Learning Anew – An Excerpt III

“I don’t know Johan, you’re playing this really…really too close to the vest. What happens when Aniya finds out who you are?” Susan pressed her palms against her castle pine wooden desk, leaned over and hoisted herself above her cousin who pretended not to listen to her. He just sat, fiddled with a pen in between his fingers, and stared out the high rise office windows.

“Why don’t you let me worry about how close I’m playing things and you worry about being a good supervisor. huh?” Johan finally turned and flashed Susan a wide grin. But his boyish grin didn’t move her one bit. Well except to stand right in front of him and block any further distraction from the stunning sunlight, and magnificent clouds forming outside the windows.

“Look Johan, this all started innocently enough. You wandered downstairs to check things out and one look and you were instantly distracted, like you always are by new and shiny things. You…”

Johan jumped to his feet. This time it was him hoisted above the woman he’s known as more like an older sister than a cousin his entire life. “She’s not a ‘shiny thing’! It’s not like that Suze. I…I…” He felt something move in his stomach. What the heck? Was the ever cerebral, barely emotional Johan experiencing butterflies? “I swear.” His arms dropped limp at his side.

She gasped. She could see the vulnerability in his eyes. Johan gently maneuvered his way around Susan and stood beside the wall covered with windows.

Susan made her own graceful move and joined him. “So tell me. Tell me what it’s like. I’m all ears.”

Johan looked away from the arresting scene happening outside the window and curled his lips into a slow smile. “How much time do you have?”

“For you?” Susan tilted her eyes toward the international clocks adorning the wall across from the array of windows “30 minutes, until my next meeting.”

Laughter filled the space between them.

To Be Continued…

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Learning Anew – An Excerpt II

Sir, are you sure about this? I don’t think…” Andrew was immediately cut off. A voice boomed across from him. “We’ve talked about this – repeatedly I might add. I know what I’m doing. The staff on the ‘ground floor’ have never seen me so…so I’ll be alright. Andrew I swear, you worry too much dude.”

Andrew’s eyes widened, he still can’t quite get used to his boss’ casual demeanor . Well, technically his boss. He shook his head and went in for the kill to try to persuade the young millionaire that he is going down a very wrong path.

“Sir, what happens when she finds out who you really are?” Johan finally spun around from packing his gym bag. He gently stepped into Andrew’s space with a smirk painted across his lips.

“Will you cut out the “Sir-bit”. It’s  Johan.” He paused. “But ah, Joe…Joe in front of my ‘co-workers'” A full smile formed on his face. He spun around and returned his undivided attention to his gym bag .

Behind him, Andrew forced his lips together. Tight. He is making a huge fool of himself and I will have to clean up all the mess. “Ahem. Sir…I mean Jo…Jo-han all I’m saying is pretending is never good…”

Johan was all set. He strapped the bag across his chest, stepped up to Andrew and gave him two soft taps on his left shoulder then looked up at his towering assistant. “You worry way too much Andy. I got this.” Johan took two steps toward the door, then pivoted toward Andrew again. “It will be all good man. Trust me. You’ll see. Now I have a company ball game to pitch in.” Johan winked and shot out the door like lighting.

To Be Continued…

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Learning Anew – An Excerpt

“You’re not serious. What are you doing here?” Her eyes were the size of tennis balls and her jaw dropped to her chest. Instead of being turned off he matched the disgusted look on her face with a warm smile, and eyes that glistened at the sight of her.

“I’m very serious. You need me…you need me here.” His face was beaming now. She however, rolled her eyes, turned around and continued adding cans to the shelf. “Like I need a heart attack?” She threw back over her shoulder.

“Oh come on. Don’t be like that.” He took a few steps toward her. She immediately sensed his presence drawing nearer and jumped off her step stool to confront him. “Listen buddy…” She spitted out sarcastically. “I am good. Good getting things done, and better off doing it alone.”

