Sandra Renee Hicks, is President of Solid Journey, as well as a writer and moderator on Writer's Digest magazine voted FaithWriters one of the "101 Top Websites" in 2006.

This blog was created for your reading enjoyment, edification, and to provide exposure to the skills of writer, editor, and consultant Sandra Renee Hicks. Solid Journey was established to provide services for those who desire steadfast excellence from a place of integrity and professional reputation. This blog will present, free of charge, short stories, essays, poetry, and other written work produced by Sandra.

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Greetings -

Shown below are excerpts. 

The name of my bio-fiction book is SOLID JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS - THE VICTORIA CHRONICLES.  The Victoria character is based on me.

The book is based on highlights from the life of Sandra Renee Hicks.  Events mentioned in the book are real.  For the most part, only the names of persons, some places, and the dialogue are fictional.  


     In these chronicled pages are highlights that share the altered states that represent the solid journey of Victoria, a lady who, through storms and tumultuous ordeals, learned to walk with Jesus.  Offered here in this prologue is a fictional testimonial account.  Read on for the adventures of a lady, Victoria, who “reported” for an assortment of assignments designed to transform her as the Christ dwelling dynamo that she has become.  This journey, of course, isn’t complete because lessons continue to be taught and absorbed.  From this vantage point, though, Victoria presses on toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
     Please indulge here, in this prologue, a mini description of Victoria.  It will be expanded upon in subsequent pages in this chronicled account of the highlights of her life.
     Victoria Jessup, a honey-colored, raven-haired, petite dynamo has piercing eyes that quickly engage her “targets.”  Her character style is bodacious with confidence developed through years of lessons delivered by life.  In particular, humility became of high value to Victoria.  Her aim is not to leave home without it.  Victoria possesses a keen sense of awareness, a hearty sense of humor, and an overall sharp grip on perspectives.  She isn’t formally educated but is adequately intelligent, well-read, and informed.  Confidently, Victoria engages in most circles, educated and otherwise.  Definitely, she has the gift of gab.  The gab is prone, at times, to quench the gift.  Once a boyfriend said to her, “Shut up, shut up completely.”  The nerve of him!
     Victoria was born in Washington, D.C., to Jewel Newsome and Charles Evans.  The twist?  When Victoria was conceived, her parents were married but not to each other.  Victoria entered this world the offspring of two adulterers who were later saved and forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ.  How God is that?!
     There is much to learn and to pursue.  By the grace of God, Victoria journeys on.
     This book carries a fictional label though the bulk of it contains true events and situations.  Think you can guess the realities?  Go ahead, give it a go.
     Here are snippets of some of the altered state episodes:
     • Victoria married a man who became a drug dealer and a pimp.
     • Victoria went from government employee to shelter resident.
     • Her boyfriend left Victoria and moved in with the woman next door. 

Chapter One

Are These People Christians for Real?

