(An excerpt from “Escape Code” by Beth Westcott)

Awaking  to the patter of rain against her window, twelve-year-old Summer Bradford groaned and pulled her blanket over her head. She waited for sleep to return. Instead, her eyes popped wide open. She kicked off her blanket with a huff and sat on the side of her bed.

She stretched and yawned as she gazed around her room. Her clothes lay in a messy display, hanging from a large suitcase and a couple of plastic totes. Boxes made twin towers against one wall. Her shoes lay in a heap by the closet door. She didn’t care. She had hoped to wake up and find herself back in sunny California with her friends, her old home, and everything familiar.

Someone knocked at her door.


“Hey, Summer. Mom wants to know if you’re up yet. It’s after eight,” said her twin brother, Ryan. “Dad has to leave for the office soon.”

She stood. “Yeah, I’m up.” She sorted through some piles to find her clothes for the day.

“Okay, I’ll tell her.” Ryan’s footsteps faded.

How could Ryan be so cheerful? Rainy, dull, boring all described her life. They didn’t even have an internet hook-up yet, so she couldn’t contact her friends. God didn’t hear her when she had begged Him to let them stay. She had prayed until the day Mom and Dad sold the house in California, and they headed for Freedom, New York, in their packed van, pulling a U-Haul trailer.

Life means change. I can hardly imagine all the changes my mother has seen in her lifetime. She’s 103.

I try to remember what life was like back when we had a black and white television, we played 78 vinyl records on our record player, the speed limit was  50 mph on the highway, postage stamps were two cents, and milk was delivered to our doorstep in glass bottles. We communicated by letter, or maybe telephone, or we stopped in for a visit.

I don’t envy parents bringing up children today. Life has become so much more complex, with instant everything. Truth has become garbled and twisted. Pain and brokenness are common. It’s harder to keep families together.

Change is inevitable. We are born, we grow up, we choose a job or career. We get married, have children, watch them grow up, become grandparents. And around us the world is changing, sometimes for good, but too often for bad.

Leaving one home to move to another is not my favorite change. The sorting, packing, moving, and unpacking can become tiresome. Like Summer, I miss my old home and my old friends.  Our next move is into retirement, coming soon.

When I first began to write for publication, I knew almost nothing about it. I loved to read, and I loved a good story. Through the years, my writing has changed as I have “learned the craft.” There’s always something to learn. Instead of a typewriter and a paper manuscript with an SASE, we now produce a manuscript on a computer and send it in electronically.

As with so much in life, the demands to become a successful, published writer have changed. I’m still learning. And I’m grateful for the writers, publishers, and agents who have helped and encouraged me on my journey.

God alone is unchanging (Malachi 3:6). He is always faithful. For that I am thankful.