Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . It Hitting

An approaching storm front we captured in the Outer Banks this summer

When you get bad news...or sad news...what do you do? It's inevitable that we run into these times--they're part of life, much as we wish they weren't.

We're going to have those days when we cry.

We're going to have those days when we yell.

We're going to have those days when we feel like the best course is to hide from the world.

Ever since I was a middle-schooler, I've pondered my own reactions to these times. I remember when we got the news that my grandfather had cancer. My parents cried. My sister cried. There was much hugging. There was much talk.

I closed myself into my room with a pencil and a notebook, and I wrote poem called, "Why Do I Smile?" I happen to have it on my computer, surprisingly, LOL, so I'll copy it:

The days melt together in a turmoil of ache.
Their only distinction is a separate pain.
I feel that my future’s not mine to make.
So why do my dreams suspend–unslain?
Each person has their own losses;
Each deals with them in their own way.
Most cry as they carry their crosses.
Why do I smile and laugh it away?
My world has diminished to shatters,
But my eyes are as dry as the breeze.
As hope lies around me in tatters,
I sing as I fall to my knees.
Why can’t I mourn as my mother,
Or weep it away as my friend?
Why must I resort to another—
Stronger?—more miserable end?
I can’t see into tomorrow
So I don’t know that I’ll make it that mile.
Even I can’t see past my own sorrow.
So tell me, why do I smile?

Thirteen-year-old me didn't really have the answer. Thirty-one-year-old me doesn't either, but it hasn't changed. I still, upon getting upsetting news, am more likely to smile and assure everyone I'm okay than cry and let them assure me it will be okay. And it's not a facade--that's my genuine, gut reaction. The eternal optimist. The faith, perhaps, holding me up.

But it always hits a month or two later. Every single time I've gotten a rejection on a project I thought was sold, for instance (which has happened way too many times, LOL), I've experienced this. I can smile and assure my critique partners it's no big thing. I know that God's got something better for me. That it was no surprise to Him. I know it, and so I can smile.

Until I can't anymore. When it hits, it hits like a waterfall, tumbling over me without relent. Those are the days when I mourn for what was lost, or for what I know will be lost soon. I grieve for what cannot be. I look at the projects or dreams or loved ones snatched from me, and I ache. I whimper. I want to cry, but by then I can't seem to find any tears. (This is why Roseanna cries maybe twice a year. Usually over something stupid like forgetting to pay a bill, LOL.)

It's so hard not to be discouraged in those times. And in the throes of discouragement, what you know doesn't often help, because you're too overwhelmed by what you feel. If only the two could line up!

As you might guess, I'm having a delayed reaction this week, LOL. Nothing as terrible as the impending loss of my grandfather, just a bunch of disappointments adding up, and the old ones that I thought settled coming to add their voices to the mix. One of those days, one of those weeks.

And so I ponder. Again. I wonder why I deal with things the way I do. Is it the right way? The wrong way? The strong way, the weak way? I don't know. But it's my way. It's my way to smile until it hits, to smile again as soon as I can. It's my way to mourn quietly.

This time, I'm sharing the feeling if not all the reasons, not in a bid for sympathy, but in a laying-bare, to see if it helps in the healing. In a question of how you manage these days, these weeks, so I can listen for the whisper of the great Healer in the voices of my friends.

So please, share. What do you do when the tempest strikes?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Remember When . . . School Helped?

Yes, this is posting way late. Because I kinda forgot it was Wednesday. Because I was kinda caught up in writing A Soft Breath of Wind. Which I kinda can't apologize for. ;-) But here, belated, are some random historical thoughts, LOL.
Fresco of a Roman merchant boat

We historical writers always run into some of the same problems, no matter what era we're writing in. One of mine is "How long did it take to get from point A to point B?" By boat. Or horse. Or on foot. Or, eventually, by train. Where were the roads? The ports? Did they have docks? How did they get from boat to shore? How far would they have been from town?

These are the kinds of logistical questions that can drive me absolutely batty, because the answers can be hard to find.

Sometimes though, they come from the strangest places--like my daughter's school books, for instance.

A couple weeks ago, we were reading through the assigned pages of The Awesome Book of Bible Facts, the pages about Roman travel. Xoe was not so interested--I, however, found it fascinating. Diagrams of their roads--details about their sea travel--time it took to sail from Jerusalem to Rome--BE STILL, MY HEART!


