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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Slice of Story

It might not be an actual "slice of life" but it's a slice of my life today.  I decided to take advantage of yet another snow/cold day to pull up the big file today on my computer.  This past summer I took a leap of faith and began to work on a novel.  It started as a simple story idea that I couldn't shake.  I had to get it down on paper.  From there, it just kept going and I really spent a lot of time on it over the summer.  Once school began, my work slowed down but I continued to plug along.  In November, I had to turn in my school-issued laptop (in exchange for a desktop, what??) and then the writing stopped.  I got a new computer for Christmas but I hadn't yet gotten back into the groove of working on the story until today.  As I drank my coffee this morning I decided that today was the day.  I was feeling the tug to get back into it.  I spent the morning re-reading and getting back in touch with my characters, my friends.  I decided to share my favorite scene today.  I know you don't have all the background...in fact, this is an excerpt from chapter 6, but I like this part and I hope you will too.  I'd love feedback!  You all are the first eyes to see this part!  :)

I woke up before my alarm and was immediately filled with excitement about hearing Ben sing in church.  It seemed like a very personal thing, a big step for us, to attend the service together.  I was entering his world of faith and he was welcoming me in with open arms.  It felt nice!

I dressed carefully, managed to gobble down a muffin with my coffee and was ready when he pulled into my driveway.  Zoey was half asleep in the backseat when I climbed in.  Ben gave me a quick hug and we were off.  I began to wonder about our first kiss as we drove along and I felt my cheeks turn pink when he interrupted my thoughts.

“Earth to Jenna?  Did you fall asleep over there?”  Ben teased.

“Oh, I, uh, was just thinking,” I stuttered.

“It must have been good…your cheeks are pink.” He was smiling, enjoying my obvious embarrassment.

I really didn’t know what to say.  “Yes, it was.” 

“Are you going to tell me?”  Ben asked.

“Um, no…not right now,” I told him, with a slight nod toward the backseat. 

“Hmmm…well, on another note, Abby called last night and said she would join us at church today.”

“Great!  I haven’t seen her in a while.  That will be nice!”

Abby pulled into the parking lot right in front of us.  We all walked in together. 

“I have to sit in the front so that I will be close for my big number,” Ben joked as he led us to toward the front pews. 

Ben and I sat side by side with Abby on one side and Zoey on the other.  I could feel the looks of others on the back of my neck.

“I feel like people are starring at us but I don’t really want to look to see,” I whispered to Ben.

“Feels like eyes boring into the back of your head?  I feel them too.  Try to ignore it, it doesn’t matter what they think.”

“These are your people.  I feel bad,” I explained.

“Don’t, it’s not your fault at all.  I brought you here, remember?  Just sit back and enjoy the service.  I hear it’s supposed to be a good topic this week,” Ben smiled at me.  “And, just wait until I put my arm around you…it will be scandalous!” he whispered in my ear.

Just then Abby leaned over in front of me.  “Well, you two are creating quite the scene today, aren’t you?” she said with a mischievous smirk.

“Yes Dad, why don’t you just stand up, do a lip-lock, and get the show over with already?” Zoey giggled.

“Well, now that might be going a little too far, don’t you think?” Ben laughed.  “There’s no need to stand up to do it.”

He leaned over and kissed my temple, for the entire world to see, and it felt great!  I’m sure my cheeks turned a little pink but I really didn’t care.  It felt too good to care.

“Outrageous, Dad!”   Abby teased.  “Simply outrageous.”

The service began and the pastor began to speak. 

“In this often negative world that we live in, it is imperative that we look for the rays of sunshine and positivity that are all around us.  They are there; we will find them if we just look for them.  They are there in the smiles on the sweet baby faces sitting among us today.  They are there in the teenagers holding hands as they walk through the mall, enjoying their first taste of love.  They are there in big ways and small.  Sometimes the positive things are easy to see, they seem to jump out at us waving neon signs for us to notice.  But sometimes, we need to look a little harder because it’s smaller, not as obvious.  Just this morning, I was warmed by a phone call from a parishioner who thanked me for the prayers during her illness.  I see it everywhere.  I see it now on the new faces in the pews.  It’s all around us; in new relationships, in old friends, everywhere.  It is our duty and responsibility to look for positivity, to seek it out and to be determined to share it with others.  Be supportive of others who are embarking on their own new, positive journeys.  Share the message of hope and positivity by sharing your kindness with others every day and raise each other up.  I leave you today with a charge, from:

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

 Now, if you would, please join me in welcoming our amazing choir to the stage.”

Ben stood, smiled down at me, and walked to the stage.  He surprised me by taking center stage while the others gathered in behind him.  His voice began soft and sweet and the rest of the choir joined in at all the right moments. 

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

It was a beautiful solo and all the while, Ben’s baby blues never left mine.  It was like he was singing only for me and everyone else just disappeared.  

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

As the song was coming to an end, I realized that both girls had put their heads on my shoulders at some point during the song.  I thought my heart would burst from all the good feelings!

Ben came back to the pew to join us again.  “Well?” he said.

“That was amazing!  You have a beautiful voice Ben!  That was incredible!”

“Thank you!  I’m glad you liked it,” he beamed.

“I loved it!  I felt like you were singing just to me, like I was the only one in the room,” I confessed.

“I was singing just for you.  I can’t help it if everyone else heard, but it was all for you.  You raise me up Jenna.”

I couldn’t seem to wipe the goofy grin off my face for the rest of the service, but I didn’t care.  Let people see how happy I am, how happy Ben makes me.  After the service, Zoey decided to spend the day with Abby in her dorm (after they made a quick trip to the mall, of course), so it was just Ben and I who headed to lunch.

“Did you know that this is my favorite restaurant?” Ben asked as we pulled into the parking lot.

“Yes, a little birdie may have told me.”


I just nodded.  I started to reach for the door handle but Ben put his hand on my arm. 

“I’m really glad you came with me today.  It’s awfully fun to share the things I’m passionate about with my best friend,” he said almost shyly.

“I think of you that way too, Ben.  I have to be honest.  I haven’t felt this happy in a very long time.  You make my world a better place,” I said before I lost my nerve.
“Ditto pretty lady.” Ben smiled.

So...let the feedback flow!  What did you think, feel, notice?  Recommendations?
Join the ladies at the Two Writing Teachers blog, our hosts for more slice of life stories.


  1. I like the combination of fiction and spiritual teaching. The characters seem interesting and someone the reader could start to care about. I thought maybe this was for the YA market?

  2. I like the combination of romance and religion. The world could use more of this combination! I feel like there is something deeper either coming or maybe prior to this!

  3. Well, Robin, I never stopped reading! You've made me wonder about the back story of these two, and why there might be talk. The tension is there without saying anything, just those thoughts Jenna has, & minister's talk-seems pointed at someone or more than one someone. Now you've got to keep going, you're 'public'! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I think you've got something happening here! I'm with Linda, I kept reading to find clues to the parts I didn't get to read. You left this reader wondering what's next for these two.