Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lies, Truth, and Half-truths

Definition of FICTION. 1. a: something invented by the imagination or feigned; specifically: an invented story . b: fictitious literature (as novels or short stories)

Fiction writers lie. The things they write aren’t true, although it could represent true things and events. Even as a child, I understood the fiction books I read weren't true. However, in my youthful innocence, I always thought that what you read in newspapers and heard on the news is true. Isn’t it the responsibility for news reporters and journalist to report truth?

Now, I’m older, wiser, and I don’t trust the media much! Half-truths, twisted truth, things taken out of context, manipulated truth – all of these are basically a form of lying. It leads people to believe something that isn’t truth, or at least, only a partial truth..

Several years ago, I read an article, an interview with David Aikman. It was featured in the magazine, the Pentecostal Evangel. David Aikman is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, a best-selling author, and a foreign affairs commentator. You can google his name for a complete bio.

One thing he said in his interview struck me as so profound. “The advantage a Christian has in being a reporter is threefold: to believe there is such a thing as truth, to understand human nature is made in the image of God but is still flawed, and to know that God always wants the truth to be told.”

I write fiction, specifically Christian romantic fiction. My characters are fictional. I do, however, strive to portray a basic truth in my fiction writing. It is this: God is real, He cares about humanity with a depth of love we can’t comprehend, He takes flawed and broken people and transforms their lives, He is faithful in the midst of chaos and crises.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Power

“Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: Now have come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”  Revelation 12: 10-11 NIV

I want you to zero in on, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” The him the scripture refers to is Satan. So what automatically comes to your mind when reading this?  If someone were to ask me, I would answer power – power in the blood of Christ AND the word of my testimony, or what I confess with my mouth.

Sometimes we fail to understand, and remember, the power we possess because of Christ’s blood, and what we confess and profess with our words.

Twice in my life, I’ve hemorrhaged and each time, needed a transfusion of two pints of blood. Before blood flowed into me to replace what I’d lost, two characteristics assaulted me. I was very cold and very weak. Nurses warmed blankets to cover me, and I barely had strength to talk on the phone. As the blood flowed in, I warmed and regained my strength.

Later God used this experience to show me that without the continual flowing of Christ’s blood over us, we become cold and weak. How does that translate to writing, you may ask? I believe that if God has called you to be a writer, that same blood that was shed for the remission of sins empowers you to do what He has called you to do.

Some days I don’t feel like writing, let alone like a writer. On those days, I should allow my testimony to boldly be, “I am a writer!” and draw my strength from Christ. I don’t always do that, so this blog is more for me than anyone else.
When I am weak, He is always strong. He’s more than willing to empower me. I just fully trust in what He accomplished on the cross, boldly declare my testimony of what I can do, not what I can’t do. It’s powerful

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


As a young girl, my goals and ambitions about what I wanted to be when I grow up took on many forms. Do people even ask young children that question anymore? I know I don’t.

Since I loved school, my first choice was to be a teacher. Being an avid reader, I often adopted a profession that was in one of the books I was reading. I’d be an astronaut, an archeologist, a nurse. When I became a Christian at fourteen, I decided I wanted to be a missionary. The only one of those desires that I achieved was to work for nineteen years in a home mission work in Phoenix.

I always wanted to write, but for whatever reason, I didn’t consider that a profession. And it goes without fail that I wanted to be a wife and mommy, probably more than I wanted to be anything else. I didn’t consider that a goal or ambition because I grew up in an era when that was just an automatic assumption for little girls.

I dabbled at writing much like some dabble at religion. By the way, religion is dull and lifeless. A relationship with our God, our creator, and His son, Jesus Christ, is something else entirely. Now that’s life-giving!

When I retired, I decided, with encouragement from others, to write – be a writer. Once I opened my mind and heart to this, I found I had stories churning and frothing inside me looking for an outlet. I became that outlet.

In fulfilling my dreams to be a mother, I found I loved creating people, pouring over names to give them, helping form personalities and traits, and watch as these whom I created blossomed into their own being. To me, that’s the fun of developing characters as I write. I can give them any name, personality and occupation I want. Later, if I decide I don’t like the name, or if I want to change some nuance of a personality, I have the power to do that.

It makes it so much fun!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lessons From A Funeral

We had the memorial service Saturday, May 25, 2013 for my ex-husband who passed away unexpectedly of a stomach aneurysm. Ah, the things we discover about ourselves and others at a time like this. In the following lessons, please keep in mind I am referring to the death of an ex-spouse, someone you've had children with, which has a whole different set of dynamics.

