Friday, May 29, 2009

12 hours til lift-off

Last night was the awards banquet for our academy. I wasn't too thrilled about going, but felt it was my duty as a loving uncle. I'm glad I went. It was very nice and there was a lot of good food -one of those "potluck" deals where everyone brings food. And there were lots of desserts, including my favorite kind of pie - rhubarb! Good stuff there. Wasn't quite as good as Mom makes, but it was close. :-)

My "middle" niece, Allie, had a rough start in school. By the time first grade ended, she just wasn't getting it, so my sister & brother-in-law decided to hold her back a year. She has been doing tons better since, and especially this year. At the awards banquet, they give awards for the Principal's list - students who maintained an A average all 4 quarters, and also to those who maintained at least a B average all 4 semesters. For the last few years, the other two have got either the Honor Roll or Prinicpal's list, and Allie has missed it by one quarter. This year, she made it, and got an award and Walmart gift card for $10. I was so happy for her!

There was a neat thing done last night at the banquet. Brad Forrider, who goes to my church and is the brother of our principal, is in the Air Force Reserves and just got back from a 5 month overseas duty in Darfur - wherever that is. He presented to the school a flag with a certificate that was flown from a C134- I assume that is a ship of some kind. And it was the flag that was flown, not the certificate. :-) See what you home schoolers miss! :-)

As I type this blog, it is almost 12 hours until "life-off" - 3:30 am. I didn't know 3:30 came twice a day! My suitcase is packed - also taking a duffel bag which I will toss last minute stuff in. I have 8 books to take along, which should be enough. Maybe I should stick a couple more in....

Dad rigged up an interesting contraption to help fit more in the van. The back seat flips forward and lays down. He made a piece of plywood that lays on that and has legs on the back, which makes a lot of space on top of the plywood to stack on and room underneath, which will mostly be taken up with 2 large ice chests. Since I snapped this picture, 2 suitcases have been added among other things. Other than the ice chests which will be last minute for obvious reasons, and a few other small odds and ends, it is pretty much packed.
We are pulling out of here at 3:30, God willing - and meeting up with Steve, Vicki, and the girls around 4. We will travel together to Breezewood, PA, where we will be joined by Paul & Pam and their boys, making a caravan of 3 mini vans. Paul & Pam are lucky. They have a 2 hour trip to Breezewood, and we have about 3 hours and 15 minutes - they can sleep later. Oh well.
It is about a 12 hour trip to where we are going, so we should hit Nag's Head around 2-2:30 where we will eat, then head on to Avon, where we are staying. If you think of us, pray we all make it safely. Paul is taking his laptop, so I may blog some. Until then, for me it is Bon Voyage!
PS: Dad said the plans for his space saver above can not be copied or sold..... :-)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 2009

I love holidays - it is so nice to have a day you can bum around and not feel guilty. Yeah, I contemplated on what this day is about too. I am very thankful for the people who have fought and given their lives to preserve our freedoms. Now if we could get the military to kick that guy out of the White House to help preserve our freedoms right now. Did I actually type that?! :-)

I decided to start the day off with another trip to the used clothing store in Austintown - I'm not too proud to shop there! I wanted to pick up some more nylon type pants - much cooler than jeans for vacation. Today was not only 50 cent tag day, but also 20% off the entire purchase. I decided to go with Mom and Dad, who unfortunately overlooked the fact that holidays are a good day to sleep in, so I was roused at 7:30.

I did find what I was looking for, and a shirt I saw last week for $6 but wasn't about to pay that - was the 50 cent tag color today, so I am happy. :-) The pants I got are a bit long, but have elastic at on the pant legs, so they should work. Last week, I tried to hem 2 pair of pants I got with the sewing machine. I never hemmed before - I can sew on a button that a nuclear blast wouldn't budge - but never hemmed. Also never used a sewing machine. Needless to say, the stitches were not anywhere close to straight. Mom hemmed the second pair, fortunately. I also picked up two games - Guesstures & Outburst Jr packaged together for 60 cents. I love bargains!

