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What I Learned From Writing A Novel

November 8, 2013 5 comments

Last Saturday I completed writing a fiction series.  Putting all of the posts together, it turns out that I wrote a novel.  You can visit and read them at my FICTION page.

I didn’t expect that I would do this over a year’s time.  It started out as something that was more for my wife than anything.   However, there are some lessons that I learned from writing this project.

Consistency is key.  Showing up and writing is important.  I wouldn’t have completed this if I hadn’t show up every week when it was time to write.

Some characters are easier to write than others.  I didn’t like every character.  Those that I thought I would like the best were often those that were the hardest to write.  Those that I despised were easier to write.

It’s good to have a plan.  I had a general idea each week of what I would write.  If I had it to do over, I would have sketched out a general idea of the story ahead of time to give me a bit more structure to follow.

But not too much.  Even though I had a general idea of where I was going each week, it often took on a life of its own while I was writing.  Twists and turns took a life of their own.  Sometimes it felt like it was writing itself.

Writing dialogue is the toughest part.  Writing dialogue that isn’t stiff and unnatural is difficult.  I’m not sure I fared so well.

Knowing the characters is important.  If I had to go back and rewrite this, I would have written a short biography of each character.  It would help me know each of them, plus be a valuable resource.

These are just  a few lessons I learned from writing a novel over a year’s time.  There are other things, some of which I’m not sure I even know yet that I learned.  All of these are valuable as I go forward in my writing.

Have you ever written a novel?  What lessons did you learn?

Categories: Blogging, Fiction Tags: , , ,

Resignation, Part 52: The Final Chapter

November 2, 2013 Leave a comment

Fred woke up at 4:30.  On the dot.  He wondered how many days he had done that.  Countless.  Lonely ones since Betty had left him behind.  He reached and felt her side of the bed.  Even after all these years, he didn’t slide to that side of the bed when he slept.  It was her spot.  Sacred to no one else but him.  It was as cool as it was the day before and the day before that.  How he longed for it to be warm again.

Fred laid there until 5:00.  He couldn’t stay there any longer.  He performed his morning ritual before moving to the kitchen.  He started his coffee before slumping to his recliner.  He listened to the coffee crack and pop as it perked.  He imagined that it would be good, though he wasn’t sure had drunk a good cup of coffee since Betty had passed.  They could prepare it the same way, but hers somehow always tasted better.

He read Psalm 23 while he waited on the coffee.  It was Betty’s favorite, just like her mother’s before her.  He thought back to the graveside service and how so many in the church had been there.  She had been loved by so many, most of them she felt like she had helped raise in the nursery.

Fred stretched back and closed his eyes.  He whispered some prayers in his mind.  He felt….strange was all he could think of.  He needed to get up and get that coffee.  He needed something to get him going this morning, but he was so tired.  It just wasn’t normal.  Maybe if he just shut his eyes for a few minutes, he could…..

*****

David woke with a start.  He had been dreaming, but he couldn’t quite recall it.  It seemed like Fred was there and maybe someone else.  Was that Betty, Fred’s wife, who was there?  They had seemed so happy, almost giddy, like they hadn’t seen each other in a long time.  They looked different too, younger, but even better than that.  Stronger.  Better than he had ever seen them.  They had seemed to be worshiping.  That was when he woke up.  He thought it was weird that he would be dreaming about them, especially Betty.

David thought he must have dreamed about Fred because he was supposed to take him out to lunch, but it sure didn’t explain Betty being in the dream.  They had both been like another set of grandparents.  His first times in the church had been in Betty’s nursery.  He had taken his own children there when they had come along.

David leaned back and started praying.  He couldn’t get Fred off his mind.  He was going to have to check on him a little earlier than he expected.  He tried his best to keep praying.  Finally, he gave up.  He got up and grabbed his cell phone.  He found Fred’s number and dialed it.  He let it ring until the answering machine picked up.  David hung up.  He waited a minute and called back.  He hung up again when the machine picked up again.  He waited and called again.  Again, no answer.

David went to the bathroom  and quickly brushed his teeth.  He slipped on his clothes and headed out the door.  Jumping in his truck, David headed for Fred’s.  He wasn’t going to worry until he got there, but he was worried.  It was strange that he couldn’t get a hold of Fred.

