Monday, August 17, 2015

Author Bio


New author Nina Meier is an incredibly talented preschool Sunday school and VBS teacher, having 10 years’ experience in her own church doing just that. Ask anyone under the age of 5 about Miss Nina’s handmade green lizard bag that holds her lessons on love and respect for God’s creation, each other, and ourselves. With fresh, new ideas always at her fingertips, even at a moment’s notice, no child is ever bored in her class, and she is able to laugh and dance them through a Bible lesson effortlessly.

Nina has been enjoying a career in Medical Transcription for the past 15 years, having gone back to school when her 2 sons were both in college. Her husband is a talented wood craftsman and has, on many occasions, brought her VBS ideas to life. He also builds sets for church plays that are of professional quality.
Many of Nina’s lessons on missions come from firsthand experience on the field during short-term mission trips to West Virginia, the interior of Mexico, Moldova near Romania, the Gulf Coast, and an Indian reservation in Ontario, Canada.
With such multi-faceted talent, anything this new author puts her pen to is a guaranteed winner!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

F.A.I.R.I.E.S.

Reading F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is such a wonderful escape, a kind of imagination therapy if you will. The author beckons you with every word, "Come, try out your wings, let's fly." Loved it!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author & illustrator is:


and the book:


F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire

FIRST Wild Card Press (December 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to M. C. Pearson of FIRST Wild Card Press for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


M. C. Pearson graduated from San Jose State University with a B. A. in art, served as a multi-media illustrator in the United States Army, earning the rank of sergeant, and spent four years as a house parent for at-risk youth. Now married over 20 years, she homeschools her two children, volunteers with her church youth group, and runs a book review blog alliance (FIRST Wild Card Tours) while writing and drawing. F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire is her first novel.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Unwittingly chosen to join an army of fairies, who fight for the Light of the One, a teenaged girl learns about spiritual warfare as she attends a military academy with fantastical beings.






FROM THE BACK COVER:

Here lies a most precious treasure,
Awaiting one Chosen to deliver.

Seek out the red cousins in the East,
For on this your greed mustn't feast.

The wealth of a species now in your hands,
Do with it as the light demands.

Give them your gift to unite,
For it is the darkness we all must fight.

EDITORIAL REVIEWS:

"Imagination runs wild in F.A.I.R.I.E.S. Pearson brings young readers through a looking glass and into a world bursting with adventure, heroism, and fascinating creatures. Readers will be inspired to be true to the One and left with anticipation of more to come."
--Jill Williamson, award-winning author of
By Darkness Hid, and other books

"Sprinkled with delightful illustrations, and brimming with a full bestiary of magical creatures, F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is a fun, clever romp through the alternate landscape of the most magical world of all, our own. Read, and take up the call: 'Defend and Emancipate!'"
-- D. Barkley Briggs, author of
The Book of Names, and other books

"F.A.I.R.I.E.S. will appeal to readers who love the interplay of fantasy and reality. A rich cast of eccentric characters and exotic settings make this a fun addition to the folklore of the battle between good and evil."
--Mike Hamel, author of
YA fantasy series: MATTERHORN THE BRAVE

"F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is one of those rare gems I want to tell everyone about. It's highly imaginative, packed with adventure, and full of hope. A must read for kids and for kids at heart. Even better than Narnia! I was thinking about Pearson's wonderfully memorable characters for days."
--C.J. Darlington, author of
Thicker than Blood

"Ms. Pearson's extravagant and imaginative F.A.I.R.I.E. kingdom will surely delight the young and the young-at-heart in this tale of good and evil, light vs. darkness. The fantasy-loving reader will not be disappointed!"
--Linore Rose Burkard, award winning author of
Before the Season Ends, and other books





Product Details:

List Price: $17.99
Paperback: 482 pages
Publisher: FIRST Wild Card Press (December 5, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0615530222
ISBN-13: 978-0615530222


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Four thousand seasons shall pass while our swords grow rusty.

Where once one chose to divide, another shall be chosen to unite.

One changed the past, the other shall change the future.

One must emancipate the other to allow the light its dominion.

The realm, now torn, allows the shadow to abide, as humanity lies blind to its peril.

The bond of friendship must endure, for the army of shadows awaits another tear.

Dust off your swords.

Unite the realm.

Destroy the strongholds.

Foretelling of Didasko Gnome Digdeep


†

PART ONE

MANY ARE CALLED
BUT
FEW ARE CHOSEN


†


CHAPTER ONE

Off and Running


t was an accident!” Mellie yelled, not caring who heard or stared. Tears streaked her face as she fled down the Santa Cruz coastline, away from her family.

You don’t need them, a voice hissed in her ear, Escape. Run away.

Scorching sand burned at her feet and bitterness ate at her heart. Mellie pumped her legs as fast as they would go. Her feet pounded with the rhythm of her emotions, beating a tempo with the crashing waves. Run-a-way. Run-a-way. Run-a-way. Adrenaline pulsed through her veins, quickening her step.

Why did I have to be the youngest? Only 12 years old. Never smart enough. Never athletic enough. I just wish they loved me.

Once, just once, she wanted to do something that would make her sisters see that she wasn’t the stupid, awkward, ugly, little baby sister.

As she ran, she wiped away some tears with the palm of her hand. Her fingers settled on her large nose, a gift from her dad’s Hungarian ancestry.

Chelsea got the ski-slope shaped nose. I had to get Half-Dome. It just isn’t fair.

Her hand dropped to her side and she pinched at her stomach. It still had some of its baby fat.

Ugh, why are my sisters so perfect? What happened to me?

Pushing her short bangs from her forehead in disgust, she mumbled, “Maybe I’ll find treasure. I’ll be the rich one, and then they’ll have to accept me.” But she knew better. California didn’t hold any more undiscovered treasures.

The sand, hot and coarse, cut at her feet. I wish I had remembered my shoes. She wore only a black, one-piece swimsuit and a San Jose Sharks sweatshirt tied tightly around her waist.

Breathing rapidly, she began to tire. She slowed her pace to a walk and looked back across the beach. The sand was so hot that waves of heat rose from it and blurred her view. A lone seagull screeched overhead.

Her sisters were nowhere in sight.

Man, I thought for sure that Chelsea was going to chase me down and kill me.

She had to admit that it was a little gratifying to see the sand fly from her foot, covering Chelsea’s sub-sandwich and freshly oiled stomach. Grinning slightly, the tears stopped flowing. She rubbed her eyes.

Mellie looked in the direction of her sisters. “You guys can never take a joke.” Flipping her golden hair, she turned her head back toward her chosen path. She no longer smiled as she stomped her feet in the cold surf, remembering the hateful words that had been said.

“Oh, waa waa, you stupid cry baby! Go tell mommy! Maybe she’ll feel sorry for her ugly, fat baby. Why don’t you grow up? We don’t want you near us. Can’t you understand English? You are so dumb. Look at her mouth open. Oh wait, here she goes…come on, baby…cry!”

Mellie knew she couldn’t go back. They would only ridicule and torment her further. Her mom would never believe it was Chelsea’s fault. No, the evidence was on Chelsea’s side. Who was the one with the sand all over her oily, coconut-smelling body? Who was the one who had a sandwich full of sand? Mellie walked on.

After her temper finally cooled, it occurred to her that she had never walked so far alone.

