Posted in Blessings, Stories

God & Band-Aid’s

tireSometimes good things happen that you would never think possible. Take Band-Aid’s for example; They’re good for just about any minor wound care, and can be found in pretty much every household and definitely every doctor’s office and hospital you will ever set foot in. Heck, they even keep them in all the school offices and classrooms I’ve ever worked in. But would you ever – even for a minute – think they might handle a job as touchy and tough as fixing a flat tire? Me either! Well… until today…

My husband Rob and I went to see our grown boys, and to help with a run to the dump with some old junk. We have a 1972 Ford F-250 that was built to last, and though it’s a big-time gas guzzler, it sure comes in handy now and again! After a day of dad and son loading and unloading, and visiting over a late lunch, it was time to go home. Now home is a few miles away, across three counties, past three bridges, and over three highways. There’s a lot of delta farmland in between here and there, and out I past a certain point, not a lot at places to pull over and stop or get help in times of need.

Well as we were on the freeway, Rob felt the truck doing a little shimmy-shake, and noticed it was pulling to the left real hard. Not good! We hadn’t quite made it to the first bridge, which goes up pretty high over a large body of water, so we were in trouble. Rob pulled off the first exit he came to, just before the toll bridge, and we found our way into the gas station parking lot. Sure enough, the front driver side tire was almost completely flat, and to top it off, it was raining.

Now remember, this awesome and tough truck of ours is a big one, and we’ve got a few days till payday, so having it towed home is really not an option at this point. Neither is leaving it in a not-so-great area unsupervised for three days. So, I called one of the boys, told him what happened, asked if he’d come and help us out, which of course he did agree to do, but the round-trip would be at least two hours, and a bunch at gas plus bridge toll, and we didn’t want him to have to do that unless absolutely necessary.

So… the old man and I thought for a minute, and he asked if we had any tape. Turned out the valve stem had broken and air was leaking out like crazy, but if he held it to the side, and kept it there, it was almost completely sealed off and didn’t leak much. After rifling through the cab of the truck, the best I could come up with was a box of Band-Aid’s. I held it up, laughed, and jokingly said, “You could put a band-aid on its owie!” Rob laughed too, and went back to the task of trying to figure out what to do.

Out of nowhere, as l was putting the box back in the compartment, I felt strongly that we should give them a try. I shook my head thinking it was silly, but “Give it a try!” ran through my head again. So… I got out, went around with the box in hand and started peeling a few of them open, and told Rob, “Here – give these a try. Couldn’t hurt, right?” He shrugged and said, “Why not!” We figured the kid was on the way, but maybe we could get over the bridge and a few miles closer to home to make things easier on all of us. Band-Aid on, tire filled with air and holding for now, Rob hopped in and did his best to get it as far as he could as fast as he could. I called the kid, and gave the update with a, “Go ahead and come out, and you’ll probably find us on the side of the road somewhere waiting for you, but at least we’ll be closer to home.” And then I prayed for the grace of God and a small miracle.

Well the tire was still leaking, but not as fast, and we made it to the next town, where we repeated the air/Band-Aid/praying for grace procedure, and within about twenty minutes of the first call to our son, I was able to report that by the grace of God and a Band-Aid, we’d made it home on what had been a flat tire on a 5,000 lb. truck, in the rain. What’s more… after we got home, we found out the back tire on the same side was also going flat, but held till after we’d made it home. That combination could have easily resulted in an accident, and where we live an accident can mean going down an embankment into someone’s farm, or into the river. Neither of those turns out very well for most of the people it happens to. God is so good it amazes me! There’s just nothing He can’t do, Praise the Lord!

**Please do NOT take this story to mean that a band aid will work to fix your tire! I would not want anyone to get hurt! In any other situation, I would not have attempted this, and neither should you!!**

Blessings,

C.A. Bennett – Writer

 

 

Posted in Faith, Struggles

When Trials Abound

The last sentence of the following passage in Matthew is so, so important, especially when we’re struggling with a situation that causes us pain; “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

And then in James, when the Lord shows us there’s a reason for our trials, and that it will all be okay if we only trust Him and are obedient to Him.

Matthew 28:16-20 – After Jesus rose from the grave….

