Thursday, October 30, 2014


By Bonnie Doran

            Ada asked me to tell a little bit about my research for Dark Biology. Here goes:

Influenza: This was the disease I used in the novel. Much of my research came from The Great Influenza by John M. Barry, which described the so-called Spanish flu during World War I. In bopping around the internet, I found a reference to a strain that scientists discovered on a Canadian farm. This became the basis of my deadly virus.

Biosafety Level  4: You can’t waltz into the CDC’s lab where scientists study the deadliest diseases. Richard Preston, a journalist, did that and described his experience in Panic In Level 4. I based my scenes on his research. That’s way more research than I ever want to do.

Cruise Ship: I had been on three cruises at the time I wrote Dark Biology, so I used my own knowledge for the novel. I also emailed the cruise line for additional information. I learned that ships have sophisticated onboard medical facilities, a morgue, and a brig.

FBI: I didn’t know who would arrest the villain on a cruise ship in international waters. Someone I met at a writers’ meeting put me in touch with a former FBI agent. I emailed him with some questions. Among other things, he told me that the FBI works with the US Navy. The villain would probably be removed from the ship to a naval destroyer. That was a fun fact to use in the novel.

Red Tie: My pastor insisted he always wore a red tie, but he wouldn’t tell me why. I looked up “red tie” on the internet. It can represent sin, blood, and sex. For my character, it became a symbol of both his adultery (think The Scarlet Letter) but also Christ’s blood that covered it.

Defibrillator: I was embarrassed that my editor had to correct me on this one. Many television shows and movies get this wrong. Note to self: Don’t use media as a basis for research. My editor pointed me to a blog,, and a post entitled “If you shock a flatline, I swear I will come to your home and beat you with a wet chicken.” I rewrote the scene and it came out more suspenseful than my original version.  

Space: By far, the biggest challenge in my research for Dark Biology was finding information on the space program. Internet searches can only go so far. I needed an expert. Someone on ACFW’s email loop told me to contact Austin Boyd, a novelist and former astronaut candidate. He was kind enough to read through my manuscript and tell me the way NASA would handle situations.

Thanks for hosting me, Ada.


Blurb: Renowned vaccinologist "Hildi" Hildebrandt has set her sights on beating her brother to a Nobel Prize, and the opportunity to conduct experiments on the International Space Station might just provide the means to obtain that goal. Chet Hildebrandt should have had that opportunity. But now he'll teach a lesson to them all: his hot-shot astronaut sister, his philandering hypocritical father, and the CDC for not properly appreciating his work. One vial of a virus purloined from the CDC labs and released at his father's marriage seminar should do the trick, without hurting anybody. After all, it's only a mild influenza strain...Or is it?


Bonnie Doran’s heart is in science fiction. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and Sudoku puzzles. Her husband of thirty-one years is a Mad Scientist who owns a 2,300-pound electromagnet. They share their Colorado home with two Siamese cats. Her science thriller, Dark Biology, released October 25, 2013, from Harbourlight (Pelican Book Group).


Pelican Book Group:


Barnes and Noble:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Malicious Mischief by Lora Young

Photo: Missouri State Parks, Katy Trail

By Lora Young

My husband and I love to ride our tadpole recumbents on the Katy Trail in Missouri—the longest rails-to-trails in the nation. The trail head in New Franklin tells the story of Joseph Kinney, a steamship company owner, who had built a thriving business transporting goods and passengers up and down the Missouri River.
When the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway (nicknamed The Katy) came through in the early 1870s, he saw it as a threat to his business and his way of life. He wrote scathing editorials to area newspapers decrying the evils of the railroads.
I saw in this…a story. A steamship owner’s strong-willed daughter falling in love with a railroad man. Voila! (Still not quite sure how it turned into a mystery. All my stories seem to do that.)
The hardest part of writing this story was the research. The MK&T Railroad no longer exists. Missouri Pacific (now part of Union Pacific) purchased the MK&T in the late 1980s. Nostalgia has kept more recent history alive, but there aren’t many stories from the late 1800s.
Sometimes when I write, a character will surprise me. In this story, it was Roy Willis, the station master. I had great fun coming up with new ways for him to irritate Endy (the hero). And watching Endy deal with Roy’s annoying chatter…loved it!
One of the other surprises for me was that Delia achieved one of her dreams in spite of my best efforts to disappoint her. I had every intention of her never becoming a teacher, but she was one determined gal. The way she accomplished it turned out perfectly!
This story was a delight to write. I certainly hope readers will enjoy it too!

