The Hero’s Ordinary World


When we think of Christmas—especially if we’re Christian—we tend to focus on the manger. The baby. The star. But as a writer, it occurred to me… the manger isn’t the beginning.

In every story, the hero’s journey begins in the ordinary world—his ordinary world. But this hero’s ordinary world is far from ordinary.


Light is a state of being for the wise prince, as ancient and unchanging as His glorious Father.

With infinite creative power, He summons clear waters with the breath of His lips. They spread out from the sole of his leading foot, perfectly still, reflecting a wash of pastels perfectly mirrored from a radiant peach and gold dome. With every step, spikes splay out like textured snowflakes across the water’s surface while a glittering mist rises—dances up to the pristine hem of His robe, such a pure white it’s glowing.


The warmth of His Father’s embrace is a constant presence. He spins one finger in the air and a thunderous waterfall springs up, etching angular stones as if it’s been grinding them forever. Green spreads out around the fallen stones forming the shore, a soft carpet of vibrant moss. Ancient trees rise, bringing shade. Flowers sprout. Every color of butterfly flutters—a moving impressionistic painting.

The scene is perfect.

All is Love and Peace.


In the middle of the pond, where the fall’s spray is a battering wind, He gazes straight down between his feet. Beneath the bright reflection, rainbow-colored fish dart. Beneath the fish, algae grows up from blocky stones and sways in unseen currents.

Beneath the stones, a tiny blip—a little pocket of space and time. Very small and dark, filled with stars and planets, and—more important than that—the crowning glory of His creativity: Humankind.

All of them lost in darkness.


“They are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

He looks up and the thundering rush of water is a white beard—a voice. “To save them, you must become like them. You must give up your powers, your title, and live like a man. Submit yourself fully to Me, as if we are not equals…


“Instead of growing trees with a single thought, you will toil and labor, shaping wood by grinding the rough edges to dust, which in turn will raise blisters in your tender flesh. Instead of perfect harmony and love, you’ll be surrounded by those who hate you. Sweat and dirt and pain prevail in the fallen world, as you know.”

“Because it’s under a curse…a curse I can break.”

“At great cost.”

The prince paces on air because the pond is gone—the waterfall silent. Instead, its thundering pulses in his head. He sees…all. Every child born into sin—yet precious. Every tear streaking their dirty faces. They don’t all see the dirt—but He does. They don’t see their worth—but He does.


He built His own worth into them.

He counts the cost. The thorns, the metal beads ripping his flesh. The utter rejection by God and man. The betrayal…

The nails digging in and torturing his nerves in a body capable of death. It’s his vehicle to carry all the sins of the world to Satan’s lair and leave them there.

“I bind myself to this course… Our love will cover their multitude of sins.”

“And so shall it be.”


Disclaimer: I took creative license in creating this scenario. More than trying to be 100% accurate in every respect, I hoped to inspire awe for Jesus’s willingness to give up everything in pursuit of me and you.


Visual Scavenger Hunt, Winter 2018


On November 2nd of this year, I hosted my first ever Facebook party, and one of my best ideas from that night (in my opinion) was to hide the image of a spider silhouette in one of the many graphics as a fun game. (See if you cam spy it among these images.)

Incidentally, this graphic scavenger hunt game reminds me of time spent at my Grandma’s house, searching for hidden graphics within the pages of Country Magazine and Birds & Blooms

All of this to say I thought it would be fun to host a scavenger hunt on my blog site. Which means what?


In each article linked below, I’ve hidden one holiday or season-themed graphic. Consider, for example, what kind of graphics you associate with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and—ahem—birthdays. What about winter and Christmas? I’m hoping to hide more graphics in a few upcoming articles before the year is out. But for now, here are a few links to get you started:


Of course, every game has rules. Please don’t tell anyone what the images are or where they’re hidden. If you find one, feel free to post in the comments that you found it, how easy or difficult you thought it was to find, how much you enjoyed the hunt—whatever. But please don’t state anything too revealing.

And you know what they say about this time of year… Tis the season of giving!


So, if I can drum up enough interest in the hunt between now and the new year (that is to say, emailed entries from at least 20 separate individuals), I’ll host a drawing on the first of 2019 for winner’s choice of one of the following:

  1. $10 gift card to any business that sells online cards (and seems legit). Open to all regardless of country unless some bizarre restriction or security issue becomes apparent during attempted acquisition.
  2. $10 donation to your charity of choice (assuming it can be paid online and it doesn’t conflict with my personal values).
  3. One paperback or e-copy of any book mentioned in any of the articles I’ve written since my blog started in April 2018. (That’s a scavenger hunt in it’s own right!) Note: in the case of sequels, the reader may choose, instead, an earlier book in series if so desired. Also, physical items needing to be shipped are open to US residents only.

To enter the draw, email me a description of the hidden graphics you found in each of the three articles above. Please spread the word as well, and consider perusing the articles for ideas on what to read next. Oh, yeah. Don’t forget to stay tuned for more articles (see below) and the corresponding graphics hidden within. Each additional graphic you find—above and beyond the first three—will count as an extra entry for the giveaway.

Happy Hunting—er—Holidays!

Want an example of what to look for?


See if you can find my picture (shown above) hidden in the snowman image below. This should give you some idea of how sneaky I was in hiding the scavenger hunt images.


Additional Scavenger Hunt Articles (coming soon)