October 16, 2019

THE VALLEY OF LIFE: FROM PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT


  



LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
ON TODAY’S
DEVOTIONAL WEDNESDAY

Variations of the same theme:

God doesn’t close a door, but that He opens a window

Failure is God’s opportunity.

When man’s hope is gone, God’s Grace is only beginning.


When faced with disappointment, I sometimes wonder if these old-time one-liners aren’t just another form of sour grapes. Then I recall God’s many interventions, and I am pricked at how soon I’d forgotten them. The twists and turns, bruises and bleeding, that I mistook for abandonment were merely sped bumps along the way…lessons that God had to teach me in order for his plan to unfold in my life. Perhaps the pain of it all was not God’s pricking me, but rather pruning me, not for success as the world measures success, but for an ultimate purpose.
He reminds me that it is not the doing, the walking, or the works of my hands that matter most to God. His quest is my heart.

Photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash
 
There is a Valley that stretches between God’s desires for my life and His fulfillment of the promise—in that Valley God reveals himself.

He shows me, time and time again, my journey is not finished. He has more … so much more … to teach me—still a lot of Valley to cross. My journey will continue to take twists and turns. For the fulfillment is not in man’s approval but in God’s complete possession of my heart. The Valley of this thing called Life, the terrain by which he fulfills that quest.

In Abrahams's journey, God’s promise seemed slow in coming. He kept looking forward to God’s promise of a son. The far distant fulfillment stretched his faith. At the right time, after decades of pruning, Isaac was born. Yet, Abraham’s journey did not end. God still had much more to teach him, as well as Isaac and Jacob and all who followed Father Abraham.

Perhaps Abraham’s frustration of delayed answered prayer stemmed from only hearing part of God’s promise, his sights set on the tangible rather than the intangible elements of God’s call, “They will be my people and I will be their God.”

Therein is the Valley of Life, the journey from Promise to fulfillment. It is in this Valley that God teaches me how much He wants to be my God and how much He desires for me to be his child.

“Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children” (Revelation 21:7).


ABOUT I PRAYED FOR PATIENCE GOD GAVE ME CHILDREN


God indeed has a sense of humor. He chose children to teach us, too-smart adults, what being his child means, the very special relationship the believer enjoys with our Heavenly Father. We adults experience the same chaos, misadventure, and heartaches as our charges. Through a child’s example, we learn how God nurtures us with his infinitesimal patience. This easy to read, often hilarious narrative, uses cartoons, witticisms, anecdotes, quotes, and Scripture study to bring home these truths. A veteran social worker, Rondeau draws upon her many experiences in working with families as well as her personal experiences as a mom. You will want to keep this book close at hand for those moments of weakness and pass the story along to your friends.
Coming in June 2020   Second Helpings. Falling in love with her husband, a second time … different than the first.
Coming in time for Christmas two revised books: It Really Is A Wonderful Life and A Father’s Prayer

ABOUT LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
A veteran social worker, the author’s published works examine the complexities of human relationships. Most of Linda’s work is contemporary fiction. However, she has published both speculative and non-fiction.
Her blog, Snark and Sensibility, hosts writers of various genres. She manages a Facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life, a positive look at aging issues. Linda resides in Hagerstown with her husband of forty years. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

October 14, 2019

THE QUEST FOR THIN

BY LINDA WOOD RONDEAU


Photo by Gesina Kunkel on Unsplash
HAVING THE PRIME OF MY LIFE
The quest to be thin is nothing new.  One scientific paper (http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/bispartners/foresight/docs/obesity/031-036.pdf) suggests that obesity dates back to our prehistoric ancestors and the necessity for survival. Humans fattened and slimmed according to the tides of plenty and famine. However, in modern times obesity is now considered a major health issue.

But I wonder in our quest to fight obesity if we haven’t become hysterically driven toward the lean side of life.

Certainly, weight loss products and programs cram the market these days…all promising amazing results. And I have managed to take off about 25 lbs with the My Fitness Pal app suggestions. Hubs has taken off over 30.

Still, it’s a bother. And … currently, I am in a holding pattern. Much like my last weight loss plan where I leveled off for a year before gaining it all back.

I have a friend who says over the years, with all the ups and downs, she’s probably lost 1,000 pounds.
When I was growing up, the rage for weight control was a little caramel-like candy called AYDS.
Ayds, not to be confused with the disease, was an appetite-suppressant candy that enjoyed strong sales in the 1970s and early 1980s. It was available in chocolate, chocolate mint, butterscotch or caramel flavors, and later peanut butter. The active ingredient was originally benzocaine, a local anesthetic used as a topical pain reliever, also found in cough drops. Benzocaine supposedly suppressed the taste buds thus reducing the urge to eat. Later, the company changed the active ingredient to phenylpropanolamine (PPA), a stimulant often found in decongestants as well as treatment for urinary incontinence in dogs. In the USA, PPA  is no longer sold without a prescription due to the increased risk of stroke in younger women.

I remember the old Slimfast commercials, some featuring aging athletes, and how easy it would be to lose weight with Slimfast products.

When I was in grade school, I remember my family doctor giving my mother advice on weight management. “It’s simple arithmetic. You have to burn more calories than you consume. End of story. Just eat sensibly and exercise more.”

Now, why can’t I do that?

ABOUT I PRAYED FOR PATIENCE GOD GAVE ME CHILDREN
 
God indeed has a sense of humor. He chose children to teach us, too-smart adults, what being his child means, the very special relationship the believer enjoys with our Heavenly Father. We adults experience the same chaos, misadventure, and heartaches as our charges. Through a child’s example, we learn how God nurtures us with his infinitesimal patience. This easy to read, often hilarious narrative, uses cartoons, witticisms, anecdotes, quotes, and Scripture study to bring home these truths. A veteran social worker, Rondeau draws upon her many experiences in working with families as well as her personal experiences as a mom. You will want to keep this book close at hand for those moments of weakness and pass the story along to your friends.
Coming in June 2020   Second Helpings. Falling in love with her husband, a second time … different than the first.
Coming in time for Christmas two revised books: It Really Is A Wonderful Life and A Father’s Prayer

ABOUT LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

A veteran social worker, the author’s published works examine the complexities of human relationships. Most of Linda’s work is contemporary fiction. However, she has published both speculative and non-fiction.
Her blog, Snark and Sensibility, hosts writers of various genres. She manages a Facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life, a positive look at aging issues. Linda resides in Hagerstown with her husband of forty years. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.


