A few years ago, I tried writing a couple of short stories. Here is one of them. Let me know what you think!
Lilly Andrews rolled her luggage onto the train platform in Meridian, Mississippi. At thirty-years-old, you’d think she’d have enough sense to buy a decent vehicle. Smoke spewing from the hood of her SUV on the side of the road said otherwise. Artists weren’t always known for their business skills. Good thing her canvases had shipped to the gallery in Atlanta already. After the car fiasco, taking the train the rest of the way to the Georgia metropolis sounded like fun.
Except now muggy air swarmed her as she waited her turn to board. Long and silver, the Crescent rolled into the depot majestically and seemed to whisper stories of a bygone era. Lilly’s imagination buzzed with ideas as she took in the backdrop. What great scenery they might pass along the ride. She had her sketch pad, and her fingers already itched to get to work.
But like a bulldozer set on destruction, one thought collapsed her budding enthusiasm. It’d happened not too many miles from here… Had it been ten years? The only man she’d ever loved had said goodbye and walked away.
Her heart had never recovered.
Warren Matthews grabbed the ticket at the reservation window, his hand still shaking from the near miss. He’d had a lot of close calls when he was in the Marines, but the small plane’s crash landing he’d just escaped had his life flashing before his eyes. As the plane plummeted toward the ground and he relived moments from the past, one face stood out. Lilly Andrews. But he’d burned that bridge ten years ago. When his father had skipped town leaving his mother owing multiple creditors on a failed business, joining the military had been his only option to help. He’d left college hoping to serve his time and come back to get a degree with government dollars. But he couldn’t ask Lilly to wait for him. She’d come from money, and she deserved to move on with her life.
The sun blinded him as he stepped out of the station onto the sidewalk, and he slipped on his aviator sunglasses. Steamy heat billowed up from the ground. Talk about hot. He’d been all over the world between the military and his consulting business, but Mississippi still claimed top spot for highest humidity on the planet.
Let’s go, already.
Taking the train seemed like the perfect way to relax on his way back to the office in Atlanta. He wasn’t in the mood to rent a car and drive. He crossed under an awning and out onto the wide concrete platform. The train waited, but they still hadn’t loaded. What could they be waiting on? Didn’t they see people were melting? He scanned the crowd, but his eyes stopped when they reached striking red hair. It couldn’t be. But so few people had hair that color. He could only see her back, but the height, the frame, they all looked right.
Without permission, his feet started a path toward the one woman he’d never been able to forget.
Lost in thought, the tap on her shoulder made Lilly’s heart skip. When she turned, her pulse stopped altogether. Along with her breathing and ability to reason. Warren? Was she dreaming?
“I saw your hair.” His voice still held the same light Southern drawl. He blinked hard and shook his head. “I mean, I thought it was you from behind. No. Wait. I mean it looked like…” One side of his mouth lifted into a smirk. “It’s good to see you again.” His brown eyes held hers.
Lilly couldn’t stop a chuckle despite the ache in her chest. “Good to see you, too.”
Now they’d have to catch up, and she’d no doubt have to hear about his wife and kids. Then tell him she was still single, leaving him to figure out she’d never found someone else to love.
“So, how are you? What are you doing now? Got family?” His gaze searched her face. “Answer any of the above.” He grinned. “I seem to be having trouble communicating.”
Oh goodness, he was still adorable. Lilly returned a smile. “I’m an artist, on my way to a showing. No family. Except my parents.”
His eyes widened. “Me, too.”
“You’re an artist?”
“No.” He laughed. “I’m still single. You see, there was this girl I never got over. Her name was Lilly. You might know her?” His voice held a question.
Her heart sped up. Could this be real? “I do know her. She’s still here, pining over the one guy she ever loved.”
The whistle blew. Warren’s fingers brushed hers. This time they’d board the train together and maybe...just maybe…come out safe at the end of the line.
I hope you enjoyed :) Let me know how you're doing and if you have a prayer request. I'm working hard on my next book, meanwhile, all my titles are still discounted for the time being.
Here's the Amazon link: Amazon
Lot’s wife (Genesis 19)
Her husband had chosen to live in a wealthy fertile land, but a land filled with evil, so wicked that the Lord couldn’t find any righteous men other than Lot. What a place to raise their two daughters. Especially in that city. Had Lot and his family grown accustomed to the sin around them? I think about what’s streamed into our homes on our screens. Day after day we are bombarded by some pretty sinful messages through the media. Have I also become jaded over sin that should turn my stomach?
