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FRIDAY FICTION: The Last Day of the Dress (99 Words)

August 8, 2022, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the one who left the dress.” A 1940s-era dress still hangs in an abandoned house. Who left it and why? You can take any perspective and write in any genre. It can be a ghost story. Or not. Go where the prompt leads! Click here for more details!

THE LAST DAY OF THE DRESS

The mustard frock with its dulled glass buttons hung askew on a wire hanger in the upstairs closet of an abandoned house. She rubbed the sheer nylon between her two fingers – transporting herself back to the last day she had worn it.

That morning was beautiful with the sun beaming through the eastern windows of the large house. She smiled brightly at it as she drew back the heavy drapes of the bedroom.

“It’s the perfect day to die.”

She laid down on the bed, smoothing out the yellow dress so she would look pristine when he found her. 

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FRIDAY FICTION: Memories (344 Words)

He continued to explore the choked courtyard. Peeling away some thicket, he discovered a cast stone statue in one of the garden beds. It was an angel, chipped in various areas and struggling to make its presence known from behind overgrown wildflowers still trying to cling to life. The angel’s carved eyes peered back at him, bringing forth a memory which sits in a closet in his mind – behind a door he rarely opens.

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Friday Fiction: ADRIFT (11 Word Story)

This Friday’s Fiction involves writing an 11 word story using any photo you would like. Place a link to yours in the comments and don’t forget to put a link to this fun challenge in your post.

ADRIFT

Anchored, but still drifting.

Lost upon life’s seas –

Tossed among waves.

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FRIDAY FICTION: Meet me at the Fair (100 Words)

Meet me at the fair.

That’s all the note taped to her front door said.

Meet me at the fair.

An ominous invitation into a world of neon lights, traveling shows and rides.

She stared at the note. Her heartrate quickened. Her breaths shortened.

The fair.

She hadn’t been back since . . .  since that last time a note like this appeared.

Only last time it was inside her locked apartment.

She had gone simply to find an emptiness among the swells of carnival goers.

Invisible among everyone.

Her screams lost in the calliope music.

Now, it summoned again.

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UNRECOGNIZABLE: A Rondelet

Lost expression

Broken reflection in the glass

Lost expression

Vacant, black, hollow eyes stare back

Piercing darkness permeates through 

Leaning closer, I question “who?”

Lost expression

The Prompt: You wake up to discover a completely different, unknown face staring back at you from the mirror. Reena’s Xploration Challenge #239

The Rondelet is a French form consisting of a single septet with two rhymes and one refrain: AbAabbA. The capital letters are the refrains, or repeats. The refrain is written in tetra-syllabic or dimeter and the other lines are twice as long – octasyllabic or tetrameter.

Line 1 :: A—four syllables

Line 2 :: b—eight syllables

Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one

Line 4 :: a—eight syllables

Line 5 :: b—eight syllables

Line 6 :: b—eight syllables

Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

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WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT: Flippant (79 Words)

Weekend Writing Prompt #266: This weekend your challenge is to write a poem or a piece of prose in exactly 74 words using the word “Flippant”

Forgive me for the weird pingback, but my computer was giving me a hard time and this was the best I could do.

It would seem odd to everyone else in earshot to hear Frank make a flippant remark regarding the universe and its truths. After all, he was a robot. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t have programmed him to have such ability, Douglas wondered as he fiddled with the broken ship’s control panel. He definitely second guessed himself when the mass of metal continued to speak.

He realized the piece he needed to repair the ship and fly again.

And he took it from Frank.

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FRIDAY FICTION: The Man in the Moon (25 Words)

The moon sat boastfully against the summer sky. Where is the man I have been told about?, she wondered as she searched its illuminated crescent.

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FRIDAY FICTION: Isabella (89 Words)

The dried golden grass crunched under her feet as she walked the cemetery. Inadvertently, she stumbled upon the hidden resting place on the grounds of the deteriorating manor. 

