Monday, December 28, 2009

Attention All Jane Austen Lovers!!!

While Sis and I were crusing Books A Million this afternoon, we stumbled upon a new edition of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility." I swear, just a few weeks ago I was complaining to Sis that Bethany House should release more Jane Austen books. Of course I bought it, any obsessed Jane Austen fan would (even though she already own the book LOL!).

For those familiar with Bethany House Publishing Company, back 2007 they released the esquisite Insight Edition of "Pride and Prejudice." The "Pride and Prejudice" edition included an introduction by the highly ecclaimed author Nancy Moser, who wrote a bio-fiction of Jane Austen's life called, "Just Jane" (She is also the author of How Do I Love Thee?" the bio-fiction of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's life).

Well, the introduction of this new "Sense and Sensibility" edition was written by none other than Julie Klassen, author of Regency masterpieces "Lady of Milkweed Manor," "The Apothecary's Daughter" and the newly released "The Silent Governess."

Unlike most editions, the Insight Edition includes comments throughout the whole book, on Austen's life, little-known-facts about the book, information on the Regency Era, and tid-bits about the movies inspired by these classic books.

I'm sure within a few years time, all of Jane Austen's beloved classics shall be re-released as Insight Editions. I can't wait for Emma. Dear God, let them put Mr. Knightley on the cover!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Night God Came to Dinner

Adapted from a story by Rod Ohira

Fritz Vincken owns a bakery just outside of downtown Honolulu. He dispenses warmth and a smile along with hot buns and fresh bread to his loyal customers. Fritz has lived in the Hawaiian islands for many years now, and when he first arrived he was enchanted by the kindness and goodwill of the Islands' people. When asked, however, he admits that for him, the ideal of aloha was first learned long ago - when he was a lad of twelve.

The setting was on the other side of the world from Hawai'i, on a harsh winter night in the Ardennes Forest near the German-Belgian border. It was December, and two months had passed since Hubert Vincken brought his wife and his son Fritz to a small cottage in the Ardennes Forest for their safety. The family's home and its eighty-eight-year-old bakery in Aachen (Aix-La-Chapelle) had been destroyed in a bombing raid.

"We were isolated," Fritz recalled. "Every three or four days, my father would ride out from town on his bicycle to bring us food. When the snow came, he had to stop." His mother was concerned that their food was in very short supply, as the war seemed to be moving closer to their cottage of refuge.

By late December the cottage was no longer out of harm's way. German troops surprised and overwhelmed the Allies on December 16, turning the Ardennes Forest into a killing field.

On Christmas Eve, Elisabeth and Fritz tried to block out the distant sound of gunfire as they sat down to their supper of oatmeal and potatoes.

"At that moment, I heard human voices outside, speaking quietly," Fritz remembered. "Mother blew out the little candle on the table and we waited in fearful silence.

"There was a knock at the door. Then another. When my mother opened the door, two men were standing outside. They spoke a strange language and pointed to a third man sitting in the snow with a bullet wound in his upper leg. We knew they were American soldiers. They were cold and weary.

"I was frightened and wondered what in the world my mother would do. She hesitated for a moment. Then she motioned the soldiers into the cottage, turned to me and said, 'Get six more potatoes from the shed.'"

Elisabeth and one of the American soldiers were able to converse in French, and from him they learned news about the German offensive. The soldier and his comrades had become separated from their battalion and had wandered for three days in the snowy Ardennes Forest, hiding from the Germans. Hungry and exhausted, they were so grateful for this stranger's kindness.

A short time later that evening, four more tired soldiers came to the cottage. However, these men were German.

"Now I was almost paralyzed with fear," Fritz recalled. "While I stood and stared in disbelief, my mother took the situation into her hands. I had always looked up to my mother and was proud to be her son. But in the moments that followed, she became my hero."

"Frohliche Weihnachten," Elisabeth said to the German soldiers, wishing them Merry Christmas. She then invited them to dinner.

But before allowing them in, Elisabeth informed them she had other guests inside that they might not consider as friends.

"She reminded them that it was Christmas Eve," Fritz said, "and told them sternly there would be no shooting around here." These soldiers, still mere boys, listened respectfully to this kind and mature woman.

The German soldiers agreed to store their weapons in the shed. Elisabeth then quickly went inside to collect the weapons from the American soldiers and locked them up securely.

"At first, it was very tense," Fritz said.

Two of the German soldiers were about sixteen years old and another was a medical student who spoke some English. Although there was little food to offer, Elisabeth knew that everyone must be very hungry. She sent Fritz outside to fetch the rooster he had captured several weeks earlier.

"When I returned," Fritz recalled, "the German medical student was looking after the wounded American, assuring him that the cold had prevented infection.

"The tension among them gradually disappeared. One of the Germans offered a loaf of rye bread, and one of the Americans presented instant coffee to share. By then the men were eager to eat, and Mother beckoned them to the table. We all were seated as she said grace.

"'Komm, Herr Jesus,'" she prayed, 'and be our guest.'

"There were tears in her eyes," Fritz said, "and as I looked around the table, I saw that the battle-weary soldiers were filled with emotion. Their thoughts seemed to be many, many miles away.

"Now they were boys again, some from America, some from Germany, all far from home."

Soon after dinner, the soldiers fell asleep in their heavy coats. The next morning, they exchanged Christmas greetings and everyone helped make a stretcher for the wounded American.

"The German soldiers then advised the Americans how to find their unit," Fritz said. "My mother gave the men back their weapons and said she would pray for their safety. At that moment, she had become a mother to them all. She asked them to be very careful and told them, 'I hope someday you will return home safely to where you belong. May God bless and watch over you.'"

The soldiers shook hands and marched off in opposite directions. It was the last time Fritz or his mother would ever see any of them.

Throughout her life, Elisabeth Vincken would often say, "God was at our table" when she talked of that night in the forest.

Fritz eventually came to live in Hawaii and continued to carry this childhood lesson of brotherhood in his heart. He realized that being kind to one another and seeing beyond differences is a un iversal value, but he was surprised to discover that Hawai'i actually had a word for this ideal - aloha. When he thinks of aloha, he remembers that night long ago when everyone was welcome at the table.

For a theatrical version of this story, watch the Hallmark movie "Silent Night" with Linda Hamilton, who portrays Elisabeth Vincken.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Prayer Request for a sick Little Girl: Update!

December 20, 2009
Okay, here's the newest on Ainsley. She originally went to the hospital thinking Pneumonia and was told it was most likely appendicitis. Well, within 45 minutes of her getting there and with all the prayers going up, the hospital realized it was not pneumonia or appendicitis. I believe they went ahead and sent her home and she went to the doctor's office the next day and learned that it was a really nasty bug.

That's a big praise, but I'd still like it if you'd pray for a full recovery. I mean she's only like 6 or 7 and Christmas is Friday. I hope and pray she is better by then so that she can enjoy the holiday. I'll let you know when or if I find out anymore.

December 17, 2009
Okay, I have an update. Doctors think that Ainsley is suffering with appendicitis rather than pneumonia. Still, that is an awful thing for a little girl to go through, especially around Christmas time. Please continue to pray for her and the comfort of her family. Thank you.

December 16, 2009
A few hours ago I learned that a six or seven year old girl who attends our church and AWANA could be ill with pneumonia. Her name is Ainsley and she was sick all last night and probably will end up going to the hospital. Its uncertain if its H1N1. The family is having a rough go of it; her grandfather Bob lost his mother last week and now this has happened. Please keep Ainsley and her family in your prayers. I'll update if I learn anything more. Thanks and God Bless.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Gold and Ivory Tablecloth (aka "The Holocaust Tablecloth")

by Howard C. Schade

At Christmas time men and women everywhere gather in their churches to wonder anew at the greatest miracle the world has ever known. But the story I like best to recall was not a miracle -- not exactly. It happened to a pastor who was very young. His church was very old.
Once, long ago, it had flourished. Famous men had preached from its pulpit, prayed before its altar. Rich and poor alike had worshipped there and built it beautifully. Now the good days had passed from the section of town where it stood. But the pastor and his young wife believed in their run-down church. They felt that with paint, hammer, and faith they could get it in shape. Together they went to work.

