Tolerating the Intolerable

I had an interesting conversation with a person on Facebook yesterday about the Chick-fil-A firestorm. The person asked me if I agreed with their position on gay marriage and when I said that I also support traditional marriage and don't want it redefined into something else, this was her response:
"...well my children woke me up to young adults in junior high school they were so tolorant of all their friends white gay straight ....and i felt so proud of them in their so what....they are still human God created all of us no matter what..and don't get me wrong I was right there with them growing what...i love all people regardless..i think it was the way i was raised...."
What does treating individuals with respect have to do with tolerating the assault on our Christian values?

“Tolerance” tol·er·ance (noun)

1.   A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

2.   A fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions and practices that differ from one's own.
3.   Interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.

Does this even begin to resemble how the radical left who claim to be the most “tolerant” people in this country behave? They demand that those of us who subscribe to orthodox Christian values abandon our deeply held beliefs and not just “tolerate” their behavior anymore, but approve of it or there will be hell to pay! It is no longer enough for them for us to “tolerate” their unbiblical behavior, now we are demanded to treat sexual immorality as a “virtue” and if we don’t we are threatened with boycotts, bodily harm and even death threats. That we are the ones branded as “intolerant” is laughable. That’s the kettle calling the porcelain teacup black. In the 1970s we were told it wasn’t any of our business what two consenting adults did in the privacy of their own bedrooms but now we see every kind of twisted aberrant behavior paraded out in public and on our television screens (“in our face”) and if we utter a peep of protest we are branded as haters and targeted for public destruction. You don’t see Christians targeting sexual deviants like this or singling them out for public execution!

Case in point: Chick Fil A’s CEO standing up for traditional marriage. Twenty years ago no one would have batted an eye; it would have been a “non story” but now that our own President has come out in favor of gay marriage this group feels emboldened to bully anyone and everything that doesn’t give their whole-hearted approval to what is a behavior condemned by God. The same thing happened the same week to a bakery owner in Colorado who has the right to refuse service to anyone and would not consent to make a wedding cake for a gay marriage. He is being inundated with hate mail and has stated that he may have to close his business rather than compromise on his religious beliefs.

It is Christians and Christianity that is no longer “tolerated” in our society and it is obvious that the day is fast approaching when the government might sanction the outright persecution of Christians because of their “intolerance” to immorality.

What’s down is up, what’s right is wrong, what’s black is white. The Old Testament has a warning for us in these last days that we should take very careful heed to: Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. If that doesn’t accurately describe what is going on today in our world then I don’t know what does.

It is the God of the Bible we will all have to give an account to; He is the ultimate judge of our souls. Are we going to conform to the world and just “try to get along” or are we going to stand firm in our faith?

I refer to you this excellent post from one of my favorite Bible Prophecy blogs, Rapture Ready; read it if you dare! 

Interview and Book Giveaway!

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
After reading Hal Lindsay’s ‘Late, Great Planet Earth’, the idea that hell was real forced me to take a look at who Jesus was.  I had always believed there was a god, but someone way out there who wasn’t all that interested in un-important me. Hal Lindsay wrote about what Jesus did for me, that He loved me, and died for me. Out of gratitude, I asked Him to control my life, help me make wise choices, and to make me the woman that He, God, wanted me to be. That was almost 40 years ago.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
One sleepless night, when I was close to 50 years of age, I sat down at my husband’s computer and wrote about a little girl who was physically abused by her father. I wrote the one scene and the next day a friend read the story. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears so I knew God had given me a gift. I’d never wanted to be a writer, almost flunked English in high school, so this had to be from the Lord.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
Silence is the fourth in a mystery series. The story took me there after I visited Miami. It was the natural progression for my characters and told the story of trust in God, something I was learning in my own life.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
I want my readers to know that a close walk with the Lord is not only possible but beneficial, that no matter what we do for a living, where we travel, or what our circumstances are, Jesus will walk with us, side by side. God wants the small things in our life to matter for Him and He has a plan and purpose for each of us, different than the man or woman in the next room. In Silence, Trust Me is a message my characters hear over and over.  We need to think about complete trust in the God of the Universe not in ourselves no matter what’s happening around us and to us.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
John 3: 16 continues to be my favorite since that’s how I finally learned who Jesus is and why I need Him in my life. He’s not just some good person, He is Majestic God, and yet He died just for me. WOW!

