Faith Over Fear, Part 3: The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength!

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I hope you all are doing well, brothers and sisters in the Lord! I pray you all are seeking Christ every day and are preparing your hearts for His coming. Jesus could really come back any day, and we always need to be prepared for that! Now today let’s talk about a beautiful fruit of the Holy Spirit that we probably all desire more of in our lives: joy.

“How can I have joy, Lord?”

I asked this to the Lord earlier this year as I was journaling and spending time with Him. His reply? Well, He told me to go inside. So I went inside and shared with my dad about some things God had been speaking to me during that time with Him. Soon my dad and I had a good refreshing laugh, and I was overflowing with joy!

God cares about His children and wants for us to have joy. He created joy, and He created us with a desire for joy!

Not only that, but He wants us to have joy even in the midst of great trials. This is because having joy isn’t about having a feeling, it’s about having Jesus. Even in the midst of trials, if we can cling to Jesus and rejoice in Him, the trials will seem so much less in comparison with God’s goodness. It really is possible to have joy in the midst of great difficulty! 

In fact, James urges us to make the choice to be joyful in these times: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:1-3)

Consider it pure joy? What!? I used to look at that verse in awe, but never did anything about it. It just amazed me. I didn’t know if I could truly put such a thing into practice.

Well, James wasn’t just saying something! He meant it, and he knew it could be true because of our connection with the Holy Spirit, who has an unlimited supply of joy!

How can we feel joy when fear seems overwhelming? The other day I was experiencing a lot of fear. Fear may indeed be an easy thing to give into, but if we are children of the light, we must–and I repeat, MUST–learn how to conquer the fear in our lives through faith in Jesus Christ. As I was reminded the other day, we must stand firm in the Lord and in the power of his might (Eph. 6:10).

Yes, God can meet you in your weakness. But, if we never fight against the fear with the authority of Christ we have been given, we will understandably be overwhelmed by it and be very far from joy.

In spite of our weakness, we have been given the authority of Christ and we must use it! Jesus is with us wanting to strengthen us, and it’s our job to choose to be firm and to choose to fight in the name of Jesus! We must do our part, being instilled with faith, and He will meet us with His strength! And what is His strength?

Nehemiah 8:10b gives an example of people who found that in God, they could find strength, and that strength was in fact joy: “…the joy of the Lord is our strength.”

This is exactly the words the Holy Spirit gave me to fight the fear last night: The joy of the Lord is my strength! As I said those words against the enemy and stood against fear, I experienced so much joy in the Lord! Praise God!!!

Listen up, folks. Joy is not just a good feeling, it is a weapon God has give us. Joy is a weapon we have been given through the Holy Spirit to counteract the fear in our lives!

It’s OK if you have to fight again and again… and again. Do NOT let the enemy make you feel stupid. PERSEVERE in the power of the Holy Spirit, standing strong against the enemy and praising God with the joy He has given you. Hallelujah! Wishy-washy words aren’t going to give you victory over fear. Only a spirit standing firm, rejecting fear, and praising God can bring you victory–all in the name of Jesus!

Let me tell you, I haven’t always been a “strong” person. In fact I hesitate to call myself strong now, because I still have so many moments of weakness, and I know I am completely weak and helpless without Jesus.

But ever since I have discovered how necessary it is to fight against fear, doubt, and unbelief, that come at me, I have learned to be a fighter. And learning to be a fighter has taught me how to be a joyful person.

A year ago, I would probably have said something like: “Oh, that’s not my thing.” I am so against hurting things, guys, really! The thought of going to a shooting range to shoot even just targets does not appeal to me.

Still, when you are a child of God, you must learn to fight against the spiritual forces of evil. (These are the only things God calls us to fight in Scripture–people themselves we are called to love.) You must admit that these dark forces will ALWAYS be dark and they deserve NO compassion. God is calling you to rise up and drive them out of your life in the name of Jesus! Give up on fear. Get on your knees. Get sanctified in the blood of Jesus. He will strengthen you!

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13

Even in the midst of your pain, your struggle, your devastating circumstances, your everyday job, your finals during school, your family relationships–whatever you are going through, put on the full armor of God! Stand your ground. Stop letting these circumstances drown you and rise above them in the victory you have in Jesus.

Bring your hurts to God. Every hurt. Bring your burdens to God. Every burden. Bring everything to God in prayer and rejoice in His love! He is good! He is kind! He is faithful!

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21

This verse encourages me many times. Don’t let fear overwhelm you. Don’t let your emotions overwhelm you. Don’t let your circumstances overwhelm. Rise up and trust in the Lord! Rise up and praise Him!

Today, my challenge to you is to rejoice, as Philippians 4:4 talks about: “Rejoice always! Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Paul doesn’t just tell us to rejoice one time, he repeats himself, and he says to rejoice all the time! Don’t be defeated by lies or circumstances, but rise up and praise the Lord! Sing praises to God to combat fear and worry.

Choose to believe that He is in control and He is so, so good. Choose to believe that He is better and more satisfying than your circumstances, and that eternity in heaven with Him is something worth rejoicing about. Hallelujah!

He has saved you and bought you at a great price with the precious blood of Jesus. You can put to death fear because Jesus died and you can rise up with joy because Jesus came to life again. Praise the Lord! Praise Him forevermore!!! (I am extremely happy writing this post, if you can’t tell. These exclamation points aren’t just here, they are trying to express what is going on inside me. 😀 😀 😀 YAY! Thank You, Jesus!!!)

Choose joy today, Beloved!

Choose a joy that fights and believes and remains steady and strong no matter what tries to diminish it. Choose a joy that strengthens you and nourishes you with the holy presence of God. Choose a joy that is totally worshipful and in awe of our precious Savior who bled and died for us so we might live in unity with Him now and forever!

I used to have trouble believing that God wanted me to enjoy Him, but one time at a conference my new friend (who later became one of my dearest friends) said to me: “I am going to pray for you to have fullness of joy in God’s presence.” I was thinking something like: “Ok… That’s nice, I guess?” I didn’t really believe such joy was possible.

But guess what? By the end of the conference I was bursting with joy in God’s presence. I was worshiping my heart out to Him! I was discovering how truly satisfying He was and always is, far more satisfying than anything this earth can supply. I had never experienced such unfathomable joy before. I had never before realized how much God delights in filling His people with joy. He wants to fill your cup today, till it overflows, like in Psalm 23!

God is good, friends! He is so, so good. I pray you all experience boundless joy, energy, and life from the Holy Spirit today. I pray you all learn to stand firm in the Lord, fight against fear by the power of the Holy Spirit, and praise God in the middle of the storm! Joy overcomes fear! Light overcomes darkness. Good overcomes evil. Jesus overcomes your weakness with His strength!