Yes, we must take our information where we can find it, check it where we can, and run with it.

I'm running right now. Because, finally, Samuel and Benjamin and company are aboard one of Titus's vessels, on their way from the port at Joppa to Ostia, the port near Rome. One month, give or take, it shall take them, and then they're home.

I'll get to write my reunion scene. Which also happens to be a pretty big explosion, my mid-point pivot. Of course, in the meantime I have a couple hearts to crush and character hopes to dash to set them up for this, so do excuse me. Much to do. ;-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Word of the Week - Jitters

This classifies as another word that I knew was new, but didn't know was that new.

Jitters entered English round about 1925--and it's not entirely clear where it came from. The best guess is that it's a variation of chitter, which had been a dialectical word for "tremble, shiver," since Middle English.
The jitterbug, 1947

It took it another 6 years for the 's' to get dropped and the noun to become a verb--to jitter. And another 7 for the jitterbug dance to join the scene. Still, that's a lot of evolution for just over a decade!

And as cold as it is here this morning, there could easily be some jittering going on. ;-)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Praising Him

Psalm 136

My daily reading has me in the Psalms right now, and I have always loved this book of ancient songs. I know, I know--I'm not exactly unique in that, LOL.

But do you know what I love most about them? That the songs speak to everything we experience. Joy, heartache, love, disappointment, hope, longing, fear, appreciation, pain, expectation, shame, name it. If there's an emotion out there, one of the psalmists has written about it. It's almost impossible not to find a psalm that expresses one's heart at a given moment. A psalm that cries out your heart to the Lord.

That itself isn't what I love though. It's that through every one of those emotions, underscoring it and crowning it, is praise.

Through the joy, the authors give all the praise to Him.
Through the pain, the authors wait with praise for Him.

I've read through the Psalms several times, and I've only ever found one song that only laments and doesn't tack on praise. One--out of 150!

Some days it's really easy to praise. Like yesterday, when my precious little girl turned 8, and we got to celebrate the day she joined our lives and made them oh-so-much fuller.

I can't imagine, now, what life would be like without my Xoë. She's a ray of sunshine, sensitive and sweet and smart and sassy, and I thank the Lord daily (literally) for her and her brother.

But we all know praise isn't always easy. Some days, the world comes crashing in. Some days, all hope seems lighter than vapor. Some days, we just want to rant, rail, and cry out. To God, to man, to the universe--to whoever will listen...or because it seems no one will.

Sometimes we know how David felt, being hunted and sheltering in caves. Sometimes we feel like our son, our pride and joy, has turned on us. Sometimes we feel haunted by our sin. Sometimes we feel forgotten.

But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord;
In You I take refuge;
Do not leave my soul destitute.

 I can't pray trouble will never befall us--it will. We're going to face disappointments. Persecution. Betrayal. Sickness. Pain. We're going to lose loved ones. We're going to stare darkness in the face and not be quite sure where--if--the light lies beyond it.

But I can pray that we have the hearts of the psalmists through it all. That no matter the trial, we keep our eyes on the One who can bring us through it. That no matter the tribulation, we remember that He is our refuge. And that no matter how low, how bad, how tear-drenched our day might be, He will never, never leave our soul destitute.

Today, I praise You, Lord, for all the joys bubbling up in my life. And today, Lord, I praise You for seeing me through the valleys too.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Remember When . . . They Helped the Poor?

First of all, the important stuff. Today is my little princess's birthday, and somehow or another this pretty little thing is turning 8! How in the world did that happen??

So I'm going to busy today doing the Big Stuff. Putting candles in muffins, going shopping, making macaroni and chicken nuggets for dinner. It leaves little time for blogging. ;-)

But of course, I didn't forget you all! I'm just directing you to where I'm actually posting on my Wednesday subject today. Namely, at Colonial Quills, where it's my monthly turn. Today I'm talking about some interesting tidbits I learned a bit off-handedly in my new research on Philadelphia of 1776. A bit to whet your appetite:

The Bettering House and the Manufactory

Who should be responsible for the poor? For the needy? Whose job is it to feed the hungry and clothe the naked?

And if one takes that should one go about it?

