To Those Who Love

February’s almost at its end, dearly beloved. But even though this “love month’s” nearly over, it doesn’t mean that we should keep our love from running over.

And so I shall share with you the stories that have made up this month’s batch of retellings. I shall share with you the stories which are not only hidden deep within the scriptures, but are also hidden deep within our hearts.

Stories of waiting. Stories of mourning. Stories of forgiving. Stories of just simply delighting.

I went back to some Bible stories to get some gleanings about how people loved back then. I tried rewriting them in first person (and in present tense – phew!) so that we all could empathize with them a bit more.

These are the finished pieces. They’re still rough and need more polishing, but they should do for now. Just click on the images below and read, read, read.

I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. :)

Spread the love!

P.S. You might have been expecting a “Thoughts on … ” piece. But just as some shows get postponed to make room for special episodes, I’m postponing the “Thoughts” piece to next week. :D

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To Those Who Delight

Eden is delightful. That sentence itself is redundant, since “eden” literally means “delight”. But it is. A delight, I mean. Glorious trees surround my home. Flowers shining like gold, sapphire, ruby — every colour imaginable — they fill its every nook and crany. Fruits — succulent, rich, and mouthwatering — they grow everywhere and I can feast on them all, save for a certain kind of fruit growing from this one certain tree.

There are plenty of things to do here. Just today, my Lord brought the animals to me, asking me to name them one by one. It’s great fun. I love speaking names out. I love declaring. I love discovering a creature’s essence and I love calling it forth to life.

It’s strange though. As I did my assignment, I noticed this very peculiar thing. All those animals — there was always two of each kind.

Why did they come in twos? I’m not complaining. Yet why — why is it that when it comes to me, there seems to be nothing — nobody else the same as me?

I close my eyes. Sleep comes. The last thing I see is the face of my Lord — my Father — smiling down at me.

***

His eyes are soft. Yet as I look on, I sense a burning fire in them — red hot, a mixture of passion and devotion.

I call Him “Father”. He was the first Being I have ever had the privilege to see. He was the One who led me around the garden so that I could look upon the animals, munch upon the fruits, and drink upon the beauty of the blossoms and the trees.

I love everything about Him. Yet, though I know I am complete, I feel like something — a part of me — is missing. Or perhaps I am the missing part of something?

But what?

Suddenly, I see him. Suddenly, he sees me.

***

I have just woken up. And what is in my view? Lo and behold, a creature of great beauty!

I have never seen anything like her. She’s — is there even a word fit to describe the being before me?

She looks at me tentatively, yes, even bashfully. What should I say? I must say something to break this silence. I must — Oh, what should I say, what should I say?

I feel for my heart and then I notice an odd sensation just below my chest. I touch my rib cage, feeling for the bones underneath my skin. Something is different.

Suddenly, I know what I must do. Suddenly, I know what I must say to the maiden before me.

***

“At last!” He says. “This one is bone from my bone and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman’ because she was taken from ‘man.'”

I blush. I look around for my Father and I see Him smiling at me. “Go on,” His eyes seem to say.

I take a step forward. The man reaches out, gently taking both of my hands.

“My name is Adam. You… you shall be called ‘Eve’. You shall become a mother of all who live.”

Father’s soft yet passionate glance seems to be reflected in the man’s eyes. I gaze into them, feeling a shy smile creeping to my lips.

“Hello, Adam,” I breath. “Yes I am Eve. I shall be called your Eve, a mother to all who live.”

We walk, hand in hand. We turn our heads to our Father. The Father grins.

He is delighting in Adam and me.

END
Based on Genesis 2

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What if Saturday: Coffee Cup

She’s late again. I’m guessing she has: (a) stood me up on purpose; or (b) forgotten all about our breakfast date. I’m going for (b). Marina, brilliant as she is, has the tendency to be scatterbrained.

Pity. Maybe that’s the reason why she can’t find a job yet. Wait, did I just think that thought out? How mean of me. But then again, I do turn into a monster when I’ve been kept waiting for too long.

I stare into my empty coffee cup. The porcelain is stained with the froth from my long-finished cappuccino. It’s been an hour and a half already. Face it, Eddy. She isn’t coming.