Barbara is currently running a sale on her paperback books so here are links if you would like to check her (and her books) out! To win a copy of Barbara's book:

1) You must be a follower of this blog.
2) Leave a comment.
3) Post links to this interview on all your social media (twitter, facebook, your blog.
4) Leave your email address so I can contact the winner. -
Amazon author page -

My Mom is in the Twilight of Her Life

I truly love my mom. She's 95 and is looking so very fragile.  She had me very late in her life (age 42) after losing three previous babies. I was 2.5 months premature (3lbs 2oz) in 1959 and it was a miracle I lived.

She has been so incredibly devoted and I especially remember when I was in the hospital for 30 days after two consecutive surgeries and she came every single day (commuting 50 miles) and sat by my bedside all day long. She has been a wonderful mom.

It makes me sad to see her so fragile and now she has lost her short-term memory.  I don't think she is much longer for this world and that is what really upsets me. You see my mom doesn't know the Lord. She is a nonreligious Jew and despite how many times I've tried to show her from our own scriptures how it is a very Jewish thing to believe in Jesus (Yeshua) as Messiah, but it just doesn't get through to her.  I pray for a miracle daily because I don't want my mom to go into eternity the way my dad did, lost without God.

So I'm making a special request. If you are reading this post, please pray for my mom and ask God for a miracle, her name is Ruth. No one else in my family believes. Thank you so very much!

Interview and Book Giveaway with Tracy Krauss!

Marshdale. Just a small farming community where nothing special happens.  A perfect place to start over… or get lost. There is definitely more to this prairie town than meets the eye. Once the meeting place of aboriginal tribes for miles around, some say the land itself was cursed because of the people’s sin. But its history goes farther back than even indigenous oral history can trace and there is still a direct descendant who has been handed the truth, like it or not. Exactly what ties does the land have to the medicine of the ancients? Is it cursed, or is it all superstition?

Wind Over Marshdale is the story of the struggles within a small prairie town when hidden evil and ancient medicine resurface. Caught in the crossfire, new teacher Rachel Bosworth finds herself in love with two men at once. First, there is Thomas Lone Wolf, a Cree man whose blood lines run back to the days of ancient medicine but who has chosen to live as a Christian and faces prejudice from every side as he tries to expose the truth. Then there is Con McKinley, local farmer who has to face some demons of his own. Add to the mix a wayward minister seeking anonymity in the obscurity of the town; eccentric twin sisters – one heavily involved in the occult and the other a fundamentalist zealot; and a host of other ‘characters’ whose lives weave together unexpectedly for the final climax. This suspenseful story is one of human frailty - prejudice, cowardice, jealousy, and greed – magnified by powerful spiritual forces that have remained hidden for centuries, only to be broken in triumph by grace.

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.

This was a long time ago. J I was a University student, living the typical ‘college’ life. (You fill in the details…) My mother, who had been on a spiritual quest of her own for many years and had dabbled in all kinds of churches (read: cults) finally came to a saving knowledge of Jesus when I was a teen. I wasn’t impressed. She never stopped praying, though. While off on my own at University, I worked at a little café in the evenings. The janitor was a rough looking guy – think ‘biker’.  He surprised me one day by pulling out a Bible and witnessing to me during our nightly clean up. (He did this between cigarettes… just goes to show that you shouldn’t judge anyone by their appearance.) Then around midnight a friend from high school who was in town for the weekend came to pick me up. She was a Christian so I mentioned the ‘strange’ conversation I’d just had. We ended up talking till 3am. Later when I was in bed I prayed that if God was real he would give me the desire to get saved, because I was still resisting, but knew it was what I needed. I instantly felt a change and when I prayed the sinner’s prayer I knew it was for real. That was about thirty years ago.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
This makes me smile. I was in Grade Four and I read a book called ‘Ghosts Don’t Eat Sausages’. I loved it so much that I decided to write a play about it. I convinced my friends to rehearse it at recess time. After several days our teacher wondered what we were so engrossed in. When she found out, she arranged for us to perform in front of the entire school. It was my first time ‘directing’ and my first written play. We even got a full page spread in the yearbook. I think it was at that point I knew I wanted to be a writer and a director.

Where did you get the idea for this book?
The setting for WIND OVER MARSHDALE is based on my hometown of Mossbank. The landscape and some of the history are based in truth. My husband and I have also lived in a lot of small towns so many of the characters are loosely based on real people I’ve met. I want to stress the word ‘loosely’ since I don’t want to offend anyone or have people looking to figure out who is who.
J (The really bad people are straight out of my imagination!)  I have an interest in native spirituality as it relates to spiritual warfare, as well as the ancient history of indigenous peoples, so some of that came from there.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
My books so far are heavy on redemption and grace. I like to show that appearances aren’t always what they seem. (Perhaps this comes from my background.) I try to write from a place of authenticity and realism, even in the Christian context. This is why some of my work is considered ‘edgy’ in terms of Christian writing. Hopefully, readers come away feeling inspired and perhaps willing to look at others through a less ‘perfectionistic’ lens.

