“The Sacrifice” Behind-the-Scenes

Behind-the-scenes!  It’s long–you have been warned. 😉


The Inspiration

The inspiration for The Sacrifice lies way back, before I even had a blog.  The original story was inspired by a short dragon story from The Children’s Book of Virtues edited by  William J. Bennett.  I came up with a story that was essentially The Sacrifice, but still quite different.  I was planning on writing it down, but then had inspiration for The Captured Princess Series (cheesy title, I know), which has basically the same plot line as The Sacrifice, just stretched and twisted into five stories–and pretty long stories too, for me at least.  After writing that, the other story felt short and uninteresting and I gave it up.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice” Behind-the-Scenes

“The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-seven

Can you believe this is the last part?  I’ll post the Behind-the-Scenes post next Tuesday, so stay tuned!

IMG_2140 ~The Sacrifice~ IMG_2136


Part Twenty-seventh: Farewell

Once the Princess and her mother both stopped crying, the Royal Family and Sir Richard made their way back. There a celebration was held, greater than any the City had seen since its founding. The day after their return was given over completely to feasting, and dancing, and singing, and rest. Sir Richard put off his armor and wore blue and gold satin for the festival. Gimel—and all the of the Shepherds besides—wore burgundy and sage-green wool, as usual, but they remained in the City and took up its customs after that Summer for the dragon had killed their flocks. Cedric and Eleanor dressed in scarlet and purple, and Henry in sky-blue and silver. The City was decked with flowers and the King’s banner was hung on every street—white with a green circle, like the Valley amongst snowy mountains. The Princess’s dress matched them: a milk-white gown with flowing bell-sleeves under a sleeveless kirtle colored like Lily-of-the-Valley’s leaves. Her hair was left down, falling over her shoulders, and on it was a coronet of dark green velvet with gold and diamonds.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-seven

“The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-six

Like I said in my last post, this part is one of my personal favorites!

Can you believe we only have one more post left after this??  I can’t!

IMG_2140 ~The Sacrifice~ IMG_2136


Part Twenty-sixth: Returning

Penelope awoke with the rising sun. She sat up and rubbed her eyes, trying to process what was going on. Sir Richard was saddling Jael a few feet away. Cyrus was poking about in the grass. Short, unconnected memories slowly came together in her tired mind. I’m free—and I’m going home today! came of a sudden and snapped her out of her early-morning haze. She scrambled to her feet.

“Good morning, Princess,” Sir Richard said cheerfully.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-six

Your commands

“I will always obey your law, for ever and ever.  I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.  I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them.”

-Psalm 119:44-47

“The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-five

Sorry I didn’t get this up yesterday, dear readers, we were pretty busy.  Anyway, here we are now:

IMG_2140 ~The Sacrifice~ IMG_2136


Part Twenty-fifth: The Sacrifice

They camped at the edge of the foothills, among the dark, shadowy trees. Gimel stood hesitantly holding his horse’s reins while Sir Richard and the Princess gathered up pieces of pine wood.

“Velvet’s done nothing today but stand tethered to a tree, sir,” he said at last. “I haven’t done much more. We could ride through the night still. I could tell them we succeeded.”

Sir Richard nodded as he looked up from trying to light the wood they had gathered. “Yes, tell the City. And Gimel—you guided me well. Thank you.” Penelope wondered why he smiled queerly as he said this.

The Shepherd smiled slightly in return, swung himself into the saddle, and galloped away. The Knight and the Princess spread their cloaks on the ground and lay down on either side of the fire. Jael stood at the edge of the wavering firelight, quietly munching grass. Cyrus lay down beside his master. Penelope stared listlessly at the dancing flames.

“Velvet could not have carried you both,” Sir Richard said, guessing her thoughts.

“I know,” she answered quietly.

“I understand why you want to get back,” he continued. “It’s your home. Your family is there—your people. They are also anxious for your return. When I went to His Majesty, your father, and asked if I could try to kill the dragon, he explained to me how you went freely to save the City. He said that if I failed to defeat the monster, he would destroy your people because of me. He said the decision belonged to those you saved.

“He called them together the next morning, and asked the if they were willing to risk their lives for you. They all cried out yes! as with one voice. I stood beside the King on the castle battlements, and the noise was deafening.”

Penelope smiled, but turned away from the fire, so he could not see the tears in her eyes.




I know this one’s a little short, but the next part is longer–and. . . I’m really excited about posting it!  It’s one of my favorites. 😉

“The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-four

Hello, readers!  Today was my first school day after finishing math for the year, making today a very, very good day!  In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m feeling unusually chipper. 🙂  Can you blame me?  I’m done with math, I’m listening to songs from The Lord of the Rings, and I’m posting the beginning of the happy ending to my first “long” story.  A good day in my book. 😉

Anyway, story:

IMG_2140 ~The Sacrifice~ IMG_2136


Part Twenty-fourth: Rescued

Penelope sat leaning against the wall, hugging her knees. Wishing the sounds outside were soft enough that she could drown them out by covering her ears—though at the same time straining for any hint of what was happening.