Jesus is with you always, and I personally believe Jesus is coming very soon, so be prepared! Endure and persevere through the end, considering it pure joy as the Lord refines you through these times. No matter how bad things get, you will end up a more beautiful masterpiece on the other side, with a closer intimacy with our precious Savior.

Fix your eyes on Him, each and every day. Live each day to the fullest for Him. And please, by all means, share about the incredible joy and life God has given you with every person possible–stranger, friend, or family! You have a story worth sharing. And there’s people out there who need to hear it.

Remember, Beloved: You are so precious to God, far more than you can imagine. ❤

Have a blessed night, brothers and sisters!

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11




6 Things I Learned at a Writers’ Conference

Brief Update: So I realize I never explained what happened at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference back in May… Maybe I had an excuse or two: getting graduated from high school, parties, having a birthday, going on three trips in the summer, and now figuring out this college thing. Haha! So I’ve been pretty […]

via 6 Things I Learned at a Writers’ Conference — Grace Caylor

S10: Round Table Round Robin


So, my creative writing class named ourselves The Writers of the Round Table. This week we did a Round Robin, where we each contributed to a story. I hope you enjoy!

“If I had known then what I know now, maybe things would have been different.” (GAINES)

She put her ballpoint pen to rest on the tray table in front of her.  Leaning her head against the window pane, her grey eyes stared dully over the rushing world outside. The train whistled hauntingly as it tore through the fog of the Appalachian countryside. (TAY & RAY)

I really wish they served fried chicken on these things, she thought, eyeing the overpriced bread rolls in the dining cabinet to the rear. (LYFORD) Not that even fried chicken could improve her mood (COPELAND).

“Hey,” her cousin Adam said as he took the seat across from her, fingers unbuttoning his suit jacket. He noticed her pensive, sorrowful face and sighed, looking out the window (MCHOPE).

“Why don’t you tell me what’s wrong, Latasha?  You’ve been sitting there silently for an hour and a half,” he said, bringing her out of her thoughts. (KENDALL)

Latasha gazed down at the crisp, blank pages in her journal.  Why won’t the words form on their own? (YOSHIOKA)

Adam’s voice broke in on her thoughts again. “Hey, I’m still here.” (COPELAND)

“May I offer you a cup of tea?” a young waiter coming up the aisle asked politely. The train suddenly rumbled, spilling his tea all over the table cloth and Adam’s white shirt. “I’m sorry… I’m so sorry…I am really, truly, very sorry!” he gasped rushing to clean up the hot liquid. (Zuiderveen)
Adam jumped as the hot liquid soaked his skin, but he regained his composure almost instantly. (KENDALL) He let out his frustration in a quick breath then smiled at the waiter through clenched teeth.
“It’s fine,” he said in a genuine tone. “I’m sure it happens all the time on such a…bumpy train.” (NORTH)

The waiter sighed, and explained, “The newer trains are equipped with air suspension, but unfortunately, this one didn’t get it.  I guess that’s why people like, uh,” he glanced over, “authors ride the economy lines.” (LYFORD)

Latasha blushed hotly and shoved her notebook away into her satchel, out of sight. Humans. They were always jumping to conclusions. (COPELAND)

It wasn’t that they couldn’t afford to travel on the economy lines, it was that this train was the only one that could take her to where she needed to be. Where both her cousin and her needed to be. She could deal with a few bumps. (SCOTT)

Latasha stared out at the strange landscape rolling by.  Green trees, green grass, green flowers. Didn’t they have any other colors of vegetation? (Mr.SuSpence)

She shifted her gaze back to the cabin where, hopefully, a more interesting scene lay. (NORTH)

Most of the train was completely empty; people tended to prefer the newer and faster trains, but she spotted several other races that she recognized nearby. Across the aisle from her was the purple-skinned features of a Skorlax sitting next to another human. A few seats in front of them was a pair dark-skinned, white-haired Drow companions. (GARRISS)

“Ma’am? Can I get you anything?”

Latasha looked back at the waiter, wondering if this self-styled “economy line” carried anything fit for Martian consumption, let alone hers. (COPELAND)

“I’d like some hydrohydroxic acid,” she finally stated, opting for the safest bet. (LYFORD)

The waiter blinked. “Ma’am?” She asked confused. (SCOTT)

Adam covered a laugh with a cough next to her as she smiled and explained, “Sorry. I’d like some water, please.” (GARRISS)

Visibly relieved, the waiter hurried away. Adam raised an eyebrow, looking at his cousin. “That’s it? You feeling alright?” (COPELAND)

Latasha sighed, coming to terms with the fact that she’d have to tell her cousin at least part of the truth. “Adam,” she whispered, looking around to make sure there was no one nearby, “Adam, I want you to listen to me very closely. Nothing is as it seems on this train, so I want you to listen to what I’m about to tell you, and whatever you do, don’t ask questions.” (KENDALL)

“Okay?” he replied somewhat hesitantly. He almost had a smile on his face. He’s not even taking this seriously. (NORTH) Reaching into his pocket, Adam withdrew a glossy folded flyer. “Very cool, Latasha, but how about we check out some of these monuments and decide which ones we want to see when we get to — ” (COPELAND)

“No.”  Latasha cut him off.  “Look, I don’t think you want a bullet through your head so early on this journey–and assuming that, I think we’re on the same page here.  Let’s get started.” She pulled the notepad across the tray table and pointed it towards Adam, flipping away from the front page. Apparently, this wasn’t a journal at all.  (LYFORD)

Adam looked down uncomfortably at the detailed pages of the notebook. It contained drawings of some kind, things he didn’t recognize, and notes in a language he couldn’t read. (GARRISS)

“I’ve come across some things that maybe I shouldn’t have,” she began, scanning the pages. “Most of it is here, but I’m still missing a couple pieces that will give everything some clarity.” That was assuming she could find those pieces before someone else did. (NORTH)
“Oh, you came across something you shouldn’t have? Surprise, surprise,” Adam commented with a smirk. “But seriously, Latasha, what do you think you’re talking about?” (COPELAND)

Maybe the straightforward way was the best way.  “Ok, deep breath. And…” She took off her shoes, which she made sure to always wear wherever she went.  “…look at my toenails.” (Mr. SuSpence)

Adam hesitantly peered down and was greeted by what, at a glance, appeared to be regular feet but upon further inspection, were obviously not. The toenails were an odd shade of purple, not the shade of a bruise or other injury, instead a more unnatural, bright hue. He looked back up at Latasha, confusion evident on his face. (NORTH)

“I… I don’t know why they look like this…” Latasha’s voice trembled.  “I tried to rip it off, but it’s stuck!”

