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Sarah at Christmas

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Gossiping on the Sabbath in Jerusalem






Naomi:     "Did you see Jesus hang on the cross yesterday?"

Phoebe:    "Yes, I was in the crowd. It was awful. The crowd jeered Him and many were glad to see Him hang there. I’ve seen others hang, but never anyone I cared about. What are you doing here? It's the Sabbath, you are not to be out walking on the Sabbath."

Naomi:      "I know, but I can't sit still. Come outside and look at the hill called Golgotha. They took Him off the cross and buried Him. We'll never see Him again."

Phoebe:     "Hush your tears. We both know death. Your father died last year and so did my mother. Everyone dies. We'll grieve and cry with the hired mourners tomorrow. Our screams and wails will be expected then, but don't let the officials see you weep today. They hold the Sabbath sacred, and you'll get into trouble if they catch you disobeying one of their rules."

Naomi:       "I know we all die, but he was the Messiah. At least I though He was, but now He’s gone."

Phoebe:      "I thought He was the Promised One too, but we were wrong. We must look for another."

Naomi         "Our ancestors and prophets have been saying that for years. We’ll perish before we see our king comes."

Phoebe:       "Probably so, but we must cling to the old promises. Now go home before the sun shows itself. We’ll meet tomorrow in the market place. We can talk then."




Naomi:        “I saw Mary Magdalene earlier this morning when I went to the well for water. Can you believe it? Mary Magdalene says she saw Jesus and He’s alive!”

Phoebe:       “How can that be? I heard he’d been placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. The soldiers proved Him dead when they pierced His side. Dead men don’t get up and walk again. It’s not possible.”

Naomi:        “Jesus raised Lazarus.”

Phoebe:       “Yes, but Lazarus said he will dye again one day. What’s the story on Jesus? If He came back to life, will He have to die again? I hope that doesn’t mean another cross.”

Naomi:        “I don’t know, but Mary Magdalene said he was different. She didn’t recognize Him when she saw Him in the garden until He called her name. She ran to tell the disciples, and Peter and John went to the tomb.”

Phoebe:       “No doubt John got to the tomb first to check it out. What did they find?”

Naomi:        “I heard others talking with Mary Magdalene. They said it was empty. The grave clothes were laying in place with the head wrap folded.”

Phoebe:       “The napkin was folded? That’s an indication He’s coming back. Do you think that means he’s going back to the grave?”

Naomi:        “I doubt it. Why would he come to life and die again? If He did that once, shouldn’t that be enough? I mean if He is truly God’s Son as He claimed He was.”

Phoebe:       “He must be who He says He is. No one  could raise him from a grave save God alone.”

Naomi:        “I believe He is the Son of God. He must be. There's no other explanation. He said He was when we heard Him teach. I didn't understand then. Truth be told, I don't fully understand now, but I believe.”

Phoebe:       “I believe too. Lord God, help my unbelief.”







Friday, March 23, 2018

Gay N. Lewis: Nature: Is It a Centrifugal Force?

Gay N. Lewis: Nature: Is It a Centrifugal Force?: Isn't this an intriguing title for a book? Just wait till you read it! Hi everybody. Welcome to my kitchen table. Pull up a c...

Nature: Is It a Centrifugal Force?



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Isn't this an intriguing title for a book?
Just wait till you read it!


Hi everybody. Welcome to my kitchen table. Pull up a chair and meet my friend. 
Lisa J. Lickel, is visiting with me down here in Texas. She came all the way from Wisconsin. She says she's glad to be in warmer weather—at least for a few days.

Lisa is multi-talented. She's not only a writer, but an editor. She's edited several of my books, and I loved working with her. I know you'll like her books too, but first, let's get acquainted.

Lisa, let's start at the beginning. Where were you born, your early life, and how did you meet your husband?

Thanks, Gay, and the warm weather is nice. I was born in a small city on the west shore of Lake Michigan south of Green Bay, Wisconsin where my parents had their first public school teaching jobs. We soon moved down the coast to Racine, where I grew up. I met my husband in college through Intervarsity Christian Fellowship in Stevens Point, at the UW, where we prayed for John Denver. 