October 11, 2019

FOOTPRINTS ON HER HEART





PLEASE WELCOME

ANGELA BREIDENBACH

TO
FLASH FICTION FRIDAY 


EXCERPT FROM FOOTPRINTS ON HER HEART

Chapter One


"Are you kidding me?" Cadence Keegan pulled into parking access behind her gym, Healthy Options. She stopped behind the Missoula Fire Department engine that blocked a neighboring delivery entrance. Dumbfounded, Cadence stared at the emergency crew scrambling to save her building in the smoky air. Red lights from the ambulance, the fire engine, and the police cars flashed a macabre shadow dance in the narrow alley. She swallowed. No, it’s not possible. She closed her eyes, opened them. The nightmare of alternating lights as they revealed and hid the black maw belching out a blast of smoky dust. The last dregs of night fought against the onslaught of dawn’s first tentacles wriggling behind the mountains.

How would the gym survive yet another major setback? Cadence lowered her forehead to the steering wheel and sent up a prayer. She twisted the key killing the engine. Instead of silence, sirens. How much damage? The gym’s insurance had a huge deductible while the business account, not to mention her own, ran on fumes like a new runner with a side stitch. The television exposé decimated her membership roll. Cadence slowly shook her head. Only shock held back the tears. She set her shoulders as she stepped out of her candy apple red Outback.

A moment later, spinning lights revealed a red-faced, soot-covered, angry young girl glaring across the hood of the police car. She gulped for oxygen as her chest and shoulders heaved. Two officers flanked her, both winded from the chase as one man handcuffed and the other made sure she didn’t escape. Was that Dan?

One officer lifted the girl off the hood by her elbow and guided her to the backseat. "Let’s get her to the station away from all the smoke." He put his hand on the girl’s head as she folded into the back of the car.

Was there a flash of fear in her eyes cracking through the bravado? Cadence squinted as she stepped out of her candy-apple red Outback, but a sweep of dirty blond hair already covered the petite face.
The little criminal didn’t want to be seen. Probably best with the way Cadence’s blood boiled at the moment.

Officer Dan Hicks left his partner with the delinquent and met her between the cars. "Hey, Coach Cadence."

"Hey, Dan." A stray cat caught their attention as it whipped out from between cars in a flash of dirty orange stripes and singed fur. He skid to a halt at their feet, bumping against Cadence’s shin, and then scurried away into the shadows.

"Poor kitty. Looks like that furball might need a little TLC," she blew out a long breath as she turned back toward the chaos. "Along with me and my gym." She gave him a resigned half-smile.

"I’ll call the pound. Maybe they can catch the cat and give it some help."

"I appreciate it. I hope there weren’t kittens hidden somewhere or something. There’s not much I’m going to be able to do for a while." What else could she say to one of her favorite clients? The smoking wall spanning her gym and the computer business next door said it all. Her life was in disastrous ruins. "I don’t know if the gym will be salvageable." Cadence coughed, keeping an eye out for any reporters—one in particular. The heavy smoke masked her pain. She would not cry.

"Well, if it’s any consolation, we’re booking the guilty party." He thumbed over his shoulder. "The paramedics cleared her right after we ran her down. She's a lucky kid. Her jacket caught fire so she ditched it. She’s shivering, but not hurt at all."
 
A scrawny girl dressed more like a boy in skinny jeans and a t-shirt. "She did all this alone?"

"According to Rembrandt, she meant to leave a masterpiece, not burn your business down. The fire department figures it started out as a misdemeanor graffiti. We found a pack of cigarettes." He plucked a pen from his pocket. "Our little miscreant claims she tossed a cigarette into her pile of spray paint on accident." He shrugged. "It’s always an accident or someone else’s fault."

"At four in the morning?" Cadence scanned the huge hole in the wall to the mound of scraped up soggy ashes. A black stream ran down the gutter carrying her hopes of a quick, painless exit. An exit from a dream that should have changed lives, not love lives.

"She could have been here for hours. The call came in at four."

"What’s a kid doing out at that time of the morning?" Cadence shook her head. Didn’t all teens want to sleep in until three in the afternoon? "How did you catch her?"

Dan pointed past the firemen rolling up a hose. "Left her footprints." He shrugged and with a hint of humor, said, "You’d be surprised at how often the trail isn’t that hard to follow. This time, it was a bit easier than most."

"How old is she, anyway? She looks like a ten-year-old."

"Not much to go on, except she calls herself Razzy. She says she wanted to paint the M from Mount Sentinel on your wall in some sort of mural. Who knows? It might have been a masterpiece."

"One I’d prefer in her art class than on my alley wall." Cadence folded her arms and shot an irritated glance at the young criminal. "Next thing you know, every other graffiti artist has to put his moniker over top the other. Where’s her mother?"

"My partner is running a check on her to find her parents." Dan shook his head. "I’m sorry this happened to you, Coach. Let me give you the info you’ll need for your insurance company and court." As he jotted down a few more notes on the police report, he said, "We've called the other business owners in the building block. But it was the computer guy," Dan pointed at the back door, "who called it in. Looks like he has some damage, too. Maybe the two of you can help each other get through this challenge. I'll keep in touch." He laid a hand on her upper arm. "Coach, don’t give up. You’re going to get through this."

"Yeah, thanks." Cadence swallowed the caustic taste in her mouth from inhaling the smokey ash mixed with chemicals and water. Smoke and ashes tasted like a bitter, dismal future. At least Dan wasn’t like the majority of her clientele since the three-part series on the seedy side of the health business. Healthy Options received hundreds of recent reviews as the place to be for the singles scene as if it were a Hip Strip bar on the other side of the Higgins Avenue Bridge. Unfortunately, the opposite scathing reviews ripping her once strong business to shreds grew as well. Did no one find out the truth before posting such nastiness?

One poor excuse for a newscaster changed the community focus of her facility without ever stepping inside Healthy Options. The video had gone viral across social media with her gym as the background footage. Footage that had been taken celebrating her first year in business. The station had stored the recording in their files six months ago. Instead of asking for a comment on a small sensational story from another part of the country, the guy wanted to make a name for himself. He'd done a voiceover on the advanced cardio class footage. The class with the most fit women, even to the point of cutting the last scan of the room showing people of varying shapes and sizes. Why wouldn't he report facts instead of making up a story for his own glory? His own glory and the detriment of all those people that lost faith in the place meant to help them. Worse, everyone believed what they saw on TV news, no matter how hard she tried to debunk it. Until all the promotion of the lie became truth.