“Well, you didn’t try hard enough!” Adam accused as he reached for her feet. (YOSHI)

Latasha jerked her feet backwards, away from him. “I already tried to rip the toenail completely off, Adam. It hurts, and it doesn’t work.” She slipped her shoes back on before he could reach them. (GARRISS)

Adam stared at his cousin with concern.  He was done with the jokes. This was a serious matter. (YOSHI)

Taking a deep breath, Latasha pulled her notebook back in front of them again. “But look, I think I found a connection between the purple stuff that’s on my toes, and that brown goo that’s been taking over the forests.” (GARRISS)

“You mean there’s another color on Earth besides green?” Adam mocked, longing for the red dust back home on Mars.  “And what would brown goo have anything to do with the stuff on your feet?”  (YOSHI)

“That’s what I’m trying to figure out — I think I may be onto something. And even though you only really came to tour, I guess you’re stuck with me.” Latasha flashed her cousin a smug grin. (COPELAND)

“Looks like,” he said as his eyes wandered back to the journal that still lay open on the tray table. “But how do your purple toenails and the brown goo relate to all those drawings and stuff?” (NORTH)

Shaking her head, Latasha avoided Adam’s gaze. In the ensuing silence, the train’s piercing whistle shattered the air again, echoing in the small car. “None of it makes any sense,” she finally whispered, staring out the windowpane into the mist. (COPELAND)

“I went to what the humans call a spa,” Latasha confessed, earning a horrified gasp from Adam.  “That’s when the purple stuff first appeared on my nails. And then I was forced to bathe in the same brown goop we saw in the forest the other day — I think it i was called a mud bath.”  (YOSHI)

Adam stared at her, slowly shaking his head, his eyes wide. “Latasha, what in the Milky Way were you thinking?” (COPELAND)

“Nobody saw me, don’t worry.” Latasha shook her head and shrugged. “I’m tired of having to hide when Earth’s so different from home and I’ve only got a few more months to explore it all.” (ABLESON)

“But you could have been seriously hurt! What if the purple on your toenails spreads to your fingernails or your hair? There must be some way to get rid of it,” cried Adam completely exasperated. (ZUIDERVEEN)

“I know there should, but nothing seems to work. I tried baking soda, a sticky gel from the train bathroom, and scrubbing it until my feet were sore. Nothing seems to make it budge,” she sighed. (GUSTAFSSON)

“Okay, hold up,” Adam said, looking gravely into her eyes. “You have three months, Latasha. You can’t just do anything to yourself in the hope that it might work; you don’t have enough time for that.” (COPELAND)

“I know, I know,” she sighed, “but of course, there is one thing I haven’t tried yet.”

Adam’s eyes grew wide in horror.  “You don’t mean… you can’t possibly mean…” (KENDALL)

She nodded wordlessly, pulling a small, evil-looking vial from her personal storage module.  Nail Polish Remover, it read.  Adam gasped.  “Don’t breathe tha–”
She cut him off with a nod and a sickly smile.  She knew. (LYFORD)

The waiter chose that moment to walk by and set a magnetic-tumbler of water down on the tray in front of Latasha. Adam straightened his shoulders, assuming an impassive expression, and Latasha tried for a casual smile; neither attempt succeeded.

“Ah… is there anything else I can help you with, ma’am?” asked the waiter, staring at the cousins’ faces with mild concern. (COPELAND)

Latasha tried to conceal the vial in her hands as she shook her head.

“I believe all is well,” she replied, glancing at her cousin as if checking for his opinion. She just hoped that avoiding eye contact would leave the waiter unsuspecting of their situation. (NORTH)

As soon as the waiter left Adam turned towards Latasha and slammed his palm on the table. “You can’t be serious. That will burn your skin and melt your brain Latasha!” (SCOTT)

He had barely finished his sentence when the train lurched, causing the bottle to fly out of Latasha’s hand and roll down the aisle.

“Quick!” Latasha hissed. “If that stuff gets into the wrong hands, we’re all going to die.” (KENDALL)

Adam leaped to his feet and raced as quickly as he could down the aisle without raising suspicion. Thankfully, the bottle got stuck in a small notch on the side of another passenger’s seat. Adam was just breathing a sigh of relief when a hand reached down from the side of the seat and picked the bottle up. (GARRISS)

“Looking for something?” The man smirked, turning the bottle over in his gloved hands. (ABLESON)

Gritting his teeth, Adam straightened and forced a friendly smile. “Ah, yes, I –” (COPELAND)

“The human next to us dropped that!” Latasha interrupted quickly from behind him. “We were just grabbing it for him.” (GARRISS)

Adam winced as recognition flashed across the stranger’s features at the word “human.” With a smooth motion, the man dropped the bottle into the deep pocket of his traveling coat. (HIRCHERT)

Latasha tried to laugh and eyed her cousin worriedly. Adam’s strained smile faded from his face as he slipped back into his seat. Their only hope was gone… (ZUIDERVEEN)

“Um,” said Latasha, searching her brain for something to say. “So – you collect nail polish?” (ABLESON)

“No,” the man replied coolly, and turned away to face the window.

Latasha widened her eyes and raised her eyebrows at Adam behind the man’s back, trying to convey the general message of do something. Baffled, Adam only blinked in response. (COPELAND)

Remembering a phrase from a history textbook about Earth, Latasha attempted to casually say, “So, how ‘bout those freshly baked communists, huh?” (MCHOPE)

Choking, the man spun around in his seat, his eyes bulging from their sockets. All his chilly reserve had melted like butter. “Who are — ” (COPELAND)

“Unfortunately, I’m an abnormally large creature”, Latasha answered, winking.  That joke had always worked back home. (KENDALL)

“Dude, take a deep breath,” Adam told the man, who looked in danger of exploding. “Not with the diversity movement, I take it?” (COPELAND)

“Well, um…” Latasha searched for the expression she’d heard a million times. “Regurgitation to self… Not everyone’s as we expected.” (NORTH)

“Regurgi–” the man started. “What are you people, some sort of aliens?”  “HA HA HA”, Latasha laughed, glancing helplessly at Adam, “That’s soooo funny, isn’t it Adam?” (KENDALL)

But perhaps now was a good time to simply walk away. “I’d better get back to my, you know, notebook,” she fumbled, trying for a bright smile. “Got to keep jogging, you know?” (COPELAND)

The man arched an eyebrow and gave her a peculiar, suspicious, skeptical look. (MrSuSpence)

Adam mirrored it, turning to his cousin and saying,  “Never heard that one, Latasha.”

