Monday, February 23, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Light in the Hallway

            Fear ruled my life as a child. Since I didn’t know how to process the death of my brother and the grief reaction of my parents, anger erupted over seemingly inconsequential things. Doorknobs left holes in walls; biscuits flew across the table like torpedoes; and nightmares plagued my sleep. Thus, night after night I dreaded going to bed. Every shadow, every creak represented a bigger-than-life monster.
            At four, I didn’t realize the real monster was grief and loss. That’s what triggered my “unexplained” anger and fear, which I learned later my parents longed to address but didn’t know how. At best, Mama tried to soothe me with scripture, then left the light on in the hallway. Invariably, however, I’d end up terrified, screaming, “Mama, Mama!” until finally I heard her voice at the bottom of the stairs. “Come on down,” she’d say, her tone laced with exhaustion and frustration.
            Embarrassed, but relieved, I’d creep down the lighted steps and crawl in bed beside Mama. Daddy would grunt and roll over, never acknowledging my fears. I guess he thought Mama was best for such things. Little did he know how much I needed him—to take me on his knee, to hold me, to assure me, to listen to my fears, to really hear me.
            Mama would ask, “What are you so afraid of?” Her twisted features left me feeling less than adequate, like something was really, really wrong with me.
            “I don’t know,” I’d reply, equally frustrated with myself. I felt like shrinking into the covers, dissolving, becoming invisible. Anything to make the horror go away and my parents think better of me. Because, surely, they were disgusted with me.
            Eventually, my nighttime trauma dissipated. Somewhat. It’s likely I only learned how to mask my fears. Without intervention in the form of loving, godly guidance to help unearth the root causes of my fears, they only morphed into other angers and fears. Which erupted into negative behaviors: irritation over little things, performance-driven living, defensiveness.
            It’s taken a lifetime of living with and learning from my heavenly Father who continually calls me into His light. To get to the bottom of my fears. In His presence, He uncovers the causes and applies the comfort. He provides a loving community of believers in which I find wisdom and healing.
            We all deal with unpleasant emotions, often generated from our thoughts surrounding circumstances beyond our control. But our Father, who is intimately acquainted with all our fears, calls us down the stairs of our grief and loss and into His marvelous revealing and healing light.

Eileen Rife, author of Laughing with Lily, speaks to women’s groups, encouraging them to discover who they are in Christ and what part they play in His amazing story.,

Monday, February 2, 2015

Rev up Your Romance!

As an author, I love to write romance! Maybe because a good romance points me to God, who is forever wooing me to His divine heart.

This is the month when we emphasize love. Candy hearts fill the store shelves. Romantic cards--from the humorous to the endearing--vie for attention on racks.

Wives and girlfriends leave subtle hints on kitchen tables, in lunchboxes, and on pillows. 

February is known as the month for reaching out to that special someone with words and acts of love and devotion. 

With that in mind, I'm offering the Kindle version of Journey to Judah, a contemporary romance, to one lucky winner who leaves a comment below!

Here's how my JJ hero and heroine first meet . . .

Maggie awoke from a deep sleep to notice the stranger beside her staring at her. Blushing, she coughed and shifted in her seat.
           “Please make sure your tray table is stowed, your seat is in an upright position, and your seatbelt securely fastened. We are beginning our descent into Mumbai,” the British flight attendant announced over the intercom.
            Maggie fumbled to obey the attendant’s directive as the passenger beside her spoke.
“You were sleeping so long, I thought I might check your pulse,” the handsome man mused. “But just as I reached for your wrist, you woke up. Hi, my name is Gavin…Gavin Munsfield.” The congenial young man reached for Maggie’s hand. His square jaw was etched with five o’clock shadow and his eyes laced with fatigue, yet he smiled with a warmth Maggie had not felt for days.
            Still groggy, Maggie rubbed her eyes, then reached to shake his hand. “Uh, yes, uh…nice to meet you. I’m Maggie Osteder.”
          “Please remain seated until the seatbelt sign goes off. Then you may move about the cabin and retrieve your baggage from the overhead compartments,” the voice interrupted. “Thank you for flying British Airways. We hope you enjoyed your flight.”
           As Maggie pulled her purse from under the seat, Gavin continued, “So is this your last stop or do you have a long layover here?  In Mumbai, I mean.”
          “Long layover,” Maggie replied, somewhat irritated by the man’s incessant chatter
and intrusion into her private affairs. She was single, a slip of a girl, yet possessing strength that belied her physique. She had been warned to beware of men who might take advantage of her. Gavin seemed harmless enough, but she didn’t want to take any chances.
          “Ah, excuse me,” Maggie insisted, stretching for the overhead bin in the jumble of exiting passengers. She felt pain shoot up her right leg and realized someone had just stepped on her foot. She hoped this was not a foreshadowing of misfortune ahead. She had already endured a four-hour layover in London, misplaced luggage, and a nosy passenger trying to wheedle his way into her business. All she wanted was to get off the plane, enjoy a hot cup of coffee, if such a thing existed in Mumbai, and arrive in Chennai in one piece.   
           Maggie had waited ten years for this day. Now, at age twenty-five, she was finally on her way to India.
          “Perhaps I’ll see you again,” the towering man quipped, disturbing Maggie’s reminiscence.”
          “Excuse me?”
          “Who knows? We may run into each other again,” Gavin persisted as he gathered his camera and backpack and headed for the exit.
Maggie shook her head. Who IS he, anyway? Brushing her hair back and straightening her blouse, Maggie stepped off the plane and into the Mumbai terminal, an entire world apart from anything she had ever encountered. (Excerpt taken from chapter one).

So, leave a comment below for a chance to win! Winner announced on February 14.

Daddy's Hands

Often my grandchildren ask me to tell them a story about when I was a little girl. Here is one of their favorites in honor of my Daddy...