Titus 1: 16
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

     Victoria relocated to Tampa, Florida from Washington, D.C.  In the swelter of an August day, she moves into a diversely flavored boarding house on 109th Avenue.  In the resident mix are Jamaican, White, Black, and Hispanic representations.  Three small churches are in the culturally diverse neighborhood, and the community is located near Nebraska and Fowler Avenues, two areas that have varied shopping opportunities.  The house is a large rambler.  Although it has clearly seen better days, for budgetary and convenience purposes, Victoria considers the house ideally suitable – she’s in.
     Victoria eagerly indulges in getting acquainted with the neighborhood.  She’s pleased to learn that, blocks away, is Spencer Pine, an inviting park with an abundance of flowers, foliage, and tree assortments.  Center stage is a massive oak that hovers over a lily pond where the water sparkles with liquid glory.  Victoria spends hours at Spencer Pine reading her Bible and inhaling the plenteous plant life fragrances.
     It’s been a couple of months since Victoria moved to the boarding house.  One particularly productive day, Victoria comes home and sees a “For Sale” sign in front of the house.  Huh?!
     Deeply concerned, Victoria rushes inside to phone Eddie, the house owner.
     He answers.  Eddie knew that the “For Sale” sign would alarm his boarding house tenants and cause them to phone him for the 411.
     Victoria is the first one to contact Eddie to inquire.  She’s relieved that his tone is accommodating.
     “Yes, the house is for sale,” he tells her.
Victoria is displeased to hear the information that Eddie provides.  She listens further.
During the course of their conversation, Eddie shares with Victoria, “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”
     That’s music to Victoria’s ears.  She’s glad to know that she and Eddie have Jesus in common. 
     Eddie assures, “I’ll make sure that you get at least thirty days notice before you need to move.”
     Victoria isn’t happy about the need to move from the house so soon after her arrival there.  She thinks, “It is what it is.”
     She and Eddie exchange a few more words.  Victoria ends the conversation with “Thank you for the courtesy of thirty days notice.” 
     Pleasantly, Eddie responds, “You’re welcome.”
Well, not many days later, Eddie “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior,” reneges on his word to Victoria.  A notice to vacate in seven days is posted on the room doors of all the tenants.  They have to scramble to find somewhere else to move. 
     Victoria receives unemployment compensation while she searches for a job.  Without employment, it’s a major challenge to secure a rental unit.  Victoria’s options are much limited.  She was able to easily get a room in the boarding house because one of her relative’s is a tenant.
     Victoria moves to the Drake Motel located on Nebraska Avenue.  She cannot afford to stay there for long.  She remembers that she has a phone number for a dear Christian man, Tim, who she met at the Busch Boulevard employment agency.  With hopeful expectation, she phones him.
      “Hi, Tim, I need to leave this motel where I’m staying.  Do you know of someone that has a room for rent?”
     “I sure do.”  Tim gladly recommends, “Let me give you the number for Butch, an angel of a Christian man that I know.”
     Butch, a fifty-year-old, dimple-chinned, chocolate-colored man of average height bears a close resemblance to the actor, Morgan Freeman.  Butch is known to deftly engage his listeners with his wit and captivating demeanor.  Thomas, his fourteen-year-old son, lives with him. 
     Victoria eagerly phones Butch.  “Hi, Tim gave me your number to ask about a place to stay.”
     “Yea, I have a room available.  Where are you located?”
     “At the Drake on Nebraska.”
     “We’re not that far from you; I can come pick you up to show you the place.”
     “Sure, that’ll work.”
     It’s a warm night with the welcome relief of appreciated cool breezes.  Butch and Thomas arrive.  They all exchange pleasantries then Victoria and Butch proceed to do business.  He hands her his business card.  The card indicates that the monthly rent is $400.00 with landline telephone and Internet usage included.
     Butch explains to Victoria, “The set up is for a roommate arrangement.  If you decide to move in, a woman roommate will share the area.  I’m still looking for someone else to move in.”
     "That’s not a problem for me.  And the rent is a rate that I can afford,” says Victoria.  She agrees to ride with Butch and Thomas to see the place.
     First, though, they travel the few blocks to the Busch Boulevard Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.  Butch pulls up to the drive-through area where he places orders for him and Thomas. 
     It happens that Victoria isn’t hungry but she is unpleasantly surprised that Butch doesn’t ask her if she wants anything nor does he offer her any of what he purchased.  That began the first of numerous uneasy instances with Butch.  Victoria says nothing to him about the obvious slight but thinks, “Tim told me that Butch is a Christian, and an angel.  Butch’s lack of consideration and courtesy sure doesn’t represent what Jesus would do.”     They arrive at Butch’s rambler.  The house has a separate living area with its own entrance door.  It’s a well-kept abode with much visual appeal.  The neighborhood is quiet.  Nearby is a refuge area by the water where folks enjoy the placid and serene atmosphere. 
     Butch shows Victoria the available area.  It’s spacious and attractively furnished with twin beds, ample closet space, washer/dryer, and a separate bathroom and kitchen. 
     Victoria likes the place, decides to accept it, and looks forward to the convenience there of being able to use the landline telephone and Internet to do job searches.
     Contented, Victoria tells Butch, “I like the place and would like to rent it.”
     “Ok, good.”
     In the rental area of the house, they communicate a bit more.
     Butch goes elsewhere in his house to get the paperwork that is necessary for the rental arrangement.  He returns to Victoria dressed in pajama pants and a bathrobe with his bare chest exposed. 
     Victoria’s uneasiness about Butch resurfaces.  She doesn’t say anything but she’s startled that Butch would come to meet with her dressed in such attire.  She thinks, “What’s up with this man?!  What kind of Christian is this who comes to discuss business with a renter dressed in pajamas and a robe with his bare chest exposed?!"
