Thursday, February 27, 2014
Love in the Dust?
I am always blessed to be able to share other authors with my readers. LoRee Peery is one, who has been a part of A Pen for Your Thoughts for a long time. This week LoRee has graciously offered to share with us a little about herself, her upcoming book with an excerpt, as well as a short reflection.
Loree Peery, a Nebraska country girl, attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. You can find her at www.loreepeery.com or the Pelican Book Group site http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk
Romance in Rugged Isolation
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. —Psalm 121:1-2
On a clear day when I look out over wide open spaces, especially in Nebraska, my heart is triggered to beat faster and I feel butterflies in my tummy. I’ve often wondered how far the naked eye can see.
Sometimes I want to add to Solomon’s words in Proverbs 30 when he talks about being unable to understand the way of an eagle in the sky, a serpent on a rock, a ship in the middle of the sea, or the way of a man with a maid . . .
I’d tack on (if it wasn’t wrong to add to God’s Word): the way my heart quickens at the sight of lush pasture hills. I love the Sandhills in western Nebraska: native prairie grasses, peaks and valleys, cattle roaming in the distance.
The pull to get closer to nature can be extreme. I want to get out of the car, don sturdy shoes, and walk. The urge to investigate what’s hidden around the bend of a hill draws me in. I picture Native Americans and buffalo, Jack rabbits, and red-tailed hawks, and everything flying or creeping in between. I want to sing and dance and let everything that’s built up inside me fly out unfettered.
Scenes like that are mostly in my imagination, unless I drive away from home. But such a picture draws me out of myself. And that’s what I have to do when I write, set myself aside and enter the world of setting with story people outside where I’m sitting at the moment.
What a thrill to feel such exhilaration when the words gush forth as my fingers tap the keystrokes. Other times I sweat out those words. It’s a mystery how it all eventually comes together.
There is nothing like the creative process, be it a story, or paint colors, and fabric shapes. The energy put into producing anything tangible carries us on the journey of creativity, takes us outside ourselves, and yet incorporates self into the product.
The telephone may ring in the background, my husband’s footsteps may sound up the stairs in the real world. But I live in a world of my own making when I write, such as romantic isolation along with Shana Arnold on Creighton Rice’s rugged ranch.
Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s ranch near Verdigre, Nebraska, to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center.
Until he meets Shana, Creighton has been content alone with his God. He is drawn to Shana against his will. Getting close to her makes him face his lifetime accumulation of scars. Plus, she doesn’t share his faith.
When identity theft, car and job loss, as well as a crazed home invader, threaten Shana’s life, Creighton is there to protect her. But Shana determines a woman can lose everything about her life as she knew it, regain courage and strength through new-found faith.
Will she leave Creighton’s offer of love in the dust?
A lilting soprano voice jolted him back to his childhood, and drew him like the legendary Lorelei. Chill bumps rose on his arms. The sensation rendered him as speechless as Shana’s kiss had the day before.
Creighton wound his way through the trees into the open, and stood transfixed when he spied the subject of his thoughts. An open hymnal was balanced on her upraised knees. Notes soared pure and light as Shana sang the lyrics to his mother’s favorite song.
God was surely present in this place. He closed his eyes and listened to Shana continue all the way through to the fourth verse. Shana lifted her chin. Her face glowed.
His heart picked up its pace and his cheeks grew warm. Were there tears clogging his throat? Something he was slow to name filled his soul.
Then it came to him as Shana rose to her feet. Humbled. She’d humbled him.
God had given him a gift in this dark haired sprite who offered her friendship. And he had been too obtuse to appreciate its magnitude. Creighton’s feet remained in place as though they were stuck in a mucky feedlot.
“Hi.” She closed the gap between. “Is something wrong?”
“That song,” his voice rasped like a cornhusk. Creighton cleared his throat and tried again, “It’s my mom’s favorite. I grew up with her singing, especially when she pinned the sheets out on the clothesline to dry in the wind.”
Shana hugged the hymnal close. With a comical scrunched up face, she asked, “Did I slaughter it? I sight read the notes.”
“Not at all. It was beautiful. Your voice is lovely.”
“Thanks. I don’t sing much anymore.”
“Well, here’s your chance to use it. Come to church with me in the morning?”
The sky glowed pink and purple. While orange streaks danced along the horizon, he waited for her answer.
“Creighton, I left my business clothes in Lincoln. I only brought country clothes back with me.”
“No problem. We’re casual. But Rita has things up at the house.”
Reflections of the sun turned her cheek golden. “You’re right! She offered them to me. Guess I forgot.”
“So, do you want to check them out now?”
“Why not? Don’t think I have a hot date or anything.”
Creighton didn’t want to think of Shana dating. Instead, he nodded at the hymnal. “That belonged to my mom. She had one in almost every room of the house.”
“Did she sing in the choir or something?”
“Actually, she played the church organ.” He reached out his hand. “Here, let me carry that.”
Creighton tucked the old volume underneath his arm and wrapped his fingers around Shana’s hand.
She gave a secretive woman’s smile that tugged deep at his midsection.
They strolled through the brush strokes of sunset. A burst of reflected gold painted the clouds rosy pink in the east. The majestic sky squelched any more words.
At the ranch house, he laid the hymnal on the counter and ran his hand up to the light switch in one smooth movement.
“Rita tell you which room was hers?”
“Second on the other side of the bathroom.”
“Help yourself.” He entered the living area and turned on two lamps. “Since I didn’t feed you yesterday, I’ll rustle up something to eat.”
She turned down the hall.
How long would he be able to keep his dark side from Shana?
Drop by and see LoRee when you get a chance. She'd love to hear from you. Once again, you can find her at www.loreepeery.com or the Pelican Book Group site http://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk