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The First Drop

Posted by Jerry E Beuterbaugh Labels:

This site now contains all of the books our Heavenly Father has given me to publish so far in the order that they are meant to be read.  They are offered for free, and you can download a fancier version by clicking on the cover of each book, as well as the other links provided.  Alas, fancy PDFs of only the first four books are ready at this time (March 24, 2015) but the rest will be coming soon (hopefully).

By the way, if you find a mistake, please let me know about it and I will make the necessary changes.  Now, if it has to do with doctrinal differences, be prepared to do battle, but this is not to suggest that I am probably in the right.  For our Heavenly Father often delights (trying to be funny here) in letting me say and do stupid things.

In any event, if you receive some value from what is contained on this site, please click on the PayPal button on the sidebar and donate what you can.  For with my wife and I being in very poor physical health and continually under great financial strain, even just a dollar would mean so very much—be assured.

A Love For The Ages

Posted by Jerry E Beuterbaugh Labels: ,

Part 1
Once upon a time, in land not so far away, the dawn was yet to break.  With each passing moment, however, more and more emerged from the shadows of the night.  Fruit trees in full bloom now stood where a veil of darkness had just hung, and a mist hovered above the surface of the lake.

Yes, the time was indeed at hand, and all eyes were trained upon the mist.  For no one wanted to miss the ignition of the fire cloud.

No, it is not that the mist was about to actually catch fire, but it was still aptly named.  For it would go from a swirling mix of gun metal blue and battleship gray to a hundred different shades of red, orange and yellow in a twinkling of an eye if everything was just right when the first rays of the sun peeked over the horizon a few days each year.

Adding all the more to the wonder was the reflection of the fire cloud upon the surface of the water.  For every ripple would take on the appearance of a tongue of flame, and one could even see the apparent fire race across the lake from the east to the west if they stood in the right spot.

Still hardly seems adequate to describe the atmosphere as the sun crept ever closer toward the breaking of the dawn.  For it was as if all of nature held its breath in eager anticipation, and the silence was deafening.

Finally, a collective gasp could be heard as the fire cloud began to erupt.  This was followed by the sounds of singing birds, croaking frogs and the hearty cheers from the throng of people in attendance.  Fish jumping out of the water added some rhythm to the chorus.  Be assured that joy abounded in the hearts, minds and souls of all who had been given eyes to see such a spectacular sight.

Right on cue, the piercing cry of an osprey soaring high overhead signaled the end of the show, which had lasted but for a moment or two.  Nonetheless, it was a memory that would surely last for a lifetime, and no one left disappointed.

Calvin was certainly glad to be there, but it was not just in regards to the fire cloud that he felt that way.  In fact, he paid less attention to it than anyone else in attendance.  For his eyes were trained upon what he considered to be a much more beautiful sight.

Although, he did appreciate how much the fire cloud complimented the brilliance of her eyes.  For it literally took his breath away when its spectacular display of reds, oranges and yellows reflected off of their emerald green centers encircled by a deep blue sapphire ring.

He also appreciated how much it enhanced the natural iridescence of her hair.  For each strand varied from reddish-brown to honey blonde, with light brown and strawberry blonde mixed in for good measure, and in the light of the fire cloud, her hair appeared to glow.

Her name was Cassandra, and she was indeed quite a sight to behold.  For from the top of her head to the soles of her feet, she was a vision of physical perfection, and the most beautiful part about her was her heart!

It was Calvin’s duty to protect her from harm, but he did not see it as such.  For he had fallen madly in love with Cassandra, and there was not another place he would rather be than by her side.

“Stop staring,” Cassandra whispered.  “It’s embarrassing.”

“Just doing my duty, my lady,” Calvin answered with a twinkle in his eye.

Cassandra’s efforts to stifle a giggle failed miserably, which caused some heads to turn.  She scolded Calvin under her breath, “See what you’ve done!”

Calvin just grinned, and Cassandra shook her head as if thoroughly disgusted for the benefit of the crowd.  Nonetheless, she actually delighted in the attention Calvin constantly lavished upon her.  For he always made her feel so very special—even almost worthy of her station in life, which was to be the future queen of the land.

To be the future queen had been her station since birth.  For her marriage to Prince Victor had been arranged long before she came to be, and in accordance to the custom of the land, he would become king and she would become his queen, as soon as they took their vows.

To her credit, she did not take her destiny for granted.  If anything, Cassandra took it more seriously than she should.

No, it is not that she considered it a burden, but she did have her concerns.  For she had not even met the prince yet, and she worried about what he would think of her when it was time for them to meet for the first time—not to mention in the years to come.

Logic would dictate that she had a good reason to have her concerns about him, but she had an equally good reason to be rather confident of what she would find in Prince Victor.  For Calvin’s other duty was to serve as a bodyguard for the prince, and she had been told that one of the main reasons for him being chosen for such a great honor was on account of how similar he was to Prince Victor—both in appearance and mannerisms.  In fact, it was said that the only thing different about them was a heart-shaped birthmark in the center of Prince Victor’s chest.

Yes, Cassandra understood that it was what was on the inside that really counted, and that being similar was not the same as being identical.  After all, the prince might not see her in the same light as Calvin appeared to.  She had hope, however, and that hope was in the possibility of Prince Victor being as much like Calvin on the inside as Calvin was supposed to be like Prince Victor on the outside.

True to form, Calvin had been watching her the whole time, and he could see that Cassandra’s mind was no longer on where they were.  So, he leaned down and softly asked, “A token for your thoughts?”

With an impish grin and a subtle slyness to her voice, Cassandra asked, "A token of what?"

“My esteem, of course,” Calvin answered with a furrow in his brow.

Without missing a beat, Cassandra shot back, “But is that not already freely given?”

Feigning exasperation, Calvin answered, “That it is, my lady, but how much more can you want?”

With a broad smile, Cassandra closed her eyes and half-sighed in replay, “I want it all.”

