The Italian Hatmaker: Gaining Time

“It is not permitted!”  Princess Laurel said as she rode up with several troops at a gallop following. The small group was alarmed to see her, but none more than Henri. “Your Highness, this is no place for you. What if the two kings follow?”
“They haven’t followed me, I’ve followed them. They both intend to have a resolution. One has announced that he will produce his ally, the Heir Of Alan, while the other threatens to expose him as an imposter.”
Sir Robert sighed, “Henri, your king will accuse England of exactly what it’s Monarch is trying to do. Produce a fake heir. Giuseppe, he has guessed, not hearing from me, that you would travel here. It’s where he expects to meet the Whispering Merchant.”
Giuseppe was angry. “Meaning the power merchant who he has bribed to falsify me as Alan’s heir. I am tired of this. I am Giuseppe Cavallaro, an Italian hat maker. I am not a mysterious king, but I will fight two arrogant ones. Sir Robert, you may return to your camp and tell his majesty, I will meet him tomorrow, on the field of battle!”
Princess Laurel sighed. “That’s the trouble with all of you, too dramatic for your own good. You’re right about one thing, you’re a hat maker. My English cousin, and egotistical brother will kill you! Then I’ll be carted off to marry some political ally.”
Ethan did what only came natural to him, he laughed. “You two sound like an old married couple. She cares for you my Italian friend.” This made Giuseppe laugh, “Hardly, this sarcastic one, the first night we met said how ugly I was.” “I said your mustache was ugly, and I see it’s but a physical reflection of a lack of character!”
Sir Robert interrupted.  “They’ll be time enough for all of this at another time.  Now, we have to secure the safety of England and France.”  He looked at the soldiers of La Garde Alan.  “Is Alan here?”  The leader looked somewhat surprised, but quickly recovered.  “Yes, his tent is ready at our headquarters.”  “Take me to it, I will not leave things this way.”  Henri spoke.  “What are your intentions?  Will you act as the Flying Swordsman, the Servant Of The King, or Protector Of The Innocent this day?”

Sir Robert looked at his friend and smiled.  “Yes to all.  Henri, you know that neither King, although well meaning, could handle what they are attempting to accomplish.  They wish to up end the scales, I wish to maintain the balance.  Today, we will serve all by serving well.  Together, we must do what we can to spare both our countries from getting an upper hand.  Trust me, fight with me, and free both of our countries.”

The two soldiers shook hands, and Sir Robert was off.  Princess Laurel looked at her soldiers. “We will camp here.  If my brother, or my cousin, sees us in the camp of Alan, they will both attack immediately.  We must do what we can to insure we are gaining time to our side.”

iPainting: Manhattan From The Park

I’m a fan of New York City, even if I haven’t made it to visit yet. I do like looking at photos of it though. This digital watercolor whale end after I saw a picture if a different view than I was used too. It’s called “Manhattan From The Park”, and we hope you enjoy it.

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Submission, Sacrifice, And Victory

Joshua 6:1, 25-26

6:1 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.

6:25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that [is] by it:

6:26 And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.

My Wife and I were listening to the Bible together this week, we enjoy doing that.  It was in the book of Judges concerning the life of Gideon.  God’s Word is so wonderful. No matter how many times that you’ve read it, there is always something new in it.  We both knew the life of Gideon, I had preached on it, and she had taught about him.  However, we enjoyed seeing something that day that we never remembered seeing before.

God told Gideon to take the second bullock, not the first, and to sacrifice it.  He was to do this, after the idolatrous altar had been destroyed.  Gideon was to tear down the grove also, and to use the wood to burn in the sacrifice.  A question came to mind that I never remembered asking before.  Why the second bullock, why not the first?

In Gill’s Exposition, he pointed out that the bullock was the same age as the number of years of Israel’s oppression.  Think of it. On the very day that God used Midian to woo Israel to return to Him, He caused this calf to be born.  Seven years. In the midst of the Midianites taking their harvest, God kept this bullock alive.  He knew that this animal, born on the same day as the start of oppression, would mark the end of the trial, and the beginning of Israel’s deliverance.

It is my belief that God doesn’t do anything through coincidence, so I feel it was no accident that Ashley and I saw this together.  Today, July 25, 2014 is our Fifth Anniversary, and this week we sat listening to this Scripture together.  Why is that wonderful?  Because of the journey that brought us here.

There is almost a ten year age difference between us.  I had intended to marry a girl at eighteen, or at least by twenty, before I reached thirty. God had a different plan.  For years, loneliness invaded my thoughts.  “What was wrong with me?”  “Why did every girl I dated end up marrying someone else?” Ashley had her share of question too.  We both fought this battle for years.  We never realized that, like so many things in life, it was simply a matter of timing.

The Lord purposely never revealed His plan to me or to my Wife.  He would use others to encourage us both along the way, but it was important that we didn’t find out until it was time.  Why?  Had we not spent years coping with the pain and loneliness of walking through life alone, we would not have fully appreciated together.  While, we are both far from perfect, and looking back, at times we’ve argued over the stupidest things.  However, the two of us are not only madly in love, we are each others biggest supporters.  No one is more in her corner than I am, or vice versa.