My sister Vicki had to work at her waitressing job, so our cook-out didn't happen til 3:30. Hamburgers, hot dogs, barbecued chicken, baked beans, and potato salad for those who like cold potatoes smothered in mayonnaise. Excuse me while I throw up.......

They also decided to celebrate my birthday today instead of tomorrow since Vicki and her gang was here. I got 3 more books in addition to what I already got for my birthday, new tennis shoes, shaving cream, and money. :-) Almost makes turning 40 worth it. :-)


The rest of the day was slow. My dad and brother-in-law went fishing, 2 of my nieces commandeered the computers, and the youngest laid around sick and napped some. I read a book. After they left, I looked up our vacation house and looked at the pictures. Looks awesome. It also looks like I may have a bathroom pretty much to myself. There is one right by my bedroom, and the kids will use the bathrooms in their parents' rooms for baths. Also, by the looks of the floor plan, the hot tub is right by my room also. How convenient! I can't wait. Vicki and her family were here for lunch yesterday and afterwards we sat on the porch and talked about vacation. I even dialed Pam up and put her on speaker phone so she wouldn't feel left out.

Only 5 more days!

I knocked off 2 books already, Fatal Illusion by Adam Blumer & Shepherd's Fall, by Wanda Dyson - I highly recommend both books for anyone who likes suspense in a Christian story. I am trying to save some books to take on vacation. The rest of my "birthday books" are:

The Missionary by Carmichal & Lambert
Blown Coverage by Elam & Yohn
Higher Hope by Robert Whitlow
The Rose Conspiracy by Criag Parshall


Added to that are a few others I have been trying to save for vacation, and a free book sent to me by an author after I emailed him and told him I liked his books. How cool is that?! One year we went to the ocean, I read 10 books. Another year, I ran out of reading material and got desperate enough to check out the books at the place we were staying and actually read a Steven King book. Pretty weird, but wasn't too bad. Everyone goes to bed too early on vacation, so I stay up and read. Of course they then want to rise early and I want to sleep in.

I made a vacation list. Tried to list everything I need to take on vacation from sunblock- gotta watch my head! - to the charger for my Ipod. Gotta have my 'tunes!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Abortion Debate And An Open Mind

Long, but excellent blog post by Brock & Bodie Thoene. If you care about the abortion issue, it is worth reading.

Barak Hussein Obama, the first African-American President of the United States, stood before America and the Catholic graduates of Notre Dame University. He declared that there will never be a resolution to the issue of abortion. He invited “open hearted and open minded” discussion and dialogue about abortion.

We must accept his challenge and arm ourselves with TRUTH.

In spite of his words, Obama’s 100% NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) approved voting record proves that he supports late term Partial Birth abortion as well as supporting infanticide of babies born alive after a botched abortion so a “mother” would not be “forced to choose twice.”

But, by his invitation, the abortion dialogue continues. So we ask the first African-American President: Who should have the Constitutional RIGHT TO LIFE?

Let the Pro-Abortion crowd speak first--
1. On blacks, immigrants and the poor: “negros are…human weeds…reckless breeders… human beings who never should have been born…” Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood. (Pivot of Civilization)

2. On the purpose of birth control: “to create a race of thoroughbreds…” Margaret Sanger (Birth Control Review, pg. 2, Nov, 1921)

3. Another famous admirer of Margaret Sanger speaks: “Historical experience offers countless proofs of this. It shows with terrifying clarity that in every mingling of Aryan blood with that of lower peoples the result was the end of the cultured people. North America, whose population consists in by far the largest part of Germanic elements who mixed but little with the lower colored peoples, shows a different humanity and culture from Central and South America, where the predominantly Latin immigrants often mixed with the aborigines on a large scale. By this one example, we can clearly and distinctly recognize the effect of racial mixture. The Germanic inhabitant of the American continent, who has remained racially pure and unmixed, rose to be master of the continent; he will remain the master as long as he does not fall a victim to defilement of the blood." Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

4. WHEN DOES A ‘FETUS’ HAVE THE PROTECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS? The Senate considered the late term Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act on October 20, 1999. The most revealing part of the debate was the exchange between the chief sponsor of the bill, Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and the leading opponent, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.). This discussion appears on pages S12878-80 of the October 20 Congressional Record.