This brought an equally broad smile to Calvin’s face, and he hated having to tell her that it was time for them to go.  On the other hand, the call of duty was paramount.  Therefore, he was obliged to tell her, “The others have all gone, my lady, and there is much to do.”

“Alas, the burden of my responsibilities is indeed great,” Cassandra sighed.

Calvin immediately let out a laugh that could be heard on the other side of the lake, and he was still chuckling as they made their way back to the mansion that had been prepared for Cassandra to reside in before the wedding.  Cassandra just smiled, which added even more to Calvin’s delight.

The path they were taking was near the bottom of a deep hollow.  Mighty oaks dominated the hillsides, and weeping willows hung low over a babbling brook.

Nary a word was uttered from neither one of them as they walked, but this is not to say that Cassandra and Calvin traveled in complete silence.  For a murder of crows sounded out with what someone with enough imagination could consider as being like a procession march.

Several squirrels in the area also had their part to play, but from the tone of their barking, they did not appear to be very happy about it.  Squirrels can be rather cranky at times, I am told.

Cassandra’s abode soon came into view, and the captain of the guard was waiting on them at the front door to announce, “Prince Victor has requested the pleasure of your company, my lady, and he would like to see you as soon as possible.”

Cassandra fainted dead away, but Calvin caught her before her head could hit the ground.  He then carried her inside and laid her gently upon her bed.

Part 2
Immediately upon regaining consciousness, Cassandra could tell that something unusual was going on, and a quick look around the room confirmed her suspicions.  For Calvin was not sitting next to the door, which is where he had always been when she awoke since before she could remember.

A knot was steadily growing in the pit of her stomach.  For it appeared to be dark outside now.

An eerie silence hanging in the air like a pall was not helping any.  For the big house was usually buzzing with activity at all hours of the day and night.

After taking a moment or two to collect herself, Cassandra made her way down the hallway that led to a small alcove located near the kitchen.  For this is where the servants liked to gather when they were taking a break, and she figured that anyone still around would most likely be there.

She was overjoyed to finally find someone when she first saw the captain of the guard and four of his soldiers sitting at a table in the center of the room, but her euphoria quickly faded.  For they did not look very happy to see her.

Cassandra blinked, and when her eyes refocused, the scene was quite different.  For the captain and his men were now standing at attention.  Furthermore, they were all now looking at her with deep concern, and she knew that this was concern over her welfare instead of their own.

The captain asked, “Would you like to sit down, my lady?”  Cassandra nodded her head in agreement, and he walked over and pulled out a chair for her to sit in.

When she was seated, the captain asked, “Would you like some hot cider?”  Casandra again nodded her head in agreement, and the captain motioned for one of his men to go get her a cup.

Cassandra eagerly reached for the steaming cup when he returned, and after taking a couple of sips, she started feeling a little better.  This too quickly faded after she asked, “What has happened?”

The captain answered, “Do you remember fainting when I informed you of Prince Victor wanting to see you as soon as possible, my lady?”

Cassandra responded with a meek, “Yes.”

“Well, the prince was very upset when you did not arrive that evening, and Calvin has taken your place in prison,” the captain told her with an ever so slight tremble in his voice.

His mouth had not yet closed from speaking when Cassandra leapt to her feet and demanded, “How could this have happened?”

The captain of the guard took in a hard gulp of air before answering, “It is the law of the land, my lady.”

In a voice an octave or two higher than normal, Cassandra asked, “What law?”

“I am sorry, my lady, but I am under orders not to discuss that with you,” the captain replied in almost a whisper.

Undaunted, Cassandra demanded, “Take me to Calvin now!”

“It is very late, my lady, and it would be better if we waited until after sunrise.  In fact, it would be even better if you did not go until sometime in the afternoon,” the captain informed her.

“I don’t care!”  Cassandra exclaimed with a very uncharacteristic sternness to her voice.

“Surely you must be hungry, my lady,” the captain countered.  “For it has been almost three days since you have eaten anything that I am aware of.”

Visibly shaken, Cassandra managed to stammer, “What are you talking about?”

The captain took in another hard gulp of air before answering, “It was almost three days ago when I first informed you of the prince wanting to see you as soon as possible, my lady.”

The color drained from Cassandra’s face, and she gingerly sat back down in her seat.  Then she gathered her resolve, stood back up and told the captain in a very stern tone, “No, I am not hungry!  Now, if you and your men are unwilling to escort me, I will just have to go there by myself.”

Without hesitation, the captain motioned for two of his men to lead the way.  He walked alongside Cassandra, and his other two men trailed behind.

On a good night, a walk to Victor Castle from there would be a very pleasant experience to most.  For it was not all that far away, and the sight of its four ivory watch towers gleaming in the moonlight is nothing short of spectacular.  This was anything but a good night, however.

The four ivory watch towers were not the only spectacular things about Victor Castle—be assured.  For it is said that its front gate was carved out of a single pearl that was 30 feet in diameter, and the outer walls were constructed of white marble slabs too large to be handled by conventional means.

Panes of solid amber lined the main hall, and each interior room was a different wonder in and of itself.  As to be expected, there is one part of the castle that was not so well adorned.

Cassandra sorely regretted refusing to eat something before they left when the putrid stench of the dungeon invaded her nostrils.  For dry heaves always make bad situations worse.

Monstrous rats watched Cassandra’s every move, and they seemed to be daring the soldiers to kick at them before scurrying off in every direction.  She burst into tears when she saw Calvin chained to the wall inside of a cell that was made of heavy iron bars covered with a thick greenish-black slime that also coated the walls of the entire dungeon.

“Please do not cry, my lady,” Calvin softly told her.

“I don’t…understand…why this is happening,” Cassandra replied in between sobs.  “I know…that I upset the prince, but…why are you in chains down here?”

“I am down here doing my duty, my lady.  For I am charged with protecting you from all harm to the very best of my abilities,” Calvin answered.

“But how can you protect me from anything in that cell?”

With a look of great pain upon his face, Calvin answered, “I am taking your place in here, as I will also being doing at dawn.”