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I just love writing. Period. I’ve been doing it now for over 25 years, much of that time in the obscurity of my own home.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
I’m a fan of two ‘E’s’ - Ecclesiastics and Ephesians. My favorite verse is probably, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”  Ecc. 9:10. I try to live by it.

What are your hobbies other than writing?
I’m a visual artist and I direct an amateur theatre troupe.  I majored in Intaglio printmaking in university, but I mostly paint these days. I try to submit a few pieces each year to a local juried art show, and I just completed a series of acrylic paintings that I hope to use as illustrations for a children’s book I’m working on. As for the theatre troupe, we rehearse twice a week for nine months out of the year, putting on two shows per year.

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
I love Frank Peretti – all of his adult books, but probably my favorite is Monster. He doesn’t mind tackling difficult topics and his characters are always believable in their imperfection.

Where do you get most of your ideas for your books?
I’ve been inspired while walking in nature, listening to music, watching a movie, playing a sport, watching traffic at a bus stop, and even playing the ‘Sims’. Inspiration comes from anywhere, anytime – often in unlikely places.

Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?
I’ve found the newest is always my favorite. So I guess currently it’s WIND OVER MARSHDALE. A couple months ago it was PLAY IT AGAIN and so on… I’ve got two finished manuscripts that I’m polishing up for submission, so expect a new favorite in six months or so. 

Tracy is graciously offering to give away an copy of her book, Play It Again. To be entered to win, you must be a follower of this blog, leave a comment (with your email address) and post links to the interview on all your social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Your blog, etc.)

Sparks fly when an ex-rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant rendezvous at a local resort, but neither are prepared for the emotional entanglements, family complications, and threat from the past that unexpectedly resurfaces. Set in the 1980s, this story brings two opposing forces together in a clash of romance and danger, while its musical undertones highlight the theme that God can turn anything into beautiful music. Play It Again is the much anticipated prequel to Tracy's debut novel And the Beat Goes On. Find out where Mark Graham's journey began in this, the story of his parents. 

About the Author:

Tracy Krauss is an author, artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Saskatchewan.  She has lived in many places in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and their children. They currently live in Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia, Canada where she pursues all of her creative interests.

Published works include four romantic suspense novels: AND THE BEAT GOES ON, where archaeological evidence for creation comes at a heavy cost; MY MOTHER THE MAN-EATER, the story of a ‘cougar’ who takes on more than she bargained for; PLAY IT AGAIN, about an unlikely match during the 1980s rock n’ roll scene; and WIND OVER MARSHDALE, where strong spiritual forces rock a seemingly peaceful prairie town. She also has several stage plays in print. Visit her website for more details.

Other links:

Read an excerpt:

Purchase links:

Publisher : Astraea press 

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

A very old friend of mine posted this on her facebook wall with regard to the Colorado Massacre:

The Colorado killer used a military-style semi-automatic rifle, shotgun, and pistol bought at local gun stores, and 6,000 rounds of ammunition bought over the internet. He also bought an urban assault vest, two magazine holders and a knife from a online supplier of tactical gear for police and military personnel. When is this country going to stop checking baby bottles at airport security and start tracking our homegrown terrorists? THANKS NRA.

It's a common knee jerk reaction whenever some crazy person goes off the deep end and murders a lot of people with guns. Ban the guns!!! Well let's take her knee jerk reaction to ban all guns and go a bit deeper. All the news reports say that this guy still thought he was in a movie even after he was arrested, referring to himself as the "joker" and spitting at police. Reports also say that he "cheered on" on the bad guys in the violent movies that he watched before his murder spree. He was emulating and acting out what he has seen on the big screen.  It would not be an enormous leap of logic to conclude that violent movies had a significant impact on how he viewed himself and the world around him.  I'm watching the news right now and there's talk of banning costumes in movie theaters. Gee...what a brilliant idea. That oughta stop homicidal psychos from committing mass murder! Give that person a bonus! The guns did not walk into that theater by themselves and kill people, it was done by either a mentally deranged (or demon possessed) person. If he hadn't had access to guns he would have found something else to use like a Swiss Army knife (the weapon of choice of O.J. Simpson) or a butcher knife. Would we then call for the ban of all cutlery on the basis that it could be abused in the hands of a madman? Perhaps if everyone in that theater had been "packing" he would have been taken out after the first shot. I read of a town in Georgia that since the 1980's has required every household to own a firearm and learn how to use it. Their crime rate dropped significantly and they haven't had a murder in that town since then.