"What else should I know, Dan?"

"The 9-1-1 call came in about four. By then, the fire had a solid head start with a few cans of spray paint and dirty rags as an accelerant. It’s a good thing your building has so much brick, except that back wall and door. Looks like the spray paint exploded against the door causing the loss of that far corner near the streetlight." He drew the scene in the air as he talked detailing the situation. "Let these guys inspect the damage before you try going inside. You might be able to remain open on limited services after a short time. I really don’t know. But the chief says the fire seems restricted to this west corner and the office, from what they’ve assessed so far. But, nothing is certain until it's all cooled down. I hate to say it, but the smoke may still have caused too much destruction. Your locker rooms might be a complete loss. Wait on any big decisions until after the safety assessment."

"Yeah." Cadence hung her head and mumbled. "Maybe it all should have gone up in flames. This on top of that lousy news story..." The fire might be a means of escape at this point. She should let the dream die. Someone would buy the land. If that paid off the debt she owed her parents, well, at least they’d have their money back.

"I’m sorry, Coach," Dan said. "I hope you don’t lose more customers over it. And for what it's worth, that story is junk."

"One more rotten story for Chad Lester to get his name out there. After that stupid one a few months ago, his grab at fame has almost put me out of business already. My serious clientele say they’ve felt ogled and invaded by looky-loos. I'm down over thirty percent." Cadence grimaced. "Even with the newbies. They stick around long enough to meet a date or decide they’ve seen them all, they’re gone, too." She shook her head at the ground. "It's more like a revolving door."

Dan smiled. "Well, you won’t lose me. You helped me keep my job. I met my physical fitness requirements and then some. John, over there, might be persuaded to join."

Where could she find about fifty more clients like him? He couldn’t have chased that kid, sitting in the back of the police car, last year. Now he planned to be on her team in the upcoming Missoula Marathon. "I’m sure glad you were referred to my gym, Dan. You’re my poster guy."

"Don’t be planning any of those pin-up calendars now." He teased.

Cadence laughed, a tad high pitched to her own ears. "But Dan, how do you suppose I’ll make the money back to fix that wall?" The humor helped, a little. The banter balancing desperation enough to stop her from going screaming down the alley like the stray cat.

Dan’s eyes widened as he snapped his fingers. "Well, if it comes to that I’ll get the department to do a fundraiser or a huge bake sale for you. Those kinds of things are good human interest stories."

"Oh, no you don’t. We cleaned up your act and got you eating vegetables and fruit. No cakewalk sugar-fest for you, mister." Cadence poked his arm. "Besides, your wife would kill you. Then you really couldn’t be on some old calendar and she’d be on a wanted poster."

"But, on the other hand, we'd get the news station—"

A throat cleared halting her mid-laugh at Dan’s faux innocence. With a small smile still on her lips, she turned to see who’d joined them. Lazy smoke gently curled around them like fog on a cold, fall morning — except it was April and almost sun up. At five-foot-seven, she estimated the bearded man to be at least six-foot-two. She’d measured, weighed, and calculated enough clients in the last several years. She ought to know the measure of a man by now. He looked like a linebacker. A light breeze blew more smoke toward them and sent shivers through Cadence along with a spasm of coughing.

Officer Dan took over, back in professional mode. "Your name, sir?"

"Jackson Campbell. I have the offices next door — Campbell Designs." He pointed at the back door blocked by equipment. The fire engine lights still spun a brilliant display between the buildings, but someone had the good sense to silence the sirens finally.

"Yes, Mr. Campbell. Sorry to have to meet under these conditions."

"Thanks." He took in the whole mess. "I called in as soon as I saw it."

Her heart swelled with gratitude. "Thank you. I think you saved the building. I might at least be able to put it on the market, after repairs." Cadence looked at the man a little closer. He had an attractive face, from what she could tell in the darkened alley. His beard and mustache trimmed close. Was it red? With the area power off and the shadows made it hard to get a clear view of him.

He lifted a hand and let it drop to his jeans. "Not fast enough, obviously. I've been on a deadline and fell asleep at my desk. The smoke alarm went off and 'bout jolted me through the roof!"

Dan began to take notes on a small pad.

He turned to Cadence. "Not the best way to meet my neighbors, is it?" His baritone voice tickled Cadence’s ears as he reached into his wallet. "Here’s my card." He handed one to each of them. "My cell is on it if you need anything."

"I'm sorry, mine was in there." She flipped a palm up toward her part of the building. With such different hours, she'd never had a chance to meet him. He’d rarely been outside as far as she knew. "Cadence Keegan." She held out a hand. As his fingers slipped across her palm, a zip of pleasure surprised her. Did he feel her pulse speed up? She glanced up at him and away quickly, a slight flush heating her cheeks as she pulled her hand back. Thank goodness for the pre-dawn cover and red lights. The excitement of the situation perked up her adrenaline, that’s all. Besides, she’d never be attracted to anyone who didn’t relish being outdoors.

"I'll give him your contact information on the report. You'll need to be in touch." Dan nodded at Cadence, and said again, "Good luck, Coach. You’ll pull through this challenge. Mr. Campbell, I'd like to ask you a few more questions." He walked away at the other officer’s signal.

"I'll be right there." Jackson turned to Cadence. "Can I ask you something?"

Here it comes. Another date invitation right here in the alley with her gym burned down. Wouldn’t that be the cream in the coffee she still hadn’t had this morning? Timing is everything. The last thirty or so men managed to tell her how different she was from anyone they’d ever known. Emphasis on ever. As if she were the only physically fit woman in the world. If only she’d been asked out by one eligible and genuine bachelor. Not One-Night-Neals with the same pickup line or Married-Martyrs who thought workout gear was synonymous with women looking for a good time.

She waved a hand through the air drawing his attention to the surrounding scene. Did he dare? "Why not?" Cadence wasn’t so sure there could be another good man like her mom found in Joel. Mom wanted the beauty of what she had for all three of her children. Mom believed in love and second chances. No. Men like that existed in the older generations, not after the long list of lemons Cadence could count after that story broke. Hooking up seemed normal to people. But those who didn’t want that scene, like her, seemed like an old-fashioned oddity in a traveling circus. What Mom believed, and what existed now, they were two different worlds.

