Song of the Sunbeams

Palm Sunday is one of my favorite days. I love the thoughts surrounding the story of Jesus going going to Jerusalem as King and look forward to the day He will again ride into Jerusalem as King over the whole earth.

 I like the thought of "even the stones" crying out in praise to God. Here is a fictional story that I wrote that came from the idea of all nature praising the Lord -




Song of the Sunbeams


Mike wasn’t supposed to be there, but Uncle Ted said, “History is happening today. Science will never be the same. I want you to have a front row seat to the future.” 

Men and women with briefcases streamed into the auditorium. They set up their laptops and greeted old friends. Chairs clanged and microphones squeaked and voices echoed on the high ceiling. Uncle Ted stepped to the podium. 

“Ladies and gentlemen...” 

People scurried to their places.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Universal Code Project. We are honored to have many science and technical experts here. I am excited about what today will mean for the future. 

“As you can see, we will be projecting our reports to the screen behind me. So, would you each log-in to the Universal Code site with the password emailed to you earlier? If you wish to speak, use one of the microphones set up on each table, please. This session is being recorded. If everyone is ready, let us begin.”

Mike found a chair near the back wall. 

The screen lit up with the UCP logo, the earth with dotted lines across it. Uncle Ted smiled. “The Universal Code Project was established by Dr. Samuel Warden to decipher the newly discovered pattern in all of nature. With his technology, we have been able to digitalize the intricate design of the strange code. This code is imprinted on delicate snowflakes, viscous lava, and even the layers of rock at the Grand Canyon. Instead of listening to me spouting hot air, we’d like to hear from you. Tell us what you have discovered.” 

A man near the front began. “Good morning. My name is Maitland Richards, doctor of biology at Harvard. We have been amazed to find the universal code in everything we have tested. It is in the DNA of the smallest bacteria to the oldest dinosaur bones. It repeats itself, but yet varies slightly from species to species.” A chart flashed up on the screen. “As you can see, even colors have a code, as do the different elements. Especially interesting is the code found in homo sapiens. We seem to have a code of our very own, different from all others.” 

Mike leaned forward in his seat as professors and doctors each presented their data and discoveries.

“I’m Jack Reicher, a music professor from Berkley College. We are excited to discover that with Dr. Warden’s technology, we can digitalize sound. In the past, we have recorded sounds in the ocean and underground, but now we have found sound in unexpected places. There is sound in plants and rocks and even in electricity. This is what it looks like-”

002302040502050060020030100
100300110002000500400060003

“And this is what it sounds like-” 

A trill of chirps and beeps filled the room. 

Another man stood. “My name is Vince Tacker from NASA. For decades we have heard static sounds from space. It sounded like this-”

A loud buzz filled the room. 

“Now, with our new equipment, it sounds like this-”

The sound changed to cascading tones. 

Mike jumped to his feet. He lifted his arms. The music surrounded him. He turned. An old man with a broom stood in the doorway. “I know dis song! I hear it all da time. It is da song of sunbeams when I sweep. It is da song of raindrops. It is beautiful, yah?” 

Mike smiled, but the others in the room covered their ears and begged for it to be turned down. Uncle Ted tapped his microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, please calm down. I want to progress to the next stage of our project. We now have a program that converts the digital information into language. In other words, we should be able read the patterns found in nature.” 

He signaled his assistant and the numbers on the screen changed. They became strings of letters. 

RDWORTHYNAMELAMBLORDMAJESTYHOL
PHAOMEGAGLORYFOREVERHONORKINGAL

The room was silent. Whispers drifted back and forth. Finally one man stood up. “What is this gibberish? It doesn’t make sense at all!” Chaos erupted. 

Mike could see the words. They were squished together, but he could see them. “Worthy, Lamb, Majesty—“

The old man nudged him. “You know da words? I only know da German. What da words say?” 

Mike began to sing. “Holy is the Lord. Worthy is the Lamb.” 

The voices fell silent. Mike closed his eyes and lifted his voice. He could hear the song in his head.

“Glory! Honor! Majesty to God…”

Purim Story

It's been a while since I've posted on my blog, but today being the Jewish feast of Purim, I thought it a good time to post my version of the story. There is so much in this story - treachery, loyalty, humor, irony, etc. It's one of my favorite Bible stories. 



The Man the King Delights to Honor


The king of Persia tossed this way and that. He kicked off his royal silk coverings and fluffed up his royal tasseled pillow. He lay on his back. He lay on his left side and his right. Nothing helped. 

“Servant! Close the window again! That pounding is driving me crazy. How can anyone sleep with all that noise?” 

