Conquering your Goliaths

Conquering your Goliaths

Author: Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Close your eyes and sit back in your chair. Tune out all of the outside noises and the world around you. Take a step away from the sounds, voices and happenings and create a world where you hear just one voice and Listen. As the story begins we meet Ms. Virginia Bean a woman that has worked at the same job for ten years. A job that required that she stand on her feet for many hours and a job that she really did not embrace or enjoy doing. But, when she lost it she found herself floundering and wondering what life had in store for her. Ms. Virginia Bean is about to take a journey in life that will lead her in many directions, teach her numerous lessons, help her deal with her frustrations and anger by learning to overcome the many obstacles we all face but in a unique and different way. After losing her job Ms. Virginia Bean goes on a very one of a kind interview hoping to get a new job. But, what she finds and who greets her is not exactly what she or anyone else would expect. Entering the office of a man called Mr. Spurt she is surrounded by a strange bright light and a room that is totally white. Sitting in a white chair and facing a man behind a white desk she greets him and he asks, “Are you here to find faith.” Stumped at first and really not understanding the meaning behind the question he tries to enlighten her explaining that she was about to receive something special, a stone that would help lead her to where she needed to go. She just had to learn to listen to the stone. Leaving the room and returning home she was puzzled by what she heard and decided to return. When she did the building and the man was not there. Returning home she went to bed and now her journey would begin as the Stone would take her to places she has never been before as you the reader and this reviewer will learn what the first of five stones will relate to Ms. Virginia Bean: Listen. The stone was white and when she finally decided to find out more about it she learned that not only was she Beloved but that was the meaning of the name David who slew Goliath. She also learned from this precious White Stone the meaning of knowledge and how it would help her to find the answers she needed on her journey in life. From there she was able to revisit Mr. Spurt now calling himself Mr. Stream and her lessons would continue. As we get to know both characters we learn more about Ms. Virginia Bean and her thought processes about trying to find the true meaning of the word Listening. As she gains the knowledge that she needs to move ahead and understand the power it yields to do all that she needs to do she returns to the original place and asks more questions. Learning that her name means Pure and that she is his daughter surprises her as she relates that she has made many mistakes and does not feel the word fits her. Frustrations and anger take hold over her until she hears to whisperings of the stone and returns to Mr. Stream and received the second one called Trust. Trust is like a mood ring and the three colors, Black for negative, white the opposite and gray when her mood could go either way, will help her to decide when she is truly ready to trust and take the next step. Being in the presence of God she learns that she is his daughter and can walk with him. The lessons she learns in each chapter and from each stone will guide anyone through life as we all need to really hear or listen to the words and thoughts of others and trust is something very special when it pertains to how we feel about another person.

. She is given 5 different stones. They represent listening, trust, optimism, tenacity and constancy. She learns that these are the 5 things we need to remember to guide us through our lives. Ms.Bean realizes that things are not always as they appear, the future is not always clear, stay optimistic, no two people have the same journey in life and to be constant as to what matters most. Valuable lessons to be learned for sure. I found this short book to be very enlightening and a pleasure to read. When Ms. Virginia Bean looses her job she goes on a journey with God and discovers what she has inside her that she didn’t even know was there. When she meets God he gives her 5 stones (like the 5 stones David used to conquer Goliath). These stones represent exactly what you need in all of life’s quests – Listening, Trust, Optimism, Tenacity, and Constancy. Only when Virginia fully develops all these qualities will she be ready to face what life has to throw at her. And life does throw her a few Goliaths!

All of these qualities (Listening, Trust, Optimism, Tenacity, and Constancy) are traits that everyone needs in their everyday life, not just when trying to find a new job, but when struggling with a relationship, moving, buying a new house, trying to deal with the death of a loved one, anything really that you need help moving on with. Read this first – as a story. But then keep it with you as a reference book for how to use what God gave you for your life.

When the company she works for relocates to another state, Virginia Bean loses a job she’s held for ten years. With no replacement employment lined up, she’s floundering trying to figure out what to do next. Showing up for a job interview, she finds herself embarking on an unexpected spiritual path. Insights, like the fact she hadn’t been happy at her previous job, begin to reveal themselves. Gaining someone’s trust is not an easy task but before Virginia can move ahead she needs to understand that life has many challenges, everything will not always go smoothly and asking the right questions, learning from her previous job and finding the positive which leads to stone 3 Optimism. This stone is brown with dark lines of black running through it. In order to reach optimism she needed to listen and trust and turn to God. Virginia decided to create a list of all the experiences in her life that turned out to be negative. She set upon the next day to go on interviews. Making new friends in her social networking groups and learning to listen, trust and find optimism would be her guides. Going for the interview in the Clothing Factory was unique and the name of the interviewer Mr. Style was apropos. Accepting her negative experiences and using what she learned to create an independent and amazing new Ms. Virginia Bean is only part of the author’s message. Not getting the job really upset her and the reasons she did not surprising as she learns another of life’s lessons from God. With the help of a friend and some creative thinking Virginia would use her knowledge and skills from working at the doughnut factory and her motivational speaking classes and create her own business. Next, Tenacity, the fourth stone that is also white which sends the message, “ Keep Going, Keep Swimming, Keep Writing.” With the help and encouragement of God, her friend Paul, Ms. Virginia Bean decides to take some risks, create her own business and even develop a relationship with Paul. But, what happens next would test her strength, understanding, tug at her heart and hopefully make her stronger. What happens next will give everyone the courage to believe in God, trust, go where life leads you and understand the amazing lessons that Ms. Virginia learned along the way as one kind friend is gone and another door opens. The final stone is Constancy and it is clear. It will help not only Virginia but also everyone know what matters most. It’s meaning and how it will help you handle the problems in life you need to take this part of the journey along with Virginia yourself. To help Virginia and the reader remember the lessons being taught the author has included a Spiritual Guide at the end of this book.

Listening, Trust, Optimism, Tenacity and Constancy are five important words that link everything in this book together. Each stone was filled with energy, God’s voice that was heard by Virginia and the reader and the meanings they imparted in order for everyone to overcome their obstacles or Goliaths. David had to learn how to throw stones and overcome his fears or obstacles too and after reading this well written, thought provoking 104 pages you will be able to make that first move to finding out what you need to do in life and how to get there by overcoming you own Goliaths. Accepting defeat, negatives and learning to move past what life has placed in front of you by asking the right questions, believing in God and having the faith in yourself, are just some of the lessons learned in this book. Read the story of the winepress in the Old Testament and understand the message there and you will find the true meaning of the five stones. Everyone has the power within himself or herself to lean on God, listen, trust and the rest will come. Inspirational, thought provoking and definitely a great book to help guide everyone through hard times. Losing a job can be devastating but using what you know, accepting the kindness and help from others can often bring you through the dark clouds and into the bright light.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

story: Action Line: Porcupine Seeds

Welcome to author: ViJi Chary: Porcupine Seeds

Guest Post: Story Line or Action: Which creates an effective story?

Story Line or Action?

An effective children’s story is a combination of story line and action. The action captures the readers’ interest. But the underlying message of the story line makes the story believable.

My story ideas come from incidents from a child life, news articles or observations that involve children. Most often, I find the punch line or climactic scene first. Then, I work   backwards to develop the main character, dialogue and setting.

Before Porcupine’s Seeds was written, my four year old son and I were planting seeds in pots. My son tripped over the threshold and the soil and seed scattered all over the floor.  This became Porcupine’s climactic scene.

Once, a story came from a conversation with my friend, Monica. She relayed a story of an Easter egg hunt in her home. Her older son hid all the eggs. Her younger son and his friends could not find the final egg. It blended in with the lemons in the lemon tree. This was a perfect climactic scene. I wrote “The Easter Egg Hunt”, a short 100 word story for Highlights for Children.

Another time, I took my daughter and her friend, Ani, bowling. Ani tried to tap dance while he was waiting. The incident sparked a story idea incorporating different dance traditions. I wrote “Brianna’s Beats” for Hopscotch for Girls.

A children’s story is geared to a young intelligent audience. If they do not find a message or character development in the story line, they will sense something is amiss. The main character’s persona needs to grow by the end of the story. He or she cannot be the same person that was introduced at the beginning of the story.

In Porcupine’s Seeds, Porcupine does not just grow sunflowers. He also gains confidence. In “The Easter Egg Hunt”, Dominic unravels the mystery behind the hidden eggs. In his revelation, he feels empowered.  And in “Brianna’s Beats”, Brianna learns different beats from different dance traditions. With her new knowledge, she wants to incorporate them in one dance, showing her creativity.

The growth of character in a story cannot be merely told to the reader. It needs to be seamlessly shown through the character’s action and dialogue. In turn, these actions and dialogues have to be in line with the character’s personality. Young readers are astute. They are sure to spot a story that is sloppily put together and does not feel right.

Starting with the story line works best for me. I follow it with careful development of the main character. This unfolds the message of the story naturally and subtly resulting in a complete and strong story.