“What happens then?”

“I would rather not say,” Calvin replied.

“Please, do not seek to protect me from this.  For not knowing would surely do more harm than good,” Cassandra pleaded.

“I will be placed in a pit where I will be stoned to death, and then hogs will be let in to feed upon my carcass,” Calvin calmly answered.

Absolute horror would be the best way to describe the look upon Cassandra’s face after she heard Calvin’s explanation.  She tried to speak, but no words would come.

When she found some more resolve, she asked, “Surely Prince Victor could not be so vain and vindictive—could he?  For I can understand how he could feel insulted when I failed to show up for dinner that night, but considering the fact that I took ill, can he really justify such a harsh punishment?”

Calvin quickly answered, “Be assured that the prince does not need to justify anything to anyone.  That is, except to his father, the king, of course, and since they are as one in heart, mind and soul about everything, there is never any question of him always doing just exactly as his father would have him to.”

“Woe is me,” Cassandra moaned.  “For both my prince and his father, the king, are monsters.”

Calvin responded rather harshly, “You should never think in such a way.  For it is just not true!”

Again, Cassandra burst into tears, and then let out a mournful wail that should never be heard coming from such a lovely young lass.  For it was a sound that should only be heard coming from a wild animal on a lonely mountaintop and echoing down deep canyons in the middle of dark nights.  It even brought tears to the eyes of the battle-hardened soldiers standing guard on the outside of Calvin’s cell.

Calvin stifled a wail of his own enough to gently reply, “Be assured that it is not their fault.  For they both love you very much, and neither one of them has any desire to harm you.”

Having again collected herself somewhat, Cassandra managed to ask, “So, why must this sentence be carried out?”

“The problem is that one of the ministers knew of a statute that had been enacted long ago when such rules were necessary in order to promote order.  The statute decreed that anyone found guilty of disrespecting a member of the royal family would be stoned to death and then have their remains fed to hogs in order to add all the more to their disgrace.”

In a much steadier tone, Cassandra asked, “Being the supreme ruler over all of the land, why couldn’t the king just do away with such a law—especially since it is no longer necessary?”

“Under normal circumstances, the king would just forgive the penalty, but since this involves his son and his future daughter-in-law, he did not want any accusations of impropriety to tarnish the union.”

Cassandra pleaded, “Could I go and speak with them before it is too late?”

“No, that is not possible.  For they are both indisposed at this time,” Calvin answered.

Cassandra let out another wail, and then fell silent when she heard the sound of heavy boots headed their way.  For she knew what was about to happen.

“The time has come,” the captain of the guard announced.

Cassandra then turned toward Calvin, and when their eyes met, she said, “I love you, and I will always love you.”

Calvin collapsed in a heap when they unchained him from the wall, but it was not because of the confinement, nor the thought of what was about to happen, that he did so.  For it was hearing what Cassandra said that so overwhelmed him.  For it was something that he had longed to hear since the first day they met.

The soldiers standing guard helped Calvin to his feet, and then they led him out of the dungeon to a pit about a half of a mile outside of the castle.  Following behind was Cassandra, with the help of a couple more soldiers.

No, she did not want to be a witness to the death of her beloved Calvin, but Cassandra couldn’t get her legs to work.  Adding all the more to her horror was a thought about her being at the mercy of the circumstances at hand.

Then another thought crossed Cassandra’s mind, and this one was about how she could still save Calvin by taking his place, which made perfect sense to her.  For it was, after all, her debt to society that he was paying, and as long as it was paid, no one could accuse the king of being unjust.

Cassandra quickly discovered that she was indeed trapped in something that felt like a nightmare that would not end, however.  For not only were her legs not working, she found that she could not say a word, nor make a sound of any kind.  Neither could she wave her arms in order to get someone’s attention.

When Calvin reached the center of the pit, he turned to face Cassandra.  Their eyes met and locked in an intense gaze that seemed to peer into the very depths of the other’s soul.  He then told her, “I love you.  I have always loved you, and I always will.”

Their eyes remained locked in that intense gaze until a fist-sized stone struck Calvin in the temple.  He reeled backwards, but managed to remain on his feet.  He doubled over when several larger stones struck him on both sides of his rib cage, and then an even larger stone sent him to his knees after smashing the lower part of his right leg.

After a hail of smaller flint stones succeeded in shredding his shirt, along with portions of his skin and flesh, a well-aimed toss of an incredibly sharp obsidian battle disc by the captain of the guard mercifully hastened the end of Calvin’s suffering by severing both the jugular vein and carotid artery on both sides of his neck.  This brought a howl of protest from the minister who had forced the issue by bringing up the matter of that arcane statute, but he quickly quieted down and slithered away from the pit after it looked like several of the soldiers were about to start chunking stones in his direction.

Arterial spray covered the chalky-white clay soil at the bottom of the pit for about six feet around Calvin before he collapsed on his back, and this made the imagery of the scene complete.  For it could be clearly seen from the top of the pit that what the arterial spray had painted was an exact match for the heart-shaped birthmark that could still be clearly seen in the center of his chest.  All in attendance seemed frozen in place, and hogs could be heard squealing nearby.

Part 3
Cassandra awoke in a really good mood.  For aside from some lingering thoughts of a very disturbing nightmare she had just had, she felt generally refreshed.

As was her custom when first waking, Cassandra stretched her arms out wide and arched her back while yawning loudly in an exaggerated fashion.  This was as much meant for Calvin’s benefit as it was for her own.  For he seemed to always get a big kick out of her carrying on so, but when she looked over at his chair by the door, he was not there.

Cassandra let out a blood-curdling scream when the thought hit her that her nightmare just might have been real.  This brought servants and soldiers rushing into her bedroom from all directions.

“Has something bad happened to Calvin?” Cassandra pleaded.

“That is yet to be determined, my lady.  For it all depends upon what you want,” a familiar voice spoke from the back of the crowd that had formed at the foot of Cassandra’s bed.