*****

Dale had been awake for a while.  He loved following the same routine.  He got up and grabbed a Diet Mountain Dew.  He would stretch a  bit and read a bit for the Gospels.  He loved starting with Jesus.  Then he followed a plan that he used for reading through the Bible.  He went through this plan four times a year.  He would spend some time praying and stretching.  Then he would eat a little something.  A little more study and then he would head out for a run.  He loved listening to a sermon he had downloaded  while he ran.  Sometimes he would listen to praise music.  Whatever he was in the mood for or what he needed.  Whatever his soul needed.

He came back in from his run after about forty minutes.  It had been a good run and a good sermon he had listened to.  It was just what he needed before he headed into the office.  He still couldn’t believe it that he was back in the pulpit.  He had a few items he needed to take care of.  He wanted to set up a schedule to begin visiting church member.  He wanted to really get to know his people and love them in their homes.  Later, he needed to make a hospital visit.

Melissa was waiting on his as he came in the door.  The look on her face told him most of what he needed to know.  There was an emergency, a crisis of some sort.  There were tears in her eyes.  She handed him his phone.   He hit the last number that had called.

“Dale, thanks for calling me back.”  David sounded frantic on the other end.

“Hey, David.  What’s going on?”

“It’s Fred, Dale.  Can you get over to the hospital?”

“I’ll be there in just a minute, David.  Hang on.”

*****

Tom and Teresa woke up and glanced at the clock.  It was up in the morning.  They had stayed up late the night before, but that was ok.  It was their honeymoon.

Tom remembered when he had first asked Teresa where she had wanted to go on the honeymoon.  He had expected her to say something like a cruise or an exotic location like Cancun or Bermuda.  He had laughed when she had told him where it was she had wanted to go.  He may have laughed louder when he had made the reservations.  He had received a strange look or two, but he didn’t really care.  It was where Teresa had wanted to go, so he was happy to make it happen for her.

Now they were at Disney.

Teresa had never been before.  She had always wanted to go, but her family had not been able to afford it when she was growing up.  She had never really had any friends as an adult who had wanted to go with her.  Now, at last, she did.

They had been to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.  Today there were scheduled to go to Animal Kingdom.  Tom was more excited about this than any other part of the park.  He was about to head to the bathroom to get ready when he heard a phone ringing.  He saw Teresa reach for her phone with a puzzled look on her face.  She answered and then he quickly heard a cry.

Tom reached Teresa as she put the phone down.  Tears were streaming down her face.

“What’s wrong, Babe?”

“He’s gone, Tom.  He’s gone home.”

“Who?”

“Fred.”

Tom clutched her to him.  He couldn’t believe this.  They had gotten so close to Fred and the team during the search process.  Their life together was just beginning.  Now, Fred’s life on earth was ending.  Tom smiled just a little, though, because that it wasn’t the end though.  It was just the beginning.  Fred had gone on to glory.  He was just beginning his life in eternity.

“Let’s head home.” Tom looked down into Teresa’s eyes, wondering what she would think of cutting their honeymoon short.

Teresa pulled back a bit, looking back at Tom.

“Yeah, let’s head home.”

Resignation, Part 51

October 26, 2013 4 comments

Dale walked behind the pulpit.  He couldn’t help but pause and smile.  His journey to this point was not the one he thought he would take.  He had simply thought he would be an interim pastor for this church for a few months until they called their new pastor.  He had no idea when he took this task on that he would end up being that pastor.  Now he was about to be a part of one of the most unique services of which he had ever taken part.

“It’s a privilege to be your pastor.  I am still amazed at the fact that the Lord worked this out and put it together.  Today is my first service as your pastor and I will not keep you long today.  There will be plenty of chances to do that in the future.  Today will be a unique day.  It’s my first day in the pulpit in this role.  I’ve been here before, but now we begin a new journey together.  It’s a new beginning.”

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  We see that, but we need to pause and let it soak in.  There was a beginning.  This world, this creating began with God.  He created.  He kick started what we have here today.”

