Girls with Swords, Week 3

For my birthday earlier this month, Lacy bought me a book that I’ve been wanting: The Art of War.  It’s said to be a great book, used by successful entrepreneurs  to improve their skill.  But as I read it during this time while I’m also studying Girls with Swords, I find we can apply it to Christian living, too.

“To all nations war is a great matter.  Upon the army death or life depend: it is the means of the existence or destruction of the State.” Sun Tzu in The Art of War

The existence of God’s Holy nation – Christians from every part of the world – depends on how well each of us prepares for our spiritual battle.   If we stand ready to fight against the spiritual enemies who wage war against us, we will be able to persevere and protect our people from the enemy’s attacks; but if we stay ignorant and in denial of the war around us, Satan will easily overpower us and cause the people of God to stumble and fall away.  War is a great matter, whether we stand in the offense or in the defense; we have to be ready for the battles ahead.

If the world hateth you, ye know that it hath hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, A servant is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” John 15:18-21  (ASV)

This week, the Girls with Swords chapter focused on how we might be heroes just like the men and women spoken of in Hebrews 11.  Through faith, we can face the enemy and stand bravely for Christ.  With God as our power, we can be superhuman.

It sounds unbelievable; but don’t be fooled by Satan’s lies against this concept- you really are the hero of your own story.  The moment you chose to be baptized, you became an enemy of Satan, and all the angels in heaven rejoiced (Luke 15:3-10).  If you haven’t chosen baptism yet, then Satan’s legion of demons fight every day to keep you from making the decision of accepting salvation through Christ’s resurrection.  While God wants no man to perish but all to have eternal life through Jesus Christ (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:1-6, 2 Peter 3:9), Satan wants quite the opposite. “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16), but Satan wishes that all people shall perish and none have eternal life.

Once you accept your role as hero, whether you perform amazing miracles like the hero Captain Sullinberger of the US Airways flight 1549 or you’re just a forgotten survivor, victim of life’s worst events the way that Chuck Noland was in the movie Castaway, you are a hero in your own story and Satan is trying to bring you – as a Christian – to ruin.

“Reacting does not equal choosing. Fear will drive you to react, but as you become more skillful with the sword, you will choose your response with the intent of honoring your Father – rather than protecting yourself.” -Lisa Bevere, from the Girls with Swords Fencing Manual

The best way to choose your response with an intent of honoring God instead of fearing the enemy is to prepare for the attack and be ready for whatever will happen.  To be ready, we must put on the proper armor so that we will have the protection that God provides us.

“He who does not know the evils of war will not reap advantage thereby. He who is skillful in war does not make a second levy, does not load his supply wagon thrice.”  Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If you don’t spend your time preparing, then the enemy will have an advantage over you and you won’t have enough “supply” -strength, knowledge, and will- to fight back.  On the other hand, if you prepare for war and grow skillful with the provisions that God gives you through Scriptures, then the enemy cannot surprise you with an attack that you didn’t expect.

Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us six articles of protection that we should wear in our fights against Satan.  We should never be found without them, unprepared.  Our enemy is always on the prowl (1 Peter 5:8), and will pounce the moment we set our armor aside for a moment of rest.

Heroes may feel afraid of something, but they trust in their power, whether its the power of their sword, or their own [superhuman] abilities, or something else. In [Christians’] case, God is our power.  -quote from Kat’s fencing manual

God is permitted to do what he wants with me, because I have no idea who I am anymore. I mean, if my ideas have to “be scrapped” before God can place me in his own, then let it be so, because my plans are void almost like a money check when it’s VOID. So Lord, I permit you. -quote from Lacy’s fencing manual

 

Microscope Eyes vs. Atoms, by Lacy Andrews

 

Vast,

Void, and abyssal,

Infinity is in the palms of God.

 

God,

Beyond infinite,

Our diminutive minds strain to see Him.

 

Man,

A speck, an atom,

But God’s microscope eyes can perceive us.

 

We,

Can see His glory,

Through the Creation: God’s Infinity.

 

That,

Is nature: cosmos,

The universe is a mirror of God.