      Butch appears nonchalant about his clothing choice or lack thereof.
     Victoria remains silent that his disposition offends her.  She pushes aside her reservations.  She pays Butch one month’s rent.  He doesn’t require a security deposit.  They close the deal.
     Later Victoria discovers that the landline phone doesn’t work nor does the Internet.  She comments to Butch about the matter.  “The phone and Internet don’t work.  Your business card lists that those services are included with the rent.”
     Butch’s eyes bulge.  He’s visibly annoyed.  He makes some lame excuses and says, “Look if you’re going to make a big deal about things we can kill the deal right now!”
     Victoria’s brows furrow.  She is startled at Butch’s anger.  She continues, “Your business card indicates that landline phone and Internet are included.  As a Christian, from the standpoint of integrity, it isn’t right to have business cards that advertise what you don’t provide.”
     Victoria's remarks clearly peeve Butch.  He frowns and groans in exasperation.  He snidely responds, “I don’t need drama.  This rental business is a new project for me.  You’re my first tenant.”
     Victoria mildly counters, “Regardless, you shouldn’t distribute, to potential renters, business cards that advertise services that you don’t provide.  That's dishonest.  As a Christian, that should concern you.”
     Butch frowns and looks at Victoria in defiant mode.
     Victoria doesn’t press the matter.  Her unease grows.  It’s been two weeks since she moved in.  Things become progressively unpleasant there.
     The next afternoon Victoria walks to The Drake to visit Carl, a backslidden Christian guest at The Drake who she met when she was a guest at the motel.
     Victoria notices Myra, a crack addict (whose mother is an evangelist in Detroit) sitting in the shade outside one of the motel rooms.
     Victoria approaches, greets Myra, and asks, “Have you seen Carl?”
     “He was here earlier,” answers Myra.
     "Do you know if he’s coming back anytime soon?”
     "Nah, I don’t know.”
     They engage a bit more in conversation. 
     Then Myra drops a bombshell.  “Butch called me and propositioned me for sex.”
     Victoria’s jaw drops.  “What!” she exclaims.  “Are you sure it was him?”
     “Yeah, I’m sure it was him."  Myra shares details.
     In shock, Victoria listens to what Myra shares about Butch.  Shortly after, Victoria heads back to Butch’s house.  She isn’t sure whether to believe Myra.  She knows that it’s wise to examine and to further investigate.  She seeks Jesus about the matter.  “Lord, is that true about Butch?  Please reveal to me whether it’s true.”
     Yes, my child, it’s true.  Butch isn’t living a Christian lifestyle.  Go to him and inform him that I told you that he’s not in right relationship with Me.”
     Victoria does as the Lord instructed.  She encounters Butch in the laundry area of his house.  In a reasonable manner, she addresses Butch about the matter.  “The Lord shared with me that you’re not in right relationship with Him.”
     Instantly, Butch’s face flushes.  He registers an expression that reveals that he’s exposed.  Quickly, he collects himself.  Cockily, he leans on the dryer and piercingly eyes Victoria. 
     She discerns that Butch is unnerved by her awareness.
     He slyly looks at Victoria and in a cunning tone asks, “If I’m not right with God, why do you want to be here?”
     Confidently, Victoria locks eyes with Butch.  She replies, “I believe that God sent me here.”
     Butch is now obviously uneasy about Victoria’s presence in his space. 
      She’s paid rent for a full month.  In two weeks being there, it’s become apparent to Victoria that this isn’t a workable arrangement.
     A few days later Victoria hears Butch leave the house.  Right after his departure the electricity went out.  Victoria sighs to herself, “The landline phone and the Internet don’t work and now there’s no electricity.”  On her cell phone, she calls Butch on his cell to inquire. 
     “The electricity has gone out,” she tells Butch with concern in her voice.
     Irritated, Butch answers, “I don’t know what’s up with that.  I’ll call the company and call you back.”
     Minutes later Butch phones Victoria and with an edge in his tone, tells her, “They claim that I didn’t pay the bill.  I don’t know what’s going on.”
     Victoria thinks, “Yeah right!  Before the power company turns off electricity they issue past due and final notices.  Butch knew what was coming.  This is one shady dude!”
     The Lord tells, Victoria, “You need to be out of here before the end of the month.  Butch won’t refund your balance.  Regardless, you’ve got to go.  Don’t tell Butch, just yet, that you’re leaving.  Make arrangements before you tell him.  Call Brenda and ask her to help you to move back to the Drake.”
     Victoria had met Brenda when she was at the Drake. 
      Brenda has a van.  She agrees to help Victoria to move.
     This evening the sun hasn’t fully set.  Surrounding it, the sky canvas is draped in tones of peach and cantaloupe orange.  Victoria stops to admiringly gaze up at the intense artistry.  She is captivated by the delicious view.
     Victoria completes some errands and then returns to her rented area at Butch’s house.  When she enters the living area where she rents, Butch, with a smirk, stands there with a man about whom Butch says to Victoria, “This is your new roommate, Bob.”
      Butch is a trip!  The Lord knew what he was up to and that is why He arranged for Victoria to be up out of there.  Butch, the “Christian,” set it up for Bob to live and to sleep in the same area with Victoria in the twin bed right next to the one where Victoria slept!  Initially when they met, Butch had informed Victoria that she would have a woman roommate in the bed next to her.  Victoria would never have agreed to the rental arrangement had she known that Butch would pair her with a male roommate!  She believes that once Butch got exposed, his calculated revenge was to have Bob to be her roommate.
     The joke, though, is on Butch.
     Victoria sweetly says, “Pleased to meet you Bob.  I regret that I won’t enjoy the pleasure of your company.”
     Bob and Butch look surprised.
    Victoria smiles, turns to Butch, informs him that she won’t be bunking with Bob because she is out of there.  Butch stands there stunned and speechless.  Victoria “cancels her subscription to his magazine” and delivers one parting word to Butch – “Touché.”

