Had my first book signing at Barnes and Nobles yesterday before my friend and illustrator, Nick moved away. It was so fun to see our book in their bookstore. I don’t know what was more exciting, hearing my name mentioned over the loudspeaker, or offered a free coffee from their in house Starbucks. Actually, their pumpkin spice latte was not in yet, so honestly seeing our book displayed next to the Dr. Who paraphernalia was pretty epic. We sold about 15 books or so, and signed for about 3 hours straight. Nick, like always was the rock star everyone flocks to. They are mesmerized by his art work, and rightfully so. He tries to tell them about the book but they would rather tell him how amazing he is. I roll my eyes at him, but secretly I hope it is sinking in this time, so he will finally believe he is as brilliant as they say.
There were great conversations stirring and many wonderful friends that came to support us making it feel like a mini party. The great response was partly do to God answering my plea for lots of rain so people would feel like going to a bookstore and reading instead of camping on Labor day weekend. I started to feel a little guilty when as I was signing peoples books and they would tell me they were headed out to the lake or out of town but it just seemed like a reading day so they came here instead.
Chapter 18 is called Soul Searching because Hallie must search her soul to find her abducted brother. In this chapter every item has a symbolic meaning. From the crimson rose petal that symbolize our bleeding heart, to the tears of our magnificent Creator that rains down to wash away our hurts with his own compassion. When we realize He mourns over what we do and He has the strength to change the circumstances then we can dance over our adversity.
In the previous paragraphs Hallie’s spirit has been taken up to heavenly realms where she has seen the level of warring angels and demons over her brother and then finally to the Creator’s throne room to actually see the face of God in a celestial constellation.
Chapter 18 “Soul Searching”
Hallie looked down and saw pavement—her spirit inhabiting her body once more—but the earlier notes had fulfilled a masterpiece of completion inside her thoughts. Closing her eyes to drink in the amazing revelations she had just experienced, she felt the soft summer wind caressing her cheek in the fresh darkness, gently guiding her down the road towards the forest. She continued on the path until she waltzed by an inviting walkway with an elaborate arched trellis covered in red, climbing rose bushes. The rich fragrance called to her senses, and she continued the journey onward.
In front of the two tall pillars on each side of the entrance were large bleeding-heart bushes, abundant in lavender heart-shaped flowers. A sign above the trellis read Crudus Amore, Latin for “bleeding love.” As Hallie passed through the archway of roses, the curling wind scattered red petals, which gently floated down, landing upon her. They melted like large snowflakes of blood, staining her white T-shirt. As the crimson droplets continued to seep into her clothing, an intense pain of brokenness stabbed her heart. At this moment the sign above made complete sense. Looking at the thorns twisted among the prize-winning blossoms brought thoughts of her brother, whom she deeply loved, twisted up in torment, lost and out of reach. The thorns pierced and tore at her haggard emotions, and Hallie grabbed her chest and stumbled through the tunnel of roses, doubling over in pain with a new understanding of what her brother was feeling at this moment.
When she finally reached the end, just above her head a supernatural rain cloud welcomed her. Static electric charges of lightning had built up inside, making it flash and glow, until the intense energy released in a loud thunderclap. A soft and refreshing rain poured down and drenched Hallie, washing away the stains. The rain soaked into her skin until it saturated her heart.
Then the rain called out to her, “We are tears that formed from the heart’s cry of the great Creator over your family’s brokenness.” The penetrating rain dripped into deep, torn crevices of her wounds and healed like a cool salve on a burning scrape.
She was not alone in her pain. The Creator wept and cared for Collin even more than she could understand, and His pain washed away her own. His compassion overshadowed and protected her passage.
The rain turned delightfully warm mixed with the night air. Her healed heart soared, and she danced with hands outstretched, full of joy. She could still feel her Creator twirling her spirit under the heaven’s skies.
A warm and gusty breeze blew, and her dancing subsided along with the rain as her once-soaked body quickly dried. Standing still against the powerful wind, Hallie was directed by the whispers carried on it to a dry and barren forest, full of bony, outstretched branches that covered a vast distance. She walked closer. The trees became a labyrinth of mazes, and she followed the dry wind through the path. The limbs glowed white as they reflected the moon’s mysterious sheen