The king closed his eyes. He could still hear the hammering in the middle of the night. 

“Servant! I must get my rest! Read to me.”

“What shall I read?”

“Read the daily chronicles to me, and don’t try to make them interesting. Hopefully you can bore me to sleep.”

The servant sat cross-legged on the carpet and unrolled a scroll. “On the third day of the tenth month, fifty shekels of wheat and thirty flagons of wine and a hundred measures of corn and sixty sheep and twelve oxen were bought for the palace for the price of three hundred two and forty pieces of silver. On the fourth day of the tenth month, the merchant, Teresh, paid seventy pieces of silver to the merchant, Bigthan, for false dealings. On the fifth day of the tenth month, the doorkeeper, Mordecai, reported suspicions of an assassination of the king. On the-“

“Wait! Read that part again…about the doorkeeper.” 

“The doorkeeper, Mordecai, reported suspicions of an assassination of the king.”

The king sat up and stared at the servant. “Has this man been rewarded for his bravery and faithfulness? He has saved my life. Why haven’t I been told of this before?”

The servant unrolled one parchment after another looking for a record of a reward given to the doorkeeper Mordecai, but there was none.

“I must do something to show my respect to this man. What would be the best way?” 

The king of Persia lay down upon his royal bed and finally fell asleep, thinking of the doorkeeper who saved his life.



Haman, the chief of the princes of Persia, was happy. Early in the morning, he strutted to the palace with a smug grin. Was he not promoted above all of the other counselors, a guest at the king’s table? Was he not the greatest man in all of Persia besides the king? 

As he passed the chamberlains, doorkeepers, and guards, they all bowed their faces to the ground—except one—Mordecai. Haman sneered at the brave man. Soon—soon he would have his revenge on this one Jew who refused to bow to him! The gallows were finished. The workers had labored all night. Soon his enemy would be gone. He only needed the king’s signature and it would be done!

Haman’s stomping footsteps echoed in the stone hallways. Mutters and growls rumbled from his lips. “Arrogantstiffneckedstubbornignorantfoolishrebelliouspigheaded…” As he lifted his hand to the door to the king’s chambers, it opened. A servant, leaving the room with a tray of silver bowls, turned to announce Haman’s arrival.

The king motioned the prince inside. “Haman! You’re just the person I need to help me with an important matter.”

Haman bowed, pleased by this obvious request of the king. “Anything for you, O king!”

“My most trusted advisor, what shall I do for the man I delight to honor?” 

Haman stood and smiled. He strutted around the room with his head high and shoulders thrown back. “For the man whom the king delights to honor, let the royal cloak be placed on his shoulders and the king’s crown on his head. Let this man be put on the king’s horse and be led up and down throughout the city by one of the most noble princes, proclaiming to everyone that the king delights in honoring this man.” 

“Yes! Yes! Wonderful!” The king clapped his hands and removed his crown and cloak. “Make haste! Take these and put them on Mordecai, the doorkeeper. Put him on my strongest horse and proclaim throughout the city that this is the man the king delights to honor.”

Christmas Poem

Christmas at Sea

(by Robert Louis Stephenson)
The sheets were frozen hard, and they cut the naked hand;
The decks were like a slide, where a seaman scarce could stand;
The wind was a nor'wester, blowing squally off the sea;
And cliffs and spouting breakers were the only things a-lee.

They heard the surf a-roaring before the break of day;
But 'twas only with the peep of light we saw how ill we lay.
We tumbled every hand on deck instanter, with a shout,
And we gave her the maintops'l, and stood by to go about.

All day we tacked and tacked between the South Head and the North;
All day we hauled the frozen sheets, and got no further forth;
All day as cold as charity, in bitter pain and dread,
For very life and nature we tacked from head to head.

We gave the South a wider berth, for there the tide race roared;
But every tack we made we brought the North Head close aboard:
So's we saw the cliffs and houses, and the breakers running high,
And the coastguard in his garden, with his glass against his eye.

The frost was on the village roofs as white as ocean foam;
The good red fires were burning bright in every 'long-shore home;
The windows sparkled clear, and the chimneys volleyed out;
And I vow we sniffed the victuals as the vessel went about.

The bells upon the church were rung with a mighty jovial cheer;
For it's just that I should tell you how (of all days in the year)
This day of our adversity was bless├Ęd Christmas morn,
And the house above the coastguard's was the house where I was born.

O well I saw the pleasant room, the pleasant faces there,
My mother's silver spectacles, my father's silver hair;
And well I saw the firelight, like a flight of homely elves,
Go dancing round the china plates that stand upon the shelves.

