How Great Thou Art (amidst the mess)

(While Governing Ana is not a Christian blog, it contains unapologetic Christian content today. You are warned. Please return tomorrow for secular content.)

Earlier posts referenced:

I won’t talk about the details, but my dad has slipped into serious territory. He gets sicker and sicker, and instead of improving in the ICU he has required more intervention.

It’s pretty scary.

I’ve been vilified by a few toxic people for removing them from my life. (They know about my dad’s illness but don’t care, and my dad is more important.) While I made the best decision in a bad circumstance, the unfair assumptions hurt.

The quilting grannies have enveloped me in their love, warmth, and outrageous silliness. They have become so precious to me, and I am grateful for their laughter. I said to them, “It’s so nice to come here for a few hours where the biggest problem is forgetting whose turn is next.” One said I’d made her day, but the opposite was true, too.

Shrove Tuesday brought its annual pancake dinner with a huge turnout. Such a large group meant not getting to talk to many people (more than a pleasantry), but it was a wonderful sense of community.

I’m grateful that this week of difficult news and drama has coincided with Ash Wednesday and three days of church activities. I’m busy, as usual, and can’t spare the time to go to church each day. But in this time of fear, worry, and heartache, that’s where I most need to go. The benefit of an older congregation is that most of my friends have lost one or both parents, if not a spouse as well. When I talk about my dad, they’ve all been there. They’ve visited the hospital, fought with medical staff for safe treatment, and worried through scary procedures. They’ve been there, and they’re okay now. It makes this terrifying time seem more normal and less out of control. At least a little.

In other news, I’ve been saving picking up my violin for the perfect moment. I needed to clean up my living room, or I had to sort out my music. Or I had to take down my Christmas tree (don’t judge) or arrange everything to create a music corner in my office.

Instead, when I heard the latest news about my dad, I started humming How Great Thou Art.

I can’t honestly say it’s my dad’s favorite hymn, but it’s a favorite hymn of many from my parent’s generation. I had this sudden conviction that he was going to die right now, I needed to call him, and I’d play How Great Thou Art for him over the phone.

*cue Hollywood sentimental background music, swelling into a triumphant crescendo*

Sadly, no.

I haven’t played seriously in many years. I haven’t played at all for almost seven. I used to devote up to seven or eight hours a day to practice, rehearsal, and lessons.

Last night, amidst the gigantic mess known as De-Cluttering My Home, I said forget it.  I want my violin now.

I opened the case, took out the shoulder rest, and set it up. I tightened the bow hair and applied rosin.

Just tuning the strings was a challenge!

Then a tiny miracle happened. My metronome with its A440 tuning pitch, which I assumed had broken (it’s so old I can’t remember when I got it), was good as new when I put in a new battery.

I tuned.

And, because the violin had lain unused for so many years, it promptly went out of tune.

I tuned the strings again, slowly and carefully.

Then I stood up and started with a scale. A long, luxurious, slow scale (only two octaves, not the usual three) waltzing through whole notes, quarter notes, and working its way up to sixteenth notes. My wrist didn’t oblige and the shoulder rest didn’t sit quite right.

I felt like Leila picking up her violin after her injury and forced rest (though, of course, Leila is a professional musician of world-class caliber, and I am a former student musician who once had dreams of teaching).

My violin quivered. With joy, I think. It’s been neglected for so long that it can’t have been happy.

Normally, and especially after such a long hiatus, I would have continued with another scale or two plus some etudes before touching any performance piece. But nostalgia gripped me, and I started playing (from memory) one of my recital pieces.

My wrist, shoulder, and arm said No! in a resounding chorus.

I printed out the sheet music from Cyber Hymnal for How Great Thou Art, and I played through the melody line.

(It’s an awful setting for violin, by the way.)

I played through it twice, and then I thought…I can’t let anyone hear this. Not when I used to be one of the most promising students in my orchestra.

Then I read through the lyrics. I’ve never paid attention to much beyond the refrain:

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee,

How great Thou art, how great Thou Art!

This time, though, the last verse jumped out at me.

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!

Then I shall bow in humble adoration,

And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!

And nope, I couldn’t do it. I should probably be a good Christian and say God’s will be done, but nope. It’s not my father’s time to go. I, Ana Vitsky, issue this decree.

Even though I wrote my prayer request for church saying I want him well, but I don’t want him to suffer.

Mostly, I’d like for family drama to melt away in a wonderful, storybook fashion. I’d like for egos and pettiness to make room for the unmoving, unchanging, and eternal love parents and children have for each other. No matter what happens, no matter how much hurt exists, and even if considerations of safety make contact difficult–even if the external relationship is severed–we never lose love for our child or parent.