But late in December a severe storm whipped through the river valley, and the worst blow fell on the little church -- a huge chunk of rain-soaked plaster fell out of the inside wall just behind the altar.
Sorrowfully the pastor and his wife swept away the mess, but they couldn't hide the ragged hole.

The pastor looked at it and had to remind himself quickly, "Thy will be done!" But his wife wept, "Christmas is only two days away!"

That afternoon the dispirited couple attended the auction held for the benefit of a youth group. The auctioneer opened a box and shook out of its folds a handsome gold and ivory lace tablecloth. It was a magnificent item, nearly 15 feet long. but it, too, dated from a long vanished era. Who, today, had any use for such a thing? There were a few halfhearted bids. Then the pastor was seized with what he thought was a great idea.

He bid it in for $6.50.

He carried the cloth back to the church and tacked it up on the wall behind the altar. It completely hid the hole! And the extraordinary beauty of its shimmering handwork cast a fine, holiday glow over the chancel. It was a great triumph. Happily he went back to preparing his Christmas sermon.

Just before noon on the day of Christmas Eve, as the pastor was opening the church, he noticed a woman standing in the cold at the bus stop. "The bus won't be here for 40 minutes!" he called, and invited her into the church to get warm.

She told him that she had come from the city that morning to be interviewed for a job as governess to the children of one of the wealthy families in town but she had been turned down. A war refugee, her English was imperfect.

The woman sat down in a pew and chafed her hands and rested. After a while she dropped her head and prayed. She looked up as the pastor began to adjust the great gold and ivory cloth across the hole. She rose suddenly and walked up the steps of the chancel. She looked at the tablecloth. The pastor smiled and started to tell her about the storm damage, but she didn't seem to listen. She took up a fold of the cloth and rubbed it between her fingers.

"It is mine!" she said. "It is my banquet cloth!" She lifted up a corner and showed the surprised pastor that there were initials monogrammed on it. "My husband had the cloth made especially for me in Brussels! There could not be another like it."

For the next few minutes the woman and the pastor talked excitedly together. She explained that she was Viennese; that she and her husband had opposed the Nazis and decided to leave the country. They were advised to go separately. Her husband put her on a train for Switzerland. They planned that he would join her as soon as he could arrange to ship their household goods across the border. She never saw him again. Later she heard that he had died in a concentration camp.

"I have always felt that it was my fault -- to leave without him," she said. "Perhaps these years of wandering have been my punishment!" The pastor tried to comfort her and urged her to take the cloth with her.
She refused. Then she went away.

As the church began to fill on Christmas Eve, it was clear that the cloth was going to be a great success. It had been skillfully designed to look its best by candlelight.

After the service, the pastor stood at the doorway. Many people told him that the church looked beautiful. One gentle-faced middle-aged man -- he was the local clock-and-watch repairman -- looked rather puzzled.

"It is strange," he said in his soft accent. "Many years ago my wife - God rest her -- and I owned such a cloth. In our home in Vienna, my wife put it on the table" -- and here he smiled -- "only when the bishop came to dinner."

The pastor suddenly became very excited. He told the jeweler about the woman who had been in church earlier that day. The startled jeweler clutched the pastor's arm. "Can it be? Does she live?"

Together the two got in touch with the family who had interviewed her. Then, in the pastor's car they started for the city. And as Christmas Day was born, this man and his wife, who had been separated through so many saddened Yule tides, were reunited.

To all who hear this story, the joyful purpose of the storm that had knocked a hole in the wall of the church was now quite clear. Of course, people said it was a miracle, but I think you will agree it was the season for it!

True love seems to find a way.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Letter From Jesus

Found this in my mail box.

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 - 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up... It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary-- especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Quiz

Welcome to the Christmas edition of getting to know your friends. Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, and try not to be a SCROOGE!!! Just copy (not forward) this entire email and paste into a new e-mail that you can send. Change all the answers so that they apply to you. Then send this to a whole bunch of people you know, INCLUDING the person that sent it to you...'Tis the Season to be NICE

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or Artificial?
Artificial, that way there are no squirrels in it (think Chevy Chase in "Christmas Vacation").

3. When do you put up the tree?
The Monday after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down?
After the New Year.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Not sure.

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
My Sonic the Hedgehog stuffed toy. I got Tails for Easter. :~)

7. Hardest person to buy for?
The parents.

8. Easiest person to buy for?
My sister.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Mail, of course. That way you can take them out and look at them later.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
I can't recall. But one year on my birthday I opened ovenmits which was intended for my Grandma's group's Christmas party.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
I have three: "The Nativity Story," "Elf," and "A Christmas Story."

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
I shop throughout the year, starting as early as May.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
No, but I've sold one.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Grandma's chocolate fudge, no-bake cookies or chocolate covered pretzels.

16. Lights on the tree?
Of course! What's a tree without lights?!

17. Favorite Christmas song?
"Mary, Did You Know?" or "2,000 Decembers Age"

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay at home and have everyone travel to our house.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid and do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? Rudolf!

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Neither; we have a Santa on top.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Probably on Christmas morning since no one is coming over.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
When people take Christ out of Christmas. While Jesus wasn't born on December 25, this is the day we're celebrating His birthday. If you don't like it, you can work on Christmas. How do you like that?

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?
My baby ornament of a baby in a swing.

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner?
Something unique and italian.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?
To share Christmas with someone who has never celebrated it before.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prayer For a Young Girl: PRAISE!!!

Okay, for those who have been praying, God has answered! I'm a little foggy on the details, but Marissa had gone to the doctors and he was the one who advised her to return to the hospital. But she only stayed there for a couple of days and went home on Thanksgiving. And she was able to come to church this morning! So that is a HUGE praise.

As for Jo- I saw her this morning and she updated us herself. She did have her nose cauterized and was given some iron pills to take. She looked bright and beautiful as usual.

Hopefully things will return to normal for this family.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Prayer For a Young Girl: Update

Marissa had improved a great deal and even went home before the doctors had predicted. Unfortunately on Tuesday she had some kind of relapse and is back in the hospital. Please, please, please keep her and her family in your prayers! Yesterday was her birthday and today is Thanksgiving, and her younger sister is having her birthday in a few days. They're being bombarded.

Also, remember her grandmother Jo. Jo is in her mid-eighties and was having awful nosebleeds that sent her to the ER. She was supposed to have her nose cauterized (sp?) but I haven't heard anything more about her.

Thanks and God Bless.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

“Trapped in Hitler’s Hell,” by Anita Dittman and Jan Markell

A young Jewish girl discovers the Messiah’s faithfulness in the midst of the Holocaust.
Anita Dittman was just a little girl when the winds of Hitler and Nazism began to blow through Germany. By the time she was twelve, the war had begun.
Shocking and disturbing, yet hopeful and inspiring- An incredible story you’ll never forget!

Author Bios:
Anita Dittman, a Jewish believer since the age of seven, speaks to many churches and groups about her experiences during World War II in Germany. She resides in Minnesota. Jan Markell has authored nine other books. She is the director of Olive Tree Ministries, an informative, cutting edge news ministry that includes her relevant radio talk show, Understanding the Times, on KKMS (AM 980) out of Minneapolis, Minnesota and heard in multiple cities.

Book Description:
Abandoned by her father when he realized the price of being associated with a Jewish wife and family, Anita and her mother were ultimately left to fend for themselves. Anita’s teenage years spent desperately fighting for survival yet learning to trust in the One she discovered who would not leave her…

My Thoughts:
“Trapped in Hitler’s Hell” (originally titled as, “Camp Angels,” and revamped for children as “Shadow of His Hand” by Wendy Lawton) is a little known story about Anita Dittman’s survival and spiritual journey during the holocaust. Upon coming to Jesus personally, she trusts her life and fate to the only One who can truly save her. It is one of the few accounts of a Jewish person who became a Christian in that dark point of history. With the POV being from young Anita, it is somewhat reminiscent of Anne Frank’s tale, with the spiritual fulfillment of Corrie ten Boom’s “The Hiding Place.” It leaves its impression on your heart. I can easily envision this book being transformed successfully into a TV movie for Hallmark. In this new 2005 edition, actual photographs of Anita and her family are included.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prayer Request for a Young Girl

Hi, there is this girl at my church named Marissa who is ill with double-pneumonia. She's only 11 or 12 and she'll be in the hospital the next few weeks, over her birthday and Thanksgiving. If you could keep her in your thoughts and prayers, I know she and her family would appreciate it.

This is the time of the year when God performs the most amazing miracles (He has in my life) and I know He will do it again in this young girl.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

“Ceremony of Innocence,” by James Forman

About the Author:
Finding any kind of information on James Forman is virtually impossible, however I did stumble upon a short list of books that he authored. Other than “Ceremony of Innocence,” Forman wrote “Code Name Valkyrie,” which is a fictional dramatization on Count von Stauffenberg’s July 20th assassination attempt on Hitler. Then there is “My Enemy, My Brother,” a story of a young Jewish man who survives the holocaust only to face opposition when he makes a new life Israel. All three books, including “Ceremony of Innocence” are geared toward the young adult audience.

Book Synopsis:“Ceremony of Innocence” is a fictional account of the life and last days of Hans Scholl, one of the members in the resistance group The White Rose, in the darkened world of the Third Reich. The first chapter opens with the arrest of Hans and his younger sister Sophie following the distribution of the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich. They are immediately taken into Gestapo custody and for four days, Hans is interrogated and on the fifth day, he along with his sister and Christoph Probst, they are executed. Flashbacks are interweaved throughout the story, revealing Hans’ transition from a Hitler supporter into an opponent of Hitler and the development of The White Rose.

My Thoughts:
As a White Rose enthusiast, I was surprised that a bio-fic on Hans Scholl existed. With Sophie being the only female in the core group, the majority of the spotlight is on her, so its refreshing to read something from Hans’ POV. With that being said, I was a little disappointed with “Ceremony of Innocence.” The book was written in the 1970’s prior to most of the biographies written on the Scholl siblings and the White Rose group and it does not include the newly released and detailed interrogation minutes. Therefore the interrogation of Hans in this book is fictional. Also, I found the portrayal of Hans wanting; from what I’ve read about him, he appears confident and strong. In “Ceremony of Innocence” he comes across weak and unimpressive. Sophie is out of character too. Instead of the strong, intelligent and playful young woman who comes alive on screen in “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days,” this Sophie is flirtatious and silly, and she plays the martyr willingly and almost looks forward to death. This contradicts the attitude of the real Sophie Scholl who loved and embraced life. Profanity is sprinkled through out the dialogue, nothing too offensive and nothing you won’t hear in a PG movie.
God is esteemed and not just a belief but a fact, especially with Sophie, the devout Christian of the novel. In this story Hans is having a crisis of faith. However, according to the sources I have read, Hans did not fall away from Christ. In fact one account claimed that he accepted Catholic baptism and converted to Catholicism before the execution.

I don’t regret reading “Ceremony of Innocence” but the reader must keep in mind that it is dated and that this book is fiction loosely based on fact.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lousia May Alcott's Story on PBS

That's right, Lousia May Alcott's story finally comes to the big screen, or at least to the TV screen. It is part of the Americans Masters series on PBS. No folks, this is not another version of "Little Women". This is a docu-drama on the author and her family. It is based on the book "Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women" by Harriet Reisen, which is debuting this October 27. However, Alcott's much devoted fans must wait two more months until December 28 at 9pm until the movie premieres on PBS.

Below is the list of castmembers.

Elizabeth Marvel ... Louisa May Alcott
Daniel Gerroll ... Bronson Alcott
Emily Sarah Stikeman ... Lousia May Alcott
Jane Alexander ... Ednah Cheney
Dossy Peabody ... Abigail Alcott
Molly Schreiber ... Teen Louisa
Haley Garvin ... Toddler Louisa
Marianna Bassham ... May Alcott
Maggie Quigley ... Child May Alcott
Linda Amendola ... Anna Alcott
Ellen Adair ... Teen Anna Alcott
Anna Finklestein ... Teen Beth Alcott
Eleanor Farris ... 'Lulu' May Alcott Nierecker
Ken Cheeseman ... Ralph Waldo Emerson
Beno Chapman ... Henry David Thoreau

And the official site for the book and movie is right here:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cliques within the Church

I’ve attended church most my life, on my own volition. For me, church is often a place that I consider my home away from home, and a place where I can learn about and freely worship God, and have some fellowship with other believers. Unfortunately, most of the churches that I have attended have also had cliques too. You wouldn’t think that’d be the case in God’s house, where people are supposedly equals and should be treated as such. After all, when you think of cliques, high school comes to mind along with the movies “Mean Girls” and “Never Been Kissed.” Church cliques usually aren’t as nasty but they certainly exist.
Instead of being called a “loser” or openly laughed at, getting the cold shoulder at church is a little more subtle. Sometimes it’s a group of women in a discussion and then just as you come along, the ladies fall silent. Other times it’s the same group at an event that you have also been invited to, but you’re made to feel out of place while you’re with them. Or perhaps it’s during a church dinner and you always end up eating at the same table instead of feeling encouraged enough to eat at a different one.
This irks me more than I let on. For crying out loud, church is not high school and people should not be broken up into groups where they feel safe and accepted. God’s house is open to all and He doesn’t play favorites, so why do some Christians?
There was a time in my life when I did belong to a church and yes, it had a clique too. But the majority of that church family was just that- a family. That church became my home away from home and a place of refuge in hard times. The people there weren’t just church members or fellow Christians, they became my family and I’m still in contact with most of them even though that church has long since closed. I have never felt God’s presence more than I did there and I’ll always reflect on that period of my life as one of my highest points, spiritually speaking.
Its too bad that many Christians don’t follow Christ’s example and love and treat everyone the same. Then perhaps non-believers would be more apt to try out church if that were the case.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Quote From Dr. Seuss

Be who you are, and say what you feel...
Because those who matter don't mind...
And those who mind don't matter."
-Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Veronica Goes to Confession

1. I never wear shoes when I’m at home. In fact, I go around barefoot whenever possible.
2. I can make a strange purring sound at the back of my throat like a cat does.
3. The first time I ever kissed a boy I was seven and in the first grade. Hopefully I won’t get sued for sexual harassment. After all it was only on the cheek.
4. I can still put one of my ankles behind my head.
5. The more I study Judaism and Jewish history, the closer I feel to Jesus.
6. I’ve borrowed so many books and movies about Nazism and the Third Reich from the library, that the librarians think I’m a Nazi.
7. I love to eat peanut butter sandwiches with kosher dill pickles on the side.
8. Swing/Big Band is my favorite genre of music now.
9. My life is a cross between “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and “Little Women” with a side of “Secondhand Lions.”
10. Growing up I read too much “Sweet Valley Twins, ” “Goosebumps” and ridiculous romances that I neglected the classics. So I have to go back and read the great authors of the past.
11. Give me a good war movie or holocaust film rather than a romance any day.
12. My favorite movie is either “Little Women” with Winona Ryder or “Sophie Scholl: The Last Days” with Julia Jentsche.
13. I hope someday to write a coming of age series based in Indiana.
14. Though I love to write, I often speak with bad grammar. It’s just part of who I am.
15. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world than in the Wabash Valley, Indiana.

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Ancestor was a Polygamist…

Or maybe a Black Widower.

My Grandma always used to tell me, “When you start to shake the family tree, anything may fall out, so beware.” Ain’t that the truth!

I have started getting involved in genealogy recently and have made some new, hilarious discoveries. For several years now I’ve been able to pin-point who one of our ancestors was; a man named Michael who’s surname shall remain blank (for the reason that I don’t feel safe putting my last name out there on the internet). Anyway, Michael was born in 1758 and married a woman named Berthena in 1783 who they had a son with; their marriage was of short duration. Either they had it annulled, or they divorced or just went their separate ways. Whatever happened between the two, Berthena isn’t mentioned again but what is interesting is that Michael later names a child after her that he has with another wife (Awkward!). Once he is single, Michael proceeds to marry a lady named Jemina who later dies in childbirth. This time Michael waits two years before wedding Elizabeth; together they have six or seven children. At some point prior to 1818, Elizabeth dies or leaves Michael because in 1818 Michael marries an eighteen-year-old named Ann. And there is actually a possibility that he had married a woman in between Elizabeth and Ann, but I haven’t found a wedding date yet.

Michael was certainly a busy boy. He lived a long life, and died in 1830, at the ripe old age of seventy-two. I know in those days that the records were sketchy and marriages were often recorded in a Bible or maybe not even at all. I’m not as familiar with the divorce/annulment process of that era, but I doubt it was as easy to end a marriage as it is today. So man had an easier time leaving his wife and marrying someone else. Does that make him a Polygamist? :~P. I might be being pessimistic here, maybe Michael outlived all of his wives.

I wonder if he really was a Black Widower…

Oh well, if you can’t laugh about it, what can you do?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Littlle BIble Humor

It doesn't hurt to have a little Biblical humor to start the day....

Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth?
A. Ruthless.

Q. What do they call pastors in Germany?
A. German Shepherds.

Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible?
A. Noah He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation.

Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible?
A. Pharaoh's daughter. She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a Little prophet.

Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible?
A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord.

Q. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible?
A. Samson. He brought the house down.

Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer
lived in Eden ?
A. Your mother ate us out of house and home.

Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible?
A. Moses. He broke all 10 commandments at once.

Q. Which area of Palestine was especially wealthy?
A. The area around Jordan . The banks were always overflowing.

Q. Who is the greatest babysitter mentioned in the Bible?
A. David He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.

Q. Which Bible character had no parents?
A. Joshua, son of Nun.

Q. Why didn't they play cards on the Ark ?
A. Because Noah was standing on the deck.

PS.. Did you know it's a sin for a woman to make coffee?
Yup, it's in the Bible. It says . . 'He-brews'

Friday, August 14, 2009

“Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana,” by Melanie Dobson: Book of the Month

About the Author:
Melanie Dobson is the author of four novels and has a background in publicity and journalism. She grew up in a small Ohio town but now lives with her husband and two daughters in Oregon.
Read more about Melanie Dobson at

About the Book:
In a divided town during a dangerous era, who can be trusted?
Liberty, Indiana, is home to a stop on the Underground Railroad operated by Quaker abolitionists Anna Brent and her father. Harboring runaway slaves is a dangerous mission; anyone caught aiding them is subject to imprisonment. When Anna’s secret work is threatened, can she turn to the handsome yet outspoken Daniel Stanton, Liberty’s newspaper editor to ensure the safety of the runaways so dear to her? Will she and Daniel risk everything for their beliefs- including their personal liberty?

My Thoughts:
I knew that I would like this book from the moment I heard about it. Of course I was a little biased; finally a novel set in my beloved state! And then when I discovered that it was about the Underground Railroad, I was excited. I was certain that this book was going to stand out from all the others in the series and it did not disappoint me. For any Civil War or Underground Railroad enthusiast, or a lover of Indiana, this book is for you!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

No one ever made it to Heaven by...

watching a sunset and acknowledging that God created it.

praying or reading the Bible.

attending church or being baptised.

being good or doing good works.

or admitting that there is a Higher Power.

"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with you heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."- Romans 10:9-10

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

“How Do I Love Thee?” by Nancy Moser (July 2009 Featured Book!)

Book Description:
A novel of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poetic romance.
She dreams of love for others, but never for herself…

Elizabeth Barret is a published poet- and a virtual prisoner in her own home. Blind family loyalty ties her to a tyrannical father who forbids any of his children to marry. Bedridden by chronic illness, she has resigned herself to simply existing. That is until the letter arrives…
“I love your verses with all my heart,” writes Robert Browning, an admiring fellow poet. As friendly correspondence gives way to something more, Elizabeth discovers that Robert’s love is not for her poetry alone. Might God grand her more than mere existence? And will she risk defying her father in pursuit of true happiness?

Author Bio:
Nancy Moser is the best-selling author of twenty novels, including “Just Jane,” the Christy Award-winning Time Lottery, and the “Sister Circle” series co-authored with Campus Crusade co-founder Vonette Bright. Nancy has been married thirty-three years. She and her husband have three grown children and live in the Midwest. She loves history, has traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs.

My Thoughts:
I was first introduced to Elizabeth Barret Browning’s poetry when I was in high school, first in English lit and then again by a secret pal who gave me a book of her works. At that season of my life I didn’t really enjoy the classics, but Elizabeth’s poems were different. Though they weren’t too complicated but they still contained a vast deal of passion. I didn’t know much about the author’s private life beside the author bio in the book. So when I heard that Nancy Moser was coming out with a book on Barret Browning’s life, I was excited. I hadn’t known what “Ba” went through as a writer and a woman trapped by illness. Most of all she had to follow the plan that God had for her, even though it contradicted the plan her father had for her. True love triumphs in the end.

Monday, July 20, 2009

50 Questions

If you've been tagged or you are reading this, you have the honor of copying all these goofy questions, writing your own response, and tagging 25 other victims. You have to tag me so really you just need 24 more people. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you - but not in a creepy stalker kind of way.

To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your title as "Getting to know each other!", tag 25 people including me (tagging is done in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.

1. What time did you get up this morning?

2. How do you like your steak?
Slathered in ketchup.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? "
The Nativity Story" back in 2006. We don't go to the movies very often, too expensive.

4. What is your favorite TV show?

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Nowhere but Indiana! I would like to see the world though, but I'd always return to Hoosierville.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Generic version of Honey Bunches of Oats.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?

8. What foods do you dislike?
Spicy foods.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Dairy Queen, Olive Garden or Steak N Shake.

10. Favorite dressing?
Italian, nothing else will do.

11. What kind of vehicle do you drive?
1999 blue-gray Taurus.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Casual and comfortable: t-shirts, tanks, shorts, blue jeans.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
Right now, I'm in the mood for Bavaria.

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
1/2 full.

15. Where would you want to retire?
Only in Indiana.

16. Favorite time of day?
The morning.

17. Where were you born?
Beech Grove, IN.

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?
Figure skating.

19. Who do you think will not tag you back?
Probably Terrie, since I got this from her. :~)

20. Person you expect to tag you back first?
My sister.

21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this?
Uncle Bill. I don't see him very often on Facebook.

22. Bird watcher?
Only if I see an uncommon bird, like a woodpecker or a humming bird.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
A little of both.

24. Do you have any pets?
Well, technically, I have only one. A psycho gray tabby cat named Bingley. But my sis has two cats named Garfield and Darcy. And Dad has a graceful Basset hound named Grace.

25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
Nah, the exciting news I did have turned out to be a dud.

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
A firefighter, palentologist or an archeologist.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
Living next door to my grandma.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?

29. Are you married?

30. Always wear your seat belt?
Of course, it's the law.

31. Been in a car accident?
Thank God, no.

32. Any pet peeves?

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
Extra sauce and extra cheese, and a wee bit of sausage.

34. Favorite Flower?
White roses and the tulips my grandma used to grow.

35. Favorite ice cream?
Neopalitan. (sp?)

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
Dairy Queen. Yummy tenderloins and scrumptious desserts.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?
None of your beeswax. :~P

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Can't remember.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Probably Booksamillion.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
No, not really.

41. Like your job?
Oh yeah, nothing like cleaning toilets. ;~p

42. Broccoli?
Yes, dripping in butter.

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Hmmm, going to the outlet mall in Tuscola was cool. But I loved the day we went to Nashville, that was awesome.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
Hmmm, probably the family.

45. What are you listening to right now?
Sirus 1940's channel. Ina Ray Hutton is singing, "Five O'Clock Whistle."

46. What is your favorite color?
Powder blue.

47. How many tattoos do you have?
None. Needles freak me out.

48. How many are you tagging for this quiz?
Not sure.

49. What time did you finish this quiz?

50. Coffee Drinker?
Never, coffee tastes bleh! I love the smell though.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

15 Books That Have Changed My Life

1. The Bible
2. “Redeeming Love,” by Francine Rivers
3. “The Shack: A Novel,” by William P. Young
4. “The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank,” by Anne Frank
5. “Eve’s Daughters,” by Lynn Austin
6. “A Woman’s Place,” by Lynn Austin
7. “The Looking Glass,” by Richard Paul Evans
8. “90 Minutes in Heaven,” by Don Piper
9. “Pride and Prejudice,” by Jane Austen
10. “Gianna,” by Jessica Shaver
11. “Tears in a Bottle,” by Sylvia Bambola
12. “The Tennant of Wildfell Hall,” by Anne Bronte
13. “Winter is Past,” by Ruth Axtell Morren
14. “While Mortals Sleep,” by Jack Cavanaugh
15. “The Amber Photograph,” by Penelope Stokes

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saint Theresa's Prayer!

In case you are not aware, Saint Theresa is known as the Saint of the Little Ways, meaning she believed in doing the little things in life well and with great love.

Remember to make a wish before you read the prayer. That's all you have to do. There is nothing attached. Just share this with people and see what happens on the fourth day.

"May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

When Its Hot, It’s Hot!

Whew! Summer may have officially arrived a few days ago, but here in Indiana it already feels like the dog days of summer. We don’t have air conditioning and have to make do with screens in our windows and fans. It doesn’t bother me so much unless I’ve worked hard outside and need a reprieve. The nights can be stifling as well, but other than that it isn’t too unbearable.

We have a garden too. Of course a lot of folks have been planting gardens this year, titling them “Recession Gardens.” It’s sort of a throw back to WWII when families planted Victory Gardens in their flowerbeds to save money and to “win the war!” I’ve discovered something, I like working in our garden and I’m actually good at it. Whenever I finish with it for the day, I feel a sense of accomplishment. When Dad said it was too hot to work outside today, I felt disappointed.

Mom is still looking for a job. There are job openings at Kroger’s, K-Mart, Fashion Bug and clerical position at a local hospital. As for Dad, that job at the local high school didn’t pan out. However a couple teachers might be retiring this year so we’re in prayer that something might work out.

Our church is doing better and it doesn’t look like it’s going to close. People were just taking for granted God’s hard work and needed a wake up call. I actually, I needed one too. Often enough I forget to pray for my church and the minister, his wife and all the other elders and deacons.

Right now I’m editing my series and am now working on the third book. There’s a lot to add and revise in this one, but not as much as I’ll have to do until I start revising the fourth. I’m finding that information in post-WWII Poland is scarce. Most of the non-fiction books out there deal with the political aspect rather than the every day life of the average Joe, which is what I need.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Anne Frank!

Okay, actually Anne Frank's birthday was two days ago on Friday, June 12. This year she would have been eighty years old. May her story live on forever.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Uncle Allen's Obituary

Sept. 7, 1921 - June 6, 2009

Allen was born in Terre Haute. He was the youngest son of Blanche and Allen Asay Sr. Allen Jr. had two older brothers, Fred and Harold, and a sister, Dorothy. He attended Woodrow Wilson Junior High School, and Wiley High School. He met Alice McCoy at Starke’s Dance School, and they married Dec. 15, 1942.

During World War II Allen served in the anti-aircraft division of Patton’s Third Army. In June of 1944, he was part of the Normandy Invasion. He was D-Day +4 and he fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

For many years Allen was one of the top salesmen at Levin Brothers Wholesale Company. Later he retired from Kryling Flooring of Evansville.

He is survived by five children, Sandra A. Marietta (Ron) of Miami, Fla., Jane Keegan (Gary) of Sun City Center, Fla., Rebecca Sterling (widow) of Nashville, Tenn., Steve Asay (Cathy) of Connersville, and Paul Asay (Sherrie) of Terre Haute; 10 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

He was an active member of Bible Center Church, and later Maryland Community Church and Maranatha Alliance Church.

Allen was a loving husband and father; he was an example to his children and grandchildren. He enjoyed parades, parks, and taking his family on vacations to Florida. He never missed an opportunity to watch the sunset on the beach. He loved God and his family. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Visitation will be held Saturday, June 13, 2009, at DeBaun Springhill Chapel. 85 E. Springhill Drive, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, with Abe Miller officiating. Interment will be at Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 972 will conduct graveside military rites.

Please pray for the whole family tomorrow, especially his wife and kids. Unfortunately Aunt Alice won't be there for the funeral, she is unwell.

Monday, June 8, 2009

When it Rains, It Pours

Ain’t that the truth! To begin with, a few weeks ago my Mom learns that as of Sept 30th, 2009, she will no longer have a job at the local university. It’s difficult not to have hard feelings over this because the reason she was laid-off has nothing to do with financial difficulties; it was over a personal vendetta. Mom was/is so devoted to her work, she gives her all and to see her treated this way more than hurts. There is a silver lining to this though, she’s no longer have to endure their grief. And it’s more than likely that Dad will be working full time at a high school. You know the old saying: when God closes a door, He opens a window.

My Dad’s cousin went in for surgery corroded artery and had a negative reaction to it. She had to be sedated and put on a ventilator. She’s puffy and her blood pressure and potassium levels were hinky but now seem to be improving. Yesterday she opened her eyes, was responsive to her sister and family, and could answer some questions. Any prayers you could offer her would be appreciated. Not only for healing but for peace of mind. She’s kind of a Nervous Nellie when it comes to things like this.

Saturday, June 6th was D-day, you know; the 65th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy and Nazi occupied Europe. That day is always important to us because so many of our relatives served in WWII and were involved with it (particularly our Grandpa). His younger brother Allen went over on D-day plus 3 (June 9, 1944). Anyway, Uncle Allen died on Saturday, at age 87. He was such a sweetheart; he was the type who brightened the whole room just by walking in. Our Grandpa died when we were young, and it wasn’t like Uncle Allen took his place. But he was always kind and supportive of us. He’d patiently answer our questions about WWII, the past, family history and never displayed any jealousy or annoyance whatsoever when we’d bring up our Grandpa or brag on him. He was proud of his older brother and helped fill in a lot of gaps that we had about Grandpa’s military career. Uncle Allen will be missed by all, but he’s so much more content where he is now than where he was. He was in and out of the nursing home for the last year and was completely miserable there. That long with the fact that his sweetheart, Alice, no longer recognized him (she has dementia) broke his heart. But there’s no doubt in my mind that Uncle Allen is completely whole; he was always vocal about his faith in Christ. I can easily imagine him walking down a street of gold, chatting with his older brother and sister, maybe even eating a banana. (He loved bananas.)

And for the last bit of news- I got a call from Mom. The church board members met yesterday after we were dismissed and discussed finances. According to Mom, it was decided that if tithing doesn’t improve, our church will close… BY THE END OF THIS MONTH!!! Not to brag, but we tithe out 10% regularly so our conscience is clean. However, so many others don’t. This really bites. Because of the selfishness of others we all must suffer. Okay, I shouldn’t judge, but it hurts. Spring Creek just celebrated its 20th anniversary a few months ago. Please, please, please pray that God will move on the hearts of the congregation to give. Please, I’m begging you! I don’t know what I’ll do if this church closes; I’ve grown more spiritually here than at any other church I’ve attended. I know God’s Will be done in the end, but sometimes that’s a hard pill to swallow.

If you’re interested to learn more about our church, please click here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Holocast Wedding Gown

This is a very interesting story.

The Wedding Gown That Made History!

Lilly Friedman doesn't remember the last name of the woman who designed and sewed the wedding gown she wore when she walked down the aisle over 60 years ago. But the grandmother of seven does recall that when she first told her fiancé Ludwig that she had always dreamed of being married in a white gown he realized he had his work cut out for him.

For the tall, lanky 21-year-old who had survived hunger, disease and torture this was a different kind of challenge. How was he ever going to find such a dress in the Bergen Belsen Displaced Person's camp where they felt grateful for the clothes on their backs?

Fate would intervene in the guise of a former German pilot who walked into the food distribution center where Ludwig worked, eager to make a trade for his worthless parachute. In exchange for two pounds of coffee beans and a couple of packs of cigarettes Lilly would have her wedding gown.

For two weeks Miriam the seamstress worked under the curious eyes of her fellow DPs, carefully fashioning the six parachute panels into a simple, long sleeved gown with a rolled collar and a fitted waist that tied in the back with a bow. When the dress was completed she sewed the leftover material into a matching shirt for the groom.

A white wedding gown may have seemed like a frivolous request in the surreal environment of the camps, but for Lilly the dress symbolized the innocent, normal life she and her family had once led before the world descended into madness. Lilly and her siblings were raised in a Torah observant home in the small town of Zarica, Czechoslovakia where her father was a melamed, respected and well liked by the young yeshiva students he taught in nearby Irsheva.

He and his two sons were marked for extermination immediately upon arriving at Auschwitz . For Lilly and her sisters it was only their first stop on their long journey of persecution, which included Plashof, Neustadt, Gross Rosen and finally Bergen Belsen .

Four hundred people marched 15 miles in the snow to the town of Celle on January 27, 1946 to attend Lilly and Ludwig's wedding. The town synagogue, damaged and desecrated, had been lovingly renovated by the DPs with the meager materials available to them. When a Sefer Torah arrived from England they converted an old kitchen cabinet into a makeshift Aron Kodesh.

"My sisters and I lost everything - our parents, our two brothers, our homes. The most important thing was to build a new home." Six months later, Lilly's sister Ilona wore the dress when she married Max Traeger. After that came Cousin Rosie. How many brides wore Lilly's dress? "I stopped counting after 17." With the camps experiencing the highest marriage rate in the world, Lilly's gown was in great demand.

In 1948 when President Harry Truman finally permitted the 100,000 Jews who had been languishing in DP camps since the end of the war to emigrate, the gown accompanied Lilly across the ocean to America . Unable to part with her dress, it lay at the bottom of her bedroom closet for the next 50 years, "not even good enough for a garage sale. I was happy when it found such a good home."

Home was the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. When Lily's niece, a volunteer, told museum officials about her aunt's dress, they immediately recognized its historical significance and displayed the gown in a specially designed showcase, guaranteed to preserve it for 500 years.

But Lilly Friedman's dress had one more journey to make. Bergen Belsen , the museum, opened its doors on October 28, 2007. The German government invited Lilly and her sisters to be their guests for the grand opening. They initially declined, but finally traveled to Hanover the following year with their children, their grandchildren and extended families to view the extraordinary exhibit created for the wedding dress made from a parachute.

Lilly's family, who were all familiar with the stories about the wedding in Celle , were eager to visit the synagogue. They found the building had been completely renovated and modernized. But when they pulled aside the handsome curtain they were astounded to find that the Aron Kodesh, made from a kitchen cabinet, had remained untouched as a testament to the profound faith of the survivors. As Lilly stood on the bimah once again she beckoned to her granddaughter, Jackie, to stand beside her where she was once a kallah. "It was an emotional trip. We cried a lot."

Two weeks later, the woman who had once stood trembling before the selective eyes of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele returned home and witnessed the marriage of her granddaughter.

The three Lax sisters - Lilly, Ilona and Eva, who together survived Auschwitz, a forced labor camp, a death march and Bergen Belsen - have remained close and today live within walking distance of each other in Brooklyn. As mere teenagers, they managed to outwit and outlive a monstrous killing machine, then went on to marry, have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and were ultimately honored by the country that had earmarked them for extinction.

As young brides, they had stood underneath the chuppah and recited the blessings that their ancestors had been saying for thousands of years. In doing so, they chose to honor the legacy of those who had perished by choosing life.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way!

Now, more than ever, with Iraq , Iran and others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'a myth,' it's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The House in Grosvenor Square by Linore Rose Burkard

About the Book:
As Ariana Forsythe plans her wedding to Phillip Mornay, she must adjust to the realization that she is soon to become the wife of an extremely wealthy man. She wonders if it’s wrong to rejoice that her future husband is rich. But she promises herself to use her new position to do what she can to aid the numerous street waifs she sees all too often in London.
During a tour of her future home—the house in Grosvenor Square—Ariana makes plans to redecorate according to her tastes. But when Phillip arrives home later, he is informed that an expensive silver candlestick and a miniature portrait of George III have gone missing. Moreover, each time Ariana visits the house, accompanied by a friend or relation, another item disappears.
Shortly thereafter Ariana is abducted as she leaves a performance at Covent Garden Theatre, leaving Phillip to unravel the pieces of the mystery. Where has his future bride been taken, and by whom? For what reason? How does Ariana’s faith play a role?
Finally, after the safe return of his intended, how does Phillip—a man of intense discrimination in his tastes—find the many alterations in his house? And what on earth is behind the sudden influx of bills from every charity in London, all thanking him profusely for his uncommon generosity? Will he have second thoughts about his future bride?

About the Author:
Linore Rose Burkard creates Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul. Her characters take you back in time to experience life and love during the Regency England era (circa 1800 - 1830). Ms. Burkard's novels include Before the Seasons Ends and The House in Grosvenor Square (coming April, 2009). Her stories blend Christian faith and romance with well-researched details from the Regency period. Experience a romantic age, where timeless lessons still apply to modern life. And, enjoy a romance that reminds you happy endings are possible for everyone.

My Thoughts:
While I liked “Before the Season Ends,” I think I like “The House in Grosvenor Square,” even better. I thought that Ariana and Phillip’s relationship progressed well, and was amazed at how his character did such a transformation after coming to Christ. What I have noticed about many male characters in Christian fiction, is that after they come to Christ they tend to get a bit bland or cliché. Phillip didn’t come across that way though, he is quite intriguing and realistic. Ariana isn’t the same either; she started out as an innocent, wide-eyed young girl and has become a wise, godly woman.
From what I have heard, the third book – “The Country House Courtship,” premiering in 2010- in the series is switching gears and focusing on a new couple. I’m going to miss Ariana and Phillip, but am curious about this new romance that will be blooming.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Christ Beside Me

By St. Patrick

Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, King of my Heart,
Christ within me, Christ below me,
Christ above me, never to part.

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me, sheild of my life,
Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising, light of my life.

Christ beside me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, King of my Heart,
Christ within me, Christ below me,
Christ above me, never to part.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"A Bride of Honor" by Ruth Axtell Morren

About the Author:
I discovered I enjoyed writing when my seventh-grade English teacher assigned our class to finish a story that began with one sentence, a “once upon a time” premise. My version ended up being a romance, and what amazed me most was when someone turned to me after my story was read aloud and told me how much she liked it. I then went on to write a spy thriller—complete with my own illustrations—and knew I wanted to be a writer. There were many detours along the way as I pursued more realistic goals. I studied comparative literature at Smith College, where I received a Bachelor’s degree; I spent my junior year in Paris; taught English and lived as an au pair in the Canary Islands; and worked in international development in Miami, Florida. It was there I met my future husband, a Dutchman from Suriname, who took me to The Netherlands to live for six years. In Holland I began my life as a stay-at-home mom. For the first time in my life I was able to seriously pursue my dream of writing full-length historicals. During my six years there, I completed three manuscripts. My second one gained recognition when it finalized in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest in 1994. Then my family and I moved back to the U.S., to the down east coast of Maine to a small village where I had spent childhood summers. Maine has been a place of discovery—from discerning the varying faces of the sea and likening them to the color of my current hero or heroine’s eyes, to observing the changing seasons and the wonders of a flower or leaf or icicle, to simply learning how to say, “yes, Lord,” when I hear His still, small voice.
Ms. Morren’s website:
Ms. Morren’s blog:

About the Book:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a lady of rank and distinction is no match for an impoverished preacher. Yet Damian Hathaway is entranced from the moment he spies Miss Lindsay Phillips entering his church. She doesn't appear any different from the other pampered society ladies—and she's betrothed to a gentleman of the ton. But Damian is determined to find the pure heart he's sure exists underneath all the ruffles and lace. The unlikely friendship formed by Damian and Lindsay is a revelation to them both, but is frowned upon by her parents—and Damian's parishioners. Torn between two worlds, the pair must trust that their love can bridge the divide—and conquer all.

My Thoughts:
From the second I was introduced to Damian in “The Making of a Gentleman,” I loved his character; he was such a sweetheart and my favorite. When I heard that “A Bride of Honor” was his love story I was excited. The book wasn’t what I had expected but believe me, I wasn’t disappointed. Damian and Lindsay make an adorable couple; they are a fine example for what a Biblical marriage should look like. I also like the scenes with Jonah and Lindsay together; they eventually become in-laws, but they act more like a big brother and a little sister. I’m crossing my fingers in hopes that Ms. Morren will write another.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Hillbilly's Ten Commandments

Some people in Kentucky have trouble with all those "shalls" and "shall nots" in the Ten Commandments. Folks just aren't used to talking in those terms. So, some folks in Southeastern Kentucky got together and translated the "King James" into "Harlan
County" language.... no joke, read on...

(posted on the wall at Cross Trails Church in Harlan, Ky.)

(1) Just one God.
(2) Honor yer Ma & Pa.
(3) No tellin' tales or gossipin'.
(4) Git yourself to Sunday meetin'.
(5) Put nothin' before God.
(6) No foolin' around with another fellow's gal.
(7) No killin'.
(8) Watch yer mouth.
(9) Don't take what ain't yers.
(10) Don't be hankerin' for yer buddy's stuff.

Now that's kinda plain an' simple, don't ya think? Y'all have a nice day.

(Remember, y'all is singular. All'Y'all" is plural.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler: Movie Review

::Spoiler Alert!::

It’s the early 1940’s in Warsaw, Poland. Two years into the war and earlier that year the Germans pushed the Russians back into the Soviet Union and claimed complete control of Poland. The Nazi death machine is in full swing. The Jewish citizens have been living in the ghetto for some time now yet optimistically hope for the best. However, a handful of people sees the truth for what it is; the German’s ultimate goal is to wipe the Jewish people off the face of the earth. Irena Sendler, a young social worker in Warsaw, works inside the ghetto. As the situation continues to decline, she along with other resistance fighters and members of Zegota work feverishly to rescue children from the German’s clutches. By the war’s end she saves 2,500 children, twice as many people as Oscar Schindler.
“The Courageous Heart” follows Irena’s life from when she began her mission of saving children to her own arrest and going into hiding herself. Anna Paquin brings Irena Sendler to life as a spunky and brave young woman who nearly loses her life for a cause that she believes in. Marcia Gay Harden portrays Irena’s sickly but supportive mother. And Goran Visnjic, is handsome and trustworthy Stefan, Irena’s love interest.

While I absolutely loved this movie, I would caution that this movie is not suited for children or young teens. Keep in mind that most of the scenes feature Irena in the ghetto and though Hallmark didn’t do anything too graphic, there are innocent people shown being fatally shot; starvation and disease runs rampant in the ghetto. Orphan children are herded into a cattle car destined for a concentration camp. At one point a boy and his father are included in one of the transports, and the father makes the dangerously risks his son’s life by crushing the floorboards and pushing his son through the hole. The most gruesome part of the entire movie is the last twenty minutes when Irena is arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated. When she isn’t forthcoming about her clandestine work, the Gestapo agents restrain her and beat her legs, repeatedly. Her feet are broken and she is unable to walk on her own, so the agents drag her up a flight of stairs for interrogations and back down again to her cell, at least twice. Her cellmates bandage her feet for her. When Irena and several others are sent to be executed, it is then that she is freed thanks to Zegota.

Sex and Nudity:
Sex and nudity is non-existent, and for a movie about the holocaust that is unusual. There is a sweet relationship between Irena and her friend Stefan. After he comes to hide in the Sendler’s apartment, he is shown working on a secret hiding place in one of the wardrobes. He shows Irena and the two get locked in. They share a kiss then and again at the end of the movie when they are reunited.

“The Courageous Heart” shows Irena, her mother and the other working in the resistance as respecters of all peoples and religions. Irena, herself is a Catholic, but never goes so far as pushing her religion on others. She does admit to the parents of the children that she rescues that the children will be put in Christian families and will have to disguise themselves as Christians for their own protection. Jewish parents are torn between sending their children to live with Christian strangers and live as Christians or watch their children perish along with them. Irena and other resistance workers are shown teaching children Christian prayers, how to cross themselves and other elements of the Catholic faith in order to save them.

Overall Opinion:
One thing I did notice is that Irena and her mother are referred to as “Miss Sendler” and “Mrs. Sendler,” respectively. And Stefan was given a different last name. In reality that is incorrect. Stefan’s last name was Sendler and Irena only gained that name when she married him. The only reason I can think of for Hallmark doing this is that Irena is not known by her maiden name and it might have been too confusing to refer to her as such. Other than that, I have no other nit-picks. Great production, superb acting. The only other projects I have seen Anna Paquin in was when she played young Jane in “Jane Eyre” and a leading role in “Fly Away Home.” However, I’ll keep my eye out for any of her movies now. This movie also interests me in reading Irena Sendler’s own autobiography “Life in a Jar,” and Ana Mieszkowska’s biography, “Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Irena Sendler Story” on which this movie is based.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Version of "Emma" Coming Out In...

October 2009.

Check out for more info.

Series Directed by
Jim O'Hanlon

Jane Austen (novel)
Sandy Welch (writer) (2009)

Series Cast
Robert Bathurst ... Mr. Weston (1 episode, 2009)
Christina Cole ... Mrs. Elton (1 episode, 2009)

Louise Dylan ... Harriet (1 episode, 2009)

Rupert Evans ... Frank Churchill (1 episode, 2009)

Dan Fredenburgh ... John Knightley (1 episode, 2009)

Michael Gambon ... Mr. Woodhouse (1 episode, 2009)

Romola Garai ... Emma Woodhouse (1 episode, 2009)
Tamsin Greig ... Miss Bates (1 episode, 2009)
Jodhi May ... Miss Taylor (1 episode, 2009)

Jonny Lee Miller ... Mr. Knightley (1 episode, 2009)
Laura Pyper ... Jane Fairfax (1 episode, 2009)

Blake Ritson ... Mr. Elton (1 episode, 2009)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First They Came for the Jews

by Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Let us never forget the 6 million innocent people (1 million being children) that perished under the Nazi Regime. And let us band together to never let it happen again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Featured Book of the Month: April 2009

The featured book of April 2009 is...

Drum roll, please...

It’s Not About Me (A Second Glance’s Novel: Book 1) by Michelle Sutton!

It’s Not About Me (A Second Glance’s Novel: Book 1) by Michelle Sutton

About the Author:
Michelle Sutton is an Editor-in-chief for Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Sheaf House Marketing Director, a member of ACFW, an edgy fiction writer, a book reviewer, an avid blogger/alliance member, CWOW blog mistress, mother of two teenagers, wife, pet owner, social worker by trade, and follower of Jesus Christ.
Check out her website, right here.
Check out her blog, right here.

About the Book:
When a young woman’s life is shattered by a brutal attack, she is torn between two brothers, both of whom claim to love her. She is attracted to both, but which one does she love? How can she choose when her decision may cause a permanent rift between them? And more important, will she give her heart to the One who will sustain her even when human love fails?

My Thoughts:
After winning “It’s Not About Me” by Michelle Sutton in a contest on the internet, I thought I should review it and promote it on my blogs.
“It’s Not About Me” is not your average Christian Young Adult novel. Usually authors of that genre sugarcoat certain aspects of a teen’s life, but that’s not the case in this book. The dialog isn’t fluffy or cliché but the author never shows them actually using profanity; the description isn’t over done and it’s always to the point; and the characters’ behavior is realistic for young adults.
What I liked about the heroine, Annie, was that even prior to her encounter with Christ, she was a moral person, which is refreshing. Most secular young adult books portray that every teen is sexually active. And Dan, the hero, is a Christian young man who practices abstinence; a choice that some even Christians forgo. Dan has loved Annie from the first moment her saw her. Unfortunately, Annie is his brother, Tony’s girlfriend but he maintains his distance until Annie is a victim of a violent attack. When Tony lets her down and their relationship is in limbo, Dan is the one who brings her comfort… at least until she meets the One who helps her to make sense of her life.
You know what this story reminded me of? The Biblical story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel, except that Annie can only have one of the brothers, not both.
The second book in the “Second Glances’ Series”, “It’s Not About Him” is due to come out in September 2009.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler

On Sunday, April 19th, CBS will be featuring "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler," docu-drama on the rescuer of 2,500 Jewish children. This female Oscar Schindler lived to be 98 years old and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Below is the press release from CBS.

The drama is based on the courageous true story of Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irena Sendler (Paquin), who is credited with saving the lives of 2,500 Jewish children during World War II. Academy Award winner and nominee Marcia Gay Harden (”Pollock,” “Mystic River”), Nathaniel Parker (”The Inspector Lynley Mysteries”) and Goran Visnjic (”ER”) also star. Harden plays Sendler’s mother, Janina, and Parker portrays Dr. Majkowski, the head of Warsaw’s Department of Health who helped Sendler obtain important resources for her mission. Visnjic plays Stefan, a former university friend of Sendler who was Jewish and with whom she fell in love when she started her clandestine work in the Warsaw ghetto.

As a Polish Catholic social worker in the early 1940s, Irena Sendler created and led a conspiracy of women who moved in and out of Warsaw’s Jewish Ghetto disguised as nurses employed by Warsaw’s Health Department. Though they worked under the guise of merely attempting to prevent and contain the spread of Typhus and Spotted Fever, Sendler and her brave cohorts emerged each time with the children of consenting Jewish parents. The children were sometimes sedated and hidden inside boxes, suitcases and coffins as a means of rescuing them from their imminent deportation to death camps. They were given new identities and placed with Polish families and in convents. Sendler kept a hidden record of their birth names and where they were placed with the hope that they would some day be reunited with their own families.

In 1943, the Nazis discovered Sendler’s daring and dangerous ruse and arrested her. She was tortured by Gestapo agents and suffered broken feet. On the day of her scheduled execution she was rescued by “Zegota,” the underground network with which she worked to save the Jewish children.

As a result of Sendler’s efforts, approximately 2,500 children were smuggled to safety. Not a single child she rescued was ever betrayed or discovered by the Nazis.

The movie is based on the authorized biography of the heroine, Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Irena Sendler Story, by Anna Mieszkowska, published in 2005.

In 2007 Sendler was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. That same year, Hallmark Hall of Fame acquired exclusive movie rights to the book and negotiated life-rights with Sendler and her family members. Sendler died on May 12, 2008 at the age of 98.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Let others know a little more about yourself, re-post this as your name followed by "ology"



What is your salad dressing of choice?

What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
Stake 'N' Shake or Cheeseburger Paradise.

What food could you eat for 2 weeks straight and not get sick of?

What are your pizza toppings of choice?
Just extra sauce and extra cheese and sausage.

What do you like to put on your toast?
Peanut Butter.


How many television sets are in your house?
Five, but one is an extra.

What color cell phone do you have?
I don't have one.


Are you right-handed or left-handed?
I'm a righty.

Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A mole. Gross, I know. And the dentist has removed teeth before.

What is the last heavy item you lifted?
Probably Gar. He's a heavy cat.

Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
Thankfully, no.


If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
Maybe. I'd spend my last day doing what I wanted, waiting in anticipation for when I go to Glory.

If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
Ariana. Or Julia. Or Danika. But I really like my name.

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
Yes. Even if I retch, at least I'd have $1000.


How many pairs of flip flops do you own?
A couple. I'm more of a sandles kind of girl.

Last time you had a run-in with the cops?
Never had a run-in.

Last person you talked to?
My mom.

Last person you hugged?
My cat, Bingley.




Day of the week?
Saturday or Sunday.

April, May or June.


Missing someone?
My grandparents.


What are you listening to?
Sarah, Plain and Tall: Skylark.

See above.

Worrying about?
How this country has declined in such a short amount of time.


First place you went to this morning?

What's the last movie you saw?
Sarah, Plain and Tall: Skylark.

Do you smile often?
Not as much as I should.


1) Do you always answer your phone?
No, I don't like to talk on the phone.

2) It's four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?
I don't have a cell and if I did, no one would text me.

3) If you could change your eye color what would it be?
Green, or hazel like my mom's.

4) What flavor do you add to your drink at Sonic?
We don't have a Sonic's around here yet.

5) Do you own a digital camera?

6) Have you ever had a pet fish?
Yeah, when I was a little girl. He was orange and I named him Michaelangelo, after the Teenage Mutant Turtle.

7) Favorite Christmas song?
"Mary, Did You Know?"

8) What's on your wish list for your birthday?
Wow, I haven't even thought about it. My b-day is in December. Probably books or music.

9) Can you do push ups?
Yeah, but it ain't a pretty sight.

10) Can you do a chin up?
Probably, but once again, it wouldn't be pretty.

11) Does the future make you more nervous or excited?
Sometimes I'm excited, but when I watch the news I get nervous.

12) Do you have any saved texts?

13) Ever been in a car wreck?
No, thank You, God!

14) Do you have an accent?
Sort of. I have a bit of a drawl even though I'm not from the south.

15) What is the last song to make you cry?
"Tennesee Waltz."

16) Plans tonight?
Yeah, I'm going to watch newest and last movie in the "Love Saga" on the Hallmark Channel, "Love Finds a Home."

17) Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?
Sure, but God's lifted me up.

18) Name 3 things you bought in the last week
I only have $1.11 in change, I can't buy anything.

19) Have you ever been given roses?
One time at church, on Mother's Day, they were passing out roses to the mothers and they even gave one each to my sister and I. And when my dog died, some very close and sweet friends sent me flowers.

20) Current worry?
The economic situation.

21) Current hate right now?
Hate itself. It's the only permissable thing to hate.

22) Met someone who changed your life?
Christ is Someone that I have met who's changed my life.

23) How did you bring in the New Year?

24) What song represents you?
"Who I Am," by Jessica Andrews.

25) Name three people who might complete this?
Mary Ann, Kaye and my Aunt Barbara.

26) What were you doing 12 AM last night?

27) What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
"Whoa, what time is it?"

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Boo hoo, my computer was attacked!

Yep, it's true, my computer was attacked by a virus. I'm very blessed though. I didn't lose any info, I have a back up computer, and my sister is kind enough to let me borrow her PC until I get my back up computer set up.

In other news (boy, do I sound like a reporter, or what?) when I get this computer situation figured out, I'm going to try and enter the contest that Novel Matters is having. I'm excited. I'm praying that this is my chance. But if it isn't, God knows best. I'm determined not to give up so easily though.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment, but I have only you.

5. Talk to me.. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.

10. On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so.

~Take a moment today to thank God for your pets. Enjoy and take good care of them.

Life would be a much duller, less joyful experience without God's critters.

~Now please pass this on to other pet owners. We do not have to wait for Heaven, to be surrounded by hope, love, and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four legs!