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Happy Sunday! May you be blessed as in Philippians 4:7 – “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

C.A. Bennett – Writer  (by God’s grace)

Posted in Dreams, Writing

50,232

I have reached a HUGE milestone! 50,232 words have been written of my nearly complete novel.

Now contemplate, if you will, the following list of famous novels around 50,000 words, to fully grasp the enormity of it all.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (46,333 words)
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (52,000 words)
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (50,776 words)
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words)
The Apostle Paul’s Epistles from the Bible (43,293 words. 50,190 if you count Hebrews.)
Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Shattered by Dean Koontz
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
Gadsby: A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter “E” by Ernest Vincent Wright
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (56,695 words)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (43,617 words)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (46,591 words)
A Separate Peace by John Knowles (56,787 words)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (46,118 words)

**borrowed from** http://www.wikiwrimo.org/wiki/List_of_50,000_Word_Novels.

C.A. Bennett- Writer 

Posted in Dreams, Struggles, Writing

“Write A Book”, They Said… “It’ll Be Fun”, They Said…

How hard could it be, right? You take your awesome ideas, and put them on paper, you send them off to the publisher, and BLAMMO! You’re an author! For years, I’ve had people listening to my stories and reading things I’ve written, only to tell me, “You should write a book! You’re a natural writer! And for the most part, I agree with them, simply because it’s just what I’ve always done. Since I was old enough to hold my first pencil, I would write my “stories” and read nonsensical scribblings to my mother, my grandparents, and anyone else who’d listen. As I grew older, and learned to read and write, I was doing almost nothing but reading or writing whenever I had free time. It’s just who I am. I’m a writer.

But getting an entire book written isn’t that simple. An essay, is one thing. It’s no big deal. Assign me an essay about something – anything – and I can give you as many pages as you need, and get at least a B on it. No big deal. But a book… that’s another story. Writing a book requires you to take a very personal part of who you are, and show it to the world one letter at a time, one word at a time, one idea at a time. And every single word is, in itself, an idea of it’s own. For example; I can be moving along in the process of writing my prose, and suddenly the wheels come to a screeching halt, because I get hung up on what word I want to use to accurately convey the idea of the scene. You’d think that would be easy, right? It’s not. Every descriptive word has it’s own ability to evoke an emotion, and if you use the wrong word, the sentence, paragraph… heck, the whole darn page won’t make sense! And it’s all because of one little word. Sometimes I overthink it.

But it’s not just that. When you write an essay, you have some sort of topic that needs researching, then you decide on your argument, and build your essay around that. Easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy! A book that is in the fiction genre is created out of nothing, and made into something. Sometimes that nothing can be something-based, and you will see situations you recognize from real life. Nevertheless, fiction is still the building of something which does not exist, into something which does, and it has to make so much sense that you – the reader – believes it’s real… word-by-word… letter-by-letter. That’s hard.

In my particular case, I am writing a fantasy fiction, so there are very few things from the real world, and many things from the fantasy world, which I am building as I go. Every creature, every person, every situation, and conversation, completely non-existent until I put them on paper. An entire world created from absolutely nothing but an idea. Not only do you have to believe what I’m telling you – or hopefully showing you – but you also have to be able to see it in your minds eye, even though it does not exist in reality, and you have no idea what it is, because you’ve never seen it before. Tough job, right?

So I told you all that to tell you this…

Lately, I’ve had a rough time finishing – yes, you read that right… finishing… my book, which is now 9 days past the deadline. The climax is gearing up, things are happening, people are interacting, and there’s just all this crazy drama, which is all great, but I’ve been having a tough time getting more than a paragraph or two done in a day… sometimes a week… for about the past 6 weeks. It’s all because of that real-life stuff happening and distracting the daylights out of me. It’s been so tough, I’ve even thought about giving up and putting the book away for good. Maybe starting something else, and forgetting about this one. Maybe forgetting all about trying to to it in the first place. I even managed to talk myself into believing that I couldn’t do it, and maybe I wasn’t a writer after all, even though I’d been writing all this time, and had an almost complete manuscript sitting on my desk, just waiting for me to finish it.