The stone birdbath, worn out by time and weather, still stood peacefully on the first plot. The angel, her eyes closed in peaceful slumber, tilted her head softly as if to bring one ear closer to heavenly whispers. Her feathered wings, carved with intricate detail, surrounded the welcoming bath for God’s creation.

Etched into the base was only a name: Isabella

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FRIDAY FICTION: Shadows (21 Word Story)

The shadows of love lost still sit centered on the glass table. A beautiful, contradicting reminder of the illusion of trust.

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AWAKE, MY SOUL

Awake, my soul

from restless sleep.

Stir my heart –

inviting His presence.

Arouse my mind,

evoking His Word.

Awake, my soul

from the darkest depths.

Stir my heart

with love abounding.

Arouse my mind –

remembering His promises.

© 2022 Raelyn Pracht 

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FRIDAY FICTION: 10 Word Story

I have decided to try something new. On Fridays, I will use a random number generator to come up with how many words my story should be. Doing these specific word count exercises has helped me clean up my writing.

If you would like to join in this adventure, post your story in the comment or put a link in your own story to ping it back here. I will be using a photo to prompt my story, but feel free to use any photo you would like. Here it goes . . .

Living off the grid, they established a new, peaceful life.

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Throwback Thursday: Short Story (2021 First Paragraph)

The previous year hadn’t been kind to her. Her hope and persistent self-preaching led her to believe that the new year would be different. It would hold a kinder story. However, the first two weeks had already fired the first shot in the battle raging within her – the battle between reality of this world and the faith in a God who was seemingly bigger than it all.

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Friday Firsts: First Paragraph of IVA

Iva rose and dressed quickly. She drew back the heavy, paisley patterned curtains to let the morning light in. The sun, risen from its own slumber, won the battle and shone brightly through her eastern facing window. Iva smiled at the yellow circle, curtsied at its sight, bidding it good morning. Walking through the dust ridden beams spotlighting the wooden floor, she walked across the room to her rainboots – a gift from her parents for her seventh birthday.

This was a short story I started in 2021, but haven’t gotten back to. Rereading it, though, sparks a renewed interest.

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Throwback Thursday: LUCIDITY

Lucidity is lost,

fading with memories of better times.

She is a fragment of who she was –

a vibrant girl she used to know,

stolen by unexpected grief.

Simple plans have vanished.

She blinks as nothing comes to mind,

but her uninvited reality of darkness.

©Raelyn Pracht 2020

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SILENT SATURDAY

In silence, we wait. 

Pondering, hoping.

Waiting quietly, anxiously outside the tomb.

His bloody and broken body lay in rags.

We feel the weight –

weight of our sins upon Him,

We are the reason He came –

the reason He lay behind the stone 

on this day of darkness and grief.

In silence, we wait,

In hope, we trust.

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FICTITIOUS FRIDAY : A Little bit of Vivian

Below is a paragraph from the novel I am writing. I hope you enjoy it!

Vivian sat impatiently behind the wheel as her mom adjusted the bags of yarn in the back seat as if they were as fragile as glass. Vivian’s fingers tapped on the steering wheel with anxious energy. Anticipation surged within her from the sudden onset of creativity. She was drowning in conflicting emotions in the moment. She felt a freedom from the creativity, but at the same time, felt imprisoned by the constraints of her present situation.  She could feel her heart began to race and her chest began to hurt. She placed her right hand over her heart and her left hand on her stomach. She breathed in slow, deep breaths.

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CHERRY BLOSSOMS (A Friday First)

Spring blooms quietly,

nearly unnoticed – until floral hues announce their presence.

Romance blossoms below the vanilla pink petals,

embracing itself in the faint scent of resurrection.

I am going to go back to trying “Friday Firsts” where I will put the first paragraph, stanza, line, or even chapter of what I am working on into this blog.

The above is the first stanza of a piece and, consequently, the only stanza of the piece I just started writing in honor of National Poetry Month.

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A PRAYER BEFORE THE WORD

On the radio this morning, I heard Alistar Begg use this phrase in his prayer before diving into the Word:

“Show me myself and show me my Savior.”  