My goodness! You've always been in what I call "The Cold Country." I've never lived north of Oklahoma. We had snow and ice there, but nothing like what I see you have on the TV. Were you praying for John Denver to write more songs?  

 No, not songs. In the 1970s John Denver professed to follow one of those faith-based offshoots that was a little quirky, so we prayed that he would find and follow the truth of Christ alone as Savior.

 I hope he did, and I love his music. Do you wear tons of long-johns?  How about heating bills? What do you use? Gas? Electric? Do you have a fireplace? If so, does hubby chop wood?

 Hubby is chopping another tree to prepare wood for the heating season of 2020 as we speak. He and his chainsaw have a pretty tight relationship. We are on an electrical co-op, so our electricity bills are offset by a huge solar array the co-op runs. We may do some more alternative power in the future for ourselves, but right now, the co-op does a good job for our electrical needs. We also are part of a co-op and run our water heater and back-up house furnace on liquid propane. We have a powerful, beautiful wood stove that, so far, kept both upper and lower levels of our new house surprisingly warm, even in those -20-degree days. I prefer to keep the house a little cooler anyway, but didn’t need to put on long-johns this winter, but I did back in our old drafty house.
  
 Do you have kiddos?

We have two grown boys (one of whom graduated from Stevens Point and the other went on to get his M-Div and is now area director for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship from---yes, Stevens Point!), and four and a half grandchildren, two grandkitties and lots of grandchickens.

What do you do with animals in the winter months?

When we have our own chickens and raise a pig or calf, we’ll keep them in pens. They’re pretty hardy animals, and out of the wind, don’t really need special treatment, just fresh water that’s not ice, and feed.

What is your favorite season way up there in Wisconsin?

Oh, that's easy. Fall. I love the transitions. 

Fall is my fav too, but I must travel to see colors change. Here in the Houston area, we go from green to brown. If you could, what would you change about your state?

I love Wisconsin, and I’d like to make sure the changing government policies go back to thinking long term about environmental preservation issues and supporting and enriching our progressive public educational system.

That sounds like a lofty plan. Changing anything in government is difficult. What is your favorite thing about your Wisconsin?

The wonderful progressive and diverse, enlightening culture. Sure, we’ve had challenges as any other state in the Union, but from the richness of the Voyageurs to the Welsh miners who gave us our nickname of the Badger State, to the wonderful shorelines, forests, hills and farms to manufacturing to the culture of the earliest residents of many tribes, the stand against the runaway slave act, I don’t think I could my finger on any one thing that’s my favorite. Maybe the spectacular sunsets we see almost every night from our deck.

I'd love to visit and see those sunsets. I think you've posted them on Facebook. Have you lived elsewhere?

No. Born and bred in Wisconsin!

That’s amazing. I wonder how many of my readers have always lived in the state they were born.  I’ve lived in two. I lived that one year in Oklahoma, but the rest of the time, I've been in the heart of Texas. Okay, friends, in the comments, tell us how many states you’ve lived in.  How many of you have lived in more than two? Lisa, any writers in the family?

My dad tells lots of stories, and once co-wrote a textbook for Civics (one of those subjects that’s now about as passé as Latin and didn’t get published), as well as some articles, but that’s about it.

I prefer to write and read fiction. How about you? Do you spend most of your time in the fictions genre?

I do read mostly fiction for pleasure, though the book club I belong to makes sure I get an even balance. I just finished Black Man in a White Coat by Dr. Damon Tweedy—excellent. And I’m reading theological books now about the new-to-us faith my husband and I are thinking of joining—Quaker.

Wow! I'd love to hear how you came to think Quaker, but I guess that's a topic for another day.  Have you had other jobs besides writing and editing?

 I've enjoyed a few after the kids started school—housecleaning, childcare, lots of different temp jobs, driver for an automobile dealer, temp refurbishing a major retail store, various secretarial positions, school lunch lady and temp school cook.

You sound like me, I've had multiple jobs too. Many of my experiences show up in my books. You? 
  
I can see that in your Sarah stories, I also it in your latest book, Mattie’s Choice! Yes, some of my experiences I’ve used, such as secretarial work and driving cars, lots of the journalism experiences can be found in side characters, and is Lily’s background in UnderStory.
  