And then it it me – Thomas A. Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Well I… am not a failure, and I’ve never given up on anything in my life. I’m darn sure not gonna start quitting now! I am *this close* to the finish line, aka the end of the book, and I will have successfully created a whole big something out of nothing. So I made a decision; I’m not going to let me, talk me out of my victory. I’m not going to be the person who gives up just before her breakthrough. Today, I got my typewriter and sat down, making the decision to write a full page, single spaced, non-formatted, literally line after line of word after word, until I had a least one filled 8.5″x 11″ page written. And ya know what? I did it. And it was pretty good!

So my dear friends… if you are struggling, and things seem like they just aren’t going to work out, and you just want to give up, remember me and my book. One of these days… hopefully sooner rather than later… you’re going to see that book on the shelf of your local book store and library. When you do, I hope if nothing else, it inspires you to keep going, and don’t give up. You may be closer than you think.

Blessings…

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Posted in Stories

Testing Peace and Grace

Hello there, friends! I really must apologize for my extended absence, but I have a confession… I’ve been cheating with Facebook Pages. I know, it’s not as nice or as good as Word Press, but it seems to get more looks than this site, so I thought I’d take it for a test run. You forgive me, right?

Lately, I feel like a great many things have been a test of some sort or other. Take today for example; My husband and I had a misunderstanding, and I figured a little time apart might do us both some good, so I went to the library to do some research and editing. While there, I met an interesting 90 year old man, who struck up a conversation with me about a great many things. He was a cynical, and grumpy democrat with some opinions which were vastly different from my own, but it was an interesting conversation, and he was polite. We got along well, despite our differences.

Fast forward about thirty minutes. The library is bustling with recently released school children, brimming with excess energy, and no volume control. Their feet carry them up and down the isles at a rapid rate, as they giggle and laugh. The two librarians at the front desk, not far from where my new friend and I are chatting, are engaged in lively conversation about the grandchildren of the elder. A baby is fussing, as his mother searches for the perfect fantasy novel – her one sinful escape, read a few stolen minutes each night while the baby sleeps. She’s probably hoping she can finish it before the three-week due date comes around, but if not, she can renew it for another three. People are interacting. This is by no means, a quiet library.

Amidst all this, my phone – which has been set to silent – lights up and I answer as quietly as I can, and still be heard. The caller is my pastor, who’s trying to set up community service hours for my soon to graduate son’s high school credits. As I have what I’m attempting to make a quiet conversation as I quickly begin to gather my many spread out papers, notes, binders, and word processor, so I can leave the library to have the phone conversation, a man a few feet away, and located behind my new elderly friend, says quite loudly, “Get off the phone! It’s a library, for God sake!” I am taken aback, but apologize to him nonetheless.

His extremely rude outburst throws me off track, and I am having a difficult time concentrating on what my pastor is saying, but I listen intently as I stuff my now very disorganized things into my bag, and attempt to juggle the bag, my phone, and my cane. I answer a question from the pastor as quietly as I can – the library as loud as ever – and the rude man now shouts at me to “Get the h*** off the d*** phone or get out!”, which I’m very obviously trying to do. I have a temporary loss of composure, saying to the man, “You do hear all the other noise, do you not?” as I wave my arm in exasperation. “It’s a library!” he exclaims loudly, “GET OFF, OR GET OUT!”

At this point, my juggling fails, I accidentally hang up on my pastor, and apologize once more – this time to everyone else BUT the rude man. My pastor calls back, as I’m limping out the door, and I do my best to regain my whits as he gives me information which I forget almost immediately, because I’m so flustered. The poor man has the patience of a saint, because he laughs and explains again, promising to pray for me to have grace and peace. The rude man now exits the library as I am standing next to my car, on the phone. He enters his pickup, slams the door, fires up the engine, and flips me the bird as he speeds away. The phone call ends shortly after the pastor prays for me as he promised he would, thank you Lord, and thank you Pastor Dustin. I need all the grace and peace I can get at this point.

Now, I understand that what I should have done, was to either let the pastor go to voicemail and call him back once out of the library, or quickly answer and let him know I would call him back shortly. But in all fairness, the library was already so loud, I honestly didn’t think the call would bother anyone. Apparently, I was mistaken.