Never.

It took a visit to my father in the ICU to realize that I don’t owe anyone anything. If other people want to drag me into their dramas, I don’t have to participate. They can and are hurling abuse at me for walking away, but they’re not my parents. They’re not family, and they don’t deserve a place in my life.

Remember when I started the De-Stuff My Life challenge with such enthusiasm, only to peter out once things hit the fan? Now that it is Ash Wednesday and Lent for real, I’m starting again. This time, though, my goal is far more modest. I want to take out one bag per day, whether it’s trash or donations. (Not ordinary trash that accumulates, but trash from clearing out junk.) Or my goal is to de-clutter for 15 minutes a day. Whichever makes more sense at the time. (Two days ago, for example, I sorted through a lot of items on my entertainment center, threw out junk, and set out a lot of piles of items that need to be put away other places. Putting away those items can be today’s 15 minutes.)

My reward?

Fifteen minutes of violin practice. That’s about all my tight wrist and shoulder will let me do, and (again thinking of Leila) I don’t dare risk injury. Ten or fifteen minutes twice a day will have to be my limit for now, and I will be happy with that.

I want to play for church. I’d love to join the community orchestra, get involved with other musicians, and…

But for now, it’s the little things.

My father may be dying.

I can’t sing the last verse of How Great Thou Art.

I can’t control the scary parts of my life right now, but I can throw out the physical and emotional clutter.

I can pick up my much-beloved violin, and I can slowly, slowly, slowly inch my way back to proper playing.

I saved playing my violin again for the moment when I most needed it. For all those years of childhood lessons, orchestra rehearsals, and tears…I am grateful.

I can always wish my life were better and more stable, but I will never have everything I long for. Instead, I’ll set up my music stand amidst the de-cluttering mess and make my violin sing (or cough, croak, and splutter a few scratchy notes).

How great Thou art.

Alice Gets Spanked! #Satspanks, #SnippetSunday, #SeductiveSnS, and #Wewriwa

Welcome to Saturday Spankings, Seductive Studs and Sirens, Snippet Sunday, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

On Wednesday, I announced the winners of the first-ever “Happy Spanker” award, meaning an author who contributed a great deal toward the Spank or Treat 2013 fun. Maren Smith and Alice Dark shared the award, and they were offered their choice of gifts. Maren chose to receive The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, and Alice elected to receive a spanking. The “Evil Queen,” known for her naughty tales of F/F spanking (particularly caning!), is featured in today’s eight-sentence mini-story.

 

The setup: Previously, the naughty Emily Tilton found herself on the wrong side of our formidable Headmistress Blake. After her punishment, Irishey wrote a lively tale of Emily’s plot for revenge. Enter Miss Alice Dark, Head Girl of our naughty bunch. Alice took it upon herself to cane the errant Emily for her misdeeds, but alas! She overstepped her authority and must face the wrath of a Headmistress Blake who reserves for herself alone the pleasure of punishing girls. Poor Alice! Or shall we say, lucky Alice? 😉

 

 

 At Headmistress Blake’s awful pronouncement, Alice spread her skirts and sank to the floor in a graceful curtsy. “I apologize for having wronged you, Headmistress,” she said in a soft gasp. “I forgot my place.”

 

“Then I shall have to remind you,” Headmistress Blake answered, fingering the slender, crooked-handle cane she kept always at the ready. “Be so good as to assume the position, Miss Dark.”

 

Alice rose, stretched her supple arms, and folded herself into the hands-gripping-ankles position she had observed but rarely performed. Her lithe body folded like rippling silk, her taut leg and buttock muscles contracting as she focused on keeping her breath steady.

 

“I shall thoroughly enjoy caning you,” Headmistress Blake proclaimed, and Alice gave a delicious shudder as the woman raised her cane for the first strike.

 

(That’s all I’m allowed for this time, but if there is enough interest I may continue our Headmistress Tales next week. Hope you liked it!)

 

 

Don’t stop: #Satspanks, #SnipSun, #Wewriwa, and #SeductivSnS

This weekend marks the release of Love’s Reprise, an anthology featuring the talents of Lucy Felthouse, Cassandre Dayne, Kate Richards, Olivia Starke, and yours truly. “Complicated Gifts” brings us a follow-up story to Simple Gifts, the story of an injured violinist and her orchestra teacher friend. Passionate and temperamental, Leila gets herself into trouble more often than not. But when their friendship becomes something more than romance, sweet-tempered Carene struggles with her awakening sexuality. What follows is my first-ever sex scene, in which Carene finds out she’s not always in control.