Lot invited strangers into his home without consulting Mrs. Lot (since we don’t have her name), so she must have been accustomed to being a hostess on the spot—something I’m terrible at! I wonder what horror Mrs. Lot felt as raucous men surrounded her house demanding to have their way with their guests who were actually angels sent from God. The crowd became such a riot that Lot offered their daughters to pacify them, although the men did not accept the offer. Can’t say I would have gone along with the husband on that one either.
The night must have been terrifying. Imagine the raucous noise as the angels dragged them from the city after blinding the men who were beating down the door.
“Flee for your lives. Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain.” These were the angels’ instructions before God rained burning sulfur down on Lot's former home.
If I imagine a volcano spewing down on the city where I live and running for my life, my heart thumps a little harder. What would I feel in Mrs. Lot’s place? Did she remember something she really wanted to bring along? Some treasured possession? Was she just wanting to see what was happening? Would I have looked back? Oh how curious I can be, like a rubbernecker at an accident. I’m afraid I might have been like Lot’s wife, but I’m praying now that I follow His instructions instead!
Whether from curiosity or sadness for losing everything in her home, Lot’s wife chose to look back, and in the end, lost her life because of it.
Jesus mentioned Lot in the New Testament book of Luke, Chapter 17. He’s talking about the coming kingdom.
Verse 30-32 “It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife!
Maybe she did want to go back for some possession after all? I don’t know, but I ask God now, please don’t let me be like Lot’s wife! Let me keep my focus ahead, not behind, and keep my mind on what’s truly important.
What are your thoughts?
Genesis 16, Genesis 21, Galatians 4:22-31
Honestly, I never liked Hagar.
But then I never put myself in her sandals.
She was a slave. She never had any choice about how her life would go. Although, sometimes we feel like we have no choice, I don’t think in the modern U.S. we can quite imagine her predicament fully.
She was an Egyptian. She may have been given to Sarah by the king of Egypt when he asked them to leave after the debacle of taking Sarah into his harem. Then she was given to become Abraham’s secondary wife when Sarah could not conceive.
I don’t want to imagine that! But Hagar obeyed her master.
Once Sarah had taken matters of providing an heir into her own hands (instead of God’s) and insisted Abraham take Hagar as a wife and Hagar conceived, the servant Hagar despised her mistress Sarah.
Note, Abraham like Adam went along with his wife’s plan. It’s interesting how much influence wives can wield over their husbands.
How did Hagar act when it says she despised Sarah? Perhaps proudly with boasts or insultingly with cruel remarks to Sarah. Or maybe with just snide looks and ugly smirks. As women, we’ve seen or possibly given those. Somehow though, Hagar thinks herself in a higher position now than Sarah, and she lets Sarah know it.
And pride goes before Hagar’s fall.
Sarah complained to Abraham, and he left Hagar out to dry, telling Sarah to do whatever she thought best. So Hagar had been wrong in her assumptions of her place, no matter her intimacy with Abraham. That probably hurt.
Sarah mistreated Hagar so badly (I’m not sure how, beatings, maybe?) that she ran away into the dry wilderness. Perhaps back toward Egypt. Alone and pregnant, she must have been pretty desperate to do so. She doesn’t seem to stop until she’s out of water, probably weary and parched. Hopeless. Pregnancy and desert running are not a good mix.
Then God shows up.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to dislike Hagar. Because I’ve committed the sin of pride. And in the past, I’ve found myself running until I can run no more. I was at the end of my own strength. Then I finally listened for God’s truth. Sadly, because I had nowhere else to turn.
So God sent an angel to Hagar. He tells her to go back and serve her mistress and submit. Interesting— God sends a messenger for an Egyptian servant. He still cares for her, no matter her race or background.
And Hagar obeyed God.
Occasionally God may have to send some sort of messenger to remind me to submit when I become prideful. Whether it’s a friend or a health problem or a sermon. Ever happen to you?
Hagar makes this testimony. “You are the God who sees me.”
He sees us too. And I’m so blessed by that.
What are your thoughts?