Book Description: Delia Eastman returns home from teachers’ college with two goals: find a teaching position and sidestep her mother’s insistence on finding her a husband. But employers don’t care for women who are smarter than they. Neither do suitors. As she struggles to find her place, she discovers her sleepy riverboat town has turned into a powder-keg of rivalry between the steamships and the railroads.
Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings her face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s  father.
As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. He’s intelligent. He’s charming. And he’s guarding secrets. Thinking he might know more than he’s telling, Delia reluctantly agrees to collaborate with him to solve the crimes. With the vandalism becoming deadly, they’ll need every scrap of intelligence and logic to stay alive. Working together may not be their first choice, but it might be their last.

Malicious Mischief is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon.
Connect with Lora on: Website, Facebook, or Twitter

Lora Young has never lived outside the state of Missouri. She grew up reading the Little House books and Trixie Belden mysteries, so it makes sense that her first novel would be an historical mystery set in Missouri.
Lora lives in rural Platte County with her husband, four cats, and the constant interruption of her children and grandchildren. She enjoys riding her tadpole recumbent, ballroom dancing, and making stuff up.
She is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


A Parental Vision

By Sarah Hamaker

With four kids between the ages of 6 and 12, I’m often asked how I do it, which usually means how do I weather the noise, chaos, fighting, and general melee that comes from having multiple children living under the same roof. Most people view my typical answer of, “Oh, it’s all good,” with disbelief, sure that I am hiding my shame at having unruly, sibling-hating kids.

Don’t get me wrong—my children are perfectly capable of behaving like little monsters in league with the devil on any given day. They do strange, weird, outlandish things for no other reason than it popped into their little brains. I’ve been called by the assistant principal, had to remove screaming kids from the grocery store, and had to enforce a no-playing rule with neighbor children because of my child’s bad behavior. My life as a mother isn’t a Disney movie, that’s for sure.

But—and this is a huge but—nor is my life as a mom something for which I dread getting up in the mornings. I enjoy my kids. I love my kids. I laugh with my kids (and sometimes, alone with my husband, at some of the crazy things they’ve done). I shake my head at their antics. I correct them when they stray. I leave them to their own devices more than I play with them. I curb their electronic consumption to the point of near non-existence.

What helps me keep up with the discipline and guidance is thinking about just what I’m doing. I’m not raising kids—I’m raising adults. For a child is only a child for a short period of time, but he’s an adult for the rest of his life. If we as parents thought more about who would our child be at age 30, I suspect our child rearing would look somewhat differently.

How would you describe your children as full grown adults? Would you focus on where they went to college or their career choices? Where they live or what they drive? How you answer that question tells a lot about your parenting vision for your children.

Most of us would probably describe someone who was kind and honest, willing to lend a hand to others, compassionate, thoughtful, responsible, respectful, godly and loving. This list doesn’t talk about achievements or status symbols that proclaim a person’s “place” in this world. This list instead drills down to the characteristics of what makes a man or woman underneath the outer trappings.

If what you really want for your children is for them to develop good character, then that will change how you raise them. Write down a short list of characteristics you want each of your children to have as adults and post it where you can reference it regularly. Think about the list in light of your parenting decisions today. Make sure the things you encourage your children to accomplish or spend time on build toward that vision you have for them as adults. Your parenting decisions about discipline and consequences—virtually anything related to raising kids—should be framed with that vision in mind.

A clear vision for your children as adults will make the hard parenting lessons of today easier to put into place. In other words, taking the long view of raising kids will help you in the short term. Having a vision for your kids and keeping that vision in mind as you parent will get you over both the rough and smooth patches of child-rearing.

Sarah Hamaker Bio
As a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™, Sarah Hamaker guides parents in identifying,, and is a frequent writer on parenting issues for She’s also one of the featured parent coaches on Her book Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace (Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City) is in stores now.
discussing and correcting bad parenting habits. Sarah blogs about parenting on her website,

SUMMARY: Ending Sibling Rivalry
Is your day punctuated by tattling, tears, and testiness among your children? Does your home resemble a war zone, with fights breaking out constantly among combative siblings? Do you wonder why your kids can’t get along? You’re not alone. Sibling rivalry has become one of the most frustrating problems facing today’s parents.

Yet sibling rivalry is not an inevitable outcome. It is possible to help your children move from enemies to friends. In Ending Sibling Rivalry, Sarah Hamaker provides common sense and practical solutions to this familiar problem, guiding parents through the roots and remedies of sibling rivalry.

