I finished my editing!! A Mighty Fortress is now on its way to my proofreaders!! Am I excited? No, not really. 😉 As I read through A Mighty Fortress, I found some snippets I wanted to share with my faithful blog readers. So here they are:
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Joshua took a quick look around, noticing that somehow, even though he had never set eyes on this property before, it felt like home. The brown grass, the rolling hills, the trees all seemed familiar. He turned his excited gaze to his parents. Drinking in the sight of his mother in her tasteful, though faded calico dress and his father in his denim pants and cotton shirt, he closed his eyes and breathed a quick prayer of thanks before speaking.
* * * * *
Working together, Ruth and Joshua walked to the edge of the cliff and he lay face down with Ruth on his back. Ruth put her arms tightly around his waist as he lowered himself over the edge, keeping a tight hold on the rope. Praying for strength one more time, he lowered them down the rope.
“’I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry,” Joshua began as he calculated the movements of his hands on the rope with his footholds. “He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.’”
Joshua paused to concentrate on his next foothold and Ruth picked up where he left off. She had a slight tremor in her voice, but her voice grew stronger as she recited the verses.
“’Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonderful works which Thou hast done, and Thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto Thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.’”
Ruth’s voice faltered and Joshua continued. “’I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within my heart. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, Thou knowest. I have not hid Thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation: I have not concealed Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth from the great congregation.’” That was when he saw the hungry eyes staring at them from a narrow ledge of rock.
Hanging off a cliff with your little sister trusting you to protect her and only a rope and your arms keeping you from plummeting down a cliff isn’t exactly the time you would like to stare down a wolf. When he saw the wolf on a narrow ledge of the cliff, Joshua felt a frisson of fear chase up and down his spine. Seconds later, he realized that Ruth would be the only one who had a shot at saving them.
* * * * *
“What do you want?” the taller, grizzled man sneered.
“You’re squattin’ on my boss’ land. He don’t take too kindly to that.”
The shorter man coughed in derision. “So he sent you to take care of us? All four of us?”
Jed stared the man in the eyes, daring him to look away. He did. “Yes. All four of you. Two are already dead.”
“Impossible!” the tall man scoffed. “There was only one gunshot.”
“There were two.” Jed looked at the taller man. I believe he is the leader of the group. “You have two options. One, draw your guns and try to outgun me; or two, take your horses and leave immediately. If you choose the second one and I, or someone else here ever sees your sorry hides again, we will shoot first and ask questions later.”
* * * * *
Wow! Yesterday was great! The ride was so relaxing and the farm is so beautiful. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, but the potential is amazing! We started out towards where Pa envisions the pastures being. I could almost see the fence lines and all the horses and cattle grazing on the lush green grass.
There is a stream that wanders through the pasture area. It is so clear. Pa thinks it comes straight from the mountains. We have a lot of hills. Some steep, some with gentle slopes, some barely able to be called hills.
“This hill,” Pa said after a half hour, “is the hill that our house will be going on.” He jumped off his horse and started pacing the dimensions. “It will be two stories tall with lots of windows looking out over…there.” He swept his arm to the northwest.
We all gasped in amazement at the beauty of the snow covered, blue mountains. Oh, God, thank You so much for blessing us with this beautiful land! It was worth everything we went through to be able to see this. To own this.
I have been committed to be content in all circumstances, whether easy or hard. This place will make it easy!
We definitely have a lot of hard work ahead of us, but we are together and, working together, we will get it done. Thank You, God, for Your wonderful grace to us poor, miserable sinners.
* * * * *
Later that evening, Peter, William, Joshua and Daniel sat around the fire exchanging stories. They’d been on the trail together for three days, but had had little chance to get to know each other.
“…You could’ve pushed me over with a hummin’ bird feather, I was so surprised.” Peter chuckled. “Yessiree, that there little lady sure did have a way with words.”
Leaning back on his elbows, William looked up at the stars above them. “You ever wonder how this world got its start? Where the stars came from?”
Joshua looked up at the sky and then over at William. He laid back, hands clasped under his head. “No, I don’t wonder. I know where they came from.”
William started. “What? How do you know that?”
Joshua gave a quick laugh and focused his eyes on one of the stars. “God told us in the Bible. ‘In the Beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’ And then there is the verse in one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 19. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.’ God made all of this. Everything. Every minor little detail of every living and non-living thing on earth and in the heavens.”
* * * * *
Stone wall, more stone wall, small window too high up to see out of, another stone wall, metal bars set into a stone wall frame.
Lowering his gaze, he looked at the small writing desk. He wondered if it was supposed to be a table. The paper and pencil still sat on the desktop. He had already done more writing than he ever intended to do. The chair sat at the desk looking as uncomfortable as it was to sit on.
The floor was made of stone and hid things, especially dirt, very well. It just about hid the Bible that Jed thought he’d kicked under the cot. The Bible hid well enough that Jed almost didn’t see it. But he did. His hand started to reach for it. Jed jerked his arm back with a force that all but knocked him backwards. He would not read that book!
Jed stood up and angrily paced the eight steps across the room. Back and forth, back and forth. Hands clasped behind his back. Hands hanging at his sides. Hands in front of him. Hands on his head pulling his hair out. He was going to go crazy in here!