Mar 18, 2016

How the Farmer's Wife got a New Feather Duster

Now the chicken yard happened to be just outside the big picture window in the Farmer’s best parlor. When guest would come the farmer and his wife would proudly point out their lovely White Leghorns, the shimmering Buff Orphingtons, the Beautiful Dappled Bard Rock, and the fluffy white Silkies.
The chickens thought this was just fine and fluffed, and preened, and dashed to take their places strutting proudly before the window; daintily scratching about for grubs and pieces of grass, whenever they saw company coming.
Then one day, just as she was about to catch a bright green grasshopper, the littlest Silky looked in the window and gasped in horror! The farmer’s wife had a beautiful black chicken by the feet and was shaking it all over the furniture!
Quickly she called to the other to see for their own eyes. “Something must be done!” clucked the distressed little Silky.
“I’ll say!” cackled the dappled Bard Rock. “In all my life none of us have ever been invited into the house. And that chicken is being allowed to touch everything!”
The tall White Leghorn sniffed indignantly, “I should have guessed they’d prefer black to white.”
“Yes,” mussed the Bard Rock, leaning forward to look closer, “it is a perfect jet black isn’t it?”
“Yes,” they all clucked in agreement.
It was sure, the farmer’s wife must have the most beautiful chicken to take into the house and wipe all over her furniture.
No longer satisfied with being shown off to the guests, the hens took care every morning to preen and fluff and strut and cluck when the farmer’s wife came to their pen. But all she ever did was take their eggs and smile, saying softly, “Are you all just the prettiest bird that ever walked the earth?” But they knew she didn’t mean it, because day after day, it was the black chicken and not they being swung by its feet all around the farm house.
“It’s not fare,” declared the Leghorn one day as she sat waiting to pass an egg. Then she had an idea, one she could not do alone. So, she called all the other chickens to her, and told them her idea.
They each quickly agreed, but the littlest Silky was not so sure, she was after all the one putting herself most at risk. “Now that gets one of us a chance, but what about the rest?”
“Oh we’ll take turns,” the much larger hen assured her in an off handed way. She just knew she would be the next to be chosen and she didn’t want to wait a moment longer than she had to.
The little Silky hushed and they waited. Soon, as was her afternoon habit, the farmer’s wife entered the parlor and began to shale the bird about. The golden Orphington flew over the fence and pecked at the front door. When the farmer’s wife appeared, she gasped that the bird had escaped her enclosure and swiftly dropped her things and ran after the now retreating bird. As soon as she had gone the Littlest Silky scurried into the house.
The hallway inside was so big the poor little bird might have left a surprise for the farmer’s wife. But remembering her task she quickly ran around hoping up and down until she found the feathered mass. She grabbed it by the wing and darted back out to the hen house with the mass of feathers flopping about behind her.
All the hens gathered around and stared at the now still figure. “Oh dear,” sighed the largest of the Silkies, “You’ve killed it, dear.”
They all stood about unsure what to do next, until the Large White Leghorn, who wasn’t as sure the farmer’s wife would like her pure white feathers now that she looked closely at the black, stepped forward and declared, “Well she won’t need these anymore!” and with that she snatched a hand full of feathers and gave it one great pull.
Just like that the hen house erupted, each hen grabbing and grasping for all the feathers she could get her hands on! Until, the dust settled and nothing was left of the bird but one leg bone. (It was rumored there after that the curious Bardrock had stolen the beak but she always denied it.)
The next afternoon the farmer’s wife came into the room just as usual but she went here and there looking all around. At last, in frustration she stopped and put her hands on her hips. That’s when her eyes fell on the chicken yard. There, with all the pomp and strutting they could manage stood every single chicken with black feathers tide all over them! 
She gawked and then gasped and then ran out her front door to the chicken yard.
The hens, their little hearts all a flutter, ran up to her, each knowing that her stunning beauty was sure to be chosen. Imagine their delight when the farmer’s wife grabbed them by their feet and shook each one with all her might!