“These humans,” sighed Latasha under her breath. “They can’t seem to decide whether they’re journaling or blogging on the Internet these days.” (COPELAND)

“Excuse me,” a woman in the aisle over said, leaning in. She eyed the man with a wary eye, but she spoke to the cousins. “Did this man take your nail polish remover?” (MCHOPE)

At that moment, a butterfly the size of an elephant flew past the train window.  Latasha screamed, ducking down in the train aisle. Adam looked around, not knowing what in the Milky Way was even going on anymore. (KENDALL)

“Please, no butterflies,” Latasha whimpered into the train’s floor. “No butterflies.” (MCHOPE)

Adam crouched in the aisle next to his cousin, resting a hand on her shoulder. “If we stay calm, maybe it’ll just fly on by,” he suggested hopefully. (NORTH)

Latasha hesitantly glanced back at the window, a whole swarm of butterflies now buzzing past them.  “OH NO THEY’RE MULTIPLYING!” she screamed, grabbing her cousin by the collar and pointing at the ferocious beasts.  “They’re twitching their legs — ew look at that — THAT’S NOT NORMAL!” (YOSHI)

By now, Latasha wasn’t the only one yelling; everyone in the train car had noticed the strange sight. Some joined in Latasha’s screaming, while others simply stared out the windows in petrified fascination. As the sole passenger apparently unaffected by the butterflies, Adam decided he would have to be the voice of reason, so he (COPELAND) shut the window blinds.  (YOSHI)

Latasha, and everyone else in the car, now had something between them and the butterflies besides glass.  They could see the light flickering between the blinds as the flying monsters zipped up and down the car as it rattled on down the track.  (MrSuSpence)

Adam glanced around the quieting train car full of people who were still getting over their initial shock, and he spotted the woman who had made an inquiry before the whole crisis began. Remembering that, on Earth, it was rather rude to leave questions unanswered, he felt the need to reply, be it delayed.

“Yes, miss,” he said, leaning towards her, “this man did take the nail polish remover.” (NORTH)

The woman stared at him. “There were butterflies the size of elephants out there!” She whispered hoarsely, “I don’t care about the nail polish remover anymore!” (GARRISS)

Adam waved a hand in the direction of the window blinds. Humans were a little slow sometimes. “I don’t see any ‘butterflies the size of elephants,’ so maybe we can talk about the — ” (COPELAND)

Suddenly, the man that stole the vial from the cousins stood up and swiftly opened a window.  Ignoring the shrieks from the human woman, he pulled out the nail polish remover, twisted the cap open, and flung the contents at the evil insects.  The oversized butterflies hissed as the fiery liquid burned through their exoskeletons. (YOSHI)

The train car’s passengers watched in horror and relief as the remover exposed the malicious insects’ weakness – acetone? The specifics didn’t matter very much; many of the butterflies melted and many more began flying away from the threat. Crisis…averted? (NORTH)

“Latasha?  Lataaasha???  Hey!”

Adam snapped his fingers in front of his daydreaming cousin.  The young authoress blinked in surprise as the train cabin reverted back to it’s normal, boring, tea-stained state.  (YOSHI)


“I asked how your Sandbox for Creative Writing was going,” Adam said, raising a curious eyebrow.

“Oh, I think I have the perfect plot twist,” Latasha said, suddenly laughing, “but I think that things would have been a whole lot different if I had learned early on not to procrastinate.” (KENDALL)

Adam chuckled, just as Latasha opened the worn pages of her notebook. “What’s that?” he exclaimed.

Latasha hid her face with the notebook, so he wouldn’t see her plans to take over the world. (CAYLOR)

Chapter 9 of The Healer of Istagun – Risen


This is the ninth chapter in my ten-chapter fantasy novella. So close to finishing! I hope you enjoy! Feel free to comment below your thoughts or any feedback that could make this climax better. 🙂 Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

The first thing Tarquin did when we reached shore was rush me passed the fight and into Tiana’s house. Gently, he laid me in a bed. I was too weak to sit up as he spooned Gesu’s blood into my mouth.

At first it was painful to swallow, like my throat was on fire. But then, as it trickled down, a miraculous taste as sweet as a cherry filled my mouth.

“It’s terrible, isn’t it?” he asked me, wincing.

I grinned, as energy spread through me. “No, it’s… it’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted!”

He raised a brow quizzically.

Amazement rushed into me as I jumped out of bed and wrapped my arms around him.

“The plague is gone—completely gone!”

He clasped my arms and withdrew slightly, looking into my face in wonder. “Praise Gesu!”

“What are we waiting for?” I exclaimed. “Let’s save the others!”


Thankfully, the battle had not yet touched the village where the sick ones lay in the homes of the kind elderly people. In his loud deep voice, Tarquin ordered the healthy old folks to bring the sick ones out of the ice homes into one place, so they could more quickly be healed. Many were doubtful at first, but I testified to the miraculous power of Gesu’s blood.

“Dahlia.” Prima flew up to me and embraced me quietly. “You look well today, girl.”

I grinned as I explained to her the miracle. “Where is Kari?”

Her face flooded with pain. “He’s so sick—I don’t know what to do.”

Tarquin was feeding the blood to many people already, so I didn’t say a word to him as Prima led me to Kari.

His eyes were closed shut, and tumors covered his once-soft skin.

“He hasn’t moved for hours,” Prima said, shivering. “And there…” She pointed to three young boys beside him.

I nodded but remained emotionless. Mechanically, I bent down to him and fed him from the small bottle Tarquin had given me. When he opened his eyes, he smiled and jumped up into my arms, laughing. “DAHLIA!”

I hugged him tightly and set him down. “All right, all right!” I laughed. “How are you feeling today, kid?”

Before he could answer, he turned to Prima and gave her a hug that sent her tiny frame toppling to the ground.

“Be careful—remember she’s a fairy!”

But I couldn’t blame him. Inside me, I couldn’t have felt more joyful with this new life coursing through my veins. Yet there were so many more people in need of healing.
Andrea. The thought stole my happiness in an instant. She had been my best friend for as long as I could remember. I couldn’t let her die along with Hollis.

As I began scouting out the sick ones to find Andrea, Tarquin hurried up to me. “Dahlia, I need to help the Summer humans and Gesu-followers fight Hazina’s fairies. As soon as you heal the men, instruct them to go to shore to help us.”

“Of course.” I searched his handsome face, not knowing what might happen to him once he confronted the powerful fairies. “Don’t die, Tarquin.”

I hadn’t meant it as a joke, but he smiled. “I won’t, Dahlia. I’m going to be King.”

With that, he ran off.


“Dahlia…” When the strained voice reached my ears, I swiveled around.
Andrea lay in the snow, with a beautiful old woman spooning broth into her mouth.

The woman lifted her head when she saw me, locking her blue eyes onto me. “Dahlia,” she said again. “Your friend needs you.”

I rushed to Andrea, ignoring the old woman. “My friend, it’s been so long. I’m so sorry. I wish I’d—you’d never believe what happened–are you all right?”

She looked up at me, but, for once in her life, she didn’t speak a word. She was no longer the bright, outgoing young woman I knew a few days ago. I remembered how she’d teased me about the strange miner staring at me from across the field. Had he loved me then? I shook the thought off and brushed her hair out of her face.

I quickly brought out the bottle and fed her a small drop, so as to save plenty for the others.