Jackson tucked a hand in his jean pocket. "I was thinking about joining your gym. You’re a walking advertisement for it." His expression, serious and concerned. "Do you offer personal training?"
Great, another guy and his ego. Cadence knew what he meant. He meant a Barbie-doll figure, laughing at all his jokes, and standing in the aisle between the cardio and free weights to flirt while other clients squeezed through in irritation. Don’t roll your eyes at him. "Feel free to come by later and I’ll let you know if we can open again." At least he had a redeeming quality. He’d called the fire department.

He smiled. "I will. I want to get in shape so I can climb a mountain. A dream really. Kind of seems dumb right now considering all this." He took a deep breath. "I mean I design the game to do things like that virtually." He looked away from her as if embarrassed. "Never mind. Sorry. Not the time."

Maybe she’d jumped to conclusions. He wasn’t focused on her figure. Jackson stared at the mountain peak as if waiting for the sunrise. As if he’d rather be up there watching it break into freedom. "No, it's okay. What else are we going to do while they're... doing whatever they have to do."

Cadence walked with him to lean against the hood of her car, drawing her sweat jacket around her. "Seriously, tell me what you're thinking." She kept watch on the emergency crews as he talked, taking in the calm confidence he exuded and letting the rich sound of his voice soothe her.

"I see you walk past my studio and go into the gym every day. That dedication is inspiring." He crossed his feet and settled a hip against the side of the SUV next to hers. "I've always dreamed of conquering the famous mountains in real life. I never thought it was possible, until you."
Where was the sun? The inky black night gave way to a gradient of early morning orangey-pink fading into navy. This had to be the slowest sunrise in the history of mankind. She wanted a good look at his face. Did he really want to climb mountains or was it the most honest pickup line she’d heard yet? She glanced sideways and found herself drawn into his vivid blue eyes as the sun crested Mount Jumbo’s peak. If it was a line, he had a good hook.


ABOUT FOOTPRINTS ON HER HEART (A NOVELLA IN THE OUT OF THEIR ELEMENT COLLECTION

For fans of A Healing Heart, Footprints On Her Heart features an all grown up Cadence Keegan in her own love story. She's a fitness coach thrown into an impromptu relationship with Jackson Campbell, a computer whiz and game designer, when a troubled girl causes a fire damaging both businesses. After the teen delinquent is ordered into restitution work, Cadence and Jackson are brought face-to-face with a choice between individual dreams and a future together. Can love overcome all their obstacles or will her heart be trampled?

ABOUT ANGELA BREIDENBACH
Angela’s books:
Bio:  Angela Breidenbach is a radio personality, bestselling author, and is nearly finished with her genealogical studies degree. She's the president of the Christian Authors Network supporting the careers of Christian authors. Angela was recently awarded Outstanding Broadcasting from the Daughters of the American Revolution for producing and hosting a documentary called, Daughters of the American Revolution: A Patriotic Education at state, Pacific NW Regional, and national levels. 5x5 Productions manages Angela's screenwriting to Hollywood while Tamela Hancock Murray represents Angela's books. Hobbies? Writer has trained her Muse, a fe-lion, to shake hands, roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. All social media AngBreidenbach, http://AngelaBreidenbach.com
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach
Apple Podcasts/iTunes: Lit Up With Angela Breidenbach https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lit-up/id1232892304?mt=2
Angela's A-Muse-ing Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/n0s2t2
https://angelabreidenbach.com/

October 10, 2019

EACH NEW SUNRISE

EACH NEW SUNRISE
  by MARTIN WILES


PLEASE WELCOME
MARTIN WILES
TO
DEVOTIONAL WEDNESDAY

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24 NLT

Early morning was his time—and the porch was his place.

I didn’t understand why my grandfather arose daily at five in the morning. After all, he was a full-time farmer, had no place to be at any particular time, and hired out most of his work. But when I spent time with him and my grandmother in Vance, SC, I discovered why.

He rolled out of bed, put on the same pants he had worn the day before, and headed for the kitchen. He fixed a cup of instant coffee (Sanka, I believe.), smoked a cigarette or two, and headed for the wraparound porch—the side facing east. Although darkness still enveloped the surrounding fields and forests, he waited patiently. I soon discovered why.

One morning, I arose at the same time as he did. He wanted to know why; I made up an excuse. When he sauntered onto the porch, I followed and sat beside him. As shapes began to appear, I saw what he came for. The sky turned an orange hue. An array of colors infiltrated the clouds. And then it appeared. The sun peeked over the pines that surrounded the fields in front of us. That’s what he waited for.

Once the sun topped the trees, my grandfather got up and went about his business. He wasn’t an overly religious man, but I believe he knew God authored each new day—as did the psalmist. And each day, the psalmist rejoiced.

My grandfather’s morning routine reminded me that God controls nature. He began the world through acts of creation, and He still controls it. Sin causes nature to do things God probably never intended—such as form natural disasters that take lives and property. But God can turn the hurricane, tsunami, or tornado if He chooses.

Beginning and ending my day with thanks for a new day is proper. Since God made the day, He must have things for us to do within it. Through prayer and attention to His indwelling Spirit, we discover what they are. Every day provides an opportunity to serve Him by serving others, to use the gifts He’s given, to care for the world He’s created, and to prepare ourselves for the eternity He has prepared.

Don’t let your emotions or circumstances ruin each new day God creates. God controls both, and He can help you rejoice, regardless of what the day brings.

ABOUT MARTIN WILES

Martin W. Wiles is a “preacher kid”, author, and speaker who understands the struggles Christian face in their spiritual journey. Follow Martin on Love Lines from God. He is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Web Daily, The Eagle Record, and Common Ground Herald, as well as WOW—Writing on the Word blog
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Previous Posts

THE AMERICAN DREAM
10/7/2019 1:00:00 AM  by ANGELA BREIDENBACH

EACH NEW SUNRISE
10/6/2019 1:00:00 AM  by MARTIN WILES

"Indian Attack"
10/4/2019 1:00:00 AM  by Lynne Tagawa

REFLECTIONS ON MOTHERHOOD
10/2/2019 1:00:00 AM  by Marianne Wood

FROM GOLDEN YEARS TO GOLDEN BELLS
9/30/2019 1:00:00 AM  by LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