And well I knew the talk they had, the talk that was of me,
Of the shadow on the household and the son that went to sea;
And O the wicked fool I seemed, in every kind of way,
To be here and hauling frozen ropes on bless├Ęd Christmas Day.

They lit the high sea-light, and the dark began to fall.
'All hands to loose top gallant sails,' I heard the captain call.
'By the Lord, she'll never stand it,' our first mate, Jackson, cried.
… 'It's the one way or the other, Mr. Jackson,' he replied.

She staggered to her bearings, but the sails were new and good,
And the ship smelt up to windward just as though she understood.
As the winter's day was ending, in the entry of the night,
We cleared the weary headland, and passed below the light.

And they heaved a mighty breath, every soul on board but me,
As they saw her nose again pointing handsome out to sea;
But all that I could think of, in the darkness and the cold,
Was just that I was leaving home and my folks were growing old.

Annual Christmas Fruit Cake Gala

With Christmas just around the corner
and lots of parties and food,
I thought I'd share a fun story I wrote 
for Faithwriters a few years ago.




The Annual Christmas Fruit Cake Bake-Off Gala

“Good evening. This is Cheri Bing, reporting for WHIP, in Quince Valley, Florida. I am standing outside the Capitol Convention Building, where we are expecting much to be happening here tonight. The Annual Christmas Cake Bake-Off and the State Christmas Gala are being held in the same hall because of a scheduling dilemma. 


“Tables are loaded with exquisite displays of culinary creations: a Black Forest Cherry Cake, a Festive Eggnog Cake, an Orange Marmalade Noel Cake, a Chocolate Yule Log, a Jewel Fruit Cake, and even a Coconut Cookie Tree. Band music is filling the air, and dignitaries are arriving by limousines. What a grand event this will be! 

“Here is Miss Linda Emmon, wife of Senator Meringue, arriving now, dressed in a yellow chiffon gown, topped with fluffy white stole. 

“Hello, Miss Emmons, could you tell us what you think of the Bake-Off and Gala occurring at the same time?”

“It’s an outrage! To think that we have to mingle with restaurant chefs and ordinary cooks. It’s enough to give me the shivers!”

“Thank you, Miss Emmons. Let’s go inside to get some other opinions. Here is someone in a dark plum outfit near the food tables.

“Excuse me, Ma’am. Could you tell me your name and what brings you here, tonight, the Bake-Off or the Gala?”

“My name is Candace Dumpling. I’m just here for the excitement. I love Christmas puddings, but I think any kind of cake or pie is scrumptious. I could just sit in a corner and eat one all by myself. Oh, this is so much fun! Did you know that because of the double scheduling, anyone can come…no invitations needed?”

“So, do you know any of the Cake Contestants?”

“Oh, yes, there’s George over there. He’s a peach, but a little young for me to date; still got fuzz on his chin…hee, hee!” 

“What’s the name of the band?”

“That’s The Concords! Aren’t they great? They’re whining, though, because they are squeezed into the corner and have to share the stage with The Pomegranate Ensemble, a foreign group for the Gala.”

“Well, thank you, Miss… oh, there she goes… Well, let’s talk to one of the cake contestants, Chef Ping Apple.

“Hello, Sir, what do you think of the competition tonight?”

“It’s quite a crowd all right! I hope things stay organized. I’ve spent twenty-three full hours working on my nine-layer cake. ‘Twould be a shame if anything happened to it.” 

“So you think you’ve got a good chance of winning?”

“Yes, Ma’am. I even brought my Granny, Ida Smith. It’s her recipe, and when I get the blue ribbon, I want to share it with her.”

“Well, that’s very considerate of you…and you, Ma’am, do you think he’ll win?”

“Hi, Dear. Yes, I think he has a good chance. My grandson may seem prickly on the outside, but he’s got a sweet inner core.” 

“Thank you, Mr. Ping Apple and Granny Smith. Now, I hear the music changing. It sounds like the Holiday Mixer Waltz. The floor is filled with swirling dresses of all colors: raspberry, cranberry, lime green, tangerine, and blueberry. 

“The Pomegranate Ensemble is now playing the Mango Tango. A couple dressed in black is strutting shoulder to shoulder across the floor, amid flickering specks of light. Wow! Look at them dip! What a pair!

“Anna Chiquita, dressed in a cream-colored skirt and satin slippers, is now singing ‘Feliz Navidad’, with The Pomegranates playing and people singing along.