How far have I gone?

A shadow passed over her, and she looked up. Nothing was there. A cool breeze from the ocean created a stark contrast to the scalding sand. She shivered but kept walking, lost in her loneliness.

Not until she stubbed her toe on a large broken clamshell did she look at the beach. A chill snaked up her back. Nothing appeared familiar. The sounds of the surf were still there, yet something was decidedly different. She felt dizzy. Looking around, she could not quite pinpoint the change. Then it struck her.

No people.

Where did everybody go?

Even though she could see no one, Mellie could swear that she felt eyes staring at her.

She looked inland across the sand, saw movement near some eucalyptus trees, but decided that the wind must have caused it.

Trees? So close to the beach?

Something shook the trees again, causing goosebumps to stand out on Mellie’s arms. Alarmed, she checked the skyline. The sun was close to setting. She hoped that the police weren’t out looking for her.

Suddenly cold, she pulled at the arms of the sweatshirt still tied around her waist. It fell to the sand. Bending to pick it up, she once again saw a blur of movement, except this time it came from a rocky outcrop by the waves. She shook the sand out of the sweatshirt and hurriedly tugged it over her head.

“Okay, I’m seeing things.” Mellie yanked at her hair, pulling it out of the sweatshirt. She stared at the sinister rocks. “Hel-lo?” Her voice cracked as she spoke louder. “Is someone the-ere? Hello?” No answer. The shadowy rocks seemed to quiver with excitement, beckoning her closer.

Hmm…probably just a seagull.

Even if it was a bird, she did not want to see it.

There’s no way I’m going over there.

The wind picked up and blew her hair into her eyes. The sand spun with the wind.

Yes, definitely time to move. I need to find a road.

She turned back toward the sweet smelling, oddly placed trees.

Mellie arrived at the base of the first, colossal eucalyptus tree. Without warning, one of the branches fell in front of her, then seemed to get up from the ground and pose its bottom stems in a military-like stance.

Mellie screamed and jumped back. “Branches don’t stand.”

“They do if they are walking sticks.” The eucalyptus branch chuckled, stretching to its full height, considerably taller than Mellie’s meager five feet.
She gasped, grabbed the branch, and threw it like a javelin, as hard as she could.

As she took off running, she heard a bark and halted. Turning, she saw a golden retriever bounding toward her with the stick in his mouth. The dog dropped it at her feet. She watched the dog run into the grove of trees and disappear before she fearfully turned back to the possessed stick.

It had already gained its footing again and stood over her. Mellie was too frightened to move this time.

A face emerged from the skinny twig and took on the characteristics of a male human, but none like Mellie had ever seen. He had hair made up in rolls as if it were a powdered, green-silver wig, the same color as the leaves that grew all around his skinny body. His face was long and his forehead high. The twiggy man smiled and said in a distinctly British, albeit breezy, accent, “Do not worry, you are safe.”

Mellie couldn’t answer.

“Ahh…I love new recruits. They are so easily addled.”

Feeling more confused than threatened, Mellie found her voice. “What? What do you mean, new recruits?” She rubbed her eyes, shaking her head. “Okay, I’m talking to a stick now. Yes, I have lost it. I have gone totally mental.”

“Oh, I say, am I to understand that I am the first to be revealed to you?” With round, leathery leaves, the branch resembled a toddler toy with rings stacked on one another.

She dropped open her mouth and nodded.

“Well, let me do this properly, then. Ahem. Mortal, made of clay, you have been Chosen to join the Fantastical, Aerial, International, Reasonably Inconspicuous, Emancipation Squads.”

“What? What are you? You look like a stick…but you can talk.”

“Yes, child,” the stick replied with a sigh. “But, I think we are quite past that by now. Have you not heard me? You have been Chosen.”

Mellie opened her mouth wider, closed it, frowned, and opened it once more. “Chosen? For what?”

“You did wish to be different? To change who you were? ’Twas an especially strong desire, yes?” The branch crossed its arms and tapped its twiggy foot.

“Umm…”

“Dear me, this is highly unusual. You made a choice to run away from a miserable life and asked to be set free? Correct?”

“Well, I, ah…yeah. I guess so. What did you say about recruit for some squad?”

“Humph. I see that I was not understood. Yes? Let me elucidate. The Fantastical, Aerial, International, Reasonably Inconspicuous, Emancipation Squads , or shall I say F.A.I.R.I.E.S.? have accepted you into their organization. You asked. You were answered.” The branch attempted a smile, but looked impatient instead.

“Fairies? I don’t believe in fairies.” Mellie winced, half expecting him to fall down and writhe in pain until she clapped her hands.

“Quite right. You are not supposed to. If humans truly believed we existed, we would never get anything accomplished.”

Mellie laughed and looked around for a hidden camera, thinking this must be a joke. “Right. Ah…heh…okay, bud, brilliant costume,” she said, imitating the branch’s accent. “Where’s the zipper?” She reached toward him and touched a soft leaf.

The branch slapped her hand away and stamped its foot with a loud cracking noise. “I beg your pardon. I have not been a bud for over 800 springs!” He paced, his leaves crumpling, mumbling to himself about humans and why, in the One’s name, did he listen to that confounded gnome who told him that he needed to stand gate duty. With his rank!

“I’m sorry I upset you. Please, I’m very confused. I’m lost, and I just want to go home.” Mellie bit her lip.

The branch stopped mid-pace. “Home? Earlier, did you not wish for a new life? And riches? I know you wished for treasure, hmm?”

“How do you know that?” Mellie furrowed her brow. “Have you been reading my mind?”

The twig man didn’t answer her questions, asking his own instead. “Ahh, so, you admit this, yes?”

She narrowed her eyes. “Yes, but…well, this really isn’t what I had in mind.”

The branch threw up its twiggy fingers. “Oh, well, of course you did not have this in mind. After all, we are reasonably inconspicuous, especially to humans. How could you have this in mind? However, is it not superior of the One to think that this is what you would have chosen had you known about us? Anyway, ’tis irrevocable now. So, if you would just follow me, we shall get you signed in and enrolled for training.”

The branch marched off between the trunks of two large eucalyptus trees.

Mellie slid uncontrollably after the walking stick. She planted her feet firmly, refusing to budge, but she slid after him anyway. Grasping at branches of nearby trees, she panted heavily as she struggled to resist following the branch. Some kind of invisible tie connected her to him. He seemed to pull her along with his every step.

Mellie thought about her sisters and how mad they were at her. I’m dead meat if they find me. Mellie quickly gave up her battle and ran after the eucalyptus branch, barely keeping up with his stride.

†


The sand changed to coarse dirt, with pebbles and sticks. More and more trees filled Mellie’s vision. Bushes scraped against her bare legs and slapped her face as she moved deeper inside a forest of eucalyptus and redwood trees. She winced in pain as a razor-sharp rock sliced her foot. Stopping to nurse it, she wished once again for her forgotten shoes.

“Excuse me, sir?” Mellie looked around. She could not see the branch anywhere.

“Do not call me ‘sir’, I work for a living.” The branch peeked out from around one of the gigantic trees. “And please, try to keep up. We need to reach the gateway.”

Mellie limped up to him. “Sorry, sir…I mean…umm, what should I call you then?”