“Almost every day he created something and called it good.  He could have created it all at once, but He chose not to.  It’s as though He made what He wanted that day and thought, “That’s good enough for today.”  So, He moved on to the next day.  Guess what?  It was good, too.  It was good enough.”

“There was only one problem during creating.  Well, we might call it a problem.  There was no problem for God.  There was one thing that was not good.  God said that it was not good for man to be alone.  Man needed a helper.  There was just one problem.  None of the other living creatures that He had created would suffice.  Man needed a helper who was his equal.  One with whom he could share the good life God had created.”

“God took the man’s rib and created woman.  He gave her to him and the man became excited.  He realized that she was part of him.  She was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh.  She would be the reason that other men would leave their parents, so that they would become one flesh.”

“This is what happened in the beginning.  Today, in our beginning, we are becoming one.  I am becoming part of this body, but more than that, you are becoming part of me.  We are joining together in a different way than we have before.  There is a new commitment we have to each other.  I am not your CEO.  I am not the president of this church.  I am a part of the body.  We are simply one flesh now.”

“But that isn’t the only new beginning happening today.  We have something unique happening today.  We have two others who want to join together in a new way.  They have known each other for many years, but it wasn’t until the search team formed that they really began to know each other.  Due to what and Who brought them together, they want to stand before you and exchange their vows.  They want you to be part of their beginning.”

Tom Davis stood up, walking to the front of the auditorium.  Dale made his way down to stand in front of him.  They grinned at each other as they really weren’t 100% sure what would take place next.

There was an uncomfortable pause as several people seemed confused.  A few murmurs could be heard.  Someone, perhaps they were older and a little harder of hearing, asked why a wedding was taking place.  Many people turned around to see what was going on and if the bride was about to make her way.

The doors to the back opened and the traditional wedding march began to play.  Coming through the door was Teresa Smith.  She was being escorted down to her groom by Fred McGinley.  No one was surprised, the least of which were the members of the search team.  They had watched Tom’s and Teresa’s romance begin with a small spark, burning until it reached into a raging fire.

Teresa was handed over to Tom and they stood before Dale each one beaming.  The music ended with Tom taking Teresa by the hand.  Dale asked if they were ready and they both replied with a resounding “YES!!!”

Dale began with a few words and then began his wedding sermon.

“Tom and Teresa, the Bible says that in the beginning, the more days that went by, God said that it was all good.  He created woman because man needed a helper.  Once woman was there, it was good.”

“They became bone of bone and flesh of flesh.  They became one.  That is what the two of you are becoming today.  We are privileged to witness and share this with you.  Are you ready to exchange your vows?”  Both nodded the affirmative.

“Tom, do you take Teresa to be your wife, to have and to hold, in sickness in health, for richer or for poorer, ‘til death do you part?”

“Yes!!!”  Tom said grinning at Teresa.

“Teresa, do you take Tom to be your husband, to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, ‘til death do you part?”

“Yes!!!” Teresa almost shouted, tears streaming down her face.

Dale looked at both of them smiling, almost laughing, saying, “By the power vested in me I now pronounce you husband and wife.  Tom, you may kiss your bride.”

With that the entire congregation stood and applauded.  Tom and Teresa turned to them, waving and smiling.

Dale spoke up one last time.  “I know that many of you had no idea what kind of service you would be a part of today.  Some did know and have prepared a reception for Tom and Teresa.  They would love to invite you to attend and fellowship together in celebration of what we have just been part of.”

The accompanists began playing and everyone began to make their way to the gym where the reception was being held.  Dale paused, pondering the unusual start to his ministry here.  “A marriage!!!  How fitting.”

Categories: Blogging, Church, Fiction Tags: ,

Resignation, Part 50

October 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Dale closed his Bible and glanced to his right.  The music minister was already moving to his place to lead the invitation hymn.  The accompanists took their few short steps from their places to sit behind the piano and organ.  Inwardly, Dale shook his head.  He wondered what the church would think about making some changes.  Depending on how things went, he would find out.  Not at first, though.  Even though he might have a head start, having been the interim pastor for a few months.