“Now the Concord band has started playing ‘Holiday Hoe-Down Cobbler.’ The crowd is really getting into a party spirit. I think I better back out of the way. I can hardly hear myself, with all the clapping and foot stomping.

“Oh, no! Percy Simmons, with his sequined tuxedo, has backed into Mandy Rin, in the orange Chinese kimono. With her arms flailing, she’s trying to catch her balance, but grabs the edge of the tablecloth instead. Oh, no! There goes Chef Ping Apple’s nine-layer cake! It’s falling! It’s upside-down on the floor. He’s not too happy. Oh, I hope this doesn’t end in people throwing punches. I think it’s time for me to sign off.

“This is Cheri Bing, from station WHIP, in Quince, Florida. Merry Christmas!”



FREE BOOK
(with any purchase)

This story is included in
A Box of Christmas Candy
(A Country Store Collection)


Friday Fiction - In the Fog



I've gotten back into doing the Faithwriters Weekly Challenge
Here's my spooky entry for the topic - Fantasy.
(based on the photo at the end of the story) 




IN THE FOG


The fog closed in like a hungry invisible creature – stealing my vision, my hearing, and even my courage. 

My shirt clung to me in the chilly mist. All I could hear were the oars. 

“Splash” – into the silvery water, 
"Clunk” – against the oarlocks, 
“Drip, drip, drip” – back again. 

Day after day, I’d scrounged for clams in the sandy coves at low tide – a tiresome, boring job – until my hoe hit an old wooden chest. Stories were told of pirates along these shores, but I thought them only tales – until today. 

It’s mine. I found it.

The gray fog thickened. I couldn’t even see the water anymore. I felt like I was suspended between earth and sky – no up or down, no east or west. I stopped rowing with a frightening thought.

I could be heading into the open sea!

I heard a sound – like a far away lighthouse horn, but a wild and mournful bellow. I waited. It sounded again. Whatever it was, there had to be land, and I pulled my oars toward it. 

I stretched my arms and back, pushing my skiff through the water, until it grounded fast upon a sandy shore. Silence. The horn had stopped. The only sounds were the waves lapping the shore and a soft whisper of trees. 

Grabbing the coil of rope, I stepped over the edge. I slowly sloshed through the shallow water toward the shore and secured my boat. 

“HELLO!” I called, but I heard only the waves and whispering trees. 

I considered bringing my treasure ashore, but decided to leave it safely in the boat. I’d need only to wait until the tide turned. I hoped the fog would lift by then. I scrambled up beneath the dark trees. Under their sheltering branches, I laid my head on the crook of my arm for a few hours of rest. 

I awoke with a start!

Something had touched me – something I couldn’t see. My pulse beat in my ears. My eyes darted left and right. 

A shadow emerged from the fog – a creature, the size of a child, yet with the appearance of a very old man. He wore a large shell on a string around his neck. With his gnarly hand, he beckoned me to follow. We walked on and on, through dark pines and grassy meadows. He led me beside a smelly swamp and even across a swinging rope bridge. 

We finally arrived at a clearing with a fire in its midst. Its light revealed several more little men. Their clothing was dark, like mossy bark. Shaggy beards covered their faces, except for their eyes, which shone with reflected firelight. They stared at me without a noise. 

My guide offered me a steaming mug, and the others turned back to their discussion.

I took a sip. It tasted like honey cider. Sitting on a stump near the campfire, I listened. Their words were strange to me. They snacked on tiny shelled snails, cracking them like peanuts. 

Two men dragged a box into the clearing and opened its lid. They laughed and tossed some of its contents into the fire – which made the flames shoot sparkling cinders into the starry sky. 

It's my treasure! “Stop! You can’t have that! It’s mine. I found it!” 

They laughed and continued their game. Some tossed the coins up into the trees, where they got stuck high in the branches. It became a contest, and they all had a turn to see who could score the most. I shouted and tried to stop them, but the game went on until the box was empty. 

With their contest ended, they returned to their babbling conversations. I drank a few more rounds of hot honey cider until my mind got fuzzy with sleep.

I woke to a light flickering on my face. The sun was playing with fluttering golden leaves above me. The fog was gone – and so were the little men. There were no ashes or any gold coins. 

In only a few strides, I returned to the beach and also an empty skiff. With daylight to help, I searched for my missing treasure. I circled the tiny island with less than a hundred steps. 

Where was the forest, the swamp, or the swinging rope bridge? 

As I pushed off from shore, I noticed an over-turned stump. Its roots were positioned like arms and legs. Some moss hung down like a shaggy beard, and a large shell lay at its feet.





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