Texas Cousins Addition

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Welcome to the adventure Jude! Aunt Abby loves you so much!

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“Noah” – An Opportunity For Christians

It’s encouraging to be reminded that we are not following just another myth and random religion, but the One True God. This won’t sit easy on the ears of our culture which demands that we treat everyone and everything as equal, but it’s the truth. Thanks for the reminder Rod of Iron.

Rod Of Iron

Noah I have not seen this movie, but I have read enough to comment on it. The problem with Aronofsky’s film can be summarized with one word – mythologization.

Aronofsky reduces Noah to myth. He treats it like a story. Like it some kind of fairy tale. Like he has the right to re-interpret it for modern audiences. He puts it on equal footing with a long line of films like the recent “Pompeii” or the upcoming “Hercules”.

Noah is not a myth and cannot be reduced to a myth. It is an historical account of God’s revelation to humanity. It is the account of God’s word to mankind. Therefore, for Aronofsky to open his movie with “In the beginning there was nothing”, and to go on to imply that God needed to learn mercy – or whatever other kinds of heinous crimes he commits against God in telling this story…

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Quote of the Weekend

“When in the midst of affliction, we can be certain that God will help us in one of two ways: either he will remove us from trouble or he will support us in trouble.  Now, the following point is crucial: God doesn’t always do the first, but he always does the second.” – A Hope Deferred by J. Stephen Yuille

Data and Love

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I’m a huge Star Trek: Next Generation fan.  I spent many Saturday nights, freshly showered, forbidden from doing anything which might get me dirty, eating popcorn, apples, and cheese while watching ST:NG.   It was a family tradition for years.  Watching them now is like going home for an hour.  The show has retained its value over the years.  The characters are rich, the stories unique, interesting, and heartfelt.  The setting, while becoming a bit dated as we have similar technologies now, isn’t a hindrance to enjoying the show.  The nice part about it is it’s relatively clean, with pretty descent morals.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, I personally think what sells this show and shows like Firefly, Chuck, Band of Brothers, and Sherlock is the personal friendships behind the scenes.  You can’t create chemistry like that.  This isn’t romance, which does create powerful stories, but something more subtle and longer lasting.  This is friendship.  When you watch ST:NG you can sense that the main crew doesn’t just work together.  They have a unique bond behind and beyond the camera.  This is what I love so much about the show.

But, I’m not here to talk about one of my favorite themes: friendship.  I’m here to talk about something I noticed in Episode 25 of Season 4: In Theory.

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ST: NG has a standard storytelling outline.  You have the main plot, generally scientific, and then you have the sub plot, generally human relations.  Once in a while, they swap them.  In Theory was just such an episode.  The focus of the episode was Data’s first girlfriend while the scientific danger functioned as the subplot.  Data, the emotionless android, has his first romantic relationship.  Here’s the question posed: Can you have a relationship, a meaningful love relationship, without emotion?

ST:NG’s answer: No.

The show postulates that due to Data’s inability to ‘feel’ love for someone, he is incapable of being in a meaningful relationship with a woman.

I found this odd and disturbing.  Data has a wonderful friendship with Geordi throughout the entire show.  They’re best friends.  But it’s not just Geordi.  Data is a part, a very important part, of the entire crew.  The crew accepts him, helps him, protects him, defends his rights, and in no way seem inhibited in their expressions of love for him because he’s incapable of feeling emotions.  In the movie, Star Trek: Nemesis, Data gives his life for Picard.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. – John 15:13

How much more could Data love or be loved?

Over and over again, the show works to develop Data’s humanity.  It surrounds him with acts of love expressed through friendship and family all the time.  If you think about it too long, like I have, you begin to realize that what Data is incapable of feeling is not love, commitment, belonging, familiarity, or anything along that line, but romance.  It is the bubbly warmth of romance Data is incapable of feeling.  Does that mean he’s doomed to a life without a woman at his side?

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Show of hands.  Is your husband romantic all the time?  Do you refuse to be around him when he’s not being romantic?  Are you romantic all the time?  Is your life just one big montage of romance?  Is Nicholas Sparks whispering in your ear?

Please!

