Why Hope Matters…

A couple of weeks ago, the subdivision I live spruced up the city entrance into our subdivision with some flowers and delightful little bushes. It was a gift to both the city and the people who live in our lovely little area. A few days later all of the shrubs were stolen. Undeterred, we planted them again, praying that whoever stole the plants really needed them. It was backbreaking work by the same few people who do all of the work in the association, for nothing I might add, to make our area more beautiful for over 300 families.

A few days later, they were stolen again. We then decided to plant perennials, at a much lower cost, but the same backbreaking work.

They were stolen again last night. These same lovely people, to the anger of most, have decided to plant again, as they see their work as giving and hopeful, even though others see it as foolish and wasteful.

Then yesterday, my publisher announced that they are shutting down, a devastating move for any administration, authors and supporting artists alike. I sent a note of encouragement to the CEO thanking he and his staff, grateful that they gave me a chance to showcase my award-winning work.

Then throughout the day, I watched Facebook as many, many of my fellow authors accused, ripped and tore at the owners and workers of the publishing house, obviously angry at the business decision that was made. Their whining and complaining did little to solve any of the unknown issues that forced the closure of the publisher, nor did it do anything to ease the ache of those affected.

Today I realized I woke up with the same joy I had yesterday, undaunted by the difficult decision my publisher had to make or the stolen flowers. That’s when I realized that my hope doesn’t lie in how many books I sell, it lies in the hope my living God gives to me, a hope that cannot be taken away.

So today, I am changing course, like a ship out to sea. The wind has changed, so I need to change my course. I have decided to pitch my just completed mystery to a new publisher! This new wind of hope has given me a new course and a new chance to succeed all over again! In fact, with another work already in my head, maybe this is the time I will land a residency in order to complete a totally new work! Whatever the case, it is wonderful that I have hope beyond the effect of what others can do to me or what happens in life. What a great feeling!

Now, it’s time to join my neighbors and plant some new flowers!





Things Like This Are Happening…

A short excerpt from my new manuscript..The Bequest.

The engine of the 767 roared as the departing plane raced down the runway. Juicer Alexis’ white shirt was drenched in sweat, half-hidden beneath the wrinkled linen jacket. Surrounded by sick Syrian refugees, he pushed his hand through his rumpled hair and tried to steady his shaking limbs before blowing a sigh of relief. He’d remained hidden for several weeks in the house of an art lover in Dumayr before the invitation from Tyler College arrived via the sporadic email system inviting him to review and appraise a large collection of donated artifacts looking strikingly like others Jucar once housed in his museum.

He stared out the window of the humanitarian plane, one of the few allowed to enter and exit, and surveyed the beautiful city. A vast arid plateau lay below him, fingers of streams spidering into the Barada, the river responsible for the creating the fertile Al Gutah Oasis, site of his beloved city, Damascus. Just an hour earlier, he’d barely escaped detection at a terrorist roadblock on the way to the airport.

“Don’t even breathe when they stop me,” his friend whispered from the front seat. Jucar hoped the hidden compartment beneath the back seat of the man’s car could contain his fear. The opening was small as Jucar tried to endure the cramps rising in his extremities. He clutched his computer to his chest, praying the reputation for hating the West his friend was known for, would be the decoy they needed to get Jucar out of the country. He felt the vehicle slow and then slam to a stop. The tires slid on the gravel, sending dust seeping into the hiding place, nearly choking him. He closed his eyes and felt the sweat trail down his face and drop onto the laptop encased in his balled form.

Voices outside rose and fell. He heard the slap of a man’s hand across someone’s face before gunshots ripped through the trunk just behind him. He jerked suddenly, stilled himself and held his breath. A moment later he heard a gun bang on the trunk and an unfamiliar voice screaming at his friend to open it. Finding a pair of jumper cables and three gallons of water, the trunk slammed shut.

“Search what you will!” his friend’s voice was calm and certain. “If there is anyone to be found in my car, I shall kill them for you!”

The door behind the passenger seat creaked open. A man kneeled on the seat above him, crushing his full weight onto the hidden man, forcing a wheeze of air from Jucar’s mouth. He could see the fingers of someone brushing inside the seat inches from his face. He hoped they could not smell his fear or the stench of the sweat rising from his body.

Shortly after the door closed, the car started and pulled away, the gravel again spitting behind them. He remained quiet for several minutes before he heard a voice.

“We did it, Jucar!” His friend whispered, as though someone might still hear. “They took my old computer and my wallet, as we suspected, but they knew of me, which is why I am not dead at this time.” He laughed, but Jucar was well aware of the attack his friend had just been spared. He’d witnessed the brutality boldly broadcast on the networks of the television stations now controlled by terrorist groups across Syria. “We must hurry, as they said the refugee plane will be gone by nightfall.”

Jucar’s lungs expanded and then deflated in gratitude. Outside the airport terminal entrance, Jucar said a bittersweet goodbye. He held his friend closely, knowing he might never see him again should one of them be discovered before his return. If he returned.

A Ray of Hope for the World of Antiquities

News has recently surfaced that the government of Syria has advanced on and taken back the city of Palmyra, from insurgent rebels. Palmer is a city once known for beautiful and very historical Roman and Greek architecture and artifacts. It was the center of Syria’s tourism industry.

Sad to say that most of the architecture was destroyed or stolen away, a great loss to art lovers around the world. Thanks to those whose love for art and history had seen enough ahead during the insurgents march on Syria, many priceless objects were removed, copied and sent away to foreign countries for safe keeping until the was is over.

Many of those caring men and women lost their lives protecting the ancient art, including the 81-year-old anthropologist who gave his life to hide the relics.

The retaking of Palmyra does not signal the end to the ongoing war, but it does offer hope to those who seek to hold on to our world’s artistic past!