Dreams Deferred
9/27/2019 1:00:00 AM  by JUNE FOSTER

THE CHORDS THAT BIND MY MEMORIES
9/23/2019 1:00:00 AM  by LINDA WOOD RONDEAU

A NEW YORK YANKEE ON STINKING CREEK
9/20/2019 1:00:00 AM  by: CAROL MCCLAIN

JUST BE STILL
9/16/2019 1:00:00 AM  by MARTIN WILES

JOY AFTER NOON
9/13/2019 1:00:00 AM  by DEBRA COLEMAN JETER

October 7, 2019

THE AMERICAN DREAM

ANGELA BREIDENBACH 

HAVING THE PRIME OF MY LIFE 



Recently I spoke on a panel of community leaders as we discussed the American dream. Inviting the small audience, mostly senior citizens with some younger folks, to participate added a further sense of community. A few of the panelists had distinct political agendas. Though the moderator asked for those agendas to be set aside for the sake of human connection and conversation, a few could not seem to let go.
Victimization and discrimination became a theme for one gentleman who layered all his comments with rote phrases of practiced guilt. Guilt he expected everyone in the room to wear as a badge of shame. But instead, the room held a lot of listening hearts. Hearts that shared love where he shoved shame. Hearts that related experience instead of judgment as they responded.
At one point, the moderator asked whether the “dream” was a myth or a reality and then asked us to share our opinion. The same gentleman made some assumptive statements about the people listening to his opinions. But those assumptions about the audience and other panelists proved that this gentleman looked at the surface of another human being, too, without seeing their reality or personhood.
The irony wasn’t lost on one attendee as she listened for quite a while and then spoke up. She had experienced extreme racism as a white person in school in Hawaii. I was surprised. My experience with Hawaii was as a vacation place. I knew nothing of the life she’d lived. She’d been thrown out of a class by other students on the history of the islands. She was told she didn’t have a right to learn that history because she wasn’t Hawaiian. She’d experienced “Get Haole Day” each week where white students were regularly attacked. The fellow did not think she’d had “as bad” an experience. He judged and minimized her. She was not a native or even a natural-born American. She was an immigrant from Scandinavia who’d come for her American dream. He dismissed her experience, even turning away from her as he spoke. She asked for recognition that the behavior is racism regardless of the color of the person perpetrating the action. He again ignored her.
I’d stayed quiet, taking in her words and observing the body language between them. Then the moderator called me on my silence. What did I have to add to the discussion? I addressed making assumptions based on surface appearance. When you look at me, what do you see? Would you know my mother was mentally ill, and that I as the child was the parent? Would you know I went hungry a lot in my childhood? Would you know I started working at twelve to eat? Would you know a teacher/coach told me that no one in my school was so poor they had to work? Then she kicked me off the team for choosing my job over the team. Would you have a clue I was abused? Or that my kids all went to college before I could?
The moderator interrupted me, asking, “But do you believe in the myth of the American dream or not? Can you be anything or do anything you want to do here in the US?
I smiled, “Yes. Yes, I do. I believe that it’s hard, hard work and no one does it alone. But it’s possible because I’m doing it.” Even as a late bloomer held back by poverty, dysfunctional family, and then the need to provide for my children. Today, I’m a professional author. My first signed contract was on my forty-fifth birthday. This is my seventh year as the president of a non-profit organization, and summer 2020 I’m going to graduate as a professional genealogist a few days before my fifty-sixth birthday.
These achievements came after I was told I couldn’t be a writer. I couldn’t afford to go to college. I couldn’t have a dream. Guess what? God gave me my own dreams. I read books, sold personal items to attend conferences, and took hundreds of online classes at odd hours as I could pay for them. When I was told, “You can’t…” God breathed life into my imagination, and said, “You can. I’ll show you.” I inhaled the Holy Spirit and stepped out on faith. I do that every day.
I’m ignoring those negative messages that held me back as a victim, as a child of poverty, as someone who didn’t matter. I’m done with allowing others to dictate what I can do, who I should be, and how I should feel. I’m too busy having the time of my life becoming who God made me to be. I may have a late start, but who knows? You may pick up and read one of the books I’ve written or see a TV show or a movie I’m working on. You may attend a workshop on genealogy with me at the front of the room. I’d be truly honored if you did.
What is your dream? How can you inhale the Holy Spirit’s influence leading you into God’s purpose for your life regardless of your age or someone else’s opinion?
ABOUT ANGELA BREIDENBACH
Angela Breidenbach is a radio personality, bestselling author, and is nearly finished with her genealogical studies degree. She's the president of the Christian Authors Network supporting the careers of Christian authors. Angela was recently awarded Outstanding Broadcasting from the Daughters of the American Revolution for producing and hosting a documentary called, Daughters of the American Revolution: A Patriotic Education at state, Pacific NW Regional, and national levels. 5x5 Productions manages Angela's screenwriting to Hollywood while Tamela Hancock Murray represents Angela's books. Hobbies? The writer has trained her Muse, a fe-lion, to shake hands, roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. All social media AngBreidenbach, http://AngelaBreidenbach.com
Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach
Apple Podcasts/iTunes: Lit Up With Angela Breidenbach https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lit-up/id1232892304?mt=2
Angela's A-Muse-ing Newsletter: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/n0s2t2
ABOUT THE BOXED SET … OUT OF THEIR ELEMENT
They are totally out of their element! Four mismatched couples find unexpected romance.
Whispers From Yesterday
(Christy Award winner and RITA Award finalist)
by Robin Lee Hatcher
Following her father's death and her own attempted suicide, pampered socialite Karen Butler reluctantly seeks refuge at the home of Sophia Taylor, the grandmother she has never known. Determined to escape Sophia's broken-down ranch as soon as she can, Karen resists connecting with its inhabitants – especially Dusty Stoddard, the driven director of the Golden T's summer camp for at-risk youth. For through their kindness and acceptance, along with the diaries of a remarkable woman who died twenty-eight years before she was born, Karen will discover hidden secrets and amazing truths that could lead her to the greatest love of all.


Previous Posts

THE AMERICAN DREAM
10/7/2019 1:00:00 AM  by ANGELA BREIDENBACH
"Indian Attack"
10/4/2019 1:00:00 AM  by Lynne Tagawa
REFLECTIONS ON MOTHERHOOD
10/2/2019 1:00:00 AM  by Marianne Wood
FROM GOLDEN YEARS TO GOLDEN BELLS
9/30/2019 1:00:00 AM  by LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
Dreams Deferred
9/27/2019 1:00:00 AM  by JUNE FOSTER
THE CHORDS THAT BIND MY MEMORIES
9/23/2019 1:00:00 AM  by LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
A NEW YORK YANKEE ON STINKING CREEK
9/20/2019 1:00:00 AM  by: CAROL MCCLAIN
JUST BE STILL
9/16/2019 1:00:00 AM  by MARTIN WILES
JOY AFTER NOON
9/13/2019 1:00:00 AM  by DEBRA COLEMAN JETER
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PAY A LITTLE ATTENTION
9/11/2019 1:00:00 AM  by TRINA BESSER MATOUS

October 4, 2019

"INDIAN ATTACK"




PLEASE WELCOME
LYNNE BASHAM TAGAWA
TO
FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

Colonel James Patton peered into the iron kettle over the hearth. His hosts were out and about for the day, but before she’d left, the goodwife had tossed in salt pork or maybe bacon into the brose thick with peas and neeps. He hoped it was bacon.