I have another suggestion.  Since this guy was so influenced by violent movies like the last Batman, maybe we should ban all violent movies! For that matter, perhaps we should include violent video games and all music that promotes and glorifies violence! You know the old saying: garbage in/garbage out. Oh No! Those in Hollywood would scream (the same people who would be the first to demand a gun ban). That would be a violation of their First Amendment Rights to Free Speech! It's not the fault of violent movies, video games and music lyrics that these people submerge themselves in that cause mentally unhinged people to emulate the violent scenes they see in movies in real life!

We live in a society that is so saturated with violence we are all becoming desensitized and numb to it and then we wonder why people commit mass murders like this. We protect pornography (including child porn) as a free speech right then wonder why there are so many people committing rapes and other violent sexual acts.  Human sex trafficking is at epidemic proportions (see Kathi Macias' latest book: The Deliverer").  We no longer just tolerate homosexuality we are now asked to "accept" it and gay marriage as inevitable and only fair or we are labeled intolerant.  Homosexuality and all other sorts of aberrant behavior are on display everywhere and "in our face" and then the public acts horrified when people like Jerry Sandusky sexually assaults young men for over 20 years while his employer turns a blind eye.  As the Bible states, if we sow the wind we will reap the whirlwind. Well we are reaping whirlwind folks!

We have kicked God (and with Him all sense of right and wrong) out of every aspect of public life and then wonder why He allows horrific stuff like this to happen.  Where was God when that man came into the theater to kill all those innocent people? Which leads me to the title of this post: "Because lawlessness is increased, the love of many (for God) will grow cold. Things are going from bad to worse at an accelerated pace in every aspect of life here on earth.  How cannot people see the hand of God in everything that is going on? It seems we are blind to all his warnings.

Christians, it is time to repent and live holy lives and tell others about the saving grace of Jesus Christ; the coming of the Lord is very near. The signs are all around us. He who has ears to hear; let them hear!

Interview and Book Giveaway with Thomas Blubaugh

Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
I came to faith on Dec. 13th, 1970. I had gone through a divorce. After playing basketball in a church league with some nice guys from a church in the community, I met their pastor. He and I became friends. After the divorce, I decided to attend his church. On the second Sunday, I accepted Christ as my savior.

How old were you when you wrote your first real story and what was it about?
I started writing Night of the Cossack when I was 63 and it was published when I was 69. 

Where did you get the idea for this book?
Both of my grandfathers died before I was born. I was envious of my friends who had grandfathers and I became more interested in finding out about mine when I became an adult. I knew very little about either one. My dad’s dad died when my dad was six, so dad didn’t remember a lot about him. One of the few things I knew about my mom’s dad was that he was a Cossack soldier in Russia. This captured my attention.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
I have to think on this. My purpose in writing about him was to fill the gap in my own life. As I got deeper in the story, I found I was writing for my children and grandchildren. My purpose was for them to have a great grandfather and great-great grandfather. I didn’t start thinking about the possibility of publishing until the story was nearly done—or at least I thought it was. I joined a critique group and when I was finished, what I thought was the beginning of the story ended up in the middle. I learned a lot. To answer your question, I guess I want people to know that all of our ancestors have a story and it’s important to know their story so it can be passed down through the generations. It’s important to know where we came from. We all need a family connection. 

What part of this book did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I enjoyed writing all of it, but I especially enjoyed reading it when it was finished. Even though a great deal of it is fiction, I felt I knew my grandfather. I also learned a lot about Russian history. I guess the answer is the research of the different countries involved, Russian history and the Cossacks.

What is your favorite Bible verse?
There are two of them—Proverbs 16:9, 19:21. These verses freed me to pursue my life without worrying whether or not I was in God’s will.  I read books and listened to tapes trying to figure His will for my life until I came to these verses. It’s a lot less complicated than I was making it.

What is your favorite comfort food?

I eat a lot of popcorn, usually late at night. I’m a night owl. I’m trying to change this and so I’m eating less popcorn now although Barbara, my wife, is growing some strawberry popcorn in our garden. I’ve never eaten any and I’m looking forward to enjoying some.

What are your hobbies other than writing?

I’m not doing so much of it now, but I really enjoy macro photography.  None of us really like insects in our houses, but they are so intricately made by our creator. I love to put an image of them on my large monitor and study them. Many of them are quite beautiful.

How does your faith play into your writing?

I turn that question around and say that my writing fits into my faith. All of my characters have faith in something or someone. My grandfather was a Jew, but his character is a man of faith. My book isn’t a Christian book, but it’s a family friendly/healthy book. The sequel will have more emphasis on faith, in places, due to the geographical locations. At least this is how I see it, but this novel is already much different than I initially planned.