The Trinity Does Talk and Minds Do Think – Norman Vincent Peale Changed The Way I Think

Couple days ago, Mom held out her hand to give me a paper pamphlet found in the home library.  I recognized it as one of those little books the elderly carried with them in their pockets, at the old Church of Christ when I was a child, many of the pamphlets seen neatly placed in a wooden shelf at the building’s entrance. (Do churches still do that?) I was about 6 or 7 years old. I always wondered about them, since they were read almost religiously, but I wasn’t much of a reader. I liked drawing and playing with friends.

Mom told me why she recommended it now, after all this time. “Norman Vincent Peale was always an inspiration to me when I was young. Read his writing and see if you can get something out of it.” Oh well, no problem, I thought.

Peering down at the pamphlet, my eyes saw the cover. Within purple and blue stripes was the title, “Thought Conditioners, Silver Anniversary Edition” and “by Norman Vincent Peale”. The copyright, written in that old style, “MCMLI, MCMLXXV” aka Roman Numerals for 1951, 1975.

Peale outlines how by conditioning our thoughts, we can create happiness. “Since happiness and effectiveness depend upon the kind of thoughts we think, it is absolutely impossible to be happy if we think unhappiness-producing thoughts. One of the wisest men who ever lived was Marcus Aurelius, who said, ‘A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.'” Peale continues to write that by letting negative thoughts come into your mind, you will have an attitude of negativity, and by thinking fearfully, you will, as consequence, be afraid. Great ideas. But immediately my mind felt a sense of cognitive dissonance.

Norman acts like I can control the thoughts that come into my mind. Sure my mind thinks, but I can’t “put into my mind thoughts”, as he suggests. Rather, perception just happens. My thoughts respond to what I perceive: I either agree or disagree to events as they unfold. Personality is most of who we are, and we are what we are. Yes, my thoughts possibly induce fear and anxiety, even a panic attack or sweaty palms or hyperactivity, but like the commercials for antidepressants say that side effects may cause suicidal thoughts, bad events in my life cause negative thoughts, while good events caused positive thoughts. It can’t be changed…

I kept reading though, giving him the benefit of the doubt, not only because I was curious, but because I respected his age and generation. Mr. Peale was in his early 50’s when the book was first copyrighted, in 1951. He was my age in 1926. That means he suffered through the Great Depression. He witnessed World War I and II. He was alive before technology took over, and before TVs were in every home. Maybe he knew a secret I didn’t…?

I continued to read. “…if you fill your mind with spiritual words so that they sink from your conscious to your unconscious mind by a process of spiritual osmosis, you will so condition your personality with spiritual power and sensitivity that God’s will can operate in you, and every great value of this life, the ones that really matter, shall be yours.”

The wind of confidence in his tone nearly blew me over! According to him, you can change your personality by filling your thoughts with spiritual words, which of course, he as a minister, means the Holy Bible. I can’t believe that my mind sat here like a wimp trying to justify my lack of willpower, saying personalities are what they are, while he states we have the power to change our very selves, to meet the standards of God and His will!

Often I hear the argument that God’s standards are too high, too strict. Therefore He cannot exist or somehow He is less valid. For example, one modern day problem with the Bible is that homosexuality is among the sins that are practiced by people who cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, so if the Bible indeed says that then never mind, it is not a valid doctrine, it surely cannot be truth, or if it is, it’s rejectable. However, if what Mr. Peale writes is true, then our personality can be conditioned, and if our personality, then our attitude towards gender roles, our likes and dislikes, our prejudices, and eventually, are very character and the way our mind is oriented. The same goes for anyone and any sin.

Society (maybe even scientific studies) might back up my argument that personality is set in stone and we are not responsible for our mental wanderings, but the Bible backs up Mr. Peale. Romans 8 is a Bible passage explaining the human mind’s struggle, between what is spiritual and what is selfish (some versions say “fleshly”, or “sinful”). The first verse gives us hope saying “there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, but that shouldn’t fool our brains into thinking we can let our minds run like a wild mustang without a master, and Jesus cannot condemn us. For it continues to say:

People whose lives are based on selfishness think about selfish things, but people whose lives are based on the Spirit think about things that are related to the Spirit. The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t. People who are self-centered aren’t able to please God.” (Romans 8:5-8, CEB)

Do you notice how it says, “because it can’t”? The “I can’t change” attitude my brain has is the one beholden to selfishness. In order to submit to God you must first believe that you can.