I contemplate ordering The Bean’s latest special. Perhaps the sugar and the caffeine would give my mood a much-needed power up. I raise my left hand, high enough for the barista to see. “Give me a shot of The Saturday Froth, Cindy! Thanks!”

The rosy girl in the earth brown uniform throws me nod and starts whipping my order up. I watch, trying to see if I could identify the ingredients going into my cup. Expresso. Low fat milk. Chocolate bits. Hazelnut syrup. Muscovado sugar. Whipped cream. A special topping. Seems appetizing enough.

Cindy grabs some serviettes, after which she brings me The Saturday Froth. She gives me a cheery smile. “Enjoy!”

I take the stirrer I used for my cappuccino and pick at the whipped cream. I take a syrup-stained dollop, bring the small helping into my mouth, and let the sweetness roll around in my tongue. It’s surprisingly good.

My insides suddenly feel warm, like I’ve just drunk an entire bottle of wine. I sense a strange heat rising up my stomach, up my chest, up my throat, all the way up to my head. But my hair — how could I feel my hair? — it seems cold, like I’ve just stuck it inside the refrigerator. What did Cindy put in my coffee?

I blank out for a moment or two. The next thing I know, someone’s grabbing my right elbow. I’m being yanked up into the air and —

Wait a minute. How is it possible that I’m being brought so high up?

“I can not believe his nerve. Did you see the way he looked at her? And I was right there. Standing in front of him.”

“Chill, girl. He’s so not worth it. You deserve someone better.”

“Ugh. He makes me so mad.

A pair of cherry-red lips touch my forehead, leaving its tell-tale stain behind. I feel my feet touch solid ground once again.

Images of giant beetles and larger than life bosoms begin to swirl around my head. Kafka, Roth — I remember these authors from a humanities class back in college. Could it be? I try to feel around for my other arm, I try to make out my head, my torso, my legs…

But alas. It seems as if the unthinkable has come true.

I’ve turned into a coffee cup.

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/01/25/new-project-10-what-ifs/

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Post a Week: Undo

If you could un-invent something, what would it be? Discuss why, potential repercussions, or a possible alternative.

Thanks for the great idea, rarasaur!

The letters stare at me, cold and emotionless against the glare of my computer screen. “Hello, how are you?” they read. Hello? How are you? Those four cordial words would never be enough to convey all the emotion I’m feeling right now.

Longing. Wistful pining. Heartfelt concern. Love. These deserve more than an email. These deserve more than bytes of pixels sent over secure protocols and SMTP connections. These deserve —

These deserve me seeing you face to face, seeing your reaction as I shakily speak those simple words out. These deserve me hearing how you’d respond, instantly or after a moment or two of thoughtful silence — not after days of Internet muteness.

The next best thing is a real letter, complete with my awkward strokes and tense lettering.

But what can I do? In the end, I realize it’s better not to undo.

I type a few more paragraphs. Hopefully they’ll do me and my heart justice.

via http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/daily-prompt-und/

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Thoughts on The Secret of Counting Gifts

the secret of counting giftsThe Secret of Counting Gifts
Author: Heidi Kreider
Genre: Inspirational
Purchase: Smashwords*

Summary: For 28 years, Kris and Liz have been roommates, best friends and later next door neighbors. They have lived life and supported one another through marriage, babies, miscarriage, depression, death, and infidelity. 28 years will be all they have as Liz loses her battle with breast cancer. On her last night, they look back and count the gifts of gratitude that has made up their story. (via www.smashwords.com)

* * *

Every now and then, you’ll find a book that would touch a very deep place in your heart. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter did that a few years ago for me. The Secret of Counting Gifts did it again just recently.

It’s a short read. The book is composed of 29 chapters (plus an epilogue) with a narration that slips back and forth between the present (Liz’ last night with her friends and family) and the past (the 28 years that comprised Liz’ and Kris’ friendship). I say it’s a short read because the individual chapters are actually pretty short and the language Kreider uses is actually pretty simple. Simple, but touching nonetheless.

I almost cried while reading the last chapter. My emotions have been pretty placid the past days — perhaps I’d have cried more during one of my more emotional seasons — but that chapter definitely left a mark.