Here’s the thing – Under normal circumstances, I would certainly have followed the aforementioned protocol – apologize, while gathering, and leaving – once… maybe twice. But by the third time, I would probably have allowed my mouth to run away with my sensibilities, and said some choice, if not very nice, things to this incredibly rude man. Why didn’t I? Two reasons; 1. I was in the library with several other people, and I am not a rude person. 2. I was on the phone with my pastor, and honestly, would you swear or be rude if you were on the phone with your pastor? I doubt it.

Interesting lesson for me; I should walk through life, behaving and speaking as if I am always on the phone with my pastor, or even better… with Jesus. Because really, as Christians, aren’t we supposed to always be on our best behavior? Not just in certain situations, or when someone can see us or hear us, but always? Because when you think abut it… Jesus can always see and hear you, and me, and that rude guy, and even my pastor. So we should always strive to be the best we can be in every situation. So I count today as a test of my character and as a lesson in how to behave in all situations. I’m human, and I will probably fail to live up to the standard sometimes, but I will try anyway.

As for the rude man – I will simply hope he just happened to be having a bad day, and was having a human moment or two, and pray for peace and grace for him the way my pastor prayed for me. Because that’s what we all need from the Lord.

Peace and Grace

Many Blessings, and may you find peace and grace in your human moments, too.

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Posted in Marriage

It’s Complicated…

itscomplicated-620x325Marriage is a complicated thing, isn’t it? You either love the person your with, or you want to set their underwear on fire while they’re still wearing them, and these two emotions interchange throughout a single day. Sometimes multiple times a day. There is rarely an in-between.

I – having been married going on 29 years – know a thing or two about this odd phenomena, and I am here to tell you, marriage or even just living together, is not for the feint of heart. Very often, it’s not even for the steadfast and sturdy!

My parents were not well-suited. Their marriage ended before I was six, and both went on to have second failed marriages, and in the case of my father, who went through three ex wives, (that I know of) before he married one who liked him enough to stick with it till he passed away a couple years ago. She’s a really nice lady. She’d have to be to put up with my father! My husband’s parents could tell the same story. Needless to say, the odds of long-term marriage were stacked against us, if one were to believe the statistics, and one usually does.

As if that weren’t enough to keep things from moving past the first date, we have very little in common regarding interests or activities. So much so, that we have a running joke between us – If I like it, he doesn’t and vice versa.

I’m serious! If he thinks something is funny, it’s usually because it’s repulsive, and I am not a repulsive comedy person. He likes the kind of rock & roll where people are beating on their instruments and screaming at each other, while I really love 50’s & 60’s oldies, classic rock, and classical. I love the ballet, & opera, he loves motorcycle racing, I want to sit and knit, crochet, or weave, and he wants to run, jump, lift weights and train for Crossfit. You get the idea.

So what can we attribute to our ability to beat the odds, and stick it out? I believe there are more important things than parents experiences,  stats, and little things in common. For me, it’s the big things, like politics, religion, morality, and a mutual understanding that God and family come first. Nothing else matters anywhere near as much as those, and if you don’t have those big things in common, your chances of a successful long-term relationship are slimmer than ours, believe it our not!

Another big deal for me is being married to my intellectual equal. That is HUGE for me. I could never be married to a man who was a nice guy with a great body, if he isn’t very mentally stimulating. Let’s face it… one day, the body and the looks are gonna go, and he may always be a nice guy, but if I can’t have an intelligent conversation, fugetaboutit! I guess I’m a cerebral kind of person. But here’s the cool thing… so is my husband! He drives me up the freaking wall 23 hours a day, 6 days a week, but we have the BIG DEAL things in common, and we can TALK about important stuff!

But that’s us. It may not be you. We have some friends who are at total opposite ends of the spectrum where politics and religion are concerned, but they have a crazy amount of little things in common, and they simply avoid the big issues. I personally could not live that way. Why? Because if it’s important to me, I tend to be passionate about it. If I’m passionate about something, I promise you will hear me talk about it. If I can’t talk about it, you are probably not going to like my attitude much, because I do NOT like walking on eggshells.