“Oh, well, we did skip that. Did we not? Yes, all right, an introduction then.” The branch man seemed to enjoy formal etiquette for he gave an elaborate wave and bowed. “My name is Regnans, family of Myrtaceae, born member of the F.A.I.R.I.E.S., Britannia Wing, rank of Master Nymph Dryad.”

“Nice to meet you, Reg…Reg?” Mellie chewed on the inside of her mouth. Never good at remembering names, she knew she would offend him with her lack of manners.

Sure enough, the dryad raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips. “Regnans.” He gave a hurt sniff, then drolly sneered. “If you find that a difficult name, you should meet the rest of my family, all seven-hundred thirty-four of them.”

“Sorry, I just…well, it is a lot to remember. It’s a nice name, though. My name is Maryellen Goodwin of Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, California. But everyone calls me Mellie.” She stuck out her hand, intending to shake. Regnans stared at her.

“That is a strange curtsy. However, I guess ’twill do. We must get moving now. The shadows abound, you know.” Regnans made an about face and marched off faster than before.

Another hour passed, and still they strode along the forest floor. Mellie’s feet were now cut, blistered, and bleeding. She kept up as best she could with Regnans’s long stride. Whenever she tried to stop, he would pull her on with that invisible force of his.

Stupid, pompous, magical Star Wars freak.

She whimpered as she limped. Darkness and mist now covered the woods. As she was about to plead for a break, Regnans stopped. Except for her heavy gulps of air, all seemed quiet.

Regnans stiffened even more than usual. Nothing on him moved, apart from his eyes, which darted around quickly.

“All is safe, we may proceed.” He held up a twiggy finger to his woody mouth. “Please do not speak, and try not to breathe so abominably loud.”

Mellie nodded with a disgusted frown. Sweat dripped from her bangs. She tried to calm her breathing, even though her vision blurred, and her legs wobbled. Her blisters had popped by now and oozed wetness.

Regnans moved again, yet this time he took slow, deliberate steps, all the while scanning his surroundings. He walked up to a massive redwood tree and stroked its bark.

A breeze stirred up, rattling the leaves, sounding almost like spoken words. Mellie thought herself crazy again. However, the longer she stood there, the more she sensed that it really was the tree’s language, as if she had never listened to trees properly before. It said, “If you love, you will say the one true love that leads the way.”

Regnans whispered in a leaf rustling voice, “Ah-gaw-pay.”

A loud grumbling sound, as if someone awakened after a long sleep, shook the grove. The redwood tree opened two eyes, each the size of Mellie’s head, and blinked. A great fissure erupted below the eyes in the shape of a crescent, and redish-brown wooden teeth emerged. A long, knobby branch pushed its way out above the mouth and inhaled deeply.

The tree chuckled. Instead of the whispering leaves, a low, rumbling utterance of human speech came from the redwood tree. “Regnans? What brings you to my neck of the woods?” He blinked again. “And who is this? A new recruit? A human? A Chosen?”

Mellie knew she looked silly, standing there with her mouth in an ‘O’ shape, but she couldn’t move. This was simply impossible. There is no such thing as fairies!

“Yes, yes. Please open the gate, we must not dawdle here…they may be watching.” Regnans looked agitated.

A deep laugh resounded from the redwood. “Oh, Regnans. There are none who watch here.”

Regnans mumbled something about hamadryads and their pride, then proclaimed in a slightly louder voice to the tree, “We must be sober, be vigilant, because the shadow walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour.”

The hamadryad looked chagrined. “You speak true, dryad. Forgive me for acting like an arrogant seedling.” He glanced at Mellie, and with a lowered voice asked, “And what is your name, little human?”

Mellie managed to squeak out, “Mellie Goodwin.”

“Ah, ’tis always nice to have a Good Wind.” The hamadryad laughed heartily.

“Sorry to interrupt this lovely tete-a-tete,” Regnans said, “but would you please open the gate? I left Westside completely unguarded.”

An annoyed creak came from the base of the redwood, followed by a sigh. “Yes, Regnans. Agape you said, and agape it is. Go with the light, my friends.” The large, joyous eyes closed, and the hamadryad whispered in his leaf rustling voice, “Until we meet again, Good Wind.” His face disappeared, and his roots lifted and pulled apart, exposing a tunnel within his trunk.

Regnans grabbed Mellie’s hand with his rough, wooden one, and pulled her inside the opening. The tree closed itself abruptly and left them in total darkness.

Regnans cleared his throat and said, “Let there be light.”

A burst of dazzling brightness sparkled from the tunnel’s wall. Mellie glanced around and noticed a long, winding stairwell leading down into the ground.

“Shall we, then?” Not waiting for a reply, Regnans started down the steps.

Available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Treasures Grandma's Attic

What a wonderful time to be a child. Love the UN-Tech idea of it all. Reading these books gave me a feeling of peace of mind, in between making my belly jump with laughter. Nina : )

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!


You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the books:



and

David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)


***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


The late Arleta Richardson grew up an only child in Chicago, living in a hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Under the care of her maternal grandmother, she listened for hours to stories from her grandmother’s childhood. With unusual recall, Arleta began to write these stories for an audience that now numbers over two million. “My grandmother would be amazed to know her stories have gone around the world,” Arleta said.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


Grandma did what? You might be surprised. Back in the 1880’s, when she was a young girl named Mabel, trouble seemed to follow her everywhere. She and her best friend, Sarah Jane, had the best intentions at home and at school, but somehow clumsiness and mischief always seemed to intrude. Whether getting into a sticky mess with face cream, traveling to the big city, sneaking out to a birthday party or studying for the spelling bee, Mabel’s brilliant ideas only seemed to show how much she had to learn. And each of her mishaps turned into lessons in honesty, patience and responsibility.


Arleta Richardson’s beloved series, Grandma’s Attic, returns with Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic, the third and fourth books in the refreshed classic collection for girls ages 8 to 12. These compilations of tales recount humorous and poignant memories from Grandma Mabel’s childhood on a Michigan farm in the late 1800’s. Combining the warmth and spirit of Little House on the Prairie with a Christian focus, these books transport readers back to a simpler time to learn lessons surprisingly relevant in today’s world.


Even though these stories took place over a hundred years ago, there are some things about being a girl that never change. Just like Mabel, girls still want to be prettier or more independent. It’s all part of growing up. But the amazing thing is—Grandma felt the same way! Sometimes your brother teases you or someone you thought was a friend turns out to be insincere. Sometimes you’re certain you know better than your parents, only to discover to your horror that they might have been right. It’s all part of growing up.


Richardson’s wholesome stories have reached more than two million readers worldwide. Parents appreciate the godly values and character they promote while children love the captivating storytelling that recounts childhood memories of mischief and joy. These books are ideal for homes, schools, libraries or gifts and are certain to be treasured. So return to Grandma’s attic, where true tales of yesteryear bring timeless lessons for today, combining the appeal of historical fiction for girls with the truth of God’s Word. Each captivating story promotes godly character and values with humor, understanding and warmth.


Product Details:


Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic:


List Price: $6.99

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781403812

ISBN-13: 978-0781403818



Treasures from Grandma’s Attic:


Reading level: Ages 9-12

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: David C. Cook; Reprint edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0781403820

ISBN-13: 978-0781403825


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTERS:



Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic


When Grandma Was a Little Girl


One hundred years! What a long, long time ago that is! Not very many people are still alive who can remember that far back. But through the magic of stories, we can be right there again.


