Tag Archives: florida

Sea of Destiny – Part 39 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle wakes the next morning to find Vera gone, but she left a note telling him thank you for the night, asking him to call her. He makes his way back to the ship, with a horrible hangover, only to find himself confronted by Carmelita.

“Michael Kyle Scott!”

“Don’t call me Michael. Don’t ever use that name again. Okay? Never.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I’ve done something really stupid and self-destructive. Can we just drop it? Please? I just totally screwed up the best relationship I’ve ever had and that’s all you’ve got?” He

shook his head, trying to figure out where he left his aspirin. “If Emily ever forgives me, maybe I can put it back together.”

“Why wouldn’t she forgive you?”

“Because I got drunk and screwed another woman. The first time in thirteen months and it wasn’t with her. It was Vera something….”

“The company rep?”

“Yeah.”

Carmelita slapped him. Once his ears stopped ringing and his eyes quit tearing, he shook his head to help his vision clear.

“I deserved that.”

“You deserve to be horse whipped! How could you?”

“I’m asking myself the same thing.”

“You say you’re falling in love with Emily, but go out and get drunk and fool around with another woman? The girl had cancer! You’re a total heel, Kyle. I don’t even want to see you right now.”

She started out the door, but he called her back.

“He’s my father!”

She turned, looking at him. “Who?”

“The priest. The damn priest was my father—is my father….”

“The healer? Father Michael?”

“Michael Kyle Scott, Senior.” He said each name slowly and distinctly.

There was a long, echoing silence as Carmelita digested that information.

“Does Emily know?” she asked quietly.

He shook his head. “I didn’t find out until afterward. He told me he wants my forgiveness. I don’t think I can do it, Lita. I don’t think I have any of that left in me. Obviously, I didn’t deal with the news terribly well.”

She didn’t say anything, but her expression agreed with him and then some. “What about you and Emily?”

“How am I going to tell her about this? I don’t mean about my father.”

“I know what you mean.”

“I have to tell her. I can’t just disappear out of her life. How do I tell her?”

“I don’t know. There’s no good way to say it.”

“Is she going to hate me forever?”

Carmelita didn’t say anything, looking away. Kyle’s eyes filled with tears. He’d cried more in the last four days than he had the last six months. Everything hurt, inside and out. He couldn’t breathe properly. Just thinking about how angry and hurt Emily would be when he told her about Vera made him want to puke.

“How could I do this to her? This is what he did to her! I’m a horrible person, Carmelita. I’m the worst kind of man there is.”

“You’re getting yourself all worked up, Kyle.”

“Maybe I should just hurl myself off the side of the ship.”

“Now you’re talkin’ crazy. What you did was lousy, but if I’d been through what you’ve been, why I might do something similar. Yes, it’s rotten and it stinks, but there are worse things you could do.”

“Like what? Kill her dog? Rape her cat?”

Carmelita faced him, arms crossed, full lips pressed tightly together. “Lying about it.”

She slammed the door behind her, stalking down the hall to the elevator. Kyle threw himself face first on the bed wishing that a hole would open and suck him to the bottom of the ocean. Lying there, castigating himself, he heard the phone ring. He didn’t want to answer it, but if it was Emily, he needed to talk to her.

“Hello?”

“Kyle? Oh, thank God.” It was Thad West.

“Hello, Doctor. How’s our favorite patient today?” He tried to sound lighthearted.

“She’s great. I’ve got a few tests to run to be sure, but I’m convinced she’s on the mend!”

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 38 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverAfter healing Emily, Father Mike gives Kyle some news he wasn’t expecting to hear. It isn’t good news and sends Kyle into a tailspin. By some quirk of Fate, Kyle has finally found his long, lost father—the man who left when he was a kid. The story he tells greatly upsets Kyle.

He left the room, resisting the urge to slam the door. On the way down in the elevator, the pain hit. It felt like his heart was exploding, but he knew it was the anger and grief he’d been holding in for the last twenty-six years. He couldn’t break down and cry in public. He wouldn’t embarrass himself like that. He wanted a quiet place to get drunk and forget the man who had given him life.

He couldn’t bring himself to call the man his father. Maybe one day, but not today. Stumbling out of the elevator, he nearly ran over the young woman from the tour company. She caught him, helping him stand.

