Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Twilight Zone

It was the day before my sister's wedding. I hadn't even finished hemming my dress, but figured I could squeeze in a quick lunch with a friend. I stayed too long of course, and raced out of the restaurant, right onto the Twilight Zone. My portal? A flat tire.

The tires were new. How could  I have a flat? I looked at my watch, three o'clock. My husband should be home. It was in the age before cell phones which meant I had to go back into the restaurant and use the pay phone in the lobby.

There was no answer. Odd. My husband and the kids should all have been home by then. I waited several minutes and then tried again, and again. Finally one of the boys answered.

"Where's your dad?"

"He's not home, Mom. Oh wait here he comes. Oh oh. They're towing the truck."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Better, Best, But Mostly In Between

Events over the last few days have not brought out the best in me, and yet they did not extract the worst either, but something in between.

 I didn't respond with a snide comment to my co-worker's cutting criticism, but I am sure my body language expressed my feelings loud and clear. Still,  it was better than uttering a unkind remark, right?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Not Peace?

Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.  Matthew 14:34

For those of us seeking and praying for peace, these are harsh words. The text goes on to say there will be strife among families as well as neighbors and anyone who loves father, mother or siblings more than God is not worthy of Him.

 In Matthew 10: 16:23 Jesus further reveals the turmoil Christians will face. The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise u against their parents, and shall put them to death.

In light of these passages, my personal experience this past week should not be such a shock. Family issues related to religion and politics and co-worker provocations knocked me off my feet and sent me reeling. I have tried to swallow my anger with limited success. The above scripture continues with the assurance that the kindnesses we do will not be without reward. Does holding my tongue and restraining my anger constitute a kindness? In some cases, absolutely, to myself as well as others.

A recent meditation from Richard Rohr suggests we rush around hanging onto our nothing by any means available, including anger, violence, lying, and theft. What exactly do we think we hold onto? In my case, my way of life, my possessions - my pride. After years of attempting to relinquish my desire for anything but God, I still cling to things, still cling to my ego.

How wise Jesus was to remain silent in the presence of his accusers. Anything He said would be used to further inflame the crowd. The same is true of many of our personal situations. In the instances mentioned above, any comment I made spurred more insults and arguments.  Silence was the only way to cool the fire, on the outside anyway. I seethed for days at the false accusations and insults, until God pointed out my error.

Jesus was right when he said all sin comes from a man's heart. It is what lies hidden in our hearts that define who we really are. The situation isn't hopeless. Through prayer, God can change our hearts. He can change stone to compassion. The trick is to keep praying, to keep trying and not give up when we fail or those brandishing the sword seem to be winning.

Will vigilant prayer change anything? Something will change, that is a guarantee, even if it is only my heart. The above passage brought a degree of solace. When I stand up for my faith and for my principles, in either word deed -or silence- I can expect to be insulted, and to be the target of others' anger. What I need to guard against is my own hate, my own anger.

God has promised whatever we seek, we will find. I have made a vow to seek peace, not necessarily in the world around me, but in my heart. I mean to curb my anger at injustices, replacing that emotion with prayer and action, where and when I can.  Jesus didn't swing a physical sword, inflicting wounds on those deserving His justice, and I am personally glad, because I too would fall under that sword. Instead, He prayed for those who afflicted Him, even from the cross. He did so without hate or anger and He expects no less from me. It's a tall order, but I am willing to try.

This morning, I lay my sword aside and pray for those who hurt and chose to inflict that hurt onto others. I pray not for peace in the world but for peace in every heart, beginning with mine.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Coming Soon to an Amazon Near You - Sneak Preview....

Susannah Carlson’s premonitions do not foretell cataclysmic world events. They reveal child abductions, heinous crimes perpetrated by heartless monsters on innocent children. Knowing the exact time and place of the abduction, Susannah arrives ahead of the predator, and waits. When the criminal strikes, she intercedes, snatching the child away to safety, and ensuring the pedophile’s arrest and conviction – if all goes according to plan.  

When things go awry and people get hurt, Susannah must push through her doubts, worries and emotions and continue rescuing the children. Then, at the exact moment it appears she will lose everything, God grants her a miracle, and answers her most heartfelt prayer - if she can hold on to her faith long enough to receive it. 

Planned launch Fall of 2013. 


Monday, July 1, 2013

Thick Skinned or Standing Firm?

With the approaching launch of my novel, I have read numerous blogs and articles about book reviews. Even  the most intriguing and well-written stories receive some bad reviews, and my work will be no exception. I think I'm mentally and emotionally ready. I think.

Stories, like art, are subjective, liked or disliked based on the viewer/reader's preferences. Does a bad review mean it is a bad story? Not necessarily, and then, maybe.

As with all criticism, the comment must be evaluated. Does it have merit? Would it improve the art to accept the suggestion? Or, is it only a personal opinion that doesn't bear any true relation to the quality of the art?