What is your favorite book by another author and why?
Actually it’s a series of books by Andrew Klavan—The Homelanders.  He wrote four books of nonstop action, without any language or sex, that kept me turning pages late into the night. These books cover one year in the life of the protagonist. He’s a fascinating writer.

Favorite childhood book?

I wasn’t encouraged to read as a child. I know this is strange, but I read enough of stories to be able to give a book report. I started writing poetry when I was fourteen because I was too bashful to talk to girls. I think Black Beauty is the one I came the closest to finishing.

Which movie has inspired you the most and why?

This is a toughie. I’m a movie nut.  There are a lot that I really like. I like ones that are historical. One I saw recently that is on my list is For the Great Glory with Andy Garcia. It didn’t seem to get a lot of publicity, but it’s a tremendous story of –well I won’t give any of it away.

Where do you get most of your ideas for your books?
Most of my writing has been nonfiction—spiritual. Two of my spiritual gifts are Pastor-Shepherd and Teaching.  I can use about anything to teach a lesson. So far, all the fiction is about my grandfather.

Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?
The most humbling work was a joint effort for Barbour Published, The Great Adventure. I co-wrote, under contract, with fourteen other others. We wrote a devotional journal on nature. When I received the first copy of the book, it was so beautiful, I cried. 

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Quadriplegic Man Walks again 40 Years Later...

My good friend, Henry Newell, is quite an inspiration.  Instead of being embittered against God, he has spent his life telling others of God's love, mercy, grace and miraculous deeds. Here is Henry's story that he typed all by himself: If you have a prayer request, Henry has a great prayer chain going on his Facebook page where there has been many answers to prayer.

SEPTEMBER 16, 1972 is a day that I will relive for the rest of my life. It happened at the Withlacoochee River in Florida, about two miles from my house. It was around 2:30 in the afternoon and I was 14 years old.
I had snuck away from the house on my bicycle when I was told I could not to go swimming that day. I met two of my friends on the way to the river as planned, where we had swam many times before. If only I had known what was going to happen that day, I would never have gone! When we got there, there was a man, his wife, and their two daughters swimming.
We put our bicycles down, took our shirts and jeans off that we wore over our swimming trunks, and headed down to the river edge and dove in. The water was cool and the current was flowing as usual. We swam back to the river bank and got out of the water. We decided to climb a tree which leaned over the water. We had dove out of that tree many times in the past.
I was the first to climb the tree and dive into the water, followed by my friends. We all swam back to the bank and got out. We climbed the tree again but this time we did a canon ball, swam back, got out again. Then one of my friends asked the other if he wanted to dive off his shoulders. He said yes, so he squatted to let him get on his shoulders and then stood up so he could dive into the river. After he dove in he swam back and as he was getting out he slipped back into water because the bank was getting very slippery. I ran and did a cannon ball again off the bank and as I was getting out, I too noticed that it was not so easy. I slipped a few times before I was finally able to climb back up on the bank. The wet clay was sticking to my feet so I rubbed my feet on the ground and remove most of it. My friend asked if I wanted to dive off of his shoulders and I said, “Sure, why not”. So as he squatted down I climbed onto his shoulders and then he stood up so I could dive into the water.
Just as I was ready to dive, IT HAPPENED!! My right foot slipped off his shoulder and I fell straight down on top of my head and rolled off into the water. I knew immediately that something was wrong. First of all, there was a tingling sensation all over my body, as though a thousand needles were sticking me! Secondly, I could not move anything. I tried so hard, but nothing would move. I KNEW I WAS IN TROUBLE. My body was not responding no matter what I tried. I was in the fetal position (where your arms and knees are drawn up to your chest), floating face down in the water, drifting with the current. I could not see anything but the black water as the river towed me further and further away! You cannot imagine everything that was running through my mind all at the same time! But the main thing that I was thinking was, “I NEED TO BREATHE!” All of my thoughts changed from what was wrong with me to, “I am going to drown if I do not breathe NOW!!!” I could not hold my breath any longer (your body will take a breath whether you want to or not, IN or out of water). I knew that if took a breath my lungs would fill up with water, but I HAD TO BREATH!! I was so terrified by now because I just knew I was going to DIE!!
Just as my body forced me to take a breath, which would have been nothing but water, my friend grabbed me and turned me over. I was finally able to take a breath of air, which felt like I had waited an eternity for! My friend swam back, with me in tow, to where my other friend was waiting to help pull me out of river that had almost taken my life!!! The family that was there swimming took me to the nearest hospital where they said I was now a quadriplegic (you are paralyzed from the neck down and can not feel nothing) and would never walk AGAIN!! That was 37 years ago and I have lived longer than the doctors told me I would. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
God Bless. Henry