Some highlights:

She held my hand when I buried my father and I stood with her when her husband walked out. It was I who encouraged Liz to pursue her dream of song writing when she lacked purpose, and it was I who found her agent. When my son was deployed, it was Liz who framed his army portrait and put it in her mantle. (Chapter 1)

She knew peace could only come from surrendering that bitterness. She knew that freedom comes from forgiveness. She knew. (Chapter 9)

“Kris, I’ve found Jesus.” Liz announced. “Was he lost?” I asked, confused. (Chapter 11)

Isn’t this how it is? Even while we wait for death, we live. We , who are alive, keep living. We go on, day after day, saying things like, “I’d die if I had to do that” or “that scares me to death.” We speak so glibly of dying and death. We know nothing of that which we speak. (Chapter 12)

“More than anything,” she said, gently brushing tears from my face, “continue counting. Count with me to the end and keep counting after I’ve gone.” (Chapter 28)

This book shows how life becomes more meaningful when we begin to count the gifts it has given us. When we live lives filled with gratitude, you can look back at anything — depression, failed marriages, miscarriages, cancer — and say that it’s still all worth it.

There are portions that some people might find preachy, though. But again, the book is a gem. Read it. It might just change your life.

*Smashwords is an ukay-ukay for books like Noistrade is one for music. You have to scour through piles of mostly independently published books (some with “just okay” writing) to get that find that you’ll treasure forever. Drop by if you’re a fan of e-books. Your next good read might there waiting for you today.

To Those Who’ve Fallen

I have sinned. Greatly. I am not worthy to be called king. I am not worthy to stand in this throne.

I killed somebody. I took away somebody’s life by making him fight in the front lines, by positioning him in the most dangerous location of all.

All because I was enamoured. All because I was enraptured. All because —

All because of her. Bathsheba.

But I love her. I do.

***

My lord, my king — how we have fallen. I knew I should have taken those cleansing rites somewhere else. I knew I should have said no when your messengers sent for me. I knew I should have told you that you couldn’t have me, that I loved and respected my husband too much to commit such a despicable act.

But what’s done is done. There’s nothing I can do to change what was.

I must face the consequences of my own actions.

I must learn to be responsible for the choices that I — yes I — have made.

***

She was such an unusual beauty. She was such a marvellous creature. And she was bathing in broad daylight for me to see. I was idle. I was tempted.

I gave in.

And then she sent me the message. “I’m with child,” she said.

I tried to patch things up. I asked her husband to go home. I even encouraged him to sleep with her. But he didn’t. “How could I when my comrades are camping out in tents and in the open fields?” he exclaimed.

I was left with no choice. I had to.

***

You should know it broke my heart, hearing how my husband died. I somehow knew you were behind it. I did love him. I loved him very much.

You took him away from me. You took my pride away, too, together with my dignity —

You — Oh, how is it that even though you are a murderer and an adulterer, I respect you, honour you and even — gasp —

Love you?

***

I know what I did displeased God. I know what I did has brought a curse upon my home.

But I know His grace is unending. I know His forgiveness is encompassing. His love —

Oh, I am not worthy to receive His love.

Oh, but create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit in me.*

I must go to her. I must give her my comfort. I must tell her that she is forgiven, too.

***

I understand that God washes us of our guilt, that He cleanses us from our sins. I understand that even though we have fallen to the deep end, He has already restored to us the joy of our salvation.*

My king, I am yours. God has forgiven me, so I choose to forgive you.

And I — I forgive myself, too.

END
Based on 2 Samuel 11&12, mixed in with New Testement concepts on forgiveness
* From Psalm 51, David’s Psalm after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba

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What if Saturday: Fly on the Wall

Another day, another Saturday. I head over to my refrigerator, stick my head inside, and make a quick inventory. There are three eggs, an apple, a box of orange juice, two onions with their shoots already peeking out, and a Tupperware half-filled with last night’s dinner. None of them look particularly appetizing but I grab the Tupperware, feel for the orange juice box, and try to juggle the Fuji apple in with the lot anyway.

It’s going to be a boring day. I really don’t have anything to do. You can call me a bum, but the truth is, that’s exactly what I am.