Several of you indicated interest in continuing with updates on my study of women in the Bible. This week, my notes are on Sarah. Please, feel free to leave your comments and thoughts.
By the time in ancient history when Sarah lived, most people worshiped idols. Possibly Abraham and Sarah did as well. But God chose Abraham and called him out of the place he lived to follow Him. Sarah followed too. She was sixty-five when she left everything and everyone she knew. Only my opinion, I believe that took faith, not just for Abraham, but for Sarah too.
Sarah’s name, originally Saria, meant princess. Apparently this princess of a woman was extremely beautiful. So beautiful that twice, when Abraham had to go into foreign lands for food, he asked her to pretend to be his sister, so men wouldn’t kill him to get to her. These ruling men from other lands did indeed find her amazingly lovely, and they took her into their harem. The commentary I read assumes they didn’t defile her because God sent sickness onto those households until they returned her to Abraham. Either way, I can’t imagine how scary and creepy it would be to have my husband allow other men to take me to their homes.
Sarah suffered from the disappointment of infertility. I haven’t been there myself, but I’ve heard from other women how emotionally painful that is. Each month hopeful, only to be disappointed again—watching other women have child after child with no problem, feeling like a failure, and possibly angry with their body.
When Sarah still didn’t have a child for Abraham, she decided to take matters into her own hands and offer her servant as a surrogate for her husband. Isn’t it like us women to try to solve problems for God? We can be so impatient that we just can’t wait for His timing. I’ve often found myself in this state of trying to fix things ahead of God’s plan. This usually does not go well!
Things didn’t go well Sarah either when she took over for God. Genesis says Sarah’s servant Hagar began to despise Sarah, so Sarah treated her cruelly. I don’t know what Hagar did, but I believe Sarah suffered from the green-eyed monster of jealousy. Been there and done that. It’s easy to fall into that trap, even with much less cause than what Sarah had. We can look at what we believe to be other women’s nice houses, their well-behaved children, or their in-shape figures, then compare and find ourselves lacking. Comparison never goes well either. J
Finally, God came and announced to Abraham that Sarah would have a child. Meanwhile, Sarah was eavesdropping in the tent and laughed at the idea because she was so old by this time. When confronted about it, she lied to save face. Um, eavesdropping…I’m guilty. Lying to save face…sadly, ditto.
God kept his promise to Sarah because He always keeps his promises. She had her son. Can you imagine her joy in her old age to have that little boy? I can envision her smile with each milestone—that first step, the first word.
Despite her mistakes, Sarah was commended in the New Testament for her faith in God and also for being a good wife to Abraham. Whew. I’m so thankful to know that despite our failures, trying to take things into our own hands, and bouts of jealousy, God is graceful with us.
I hope you have a great week!
I pray you are well during these strange times. I wanted to share a bit of news. :)
My latest novel Star Rising is being advertised on Bookbub so it's on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon this week! You can get a copy by clicking here: Star Rising
Also, two more of my novels have been made into Audio books! Blown Together and Falling for Grace! Find them on Audible or Amazon. Here's a link to Blown Together. I have a few codes left I can give out, if you comment on my blog here, I'll let you know if there are any available.
On another note, I've been doing a study on women in the Bible. I'll share a few notes I made below if you're interested. No worries, if not! Let me know if I can pray for you :)
My thoughts about Eve
Eve was in the most beautiful, perfect place ever with her husband. God walked with them in the evening. All of her needs were met. Yet, she wanted just one more thing. I think many women can relate to that. I shop when I have a closet full of clothes and a house full of things. Am I the only one?
About walking in the evening with God--
Most days, I walk in my wooded neighborhood, and I often try to imagine Him walking with me. (Authors have big imaginations.) I feel the wind in my hair and hear the sound of birds in the trees, and I thank Him for not giving up on me, despite my many blunders.
Scripture identifies that Satan was the one acting through the serpent who tempted Eve. (2 Cor. 11:3 Rev 12:9) The strategy is to drive a wedge between man and God. Sin always drives wedges. Satan questions God’s Word and motives and love. Satan doesn’t mind lying or twisting the truth. Eve gave up her confidence in God’s provision of her needs. At times, I have done this as well, and I went my own way. I went searching for the wrong things to provide happiness. Those choices did not provide true joy, and they often led to disaster.