 A Gift for Henry…

                Henry awakened with a start, his heart pounding and looked around.  For a few seconds all he could do was to stare at the vista which greeted his eyes and then it hit him like a ton a bricks…he was sitting up for the first time by himself since the accident. He opened and shut his eyes slowly several times, the amazing view never changing and then slowly, as if he were afraid he would shatter and break like glass, he bent his neck down and looked at his lower half. Instead of thin, atrophied legs that ignored all of his mind’s commands, there were two tanned and muscular limbs.  Holding his breath…he did something he hadn’t been able to do in decades…he wiggled his toes.
                A shout of pure joy issued from his mouth, so loud it even scared himself. “YAHOOOOOO!” Then he did something else he hadn’t done in years…he pinched himself… as hard as he could, right above the hips in the “tickle spot” and practically doubled over with mixed joy and disbelief.

If you would like to read the rest of Henry's wish fulfillment story, as well as that of 34 other people, it is in my book, "Make a Wish".

What If?

I just saw the movie "Signs" again the other day with Mel Gibson, written and directed by M. Night 
Shyamalan. It is a very good suspense thriller as well as an inspirational movie.  In it the main character, played by Mel Gibson, is a pastor who has turned away from God because of the freak accident nature of his wife's death.  He is bitter and angry at being left to parent his two young children alone.  Then suddenly strange things start happening and in addition to questioning God's love, he now questions everything he knows about reality when he comes to terms with the fact that the earth is about to be invaded by hostile aliens.

I saw the movie several years ago in the theater and one day it made me wonder (the common element for every original book idea) would the Amish react if crop circles started showing up in Lancaster County, PA? What if they saw strange lights in the sky and began having weird, paranormal experiences? What would they do if someone appeared in their midst who by all accounts appeared and behaved Amish in every way except for their strange eyes and abilities? Would they be shunned? Would they be given shelter if they had no where else to turn? How would the community react if an Amish family took them in?

Now there's a story idea! I remember thinking. So here below is an excerpt, from my book, In Plain Sight, which answers the above questions in a rather unusal way. So if you have been hankering for something completely different in Amish fiction, read the excerpt below and let me know what you think.  If you want to read the entire book it is available either thru this blog (autographed) or Amazon. It is available in paperback or for all e-readers.

After all the necessary morning chores were done, her father and sisters got the buggy ready and helped to load it with all the food they would be contributing to the day’s barn raising. The beef brisket and noodles had been prepared the night before and were now cool enough to pack. Rebecca was really looking forward to the barn raising. Despite the fact it was a lot of hard work, it was a break in the routine and a welcome chance to visit with a lot of other families, catch up on news, and sometimes even meet new people. Rebecca was approaching the age when Amish girls were courted as future brides but still had not met the one she felt her heart was waiting for.  Many of her closest friends were already serious and planning their simple weddings but she had mixed emotions about it all. She still felt too young and couldn’t imagine being a wife and a mother in the next year or so despite all her experience in helping to bring up her younger siblings. Her heart longed to experience new things while at the same time feeling reluctant to leave her familiar life. Sometimes if felt like a little bird was beating its wings inside the cage of her breast, itching to take flight, while at other times it seemed content to just nest.
They arrived at the barn site around 6:00 a.m. with a full day’s work ahead of them. Ruth, Rebecca, Hannah, and her other sisters, Miriam and Mary unloaded and carried the baskets of freshly baked breads, pies and containers of beef brisket, potato salad, fruit salad and jars of corn, hot pepper, and spicy tomato relishes to the long tables already set up under large shade trees. They greeted their neighbors and set to slicing and squashing lemons for the gallons of lemonade they would need as the day wore on while others prepared sweet tea. Brethren wearing nail aprons and brandishing wooden boxes of hand tools were streaming to the site, laughing and talking with one another as the sun began to spread its warm rays over the undulating farmland. At least 150 families had come to help build the recently married Abram and Mary Zook’s new barn and it has to be framed and roofed all in one day.
Although Rebecca was busy tending to the food and her siblings she had the strangest feeling of being watched.  It grew so strong she had to stop what she was doing and look around to see who it was. Her sisters gawked at her; wondering what was bothering her so much. Rebecca turned in a 360 degree circle looking for what or whom it might be. She noticed nothing. The women and girls were all busy with their chores and chattering away while the men and boys were busy pounding nails and fitting beams together but the nagging feeling just wouldn’t go away. Then a low buzzing began in her ears; like a bothersome Bumblebee, growing louder and more alarming with each moment. She stared at her mother in mounting alarm, hoping she would notice the panic in her daughter’s eyes but Rebecca could say nothing. She had been rendered mute. Then just as suddenly as it had begun the humming stopped and she found her eyes riveted upon the face of a young Amish man she had never seen before. He was brown haired and attired like everyone else but his eyes were shiny silver and fixed upon hers. Then the humming hit her body full force as they stared at one another. The world about her began to rotate slowly as she continued to stare at him, unable to tear her gaze away from those incredible eyes; then she blacked out cold, falling where she stood as if struck by lightning.
From the blackness in her mind came the sound of faint voices calling her name. Rebecca came to and found her mother and sisters bending over her with looks of concern on their faces.
“Ach! Are you all right, Rebecca?” whispered her mother, wiping her face with a cool wet cloth. “Are you feeling sick?”
Rebecca sat up with their help, not remembering that she had fainted at all. “I’m okay,” she murmured, rubbing her eyes. They helped her stand to her feet and waited while she looked around. The work on the barn continued at a pace; unaffected by her little fainting spell.
“Do you feel good enough to continue?” her mother asked, caressing her pale cheek. Rebecca nodded; not wanting to make any more of a scene than she already had. She looked over at the barn to see if she could spot the young man with the silver eyes again but could not distinguish him from any of the other men working.
“Yes, I’ll be fine,” she assured them, embarrassed that she had caused a scene. She returned to the table and basket of lemons but kept stealing glances over at the barn.  Once or twice she heard whispered snippets of conversation which ended abruptly as soon as she was in earshot but she managed to catch a few words here and there such as “cows” and “disappeared” which set her heart to thumping furiously.  Soon she became too distracted with meal prep and serving to think any more about the young man with the strange eyes…until a break was called for lunch.