When I was a little girl, I thought no one could tell a story like my grandma.


“Tell me about when you were a little girl,” I would say. Soon I would be back on the farm in northern Michigan with young Mabel—who became my grandmother—her mother and father, and her brothers, Reuben and Roy.


The old kitchen where I sat to hear many of Grandma’s stories didn’t look the same as when she was a little girl. Then there was no electricity nor running water. But my grandma still lived in the house she grew up in. I had no trouble imagining all the funny jams that Grandma and her best friend, Sarah Jane, got into. Or how it felt to wear long flannel stockings and high-buttoned shoes.


From the dusty old attic to the front parlor with its slippery furniture, Grandma’s old house was a storybook just waiting to be opened. I was fortunate to have a grandma who knew just how to open it. She loved to tell a story just as much as I loved to hear one.


Come with me now, back to the old kitchen in that Michigan farmhouse, and enjoy the laughter and tears of many years ago....


1


Face Cream from Godey’s Lady’s Book


Receiving mail always excited me. I never had to be told to get the mail for Grandma on my way home from school. But sometimes the mail became even more important. Like the time I was watching for something I had ordered from Woman’s Home Companion.


When the small package finally arrived, my face revealed how excited I was.


“What did you get a sample of this time?” Grandma asked as I came in proudly carrying the precious box.


“You’ll see. Just wait till I show you,” I said, promising Grandma the box held something special.


Quickly I tore the wrapping paper off the small box. Inside was a jar of skin cream for wrinkles.


Grandma laughed when she saw it. “You certainly don’t need that,” she said. “Now it might do me some good if those things ever really worked.”


“You aren’t wrinkled, Grandma,” I protested. “Your face is nice and smooth.”


“Perhaps so. But not because of what I’ve rubbed on it. More than likely I’ve inherited a smooth skin.”


She took the jar of cream and looked at the ingredients “This doesn’t look quite as dangerous as some stuff Sarah Jane and I mixed up one day. Did I ever tell you about that?”


“No, I’m sure you didn’t,” I replied. “Tell me now.”


Grandma picked up her crocheting, and I settled back to listen to a story about Grandma and her friend, Sarah Jane, when they were my age.


***


Sarah Jane had a cousin who lived in the city. This cousin often came to stay at Sarah Jane’s for a few days. She brought things with her that we were not accustomed to seeing.


One morning as Sarah Jane and I were walking to school together, Sarah Jane told me some very exciting news. “My cousin Laura will be here tomorrow. She’s going to stay all next week. Won’t that be fun?”


“Yes,” I agreed. “I’m glad she’s coming. What do you think she’ll bring this time?”


“Probably some pretty new dresses and hats,” Sarah Jane guessed. “She might even let us try them on.”


“Oh, I’m sure she wouldn’t want us to try on her dresses. But maybe she wouldn’t mind if we peeked at ourselves in the mirror to see how the hats looked.”


Laura arrived the next day with several new hats. She amiably agreed that we might try them on.


They were too big, and had a tendency to slide down over our noses. But to us, they were the latest fashion.


As we laid the hats back on the bed, Sarah Jane spied something else that interested her. It was a magazine for ladies. We had not seen more than half a dozen magazines in our lives, so this was exciting.


“Oh, Laura,” Sarah Jane cried, “may we look at your magazine? We’ll be very careful.”


“Why, yes. I’m not going to be reading it right away. Go ahead.”


Eagerly we snatched the magazine and ran out to the porch. The cover pictured a lady with a very fashionable dress and hat, carrying a frilly parasol. The name of the magazine was Godey’s Lady’s Book.


“Ooh! Look at the ruffles on her dress!” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “Wouldn’t you just love to have one dress with all those ribbons and things?”


“Yes, but there’s little chance I’ll ever have it,” I replied. “Ma wouldn’t iron that many ruffles for anything. Besides, we’re not grown up enough to have dresses like that. It looks like it might be organdy, doesn’t it?”


“Mmm-hum,” Sarah Jane agreed. “It looks like something soft, all right. And look at her hair. It must be long to make that big a roll around her head.”


We spread the magazine across our laps and studied each page carefully. Nothing escaped our notice. “I sure wish we were grown up,” Sarah Jane sighed. “Think how much prettier we’d be.”


“Yes, and how much more fun we could have. These ladies don’t spend all their time going to school and doing chores. They just get all dressed up and sit around looking pretty.”


We looked for a moment in silence; then Sarah Jane noticed something interesting. “Look here, Mabel. Here’s something you can make to get rid of wrinkles on your face.”


I looked where she was reading.


Guaranteed to remove wrinkles. Melt together a quantity of white wax and honey. When it becomes liquid, add the juice of several lemons. Spread the mixture liberally on your face and allow it to dry. In addition to smoothing out your wrinkles, this formula will leave your skin soft, smooth, and freckle free.


“But we don’t have any wrinkles,” I pointed out.


“That doesn’t matter,” Sarah Jane replied. “If it takes wrinkles away, it should keep us from getting them too. Besides,” she added critically, “it says it takes away freckles. And you have plenty of those.”


I rubbed my nose reflectively. “I sure do. Do you suppose that stuff really would take them off?”


“We can try it and see. I’ll put some on if you will. Where shall we mix it up?”


This would be a problem, since Sarah Jane’s mother was baking in her kitchen. It would be better to work where we wouldn’t have to answer questions about what we were doing.


“Let’s go to your house and see what your mother is doing,” Sarah Jane suggested.


We hurriedly returned the magazine to Laura’s bedroom and dashed back outdoors.


“Do you have all the things we need to put in it?” Sarah Jane asked.


“I know we have wax left over from Ma’s jelly glasses. And I’m sure we have lemons. But I don’t know how much honey is left.


“I know where we can get some, though.” I continued. “Remember that hollow tree in the woods? We found honey there last week.”


Soon we were on our way to collect it in a small pail.


“This is sure going to be messy and sticky to put on our faces,” I commented as we filled the pail.


“Probably the wax takes the sticky out,” Sarah Jane replied. “Anyway, if it takes away your freckles and makes our skin smooth, it won’t matter if it is a little gooey. I wonder how long we leave it on.”


“The directions said to let it dry,” I reminded her. “I suppose the longer you leave it there, the more good it does. We’ll have to take it off before we go in to supper, I guess.”


“I guess so,” Sarah Jane exclaimed. “I don’t know what your brothers would say. But I’m not going to give Caleb a chance to make fun of me.”


I knew what Reuben and Roy would say, too, and I was pretty sure I could predict what Ma would say. There seemed to be no reason to let them know about it.


Fortune was with us, for the kitchen was empty when we cautiously opened the back door. Ma heard us come in and called down from upstairs, “Do you need something, Mabel?”


“No, Ma’am,” I answered. “But we might like a cookie.”


“Help yourself,” Ma replied. “I’m too busy tearing rags to come down right now. You can pour yourselves some milk too.”


I assured her that we could. With a sigh of relief, we went to the pantry for a kettle in which to melt the wax and honey.


“This looks big enough,” Sarah Jane said. “You start that getting hot, and I’ll squeeze the lemons. Do you think two will be enough?”