"I Am Not Answering These Questions!" – A Senate Exchange on Partial Birth Abortion

Senator Santorum: I think the issue of where we draw the line constitutionally is very important. And I’m sure the Senator from California [Senator Boxer] agrees with me. I think the senator from California would say that she and I, and the senator from Illinois, and the senators from Arkansas and Kansas here, we are all protected by the Constitution with a right to life. Would you agree with that, senator from California -- [would you] answer that question?

Senator Boxer: I support the Roe versus Wade decision.

Santorum: So you would agree any child that’s born has the right to life; is protected under the Constitution? Once that child is born?

Boxer: I agree with the Roe v. Wade decision. And what you are doing goes against it and will harm the women of this country. And I will speak to that issue when I get the floor myself.

Santorum: But I would like to ask you a question. You agree, once that child is born, is separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed? Do you agree with that?

Boxer: I would make this statement: That this Constitution, as it currently is -- some of you want to amend it to say that life begins at conception. I think when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born -- and there is no such thing as partial-birth -- the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights. But I am not willing to amend the Constitution to say that a fetus is a person, which I know you would.

CONCLUSION OF PRO-ABORTION ARGUMENT: Following Margaret Sanger and Adolf Hitler, the supporters of Partial Birth Abortion like Barbara Boxer and President Obama believe a full term baby may be killed for any “health” reason, including the mother’s MENTAL health. According to Obama’s unbroken pro-abortion voting record, a living baby in or out of the womb, remains a fetus UNTIL the mother or the State calls it human. A living baby has NO right to life until the “mother chooses” to take it home.


NOW THE PRO LIFE POSITION:
What does God’s Word say about all human life within the womb?

1.“For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together…Your eyes saw my unformed body. How precious toward me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.” King David, a song of thanks for the miracle of LIFE beginning in the womb, sung to his Creator (Psalm 139: 13-18)

2. “Then the king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, ‘When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women…if it is a son, you shall kill him…’
But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded, but let the male babies live…So God blessed the midwives…and because the midwives revered and feared God, he blessed their households…” Moses recounts government-sanctioned population control. (Ex.1:15-21)

THE TRUTH FROM HEAVEN SPEAKS TO YOUR HEART TODAY:
Jesus said to his disciples…
But when He comes, the Spirit of truth,
He will guide you to all truth.
He will not speak on His own,
but He will speak what He hears,
and will declare to you the things that are coming.
He will glorify me,
because He will take from what is mine and declare it to you.
Everything that the Father has is mine;
for this reason I told you that He will take from what is mine
and declare it to you." JESUS CHRIST (John 16: 12-15)
Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, laid the foundation for today’s pro-abortion supporters. Adolf Hitler literally wrote Sanger letters of admiration and support. It is ironic that the first African-American President, or anyone of Jewish heritage, can support an evil so clearly borne of racial hatred.

We must never forget those who first supported and encouraged abortion as a means of racial selection.

Jews and Christians! Keeping our hearts and minds open, as Obama challenges, means that we must research and discover the historical roots of this “debate.” In generations past, who would have agreed with Obama about abortion? Do you want to agree with the people responsible for the murder of millions?

These historical facts can only lead to one choice.
Today, CHOOSE LIFE. For the sake of your eternal soul, follow the teaching of SCRIPTURE. Abortion is the murder of a living human being in (or now even out of) its mother’s womb.
At the risk of ‘demonizing’ those ‘open-hearted’ folks on the other side of the argument, we must ask, “Who BUT a demon would abort a living child and then refuse to give it medical aid when it struggled to survive?”

We can only wonder how much longer the blood of the most innocent of humankind can continue to water this fallen world. How long will the infant martyrs cry out to Almighty God?

I think not much longer.

Blessings in Jesus’ Name,
Bodie Thoene

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blood Bayou & Bargains

I got enough Swag Bucks to get another order from Amazon.....have I mentioned how much I love getting getting free books via Swag Bucks?! So far, I have cashed in $50 worth of free books from Amazon - every time I get 45 Swag Bucks, I turn them in for a $5 Amazon gift card - I have for $5 cards waiting for me to use, though 2 hasn't cleared yet, so that makes $70 I have made from Swag Bucks, though much has come from people signed up under me........anyone else want to sign up? :-) Just click on the banner and try it!

