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?