Chapter Two

A Matrimonial Walk
on the Dark Side

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee;
but the night shineth as the day:
the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

     Victoria was a nineteen-year-old federal government employee when she married Morris, a man who is personally acquainted with the criminal justice system.  Handsome with toffee brown skin, six feet two Morris has had more than a few appointments with the judicial process.  On several occasions, those appointments “hospitably” registered him as a “guest” of the U.S. penal system. 
     Victoria and Morris dated, off and on, for a few years prior to their advancement to matrimonial status.  They had a small ceremony held in Victoria’s apartment unit in Southeast Washington, D.C.  Morris was more than a little late for the wedding.  Was that some sort of sign?
     Morris, a truck driver for Cheshire Bakery Company, moves in the unit with Victoria.  Things go reasonably well until Morris signs on to two additional occupations, neither of which provides benefits.  You would think that the least they would offer is hazardous duty pay.  What ingrates!  Don’t they know that they should reward their loyal employees?  Can this matter gain momentum for progression to a class action suit?  This injustice needs to be adjudicated.  Humph!
     What, you wonder, are the additional occupations that Morris has undertaken?  Facts are – they have taken him under – shadily.  Morris has entered the sordid professions of pimping and drug dealing.  Also, he generously deals himself “medication” from his illicit stash.  Morris does more than a little sampling of the product. 
     Good thing for Morris that he’s “shaking and baking” at Cheshire Bakery where he’s worked for three years.  He gets fair benefits there.  But what about those folks who pimp and do drug deals as their only means of employment?  What about their benefits?  Are they worthy candidates for a class action suit?  Of course not – the wages of sin is death.  The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.  
     As an adult, Morris met his father, Reg.
     Reg is a former government employee who became a pimp.  Go figure.  He was paralyzed from the waist down by a rival pimp, who, in a fit of envy, unloaded a bullet in Reg.
     Morris learned the pimp “game,” among other unsavory practices, from his father.  How’s that for fatherhood?
     One prostitute, Jessica, tricks for Morris.  Her drug habit led her to leave a professional career to join ranks with him.
     In the midst of all this turmoil and marital unrest, Victoria accepts Jesus as her Savior.  She’d been raised in church but as a teenager, she’d ceased to attend.  She becomes a member of Salt and Fire Tabernacle of the Holy Redeemed.  Julius Crane is the pastor.     
     Frequently, Morris is away from home.  He spends the bulk of his time at his mother Mona’s Northwest Washington apartment on Fairmont Street where Morris was raised with his older brother, Tony.  The apartment is in an inner city neighborhood where, as a teenager, Morris met Victoria.  Now his marriage to her has become increasingly distant.  Victoria’s recent choice for Jesus is a major bone of contention for Morris; spiritual pursuits are not on his agenda.  He, for the most part, has abandoned Victoria, and along with his other vices, Morris is engaged in adulterous activities.
     The distress in her marriage has Victoria in a prolonged state of loneliness and despair.  Misery consumes her.  Victoria’s family and friends do what they can to help and comfort her.  She’s soon to learn new things about the rewards provided by SUPERMAN, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Prince of peace doesn’t wear tights but He sure knows how to deliver from tight places.  For Victoria, it shall come to pass.
     Thunder claps are heard outside the open windows of the apartment unit.  Pensively, Victoria watches Morris as he gets dressed to go out yet again.
     “Where are you going?”
     “Again!  You live here, Morris!
     With full blast arrogance, Morris strides over to within inches of Victoria’s face.  “Like I said, I’m going uptown!”
     Dejected, Victoria solemnly asks, “Where is your care and consideration for me – for us?”
     Morris steps back, shoots Victoria a disgusted look, and flippantly asks, “Why don’t you ask Jesus?”
     Stunned at Morris’ uttered disrespect for Jesus, Victoria fastens her eyes on him.
     He glares then walks away to finish dressing.
     Victoria opens her mouth to respond, decides to refrain, and instead leaves the room.  She doesn’t want Morris to witness the flow of tears that begin to stream from her eyes.  Minutes later, Victoria hears the front door close.
     Morris is gone – again.
     Victoria’s collective grief overcomes her.  She yields to the sobs that pour forth from the essence of her soul; agony has a firm relentless grip.  She ponders, “Why did I choose such a man?  Would I have been so inclined if my stepfather weren’t an alcoholic, and if my mother hadn’t been ill so much?  She was often incapable of adequately caring for us.  Would I have chosen better if my biological father had been a presence in my life before the death of my mother when I was a teenager?  Would Morris have become a good man if his father had been a constructive example in his life?” 
     Victoria’s soap opera life has dramatically altered her mental landscape.  On a dreary overcast morning that echoes her clouded disposition, Victoria makes an appointment for pastoral counseling.
     Pastor Julius firmly advises, “You don’t have a marriage, Victoria.  Morris is excess baggage. Unload him.”
     Even though she’s a baby Christian, Victoria’s spirit doesn’t agree with the pastoral counsel.
     “I appreciate your advice Pastor Julius, but I’m not inclined to accept it.”