After a few verses, Dale glanced over the musicians.  A short nod and the invitation was over.  Several people had moved that day, but not for any sort of decision.  Dale imagined that they were at the altar for what was about to happen.  Dale stepped back onto the stage and stood behind the pulpit.  He waited while those who were praying continued until they were finished.  As they moved back to their seats, Dale began to speak.

“At this point, I’m done for the day.  I’ve going to turn the service over to David and the search team.  My family and I are going to step out and let the church go about your business.  We’ll see you later.”  With that Dale stepped off to his right to join his family and exited the church building.

David and the search team stepped onto the stage.  David felt a bit of nervousness.  The team had met and prayed together so many times.  They had looked at resumes’ and visited churches.  They had listened to numerous preachers.  The one they had decided to present to the church had been right under the noses.  They hoped that they were in tune with what the Lord wanted for their church.

David spoke up.  “Alright folks, we will open the church for business.  Before we do anything else, we will make a motion that Dale Adkins be presented for the position of our pastor.  We believe that we have done all the due diligence needed.  We believe the Lord has led us in this direction.  Since we are a committee, there is no need for a second.  We will open the floor for any questions.”

David glanced at the others on the team.  He had spent enough time with each of them.  He could tell that they were a bit nervous themselves.  None of them knew how the vote would go.  The needed vote was 75 percent and they all thought it was going to be close one way or another.  David just hoped that there wouldn’t be any sort of scene.  Unfortunately, it was not to be.

David saw Tom Jennings stand up and groaned.  Not outwardly, but inside.  He had expected it, but had hoped that it wouldn’t happen.  They had all hoped that this wouldn’t happen.

Tom walked up to the microphone.  There was a swagger to his walk, a confidence that David didn’t understand.  David turned his head slightly to Fred.  Fred  arched an eyebrow.  The question behind Fred’s look seemed to be “What is he up to?”

David spoke as Tom reached his spot.  “Tom Jennings wishes to speak.  You have the floor, Tom.”

Tom smirked at David, which is something that David didn’t understand.  He wondered what Tom was up to.

“David, we all know that the job that you and the team performed was a joke.  You didn’t really look at anyone.  You only visited and listened to preachers who were never going to come here.  You guys were lazy and have decided that you can’t do the job.  That’s why you’re presenting this INTERIM pastor as the full-time pastor.  You don’t have the interests of this church in mind.  I make a motion that we dissolve this team and it’s motion.  We need to stop this now!!!”

David felt his knees almost give out.  The venom from Tom’s words were directed at the team, though him in particular.  He could see Teresa looking down, a few tears rolling down her face.  Tom Smith had his arm around.  Fred stood stoically, giving no sign that any of this bothered him.

David steadied himself.  “Well, Tom, we’ll need a second..  Does anyone want to second Tom’s motion.”

David saw someone stand up.  It was one of Tom’s friends, Stan Best.  He opened his mouth and said, “Second.”

David’s heart dropped a bit with the second, but was encouraged that no one but one of Tom’s friends had made the second.

David paused before he said anything.  “Is here any discussion?  If not, all those in favor of the motion, say “Aye!!!”  A few Ayes from Tom Jennings section made their vote known.

“All those not in favor, the same sign.”

The church responded with a resounding “Aye”.  David let out a quiet gulp.  They just had one more hurdle to overcome.

“We will proceed with the original vote at this time.”  David watched Tom Jennings walk back to his seat defeated.  He glared at David with a look that could kill.  David wasn’t sure what exactly the personal animosity from Tom came from, but he was going to move forward.  He couldn’t worry about Tom Jennings at this point.

“This vote will be done by secret ballot.  We will pass them out and take them back up when your done.”

David watched as the ballots were completed and passed to the ends of the aisle.   The members of the team took them up.

“We will go count them.  Anyone that wants to wait can and we will be back in just a few minutes.”

*****

Thirty minutes late the team reentered the auditorium.  David stood behind the pulpit once more.  As he looked over the crowd, he wasn’t sure that anyone had left.  A glimpse to the left revealed that Tom Jennings and his crowd had left.  He wondered if he would see them again, with the attitude they had shown previously.