If I hadn’t been on the interstate, I would have pulled right over and immediately began journaling about this beautiful prayer and the loving conviction in my heart.

How often I have opened my Bible and prayed for God to only show something about myself, my circumstances, my prayer need . . . you get the idea. I realized upon reflection that is the only way I pray before diving in.

At least, it was.

From now on, it will be “Show me myself and show me my Savior” before I even open the Book.

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Throwback Thursday: A Place for You (2017)

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” – John 14:1-4

In the morning, before I get in my car to head off to work, I like to take what I call a “Prayer Walk”.  I love doing this. It’s early enough that it seems that my whole street is still asleep.  It feels like it’s just God and I on that walk.  

A few mornings ago, I headed out the front door to do this routine.  I hardly got out the front door when I looked up at the sky and saw so many stars. Every star seemed brighter than I had ever remembered seeing.  I didn’t continue on my walk. I stood there, frozen, one step below my front porch.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of the sky. My “Prayer Walk” quickly became a praise session with me standing there. 

God placed every star exactly where it needed to be.  He set the moon to hover above Earth each night and the sun to greet us in the morning.  Every one of these has a specific place- a home.  The same is true for us.  God directs our paths and sets us into places where we can do His will while we are here.  Then, when He is ready, He calls us home, to another place for us.  Jesus has gone before us and prepared this very place for you and I.  

Lord, You set everything in its place for Your purpose. I pray that You will continue to guide me and direct my path until I am called home. Thank You for the place that Jesus has prepared for me. Until I get there, please help me lead others to that same place. Amen.

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A Post It for Your Weekend

A little reminder about what we have through Christ.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deut 31:6

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FASTING DURING LENT

What comes to mind when you think of the word fasting?  For most of us, we think of it as not eating or drinking.  However, during the season of Lent, there is much more involved in fasting.

Fasting during Lent means giving up something that won’t be easy to give up.  It is something that tempts you, something that you will struggle to say no to, something that you will have to rely on God to help you fast from.  That is the point of fasting – to bring you closer to God through prayer; to humble yourself during the struggle and admit that you can’t do it without Him.

What you choose to fast from can also be something that takes your time and attention away from God or His Word.  Perhaps you spend too much time on Facebook and leave too little time to spend with Go?  Maybe it’s even something that’s healthy, like going to the gym, but if you are choosing the gym over time with God then it is worth fasting from.

“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:17-19

Fasting is a very personal journey, one between you and God.  Pray and ask God to show you what you need to fast from.  It may surprise you.  Then humble yourself before Him, relying on Him fully, and spend your time in prayer.

Lord, I humble myself before You and ask that You reveal to me what I need to fast from. Show me what takes my attention away. Show me my true struggles.  My strength comes from You.  Be my strength when temptation comes. Help me make time with You a priority. Amen.

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A Post-It Reminder: AFFIRMATION

I struggle with getting my affirmation and my worth from other people. Perhaps you do too. This was a gentle, but loud reminder to me from my devotion this morning.

See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know Him. (1 John 3:1)

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Fictitious Friday

Below is a paragraph from the story I am working on. Enjoy!

Evelyn could feel the anticipation in her rise as the cemetery came into view. It seemed farther than it was from the place where she left Vivian. She had traded the perfectly designed cobblestone road for a narrow country road running behind the town. Evelyn walked along the edge, consistently looking over her shoulder for any cars coming from behind. None were to be found. As the cemetery grew closer, her pace quickened, as if she had to get there before it disappeared.

© Raelyn Pracht 2022

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MY SOLO WRITING RETREAT

This weekend I am doing something I have never done before – taking myself on a solo writing retreat. My goal is to finish the first draft of my novel.

Writing this has been an interesting adventure! I have known since day one that God has wanted me to write it, but had no idea why. Christian fiction has been something I had never written before. Honestly, it wasn’t even a genre I read.

