Saturday, April 18, 2015

Fictional character interviews? Also HOW TO LOVE YOUR HUSBAND and QUIET MOMENTS WITH GOD


By Donna Schlachter

“Getting to know you, getting to know all about you. . . “ 

When I sit down to create characters for a new project, this tune runs through my head. This is one truth writers ought to embrace: we need to know our characters better than anybody in our book does. Better than our readers will know them by the time they finish reading.

If we don’t know our characters, we’ll tend to write flat, one-dimensional people, like paper dolls who are simply wearing an outfit called “their story”, and are as interchangeable as—well, a paper doll.

Another danger in not knowing our characters is we’ll write three chapters getting to know them, wasting paper and the reader’s time as we plow our way through their backstory, their history, until we finally get to the point where our story really starts, about halfway through Chapter 4.

There are many methods to get to know your characters. Some of these require you to sit down and fill out a questionnaire that would cause most of us to lose our minds or at the very least, our excitement about our stories. While the details and minutiae of these questionnaires might work for some, many of us will struggle to answer what our character’s third grade teacher said that made him decide to become a private investigator twenty years later.


Bored with filling out forms, making up answers to questions I hadn’t even thought of, and wanting to get on with the process of writing, I came up with a faster and more direct way to get to know my characters—I interview them.

I pretend I’m a famous talk show host and my character is a guest on my show. As a famous talk show host, I know everybody in the world will want to hear what I have to say and how I can make my character squirm on live TV. So I come up with questions that will cause said squirming because I know how the story goes and what secrets my character is trying to keep.

Go ahead. Be catty. Be devious. Dig up the dirt. What would someone who reads one of those supermarket tabloids want to know about your character? And why would your character not want to tell the truth, not want to break a confidence, not want you to know everything about them? Because characters are real people, and real people rarely tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Even good people hide some things, hold back some things, try to make themselves look good perhaps at the expense of another.

Here is a list of questions I typically ask to get started:
  1. How did you get the job you have?
  2. What’s your background that qualified you for that job?
  3. Tell me about ___________ (the inciting incident in the book).
  4. Tell me about ___________ (could be the love interest, the villain, the hero/heroine. Whoever is making this character’s life difficult or messy in some way)
  5. Tell me about ____________ (whatever you know your character doesn’t want to talk about. A past hurt, a secret, a rumor, an innuendo – anything that will make it look like this character isn’t telling all)
  6. Bring up a topic that’s in the news now, and tie it into this character and the plot in some way. For example, if the character is a forest ranger, and poaching by forest rangers is in the news, ask what he thinks should be done to poachers and then what should be done to poachers who are also guardians of the woodland. Watch him squirm.
  7. Ask what the character sees in his/her future.

By the time you ask and your character answers these questions, you should have a good idea of what motivates your character, what scares your character, what your character is trying to hide and why, the lie your character believes, what the internal and external conflicts are, and the growth arc of your character.

Feel free to drop by my blog and see a couple of character interviews I’ve posted there about the main characters of my historical suspense, Counterfeit Honor. Here are the links: https://historythrutheages.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/interview-with-margaret-buchanan/ and https://historythrutheages.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/interview-with-trevor-mcgonigle/




Quiet Moments Alone with God welcomes you into a journey of discovery, where you will
learn how to live in God's presence while you seek His plan for your life. Plan to spend some time getting to know the God Who wants you to stop, breathe, think, and act out His very best for you.

Available at Amazon.com and ChristianBooks.com.
100 Answers to 100 Questions About Loving Your Husband: You've said, "I do." Now, how do you love your husband in a way that brings honor to him, to yourself, and to the God who gave you the gift of marriage? This book provides the insights you need in the areas that matter most to you.

Available at Amazon.com and ChristianBooks.com.


The bio is:
Donna writes historical suspense and, using her alter-ego of Leeann Betts, she writes contemporary suspense. Check her out at www.HisStoryThruTheAges.com or www.LeeannBetts.com. Subscribe to her blogs at www.HiStoryThruTheAges.Wordpress.com or www.AllBettsAreOff.Wordpress.com You can follow her and Leeann on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Who influences you?