Imagine her surprise, when finishing shaking one, she found another black feather duster covered chicken offer itself up to be shaken. But it didn’t stop till every last chicken had been shaken and all the lost feathers had been reclaimed, not to mention a whole lot of new feathers.

That night, in the hen house, it was decided that being shaken by the feet was perhaps not a job to be sought after. And if you looked in the big window in the afternoon as the farmer’s wife dusted, you would see that her duster was no longer just plain black. It was white, and speckled, and, fluffy, and golden. And she smiled whenever she used it.




Feb 21, 2016

Talk given by Jonathan Simpson

“Your life can be a powerful offering to God when you fill it with selflessness, humility, and gratitude. But it can be even more than that. Your life can be a powerful legacy that you leave for your own posterity and future generations. When you’re close to God and you spend your life loving and serving Him, you can’t help but leave a legacy of honor in your wake.” (mormon.org, December 30th 2015)

[from] His Grace is Sufficient [by Brad Wilcox]
'A BYU student once came to me and asked if we could talk. I said, “Of course. How can I help you?”
She said, “I just don’t get grace.”
I responded, “What is it that you don’t understand?”
She said, “I know I need to do my best and then Jesus does the rest, but I can’t even do my best.”
She continued, “I know that I have to do my part and then Jesus makes up the difference and fills the gap that stands between my part and perfection. But who fills the gap that stands between where I am now and my part?”
Finally I said, “Jesus doesn’t make up the difference. Jesus makes all the difference. Grace is not about filling gaps. It is about filling us.”
Seeing that she was still confused, I took a piece of paper and drew two dots—one at the top representing God and one at the bottom representing us. I then said, “Go ahead. Draw the line. How much is our part? How much is Christ’s part?”
She went right to the center of the page and began to draw a line. Then, considering what we had been speaking about, she went to the bottom of the page and drew a line just above the bottom dot.
I said, “Wrong.”
She said, “I knew it was higher. I should have just drawn it, because I knew it.”
I said, “No. The truth is, there is no line. Jesus filled the whole space. He paid our debt in full. He didn’t pay it all except for a few coins. He paid it all. It is finished.”
She said, “Right! Like I don’t have to do anything?”
“Oh no,” I said, “you have plenty to do, but it is not to fill that gap. We will all be resurrected. We will all go back to God’s presence. What is left to be determined by our obedience is what kind of body we plan on being resurrected with and how comfortable we plan to be in God’s presence and how long we plan to stay there.”
By complying, we are not paying the demands of justice—not even the smallest part. Justice requires immediate perfection or a punishment when we fall short. Because Jesus took that punishment, He can offer us the chance for ultimate perfection and help us reach that goal. He can forgive what justice never could, and He can turn to us now with His own set of requirements.
“So what’s the difference?” the girl asked. “Whether our efforts are required by justice or by Jesus, they are still required.”
“True,” I said, “but they are required for a different purpose. Fulfilling Christ’s requirements is like paying a mortgage instead of rent or like making deposits in a savings account instead of paying off debt. You still have to hand it over every month, but it is for a totally different reason.”

Christ’s arrangement with us is similar to a mom providing music lessons for her child. Because Mom pays the debt in full, she can turn to her child and ask for practice. Does the child’s practice pay the piano teacher? No. Does the child’s practice repay Mom for paying the piano teacher? No. Mom’s joy is found not in getting repaid but in seeing her gift used—seeing her child improve. And so she continues to call for practice, practice, practice.
If the child sees Mom’s requirement of practice as being too overbearing, perhaps it is because he doesn’t yet see with mom’s eyes. He doesn’t see how much better his life could be if he would choose to live on a higher plane. In the same way, because Jesus has paid justice, He can now turn to us and say, “Follow me”, “Keep my commandments”. If we see His requirements as being way too much to ask (“Gosh! None of the other Christians have to pay tithing! None of the other Christians have to go on missions, serve in callings, and do temple work!”), maybe it is because we do not yet see through Christ’s eyes. We have not yet comprehended what He is trying to make of us.