If I visit, what sort of food would you feed me and what would you show me if I visited you in your city?

If you didn’t have any dietary restrictions, I’d feed you pasties, which are meat, potato and onion flaky crust individual pies, with barbecue sauce, apple something from our trees, and depending on what time of year you come, fresh berries or steamed carrots and beans from the garden, or my husband’s trout and morel mushrooms. I’d take you around to the various shops of our Amish neighbors, and if you came during Cesky Den, Czech Days, in the summer, we’d go to the party in nearby Hillsboro. We haven’t lived here year round until this year, so we’re exploring the “neighborhoods.” I’d probably show you the remaining round barns, which inspired the second book of my Buried Treasure mystery series.

You're making me hungry. I'd love to see the round barns. Let’s talk about writing. How did your characters come to mind for your book?

For Centrifugal Force, which is a second book in the Forces of Nature series, I saved an obituary from several years earlier when the first book, Meander Scar, released. The obituary described a man I knew was Maeve’s father, and although I wasn’t ready to write the book yet, I knew one day I’d come back to it. I enlisted my writing group for help a few years back when I was ready, and we brainstormed some story concepts.

I loved Centrifugal Force, and I know a lot of research went into the book. Do you enjoy research?

Adore it. I’m a historian by bent and like nothing else quite as much.

 How did you get the idea for Centrifugal Force (Forces of Nature)?

It’s a natural follow up for Meander Scar, which released from Black Lyon Publishers back in 2010.  In that book we never learned anything about Rachel’s little lapse in judgement (Maeve’s father), and I always knew this story would be about that issue. Gervas’s nationality added the spice.

In this intriguing book, Rachel had a love/hate relationship with Gervas. Do you believe there’s much difference in the two emotions? Do you think it is easy to slip from one to the other?

I once heard that love and hate are actually very similar; they are both fully passionate and you can’t really know one without the other. I am inclined to embrace that thought, and yes, do believe, and admittedly experience, those emotions. For example, if someone can’t break your heart, how much did you love in the first place? I believe some types of love are gentle and kind, but that’s different from sacrificial, vulnerable, romantic love.

You seem fascinated with medical issues. How did you come up with Katrine’s illness?

Again, research. I’m just trouble with medical databases. I wanted something serious, and something undergoing current studies, and something genetic. I wanted to explore some other aspects of the disease, but that would have convoluted the story even more, and there was already enough going on.

That's true, and I hope science finds cures for diseases soon. Rachel has a valuable gem she took from Gervas. Have you ever seen a ring similar to the one in your book?

I have, yes, in a museum in Athens, Greece. You can look at the book page on my website to find out more about the culture that created the lost jewelry and a link to pictures.

What is the one thing you want readers to take away from this book?

These stories in the Forces of Nature series explore family more than anything else. I hope readers will think about what makes a family, what keeps it together, as well as what tears it apart. Obligation shouldn’t hold sway over love, romance shouldn’t force choices, and faith should be the glue.

Amen! What are you working on now?

I have several projects going on, including producing a series of Bible adventure books for a talented man. I’ll be teaching a workshop for a conference in April and teaching at Bookcamp for a week in May (www.novelbookcamp.com), so I’m getting ready for those. For my writing, I’m looking forward to the reboot of a mystery series, the Fancy Cat series, releasing later in the year or early next year, a third novella for Christmas with my running characters, Danny the accidental movie star and Shelly the film promoter, and the third book in Forces of Nature, Parhelion, which is the story of Maeve and features some truly intriguing research with genetics and adaptation to different environments I still don’t know how I’m going to pull off.

Thanks for visiting Lisa. Now let's eat lunch. I'll take you to my favorite Mexican food place and we'll talk more about our books. I wish all my readers could be at our book table!







Thursday, March 15, 2018

A Bouquet for Bonnie



Hi Friends,

I've got great news for you.


I'm excited! Bonnie McCune has a new book out, and it promises to be a best seller.



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A feisty single mom clashes with an ex-military, macho corporate star at a business retreat in the wild Colorado mountains, where only one can win a huge prize. But when a massive flood imperils
their love and survival, they learn the meaning of true partnership.


