Alley-Queen

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday. Inspired by Lisa Walker England I’m planning to make this as regular a Friday feature as possible. Step over to her site to link up if you want to join the fun. Let’s start a trend! If you post something, share it on social media with the hashtag #flashfridays

And as the darkness fell, the Scurry-Foots crept into the open, man and beast, to forage what even the Thief-Mongers would not touch in daylight.

The lamps were lit few and far between with the cold, green, sickly gas flame that was all the Fire-Barons would allow in the streets; and in their shadows, hundreds of tiny, furried shapes rushed silently past. Nearly soundless two-legged footsteps rasped against the cobbles.

The tiny black beads that were Mortimer’s eyes shone softly in the dark of the alley as he twitched his long pointed nose gently in the air beyond his hidey hole. His whiskers swept the air sensitively, searching for anything out of place.

Nothing.

He inched forward by millimeters, his hairless pink tail wrapped around a twig for security as his furry body emerged into the night. He dropped with a fat plop to the ground, twitching and sensing all.

All except what his eyes saw on the cobbles; the slight shape and shadow of a two-legger just before him. He was going soft.

A gasp, a swift tilt, a lock between eyes.

The smell of her fear hit him before the sight of it flooded the hollows that held her hard, dark eyes. He could smell all now that this twelve-year-old Scurry-girl with deep brown eyes, course, dirty blonde hair, and scars on her back from the beatings had to hide. What magic had hid her from him?

Cruel hissing echoed suddenly in the quiet alley as a pack of claw-rakers passed, hunting his kind with the only ferocity he feared in the world. If possible, Mortimer froze stiller. This frightened girl knew what agony she had to fear from his kind. She could easily signal cats like that, scurry-foots always could. He held her gaze as she lifted a hand to her lips; and she held his back. The moments ticked. The yowling faded.

The alley drew in a sigh.

The slender hand, white in the darkness and streaked with grime, slid to the apron pocket. Mortimer backed three paces, one small, clawed pink foot in the air at the ready.

As the hand slid upwards again, he crouched, pre-spring.

But it was a hard crust of bread that emerged, not some handmade weapon.

He saw every molecule of movement as she gently crouched, gracefully pinched, and slowly scattered the stale crumbs that sloughed onto her fingers.

She’d become queen in the alley.

He crept, ever-slow, to the first dark crumb, always watching her.

Just before his gaze slid to the bread, they both stiffened, noise-startled.

“I’m asking ya, where isshe?” the slurred voice shouted.

“‘Ow should I know where the gutter-snipe’d go? You’re the one what gave ‘er that madge for ‘iding-like to ‘elp ye on the pinching lay.” Annoyed but not invested.

“Bel, dear, ye come’ome ‘is minute, ‘ear?” the slur bellowed, livid.

Understanding passed between their eyes. Hers widened, head shaking.

Mortimer lurched into a run, around her kneeling figure, and into the street. Smack into bootleather. Producing another bellow.

Rodent-shrieking, he darted away from the kick, up the wall, into an emergency tunnel. Paused.

“Nah, she’d never be round ‘ere with the scurry-foots. They killed ‘er da.” Snort. “Coward.” Pause. “Come on then,” the slur roused near coherence.

Loud shuffles fading. Mortimer sniffing scorn-like. Bel sniffing tear-like.

Another soft gasp bounced off the cobbles as Mortimer’s tiny, cold nose found her warm, slender hand, nudging gently.

She hesitated, raising her fingers slowly to pat him.

He submitted to this, then darted back to the crumbs, sniffing appreciatively.

Bel’s face creased in a hesitant smile.

Stop back next Friday to hear Bel’s story! Thanks so much for reading! 

Faith to be Strong and GF Pumpkin Pancakes

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Eating pumpkin pancakes in my brand new kitchen chairs was the best way to kick off fall in my opinion.
I wanted to wait to break out the pumpkin until I’d developed a “fall plan,” being my plan to really slow down and celebrate fall properly this year since it’s my favorite season.
But then suddenly I was hungry for breakfast and being hungry throws all my self control out the window.
So pumpkin pancakes it was, topped with peanut butter and brown sugar since I’m out of syrup and trying to eat higher protein and lower sugar right now anyway. (I know, I know, so I put brown sugar on there instead?? Well….I have no excuse. But it WASN’T as rich as syrup would’ve been.)
I’ll share my improv recipe at the end if you’re interested.

I should probably admit that even sitting at my table was a minor victory, as I brought my brand new chairs in last night and was then compelled to clean house so they had a nice place to sit.
I’ll share the chairs and my plan for my kitchen in greater deal soon, but for now let’s say that a table not covered in junk is a pretty big deal.