“I guess two is ‘several.’ Maybe we can tell by the way it looks whether we need more or not.”


“I don’t see how,” Sarah Jane argued. “We never saw any of this stuff before. But we’ll start with two, anyway.”


I placed the pan containing the wax and honey on the hottest part of the stove and pulled up a chair to sit on. “Do you suppose I ought to stir it?” I inquired. “It doesn’t look as though it’s mixing very fast.”


“Give it time,” Sarah Jane advised. “Once the wax melts down, it will mix.”


After a short time, the mixture began to bubble.


“There, see?” she said, stirring it with a spoon. “You can’t tell which is wax and which is honey. I think it’s time to put in the lemon juice.” She picked up the juice, but I stopped her.


“You have to take the seeds out, first, silly. You don’t want knobs all over your face, do you?”


“I guess you’re right. That wouldn’t look too good, would it?”


She dug the seeds out, and we carefully stirred the lemon juice into the pan.


“Umm, it smells good,” I observed.


Sarah Jane agreed. “In fact, it smells a little like Ma’s cough syrup. Do you want to taste it?”


“Sure, I’ll take a little taste.” I licked some off the spoon and smacked my lips. “It’s fine,” I reported. “If it tastes that good, it will certainly be safe to use. Let’s take it to my room and try it.”


We carefully lifted the kettle from the stove. Together we carried the kettle upstairs and set it on my dresser.


“It will have to cool a little before we put it on,” I said.


“What if the wax gets hard again? We’ll have to take it downstairs and heat it all over.”


“It won’t,” I assured her. “The honey will keep it from getting too hard.” By the time the mixture was cool enough to use, it was thick and gooey—but still spreadable.


“Well, here goes,” Sarah Jane said. She dipped a big blob out and spread it on her face. I did the same. Soon our faces were covered with the sticky mess.


“Don’t get it in your hair,” I warned. “It looks like it would be awfully hard to get out. I wonder how long it will take to dry?”


“The magazine didn’t say that. It would probably dry faster outside in the sun. But someone is sure to see us out there. We’d better stay here.... I wish we had brought the magazine to look at.”


“We can look at the Sears catalog,” I suggested. “Let’s play like we’re ordering things for our own house.”


We sat down on the floor and spread the catalog out in front of us. After several minutes, Sarah Jane felt her face.


“I think it’s dry, Mabel,” she announced, hardly moving her lips. “It doesn’t bend or anything.”


I touched mine and discovered the same thing. The mask was solid and hard. It was impossible to move my mouth to speak, so my voice had a funny sound when I answered her.


“So’s mine. Maybe we’d better start taking it off now.”


We ran to the mirror and looked at ourselves.


“We sure look funny.” Sarah Jane laughed the best she could without moving her face. “How did the magazine say to get it off?”


Suddenly we looked at each other in dismay. The magazine hadn’t said anything about removing the mixture, only how to fix and spread it on.


“Well, we’ve done it again,” I said. “How come everything we try works until we’re ready to undo it? We’ll just have to figure some way to get rid of it.”


We certainly did try. We pushed the heavy masks that covered our faces. We pulled them, knocked on them, and tried to soak them off. They would not budge.


“I think we used too much wax and not enough honey,” Sarah Jane puffed as she flopped back down on the bed.


“That’s certainly a great thing to think of now,” I answered crossly. “The only way to move wax is to melt it. And we certainly can’t stick our faces in the fire!”


“Mine feels like it’s already on fire. I don’t think this stuff is good for your skin.”


“You’re going to have to think about more than that,” I told her. “Or this stuff will be your skin. There has to be some way to get it off.”


“We’ve tried everything we can think of. We’ll just have to go down and let your rna help us.”


That was the last thing in the world I wanted to do. But I could see no other alternative. Slowly we trudged down to the kitchen.


Ma was working at the stove, and she said cheerfully, “Are you girls hungry again? It won’t be long until suppertime, so you’d better not eat ....”


She turned around as she spoke. When she spotted us standing in the doorway, her eyes widened in disbelief.


“What on earth? ... What have you done to yourselves?”


I burst into tears. The sight of drops of tears running down that ridiculous mask must have been more than Ma could stand. Suddenly she began to laugh. She laughed until she had to sit down.


“It’s not funny, Ma. We can’t get it off! We’ll have to wear it the rest of our lives!”


Ma controlled herself long enough to come over and feel my face. “What did you put in it?” she asked. “That will help me know how to take it off.”


We told her.


“If you two ever live to grow up, it will only be the Lord’s good mercy. The only thing we can do is apply something hot enough to melt the wax,” Ma told us quickly.


“But we boiled the wax, Ma,” I cried. “You can’t boil our faces!”


“No, 1won’t try anything as drastic as that. I’ll just use hot towels until it gets soft enough to pull away.”


After several applications, we were finally able to start peeling the mixture off. As it came loose, our skin came with it.


“Ouch! That hurts,” I cried.


But Ma could not stop. By the time the last bits of wax and honey were removed, our faces were fiery red and raw.


“What did we do wrong?” Sarah Jane wailed. “We made it just like the magazine said.”


“You may have used the wrong quantities, or left it on too long,” Ma said. “At any rate, I don’t think you’ll try it again.”


“I know I won’t,” Sarah Jane moaned. “I’m going to tell Laura she should ignore that page in her magazine.” She looked at me. “The stuff did one thing they said it would, Mabel. I don’t see any freckles.”


“There’s no skin left, either,” I retorted. “I’d rather have freckles than a face like this.”


“Never mind.” Ma tried to soothe us. “Your faces will be all right in a couple of days.”


“A couple of days!” I howled. “We can’t go to school looking like this!”


***


“We did, though.” Grandma laughed as she finished the story. “After a while we were able to laugh with the others over our foolishness.”


I looked at the little jar of cream that had come in the mail.


“I don’t think I’ll use this, Grandma. I guess I’ll just let my face get wrinkled if it wants to!”


************************************************


Treasures from Grandma's Attic


Cousin Agatha


My best friend, Sarah Jane, and I were walking home from school on a cold November afternoon.


“Do you realize, Mabel, that 1886 is almost over? Another year of nothing important ever happening is nearly gone.”


“Well, we still have a good bit of life ahead of us,” I replied.


“You don’t know that,” Sarah Jane said darkly, “We’re thirteen and a half. We may already have lived nearly a third of our allotted time.”


“The O’Dells live to be awfully old,” I told her. “So, unless I get run down by a horse and buggy, I’ll probably be around awhile.”


We walked along in silence. Then suddenly Sarah Jane pulled me to the side of the road.


“Here’s the horse and buggy that could keep you from becoming an old lady,” she kidded. We turned to see my pa coming down the road.


“Want to ride the rest of the way, girls?” he called. We clambered into the buggy, and Pa clucked to Nellie.


“What did you get in town?” I asked.


“Some things for the farm and a letter for your ma.” Around the next bend, Pa slowed Nellie to a halt. “Your stop, Sarah Jane.”


“Thanks, Mr. O’Dell.” Sarah Jane jumped down. “I’ll be over to study later, Mabel. ‘Bye.”


“Who’s the letter from?” I asked Pa.


“Can’t tell from the handwriting. We’ll have to wait for Ma to tell us.”


