SFFS 19/09/2014

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Hello all!

Sorry I didn’t take part last week. Was just overwhelmed with several things and couldn’t get it together long enough to write a blog post. But here I am, so better than not being here, I’m sure.

I’ll take this week’s snippet from where the previous one (here) left off. It’s taken from a WIP called ‘A Good Day to Die’. Please  note that this snippet is more an extract. I’ll be back to the standard length next week.

He had stood at the entrance to the dugout, watching, waiting. Then, finally, the rain had arrived. Hard, pelting drops. So many that the land beyond became invisible. The dry, sandy, parched land. He had taken one step forward and lifted his face to the rain, eyes open. Had he welcomed the pain from the raindrops hitting his eyeballs? He wasn’t sure anymore. The thunder rumbled the ground every few minutes, but he barely noticed it.

The downpour had continued on for the rest of the day. Even now, as he sat inside, staring at his hands, he could hear the pounding of the drops on the ground above, feel the vibrations travel through the ground as the atoms crashed together in the atmosphere. But he wasn’t paying attention to them anymore. The darkness had descended. Before him, on the table, lay his blaster. Plasma. He wouldn’t feel a thing. At least, that’s what all his victims in the past had not said. Death would be instantaneous.

Slowly the man reached for the gun. He drew it towards him and turned it over in his hands. There weren’t really any thoughts going through his mind. In a way, he didn’t want to die, but he didn’t see a future for himself.

Redundant. Obsolete.

If anything crossed his mind, it was those two words. The ones that had reverberated around his skull for the last month. They’d followed him from the offices of his superiors – men who saw him only as an object of war – and an expendable one at that – across the swells of gravity to this world on the opposite side of the galaxy.

Redundant.

Obsolete.

Words he never wanted to hear again. Words that left him no future.

With a sudden sense of purpose – or perhaps it was resignation – he hefted the weapon in his right hand and lifted it, placing the business end against his right temple. The instrument of death vibrated in his hand, as though eager to get to work.

His eyelids dropped closed as if to prematurely cut him off from the world around him. Now he was truly alone in his body.

He depressed the trigger patch.

That’s all for this week, folks. Please go to the SFFS blog and see what the other writers have chosen to share this week.

Thank you for stopping by.

Hymns I Love 2: In Christ Alone

In my opinion, one of the best modern hymns. 

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Stuart Townend & Keith Getty
Copyright © 2001 Thankyou Music

Hymns I Love 1: God is Our Strength and Refuge

Hearing the Dambuster’s March ALWAYS gets me singing “…when He shatters the spear!” at the appropriate moment – I usually can’t remember the rest of the words.

God is our strength and refuge,
Our present help in trouble;
and we therefore will not fear,
though the earth should change!
Though mountains shake and tremble,
though swirling floods are raging,
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

There is a flowing river,
Within God’s holy city;
God is in the midst of her -
she shall not be moved!
God’s help is swiftly given,
thrones vanish at his presence -
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

Come, see the works of our maker,
learn of His deeds all powerful;
wars will cease across the world
when He shatters the spear!
Be still and know your creator,
uplift Him in the nations -
God the Lord of hosts is with us evermore!

Copyright 1934 Richard Bewes

SFFS 06/09/2014

Hi everyone *waves*.

It’s been a while. I started writing a story back in July and thought I could start posting some snippets of it up following this last round of maintenance.

The story is called “A Good Day to Die”, and is about an ex-cyborg (James Hamilton) and a space navy captain (Shona).  So here’s my first snippet from this WIP.

Today looked like a good day to die.

It couldn’t be more perfect. Even the weather was playing the game. The day had started out with dark clouds on the horizon. The scent of rain had wafted in on the chilling breeze. By mid-morning the dark clouds had covered the whole sky and a lightening show was in full swing.

So there you go.

Please go and have a look at the snippets submitted by other participating authors, and thank you for dropping by.

A Woman of Peace?

Some time ago I read the following observation: “I think men struggle with upset women because men are by nature problem solvers. The simple fact is you can’t solve a woman’s worries. We are far too complex and guilt-driven creatures for that and we don’t expect a man to solve our problems. A couple of minutes listening and maybe a hug is probably all a woman ever needs.”