Ending Sibling Rivalry addresses the harmful impact of competition on the sibling relationship, how to avoid the trap of favoritism and comparison, and how to teach children conflict resolution. Whether your children are toddlers or teenagers, Ending Sibling Rivalry provides the blueprint for reducing sibling conflict and building a more loving relationship between or among your children.

Amazon link:

Thursday, October 23, 2014


By Ada Brownell

Two miles high—the nosebleed section of America—Leadville, Colo.

When we moved there it was probably our 15th move. My husband was a telegrapher for the Rio Grande Railroad and he kept getting "bumped.".

Our beautiful almost-new mobile home arrived in Leadville during a snow storm. Even covered with mud, it was a wonderful sight. We’d been “batching” in a railroad house in Malta, about 5 miles away, with no running water and almost no furniture until we could hire the mover to bring the home to Leadville.

I enjoyed the Leadville church, started by a couple of young girls in the Silver King era of the late 19th Century. So much wickedness gripped the city in that era, the two young women reached out to children at first, and then discovered they pioneered a church. That was decades before we attended there.

One of the first things I noticed about the building were crutches on the wall.

“Why are those there?” I asked the pastor.

“Oh, that’s from the soldier boy who was healed and he didn’t need them anymore.”

Leadville was only a few miles from Camp Hale, a large Army post, which now is closed.

Our moves required me to leave my Sunday school in Thompson, Utah, and at first I grieved for the children. The town, population 100, had three bars and no church until the Lord moved on my heart and brought me helper to start a Sunday school in the schoolhouse. That was left behind..

In a short time after we arrived in Leadville, I became the high school class teacher. I’d been youth president in my home church a couple of years before we moved away. I loved youth and devoted my energies into that high school class with four or five students.

Because money was tight and I knew a little about writing news, I went to work as a reporter for The Leadville Herald-Democrat.

In only a little while, however, my husband’s job took him to Texas Creek during the week. My mother-in- law lived with us, and she took care of Carolyn who was age 3, and our oldest , Gary, who was in kindergarten.

I learned early God allows things in our lives that help us grow emotionally and spiritually. The fan on our furnace kept quitting. My husband showed me before he left how to take it out, get it running and then screw everything back together. Sometimes I had to do it several times a day and the only thing I couId do to keep the house warm was be patient.

Then in the middle of the night my mother in law used the bathroom.  I woke to a sucking sound. I’d taken a bath before bed and forgot to turn the water back on to keep it from freezing. The heat tape over our pipes was too short.

So I waited until my mother-in-law slept again. I didn’t want asked every hour of the day if the water was running. I threw a fake fur coat over my nightgown, stuck bare feet into boots, and picked up a fusee and matches. Snow was so deep I had to make a tunnel to crawl under the mobile home.

I got my matches wet. I went in reverse, shoveling snow with my back side, gingerly climbed the steps, grabbed the knob and my bare hand stuck to the frost on it. My brother taught flesh sticks to cold metal, so I pulled on the door instead of trying to get my hand loose.

My warm hand thawed the frost, but the door didn’t move. Deep snow from the roof melted a little. Water ran down and froze the door shut. I rang the doorbell over and over until my mother-in-law came and pushed while I pulled.

Finally inside, I dressed in ski pants, sweaters, gloves, heavy socks, boots and kept my matches dry when I tried the fusee again. Soon the water ran freely inside and the pipes hadn’t broken. The next day I was told it was 35 degrees below zero in the night.

I learned, Think before you act. 

I’m glad the Lord is patient, and even helps us when we’re stupid!

On the mountain, we had other trying times. But there I continued to write for Christian publications, and my experience at The Herald Democrat helped me launch a career as a journalist.  When we moved again, The Pueblo Chieftain hired me.

The Holy Spirit guides and leads. I often didn’t have a clue how today changes our future, but when I am yoked with Him, I have nothing to fear.

©Ada Brownell 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


NOTE FROM CAROL MCCLAIN: I will have a give away--a ten dollar gift card from Barnes and Noble or Amazon, depending on the winner's choice. In theory, the winner can buy the book and a little something else, but no strings attached.

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this post!