Excerpt from Imagine the Future You

Chapter Three: You can be comfortable with who you are

By Ada Brownell

Purchase the book Here

E-book only $2.99



People who are not afraid to decide themselves what they are going to believe, how they are going to act and live, how they will dress, and the kind of face they will show the world don’t follow the crowd. When you decide to take responsibility for yourself, you aren’t afraid of being different or saying no when everyone else is saying yes—or saying yes whenever everyone else is saying no.

The ones who do everything their friends do aren’t their own boss—they give over their identity. They might as well go back to being two years old—or live in a nation where there is no freedom to choose.

Even a relative or a best friend sometimes shoves us toward things we know are wrong.
I think of Herodias’s daughter, a teenage dancer, who performed before King Herod at a party one night. Her name isn’t given in the scriptures, so I’ll call her Halah.

“You are so beautiful and nimble,” the rotund king declared, dribbling wine on his red velvet robe. “You please me. The music and your gracefulness set my heart to thumping. Because you bring me joy, I’ll give you anything your heart desires.”

Stunned, Halah bowed before Herod, who recently became her stepfather. “Thank you, oh King. Will you allow me to speak to Mother?”

The sleepy king nodded, and Halah rose and twirled to the exit to ask her mom, Herodias, what great thing she should request.

Shortly Halah returned to stand before His Majesty.  “I want John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”

John the Baptist was a prophet. The king was stunned. Halah could see it in his face. He had listened in the past to John, the whiskered, wild-haired man who was always shouting, “Repent!” But Mom was having none of John’s religion. John condemned Herodias and Herod for their adultery, and Halah’s mother hated him. Herodias left Halah’s father, Herod’s brother, and married the king.

“Your daddy is a nobody,” Herodias said before the wedding. “The king is a powerful man! We will live in luxury, and every woman will envy us.”

John lay in the Roman prison because of Herodias’s hatred, so within an hour, Halah carried the heavy, lifeless head of the prophet on a platter. She slowly made her way to the king and her mother. Blood dripped down Halah’s skinny arms onto her dance costume. Balancing the object was difficult, and occasionally it slid from side to side on the platter, threatening to topple on the floor. (See Matthew 14:1-12).

I admit to enhancing the story to help you see the horrible thing the teenager did, but the gruesome facts are in the Bible. Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t tell us about the girl’s reaction, but I think what she did haunted her every day until she drew her last breath. Even people with hard, sinful hearts can’t get away from the guilt of sin without Jesus.
The daughter of Herodias could have said, “No! What are you thinking, Mother?” But instead, she did the deed without protest.
She needed to think before she acted. We can’t allow others to lead us into sin—or sink into the pit of sin by our own sinful nature. James wrote, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:14-15).

With the help of God, we can snatch our future from our enemy, Satan himself. We can learn to stand firm and do what we know is right.

People who know who they are, who they want to be, and what they want their future to be like become unique people. With the help of God, we can make wise decisions, and sometimes when we live that way we are surprised when others want to be just like us.

 Only a young person with a strong will is different. The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1–3NLT).

People who are not afraid to decide themselves what they are going to believe, how they are going to act and live, how they will dress, and the kind of face they will show the world don’t follow the crowd. When you decide to take responsibility for yourself, you aren’t afraid of being different or saying no when everyone else is saying yes—or saying yes whenever everyone else is saying no.

The ones who do everything their friends do aren’t their own boss—they give over their identity. They might as well go back to being two years old—or live in a nation where there is no freedom to choose.

Even a relative or a best friend sometimes shoves us toward things we know are wrong.
I think of Herodias’s daughter, a teenage dancer, who performed before King Herod at a party one night. Her name isn’t given in the scriptures, so I’ll call her Halah.

“You are so beautiful and nimble,” the rotund king declared, dribbling wine on his red velvet robe. “You please me. The music and your gracefulness set my heart to thumping. Because you bring me joy, I’ll give you anything your heart desires.”

Stunned, Halah bowed before Herod, who recently became her stepfather. “Thank you, oh King. Will you allow me to speak to Mother?”

The sleepy king nodded, and Halah rose and twirled to the exit to ask her mom, Herodias, what great thing she should request.

Shortly Halah returned to stand before His Majesty. “I want John the Baptist’s head on a platter.”

