They went to the library with the kids. This time – not their regular branch, but the one that was just by the little skating rink they just had some fun on. Or was that Pokemon hunting? One or the other. So it was some time in January. She goes wild seeing all the cozies* she’s never saw before, some authors ring the bell, some not. There is that one series in particular, that she was able to find Vol 2&3. No sign of Vol 1 of course. The bag couldn’t fit all the books and she maxed out the spots on her library card.
At home she went on the library catalog, hoping for Vol 1. No luck. Not the first time the library doesn’t care for series…
Fast-forward to Valentine’s Day. She gets a gift. You guessed it – Vol 1. He remembered. Searched in the bookstore. He cared. And.. There is even a little heart on the cover…
.. So yeah. The “He” in the story was my Husband 🙂 And this is my current read 😀
Yeah, tough combination I think. But we did it. We-as in, for the first time, my Husband and I running in one race. I’d say together, but it wouldn’t be true – although he offered 🙂 I wanted him to feel the adrenaline once again (he used to compete in all sorts of events some years ago). Well. I did this run last year, my Husband and my Son cheering me on 🙂 This year I signed us both. With a bowl of chili and glass of beer at the end – you can’t go wrong, can you? well… unless… There is the low of -12C with the windchill of -20C on the morning of your race… AND you just happened to lose your voice…
Hence the title of this post.
I was prepping myself for the possibility I’d have to walk that 5km. I know it is ok. The thought of not going at all kinda slipped through my head once or twice, but I got rid of it saying that unless I have a fever in the morning – I’m going and that’s that. Well. My body temperature in the morning was 36.8C, which is considered perfectly normal (ok I MIGHT have cheated a smidge, taking NeoCitran extra strenght night relief, at about 11pm last night. But it’d have been gone by 6 am wouldn’t it? 😀
Anyways. We got up (an hour early, yes, the wonderful daylight saving time), ate breakfast, I took another dose of NeoCitran and we were off.
Let me tell you one thing: it was COLD! I was trying to protect my poor throat by covering my mouth and breathing through a fleece neckwarmer, but had to take it down at times as it was making the breathing a bit harder.
AND – not only did I finish still running, the time wasn’t bad at all! My Garmin showed we did longer than 5km, and so my time was a bit more, but still pretty good 🙂
Bowl of chili and a glass of beer followed 🙂 And Live Irish Band.
As for my throat? A visit to the doctor is in plans for tomorrow.
Kristina Rose Maher wants to know why fairytales never happen for fat girls. Certain that diner cook Jeff, handsome and fit, will never want her as more than a friend, she stuffs down her attraction to him. But when she finds herself facing a life-altering weight loss surgery, she discovers she’s willing to do whatever it takes to embrace life—and love—to the fullest.
Jeffrey Berkley can’t bear the thought of losing the friend he’s only just beginning to realize matters so much to him… no matter what size she is. But he is also terrified that helping her reach for her dreams will also mean finally reaching for his own—and letting down his family’s legacy in the process.
Both Kristina Rose and Jeffrey must learn to love themselves before they can find a way to make a promise to each other. Will they finally be able to lay their heavy burdens at the Lord’s feet, and trust him to bring the happily-ever-after they both crave?
Love’s Promise: Excerpt from Chapter 13
Kristina clapped as her friend took the pulpit. She had never seen Elise in front of her youth group. Even though they were best friends, Kristina hadn’t been back to youth group since she’d graduated to the big church. A few times per year, Pastor Bernie would take a Sunday off and ask Elise or one of the elders to deliver the week’s sermon, but the teen members of the congregation understandably required a different message and a different style when it came to their own church services and events.
All around her, the kids settled onto their blankets with plates of fried chicken, potato salad, and other fatty picnic fare. Peggy, a girl who worked at the diner sometimes on nights and weekends, joined Kristina on her blanket. “Hi,” she whispered with a grin as Elise flipped on the microphone and shouted, “Boo!”
Kristina jumped back, unprepared for the loud noise that shot through the auditorium. Nervous laughter erupted around them, but Elise stood stock still with a serious expression on her face.