“Mr. Scott, are you all right? Is Emily okay?”

“Emily’s fine. The priest did what he promised. She’s healed.”

“That’s wonderful! But you don’t look well. What’s wrong?”

“Is there somewhere we can go for a drink? I need a drink.”

“Sure. Come this way. There’s a lounge. We can have a couple drinks and I’ll take you back to the ship.”

“Thanks. I can’t remember your name, but you’re a real peach.”

She smirked. “Thanks. My name is Vera. Let’s get that drink, Mr. Scott.”

“The name’s Kyle. So, Vera, how long have you worked for the company?”

They laughed and chatted through the dinner hour, sharing quite a few drinks. By 10:00, Kyle was very drunk and Vera was nearly as bad off. Kyle was amazed at how witty she found him. He didn’t think it was just because they were drunk, he was really being very charming. Vera loved to dance, so they took advantage of the dance floor in the lounge and he used his skill to seduce her. By the time the bar closed, she had invited him back to her place.

However, since it was obvious that neither of them could drive, they took a room at the hotel. Completely forgetting his children, his late wife and Emily, he took Vera to bed.

* * *

Kyle woke the next morning with the mother of all hangovers. Vera was gone, having left a note for him beside the bed.

“Had a fab time last night! You’re a great dancer and even better in bed. Call me next time you’re in Cozumel! Vera.” Followed by her phone number.

“Oh, God. What have I done?”

He showered, then realized he had no fresh clothing to put on. It was pretty wrinkled and he’d spilled something on his jacket that looked like it had left a stain. He walked back to the ship hoping that the morning air would clear his head, but it was already hot and humid. It only served to make him nauseous. He returned to his cabin while Carmelita and the children were at breakfast. Taking another shower, he dressed in clean clothing and ordered breakfast to be served in his room. He was just finishing when the family arrived.

“Cindy, you take them up to arts and crafts,” Carmelita said after one look at Kyle.

“Yes, ma’am.”

“I wanna see Daddy,” Mindy protested.

“You can see him later,” Randy responded. “Come on, munchkin. I’ll race you to the elevator.”

Their voices faded down the hall. Carmelita slammed the cabin door, hands on hips. Every line of her body radiated fury.

“Where the hell were you?” she bellowed.

“Don’t, Lita. No third degree. Give me a second for my head to stop spinning and I’ll tell you.”

“Don’t give me any lip, boy. Your kids were frantic when you didn’t come in. I thought little Mindy was gonna have a conniption this morning when you didn’t show up at breakfast.”

“I’m an irresponsible, insensitive prick. Okay?” He yelled. “Are you happy now?” He stopped yelling because it hurt his head. “Emily’s fine, thank you.”

“I know that already, Thad called last night. She woke up and was asking for you.”

“There were complications afterward.”

“With Emily? Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. The complications were with me.”

“You got drunk.”

“Yeah. Very drunk. I danced awhile and I’m pretty damn sure I got laid. Considering how my back feels, I overdid that too.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 37 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverThe healing complete, Father Michael has to recover his strength. Although it seriously tests his faith, Kyle has to admit that Emily looks better. He can only hope and pray that she truly is healed.

“I’m not the one you should thank. Your Heavenly Father is responsible for this, not me. I’m just the conduit.”

Kyle dropped to his knees, praying quietly, giving thanks to God for Emily’s healing. He knew she was well, he could feel it. Underneath his joy, something lurked. There was the matter of payment that the priest had mentioned.

“You told me at the mission there was something I must do for you.” Kyle rose, his eyes wary.

“Yes. Gentlemen, I beg your indulge once more. I need to speak to Kyle alone.”

“Certainly, Father.” Pablo bowed respectfully, leaving immediately.

Sighing heavily, Dr. West followed him. Once the door was closed, Fr. Michael focused on the door for a moment before turning back to examine Kyle’s face.

“Before I begin, you have to promise not to lose your temper or raise your voice.”

“Why would I do that?”

“Because what I have to say is going to make you very angry.”

“If you’ve done something to hurt Emily….”

“No. No, son, nothing like that. If I had the strength to move right now, I’d take you outside, but I don’t. You have to promise.”

“Is it something I can talk to you about tomorrow?”

“No. This is the last you’ll see me.”

“For Emily’s sake, I promise.”

