Remembering Ridge

Mid-October is spectacular in Western North Carolina this year. The hardwoods are coloring up, especially the maples, vivid and bright with their fluttery robes of red and gold leaves. Jerry and I love the cooler temperatures, but we have to return to Florida next week.

We’re on the way home from one of our meandering scenic drives when I decide to buy another Loafers Glory T-shirt at the General Store in Loafers Glory.

According to my Loafers Glory friend and native resident, this store’s been here since 1955. It was built on the same spot as the original General Store that was washed away in 1905 or ’06 by a flood that she said her daddy called a May fresh.

It’s like going back in time—a charmer of a place that you could spend hours in. The rusted springs on the screen door screech as I step over the worn wood threshold and into the store. Late afternoon sunshine floods through the big plate glass windows. The scents, a mix of candy, tobacco, and new fabric, waft around me. I gaze at small tubs full of buttons, displays of thread, and an endless array of sewing needs. I see racks of tourist temptations—including T-shirts—and smile. I was once one of those tempted travelers. Now I spend a lot of time here in NC, no longer a tourist, but neither am I a full-time resident.

Fred and Iris Garland are. This was once their store, and Iris has told me some of her stories. Love those stories and these two wonderful Loafers Glory residents.

A little boy peeks at me from around a bin of cloth remnants. Seconds later he saunters out from behind the bin.

“Hi!” says he, then announces in the most wonderful North Carolina drawl ever “I’m gonna be five next April!”

He punches the air, wiggling five fingers.

Let’s see now . . . that’s six months away.

He’s cute, a little cocky, and has my total attention as I study him.

He reels me in . . . with his head full of curly, carrot-red hair and a batch of brown freckles across his nose.

“What’s yore name?”

“I’m Sally.”

He’s not shy, guileless maybe. And suddenly, I just love this little guy.

He looks a lot like this but without the straw hat–which I’m sure he has stowed behind the counter.

“Ah’m Ridge.” He draws his name out, nearly makes it into two syllables.

Really? A little boy named Ridge? Unusual. But maybe not up here where mountain ridges are everywhere. And I figure he has to be saying Reg, short for Reginald.

“Ridge?” I repeat it carefully, frame it as a question.

And he grins up at me and nods, like, ‘good for you, you got it!’ his curls bobbing like twisty little springs . . . and  changes the subject.

I get goose bumps, totally enthralled and stuck on his name.

But I listen as he tells me he fell on the sidewalk a few minutes ago and scraped up the heel of his left hand. He holds it up.

“It’s bleedin’ a little and stings like a road burn, but it ain’t nuthin’.”

He shrugs. He’s brave, and I pray that his hand stops stinging soon. He barely takes a breath before he needs to tell me more. You know, ‘portant stuff.’

“We got chewin’ gum in this store.” He looks up at me like I should be very surprised.

I bite the inside of my cheek to keep the smile from reaching my ears!

“Okay, where is this chewing gum?”

Ridge proceeds to show me. He grabs my hand, and instead of the aisle where candy and chewing gum might be, he leads me around to where they sell material from large bolts. Reaching in deep behind two of the heavy, colorful bolts, he pulls out a package of bubble gum that’s in the shape of paper money.

He hauls a “bill” out of the package, bites off a big hunk and hands the rest to me so I can take a bite too. I take the offered piece and break a chunk off. I’m positive he has a good-sized private stash buried behind those bolts of cloth.

It’s good, pretty tasty gum as gum goes!

But also good is that the hero of my novel has just been given the awesome name, Ridge, in honor of my new friend, who waves and blows me kisses as I leave his grandparents’ store.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1
I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. Psalm 22:22

 ♥

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Remembering to pray before, during, and after writing sessions, to pray over everything including character names, isn’t always easy. And I’m in awe and thankful when I see the amazing ways God answers my sometimes fleeting, needy prayers.

Do you take the admonition to pray about everything to heart too? What’s been your experience?

 He’s closer to you than breath, loves you, and cares for you.

Love,

Sally

Amazon’s Author Page for The Stonekeepers

Far Above Rubies

 

“Great bursts of light flashed forth from him as from a glittering diamond or from a shining ruby . . . ” (Revelation 4:3a TLB).

“Great bursts of light flashed forth from him as from a glittering diamond or from a shining ruby, and a rainbow glowing like an emerald encircled his throne” (Revelation 4:3 TLB).

God created rubies and diamonds in all their splendor, brilliance, and beauty, but they are only tiny reflections of his glory.

And far above rubies is the wisdom of prayer.

I truly enjoy the rings I wear. Each of them has a story.

But this ring-story is about the ruby and diamond ring my husband gave me on our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

Jerry and I had taken some time away from work and were staying at our summer place in the mountains of rural North Carolina. We took a break from the painting we were doing and left to pick up a pizza in town. We planned to stop by the recycle center, which was on the way. As we drove, I took off my ring, carefully laying it in my lap for “safe keeping,” while I put lotion on my chapped hands. Pulling into the recycle center, I was distracted and totally forgot about the ruby ring, now hidden in the folds of my long dress. I was focused on dropping off the trash and empty bottles as I got out of the van.