·         Death is inevitable. Well, duh, you say! An old truth hit home to me: we almost never know when death will happen. Live your life as if each day may be your last. Throughout your life, be kind and treat others as you want to be treated. It’s better to err on the side of mercy and grace than anger and spitefulness.
·         We all leave a legacy. What do you want people to remember about you?  What will others say about you when you’re gone? A eulogy will be read -- make it the best it can be.

·         Carefully choose your mate and stay married for life. I am very, very happily remarried, but the truth remains – divorce adds a whole set of dynamics in family situations, and so much of it is not pleasant. Uncomfortable and awkward doesn’t come close to describing how everyone feels in a room where both ex-spouses are present, even if one spouse is deceased. Your choice of a marriage partner impacts family, friends and the children your union produces. When you say “I do,” trust me, doing includes many things.

·         Never assume you know how you will feel or act, or even what your attitude will be. Emotions erupted in me that I thought I'd dealt with. At times like this, it’s better to keep some feelings to yourself. Let God be the healer. It's what He does best.

·         Death and funerals bring out the best and worst in people. Of course most of us already know this, but it bears repeating. Don’t be surprised when tempers flare, feelings are hurt, and someone’s behavior embarrasses others. It happens. Hope for the best, prepare for the worse, and cover everything with prayer.

·         Don’t judge others. Don’t assume you know and understand how someone feels. You have no idea -- the unbiased, to-the-core truth -- about someone’s relationship with the deceased. Unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes, which you haven’t, be careful about judging or criticizing their emotions or actions during a time like this.

·         The simplest expressions of sympathy are the best. A hug, and “I’m sorry” or “I’m praying for you” or “I love you” is so much better than saying the wrong thing. This wasn’t my loss, it was my children’s and grandchildren’s. My loss happened years ago with the death of the marriage. Most people mean well with their words, so keep that in mind. Expressions come from people who genuinely love and care, so appreciate the sentiment behind it.

·         Be gracious! To everyone, be gracious! Within divorce and remarriage, you’ll be confronted with current spouses, mutual friends, and former in-laws. Be gracious at all times. Some issues may need to be talked about and addressed, but do it with it with kindness. If someone is venting or vomiting their poison on you, walk away.

·         Be considerate of current spouses. The majority of people at the memorial were people that knew me and my kids, and most didn’t really know Jerry – they were there in support of my children. I’m grateful Gladys, Jerry’s wife, was treated with kindness and respect. She’s a genuinely nice woman. However, my husband, Jeff, found it extremely difficult to sit through the service, especially the slide show that had many pictures of me with Jerry when our children were younger. If Jeff had his preferences, he wouldn’t have gone. He went out of love and support for me. Jeff and I know there was no way around a slide show with me in it, and would never have requested anything to the contrary. If you are faced with similar circumstances, be understanding. The memorial service isn’t about you.

·         I’ll repeat: It isn’t about you! It’s to remember and honor the deceased, and show love and support for the family. Everyone expresses their grief and emotions differently. We understand that. But it takes away from the purpose of a memorial service when a person dramatizes their grief to make themselves the star of the show. It’s childish and rude. Sob as loudly as you want or need to, no one will fault you for that. But it’s usually obvious when you are behaving in a way that discredits your grief. Behavior like that only adds to the grief of family and friends.

·         Lastly, I’m just stating a fact and not a lesson I learned. The week between Jerry’s passing and the memorial service was extremely stressful for me. Although Jeff and I had discussed several times what we would do when our ex’s passed, with the agreement that we would be there for our children, I discovered I really didn’t want to be there. I just did not want to. I did not want my family to be distracted by my presence – again, one of the difficulties of divorce. Since mutual friends and my brother planned to attend and expected to see me,  I felt I needed to be there.

I was given the opportunity to say something to Jerry, via phone held to his ear, as he was dying. Caught off guard, my mind reeled for a split second, then I managed to choke out, “Thank you for giving me five beautiful children, and I’ll see you in heaven.” We're convinced Jerry made his peace with God.

In the previous statements, I am not saying these things happened in this particular circumstance. It's my observation from now, and times of loss for others. To my husband, Jeff, you are my hero in how you handled the whole situation. I thank God every day for you.