Nodding, the priest accepted the statement. Taking a sip of his wine, he tried to get his troubled thoughts aligned before he began.

“I have a story to tell you. It began, oh, about thirty-four years ago when I was a young man. I met a beautiful woman. She had hair like spun gold and the bluest eyes I’d ever seen. I fell into those eyes, drowning in her beauty. Then I did something very bad. I took that woman to my bed before we were married and she got pregnant. Both of us were Catholic. Determined to do the right thing, I married her. She gave me a son and we named him after me. I loved that child more than I had ever loved his mother. I was fond of her, but my son was the light of my life.

“A few years later, we had another son. By this time, the marriage was in trouble. We were so young when we married, barely eighteen, that we were completely different people by then. My wife and I had a horrible argument. We were furious with one another. I stayed out most of the night drinking with my friends. When I got home, she threw me out. I took a few possessions with me and left. I never went back, never explained, never apologized to my wife or my eldest son. He was seven at the time.”

Kyle’s lip trembled, tears fell from his eyes. His breath came in shuddering gasps as he heard the story. He said nothing, keeping a lid on his tumultuous emotions as he’d promised. He waited for the priest to finish, denying what he knew in his heart was the truth.

“I had our marriage annulled. There were grounds since we were coerced into marriage by her pregnancy. A short time later, I entered the seminary and became a priest. When this mission opportunity came available, I asked for it. I wanted to put as much distance between myself and my old life as I could.” He stopped, laughing weakly. “And then you walked in my study and my old life came back to haunt me with a vengeance.”

“Why didn’t you ever call? You never explained to Chris and me. Not that he’d have understood, he was three. You left me to pick up the pieces of our lives after you ran away. She didn’t even have a job!” He wanted to yell and throw things, but he’d promised not to get angry. “I always wondered what I would say to you if I ever saw you again. I had all these pretty speeches planned about how sorry I was that I drove you away. I blamed myself….”

“It was never about you or your brother. Your mother was a beautiful, selfish and demanding woman. Nothing I did was ever enough. Then I got the call to become a priest, something I had put off, thinking it wasn’t for me. It became too powerful to put aside anymore. God was calling me to do this work for Him. When I quit fighting, everything worked out.”

“Except for us.”

“I don’t deny that, son.”

“I’m not your son. You gave up that right when you annulled your marriage to my mother, declaring me a bastard.”

“I’m asking your forgiveness, Kyle. I need to hear you say it.”

“You can keep on needing it, Father Michael, because I’m never saying it. I thank you for what you did for Emily. That was the miracle she wanted. For that, I’m grateful. But I can’t find it in my heart to forgive you. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go before I really lose my temper and break my promise.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 36 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverAs promised, Father Michael comes to the hotel, along with his assistant. Pablo. He takes her confession, then begins the healing process.

Fr. Michael anointed Emily with blessed oil and chrism on her head, hands and feet. He prayed first in English, then Latin. Taking her head between his hands, he began to pray in a language Kyle didn’t recognize. His hands moved to her shoulders and down her body. Emily trembled beneath his touch, her breath coming in short, sharp gasps.

Kyle and Thaddeus moved toward her, but Pablo stopped them, indicating silently that she was all right. None of them said a word as Fr. Michael continued to pray. Emily grew flushed and began to sweat as the intensity of his prayers increased. Suddenly, she collapsed, falling back in her chair, limp and unconscious.

Fr. Michael stumbled, losing his balance. Pablo caught him expertly, laying him gently on the floor. Dr. West moved to take his pulse or check on Emily, but Pablo stopped him even more adamantly. He took them from the room, motioning that they must not speak yet.

Once they were in the study with the door closed, Dr. West showed his anger. “I have to insist that you allow me back in that room!”

“No, I cannot. And please to not yell. It is part of the healing process. They are connected right now, by spirit. If you touch them, break the connection, the healing will not take place. Your anger is bad, Doctor. If you cannot keep it under control, you must leave.”

“I’m not leaving.”

“Then I must insist that you remain calm. If Emily is to get well, you must.”

“If I don’t say anything and don’t touch them, may I go back in?” Kyle asked humbly. “I—I want to be with her.”

“Yes, of course. But you must promise, say nothing, and do not touch.”

“I promise. On my honor, I won’t interfere in any way.”