 

Sneak peek 1

Sneak peek 2

 

“You like spanking me,” Leila cooed, but Carene was as warm and soft as molasses taffy left in the sun. She couldn’t make her jaws move. “Do you know how long I’ve wanted to do this?” She cupped Carene’s bottom, leaning down to kiss each part of her body. But was it Carene’s body, or was it Leila’s? Carene had lost track of who she was. She was lost in a sea of nothingness, but at the same time she felt cocooned inside Leila’s guidance. She heard a soft rumble before realizing it came from her own throat.

“Don’t…stop,” she whispered.

Love's-Reprise-cover

Love failed the first time. Will a second chance be enough?

 

Love gets a reprise in these short stories by best-selling authors Cassandre Dayne, Lucy Felthouse, Kate Richards, Olivia Starke, and Anastasia Vitsky. All about women’s relationships with women, the romance and erotica are deep and abiding with musical interludes flowing throughout. Sprinkled with spanking, a little BDSM, eroticism, and true friendship, these stories tell of women who find love thanks to a second chance.
Anastasia Vitsky brings us a story about Leila and her lover Carene. Leila struggles to recover her career as a classical violinist, and Carene fights for the courage to ask Leila to stay. Music plays a part in Cassandre Dayne’s, “Broken Dreams,” a story about the lead singer of a rock band who finds love with her former friend, veterinarian Samantha Mason. Their deep, dark cravings are finally revealed. In Lucy Felthouse’s story, ex-best friends Eden and Janine are forced to re-evaluate their estrangement when their siblings marry. Kate Richards tells the story of pediatric Nurse Kim’s struggle to rejoin the living after the tragic death of her wife. Can Doctor Nora Riley help her learn love can come again? The only problem is that she doesn’t know if she can take a chance on love again. In Olivia Starke’s story, Broken Promises, a witch named Bet gets a second chance for love 70 years after losing her life. If she and her new lover Tabby can survive The Witch’s Curse.

Find the passion, the intimacy, and the desire among women in this anthology written entirely by women. Love’s Reprise will melt your heart on even the coolest days.

Watch the video trailer! (Warning: very naughty!)

Read the first installment in the Carene and Leila romance, Simple Gifts!

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Music.  Without the love of her life, how can Leila learn to live again?

 

Professional violinist Leila Feran is accustomed to fame as the youngest and first female concertmaster of the Philharmonic Symphony.  Driven to achieve ever-increasing heights, she injures her wrist so badly that she may no longer be able to play.  While she recovers, she moves in with her childhood best friend, a pianist and beloved orchestra teacher in a small town.

Carene welcomes Leila with open arms and only one condition: no divas allowed.  And if Leila can’t follow the house rules, she might find herself over Carene’s knee…or worse. In between arguments over physical therapy and house rules, Carene’s zero-tolerance policy regarding divas results in some old-fashioned discipline that changes into something more.

 

Will Leila and Carene’s new feelings for each other blossom into something wonderful? Or will Leila lose not just a potential soul mate, but also her friend?

New Carene and Leila story!

Did you ever wonder what happened to the sassy Leila and sweet Carene of Simple Gifts?

SimpleGifts-AnastasiaVitsky-v1

“Complicated Gifts,” the short story follow-up to Simple Gifts, is now available on Amazon! Click the book cover below for the US link. Look for more posts this week! I’ll show a snippet this weekend! In the meantime, here are two previous sneak peeks:

 

Sneak peek 1

Sneak peek 2

 

Love's-Reprise-cover

Love failed the first time. Will a second chance be enough?

 

Love gets a reprise in these short stories by best-selling authors Cassandre Dayne, Lucy Felthouse, Kate Richards, Olivia Starke, and Anastasia Vitsky. All about women’s relationships with women, the romance and erotica are deep and abiding with musical interludes flowing throughout. Sprinkled with spanking, a little BDSM, eroticism, and true friendship, these stories tell of women who find love thanks to a second chance.

.
Anastasia Vitsky brings us a story about Leila and her lover Carene. Leila struggles to recover her career as a classical violinist, and Carene fights for the courage to ask Leila to stay. Music plays a part in Cassandre Dayne’s, “Broken Dreams,” a story about the lead singer of a rock band who finds love with her former friend, veterinarian Samantha Mason. Their deep, dark cravings are finally revealed. In Lucy Felthouse’s story, ex-best friends Eden and Janine are forced to re-evaluate their estrangement when their siblings marry. Kate Richards tells the story of pediatric Nurse Kim’s struggle to rejoin the living after the tragic death of her wife. Can Doctor Nora Riley help her learn love can come again? The only problem is that she doesn’t know if she can take a chance on love again. In Olivia Starke’s story, Broken Promises, a witch named Bet gets a second chance for love 70 years after losing her life. If she and her new lover Tabby can survive The Witch’s Curse.