Bonnie McCune, Authorbonnie@bonniemccune.com

"Never Retreat"
"Like" me on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AuthorBonnieMcCuneInfo about my books at www.bonniemccune.com

My Family of Heroes.

What makes a hero? My daughter’s one. Yesterday, driving through downtown Denver, she spotted a woman bent over, clutching her chest. My family is made up of heroes, and she is one of them. She leaped from her car, and went into action. She asked the stranger if she needed help, then called 911. She stayed with the victim and on the line with the paramedics until they arrived. The lady had turned blue by that time.

The thing strange to her was that although hundreds of people passed on the crowded sidewalk, not one stopped to offer assistance. Not a surprise to me. Years ago I learned of a concept called “diffusion of responsibility” or “bystander effect.” This social psychology theory was developed after the murder of Kitty Genovese in New York, during which many in the crowded neighborhood heard her cries for help but didn’t take action.
The idea—the more people around an emergency, the less likely anyone will help. “Let someone else do it.”

When I learned of this concept, I vowed never to fall victim to it. And my entire family subscribes to the approach. My husband, two children, two grandchildren, and myself have all stepped in to offer emergency assistance. By my count, we’ve saved about eight lives as well as rescuing numerous others from lesser crises. That’s why we’re a family of heroes.
We don’t have superpowers. We’re not outstanding athletes or geniuses. We’re ordinary, not extraordinary. But extraordinary things happen to us, and they can happen to you.
The first and most essential quality of a hero is simply for a person to be willing to step forward and take charge and responsibility. Sure, other things are important: ability to stay calm, rational thinking, empathy. But none of those matter unless you realize you have to act.

Check it out. Next time you hear about a person who was heroic, see if he just acted, rather than waiting for someone else to be a leader.

Book Blurb:

Years ago, Ramona (“Raye”) Soto faced harsh reality when a roving conman knocked her up. Now, at thirty-something, she’s concentrating on her career with a major telecommunications firm and funding college for her teenaged son. Enter Desmond Emmett—a fast talker and smooth operator. New to the office, the ex-serviceman possesses every negative quality in a guy Raye should avoid. 

Thrown together at a corporate retreat in the wilderness, the reluctant duo struggles to complete management’s extreme mental and physical tests for a huge reward. But only one can win the prize, and Des needs the money to underwrite medical treatments for his adored younger sister.

See-sawing between attraction and antagonism, the mismatched couple faces their biggest challenge: learning the meaning of true partnership. When a massive flash flood sweeps down the rocky canyon and threatens their love and survival, they must put aside their differences to rescue their colleagues—and their future as a couple.



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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Deer: Other Side









Do you sometimes feel like the lonely deer in this picture?

He's wishing he could be with the herd. 

What happened? Did they push him out? Ignore him? Bully him?  He got lost? Not a single deer on the other side seems to want him with them. They are too busy to notice this guy who needs help.

Many people feel like this deer. Left out. Lonely. Ignored. Wishing. 

How often have we been in the middle of the herd and overlooked a need? A longing?

When I was a wee child,  I often felt left out by the "smarter, prettier girls, the in-crowd." 

Then a magazine came my way. Yes, I've always been a big reader...even as a little kid. This article said anyone could say "hello." I decided right then and there that if I couldn't be anything else, I would be friendly. No one had to feel left out if I was around.

Look up friends. Don't keep your head down. It's time to help someone you know.

You never know when a simple hello will be the best word that person hears.








Monday, March 12, 2018

Kings, Queens and Other Things.


I'd be scared to approach a king sitting on a throne.



No one would allow me to approach Queen Elizabeth either.




No way could I get into the Oval Office.

But I know one important, the most important place I can go.


God's Throne.

I've been there many times.

I go by way of the cross.

The Cross allows me access.

God allows all to approach Him.

Amazing, isn't it?


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Soar Like an Eagle


Photo: Pixabay

I saw an awesome, inspiring video about the eagle.

The amazing bird senses when a storm is coming.
He flies to the highest tree and waits.

When the winds hit, he lifts his giant wings.
The squall elevates him and he soars.

He doesn't escape the storm.

He flies above it!


But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. --Isaiah 40:31 NIV


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