If marriage depended on any of us feeling love every waking moment it would quickly end in divorce…oh.  Oh.  Oh foolish world, look at what we’ve done.

We’ve filled our children’s heads, and our own, with the evil lie that love is an emotion.  Love is a feeling.  You can’t control your feelings, thus you can’t control your love.  Love is a feeling.  A warm fuzzy – I learned that on Sesame Street.  And when that warm fuzzy is gone?  When the person you married wakes up and isn’t looking so super-model-ish?  Then it’s over.  You’re done.  Just get a divorce and move on to the next warm fuzzy.  Why do you think so many movies and shows stop before everyone gets married?  Because true love, real love, love that will last you all your life isn’t a warm fuzzy.  It’s an act.  It’s a daily act of self-sacrifice, of giving.  (That’s one of the reasons I love the show Chuck.  They didn’t stop at the ‘I Do’ moment, and they didn’t trash their marriage afterwards.)

Guess where warm fuzzies mistaken for love leads as a whole?  Not just to a high divorce rate.  They also leads to a ridiculous monster called tolerance.  Do you know why someone making a statement and me disagreeing with them is considered mean?  Do you know why we no longer view an honest and wise statement as loving, but as bigoted, racist, and hateful?  Because love is a warm fuzzy and you just busted mine.  How dare you?  How dare you bust my bubble of warm happiness with your cold logic or your rigid belief system?  You need to tolerate me.  My warm fuzzy!

If love is an emotion and not an act, we become a nation of weak, whining children pouting over all our assumed emotional injuries.  Real emotional injuries and abuse gets lost and tangled up in our worship of emotions.  Healing gets pushed aside.  We no longer recognize real love when we see it.

Back to the Data episode.  Date rewrites his personal program for his new girlfriend.  He asks her what he can do to be a better boyfriend.  He goes way out of his normal programming to accommodate her.  In the end, she rejects him because he can’t feel romance.  She lumps Data with her other ex-boyfriends who were just selfish.  As a long time Data fan, it was frustrating in a silly way.  How could she reject him?  As a thinking Christian, it was sad and scary.

We can’t trust our emotions.  They are a gift from God, a beautiful gift, and one I’ll be the first to admit I’m very thankful for.  But I don’t trust them.  I don’t follow my heart.  I guard it.  It’s a wayward lying thing.  If I don’t guard what I watch, read, and hear, it will believe anything that gives it a warm fuzzy.  Put some sappy music behind it and a wide-eyed child or puppy and I’m already crying.  If I don’t guard it, I’ll read into my husband’s actions things he never ever intended and he’ll do the same to me.  If I don’t guard it, I’ll destroy every relationship around me as one by one they stop exciting me and start requiring real work.

Love is not an emotion.  It’s an act.  Believing otherwise is dangerous, unhealthy, and following a lie.  Our country believes and has believed for a long time that emotions are our guiding star and we are reaping what we have sown: a high divorce rate, bullying in the name of tolerance, an inability to practice common sense, exultation of youth, and an elitist mentality.

Guard your heart.

I Corinthians 13: 4-13:

 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Tolkien Reading Day

1645a5217db5dc2db1d0d1a5a6af5c84“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  – Lord of the Rings

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for awhile. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” – Lord of the Rings

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” – Lord of the Rings

“At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect. Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before:

‘Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!’

With that he seized a great horn from Guthláf his banner-bearer, and he blew such a blast upon it that it burst asunder. And straightway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains.

‘Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!’

Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. Éomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first éored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Théoden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and the darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.” [The Return of the King: The Ride of the Rohirrim]

 

Today is Tolkien Reading Day!  These are four of my favorite Tolkien Quotes.

 

Lessons from the Boutique 4: Dealing with People

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I have a personal belief that every human being should at one time or another do at least one of these jobs: secretary, retail, waiting tables, janitorial, and catering.  If we all had to experience how difficult these jobs are, we would be nicer.  We would understand that the person on the other end of the phone has no power and yelling at them isn’t going to get you anything.  We would understand that the person helping you with your clothes feels subhuman when you leave them a messy dressing room.  We would tip our waiters and waitresses more.  We would be much more careful in public restrooms and we would RSVP.  If you have worked one or more of these jobs, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  These are servant jobs.  These are jobs which require you to give parts of yourself you generally reserve for only close friends and blood relations.  They require you to clean up other peoples’ messes, literally.  You must handle verbal abuse with grace.  You must deal with the constant unexpected.  Then you go home, have a good cry, eat chocolate, and do it again tomorrow.  They demand the pouring out of yourself if you want to do anything close to a good job.