     Pastor Julius leans forward with lines of concern on his face.
     “I’m disappointed, Victoria, that you won’t heed my counsel.”
     Victoria nods in understanding.  “I’d rather disappoint you, Pastor, than disappoint God.  My sense is that He desires that I remain in my marriage.  If our Lord leads me otherwise, my spirit will certainly bear witness.”
     Pastor Julius sighs.  “Alright,Victoria.”
     Victoria gets up to leave.  “Thank you, Pastor Julius, for meeting with me.  I appreciate your time.”
     “You’re certainly welcome.”  He walks her to the door.
     Eventually, again, Morris checks in for a brief stint in the penal system.  While confined, he writes loving letters to Victoria.  Contained in his correspondence are glowing assurances. 
     Victoria is buoyed by Morris’ affectionate words and expressed persuasions.  She thinks, “Morris has changed.  When he returns this time, we’ll have a real marriage.”  She’s happily hopeful.
     On a crisp autumn afternoon, Victoria arrives home from work, retrieves the mail and discovers a tax refund check addressed to Jessica, the prostitute who tricks for Morris.  Victoria closes her eyes as she struggles to control an eruption of anger that she can barely contain.  She thinks, “How could Morris be so cold?  He had the nerve to have Jessica’s mail sent here!”  Victoria’s heartache is pronounced; the weight of Morris’ disregard has leveled her to a state of despondency.  In desperation, she cries out, “Jesus, please help me!”
     Gently, the Lord speaks, “I’m here, My beloved.  I promise that My love and strength will get you through this.”
     Weakly, Victoria smiles and whispers, “Thank You, Lord.”
     He graciously gives her a sign.
     As she walks inside, Victoria looks skyward and sees a vividly displayed resplendent rainbow.  She remembers that, in the Bible, the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise.  She pauses to savor the visual splendor.  A rush of gratitude leaps in her heart.   She blows a kiss to her Lord.
     He smiles.
     Inside her abode, Victoria gets herself settled.
     The Lord again speaks.  “Return the check to the IRS with indication that Jessica doesn’t live here.  Then call Jessica to request that she meet you at your job.  Inform her that you have something for her.  She will assume that you’ll give her the check.   I’ll tell you more later.”
     Victoria is comforted by what the Lord has told her to do.   She phones Jessica to make the arrangements.
     “Hello,” Jessica answers.
     “Hi Jessica, this is Victoria.  I have something for you.  Can you come to my job tomorrow to pick it up?”
     In anticipation of her refund check, Jessica eagerly responds, “Sure, what is it?”
     “I believe you know, Jessica.  Meet me in the front of my building at noon.”
     Jessica makes sure that she has the correct address and agrees to meet Victoria.
     The next day, Jessica, a plump doe-eyed blond Caucasian, arrives at Victoria’s job site.  Her countenance reveals the weariness that dominates her identity.  Her vacant eyes land on Victoria.
     Victoria feels a measure of pity for Jessica.  Calmly, Victoria says, “I returned your check to the IRS because you don’t live at my address.”
     Jessica’s eyes widen and her shoulders slump as she digests her disappointment.
     As earlier instructed by the Lord, Victoria hands Jessica the love letters that were written by Morris.  She gently says, “I don’t know what he’s been telling you, but this is what he’s been telling me.”
     Jessica looks down at the letters in her hand, says nothing, and leaves.
     Victoria says a silent prayer for her.
     Soon Morris re-enters society, and returns to his indecent activities. 
     It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon.  Victoria is uptown on 14th Street when she sees Morris’ parked car and him seated in the driver’s seat with a woman, Tracy, seated in the front passenger’s seat.   
     Tracy is a dark petite woman with high cheek bones and short cropped auburn hair.   She’s intimately involved with Morris.
     The presence of Tracy stabs at Victoria’s heart.  She foolishly relies on her matrimonial status to give her advantage.  She mistakenly believes that her presence will cause Tracy to leave.  Tracy stays.
     Victoria thinks, “The nerve of her!”
     Morris adds to the insult.  He refuses to tell Tracy to get out of the car, and she makes no moves to relinquish her illegitimate perch. 
     Immensely wounded and exasperated, Victoria says to Morris, “Will you take me downtown?”
     Morris isn’t inclined.  He reluctantly nods.  “Get in the back seat.”
     Astonished, Victoria looks wide-eyed at Morris.  She angrily retorts, “You have really lost your mind!  You are straight up tripping!”  Victoria strongly declares, “I’m not getting in the back seat!”
     Morris holds steadfast to his insulting disrespectful stance against his furious wife.  He glares.  “You heard what I said,” he bellows.
     Victoria firmly stands her ground, and angrily repeats, “I’m not getting in the back seat!”  She will not ride in the back seat of her husband’s car!
     Tracy refuses to get out of the car.
       The trio is at an impasse.
     What does the fool Morris do?  He tells Victoria, “You drive.”   He drops the keys in the front seat.
     Victoria pauses as she absorbs the reality that Morris has allowed this hairy situation.  
     The entire time, Tracy hasn’t uttered a word.  She speaks volumes, though, by her refusal to vacate the vehicle.
     Victoria shakes her head and rolls her eyes.  With resignation, she decides to drive.
    Morris gets in the back seat.
     Off they ride -
     Is this a Kodak moment, or what?
     Day after day, Morris continues his abusive conduct.   
     The marital discord becomes too much for Victoria.  She has an emotional breakdown, enters Haven Heights Hospital Center, and is assigned to the psych ward.  She’s processed and provided a room that she shares with an elderly woman.