Cassandra called out with a shaky voice, “Calvin?”

When he stepped to the front of the crowd, Cassandra leapt into Calvin’s arms, and he held her oh so very tight as she sobbed quite uncontrollably.  After a few moments, she leaned back and looked deeply into his eyes as he leaned down and kissed her in the way that troubadours sing songs about.

By the time the kiss had ended, they were alone in the room.  Without saying a word, Cassandra stepped back a little and started unbuttoning Calvin’s shirt.  When she saw the heart-shaped birthmark in the center of his chest, she gasped, “Prince Victor?”

“Yes, it is I,” he gently answered.

Cassandra immediately recoiled, but he caught her by the shoulders before she could get more than an arm’s length away.  Tears welled up in her eyes and were soon streaming down her face.

For what seemed like an eternity to her, Cassandra could not do anything but cry and look at him in horror.  For she had no idea if any of this was real or just a continuation of the nightmare about the stoning she thought she had awakened from.

Cassandra finally asked him, “Was any of it real?”

“Oh yes, it was all very real,” he answered.

“Even the part about Calvin being held in the dungeon, and you being stoned to death?”

“Well, not exactly.  For Calvin and I have always been one and the same person,” he answered.

Cassandra was instantly overwhelmed with shock and disbelief, and all she could manage to mumble was a meek, “What?”

“My full name is Prince Victor Calvin.  Well, at least that is what it is at this time.  For it will change to King Victor Calvin if we wed, of course, but I much prefer being called just Calvin,” he replied.

Cassandra did not say a word.  She just stared at Calvin, and then slowly turned her head to look out of the window near her bed.

As if on cue, a couple of bluebirds landed on Cassandra’s windowsill, and started singing.  Quickly afterward, a bright red male cardinal landed on a branch of a dogwood a few feet away and joined in.  The choir was fully assembled when three yellow canaries announced their presence from a magnolia in full bloom just to the south of a stand of silver leaf poplars, and Cassandra felt herself being lifted above her troubles.

All too soon, a knock on her bedroom door brought Cassandra crashing back down to earth.  Fortunately, it was not the bearer of more bad news.  For it was just one of the kitchen staff bringing breakfast, and Calvin took control of a covered cart she had rolled down the hall.

“I know that you have many questions, but it would sure make me feel so much better if you would sit down and eat something first.  For it has been quite some time since you last ate anything,” Calvin told her with great concern in his voice.

Cassandra was about to motion for him to take it away when she caught a whiff of what was on the cart, and her stomach immediately sounded its approval.  For the cook had prepared little cornmeal cakes stuffed with sliced ham, onions, green peppers and three different kinds of cheese.

In accordance to her prerogative, Cassandra changed her mind.  For it was, after all, one of her favorite dishes.

When Calvin saw that Cassandra was going to try to eat some, he exclaimed with a big grin, “Good!  For I was sorely dreading having to tell the cook that I had her go to all that trouble for nothing.”

That brought a smile to Cassandra’s face, but she was not really in the mood for conversation yet.  So, they enjoyed the cakes, along with a carafe of freshly-squeezed orange juice, while listening to the delightful concert being held in their honor.

They continued to just listen to the songbirds singing for almost an hour after they had finished eating.  Cassandra also watched a pair of very young bunnies played tag on a lush green carpet of Bermuda grass under a massive live oak that was covered with Spanish moss in the middle of the yard.  Calvin kept his eyes glued on her.

Suddenly, Cassandra’s eyes welled up with tears once again, and with a voice cracking with emotion, she asked, “How is it possible for you to still be alive?”

“When the hogs were let in, they refused to approach.  My body was then brought before my father, and he brought me back to life,” Calvin answered.

“How can this be?”

“Nothing is too difficult for my father to accomplish, but would it not be better to ask about the reason why rather than how?”

“Okay.”  Cassandra’s voice was little more than a whisper now.  “Why?”

Calvin took a deep breath and answered, “It has to do with obtaining something truly special for the both of us.”


“Well, I wanted you to know beyond any and all reasonable doubts that I loved you enough to die for you.  For with our marriage being prearranged, I did not want you to have any concerns about just how much I truly loved you.”

“So, this was all about you wanting to prove yourself to me?”

“Not entirely,” Calvin answered.  Cassandra just stared at him.

After clearing his throat, Calvin continued, “Please understand that I know that your character is beyond reproach, and there is no questioning of your resolve to always honor your marriage vows to the best of your abilities.  Furthermore, I know that you do indeed genuinely love me, and that your love goes far beyond any and all reasonable expectations of honor and duty.  I have always wanted to receive a very special kind of love, however.  For it is relatively easy to love someone who can provide everything you desire—both materially and emotionally, but it takes a very special kind of love to want to stay with someone who has wounded you deeply.  After all that I have subjected you to, that would be the kind of love I would be receiving from you if you would still have me as your husband.”

After taking some time to absorb what she had been just told, Cassandra asked in a distant tone, “So, this was also about me proving myself to you?”

“That is certainly one way of looking at it.  Can you forgive me?”

Cassandra again looked out of the window and spied the two tiny bunnies still romping about under the huge live oak.  She sighed out of envy over their apparent innocence.

Then Cassandra saw a rather large snake on a low hanging branch just above where the bunnies were playing, and her heart filled with terror when the snake slid off of the branch and landed a few feet behind them.  She was about to cry out in an attempt to warn the bunnies of their impending doom when they scampered off before the snake could move close enough to strike.

Cassandra continued to watch as the snake slithered off into a patch of big blue stem grass, and she thought of the minister who had brought the charges of royal disrespect against her.  Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the two bunnies kicking up their heels like nothing traumatic had just happened, and this made her wonder about what the future may hold for her and Calvin.

In the same distant tone she had used before, Cassandra asked, “Whose idea was it?”

“My father and mine,” Calvin answered.

With the tone of Cassandra’s voice becoming a little chillier, she asked, “Was the minister also in on it?”