When we owned our boutiques, we focused on customer service.  My employees will tell you that I never once told them the customer is always right.  I firmly believe that this philosophy is INCORRECT.  In fact, the customer is often wrong, in my experience.  Usually, the customer is upset because you didn’t set their expectations properly.  Sometimes they have a legitimate complaint, but most often the customer is thinking only of themselves and nothing else.  We didn’t have a ‘customer is always right policy’.  We had a service policy.  Part of the issue for us was trying to find a middle ground between customers and consignors.  You can’t bite either hand that feeds you and you can’t choose one over the other.  This made customer service very interesting.

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The hardest part, we found, with customer service was our thought life.  After you’ve been chewed out, belittle, picked on, walked on, and yelled at, it’s very hard to be gracious.  In fact, it is almost impossible.  All you want to do is break that person down.  We spent hours and hours complaining and whining about our customers after they left.  We discussed how annoying they were, how mean, how useless.  It doesn’t surprise me that some people get spit in their food.  I’ve seen how they treat teens just trying to do what their bosses asked them to do.  I’ve had my teens and other staff members yelled at by grown women who should be more behaved.

But guess what we found?  The more we indulged in this kind of verbal and emotional abuse of our customers, the angrier and more bitter we became.  We hated them, our job, and everyone else.

This was when we made a policy against complaining about customers.  We taught and encouraged our teams to stop the cycle.  Instead of verbally abusing a customer after they left, we tried to imagine what could have happened in their life to make them the way that they are.  We asked ourselves if they were really being that annoying or if we were just being thin-skinned.  We tried to turn the other cheek and put ourselves in their shoes.  We encouraged one another and held each other accountable.

If someone complained about what clothes I would and would not accept, I tried to imagine what her day might have been like instead of getting upset.  Maybe she had a fight with her husband.  Maybe she lost a job.  Maybe she’s getting rid of all these clothes because she gained weight and she can’t get it off.  Maybe her kids are sick.  Maybe her dog died.  Maybe she got some really bad news.  Maybe this is just one of those days were everything went wrong.

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When we started showing our customers pity even if they didn’t see it, our attitudes changed.  We willingly put up with a lot more from them.  We found that people we always thought we didn’t like, just needed a smile and a hug.  We found out that angry women hadn’t been told they looked great in a really long time.  We found out that bitter women just needed someone to listen to them.  We found out that messy women had three seconds before their kids, husbands, or parents needed them.  They couldn’t hang everything up because someone else needed them and they needed us to hang the clothes up for them.  We found out that almost all the customers we thought were annoying were just women struggling through their days and lives.

Do you know how much more rewarding it is to bring a smile to someone’s face even when they’re pushing you away instead of complaining about them after they leave?  Do you know people can sense this?  The atmosphere in our boutique was very open, loving, and happy.  Why?  We didn’t tolerate ourselves, our customers, or our consignors complaining about one another.  Yes, we stopped even our customers from complaining for us.  This showed them they could trust us not to complain about them when they left.  It encouraged women to lift one another up instead of knocking one another down.

This lesson is one I have to revisit all the time.  This is one I have to remember even more now that I’m working with mostly just my family and church family.  Just because I love you doesn’t mean that we never hurt one another or even get on each others’ nerves.  We do and we will.  What we need to do is remember that we don’t know what’s going on in each others’ lives.  We should handle one another with grace and pity…and maybe get to know each other better.

footwash_thumb2-264x300Next time another mom in the nursery bothers you, remember that you don’t know everything about her week.  This could be her very last straw.  She could be struggling just to make sure everyone gets something to eat.  Next time someone in lunch line annoys you, remember they could have health problems they’ve never mentioned.  They could be in a difficult relationship.  They may be struggling with some sin, just like you.  Pray for them.  Pity them.  Don’t deride them.  If there are some people in your church you don’t quite get along with, that’s okay.  You can still love them.  Look for positive things about them instead of picking at the frustrations over and over.  Maybe you’re asking them to do something they can’t or don’t know how.  Maybe their strengths are different from yours.  Maybe they’re in the middle of great suffering.  It might be a suffering so deep they don’t even know how to talk about it.