One of the books in my last order is "Blood Bayou" by Karen Young. Secular author writing her first Christian suspense book. I loved the book. Not only was there mystery & suspense, it also showed the redemptive power of God in the worst of sinners. She has another book coming out in the Christian market next year, and I look forward to reading more from her.


"Blood Bayou, set in Louisiana Bayou Country, is a story of redemption and forgiveness. Because of her husband's alcoholism, Camille St. James divorced Jack Vermillion after a tragic accident. Seven years later, Jack has turned his life around and is a minister, but Camille, unsure of her own beliefs, doubts his sincerity. God may have forgiven him, but she won't! Then they are reunited by the murder of Jack's sister by a prisoner recently exonerated and freed through the Truth Project, an organization which Camille runs. She is convinced the accused man is innocent and sets out to prove it. Jack is sure he did it and blames Camille for freeing him. But as she works to find the real killer, someone is determined to stop her by any means" (CBD)


I went to a yard sale this morning of a pastor I know who is moving out of state. He also managed a Christian bookstore, and they had tons of books - I'd say a couple thousand - for sale, 25 cents each. Between Mom & Dad, my sister, and I, we walked away with quite a few. My best buy was a bonded leather Life Application Study Bible in the box with a CD for 25 cents. All that is wrong with it is a name imprinted on the cover - was a mistake, but for 25 cents, I can live with that. :-)

We are all gearing up for vacation. We are pulling out very early in the morning a week from tomorrow, and I can't wait. I don't have much $$ tied up in the vacation, which makes it nice - they won't let me pay much. I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

No, Mr. President

Ran across this video on a conservative site, and think it is pretty good, so putting it here. It is a little over 3 minutes. The speaker is John Piper, author & preacher. The subject: abortion.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Catching Up

No, I have not died, and am still alive. Can't believe I have gone more than a week without blogging - chatty me. :-) So for anyone wondering what has been going on in my oh so exciting life........ I just finished an awesome book, Blood Bayou - one of two books I got free as a result of using Swag Bucks.......have I mentioned how much I love it?! This book was the first Christian fiction novel by an author who usually writes secular. It is suspense, my favorite genre of fiction, and sure kept me turning the pages.

My best friend, Steven, arrived late Thursday afternoon. Didn't do much the rest of that day other than a trip to Walmart & playing a game with my parents.

He brought my birthday present with him, which I managed to not tear into immediately. On Friday, we hit all of the Christian bookstores in the area, and he bought more for my birthday. He had got me two books by a Christian author, and asked me later if I had read anything by him, and if I liked it. I had read one, and did not like it. Though I felt badly about it, he had me pick out two other books to replace those, and also got two CDs. The new one by John Waller, who did the great song "While I'm Waiting", and "Bless the Broken Road" by Selah - though he had a not so hidden agenda on that one - he has it on order from Amazon and couldn't wait to hear it.

We also did the mall, and ended the afternoon at my favorite pizza place, which I think he also liked.

On Saturday morning, my mom asked me if I had any plans for the day - I told her not yet, and she informed me that she had plans.....my 40th birthday party. They didn't figure they could get me there - the college gym - any other way than just telling me. It was a nice party, though I hated being the center of attention. I suspected that Paul, Pam, & the boys might come for it, and they did. Paul made the cake, which had Garfield on it - he did an awesome job, and it was great to see them and my nephews.

Mom had sandwiches, pop, & chips, in addition to the cake and ice cream. I got some gift cards, which is cool. Itunes & Borders, among others. Two of the cards I got had Hillary Clinton on the front. One had her titled President on it, and inside said "see there are scarier things than getting older". :-)

When I came home, I immediately opened the present from Steven, which contained the two books that were going back with him, a 40 ounce container of honey roasted peanuts - which I love, a mug that says 40, and a bookmark that also does.