John the Baptist was a prophet. The king was stunned. Halah could see it in his face. He had listened in the past to John, the whiskered, wild-haired man who was always shouting, “Repent!” But Mom was having none of John’s religion. John condemned Herodias and Herod for their adultery, and Halah’s mother hated him. Herodias left Halah’s father, Herod’s brother, and married the king.

“Your daddy is a nobody,” Herodias said before the wedding. “The king is a powerful man! We will live in luxury, and every woman will envy us.”

John lay in the Roman prison because of Herodias’s hatred, so within an hour, Halah carried the heavy, lifeless head of the prophet on a platter. She slowly made her way to the king and her mother. Blood dripped down Halah’s skinny arms onto her dance costume. Balancing the object was difficult, and occasionally it slid from side to side on the platter, threatening to topple on the floor.

I admit to enhancing the story to help you see the horrible thing the teenager did, but the gruesome facts are in the Bible. Matthew, Mark, and Luke don’t tell us about the girl’s reaction, but I think what she did haunted her every day until she drew her last breath. Even people with hard, sinful hearts can’t get away from the guilt of sin without Jesus.

The daughter of Herodias could have said, “No! What are you thinking, Mother?” But instead, she did the deed without protest.

She needed to think before she acted. We can’t allow others to lead us into sin—or sink into the pit of sin by our own sinful nature. James wrote, “Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:24-15).

With the help of God, we can snatch our future from our enemy, Satan himself. We can learn to stand firm and do what we know is right.

People who know who they are, who they want to be, and what they want their future to be like become unique people. With the help of God, we can make wise decisions, and sometimes when we live that way we are surprised when others want to be just like us.

 Only a young person with a strong will is different. The Psalmist wrote, “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:1–3NLT).

Copyright © Ada Brownell 2014

Summary of Imagine the Future You


IMAGINE THE FUTURE YOU
A motivational Bible study by Ada Brownell
If you continue to do or not do what you practice now, what kind of future do you imagine for yourself?  The decisions we make ourselves affect our future more than those made for us. We have control of our attitudes, our work ethic, our sense of wonder, our faith to believe in God and for great things. It is up to us where we end up in life and eternity.
This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile.
Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, Godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Definition of Brain Death? But where does the soul go?

By Ada Brownell
Excerpt from Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal
FREE THROUGH APRIL 12, 2015


From Chapter Five
The city where I spent most of my newspaper career had and probably still has a bioethics forum. The group drew up a detailed definition of brain death. The forum included medical doctors, nurses, a nun, a hospital chaplain, the district attorney, a social worker, and a psychologist.
Brain death, the forum said, is the situation in which the brain has lost all its functions, including thinking and the control of body movement, sensation, and vital functions, such as control of temperature and breathing.
“Older definitions of death used to depend on whether the heartbeat and breathing had stopped,” a spokesman for the forum said. “But modern medicine has made this definition questionable since there are so many times these situations can be reversed. Sometimes surgeons even stop the heart on purpose, knowing they can start it again when they are done working on it.”
Colorado Organ Recovery Systems says clinical signs of brain death include:
* Deep coma of known etiology (cause)
* Loss of respiration (breathing)
* No response to deep, painful stimuli
* No spontaneous movement, which means there are no cranial (brain) reflexes, but some spinal reflexes may be present
* No gag, cough, or corneal (eye) reflexes
* No occulocephalic or occulovestibular reflex (which also refers to cranial nerves)
* Irreversible condition
* Normal body temperature
* Acceptable drug levels
To determine brain death, confirmatory tests are done that include a cerebral blood flow study; electroencephalogram (EEG), which measures brain waves; and evoked response testing.
The EEG is vital in determining brain death. The central nervous system is
amazing as it works in our bodies, with electrical energy in nerve cells discharging in short bursts, firing and discharging information to other cells with the help of transmitter chemicals. Motor neurons send commands to muscles and glands. The EEG translates electrical energy from electrodes connected to a patient’s head into patterns a neurologist can see. Each time a nerve cell close to the electrode fires, the electrode sends an electrical impulse to the EEG machine.
In brain death, no electrical activity occurs.
Body temperature also is important. Normal body temperature is essential, partly because persons with very low body temperature with other apparent signs of death have been brought back to life.
For instance, Jan Egil Refsdahl, a Norwegian fish farmer, slipped on a boat’s fiberglass deck, tumbled into forty-two-degree water, and appeared to drown. But his body automatically closed the windpipe and kept water out of his lungs. His body temperature dipped to seventy-five degrees. When he was rescued, Jan was connected to a heart-lung machine, and his heart began to beat after four hours of silence.
A child, eleven-year-old Alvaro Garza Jr., was clinically dead for forty-five minutes after he was immersed in frigid water in the ice-crusted Red River near Fargo, North Dakota, but he recovered.. 
Drugs also might skew some of the tests, so that is considered as well.
The brain death certificate must have the date, time, and signature of the attending doctor.
The moment of brain death appears to be the time when the soul leaves the flesh. I believe it is the moment that death is swallowed by life.
As I said before, from what I understand in scripture, the soul will be with the Lord immediately and we will have some kind of spirit body, but the earthly body, laid aside and unnecessary for now while we are with God in spirit, will live again. Just as we go to sleep and know nothing for several hours, then awaken as if nothing happened, the Bible tells us when our eyes close in death—at whatever age—there will be a resurrection—an awakening—of the physical body.
I’ve previously mentioned the Apostle Paul’s explanation of death in 1 Corinthians 15 where he likened the death of the body to a seed planted in the ground:
Someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?’ Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain—perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body…So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.

