Friday, September 21, 2012

Clean Up Your Act

One of my least favorite things to do is to clean out the garage or my closet. Of course, eventually you have to give in and clean them out or you will end up with heaps of stuff on top of piles of stuff and you won’t have any idea what you do and do not have. My sister, Robbie, on the other hand, loves to clean out anything. She’s a very sick person if you ask me. We live together and so this is a big issue between us. She’ll get this look that says, “It’s time to tackle the garage” and I run and hide in my room.
Robbie loves to sort, organize, make lists, alphabetize items and color coordinate. This is very scary to me. Cleaning out the garage becomes, not just a tedious task, but an event when Robbie is involved. There’s a give away stack, a throw away stack, a what-is-it stack, a bulky item pick-up stack, a hazardous chemical stack, and the list goes on and on. We have to start this project at about 5:30 am in order to finish by bed time.
On the day of the project I wake up with a sense of dread. Robbie wakes up with a “yippee” in her voice. It makes me want to strangle her and put her body in the throw away stack. I drag my feet as long as I can to prolong the blessed event, finding a million other things to do until Robbie finally starts screaming, “Let’s get this party started!” I’ve never seen a woman any happier than when Robbie is standing in the middle of a big clean out project. I’m telling you this is not a normal person.
My problem is that I want to keep everything.
“Don’t throw away that thing-a-ma-bob,” I say, rescuing it out of the throw away stack. “I might need it later.” Robbie just keeps tossing things in her neatly labeled piles until we collapse on the front lawn with a completely empty garage.
“Now,” Robbie will say smiling, “let’s put each thing in a specific place, color coordinated according to labels and in categories such as gardening, lawn, tools, etc. And so it goes. I’m usually lying on my back, staring up at the sky, praying frantically for the rapture.
“God if you’re a just God, please send Jesus back now to rescue me from the ‘Evil Queen of Lists.’” I listen carefully for the sound of the trumpet or for a glimpse of Jesus on one of the clouds, but, alas, I have to get up and finish the grand garage project.
When we finally finish, Robbie stands back with her hands on her hips and say, “Now doesn’t that make you feel good?” I usually just go back inside, mumbling under my breath. Robbie will go in and out of the garage about sixty times, commenting each time on how nice the garage looks. I shower and collapse on my bed, locking the door behind me so Robbie can’t get in to see my closet.
We have to sift threw a lot of stuff in life to sort out what’s worth keeping from the junk we need to toss. Too many times we let the junk influence our decisions and we throw out the gold nuggets along with the useless stuff. Maybe we’re in a great church, but one thing happens that offends us and we’re ready to throw away the whole church because of it. Perhaps we’ve tossed aside a good friend because it takes too much effort on our part to keep up the relationship.
Sometimes we clutter up our lives with so much junk we couldn’t find the real priceless things if we tried. We don’t sort or sift; we just accept and keep with no consideration of quality or value. As Christians, we should live what we value. The things we value in our lives should shine through for others to see. The clutter and piles of junk we collect in life will reflect chaos and lack of vision to others.
We must pay close attention to the things we toss aside and the things we decide to keep. We need to get out our sifter and make sure we’re catching all the gold pieces that life has to offer and then get rid of the junk. Our life should reflect direction, purpose, and vision. People will see what is valuable and important in our life once we strip away the junk and it will set an example for others to follow. They will want what we have to offer and our life will bring honor to God.
Excerpt from Life is a Buffet So What's On Your Plate? (Copyright  ©2009 by Polly D. Boyette - All rights reserved.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chasing Angels Chapter Samples 1-3


“Watch out! The dragon is right behind me! I can feel his breath on my neck. Run for your lives before he destroys us all.”
Nathan was just a young boy who had not seen much of the world outside the small town of Fairhaven, and yet, he was wise beyond his 11 years. He spent a lot of time on his own these days. His mother was often too busy to pay attention to him. Nathan didn't mind though. He used his imagination to stay occupied. Right now there was a fire-breathing dragon lurking at the edge of the woods. If he kept low to the ground, perhaps he’d be invisible to the monster’s yellow eyes. He hid for what seemed like forever, until the sky was clear with only a few motionless clouds drifting above him. 
Cautiously, he left his hiding place and walked along the banks of the Black River. The trees were amber and gold today, much brighter than they had appeared yesterday. The wind sent a chill through him. Kicking at the leaves, he picked up a stick that could have easily passed as an ancient sword of a warrior who walked this same path centuries ago along the old Black River. Nathan paused to think how the river had been there since he could remember. He thought of it more as a trusted friend than just simply a river. No matter what happened, he could always come there and find the comfort and warmth that was missing at home.
The sun was radiant today. So he took advantage of it and used his powerful sword to ward off evil and invisible enemies. He felt strong with the sun shining on his back. It was different from the night, when everything was colorless and cold. He turned quickly to make sure no one had followed him with a surprise attack from behind.
Nathan jumped and rolled in the crisp leaves on the soft ground. What a day! No mere human could make a day like this, even if they tried. He leaned up against a tree and listened for a while. The birds were rehearsing a new symphony that would be debuted tomorrow morning for lucky early risers. They didn't seem to mind him eavesdropping. As a matter of fact, they seemed to sing even louder now. Nathan closed his eyes and he could almost hear a piano and a distant flute. His imagination was perfect today. He paused a little longer, and then, as if something or someone had called him, he took off running down the edge of the river's bank, skipping and dragging his sword closely by his side. "Wait, was that the dreaded dragon hiding behind that tree?" he wondered to himself. Even a dragon couldn't conquer the magical sword he possessed. He posed himself like a brave knight about to do battle with his worst enemy.
“This will surely make me famous,” he thought. “Why, I bet there hasn't been a dragon slain in these parts in hundreds of years.” The dragon was breathing heavily now. Nathan could see smoke rising from his nostrils. “Be brave,” he whispered to himself. “You have your sword. Nothing can harm you as long as you swing it with all your might.” He steadied his hand and placed one arm behind his back. He ran at the tree with the sword outstretched and leapt on the other side to greet his opponent with surprise.
The fire-breathing dragon had disappeared. Apparently, too frightened to stay and fight. But something had been left behind. As Nathan bent to push some of the leaves away for a better view, he saw what looked like a human hand. He fell backwards, landing awkwardly on his sword. Could it be? Should he look again? He was trembling inside and suddenly felt afraid. But his curiosity was greater than his fear. He stepped closer and bent down again to search for what he thought he had seen. Yes, there it was, a small pale hand, like that of a child. He carefully removed more of the leaves until he could clearly see that it was a child, a boy, with dark hair and smooth skin. The small body was motionless and cold and his lips were a bluish color. Off in the distance, he heard someone calling his name.