By Carol McClain
I am Carol, and I am dreamer.
More than anything else, I dream. As a child, I'd invent games, make my friends play. I'd create plays and force our parents to pay to endure them. I'd dream I was a character on one of my favorite TV shows and tell myself long stories. When I was eight, I decided to make my daydream a novel. Not a short story, mind you—a novel.
As a teen, I wrote angst-filled poems and read the Russian authors—oh what a morbid child I was. My school never offered any writing direction, and I never knew how to be inspired or how to construct a story. College didn't help.
If one thing blocked my writing, aside from my myriad distraction, it was devising plots.
And thus I am the proverbial seat-of-the-pants writer. Generally, something in the news or my life will trigger a thought. I'll have the basic conflict, and know the end, and then I write and modify as I go. It's all very structured whims, and the beginning and the ends usually change.
That's much of what happened with my debut novel DWF: Divorced White Female. I met my husband online later in life. I imagined what online dating would be like with a crazy family. I found characters who intrigued me and made the serious funny.
DWF:Divorced White Female
            Sassy and unsaved and ditched by a philandering husband, Cheryl Chandler knows only one thing will save her, a man, any man, so long as he's hot.
Finding love in rural New York proves a daunting challenge. Should she find her dreamboat, he must meet her quirky teens whose eccentricities range from New Age ideology, to OCD, to religious fanaticism. And, of course, she can't hide her toddler—her husband’s parting gift. What man would love her and accept them?
Her kids have the solution—online dating.
Here she meets two men. Religious fanatic, Tarrant, charms her, but is too pious.
And mysterious Carleton who’s everything her desperation desires.
However, nothing is as it seems, not even her desires.
You can find DWF:Divorced White Female wherever ebooks are sold as well as at

None of my work would be complete without themes dear to my heart. The first is always the redemption—physical, spiritual, emotional—of broken lives.
DWF also explores the true nature of faith, and the concept that sin is sin—no matter who you are or what you believe.

Diverse. If one word can describe Carol McClain, it's diverse and had been long before diversity became such a pc buzz word. She's a novelist and essayist from northern New York—so far north, she's almost Canadian. Eh?
She plays the bassoon, creates stained glass, cross-country skis, and is an erstwhile marathoner and high ropes instructor. A former English teacher, she now teaches adult Bible studies and edits for fun.
In addition to this, she has served on the North Country Habitat for Humanity board for over ten years. In that capacity, she's held every position except those having to do with money. She may be able to tell you the definitions sesquipedalian, but simple addition baffles her.

She is course coordinator for ACFW. And of course, she writes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


            Properly Equipped

            By Ada Brownell

“Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings
rather than ordinary people” (Proverbs 22:29. NLT).

I lay on the bed feeling like a wounded bird. I flew away from my job as a daily newspaper reporter at The Pueblo Chieftain years before, excited to be a stay-at-home mom again and spend more time free lance writing. But 15 years later, reality set in.
When I quit working, I thought I could earn significant cash with my writing as well as fulfilling my call to ministry. But we added three more children to the family, and four of the five needed money for college. Our oldest son already graduated.
The previous year, I sold almost everything I wrote: Fifteen book reviews to The Denver Post; 12 articles to The Pentecostal Evangel; puzzles and fiction to Sunday school papers; articles to Christian education and ministers’ magazines; features to other publications.  I received royalties on a book sold to the Assemblies of God.
In all, I received about $600 that year. Book reviews sold for $15; puzzles, fiction, features, interviews and other articles $5 to $35. Although the book eventually sold more than 7,000 copies, book royalty was 12 ½ cents each. Our children weren’t going to Christian colleges on that.
My husband worked two jobs when our oldest son went to Evangel University. A railroader, Les took a pay cut when we moved back to Pueblo, Colo., to a day job after working nights and evenings in Denver for 15 years.
I took a pile of notebooks that contained tear sheets from my published articles and stories and spread them before an editor. I'd work for that newspaper about three years in the 1960s . The editor was impressed, but frowned. “You need a degree to work now.”
I had nine English credits from the University of Colorado. When reality took me down, God took notice of this sparrow and gave hope. I dried my tears and enrolled at the University of Southern Colorado, now Colorado State University at Pueblo. The school loans I took out helped two kids who already were in college. I received 3 credits for work experience. In two and a half years (no summers), by taking 22 and 24 credits a semester, I earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications.
James wrote in the Bible (James 2:17) that faith without works is dead, so while I was in school I accepted an internship in Lifestyle; buried my pride and accepted an evening job as copy clerk--the newsroom gopher in charge of obits and births.
I graduated with distinction, but the morning newspaper The Star-Journal, folded that month. Yet, the executive editor at The Pueblo Chieftain, the evening paper, created a reporting position for me. I wrote news 17 years, 14 of them after I earned my degree, and all those children went to Christian colleges.
            When I needed a job, God saw my need, and helped me find a way to prepare for the employment He would provide. He not only cares for the sparrows; He cares for me and you.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Yesterday, Oct. 12, The Lady Fugitive became available for the first time in large print paperback.