I have born-again Christian friends who say to me, “You Mormons are trying to earn your way to heaven.”
I say, “No, we are not earning heaven. We are learning heaven. We are preparing for it. We are practicing for it.”
They ask me, “Have you been saved by grace?”
I answer, “Yes. Absolutely, totally, completely, thankfully—yes!”
Then I ask them a question that perhaps they have not fully considered: “Have you been changed by grace?” They are so excited about being saved that maybe they are not thinking enough about what comes next. They are so happy the debt is paid that they may not have considered why the debt existed in the first place. Latter-day Saints know not only what Jesus has saved us from but also what He has saved us for. As my friend Omar Canals puts it, “While many Christians view Christ’s suffering as only a huge favor He did for us, Latter-day Saints also recognize it as a huge investment He made in us.”

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can live after we die but that we can live more abundantly. The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can be cleansed and consoled but that we can be transformed. Scriptures make it clear that no unclean thing can dwell with God, but, brothers and sisters, no unchanged thing will even want to.

I know a young man who just got out of prison—again. When he was a teenager dealing with every bad habit a teenage boy can have, I said to his father, “We need to get him to EFY.”
His dad said, “I can’t afford that.”
I said, “I can’t afford it either, but you put some in, and I’ll put some in, and then we’ll go to my mom, because she is a real softy.”
We finally got the kid to EFY, but how long do you think he lasted? Not even a day.
By the end of the first day he called his mother and said, “Get me out of here!”
Heaven will not be heaven for those who have not chosen to be heavenly. 

The older I get, and the more I understand this wonderful plan of redemption, the more I realize that in the final judgment it will not be the unrepentant sinner begging Jesus, “Let me stay.” No, he will probably be saying, “Get me out of here!” Knowing  Christ’s character, I believe that if anyone is going to be begging on that occasion, it would probably be Jesus begging the unrepentant sinner, “Please, choose to stay. Please, use my Atonement—not just to be cleansed but to be changed so that you want to stay.”

The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. 

Too many are giving up on the Church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short. They have tried in the past, but they always feel like they are just not good enough. They don’t understand grace. There are young women who know they are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves them, and they love Him. Then they graduate from high school, and the values they memorized are put to the test. They slip up. They let things go too far, and suddenly they think it is all over. These young women don’t understand grace. 
There are young men who grow up their whole lives singing, “I hope they call me on a mission,” and then they do actually grow a foot or two and flake out completely. They get their Eagles, graduate from high school, and go away to college. Then suddenly they mess up. They say, “I’ll never do it again,” and then they do it. They say, “I’ll  never do it again,” and then they do it. They say, “This is stupid. I will never do it again.” And then they do it. The guilt is almost unbearable. They don’t dare talk to a bishop. Instead, they hide. They say, “I can’t do this Mormon thing. I’ve tried, and the expectations are just way too high.” So they quit. These young men don’t understand grace.
I know returned missionaries who come home and slip back into bad habits they thought were over. They break promises made before God, angels, and witnesses, and they are convinced there is no hope for them now. Seriously? These young people  have spent entire missions teaching people about Jesus Christ and His Atonement, and now they think there is no hope for them? These returned missionaries don’t understand grace.
I know young married couples who find out after the sealing ceremony is over that marriage requires adjustments. The pressures of life mount, and stress starts taking its toll. Mistakes are made. Walls go up. And pretty soon these husbands and wives are talking with divorce lawyers rather than each other. These couples don’t understand grace.

Christ is not waiting at the finish line; He is with us every step of the way.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen has written, “The Savior’s gift of grace to us is not necessarily limited in time to ‘after’ all we can do. We may receive his grace before, during and after the time when we expend our own efforts” 

So grace is not a booster engine that kicks in once our fuel supply is exhausted. Rather, it is our constant energy source. It is not the light at the end of the tunnel but the light that moves us through the tunnel.

The first company of Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847. Their journey was difficult and challenging; still, they sang: 

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear;

But with joy wend your way.

Though hard to you this journey may appear,

Grace shall be as your day.