There is so much our finite minds can’t comprehend about death, the eternal, and our God. But this we know, as did Job of old: “I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.” He added, “Even if worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25–26).
But our flesh will be changed. Until then, we are mortals. Every human is at risk of death every moment he lives. That’s why it’s vitally important to investigate and know about eternal life. While the body decays in the ground, the eternal soul lives on.
          When I think of death I’m reminded of this epitaph quoted by an evangelist at our church. It reportedly appears on a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
Under the sod and under the trees
Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.
He is not here, there’s only the pod:
Pease shelled out and went to God.


 ©  Copyright Ada Brownell 2011

Friday, April 10, 2015

WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HEREAFTER? SWALLOWED BY LIFE FREE TODAY


By Ada Brownell

Chapter One

Excerpt from Ada Brownell's book, Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal
FREE 04/10 THROUGH 04/12

  As a retired newspaper reporter, I spent a career reporting and determining truth. Although I was a Christian, when our daughter died of Burkitt's Lymphoma, an aggressive type of cancer, I wondered whether I believed what I thought I believed and I began to search for evidence on the eternal.

Truth often is elusive, even when you have witnesses, testimony, and evidence. Courts wrestle with determining truth.
          Societies historically tried many methods to expose a lie. In China, they used to fill a suspect’s mouth with uncooked rice and he would be judged guilty if he could not easily and quickly spit the rice from his mouth. The test was based on the idea that people who are trying to avoid telling the truth don’t create saliva.
          Other ancient civilizations required a suspect to grab a white-hot metal rod and carry it to a certain point.[1] If the rod burned the person’s hands and they didn’t heal by a specific date, the person was ruled guilty and punished.
          Other cruel and inaccurate methods of determining truth also were used.
          More recently, truth serum, an anesthetic or hypnotic such as thiopental sodium or sodium pentothal, was believed to cause a person to speak only the truth. A similar serum was introduced in the 1920s by a Texas obstetrician, Dr. R. E. House. He believed a person under the influence of the drug scopolamine was unable to tell a lie.
          Today we have the polygraph, which supporters say is 90 percent accurate, yet often in courtrooms the results can’t be entered as evidence.[2]   
In the days when America was a Christian nation and witnesses swore an oath with their hand on the Bible to “tell the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God,” the swearing-in meant something. There was a day when Americans feared God. They trembled at telling a lie and knew they probably would not escape being held in contempt of court for not telling the truth. Today in many states, witnesses have the option of swearing an oath or making an affirmation to tell the truth to the best of their knowledge, without mentioning God or using a Bible.
          The best court cases depend on physical evidence and, hopefully, truthful eyewitnesses’ testimony.
I decided to go to eyewitnesses’ writings contained in the Bible to determine the truth about Jesus’s Resurrection, which is what gives Christians the hope of eternal life.
The Bible is an amazing book, written by forty different authors with varying occupations over a period of one thousand five hundred years, on three continents, and in three languages.  More historical manuscripts are available on the New Testament than any book of antiquity, and it’s difficult to doubt the divine inspiration of the Bible because the forty authors  all agree on hundreds of controversial subjects, although they were imperfect humans.
In contrast, the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith and the Koran by Mohammad, with some additions by his followers.
I read through the New Testament and underlined every scripture pertaining to eternal life and resurrection.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “How say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Corinthians 15:12–14).
          When Carolyn died, I had the advantage of having not only read and studied the Bible for years, but having taught classes from Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict, a book that examines facts about the Christian faith. One significant part of McDowell’s work is to determine whether the Resurrection is historical fact or a mere hoax.[3]
          The author wrote, “After more than 700 hours of studying this subject, and thoroughly investigating its foundation, I have come to the conclusion that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the ‘most wicked, vicious, heartless hoaxes ever foisted upon the minds of men, or it is the most fantastic fact of history.’”
          When a student asked McDowell why he couldn’t refute Christianity, the author answered, “For a very simple reason. I am not able to explain away an event in history--the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
