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Posts Tagged ‘sacrifice’

I’m a Hallmark Christmas movie fanatic.  There’s nothing better than making it through a long work week to come home curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a movie about love and sacrifice.  This past weekend, I felt as if I was in one of those movies.

Our non-profit, The Trail Youth Outreach, held its first Christmas event for people in crisis.   All over the community, people rose to the occasion to give and to collect warm coats, hats, gloves, hoodies, hand warmers, and toiletries.                     Teams of peopleCopy of IMG_5448 tirelessly wrapped each item in colorful festive Christmas paper.  When all the gifts were brought to one place, I stood amazed at the generosity of the community.  There was such an abundance that we had to move the gift tables outside!  As those in crisis came to the Community Hall for the normal dinner hour, they were shocked and excited.  They had a lot of fun digging through packages to find what they needed.  Thank you to all of you who donated, collected, and wrapped the gifts!

Copy of IMG_5471A shout out also needs to go to Maggiano’s who provided a real Italian experience with their cuisine.  Josh Roth, the restaurant’s manager stayed and worked alongside another community group in the set up and serving of the food.

No event is complete without music!  Dan Hegelund and his Common Copy of IMG_5489Ground Choir made a special appearance gracing us with Christmas carols.  To top off the evening, everyone was sent off with a cup of specialty hot chocolate and coffee made by the teens of the Trail Youth.

The left over gifts and coats were divided up and sent to our sister outreach in Tacoma and the Teen Challenge Rehab. in Graham!

What is the true meaning of Christmas?  The movies often get it right, it’s about giving not receiving.  Christmas is about love, sacrifice, and the giving of hope.  On December 12th, Christmas was lived out.  Thank you to all of you who participated!

Copy of IMG_5510    Merry Christmas, from the Trail Youth Team

Copy of IMG_5489 Copy of IMG_5510

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The novel, The Redemption of Adi,</strong> is now available for purchase!

Order your copy at https://createspace.com/4642389

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…continuation…

Months passed as Adi fell into a routine with her work. She found it pleasant enough especially working with Jordan. He was easy to talk to and had a way of getting her to open up without fear of judgment. Somehow he had managed to pull her life’s story out of her except for the part with Joshua and Matthew. In spite of the friendship and the easy work load, Adi still felt empty. Forcing a smile was so difficult. Ze’ev became angry with her and threatened that if she didn’t participate in the meditation with him, she would be back out on the streets again. Out of fear, she dutifully complied. A mixture of feelings swirled through her mind as she thought about the meditations. On one side, she enjoyed the relaxing music and did gain a sense of empowerment, but on the other hand, she felt twinges of fear that something wasn’t right. Not wanting to make Ze’ev angry, she remained silent about her misgivings, until now with Jordan.

“Adi, you’ve been telling me about your life these past months. It’s obvious someone is looking out for you.” Jordan probed.

Curious, Adi asked, “Why do you say that?”

“Well, you were sentenced to jail but were set free. Somehow you survived on the streets for three years, and when you were sick someone found you in the abandoned warehouse. It sounds to me that someone cares about you.”

An image of the Prince looking deep into her eyes and pledging his love to her entered her mind. Squirming uncomfortably in her chair, Adi shrugged, “Ze’ev says it’s fate or our destiny. He says that my thoughts were always negative and so I attracted those bad events into my life. He says that I’m in control of my destiny and that I make my life positive by thinking positively.”

Jordan carefully snipped a thorn off a rose, “Hmm. Interesting, but if you were attracting the negative, then why were you freed from going to prison? How did that elderly lady just happen to be there when you needed clothes and a warm jacket before the weather turned cold? How did you find money on the streets for food? And how did anyone find you when you were sick? All of these positive events don’t seem to mesh with your boyfriend’s philosophy.”

Feeling a bit perplexed, Adi sighed, “Well, I’m still learning. Ze’ev has helped me get in touch with my inner spirit guide.”

“Spirit guide?”

“Yes, Ze’ev says that we are all divine, and we have to learn how to connect with our spirit guide to teach us how to tap into our divinity.”

Jordan furrowed his brows in concern, “Interesting.”

“My spirit guide’s name is Shakti. She’s so beautiful and she’s teaching me how to be beautiful as well. She says that I must first believe that I am beautiful, worthy, and powerful before I can become those things.”

Laying down the clippers, Jordan peered through his glasses at her. “So, is it working?”

Sighing Adi admitted, “I don’t know. I just don’t seem to feel anything anymore. It’s like I really don’t exist.”

Jordan nodded in confirmation, “Yes, I can see that in your eyes. They’re empty.” Covering her small hand with his aged one, he pointed gently to the rose, “Look at that rose, Adi. It’s beautiful isn’t it? Smell it’s aroma.”