We had an early Sunday evening service - which was awesome - was at 5:00, though 6:00 would be great - wish I had the power to make that possible, but even if I were a member of my church, they wouldn't like my ideas. :-) The college was using our church for their Baccalaureate at 7, hence the early service.

On Monday, Steven & I headed for Austintown to the large used clothing store my family likes to shop at. Mondays is 50 cent tag day, in addition to a half price tag, and I was hoping to pick up some cooler clothes for vacation, which I did. Steven walked away with at least 11 books, most 25 cents each - I didn't find any books I wanted. Oh well.

One of the gift cards I got was for Borders Bookstore. The closest ones are in Alliance - which I never go to - and Niles, which I never go to. Since I was in Austintown, Niles was only another 20 minutes, so we headed there. I found a book to use my gift card on, then we went on to the mall and spent quite a while there. They have a nice mall, and I can enjoy shopping without spending money. Though it is more fun to spend! We ended the day with a cook-out and a walk on the bike/walking trail. We went two miles, but were dismayed to find that two old ladies with canes that we ran onto, had gone further than we did.

This morning we hit Bob Evans for breakfast, then just wandered around Salem. I looked up a covered bridge between here and Salem, which was cool to see, then came home and relaxed until Steven had to leave. It was great having him here, though the time went too fast.

Next up: Memorial Day on Monday, #40 birthday on Tuesday - how exciting - Allie's birthday on Wednesday, and we all leave for the ocean on Saturday. Only 10 more days, and I cannot wait!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tyler Frost vs The Rules

I heard an interesting story on a talk show this morning. A young man who is a senior at a fundamental Baptist school in Toldeo, Ohio, is causing a stir. This school has some pretty strict rules, and at the start of each year, students must sign a contract agreeing to keep those rules.

Among those rules, is no listening to rock music, dancing, hand-holding, or kissing.

This young man, Tyler Frost, has a girlfriend who attends a public school, and wanted him to go to prom with her. He was given a permission slip to have his principal sign. The principal signed it, but pointed out the boy was going to be breaking school rules if he went, and said there would be consequences, and was told what they would be. The big one that is making news stories, is that Tyler will be allowed to graduate - he will be given his diploma, but he will not be allowed to be part of the graduation ceremony. He went to the prom, and now there is talk of the school being sued for their stance.
http://abclocal.go.com/wtvg/story?section=news/state&id=6802905

Are the rules too strict? Maybe, considering they apply when the student is not in school, but the strictness of the rules is not in question, though many people calling in and emailing the talk show kept saying they are too strict. There is even a facebook support page for Tyler. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?sid=a5c9012022bda2cc91ab0c61364669de&gid=85327102756&ref=search

The issue here is not whether the rules are too strict. The issue is that he signed a contract, knowing what the rules are, and agreeing to them, and now wants to break them without consequence. The parents are doing him harm by going after the school. They are teaching him that there are loopholes to rules, and that the rules don't always apply to him. That if he doesn't like the rules, then he shouldn't have to abide by them, or suffer consequences when he breaks them.

Life is full of rules, and many times we don't like them. When I worked at Hobby Lobby, their return policy had some rules. One that often didn't go over well, was the customer had to show their driver's license and give their phone number to return merchandise. Some customers would hassle the cashier, call for a manager, and throw a fit. All because they didn't like the rule, and thought it shouldn't apply to them.

Our job often has rules that we don't like, and may think is ridiculous, but if we want to work there, we have to keep them. Our churches have rules, and if we sign that membership paper, we promise to keep them, even if we don't like it.

Even the Bible has rules we may not like. That loving our enemies thing? That isn't easy, and a lot of people wish it wasn't in there, but if we want to serve God and do His will, we have to keep ALL the rules, not just the ones we like.

This case with Tyler Frost may seem like a small thing, but that is how society is today. Everyone wants to have their fun, without consequence. That is what abortion is all about, basically. People want to have sex with whoever they want, whenever they want, but they don't want to deal with the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy - don't want that? Then keep the rules.

As far as anyone can tell, Tyler Frost wasn't going to the school against his will. He has gone there for four years, knows the rules, and agreed to keep them. Should there be consequences for breaking those rules? You bet. That is life, and we can never get away from rules.