“You go in then. You stay,” he told Dr. West firmly.

Nodding, Thaddeus poured himself another drink. Scotch this time. Kyle went back in the other room. He sat on the love seat between Emily’s chair and Father Michael’s prostrate form.

Emily was still sweating, her face flushed. Father Michael was pale, his features drawn much like Emily’s had been. Dark circles had formed around his eyes. His body shook with tiny tremors. It was his hands that upset Kyle the most. They were darkly mottled, misshapen, swollen and a hideous shade of red. The sight nearly turned Kyle’s stomach and it was all he could do not to vomit.

He concentrated instead on Emily. Her color was returning to normal, her breath less shallow and ragged. Her cheeks and lips blushed with health, not fever. Her skin no longer had the waxiness he’d seen there the last few days. One last shuddering breath, she began to breathe normally, and he knew she was asleep.

Father Michael gasped, groaning. His body shook more violently terrifying Kyle. He left the room quietly, running into the study. Motioning to Pablo, he asked him to check on the priest with gestures. Pablo pulled him into the study, closing the door behind him.

“He will be fine in a few minutes. Depending upon now sick the person is, depends on how long he’s unconscious.”

“What’s wrong with his hands?”

“He must process what he takes from them. Not all healers do this, but it is Father Michael’s way. He will be weak when he finishes. May I order him some food?”

“Certainly,” Dr. West replied. “Whatever he requires.”

“Bread and wine. Some meat—grilled fish is best. I shall call now. He will be coming out of it when the food arrives.” He called room service, placing his order.

The food arrived moments after Fr. Michael regained consciousness. Dr. West met the waiter at the door, signing for the meal. Emily was still asleep. Kyle stood beside her, gazing at her helplessly.

“You may touch her now,” Pablo said as he helped the priest onto the couch. “Do not try to wake her, she will come around on her own.”

Kyle nodded his thanks, drawing a chair next to her. He sat vigil, waiting for what seemed like forever for her to wake, but began to think she wouldn’t anytime soon.

“She will sleep several hours,” Fr. Michael said. His voice was dry, rough. “She needs to stay here tonight and can go back to the ship at midday tomorrow.”

“Is she healed now?” Kyle asked anxiously.

Father Michael smiled at Kyle, his blue eyes glittering. “Yes, she’s healed. Your faith and hers will keep her that way. Never doubt, especially not right now.”

“She looks magnificent, so much better. I have no doubt she’s well. Thank you, Father.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 35 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverOn behalf of Emily, Kyle goes to speak to the faith healer priest. After talking for several minutes, the priest seems willing to visit Emily at the hotel where he will do his best to heal her.

“Is she a believer?”

“Yes, Father.”

“Are you?”

“I’m trying. Faith has been a little shaky the last year. I want to believe, I need to believe. I need—something more. I’m not explaining very well.”

“On the contrary, you’re explaining extremely well. For me it was the calling to Holy Orders. I was married myself, had a couple kids. One day, I woke up and knew it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t what I was meant to do. I left and never went back. Cowardly of me, I know. I owed her an explanation, but I didn’t have the strength. By the time I did, it was really too late.”

“So, you’ll do this?”

“Yes, Mr. Scott. I’ll do this. Have Ms. Geraci at the hotel near the docks, the one her family owns, and I’ll be there at five o’clock. My evening service is at eight, but we’ll be done well before then.”

“Thank you, Father!” He shook the older man’s hands with both of his. “Thank you. Can I give you something for your time?”

“There’s one thing I need from you, son.”

“Anything.”

“Don’t be too quick to promise. I’ll tell you after I’m done.”

“Okay.”

Kyle thought it was a little strange, but he wasn’t going to argue. Grinning, wanting to dance and sing, he gathered up his family and took them sightseeing. Vera called the ship and gave Thad West the good news. He promised to have Emily at the hotel before four.

Riding an adrenaline high, Kyle couldn’t remember anything he saw in Cozumel. He was itching to get back to the ship to see Emily, but wasn’t about to break his promise to his children.

At 4:30, the company rep dropped Kyle at the hotel while Carmelita took the children back to the ship. He waited impatiently for the priest to arrive. When he did, Kyle took him up to her penthouse suite. The living room overlooked the ocean. He could see the ship in the harbor.

