've learned to slay that Goliath of daily discouragement in their lives, so they can continue to take flight on Eagle's Wings and accomplish so much.

(For those receiving this by Feeds or on Facebook, you'll need to visit the Den's Living Room to see this video.)

Bear's news and free multi-media Christian resources: Bear's Writing Den