A Dream

Sullivan, a few years younger than when he begins to tell his story, may have looked a 
great deal like this. 
His life was not an easy one, from the very beginning – before the start of his tale – his days 
were by no means carefree or peaceful.
He began life poor and in the mid 18th century England this was next to death, particularly 
in the streets and shops of London where Sullivan spent his entire adolescence.
Like many a young man his age, he fought hard just to survive – his loyalties to his family 
were strong, his admiration of his Papa was almost idolatry, and the support and protection he was called upon to provide his mother and sister were seen as his life’s joy, not his life’s duties.
But changes happen in life.
They happen in everyone’s lives. 
And they happened in Sullivan’s life.
But instead of allowing these changes to grow and perfect him, he crumbled under them,
and soon found himself on a path that he had never imagined he would take. 
One of crime, theft, murder…and wealth.
A path which could have led to such a portrayal of him as we have above.
“Blast heaven,” I ground out the words, feeling as if my voice was trapped somewhere down inside of me. 

It was light out – too light out. The African sun was pouring into my room from those wide, clear glass windows; each pane was shined to perfection.
I closed my eyes…Abigail had already been in; those drapes were open – wide open.
My head was pounding.
I remembered.
I remembered. Last night.
Groaning aloud I drew my hands from under the thin coverlet that lay over me.
It wasn’t real.
I rubbed my burning eyes.
It wasn’t real. I thought through it all – it was so clouded, so foggy…the whole, awful scene – everything about it. It wasn’t real.
Thank God.
I tossed my bed clothes aside and almost fell out of bed onto the hard plank floor, “Blast,” I caught myself and caught my breath as well. Shaking my head, I looked down – at my waist coat, breeches, stockings….
“To bed with my clothes on,” I murmured, setting myself gingerly on the edge of my mattress and untying my cravat, “Fool.”
I tossed my coat and waistcoat off onto the floor and massaged my aching neck. That light was killing me.
“Willard!” I near choked when I saw him; the older man was seated in the Windsor next my dresser, his arms crossed against his chest, observing me, “Willard, man, what are you doing here?”
“Brought you to bed last night,” he grunted.
I brushed through my disheveled hair with my fingers, “I was wondering,” I shook my head, “What a night.”
My man only grunted again.
I drug myself up and shuffled to the table in the center of my apartment, “You just come in?” I looked over the breakfast tray Abigail had left for me.
“No,” Willard shook his head, “Been here all night.”
I looked at him, rather surprised.
He only shrugged, “Figured I’d better on account of that fever.”
I waved that thought off, “I’m well, Willard – no relapse for me,” I shook my head, “I’m quite well. Thank you for thinking of me, though you didn’t have to sit up all night with me.”
“Yes I did.”
I glanced at him, “Alright,” I nodded, “You did.”
He was silent and I turned back to my breakfast with a slight sigh, “Toast, hard boiled egg, English marmalade,” I replaced the silver cover to my plate, “Nothing more sickening than eggs on a wine-pickled stomach,” I shook my head and poured myself a cup of Abigail’s strong tea, “Or coffee,” I looked at Willard, “Coffee? She knows I like tea in the mornings – what’s wrong with that girl!”
“I told her to bring ya coffee,” Willard responded, “Thought it might do ya better – after what a state you were in last night.”
“Mm…,” I rubbed my throbbing forehead, “Last night,” slumping down in a chair by the table I groaned, “Last night.”
Willard was quiet.
“I think someone drugged it,” I shook my head, “Or either that sherry’s just awful stuff!”
“No one drugged it, Sullivan,” the older man left his chair and joined me at the table, “You’re just fool enough to think you can guzzle a bottle of liqueur and it not effect you.”
“I’m not in a mood for jokes, Willard,” I mumbled, “I only drank two glasses.”
“Ha!” he pushed my coffee towards me, “After Missy left with that Michael lad of yours you got Lassie to bring ya the sherry again and finished the whole thing off in less than a quarter hour.”
“Oh Lord,” I sat back in my seat, my head in my hands, “I don’t even remember that – I don’t remember anything…anything past…her leaving,” I massaged my aching temples, my neck, “Good Lord.”
Willard uncovered my breakfast, “Eat, Sullivan,” he almost ordered me, “Be good for ya.”
I shook my head, but picked up my fork anyways, “How’s Bennet?” I spoke through a regretted mouthful of nearly cold toast.
“Haven’t seen ‘m this mornin’,” my man responded, “Forbes gave up on waking him last night; he and I managed to get him to bed – in the parlor,” he rested his elbow on the smooth table edge, supporting his wide, chiseled chin with his fist, “No way dragging that man up those steps.”
I half laughed, “He’s a beast,” I shook my head…a beast….
“Blast it, Willard,” I shoved my breakfast aside, “I had the most wretched dream last night – nightmare.”
“Hm?” my man sat up a little in his seat.
I was quiet a moment, listening to the pounding in my skull, “I hate drinking,” I ground out the words.
Willard grunted, “That’s an improvement.”
“I mean it, Willard,” I slumped against the table, “It makes men think and do stupid, stupid things.”
“M-hm,” the older man filled my cup almost to the brim with that thick, black mud everyone knew as coffee, “Wanna’ talk about it?” he asked.
I shook my head, “Its too awful to think about – much less talk about,” I took the cup he held up for me.
“That bad, hm?” those dull grey eyes were watching me.
I took a tiny sip of the coffee and almost gagged, “Yeah,” I gasped, and set the cup aside with more feeling that was necessary – the black muck sloshed out all over the table; but I couldn’t care less. Willard was silent and sat up, resting my elbows on my knees, my head clutched in my hands, “That bad,” there was a slight pause, “Heaven blast it, Willard,” I could not bide those cruel, blurry scenes rising in my mind, “It was the type of dream where you wish you couldv’e stayed around long enough to see yourself kill yourself!”
Willard grunted, but didn’t say anything.
A thoughtful silence – too thoughtful for me – seemed to grip the room for several moments.
“Well!” the older man clapped his knee – shattering my thoughts and my skull at the same time, “Drink your coffee, boy, I’ll get your clothes – got ta’ get yourself together to talk ta Bennet; don’t want ‘m seein’ ya like this.”
“No,” I shook my head, “No….”
And I had to talk to Bennet.
My thoughts…my drink…it had all carried me far enough – too far.
I had to get away. I had to escape.
We had to get back to sea.

