All posts by mrsjyoung

Mrs. J. Young is a children’s book author, inspirational writer and tween novelist. Her writing career began as a feature writer for the local daily newspaper in 1997. For the past 15 years, she has written and published on a variety of topics, ranging from news columns, inspirational and gardening articles to technical papers. Her first picture book, Tea for You and Me was published in April 2014. She is a graduate of Indiana University with a B.A. in Journalism. Amidst all her writings, her favorite pastime is the whimsical flight of imagination to enrich the lives of children all over the world.

Sketch Pad of Dad

The Zinny twins loved to paint and to draw

…and everything they saw.

They always loved their Dad very much.

But they didn’t know where Dad went…or when he was coming back.

They were very sad, and sometimes cried.

But one  day a Zinny sister jumped out of bed.

She took out her new sketchpad.. and said, “Let’s go find Dad!”

Twisting and spinning into the sketchpad.

The Zinny twins drew exactly what they said.

3, 2, 1, blast off!

We’re  on the moon.

Speeding and turning all around, they saw a flaming light…

… was it an Flaming-amazing- incredible car?

Beep…Beep…Honk…Honk…

Dad popped open a door.

“Come on! Let’s go for a ride!” said Dad.

Weeee… Down, down into the deep blue sea!

They raced dolphins and shinny fish.

By an old ship…they found a key to box of buried treasure.

Up to a crystal castle,

they solved a riddle from Queen Frazzle Dazzle.

At the sandy beach,

Dad made the tallest sand castle!

Dashing into the sky…

They went to Mars,

“Let’s go fishing for stars!”

Dad caught two stars.

Floating and gliding back to home.

They placed dad in his favorite chair.

“Let’s sit on his lap,” they said.

“Happy Birthday, Dad.”

“We missed you too much.”

 

My dad could be gone or just away for a while. No matter, Dad has a special place in our heart. When I miss my dad, I fold my hands and pray. Jesus help me as I miss Dad.

Matthew 5:4 helps me know that as I am sad, Jesus will comfort me.

 

Does he hold the key to your heart?

“So, how’s that guy?” my grandmother asked with a grin.

I loved to call my grandmother and tell her about the fun dates I had with Jason.

After her major stroke, she became even more dear to me. One day, in her wheel chair, she held out her feeble hand to me and slowly waved one finger in the air.

“Does he hold the key to you heart?” she asked.

I was tongue-tied.

“I think he does. But what matters is… Do you think he does?” she asked.

While I nodded, I really thought about her question. It implied that my heart had a door and it required something.  Looking into the eyes of my sweet grandma who had been married almost 50 years, I  was shaken to my core of what I believed in about love. She wasn’t just asking if I was in love with Jason. She knew that. Instead she was asking me if Jason’s love for me meant the deepest longings of my heart.

After some thought, here’s what I determined my heart required:

1. Patience.  The relationship moves at a pace I feel comfortable with. And I am not pushed into anything that is outside of God’s commandments. I was once with an impatient boyfriend and we broke but because I wasn’t willing. I’m glad I did. My life verse for this situation is, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalms 127:1 (NIV)

2. Honesty. Knowing you can be real.  That we both can be open about our struggles, temptations and fears. And even past relationship failures. Proverbs 12:19 “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” (NIV) and 1 Corinthians 13:6 “Love  does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

3. “No-one else-kind-of”Love. It may be a generic word for a romantic situation. But the word “love” these days gets tossed around like a side salad.  Love for me is the kind where you know you could never live without him. The only kind of love you feel for him and no one else. It’s knowing that you long to commit to him for life.  In this kind of love I honor my relationship. I think Proverbs 19:22 (ESV) sums it up: “What is desired in a man is steadfast love.”

4. Cherished.  I know that he doesn’t just love me for your physical appearance or special talents/gifts. He loves all of me.  I am accepted for who I am. And he isn’t trying to change me for his benefit, but he’s cherishing me, the way God would. The purpose of how we cherish each other and chose to live our lives together is summarized in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (NIV)

My precious grandma was right to ask. We all should. Even if we aren’t dating yet.  Because it’s better to know the standards of your heart now, than later.

The day we buried my grandmother, I laid one rose on her grave and whispered, “Jason held the key to my heart. I will always love you.”

 

 

Beautiful Who?

And I was like, “Who?”

When someone said, “She’s got beautiful eyes.”

I’ve even had complete strangers walk up to me and tell me that my eyes are beautiful.

Sadly, I wasn’t able to own the compliment. Kinda like when you’re trying out a new outfit, they say you should “own it.” Well, I’ve been trying out this same face, body and hair for a little while now, and I’m still not “owning” it.

