Friday, February 26, 2021

Carman, Memories


Christian singer Carman died last week, due to complications from surgery, at the age of 65.

 

I first heard Carman’s music when I was in college in the early ’80s. Murray took me to see him live in January of ’88, and Murray gave his life to Jesus that night. When Carman sang “Lazarus, Come Forth,” Murray said, “That’s the best song I’ve ever heard.”

 

The kids loved Carman too. In the mid ’90s, Murray’s Dad was visiting us. When he was in the car with Murray and the kids one day, he said, “Play that song that makes the kids squeal.” That was “Jesus is the Way.”

 

When Rebecca was in her teens, I remember listening to “The Champion” one day in the car, and Rebecca said, “That’s my favorite song ever.”

 

For over 30 years we attended many Carman concerts, Murray and the kids more than me. We saw him in a range of how he presented his shows, from small church gatherings to larger venues.

 

Murray likes to say that the first time we saw him, “It was just him, his guitar, and a tape deck.” Murray and the kids saw him at the Q in Cleveland with a large band, lights and dancers.

 

We attended a concert at a small gathering at a church just a couple years ago, where we were able to introduce ourselves to Carman and his wife.

 

Carman’s songs were sweet, beautiful worship numbers, “I feel Jesus,” “Revive us O Lord;” lively talking songs, “The Champion,” “Lazarus, Come Forth;” funny, “Soap Song.” His goal was always the same, to help bring more people to Jesus.

 

This has been a sad time for me. Carman was important in our lives, and I pray comfort for his wife and family.

 

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/february/died-carman-licciardello-christian-singer-las-vegas-tour.html 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Psalm 119:161-168 Sin and Shin

ש Sin and Shin

Rulers persecute me without cause,

    but my heart trembles at your word.

I rejoice in your promise

    like one who finds great spoil.

I hate and detest falsehood

    but I love your law.

Seven times a day I praise you

    for your righteous laws.

Great peace have those who love your law,

    and nothing can make them stumble.

I wait for your salvation, Lord,

    and I follow your commands.

I obey your statutes,

    for I love them greatly.

I obey your precepts and your statutes,

    for all my ways are known to you.

 

Father God, I find relief at knowing all my ways are known to you. You know my faults. I need not try to hide them. You also know my sorrows and my hardships. Teach me to love what you love, Lord, to obey your righteous ways. In my fears, cover me with the peace and joy you want to give me. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Sweet Memories, Laugh Out Loud

December 26, 1997: The kids didn't get to play in the snow too much yesterday before it melted. I said not to worry, there was a lot of winter left when it might snow. Sarah, laughing at herself, said, "I thought that today was the last day for snowing."

 

December 31, 1997: Some friends' were over yesterday watching a Noah's Ark movie with the kids. When the flood was about to kill the bad people, the little boy said something, maybe happily, about the people being killed. Rebecca said, reprovingly, "That's not funny. They're not going to get to go to Heaven."

 

January 2, 1998: Last night Murray asked the kids if they'd like to go to McDonald’s after supper for a soda and to play in the play area. Excitedly, Caleb said, "Daddy, I just like you, and I'm glad I live on earth!"

 

January 3, 1998: Kathy came downstairs the other day and found Caleb and Rebecca busily engaged in something. "What are you guys doing?" she asked. "I'm teaching Caleb to write cursive," Rebecca replied, "Because he's not learning it in school."

 

January 4, 1998: Murray and the kids were in the car today, purchasing gas at an unmanned pay-at-the-pump place. Rebecca was reading the posted warnings and, as the van filled and Murray climbed in to begin logging the purchase, Rebecca said, "You just left a pump unattended,” (which the sign said not to do).

 

Later, in the van, there was a lively discussion of traffic infractions, penalties, etc. Murray said that one infraction was driving through a red light. Rebecca said that Murray did that once. Murray said that yes, he accidentally did that once, and "You saw how upset I was that I did that. I didn't even get caught by the police, but I was very upset." Sarah said, "You could call the police and tell them you're sorry."

 

January 6, 1997: Murray was telling the kids about the people in his family, and he said, "Manly, Mark..." Rebecca jumped in, "Luke, John." A couple days later, we were laughing about her saying that, and Rebecca said, "I bet you wrote that on the computer."

 

January 12, 1998, Yesterday, Murray thought he had given Sarah a piece of bread at dinner. "No,” she said, “You tried to, but I rebuked you.”

 

January 14, 1998: Last night Ping-Hwei said there was something he wanted to write down so he could put it on his computer at school. He said, "My family, funny, call me Bubby and Boss." (his two nicknames)

 

January 19, 1998: Caleb has an alarm clock that has a rooster that crows. This morning Sarah knocked on my door and said, "I heard Caleb's hen crow."