To the Quakers of Colonial Philadelphia, the answer to both was simple: this was a task that ought to fall to them, not to the government, and they were not going to feed mouths without feeding souls. More often than not, they felt, people arrived at low circumstances because of their own choices--often bad ones, morally speaking. And so, they needed to be taught. They needed to bettered.
A Quaker almshouse

Monday, October 21, 2013

Word of the Week - Cute

Saw this one when I was looking up acute from last week. ;-) If you recall, acute technically means "sharp." And so it's not great stretch for it to be applied to mental acumen as well as angles or illnesses.

What I didn't realize is that cute is a direct shortening of acute, and its first meaning, in 1731, was "clever." I've heard it used this way, but I had no idea it was the first and primary meaning.

Around 1834, American college students began taking the word and applying it to physical attributes, not just mental ones. And so cute moved from "clever" to "pretty."

So there we are at the meaning we use most today, which leads us to clever little things our kids say, like Rowyn (5) claiming, "I'm not handsome yet, Mommy. I'm still cute." ;-)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Childlike Abandon

Confession: this is a repost. But only because I looked down at my clock, saw it was 8:00 a.m., and realized with a start that it's THURSDAY. Yikes! Need a blog post, stat!!! LOL. So forgive me. And enjoy. ;-)


We love to torture our kids. And by torture I mean tickle them, "eat" them up, chase them around, pretend our hand is a monster . . . you know. Torture. The sweet kind. I imagine that's a fairly universal love of parents the world over, and it's no great secret why. We do it because we love to hear that belly laugh, hear those delighted shrieks of "No, no! Hey, why'd you stop? Do it again, do it again!" We love to see those huge smiles on their faces.

We love their abandon.

My hubby will tickle me, too, but we often get a good laugh out of how he does the same "gobble" to me he does with the kids, and I just look at him. And usually say, "Um . . . sorry. I'm not as much fun as the kids, am I?" Which yeah, makes us chuckle. But it's not a belly laugh. Those same simple things don't result in such instant joy once we grow up.

Man . . . I sure wish they did!

The abandon of a small child has its ups and downs. It results in those moments of unbridled bliss, and it results in equally unbridled fits. Laughter and tears in equal measures, joy and frustration, love and rage. I'm sometimes amazed at how my kids can go from total contentment in their game with each other to hitting each other and screaming at the top of their lungs, then straight back to fun.

It's something we learn to control as we grow up, something we teach those kids to do. Self control is important, especially when it comes to those negatives. And those who never learn it . . . end up with reality shows on TV??? ;-) Seriously, that control is a must, yes.

But what are some of your best moments from adulthood? Are they when you're sitting there, perfectly controlled? Are they when you don't react to something? No--our favorite moments are the ones where we regain a moment of childhood abandon and embrace the joy of life. When we scream our heads off on a roller coaster. When we laugh until we cry. When we let it all go and just live.

Sometimes it's hard to do that, especially in this stage of my life where I have to keep the Mommy turned on. Oh, I can laugh with my kids. But I'm also trying to make sure knees don't collide with heads as we wrestle, that things tossed up in joy come down in one piece. I'm trying to protect and nurture and so can't give my full attention to the game. I have to do this. I love to do this.

But sometimes I just wish I could let loose a belly laugh and not care.

And that goes for my prayer life too. That should be the one place I can let go completely, but even there I'm usually trying to protect--myself. I find myself praying, "Lord, you know I hope . . . you know I fear . . . I'm trying not to hope too much because then I fear I'll be disappointed . . . I'm trying not to expect disappointment though because that would be faithless . . . I don't want to assume your will . . . I don't want to miss your will . . ."

But there I need to let go of the control. With the Lord, I need to be unafraid of the extremes. I need to show him the highs and the lows. I need to be unafraid of letting that kid inside me out before my Father.

I need to embrace the abandon.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Remember When . . . Independence Was Radical?

English Cannon by the Hudson River, Revolutionary WarPhoto by Michael Francis Studios (Michael Cook)

In what spare moments I've had the last week, I've been reading a book I've had set aside for research for over a year now. One that, when I saw it pop up in my Amazon search at the genesis of an idea, I got so excited about that I bought then and there, though I didn't actually need it yet, given that I wasn't actually writing the book, LOL.

I need to put a smidgeon of work into the idea for my agent though, so out it came. To my immense delight. =) The book is Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks when America Became Independent by  Willian Hogeland, and it's turning out to be all I hoped. A non-fiction book that tells me stories. That presents the wit of the men of the day in ways that make me laugh.

That redefines my assumptions.