This set me to thinking.

There are numerous books out there on being a woman, accepting oneself warts and all, and I’m sure the list goes on. Many self-help books, some of which even I’ve found useful from time to time. One image has stood out in my mind over the years – an image created by the authors of ‘Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul’ – that of a 40-plus-y/0 woman who is at peace with herself and her circumstances being attractive (without necessarily being magazine-cover-perfect) precisely because she  is at peace. That people around her desire to speak to her. In a way, even though I’m yet well below the 40-yo mark, I’ve held this image in my mind and strived for it. So what have I learned along the way?

The observation in the first paragraph above disturbs me somewhat. For several reasons:

  • It implies that we aren’t problem solvers – whereas, by and large, we are. Our emotions just get involved (often with good reason), which means we take a circuitous route to the solution instead of a simple, clearcut one.
  • I’m also not sure that we can hide behind words like ‘complex’ and ‘guilt-driven’ any longer. I know that I cannot. They are excuses, barriers we put up that say ‘no, don’t help us’ when, actually, help is required.
  • Listening and a hug…. this superficialises the feelings and emotions of women.

Life is, oddly, more superficial than we realise. Don’t get me wrong. What we do is important, but it isn’t the be all and end all of our existence. Of more concern is HOW we do what we do. What I’m alluding to is the following conclusion of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 2:11:

Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
    and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
    nothing was gained under the sun.

The work of a woman – particularly that of a mother (although yes, in many cases the father too) – is, I believe, the most important in the universe. We are far and above the ones given the responsibility of educating the next generation. And trust me, it’s not an easy ride. In fact, I’ve often reached the conclusion that motherhood is designed to drive a mother round the bend! I spotted the following quote, and it explains why, in a nutshell:

The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life. C.S. Lewis

Interruptions! One of the most difficult parts of motherhood to come to terms with. Your time is no longer your own, and you could be called away from what you’re concentrating on at any given moment to attend to, or do, something completely different. Like I said, guaranteed to drive one around the bend – UNLESS one accepts that that is how it is. As Michael J. Fox said,

Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.

And if you think there are a lot of quotes in this post, yes, there are. And they’re included because they’re literally rolling across my screen as I write this post and they’re relevant to the discussion.

Another observation that is pertinent is pax maternum, ergo pax familiarum (peace of mothers, therefore peace of families), or more colloquially (to the US South, from what I gather from friends there): “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy.” And I’ve noticed this to be true too. Being the emotional creatures we are, if we are not at peace, then our spikes and spines radiate out from us to those around us like the beam from a lighthouse, warning those closest to us to stay well away. Does that make for a peaceful family? I don’t think so.

So, in conclusion, what would I rather the observation be? To be honest, I’m not sure. I don’t think that this is something one can put into a pithy saying. That said, I’ll hold onto the concept of self-acceptance (through accepting that Jesus has already accepted me as His child, just as I am) and being at peace with oneself.

ADD and crafting…

Well. Writers “joke” about having a Muse who keeps feeding them tales to spin, but really, I think this applies to any craft.

I kid you not – this morning I’m busy knitting a shrug for my daughter (which, to be frank, is slow-going), and now I’ve got an idea to design something in crochet for a friend (after she’s come up with the paper design, at least), and to either knit or crochet a jacket for myself and my daughter (because it’s COLD here today).

Oh. Did I mention that I’ve already got two knitting and one crochet project in my craft bag? We won’t mention the countless story ideas I have on my computer – there’s an excuse for those: I have work to do.

Really!

Oh, and yes, I have been diagnosed with ADD previously, but I suspect this is something rather more serious…

Toothless (Night Fury – How to Train your Dragon)

A friend of mine found a crochet pattern for Toothless (online here), the fabulous Night Fury from the movie How to Train your Dragon. As she doesn’t crochet, she asked for a volunteer, and I put my hand up.

So work commenced on 21 June, and this is the beginning.

2014-06-21 14.35.43

 

On 21st July I finally had all the parts of Toothless crocheted, ready for assembly.

2014-07-21 08.18.49

Then it was on to stitching him up. Tail, legs, wings….

2014-07-21 09.58.45

 

And now the final product….

2014-07-25 08.33.26