He sighed and turned to the desk. He needed to catch up on the relentless correspondence—first a reply to Washington, up north, who was trying to direct a difficult defense of the frontier, then answer Governor Dinwiddie, whose constant criticism provoked him like a thorn through his buckskin breeches.

Dinwiddie. More like Dimwit. The man ate lamb and asparagus in Williamsburg and knew nothing of what they faced.

Patton took a seat at the crude kitchen table, two long planks nailed into usefulness, and fingered his sword laid on the far edge. A sword didn’t need to be loaded and primed. He picked up his quill.

“Uncle?”

The militia colonel turned to see his nephew, William Preston, who always reminded him of his deceased father, John—golden hair instead of dark, like his own, and shorter than the typical Patton frame. But the lad was earnest and faithful, also traits attributable to his godly father.

His nephew wore a decent coat for a meeting with both militiamen and area folk, befitting his rank as captain. Patton tugged at the hem of his own uniform, thinking it was a hot garment to wear this July day, but then, he wouldn’t be joining these good people in the barley harvest.

“Uncle, I’ve sewed the money in my breeches as ye said.” He wriggled slightly. “I can set a horse, I think.”

“Ye ken your errand, then?” The militiamen were a day’s ride away, and they’d need housing when they arrived. The strongest house could serve as a fort, or if need be, they’d build something. There was already at least one church building in the Shenandoah Valley constructed entirely of stone.

William nodded and slipped out into the sunshine. Patton inked his quill. The letter to Colonel Washington was quickly composed—a list of militia recruitments with a few practical observations. He was examining the governor’s last scathing note when the door darkened.

His hand grasped the hilt of his father’s claidheamh-mór before he’d fully registered what was happening.

He swung at the painted brown man once inside the confines of the cabin, but to fully engage the multiple Indians now visible through the doorway, he’d have to go outside, which also meant he’d be vulnerable to arrow or musket.

So be it. Blood fountained and spattered against the cabin’s wall. The savage didn’t know the reach of a two-handed Scottish claymore. Patton pushed past the dying man and stepped out into the sunlight. Four more—that he could see, anyway.

Help, Lord. He was a rogue, he knew that; perhaps God would have mercy upon such a one as he. For he had the feeling he’d not see another sunrise. Another Indian fell, but the others backed away, wary of his steel.

Oh, no. One of them had a musket, and the others whooped encouragement, tomahawks flashing in the sun. Perhaps, Patton wondered, he’d bought some time—he hoped Will was safe. And the folks who lived here. Maybe his death would not be in vain.

Note: In July 1755, militia colonel and former sea captain, James Patton, was killed near the New River settlement known as “Draper’s Meadow,” while his nephew escaped unharmed, being sent on an errand. You will find both William Preston and James Patton in my novel, The Shenandoah Road, and the sequel coming out next year.

ABOUT LYNNE BASHAM TAGAWA

Lynne Tagawa is married with four grown sons and four marvelous grandbabies. A biology teacher by trade, she teaches part-time, writes, and edits. She’s written a Texas history curriculum in narrative form, Sam Houston’s Republic, and two novels, A Twisted Strand and The Shenandoah Road. Lynne lives with her husband in South Texas.

Buy The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening from Amazon (kindle), Grace & Truth Books, or other major booksellers.
https://www.amazon.com/Shenandoah-Road-Novel-Great-Awakening-ebook/dp/B07FK5ZQ5Z
https://graceandtruthbooks.com/product/the-shenandoah-road-lynne-tagawa/
Website:  www.lynnetagawa.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14845205.Lynne_Tagawa

ABOUT THE SHENANDOAH ROAD
 
John Russell’s heartaches from the loss of his wife, but the Shenandoah Valley frontiersman needs to marry again for his daughter’s sake. At first, he believes he has found the right young woman, despite their differences in background, but his faith falters when time reveals she isn’t quite what she seemed. Can he truly love her? And what about his own failings?
Unlike her disgraced sister, Abigail Williams obeys the Commandments. At least, she thinks herself a Christian until a buckskin-clad newcomer courts her. He treats her kindly but also introduces her to a sermon by the controversial preacher, George Whitefield. Her self-righteousness is shattered, and she wonders about their relationship. If she confesses her lack of faith, will John continue to love her?

“Lynne Tagawa transports readers into the faith and hope, and sorrows and fears of 18th-century colonial America. While other books feature the raw grit of frontier colonial life, this book goes deeper and reveals the heart.” —Douglas Bond, author of numerous books, including War in the Wasteland and Hostage Lands.

“The Shenandoah Road is an authentic and engaging journey back to the challenges of settling in the Shenandoah Valley” —Laura Hilton, author of Firestorm (Whitaker House, 2018)
“Raw, realistic, and historically packed, this story will make you think. If you enjoy stories with deep theological themes, you will enjoy this.” —Amber Schamel, author of Solve by Christmas, winner of the 2018 Christian Indie Award

Lynne Tagawa, author of Sam Houston’s Republic and A Twisted Strand, lives in Texas with her husband.

October 2, 2019

REFLECTIONS ON MOTHERHOOD

By
 Marianne Wood

Richard and Marianne Wood

Sent to me by my wonderful sister-in-law. I was so touched, I asked if I could share this on my blog today.  Reprinted by permission

As I was reflecting on motherhood this morning, a precious memory came to mind.

It had been a hectic day with our four children then ages 4-9 at home and underfoot.  I was standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes when I turned to see the youngest open the refrigerator door and begin to tip a bowl to see the contents. My frantic, “Don’t,” was too late as unsettled Jello poured all over Michelle, the refrigerator and the floor.

As analytical Michael came running in to assess the situation, I grabbed hold of the front of the sink and audibly prayed, “Lord, help me bring these children up!”

Michael asked, “What do you mean?”