 

Find the passion, the intimacy, and the desire among women in this anthology written entirely by women. Love’s Reprise will melt your heart on even the coolest days.

Meeting the parents: #Satspanks, #SnippetSunday, #SeductiveSnS, and #Wewriwa

Welcome to Saturday Spankings, Seductive Studs and Sirens, Snippet Sunday, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Release date for Becoming Clissine is fast approaching! Have you marked September 20th on your calendar? 🙂

We’re continuing sneak peeks of Becoming Clissine, the first book in my Bastia series that will be released on September 20th. Clissa has grown up in a world where heterosexual relationships are forbidden, and she now faces criminal charges for consorting with a boy. Altrea, the head of the Bastil (the governing body of Bastia), has Clissa listen to the charges against her before calling the assembly to prayer. Altrea reminds the gathering of the laws and regulations of their society, but Clissa remembers the principal law.

This week, we’re skipping to a new segment of the story, Clissa’s “reeducation.” In Bastia, each child is given a nurturing parent (“Nur”) and a disciplining parent (“Dis”). Children are not raised by biological parents (how children come about is a story for another snippet) but assigned to faithful couples as a reward from the Bastil. However, children who flout Bastian rule bring shame upon their entire families. (Spoiler: falling in love with a boy is one way to break the law!) If a child’s behavior is egregious enough, parental rights can be terminated. Even though Clissa is nearly twenty-one, she is handed to Soris and Karielle to be raised as their child. Their mandate? Do whatever is necessary to bring her back to Basti. Spankings and all.

In this week’s snippet, Clissa encounters the two women who will now govern her life. Meet her new parents, Soris and Karielle.

Part 1: Introduction to Bastia

Part 2: Prologue of Becoming Clissine, the first book in the Bastia series

Part 3: Clissa’s lack of repentance

Part 4: Altrea’s prayer for Clissa’s soul

Part 5: Love, the first commandment

Part 6: Forbidden pleasure

Karielle patted Clissa’s cheek again. “We’ve got a nice room for you ready at home, and we’ll help you adjust to your new life. Dis is right; we’ll be strict if you give us trouble, but you won’t want that.”

“But my Dis and Nur…”

“…are right here, and you must never speak of anyone else again.”

“But you’re not my Nur and she’s not my Dis!” Clissa broke out of Karielle’s arms, and Karielle sighed before depositing Clissa in front of Soris.

“Clie, sooner or later you will learn: you do as you are told, and calling anyone else ‘Dis’ or ‘Nur’ earns you punishment.”

Becoming-Clissine-Cover

I like it: #Satspanks, #SnippetSunday, #SeductiveSnS, and #Wewriwa

Welcome to Saturday Spankings, Seductive Studs and Sirens, Snippet Sunday, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Apologies for the late posting this week. I’m still jetlagged and in vampire mode–awake by night and asleep by day. We’re going to take a brief break from Becoming Clissine: Bastia, Book One and preview “Complicated Gifts,” the short-story sequel to Simple Gifts that will premiere in October along with stories by Cassandre Dayne, Lucy Felthouse, Kate Richards, and Olivia Starke. Look for Love’s Reprise, a story about second chances!

This scene is part of the prologue, and it is an intermezzo between the two stories. “Complicated Gifts” takes place several months after Simple Gifts, and by the time the story begins Leila and Carene have become an official romantic couple. What happens next is…shall I say? Complicated. 🙂

(Punctuation has been altered to comply with the 8-sentence rule.)

Carene gripped Leila’s shoulders, pulling her closer.

“Shh,” Carene lay her head against the pillow and focused on the dark brown eyes watching her with such tenderness a huge lump filled her throat. “I should spank you for this.” She meant for it to be a threat, to re-establish control, but the thrill of electricity snapped through her.

“Please…spank me..I like it,” Leila murmured, lifting Carene’s hand toward her own bottom.

Carene let it fall against the rounded softness, the silky skin that had distracted her at Leila’s last spanking. Carene had meant to punish. Not for a rush of warmth and wetness to carry her to a plane where all she could feel was Leila next to her, moving as one with her, caressing her and telling her she was beautiful.

Love's-Reprise-cover

SimpleGifts-AnastasiaVitsky-v1