“Halloween was last month!” Peggy called to Elise.
Still Elise didn’t speak, didn’t wear her signature smile, didn’t do anything.
The laughter quieted, and everyone sat waiting to see what their youth pastor would say or do next.
“Fear,” Elise said, enunciating the word slowly, taking time with each sound. “What is it?”
Answers rose up from all around the room.
“Not feeling safe.”
“Spiders!” Peggy added.
“Not knowing how things will work out,” Kristina said through the laughter.
“And were you afraid just now when I shouted boo right here out of the blue?”
A chorus of Nos rippled through the room.
Elise pouted and stalked forward on the stage. “But it was unexpected. You didn’t know what would happen next. A lot of people find shocks like that scary. Why didn’t you?”
“Because you’re not scary.”
“We know you.”
“You’d never hurt us.”
“You’d never hurt anyone,” Kristina added.
Elise perked up, her eyes wide and voice booming. “Ahh, so I failed in my attempt to scare you because you know me, because you trust me to take care of you?”
Everyone nodded and murmured their agreement.
“You know who else is there to take care of you? God.” Elise bobbed her head and traced her way back to the pulpit. “God’s gotcha. 100% of the time, He is there and He’s got your back. So then why do we continue to live in fear? If I couldn’t scare you, then why does life scare you when you know God is just around the corner rooting for you, ready to catch you if you fall?”
Nobody said anything. They all waited to see what their youth pastor would say next, Kristina Rose most of all.
“Easy in theory, right? But hard in practice,” Elise continued. “They say practice makes perfect, but no one is perfect outside of Jesus. Practice can make better. Practice can make easier, but none of us are perfect. It’s kind of why we need God in the first place. It’s why we need to trust Him with our fears rather than trying to figure everything out for ourselves.”
Oh, now she understood why Elise had dragged her here. She saw Kristina’s fear loud and clear. It was in everything she did, no matter how hard she tried to act otherwise. Elise did love to showboat, but she may have also chose this method of delivering her message so that the kids would be there to back her up, so it would feel less like a personal lecture and more like something Elise was sharing with all of them.
“It’s a lesson we’ve all learned since Sunday School. God’s got you. So then why do so many of us forget as we grow up? As we face new challenges? Why do we think we can do it all ourselves? Why don’t we depend on God for help?”
Some of the teens ventured answers, but Kristina honestly didn’t know what to say. Elise was right, of course. Kristina had been trying to do it all on her own rather than trusting in God—and in her friends—to take care of her. She’d been trying to do it all on her own and still didn’t even fully trust herself. No wonder she was failing so miserably.
Elise reached under the pulpit and pulled out a small black gun. She closed one eye, and stuck her arm straight out toward Kristina Rose.
Nervous laughter broke through the sanctuary once again.
“You’re laughing. Why are you laughing? I have a gun. A gun! Shouldn’t you be afraid?”
“We know that’s not a real gun, Elise,” Peggy said, making a pistol gesture with her thumb and index finger and pointing it back at Elise.
“Are you sure about that? What makes you think it’s not real? It’s the right color, right size, right shape.” She widened her stance and turned the gun to its side, setting up for a kill shot. “Are you scared now?” she asked, her voice flat, menacing.
“No, I’m not,” Kristina answered. “I know you’d never actually shoot me with a real gun.”
“How sure are you? Would you bet your life?” She took two steps forward, unwavering in her aim.
Kristina nodded. “I trust you not to hurt me.”
Elise pulled the trigger and a stream of water hit Kristina on the leg.
The audience laughed some more. It seemed they did a lot of that whenever Elise took the stage. “Told ya! We knew it wasn’t real,” they shouted.
Elise returned the gun to the pulpit and banged on her chest with the mic. “Did you see that? Did you see that? Kristina Rose trusted me to shoot her—to shoot her!—because I’m her best friend and she knows I won’t hurt her. But that’s all I am, a best friend. God is our father. Of course He wants what’s best for us. Of course He would never hurt us without a reason.”