Once Eve and Adam (who was standing right beside her!) took the fruit and sinned, they hid from God, crushed with guilt and shame. They blamed others for their choices. I’ve been there, done that—played the blame-game. Sin kills our relationships with each other and God.
God sacrificed to cover Adam and Eve with clothing, as He sacrificed His son to cover our sins years later.
Eve was the first mother, and she went through the pain of losing a child too soon. She went through the horror of having a murderer for a son. She knew heartache over her children. I know many can relate to that as well, yet God can comfort.
I was surprisingly encouraged studying Eve. What are your thoughts on her?
If you’re interested in receiving weekly thoughts on women in the Bible, just reply to this blog post and let me know.
When anxiety threatens to overwhelm us, God is still in control.
He was not taken by surprise by anything going on in the world today.
We can give Him our burdens and trust that He loves us.
Now is a wonderful time to offer positive faith-filled messages to a world in chaos. (Of course, when hasn't the world had chaos?)
Some of my favorite quotes come from Corrie Ten Boon. Here's one I'd offer you today.
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”
If you'd like to know more about Corrie Ten Boon, here's a link.
While all the staying at home is going on, I'm leaving my 4-book Southern Hearts eBook Series at 99 cents, if you need something to read. Click here. Amazon
Another newly started place for reading discounts (and more) is 1531 Entertainment.
Of course, God's Word is the best place to find comfort. I love listening to the Word on BibleGateway.com or the YouVersion Bible app.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills--
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
Blessings in Him,
Let me know if I can say a specific prayer for you or yours.
This week in my Bible reading I came to Luke 15 and was reminded of how much God loves us.
Luke 15 The Parable of the Lost Sheep15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. 2 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
3 Then Jesus told them this parable: 4 “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? 5 And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6 and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ 7 I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.
If you're feeling alone or lost today, remember God loves you more than you can ask or imagine!
You are in His heart.
There's a song recently made with this theme if you enjoy contemporary music. (I know different people have different views and preferences on this kind of thing.) Here's a link if you enjoy that kind of music and need that reminder today.
I'm so glad He searched me out in my lowest places!
Jesus loves me, this I know!
P.S. There is flooding in Mississippi, near where I live, that will affect many people. I shouldn't flood, but we'd love your prayers.
Hi Friends! I hope your 2020 is starting well!
I've been in a local Christian fiction book club for many years----before I ever thought of writing a novel. I thought it would be fun to share with you what we read in 2019 and our plans for reading in 2020!
A quick note that I had a Bookbub deal this week, so The Art of Rivers is only 99 cents through the 30th. Here's the link on Amazon!
Okay, last year's novels:
Here Burns My Candle Liz Curtis Higgs
Heir of Hope Stephenia McGee
If I’m Found Terri Blackstock
All Made Up Kara Isaac
The Masterpiece Francine Rivers
Before We Were Yours Lisa Wingate
A Broken Kind of Beautiful Katie Ganshert
The Art of Rivers Janet W. Ferguson
The House on Foster Hill Jaime Jo Wright
The Lady and the Mountain Man Misty M. Beller
The Christmas Heirloom: Four Holiday Novellas Witemeyer et al
Star Rising by Janet W. Ferguson
I can honestly say I enjoyed every one of these!! And they were kind enough to read 2 of my novels. They are my Guinea pigs, LOL!
The 2020 List!
If I Live Terri Blackstock
Whose Waves These Are Amanda Dykes
Christmas Roses Amanda Cabot
The Lady and the Mountain Doctor Misty M. Beller
The End of the Magi Patrick Carr
The Line Between Tosca Lee
The Plum Blooms in Winter Linda Thompson
Mine is the Night Liz Curtis Higgs
Isaiah's Daughter Mesu Andrews
Claiming Mariah Pam Hillman
Five Days in Skye Carla Laureano
Have you read any of these books? Are you in a book club? I'd love to hear some of your favs. Leave a comment on my blog here!
I just wanted to let you know Star Rising is live today! I've included a favorite scene set at the Bunratty Castle. We almost didn’t go, because some of the travel books said that it was too touristy. Apparently, we like touristy stuff!