 

January 21, 1998: This morning Sarah told me to kiss her on her hair head. Then she rubbed it in and said, "It's slipping down to my heart."

 

When Ping-Hwei wants to play one of Benjamin's musical toys, he says, "I want to give Benjamin a listen."

 

When someone holds the refrigerator door open, Ping-Hwei sternly tells them to close it and says, "Babba (Dad) needs to pay!"

 

Sarah was trying to butter a piece of bread and was having difficulty. Her explanation for why the clump of butter wasn't spreading: "It's not concentrating." 

Friday, February 5, 2021

John 9, Grace and Truth

The man in this story is one of my biggest heroes.

 

Verses 1-3:  As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

 

Surely all of his life, the blind man heard people saying that either his or his parents’ sin had caused his blindness. He lived in this shame; still, the only way he could feed himself was by begging out in public.

 

Verses 6-7: After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.

 

Had the man heard that Jesus healed people? Anyway, he obeyed him, and was glad.

 

Verses 14-17: Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided. Then they turned again to the blind man, “What have you to say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” The man replied, “He is a prophet.”

 

This man probably had no education, but he spoke with confidence to his neighbors and, to the Pharisees. Though his parents were afraid of the Pharisees, the man born blind bravely called Jesus a prophet.

 

Verses 18-34: They still did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they sent for the man’s parents. “Is this your son?” they asked. “Is this the one you say was born blind? How is it that now he can see?” “We know he is our son,” the parents answered, “and we know he was born blind. But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don’t know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. That was why his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God by telling the truth,” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?” Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

 

He surely knew he would be treated harshly, yet he challenged the Pharisees, with knowledge and assurance, when they spoke against Jesus.

 

Verses 35-38: Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.

 

And in the end, he made the right decision, to worship Jesus. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Happy 60th!

Yes, it is true. I’ll be 60 in a few weeks. As that time approached, I could feel a bit of unease.

 

But now, I am so excited!

 

My new book, Gifts of Grace, is being released on my birthday, February 23.

 




What a lovely 60th birthday present.

 

I wanted to challenge myself with a couple things in these three novellas.

 

It’s been more than forty years since I moved away from our family farm. I decided it would be fun to set a story on a farm.

 

Besides the internet, my research included questions for my brother Jim, who is currently raising cows on our home place. This story was delightful to write.

 

I also wanted to have a main character be blind.

 

Since I am visually impaired, it seems like this would be easy for me, wouldn’t you think?

 

But, even though I have to struggle to put much visual description in my writing, it certainly is easier to go by the assumption that everybody can see everything.

 

Facial expressions, body movements to show emotions and feelings toward others. Visual recognition of where things are located in a room or in an outside setting.

 

“She blinked, then turned her back to me and walked to look out the window.”

 

“My stomach clenched and my hands grew moist as soon as I saw him turn the corner and come toward me.”

 

I didn’t go into great detail about how the blind character performed everyday tasks, and I found that the story flowed more naturally than I’d expected.

 

I enjoyed writing these characters’ stories, sharing in their relationships.

 

Gifts of Grace

 

Three novellas. Three women search with hungry hearts, and God shows them surprising answers.

 

Tammy needs a new goal to fill her empty nest, and she needs to find forgiveness for her heart.

 

Mourning the loss of her baby, Judy flees to the home she abandoned twelve years ago. The family farm. Is something new waiting for her at this old home?

 

Iola, who is blind, struggles to prove herself as a professional and to be the mother her sixteen-year-old daughter needs during a rough time.

 

Watch as God opens doors these women would never expect.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Grace-Kathy-McKinsey-ebook/dp/B08T7ZHLMZ 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Guest Author, Sherri Stewart

Welcome my guest, Sherri Stewart. Her book, A Friend in High Places, sounds like a delightful, surprising read.

 




Hi, I’m Sherri Stewart. I love writing clean novels, sprinkled with romance and a strong message that challenges your faith. I spend my working hours with books—either editing others’ manuscripts or writing my own. My passion is traveling to the settings of my books, sampling the food and visiting the sites. Sadly, my trip to Pasadena was cancelled due to COVID. I’m a recent widow and live in the Orlando area with my lazy dog, Lily, and my son, Joshua, who can fix anything. I share recipes, tidbits of my books’ locations, and pix in my monthly newsletters. Subscribe at http://eepurl.com/gZ-mv9

 

 

A Friend in High Places is my first attempt at time travel romance, which is a new genre for me. I usually write romantic suspense or historical romance. Once a year, my publisher asks for volunteers for different novella collections, so this year I signed up for a genre outside my comfort zone. And surprise, I really enjoyed writing it. And no, it isn’t sci fi, fantasy, or hocus pocus. The book is about a niece who has to clean out her aunt’s attic and discovers things about her aunt’s past that both surprise and sadden her. All the characters in the book are named after the members of my cousin, Claudia’s family. Of course, I asked for permission ahead of time.