“Unwittingly,” Calvin replied.

His answer caught Cassandra slightly off-guard.  So, it took a few seconds before she could ask, “What do you mean?”

“My father and I were well aware of the treachery the minister harbored in his heart, and this is why we made sure of him knowing about the arcane statute, which had been left standing in order to facilitate our plan.  Therefore, it can be said that the minister did indeed have his part to play, but the truth is that he had no idea about what was really going on,” Calvin explained.

“I cannot imagine going to such great lengths,” Cassandra replied with her voice trailing off ever so slightly.

“What I have always wanted for us both was well worth paying any price, and you have already said that you wanted it all.”

Cassandra then knew what she should do, and without saying a word, she leapt out of her chair and landed in Calvin’s lap.  The next step in her plan was to engage in a kiss that would make the one they had shared before look like a simple peck on the lips.

Their wedding took place at the time it had been previously scheduled to later that summer.  Both the bride and the groom looked radiant, and the festivities lasted for days.  Needlessly to say, theirs was a love for the ages, and they lived happily ever after as two hearts beating as one and never missing a beat.

Click [here] for a free fancy PDF of the entire book.

Let Your Will Be Done Intro - Chapter 1

Posted by Jerry E Beuterbaugh Labels: ,

This book is an account of a truly unbelievable experience.  The first and last chapters are about the before and after, and I must concede that the initial transition may be rather confusing to most.  This was necessary to avoid giving away too much too soon, but it will all make sense in the end (I hope).

If you are inclined to skip ahead to the end of books you go to read, it would be in your best interest to refrain from doing so with this book.  For skipping ahead would cheat you out of the full effect of the twist at the end.

Please keep in mind that the contents of this book are presented as a fantasy.  Although it is arguable that all of it could actually happen, this is meant to be a fantasy—not reality.  So, if it gets to the point where your logical mind wants to have a meltdown, let your imagination take you to where you may have never dared to tread before.

Chapter One
Quite frankly, the only reason I was out there that night was on account of having had enough.  Simply put, I had come to the conclusion that my life in this world was no longer worth living.

Yeah, I have felt that way on many an occasion over the years, but I was deadly serious this time.  For my beloved wife had been called home years before, and my health (both physical and spiritual) was worse than ever.

Oh, my precious Jenny was everything to me almost from the first moment I layed eyes upon her.  I now know that was a big part of my problem.  For our Heavenly Father was supposed to be my everything, and I had even consistently preached such while trying to maintain a ministry no one wanted to receive much help from.  Nonetheless, I justified my true feelings for her as being nothing more than cherishing a very precious gift from our Heavenly Father to me.

When I first met my precious Jenny, I was wallowing at the bottom of one of my infamous low points.  Low points?  They were really more like bottomless pits of despair to me.  For I have suffered through many trials and tribulations in the pursuit of love and happiness over the years.

Okay, I was as guilty as anyone ever has been of looking for love in all of the wrong places, and it can be argued that there is great value to learning about what not to do.  In any event, I felt like my education was costing me more than I wanted to pay.

Along the same lines, I have always tried to lean heavily upon my sense of humor to survive between times when I no longer wanted to live another second in the sad state of affairs I far too often (in my opinion) found myself in, and I used to try to joke about suffering another heartbreak not being such a bad thing.  After all, I would reason, the heart is mostly made up of muscle and muscle tears/breaks are repaired by the body with scar tissue, which cannot feel anything.  Subsequently, the more heartbreaks one suffers—the less is left of one’s heart to feel pain!  Yeah, I never considered the joke to be all that funny, neither.

When my precious Jenny came along, there was no longer any reason to make jokes like that.  For she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside, and she certainly helped to erase all of the previous pain in my heart.

It was so amazing.  For I had made a truly pathetic fool out of myself many times in the past while literally begging women to love me, but with my precious Jenny, I found a heart longing for love as much as mine.

No, it was not the union of two pathetic fools.  Twenty-seven years of blissful marriage should serve as sufficient proof in and of itself of that to even the most cynical sort.

Okay, our marriage was not all good.  For we were almost always under an enormous amount of financial pressure, but that had nothing to do with the way we truly loved each another.

While I certainly cannot say the same for myself when it came to her loving me, my precious Jenny sure made it easy for me to love her.  For she never left any doubt about her always having my best interest at heart, and she made the best meatloaf I have ever tasted!  Furthermore, she was smokin’ hot (if you know what I mean).

What I still find quite shocking is that what I found the most attractive about my precious Jenny was her mind.  Yeah, I know it sounds like a cliché, but I could talk to her for hours upon end about everything from politics to punditry, sports to science fiction, rock music to religious traditions.

No, I had never before met a woman quite like her.  Of course, it is arguable that I had never really looked for one.  For before I met her, I had to have been as shallow a rutting buck ranging about looking for does in heat as one can be.  During my wilder days, I even enthusiastically embraced an attitude of eight to eighty, crippled or crazy—if they cannot walk, I will drag them!

In all fairness to myself, even though my focus was primarily upon satisfying my own sexual desires, I also wanted to help women as obviously damaged as I was.  After all, why would any of them have wanted to have anything to do with me if they were not so damaged?

I had been raised to be a good Southern Baptist, but as the years went by, what I had been taught at home and church seemed less and less real to me.  All of that changed after my precious Jenny helped to introduce me to who our Heavenly Father truly is.

Well, not exactly.  For what I was being taught by our Heavenly Father was actually quite a departure from what I had been taught at home and church during my youth.  Therefore, it was not like I was being led back to the way I had been raised to go.

Oh my, I was so excited.  For I was starting to truly have a very close and personal relationship with the Lord God Almighty Himself and receiving answers to really important questions being asked by millions upon millions each and every day.  Not that I would be in it for the money, but I could envision making a pretty good living from leading revivals throughout the world.

However, what I did not understand was that the hardness of far too many hearts was exceedingly great, which resulted in very few responding very well to what I was being given to say.  What I also did not understand was that I had been afflicted with an incurable disease, which resulted in me never being able to make enough money to keep us from suffering from an enormous amount of financial pressure.