 McDowell’s first two books were his attempts to refute Christianity. When he couldn’t, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and became a Christian.[4]
          I knew the Bible has several internal claims that it is the Word of God. For instance, 2 Peter 1:21 says the Bible was written by holy men of God as they were inspired by the Holy Ghost.
I’d already read the testimony of many witnesses, but I needed to read them again. I decided to look again at the Bible’s authenticity, at the divinity of Jesus, at His miracles, and at why we can believe He was dead but came out of the tomb alive.
Several biblical writers witnessed the dead raised to life and saw Jesus’ victory over the tomb.
          I noticed what John says: “That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested unto us” (1 John 1:1–3).
          Luke also pointed out he was an eyewitness: “Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses…” (Luke 1:2).
The Apostle Peter wrote: “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).
          Josh McDowell points out the lives of the apostles were transformed after the Resurrection. According to scripture and biblical historians, every one of the apostles, with the exception of John, who died as a prisoner on Patmos, and Judas, who killed himself, gave their lives because they preached that Jesus rose from the dead. McDowell adds people often become martyrs because of their beliefs—but no one would give his life for something he knew was a lie. If Jesus had not risen from the dead, the disciples would have known it.
          The disciples knew the earthly body of Jesus was dead and His body was changed and came out of the tomb alive forevermore. Despite being thrown in prison and threats against their lives if they didn’t quit telling everyone about the Jesus rising from the dead, the disciples kept on preaching the truth so others could be saved from eternal death and live. They believed, spread the news, and died for it.
Although I knew all these things, no one was going to show me God, prove I will live forever, or take me on an advance tour of heaven. The requirement for salvation is faith, and if we could prove heaven exists, there would be no reason for faith.
Now, did I have this faith?
          I knew any question about the hereafter is settled by faith. The atheist who believes there is nothing after death has only his faith—no proof. Without faith there is no answer to how we got here, why we are here, or where we are going.
You can see how my journey went in the book. You can download it for free. Here         Free days end 04/12. Be blessed!
Do you have an unusual testimony of discovering faith? Please leave a comment.






3 Eugene B. Block, Lie Detectors and Their Use (New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1977), page 12.
[3] Josh McDowell, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Here’s Life Publishers,  (Campus Crusade for Christ, San Bernadino, Calif., 1979), Revised Edition, page 179.
[4]Ibid , page 365.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

EVIDENCE SHOWS WE'RE MORE THAN A BODY. Free book 4/9 to 4/12


By Ada Brownell

Excerpt from Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal


Preface


Several million U.S. citizens suffer from terminal and chronic illnesses at any given time. Fear and grief are natural responses for the patients and their families and friends.
Yet, we’re all terminal. No one will get off this earth alive in his mortal state. But evidence shows we’re more than a body.
Just ask the person who lost a hundred pounds, someone with a transplanted heart pumping his blood, a patient who has had part of his brain removed, or the soldier with no legs. Study regenerative medicine and you’ll understand the experts estimate our skin completely rebuilds itself every seven days or so, and with the exception of our neurological system, almost every single cell in our body is replaced every seven to ten years.
As a former medical reporter for a daily newspaper, in this book I reveal how science shows us that death is swallowed by life every day. I also examine the words of Jesus Christ concerning eternal life, as well as testimony from witnesses about His death and Resurrection. In addition, I tell the story of a man who was clinically dead, but revived; I interviewed medical professionals and did other research about life and death.
This book grew out of my search for everything that testifies of eternal life after we lost our thirty-one-year-old daughter to a deadly form of lymphoma. When she died, I needed to find out if I believed what I previously thought I did. Was I still certain that those who accept the Redeemer God sent and His sacrifice for sin will never die? Was I still sure heaven exists?
 This book hinges on this scripture: “While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life” (2 Corinthians 5:4 NLT).
We’re talking about victory over death here. The Apostle Paul also put it another way in his first book to the Corinthians:
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’ (1 Corinthians 15:50 NIV).