Slowly, she sat up. “Wow… what was in that bottle?”

I pulled her to her feet, chuckling. “I’ll tell you another time.”

We embraced each other, giggling like young girls again in the Spring orchards. “I’ve missed you so much,” Andrea said.

I regretted to think I had been so focused on Hollis that I hadn’t thought much of her.

“I’m so sorry, Andrea. There’s so much to tell you.”

“About that miner boy?” Andrea raised her brows, and for once I was glad to see her being herself again. “I saw him walking around here a few minutes ago…”

“His name’s Tarquin.” I shrugged at her growing smile. “He’s… he’s my friend now.”

I ached at the thought of him. Feelings I hadn’t realized existed rushed inside me. He was so good to me. I wouldn’t ever be able to repay him for all he had done for me. I could never repay Gesu either—he had paid his own life for me.

But… not in time to save Hollis.

“Tarquin’s fighting the fairies by the sea,” I said quietly. “As soon as this stuff heals everyone, we can all help him.”

“What’s wrong, Dahlia?” Andrea leaned forward, her hand on my shoulder, looking deeply into my eyes like the friend I had always known and loved.

I turned away and sat down on a fallen log. She sat beside me, her kindness seeping through her dark eyes. I’d forgotten how much she loved me. Guilt wrecked me. I had done nothing to deserve her affection, always scorning her for her silliness and carefree nature.

“I feel… paralyzed.” My voice was feeble. “Andrea, it’s true. Hollis is dead. It’s more than I can bear.”

She wrapped her arms around me and sang softly, a song she’d so often sung to Hollis and me in the nights when we were young children, staring up at the stars. She was like an older sister to us—or a mother? Were mothers like this? I didn’t know.

“It’s just you and me… us together. The flowers bloom, it’s lovely weather today…”

Hollis used to sing it all the time. I remembered my dream about her… and about the longing for something more. The stars. I looked up at the brilliant little lights dancing across the black sky.

Thank you, I whispered silently up at them.

“—Andrea! We need to heal these people with Gesu’s blood.” I stood up and pulled at her hand.

“Blood? Yuck!” She yanked her hand out of mine and looked at me strangely.

I explained to her quickly the miraculous healing Gesu provided. “He healed you,” I finished proudly.

She gasped and shook her head. “I don’t know, Dahlia.”

I smiled. “I’ll show you.”


As Andrea witnessed strength returning to the sick, she laughed. “That’s truly amazing, Dahlia! But you need to stop saying it’s this Gesu person who caused all this. There’s something in that bottle! A spell, or something.”

I tried to explain to her that the great Queen Hazina had caused the plague, and therefore no spell could overcome it.

“I can’t believe that.” She shook her head. “What has that miner boy been telling you?”

I ignored her as I tilted the bottle into a middle-aged man’s mouth. It was the same man in Autumn, I now realized, who had bemoaned about his wife and children being taken from him. The man opened his eyes and sat up, looking up at me bewilderedly. “Dahlia?”

I gasped. How did he…?

He embraced me, tears streaming down his cheeks. “My daughter… He told me you were my daughter.”

I hugged him in return, astounded. “Gesu?”

“Yes,” he murmured. “In my dreams. But this is real! You are really here, my sweet child!”


A few hours passed of simultaneously chatting with my father and curing the sick ones with Andrea until we had finished.

I told him of dear Hollis, my life in Summer and Spring, and my recent adventures. He told me of how he had fallen in love with a woman named Mariella, gave birth to each of his daughters, and how recently Mariella passed away from the plague.

Finally, I spoke to the rejoicing humans who had been cured of disease: “If you are able and willing, please go to the battle to help fight against Hazina’s fairies.”

As people found spells and weapons, Andrea looked at me fearfully. “How are we going to do this? You cannot trust a dead man, Dahlia.”

Distress gripped me at the thought of the humans and Gesu-followers dying in battle—of Tarquin dying. No. Not him.

“Gesu is not dead,” I said firmly, though I did not know how I was so sure of this. “He is alive inside of us. With his power, we must fight, or else we will die.”

“You’re right, my daughter.” My father stood quietly beside me, placing a hand on my shoulder. “We don’t have much choice.”


As we reached the shore, my anxiety heightened. The Hazina-followers had circled around the Summer humans and Gesu-following fairies. They’d bound them up to poles. In the center, Tarquin was writhing against the ropes as a fire culminated beneath his feet.

The mud wall monsters from Spring and Autumn were marching toward us, and in between them Queen Hazina flew in all her splendor, colorful spells exuding from her and armed fairies by her side. Behind her, the Treelanders, undoubtedly under some sort of mind-bending spell, marched with swords made of the sharpest wood and shields made from the toughest leaves.

My heart pounded in my chest, and my father looked at me, concerned and alarmed. I did not look at him.

Tarquin was staring at me, from across the field of snow. The shore splashed on the rocks yards away from him. I stared back, horror coursing through me, even through these veins that rushed with new life.

His dark tortured eyes called out to me, undeniably, silently screaming, “I love you, Dahlia!”

I ran toward him, though my father yelled from behind me. I ran past the Hazina followers, past the loyal followers of Gesu tied to poles, I ran to the center, to the flames that blazed beneath my king.

“What are we going to do now?” I shouted up to him, tears streaming down my cheeks. If only my tears could put out this fire. But that was the hopeless romantic in me. Tarquin could never be mine—he could never be mine even if children didn’t exist.

He was going to die.

I looked into his eyes, aching all over, wishing I could express how thankful I was for all that he had done for me.

“Dahlia,” he choked. “You need to leave.”

“I need to save you—how can I save you?” Desperation filled my voice.

Suddenly, a Hazina-follower grabbed me and tied me to a pole beside Tarquin. Soon a fire was lit beneath my feet.

Tarquin cried out in agony as the flames began to smolder him.

Away from the scene, stood the humans from the village, including Andrea and my father, who didn’t know what to do. They didn’t want to run out here and end up like me.

All at once, Prima and the good fairies burst forward, and a great battle ensued between those who followed Hazina and those who followed Gesu. With the Treelanders and the mud walls on Hazina’s side, the good fairies were greatly outnumbered.

I watched as Prima cast soothing spells on the mud walls, and began talking to them, as if convincing them to join Gesu’s side. Soon Queen Hazina found out and got rid of Prima’s spell. A Treelander pitted Prima with the wooden sword while Prima fought back with her spontaneous spells. The wooden sword accidently turned into a bat, looked confused for a second, and then flew away, leaving the Treelander defenseless. But just as Prima rose her clear blue wand to strike another spell, a Hazina fairy electrocuted Prima, and she fell to the earth, helpless and paralyzed.

Prima. I wanted to shout her name, but the smoke was suffocating. I winced as I felt a flame on my own foot.

