Beginnings…Part Three

IMG_0533Saying goodbye is in fact facing a beginning. You can say adios to friends and family as well as jobs, residences, seasons, and vacation. Of course, there are big events when children leave home, loved ones die, youth flees along with health. Yet, these events are replaced with something, perhaps a new beginning.

IMG_0680I recently returned from a very awesome sojourn to Switzerland. The majestic mountains and cool weather rejuvenated my senses and my energy for a short period of time. It’s always nice to say hello to vacation, the planning being a huge part of the anticipation and actual journey. Colors are brighter; smiles are larger; attitudes are transformed. Yes, vacations tend to release negative energy and vibes.

VUQV0631Those events whether a vacation or a move or a change of jobs have the inevitable end and the facing of reality.  That is where I am right now. Summer is coming to a quick halt as the first day of school hangs just a week away. My new beginning, full of anticipation is preceded by a few months of leisure and rest. Who am I to complain! Life is full of these moments between seasons.

The hero in Book Three of Revolutionary Faith, Bring Me Near (Amazon link), faces decisions and an ominous new event:

Charles Town, South Carolina–December 31, 1774

Louis Lestarjette paused with his hands on the hard cherry-wood armoire doors, depending on the strength of the massive piece of furniture to hold him upright. The slight pounding of a headache reminded him of the task before him.

Meet at the Exchange at eleven.

He was to come alone. The note had not been signed. Christopher Gadsden, his friend and business partner, had told him he’d receive an opportunity to help the cause. Since he trusted Christopher, he did not second-guess whether he should meet tonight. Nothing could keep him away. He needed to know how to protect Elizabeth from the turmoil brewing…. 

IMG_1023What are you saying goodbye to right now? What beginning are you anticipating? 

Beginnings…Part Two

IMG_0336…remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father…                                   Thessalonians 1:3

Beginning can be a commencement of something new or different, a complete break from the norm like the beginning of summer or a new job. But sometimes, beginnings are a pause as you reevaluate your position in life. I like these moments for I allow myself to adjust some items that might be causing me to feel smothered or unproductive. I will admit stopping or quitting are not normally a part of my personality. Ask my children remembering when I encouraged them to finish what they committed to until the end. No, quit is not a word I employ often.

IMG_8778Yet, there is a time to reset which might involve a pause in the journey. During this time, I tend to reevaluate my situation. This could involve my words, my actions, my thoughts, asking if they are on track to complete my purpose. After the evaluation, I continue in whatever direction this time of reflection and prayer advises. It could mean starting over, but most likely it shifts my emphasis to realign me to what God wants me to do. Usually, I’ve asked many questions during this interim period, receiving the “yes,” “no,” or “wait” answers.

Surround Me front (1)In my novel Surround Me (Surround Me Link), Book Two in the Revolutionary Faith series , Louis faces a beginning with questions that second-guess his choices.

Bordeaux, France

June 1773

His hands tightly gripped the railing, turning his knuckles a startling white compared to his wind-chapped and tanned skin. The pressure in his grasp mimicked the turmoil in his head. Louis Lestarjette’s gaze lifted to a sea o deep-blue waves. Charles Town and any semblance of land had disappeared weeks ago. Why the upheaval now when he had already had weeks to prepare for his journey and his family reunion? Could a prodigal son truly go back home? How would he be received? The same questions rolled over and over in his head.

If he had made a mistake, he would never forgive himself. All the what-ifs jumbled in his mind, tumbling into compartments he thought he’d closed in order to keep away doubts and insecurities. Where was the peace he had claimed? The voyage was a necessity for business, for the colony of South Carolina, and for his family. He had determined even after the first five weeks on the ocean that his love for Elizabeth Elliott would only increase with time.

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Time–have you ever been given a long period of time to make a decision? I try to grab or schedule time to evaluate my current direction.

 

Beginnings…

IMG_0185Joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

I love the morning, a new beginning. I cherish my front porch time to study and read. To muse. To relax. Beginning are exciting and full of anticipation, whether for a new, full day or an adventure with family, friends, career, or mission. I do admit it is nice to arrive at the middle and see the end and then to complete a task and say well done. But the beginning always has such potential and so many challenging, unanswered questions.