Interview with Amish Author, Wanda Brunstetter, and BOOK GIVEAWAY of her latest novel: The Struggle"

I'm thrilled to present Wanda Brunstetter.  Wanda Brunstetter is an award-winning romance novelist who has led millions of readers to lose their heart in the Amish life. She is the author of over 60 books with more than 6 million copies sold. Many of her books have landed on the top bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Publisher’s Weekly, CBA, ECPA, and CBD. Wanda is considered one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre, and her work has been covered by national publications, including Time Magazine and USA Today.

Wanda’s fascination with the Amish culture developed when she met her husband, Richard, who grew up in a Mennonite church, and whose family has a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. Meeting her new Mennonite sister-in-laws caused Wanda to yearn for the simpler life. In their travels, she and her husband have become close friends with many Amish people across America. Wanda’s desire to explore their culture increased when she discovered that her great-great grandparents were part of the Anabaptist faith.

Wanda has graciously offered to give away one signed copy of her latest novel, The Struggle which will be released next week on July 17th. 

In order to be entered to win a copy of her book, you must be a follower of this blog, post a comment and share a link to this interview on all your social network sites (Facebook, Twitter, your blog, Goodreads, etc.). Those who bring along a friend to join my blog will have their names entered twice.

Wanda - thank you so much for visiting my blog!

        Tells us first how you came to faith in Jesus.
I accepted the Lord when I was a young girl, attending Sunday school. Then later, during my teen years, I re-dedicated my life to Christ and have been serving Him in some capacity ever since.

Where did you get the idea for your latest book?
The idea for “The Struggle” and the two novels that came before it in     my Kentucky Brothers series came to me when I visited some of our Amish friends and learned that their daughter and her family were moving to another state. I saw the pain on their faces as they talked about how hard it was going to be for them to be apart.

What do you want readers to take away from your writing and this book in particular?
        I hope my readers will see the importance of forgiveness, and also realize that no matter how far one lives away from their family, they can still be close and united in love.

        What is your favorite Bible verse?
        Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

       What are your hobbies other than writing?
I enjoy gardening, photography, knitting, stamping, and ventriloquism, using some of my puppets dressed in Amish clothes.

How does your faith play into your writing?
My faith in God plays heavily into my writing. Before I begin writing any novel, I always ask God to direct my words. It’s my hope that through each of my novels someone’s faith might be strengthened, or they may be helped in some way if they’re going through a difficult time.

        Favorite childhood book?
“Nancy and Plum” by Betty McDonald.
        Where do you get most of your ideas for your books?
My storylines come to me from many sources – things that have happened in my own life or that of a relative or friend – things I’ve read or heard about and wondered “what if?” – ideas and characters that just pop into my head.