Before I could even think about explaining to a six-year-old what it means to bring children up, he proudly piped up “Oh, I know. You mean to bring us up to heaven.”

 Wow! That is exactly what motherhood is all about–raising our children in a way that one day leads them to heaven!

 “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children (grandchildren and great-grandchildren) are walking in the truth.”  3 John verse 4 (NKJV)

ABOUT MARIANNE WOOD
A pastor’s wife for nearly fifty years, Marianne is the mother of four children. Blessed with a passel of grandchildren, step-grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, Marianne’s greatest joy in life is her family.

ABOUT I PRAYED FOR PATIENCE GOD GAVE ME CHILDREN BY LINDA WOOD RONDEAU


God indeed has a sense of humor. He chose children to teach us, too-smart adults, what being his child means, the very special relationship the believer enjoys with our Heavenly Father. We adults experience the same chaos, misadventure, and heartaches as our charges. Through a child’s example, we learn how God nurtures us with his infinitesimal patience. This easy to read, often hilarious narrative, uses cartoons, witticisms, anecdotes, quotes, and Scripture study to bring home these truths. A veteran social worker, Rondeau draws upon her many experiences in working with families as well as her personal experiences as a mom. You will want to keep this book close at hand for those moments of weakness and pass the story along to your friends.
Buy Link


September 30, 2019

FROM GOLDEN YEARS TO GOLDEN BELLS

BY LINDA WOOD RONDEAU



Old age hath yet his honor and his toil:
Death closes all: but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note may yet be done…
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are.
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

This is the sprint of life.

I’ve been experiencing severe joint deterioration—the by-product of earlier chemotherapy.  As I hobbled into the ladies room at church, another woman of age and I discussed the fact that getting older ain’t for wimps. We are of that age between Golden Years and Golden Bells.

We are like those runners who give their all as they rush toward the finish line.
In my case, I might have to use a cane or supportive device when I cross but cross I will. We are until we aren’t.

I suppose Alfred Tennyson has it right. As we turn the corner of our last years, some energy propels us forward. So much yet for us to do.

As a writer, I see the dozen or more books I need to get down on paper … or as is the case these days … into a computer file.

There is so much of life yet. So much of experience and knowledge yet to accumulate, wisdom yet to be gained. There are tasks yet to be completed that only I can do.
And I often joke that I’m still wondering what I’ll be when I grow up. And I expect I’ll ask St. Peter the same question when I meet him at Heaven’s gate.
Though the bones ache and putting in a writing workday makes me ready for bed at 8:00 pm, it’s exciting to know that God is not done with me until he rings those Golden Bells.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Besides writing books, articles, blog posts, and columns, I enjoy spending time with the hubs and taking time to do a little Bible Study. With modern medicine and the Lord’s help, I hope to tackle that climb up Annapolis Rock. I’ve got hiking equipment … now I just need a knee and shoulder that works. I invite you all to have a good-humored look at the Golden Years and visit the facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life 

ABOUT I PRAYED FOR PATIENCE GOD GAVE ME CHILDREN

No matter how old we get to be, we are still God’s child. Anyone who has been around children knows that they can cause even the most patient among us to grit and groan at times. Yet, this is how God sees us … as children. He is patient with us because he loves us. This book explores how children are the teachers God gives us to better understand our relationship with him.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Prayed-Patience-God-Gave-Children/dp/1950051412/

September 27, 2019

DREAMS DEFERRED

Deams Deferred
JUNE FOSTER




PLEASE WELCOME
JUNE FOSTER
TO
FLASH FICTION FRIDAY

EXCERPT FROM DEFERRED DREAMS

Matt watched the taillights on Leticia's ride home as her grandmother drove from the church parking lot onto the street. He didn't mind waiting, though, even if Leticia was the last child to leave.

He waved at Trisha as she pulled out then he turned to Mary Louise. "I hope we made an impact on that little girl. From the look on her face, I'd say we did, but I worry about what happens when she returns to her home environment."

"At least we made a start." Mary Louise glanced at him then away to the path leading to the chapel, saying something he couldn't hear.

"I'm sorry, what did you say?"

She cleared her throat. "Do you suppose we can talk?"

Part of him said he needed to decline. Did he trust himself alone with her as the light of day waned and the moon appeared? The other half of him wanted to hear what she had to say.
Mary Louise strolled by his side past the oak trees and the walnuts and the garden with the statue of St. Aloysius. Finally, as she neared the little white chapel, she slowed and peered out toward the lake beyond.

The air had cooled a fraction and a whisper of breeze lifted a strand of her silky hair.
Matt, Matt. What are you doing here with her? Even scolding himself didn't make him turn back.

She lifted her eyes to him. "Ever since we prayed that day in April, I've found amazing peace—because of you."

"No, you're wrong. Only the Lord can offer peace. I was His messenger, and you accepted God's grace."

She nodded. "I suppose you're right, but since then, my life has changed. God wants to use me. I'm not so sure how, though. He's placed you and me together to help others." She shrugged. "I don't know, Father Matt."

It was all he could do to keep from pulling her in his arms. He'd prayed for God to take away the attraction, and He hadn't. Matt loved her more as each day passed. Was God leading him on a different journey, one he hadn't imagined?

She turned to face him. "The truth is, that's not all. Please forgive me for what I'm about to say. I can't sleep at night." She wiped a tear from her eye. "I need resolution. I can't go on like this anymore."

Matt frowned and searched her face. If only he could help her. He grasped her hand and lifted it to his chest. "Maybe you'd better tell me."

She raised her lovely eyes to him. "I don't know any other way of saying this. I need to know." She hiccupped. "Do you feel the connection that I do, the yearning to be with you day and night?" She covered her face, shaking her head. "I'm so sorry. I have no intention of flirting or enticing you to do something wrong." She looked up at him with eyes bright with tears. "Please tell me you don't, that my imagination has misled me, and maybe I can move on with my life again."

Matt shut his eyes tight. He'd known this moment would come someday—that they'd speak of the allure that drew them. He hadn't dreamed it would be her telling him how she felt.

His heart pounded so hard he thought he might have an attack. "Dear Lord, Your will be done." He softly breathed the words and opened his eyes to the dreamiest ones he'd ever seen. He could only blurt out what was in his heart. "I've wanted you since the first day I saw you."

Her eyes widened, and she placed her hand to her lips. "Oh."

Shutting out the rest of the world, he stepped closer, slowly at first, and took her into his arms, ignoring the flashing red warning sign in his mind. Don't do this. He clung to her for awhile, shutting out the cool evening breeze and a night bird's chatter.