 

A bit about the plot. Kelly Thomas must settle her Aunt Claudia’s estate. She stays in her aunt’s Pasadena bungalow while she plans the funeral and goes through her favorite aunt’s things. During the burial service, she notices an elderly gentleman standing next to a tall red-headed man away from the crowd of mourners, so she approaches them to introduce herself. What she discovers about the old man’s identity rocks her world apart. Aunt Claudia has always been her hero, and Kelly has modeled her life after her independent aunt. Now she’s confused. She thought her aunt’s husband had died in the war decades before. Kelly enlists the help of Chris, the young man with Mr. Collins at the cemetery, to help find the truth. They discover that a simple misunderstanding decades before led to the demise of a beautiful romance. If only she could go back to the sixties to fix it.

 

Each of my main characters has a bit of me in them. They are believers, but there is some issue they’re dealing with, such as grief, envy, guilt, unforgiveness, or lack of self-confidence. In this book, Kelly has grown up resenting being her parents’ second-best love. They are missionaries, working with Aids children in Nigeria. She knows they are doing God’s work, but she wants a more normal life, like that of her Aunt Claudia, with whom Kelly spent her summers in Pasadena, California, while her parents were overseas. As a child she loved going to the studio with her aunt, who worked as an assistant producer.

 

As a former teacher and principal at a Christian school, I often taught missionary kids (mk’s) and pastor’s kids (pk’s). Not all but many of them had issues that the other kids didn’t have to deal with—having to behave a certain way, being socially ostracized, and being left alone a lot because their parents were busy with the church. My son was the principal’s kid, so you can imagine what that was like!

 

 

I’m what’s called a plantser. That means I write a rough summary of the book beforehand, and then I write by the seat of my pants. Sometimes the book takes a glorious detour. It was a God moment when  the #MeToo movement came to mind. What if Hollywood actresses and studio workers of the sixties were warned about their so-called auditions ahead of time? What if the producers were also warned about what could happen if they didn’t treat women with proper respect?

 




Here is the purchase link for A Friend in High Places:

 

https://amzn.to/3syemu2

Friday, January 15, 2021

Resh, Psalm 119:153-160

ר Resh

Look on my suffering and deliver me,

    for I have not forgotten your law.

Defend my cause and redeem me;

    preserve my life according to your promise.

Salvation is far from the wicked,

    for they do not seek out your decrees.

Your compassion, Lord, is great;

    preserve my life according to your laws.

Many are the foes who persecute me,

    but I have not turned from your statutes.

I look on the faithless with loathing,

    for they do not obey your word.

See how I love your precepts;

    preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.

All your words are true;

    all your righteous laws are eternal.

 

Father God, thank you for the great compassion you have for us. Thank you that we can call to you from our suffering, that we can beg you to help us with our requests. You love us, Lord. Stay near. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

Lord, Tame My Tongue

James 3

Verse 6: The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

 

Lord, I am angry at what is happening in our country. I want to speak out with anger and blame, and demand consequences.

 

Verses 9-10: With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

 

Verses 14-16: But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

 

I long for righteous justice, Father, but does this come from my own selfish desires?

 

Verses 17-18: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

Lord, tame my tongue. Help me to strive for your wisdom and peace. Help me to slow down my anger, make room for your grace, and wait for your justice.     

Friday, January 1, 2021

A Collage of Books and Authors

Here are a few fun things I offer for your reading enjoyment.

 

Denise Hunter, Married ‘Til Monday and THE LAKE SEASON; romance and allowing God to help through fear.

 

The faithful spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the plot to kill Hitler by John Hendrix. A short history of the Nazis in Germany and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s part in the conspiracy to kill Hitler.

 

James Scott Bell, Greater Glory and Angel of Mercy; mystery stories with a female lawyer in 1905 Los Angeles. Courtroom drama, suspense.

 

Laurie Alice Eakes, Midwives; series includes Lady in the Mist, Heart's Safe Passage and Choices of the Heart. Stories about midwives in early 1800s Virginia, around the time of the War of 1812.

 

Dani Pettrey, Alaskan Courage Series; romantic suspense.

 

Robin Lee Hatcher, contemporary and historical romance and women’s fiction.

 

Joel C. Rosenberg, suspense.

 

Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher, Paper Angels; a modern story of Christmas hope.

 

A different kind of Christmas, by Alex Haley. 1863, son of a prominent slave owner gets involved with the underground railroad and helps slaves from his family plantation escape on Christmas Eve.

 

Shelley Shepard Gray, Amish stories; romance, mystery and suspense.