As if all of that did not already make for quite a cross to bear, medical testing determined that I was indeed sterile.  This was something I wanted to believe was a blessing while I was out there sowing my wild oats, but with my precious Jenny so desperately wanting to have children, I came to consider my sterility as being another curse.

I could at least take some comfort in knowing that my rapidly deteriorating health was not my fault.  For examinations by several doctors of different specialties concluded that my previous lifestyle had not contributed to my current ailments, but seeing how much my disabilities were causing my precious Jenny to suffer made it next to impossible for me take comfort in much of anything.  We used to try to joke about how many jewels were being placed in her Heavenly crown on account of me until it became just plain too painful to laugh about it anymore.

No, tripping down memory lane was not a very pleasant experience for me, and I wanted our Heavenly Father to end my pain—either by killing or curing me.  I did not really care, either way.  Had I done went plumb insane or what?

Considering the fact of me being out there on such a night should erase all doubts about that.  For I cannot imagine anything worse than freezing to death—except for maybe burning to death, which was also a possibility with me calling my Spiritual health into question.

One could say that it sure appeared to be an absolutely incredible night without employing any exaggeration at all.  For it looked more like high noon than around midnight with an extraordinarily bright full moon shining down upon well over three feet of freshly fallen snow and more coming down.

Adding all the more to the surrealism was an occasional gust of wind.  For it would send millions of tiny ice crystals and snowflakes swirling into the air—much like glitter in a snow globe after it has been shook.

In spite of my agony, I just had to smile at the thought of a snow globe.  For one of the funniest things I have ever seen is a Pixar short film about a snowman trying to get out of his snow globe in order to have some fun with a blonde beach bunny, who was urging him to come on over and party with her and her friends.

However, my moment of mirth was just that—a moment.  For what floated through my mind next was an image of our Heavenly Father and dozens of His holy angels laughing their heads off while watching the most popular comedy in Heaven, which was a show about me trying to get out of the snow globe I had been trapped in my entire life.  In reality, I had always thought of my life in this world as being more like being trapped in a vacuum than a snow globe, but the premise remains the same.

“Do you no longer believe in the Lord’s goodness and mercy?”

“I would sure like to,” I replied.


“But I am so very tired.”

“Of what?”

I was just about to give another reply when I realized that the conversation I was having was not in my head.  For a man had evidently walked up to where I was sitting under a large red oak, and he was now sitting next to me in the snow.

After I took a moment or two to adjust to the situation, I decided to discreetly look for the man’s tracks in the snow to see from what direction he had approached me.  Much to my shock, there were not any.

Had he been there long enough for the snow to obscure his path?  No, that could not be it.  For there were the tracks of the deer that had sauntered past without noticing me sitting here an hour or so ago, and in regards to him following in my own tracks, drifting snow had obscured them completely.

“Please forgive me, but I must interject that carrying on a conversation with yourself when someone else can hear it might leave a wrong impression in certain circles,” the man said with a hint of levity to his voice.

That startled me even more.  For I was quite sure I had not uttered a single word out loud since the first exchange.  On the other hand, I was beginning to think that I could not be quite sure about anything at the time.

No, it did not help me to calm down a bit that his face was shrouded in the shadows when I went to see what this person looked like.  Adding all the more to my anxiety was that I could actually feel the intensity of his gaze as it bored down deep into my soul.

After what seemed like hours, which was probably no more than a few seconds, I took a deep breath and asked, “What do you want?”

“Well, right now, I would like to know what you are so tired of,” the man said in a matter of fact tone.

I stared at the silhouette of his face for probably another much shorter period of time than it seemed to me before I asked, “Who are you?”

“A very old friend,” the man answered.

“I do not recognize you.”

“It is hard to recognize others when you do not really know who you are, yourself,” the man said with no hint of levity to his voice this time, followed by a deep sigh.

That really stung.  For I felt like I knew who I was created to be, and yet, there I was trying to force my Creator’s hand.

The man then asked, “What are you doing out here, anyway?”

“I am hoping to go home if my Heavenly Father will still have me,” I answered.

“Why would He not want to still have you?”

Letting out a deep sigh of my own, I answered, “Because of me not being content with the life I was given to live in this world.”

His next utterance caught me somewhat by surprise.  For I was expecting a harsh rebuke, but he actually used a very gentle tone to ask, “Is that what you are so tired of?”

“Most of all, I do not consider it fair at all for Him to give me such a wonderful wife only to take her away from me much too soon.  There are also all of the physical ailments I have not been delivered from, which have greatly contributed to the feeling of being held back that I have had for as long as I can remember.”

“Would you care to elaborate upon feeling like you have been held back?”

“Do you not already know?”

“Humor me.”

“Well, contracting rheumatic fever put me behind at a very early age.  For not only did it stunt my physical growth, it gave my paranoid parents an excuse to do everything they possibly could to keep me safe and sound.”

“Your parents wanting to do everything they could to keep you safe and sound does not sound like such a bad thing.”

“When it included keeping me in their sight almost every second of each and every day, it was certainly not a good thing to me.”

“Every second of each and every day?”

“Okay, they were not with me when I was attending classes in school, but almost everywhere else, one or the other was around.”

“What else?”

“My parents would not let me play football while I was in high school, and I believe I would have been really good at it.  For I was pretty fleet of foot for a white boy back then.”

“Could you not have been on the school track and field team?”

“Yeah, but there were no cheerleaders at the meets.”

“Is there anything else?”

“My parents would not let the school skip me ahead to a higher grade level a couple of times, and I was also held back from making Eagle in the Boy Scouts as early as I could have.”

“Why would your parents not want you to make Eagle as quickly as you could have?”

“Okay, being held back in the Boy Scouts was not of my parents doing, but it sure added to the overall affect.”