IMG_0186My most recent beginning was the beginning of summer–I’m a teacher. Need I say more? Eight weeks to regroup, renew, rest, and rev up for a new year. Now I’ve seen what I accomplished and set my eyes on the finish line which turns into another beginning.

Another place I love beginnings is with a novel. The beginning leaves me with 300 pages to figure out the answers, to meditate on the circumstances, to fall in love with the characters, and to soak up new knowledge.

Hold me Close front (1)Here is the beginning of my novel Hold Me Close (Hold Me Close link) in the Revolutionary Faith Series, Book One:

Charles Town, South Carolina

September 1772

Louis Lestarjette stepped off the ramp onto dry land after weeks on the Sainte Claire. A line of carriages awaited weary travelers on the other side of the dusty boulevard. But none were waiting for Louis. With his luggage stored for the day at the dock, he set out with an address in hand. As he headed down Bay Street toward Church Street, he tried to adjust his legs from the rolling ship’s deck to dry land.

He was here. After five weeks and four thousand miles, he wanted to believe success lurked around the corner.

Turning onto Tradd Street, Louis breathed in the humid air of Charles Town. He walked for several blocks at a brisk pace, looking to his left and right. Finally, he spotted Wilson’s Mercantile. Welcome or unwelcome, he had finally reached his destination. Nothing he had seen looked familiar or even remotely similar to Paris. Even the tree-lined streets with mansions hiding private gardens paled in comparison to his homeland…

Talk about a beginning: a new country, a new job, an unknown environment. I don’t quite want that dramatic beginning, although I have moved before, taken a new job, started over without friends in a new city. Exciting and scary…

Do you have a new beginning story? 

 

Road to Independence

IMG_0190Happy 4th of July! I have grown to appreciate this celebration. It is more than independence from the rule of another nation. Wrapped up in the meaning is pride in my country and my fellow countrymen. I do remember when I understood or began to understand the love I have for America. While living in England with my family in the 1970s, there were two holidays that suddenly didn’t have an significance to my new “home”–4th of July and Thanksgiving. Well, of course, why would the British claim either of those for national recognition.

I laugh now, but as a child I questioned why everyone didn’t think the 4th of July deserved fireworks, hamburgers, and watermelon. Try asking your British friends where they celebrate. So, my parents explained the history to me, again, and quickly found an American group of patriots living in our area. We cooked out, played games, talked about the United States while respecting the country where we were temporarily living.

I’ve traveled to many countries since that time. Each time I am thankful to set foot on American soil, no offense to any nation or nationality. Yet, I am American and ever so thankful. To me, it is not about politics or benefits, but about freedom, respect, and pride. The nation is not perfect because we as individuals are not perfect, but as long as we continue to make strides toward making our world better then there is hope for all of us.

IMG_0188After lots of research on the American Revolution era (about 45 resources), I’ve tried to determine what it would have been like to live in those troubling years of 1760-1785, more or less. The authoress of Charleston, Mrs. St. Julien Ravenel, worded the struggle about fighting this way: “To understand the hesitation we must remember that many of these men had once fought as Englishmen; and not without a pang of heart, even under deepest provocation, do men fire upon the flag which once was theirs.” War is difficult enough against strangers, but against one’s own relatives and citizens it had to be devastating and soul-wrenching.

 

The Revolution era gave flags like “Join or Die”–Benjamin Franklin and “Don’t Tread on Me”–Christopher Gadsden. For decades the colonists wanted representation and reconciliation. It wasn’t until there seemed to be no other way that separation was an option. The price for unity and forming a new nation was costly in lives, in standard of living, in ties to the rest of the world, in relationships, finances, and historical precedent.

american flagI’m thankful and respectful of the tough, forever changed, challenging decisions the nation’s designers had to make. Today, I will remember the beginning in order to face the future.

How are you celebrating the 4th? Do you have memories that formulated your understanding of this celebration?