When Ma opened the letter, she looked puzzled. “This is from your cousin Agatha,” she said to Pa. “Why didn’t she address it to you, too?”


“If I know Aggie, she wants something,” Pa declared. “And she figured you’d be more likely to listen to her sad story.”


Ma read the letter and shook her head at Pa. “She just wants to come for Thanksgiving. Now aren’t you ashamed of talking that way?”


“No, I’m not. That’s what Aggie says she wants. You can be sure there’s more there than meets the eye. Are you going to tell her to come ahead?”


“Why, of course!” Ma exclaimed. “If I were a widowed lady up in years, I’d want to be with family on Thanksgiving. Why shouldn’t I tell her to come?”


Pa took his hat from the peg by the door and started for the barn, where my older brothers were already at work. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” he remarked as he left.


“What did Pa warn you about?” I asked as soon as the door closed behind him. “What does Cousin Agatha want?”


“I don’t believe Pa was talking to you,” Ma replied. “You heard me say that she wants to come for Thanksgiving.”


“Yes, but Pa said—”


“That’s enough, Mabel. We won’t discuss it further.”


I watched silently as Ma sat down at the kitchen table and answered Cousin Agatha’s letter.


Snow began to fall two days before the holiday, and Pa had to hitch up the sleigh to go into town and meet the train.


“It will be just our misfortune to have a real blizzard and be snowed in with that woman for a week,” he grumbled.


“Having Aggie here a few days won’t hurt you,” Ma said. “The way you carry on, you’d think she was coming to stay forever!”


Pa’s look said he considered that a distinct possibility. As I helped Ma with the pies, I questioned her about Cousin Agatha.


“Has she been here before? I can’t remember seeing her.”


“I guess you were pretty small last time Agatha visited,” Ma replied. “I expect she gets lonely in that big house in the city.”


“What do you suppose she wants besides dinner?” I ventured.


“Friendly company,” Ma snapped. “And we’re going to give it to her.”


When the pies were in the oven, I hung around the window, watching for the sleigh. It was nearly dark when I heard the bells on Nellie’s harness ring out across the snow.


“They’re coming, Ma,” I called, and Ma hurried to the door with the lamp held high over her head. The boys and I crowded behind her. Pa jumped down from the sleigh and turned to help Cousin Agatha.


“I don’t need any assistance from you, James,” a firm voice spoke. “I’m perfectly capable of leaving any conveyance under my own power.”


“She talks like a book!” Roy whispered, and Reuben poked him. I watched in awe as a tall, unbending figure sailed into the kitchen.


“Well, Maryanne,” she said, “it’s good to see you.” She removed her big hat, jabbed a long hat pin into it, and handed the hat to me. “You must be Mabel.”


I nodded wordlessly.


“What’s the matter? Can’t you speak?” she boomed.


“Yes, ma’am,” I gulped nervously.


“Then don’t stand there bobbing your head like a monkey on a stick. People will think you have no sense. You can put that hat in my room.”


I stared openmouthed at this unusual person until a gentle push from Ma sent me in the direction of the guest room.


After dinner and prayers, Pa rose with the intention of going to the barn.


“James!” Cousin Agatha’s voice stopped him. “Surely you aren’t going to do the chores with these two great hulking fellows sitting here, are you?”


The two great hulking fellows leaped for the door with a speed I didn’t know they had.


“I should guess so,” Cousin Agatha exclaimed with satisfaction. “If there’s anything I can’t abide, it’s a lazy child.”


As she spoke, Cousin Agatha pulled Ma’s rocker to the stove and lowered herself into it. “This chair would be more comfortable if there were something to put my feet on,” she said, “but I suppose one can’t expect the amenities in a place like this.”


I looked at Ma for some clue as to what “amenities” might be. This was not a word we had encountered in our speller.


“Run into the parlor and get the footstool, Mabel,” Ma directed.


When Cousin Agatha was settled with her hands in her lap and her feet off the cold floor, I started the dishes.


“Maryanne, don’t you think Mabel’s dress is a mite too short?”


Startled, I looked down at my dress.


“No,” Ma’s calm voice replied. “She’s only thirteen, you know. I don’t want her to be grown up too soon.”


“There is such a thing as modesty, you know.” Cousin Agatha sniffed.


Pa and the boys returned just then, so Ma didn’t answer. I steered an uneasy path around Cousin Agatha all evening. For the first time I could remember, I was glad when bedtime came.


The next day was Thanksgiving, and the house was filled with the aroma of good things to eat. From her rocker, Cousin Agatha offered suggestions as Ma scurried about the kitchen.


“Isn’t it time to baste the turkey, Maryanne? I don’t care for dry fowl.”


“I see the boys running around out there with that mangy dog as though they had nothing to do. Shouldn’t they be chopping wood or something?”


“I should think Mabel could be helping you instead of reading a book. If there’s one thing I can’t abide . . . “


“Mabel will set the table when it’s time,” Ma put in. “Maybe you’d like to peel some potatoes?”


The horrified look on Cousin Agatha’s face said she wouldn’t consider it, so Ma withdrew her offer.


A bump on the door indicated that the “mangy dog” was tired of the cold. I laid down my book and let Pep in. He made straight for the stove and his rug.


“Mercy!” Cousin Agatha cried. “Do you let that—that animal in the kitchen?”


“Yes,” Ma replied. “He’s not a young dog any longer. He isn’t any bother, and he does enjoy the heat.”


“Humph.” Agatha pulled her skirts around her. “I wouldn’t allow any livestock in my kitchen. Can’t think what earthly good a dog can be.” She glared at Pep, who responded with a thump of his tail and a sigh of contentment.


“Dumb creature,” Cousin Agatha muttered.


“Pep isn’t dumb, Cousin Agatha,” I said. “He’s really the smartest dog I know.”


“I was not referring to his intellect or lack of it,” she told me, “‘Dumb’ indicates an inability to speak. You will have to concede that he is unable to carry on a conversation.”


I was ready to dispute that, too, but Ma shook her head. Cousin Agatha continued to give Pep disparaging glances.


“Didn’t you ever have any pets at your house, Cousin Agatha?” I asked.


“Pets? I should say not! Where in the Bible does it say that God made animals for man’s playthings? They’re meant to earn their keep, not sprawl out around the house absorbing heat.”


“Oh, Pep works,” I assured her. “He’s been taking the cows out and bringing them back for years now.”


Cousin Agatha was not impressed. She sat back in the rocker and eyed Pep with disfavor. “The one thing I can’t abide, next to a lazy child, is a useless animal—and in the house!”


I began to look nervously at Ma, thinking she might send Pep to the barn to keep the peace. But she went on about her work, serenely ignoring Cousin Agatha’s hints. I was glad when it was time to set the table.


After we had eaten, Pa took the Bible down from the cupboard and read our Thanksgiving chapter, Psalm 100. Then he prayed, thanking the Lord for Cousin Agatha and asking the Lord’s blessing on her just as he did on the rest of us. When he had finished, Cousin Agatha spoke up.


“I believe that I will stay here until Christmas, James. Then, if I find it to my liking, I could sell the house in the city and continue on with you. Maryanne could use some help in teaching these children how to be useful.”