Confused at the change in conversation, Adi leaned forward to smell the rose. “The aroma is strong but sweet.”

“Does the rose have any thorns or blemishes?”

Adi shook her head.

“Did the rose remove the thorns all on its own?”

“No.” Adi looked at him mystified as to what his point was.

“The rose could not pull the thorns off itself nor could it protect itself from bugs or disease. I had to tenderly care for it, protect it from the cold, spray it with pesticide to keep it healthy. I had to feed it the proper food so it could stay nourished. Now that the flower has blossomed, I’ve trimmed off the thorns so that it could be beautiful. You are the rose, Adi. Someone has watched over you, fed you, clothed you, protected you, and wishes to turn you into a flower of beauty! You can not do that yourself, only the Gardener can!”

“Gardener?”

“King Penuel, Adi.”

Shock coursed through Adi at the name of King Penuel. “You believe in King Penuel?” She asked incredulously.

“Yes, I do. I know the Prince as well, and I know they love each one of us. That includes you, Adi.”

“No!” She shouted panicked.

“Adi, why do you resist him? It will do you no good to keep running from the truth!” Jordan pleaded.

Dagon sidled up to Adi and began whispering into her thoughts, “He’s lying. The King would never love worthless scum like you.”

Letting out an anguished cry, Adi ran from the flower shop. When Dagon reached the door, he turned to the old man and to Michael, “When will you two ever learn that we will win!” With a laugh he flew into the sky keeping watch over the fleeing girl.

Transforming himself back into a warrior, Jordan stared dismally in the direction that Adi fled. “I failed.”

Michael turned placing a comforting hand on the warrior’s shoulder, “You did not fail, Jordan. You planted another seed of doubt in her mind, and that’s all we can do.”
“What will the Ambassador say?”

Michael smiled reassuringly, “He’ll tell you just what I’ve told you.”

Jordan sighed, “I guess that’s the end of the flower shop.”

“I wouldn’t close just yet, my friend. When things begin to make sense to her, she’ll come back.”

…to be continued…

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…continuation…

The fever burned hot within her body, tormenting her mind. She felt the heat of flames licking at her feet as she teetered once more on the edge of the bottomless cavern.

“No!” she screamed, “Joshua!”

A figure approached the pit. Kneeling down, he placed a cool wash cloth on her forehead. Why are you doing that? She wanted to shout, but couldn’t. Struggling to see the man’s face as it leaned toward her, she recognized it as Ze’ev.

“Ze’ev?” Adi’s eyes fluttered open. Where was she, in the fiery pit or somewhere else? Her tortured mind couldn’t make sense of what was going on. Her eyes closed once more giving into the hallucinations. There before her was a dark
arena filled with sand. A tall post was sticking up in the middle. Dread filled her
soul, causing her stomach to cramp. Something was wrong or was about to be wrong. Suddenly a screaming crowd appeared all around the stadium. She stood there looking fearfully at the people when a man stepped forward in a flowing black robe holding a gavel.

“You have been found guilty!” the man shouted, pointing at her, “Tie her to the post!”

Crying out in terror, she fought against the men who dragged her to the post. Unable to escape, she knelt whimpering, hands bound.

“Lash her 39 times!” the judge commanded.

“No!” she sobbed.

As the lictor raised the whip above his head, a voice was heard in the crowd,

“Wait! Your Honor, I would like to take her place!”

A strong, well-built man stepped from the crowd and rushed over to where Adi was bound. Kneeling down before her, he looked deep into her eyes.

“Don’t worry, Adi, I’ll take your place.” Gently stroking her hair as if she were a child, the man continued to speak gently to her, “I love you, Adi, and I’ll do anything for you!”

“Joshua?” relief flooded through her, but quickly left as the same angry men grabbed Joshua. Upon releasing her, they tied Joshua to the pole, ripping his
shirt so that his back was exposed. The lictor bore the whip down unmercifully upon the Prince.

“No! You can’t do this!” she screamed hysterically.

Another voice broke into the horrific scene. “The fever often causes nightmares, so we need to sedate her.”

A cool sensation spread throughout her body as darkness brought relief to her fevered torment.

Matthew slowly released her hand as she began to relax. Ze’ev hovered over her with a damp cloth. The battle raged on. Who would Adi choose even in her dreams?

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***********************
Several hours later, the doctor stood before three men who claimed responsibility for the sick woman. Wishing to be on his way home from an exhausting night, the doctor quickly shared the results from the CT scans and blood work. “She’s malnourished and underweight. The 104 fever is caused by pneumonia in both lungs.”