“Ladies and gentlemen, with a vote of 95% in favor, Dale Adkins will be your next pastor.  Let’s welcome him and his family to our family.  We will schedule an installation ceremony soon.”

Resignation, Part 48

The last few words of the invitational hymn were sung.  Dale looked around before he walked back up on the stage.  He approached the pulpit and sat his bible down.  He adjusted the microphone before he began to speak.  He cleared his throat and began.

“It’s been a good day.  Before we leave, the search team wants to speak to the church.  I’ll turn it over to David as the team makes their way up.”

Dale walked down the steps off the stage and continued out the side door.  Several members of the church looked around with questioning looks on their faces.  More than a few began to whisper while the team was getting ready.  Most remained stone faced, though a few were talking as normal and laughing.

The search team climbed the steps and stood to the side of the pulpit.  David made his way behind the pulpit.  He was shorter than Dale, so he undid Dale’s work on the microphone.  He glanced down at the sheet of paper he had made his notes on.  He swallowed from the nervousness that gripped his throat.  His palms were sweaty and his legs were a bit shaky.  He had wondered how he would react this morning.  He had prayed for strength and wondered how bad it would have been without the prayer.  The team had wondered how the church would accept their recommendation.  They had all been nervous at the time of their last meeting.  Now, with all of the eyes on David, he felt the collected nervousness feeling of the team.  He guessed that came with the territory of being the chairman and the spokesperson.

“Good morning.  We wanted to update everyone on the progress we have made on our pastor search.  We have tried to be totally transparent with you throughout the process, and we aren’t going to stop now.”

Dale glanced over at the team.  Fred McGinley stood there almost as straight as he had countless times before as he stood before the church.  He might be slightly bent and slower than he used to be, but otherwise was the same as always.  Fred’s presence would carry a great deal of weight with the majority of the church.  They were going to need that if what they put forward was going to go through.

Beside Fred stood Tom and Teresa.  An extra bounce was in their step.  Word had filtered throughout the church that they were engaged.  David did not foresee that when they began this process.  He had watched both of them for many years.  He had never seen either one of them with a member of the opposite sex at church before.  He imagined that they had dated before, but nothing seemed to progress to the church-going stage.  Now they seemed inseparable and rumor was that there was going to be a wedding sooner than later.

The spot beside them was empty.  Bill would have been standing there if he hadn’t passed.  How he wished that Bill was still with them.  His presence with them would have carried weight with the majority of that small minority that seemed so vocal.  They were so loud that if folks didn’t know better they would think they represented the entire church.  Bill had made his wishes clear shortly before he had died.  In fact, he had filmed it and wanted them to use it at just a time like this.  David thought that would be in poor taste and the others agreed.  He wondered if that was the best course of action now, but it was too late.  They weren’t going to play the video now.

“We’ve visited a few churches to hear preachers preach.  The only one’s that we have gone to hear are those that have actually sent us resumes’.  We had no desire to show up at a church where a pastor was not looking to leave and cause him any turmoil there.  One that we went to listen to arranged for us to listen to them somewhere else.”

“All of the preachers were very good speakers.  Their preaching ability would all have been more than adequate for us.  Some were from churches smaller than ours.  One was roughly the same size and another was a bit larger.  All in all, I think we did a pretty good job of narrowing down the candidates to those that we thought would be viable options for us.”

David looked around and saw that he had everyone’s attention.  No one was talking or whispering.  It was complete silence.

“The problem that we faced was that none of us were comfortable with the candidates once we heard them.  We can’t really explain that.  Nothing on paper could be shown to back this up.  We simply could not proceed with any of them.  Therefore, we will not be recommending any of those as candidates.”

There were a few murmurs and one hand was raised.  Dale was surprised, but quickly recovered.

“Ms. Pat, do you have a question?”  David looked at Pat Conroy, one of the most respected ladies in the church.  Everyone loved her and her fried apple pies that she brought to fellowships.  In fact, a line formed to obtain a pie as soon as everyone was allowed in.  Many was the boy who vied to mow and work at her place, knowing that part of the payment would be her delicious delicacy.

“Yes, Dale.  You say that none of the candidates will be presented to us.  Why do we need anyone anyway?  Why don’t we just vote for the one who is doing the job now?”  That brought out the noise that David had expected.  It just happened differently than he had expected.