So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but it isn’t an obligation to ourselves to live our lives on the basis of selfishness. If you live on the basis of selfishness, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the actions of the body, you will live. All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. You didn’t receive a spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” The same Spirit agrees with our spirit, that we are God’s children. But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:12-17, CEB

According to Romans, God the Father is the holy standard we must try to learn from, the Holy Spirit inside us is what says “Abba, Father” and gives us the will to change, and Jesus Christ is the one who makes it possible for us to do so.

It seems I was wrong and Peale was right. You can and should condition your thoughts. In order for the Spirit to dwell, He needs spiritual-thought-processes, rather than usual self-thought-processes. That means I’ll have to learn which of my thoughts are selfish, which are spiritual, and if I still feel like my thoughts are side effects to things around me rather than something that can be controlled, well, I need to figure out what I let be in my life and whether I can cut off the bad influences.

For example, my Ipad can be a tool for good or evil. I may carry it to have the Bible with me, but if I find myself using it for immoral research on things I don’t need to know – for example, I look up how to write a better love scene to improve my writing, but I shouldn’t even be thinking about that kind of intimacy much less writing it – then I may need to stop carrying it with me and instead read from a paper Bible where temptation won’t be. That will certainly condition my thoughts, even if I do get a few stares or critical comments.

In “Thought Conditioners”, Norman Vincent Peale stresses that memorizing Scripture is the key to altering your personality. Now this is something our technology-hungry-world almost doesn’t have the ability to do. I personally have trouble memorizing Scripture, especially since it is so tempting to use the ‘Search’ option on Google or look at the Bible app and compare versions. But what if someday Google doesn’t exist or the government blocks copies of Bibles? (That’s how it is in some countries.) The ability to zero in on a text and think about it repeatedly until it is able to be recalled feels like an ancient custom, but it is perhaps the highest form of intelligence to prepare the mind, if ever should calamity strike, conveniences disappear, or future events remove what we see now as everyday habits but are actually privileges capable of being destroyed by a sudden new development.

Here is a good THOUGHT CONDITIONER that Norman Vincent Peale wrote that I will share:

“‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’ Romans 8:31

“Imagine yourself as actually looking at all your difficulties like an army lined up against you.

“Then realize you have a backing that can overcome them all. As you face these enemies of yours: discouragement, frustration, disappointment, hostility, weakness, ask yourself, ‘What shall I say to these things?’ And the answer is ‘If God be for us, who can be against us?’

“Now spend a minute realizing that God is for you and say this affirmation, ‘God is with me. God is for me. God is greater than all these things.’

“Then visualize these enemies of your peace and happiness as retreating, giving way before God’s power.

“Personalize the text by saying: ‘If God be for me, who can be against me?’

“The repetitive use of this text will give you an enormous sense of God’s presence and a powerful feeling of victory.”

Always remember: You CAN do it!!!!

Final note: After all this time! I understood thanks to Kat, my lovely sister, why the elders passed those pamphlets around like they were the latest craze. Ha. It’s cool. Kat explained, “Back in that day, it wasn’t convenient to carry the whole Bible around, and it was easy to carry these around in the pocket of a jacket.” She took the pamphlet from me and imitated the way an old man wore a suit, pulling back her imaginary jacket and tucking it away in a refuge, next to her heart. “See, this was their way of taking Scripture or self-help writing with them, so they could think about it throughout the day.” Imagine that! They had no phone, no car radio, no laptop, no distractions other than face to face conversations with people, and oneness with nature!

Perhaps it was easier for writers in the past to condition their thoughts and fill their mind with the Spirit, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible today. It just means we’ll have to do a lot less conforming, and more converting!

norman_vincent_peale_nywts

 

Star Quest, Short Story by Kat Andrews

The night was too black; it brooded without stars.  The Huntsman could sense the ominous veil of darkness that crept its way into the land; for the gentle creatures of the forest now hunted instead of hid.  Without Queen Cassiopeia’s hopefulness, no one could keep the gloom and potent evil from tender hearts.