 On Sept. 30 when I celebrated the release of The Lady Fugitive by giving my other four books away free, The Lady Fugitive jumped to #44 in paid Kindle Store Christian and #46 in Books>Christian>Western. Later that day it jumped to a rank of #33 in Paid.Kindle Store> Western >Christian and #34 in >Christian Books and Bibles >Literature & Fiction >Westerns.

Among my free books was Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, which jumped to #1 in Kindle Store>Kindle ebooks >Religion & Spirituality > Christian >Bible Study and Reference...>Guides and stayed there even for a while after the sale was over.

Imagine the Future You was #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle ebook >Religion and Spirituality > Bible Study >Guides and #2 in Kindle Store > Kindle ebooks > Religion and Spirituality ...>Parenting >Morals and Responsibility.

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult was #19 in Kindle Store ... Literature and Fiction> ...>Christian >Mystery and Suspense.

Confessions of a Pentecostal was #9 in Kindle Store...>Religion and Spirituality >...Christian Living > Inspirational and #12 in Kindle Store >Kindle Short Reads > Religion and Spirituality.

 Thanks to everyone who bought or downloaded my books! -- Ada Brownell


Here are excerpts and comments from reviews for The Lady Fugitive posted on Amazon. Most are five star.  You can purchase the book on my Amazon Author page:

I loved this book, it has something for everyone, romance, danger, intrigue, laughter, the characters are written well and they face their individual demons while helping others with theirs. Don't miss this book by the talented Ada Brownell.

From author Cheri Stalwell:

From Marilyn:

I love the characters throughout this book, some four legged. I enjoyed the dialogue and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading Christian Historical fiction Romance

on September 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
An Entertaining and enjoyable story touching on abuse, and humor. Plenty of action with twists and turns, mystery, suspense, new friendships, faith, forgiveness, romance and learning to trust. I loved the characters and how the author wove their lives together. I love historical western fiction. This story takes place in 1908

Ada Brownell is a talented author and I loved having to chance to read The Lady Fugitive. A great book.

on August 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved this book set in the old west. It was so well written and pulled me in from the start. I loved Jennie and William. Jennie is running from her abusive Uncle and how she does is so awesome. I do not like to give anything away so you must read this yourself to find out what happens..

For those who want a fast paced Christian romance with lots of conflict, this book provides all you could hope for. The leading lady presents many contrasts within her character. She is petite yet can yield the power of a man since she knows how to use a gun for her protection.

The bad characters are bad, but at least one shows the power of God to redeem. 

on August 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The Lady Fugitive by Ada Brownell is an entertaining and exciting novel set in the “later” Old West (1908). I loved the characters and their interaction with one another and the way the author wove the paths of the different characters together. It kept my interest and the ending, or rather, an event that led up to the ending, definitely surprised me!
on August 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
As soon as I read the first few sentences of Lady Fugitive by Ada Brownell, I was hooked! And it only got better from there

Thursday, October 9, 2014


The constantly changing scenes when you travel on highways gripped my heart as we returned this week from the book signing trip to the Kansas City area and Nebraska.
We passed numerous empty houses and barns, glassless windows and open doors gaping, sun-dried rough walls long without paint, many roofs collapsing. I wondered who built the buildings and what the family was like that lived there. I could almost see an aproned mother hanging clothes on a line, and children screaming, laughing and running while the father plowed a nearby field. Had the whole generation passed on and only the house remains to remind people this family lived?

Reminds me of James 4:14: Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.”

Numerous cemeteries cut from land beside the highway tell the world people from the area have stepped into eternity. Headstones made the grave yards look more populated than the small towns we went through. 

Makes me think of 2 Corinthians 6:2 “Behold, now is THE ACCEPTABLE TIME, behold, now is THE DAY OF SALVATION.

Yet, evidence of life covered the landscape—green fields in various stages of growth. Cattle, most facing their heads the same direction, munched grass. Huge silos held not only food, but seed for another summer.

Ecclesiastes 11:6: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.”

Signs along the highway encouraged us and told us how far the towns and cities were, the safe speed to go—even hazard warnings.

Psalm119:-105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Among all those vacant homes, other houses testified to life within. Someone mowed the grass, cut and baled the hay, painted the dwelling and fence, drove a school bus or farm machinery, and another prepared dinner within. In the cities and towns we passed through there was lodging, eats, fuel, hospitals, pharmacies and everything a human could need.

2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.”