I glanced at Tarquin, terrified as I saw his feet being burnt bit by bit, and the fire mounting higher and higher to his ankles and legs. He screamed.

That scream shattered any innocence I had left in me. I sobbed wretchedly, broken, and so alone. Gesu, where are you now? Your blood saved my life. Why do you let me die? Why do you let Tarquin die, when you promised he would be King?

Just then, a cry rose through the air. A sweet, innocent crying out in terror. It shook my nerves, so I turned toward the noise, toward the shore.

I caught my breath. Hollis stood in a flowing white dress, her blond hair whipping in the wind, her face soft and beautiful. She was smiling.

Behind her, thousands of humans stood, glowing, radiant as the Summer sun.

The battle came to a sudden halt. Everyone stopped and stared, mesmerized and baffled by the beauty of these humans.

Gesu stepped forward, calling out in a deep voice, “Queen Hazina, these are the people you tortured with the plague. These are the ones who died from the poisonous waters. These are my friends that I have brought back from the graves of Midfuna Island.”
And before anyone could gasp or murmur let alone get a good look at him, he vanished into the Winter air.

Queen Hazina fluttered toward the risen dead, her guard fairies by her side. “What is this!?” she roared into the silence of the crowd.

I clenched my teeth as the fire licked my feet and ankles, withholding a shout. Murmurs of pain filled the air around me from the others who hung on poles.

To my astonishment, Hollis, meek and quiet, stepped forward, a smile still on her face. “My queen, you have no idea what Gesu had to go through to get us back. Your sin destroyed us, and only Gesu was strong enough to give us life again. Now before you kill us all off again, I ask you to listen to me.”

Hazina groaned. “To a little girl!? Are you kidding me?”

“It is the least among us that Gesu uses,” Hollis said simply. “Now, I bet you never considered the details of your plan to destroy the human species. Your sole object was to better Istagun’s economy, right?”

Hazina’s rainbow wings fluttered violently. “All right, whatever. Continue!”
I hung on that pole, my feet on fire, tears escaping me. What was Hollis thinking, to anger the queen like this?

“Well, what you didn’t realize, was that people were risking their lives to save the people they loved. Take Dahlia, for instance. My sister risked everything, even traveling to all of the seasons to find me.” Hollis quickly continued before Hazina could respond. “Dahlia risked her life for me. Have you ever known that kind of love, my queen?”

Tears continued to drip down my cheeks as Hollis spoke, but now more out of amazement rather than the pain in my limbs as the fire crept up and the smoke stung my eyes. My sister had matured over the years she’d spent in Spring without me. But even more, these words seemed to come from the power of Gesu who lived inside her.

“Gesu let your fairies kill him, so the sick ones could drink of it and be healed. Have you ever known that kind of love?”

Hazina folded her arms across her chest, impatient. “Get on with your rhetorical questions!”

Hollis shrugged. “You can answer them if you’d like.”

Hazina laughed. “Okay, I’ve never known that kind of ‘love,’ whatever that means. My father abused me; my mother didn’t want me to exist. Continue, please!”

Sorrow filled Hollis’ face. Within me, I too felt compassion for the queen. I had never imagined I would feel bad for such a person.

Hollis spoke more gently now. “No wonder you’ve been enslaving the humans, making us do certain tasks at certain times in certain ways, controlling very aspect of our lives. You’ve never learned freedom. Your own soul is enslaved to fear, unable to express love to anyone else. The only thing you know is fear.”

Hazina’s beautiful rainbow wings suddenly drooped very low as she sunk to the ground. Each guard fairy put a hand on her shoulder.

“My queen, you’ve separated the people so the children grow up without mothers and fathers, and the parents have to say goodbye to their babies as soon as their born.” Hollis sighed. “How can you let us live like this? Don’t you know anything about love, about loss, about healing?”

The queen waved her wand slightly, and then dropped it. Instantly, the fires beneath our feet went out, the ropes were undone, and we fell to the ground.

As cheering arose, I ran to Tarquin, whose feet were burned by the flames.

I clasped hold of his hands in mine, though they were covered in soot and ashes. The fire had scorched him more than me. “Tarquin, are you going to be okay?”

“What just happened?” he murmured, too much of a man, of course, to admit he was in pain.

I bit my lip, smiling slightly. “Queen Hazina… she saved our lives.”


S8: The Healer of Istagun Seen and Heard

For the sandbox assignment this week, I was supposed to answer these questions: What song would be the film score for your story? What book would be your main character’s favorite? What TV show(s) would they watch? Perhaps do a celebrity casting. Which famous Hollywood actors would portray your characters best in a movie?

Song: “You’ll be in my heart” by Phil Collins

This song so accurately portrays Dahlia’s love for Hollis throughout the story. So sweet!

Book: “The Healing Touch of Jesus” by Dr. Richard Lee

I’ve never read this book, but it sounds like the perfect thing Dahlia would need… Yeah, I’m not sure she’d pick it up in a bookstore, especially since there are not bookstores in Istagun, and Jesus does not exist in my story world. But if you just changed “Jesus” to “Gesu” it would work perfectly. Gesu represents Jesus, and Dahlia is curious about Gesu’s healing throughout the story and strives to get it for her sister Hollis.

TV series: “ER” created by Michael Crichton

I’ve never watched this, but considering Dahlia’s determination to heal her sister, she might watch it in hopes there might be some medical advice that would help find a cure to the plague.

And for the famous actress… I chose Daisy Ridley.


Daisy Ridley

S4: Facing Fears Mad Lib


Here is a mad lib for you all! The paragraph is taken from one of my short stories, Facing Fears. Try it out! Comment your results! 😊

Word List:




Plural noun:


Plural noun:





Mad Lib:

I _____ (verb) _____ (adverb) across the bridge, hoping to prove to Shauna that I was truly _____ (adjective). The layer of (plural noun) over the river was _____(adjective), but I didn’t mind anymore. I was elated at my discovery that my ______ (plural noun) could be conquered. A sparrow in a (noun) across the bank (verb) at me, but then (verb) away in a panic, along with its ______ (adjective) family.

Original paragraph:

I strode easily across the bridge, hoping to prove to Shauna that I was truly brave. The layer of fog over the river was heavy, but I didn’t mind anymore. I was elated at my discovery that my fears could be conquered. A sparrow in a tree across the bank winked at me, but then fluttered away in a panic, along with its whole family.


NP2: Chapter 2 of The Healer of Istagun – Prima

Image result for girl in green dress

(Image from Google)

This is the second chapter of my ten-chapter fantasy novella. I will be posting a chapter every week. Click here to read Chapter 1. Hope you enjoy!

Chapter 2


I knocked at the door of the thatched roof house. Tap, tap. Ratta-tap. I waited for a moment, then knocked again.

A spindly fairy with fluttering wings opened it, her mouth immediately twisting into a tight grimace. “Gesu wants to see no one—you should get some sleep, little girl.”