We have all sung it hundreds of times, but have we stopped to consider what it means? “Grace shall be as your day”: grace shall be like a day. As dark as night may become, we can always count on the sun coming up. As dark as our trials, sins, and mistakes may appear, we can always have confidence in the grace of Jesus Christ. Do  we earn a sunrise? No. Do we have to be worthy of a chance to begin again? No. We just have to accept these blessings and take advantage of them. Faithful pioneers knew they were not alone. The task ahead of them was never as great as the power behind them.

The Book of Mormon teaches us to rely solely on “the merits, and mercy, an d grace of the Holy Messiah” (2 Nephi 2:8). As we do, we do not discover—as some Christians believe—that Christ requires nothing of us. Rather, we discover the reason He requires so much and the strength to do all He asks. Grace is not the absence of God’s high expectations. Grace is the presence of God’s power.'

It is far overdue that we stop making excuses for ourselves. We cannot keep pushing aside inconvenient aspects of commandments, tailoring the words of Christ and his prophets to fit our own agenda, whether in big ways or small, and expect salvation anyway. God did not give to Moses the Ten Suggestions, He gave Commandments. In like manner, if we profess to love and obey our prophet, we must follow all of their words. Matthew 7:21- Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Too often we might tweak the Word of Wisdom to fit our own tastes and work it into
our chosen lifestyle; we quietly brush under the rug the divinely imposed commandment to consecrate each Sunday as a holy day to God, justifying that if we are spending time with families, the nature of the activity does not matter. Youth, especially, have blurred the line between dating and courting until the line has all but  vanished, and the youth think that it’s permissible so long as they don’t break the law of chastity. Very often, brothers and sisters, we cannot see all the reasons for certain requirements and commandments, even when we think we do, so we only blind and numb ourselves spiritually when we look for loopholes.

Titus 1:16 - They profess that they know God; but in works they deny [him], being abominable, and disobedient……

*W.o.W, Sabbath Day observance, studying scriptures, Family Home Evening*
Dating
 “The Lord has made us attractive one to another for a great purpose. But this very attraction becomes as a powder keg unless it is kept under control. It is beautiful when handled in the right way. It is deadly if it gets out of hand. It is for this reason that the Church counsels against early dating. This rule is not designed to hurt you in any way. It is designed to help you, and it will do so if you will observe it.”
–Gordon B. Hinckley

Let’s see if you can correctly answer the following question: At what age are Latter-day Saint youth allowed to date? Of course, you probably immediately said, “16,” showing you’ve paid attention to For the Strength of Youth, as well as your parents and Church leaders.
OK, then, how about this one: At what age are you allowed to have a boyfriend or girlfriend? You may be thinking, “Um, 16. Didn’t I just answer that?” Well, if that was your answer, then, even though you aced the first question, you missed the second one. Just because you can date when you turn 16 doesn’t mean you should immediately start looking for a steady boyfriend or girlfriend.

As President Boyd K. Packer, has said to youth, “Avoid steady dating. Steady dating is courtship, and surely the beginning of courtship ought to be delayed until you have emerged from your teens”
You should avoid becoming exclusive as teenagers, because an exclusive relationship requires a high level of commitment from both partners, and you’re not in a position to make that kind of commitment as teens—neither emotionally, physically, nor in terms of your future plans.
For decades, prophets have preached that youth who are in no position to marry should not pair off exclusively. For instance, President Hinckley (1910–2008) said,
“When you are young, do not get involved in steady dating. When you reach an age where you think of marriage, then is the time to become so involved. But you boys who are in high school don’t need this, and neither do the girls”
1 John 2:4 - He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar,and the truth is not in him.

Brothers and sisters, I know that each of us is capable of living more highly than we  are now. As we become more like the Father, we will come to experience a life which is more rich with joy and fulfillment. To each of us, so much is given, and of course, a great deal is required—but we can do it! To conclude I paraphrase parts of Hebrews Chapter 13, for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Now  the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/brad-wilcox_his-grace-is-sufficient/