Yet, who knows how long the busy people filled with life will remain here? Life passes quickly. Do they know Jesus? A motto on my mama’s wall declared, “Only one life; ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

All these scenes reminded me that sharing the gospel should be a priority. Urgency clings to Jesus’s Great Commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Swallowed by Life SummaryDo you believe you could live with someone else’s heart or kidneys, but not without your body? Evidence shows we’re more than flesh. The author, a prolific religion writer and retired medical journalist, talks about the evidence; the wonder of life with all its electrical systems; the awesome truth about cell death and regeneration; mysteries surrounding the change from mortal to immortal; where we go when our body dies; resurrection; and a glimpse at what we will do in heaven. Questions and answers make this non-fiction inspirational book a great text for group study. It’s written for support groups, religion classes, people with chronic or terminal illness, individuals who fear death or are curious about it, the grieving, and those who give them counsel.
Review: “It was wonderful how the author merged the medical with the spiritual.”

Purchase here:

As writers. an easily reached harvest field is within reach of our fingers. For the first time in history we can touch the world from our homes because of computers and the internet. Let’s make disciples, and teach them the wonderful knowledge from the Lord.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Win a free copy of Imagine the Future You

Here's the first question of an interview for Sara Ella's blog for teens. Teens asked the questions. Ada Brownell answered. Other teen questions follow. To see the complete interview go to
Tiffanie Lynn asks, “What inspired you to write this book?”
Imagine the Future You crawled around in my brain cells for years. I worked with youth and I want them to have the explosive power of the Holy Spirit, a throng of special friends, astonishing  wisdom, ability to discern how to have joy on earth and forever and ever, and know true success only comes from knowing God and His love.
Every teen should be aware of moral sink holes. As a newspaper reporter I wrote about these dangerous risks and their devastating effects on youth and their future, and along with tips on being your best, looking your best, I detail facts about the mental, physical, and devastating lifestyle risks of sex outside of marriage, as well as the joy of purity and vowing to love your spouse until death parts you.
One huge problem among youth is secular brainwashing of belief in God...

Monday, October 6, 2014

WHAT'S YOUR BRAIN CAPACITY? What do you want in there?

 By Ada Brownell


Your two-pound brain can store more than today’s most advanced computers, according to Kenneth Higbee, author of Your Memory and How it Works and How to Improve it.[1]
The most important thing about our brains is what we put in all that storage.

Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, says the human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive. Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.

The most important knowledge you can have is contained in the Bible. There you not only will discover how to live, but also how you can never die (John 11:26).

Think. Would you like to know how to succeed? (Look at Joshua 1:8).  Find a good mate and make a good, lasting marriage?

 What would you like to know that would help with your emotions such as fear, depression, anxiety, anger? Do you need help with parenting? It's all in the Word.

What would you want to recall if you knew you’re probably drawing your last breaths?

My son-in-law and I had the privilege to lead a neighbor to the Lord who had a terminal diagnosis. In about two weeks, lung cancer advanced so much the man struggled to breathe. He was a little hard of hearing, but I don’t think he could have heard me try to encourage him anyhow because his wheezing was so loud people in the room couldn’t hear each other.

I prayed for him, but wished so much I could quote some of the scriptures that bring an extra baptism of peace for the dying. It would have been useless to sing him a wonderful old hymn about God’s love and heaven. Since he never served God his head was empty of scripture and singing.

Every time I’ve been around the dying they were comforted by God’s Word and songs with a wonderful message.
The Bible is the greatest book ever written and it has powerful words for every occasion, every age group, every nationality, rich or poor. Every member of your family should know the scriptures.

The first verse I remember memorizing as a young child: “God is love” (1 John 4:8).

Parents and Sunday school teachers who don’t think little ones can understand and memorize are mistaken. Children learn a big hunk of their language in their first three years, and by the time the tots are five, they not only remember and memorize numerous songs and poems, they have reasoning skills that often surprise others.

I was pretty young when I learned The Ten Commandments, and  “Children obey your parents for this is right; Honor thy father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3 KJ). Temptation to disobey was usually resisted because I wanted a long life.

The Bible isn’t like textbooks that are outdated in 10 years or less. Scriptures we learn as a child are as powerful when we’re 2, 20, 40, 80, or even 108. The Word of God is most powerful information you can put in your brain.

Memorize the Word yourself and teach it to your children and grandchildren.

Here are three important scriptures to teach children:

“God is love” (1 John 4:8).

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

“Honor your father and your that you may live long and that it may go well with you” (Deuteronomy 5: 16 NIV).  That’s a shortened quote.