The man had leaned forward enough to where I could see the lower part of his face, which was not necessarily a good thing about then.  For it gave me a clear view of a slight grin starting to form as he responded with, “Oh yes, I can see where you had a miserable childhood.  It is a wonder your parents were not brought up on charges of child abuse.”

“Yeah, I know how it sounds,” I quickly fired back, “but one needs to spend some time inside of my head to truly understand what I have been going through.  For I have always felt like I was meant for greatness.  Yet, every perceived opportunity at true success fell flat over the years.  The worst was being allowed and enabled to know and understand so much about what the Lord God Almighty actually says is absolutely true.  For simply pointing out the differences between what has been so widely taught in His name and what He actually says is absolutely true should have ignited a revival that could have spread throughout the entire world, but it has been like knowing that the water is safe to drink among a bunch of people dying of thirst.”

“Would you have preferred Him not revealing those things to you?”

“Well, my precious Jenny was fond of saying that ignorance is bliss.”

“Was it not explained to you that life in this world is meant to appear to be grossly unfair, but great will be the reward for all who will just want to give God the full benefit of their considerable doubts and endure until their time as a part of this world comes to an end?”

“Yes, but there is a big difference between understanding something and having to actually experience it for yourself.”

The grin on his face had been replaced by a look of great concern.  Well, at least to the extent I could see, but I didn’t need to see his whole face to feel his bitter disappointment.

In an effort to hopefully smooth things over as much as possible, I continued with, “To be perfectly honest about it, I do not really know what I want.  For I still want to believe that our Heavenly Father truly is perfect in all of His most awesome ways.  Therefore, I have to be in the wrong, but I just do not have enough strength left to keep fighting losing battles.  It was more bearable when my precious Jenny was still alive.  Can you at least tell me why He had to take her away so soon, and why I have had to endure over ten years without her?”

“It is not for me to say at this time.”

“Yeah, like that comes as a great shock.”

“However, I am here to tell you one thing.”

“Should I hold my breath in eager anticipation?”

“Despite your unjustified bitterness and most unrighteous disrespect, it has been decided to let your will be done.”

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Let Your Will Be Done Chapter 2

Posted by Jerry E Beuterbaugh Labels: ,

Chapter Two
The sun was just starting to think about peeking over the horizon when Zeke left the main house and headed for the tack room in the headquarters stable of his family’s ranch, the Triple E.  It was a familiar sight to the young man, whose full first name was actually Ezekiel, with a middle name of Eton and a last name of Erickson.  For it was a morning routine that he had observed for the past seven years.

Skinny, his buckskin American quarter horse with a black mane and tail, started blowing raspberries at Zeke before he started down the steps of the back porch, and as he drew nearer to the corral, the louder they became.  This was also part of the morning routine.

Skinny also had to crow hop three or four times before he would settle down enough for Zeke to put his headstall in place.  One would be hard-pressed to tell which one was having the most fun.

Just to be clear, Skinny was not skinny.  Oh, he had certainly started out that way.  For Skinny was a rather scrawny-looking foal at the time of his birth, but he grew up quite nicely to be a full fifteen hands high at the withers and weighing in at around 850 pounds.

Skinny was born on the ranch, and Zeke even helped with the delivery eight and a half years before.  It seemed to be love at first sight for both of them.  For Zeke would make a special effort to go see Skinny as much as he could, and Skinny would always kick up his heels and start running around with wild abandon whenever he saw Zeke approaching.

When it came time to start his training, Skinny would prove to be fairly hard to work with unless Zeke was there watching his progress.  Since Zeke had proven to be an excellent rider, the trainer allowed him to be the first to put a saddle upon Skinny and ride him around the pen.  When Skinny acted like this was about as natural a thing as there is, it was concluded that Skinny would indeed be Zeke’s horse.

Speaking of natural things, Skinny did not require much training when it came to roping and cutting cattle.  For he seemed to just know by instinct that he needed to keep the rope tight after Zeke had thrown a loop around the neck or hind legs of a calf, as well as stay in front of the cattle Zeke was wanting to cut from the herd to keep them from rejoining the mix.  

Oh, and there is more to their story that needs to be told.  For aside from being the best all-around ranch horse everyone Zeke knew I had ever heard of, Skinny was always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to insure that Zeke made it back to house safe and sound.

The last time that became obvious happened a little over a week before.  For Skinny had spun out the way just before a charging Hereford bull (taking great exception to being removed from the breeding pasture before he was ready to leave) could bowl them both over.

Of course, Heckle and Jeckle had some say in the matter.  For as soon as Skinny had ducked the bull’s initial charge, Heckle and Jeckle started drawing the bull’s attention away from Zeke and Skinny by nipping at the bull, which was something that his beloved Border Collies were very good at, along with everything else that could be expected of top cattle dogs.

Yes, they made quite a team, and with Zeke now sitting tall in his Tooter Cannon saddle, they made their way down to a back pasture, which was much larger than forty acres.  In fact, it was actually around 440 acres, and sitting next to it was 200 acres of alfalfa, which made up the rest of this section of his family’s ranch.

With it being around 192,000 acres, the Triple E was a huge—even by even Texas standards, and in comparison to other homesteads in the northwestern corner of Arkansas, its size was downright unfathomable.  For just one section of land (which is 640 acres (if you are keeping score at home) was considered to be quite a spread around there.

The Erickson’s holdings had shrunk considerably since the original land grant, however.  For it had started out at close to 576,000 acres that went into what would become the states of Oklahoma to the west, Kansas to the northwest and Missouri to the north.

Much of the original land grant was flat out stolen by the United States government after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  For it did not recognize what Charles the Fifth had granted in 1550 as being a legitimate deed, but the Erickson family was able to secure title to 192,000 acres in the northwestern part of Arkansas.  What is now the Oklahoma state border served as the western boundary of the ranch for the most part, and the eastern boundary ran between a mile and two miles west of where U.S. 71 was built.  What is now the Missouri state border also served as the northern boundary of the Triple E, and the southern boundary ran straight across around ten miles north of where Fort Smith, Arkansas now is.