Be long-suffering with your church members.  If you don’t like your church maybe you need to stop looking at yourself and start looking at the soldiers beside you.  Are they wounded?  Are they broken?  Are they haunted by the carnage they’ve seen?  Are you helping them or just complaining?  Are you lifting them up or just being one more person who doesn’t like them?

If this principle was important in our boutiques, how much more do you think we need to practice it with our fellow believers?

These men and women love Christ just like we do.  They are our brothers and sisters.  Are you seriously not treating them with more love than complete strangers?  Are you giving them the least that you have?  They are other adopted children of the Father.  He loves them, and so should you.

Lesson 1: First Things First

Lesson 2: Opening and Closing

Lesson 3: Have a System

Lesson 5: Red Heels

Lesson 6: Fashion from Boutique to Housewife

Writing Journal: Writing a Fairy Tale

I don’t have any great writing let-me-splain-01lesson to share at the moment, so what I’m going to talk about is the joy I have suddenly found in writing a fairy tale.  Some of you followed my Worlds before the Door blog and so you know what I used to write.  You have my permission to skip the next paragraph.  For those of you new to me, let me explain…that would take too long…let me sum up.  🙂  (Now you know exactly what kind of geek I am, and that I grew up happily in the 80’s.)

My writing is dark and detailed.  Now it’s hasn’t been detailed for the readers, but under the hood, it’s complicated.  I told all of my dark stories in a magical, fantastical setting.  This fantastical magic had very intricate rules.  It had to.  If you’re going to give your supernatural heroes supernatural enemies and have consistent battles, or any type of battles, you have to know who can do what.  Who can have visions and who can’t?  What type of visions?  When?  That’s the details.  I wrote about serial killers, mass murderers, insane asylums, and other such things.  The darkness came pouring out of me because light shines brighter in the darkness.  Hope is sweeter after emptiness.  Healing only matters if you’re broken.  Forgiveness is for the damned.  This is why my stories are dark.  I had to do a lot of emptying, breaking, and damning before I could bring hope, healing, and forgiveness.

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The problem was very few people could stomach them.  Those who actually made it through my 70-page prologue, where everyone died, did so with lots of shudders.  A few readers told me they couldn’t read what I wrote.  They loved the message but they couldn’t bear the depth of the darkness to get to the light.  The people not interested in my stories far outweighed the people who loved them.  (Thank you to everyone who loved them!!!)

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I wanted to share my stories and I wanted to encourage the body of believers.  I wanted to remind them through my stories that there is hope in the darkness when you’re broken and bleeding.  I wanted to remind them of the power of forgiveness.  I want to show a true love that is a choice of the mind instead of a whim of the heart.  I didn’t want to be one of those people who stubbornly and rebelliously refused to change at the request of others or the dictates of the Lord out of some misguided desire to be true to self.  What did I do?  I started writing fairy tales for children.

1024For the past few months, I’ve pounded my head against a brick wall with my Fairy Tale: Icicle Rain.  It was such a struggle.  I had so much to learn about this world.  Nothing felt comfortable, familiar, or smooth.  I had to edit every scene already written as I wrote new scenes and discovered more about the story.  Then it happened:  I had a moment.  The whole story came together.  The darkness became so very dark and the light became ever brighter, if smaller for a time.  I found a piece of the heart of the story:

(Just to make it clear, Gus is a mouse and Presto is a mushroom with many eyes.  Oak is a dryad.  I told you it’s a fairy tale, right?)

“And your heart?” Presto asked raising several eyebrows at Gus.

“My heart?” Oak patted his coat and trouser pockets.  “Where’s my heart?  Oh, yeah, I gave that away.”

“Do you know who has it?”