Emily was sitting in a recliner gazing out across the water. She had her prayer book and rosary with her. Soft music played quietly in the background. Kyle recognized it as Handel’s Messiah. He pulled a chair up next to her, taking her hand.

“You did this for me?”

“With Thad’s help, yes.”

“Why? You hardly know me.”

He kissed her tenderly, taking her fingers to his lips. “Isn’t it obvious?” His eyes held hers a long time.

There was a soft tap at the door. Thad West answered, greeting the men quietly. Kyle rose, smiling as he made the introductions.

“Forgive me for not getting up,” Emily said softly. “Thaddeus insisted that I remain in my chair.”

“Not a problem,” Father Michael said with a grin. “Pablo, I need the lady’s hands and feet uncovered. Mr. Scott, if you’d assist?”

“Sure.” He and the man he’d met at the mission helped Emily remove her shoes.

“There is a short service, a few scriptures read. Are you Catholic?” he asked Emily.

“Yes. Born and raised in the Church.”

“Excellent. Then I need not explain about the importance of the Host?”

“No. Father, may I have a moment for Confession?”

“Certainly, my dear. I anticipated the need. Pablo.” His assistant brought his purple stole, placing it around his shoulders. “Gentlemen, if you will.” He invited them to leave in no uncertain terms.

The three of them stepped into the study, closing the door behind them. Thaddeus offered them each a drink. None of them took alcohol, opting for Coca-Cola instead. Kyle was on edge. Something about Father Michael was familiar. He couldn’t place it, but there was a distinct vibe when the other man was around. Part of that, he knew, was power. This priest was decidedly a conduit for God’s healing. He had met a few people in his life who had spiritual gifts, and this man was stronger than any of them. Kyle knew that Father Michael could help Emily. But there was something else, an underlying, nebulous tingle he couldn’t identify.

They came back in after Emily’s confession and gathered around as Fr. Michael assigned each of them a scripture to read. The service itself was short, followed by Communion. Dr. West wasn’t Catholic, but Kyle and Emily were. Fr. Michael blessed the Host, placing it on their tongues. Afterwards, he began the Anointing of the Sick. It was a special sacrament that Kyle had never seen performed before.

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 34 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverDr. West finally seems to realize that Kyle is a good man who is not out to hurt Emily. He more or less gives a blessing with an implied threat, but he accepts the relationship. Carmelita tells Kyle that she’s going out for the evening with Dr. West and he tells her to have a good time and make good choices.

“Baby, all Carmelita’s choices are good ones.”

“Except marrying—old what’s his name.”

“Well, even that was a good one as far as it went.”

“Which was how far?”

“The bedroom…. See you in the morning, sugar.”

* * *

The next afternoon, after a brief visit to Emily in the infirmary, Kyle and his family headed down the gangplank. The company rep , an attractive young woman named Vera, was waiting with an SUV and took them to the mission church outside town. It was an old building, but well maintained. The grounds were beautifully landscaped with native flora. The church was small, cramped, but obviously well loved. A man puttered around in the vegetable garden between the church proper and the rectory.

Vera greeted him in Spanish. Smiling, he nodded, waving for them to follow. Carmelita and Kyle walked side by side, the children following, holding hands. The woman from the company stayed with the car.

“Father Michael is expecting you,” the man said in good, but heavily accented English.

“Thank you. We really appreciate him seeing us.”

“Come in. Sit down. Something to drink? I have many bottled beverages, nice and cold.”

They each took a soft drink and waited in the priest’s office. No one felt much like talking. The children were too overwhelmed by the ancient surroundings. Kyle was deep in thought and Carmelita knew better than to tease him at a time like this.

The door opened and the priest walked in. Kyle rose to greet him, stunned to see that the man was white. He was tall, lean muscled and freckled. His close cropped hair was sun bleached to a light reddish blond.

Stumbling slightly, Kyle stepped forward to introduce himself and his family. “Thank you for seeing us on such short notice, Father.”

“Not a problem,” the older white man said with a smile. “A priest’s life is full of short notice. The major drawback to my profession is that I’m constantly on call. So, how can I help you? The woman I spoke to last night was somewhat vague.”

“Carmelita, why don’t you take the kids out to the courtyard?”

“Sure. Come on, babies, let’s leave Dad here for a few.”