Enduring Justice: A Review & Interview

A new author I found a few months back, Amy Wallace, sent me her newest book free as an "influencer copy". My part of the deal is to write a blog about it today, and I also interviewed the author by email. I hope that everyone will take the time to read this post.

I know I am supposed to review that book, but I am really impressed with the whole series, Defenders of Hope. The series revolves around some FBI agents in a Missing Children's Unit. The books have suspense, intrigue, excitement, and deal with issues. The first book deals with loss of family members & grief. The second, among others, deals with cancer, and going through the treatments.

The third book, Enduring Justice, goes to a couple of different issues. Racism & child molestation. The story centers around a white supremacist group who is bent on doing away with any non-white people they can, while the FBI does all they can to stop them. Also, at the heart of the story, is a young woman dealing with child molestation, which is addressed in a very tasteful manner.

Here is a description of the story, sent to me by the author:

Enduring Justice

Secrets Can’t Last Forever
A PAINFUL PAST
Hanna Kessler’s childhood secret has remained buried for over two decades. But when the dark shadows of her past threaten to destroy those she loves, Hanna must face the summer that changed her life and the man who still haunts her memories.

A RACIALLY-MOTIVATED KILLER

As a Crimes Against Children FBI Agent, Michael Parker knows what it means to get knocked down. Difficult cases and broken relationships have plagued his entire year. But when the system fails and a white supremacist is set free, Michael’s drive for retribution eclipses all else.

A LIFE-ALTERING CHOICE

A racist's well-planned assault forces Hanna and Michael to decide between executing vengeance and pursuing justice. The dividing line is the choice to heal. But when the attack turns personal, is justice enough?
Author bio:

Amy Wallace is a wife, home school mom, author, speaker, and avid chocoholic. She loves crafting high-action suspense that delves deep into heart issues, but who she really is can be summed up in a few short words: Amy is a daughter of the King learning to live and love with laughter.Amy is also the author of the Defenders of Hope series: Ransomed Dreams, Healing Promises, and Enduring Justice, a contributing author of Chicken Soup for the Soul Healthy Living Series: Diabetes, and God Answers Moms’ Prayers. Visit Amy at www.amywallace.com and join the Dark Chocolate Suspense newsletter
http://www.amywallace.com/Newsletter.html


And now, the interview - my friend Cindy came up with a few of the questions, to give credit where credit is due. :-)

Interview with Amy Wallace

1) Why do you write Christian fiction?

I write Christian Fiction because it’s exactly what I’ve wanted to do since I dreamed about my first story. My passion in life is to connect people with the God who heals broken hearts and never gives up on them. Fiction is a fun way to go past the mind and into the heart of readers to share truth in a non-confrontational way. My characters and I are who we are and we struggle with the things every other person struggles with. Many of my characters, not all, find the only way to handle the struggles is with Christ.

2) Do you consider your writing a ministry?
Very much so. It’s my prayer that readers will connect with the characters and that the story will touch wounded hearts and help them take another step toward healing and hope. I enjoy getting to be a small part of that healing process beyond the pages of the novel when readers email me and we can talk.


3) What got you interested in writing suspense novels?

To answer that question, I have to tell you about my best friend and how we shop. My best friend and I are both writers. She likes to shop and I really don’t. But when we go to the mall, she looks at shoes. I pay attention to all the exits and make sure all the kids I can see are safely with their parents. So it’s probably no surprise that my friend writes chick lit and I write suspense. I guess it’s just how God wired us.


4) Your first book began with a tragedy. What prompted you to start your series in that way?

That tragedy was the inciting incident that drove Gracie to action. Originally, the first chapter was a dream. But it worked so much better putting it in real time so that readers could experience Gracie’s past with her and understand her drive for answers. While it was far harder to write and read that way, I think the beginning adds depth to Gracie’s character and her journey to forgiveness.


5) Did you get any rejection slips from publishers?