In the stunned silence that followed, I looked at Pa and Ma to see how this news had affected them. Ma looked pale. Before Pa could open his mouth to answer, Cousin Agatha rose from the table. “I’ll just go to my room for a bit of rest,” she said. “We’ll discuss this later.”


When she had left, we gazed at each other helplessly.


“Is there anything in the Bible that tells you what to do now?” I asked Pa.


“Well, it says if we don’t love our brother whom we can see, how can we love God whom we can’t see? I think that probably applies to cousins as well.”


“I’d love her better if I couldn’t see her.” Reuben declared. “We don’t have to let her stay, do we, Pa?”


“No, we don’t have to,” Pa replied. “We could ask her to leave tomorrow as planned. But I’m not sure that would be right. What do you think, Ma?”


“I wouldn’t want to live alone in the city,” Ma said slowly. “I can see that she would prefer the company of a family. I suppose we should ask her to stay until Christmas.”


“I think she already asked herself,” Roy ventured. “But she did say if she found things to her liking. . . .”


We all looked at Roy. Pa said, “You’re not planning something that wouldn’t be to her liking, are you?”


“Oh, no, sir!” Roy quickly answered. “Not me.”


Pa signed. “I’m not sure I’d blame you. She’s not an easy person to live with. We’ll all have to be especially patient with her.”


There wasn’t much Thanksgiving atmosphere in the kitchen as we did the dishes.


“How can we possibly stand it for another whole month?” I moaned.


“The Lord only sends us one day at a time,” Ma informed me. “Don’t worry about more than that. When the other days arrive, you’ll probably find out you worried about all the wrong things.”


As soon as the work was finished, I put on my coat and walked over to Sarah Jane’s.


“What will you do if she stays on after Christmas?” she asked.


“I’ll just die.”


“I thought you were going to be a long-living O’Dell.”


“I changed my mind,” I retorted. “What would you do if you were in my place?”


“I’d probably make her life miserable so she’d want to leave.”


“You know I couldn’t get away with that. Pa believes that Christian love is the best solution.”


“All right, then,” Sarah Jane said with a shrug. “Love her to death.”


As though to fulfill Pa’s prediction, snow began to fall heavily that night. By morning we were snowed in.


“Snowed in?” Cousin Agatha repeated. “You mean unable to leave the house at all?”


“That’s right,” Pa replied. “This one is coming straight down from Canada.”


Cousin Agatha looked troubled. “I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all.”


“We’ll be all right,” Ma reassured her. “We have plenty of wood and all the food we need.”


But Cousin Agatha was not to be reassured. I watched her stare into the fire and twist her handkerchief around her fingers. Why, she’s frightened! I thought. This old lady had been directing things all her life, and here was something she couldn’t control. Suddenly I felt sorry for her.


“Cousin Agatha,” I said, “we have fun when we’re snowed in. We play games and pop corn and tell stories. You’ll enjoy it. I know you will!”


I ran over and put my arms around her shoulders and kissed her on the cheek. She looked at me in surprise.


“That’s the first time anyone has hugged me since I can remember,” she said. “Do you really like me, Mabel?”


Right then I knew that I did like Cousin Agatha a whole lot. Behind her stern front was another person who needed to be loved and wanted.


“Oh, yes, Cousin Agatha,” I replied. “I really do. You’ll see what a good time we’ll have together.”


The smile that lighted her face was bright enough to chase away any gloom that had settled over the kitchen. And deep down inside, I felt real good.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 days to Taming Your Fears

Read it...keep it with you on trips, or next to your nightstand. Great "How To" book on keeping those dark spirits out of your mind, and keeping your eyes upon the Lord. Nina : )

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!


You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:



Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (August 1, 2011)


***Special thanks to Karri | Marketing Assistant | Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Deborah Smith Pegues is an experienced certified public accountant, a Bible teacher, a speaker, and a certified behavioral consultant specializing in understanding personality temperaments. As well as the bestselling 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue (more than 500,000 sold), she has authored 30 Days to Taming Your Finances and 30 Days to Taming Your Stress. She and her husband, Darnell, have been married for more than 31 years and make their home in California.



Visit the author's website.


SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:




Deborah Smith Pegues, behavioral specialist and bestselling author, sheds light on spiritual, relational, financial, physical, and emotional fears that limit the lives of readers and offers godly principles, straightforward helps, and the hope they need to exchange fear for the peace which passes all understanding.




Product Details:


List Price: $6.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (August 1, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736920412

ISBN-13: 978-0736920414


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Fear of Dying


Lord, remind me how brief

my time on earth will be.

Remind me that my days are numbered—

how fleeting my life is.


Psalm 39:4 nlt



My father passed away in July 2009 of congestive heart failure. I spent his final month with him in a small, hot town in Texas. Although he’d achieved only an eighth-grade education, he was a successful entrepreneur. Many of the locals held him in high esteem as he cruised the pot-holed streets in his exotic cars. He was very active in his church and enjoyed his status as the top donor. What I found most interesting during the entire ordeal of his impending death was the nature of his final requests:


“I’d like to hear my sister Althea’s voice. Do you think you can arrange that?” She lived on the East Coast and they rarely spoke. There was no rift in the relationship; just never enough time to connect.

“Tell my sons to come and see about me. I can’t take care of myself.” All six lived in California and were already en route. He was never the type to express any kind of vulnerability or to do “mushy stuff    ” like send a birthday card or say, “I love you.” I marveled at the power of death to humble the proudest of souls.

I knew that my father was afraid to die, even though he had heard many sermons on death during almost a lifetime in church. Indeed, he had a reason to be afraid, for there was unfinished business between him and a couple of his fellow church leaders. He had flatly refused to forgive them for an offense that had hurt him deeply and had cost him a cherished fifty-year friendship. Of course, he was not without fault in the matter. We’d had many discussions about the situation during the past year. I was more concerned about his unforgiveness than his dying because I knew it was hindering his fellowship with God. Jesus was emphatic about the impact of unforgiveness: “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15).


I finally took matters into my own hands and called his offenders. They expressed a willingness to forgive and finally made the necessary phone calls to reconcile with him. I rejoiced. I also led my father in a prayer of repentance for all his sins. I know that he is now resting in peace.


Fear Analysis


Fear of dying is one of the fundamental or core fears from which many other fears stem, such as fear of doctors, flying, and others that we will discuss later. Every member of the human race will eventually have a date with death. It is inevitable and its timing uncertain; consequently, almost everyone has some modicum of anxiety about it.


When discussing death, it is important to understand that we are eternal beings. Thus, when the Bible speaks of death, it refers to the physical separation of the soul from the body (James 2:26) versus total annihilation. The soul will live eternally in the presence of God or in hell. (Read Luke 16:19-31 for a vivid portrayal of the difference in the quality of the afterlife of Lazarus the beggar compared to the rich man who had ignored Lazarus’s daily plea for help.) The decisions that we make during the crucial interval called “time” will determine the place and quality of our eternal existence. God will make the final call. Thus, many people are afraid to die because of the fear of this final judgment.


Action Plan


American author and humorist Mark Twain once said, “A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” This reminds me of a story I heard about an aging church janitor. One night after a passionate sermon on the hereafter, the country pastor asked the small congregation, “How many of you want to go to heaven?” All raised their hands except old Jim, who sat quietly in the back still clad in his work uniform. The pastor, puzzled at his response, said, “Jim, don’t you want to go to heaven?”