When the noise finally subsided, the Princess got up and peered into the passageway. She could barely hear a gentle murmur of voices. Could it mean. . . but how could it? A gentle breeze brushed her face, at the same time stirring the dying embers of the kindled leaves, blowing ashes off deeper into the dragon’s lair.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-four

“The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-three

This part and the last part were so much fun to write (can you tell I really like writing about dragons?)!  I was having serious writer’s block when I got to these parts and all of a sudden, I had inspiration!  I’m pretty happy with how they turned out.

Anyway, I’ll let you read.  No one probably cares how much fun I had, do they? 🙂

IMG_2140 ~The Sacrifice~ IMG_2136


Part Twenty-third: Taken By Surprise

A river of fire was pouring from the dragon’s open mouth when something ducked beneath the blast in a streak of blotched fur. Cyrus slipped under the flames and then jumped up with a snarl, his teeth clamping down around Abadalyx’s throat. The fire flickered out, and the dragon reeled, shaking his head vigorously. The dog’s teeth could not bite through the shimmering scales, but they found a hold and kept it as the monster flailed. Abadalyx bent his long neck down to his stumpy forelegs, and began to tear his claws down the German Shepherd’s sides. Cyrus growled and twisted but held on as the powerful talons scraped over his fur, and lifted for another swipe.

Continue reading “The Sacrifice”: Part twenty-three


I step outside, onto the wet grass, and look around the yard.  I’m shocked to see how much damage the storm did.

Nothing huge–thank you, Jesus!  The trampoline’s standing, and there’s no trees down.

But the plants are in tatters.

The ferns were so pretty this year; so tall, so green.

Now they hang in droopy shreds of frond.


Still, I can’t help but feel that the air is clear and warm, and there’s a picturesque beauty about the yard still.  There’s a promise hanging in the storm-washed air.  It’s Spring–things might still grow back.

I plop down on the wooden bench and open my Bible, trying to stay focused on the small words, and not the nature around me, shiny with rain-drops.

I look down, and there on the ground, amidst the battered flowers, is a tiny egg-shell.  A bright blue robin egg.


I find myself whispering, Oh God, don’t let it have blown out of a nest in the storm!

I catch myself–does it matter that much?

Suddenly, a Bible verse comes to mind, and a thousand songs with it.

A sparrow cannot fall without notice. . .

I begin to think.  What does that really mean?

He never promised that the sparrow wouldn’t fall.

He says when it does, he sees.  He cares.


Jesus never promised us that He would keep the storms away.  He promised to weather them with us.

He doesn’t say He’ll keep us safe–He says that no matter what, He’ll be with us.

He came to earth, was born in human form, as a helpless baby.  He lived in our world, felt our hurt.  He experienced human hunger.  Human pain.  He experienced every thing we must experience–and things none of us need ever experience now, because of His sacrifice.


As Christians, that is our job.  To come to the pain.

Establishing God’s Kingdom does not mean eliminating pain.  It means bringing Jesus to the pain.

Our job is not to hunker down and wait expectantly until Jesus returns.  To lock ourselves inside and close the shutters.

Our job is to run to the pain and suffering.  To step out, into the aftermath of the storm.

And bring Jesus there.


In the second The Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, the Elvish king hears threats of war and devastation from a goblin he captures.  He tells his son, Legolas, to order the closing of the gates to his underground kingdom.  Hearing that his friend, Tauriel, went out to track the rest of the goblins, Legolas goes in search of her in the forest.

Finding her, he tries to convince her to come back before the gates are closed.  Tauriel refuses to leave the goblins to kill and destroy through the other lands.

“It’s not our fight,” Legolas tells her.

“It is our fight,” she answers.  “Are we not part of this world?”


We are a part of God’s Kingdom.

We are not to close up the gates and hide until the storm blows over.

We are to engage the world He made–and loves enough to die for.

We are a part of this world.  It is our fight.  It is our problem.

We cannot close our eyes to the war and pain and storms.  We must open them, and feel the sting of the falling raindrops.

We are called into the storm, and that is where Jesus is.  Is it not better to walk through the storms with Jesus by our side, than to hide from them–in temporary safety, but all alone?  We are not to fear what can harm the body, but what can harm the soul.

Do not be afraid, little children, you are worth more than many sparrows.

May showers bring. . . ???

















As you can see, we have plenty of flowers.  But the showers didn’t pass on when April did!  We’ve been getting quite a bit of rain, and we had some spectacular hail last night. . . I think Spencer was the only one who wasn’t woken up by it about 3:00 a.m.!  I came downstairs this morning to piles of ice out the windows and a thin layer of leaves and sticks over everything.  Literally, everything.




Flighty Nebraska weather! 🙂