Only our Creator knows how many days we have here. I often think of the patient who was in hospice twelve years before his death, able to enjoy life and family long after diagnosis of the fatal disease.
We don’t abandon our faith by looking at our eternal future. If the Lord allows me to live a century, I’ll still need to be prepared for the time He calls me home.

I’ve discovered life is a powerful force, and all life is supernatural because our Heavenly Father created it. In this book I share the wonder of it all.

Ada Brownell bio:

Ada Brownell has been writing for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a daily newspaper reporter. She has a B.S. degree in Mass Communications and worked most of her career at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo., where she spent the last seven years as a medical writer where she wrote about the human genome and many other subjects that have to do with life and health, interviewing many medical experts. After moving to Springfield, MO in her retirement, she continues to free lance for Christian publications and write non-fiction and fiction books.
      Twitter: @adellerella
      Blog: http://inkfromanearthenvessel.blogspot.com Stick to Your Soul Encouragemen 
      Amazon Ada Brownell author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06

Monday, April 6, 2015

DO YOU FEAR THE DARK?

Light and Darkness


By Gail Kittleson

Excerpt from Catching Up With Daylight

 
           Sometimes I wonder about the shift from night to day. What exactly defines the difference between night and morning, darkness and light? The Apostle John encourages us to claim our status as God’s children and keep out of the shadows.
          Lectio Divina, an ancient Benedictine form of meditation, invites us deep into the word “light.” From the first chapter of John’s Gospel, what one word draws my attention today? After several readings, I wait. The word is light. What does the writer mean by light, and what action would God have me take concerning light?
          First, the context: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of the world.” (NIV) I didn’t get very far . . . four verses. That’s okay. Gone are the days of complicated, application-oriented Bible studies that tackled a whole chapter or more at a time in verse-by-verse analysis. Today I ruminate about light, and that’s enough.
          Jesus’ life was the light of the world. How did that light affect His world? Not always met with gratitude and approval, He knew some would attempt to snuff out the flame, and temporarily succeed. Yet that light has pervaded throughout the ages, down to this time in history. It’s the same light that beckoned us when we first heard the Good News. Joy behooves us to remember that first light.
Sometimes darkness closes in on even God’s most devout followers, as it did on our Lord. Saint John of the Cross, along with countless other ancient believers, experienced this. Saint John’s sole goal . . . to love God . . . seemingly led him away from the light. We can relate to his statement: “Desolation is a file, and the endurance of great darkness is preparation for great light.”
When it seems our Savior’s life-giving rays flee the scene of our everyday life, we suffer a tangible sense of loss that sneaks up subtly, silently, like a snake winding its way into a camper’s bedroll. Suddenly we find ourselves deep in shadow country, enveloped by a penetrating chill. Where has the light gone? What has happened to our relationship with God?
Walking in the early mornings reveals gradations in atmospheric light. As a temperature change occurs with the sun’s disappearance at day’s end, so dawn’s light streaks from the east in a vast beam, drastically changing our perceptions. Still, the precise moment when darkness becomes light escapes an astute observer. With little ado, morning comes, and with it warmth and a new day.
The atmosphere gives clues, and meteorologists work to isolate sunrise and sunset, offering precise information in their weather broadcasts. “August 27th, sunrise at 5:21, sunset at 8:36.”
Spiritually, I’ve attempted the same sort of analysis. But sometimes life moves so fast, it becomes difficult to pinpoint the appearance of light or stall the coming of darkness.

Perhaps analysis sits less well with our spiritual journeys than with meteorologists’ goals. In certain seasons of life, recollected light may be enough, and we simply need to keep walking.

© by Gail Kittleson, WhiteFire Publishing, Nov. 2013 


Meet the author!