I spent some time trying to catch up on the 365 Challenge from More Than Four Walls while I ate. I’m about five days behind, but it was the perfect reading for this morning. All about how Isaac got his wife and a soldier had the faith to ask Jesus to heal from a distance.
SO much faith. Abraham and Isaac trusted a servant to pick this wife for Isaac, as well as trusting God to guide the servant. The servant trusted God to give him a sign. Bethuel and Laban trusted this servant to be truthful. And Rebekah. Well…I don’t know.
Could YOU have gone off with a perfect stranger and married your cousin you’d never met?
I thought at first she maybe was just a pawn in a men’s world. But when the servant wanted to leave early and the menfolk resisted, Rebekah agreed immediately.
Not to mention hopping off her camel at the first sight of Isaac and willingly becoming his wife.
I heard echoes of the same trust in Matthew 8 as Jesus healed lepers, demon possessed men, and a servant who wasn’t even present.
In our age of suspicion and televised religious quackery, people’s immediate trust in Jesus amazes me.

Or maybe after moving to Nashville on my own and learning the ropes of being an adult, people’s trust in Jesus amazes me.
The questions that usually haunt me…what does the future hold? What area of my career should I focus on? When is God going to give me a husband and children? IS God going to give me a husband and children? When will I pay off my house? Should I be looking for a more permanent house rather than a starter home like this? What if my arthritic kitty needs expensive treatment?

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Those questions hang around when I try to talk to God. But I think from this scripture I’m sensing that i ought to be saying, “Lord, I know what it’s like to be in charge, people go where you ask and do what you say. I know you’re in charge of my life because I put you there. Would you please just work this out?”
I pray that this can begin to be my prayer.

Improv Gluten Free Pancakes

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I followed the pancake mix on the back of the Pamela’s gluten free mix pictured, (I know, I hate it when bloggers do this, but really that’s what I did)
Except that I subbed almond milk for a portion of the water and I did not add oil. Pancake recipes always call for it and I just don’t find it that important. Plus my tummy doesn’t handle fatty stuff that well.
I added around 1.5 tsp of cinnamon, a sprinkling of cloves, a tiny dash of nutmeg a spoonful of brown sugar (could’ve used more in the mix itself, but I’d have to test to be sure, maybe 2 tbsp total?)
I also added 2 TBSP of pumpkin and a couple spoonfuls of oatmeal.
I was improv-ing, and these could still use some work. Maybe some vanilla? Ooh and walnuts would be yummy. Plus syrup. Definitely syrup.

With that extraordinarily helpful tutorial, I take my leave of you.

Wonder struck

It’s been dry around here lately. Like desert dry. But while I know God brought me into this spiritual wasteland for a reason, I think I’ve chosen to hang around longer than necessary.
But I’ve been reading Margaret Feinberg’s Wonderstruck and it has encouraged me to pray again for wonder at God and all He is. In fact I prayed for pixie dust (words from the book). That God would show up and wow me in the days ahead. That my heart would again curl with the trill of wonder at my Lord’s majesty.
It worked.

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Why did I think He wouldn’t do this for me if I asked? That He who sprinkles stars across the sky and freckles across my face wouldn’t care to open my eyes to see the things He’s already always doing.
This is only a beginning, wrought by a whispered prayer, a walk in the sunrise, and a trip to the beach with my roommate.
Not without some nerves a couple weeks ago, I started the 365 Challenge from More Than Four Walls
It’s a challenge to read the Bible in a year, but starting Sept. 1, rather than Jan. 1.

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I was afraid that I would see the words on the page but not hear them echo in my heart, which has happened to me for much of the last few months.
But instead….wonder!
Here are a few Wonderstruck moments from that first day of Bible reading:
Genesis 1:4 (NLT) What was it like before God separated light from darkness with day and night? I’m thinking of a crazy Dr. Who scene where you literally come to the edge of light and there is darkness. For no reason. And with nothing apparent to separate them. We have no concept of that craziness because God made order out of that chaos. So we’ve never seen that kind of utter lack of order. It’s not even in our vocabulary.

V7 God did some basics that I take for granted. He called the space “sky.” Also I take it for granted that seed bearing plants produce seeds that produce plants of the same kind (v. 11) But God didn’t.

V 21 God created not just great sea creatures but “every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water. Like this guy, who I spent a lot of time avoiding stepping on last night on the beach after the sun went down!

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V 27 “the first poetry of Genesis reflectively celebrates God’s climactic feat in creating humankind” says my study Bible. (NLT) The beach makes me feel so small and unimportant, yet we are the climax. A soul that can reflect. That can be awed and wonder at the goodness of everything God has made.

2:23 “Adam recognized the woman as a “helper just right for him.” His celebration of her in poetry and song observed his unity with her, not their distinctions.” (again from my study Bible). Note the second poetry in the Bible is about us women. Smiles.

Mt 1:17 all these names preserved all this time through all kinds of national crises, war, captivity, and near-genocide. And the sum up isn’t why it’s important, but a bunch of numbers that admittedly tickle my OCD fancy with their order. And then it hits me- order! A study Bible note on Genesis mentioned how God took the chaos and created order. And here’s a nation craving and celebrating order in their history, even amidst much chaos. So maybe that’s why God gave me OCD: to help me appreciate the order He’s created everywhere.

V 24 Joseph’s immediate response to the angel reminds me if how immediately creation responded to God’s creative commands. After His commands it keeps saying, “and that is what happened.” It seems so simple. I want to respond this simply and willingly to God in my life.