They followed her out quietly. Left alone, Kyle moved awkwardly in his chair.

“Father Michael, word of the work you’re doing has come to a friend of mine. Her name is Emily Geraci and she’s got cancer.”

The priest steepled his hands, nodding. “I see. She requires healing and prayer, is that it?”

“Yes, sir. The problem is, she’s very weak and her physician is hesitant about bringing her all this way.”

“Is she in Cozumel?”

“Yes, Father, on board a cruise ship.”

“I see. It’s not so far, drive her over for the service.”

“We were hoping you’d agree to come meet her instead.”

“Son, I can’t go on that ship….”

“We could meet you in a hotel in town. It would satisfy the doctor’s conditions and Emily could get the healing and prayer that she needs.”

“I’m familiar with the name Geraci. Her father owns that ship, the entire cruise line. With her money, she can get the best possible medical care. Why is she here?”

“Conventional means have been exhausted. She was in remission, but they just found another tumor last week. She really needs your help, Father.”

“Why are you acting as intermediary? You aren’t married to her.”

“I lost my wife to cancer several months ago. If I had known about you, could have brought her here, maybe she would still be alive. Carmelita believes it was Margo’s time to go.”

“And you don’t?”

“I don’t know. But I don’t think it’s Emily’s time.”

“How can you know that when you’re unsure about your wife?”

Kyle stood, pacing. “Because I’m falling in love with this woman, and she is with me—and my kids love her already. I couldn’t get this help for Margo, but I’m asking for you to help Emily.”

© Dellani Oakes

To Buy Dellani’s Books

2 Comments

Filed under writing

Sea of Destiny – Part 32 by Dellani Oakes

sea of destiny coverKyle plans to join Emily when she visits the faith healer. He gives her a crucifix, with special blessings on it, to take with her.

“Thank you, Kyle.” She touched his cheek, kissing him fleetingly, embarrassed by the emotions flooding through her.

Nothing in her life with Bob had prepared her for Kyle’s tenderness, his warmth, free spirited nature, his fathomless caring. He was a limitless font of love. His family was the same way, welcoming her into their circle as if she had always been there, a member of the most wonderful family in the world. Lips trembling, she held the crucifix to her chest.

A little, warm hand touched her left wrist. Mindy stood at her elbow, dark eyes searching her face in a disconcertingly ‘aware’ fashion. She was a child who had seen much more than her tender years should allow.

“Miss Emily?”

“Yes, Mindy?”

“You’re gonna be okay. Nobody could fix what was wrong with my mommy, but they’re gonna fix you. You’re gonna be better soon.” She kissed Emily on the cheek, hugging her neck.

Emily gulped, fighting tears. It was no use. She hugged Mindy, kissing her. “Thank you, Mindy. I feel so much better now. Look, they’re bringing in dinner. What have we here?”

Wiping her tears, she got Mindy occupied with her meal. Kyle watched how she interacted with his children, chatting with them as if she’d known them their entire lives. And they did the same with her. They weren’t replacing their mother, merely making room for someone else. Wasn’t that what Margo wanted? For all of them to be happy?

“I couldn’t have chosen better if I’d tried.”

“That’s because you didn’t choose. You let God decide.” He heard Margo’s voice in his head as if she were standing next to him. “God is good and kind and loving, Kyle. He’s also generous if you let Him. Accept this gift you’re being given.”

“I want to, Margo. I miss you, honey.” He realized that although he missed her, that dull, emptiness that he’d been feeling was gone. Instead, he was full of warmth and laughter.

For the first time in over a year, he thanked God for His blessings as his family laughed and joked with their new mother. He knew by looking at them that was what Emily would be. Carmelita met his eye, grinning happily. She knew it too. He felt better about the visit to Cozumel than he had earlier in the day. He expected a miracle and he knew they were going to get it.

Kyle accompanied Emily to the infirmary. She’d been asking to go back to her cabin, but Dr. West still refused. He wanted her nearby under the watchful eye of his nursing staff. Kyle was surprised to see such an extensive medical facility on board a ship. He suspected Dr. West had beefed it up because Emily was on board.

He was allowed to stay and visit until 10:00. Dr. West came in, insisting that Emily go to sleep.

“I slept all day, Thaddeus. I’m not the least bit tired.”