Huntsman wondered if he was the only one troubled by the coming darkness. He knew he must find the Queen quickly, so his search began at the place where the darkness was the most substantial—the Libra corral—where the horses fought each other like raging beasts.  Huntsman quickly made his way to the Libra.  A beautiful white stallion raced around the corral.  Huntsman cautiously watched as the majestic stallion circled the corral.  As the stallion slowed to a stop he bore his teeth at another, a silent horse in the dark. The horse had a beautiful ebony coat, as dark as the night sky.  Any movement she would make would bring a glimmer of light to her coat, a flicker like small stars falling from the sky.  Her wings were majestic when she spread them out to full length; but at the moment, she held them close to her sides; tense, but controlled, as someone calmed her. The man was tall and strong.  He wore a gray tunic and shorts, and a sword on his back.  Huntsman recognized him as Hercules, a great hero.  They had met before, but he was unsure about whether Herc would remember him.  Last he had heard Herc had left the land.  Now that Herc was back, Huntsman was sure that Herc would help.

Huntsman watched as Herc caressed his beautiful steed gently and talked soothing words to her.  Huntsman smiled, pleased to see that he could show compassion in the face of danger.

Huntsman silently walked up behind Herc.  To his satisfaction, Herc stiffened and raised his hand over his shoulder to rest on the sword.  He was pleased to see that Herc was still alert.

Herc jolted around to see who was there and let out a massive sigh of relief.  “Hunter, it’s just you.”

Even as Huntsman felt honored to be recognized, with concern in his voice he spoke, “What’s happening?”

Herc nodded toward the angry herd.  “An immense energy is coming from the corral, but I haven’t figured out what’s causing it.”

Huntsman quietly probed with all of his senses to broaden the search around the corral.  He listened to the hooves of the stallion beating on the battered ground and felt a slight breeze brush at his golden bangs.  With the breeze came a foreboding sensation that filled his heart.  Herc placed a hand on Huntsman’s shoulder and drew his attention to the stallion.  It slowly changed into a white serpent; then disappeared behind a tree.  Huntsman ran after it with his crossbow cocked, but found nothing.  Herc sprang onto the back of Pegasus and raced over as well.

“We’re not alone.”  Huntsman muttered.  Suddenly they felt a presence behind them. Herc leapt from the back of Pegasus and drew his sword.

“No, You are not alone.”  Huntsman turned to see a dark figure made of every evil concept thought up by man.  Around his neck rested the large snake, as white as the man was dark. “She’s here.”

“Who’s here?”  Herc shot out.  “Who are you?”

“I am Shadow King.” He motioned to the center of the corral, where Cassiopeia lay on a stone altar, which hadn’t been there before.  “Cassiopeia is here.  This corral is the balance of good and evil.  It is the gateway from the realm of mortals to my rule, the realm of shadows.  Cassiopeia’s realm is peaceful.  But bringing Cassiopeia here has tipped the sense of balance.  Soon the shadow realm will cover both realms, and I will rule it all.  Balance will only be restored if you defeat me.  But you can’t defeat me until you find me, and find my weakness.” Shadow King smirked as his serpent dropped to the ground.  Huntsman watched as it transformed into a doorway, glowing brightly.  “It’s a will-o’-the-wisp.  It can turn into anything; right now, it’s the exit.  All you’ve got to do is find it.” Walls sprang from the ground, blocking the exit.  The Shadow King slowly began to fade away.

Huntsman stood up.  He looked around and saw that they were in a corridor, and they stood near a break in the hall.  He studied each corridor closely, but they looked identical.  Huntsman started down one path, hoping that it was the right hall to take.  He, Herc and Pegasus quickly followed the corridor, but it seemed they weren’t getting anywhere. He turned to Herc. “Can Pegasus fly over the wall and see what turns to take?”

“No, I don’t think so.  There isn’t enough room in these corridors for her to spread her wings.”  Huntsman saw Herc’s gaze shift down to Huntsman’s belt.  He looked down to see what Herc was looking at, and realized that his buckle had begun to glow softly.  “What’s happening?”