I set my refrigerator finds on top of my plastic dining table, you know, the kind they use in cheap sidewalk eateries. I sit on a chair made of the same material. One day, I’m going to get myself a wooden dining set. One day. Maybe next year. Or within three or six months, if I’m lucky. I have to get a job first. Which reminds me. I have to check on the status of my online applications.

I start munching on my apple while I wait for my four-year-old laptop to come to life. The thing’s a dinosaur but it’s good enough. Its WiFi device can pick up Joe’s unsecure connection from across the hall. Well, his connection isn’t really unsecure, but his password is far too easy to guess — “muning-muning”, the name of his pet cat spelled out twice. He doesn’t know I know. But hey — the workaholic’s barely around the house so guess I’m doing him a favour by at least consuming part of his postpaid data plan.

Let’s see. Graphic Designer for Company X. Pending. Illustrator for Company Y. Pending. Advertiser for Company Z. Under consideration. Ugh. It’s been under consideration for a week now. When are they going to call me for an interview? I need a job, ASAP. These bills aren’t going to pay themselves, you know.

“Maybe you should apply for a job as a writer. Didn’t you minor in that field in your undergrad?”

Huh? Strange. I seem to be hearing voices. Not voices, actually, like there’s a whole lot of them. I’m just hearing one. I seem to be hearing a squeaky, high-pitched voice, the kind they use for mouse voiceovers in the movies. I take a swig of my oj and hit refresh.

“Try to show them some of your Writing 100 creative output. Or that article you did for the newspaper once. The one you had to make for your Journalism 200 project. Hey, you could try contacting that newsroom again! They might still remember you, you know.”

That squeaky voice again. I look around. Nobody’s in the room with me. Nobody, save for a fly who looks dreadful, perched on the white-painted wall like that. It looks like a piece of booger, disgusting and out of place.

The fly suddenly decides to change its location and zips over to my Tupperware. I try to shoo it away. It stays there and fixes its gaze upon me. As if a fly could fix its gaze upon me.

“I’m not going anywhere you know. You look really pathetic, hitting refresh like that. I think you’re just not applying for the right job. I heard from the other flies in Flyville that — excuse me for the term — you are actually a really fly writer.”

“Are you actually talking to me?”

“Yes I am, honey. I’m talking to you. Consider me to be your Fairy Fly Mother and take my advice. Apply for a writing job. You know you’re a shoo in. Why are you pushing yourself into those other positions anyway?”

“Because I’m an awful writer.”

“Well if you’re an awful writer, then you’re a terrible graphic designer.”

“Hey! You haven’t even seen my works!”

“Oh, I have, I have. Fine, you’re designing is not too shabby. But you’re writing is so much better.”

“You’ve read my writing?”

“I peek inside your journal when you’re asleep.”

“What?! That’s private!”

“Yep. And if that’s how you write privately, imagine how you would write publicly.”

This is so crazy. Am I actually talking to a fly? A fly who calls itself a Fairy Fly Mother? Come on. Is there even such a thing as a Fairy Fly Mother?

“I’m going insane.” I voice out.

“Take my advice hon. There’s an opening over there. See — see that one, job result number three. Okay, clicky-clicky. Alright. Now whip up a cover letter. And dig up a writing sample from your files. You can do it. You can do it.”

I give in. It’s crazy enough that a fly is talking to me. Perhaps it would be crazier still if I land a job as a writer — something I’m running away from. But it’s a job I’d secretly love to do, to tell you the truth.

“Alright, Fairy Fly Mother, if you say so.”

Cover letter. I rest my fingers on my laptop’s keypad and start typing away.

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/01/25/new-project-10-what-ifs/

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Post a Week: Look Forward

It’s Valentine’s Day, so write an ode to someone or something you love. Bonus points for poetry!

Time is transitory
Sadness temporary
All I’m feeling now will soon all pass
Cause I’ve been missing you
But you’ve been missing too
Tell me that this loneliness won’t last

But I’ll
look forward to forever
When time
and distance will barely matter
And you and I will be together forever
And you and I will be together forever
Forever

Time is filled with beauty
Joy and love surround me
I know that waiting can still be sweet
So I’ll wait for you
And as you still wait too
I’ll hold on to the promise ‘coz this love’s worth it

Everything will fall in place in its perfect time
Like the way your hand will fit perfectly into mine

via http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/cupids-arrow/

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