See, even after researching for two separate Revolution-era books, I haven't quite plumbed the depths of how revolutionary this was, this idea that a group of colonies could just break away from its mother country. I can never quite shake the ideas I got in my schooling, that everyone just banded together, put to use their Yankee ingenuity and grit, and ousted the tyrannical government. All Americans for one, and one for all.

A lovely, patriotic picture. Except that "patriot" was an insult at the time. "Lovely" doesn't begin to describe the fear and uncertainty that Americans experienced. And our people were anything but unified into one coherent picture.

The simple fact is that most people didn't want independence. They didn't even understand independence. To them, England was Mother. The king was awful, sure, he was a tyrant. But England...England was home. And just because you don't like a few parts of it, that doesn't mean you disown it altogether, right? It just means you try to fix it. And sure, if it comes after you, you defend yourself. So at Lexington and Concord they had no choice. But to seek war? To seek a break?

Unthinkable. That would be like looking your dearly beloved mother--they one who might not always be fair in your eyes, but who had loved you and nurtured you--in the eye and then stabbing her in the gut.

Not something a good person would do. And the leaders, the upright citizens, the majority of the day prided themselves on being noble and just. On holding high ideals, like the philosophers of old. To defend oneself was right. But to take the offense...that would cross a line good people did not cross.
Painting of Benjamin Franklin, 1778
by Joseph-Siffrein Duplessis

Most of the Continental Congress had strict instructions, as late as May of 1776, to steer clear of anything that even smelled of independence. To vote against anything that would be more than a vague remonstrance of England's unfairness. Founding fathers like Benjamin Franklin didn't come over to the cause until very late in the game--and only then after a decade in England and final humiliation before Parliament that put him in a rage.

It wasn't easy. It wasn't simple. And had King George not sent a fleet of hired mercenaries after us (think a mother hiring a gang to come teach her unruly child to listen when she tells him to clean his room), there quite possibly wouldn't have been enough support to ever make that famous Declaration.

I've thought before about the bravery the Patriots showed by standing against the British on the battle fields. Ragtag farmers facing off against the best military in the world. But I'd never really paused to consider how brave (and quite honestly, reckless and heavy-handed) it was for the Sons of Liberty to challenge the prevailing thought of the day. To use guile, intrigue, and rhetoric to convince an unwilling people to follow them into a war most of them didn't want. It took them decades of work. It took compromise and bullying. But they didn't just redefine an ideal--they rewrote history. They made their cause so strong that hundreds of years later, school children just think That's the way it was.

It wasn't. Not until they made it so.

Do we believe that strongly today? Enough that we're willing to work all our lives for a goal that most deem foolhardy? Are we willing to fight against prevailing sentiments? When the world says, "You're crazy," do we answer, "Maybe, but only until I can change the definition"? It's a dangerous thing to be that determined. Scary dangerous. And about most causes, I would never dare to be so. 

But I pray that when it matters, I could be so brave. So patriotic. So radical in a quest, if the Lord is the one who put it on my heart. I pray I'm cut from the same cloth as those who forged a nation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Word of the Week - Acute

Nearly forgot it was Monday! LOL But lucky for you, I remembered. ;-) And so, I'm hear to talk about acute.

This will be a quick one, but I found it kinda interesting primarily because of my own weird thought-processes. See, when I was learning about angles back in middle school, I taught myself to remember that acute = under 90 degrees, because small = cute. So acute angles were small angles.

Worked well enough in math class...but not so well in vocabulary, LOL, when I began reading books that used acute in a non-math sense. When I first came across it, I naturally thought that "an acute case of the flu" meant a SMALL case of the flu.

Um, er...brilliant, Roseanna. Just brilliant. ;-)

I quickly learned I was wrong, but I never bothered looking up why. As it turns out, it's pretty simple. Acute in its math sense doesn't mean "small." It means "sharp." Makes total sense, right? The Latin acutus is "sharp, pointed." Interestingly, though, the original meaning in terms of a disease or whatnot was "coming and going quickly" more than "intense," which didn't come about until 1727. Between those two, though, was the expected "sharp, irritating" meaning that evolved by the 15th century.

Makes much more sense with the angle meaning than my "small." ;-)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Busy Seasons

You know, life these days is pretty crazy. We're all running, running, running, trying to keep up with this and that and the other thing, with kids' activities and our own, with our complicated lives, jobs, church commitments, you name it.