Huntsman’s belt continued to glow brighter.  “My belt glows with the light of the stars.  It hasn’t been glowing because the darkness hid the stars.”  Huntsman looked around.  “Polaris must be around.”

“Who?”

“Polaris is a small light that helps lost travelers find their way.  She leads the travelers to Cassiopeia, who then helps them find their destination.  Maybe she’ll know the way to Cassiopeia.”

A small ball of light descended from above them and began to float around Huntsman.  “Come.  I’ll show you the way.”  She seemed to be telling him.  Polaris began to drift down a hall, and Huntsman followed her, Herc and Pegasus close behind.  He glanced down at his belt, which seemed to feed off of the light’s radiance.  It seemed to be absorbing the light from the little star, and it was shining brightly now.

Finally they came to the end of the hallway, which led to the room Cassiopeia was in.  A large wall blocked their way.  Huntsman examined the wall.  “It’s ice.”  Suddenly Huntsman felt the presence of the Shadow King.

“So, you’ve gotten this far with the help of Polaris.  How did that little fairy get into my domain?”  Shadow King sneered.

“You let her in.  Polaris is a star that is made from Cassiopeia’s hope.  Since you’ve brought Cassiopeia here, you let Polaris in.”

“It doesn’t matter.  You’ve made it this far, but you cannot go any further.  You will not be able to pass the wall in front of you.”  The Shadow King smiled, and added, “I hope you do make it past the wall, though.  I would love to fight you myself.  Prove yourself worthy of your name: Orion, the son of fire.”  He disappeared again.

“We need to find something that we can burn.”  Huntsman touched his sleeves; they weren’t much, but they might burn.  He ripped his sleeves off, and put them into a bundle next to the ice.  He took two pieces of flint from his belt and flicked them together several times to make a small fire.  Then he looked up at Polaris.  “Little star, can you fuel the fire with your gasses, to help melt the ice?”  The small light bobbed once, and drifted down to the fire.  Immediately the fire lit up.  Huntsman turned to Herc.  “We’ll get to the other side soon.”

Herc gazed at Huntsman’s belt, now shining brightly.  “Your belt.  That’s the legendary belt of the three stars, isn’t it?”  Huntsman nodded cautiously.  He could see darkness in Herc’s eyes.  The darkness that had affected all the small forest creatures was now affecting Herc as well.  Huntsman knew that Herc was stronger, but he also knew that he was quicker.  Herc leapt at Huntsman, sword drawn, but Huntsman dodged the attack.  Herc shook his head in dismay.  “You won’t even fight back?  This’ll be too easy.”  Herc swung his sword at Huntsman, and Huntsman swiftly moved out of the way.  Herc swung again, this time cutting Huntsman’s shoulder.  Herc was about to attack again, but Pegasus jumped between them.  Herc’s sword sliced into Pegasus’ wing, causing the horse to rear up and cry in pain.   Herc dropped his sword to the ground.  “I’m so sorry, Peg.  I didn’t mean to.  I wasn’t thinking right.” He gently put his hand on the wound, which trickled blood.  “I’m so sorry.”

Huntsman looked over at the wall that was melted away enough for them to pass.  Huntsman climbed over what was left of the ice wall, and came face to face with Shadow King once again.

Behind Shadow King was a long hallway. “Get Cassiopeia.”  Huntsman ordered Herc.  “Follow that hallway until you get to the end.  I’m sure you’ll find the exit there.”  Herc was about to argue but Huntsman shook his head.  “Go, get Cassiopeia out of here.  You have to.”  Herc hesitated for a moment, then ran over to Cassiopeia and gently picked her up.  Then he pulled himself up on Pegasus, looked back at Huntsman, then raced down the hallway.

“You do know that you led your friends into a trap.”  Shadow King derided.  “The only way to leave my labyrinth is to defeat me.”

“Then what’s…”

“A whole army of shadow warriors.  You’ll never defeat me soon enough to save your friends.”  Shadow King beamed evilly, sure that he had won.  Huntsman looked around in alarm.  Polaris quietly floated to his side.