Would this be the only time he'd be close to her like this? He wanted to explain about his commitment to the priesthood and how he could never be with her, but was that possible?

The delicious aroma of peaches whirled around him. Then he could no longer resist what he knew would happen next. "Please tell me not to do this."

She closed her eyes and shook her head. "I can't."

In slow motion, he leaned nearer to her, his focus on her beautiful face. Closer, he wondered what her lips would feel like on his. Her next breath feathered his mouth and all the restraint he'd practiced for months, dissolved. He captured her lips, running his fingers through her silky hair. So soft. So delicate. The rush of emotion made his chest ache. He could no longer stay away from her than he could not breathe.

When he finally pulled away, he moaned. "I'm completely and thoroughly in love with you. I love your humility in giving your life to Jesus. I love your kindness to the kids. I love your willingness to serve others. I love— "

She laid her index finger on his lips. "I love you, too, Matt. Everything in me says I shouldn't, but I adore you." She gently kissed him then stepped a few inches away.

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her again, drawing her so close her soft body pressed against his chest.

She inched her hand on his shoulders and explored his neck, sending fire to his belly.
Someone cleared his voice, yanking Matt back to reality, and he pulled away.

"Father Matt."

His heart plummeted. Surprisingly, he didn't feel guilt about what had happened between them. At least not yet. It just wasn't the right time to encounter Father Nicolas.

"I was out for my evening walk and was surprised to see you here with a woman." He spoke softly yet with authority. "I'm afraid I'll need you to refrain from saying mass tomorrow. Then I'll need to see you Monday morning in the rectory office at nine."

Deep within, it hadn't surprised Matt it would come to this. "Yes, Father."

If Matt's behavior was born of rebellion, he'd soon know. But if God had another plan for his life, he'd discover that, as well. "What you saw was all my doing." He stood between her and Father Nicolas.

"Please don't blame Miss Graham."

Father Nicolas cleared his throat and turned back toward the path.

Though in the end, Matt prayed for the Lord to lead, something within said the journey would be more difficult than he could ever imagine.

ABOUT DREAMS DEFERRED
Mary Louise Graham is a young school teacher who carried a heavy load of guilt. After Father Matt leads her to the One who can forgive her sins, she finds the godly priest means more to her than he should.
The story is inspired by the true story of my great grandfather and great grandmother.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Dreams-Deferred-June-Foster-ebook/dp/B07QXL1L92/
ABOUT JUNE FOSTER
June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. To date, June has seen the publication of 20 novels and 1 devotional. Find June at junefoster.com.

September 23, 2019

THE CHORDS THAT BIND MY MEMORIES


   
AUTHOR LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
WITH HER FAVORITE GUITAR PLAYER
MY DAD

We’ve been watching the history of Country Music on PBS. Sometimes, I find myself weeping as I think back on my youth, how much music played a role in my upbringing. Perhaps that is why I mention music often in my books.

Perhaps why, though nearing my seventh decade, I still sing in the choir and prefer my own melodious escort while driving alone.

One of the many reasons I wrote, Fiddlers Fling, the story of a young girl who puts aside her music gift and takes it back up when she plays at the county Fiddlers Fling, a fiddle contest, with her estranged and terminally ill father.

And of course, music brings to mind the best memories of many loved ones now gone to Glory.
One of my earliest memories is singing with my father who played the guitar for me. Patiently, I might add. Having a strange vocal range, between alto and tenor, I could rarely sing any song in its written key. When asked to perform a solo at church or for a family get-together, transposition was a must. Dad worked with me until we managed to find just the right set of chords to make me sound like a pro.
Through all the spats and sputters of their 63-year marriage, mother harmonized with Dad, maybe what kept them together during the tumults.   In church circles, their most requested song was “Whispering Hope,”

In family and social circles “Quicksilver” became their trademark.

I cannot think of my grandmother without seeing her seated on a piano bench. Toward the end of her life, Alzheimer’s ravaged her memory. She might forget names, but she never forgot how to play. She’d entertain both staff and other residents with the old hymns of the faith.

Holidays, birthdays, and sometimes a simple Sunday dinner involved the gathering of relatives, music our dessert along with Mom’s lemon meringue pie. Grandma and my father’s youngest brother took turns playing the piano, Dad on the guitar and my brother playing the ukulele. Mom and I added our voices to the chorus.

My grandfather, who couldn’t carry a tune, loved to be our audience, his favorite, “The Old Rugged Cross.”  Even today, when I hear this song, I see Grandpa slapping his knee and smiling as the family sang together in four-part harmony.

On occasion, my uncle from Kansas visited. He’d sing in church and we’d jam at our house. To this day, whenever I hear “The Lighthouse” I am covered with goosebumps, remembering his powerful tenor.

After college, my trips home were sparse. I missed the way music filled the rafters of my parents’ home. I married, had children, and remained active in the music ministry program of any church I attended. While I love contemporary music, these new songs cannot bring back the fond memories of my youth, the chords of faith intertwined with an imperfect family that loved God perfectly.

As I near the last lap of my life, I ask myself what my heritage song might be. Without a doubt, I know I want the hymn, “I Bowed on My Knees and Cried Holy”, sung at my funeral.

I look forward to a Great Day when my voice will join those I loved who have gone before and those I love still in eternal song.

ABOUT LINDA WOOD RONDEAU
Award-winning author LINDA WOOD RONDEAU writes blended contemporary fiction that demonstrates, once surrendered to God, our worst past often becomes our best future. Retired from her long career in human services, she enjoys being able to play golf year-round. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com, her blog, Salt and Light, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads. www.lindarondeau.com  

ABOUT FIDDLERS FLING
To deny a gift is to deny God. Jolene Murdock put away her fiddle when she became engaged to an upcoming politician. When she receives word her estranged father is terminally ill, Jolene returns home and picks up her fiddle once again promising to play one last duet with her father at the county’s Fiddlers Fling, a contest for country fiddle players. This book will remind you of fiddling classics such as David’s Jig, Orange Blossom Special, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Down By the River, and Ashekon Farewell.

Buy link:https://www.amazon.com/Fiddlers-Fling-Linda-Wood-Rondeau-ebook/dp/B07J9ZYSNF/

THE VALLEY OF LIFE: FROM PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT

   LINDA WOOD RONDEAU ON TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL WEDNESDAY Variations of the same theme: God doesn’t close a door, but that H...