“Will she die?” Ze’ev asked genuinely concerned, not for her sake but for his. He was afraid that the goddess Shakti would reclaim her promise of wealth if Adi died.

“Don’t know. We’ll have to just wait and see if she’s strong enough to fight off the
infection. She’s so malnourished that it is highly doubtful that she’ll be able to pull
through.” The doctor paused looking at the three men. The trio was silent. “If there are no questions, I’ll be on my way. Another doctor will check on her later tonight.”

As soon as the physician left, Ze’ev turned to the two men and gave them a cold, hard stare

“She wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for you,” he accused.

Thomas looked nervously at Matthew who now stood in human form. Matthew’s
eyebrow arched, “I’m trying to save her from who you work for.”

Ze’ev gave a nervous laugh, “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I love her and you best keep away, Ambassador.”

A spark of anger flickered in Matthew’s eyes, “You love her? Come now, Ze’ev, let’s be honest here. What did Rasha promise you – power, wealth, fame if you marry her?”

Ze’ev flared at the accusation. Taking a step toward Matthew, he threatened, “How dare you accuse me of these things! You need to leave here at once or else…”

“Or else what, Ze’ev?” Matthew closed the gap between them and stood towering over the smaller man. Ze’ev was no match for Matthew’s strength. Ze’ev faltered, taking several steps back. “Don’t pretend to care for Adi when I know the truth!
As for leaving, I’m staying right here.” To emphasize his point, Matthew crossed to the other side of the bed. He pulled a chair closer to the bed, and sat down, clasping Adi’s frail hand in his larger protective one.

Ze’ev glared, sat down in the other chair, and grabbed Adi’s other hand. Both men sat in silence, staring at one another. Thomas left muttering about finding another chair.

There were more than just four beings in the room. Dagon and Shakti hovered behind Ze’ev while glaring and taunting Michael and Gabriel, who stood with swords poised and ready to defend.

“You’re a fool, Ambassador, to think that Adi will ever choose your Prince,” Ze’ev
snarled.

Growing weary of the taunts of Dagon, Shakti, and Ze’ev, Matthew looked
up with all authority and demanded, “In the name of Prince Joshua, I command you to be silent.”

Startled, Ze’ev fell back into his chair, unable to speak. Upon hearing the
name of Joshua being spoken, Dagon and Shakti trembled, making a hasty retreat into the far corner of the room.

Exchanging amused glances with one another, Michael and Gabriel felt a surge of pride for their King, their Prince, and their Ambassador.

…to be continued…

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…continuation…

Thomas jumped out of the taxi before it came to a complete stop. Throwing the back door open, he reached in to help slowly ease a semi-conscious Adi out of the cab. Picking her up, he rushed through the sliding emergency room doors

“I need help here!” Thomas called out.

Immediately the receptionist phoned for a gurney to be brought to the front at once. A team of doctors and nurses rushed to the bed, surrounding Adi, while throwing out questions to Thomas. Thomas followed after them answering the questions as best he could. As the team whisked Adi through a set of double doors, Thomas was stopped short by a nurse.

“This is as far as you go. Please wait out in the lobby.”

Panicked, Thomas balked, “But I have to…”

“Go!” the nurse snapped.

Dejected, Thomas turned and slowly walked back to the waiting area. Michael stood there waiting for him.

“They’ve taken Adi behind some doors and they won’t let me in,” he fretted.

“Don’t worry, Thomas. She’ll be fine.”

Looking about, he noticed that Matthew wasn’t there. “Where’s Matthew? He said he’d be here!”

Michael slapped the despondent man on the back, “He’s here. He’s with her right now.”

“But how…”

“Thomas, no one can see him. Being able to go invisible has its perks, you know.” Michael attempted at some humor to cheer Thomas, but it was lost on him.

Looking perplexed, Thomas stared at Michael, “Michael, do others see you right now?”

“No.”

Thomas’s eyes widened, “Then it looks as if I’m talking to myself?” he exclaimed.

Michael gave a light-hearted laugh, “Yes, it does, Thomas.”

“That’s not funny, Michael. Why is it that I can see you in human form and in angel form?”

“Because you are from Miskana, Thomas. Those who reside in Miskana see both
worlds.”

“Oh.” Thomas furrowed his brow and slumped into a seat.

Michael clapped him on the back, “I’m going to talk with the Ambassador. Just wait here for the doctor.”