So I took a cruise through the bible to see if there were any suggestions on how to “own” it.

Did you know there are 148 references to the word beautiful in the bible (NLT)? Including a reference to a beautiful heifer. WOW! Of course, there had to be a reference to a cow.

Which makes me wonder just how I’ve come to define myself in terms of beautiful.

Is it based on Photoshoped TV ad models? Or some ideal girl that has everything I don’t?

It’s not too uncommon to hear other girls say… “I’m too fat. I’m too thin.” Or “I wish I had her eyes…her hair… her lips… or even her rear-end!”

Can you imagine what it would look if we got to pick and choose the body parts that we wanted? It would look kinda weird. And while we all wish we had it, the truth of the matter is we all do.

As a child of God, I was created by an infinite being who has a purpose for my life. He made everything unique on me for reason. My hair has the right amount of hairs, thickness and texture the way He chose it to be. That can be said for my shape, eyes, skin, everything.

So, it’s okay that I don’t own it because HE does. When the compliments come, I toss them back up to Jesus and thank HIM for how HE made me. And if my eyes sparkle a bit, I sure hope that’s Jesus shining through!

eyes

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.” (Psalms 139:14) NLT.

Should I? Part 2

“Are you the prince or something?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Do you like gardens?” he asked.

“Yes, I suppose,” I said confused.

“I am interested in this drawing of a garden,” he said, holding my journal. I jumped from the chair and reached to grab my journal.

He sprung from the chair.

“Wait, wait.” He chuckled.

“I think I should at the very least hear the story of a princess that sneaks on my balcony and draws my gardens,” he said.

While I batted for my journal, he won. He was a little taller than me and held the book too far above my head.

“Our guests usually eat dinner, dance and go home,” he said. “I have no use for parties,” I said, “I only come for the view of the sea, the chair and my thoughts.”

“And the garden… is your thoughts?” he asked, pulling a dinning chair for me to sit next to him.

“Private thoughts,” I said sitting.

“Please, can I offer you breakfast?” he said.

I nodded. After all I was starving. Par, a tubby older gentleman with long floppy grey hair and a perfectly groomed mustache, entered and poured my tea. Somehow I had been fooled, but was still too tired to care.

“Thank you, Par,” I said as I bit into the strawberry pancakes dolloped with whipped cream. “Oh, and thank you for the blanket.”

Par looked at me oddly.

“That will be all, Par,” the young man said, clearing his throat. “So… last night I couldn’t sleep. I have this pressing dilemma. See – I need a large mystical garden built—right now. And when I stumbled on your drawing, this morning, I admit I’ve never seen anything so creative with fairies and fountains. Rose buds imprinted on the pavers in various circles. Are these weeping willows with roses?” he said.

I couldn’t help but smile at him. He beamed with happiness when he talked about my drawing.

“I know those don’t exist, but I had an idea of how interesting it would be to have weeping willow trees with rose tips. So when the sea air blows their branches, the rose petals would float in this area. Some could collect here, in a three-tiered fountain and trickle down its streams. Silly and ridiculous, I know,” I said.

“Hmm… I think it’s possible with Quinn’s help, of course. We will use dirt from the Graries. Yes, it’s doable,” he said, talking to himself.

“Who is Quinn?” I asked.

“My brother, he is more of … let’s say, mystical gardener than me,” he said.

“Are you serious? You are actually thinking about building it?” I asked.

He nodded.

“You can’t build these gardens. It’s impossible, ” I said.

His spiked blonde hair and amazing smile seemed to make me even angrier. The rumors were true. He was supposedly gorgeous.

“I need a mystical garden, just like this… today. And this summer it must be built. The time to start is now!” he said.

“These are my crazy scribbles that are more for fun to keep me out of those stuffy parties. I don’t know why anyone would even want to actually make something of it. And I don’t know why I am telling you this!” I said, picking up my flip-flops.

“This is why I don’t attend parties. To stay away from princes like you,” I said throwing my flip-flops in his general direction.

And then I ran to the grand hall only to find an obstacle course of maids, mops and chairs.

He yelled, “Nona, please wait.”

My name echoed through the grand hall to the tops of the gold chandeliers, around the four elevated stone throne chairs, down to the grey and green marble floor. He knew my name? No prince had known my name.

I turned and saw him holding my flip flops – one in each hand. He looked rather ridiculous. I giggled, under my breath, of course and slowly walked to the balcony. I tried to act like an adult and politely sit into my lounge chair.

“And how do you know my name?” I asked.