“Your belt, Orion.  Your belt of the three stars will bring an end to his reign.”  Huntsman gently placed his hand on his belt buckle, now glowing brighter than the brightest star.  The buckle was a decoration, and could easily be twisted off.  Huntsman slowly popped the buckle off into his hand.  He looked down at it, smiled, and shone the light at Shadow King.

“Shadows vanish in the light.  Everyone knows that, Shadow King.”  Shadow King gave a shrill cry as the light shot through him.  The light flashed brightly, blinding Huntsman momentarily.  When he gained his vision again, he saw that he and the others were back in the peaceful Libra corral.

After returning Queen Cassiopeia to the castle, Herc and Huntsman stood at the throne.  “Hercules, I am grateful that you have returned.  You have helped save the land once again.  You are a true hero, and will forever be known in legend for what you have done.  Huntsman,” Huntsman bowed his head slightly.  “You also will be put into legends, but without you, we wouldn’t be alive. You have done so much.  To reward you, I shall make you guardian of the land.”

“Your Highness, I am protector of my own home.  I do not need to be made protector of the entire land.   And I prefer not to be put into the legends.”

“If you don’t want to be honored as guardian of the land, and you don’t want to be legendary, then what do you want?” Cassiopeia questioned.

“Your Highness, I believe that a good name is more desirable than riches.  To be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

“All right.  I’ll make your name great.  Everyone will know the wonderful things that you have done.”

“No, your Highness.  Being a good person is more desirable than having riches and fame.  I don’t wish to be famous, I just want to be a good person, helping whomever I can.”

Queen Cassiopeia nodded in understanding.  “Huntsman, you do know that if you continue to do great deeds, you will no doubt become well-known,” she accentuated.

“Yes, I do realize this.  But I would like everyone to know me for the deeds that I have done, rather than my name alone.”  The Queen nodded again in understanding and smiled at the Huntsman; he knew that, with her gladness, the stars would shine once again.  Eager to gaze at the beautiful stardust sprinkled over the night sky, he bowed and turned to leave the throne room.

 

Crazy Like a Fox

A warm ray of sunlight shone brightly into the open-air window, almost like the sun was smiling upon a magical spot in a teenager’s room. The room was a young girl’s fantasy, with pink sheets and curtains, and small angel trinkets on display. On the shelves was a small assortment of books, and around the room were display dolls of all shapes and sizes. A woolly gray teddy, with round spectacles balanced upon his nose, sat on a corner table studying a chessboard. A small pocket watch was sewed to his vest, and he looked quite intelligent.

The cheery, warm sunshine peeked in among the row of potted plants on the windowsill. It spied a small beanbag fox, lying lazily among the plants. It almost seemed as if the small fox had been lost among the plants, and forgotten since childhood. He sat there staring intently at the blue jays and sparrows flittering around the yard with a dreamy, yearning sparkle in his marble eyes.

“I want to go outside!” Foxxie called out. “I’m gonna run away, and have an adventure!”

Professor Marble looked up from the chessboard, and gazed skeptically at Foxxie. Foxxie watched the teddy bear closely, to see how he would react. The small bear just kept gazing at his worn-out beanbag friend.

“Well, aren’t you going to say something?” Foxxie questioned. “I’m telling you that I’m running away!”

Professor Marble cocked his head. “Will you enjoy yourself?”

“Dah!” Foxxie shot back, nodding his head happily. He was proud to use his wonderful Russian word. He used the word with the Professor so that he would sound more intelligent, just like his friend. Foxxie thought the word sounded smarter, anyway. It was his way of saying “Yes!”

Professor Marble gazed at Foxxie before speaking to correct his friend. “The word is da, Fox. It’s said with an aw, as in paw.”

“Oh…” Foxxie mused. “Well, ‘dah’ is my own word. I made it up.” It wasn’t smarter, after all, but at least he was unique.

“Well then, bon voyage. Have fun.” Professor Marble took one last glance at Foxxie, and then went back to his game.

“Oh.” Foxxie let out an exasperated sigh. He was disappointed that Professor Marble didn’t try to stop him. “Well, goodbye!”