Aug 3, 2015

There is a place they say, up in those mountains, where trolls hide from the sunlight and dance to the tune of the wind through the trees on dark moonless nights. They hide from us, fearful creatures, so they say. But reason they have and that reason, so I’ve heard, is betrayal. The story goes something like this.
Once long ago, the trolls lived in the valleys, free from toil or strife. The played in the sunshine and laughed in the moonlight and never really thought about it. Their’s was a life of freedom and carefree play that is known only to a child.
                The day the fairies came, they gathered in awe of the creatures’ tall slim beauty, greatly contrasted by their own short, plum beauty, a beauty not of feature but of spirit. This too was contrasted by the cold ugliness of the fairy soul. They were outcasts. The elves cast them off when their cold nature caused a rift so great that the fairies even sought to supplant the King of the Elves. They say they were once one and the same, but that is another story, one that even they can’t remember any more.
                But, the Trolls knew none of this. In their innocence they could only see the beauty, for cruelty had no place in their history. The Trolls brought them gifts with the exuberance of shear adoration. But the Fairies cast them out and trampled upon their insignificant gifts. Devastated the Trolls sat down and cried. Had this been all, perhaps we would still see the Trolls and the Fairies among us still today, but alas, the simple Trolls could not understand and tried again.
                This time he Fairies wanted them to understand that Trolls and their gifts were far beyond their notice or time. They simply left. But one stayed behind. She was more beautiful and cold than all the rest. Perfectly shaped in body, perfectly mangled in heart. She could not bare that such folly as to approach the Fairies with ugliness go unpunished. She stood before the creatures and smiled. They brightened at the acknowledgement.
                “My little ones, are you not tired?”
                The Trolls nodded, for all their tears had wearied them greatly. She opened her arms and gathered them together. She cringed within herself at their touch but she continued to caress and comfort them. Finally she stood and held up a bottle. It sparkled almost as bright as she in the moonlight, for it was night.
                “Drink this,” she said, “and you will never be tired again. But don’t any one drink too much. It must be shared with all. I must go now,” She said, handing the bottle to the chief. “I will be back by say light. Wait here for me.”
                As soon as she vanished, the trusting souls began, each sipping in their turn. It took them all night because the bottle emptied slowly and the clan of Trolls was large.
                Sunlight began to creep over the mountain peaks and the Trolls waited. The rays began to caress the landscape and the Trolls clapped their hands and grinned in anticipation. Then the sunbeam touched the first Troll. With a scream, he turned to stone. One by one, two by two, whole groups cried out in pain and hardened before the cry could die in their throats. The few that were sitting within the mouth of a cave, turned and ran deeper within. There they hid waiting for the Fairy to return. Perhaps she would know how to undo this evil. They were so distraught that they did not notice how tired they were.
                Then they heard a great cracking. They rushed forward to see what was happening now. There stood the beautiful Fairy with arm up raised holding a great mallet, a pile of broken stone behind her and a beloved brother turned stone in front. One began to cry out as understanding washed over him, and he could not hold his tongue. But then, a light flashed starting him into silence.
                “What is this before me?” a deep soothing voice asked. A man dressed in simple cloth stood before her, holding out his hand to stop the blow. “I have been sent because King Tantaroon, King of all the Fiery Realms, heard one of His children cry out, and here I find you, oh daughter of the Fairies. You would not, after so soon having lost your home, turn again to destruction?”
                The Fairy held herself aloof, “Who are you that I should answer your quiries? I AM a daughter of the Fairies. And you are not but dross.”
                Then the man, not young , nor old, reached out his hand in one last warning, “Be it understood, should you still fail to return to your Father, you shall be rendered powerless.”
                The woman sneered, her face turning ugly to even the Trolls watching silently. Then she lifted her arm and came down, crushing the stone figure into an innumerable pieces. Then she threw back her head a laughed. I still have the power to do whatever I wish, and so I will. The Fairy turned and walked toward the next stone figure, but with each step she grew shorter, and shorter. Noticing the change she panicked and called out. Another Fairy appeared but he too was growing smaller and smaller.
                This is why the Fairies are so small today. They have no power, but their pride leads them to lie and tell stories of all kinds of powers great and small, from changing the seasons and granting wishes too collecting teeth of small children and leaving a gift.
                The Trolls sat with their eyes wide trying to take in all that they were seeing. The man turned to them, his beauty was in his face. They could not tell if he was handsome or not, simply that he was full of love and wisdom.
                “Stay there my friends,” he called. “The Fairy’s actions will not be undone, but you will learn to be wise. The sun will turn you to stone, but your hearts will continue to beat and when the darkness falls, you will be freed.”
                It was as he said. And so you see, that is why the Trolls hide and the Fairies too. The Trolls to protect themselves, the Fairies to protect their pride.