…to be continued…

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Adi’s hair hung in long damp strands around her face. She sat cross-legged, staring into the orange glow of the electric heater. It had been three years since the incident in the park. Since that time, Adi had found a make-shift shelter in an abandoned warehouse. It wasn’t a palace, but the small obscure room within the building provided protection from the weather. Thanks to finding some odd jobs here and there, she was able to purchase a few items to make the room a cozy place to come back to. Out of desperation, she had contacted Snake, Rasha’s lead drug dealer, who allowed her to do some selling for him. After giving him and Rasha their cut, she was able to have a little left over to buy an occasional meal, but for the most part, it was the garbage cans that provided most of her meals. Life had fallen into a routine of survival. Get up in the mornings and hunt for jobs and food. Not much of an existence. There were days when, just as she was about to run to Ze’ev, she would spot money on the ground, enough to sustain her until the next job came her way. Things had to get better, but they didn’t. Adi reached into her coat pocket and fingered the now worn card with Matthew’s phone number. Even if she had wanted to call him, she couldn’t. She had no access to a phone, but she did remember where he was staying. Was he still there? She wondered. If only…

Adi sighed, finally crawling into her sleeping bag. “Joshua’s probably dead anyway.” She murmured. The all too familiar ache settled into her heart. Since the day she had learned that the Prince had been beaten almost to death, she couldn’t shake off the guilt
that he was doing this for her. Regret at having not accepted his proposal nagged at her. If only…No, it was probably too late now. Even if he wasn’t dead, she was sure that he would never want to see her again after all he went through. She would just bring back bad memories for him. And Matthew, Matthew probably hated her. A warm tear slipped down her cheek. If only…

Arman gave a low chuckle as he saw the despair of his words take hold of Adi’s mind. He would convince her that the Prince was dead and there was no more hope for her. It had infuriated him that Adi still had not run back to Ze’ev. Whenever he was about to succeed, Michael would lead her to shelter or food or a job which only prolonged the battle. Arman was anxious to get on with other things. He was sick of babysitting this pitiful girl. He should just kill her now and be done with the thing. The taste of blood rose to his mouth. Yes, that’s what he would do. Slowly, so as not to attract Michael’s attention, he reached out his long claws and grabbed hold of Adi’s throat.

Adi, about to slip into sleep, awoke with a start. Frantically grabbing at her throat, she felt a constricting sensation cutting off her air supply. Letting out a cry, she struggled to find the source of the choking. Unable to do so, the realization that she was going to die alone panicked her.

Upon hearing Adi’s cry, Michael and Gabriel turned from their conversation, instantly on guard. Unsheething his sword, Michael rushed over to where Adi lay, struggling against Arman’s grip. With a mighty cry, Michael swung his sword, cutting into Arman’s taloned claws. Shocked, Arman lifted his arm and stared at the empty space where his hand had been. Rage overwhelmed him, “You will pay for this, Michael!”

Adi gasped for air as the constriction around her throat suddenly lessened. Gabriel knelt beside her, gently rubbing her back and speaking gentle words of comfort to her.

Michael dodged the blow from Arman’s massive wing, but was unable to escape the second wing’s descent upon him. Smack! Michael crashed into the cement wall, stunned. Arman saw his chance and lunged for Adi again. Gabriel unfurled his brilliant irridescent wings shielding Adi from Arman’s sword. Before Arman could drive the sword into Gabriel’s back, Michael blocked it with his sword. The room filled with brilliant sparks of light as swords clashed against one another.

“Open the abyss, Gabriel!” Michael shouted as he parried Arman’s sword.

“I will beat you to pieces, Angel.” Arman growled.

Gabriel took his sword and slashed it into ground, opening an invisible black hole. Arman flew into the air, spreading his wings. Pausing a moment, he sneered at Michael who stood below him poised. Gathering all speed and strength, Arman dove toward the Watcher. Wrapping his massive wings around Michael, he began to crush the warrior. Gabriel gripped his sword tightly, sending a paralyzing light throughout the room. The shock of it caused Arman to drop Michael into a heap upon the floor. Heaving with the
exertion of it all, Michael raised his legs and heaved them into Arman’s chest, sending him sailing backward and into the bottomless abyss. “Close it up!” Michael gasped.

Gabriel quickly took his sword and made another gash as if zipping something closed. The room suddenly grew silent, the sound of battle over. Michael lay against the wall, catching his breath. Gabriel stood staring at where the abyss was, making sure Arman was forever gone. Quiet sobs grabbed their attention. Michael crawled over to where Adi lay curled up in fright. Gently stroking her hair, Michael whispered, “You’re going to be okay.”

Looking up at Gabriel, he said, “Go tell the Ambassador what has happened.” Michael frowned, feeling Adi’s forehead and face.

“What is it?”

“She’s sick, very sick. Ask Matthew what he would like to do.”

Without another word, Gabriel shot into the air in search of Matthew.

…to be continued…

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