He laid my journal on my lap.

“Par and I can have secrets too, right?” he asked. “I may have known last fall that you were drawing this garden, since you sleep with the journal open.”

I threw the blanket over my head. He’d seen me sleeping. Me – the frizzy haired, Nona.

“Par told me your name is Princess Nona Asher. This morning I was awake very early, worrying about this garden, but hoping your drawing would be finished. I thought you might be here, and I wanted a chance to speak with you,” he said.

“You told Par to let me sleep so when I was finished, you could meet me? Didn’t you? And the blanket was you, I suppose?” I said, uncovering my head.

He shrugged his shoulders and slid his hands in his pockets.

“The blanket- that was very kind,” I said. “And all artists need time to think, right? So, the more time you had to enjoy the balcony, the more time you had to create – even dream about it. Right?” he asked as he handed me my flip-flops.

“Hmmm… I do love the Serenity Sea,” I said.

“I need a garden with….” he said. “Inspiration,” I said.

“Well, you named it Where Love Ends,” he said.

I giggled. “Yes, I did.” “I suppose you thought our castle needed that.”

He smiled, again. “And you are right.”

“Why Love… I mean, why now?” I asked.

“We have a special treasure… a jewel that is coming to our castle and I need a way to welcome it. I know it sounds a little odd. But I need a garden, not just any garden, one that makes people feel…” “Serene?” I said.

“Yes, and in a different place, almost magic-like,” he said.

“Ah, mystical.” I joked.

“Yes, exactly. Everything mystical. And your drawing is it. My brother, Quinn can build it, even your trees. I have several sea journeys this summer and I need you to help make it come to life. Can I not convince you to stay and help Quinn make it exactly how you imagine?” he asked.

“Oh, no, I don’t do favors for princes or whatever you two are. I don’t do romantic dinners and dancing. No, thank you, I stay right here on my balcony away from awkward conversations, sweaty hands and bad breadth,” I said, and as the words came out, I couldn’t believe I spoke them.

“Okay,” he said, walking to the railing.

And there was a long awkward pause.

“Besides, last night was it. I am done with this dreary castle. Thank you for noticing my drawings. Whatever your name is… Wait I don’t even know your name,” I said. “Roy Argos,” he said eagerly.

“Roy, thank you. You have been very understanding, letting me enjoy your balcony and all, but I really must go,” I said, collecting my purse.

“No, wait,” he said. “I understand. You need privacy. And you will have it. Many rooms of your own overlooking the new gardens. No dinner or dancing will even be mentioned.”

He waved his hands as to enact some kind of edict.

I giggled. “You’re really serious?” “I will ask your parent’s permission,” he said kneeling by my chair.

“No one says anything about whether they are a prince or princess. Simply Nona’s garden project with Roy and Quinn as her humble attendants.”

“That’s too much. You actually want me to stay for the entire summer?  Just to make sure my fairy garden is ready for this secret jewel?” I asked. He nodded.

“And at the end of the summer, you will be given a very special gift to thank you for making a special exception for us,” he said.

I looked at his clear blue eyes grinning at me. His suit did fit him quite well… Probably anything fit him well. But why would he ask me, Nona, a frizzy haired want-a-be artist to build a make-believe garden? And dirt from the Graries? What’s a Grarie, anyway?

Should I accept such a wild invitation from a supposedly gorgeous prince? ???? Why did they need a mystical garden – my mystical garden? I think I’m in one of those interesting situations. Well, mother and father – I sure did “make the most of it”.  [Insert freakish girlie giggle here.]

Lesson #1: Never underestimate your creations – there’s always a purpose in there somewhere.

 

The Day the Willows Stopped Weeping

I am not sure of the exact date, but I am remember it was a crisp cool day in the autumn. And I quite remember their light droopy branches gliding through my bangs, kind of like the soapy drapes that flop around in a car wash. I lay on the crunchy grass and admired how their willows pooled on the ground.

I wondered why are they called weeping willows. If anyone should be weeping, it should be me. I had, after all, written my 95th journal entry about Simon, only to see him holding hands with his new girlfriend. My Simon, how could he not know how I felt? We were supposed to be holding hands. Not her, whoever she was.

A few tears welled up in my eyes as I thought, “Why are you weeping willow trees?”

Only before I could say it, that question was asked of me.

The weeping willow tree leaned slightly to the left and said, “Why do you weep, Budding Flower?”

I was surprised, yet relieved to have someone to talk with, even if it was a tree.

“Because no one loves me,” I said as my lips puckered, holding back the waterworks of tears.

Diverting the tree from my love problem, I asked it, “Why do you weep, Willows?”