     Despite her fragile condition, Victoria knows, in her spirit, that she needs to be in the hospital but that she is NOT to be brought under the power of the staff there.  Nightly, the hospital personnel give pills to Victoria, which, in their presence, she puts in her mouth but never swallows.  Her entire stay there, Victoria disposes of all the medication that she is administered.  She understands that she’s emotionally fragile but she trusts God to heal her wounded heart.
     Victoria receives visits from her family and friends.
     The hospital staff believes that “religion” is responsible for Victoria’s frail emotional condition.
     One of her Christian friends, Linda, is forbidden by hospital personnel to bring in her Bible.
     Sternly, a staff person states, “You can’t bring that Bible in here.”
     Victoria and Linda are unpleasantly surprised by the order but they don’t pursue the matter further.
     Linda leaves to go put her Bible in her car.
     Dr. Juan Pedro is the physician assigned to Victoria.  His official diagnosis for her is “acute psychotic setback.”  Dr. Pedro is a pony-tailed middle-aged Mexican with smooth olive skin.  He’s chiseled and handsome with an informal dress “code” that harmonizes with his relaxed demeanor.
     Victoria likes Dr. Pedro, though she isn’t accustomed to a doctor with such an unconventional style.
     It isn’t long before Victoria closely connects with two patients, Arthur, a police officer, and Trey, a postal service employee.  Mocha-colored Arthur is a solidly built man of average height with no outstanding features.  He has a lively personality that Victoria finds quite appealing.  Trey, a good looking, cocoa in tone, bantam-sized man, has dazzling eyes and wavy fudge-colored hair.  His style invites interest and easily engages.  Together with Victoria, they are the resident psych ward “rebels.”
     For the most part, the trio isn’t feeling the prescribed treatment activities.  This day, they, with other patients, attend a therapy session. 
     The therapist announces, “You’re going to toss these balls.”   She distributes several green foam balls.
     Some patients proceed to toss them back and forth to one another.
     Victoria frowns and vocally deems the activity silly and meaningless.  She declares, “There’s nothing constructive about tossing around foam balls.  I’m not going to do it.”
     “Neither are we,” Trey and Arthur agree.
     In unison, the trio walks out of the session.
     The next day, Trey comes to Victoria’s room.  “Are you coming out?” he asks.
     “Yes, I’ll be out.”
     They join Arthur and some other patients in the community area.
     One patient, Millie, a young attractive Caucasian woman, is so traumatized by something that her posture is such that her neck stays tilted to one side.  Millie looks, and is terribly unhappy.  She doesn’t smile.  She keeps her hair confined in a tight bun, and walks with an insecure gait.  Millie does have family visits but she stays in her assigned room and doesn’t engage with the other patients.
     One day Dr. Pedro says to Victoria about Millie, “Let her alone.  There’s no hope for her.”
     Victoria is stunned to hear such words expressed by a doctor.
     “I believe that there is hope,” Victoria confidently remarks to Dr. Pedro.
     Dr. Pedro maintains his doubt.  He shrugs and shakes his head.
     Victoria is undaunted in her faith about Millie.  Victoria thinks, “Jesus specializes in the hopeless.”  She begins once a day every day visits to Millie’s room.  Daily, with confidence, Victoria knocks on Millie’s door.  Cheerfully, she asks Millie, “Are you coming out today?”
     Millie shakes her head no.
     Victoria smiles, leaves, and thinks, “I’ll go back tomorrow.”  She firmly believes that Jesus will alter Millie’s disposition.
     After several daily visits, and invitations from Victoria, Millie comes out of the room with her neck erect!  Her red curly hair cascades in glistening glory.  With pep in her steps, she widely smiles as she joins the patients who are gathered in the community area, Victoria, Trey and Arthur among them.
     Victoria glows at the transformation of Millie.  She gives a thumbs up.  “You go, “girl!”
     Millie grins broadly as she sits next to Victoria.
      The others are pleasantly surprised to see Millie.
     Trey heartily asks, “What’s up, sister girl?”
     Eyes twinkling, she answers, “You tell me.”
     Other patients approach and talk with Millie.  They all make her feel welcome.
     The group parties to the music that plays from Trey’s boom box.
     Lon, the preacher’s son, boogies.  Comically, he says, “Don’t tell my dad that I’ve been dancing.”
     They all laugh.
     Mid-morning, the next day, a counselor, Ruth, meets with Victoria to discuss her case.  She warns, “Morris is bad for you.  For the sake of your peace of mind, you need to leave him.”
     Resolute, Victoria says, “I understand that you mean well, Ruth, but what I do about Morris isn’t your call.  I trust God to show me what to do about my marriage.  Right now, I’m not led to leave my husband.”
     Ruth objects.  “The relationship is damaging and unhealthy for you.”
     Victoria’s eyes narrow.  “Ruth, you’re treading on turf that is out of bounds for you.  I won’t allow you to convince me to leave my husband.  That’s it and that’s all.”
     Ruth gets the message.  She wisely puts the brakes on any further mention about the matter.
     It’s a new day.
     Victoria, Trey and Arthur attend a therapy session.
     One of the patient’s, Eddie, gets disturbed about something.  He abruptly leaves the room.
     Victoria urges the counselor, “Go get him to return.”
     The counselor refuses.  Her chilly response is “He’s not going to come back in here.”