Plenty. And I’ve kept them all. At first, those rejection slips hurt. But I knew God had put me on this journey and He’d take me where He wanted me to go. My favorite rejection letter said I was melodramatic and clich├ęd. I now love that one because a majority of reviewers talk about the real-life, unique stories I’ve written and the characters who breathe. That letter reminds me that I write for an audience of ONE and that He will do with the stories what is best and will touch the hearts and change the lives He planned to speak to through the stories.


6) Besides your 3 novels in the Defenders of Hope series, have you written anything else?

I have a file cabinet full of notes, ideas, partial stories, a full novella, a fairytale I wrote for my children, and one or two full novels that I worked on in between writing my first story, Ransomed Dreams, and it being published. I hope one day to take my favorite of those filed-away stories and created a new series.

7) Are there plans for more books? And if so, will you stick with the suspense genre?
I’m not sure what I’d do with all the voices in my head and story ideas that hit me all the time if I didn’t write. So, yes, as long as God gives me ideas, I’ll write. All of the series I’m working on now are suspense. It’s just how I comprehend life, I guess.


8) What do you enjoy reading in your spare time?

My favorite author is Sharon Hinck, so anything she writes, I’m reading. I also love reading Trish Perry, Mark Mynheir, Claudia Mair Burney, and Robin Jones Gunn.


9) I noticed that your characters are very flawed. Do you have a reason for that?

Sure! Every person I’ve met and the lady in the mirror are all flawed. If I want people to connect with my characters, I can’t make them perfect with perfect circumstances. There wouldn’t be a story or anything to learn. And I love stories where a flawed character learns something about God and themselves and it changes them for the better. I want my stories to inspire people to look to God and find hope through the journeys my characters take.


10) What is your favorite Bible verse, and why?

1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24 “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

I love these verses because they remind me that God is always at work in me to make me more and more like Him. I especially love that, “He is faithful and will do it.”

End of interview

If you like good clean suspense, you should check out this author. In addition to a really good & exciting story, her characters struggle, as I often do, and yet find God to be the solution to their problems & issues, not in a tacky way, where suddenly everyone becomes a Christian in a mass conversion at the end of the book, yet there are characters, fictional, I know - who are imperfect & flawed, yet help to show that this Christian walk is worth it, and God is the answer to whatever problem we may face.

Thanks, Amy for writing 3 great books so far, and for graciously answering my questions. I hope to see more from her in the future.


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1601420145 Amazon link for Enduring Justice

http://www.amywallace.com/ej_chapter.htmlRead the first two chapters of Enduring Justice

http://www.amywallace.com/ej_chapter.htmlDark Chocolate Suspense Newsletter

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Losing God: Clinging To Faith Through Doubt And Depression

One of the last books that I reviewed, was a book that I was disappointed in the content for a Christian book. I decided to review a totally different kind of book that I read a few weeks back, Losing God: Clinging to Faith Through Doubt and Depression, by Matt Rogers. One of my friends read it and kept bugging me to read it, so when I had enough gift cards earned for Amazon.com from Swag Bucks to get a couple of books, I decided to get that book with them since I wouldn't be paying for it - figured it was a waste of time.

I was wrong. Guess there is a first time for everything...... :-). Just kidding! I have been extremely depressed and discouraged for quite some time, the worst in the last year. Many things, some of which I'd rather not make public, have attributed to it, but I refused to admit that I was actually suffering from depression.






Some years back, I read the newest book by Karen Kingsbury at that time, "When Joy Came To Stay". It is the fictional story of a woman who suffers from depression, and checks herself into a hospital to get help, it is so severe. In the book, when told what his wife was dealing with, her husband makes the comment that he didn't know Christians could suffer from depression. I admit I was of the same mind. That book more or less changed my mind.


My mom had depression about a year and a half ago. She lost way too much weight, and was doom and gloom all of the time, until she got the medication that she needed to pull her out. My friend Steven kept insisting that I was suffering from depression, but I didn't believe it - I sure haven't lost too much weight, and I would have up times, though the down times were much more frequent. I was pretty good at hiding how I felt, though I feel anti-social all too often.


I really thought all of my problems were stemming from the spiritual. I felt disappointed in God - could even point to the time when I felt He let me down, and often feel that the cross He gave me to carry is way too heavy. I would try to pray, and it never went anywhere. I went to church because it was expected of me. Most of the time, I would come home and have no clue what the preacher preached on. I found myself daily wondering what on earth I had done for God to walk off and leave me.