The castle sits on a good bit of land where they have a folk park. In that area, they try to recreate life in Irish history with a little village that demonstrates the old ways of doing things. Picture thatched roofs on stone cottages. Then, we toured the castle and had a medieval banquet there. They had singers, harpists, other instruments being played, and actors who entertained, while we ate a meal served family-style at long banquet tables. No silverware, just your fingers to eat with, LOL!
Here’s a small excerpt of Star Rising, where the hero Paul is picked to be the “scoundrel” by the actors and forced to sing a song to be set free. Don’t worry, because he deserves the punishment/embarrassment at this point in the story!
“Fetch the prisoner from the dungeon.” The earl clapped his hands, and the two men escorted Paul back to the stage but remained at his side. “The king and queen have resolved to grant mercy on our villain. But first the scoundrel must”—the actor gave a dramatic pause, waggling his eyebrows, and Paul readied himself for more humiliation—“perform a melody of their Royal Highness’s choosing.”
Yep. More humiliation. Good thing he’d had a few glasses of wine.
“What will you have the scoundrel sing, Your Majesties? Danny Boy? I’m a Little Teapot? Don’t Go Drinking with Hobbits?”
Paul groaned. Star and Will had to come up with better choices than those.
Star shot an apologetic look Paul’s way, then leaned close to Will. They discussed back and forth, shaking their heads as they selected his penalty.
Finally, Star nodded, and Will smiled. Will stood and shouted, “Do you know Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey? Maybe a little dance to go with it?”
Paul rolled his eyes. “Unfortunately.” One of his boss’s girlfriends had been a huge Journey fan and had played the group on the plane every flight. Plus, most every cover band in the world played that song.
“We’ve a treaty, then.” The earl raised one hand high in the air. “Singing and dancing to Don’t Stop Believin’. We will judge if your frolicking entails the proper amount of punch.” Wiggling his hips, the earl turned in a circle, and the audience laughed. “Go forth, scoundrel.”
Paul did his best to get out of trouble! I think you’ll enjoy the scene when you get to it in the book!
This was a fun book to write. It has funny moments like this one, but it also grapples with having faith when life falls apart. I hope you like it!
You can order your copy on Amazon Barnes & Noble iBooks or Kobo now for 2.99!
Star Youngblood has always been a fighter–a necessity after her mother married a monster of a man. Now, she’s finally on the path to the stable life she’s always wanted. Her employer, Priscilla Kelly, is a sweet woman ravaged by rheumatoid arthritis, and Star will do anything to help her. Even if that means going toe to toe with Mrs. Kelly’s neglectful son.
After being betrayed on the mission field and devastated by the tragic death of his father, Paul Kelly gave up on God. He lives life on his own terms, biding his time as a corporate pilot until he can save enough money to begin his own flight school closer to home. His mother is all he has left, and he wants to be near her. He just didn’t expect her health to decline so quickly. When he discovers his mother has taken in a stray—a woman he’s not at all sure can be trusted—his protective instincts kick into high gear. Paul’s handled a lot of turbulence, but he’s never gone up against a force like Star.
As Paul and Star strive to protect his mother in their own ways, they soon find their hearts are at the greatest risk.
Get your copy of Star Rising today :)
Can you believe another Christmas is here? I'm not super into decorating and big gifts, but what I do love is seeing friends and family, or at least hearing from them all! I love photo Christmas cards, so I can get a glimpse of everyone's children or pets! And I love thinking about God's gift of that Baby in a manger Who was willing to live a fallen world for us!!
I met so many sweet readers and fantastic authors this year, I thought I'd post some pics of them here! If I haven't met you, yet, maybe next year! :)
Well, my blog will only allow so many pictures in one post!! Wish I could post them all!! Christian fiction readers, bloggers, and writers are a wonderful, supportive group to be a part of!
I'm praying right now for God's blessings and peace and hope in Christ for you during this busy season :) Let me know what you're up to! Can I pray for you? Leave a comment or message me!
P.S. A LITTLE BOOK NEWS BELOW
My friends Misty Beller, Jennifer Rodewald, and I have new books coming out soon! Check out the preorders below. Misty and Jen are both excellent authors!
Get Jennifer's book When I Come Home Again on Amazon Here for $2.99
Get Misty's book Freedom in the Mountain Wind for 99 cents on these retailers:
Preorder my novel Star Rising for $2.99 on these retailers
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson