Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another bit of imagination

He lounged on a hard bench in the narrow shadow of the overhang above him. Precious little shade was cast by the bit of flat roof that stuck out farther than the wall, but it was enough to keep the burning sun off his face. His legs, propped farther out, caught the full force of the sun, and even though their bronze shade showed they had spent much time in the heat, they glistened with sweat, just like the rest of him.

Vitus played idly with the whip in his hands, using the very tip to flick a nearby pebble and send it bouncing several feet away. It was not often he had a few minutes to sit and watch the traffic of Philippi flow by. His brown eyes flitted from figure to figure in the market area across the street. It was one of many in the large city, and contained mainly finer goods.

Vitus spotted a small group of men who were talking earnestly beside one booth, and recognized them as the travelers who had been in the area for several days now.

"Philosophers of some sort." They preached a strange sort of religion that followed but one God, and yet also followed a dead man. Vitus had heard only bits and pieces of what they said. "And I would not even give them that were it not for the attention focused on them from another someone."

"There they are!" It was her. She had spotted that group of men again. Threading her way through the crowded street, she headed for the market area. Her shimmery golden wrap fell in her hurry, exposing one shoulder and a long pale neck. Black curls cascaded down her shoulders in an alluring manner. Many men considered her beautiful, but Vitus shivered when he looked at those black eyes. They did not see what was before them; they saw something evil and vague. Everyone knew that Aeola could foretell the future.

Vitus glanced over his shoulder at the prison door, just feet from where he sat, remembering the day Aeola had been placed in his charge there. She had been seized by the authorities when she first came to town, wandering around in a confused state, sure to cause trouble. No one knew where she had come from or what had made her the way she was, but when a rich father and son had offered to buy her as a slave, rather than letting her rot in prison cell, the authorities quickly sold her. Her new masters let her wander as she pleased during the day, and she told fortunes to those who paid her. A young man - also a slave of the same masters - followed her at a distance and kept an eye on her. She gave all the money she made to her masters. She seemed not to know the value of the coins she was given.

"There they are!" Again Aeola cried out, staring at the philosophers with her empty black eyes. "Listen to them!" She grabbed the sleeve of the man nearest to her, but he, accustomed to her presence and odd ways, laughed, shook her off, and turned back to his haggling. She tried the next man. "These men are servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation!" she sang in her strange, high, voice. He rolled his eyes and motioned for the lad who followed her to take her off somewhere else.

Aeola darted forward, passing very close to Vitus, and headed for the market area. Once there, she stood in the very group of men and women the preachers were talking with. "These men are servants of the most high God! They show unto us the way of salvation!"

"She's been at this for days," Vitus mused. "Salvation. How can such as she know anything about salvation? She knows nothing of any god - only the strange and awful creatures she deals with in order to learn the future."

"Salvation! They are servants of the most high God!" Aeola's shrill voice rang out much louder than that of the preacher's. One of the men who was not speaking leaned over and whispered something to the main speaker, who shook his head. Vitus was amazed at the patience of these men. Aeola had been following them around for many days now, yelling during all their attempts to preach.

Apparently they were giving up for the morning. The preaching stopped. The crowd disbanded. The men turned and headed toward the street again. A few interested men of the city walked with them, discussing what they had heard preached. Aeola followed.

"Give heed to these men!" she shrieked.

The oldest of the men, who was deeply involved in a conversation with a man of Philippi, finally stopped in the middle of the road, only a few yards from where Vitus sat. He turned to face Aeola.

She stood with her mouth not quite closed. Her eyes were as empty as ever, but fastened on the man who had turned to look at her. When their eyes met she jerked suddenly, and her delicate hands fluttered. She seemed to be incapable of speaking.

Vitus tore his gaze off the woman to look at the man. His face was very grave; almost...sad. He was studying the woman.

Vitus suddenly realized how quiet the street was. He sensed that everyone in the market area was staring at this man and woman, but he dared not look away. He could not. Not a donkey brayed. Even the gurgle of the fountain seemed muted.

In a slow, deep voice, the man spoke. "I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her."

The change was instantaneous. Those black eyes were suddenly clouded. Anger, hatred, and putrid, evil things passed behind her pupils, fighting in some sort of battle. Her face muscles convulsed in terrible ways, and her body shook. With a loud scream that chilled Vitus' very bones she covered her face and sank down on her knees in the dust.

Then she was still. The man watched her for a moment, then turned and continued on his way. His companions followed him; a few of them casting backward glances at the woman who knelt in the street.

It was not until they had disappeared from view that Aeola moved again. She slowly sat up and looked about her. By chance, her head turned towards Vitus, and she met his eyes for a moment. A second later she seemed to gather her strength, for she sprang to her feet and ran down the road the preachers had taken. The young man assigned to watch her had been hanging back with the rest of the market-goers, but he now grabbed her arm.

"Aeola! You will leave them alone now! You have caused enough trouble."

"No." She shook his hand off, her voice clear and earnest. "I must speak with him." She ran out of sight, her bare feet as fleet as a gazelle.

Her young guard stood for a moment in shock, staring after her. Then he turned and ran in the direction of his masters' home.

A hand touched Vitus' own arm, and he jumped, then turned to see his wife. She had come out of their home, which adjoined the prison where Vitus was keeper.

"Did you see that?" she asked.

"Her eyes."


"Her eyes," Vitus whispered. "They saw mine."

"I've never heard her voice so clear and...knowing as it was when she spoke just then. Do you suppose - do you suppose, Vitus - that she possibly has regained her senses?"

"Her eyes knew what they were seeing. They saw mine," he repeated. "She will never look into the future with those eyes."

"But how did he do it? How is it possible?"

"I don't know. He used the name of his God. Jesus Christ."

"Then it is a new God he preaches. There is something behind what he is saying. You have heard him more than I, Vitus; what has he said?"

"He says we are in danger. He says this God will judge the world sometime soon."

Alarm crossed his wife's face.

"Do not worry. I do not believe everything he says."

"...But Aeola...?"

"I know." Vitus stood and flicked his whip again. "There is something going on in this city - and I don't like it. Those men will cause trouble. Did you see Aeola's keeper dashing off to find his masters? They will come to find her. And when they do, do you think Aeola will go with them any more than she would go with her keeper? They will be paying those philosophers a visit soon - and not a pleasant one."

"What do you think - "

"Agathi, I am only a jailer. I do not meddle with these things. Now, I have my rounds to make, and you have our evening meal to make. Begone with you."

Vitus looked once more where Aeola had disappeared. His insides still shook with the tensions of the scene he had just watched. Those men had uncanny powers. They were going to cause trouble. He just knew it.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Just thought you might like to know...

Vision Forum is having a huge sale right now. Often, when I get promotional emails, I simply ignore the sale/special/deal, but I'm glad I popped over there today, because now I can tell you that there are some good deals over there!

For example:

~ The League of Grateful Sons, a very moving documentary about the fathers of the World War II generation, is on sale for ONE DOLLAR. (Yes, you read that right!)

~ Lots and lots of CDs are on sale for $5.oo a piece. (Including The Making of Return of the Daughters ...ooooh, tempting! Don't you love "the making of" info?)

~ There's a 135-page biography of David Livingston that's tempting me; on sale for $3.30

~ There's an in-stock-but-limited-supply of John Bunyan's book Prayer. A must-read...for $7.00.

~ Several DVDs reduced to $10.00

~ Organic growing kits of some sort for $4.00. Haven't tried these, but they look interesting.

...and lots of discounted books.

Of course, these are just the things that caught my eye. You may spot other treasures.

No pressure, of course, but for those of you who have a little extra spending money...you might want to check it out. If you plan to buy something, you might click on the link below to go check out the sight:

(Go to the "Clearance" section)

If you do, I'll get a little something from anything you buy.

Now, how's that for a shameless plug? :) :) :) :) No, seriously; I don't usually promote much on this blog, but I thought there were some good deals on there, and wanted to let y'all know. I really don't care if you use my link or not. :) :) ...But neither will I get upset if you use it. :) (See what good friends we are? I trust my readers explicitly.)

Happy browsing, and have a lovely day! I have another post up my sleeve that I hope to have on here before the day is over....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Will you come visit with me?

I've often wished I could invite every one of my readers to have pizza with my family and I one evening. Unfortunately, I don't think very many of you live across town. (And I also don't think our cupboards contain more than 8 pizza pans.) ...But, seriously, wouldn't it be fun to get together and talk in person? You sweet ladies and girls have been the most wonderful readers I could imagine. I feel like I'm friends with you all.

I can't invite you all to our home, but I do have an event, on October 17th, that I would like to invite you to attend - my family and I will be there, and I would so love to meet some of you there!

Celebrate the Glory. That's what the event is called. CTG for short. It's a conference, a gathering of families, who are coming together to celebrate the glory of God's word. Speakers will be there who want to encourage families to read the Bible together every day, and study God's Word together.

The simplicity takes some getting used to. CTG is not about "how to preserve your marriage," "how to raise amazing children," "how to grow your church over 5,000," or "how to witness to 20 people a day." It's just about celebrating the beauty, uniqueness, holiness, and sufficiency of God's Word. That's it.

My family attended the very first CTG, and we're pleased to be going back again for our third year. The meeting is held in the lovely foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the fall colors show promises of being gorgeous this year. We look forward to listening to speakers and visiting with old and new friends during the 2-hour lunch break. Meeting new friends is one of my favorite parts of the day!!! I hope I'll get to meet some of you this year.

For information on what speakers will be there (we know some of them from past years, and are looking forward to hearing them again!), expenses (registration/attendance is free - lunch is available for those who want to buy it), times, location, and other such details, click here.

Oh yes - one more thing. When you visit that info page, you might want to click on the "Guest Bios" link. Way down at the bottom of the guest bios, you'll come to a bit about a father-daughter team who will be speaking at the conference. The daughter has written a book about family devotions, and about children having the right attitude about being discipled by their parents. At CTG, her father will speak about leading devotions in the home, and then she'll say a word to the young people there, trying to encourage them in their role as disciples.

I do hope you'll say a prayer for that daughter and father and their family. They have a heart to see families loving God's Word, and they so want to be a blessing at this conference. If you are able to make it to CTG, be sure to stop by and talk to this girl. I know she'll love to meet you. In fact, she'll be thrilled.

You see, that girl is me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We had a very funny supper last night.

Unfortunately, Dad missed out on it. He's on a temporary change of work shift, so we've been sorely missing him in the evenings (but enjoying his company for breakfast!). So he missed the funny supper.

It was so funny it was almost awful.

What makes it awful is I can't even tell you what was so funny. The food was fine, the kitchen perfectly normal, and ourselves as normal as we ever are. I was enjoying eating with the family after being sick for so long.

But somehow we got laughing about something. ...And one thing led to another, which led to another, which led to another....You know how it is. Soon we were laughing too hard to eat, and begging Curtis and Justin (our dear main source of amusement) to "stop!" so we could control our laughter. It was one of those good, rolling, unrestrained-laughter times when a good laugh is as satisfying as a meal. :) (No, it's not exactly dignified for the supper table, but OH so fun!)

I won't even try to recount the evening's conversation for you. It won't work. But I did think I'd share what my youngest sister, Lezley, said when she glanced over at Mom, who was shaking with laughter, tears running down her face.

"Mom, I looked at you and your face looked just like Grandma's. I thought you were Grandma hiding inside of Mom's skin!"

Oh - and one more sibling quote.... A few days ago Heather, Curtis, Justin, a friend of the family, and myself were working together on a project, and of course we were chatting as we worked. Someone brought up jokes that play on the amusing differences between men and women, and then someone asked the question; "why do men die sooner than women?"

Serious as could be, Justin solemnly answered; "Because women do the cooking."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Prayer and things

There's a prayer meeting I really wish I could have attended.

Imagine the setting - four young men, faced with a cruel death. They are innocent of any crime, but it makes no difference.

But wait - there is hope! If one of their number can come up with certain information, their lives might be spared. It is information that is impossible for any human being to know on his own. Only God can reveal the knowledge. Their lives hang on whether He will see fit to reveal this information to them.

Talk about getting serious about prayer. These four young men have impeccable character. They are good young men. They are smart as whips, as the saying goes. They are good-looking. They are pleasant. Most importantly, they love God with all their hearts, and they know how to pray. Can you imagine their prayers that night?

I can picture four manly heads bowed in deep concentration. I can hear earnest voices pleading. I can see candlelight reflecting in tears that stream down bronzed faces. I can see these four men kneeling together on the floor of their room.

And they get their answer. God grants them that which they have asked of him. I love that. He is so good.

Don't you wish you could have met Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah? I do. They must have been amazing folk.

Can you tell I'm reading through the book of Daniel in my devotions? I'm also reading through a commentary of the book of Daniel, by John F. Walvoord. It's very good.

To tell the truth, however, I'm not getting as much reading done as I would like. I'm not getting much of anything done. I'm spending more time sleeping than anything else. You know that "swine flu" that has been so talked about? It appears it has decided to pay our family a visit.

Of course, we're not positive that's what we have. However, according to my research (yes I do these kinds of things when I'm sick in bed - that's the nice thing about laptops) the difference between regular flu and swine flu is that swine flu affects the stomach, which ordinary "seasonal" flu doesn't normally do. And stomachs have definitely been affected in our house.

Other symptoms include body aches, cough, runny nose, fatigue, inflamed lungs, and fever.

But enough. Who wants to hear about such things?

I'm not sure how to end this post. I'm not thinking very straight today. But I have a few post ideas floating around, so I think you'll hear from me soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Today was a long day and a short day.

Short because not enough good things filled it, long because too many unnecessary ones did.

I feel like crying...yet smiling. On the outside, it's been an okay day - I accomplished a few things, and nothing majorly terrible happened. Just inside the surface, inside me, it's been an awful day. I've given way to temptation, I had little time to read my Bible this morning, my prayers have been muddled, and I've been lazy.

So inside, I feel awful.

But farther in - deep inside - there's a song. It's soft, and the notes tremble as they bounce off the walls of my heart, but they are there. It's as if they know they have not earned the right to be there, but they can not help ringing forth because of Who made them, and Who placed them in my heart to do the very thing they are doing.

It's a marvelous thing, this Christian life. He's a marvelous Being, this God of mine. He comforts me in the oddest of circumstances - the dirtiest ones, the least deserving ones.

There are times I wish I could see Him in the flesh, so that I might fall down and wash His feet with my hair. Then I think I would kiss them.