     Disapprovingly, Victoria eyes the counselor.  She wonders about her attitude of insensitivity.  Victoria leaves the session to seek Eddie.
     He’s nearby in the hallway.
     “Eddie, please come back in the session.”
     Arms folded, he resists, “Nah.”
     “Come on, Eddie, please.
     He unfolds his arms.  He’s affected by Victoria’s care and concern. 
     She persuades him to return to the session.
     “OK, Victoria, I’ll do it for you.”
     She smiles.  “For us, Eddie.”
     He flashes a big grin as he leads the way back into the session.
     The other patients are glad to see that Eddie has rejoined them.
     The counselor looks none too pleased that Victoria succeeded in persuading him to return with her.
     Victoria discerns that the counselor’s ego is wounded.  She thinks, “Helping Eddie is bigger than any concerns about ego tripping.”  Victoria makes a mental note, though, to pray for the counselor.
     The day has arrived for Trey to be discharged. 
     It’s more than a small challenge for Victoria to say good-bye to him.  Truly, he has added richness and zest to her life.
     “Man, it’s been a joy.  I’m sure going to miss you, Trey.”
     “No question, Victoria, we’re going to miss each other.  Being around you is delightful.  And we had a blast with our core group.  We’ve got to keep in touch.”
     Victoria nods as she holds back tears.
     They chat a bit more then hug good-bye.  Emotional, Victoria watches as Trey walks out the door.   
     It has been two weeks since Victoria checked in Haven Heights.  Not once has Morris come to visit her.  While there, she did speak to him on the phone one day when he selfishly asked her to call the landlord about a unit related issue.  Annoyed by his lack of consideration for her vulnerable state, Victoria sternly responds to Morris, “You call the landlord.  I’m in the hospital and you’re telling me to call the landlord?!”   
     Morris slammed down the phone.
     That pretty much sums up their communication since Victoria has been hospitalized, largely due to Morris’ perverse and irresponsible behavior.
     Discharge time has arrived for Victoria.  She enjoys one more party night with her patient friends.
     It’s hard to say good-bye.  Sadness is resident within all of them.
     “I’m going to miss ya’ll,” sighs Victoria.  “Despite our issues, we’ve had some good times here in this psych ward.”
     The group laughs. 
     As Victoria continues about how bonds were formed, her buddies smile and nod in agreement.
     Arthur chimes in, “Yeah, Victoria, we bonded and much enjoyed our togetherness.  We have some special memories to cherish.  That’s for sure, lady!”
     Victoria gives Arthur a high five.  “You’ve got that right, brother, you’ve got that right.”
     Victoria’s eyes fasten on Millie.  As tears surface in both their eyes, the two women warmly embrace.  They squeeze hands as they silently communicate their treasured sentiments. 
     The others, understanding, look on.
     Tears fall from Millie’s eyes.  “Thank you for loving on me, Victoria.  I’ll never forget your care and your refusal to allow me to wallow in my pain.  No, I’ll never forget, Victoria, that’s for sure.”
     “You’re certainly welcome, Millie.  It was my pleasure.  God sent me to persuade you to recognize that you are a cherished treasure.  He assured me that your beauty would surface, and it did.  Your transformation is a thrill, Millie.
     “Yeah, Millie, it sure is,” exclaims Lon, the preacher’s son.  My hope and faith have reached new levels because I’ve witnessed your transformation.  I’m profoundly affected by how God changed you.”
     Victoria and the others nod in earnest.        
     Millie beams.  
     Victoria waves as she exits to resume her solid journey.
      Emotionally, Victoria is much better but her condition is still fragile.
     Her sister and her sister’s boyfriend drive Victoria home.  When she arrives, Morris isn’t there.  Victoria turns on the tub water to prepare to enjoy a warm bath.  In the tub, she finds a long strand of blond hair.  Indignation rises in her spirit.  The deal breaker has arrived.  Victoria still loves Morris but his accumulated abuses have added up to - ENOUGH!  The marriage is over.
     The Lord speaks, “I give you release and victory in Jesus.  It’s time for you to leave Morris.  You’re free to divorce him.”
     With a grieved heart, and her arms lifted in gratitude, Victoria expresses, “Thank You, Lord.”
     “You’re certainly welcome.  I know that you love Morris but you’ve tolerated as much as you can bear.  I’ve called you to peace.”
     Victoria gains a new wave of strength.  She gets the door locks changed, and phones to inform Morris that she’s through with the marriage.  “I’m done, Morris.  We’re headed for divorce.  Year after year, I’ve put up with your abuse and selfishness – I’m done.”  Victoria tells him that he needs to call before he comes because the locks have been changed.
     Victoria’s comments are met with silence until Morris can absorb her life-altering news.  He unsuccessfully proceeds to change Victoria’s decision.
     “You’re overreacting, Victoria.  Chill - you’re making too much of this.”
     Victoria rolls her eyes.  “No, Morris, my decision makes sense and I’m not changing my mind.”
     “You know I love you, woman.”
     “Yeah, right.  Bye, Morris.”  Victoria hangs up.
     In a stunned state, Morris stands there and holds the phone.   He cannot believe the resolve that Victoria displayed.  He trembles as he grasps the realization that Victoria is finished with him.  It has dawned on Morris, too late, that Victoria is a jewel that he never appreciated – until now.  Depression overtakes him.
     Victoria is adamant.  The knot is untied.  This lady is loosed.  The divorce shall come to pass.
     Victoria obtains the divorce and moves on to gain a healed heart and a renewed hope for her future.      