However, I followed His prompting and I am almost at the end of the first draft. The most interesting thing about this is that now I am wondering if He wanted me to write this just for myself. Writing it has helped me revisit my own faith journey as well as provide a process of some healing from certain circumstances in my life.

So, would you join me in praying for this writing retreat? It’s easy to get distracted, but I want to stay focused on the work and on the words He will pour through me to the page. Thank You!

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RADIATING HOPE

The only visible star’s brightness was hard to miss. It peered through the cloudy night, competing with the illumination of the moon, briefly seen behind an overpowering cloud. Seeing this shining star against the dark sky reminded me of John 1:5:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

For me, this star, glimmering alone, gave me hope. No matter how dark the world seems, how bleak our circumstances, there is a glow – a radiating hope. We have a God who will never leave us or forsake us – a living promise.

By  His grace and mercy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we too can shine bright.

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WEEKEND WRITING PROMPT: Flummox (42 words)

Below is this Weekend Writing Prompt #247, with 42 words using FLUMMOX.

Thanks to Sammi Cox for posting this challenge sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2022/02/05/weekend-writing-prompt-247-flummox/

His favorite coffee mug sat beside the ceramic coaster, but not on it. Remnants of red lipstick graced the edge. He scratched his head, flummoxed. He closed his heavy eyes, searching his memories, making his head ache more. What happened last night?

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A MORNING PRAYER

Oh, how the words of Psalm 143:8 struck me this morning!

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.

I immediately thought this should be a morning prayer. I researched how it was written in other translations (the above is the ESV). From all the research, I have put together the following:

Lord, cause me to hear You this morning – to experience Your steadfast, unfailing, faithful love. Make known to me the way I should go. Teach me the path I should walk. I offer up my soul to You. I entrust this day to You. Amen.

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A Prayer for Writing

I joined the Three Things Challenge where the three words I had to use were 

MAKE, MINE and MELODY.  

This challenge has created a prayer for my own writing:

Make mine a melody of words that will sing to the depths of the heart and soul of the reader.

© Raelyn Pracht 2022

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Faith of a Mustard Seed

A couple years ago, my mom surprised me with a gift. There was no special occasion for it. It was just something she saw on her trip to Israel that spoke my name to her.

Upon presenting it to me she said,

“I see nothing but faith in you.”

I don’t believe, for me at least, there is a better compliment one could receive. This compliment came at the most Godly time. Just after my faith was near non-existent.

A few months before receiving this thoughtful gift, I was trying desperately to help my daughter manage her anxiety. After many different doctor appointments, acupuncture, medications, and natural attempts for help, she finally decided she needed to go to a mental health facility. Upon their assessment, they accepted her. As hard as it was to leave her there, it was the best decision we ever made, and I thank God for it. It was our last hope and it led to the right doctor and the right medication.

After returning home without her, I came into my house to a phone call. It was the facility telling me what they estimated the amount of her bill to be. The amount was in the thousands, and along with every other medical bill we had coming in daily, it overwhelmed me. I had no choice, though. This really was the last thing that might help her, even if it meant not having any idea how we would pay.

I hung up the phone and walked into the living room. It was there that I dropped to my knees with uncontrollable tears. I felt many things towards God in that moment, but mostly I felt His absence. I had been feeling it for a while especially since my prayers for help and healing for her didn’t seem to be answered.

My mom was right. I was a woman of strong faith, at least I thought I was. However, during that moment, the only faith I had was the size of a mustard seed. I reached into that faith and grabbed hold of it tight, squeezing as much out of it as I could. I prayed for the hundredth time that night, admitting to God my anger at Him, my lack of faith, questioning where He had been. I repeated the words of Jesus back to Him from Matthew 17:20: (honestly, I was really reminding myself)

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Before that experience, I had thought I had a strong faith, but until something happens to test it, you really don’t know.

The beautiful and wonderful words of Jesus are enough to move mountains. Know that whatever you may be going through, have faith, even if it is faith the size of a mustard seed. After all, mustard seeds grow into strong trees.

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

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