“I weep for you, Budding Flower,” It said.

“For me?” I said.

“You weep because no one loves you. I weep because I love you,” It said.

“How long will you keep weeping for someone like me?” I asked, as I curled up at the base of its trunk, laying my head on its bark.

“The day my willows stop weeping, is when you weep no more,” It said.

My eyes gushed with tears.

“I can’t imagine a day when I will ever stop weeping. I practically sob over the littlest things.”

“Me too,” It said as I felt it’s willows rise off the ground to smile.

“My willows pool at your feet weeping for the loveliness in your budding heart,” It said.

I felt a cool breeze blow by drying my eyes.

Then, I made probably the easiest promise I could ever make with a tree.

I promised the Willows, I’d never stop weeping, and It promised too.

 

Writer’s Interpretation

In our sadness, disappointments, and missed opportunities, let’s face it… we SOB! This world is full of the gushers, those of us who cry. And the stuffers, those of us who stuff feelings and don’t cry.  I am a gusher, and I’m here to say: “It’s okay.”  While we don’t have a talking willow tree to tell us, we have Jesus Christ to love us and cry with us. One of the shortest passages in the bible says, “Jesus wept.”  So, if he did, we sure can.  Psalms 55:22 reads, “Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” (NIV) I would add, even the littlest cares, like the Simons. Be encouraged.

Should I? Part 1

It was the perfect spring night, and by all intentions it was the last I would ever see of that dismal castle on the beach.

[Insert my puffy lip sigh here] The Argos family – known for being the largest kingdom in our alliance threw lavish 8 course dinner parties with dancing, the whole bit. They had – probably the largest cold grey stone castle, I’d ever seen – 500 rooms, at least. And of course, it was located on Serenity Sea.

As with all their parties my attendance was 100% pure obligation! Mother and father insisted I go as I was “blooming into womanhood” – is how they put it.  And since our kingdom was one of their smaller ones in the alliance and I hadn’t received any betrothals or proposals, they felt it was best I go and “make the most of it.” Meanwhile, they were conveniently on holiday travels.

As I walked in the entry way, I followed the hoards of  guest that always gawked at the grand staircase weaving in spirals to the grand hall. The walls were decorated of old sea ship captain portraits and nautical memorabilia. Ah, the Argos – famed sea captains – except for the father – he passed away last year. Now, the two supposedly gorgeous Argos princes  were competing to rule their castle.  Argos, do keep their kingdom matters pretty private. But everyone assumes the prince who finds a queen first – wins.   As for me… why be around strange people just to get to know them? Stuck up, want-to-bes, is what they all were.  I was not about to dance with princes I’d never met, with sweaty hands and sometimes bad breadth. As the guests began dancing in the grand hall, I scurried past and peaked around long taupe curtains waving in the sea breeze. Perfect! No one was on the balcony – a large extension of old shag orange carpet, iron railing, a 4 chair metal dinning table and a perfect view of the sea.

It was my fav — the sea extended for miles and the evening sunset created dancing sparkles. I could feel the waves crashing. I took a deep breath – letting them renew me. I plopped in the puffy blue lounge chair and kicked off my purple blingy flip flops. After all, who needs formal shoes?  I had more important plans!

Opening my drawing journal that I had snuck in my purse, I began putting the final touches on my garden drawing. Not just any garden, but with fountains, fairies, and plants not of the world, giving it intrigue.

Over the past year during my party “visits” I was an artist uncover – slowly drawing a crazy garden. Me, the architect – [insert freakish laughter here]  placed the garden to the right of their castle – with almost “a- for-real” looking design.  I sketched large roman letters, “Where Love Ends” as a joke. Since the castle was where all loved seemed to end.

As the slow dance music and the sea lulled me to sleep, I drifted into my garden dreams. And it was perfectly acceptable since their butler Par would wake me in the morning and request a carriage to take me home.

The next morning I heard clanking dishes. “Par, it’s much too early. It’s still dark,” I said, curling to one side of the chair. I felt a silk blanket fall on me. Par was never that thoughtful, but it was really nice.

Next thing I remember – the clanking dishes again and an annoying bright sun. I opened my eyes and saw a young man in a black suit at the dinning table, intently reading. He sat on the edge of the chair, like he could jump at any moment.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“I was wondering the same,” he said, quickly swigging a few sips from a juice glass.

“Where is Par? I must see Par,” I said.

“You know Par?” he asked.

“Yes, we have a deal. I go home before the family awakes, and he tells no one,” I said clinching the blanket.

“Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me.” He chuckled.

To be continued….