Copyright © 2014

[1] Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.,1977

Friday, October 3, 2014






“Why don’t you cook up dinner? The kitchen stove looks usable.”
Jenny shivered. Mister MacDougal probably died on the living room floor. When she recalled the burned spot on the floor, she could almost hear a man groaning in pain.
“That could take awhile. Aren’t you in a hurry to get on down the road?”
“I’m in a hurry to find Benjamin, and you might be able to help me. But first, let’s look at the cook stove, see if there is anything left in the cabinets, and get a meal together. Can you make biscuits and gravy? I have food products in my wagon, too.”
The small kitchen pantry was full: baking powder, flour, lard, cornmeal, wheat cereal—even sugar. “They even left coffee.” William stuck his head into the pantry door. “Amazing. You are blessed. I told you they were nice people.”
While William cleaned the stove top and started a fire, Jenny ran to the cellar, retrieved the bucket of milk and jars of peaches and corn.
William looked at the milk bucket. “Their cow’s still giving milk?”

“Yes. I milked her last night and this morning.”
“Christian told me he put a bull with her not long ago. You should leave a little milk in her bag each time so she’ll dry up.”
“Oh. That will be a relief. I like milk, but I hate milking her.”
Jenny found a bowl and stirred up biscuits and then made cream gravy.
When the food was on the table, William sat on a wooden chest, and she used the only chair that wasn’t at least partially burned.
After a quick prayer and a few huge bites, the man swallowed. “Now help me figure out where Benjamin might be.”
Jenny searched her memory trying to remember the different stops along the railroad. Nothing surfaced, so William got pencil and paper from his wagon and drew the railroad.
Studying his drawing, Jenny pointed to the route. “I would guess he got off about here, two or three towns before Yucca Blossom.” Standing so close to his shoulder, she inhaled the fragrance of tangy soap or aftershave.
William tapped his pencil against the drawing. “I’ll stop in Yucca Blossom again, and if Ben isn’t there, I’ll head on out to these little communities along the railroad. Our pa needs us. He sounded pretty desperate in his last letter. Either he’s going to kill the young buck who’s hanging around his new wife, or the young feller’s going to kill him.”
“What difference would it make if you and Ben went home?”
“Pa thinks the fellow would think twice about hanging around the farm with Ben and me there. Also, if he wasn’t so lazy, Ben has a knack for farming. I think Pa plans to give the land to him. Poppa burns with the desire for me to travel with the passion moving picture show and wants me to continue. That’s what I feel I should do. But right now, he needs us to chase off that young man. He’s too old to lock horns with him.”
Jenny wondered why Pa’s wife wouldn’t show the young man the road, but she held her tongue.
William picked up his pencil and paper, took another swig of coffee, and turned toward his wagon. “It was nice seeing you again. Thanks for dinner.”
Jenny hurried to the cellar and nabbed two jars of peaches, a jar of pears, and one of strawberry jam. She thrust them at William. “You never know when you’ll need a quick meal.”
William smiled, bent, gave her a little squeeze, and kissed her cheek. “Thanks, lass. You’re the greatest!”
Ire flamed in Jenny, but perhaps she shouldn’t claim to be a woman when she was dressed like a man and hadn’t bathed for a week. She touched her skin where his puckered lips left the feel of whiskers, and smiled.
William’s eyebrows crunched into a frown. “I don’t know if I’ll be back. I’ll look at your mailbox and see if I can tell what the address is here. Maybe I’ll let you know if I find Benjamin.”
Jenny’s heart skipped a beat, and pain shot through her chest. She might never see him again. “Write if you can. I’d like to see you find Ben. Thanks for everything.”
William said nothing until he reached for her and wrapped her in his arms. “I won’t forget you, either. Remember what Jesus said about tribulation and trouble. We are to be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. ”

He loaded himself on the wagon and urged the mules forward. Then he sang so loud it echoed among the hills, “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, No not one! No not one!”