       Out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?
It would probably be The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, because I was able to create so many unique characters.

When Timothy Fisher, his wife Hannah, and their daughter Mindy leave Pennsylvania to begin a new life in Kentucky, Hannah finds it hard to adjust. Will Christian County ever feel like home? Nothing Timothy does seems to please Hannah. Has the move from Lancaster spelled the beginning of the end? When a tragedy occurs, an inconsolable Hannah blames her husband for their loss. Timothy can barely rise beneath the weight of guilt, his wife’s hostility, and stress of his job. What dramatic second chance will God provide to heal their grief?

Summer Fever

Considering our limited budget, my husband and I have had some pretty cool vacations in our 30 years together. In the fall of 1999 we went to Vermont and New York City to see the fall foliage. We took a carriage ride to Tavern on the Green in Central Park and had lunch. On the day of my 40th birthday I got to get a pair of modest pearl earrings at Tiffany’s on 5th Avenue, (the turquoise blue box, white ribbon – the whole nine yards treatment); a kiss on top of the Empire State Building and desert at the Windows on the World at the World Trade Center two years before it was destroyed by terrorists. In Vermont we rode across covered bridges in the crisp fall air, marveling at the gorgeous trees that turned colors you just don’t see in Southern California. We visited a maple syrup farm, the baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and came home with some wonderful memories and the longing to go back every time crisp fall weather rolls around.

The Little Inn on Pleasant Bay, Cape Cod
Three years ago we drove up the Eastern Seaboard where I got to see Cape Cod for the first time for one entire day and 2 nights. We got there at the height of Hydrangea season where they were all in bloom. We got to stay at a lovely B&B called The Little Inn on Pleasant Bay in Orleans.  It is one of the last homes on the “underground railroad” that hid slaves before they took ship to escape to Canada. It was owned and run by two British sisters and was quintessential Cape Cod! It had climbing roses all over the place and the décor was all ocean/sea related. It was just a bummer that a threatening storm (that never materialized) ruined our one and only chance to have a clam bake on the dunes.

I took this photo
When our budgets were more limited, we took local trips to Napa Valley (only an 8 hour drive) and stayed at B&B’s in late fall (when our anniversary falls). Napa is gorgeous in the fall. All the grape vines turn to colors of russet, gold, amber and burgundy and is as close to the Northeast in terms of fall foliage as you can get in California.  Even though I’m not a wine drinker you can’t beat the place for restaurants, shopping and quiet beauty.

Then of course there is glorious Hawaii. We’ve only been there twice. Once on our honeymoon (to the Garden island of Kauai) and then again in 2002 (Maui) to renew 
our vows when we took along our daughter. We took a bicycle ride down the Haleakala volcano; drove the treacherous road to Hana, (where the locals neither yield nor stop for other traffic and drive enormous SUV’s that barely fit on the narrow road); swam in a few of the seven sacred pools (getting eaten alive by mosquitoes at the same time) and hiked up its trail; careful to avoid the stinking cow patties, stinking, rotting guava and oh yes, low-hanging tree branches. My poor husband didn't fare so lucky on that last one. By the time I opened my mouth to warn him he had already smacked into it full force with his forehead. On our last night there, we ate dinner at our hotel and two local Hawaiian women came to our table, offering to play music for us. They were delighted when we asked them about several Hawaiian songs that came out of the late 1950’s; not expecting us “Mainlanders” to be familiar with anything besides “Blue Hawaii” or “Tiny Bubbles”.  So on our last night, they serenaded us with “The Magic Isle” (which is what Maui is referred to).  Every time I hear that song now I weep. If you ever want some great Hawaiian music, just look up Alfred Apaca on iTunes and you will find yourself transported across the sea, swaying on a hammock under a palm tree with the warm trade-winds wafting over you even if you are only in your own backyard.

With the loss of my job in 2008, vacations came to a screeching halt. Now that I am gainfully employed again, my husband and I were able to plan a small anniversary get-away to Las Vegas (a 4 hour drive) this November. He hates Las Vegas but did it out of love for me.  At least it won’t be 112 degrees at midnight like it is during the summer months. We often joke that Las Vegas is where old people move so they will know what hell is like before they get there.  We don’t gamble but the restaurants, shopping and shows there are phenomenal. We will get to see our first live magic show with David Copperfield (who I first saw as a gawky teenager a long time ago on the Mike Douglas show); ogle the gorgeous hotels, shop and eat.  My husband often likes to quote Obi Wan Kenobi from the first Star Wars episode when referring to Las Vegas: “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy; we must be cautious!”

What have been some of your favorite vacation memories? Where would you go if money and time were no object and what would you like to do?