The Lord took what ruled over us, fear and loneliness, and turned it for our good.  We were in bondage to our own loneliness, and fear of never finding the right person, for years.  Now, we cherish those times of loneliness, not in spite of the pain of them, but because of it.  We learned to appreciate each other, to treat each other with love and kindness.

Again, we’re far from perfect, and we work on things daily.  However, ask anyone that knows us, and they will tell you that we cherish each other.  We give, and we take, because Ashley and I know how wonderful it is to compromise.  Oh, we don’t enjoy giving in, but we do adore the fact that the love of our life is on the other side of listening to the other person’s music, or watching a special on the foods of Europe.

As Gideon sacrificed that bullock, God was saying, “What you were submitted to will turn to a sacrifice of thanksgiving.”  He would save Israel, He would reunite them with their God, their Husband, and their King.  No longer would Israel watch as the harvest left their coast.  They wouldn’t have to again hide in caves and dens for safety, wondering when deliverance would arrive.

No more do Ashley and I spend our days wondering if there would ever be another hand to hold.  Another person to share lonely dinners with, or to share our hopes, and our sorrows.  Every day, every night, we see the very real face of that person we had convinced ourselves didn’t exist.

Like Israel, we didn’t get there on our own.  Our Pastor, Denny Livingston, his Wife “Sis” Alonna Livingston, and Ashley’s Best Friend Brittany Livingston Potter brought us together.  It may seem unimportant to those who read this article, but we also learned from Israel’s treatment of Gideon to cherish those who made your victory possible.

So whatever your situation, whatever your struggle, take heart.  The bullock was prepared before your oppression began.  Midian had attacked Israel for seven years, but the gestation period of cattle is nine months.  Before the sword was raised, the calf was prepared.

God’s not only waiting to listen, but to lead you out.  I know, because I’ve been there.  I’ve heard the clash of the sword.  I’ve felt the pain of the battle, but I’ve also experienced the freedom of deliverance.  Gideon’s name means just that, “To cut down, or tree feller”.  God has not only prepared the vehicle of your deliverance, He’s prepared the driver of that vehicle.

Your hope is out there, God secured it, and the means to take you to it.  Your dream is still alive, don’t give in, and don’t give up.  This doesn’t mean that it will be easy, but it will be worth it.  Like Gideon, you may have to tear down some things that block your way.

God instructed Gideon to build an Altar.  Your problem is real, no one is denying it, nor attempting to diminish it.  I’m simply saying that your victory is just as real as your dilemma! Talk to God about your loneliness, your pain, and your problem.  An one day you’ll kneel in a prayer, not to ask for victory, but to thank Him for it!

 

Our New eBook: Coffee Happenstance

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It’s out! Our latest eBook, and the first in our new mystery series, Coffee Happenstance. The culinary expert, with the unusual name, is about to find himself in trouble. Joining him for this adventure will be his new bride Rutha, strange names seem to gravitate to the Happenstances family. As well a family of characters in there own right.

Together, they will be between the man who was responsible for running him out of town years earlier, and the mob. How will he and Rutha discover the truth behind the masks that these people are putting up? Hopefully with some humor, a god deal of excitement, and a lot of Coffee.

We hope you enjoy our latest eBook, Coffee Happenstance. It’s on sale at our Amazon page now for $3.99. At PruittWrites, it’s always a pleasure to inspire, entertain, and appreciate our readers. It is our fondest wish, that this book will do all three. So curl up in a good chair, grab some hot coffee, and join the adventure.

The Flop: The Place d’Armes

“So, how do we get to him Prime Minister?”  She laughed, “That’s simple, recruit him.”  Augustus interrupted before I could tell her how crazy she was.  “That isn’t even logical.  If he is the man who has ordered your extermination, that would place the duck in front of the hunter’s gun!”

She looked at us both.  “Tell me something, how did Jean Luc know that they were there?”  “Probably some signal, something he was trained to pick up.”  “Exactly!  Uncle Augustus, did you file an initial report after you and Edward met?” “Yes.”

“Then you mentioned the cat.  They’re not amateurs.  If they really wanted us dead, we wouldn’t have had two near misses.  They want us scared, but alive.  The question is why.  The only way to find out what a con man is planning, is to con him yourself.”

I looked at Augustus, he groaned.  Jean Luc broke the silence with his own low growl.  Finally I spoke.  “Lady, your brave, I’ll give you that, but I’d never vote for you.” “Why?”  She asked, flashing her cutest politician’s smile.  “Because you are crazy enough not to blink!”

“It’s a good thing that most voters want someone who won’t blink.  Now, here is what we are going to do.”  She proceeded to lay out an ambitious plan that, you’ll forgive me sir, only a politician could come up with.  After hours of arguing, Augustus and I gave in.  We arrived at the Place d’Armes Hotel in Montreal around 3:00 am.

After 48 hours of rest and preparation, the Prime Minister placed the phone call.  “This is the Prime Minister calling.  I need to speak to Miles Cote.  He cannot reach me.  I will call back tonight at 8:00, I expect that he will be available then.  Otherwise, I will go else where.”