Foxxie hopped out the window, into the thick carpet grass. A cool breeze blew, wiggling his whiskers. “Dah, that feels so good. It feels good to be outside! Free and wild! Free to be me!”

Foxxie looked around at his new surroundings. There were lots of beautiful flowers scattered around the yard, but Foxxie especially liked the exotic red flower growing in the flowerbed. He felt that he just had to get that beautiful hibiscus flower for his favorite person, Jackie Jackson, the young girl who had grown into a lovely young woman. Foxxie could imagine the lush red flower in Jackie’s thick golden hair. Foxxie suddenly felt forgotten and lost to his only love.

“I have to get her that flower.” Foxxie said to himself. “My future with Jackie depends on it!” He ran over to the flower and tried to break off the stem, but it was too tough. He tugged at it again, when he noticed a large bumblebee buzzing around the flower.

“Stay away from the flower, you bee!” Foxxie yelled. He glared at it, ready to attack if it came too near the flower. “You can’t have the flower! It’s mine. I’m gonna give it to Jackie, and you can’t have it! Go find your own!” The bee buzzed around a few seconds longer, then flew off to another flower. “Dah! I scared it away!” Foxxie said proudly. Then he looked back at the flower. “Now, how am I gonna get it? Hmm… I know! I’ll go ask the Professor!” He climbed up an old lattice next to the window and stumbled back onto the windowsill. “Professor Marble, how can I get a flower out there? I can’t get it off the stem.”

Professor Marble gazed patiently at the worn little fox, and gently shook his head. “My friend, you’ve got to think wild when you’re an adventurer. Would Christopher Columbus have discovered America if he hadn’t dared to imagine that the world was round? Of course not. As an adventurer, he dreamed something different and made it happen. How do you suppose Thomas Edison, a great adventurer into science, created the light bulb, or Alexander Graham Bell the telephone? They imagined. You, too, must use your imagination. Imagine some very sharp teeth in that soft little mouth of yours, and that flower will be yours in one bite. Imagination can get you anything.”

“Oh, dah!” Foxxie replied, a little embarrassed that he didn’t think as wildly as that. Then he cheered up. “I just thought! I need to add a note to go with the flower!” Foxxie dashed to Jackie’s desktop and rummaged around in her letterbox until he found a small piece of paper. On it was scribbled the words: “To the beautiful Jackie Jackson; the angel of my life. From your secret admirer.”

“Dah, this is perfect! It doesn’t even have a name.” Foxxie looked around, but couldn’t find a pencil small enough for him to use. He walked over to Professor Marble and held up the paper for him to see. “How can I write my name on this?”

Professor Marble glanced down at the small note and chuckled. “Fox, I believe a secret admirer’s name is to remain a secret, isn’t it?”

“But how would she know it’s from me if I don’t put my name?” Foxxie shot back.

Professor Marble let out a small sigh. “Well, if you want your name on the note, why don’t you imagine? Before people had pencils, they used feather tips dipped in ink. They used their imaginations. Why don’t you use yours?”

“Dah! That’s a good idea!” Foxxie shot out the window and landed on the soft grass. He frantically looked around, but to his dismay he didn’t see any feathers. But he did notice that the bumblebee was back.

“Hey, bee? What are you doing back?” Foxxie shouted. That’s when he saw the point at the end of the bee. “Hey! I got an idea! Hey bee! Come here!” The bee seemed to ignore Foxxie. It seemed preoccupied with the flower. “Hey Mr. Bee! Don’t ignore me! I need your help!” He ran up to the bee and watched as it landed on the flower and turned to look at him. “Please bee, I need to use your stinger! I need to write my name on this note, and I was wondering if you could help me.”

The bee looked at Foxxie for several minutes. Then it spoke up in a small voice. “I’d like to help you, little fox. But how will you be able to use my stinger?”

Foxxie looked thoughtfully at it, then said, “We’ll use our imagination. I’ll imagine you are a pen. You’ll go dip your stinger into one of those berries on that bush over there, and then I’ll write with the berry juice as the ink.”

The bee thought for a minute. “Alright, but be careful. My stinger is fragile, and can break.”