It’s like this blog – I have so many interests and activities that I participate in regularly, that you would not believe one person would even want to be involved in so many different things at once. And yet you don’t see me posting all that much about those things. What you do see, are things that I am passionate about. My husband is the same way. Lots of little things, a few big things, and we are still here. Still together, after all these years. Either that, or we’re just stubborn… Could be stubborn!

What about you? What are you passionate about? What works for you in your relationship? What do you have to avoid to keep the peace? What do you have in common with your significant other? Feel free to comment below, as I do enjoy hearing from my readers!

As always, Many blessings!

C.A. Bennett – Writer

Posted in Stories

A Woman’s Place

I was having a conversation with my husband, in which he made a joking comment about how I would turn the Christian world upside down with my point of view on a woman’s place in the world and in her family. By this, he is referring to my stance on how women are not to be treated as subservient to men, but to be equals.

What must be understood about this, is that when I say “equals” I actually mean exactly that. I don’t mean above, or below, I mean alongside, next to, or together if you will. Equals. Why? Let me tell you… when the Lord created Adam, it didn’t take long to see that he was lonely, so the Lord decided to create woman, to be his helper. He did not take a bone from Adam’s foot to create Eve to be tread upon like a doormat. He did not take a bone from Adam’s skull so that Eve could rule over him. The Lord took a bone from Adam’s ribcage, so that Eve would walk through life alongside him. Notice the word “helper” here. The bible does not say “servant” in regards to Eve. Never once does it refer to Eve as beneath Adam in the Lord’s eyes.

Now, I need you to understand this, because it’s important, and in fact crucial to your understanding of my point; The bible was inspired by God, but written by man – or humans, if you will, so as not to dump on the males of our species, because that is not my goal nor my desire here – and it was written in a PATRIARCHAL CULTURE. In other words, it was written at such a time in history that women were considered the weaker sex and were treated more like servants than like equals on a pretty regular basis. In fact, women were often treated quite badly, and I am sad to say there are still places and people who still subscribe to that way of thinking. Not cool.

However… as a bible scholar and Religious Studies major, I have done a good bit of research on the topic of a woman’s role in life, and let me tell you, we are anything BUT subservient! Female rulers have played a huge part in history, and often in very positive ways. Queen Elizabeth I for one, brought a war-torn, financially unstable kingdom into the greatest military and financially stable status they’d ever seen. So much so, that her reign is referred to as The Golden Age. Elizabeth refused to be treated as lesser just because she happened to be born female. By the way, she is my personal favorite female historical figure.

Another wonderful example is Deborah from the book of Judges, who was a prophet, and leader of the nation of Israel at that time. Deborah is referred to as  “The Mother of Israel”, and lead the Israelites into battle against the Canaanite army, defeating them quite smartly. So what did you see there? A woman – who was married, by the way – became the leader of a nation, a military force to be reckoned with, a prophet, and the fourth judge of Israel. She was one tough chick! Does that sound subservient to you? Me either!

So let’s talk about subservient vs. submissive for a minute, because too many people get those two mixed up, and they are very different! In respect to the biblical use of wives being submissive to their husbands, we are talking about the family being a body, and the husband being the head of that body, and generally speaking, a body should only have one head. Submission to ones husband can be defined as, “a commitment to lift up your husband, encourage him,  and be his helpmate through life. ”

As a Christian woman, I firmly believe in giving our husbands their place as head of the family, valuing their contributions & hard work for the greater good of the family body. That said, I fully expect to be treated with the same respect from my husband, valued for my contributions and given the same consideration for my thoughts, feelings, and opinions as he is. Why? Because we are equals. We are also equals in our intelligence, both having an IQ of 130, which kind of adds a bit of credibility to the whole equal thing, in my opinion. Anyway…..

Subservient: “Prepared to obey others unquestioningly. Less important, subordinate, serving as a means to an end. Servant or slave.”

Ladies and gentlemen, no man, woman or child deserves to be slave to anyone, regardless of sex, color, creed, race, or religion. I will be subservient to no one, and neither should you!

Genesis 2:18-24 NIV

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

    for she was taken out of man.”

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Many Blessings!

C.A. Bennett – Writer