After reading this scene do you have any ideas (even imaginations) of what Sullivan could have dreamt,
or what it is that Willard obviously seems to know which his young friend has no idea of?

And set them up to be his gods

“Now it came to pass, after that Amaziah was come from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the children of Sier [Edomites], and set them up to be his gods, and bowed down himself before them, and burned incense unto them.”
II Chronicals 25:14
This happens so, so often in the records of the Kings of Israel and Judah. So often, when they were secure on their thrones, at peace with the nations around them, and their people happy and content, with no famine, no drought harrying the land, they would be allured to serve other gods. Allured by the rituals and customs of the nations around them, to give up their faith in their own God – the only living God – and to serve gods they could see, touch, even create. 
“Wherefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Amaziah, and He sent unto him a prophet, which said unto him, Why hast thou sought after the gods of the people, which could not deliver their own people out of thine hand?” 
II Choronicals 25:15

Today, we can look at these stories and shake our heads in wonder. 
How could they have been so foolish?
King after king, generation after generation. Could they never learn from each other’s mistakes?
Death was the inevitable end for those kings that strayed; wars, disease, and death – often death by murder at the hands of their own men. 
How much we could help those kings if they were alive today!
How much we could teach them, how much we could show them, how much we could lead them to the Perfect Way!
But what of our ownselves?
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Matthew 7:5

How many things in our personal lives seem to “take over” our relationship with Jesus?
How many times are we “too busy” to study His Word, to pray, to seek Him?
How many times are we “too responsible”? Too responsible to attend to our duties to ourselves, our families, our friends, but neglicet the most important Person in our lives?
How often is He the last priority? 
How often is our place, our position, our need, our desires, put before HIM?
“Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink, or Where withal shall we be clothes? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Matthew 6:31-33

