Saturday, September 22, 2012

What Can We Do to Help?

Five years ago, my daughters and soon-to-be son-in-law's burden for trafficked victims spoke to my heart. At the time, I was brainstorming a story line for my third book in the Born for India trilogy. Listening to my children share stories of victims convinced me that I wanted to build awareness for this horrific crime against humanity. Thus, Chosen Ones was born profiling Punita, an eleven-year-old Nepali girl unknowingly sold to a trafficker by her father.

Since that time, awareness has grown. We now know that not only is trafficking a serious issue in other countries, but also in America. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is the second largest area of organized crime after drug trafficking. Every ten minutes a woman or child is trafficked into the U.S. Every year, 200,000 American girls are at risk for sex trafficking. Every day, 3000-5000 children are being sold or lured into prostitution.

What can you do to help?

1) Read my book, Chosen Ones, then pass it along to someone else or donate the book to your church library.

2) Chosen Ones lists a plethora of resources that can help you put feet to your burden. I support a girl through Destiny Rescue. She is my third girl who's been rescued and placed in a Safe House for counseling, education, and a gospel witness.

3) Contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center if you think someone you know is being trafficked. Victims can also contact the center at 1-888-373-7888.

4) Pay attention to those around you. Children most vulnerable to traffickers are runaways, abused and neglected children, foster kids,and those coming out of women's shelters or detention facilities. Consider serving as a mentor to a girl who fits this profile.

5) Most of all, pray!

And please remember my youngest daughter and her husband training to minister to sex trafficked children.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Signed the contract today!

Signed the contract today for Wit & Wisdom from the Wee Ones, a collection of cute kid quips inspired by my six grandchildren, with over twenty additional contributors. 

Take a sneak peek . . .

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Memorable Camp Story

Hello, Mauder. Hello, Fauder. Here I am, at Camp Granauder . . .

Almost every kid at some point in his life attends summer camp. How 'bout you? Were you one of those lucky kids?

I was. But then my situation might have been somewhat unique. I grew up in Christian camping ministry. Every summer, my home missionary father worked at the place he helped build--Camp Ta-Pa-Win-Go--in the lush mountains of East Tennessee.

Currently, I'm in a place in my writing that many authors love--brainstorming a new plot idea!

As I consider possible scenarios, it seems I keep working my way back through my life. If I keep this up, I'll be in the womb before long. Then, maybe I'll write a sci fi.

Not likely.

For now, my thoughts center around a contemporary romance four-book series set in fictional Camp Hope in the North Carolina mountains. Title: Seasons of Hope

Book one: Spring Awakening where I introduce my main characters, Loni and Michael.

Blurb: A blind woman seeks refuge at Camp Hope, only to encounter the man who took her sight.

I'm excited about the slate of characters I've imagined for this new series--from the geeky to the sage. And of course, there'll be horses, zip line, go-carts, swimming, and practical jokes . . .

That's where you come in, dear reader. If you have a memorable camp story that lingers in your mind years after the event, I want to hear from you!

A meaningful spiritual experience
A child you led to the Lord
A practical joke you played on someone, or someone played on you
A lesson you learned 
A friendship developed
An unusual experience

Who knows? Your story might appear in one of the books, with names changed and situation altered just a bit, most likely. And of course, with your permission.

So, if you'd like to share your most memorable camp experience with me, leave a comment.

I'll even sweeten the deal by awarding the three BEST entries with a book of your choice from the following selections:

Chosen Ones
Second Chance
Tranquil Moments

Can't wait to read your camp story! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bawling at the Bus Stop

The air was crisp for an early September morn--signs of autumn. I felt an  unusual anticipation in the new day. As I walked briskly around the block, I noticed moms and children leaving their front doors and approaching the bus stop. Some children seemed excited by the thought of a fresh school year and ran happily ahead of their parent. Most of these ambitious upstarts were "first-timers." Having never darkened the door of a schoolhouse, they were now eagerly awaiting the new thrill of kindergarten. Other older, wiser children, fully aware of what lay before them, lagged behind. Some were actually pushed forward by their parent.

I was intrigued most by the moms of the kindergartners. Some emitted a great big sigh of relief, perhaps at the thought of finally delivering their young one into the care of another. Others stood motionless with a sleepy blank stare smeared across their faces, seemingly oblivious to the import of the day. A few others stood quietly weeping.

The "weeping" crowd tugged at my heart, especially since my neighbor fell into that category. As I rounded the corner to come back home from my morning walk, I observed Carol standing by the roadside with five-year-old Michael. With hair slicked back and bus card securely tied around his neck, he came flying into my yard.  

"Mrs. Rife, Mrs. Rife, I get to go to school today!" Michael fairly gleamed as he chattered on about his upcoming day.  

I gave Michael a generous squeeze, wished him well in his newfound venture, and sent him back to his mom, still waiting at the roadside. 

As I reached to open my front door, Carol yelled over, "I think I'm going to start bawling." 

I considered her words, then said, "That's okay, Carol; I'm a mom too, and that's just what moms do."

The image of Carol standing sadly by the roadside anticipating that first momentous goodbye in her son's life plagued me all day long. As the thought rattled around in my head, the Holy Spirit reminded me that each of us moms encounters bus stops in rearing our children. We moms learn early on that motherhood is a lifelong process of letting go. Beginning with the birthing bus stop, we move on to the childhood bus stop, only to travel on to the adolescent bus stop, the graduation bus stop, and I suppose, a life committed to a never-ending line of bus stops as we observe our grown children make their way in life. We mentally once again let go and let God have His way in their lives. Each bus stop encounter is a fresh taste of grief, a struggle to let go, to relax and allow God to carry our precious cargo to His desired destination. We cry, we adjust, and in time, we heal, moving on to the next phase of our lives.

Psalm 46:10 says, "Cease striving (let go, be still, relax) and know that I am God." God comes to us in our goodbyes and reminds us that He is in control. We are in His loving care and so are our cherished ones. God may ask us to say goodbye to one bus, but hello to another bus filled with all manner of good things just waiting to get off and enter our lives. As we reach for God, He replenishes the void in our hearts, filling it with Himself.

(Article excerpt from When Mourning Comes, Living Through Loss (c) 2002 Chuck and Eileen Rife)

The End of One Story, the Beginning of Another

I flip through the calendar, a gift from my missionary daughter. Family face after family face jump off the pages. Grandkids roasting mar...