She gave that a minute to set in before jumping off the stage and pumping her arms as she walked animatedly between the blankets. “Here we are, going about our business, and—whoa—a new danger appears.” Elise jerked forward and threw a banana peel she’d been hiding onto the ground in front of her.
This time Kristina found herself laughing along, too.
“Don’t laugh!” Elise warned, spinning around to look at everyone in turn. “This is dangerous. I could slip and fall! How can I keep walking forward when there’s this huge dangerous thing just waiting to knock me off my feet?”
“Step around it!”
“Walk over it!”
“Just avoid it.”
Elise did as instructed with a skip. “Pfffhew, I’m safe!” she cried.
Kristina Rose loved watching her friend in action. She had no idea her sermons involved so much physical comedy, but it all made perfect sense. This is just who Elise was—passionate, energetic, the star of the show. They made a great pair, Elise and Kristina, because while one craved attention, the other was all too happy to let somebody else take center stage. Had they been enabling each other all this time?
Elise winked at Kristina Rose, then rolled her eyes and jogged back up to the stage. “Yeah, yeah, laugh it up. I know this is all fairly ridiculous. Who slips on a banana peel other than maybe a cartoon character? But here’s the thing: in hindsight, many of our problems seem equally absurd. Why didn’t I just tell her how I feel, or why didn’t I just take the plunge? Well, I’m here to tell you today, God doesn’t give us problems we can’t handle. You know what Kelly Clarkson says: ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Well, I want to be strong. Don’t you?”
Peggy started humming the pop song quietly beside Kristina.
“I want to be strong,” Kristina said.
Others murmured in agreement.
“Well, guess what. So do I, but you know what else? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Say it with me this time…”
Everyone shouted in unison, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!”
“Yes, you can.” Elise stooped down to pick up the banana peel, curled it into a ball, and then made a free shot at the trash basket.
Some muted applause followed the swish straight into the bin.
Elise tapped her heart and pointed toward Heaven. “Now when we break into group, I want us to share our fears, share our problems, and then place them at the Lord’s feet. Trusting in God doesn’t mean that you give up trying. It just means that you know you’re going to win in the end. It brushes aside the worry, makes the task of living a much more enjoyable—much easier—thing to do. How would your life change if you stopped being afraid and started trusting in God to lead you to the place you need to be?” Elise locked eyes with Kristina Rose as she asked this.
Kristina had no idea whether she was meant to answer, but luckily she didn’t have to. A series of beeps and whirls sounded from beside her, and all eyes zoomed toward the blanket where she sat with Peggy.
“Oops! Sorry!” Peggy leaped up and waved her phone by way of explanation. “I forgot to silence it, but it’s my boss. I have to take this.” She rushed out in the hall, leaving Kristina to wonder why Mabel would be calling on a day she knew Peggy would be taking off to attend the retreat.
“Let’s all clean up our plates and move our blankets into a circle,” Elise said, striding over to help Kristina Rose adjust hers.
“Was that for me?” Kristina asked quietly while the kids laughed and joked with one another.
“It was for everyone, but, yes, inspired by you. I love you, you know, and I want you to know that you’ve got this, that God’s—”
“God’s got me?” Kristina finished for her friend. “I know. Thank you so much for the reminder.”
She’s waiting for her prince to come … but was he right beside her all the time?
Don’t miss this sweet tale of faith, love, and gastric bypass–get your copy of Love’s Promise today!
About the Author
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true stories. Writing is Melissa’s way of showing her daughter just how beautiful life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative, awe-inspiring stories to share. When she’s not reading, writing, or child-rearing, Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her four dogs, four parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub. Because priorities.