“Yup,” came his reply.


“Well, why didn’t you raise your hand?”


“Thought you were trying to get up a load for tonight!”


Like Jim, we all want to go to heaven, but not tonight. Let’s look at what we can do now to conquer the fear of dying:


Prepare for death spiritually and emotionally. We prepare spiritually by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior and living a life of obedience to His Word by the power of God. Emotionally, we must accept the inevitability of death—especially when death is imminent.

Elizabeth K├╝bler-Ross, a pioneer in the study of the effects of death and dying, explained that most of us go through the following stages as we face our death:


Shock Stage: “Oh, my God!”

Denial Stage: “It can’t be true!”

Anger Stage: “Why me?”

Bargaining Stage: “Spare me, God, and I will do something for You.”

Depression Stage: “It’s all over. I have nothing to look forward to.”

Testing Stage: “What can I do to make my remaining days worthwhile?”

Acceptance Stage: “It doesn’t make sense to fight the inevitable.”

Only the grace of God can empower us to experience inexplicable peace as we accept our Divine destiny.


Prepare relationally. We need to let the key people in our lives know how much we care about them. We must also forgive everyone who has hurt or offended us. This is critical to getting our own sins forgiven. We must also ask forgiveness from others for our trespasses against them.

Prepare financially. Being financially unprepared is surely a cause for legitimate concern—especially if you have dependents. Be smart and, at a minimum, get burial insurance and prepare a will that spells out who will handle your affairs and who will inherit specific assets. A will can be handwritten and notarized. As a certified public accountant, I recommend you not only have a will (for special, sentimental assets), but a living trust (for real estate, investments) and an advanced directive that sets forth your preferences regarding the use of possible life-extending measures.

Submit to His sovereignty. Neutralizing the fear of death requires focusing on living life to the fullest. My concern when contemplating my own demise has always centered on how I will make that transition. I don’t wish to die violently nor do I want to suffer a protracted illness. (I’m hoping for an “Enoch deal” [Genesis 5:24] where God just takes me up!) Meanwhile, since I have no control over how I’m going to die, I have decided just to let my “requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6-7) and to submit to His sovereignty. When the time comes, He will be there to give me the grace I need to join Him for a life of eternal bliss.

What reason can you give for why you would be afraid to die—tonight? Have you lived a life of selfishness and disobedience, and thus fear eternal damnation? Or can you confidently say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7)? If not, what must you do now to be ready to make that eternal transition? Do you need to forgive an offense, express your affection, or apologize for your wrongdoings? If an angelic messenger were to show up and announce, “Tonight’s the night!” know that death ushers believers into the presence of the Lord where there is fullness of joy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rivers CD

You will love this peaceful worship music CD. Nina : )


It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!



You never know when I might play a wild card on you!





Today's Wild Card artist is:





and the CD:



Rivers of Living Water

Lorente Publishing

***Special thanks to Suzanne Lorente for sending me a review cd.***



ABOUT THE ARTIST:


Suzanne Perry Lorente has been a child of the Lord since age 7. Her gift of music began at age two and has carried her through her life. She is an accomplished long time song writer, singer, guitarist and performer from the age of 13. At a young age, Suzanne chose a career of a professional entertainer as a single singer/guitarist in well known night clubs, dinner houses and special events, with a repertoire of more than 400 songs. During this same time frame, she achieved an Associate of Arts degree in Mass Media from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from San Jose State University in California. As time marched along, she realized God's calling on her life to turn her heart toward Him as she could hear that "still, small voice" asking her to leave the relentless work of night clubs and secular entertainment. "It was a vow that took place in a day, and His promise took place over my lifetime. I am so blessed and God has kept His promise that He would give me the songs to sing for His children and for His glory." Suzanne has sung first of all for her family, then in choirs, started and sang in many small groups and trios, sang solo for so many audiences and congregations throughout the United States, and left behind a legacy of musical scenarios as she tells her stories of how each of her songs came about. She has recorded an ageless cassette that continues to be in demand, and a new CD, that has high-lighted the songs God has given to her. Suzanne has been teaching voice and guitar since she was 14 years old. She is presently singing in the little City of Dixon, CA for their Farmers Markets, weddings, and events, as well as with her trio, Suzanne Lorente and Friends, as they embark on recording a CD together. They are out doing concerts whenever possible and wherever the Lord leads. "It's wonderful to see God change the lives and hearts of people as we just sing our songs and allow Him to work through us. I love that!"



Visit the author's website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


This CD is a wonderful spiritual uplift and encouragement for any Christian who wants to grow, not only by hearing God's Word, but by doing what He's asking us to do. We have to take that first step and that's what this CD motivates believers and non-believers to do. The songs are original Christian Gospel scenarios that anyone can relate to, and that's what gives you the anointing strength to keep on going. You will love the beautiful orchestral and vocal backgrounds with each song as Suzanne Lorente and her trio envelope you with their angelic harmonies. God has put His Hand of blessing on Suzanne and given her songs throughout her lifetime of ministry. She and her gals are planning a tour and would love to include your church or event if it's possible. May God bless every listener and urge them to follow the Lord by listening to His "Still, Small Voice!"



Product Details:



List Price: $14.99

Music CD

Publisher: Lorente Publishing

Language: English



AND NOW..A SAMPLE OF A SONG FROM THE CD:

(To hear more samples, please visit Suzanne's website)




Here is one of the songs, "Misunderstood." This song is an original of mine written on January 1st of 2010. I am the voice for those who have been aborted, abused and misunderstood. This is quite sad, but it's telling us that each one of these has identified with the misery, torture, and abuse that Jesus went through on the cross. Many 100's of thousands have died a martyr's death, and are with the Lord because He loves them. Please listen carefully! This could be such a blessing for the Christian pregnancy centers and homes of abused women and children.







Here are the lyrics:



Misunderstood – Matthew 18:1-7



Words and Music by Suzanne Lorente



Arranged by Jeannine O’Neal






How can it be they don’t hear them, they don’t see



What can I say? Jesus loves them, they are free.



No-one will take time to listen as they cry



Knowing that I have the answer, I know why.





They’ve been misunderstood time after time



Their tiny voices still ring in our minds



No-one to love them, no-one to care



What they have to say doesn’t matter…anyway.






There is a hard part to living, not to be heard



Hate takes the joy out of giving, their vision blurred



Where is the love that could give them wings to fly?



Knowing that I have the answer, I know why.





They’ve been misunderstood time after time



Their little voices still ring in our mind



No-one to hear them, no-one to care



What they have to say doesn’t matter…anyway.






Could you be one who can’t hear them, you can’t see?



Are you aware they are people like you and me?



What would have come of the children who were slain?



There’d be a world of compassion…no more pain!





We have misunderstood time after time



Their tiny voices still ring in our mind



Someone will love them, someone will care



What they have to say really matters…anyway.






He’s (Jesus) been misunderstood, but not for long



Each tiny baby to Him will belong.



He really loves them, He really cares



What He has to say is what matters…anyway!



What He has to say is what matters....anyway!
Matt. 18:1-7





Additional high vocals Suzanne Lorente, Cecelia Dettle



Copyright 2010 BMI-0777 All rights reserved



See my website for further information



www.suzannelorente.com