“Well, Ms. Pat, it’s funny that you ask that question.  That’s exactly where the team kept coming back to.  We would hear these preachers preach and always came back to wanting Dale.  That’s what we want to do.  We want to present Dale as our candidate for pastor.  A vote will take place in two weeks in accordance with our by-laws.”  Dale looked at the team and back to the church.  A loud roar was going throughout he church, though there didn’t seem to be much dissent in their recommendation.

Tom Jennings jumped up.  This is what David had been dreading.  He felt like Tom would be the one to cause a ruckus.  The problem was that no one knew exactly what Tom would do.  They had to be prepared for anything, even if that meant nothing.

“Excuse me, but you can’t do this.  This isn’t what we elected you to do.  Bill Johnson would never have stood for this.  I demand an explanation and a different plan.  If you can’t do that, then you all need to resign and we need to start over.”  Tom was red-faced.  David could almost see the spit flying out of his mouth as he spoke.

“I don’t understand what you mean, Tom.  We followed exactly the task we were given.  We searched for a pastor.  Now, we’ve recommended one.  We’re going to vote.”

Tom glared at David.  “It just isn’t right.  This isn’t how it was supposed to go.  Bill said he would take care of it.”

Pat Conroy stood up.  “It seems like the Lord has taken care of it, Tom.  You can vote your conscience in two weeks, just like the by-laws state.”  With that, she sat down.

David almost laughed, but didn’t think it would be a good idea in his position.

“Well, if that’s all, we’ll vote in two weeks.”

Resignation, Part 47

September 28, 2013 Leave a comment

This is an ongoing fiction series I have been writing for the past year.  You can find the other installments HERE.

The sun wasn’t up yet, but Dan was, as was normal.  He flipped open his Bible to where his Our Daily Bread led him.  He read the devotional, leaned back and chewed on it for a few minutes.  He had been following this same routine for, well, as long as he could remember.  He would spend more time in some real study later, but he simply liked to begin his day with something easy that would point him to the Lord.

Dan closed his Bible and shut his eyes.  He just mulled over the scripture he had read for another moment.  Then his mind drifted to the matter at hand.  The church needed a pastor.  Not just an interim pastor.  Someone who wasn’t just a fill in while they waited for the search to be over.  The team had decided on presenting someone to the church.  All that they needed to do was stand before them when the service was over today.  Dan began to pray.

“Lord, You have led us to his point.  We have trusted You in this matter.  We are in agreement.  The man we feel You have chosen has agreed.  I just pray that the church will accept this.  We know there will be some opposition.  I just ask you to handle it.  We know that we can only explain our process.  You are sovereign and we trust that this is your will.  Be with us as we stand before Your people today.”

*****

Fred had been up for hours.  He didn’t sleep long anymore.  A few hours here.  A few hours there.  Hardly ever more than four hours at a time.  He chuckled that it gave him time to read the Bible and pray.  Sometimes he took out the church directory and just prayed for church members.  He would look at the pictures and see generations of people he had watched grow up.  He knew that his time was shorter than it once was.  Some days he yearned to go on home.  he wasn’t afraid to die, but he didn’t care much for the dying part.

Fred sat in this recliner.  in earlier years he would have spent his time praying on his knees.  He could have probably gotten down, but he wasn’t sure that he could get up anymore.  He leaned back and closed his eyes.  He began to pray as he did several times each day from this same spot.

“Lord, I pray for Dan, Tom and Teresa.  This is a big day for all of us..  Our time serving you on this team is growing short.  I praise you for this time that we have spent together getting to know each other.  Most of all, though, I praise you for getting to know you in a greater way through this process.  I have seen again that You lead your people.  Just like the Israelites followed You into the Promised Land, we follow you into this new time for our church.  Thank you, Lord, for your goodness.”

