Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Week and a Snippet

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Labor Day weekend! I wanted to remind everyone that you have ONE WEEK left to get your nominations in for my "What a Difference You've Made in My Life" contest. Don't miss your chance to honor the male and female that has profoundly impacted your life. I have had some incredible nominations that have deeply touched my heart and I thank you for sharing. Next Sunday I will put all of the nominations I've received in a "hat" and draw one male and one female to be honored in The Heart's Journey Home.

Now I know you all have patiently listened about gallbladders and babies and how I'm going to be participating in Soul Walk on September 27th ( without receiving even one little snippet of The Heart's Journey Home so tonight I am going to reward you. I believe that last snippet I posted got you more familiar with the character Nathan. This unedited snippet will give you some insight on Adam. In this unedited snippet, the Holy Spirit is knocking on the door of his heart, but he's not ready to open up. For your information (and for easier reading) Kennedy is Adam's sister, Chloe is his daughter, and Ian is his best friend. Of course you all know who Kate and Madeline are - the heroine and her daughter. This snippet is taking place at the local ice cream shop after a youth soccer game. Oh, and I always include in bold print that you are reading unedited snippets because once this manuscript goes through the editing process, some of the scenes that you are reading may be slightly changed or possibly cut altogether. *Shrug* It's just a part of it. But I hope you like reading about my friend, Adam. Make sure to leave me a comment and let me know. Now without further ado . . .

Frosty Jack’s was already hopping by the time the girls on the soccer team flooded in for their victory ice cream treats. Adam gave Chloe a couple dollars and watched her flow into the small square building with the river of small blue jerseys speckled with parents and friends. Then he found a nearby picnic table to wait for her.

“You’re not getting ice cream? Are you feeling okay?”

Without having to look, Adam knew that teasing tone. He’d heard it from the moment his kid sister learned the art of sarcasm nearly twenty years ago and he smiled. “Hey, Ken. I’m fine, just not hungry.”

“I’m not hungry either but that’s not keeping me from enjoying two scoops of Chocolate Espresso Bliss.”

Adam laughed. “Okay. I’ll have what you’re having.” He slipped his wallet out of his back pocket, pulled out a ten, and held it out to Kennedy. “And it’s on me.”

Kennedy pushed it away. “I’ve got it, big brother.” Her expression softened and she gently placed her hand on his forearm. “After last night, I’d say you deserve a treat.”

His gaze fell to her hand for the brief moment before she turned and headed toward the building. Kennedy knew him better than any of his brothers did, maybe even better than Jane and Ian did. But this time she had no idea what turmoil was churning inside him.

Of course, he was disappointed that Harvest Bay lost the football game. He wanted to win every game; he didn’t coach to lose. In his mind, football defined him. Each loss, albeit few and far between, was a personal failure. Today the let down was magnified by the feeling that he was sitting the bench in another game – life.

To Adam, sitting the bench was even worse than playing in a losing game because there was no chance for him to throw a miraculous pass to shift the momentum of the game. At this point in his life, he felt he needed to let a Hail Mary fly into the awaiting grip of a reliable receiver, but he was helpless. He had to get in the game, but he didn’t know how. He wondered if the “Coach”, as forgiving and merciful as He claimed to be, would even want him after missing so much of the game. He wanted to learn more about the specific stipulations of playing on God’s team, but he was ashamed to ask anyone.

He looked up in time to watch Kate and Madeline come out of the building and find their family at a picnic table a few yards away.

Madeline caught his gaze and waved, a wide, chocolatey grin on her face.

Adam brightened and waved back, hoping Kate would look his way, but she didn’t. He briefly thought about asking her to help him understand Christianity. She wouldn’t judge him, he was sure of that. But what if she thought that he was using it as a means to get closer to her. Just a week ago, that might’ve been something he’d do when his main goal was to win her over. What exactly changed in one week’s time, he didn’t know, but watching her now he only wanted her happiness . . . and his.

Adam wanted the joy that his mother and father knew. He was skeptical that it was solely a result of Christianity, but what if it was? What if that was the foundation that everything else was built upon? Adam could feel his shoddily built life gradually become rickety, but he had no idea how to make it stronger while keeping the crucial areas (Chloe and his career) intact.

“Don’t worry, buddy. I’m right here.”

Adam looked up questioningly to see Ian settling into the bench across from him. “Excuse me?”

“You look like you just lost your best friend. I was just letting you know that I haven’t gone anywhere.”

Adam shook his head a small grin on his face. Ian was the biggest crack-up he knew. It was no doubt the reason that he and Jane had such a great relationship.

“So, what’s up?”

Adam scrunched his brow. “Nothing. Why?”

“You look like you have a lot on your mind.”

Adam shrugged. “Football, I guess.”

“You can’t fool me, bro.”

“I’m not . . .”

“Jane said that Chloe made a comment last night about you acting weird. That little girl is worried about you . . . and so am I.”

A hunk of Adam’s heart cracked off and fell to the pit of his stomach. He never wanted Chloe to worry about him. He tried his hardest to hide his true feelings from her. Adam looked into his best friend’s face and saw the concern in his eyes.

Adam’s gaze fell to his folded hands on the table top. He exhaled slowly. “You own the most successful construction company in the area. How do you fix a shaky foundation?”

Ian stared at Adam for a minute. “This is about your house?”

“Not exactly, but I have to know.”

“Okay. Well, there are several different methods, but basically you would have to drill holes around the house with an auger, place steel bars or pilings in the holes, and then pour concrete into the holes. After that cures for several days, the home has to be jacked and leveled and once the home is leveled, all the voids under or around the foundation are filled. That’s the simple version.”

“So it’s possible to strengthen a foundation without destroying everything you’ve already built on it?”

“Sure, but the sooner you fix it the better. A weak foundation is nothing you want to mess around with.”

Adam nodded filled with a sense of urgency. “Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

PRAYER REQUESTS AND UPDATES: This week I have two prayer requests from opposite ends of the emotional spectrum. Please pray for the family of Michelle Butler-Keegan. From the information I received, she was a very physically fit 36-year-old woman with two children who had a brain aneurysm while playing in a softball game. I know the questions, the disbelief, and the raw shock that one goes through when an absolutely perfectly healthy loved one is taken from this world. It just isn't supposed to happen that way, right? Please pray mightily for this family, but especially these children who without a doubt are missing their mother. Also, I want to lift up my cousin, Sarah Grundler, who is going to be having Baby Marina ANY DAY NOW! She was taken to the hospital this evening because they thought her water had broken and she is having contractions, but, alas, as is often the case, her water hadn't broken and they sent her home to . . . WAIT! Please pray for patience for Sarah during these next few days, for a safe, smooth, uneventful delivery, and for Baby Marina to be a healthy baby! I heard from Mrs. Crain this evening that Don Crain is doing much better after having his gallbladder removed on August 21st, that he's "beginning to feel human again!" :) Upon hearing this good news, I'm removing Mr. Crain from our list of prayer concerns. Unfortunately, that's the only update I have to report right now. Please continue to pray daily for those who are named on this list, my prayer warriors! And remember, if you or someone you know has a prayer concern (even if it is unspoken - God knows all of our needs after all) please email me personally through my profile and I will be more than happy to post it. There IS power in prayer!

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