The bee buzzed off to the blackberry bush and stabbed a small berry cluster. When Foxxie pulled it off the stinger, he noticed a little bit of juice on the tip. “Dah! You got some!” Excitement was in the air.

Foxxie gently guided the bee over the notepaper and started to write his name on the note. He soon ran out of his ink though. He was about to need more berry juice when he heard some voices on the porch. “Oh no, Jackie’s coming. I need to hurry and get the flower!” He glanced down at the note. All he had written was the ‘F’ and half of the ‘o’. “There’s not enough time!” Foxxie loosened his grasp on the bee and watched as it flew up into the air. “Thank you, bee!” He yelled. Then he turned and dashed over to the flower. He closed his eyes, breathed a deep breath, and took a big bite off the stem. It snapped in two, and Foxxie grabbed the flower.

Just then, a girl in her late teens walked up. Foxxie watched as she brushed a bang out of her beautiful blue eyes. Her shoulder length blonde hair was tied back into a large pink ribbon. She held a badminton racket in her hand.

“Where did that birdie go this time?” The girl looked around, and noticed Foxxie. “Foxxie, what are you doing out here?”

“Jackie!” Someone called out from the other side of the yard. “Come on! We’re waiting!”

“Hold on a second. I can’t find the birdie!” Jackie called back. She picked up Foxxie and glanced at her open window. She gently picked up the flower and read the small note with it. She noticed the letters “Fo” scratched out at the bottom of the note. She looked back at Foxxie with a puzzled look on her face.

Later, after Jackie had taken Foxxie back to her room and placed the flower in a vase on her desk, Foxxie was on Jackie’s bed examining a scrapbook she had out. The bee had buzzed in to hear the ending results of Foxxie’s quest. Foxxie had just finished reporting to Professor Marble and Mr. Bee all that had happened.

“What happened to your great adventure you had planned?” Professor Marble asked. “I thought you wanted to become an explorer, like Lewis and Clark? Didn’t you want to go out and find something great?”

“Dah.” Foxxie quietly said. “It wasn’t all that I expected it to be. It wasn’t as great as I thought.”

“Well, perhaps you shouldn’t let your emotions control your actions.” Professor Marble scolded softly. “You can’t lose control of your feelings like that. You need to keep your mind on your mission.”

“Dah, you’re right.” Foxxie agreed. “I totally lost control. Maybe I’m not cut out to be an adventurer. I’m not the right kind of person to be an adventurer. I’m more of the romantic type. I’m more ‘go for the girl you love’ rather than ‘go for the adventure’. I’m in love! I want to be Jackie’s Prince Charming. I will be the next Don Juan!”

The bee buzzed around the room with delight, obviously picking up on the excitement of the moment. “Yes, yes! You can star in the movie Gone with the Wind! You can play Rhett Butler and your friend Jackie can star as Scarlett O’Hara! You two can fall madly in love!”

“Or I could write letters to her!” Foxxie cried happily. “We could write to each other, and she’ll never know it’s me! Then we could meet sometime, and she’ll discover that I was the one writing the letters all along! She’ll realize that I’m the one she loved all this time!”

“Oh, what fun that sounds.” The bee exclaimed, then settled down and sighed a happy sigh. “Wow. What a romance story that would make.”

Professor Marble smiled kindly at Foxxie. “So, my little Romeo, have you learned anything new today?”

“Dah.” Foxxie said. “I didn’t impress Jackie by getting that big beautiful flower. She couldn’t read my whole name. She must not have known it was from me.”

“Good. I’m glad to hear that you have learned a lesson today.” Professor Marble gave a small sigh of relief and nodded. “Now maybe you’ll think twice before going out and trying to impress Jackie. After all, she’s grown up and doesn’t have time to play with small toys like us anymore. We are only for display now.”

Foxxie shook his head quickly. “Oh, no! That’s not what I learned. I learned that one flower wasn’t enough, and that berries don’t give enough ink.” Foxxie exclaimed. “I’ll have to use my imagination to think even wilder next time. I’ll have to think of something better to write my name with. And, I’ll just have to get her lots of flowers!”