Note: This is a work in progress and is likely to undergo more edits...



From: Sharon Kirby

I will eagerly read your book *beginnings* in the next few days. I am so excited for you - good for you, following through on this! Sandra, I just know that God will speak through you, and that He will tremendously bless many people through your testimony. Your story, His glory! GOD BLESS!

From: Sharon Kirby

Oh my, Sandra! I absolutely LOVE your writing style. What you have written on your blog has just been a delicious nibble of your true writing abilities. This book is going to be a feast!

You do such a wonderful job of capturing personalities with your words, and I can just picture myself in each moment - right there with Victoria. If I could, I would just jump into the page and give her a great big hug. She is inspiring...

Can't wait for more installments - I'm just loving this so much.

From: Lisa aka Never Forsaken

What a wonderful offering this is, very real and poignant. I can immediately relate to all of the characters through your descriptive accounting of them.

Your writing style is both unique and very very interesting as it is a reflection of you. May God richly bless you and your endeavor, may this work of fiction work to glorify God and bring salvation and edification to people in a very nonfiction (real) way! Peace In Jesus, Lisa

From: Child of God

Looks great Sandra! You will do an amazing job on creating these chronicles. I will be praying for God's guidance and covering. Blessings,

From: Kimberly aka Mining for Diamonds

Hi, Sandra! Looks like you've got a great start on your book! You have a very unique writing style, very take time to really give the readers a glimpse into the characters' hearts and motivations. In fact, some of your descriptions and the way you write remind me of a play. Have you thought about turning this story into a stage play? I could definitely see this being acted out on stage! If Tyler Perry could do it, you certainly could! I will look forward to reading more!

From: Lidj aka Crown of Beauty

I just came over from your other blog where you posted the prologue and first chapter of The Victoria Chronicles. Since I already know about your project, that it is fiction based on a true story, while reading what you had written, I was just so amazed even with how the Lord was protecting you and providing for you. The book project shows great promise, dear friend. I am eagerly looking forward to the rest of your story. Praying for God's direction and continued anointing on you as you write. Love Lidj

These comments posted by Sandra on July 18, 2011.