After Arkansas seceded from the Union in 1861, the Triple E was almost lost again.  For the Erickson family was well known for harboring runaway slaves and even going as far as to purchase their freedom when they could, and the Confederate governor of Arkansas feared that they would align themselves with the Yankees.

So, the governor sent troops to occupy the Triple E, and they were repelled with a great amount of enthusiasm.  The story was that the first shot was fired by Edward Enoch Erickson (Zeke’s great-great-grandfather) after one of the Confederate soldiers called him a blue-belly, and just before he pulled the trigger, Edward had yelled back that anyone who could not tell the difference between a blue Union uniform and a red union suit was too stupid to remove him from his land—let alone win a war.

For the record, the Triple E was declared neutral, but this did not mean that the Ericksons remained uninvolved in the war.  For the ranch served as a sanctuary of sorts for soldiers on both sides, and by the end of the hostilities, well over a thousand men had been nursed back to health after being wounded in one or more of the dozens of skirmishes that had taken place in the area, with more than half of them arriving at the Triple E still wearing what was left of their blue uniforms.

Before the war was officially over, one more attempt was made by Confederate forces to fully secure the resources of the Triple E for their cause, but this one ended without a shot being fired.  For when the colonel in charge of the unit saw that well over half of the men aiming rifles back at his position were recovering Confederate soldiers, he tipped his hat and gave the order for his men to withdraw.

Now, it was said by some that having five cannons (procured by the Ericksons after they were left behind as the Confederates beat a hasty retreat from a stinging defeat up the road a bit, near Pea Ridge) also trained upon the Confederate colonel’s position certainly did not hurt, but Edward had frowned upon such talk.  For he believed that a man’s honor should never be questioned unless he gave a good reason to, and since the Confederate colonel had shown the good sense to recognize that the conquest of the Triple E was not a battle that should be fought, the matter should be left at that.

Well, at least that was the official version.  For every time Zeke’s great-grandfather, Earnest Elisha Erickson, would tell the story, he would give him a big wink after the part about the cannons came up.

Earnest was the source of most of the history of the ranch for Zeke, and the way he said it worked back then was that all of the Confederate soldiers were free to go whenever they were healed up enough to leave.  So were the Union soldiers, but most of them decided that they it would be to their advantage to stay put until the war was at least officially over.  For they were still deep in enemy territory—regardless of who claimed to be in control at a given time, and guarding against horse and cattle thieves was certainly better than getting hung for being a Yankee spy or a Union deserter.

None of that seemed to matter to the carpetbaggers, who had been appointed by the federal government to oversee the reintroduction of the state of Arkansas into the Union after the war was officially over.  For they saw it as their sworn duty to make the Confederate states pay as much as possible for all it had cost to put them back in their place, with the possibility of them reaping some very tidy rewards for their own efforts afterward notwithstanding, of course.  Therefore, places like the Triple E looked ripe for their picking—regardless of what part they may have played in the war.

As it so happened, it was the Ericksons who were able to reap a little of what they had sown.  For the confiscation of the Triple E for the purpose of collecting war reparations was halted by the efforts of four congressmen and three senators in Washington, D.C., who were also the very grateful fathers of Union soldiers, who had been brought to the ranch and nursed back to good health after being left for dead on a battlefield by their respective units.

The battle waged in the halls of Congress was not an easy one to win.  For with the Triple E being one of the largest producers of cattle and horses in the country at the time, along with rapidly growing timber, hay and grain business interests, it represented enough spoils to line many a northern pocket.  Thankfully, there were enough men with a true sense of honor serving at the time to secure the victory.

Over the years, the Triple E came to also include several dairy, pork and poultry operations, which were located where nothing but trees had stood before without the Ericksons being guilty of raping the land.  For they recognized the need for proper land management, and they were careful to not cut too much to begin with and allow most of the harvested woodland areas to revert back to its natural state before any more cutting was done.

Oh, and if it is not obvious by now, it had become a matter of tradition to give each male in the Erickson line two other names that started with an E, with one of them being from the Bible.  This had been evidently started by Earl Eleazar Erickson, who was the recipient of the original land grant, and the object of some mystery.  For no record of just how he came to receive such a huge gift from the Holy Roman Emperor at the time was ever found.

Adding all the more to the mystery was that it was as if Earl Eleazar Erickson had never existed before he received that land grant.  For no record of just who he was (nor where he had come from) seemed to exist, and much digging for clues had been undertaken over the years.

All of that (and a lot more) was going through Zeke’s mind as he inspected the fence around the alfalfa field.  He sighed deeply at the sight of the grass being almost ready for the first cutting of the season.  For he loved being behind the steering wheel of a tractor almost as much as did spending time in the saddle with Skinny, and the smell of a freshly-mown hay field was rivaled only by honeysuckle and mountain heather as being the sweetest smells there can be to him.

Zeke was not expected to do any work on the day of his departure, but it was a big part of his nature to want to do all he could to help when he saw something needing to be fixed.  So, when he came across where some large tree limbs had broken off of an old black oak and were now lying across the top steel cable of the fence, Zeke dismounted to take a closer look.

Most of the fences on the Triple E utilized steel cable instead of barbwire.  For barbwire can be quite harmful to horses, and steel cable holds up a lot better against such things as broken tree limbs.

Zeke still could not stand to see the broken limbs lying across the fence, and he was sorely tempted to go get a chain saw to cut them into firewood.  However, a look in Skinny’s eye reminded him that it would probably be at least four years before they could go out on another ride together.  So, he was content to just drag the broken limbs off of the fence and pile them in the adjacent pasture.

Zeke took his companions on the long way back, which required crossing several small streams and a couple of full-fledged creeks.  None of them minded a bit.

Zeke did not really have a favorite part of the ranch, with him loving the whole of it equally.  The main house was located in the northern third, which was not nearly as mountainous as the southern two-thirds, but there were still plenty of ups and downs to the northern third to give a horse and rider a good work out.

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