“No, but they needed it.  Their own heart had been broken, so I gave them a new one.  I gave them mine.”

“Can you tell us even one little thing about who has your heart?” Presto asked getting irritated.

Gus grunted at him.

“You know, sir,” the mouse turned to Oak.  “It might be a good idea to know a little bit about this person.  Your heart belongs to them now and that brings responsibilities and obligations.”

“I know that they are kind,” Oak said.  He leaned forward, listening not with the ears he no longer had, or seeing with eyes no longer his own, but listening to what he had given away.  “I know they needed hope.  I know great sorrow and loss mark them.  She lost everything she cared about, and that loss broke her free.”

“Did you say she?” Presto said, leaning forward.

“Yes.  I gave my heart to a woman.  She loved eight men and when the last one was safe or dead, or both, she left.”

“Sounds like a bit of a floozy if you ask me,” Presto muttered getting another pointed glare from Gus.

“No.  No.  Not grown men.  There was only one grown man.  The rest were growing men, her growing men.”

Gus gasped.  “She had seven sons?  You gave your heart to the mother of seven sons?”

“No.  I gave my heart to a woman with a glint in her eye and a heart for trees.”

The mouse and the mushroom gasped.

“That’s impossible,” Presto said, never truly at a loss for words.  “Impossible, I tell you.”

These few lines won’t mean a whole lot to you, but to me they were the moment I found a huge part of why I was writing this story.  They represented all the darkness still coming, but it wasn’t an empty darkness.  It was a darkness with lots of hope.

I fought against writing children’s literature for years.  Poor writing plagues it.  Everyone is doing it to try to capture some of the monetary magic of Twilight.  I often find most YA, and Tween books filled with angst instead of adventure, worship of romance instead of the truth about real love, and lacking adults as if adults can’t be in YA fiction.  (Obviously, there are exceptions.)  I didn’t want to throw myself in with that mix, and yet…I love good children’s stories.  Many of my favorite books are books I read in high school or were written for that age group:  Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Sunshine, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  I love a well-written story for children.

So, I shook off the self-imposed stigma I had attached to writing for young people.  Who cares if most of it out there is tripe or poorly written?

I embrace my new stories.  I love writing a Fairy Tale because it can have all of the darkness, and not all the magic has to be explained like it was in my other stories.  I love writing a Fairy Tale because I can pull from all the myths and truths that I love and hold dear.  I love writing a Fairy Tale because I found a piece of the heart.

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Shiny!

I’m not one of those people who believe that the best way to battle darkness is to pretend it doesn’t exist.  I think it’s best battled by facing it head on.  Heavy thoughts from someone with a blog covered in bright colors and paisley patterns who writes kids stories about her nieces and nephews, right?  Nope.  I consider myself the Kaylee of the battle against darkness.  I can face the darkness with tears and a smile because my soul is safe.  A Hand mightier than my own holds it.  The darkness doesn’t like hope, laughter, and smiles.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

63205“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy. – William Butler Yeats

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone!

I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to wear something green!

This is one of my favorite Irish Songs: The Bricklayer’s Song, written by Pat Cooksey:

Dear Sir I write this note to inform you of my plight
And at the time of writing I am not a pretty sight
My body is all black and blue, my face a deathly gray
I write this note to tell why Paddy’s not at work today

While working on the fourteenth floor, some bricks I had to clear
And to throw them down from off the top seemed quite a good idea
But the gaffer wasn’t very pleased, he was an awful sod
He said I had to cart them down the ladder in me hod.

Well clearing all those bricks by hand, it seemed so very slow
So I hoisted up a barrel and secured the rope below
But in my haste to do the job, I was too blind to see
That a barrel full of building bricks is heavier than me.

So when I had untied the rope, the barrel fell like lead
And clinging tightly to the rope I started up instead
I took off like a rocket and to my dismay I found
That half way up I met the bloody barrel coming down.

Well the barrel broke my shoulder as on to the ground it sped
And when I reached the top I banged the pulley with me head
I held on tight, though numb with shock from this almighty blow
And the barrel spilled out half its load fourteen floors below

Now when those building bricks fell from the barrel to the floor
I then outweighed the barrel so I started down once more
I held on tightly to the rope as I flew to the ground
And I landed on those building bricks that were scattered all
around.