Kyle yawned expansively and stretched. “Well, it so happens that I am. So, if you’ll excuse me, Ms. Geraci, I need to go. Not because the doctor insists, but because my kids won’t settle down until I tuck them in. They’re probably robbing Lita of her sanity even as we speak.”

“It would take more than three kids to rob that woman of anything,” Dr. West remarked as he

gave Emily an injection.

Kyle kissed Emily as her eyes drifted shut, leaving with the doctor. They closed the door, standing together in the narrow corridor. Dr. West looked grim.

“You can’t talk her out of this visit, I suppose?” The doctor said softly.

“On the contrary, I think she should go.”

“I hate the idea of her getting off the ship. God knows what the conditions are at that mission church.”

“Bring him to her,” Kyle heard himself say without thinking. “Take her to one of the hotels and bring him over.”

“I hadn’t thought of that. Do you really think he’d come?” The doctor sounded almost like a little boy, not a mature man.

“I bet he’d come under the circumstances, if you asked nicely.”

“I’ll call ahead. We have an office there. One of them can try to persuade him.”

“I have a better idea. Ask them to set up an appointment for me. I’ll go see him personally.”

“Why would you even consider such a thing?” Dr. West wasn’t angry, he was curious. “You hardly know Emily, but you’d do this for her?”

“Dr. West, I recently lost my wife to cancer. I couldn’t do anything to make her well. If this will help Emily, even by easing her mind, then I’m behind it 100 percent.” His impassioned statement took the doctor by surprise. © Dellani Oakes 

To Buy Dellani’s Books

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Artistic New Port Richey, FL

New Port Richey, with a population of approximately 15,000, is about 35 miles northwest of Tampa in Pasco County on the Gulf of Mexico. One to two story buildings comprise the main thoroughfare which is lined with street lights topped by old-time glass globes, adding charming ambiance to mainly small businesses and restaurants, and much of the architecture of years ago has been preserved. The Pithlachascotee River (try to say that three times fast!) meanders through the downtown area with a river walk for visitors and residents alike to enjoy. In the 1920’s, New Port Richey was gaining a reputation as the Hollywood of the East, since many famous people and movie stars visited and bought homes here. The depression years changed that and it remained a small, but lovely city.

Over the last several years artists have been encouraged to paint historic themed murals on the downtown buildings and I recently decided to walk around and take pictures. What was originally to be a photographic exercise turned out to be a relaxing and delightful afternoon’s stroll of discovery.

Some of the murals had a whimsical feel, others were a tromp l’oeil experience. I had the feeling some of the likenesses were of past leaders of the community, people with whom I was unfamiliar, but it didn’t matter. If that were true, I was glad they were recognized.

I returned home feeling pleased I live in such a creative community, a place where people value history and the arts. I felt inspired to try being creative in some way too. I felt happy.

Does something about your community inspire you or make you happy?

1-P1000135

2-P1000141

4-P1000147

5-P1000149

6-P1000152

18 Comments

Filed under Art, history, Travel

The Alligator or The Leaves? What Are You Focusing On? by Sherrie Hansen

We recently returned from a mid-winter’s vacation to sunny Florida. I can’t tell you how fun it was to see water that was unfrozen, grass that was green, and flowers that were blooming after living in an all-white tundra for the past three months.

While we were there, we made a trip to the Everglades, which was described by our tour guide as a microcosm of life on earth. If all is well in the Everglades, all is evidently well on earth. Walking among the alligators and seeing hundreds of water birds living in the shallow swamp that is the Everglades did inspire many allegories in my mind, and my husband’s. So for my blog today, I’m borrowing a page from my husband’s sermon (he’s a pastor). He used my photos in his power point earlier today; I’m using his idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this picture, the focus is on the leaves. They’re pretty, they’re green, they’re alive, they’re good, but as you can see in the second photo, they’re not what’s really important in this picture!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So often in life, we focus on the little things, to the detriment of what’s really important. As Christians, we may focus on squabbling denominations, political and religious issues, rites and rituals, and forget about what’s really important – grace, forgiveness, atonement, serving a Savior sent to die for our sins.   As people, we may focus on Facebook, checking our email, fixing dinner, getting our errands done and our bills paid and doing a million other things that may be good and well in their own right, but are distractions nonetheless. As writers, we may focus on promotions, classes, conferences, sales statistics, and current industry trends, and forget to write the best book we know how to write.