*****

Teresa paused between her shower and the time she took to get ready.  She preferred to get ready before she did her Bible study and prayer.  Her mind was clearer and she felt like she could really dig in and talk to the Lord.  Plus, she had drunk some coffee by that point.  She wondered what Tom was doing, but resisted the urge to text him.  She would see him soon enough when he came by to pick her up for church.  She thought back to how many years she had made that trip alone.  The last few weeks had been fun with Tom picking her up.  She couldn’t imagine when they would be waking up together and getting ready for church.  Things were speeding toward that day.

“Lord, thank you for Tom.  I’m not sure why you brought him into my life when you did, but I’m thankful for that.  I’m glad to have him standing with me today.  I trust that you’ve got this.  We know that some people won’t like it.  I just pray for unity in the church.  I pray that this is your man for this time. ”

Teresa picked up her phone and began typing.  “Good morning.  I hope your day is starting out well.  See you soon.  Love you.”

*****

Tom rolled out of bed when he heard the phone buzzing.  He scratched his head as he walked toward the kitchen.  He had slept in just a little longer than usual.  He read the text as he walked.  Teresa was already up and at it.  He wondered if she would be up before him once they were married.  He figured that life would settle down a bit.  He wouldn’t have to drop her off and drive home anymore.  He wouldn’t even leave.  He could just go to bed.  Now, it took him a bit to wind down.

He reached into the refrigerator and pulled out a Diet Mountain Dew.  Teresa had tried to get him to try coffee, but it wasn’t any better than it was when he had tried to drink it when he was younger.  Anything he had to develop a taste for wasn’t what he wanted to drink.

He took a sip out of the bottle and leaned against the door facing of his kitchen. “Lord, I don’t know how we’ll make it through this day without You.  You have been so good to us throughout this process.  Now, we’re about to turn it over to the church.  We believe this is Your man.  We know it.  We just pray that the church knows it.  Go before us.  Turn everyone’s hearts to this.  Your word says that You can do that to kings.  We aren’t royalty, so we know you can do that to us as well.  Be with Teresa.  Calm any anxiety she had today.  Thank you, Lord, for that woman.”

Tom turned toward the bathroom and the shower.  He was going to have to hurry so that he wasn’t late to Teresa’s house.

*****

Dale had been awake for a bit.  He had read some Psalms to calm his nerves.  He had turned to the Gospels.  Finally, he landed at his scripture for his sermon.  He had looked over his notes a couple of times and made a couple of minor changes.  He felt good about the sermon.  Just the normal nervousness that he felt before speaking.  He knew, now, that feeling would never go away.  In fact, he would be afraid if it wasn’t there.  He wasn’t nervous about standing in front of the crowd.  He was nervous about handling God’s word.

Finally, Dale returned to prayer.  He had prayed off and on all morning.  Today was a big day in the church’s life.

“Lord, I have grown to love these people.  Today, the search team will make their recommendation for the pastor vote.  I just trust that You will guide the people’s hearts.  Those that will oppose this vote, I turn them over to You.  You can handle this.  We can’t.  I pray that this is the right move.  I trust that the team sought your will in this.  I pray that I have.”

Dale closed his Bible and headed to the bathroom.  It was time to get ready.

Resignation, Part 46

September 21, 2013 Leave a comment

This is the latest chapter of my fiction series called Resignation.  This has been a great experience that is coming to and end.  If you want to check out any other chapters, feel free to do that at my Fiction page.

Tom pulled into Teresa’s driveway.  He checked the time on his radio, phone and, finally, his watch.  They were all the same.  Early, but fortunately only by a few minutes this time.  He thought back to that first date with Teresa.  He had always thought that being early was sign of respect for the girls he dated.  He found out that was not the case with Teresa.  He quickly learned that it was more a sign that he would be sitting there waiting on here for a while.  He had been adjusting and doing well, but he was a bit anxious today.  He sat in the car for an extra minute listening to Football Time On TSR.  Tom was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and tried to catch as much news about his Volunteers as he could on his phone.  Reed, the host of the show, was engaged in some banter with one of his guests as Tom turned off the app.  Tom hadn’t really been able to concentrate on what was going on.  He had too much on his mind.

Tom hopped out of the car and walked up the Teresa’s front door.  He gave it a slight knock before he opened it to go in.  He wasn’t sure when, but somewhere along the way he had just begun to enter Teresa’s house and wait for her in the living room.  There, the kitchen and the hallway bathroom was as far as he went.  He didn’t want to go any further, not that Teresa would let him.  She was as adamant as him that they not put themselves in any tempting positions.