Rarely do I have a season lately that I don't deem "crazy." But October is always the worst for me. And this year, for some reason I thought it would be fun to schedule a ton of fall releases for WhiteFire, LOL, so I have a bunch of editing on top of it (I've been prepping five different books). I've got Octoberfest (last weekend), family reunion (this weekend), my daughter's birthday, an extra night of ballet starts next week for Nutcracker rehearsal--and this year, her physical therapy twice a week on top of it, not to mention that whole moving thing that still isn't finished.

Yeah. Wee bit crazy around here. I've been getting up at 5:30 every day, scheduling every minute of my day, and falling into bed exhausted every night. And I still don't feel exactly on top of things. But the schedule helps. A block of time for writing. Then blogging. A block for exercising, showering, eating, and reading my Bible. School. Running out and about. More school. Editing. Picking up the house, cooking, evening activities. Somewhere in there I'm trying to squeeze in a research book. And laundry, LOL.

I know, though, that I'm not the only one with one of those crazy-beyond-comprehension months--October just happens to be mine.

What time of year are you busiest? Christmas? Summer? Some random month like mine? What are your tricks for keeping your head above water?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Remember When . . . It Was Real?

Medieval Miracles, from a 13th century abridgement
of the Domesday Book

We live in a world of doubt. With special effects and computer graphics, folks can make pretty much anything look real. Look like it happened.

But we know better. Right? It's all just show. Made up. Pretend.

We've been conditioned to doubt. Not just what we see on television, but everything. We're hard pressed to ever accept anything that looks miraculous, because come on--it's more likely a hoax. Sleight of hand. Misdirection.

I mean, sure, there were miracles in the Bible. Healing the blind. The lame. Feeding the five thousand. Walking on water. Sure. But that was Jesus. Maybe the apostles. That's different. And that's not weird. It's an accepted kind of miracle, those ones in the Bible. Easy to accept, right?

Then I read it all more closely, and a line of Jim Rubart's Soul's Gate comes to mind. "What," one of his characters says (I may be paraphrasing slightly), "have you only been reading the boring parts of the Bible?"

I mean, seriously. Look at the Old Testament. Saul goes to a medium and calls up Samuel--who appears!

Um...our comfy little spiritual boxes get a little chafing at that one.

On the day Jesus died, the graves opened, and the dead were seen walking about.

Um...that surely means something other than what it sounds like, right? (I included this in A Stray Drop of Blood, and apparently some folks thought I was getting weird and making it up--until they looked it up, LOL.)

In Acts, we read how Paul grew frustrated with a girl with a spirit of fortune-telling and turned around and cast out the demon. Okay. Nothing too worrisome there...until we read on that her master was furious because now he had no way of making money.

Which implies that it worked. She really could tell the future, at least in part. We don't like that at all, do we? The other side shouldn't have power like that.

This time of year, you can't go out in public or turn on the TV without seeing a lot of Halloween stuff. My kids think it's all grand fun, and they love to ask questions like "Is this real? Or is it pretend?"

And you know...sometimes it's hard to know how to answer them. Is it real? Mostly no, the things on TV. Mostly not. But then, there's so much that goes beyond our comprehension, largely, I think, because we're so quick to doubt. We dismiss everything.

But maybe we shouldn't. Because if we don't pay attention to it, we can't fight it--and a lot of these "weird" stories in the Bible are of God's servants having to deal with this stuff.

The spiritual world is baffling...but it's there. And sometimes I wonder what our faith would be like if we were a little more open to learning the truth about it...and a little less quick to ignore all we don't understand.

I'm delving into some of this in A Soft Breath of Wind...nothing resembling the cartoon ghost, LOL, but I'm reading the Bible carefully and with a point of looking at we normally dismiss as too "weird." I'm prayerfully asking the Lord for understanding of some of these bothersome parts. And it's pretty fun to see what new "weirdness" springs up every day in my reading. ;-)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Word of the Week - Index

Last week in the course of our homeschool day, somehow or another we got talking about what our different fingers are called, and my clever little Xoe asked me why the pointer finger is also called the index finger.
Closeup from Michelangelo's Creation of Adam

Insert Mommy going, "'s the one you trail down the page of an index when you're looking for something?" LOL. At which point I added, "Don't believe that, I'm making it up. Let's look and see." And so we did. =)

Index has meant "the pointer finger" since the 14th century. It comes directly from Latin, and the literal meaning is "that which points out." So of course, it makes sense for the finger...and it also makes sense for the index in a book, a meaning which came along by the 1570s. Old in its own right, to be sure! So while the two are very directly related, coming from the same meaning of the same word, one didn't derive from the other, but rather from the root. So I quickly corrected my guess, LOL.