He bowed his head in an attempt to hide the chuckle that was bursting out of him. “How is a little help going to hurt?” He eventually offered. She glared at him with eyes so wide they could potentially suck him in at any moment. “Hurt? Um…I just don’t…don’t need it! That’s all!” He drew in a long breath before offering his feedback.

“Maybe you don’t realize it? Maybe…” Before he could go on, she jumped back on to the step stool and started working again. “You just don’t get it.” She muttered as she stretched her arm upward and across.

“Ah, what was that?” He pretended he didn’t hear her precisely.

“I’m sure you have better things to do. I’m good here.” She quipped then jumped down again and headed deeper into the storage area to a back room.

With a silly grin painted on his face, he followed after her…

To Be Continued…

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Messages From Beyond The Moon II: Get Ready For The Joy…

Hey, You’re back!

So you’ve decided to believe that I want to be smack in the middle of everything concerning you huh?

You believe that I will, and can do whatever needs to be done to get you to where I have already predesigned for you to be.

Okay then.

See the big smile on my face?

Faith gets me excited.

Get ready for a big old belly laugh next.

Wait. You didn’t know that I smile…even laugh?

Where do you think Joy came from in the first place?

Your level of Joy, even happiness, is very important to me by the way.

Let me help you get…and stay there.

Enough for each day.

Joy when life feels like an uphill climb and you don’t even feel like faking a smile.

Let me help you get…and stay there.

Joy when everything around you is crashing to the ground and too many voices are too loud to decipher.

Let me help you get…and stay there.

You see, you need Joy.

Joy isn’t fickle. Joy can take a hit.

Happiness is all good. It’s cool too. But it tends to rely on circumstances to show up.

Joy runs deep. Very deep.

Joy can bench-press happiness and some more stuff.

Oh Joy…Joy carries the strength to take the next step though your feet feel like clay.

You’ll find it-Joy-when you draw near and just sit…sit with Me.

Sit and talk. Sit and sing Me a tune. I’ll sing one back you know?

Just sit with Me a while. I will give you Joy. Joy will give you strength, and you will be able to go on.

You will be able to step over, leap across and win. Win at life.

Sit with Me a while and get ready for the Joy.

~God.

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Messages From Beyond The Moon I: I’m All In It…

Hey you.

Yes, you.

I’ve been thinking about you.

Oh, you didn’t realize that I think about you? Well, it’s like all the time.

I think about how you try to be the picture of perfection working to hold everything together. Trying to prove your strength.

I think about your late night cries cause you think no one gets you…really gets you.

No one but Me.

I think about your desires to reach for the stars, that sometimes gets clouded by mists of anxiety.

I think about so much when it comes to you. But what I have been thinking about a lot lately is getting you too see and fully embrace just how much I want to walk through life with you.

How much I want to be in the midst of whatever you’re dealing with, working towards, or fighting against-inwardly or outwardly-to get you to where you’re supposed to be.

To get you to a sweet place of rest where you don’t just step forward but you soar.

Hey you. I’m closer than you think.

I’m all up in everything concerning you.

What you got? Bring it on. I can handle it.

Emotional? Physical? Financial? I got this. Seriously, I do!

Lay it on me. The whole gigantic pile of mess.

Let’s walk through it together.

And when you look into the mirror and everything isn’t picture perfect, please don’t be hard on yourself.

It’s a process you know?

Yeah. It. Is.

Even if you think you should be beyond this point. It is a process.

Lighten up.

Lean on me, and lighten up.

So what you got? I’m all in it.

~God.

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Life Passages XXIV – Reality Check

“I’m not sure about this Devon. About being here.” Madeleine spoke in hush tones leaned in close to Devon’s ear. They warmed a couch at the edge of the room of Emmanuel’s parents basement. Emmanuel got the Agape youth group together for the monthly game night. Devon managed to convince Madeleine to join him and Samantha there, but he wasn’t as successful  with getting her to take part in any of the activities that was happening in the center of the room. Devon turned toward Madeleine only slightly. His eyes remained fixed on the intrigue encircling the friendly card game across the room. “Why not Mads? Don’t you like to have fun?” He whispered near her ear jokingly.