“Is that you, Tom?” Teresa called from back in the bedroom.  Tom smiled.  He wondered what she would do if it wasn’t him?  Based on some of their dates at the shooting range, he was pretty sure he knew what would happen.  Besides the handgun she had a permit for, he knew that she had a shotgun for home protection.  He hated to think of the poor guy who would try to break in on his girlfriend.

Girlfriend. He still was in awe of the fact that he and Teresa were dating.  To think that it all began because of them running into each other at the Christmas parade.  Their relationship had moved along quickly.  They both liked each other’s family and, just as important, their families liked them.  Much of their time together was spent visiting each other’s families.  Everything had gone smoothly.

“It’s me.”  Tom continued to look at all of the pictures Teresa decorated with that he had seen countless times before.  He believed that he could tell the stories behind each one almost as well as she could.  He smiled when he saw the picture of them at Bald River Falls.  They were both soaked and laughing.  They had asked another hiker to take their picture and he had, shaking his head as he had done it.

Tom grew more anxious as he waited and looked around.  He knew that Teresa wouldn’t mind if he had turned the TV on, but he knew that he would pay as much attention to it as he had the radio.  He had to focus and the only way he could do that was to not focus in on the radio or TV.   There would be plenty of time for that.

Teresa walked into the room with her purse and a sweater.  He smile, knowing that she carried her purse and a sweater with her whenever they went somewhere.  It didn’t matter what the weather was like, if it was hot or cold, a sweater was traveling with them.  She set them down in her chair and made her way to Tom.

The embraced in a nice, but short, hug ending with a kiss.  Teresa reaching up and wiped a bit of lipstick off of Tom.  She smiled and let go.  Tom hoped that she wouldn’t notice that he was nervous, but he knew that would be a reach.  They had learned each other fairly well, with Teresa knowing him better, he thought, than he knew her.

“Where are we headed for dinner?”  Teresa looked over at him and he knew she was hungry.  She wasn’t like the few other women he had dated.  She had never been afraid to eat in front of him.  It didn’t matter if it was a burger or a rack of ribs, she knew how to put away some food.  She didn’t overeat, but she certainly wasn’t just a salad eater either.

“I don’t know.  I picked last time, didn’t I?”  Tom knew the answer.  He was just wanting to see what Teresa would say.  Plus, he needed to talk just a bit to build up his courage.

“I don’t think so.  I think I have picked the last three times.  It’s time you picked.  Choose your favorite place.  It’s all good.”  Teresa smile and he remembered another reason he loved her.  She was so dang agreeable.  They had a few arguments, but nothing terrible.  They didn’t agree on everything, but their values were so much in sync that they really didn’t disagree on anything major.  He knew that she kept her house cleaner than he did.  He wondered how he could make that change?

“Ok, how about The Mill?”  Tom didn’t look directly at her as he said that.  He knew what her reaction would be.

“Tom, that’s just too expensive.  You shouldn’t be spending that kind of money on me.  We should do that on a special occasion.”  Teresa smiled and stuck her lips out in a fake pout.  Tom knew just how much she wanted to eat there sometime.  They just hadn’t had the occasion to eat at a restaurant like that since they had been dating.

“You’re right.  We ought to go when for some big occasion or something to celebrate.”  Tom paused for a minute and turned his back to Teresa.  He quickly turned around and continued. “How about we celebrate this?”

Tom turned around, bending to one knee.  In his hand was a small box which held an engagement ring.  Tom grinned as he saw Teresa’s eyes grow to the size of saucers.

“Teresa, will you go to The Mill with me tonight and celebrate our engagement?”  The pit that Tom had been feeling in his stomach all night felt about the size of the Grand Canyon.  By this point, he had the ring out of the box, ready to put it on Teresa’s finger.

Teresa seemed to be in shock.  She stuck her hand out to let Tom put the ring on her finger.  She slowly seemed to be getting her bearings back.  She smiled at Tom and then responded.

“Let’s eat.”