A while ago, while talking to family friend, she told me a story about the Polish volunteer soldiers that came from USA and Canada to Niagara on the Lake’s training camp (or whatever that prep place was called) to go and fight “For our freedom and yours” – in the WWI. Polish soldiers were very specific. If you looked into the history – before WWI, for over 100 years there was no Poland. No country for Poles, as their beloved homeland was taken away from them by 3 powers – Russia, Prussia(nowadays Germany) and Austria. So they saw WWI as a big chance to regain their land…
And so these soldiers, some who left their country forced by political powers, some kicked out of it for their beliefs – came there ready to be sent to war. Unfortunately – there was and outburst of influenza at that time, which robbed 41 soldiers of their chance to fight for that freedom they missed so much. So that friend told me – “and you know, there is a little cemetery in Niagara on the Lake, commemorating those soldiers. That time, few years ago I only took the story in, not registering much, thinking – I won’t go there, I won’t look for it, who knows where it really is…
Years passed, and as I wrote a few days ago – we took a trip to Niagara Falls. Then my husband suggested, as it is far from summer 😉 (though last Sunday was exceptionally beautiful) – that we’d see The Falls and then took a scenic route along Niagara River to Niagara on the Lake. And so we did. The above mentioned story hidden, deeply sleeping in my brain, not even a tiny lightbulb, not a ring anywhere 😉
As we went to Niagara on the Lake, we discovered that lots of people thought the weather was exceptionally beautiful. I had a map of all the free parking and piloted my husband around the streets. “There is supposed to be free parking along this road, till the next intersection” I said. Yup, free usually means taken 😉 But as we drove slowly, we noticed one spot! With no hesitation we took that spot, and not a minute later my daughter noticed: “Mama look, there is Polish Eagle on this gate!” I looked in the direction she was pointing – and sure enough. This was the tiny cemetery, with graves of 25 of the 41 soldiers taken by influenza in 1917…
“Great, now what? Told you not to go this way, he’s calling for backup for sure.”-she tried to look casual even though her heart was doing its best to get out of her chest and she just started to feel light headed. Oh for crying out loud, darn you anxiety, not now!
“Relax, we just passed a construction crew, he’s probably just calling them…”
“Oh yeah? what for? you see any construction here?!” Neen wasn’t convinced, though she had to admit, it could be the anxiety talking.
“They might be moving with it up the street…”Boris didn’t sound to sure even to himself. Great, the panicky little Neen has done it again, that grain of doubt started to get comfortable in his head.
“I think we better run.”
“Yeah, that won’t look suspicious at all”
“Oh come on Boris, we could be just the morning runners, there is plenty of them here!”
“See any of them in flip-flops?”
“Told you you looked ridiculous in them!”
“Seriously? NOW you will be throwing that in my face?” Boris quickly glanced at Neen’s feet “You’re not any better!”
“At least I’m not gonna lose mine!”
“Are we really going to argue about the SHOES now?”
“You’re right… how about we split right there, just past that tree”
“Should work. Meet me at the usual Timmies?”
“OK. We need to call Mr.Y… What if they were watching us for days now? I knew it wasn’t good idea to keep the kid at our place, right in the middle of the city… They will find him and who knows what then…”
“You do realize that it still COULD be construction guy, right?”
“Well, last time it wasn’t…”
This was the second part of our Sunday’s trip. Celebrating beautiful weather AND the Family Day-long weekend, we decided not to spend it at home, but make a trip. Loved every bit of it 🙂
Niagara on the Lake surprised me with its history, cuteness and vivid colours (yes, even in the winter 🙂 ).
– The Prince of Wales Hotel (Built in 1864, 110 rooms, after few name-changes, under the current name from 1901)
– Pineapple being a symbol of hospitality and welcome 🙂
– the sign was only warning not to be sitting at the “toes” of the seat – due to the danger of falling. But we wouldn’t dare to sit on those 🙂
– we were just walking and taking it all in. Cuteness on every corner…
Leaving, we chose the wine-route, hoping to do some wine-sampling, but no luck, as most of the wineries close at 5pm…
…-well, with this cute one exception:
“The Hare Winery”! Are you kidding me? Of all wineries, this one was open till 6pm 🙂 I seem to recall seeing some advertisement somewhere, not sure where exactly, but the winery just about opened, 1-2 years ago, beautiful brick building, and the hare… Well, for a bunny-lover like me, what more could I want? 🙂
Well. I have a feeling we’ll be back!!! 🙂