Gail Kittleson.  Sometimes we learn what we've done only after we do it. I wrote my memoir
Catching Up With Daylight over a ten-year period, but learned the term "spirituality writing" only after the book was published. Figuring things out after the fact is a life theme for me, but even though it isn't the easy road, I learn a lot in the process. I live with my very patient husband in St. Ansgar, Iowa, where a small creative writing class meets in my home, and facilitate workshops on creativity/memoir writing/aging with grace. My first fiction release with Vintage Rose, titled In This Together, will be released sometime in 2015.


DARE TO BLOOM!
http://www.gailkittleson.com/
www.facebook.com/gail.kittleson

SUMMARY OF CATCHING UP WITH DAYLIGHT


Catching Up With Daylight invites readers into contemporary and historical women's lives, interweaving the author's own story, biblical insights and encouragement from the ancient mystics. Kittleson shares a simple Benedictine meditation process called Lectio Divina that revolutionized her prayer life. Why shouldn't Protestants use this tried-and-true method, too? This memoir is set in small-town Iowa after her husband's second deployment and during the renovation of a really old house. Its everyday anecdotes can be read sequentially or used as a "bathroom reader" to cheer the mundane hours of an ordinary day. 

Purchase at any of these sites:

Saturday, April 4, 2015

He's Alive!

By Ada Brownell

Excerpt from the novel

JOE THE DREAMER: THE CASTLE AND THE CATAPULT


That night, when Joe dozed off after reading several chapters in the New Testament, another dream seized him.
He was in a cemetery on a hillside, trimming a rose bush trampled by careless feet. Soldiers paced back and forth in front of a tomb, their brass armor reflecting the sun’s first morning rays and clinking as they walked. Joe studied the grave where a huge stone had been rolled across the entrance. Everyone in Jerusalem seemed focused on the cemetery. As the gardener, he hoped he could repair the damage caused by the soldiers’ feet and get their garbage picked up as soon as he finished trimming.
As he moved to pick up the rose cuttings, the ground trembled. It shook worse than a speeding chariot with a flat wheel. He struggled to keep his balance. Fear clawed his innards. Then he saw the angel. The being reached out a muscular arm and shoved the massive stone. It jiggled, creating sparks as it moved away from the grave’s entrance and struck other stone surfaces. Lightning flashed, but it wasn’t in the sky—it was next to the tomb. A man surrounded by brilliant white stood there.
With a thump, the soldiers fell on their faces. Swords clinked as they dropped from their hands. Helmets rolled down the grassy hillside.
Joe felt woozy himself. Then the gigantic angel sat on the stone at the tomb’s open entrance and smiled at the Man standing there. “Now they can see You’re no longer in there.”
The Man looked at Joe. Joe wanted to run, but his legs wouldn’t move.
“I am He Who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. And I have the keys of death and hell.”
“He’s alive!” Joe screamed. “Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!”
“Shut up, Joe!”
Joe opened his eyes. Patrick sat up in the other bed.
“Sorry. Just another dream.”
His heart still thumped against his ribs like a mallet on a drum when he lay back down. A feverish sorrow crept over him.
 “Jesus, if You’re alive, where are Mom and Dad?” he whispered. Tears scurried down his cheeks.

But no answer came.



Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult
By A.B. Brownell

Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. After Joe Baker’s parents and 30 other people mysteriously disappear, he finds himself with a vicious man after him. Joe and an unusual gang team up to find his mom and dad. The gang is committed to preventing and solving crimes with ordinary harmless things such as noise, water, and a pet skunk instead of blades and bullets. Joe reads the Bible hoping to discover whether God will answer prayer and bring his parents home. In his dreams, Joe slips into the skin of Bible characters and what happened to them, happens to him—the peril and the victories. Yet, crying out in his sleep causes him to end up in a mental hospital’s juvenile unit. Will he escape or will he be harmed? Will he find his parents? Does God answer prayer?

 No fantasy. No wizard, but suspense and even robots. Christian payload. Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult

Reviewer said, A.B. Brownell weaves a tale of intrigue and faith which captures the reader from the opening page. Enjoyed by teens and adults.


 http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KJ2C06  or https://www.createspace.com/3962829The book is also available at Barnesandnoble.com, and is listed at Goodreads.co