More derivative meanings (like "cost-of-living index" or "heat index") come from the sense of "indicator" that the word carries and started popping up in the 1800s.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Why

I never considered myself a scientist. Growing up, I wasn't the type to take toys apart to see their inner workings or do my own experiments. When I went to St. John's College (The Great Books School), I didn't quite get it when they said that the most important thing students had to learn was how to ask good questions.

After four years of hearing them, though, I get it. And I agree--it's the most valuable tool my education gave me. The ability not just to question, but to question rightly. To question in a way that will lead me to answers, not circles.

And so now, as I look at the world around me, I ask "Why?" I ask "How?" I ask, "But what if it were this way? What would change?" And as events unfold, I try to find the reasons, the patterns, the keys. My questioning is always rooted in faith that God's got it all under control, so my view is no doubt different from an atheist's. My questioning is part of who I am. Part of what I do. Part of what makes me me.

I've asked a lot of "why"s lately. When we were presented with an unexpected answer to a vehicular need several months ago, I didn't just accept it with a smile and go about my merry way. I began to pray. Because I knew, I knew quite certainly, that this wasn't just God tossing me a boon. This was God preparing us for a change. This was God saying, "I'm removing some burdens," not because they were too heavy then...but because they would have become so. There was a why to that gift, and to the gift of the house we just moved into.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me see that, so I didn't squander it.

Earlier this week, my best friend texted me from the ER--her 3-year-old son had just had a seizure. The easy answer--that it was triggered by a high fever--was not the answer. He hadn't been sick. And so they had to look for the why. Tumor? No, praise the Lord. Bleeding? No, which is another praise. But that leaves them with unanswered questions. What triggered it? Will it happen again?

No answers. And so we pray, and praise Him that little Connor is acting himself, with no lasting effects.

And then there are the career questions. Why do some things hit and others flop? Why do some of the most talented writers stay mid-list? Where do I fit in this publishing world? Will an award ever come my way? A spot on the best-seller list?

I don't know, and I'm not a big fan of not-knowing here either, any more than I am when it comes to medical questions. I like answers. Preferably neat and tidy ones that are also solutions.

But learning to question rightly has also taught me that very rarely are the answers simple. For that matter, very rarely are they actual answers. Questions, true questions, don't lead you to Yes or No. They lead you to more questions. They lead you on a journey.

Through faith, I can say that I don't know what the path will look like, but I know where it ends. I know the goal. I know the One guiding me. I know my feet are traveling the road they need to travel.

I know there will be endless questions along the way. I'm never going to know all the Whys. And today, as I look out over the future and wonder what it might hold--for me, for my family, for my friends and their families--I see one of the greatest truths. That life and faith aren't about knowing. They're about seeking, and about bravely marching on despite the uncertainty.

The test of life isn't about the answers. It's about how we react to the questions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Remember When . . . People Were Implied?

As I've mentioned on here before, I'm in the midst of doing the Bible-in-a-year schedule...which I started in July. So I'm still in Kings and Chronicles (it's the chronological Bible, so things are mixed up.)

I've read the Old Testament several times in my life, but it's been a while since I read all the way through it, and this being me, I usually read a story and think, "But what about...?" which leads me to wondering. About things like the unnamed, unmentioned characters obviously present.
Samuel Blesses Saul - from Doré's English Bible, 1866

Like when Samuel was a young man, not yet a prophet, a "righteous man of Israel" came and prophesied against Eli and his sons. Insert Roseanna going, "What, no name? Come on! Who was it?? Do we ever see him again? Had he been wronged by those evil sons? How?"

Then many chapters later, after Samuel is grown, we read that his sons weren't so righteous either. At which point Roseanna goes, "So...when did Samuel get married? To whom??"

I know, I know--those little details aren't often important in the Old Testament. But still, they make me ask questions. And sometimes surprise me with what information they do offer. (Like how many wives Gideon had--yowza! So didn't remember that part from my previous reads...)

And since these are the kids of things that inspire me to write, we'll just keep the questions coming. ;-)

Are there any biblical stories that made you pause to wonder about the people missing in the account, but who were obviously there?