Madeleine’s eyes shot back and forth nervously “I do…I do like to have fun but…but this isn’t my…” Madeleine’s words were broken in to by the shadow of a medium built, tall Emmanuel, trimmed with perfectly groomed facial hair. “Madeleine, right?” Madeleine’s head rose slowly, her apprehensive eyes cast on Emmanuel’s olive face. “Um…me? Ahem…Yes…ah yes I’m Madeleine.” Emmanuel’s smile was close to igniting the basement. His left hand quickly rose to motion a wave. “Hey Madeleine. I’m Emmanuel. Finally a proper introduction.” He chuckled and shot Devon a playful look but Devon was not so playful in that moment. “So, there’s a game of Pictionary that’s about to get started and it has your name all over it Madeleine.” His grin was infectious and Madeleine was affected. Her lips slowly curled upward. “Pictionary? Me?” Her mouth grew a full smile now.

Devon looked on, guarded. His eyes closely mapped the evolution of the dialogue taking place next to him. A splash of agitation filled his eyes. “Mads you know…you know you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” If ever there was the award for the best poker face of the year, Devon would be nominated for trying terribly hard to wear one just then. Emmanuel on the other hand remained a beacon of joy. It shouldn’t be possible but it appeared that his grin became even larger. “He’s right Madeleine. It’s up to you. But I have a strange feeling this is your game.” Madeleine was blinded by Emmanuel’s smile and she couldn’t help but form a larger one herself. She took a break from absorbing Emmanuel’s light to look at Devon. She couldn’t find any true identifiable expression there so she took a few more moments to read his face more closely. Soon she gave up, drew a deep breath then returned her attention to Emmanuel. Is this guy always this happy? Always this…this…I guess, nice? She chuckled softly and glanced at Devon again. Well Devon wants me to have fun, so what the heck!

“I’m in.” Madeleine locked eyes with Emmanuel. He reached for her hand  “Partners then, Madeleine?” She allowed him to take it and stood. “Alright.” Madeleine walked away leaving Devon on his feet, dumbfounded. His wide eyes bounced from Madeleine’s hand in Emmanuel’s to them meeting up with the rest of the Pictionary players, and Emmanuel making the introductions. Suddenly Samantha appeared next to Devon. She slapped him on the shoulder. “See? I told you Devon. This is what she needed.” Devon’s head slowly swiveled toward Samantha. He gazed at her speechless, for a long thirty seconds – or so  – before responding. “Um…ah…I guess…I guess so?” His voice trailed off into a whisper before Devon turned again to fix his stare on Madeleine and Emmanuel. Okay Lord. We need to talk.

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Life Passages XXIII – Truth Outspoken

“Devon this important!” Devon circled Samantha, each arm loaded up with boxes containing paraphernalia to re-stock the shelves at his Grandpa Solomon’s eclectic book and comic store. “Devon. Did you hear me? ”

Devon allowed one box to slip to the floor then laid the others down. He began unloading them but he still had not given Samantha any eye contact, though very aware of her presence. “Sam, I hear you. Really.” A soft chuckle levitated from his gut to his lips. “You do see that I am busy here, right?” Devon emptied his other arm and stood straight, facing Samantha with a playful grin. “What’s so urgent sista?”

“It’s Mads…I mean Madeleine…I don’t know. She doesn’t seem to care for me…We were shopping…she stomped off…” Samantha rattled on, pulling from her memory rapidly while trying to paint Devon an accurate picture. Devon’s eyes darted back and forth, and up and down trying to keep track with-what he interrupted as Samantha’s gibberish-and her energetic gestures. “Whoa! Slow down already. What the heck are you talking about?”