  

Dec 22, 2014

The King of the Twelve Kingdoms

                                   
                The twelve stars shone brighter tonight than ever before. 
The twelve stars trembled in their place ready to break into dance at any moment. The time was short and Therman was growing restless as he waited. Two hours late already. At this rate, they would never finish the ceremony in time and the twelve princesses would be lost for another two hundred years.
 Therman rubbed his  large, hairy hands together at the thought of the beautiful glistening figures made human form. If he could have all twelve his harem would not only be unmatched in all the world, but he would rule all twelve kingdoms. No one could stop him, no one but an incompetent delivery boy.
                The trembling grew more violent till the stars almost seemed to sway in the night sky. Suddenly there was a rustling in the under growth. Therman jumped caught off guard as he was lost in his thoughts. “Who goes there!” he  shouted brandishing the ancient sword of his fathers. A cloaked figure bowed and stepped forth out of the brambles.
                “The stars shine brightly for such a hot night,” the stranger said bowing low. The voice and shape was not as young as Therman was expecting, they had said delivery boy, not youth, but Therman was not concerned with their ideas of the aging process.
                “The stars shine brightly when the time is ripe for dancing,” Therman rattled it off as quickly as he could. “Now give me the package!”
                The figure pulled his cloak tighter around himself, “They told me payment first.”
                Therman glanced at the stars. The first start had begun its journey. One by one they would move till each had taken a new place, like musical chairs when the last star had taken the first’s place the dance would have ended and the time would have passed. Therman threw the coin purse at the boy, “Take it! Just give me the package!” he screamed.
                The package flew through the night and into his trembling, outstretched hands. He jerked the draw string open and out burst the bright light of a rainbow of colors. Squatting down he dumped the bag of stones on the ground. Each glimmered its own color, the color of the banners of the twelve kingdoms. Therman whispered the incantation quickly as he placed each stone in order, “
                Within the realms of gods have danced
                Princess of power untold
                Come once again to the earth below
                And claim all that has been foretold
                 One to call, the other Grand Jewel 
                One to serve, the other to Rule
                Power for he who owns each heart
                Given to him who took not part
                And so shall serve he who calls
                Back to earth as has been foretold
                The Princesses of beauty to behold
                Now is the time “
Therman paused breathless and looked up at the stars above. They no longer moved but trembled in their places. “Now, COME HOME!”  The stones light began to grow. But all Therman saw was the twelve stars suddenly leave their dance and gather to the center of the circle. As each reached the middle the light grew ten fold till the whole sky was a blaze. Therman covered his face where he crouched and let out a small scream.
                “Rise slave,” came a soft sweet voice.
                Therman slowly lowered his arm and there before him was a vision he could not have fathomed. All twelve stood around him, each behind her stone. They were glowing the same color as the stones before them. They didn’t look real their faces were so beautiful and their gowns and crowns were so intricate and marvelous. Tears came to Therman’s eyes as he just stared at them, forgetting all his plans in the shear amazement of their presence.
                The brightest put forth her hand and pointed at Therman, “I said, Rise slave!” 
                Therman gave a little squeak as he felt the earth grow further from him. A ripple went though the light and Therman realized he was being laughed at. Some of the Princesses covered their mouths in fained shock but each set of eyes sparkled with myrth as Therman spun mid air before them.
                “Where is the other?” The soft voice asked.
                “No other my pet,” Therman stuttered. Among his own he was looked down on. He knew it would be hard for these apparitions to realize they were his, but he had fulfilled the prophesy and his they were. “I called you. I’m your ruler.”
                “One to call, the other Grand Jewel
                One to serve, the other to Rule.