With that, she hung up the phone, swiveled in her chair, and looked at us.  “Cote is not accustomed to receiving orders, but the way I ended the call, he will be there.  It’s the type of authoritarian style that appeals to him.  He also knows that he can’t resist knowing what I’m up to.  For the first time in this whole ridiculous mess, I’m in the driver’s seat.” I had a feeling that would not change again either.

Cambridge’s: Three Rings And A No

Hagar Anthony was your Mother’s old boyfriend as a teenager. His Father was in the service. They had moved away, and now he was back. Hagar had skipped college and went into business for himself. He was fairly well to do, having invented some piece of financial software the banks were using.

He made no secret about his intentions. He was here to win her back. She smiled at him the afternoon he told us that, we were at a Church picnic. “What makes you think you can?” He nodded in my direction. “He isn’t putting up much of a fight now is he?”

I was about to respond the wrong way when our Pastor intervened. “Hagar, Mrs. Carstairs needs help with the kid’s baskets. Would you mind?” “Not at all.” He smiled and walked off. I thought it was safe, until our Pastor suggested that Ashley help her with setting up the children’s games also.

After they were out of earshot, he looked at me. “Winston, either you very carefully, make your intentions known, or she will be Mrs. Anthony within three months.” He said some other things, but that was all that I heard.  I panicked, what I did I don’t advise, but I did it.

I left the picnic without saying goodbye. I headed straight for your Grandmother Cambridge. From there, we went to my Uncle Pierce, the local jeweler. I borrowed three engagement rings from my Uncle, the most expensive ones he had. Your Grandmothers on each side were equals in persuasiveness.

When I came back, the picnic was ending. Hagar was getting ready to take Ashley home. From a distance, I could see from her actions that she was quite angry with me.  I was fine as long as I thought it was a matter of temper.  It was when I realized that she was hurt that I lost it.

I took her in my arms and hugged her tightly.  “Sweetheart, I’m sorry, I expected you to be angry, but I never meant to hurt you.  Walk with me, please?”  Reluctantly, very reluctantly, she took my hand and we walked to that old tree in the park.  I knelt down right there and held out my Uncle’s best jewelry.

“All three of these rings cost more than I have ever made, but I’ll gladly figure out how to cover the cost.  I realized today that, the cost of losing you, is the only thing that I couldn’t afford.  Would you marry me?”  I thought that surely that would wrap it up nicely.  She smiled, kissed me, said “No”, and walked towards my car holding my hand.

I followed, stunned, confused, and filled with questions.  Apparently I was the only one that failed to understand what just happened.  Hagar sighed, waived, and drove off.  Our Pastor laughed, shook his head, and did the same.  Finally I heard her say, “Get in”, and we drove off.

When we got to her place, she kissed me, and said goodnight.  I sat there in the dark by myself for half an hour.  Finally, I got out, knocked, and waited for her to come to the door.  “Yes?”  She said, as if she was surprised to see me.  I walked in, sat down on the couch, looked at her, and steadied myself.  “What just happened?” I asked, desperately afraid of the answer.

Somewhere

I am so thankful for our freedom, as Christians and Americans. I know the fourth is past, but I was thinking of how much I take our Freedom Of Worship for granted. Today, I’m writing a post about Christianity that will be published for all the world to see. Somewhere though, our fellow brothers and sisters, hide to say their morning prayers. While too often, due to busy schedules and other reasons we tell ourselves, are left unmade at all.

Somewhere, a Minister whispers a Message given him by God. Meanwhile, our assemblies have vacant seats, as Men Of God share openly God’s Message. In free spaces, Bibles are neglected, covered in layers of “I’ll read it tomorrow”. While, sadly in so many somewhere places, scraps of well read Scriptures are hid in hems of clothing.  They’re sewn in their hearts before they’ve been threaded in their garments.

Too often in this country, people expect Americans to feel guilty for their liberties. That is not what this is about. Today, I ask, not for you to feel guilty, but to be grateful. Grateful that we can stop and pray, without fear. Thankful that you can openly say, “Sunday I’ll be in Church”. Our freedom came with blood, and it should be both prized, as well as practiced.

Like anything else, the Right To Worship, must be exercised in order for the practitioner to be skilled in it.  So my request is this.  While you are practicing prayer, investing in the Scriptures, and planning to freely visit your local Church this week. That you pray for the someones who live somewhere without this freedom.

Pray for the person who, like you, wakes up every morning to go to work.  Just before they do though, they hide in a closet to pray and read God’s Word.  Pray for that person who is sick, and cannot call for prayer.  Think of your sister congregation.  Be mindful of them that, while you and I openly raise our hands to worship, they do so in a basement.  In the midst of their “Thank You Lord”, they’re trusting that they will not be discovered. We share this, not to depress you, but to inscribe on all of our hearts those living somewhere.

May our every day be filled with prayers for the someones in the somewhere places.  In a little while, they won’t have to hide any more.  Very shortly, as free Children of a Victorious Savior, we will all stand together.  Together with our own, their once muffled voices will echo through the Heavens.  As one people, we will all celebrate our freedom.  For soon all of His someones, bond and free, will be Somewhere in the clouds with Him!