I found it funny that she’d call me little, when I was a foot taller than she. Though I supposed eighteen was young compared to the hundreds of years the fairies lived.

“I’m Dahlia and I have an important request,” I said quickly, noticing the blue glass wand she held tightly in her white fist. “Can he heal a girl with the Livs?”

The fairy tapped her wand on the door frame. Tick, tick, tick. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

I grabbed her wand, trying to yank it out of her hand. “Hollis is going to die. She needs Gesu’s help.”

Tears came, whether real or pretended I could not tell. I was sorry about my sister and in a hurry all at once. Sinking to my knees, I begged the fairy to help me.

Suddenly I heard the high chatter of several fairies at the door.

“Oh my! What do we do?”

“Poor child, don’t you turn her into sawdust, Prima.”

“Cheer up, girl, Gesu is still awake; I’ll go see if he could help just one more.”

It worked. Of course it did. That was the fairies’ weakness. They gave into sympathy far too easily.

“Get along, ladies—I’ll do the work. You know you can’t be seen.” And with that the fairies’ chatter disappeared before I could ever see one of their faces.

Now Prima, the spindly fairy who had opened the door, pulled me up to my feet. Her pink lips managed a quick, prim smile. “You aren’t goin’ to cry again, are ya?”

Her light green wings beat steadily, as calm as a Spring fairy’s would. I’d never seen a Summer fairy so calm. Or maybe it was I who felt calm in her presence. I imagined the rippling of tall grass and a faint coo-coo of a dove from the woods. Suddenly conscious of myself, I glanced at the wand in her hand. Prima. She must be the soother fairy—after firing up people’s emotions first, of course.

The fairy touched my cheek with her long, slender finger. “No more tears, Dahlia,” she said.

I nodded, slowly. Maybe I should get to sleep.

Wait, what was I thinking!?

Prima lead me into the living room to Gesu, who was seated on an armchair, staring into the fireplace. When he saw me, he ushered me in to sit down on the couch.

The man was broad-shouldered, strong, yet he slouched in the leathery chair as though he was a small fairy with droopy wings. “Why have you come?” he asked, his intense, soulful eyes staring into me.

My cheeks burned. I realized all at once how foolish I’d been to come here and interrupt this man’s rest from the day’s chaos.

“My sister is dead,” I told him, “or will be if you don’t help. She’s in Spring. Is there any way we can get to her and you can heal her? She has the Livs.”

Gesu scratched his dark bristly beard. “No one can cross into another season unless it is their Time.”

I narrowed my brows but managed to level my frustration in my voice as I said, “Yes, of course, sir. But there must be some way, with your powers—”

“—his powers are for healing, Dahlia,” Prima interrupted, her pretty face contorting into an ugly scowl. “He can do nothing more, so you might as well—”

Gesu raised his hand to stop her. “You are right to say that my powers are for healing, Prima. My mission is to heal. And I will use my power to do anything that will bring about such healing.” He smiled at me. “Anything at all.”

Prima looked at him in dead silence, paled, flapping her wings slowly in the shadowy corner.

I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, but aware of the respect due to this man, I spoke quietly: “Thank you very much, sir.”

I was speechless after that.

Gesu and Prima did not speak either, as if waiting for me to say something, but for some reason I did not know of anything I wished to say.

“Who are you, Gesu?” I said, because it needed to be said, because if it wasn’t said, I wouldn’t know what to do. Was he trustworthy?

The man lifted his eyes to mine. “It is not the time to reveal such things. I am Gesu, the healer, and that is all you need to know.”

“Of course,” I said quickly, remembering why I was here again. “Please, help me. Hollis is in Spring. Do what you must do to get her out, and to heal her before it’s too late.”

After studying me closely again, Gesu rose from his big leathery chair. “Prima, I need to talk to you alone.”

When the door to another room shut, I gazed at the pictures on the walls.

A painting hung on the wall for each stage of Gesu’s life: first as a newborn, held in the arms of a mother; then as a boy, smiling with a bouquet of flowers; then as a teenager, hard at work in the mines; and then as the forty-year-old he was today, smiling with Minerva by his side. The last one must have been painted today to celebrate her healing, I thought, although bewildered. Even more perplexing was the fact that at each stage, he was surrounded by fairies—not one brand of fairies, but a colorful mixture of yellow Spring fairies, green Summer fairies, orange Autumn fairies, and blue Winter fairies. I had never realized what color the Autumn and Winter fairies were, but now it was obvious, as if I had known it all my life.

Were those the fairies I had heard chatting earlier, the ones Prima had shooed away?

Soon Gesu and Prima returned; Gesu, solemn, Prima, smiling.

“I’m expected to be transferred to Autumn soon,” Gesu said. “Getting a little old, I suppose.”

I tried to laugh, but it came out short and stiff. Why was I afraid of him?

“Prima will take you to Spring.”

But how? I wanted to ask. What was he going to do about the mud walls?

“You will find the way—both of you, together. And I will always be with you.”

The pixie’s wings fluttered ever so slightly as she gazed up in admiration at the huge man.

I shivered, even though the regular warmth of Spring encased me with sweat. I didn’t know what Gesu meant, or who he was. I didn’t know if I could trust him, or this dainty fairy who baffled me almost as much as himself. What if this was a trap? What if Gesu was trying to get rid of me, to let me face the wrath of Queen Hazina, the ruler of Istagun, the builder of the towering mud walls?

All I knew was that Hollis needed me. And she was worth whatever risk I had to take.

S2: Quotes for My Novella

My work-in-progress novella, The Healer of Istagun, has a few themes. Here are some quotes to explain them!

Theme: God heals our wounds through His blood.

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” ~ Isaiah 53:4-5

“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD” ~ Jeremiah 30:17

“Christ is the Good Physician. There is no disease He cannot heal; no sin He cannot remove; no trouble He cannot help.” – James H. Aughey

“But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.” – Malachi 4:2

Theme: He strengthens us through His sacrifice.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13 ESV

If it doesn’t cost you anything, what is there to gain? – Grace Caylor

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” – Ephesians 2:13

Theme: Love is sacrifice.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” – 1 Peter 4:8

“Brotherhood means laying down your life for somebody, really willing to sacrifice yourself for somebody else.” — Tim Hetherington

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

NPO: True Friendship


(Photo by Dương Hữu on Unsplash)

This is a pangram story, where each new sentence begins with a new letter in the alphabet. Enjoy!

A sharp wind cut through my jacket as I strode homeward, eager to lose myself to the rhythm of my footsteps. Boots had a special way of letting me forget. Clomp, clomp, clomp. Don’t remember. Even if you loved him, even if he was all you had—you have to forget.

Friendship. Goodness, what a silly word! Haven’t you learned by now that no one will stick with you forever?