It wasn’t until we were home and had finished the pizza that I suddenly realized my ring was gone! I made a frantic search of the van, hoping, praying, feeling terribly guilty and careless. Then I remembered precisely when and where I must have lost it.

The ring had fallen silently from my lap onto the driveway of the recycle center.

We drove, squealing tires and all, back to the center, where I searched the tarmac to no avail.

. . . However, as I was nose-to-the-ground, searching, I felt someone watching. Paul, the keeper of the center, looked over at me, his weathered face holding a broad grin.

“Did you lose something?”

Did I lose something! Well, the poor guy ended up being hugged after he dug into his shirt pocket, brought out a business card, and handed it to me.

And here’s my miracle, one more answer to my fervent prayers. Sue, a young woman, whose husband had passed away the week before, had found my ring and prayed about what to do. She’d seen the ring on the asphalt drive of the recycle center, sparkling in the afternoon sunshine and thought a little girl must have lost her Cracker Jack© box ring. Picking it up, she quickly realized the ring was no Cracker Jack© prize! She found one of her husband’s business cards with their phone number on it and used it to write a note: Found, lost ring. Call and describe, then she left the card with Paul.

Thankful and elated, I called her and described the ring. We ended up sharing our love and faith and trust in our Lord Jesus. Jerry and I drove to Sue’s home on the tip-top of a mountain to meet her. In spite of her grief, Sue rejoiced with me through tears and hugs as she returned the ring that always reminds me of the first twenty-five years of my marriage.

We are each so greatly beloved by God that he does not want any of us to be lost. The passion with which I searched to find my lost ring reminds me of Jesus’ Parable of the Lost Coin. In the parable, the woman, who lost a single coin out of her set of ten, experienced that passion. I imagine that she hoped and prayed she’d find it, like I did, but Jesus says, she lit a lamp, swept her house, and searched carefully until she found her lost coin. And she was so ecstatic when she found it, she rejoiced . . . well, we’d say partied, with friends and neighbors!

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’” (Luke 15:7-9 NKJV)

Are you, like me, constantly in awe of how when we live and walk in the light of Christ, that there are no coincidences, and that no detail is too small for God. I love how he weaves the lives of his children into a beautiful tapestry of love and caring.

Have you ever lost, then found, something you treasure?

Balancing Act

Life is a balancing act. You weigh the consequences, hope and pray like crazy, step out in faith, and then you . . . 

Balancing Act

. . . what? Fall? Fly? Sit down and stay safe? All of us, including Simeon the seagull up there, have something in common. We are forever trying to get our sea legs, make smart choices, maintain our balance in life, and when we love God, do our best to listen to him.

And isn’t it awesome when we’re trusting in the Lord and he suddenly opens our eyes and ignites a spark in our spirit and we are set on fire to glorify him in a new way?

We may not know quite where he’s leading us when we take that first step, but he’s with us. Excitement drives us. Prayer, fresh faith, and hope make up the fuel that keeps us moving ahead, and gives us fresh purpose.

Sometimes a single word can change our path because God has shone his light on it.

Well over ten years ago, my husband and I were spending some time away from a hot summer in Florida.

Sipping coffee and breathing in the cool, honeysuckle-scented air, I had curled up in a chair on the front porch of the little hundred-year-old cabin we’d brought back to life in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Summer Reading

Browsing through a magazine, a word, a name that was to become the catalyst for a story, jumped from the page. Along with the name came an idea that drove me to my laptop and merged me with the keyboard as a story began to pour out.

What? In this late season of my life? I was newly retired, for heaven’s sake!

I’d always loved to write and kept an ongoing journal, but this was something new. A dream. Something I thought I could never do. And this is where Simeon and I are alike. We both sometimes struggle for our balance in life. He’s on automatic pilot with his Creator, but I go on to weigh the consequences, hope, pray like crazy, and step out in faith.

During the years since then, there has been a lot of breath-holding, tons of hope and faith and time and effort and joy and rejection and small publishing successes. Now, two and a half manuscripts later, the novel, The Stonekeepers, the one that evolved from a single word, is to be published this later this year—and I’m thrilled!

Has there been a God-directed single event or series of events, that invaded your life and caused you to switch direction? Did you start a new hobby? Simplify your life? Decide to go into business for yourself? (Gulp, I did that!) Meet someone?

How is your balance? I’d love it if you’d share a point in your life-story when your path veered in a new direction–or just to say “Hi.” Click on Comments, below.

Everyone has a story… more than one … filled with memories … experiences …
the good, and the not so good–even the miraculous.

“To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
every cubic inch of space is a miracle.” Walt Whitman

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths” (Psalm 25:4 NKJV).