You have called us, you are the servant.”
                “Oh, I’ve missed servants!” A light pink Princess with rippling hair giggled, “I do so need my boots cleaned.”
                “Where is the other?”
                Therman sputtered, “I am your ruler! I called you! Put me down!” His face was growing red and his bread kept falling in his face causing him to violently paw it out of the way. Looked very like a dog who has just been sprayed by a skunk as he turned and flopped in the air. “Let me down I say! I AM the ruler!”
                “No.” The Princess stepped away from the floating figure calling back over her shoulder, “Don’t have too much sport with him ladies. We need him.”
                Therman’s protests were drowned out as the laughter of almost a dozen playful Princesses converged on him. The brightest Princess walked to the edge of the clearing and called, “I know you are there. The spell would only work if two were present. Come out and let us see the ruler of our hearts and kingdoms.”
                “Is he over there?!” the orange princess squealed. “I’ll bet he’s strong and handsome and…”
                The light trembled. The Princesses fell silent looking around at each other in confusion. Then it happened again, the lights emanating from them trembled and dimmed. The small pink Princess groaned and doubled over. “I don’t want to go back,” she cried pitifully.
                The brightest Princess ran over and wrapped her arms around the young girl. “Don’t go back. Stay here. We will all stay here this time.” She lifted her head and looked around. Then her face changed from worry to pale horror. “What are you doing?!”
                The cloaked figure that had brought the stones stood holding the light pink stone in his hand. The stones had all been arranged back in their order, only one was out of place and he held it in his hand, fingering it thoughtfully.
                “Please, my Love” the bright white Princess stretched out her hand in pleading, “think of what we offer you. Have pitty on us. Don’t send us back. We will do anything you want, everything you desire!”
                The youth pulled back his cloak and there stood a very old man.
The Princesses  all gasped.
His face grew hard and he said, “I desire to retain the peace that has ruled this land since you twelve were banished. I miss you, but…” the pink stone was swiftly dropped into place and the little pink princess dimmed and vanished.
                Therman dropped a few inches and flipped so he could see the night sky. A single star had reappeared. A wail went up among the dimming figures. Therman dropped again and another star appeared. Then more swiftly, inch by foot he dropped till he almost touched the ground.
                “How many times will you banish us? How many times will you turn your back on your heart?”
                The old man stepped from the circle of stones and took the Princess’s hand, his eyes shimmered and his whole body shook. He held the hand as if he would hold her back and then he dropped the hand and embraced the woman, “I love you!” he cried just before she vanished, leaving his arms empty and his head bowed.
                Therman fell the last few inches and scrambled to his feet. The stones no longer glowed. The stars were still in the night sky. Therman pulled his clothes back into their place, the laughter and cruelty of the beautiful face lingering before his eyes.
                Yet the old man stood, his head bowed, his shoulders stooped. For a moment Therman thought the man had fallen asleep or perhaps had fallen under a spell.
                “I’m sorry my good man.” Came a weak, tired voice, “I have used you badly.”
                Therman dusted himself off. “How do you mean? How’d you come here?”
                “I am the keeper of the stones.” The old man lift his head, his eyes were weary and dull. “When someone comes to steal them, I know there will be an attempt to call my girls. So, I come to see them, to hear their laughter, to glory in their beauty, and to morn at their cruelty.” The man took a great heaving sigh and stooped down to gather the stones, saying as he did so, “And I come to make sure they do not stay. Had you succeeded my friend, you would have been their toy and the little thirteen year old thief you sent would rule the twelve kingdom and my girl’s hearts, though they be cold and hard hearts.”
                Therman looked at his hands and watched as the man slipped the last stone back into the pouch.  Then, as the man headed back to the woods, Therman called out, “Wait! How did they know you?”
                The old man smiled sadly, “They are my daughters.”    