Jesus Himself instructed – nay, commanded us – to take no thought for the barest of necessities in our lives – our food, drink, clothes. 
He commanded us not to concern ourselves with our own physical needs. He wants our energies, our efforts focused on the Father, His Kingdom, His Righteousness. 
And where is the Father’s Kingdom, but within us? Within each believer. 
And Who is the Father’s Righteousness, but the Son Himself – within each believer!
Jesus wants our focus to be on Him, on developing a personal relationship with Him, on nourishing our spirits – not our bodies. On clothing our spirits with His Life – not our physical forms with physical clothes. 
Our needs are in His Hands. 
All these things shall be added unto you.
He wants us to trust Him for them.
But our relationship. Our Life-Blood. Our relationsip with Him is in our hands. We have a choice. We can chose to treasure it, nurture it, feed it – or to kill it, stave it, with our idols
Our idols.
How easy, just like those kings of old, we turn and fall down before our idols. 
Whatever draws us from Him, whatever causes us to neglect our relationship to Him is an idol in our lives. 
Whether these things be needs, necessities – food, drink, clothes; wants – physical things we desire, extra items we want to have; friends we think we need – people we love, our own family, or people we have become friends with, people we feel we need to take time to develop a relationship with; or simply feelings, so subtle, so slight – a need we feel we have for others to respect, appreciate, honor, or love us. 
It does not matter how important these things seem to us. 
It does not matter if they really are important!
If they begin to take a priority in our lives, if they begin to be our focus, a heavy weight on our minds that take us away from Him, and away from our relationship with Him, they need to be re-thought; our own focus re-determined. 
And not just on Sundays. 
Lets not be Sunday Christians and weekday sinners. 
“Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, decieving your ownselves.” 
James 1:22

This is a warning – to me, to us all.
“For My people is foolish, they have not known Me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”
Jeremiah 4:22

“Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest My Soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.” 
Jeremiah 6:8

2013 Promotion Efforts for my writing

Well…I think this post’s title sort of tells what this post is about. 🙂
I haven’t been very good about updating here – I feel especially bad about that because I missed the beginning of the New Year!
But I have good news. 🙂
The Lord has richly blessed my writing these first weeks of 2013.

I am praying, praying, praying to have AUL finished by the middle of this year – finished and published.
If all goes well and the Lord blesses, I plan on self-publishing the story through Amazon’s Createspace. I had self-published a smaller version of Part One of AUL last year, through another smaller company, as some of you may already know. But the results were very poor. A friend advised Createspace, as it has clear advantages being a part of Amazon.
I’m prayerfully entering this way this year, with all my energies – as the Lord allows – being bent on getting the story done and published.
A big part of this, I know, will be advertising.
So I am trying to do what I can in that way before the story is actually published.
Could I ask you all for help in this way?
Those of you who are interested, could you share with your friends about these efforts, the story, and its impending publication this year?
I have written out a short pre-publication preview on Createspace this morning.
If as many of you who are interested could take a moment to read it and rate the excerpts I would be so thankful – this will help me so much in the writing, publishing, and advertising in these last stages.

Now…on a less business-like plane. 🙂
2013 has brought other changes to my story, besides the likelihood of completion. 
My mother – who so often listens, very patiently, to my babbling on about my stories 🙂 – suggested some time ago that An Unlikely Love was not a title that really fit the story. 
I’ve thought so as well, but didn’t give much time to it until this morning, when “Slave to Freedom” somehow came to my mind as a very good title. I pray the Lord gave it to me, but thought I would see what everyone thinks of it. 
As you all probably know, the story I am writing is – Lordwilling! – going to be the first of at least 4 or 5 books following this same theme, and involving Sullivan, my main character, and his life at sea. 
I didn’t want to lose the “Unlikely” tone of the series – since everything about Sullivan and his life is unlikely. 🙂
So… for the series title I have prayed about “Unlikely Lives”, as each book in the series will deal with a different character’s life, and the unlikely events built around a piratical career. 
Now…what do you all think about these changes? 
They will be reflected in my pre-publication preview, but aren’t final until the story is published! 🙂
Please remember to visit and rate my preview by following this link! (If it does not work, copy and paste it to your browser’s URL search bar.)