I stomped louder in the puddles, splashing my brand new jeans with the murky rainwater.

Just then, a streetlight pole met my face, jarring me.

Kind features met my eyes, but I was no longer on 42nd St—I was lying on a warm, full bed with a familiar lavender smell.


Mom looked at me, concerned.

Not willing to tell her about what happened, I just mumbled a polite greeting, as if she were a stranger.

“Oh, honey, Xavier was a good friend, wasn’t he?”
Perplexed, I nodded slowly.

Quietly, she whispered, “His mom called and told me everything.”

Realizing she knew everything, guilt gripped me, sending my heart breaking into finer pieces.

“Shouldn’t have called him that,” I murmured.

Taking out my dusty Bible from a nearby bookshelf, Mom opened it in the middle. “’Unless the Lord builds the house’—or friendship—’the builders labor in vain.’”

Viciously, I tried to ignore her words, to block it out, but suddenly my selfishness, like a carefree, blazing comet, hit the rocky ground of truth.

Whoever the person, whatever the friendship, if God wasn’t there in the center of it, it was absolutely meaningless. Xavier wasn’t the right person for me if Jesus played no part in our interactions.

Yearning for comfort, I fell into my mother’s arms, crying softly.

Zooming out on the big picture of my life, I realized my truest friend—my mother—had been right here with me this whole time.

SA: Story Analysis of The Healer of Istagun


(Photo by Bobby Johnson on Unsplash)

Introducing a new novella I’m starting with the prompting (and requirement) of my Creative Writing class! I never though I’d write a fantasy story, but here I am, writing a fantasy story. 😉 Each week I will post a new chapter. To see the prologue, click here. Hope you enjoy this story analysis! 

Title: The Healer of Istagun (you may find it interesting that “Istagun” means “seasons” in Maltese)
Author: Grace Caylor
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Middle schoolers and high schoolers

In order of appearance:
Dahlia – Resides in Summer. Eighteen years old. Tall and thin, curly brown hair, and brown eyes. Compassionate and hopeful yet stubborn nature. A human slave who must work in the fields of Summer for the evil fairies. She is determined to save her younger sister Hollis from dying from sickness.

Hollis – Resides in Spring, later transported to Winter. Thirteen years old. Golden blonde hair, small frail figure, and very pale skin due to long-term sickness. She’s not as innocent as she looks. She understands things her older sister, Dahlia, doesn’t want her to understand.

Andrea – Resides in Summer. Nineteen years old. Black thick hair, medium brown skin, black eyes. Extremely bubbly and friendly to everyone. A human slave who must work in the fields of Summer for the evil fairies. Disagrees with her serious friend, Dahlia, on many things.

Gesu – Resides in Summer, later transported to Winter. Thirty years old. Tall and broad-shouldered, tan skin, shaven face, and dark brown hair. An extraordinary healer that people come to so he can cure them. Silent and brooding, yet also thoughtful and kind.

Tarquin – Resides in Summer. Twenty years old. Tall and thin, brown skin, black hair with scruffy beard. Works on mines between the lands of Summer and Autumn. Impulsive, yet passionate about the right things, such as finding Gesu the healer. Dreams to escape the island of Istagun and sail to the land beyond the sea.

Prima – Resides in Summer. Older than the trees. A small green, fragile fairy who talks fast and curtly. She is a servant of Gesu and loves him very much.

Queen Hazina – Resides in a palace in the center of Istagun. Older than the trees. The evil fairy Queen of Istagun. Giant sparkly rainbow wings. Cruel and demanding. Wants all humans dead so she can replace them with the strong species, the Treelanders, to toil for her instead.

Minor characters: Dahlia and Hollis’ parents and grandparents, mud wall monsters, Treelanders

Point of View

The story is told from Dahlia’s point of view.


Throughout the story, Dahlia transports to the lands of all four seasons. At the end, every land turns to the season of summer, showing that that was true time of year all along.

Plot Outline

Eighteen-year-old Dahlia’s younger sister, Hollis, is surely going to die—if she’s not already dead. Unfortunately, the evil fairies of the island of Istagun don’t allow young adults to travel back to the land of Spring, where only children live. When Dahlia discovers a remarkable healer, Gesu, in the land of Summer, hope springs within her. After asking Gesu for help, she travels with his fairy servant, Prima, to find her sister and bring her back. But when she can’t find Hollis and Gesu gets missing too, Dahlia must seek the help of Tarquin, a young miner who has secrets of his own hidden in his basement. Will Dahlia find both Hollis and Gesu in time before the Queen of Istagun completely replaces the humans with a stronger species?


Woman vs. fairy Queen – Major conflict. Dahlia is trying to find both Gesu and Hollis, who are taken to Winter by the queen’s orders. This is a conflict because it makes it harder for Dahlia to find them.
Girl vs. sickness – Major conflict. If the sickness wins over Hollis, she dies and all of Dahlia’s efforts to find he are in vain.
Woman vs. woman – Minor conflict. Andrea and Dahlia disagree about marriage. Andrea thinks it’s the greatest thing and that you should do it, but Dahlia doesn’t think anyone should marry, because she doesn’t want her children to experience the misery of slavery and being  separated from their parents.
Woman vs. man – Minor conflict. Tarquin is in love with Dahlia, but she doesn’t want to consider him.
Woman vs. fairy – Prima wants Dahlia to go to Winter to find Hollis, but Dahlia is too optimistic and goes to Summer. Prima also wants Dahlia to seek Tarquin’s help, which after some debate, Dahlia agrees to.



Sacrifice brings life.
Love covers over a multitude of sins.


Literary Devices

Allegory – Gesu’s blood heals the sick. This represents Jesus’ death healing sinners.
Ceasura – Prima stops abruptly in between sentences: “Get along, ladies—I’ll do the work—you know you can’t be seen.”
Prologue – I include a prologue so that the reader gets more of an insight into the story world, as well as the relationship between Dahlia and Hollis.


Dahlia and Hollis’ sweet love for one another is one of my favorite parts of this book. I also love how level-headed Hollis is even though she’s so young. Fantasy is usually not my favorite, but because this is a spiritual allegory along with some ideas that can be transferred to the modern world, it intrigues me. I love that this story is more about the characters and emotions than the story world, even though the story world is naturally a part of it. Speaking of story worlds, my younger sister actually helped me come up with the idea of four seasons separated into four different lands—and clearly, I think this is an intriguing idea this story has to offer. 😉 Another part of this story I enjoy is Prima, a fairy that chooses not to follow the evil queen but chooses to serve the healer Gesu. She’s innocent and quick-witted all at once. Finally, Tarquin is just way too cool. *Spoilers* He builds a ship underground in hopes to one day escape Istagun and sail to the lands beyond the sea.


Have you ever written or begun writing a book? Or do you have an idea for one you wished you had time to write? I’d love to hear about it! 🙂