I'm back! I know I've been gone for over a year, but that was because I was living the biggest adventure of my life to date. Ben Franklin said, " Either write something worth the reading or do something worth the writing." 2017--and 2018 so far--has been filled with "doing things" that are definitely worth the writing.
And every story is more interesting when told fantasy-style.
Listen while I tell the real-life tale of a dragon, a phoenix, magic wake-up juice, swords, and a treasure.
Magic Wake-up Juice
When I met the Dragon, my first impression was that he was too... fiery. True, a Phoenix like myself is familiar with fire, but we do not breathe it or speak it or set the world ablaze with it. Instead, we wrap ourselves in fire like a robe.
So I panicked when the Dragon wrote to me within ten days of meeting, inviting me casually to a local coffee shop. (P.S. His treat.)
I sent a missive to my best friend. "Amazon! What should I do? I met this Dragon a week and a half ago at the King's Cathedral. Now he is messaging me. Is he asking me out on a date? I've never dated anyone in my life and, frankly, this guy is TOO MUCH PERSON. What can I tell him?"
Sweetly, Amazon texted back, calming my alarm, giving me practical advice on how to say "no" politely. Unbeknownst to me, she turned to her husband and announced, "Yup. He's totally into her. Didn't we agree a year ago when we met him that he'd be perfect for her?"
What Amazon knew--and I didn't--was that this man was not in the habit of asking ladies out to coffee.
Fast-forward a few weeks and the man's (appropriate but dogged) persistence pulled me into the church's career group--all the no-longer-in-college-but-not-yet-married people. Which was, like, five people, but it was a good start. And the TOO MUCH PERSON man was leading the group because, it turned out, he was training at seminary to become a pastor.
"Coffee?" He offered one evening during the group.
"I like coffee shops more than I like coffee," I admitted.
"Oh? I bet I could make a cup you'd enjoy."
I laughed. "Knock yourself out."
A few minutes later, he handed me the BEST CUP OF MAGIC WAKE-UP JUICE I HAD EVER HAD IN MY LIFE.
Maybe he put a love potion in there. Maybe not. But a little of the ice thawed. His commanding voice, warriorly presence, and fiery soul seemed less daunting somehow.
Enter the Swords.
It turned out that the Dragon had a very cool sister, Ninja. (Also not her real name, but she is, indeed, the stealthiest and most cool-headed of ninjas.) Ninja and I became besties in a very short amount of time, which shocked her family since, apparently, ninjas don't make friends easily. But I needed her calm presence and she needed my liveliness--I also needed her older brother's magic wake-up juice now that I knew it existed--so it was a good excuse to stay late after the career group finished meeting.
Except that one night I stayed too late.
"Oh no! My mother will worry!" I leapt off the couch, interrupting a very good conversation about favorite fantasy books.
"Hang on!" the Dragon rose. "I know how you can show her you're okay. Elf or wizard?"
"Elf or wizard?"
"But I don't know what I'm choosing." Pregnant pause. "Okay, wizard."
"Elf," Ninja replied calmly, as if such questions were asked every day.
The Dragon disappeared into his bedroom and reappeared with... SWORDS?! I got the fancy wizard staff, and Ninja got the curving Legolas short swords. A picture of the wizard and elf would prove to my mother that I was alive and well--or maybe that I had finally found "my people."
Which was true, but I didn't know it yet.
The Dragon had a whole collection of swords and had apparently not only been collecting them for years, but had given them as gifts to his siblings. So it was, in fact, an entire family of sword-wielding warriors. And they didn't just hack at the air either. They actually knew how to use them.
I think that was the moment when I realized that, somehow, I wanted to become one of them.
Just four months into our new friendship, he asked me if I would consider more than a friendship. "This wouldn't be a fluffy relationship. I want to know if we are right for each other--for life."
I was ready to explore that kind of question. I had seen how he loved his family, the people around him, and particularly his King. Yes, I was willing to develop a relationship with him, to see if I might someday become his Phoenix.
Conversation by conversation, he chose to initiate trust first by showing me the part of his soul that he had never shown to anyone else. It was then that I began to know what he was.
Some men are the steadiness and refreshing quality of water, some men are the solidity of stone and earth, some men are the swiftness and movement of air, and some men are the passion and exultation of fire.
This man was a dragon--burning like flame, but, when the fire quieted, solid as stone.
"But you're a thief!" I pointed out one day.
"Because you've set out to steal my heart."
"What is the price of a heart?"
"Um... Another heart?"
"Fair enough. I was going to say 'a life.' That is what my King gave for my heart and yours. So it is the same now. Your heart is priceless. So I will pay for your heart for the rest of my life, with everything I have to give."
And in October, at sunrise on a mountain peak, the Dragon dropped to one knee before me and offered me a treasure--a sparkling natural purple stone set between two radiant diamonds--as a token of the lifetime payment he would make for the treasure of my heart.
In December 2017, he became My Dragon.
"And you?" my brother-in-law asked. "He has always been a dragon, even since a kid. But what are you?"
Perhaps it was the influence of the Firewing Chronicles I've been writing since I was 14, and perhaps it was the answering fire in my own soul, but the answer wasn't hard.
"Me? I am a Phoenix."
The story of meeting and marrying My Dragon is just the beginning. The King has called and we know it will be to adventures far beyond our imagination. We do not know where this adventure will lead, but we do know that, as the King has paired a Dragon and a Phoenix, He intends to use us to set the world on fire.