                 

                

Jan 24, 2014

Mother Heart Prolog

Prolog At the New UN 2075 Early April “Stan, the excitement in the crowd is palpable. "  Eian Branshaw looked behind him waving his hand to show the camera the luxurious crowd behind him. A thick crowd pushed closer to a red velvet walk lined with ropes holding the people back. Various Vehicles pulled forward letting out men and women in official robes indicating their nation or sect. Some looked into the crowd waving large charismatic smiles. Others stared ahead with solemn faces. "What we’re seeing here is the culmination of years of work and diplomacy. Those gathered behind me are among the lucky few; diplomats, former students, and of course we few reporters that get to witness this historic event.” The shot zoomed out to reveal another reporter in a news room “Eian, I speak for myself and everyone else here, that you are a very envied man right now. We would all love to be there.” “I feel incredibly lucky to have this opportunity.” “What would you say is the over-all sentiment there?” “Well, like I said, excitement. We all know what this means for the world. It means the progress and the peace that we have spent generations touting and searching for is finally upon us. Here we are at the brink of worldwide collapse and we have hope.” “Now, I just saw Serge Perot behind you. He doesn't look happy at all." " No, I can imagine not. President Perot has been extremely vocal in his opposition of this move by the UN." " He and others as well. We all know there are those out there who oppose this action by the UN to choose one school as the official worldwide educational institution.” “I don’t think those people have been properly informed of what’s really taught. A lot of false rumors out there, Ried. A lot of false consperisy theories .” “You went to an Alia school, didn’t you?” “Yes, I was in the first class.” “What would you say was the most important thing you learned there? Why does this one school promise so much peace that others have tried and failed to find?” “It’s the importance it puts on the child from the very beginning. From birth to marriage the child is carefully nurtured to become a responsible, productive citizen. After a full generation we can say for sure that divorce rates are nonexistent, violence in the graduates is unheard of, production as citizens is astronomical. And the best part is their children, the next generation, my child, is getting an even better position because they have parents that can support the system. It builds on its self. It’s amazing, really.” “I’ve seen your IQ scores. I really envy you the start you got.” “Through this legislation the whole world will be able to have this advantage. Hang on,” Branshaw's hand covered his right ear focusing on the sound in his left ear where the bone mic had been installed, “I’ve just been informed that the Alia’s have arrived. There they are!" His hand shot up pointing enthusiastically at the old black car that glided up to the end of the carpet, led and followed by  much more sleek black vehicles.The camera quickly zoomed in as the car doors opened and large men with black suits stepped out scanning the crowd and buildings.  Branshaw's voice returned to normal as he continued, "They are in the old first model fusion buggy. The security around them is unbelievable. Here they come…” The camera focused past the newscaster and onto a tall intelligent looking couple emerging from the car wearing long purple gowns and smiling happily at the cheering crowd. “Eian, what are they wearing?” “Stan those are ceremonial robes from the… Wait, she’s fallen!" The camera zoomed in until the entire screen is filled with a crumple of purple quickly added to as a second figure collapses next to it. The crowd begins to scream and duck. The camera bounces violently as people push past in an effort to flee. As it focuses back on the couple they are surrounded by the men in black suits until only a limp hand is visible.   “What’s happening there?” the anchorman asked. “There’s blood! Why? Where’s it coming from?” The young reporter disappeared for a moment only to return with bright red eyes and a slightly hysterical voice. “Someone has shot the Alia's, I repeat, the Alia’s have been shot.” Charlotte Tiller heard no more, saw no more. She felt the wait of baby Hope resting on her hip but her mind was numb. A vision of crumpled up purple swirled before her eyes.

Mar 3, 2013

A story we wrote

Once there was a doggy.
The Doggies name was Victoria. Victoria was a magical ballerina girl. You see she is a person but she likes to spend her life as a puppy dog. She loves to dance on her four paws.
 She got so good at it she started to wear dance shoes on all four paws. But then when she wanted she turned into a Pony. She was so good at it she wore dance shoes on all four hooves.
And whenever she wanted to she turned into a kitten. Almost everywhere people would find her at the door saying, "Meow meow, let me in!" And they would say "AH! Talking kitty!
" And her parents had never found such a magical girl that she had adopted.
And one day she found a magical pony so she turned into a pony so they could fly, but that's another story.
The End

Jan 3, 2013

The Real Problem

The real problem with writing...
Wondering how the story will end and wishing the writer would get her act together and finish it for me.