Samantha dropped to the wooden floor of the antiquated shop and crossed her legs. Devon’s eyes dropped down with her and began to fill with concern. Soon Devon was on the floor facing Samantha and sitting crossed legged like she was. “Okay Sam. Take a good deep breath and try again.” Samantha nodded at Devon then sat as straight as a needle to suck in a long hollow breath.

Samantha released it slowly. “Okay. So I asked Madeleine to go shopping with me today. I thought it would be good for her…” Devon spitted out a raucous laugh. “Good for her, or for you Sam? You d0 have a weakness you know.” Samantha was not amused by the comment.

“Not now Devon. Seriously.” Samantha’s eyes burrowed into Devon, almost burning right through his own. His shoulders tensed then straightened. Lighthearted Samantha was clearly burdened with her message. He leaned in again and dug his elbows into his crossed thighs. “Okay Sam. I’m all ears. What happened?”

A light puff of air slowly emitted from her nose and Samantha allowed herself to smile. Just a little. “Okay. So. I really thought Madeleine needed a friend…” Devon’s eyes grew to the size of tennis balls. Well almost. Samantha couldn’t hide the giggle that launched from her body. “Don’t be like that Devon.” Samantha pressed her lips together, puckered them out, then cocked her head to one side. “You don’t get to have absolute claim on  Madeleine you know. Especially when…” Samantha leaned back and contemplated her next words. Devon stared at her, anticipating the content of the thoughts churning in her head.

“Especially when what Sam? Just say it.” Devon leaned into Samantha’s personal space anxious to know her thoughts. She leaned away from him even further. “Okay. Okay. Chill a second. I’m not sure you’re ready to hear this.” Devon’s arms flew half-way into the air. “What? What does that mean? Isn’t this about Mads?”

Samantha fidgeted, adjusting her seating on the book store floor. She needed to be absolutely comfortable to deliver her next line. “Um…ahem…Devon…Devon I think you need to be very careful with Madeleine. She’s had enough happen to her. She doesn’t need you confusing her.”

Devon’s wide eyes matched his gapped mouth. “Wha…Serious…Samantha, are you for real? Confusing Mads? Me? How?” Samantha gave Devon the head tilt, puckered lips, complemented with piercing eyes this time. She looked at him. Staring. Bearing into his soul until she was satisfied that his heart was suitably prepared for her next round of candid deductions. “Devon, you’ve done a good thing. You’ve befriended someone who…who it looks like had given up on people. But you’ve got to be careful. Don’t ‘dine and dash’…”

Devon raised one hand and put his palm up near Samantha’s face. “Wait. Stop. Stop the madness. ‘dine and dash’? When have I done that?” Devon shook his head violently trying to make Samantha’s words make sense.

She reached over and gently placed her hand on Devon’s arm. “Calm down. All I’m saying is, be a friend. We’ve been just that for years. But if you’re thinking of being anything else…” Samantha  paused and took in a sharp breath. “…Madeleine can’t handle anymore disappointments, at the very least. Please be careful.”

Devon sat back, firmly on his tail bone. He crossed his arms and looked down at the polished wooden floor his grandfather waxed twice a week. His eyes traced every crease and crevice. Samantha sat patiently across from her friend, allowing him to mull over her words. Eventually Devon inhaled deeply then spoke. “Thanks Sam. I hear ya. I haven’t really thought about it to be honest, but I could tell…Well, I could tell she has a story.” Samantha nodded in agreement but doesn’t interject.

Devon slapped his thigh and laughed. “I can bet on you being brutally honest with me.” His smile fell off and a pensive expression took its place. “I am certainly going to pray about all of it.”

Samantha grinned and jumped to her feet. “Good! Cause there’s a real, live, breakable heart at stake here.” Devon was right behind her and on his feet too. His lips formed a warm smile. “Got it Sam!” Samantha smiled back and turned her attention to the boxes near Devon’s feet. “Need help?”  she asked. “Girl, do I? Come on.” Laughter exploded between them and they got to work.

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