In today’s lesson at church, the Apostle Paul was so busy focusing on what he thought was important – sticking with the program, defending his religion against the new Christian zealots who claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, trying to keep things the way they’d always been – that he almost failed to see the alligator looming front and center, refusing to be ignored.

What are the leaves in your own life? What’s keeping you from seeing the alligator? If we open our eyes and look past the leaves that are cluttering our view and distracting us from seeing the bigger picture, we will be able to focus on what’s really important.

 

1 Comment

Filed under life, musings, Sherrie Hansen, writing

Second Wind Interview with Dellani Oakes

Second Wind: I am joined today by Dellani Oakes, author of the historical romance novel, “Indian Summer” available through Second Wind Publishing.  Hello, Dellani, and welcome.

 

Dellani: Thank you.  I am delighted to be here.

 

SW: What inspired you to write this novel?

 

D: When I moved the Florida twenty years ago, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of history.  St. Augustine, as the oldest established city on the east coast, holds an extra special fascination for me.  I wanted to bring a bit of that history alive.

 

SW: Why the time period, 1739?  I’m guessing that’s significant.

 

D: Yes, it is.  There was a great deal of enmity between the Spanish and British in Europe and Florida gave them another venue in which to fight.  The British were constantly trying to take over the fort in St. Augustine, the Castillo de San Marcos.  In 1740, they very nearly succeeded. 

 

SW: Why all this fuss over Florida?  Grant you, it’s pretty country, but with the climate and the diseases

the mosquitoes carried, why would anyone want such an untamed place?

 

D: I asked that very question too.  What I found during my research was that St. Augustine was a strategic military position.  The Spanish were shipping their treasures from Mexico and Central America.  They used the trade routes along the Florida coast.  Those waters were full of pirates as well

as British warships.  Imagine what the British could have done to the Spanish trade routes if they controlled those waters instead?

 

SW: An interesting historical twist.

 

D: Yes, I think I just gave myself an idea for a new novel.

 

SW: Now that we’ve established a bit of the history, tell us about the story itself.  Was there really a Gabriella Deza daughter of the Spanish governor?

 

D: No, there wasn’t.  I tried very hard not to pattern her after a real person and did hours of research to find a name not common to the area.  If Gabriella resembles any historical person, it’s purely coincidental.

 

SW: Give us a brief synopsis of your story.

 

D: The story opens in the spring of 1739 and Gabriella is almost fifteen.  After an accident injures both Manuel, her father’s confidential aid, and Governor Deza, Gabriella is staying at the hospital to help care for them.  She overhears a conversation between two British spies.  They are talking about an attack on St. Augustine.

 

SW: What does she do?

 

D: She runs to tell her father, but he’s unconscious.  Instead, she goes to Manuel.  However, after a brief and very embarrassing conversation with him, it slips her mind.

 

SW: How could talking to Manuel make her forget something that important?

 

D: He is nearly naked, very handsome, well built and charming.  Keep in mind, she’s only fourteen and he is an older man. She’s so flattered that he has shown interest in her, she simply forgets.

 

SW: How much older is he?D: Manuel is twenty-one. 

 

SW: Isn’t that a little old for her?  She’s just a child.

 

D: Perhaps by today’s standards, but back then girls married young and their husbands were often even older than Manuel.  It wasn’t unusual for a girl her age to marry a man in his thirties.

 

SW: Does she ever remember the conversation she overheard?

 

D: No, but when she is sick with a fever, she reveals everything to Manuel and her father.  Armed with this information, they set a trap for the spy, but by mischance, Gabriella is caught in it.  She is kidnapped by the spy, escapes and is rescued by a band of friendly Indians.  Now Manuel must find her and get her back.  Then he has to bring the spy to justice so they can be married.

 

SW: I trust it all works out?

 

D: You’ll have to read “Indian Summer” to find out.  But I will say I do like happy endings.

 

SW: Dellani, thank you so much for talking with me today.

 

D: I’m delighted to.  Thank you for inviting me. 

Dellani Oakes’ book, “Indian Summer” is available at http://www.secondwindpublishing.com  It is also available at Amazon.com

2 Comments

Filed under books, fiction, writing