Now as I lay there on the deck I thought I’d passed the worst
But when the barrel reached the top, that’s when the bottom burst
A shower of bricks came down on me, I knew I had no hope
In all of this confusion, I let go the bloody rope.

The barrel being heavier, it started down once more
And landed right on top of me as I lay on the floor
It broke three ribs and my left arm, and I can only say
That I hope you’ll understand why Paddy’s not at work today.

Quote of the Weekend

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share two descriptive scenes I wrote describing Irish Punk music:

(The Setting: Glory, a woman fresh out of an abusive relationship, goes to see an  Irish Punk band.)

They wove their way across the dance floor to the front of the stage.  All the lights went out leaving the luminescent glow of black lights captured in eerie smiles and t-shirt logos.  A strange chill crept up Glory’s back.  She felt exposed.  What if Mase came up behind her in the dark?  What if he touched her? Cold sweat broke out on her skin.  She curved her shoulders in, protecting herself.

A drum beat startled her.  It hammered out a solid rhythm.  Glory’s blood pulsed with the beat, stronger and stronger driving away her fear.  One light came on.  It drew every eye to the stage.  Travis sat on a huge speaker with a large round drum in his lap.  He hammered out a quick tempo as the spotlight lit him up.  The small, double-headed stick blurred in his trained hand as he pick up speed.  Someone in the back cheered.  The music spread over Glory.  She couldn’t stop a smile.

Travis glanced up, locked eyes with her, and winked.  Glory swayed with his drumming.  He played faster and faster.  Images of rocky highlands, gray sky, and a cool wind tugging her hair washed over her.  One by one the other band members came out and joined their instruments with Travis’.  Everyone on the floor danced.  The music leapt off the stage.  It wasn’t body rubbing music.  It wasn’t techno music.  It wasn’t sleepy or hate-filled.  It was life music.  It was drinking, fighting, loving, poverty, wealth, God, and country.  This was a green land with good strong people who found their pride in being the underdog.  This was sacrilegious, spiritual, and earthy.  This was  a woman who stuck by her man and worked just as hard as he did.  This was people always looking for a better life and always read to tell a tale to make you think life was better.  This was fathers, husbands and highwaymen, vagabonds and scoundrels.  This was mothers, maids, crowns, lovers, sisters and whores.  This was Irish in its body and blood.

Fred sang with a thick accent.  Steve ran his bow over his fiddle and it danced for him.  Rob’s recorder sent a longing deep into Glory’s bones, while Kerry’s violin recalled bombs and modern trials.  Kerry danced around Jamie’s heavy bass grounding them all to the good green earth.  In the middle of the band, more Irish, more green, more ready to walk the craggy hills, sat Travis beating his drums in some primeval, tribal call.  All around, in and through their music Glory danced.  Jigs and moshing melded.  Bodies throbbed. People clapped and laughed.  This music was life.

(After Travis learns what Mace, the abusive boyfriend, did to Glory.)

The music began again, but this time Kerry played in the lone spotlight.  One by one, the others joined her violin. The raucous rebellious, resentful music swelled.  Beneath the heart-stomping beat rose anger.  Anger throbbed and pounded in Travis’ drums.  It beat and beat against the crowd with a deep-seated hatred of those who betray trust, those who enslave, those who hurt and lie.  It wept for those who suffer at the hands of stronger men and its tears turned to power.  The rawness could rip apart families, homes, and nations.  It could travel across oceans, time, and flow even in the most deluded blood lines.

Glory watched Travis’ eyes. They sparked with a fury given life in his drums.  They captured her. They held her differently than how Mase had held her captive with his belittling and beatings.  But they also held her in the same way – caged in anger.  The drum beat loudly in her heart against her ribs and reverberating through her womb.  Glory turned and forced her way through the crowd.  She made her way out of the room.  For the second time in her short life she walked away from love as it turned into abuse.

– Abby Jones

(I don’t know if I’ll every do anything with Glory, but Travis has his own story to tell.  I’m not sure where I’ll put this description of Travis’ band, but some day I hope to have it in a book.)