The prospect of my turning 40 seemed to worsen everything. I'd look at the future and wonder how on earth I was going to make it. Life seemed so bleak and hopeless.


And then I read the book. My life was instantly transformed, and all was well. Not really. Although the book did open my eyes to reality. To a couple of realities.

First off: I am indeed suffering from depression. Whether I want to admit it or not - and it won't go away by itself.


Second: Much of what I was attributing to be spiritual issues, were actually emotional issues.


This author, Matt Rogers, who I would guess to be in his early 30's - went through a few years of depression. Bad depression. He too felt God had let him down, and much of what he said was like reading my own thoughts and feelings. He couldn't pray, felt God had left him. Felt like his Christian experience was a waste and a mockery.

I learned something else from reading the book. I thought I could point to the place where the depression started. October of 2006. The author also had a place he could point to where it all began, but came to the realization that he was depressed before that, and the event that he thought triggered it, was just something that made it worse. I thought back, and though I am not trying to just echo his experiences, have to agree that it is very likely this started long before I thought it might have.


I emailed the author, and he emailed me back. Although in the book, he never took medication, but did get counseling, he told me in the email that after the book went to press, that he did have to get some medication and urged me to do likewise, which I have.


Since I have come to realize that much of what I thought was spiritual, is depression linked, my spiritual life has improved. I took steps to get rid of one of my issues, though it is a drastic solution, and is not the best option, but is the best option at this point in life. That has helped relieve a lot of pressure that I was under. I still have a bit of it hanging over my head, but it is only a fraction of what it was.


Life is a little brighter now. I don't dread the start of each day, and am sleeping better. My relationship with God has improved, though it still needs work in the area of trusting Him and believing that I matter. Even the idea of turning 40 isn't quite as bad as it was, though I am still not excited about it, and still think sympathy cards are in order. :-)


I highly recommend this book. Even if someone is not suffering from depression, but may be discouraged and having doubts. It isn't a cure-all or a quick fix, but it is encouraging and helps the reader better understand what is going on in his life.

So can a true Christian suffer from depression? Oh yeah, and believe me, the devil can use it to his advantage.


I am sure it was difficult for Matt Rogers to write down his experiences, but I am glad he did, and I am also glad that I read his book.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What Salvation's Done For Me

What Salvation's Done For Me (Dianne Wilksonson & Rusty Golden, sung by the Booth Brothers)

I used to be so lonesome, I never had a friend
Always looking out for number one
Didn’t know where I was going, didn’t care where I had been
The life I lived had me on the run
One day Jesus found me and took my sin away
He showed me what I thought I’d never see
He put me in His family, and He’s with me to this day
Let me tell you what salvation’s done for me

Chorus:

I used to be a blind man, but now my vision’s clear
Mercy came and drove the shame from me
There’s peace of mind with Jesus that drives out every fear
I’m stronger than I thought I’d ever be
I can’t tell you why He loves me, as bad as I had been
Why I’m worthy of this life of victory
I know I’m not a scholar just a sinner saved by grace
But I can tell you what salvation’s done for me

One day when life is over, I’ll go to my reward
Where Heaven waits for those who have been set free
With saints from all the ages, in the presence of our Lord
This is what salvation’s done for me

Friday, May 1, 2009

Song of the Day

Sometimes a song will really speak to me, though I have heard it before - this one did the first time I heard it, but was listening to it again last night- great song, from The Booth Brothers:

When He Saved Me

I don’t believe He’s sitting up in Heaven

Evaluating sinners by their scars
But I see Him excited to forgive us
And it’s not at all in spite of who we are

Chorus:
When He saved me He knew
What I had done, what I would do
He looked beyond the worst in me
And saw not what I was, He saw what I could be

He looked at all the broken scattered pieces
And made a brand new vessel of my life
Every day possibility increases
‘Cause he placed me in a dream that never dies

Bridge:And though I was a sinner, the Savior heard my cry
His mercy came and rescued me, He did not pass me by