Thursday, October 2, 2014




William didn’t act as if he heard, but Jenny looked back at the ornery animal as she walked. Rocky had climbed on top of the cellar again, reminding her of kids who liked to play king of the hill. Maybe that’s why they named him Rocky. He thinks he’s a mountain goat.
She stood beside William and stared at the grave, marked by a small wooden cross. A breeze sang in the trees, more beautiful than any organ music. A tiny gray bird lit on a high branch and joined the chorus.
William took her hand. “Let’s pray.”
He thanked God for the MacDougal family and prayed in such a loud voice Jenny worried Grouch might pop out of the trees, wanting to know what the yelling was about. With a catch in his voice, he prayed for Mrs. MacDougal, her family, and the baby. Then he prayed for Jenny.
“Lord, you know how happy I am to see Jenny again. But she’s sick. She’s so pale and thin. She needs somebody, Lord. Send good folks to her.”
He whispered then, and the name Benjamin was loud enough to hear. When he lifted his head, tears pooled in his eyes. He looked at her and gave her hand a squeeze.
She smiled. He grinned back.
When their eyes connected, Jenny’s heart danced. William leaned toward her, pulling her closer. Is he going to kiss me?
Then he blinked, pulled away, and dropped her fingers. They stumbled down the steep hill together, back toward the house.
“I don’t want to, but I’m going to look at what the fire did.” William entered the log structure, scanning the ceiling, the burned out wall, damaged furniture and the hole in the floor. “This wasn’t just a house, it was a wonderful home,” he said, a catch in his voice.
Jenny stood beside him, and he reached for her hand again. He bowed his head, and Jenny guessed he was thinking about Christian. Then he opened his eyes, looked up, and let his gaze fall on her. He led her outside.
“I met your brother on the train.”
He turned, his eyes huge, mouth hanging open. “What?”
“He rode in the caboose with me. His horse and Leather traveled in the same stock car.”
Their hands dropped apart. “How do you know it was Benjamin?”
“He looks like you. But what revealed his identity to me was how he acted when I mentioned your name and told him you are looking for him because of a family crisis.”
“Did he seem interested in going home?”
“I don’t think so. He seemed emotional about it, but he used the name Cameron and denied he’s your brother. He told me he was a businessman going to Yucca Blossom, but while I was asleep, he got off early and stole my satchel with all my money in it.”
“He didn’t!” William kicked a good-sized rock. It flew across the yard. “How much money did you have?”
“Over three thousand dollars sewed into the satchel lining.”
He threw his arms wide. “And he took it? Where did you get it?”
“Mama saved it from the sale of peaches and horses after Daddy went to the sanitarium. John took his half when he ran away to Minneapolis to live with Aunt Betsy.”
“When did he do that?”
“Shortly after the judge took over the ranch. Uncle Danforth beat John with the horse whip. My brother tried to interfere with the judge’s violent way of training horses. John doesn’t believe a whip ever should be used on a horse, especially in training.”
“Sorry.” William placed his arm over her shoulders. He bent to look into her eyes.
Rocky trotted down off the cellar, working his way toward them.
William turned. “What was it you said about a goat?”
Rocky pawed the ground.
“Look out. I think he’s coming our way.”
Rocky raked his hooves then dashed toward William.
A grin on his face, William pulled out his red handkerchief and dangled it like a bullfighter waving a red flag.
Rocky smashed his head into the brilliant cotton then collided with the fence.
William shook the hills with laughter. “This could be fun. That’s what you could do. Become a goat fighter and charge admission.” He laughed until he doubled over.
Rocky took advantage of the situation and rammed, headfirst, into the tempting backside.
Still laughing, William slowly got to his feet. “The first thing I’d do with this animal is pen him up.” He pointed. “He’s probably supposed to be in the pen with the chewed post. He needs a mama goat. You could raise goats and sell them.”
“I wouldn’t have another goat on this property for anything. Why don’t you take Rocky into town and sell him? Or take him along while you peddle your household goods and give him to a farmer who needs a daddy goat?”
William studied Rocky for a minute. “Seems one time when I was by here, Valerie MacDougal was upset because a neighbor—I think she called him Grumps—mistook the nanny goat for a deer and shot her. I think she was talking about Mister Anderson.”
“Sounds like him, but she called him Grouch.”
William picked up a big stick, herded Rocky into the pen, and shut the gate. “Did you say Mrs. MacDougal gave you this property?”
“Well, actually, I bought it.”
Jenny ran into the cellar and retrieved the paper Valerie’s father drew up. She handed the document to William.
“This looks legal. Do you mean they sold it to you for one dollar?”
“That’s what it says, and I gave them a dollar. Valerie’s pa is a lawyer, and he said it was legal, only I did need to pay the dollar. Valerie told me if I sold the farm to Grouch Anderson she’d really be angry.”
William lifted his hat and scratched his head. “Strange. The land and the burned out house aren’t worth much. It might be valuable to Mister Anderson, though, because of a nice stream that runs behind the house.”
Jenny hadn’t paid much attention to the creek since she’d used the windmill  for water. The thick cellar walls must have muffled the sound of water running.ll to investigate. Her stomach growled. “You want to stay for lunch?”
“What you havin’?”

“I’ve been eating jerky and fruit from the cellar.”