Monday, December 29, 2014

STEEL MONSTERS: LIVING AMONG TRAINS




Steel Monsters

By Ada Brownell

When I was a kid, the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad’s main line lay between me and school. No crossing arms barred me from danger--just noisy clanging and big red eyeballs flashing. Then every hoof of the massive engine’s horsepower pounded by.
I hated trains. Somebody told me if you stand too close, you’ll be sucked under.
Then I grew up. An agent-telegrapher chose me for his wife and I made friends with the monsters. Les’s job caused us to roam Colorado like the trains, and we moved 12 times the first three years of our marriage. But it was an adventure.
We lived in a log cabin at Pando, on top of Colorado’s Tennessee Pass across the highway from Camp Hale. One soldier jumped off the train with his duffle bag and checked out the place.
“Mountains this way. Mountains that way. Mountains over there and over here. The only way out of this place is up!”
When we moved to Minturn, our house rested in a mountain’s niche above the depot. Les worked evenings, so near suppertime I grabbed a sled, hiked up the canyon, slid all the way to the depot and delivered his meal.
In Malta, a smelter town near Leadville, Colo., a boxcar with a “lean-to” became our home. Relatives visited overnight and after lights were out, my little niece shakily asked, “Is a train going to take us away?”
In Avon, Colo., we lived in the depot next to the tracks. Often the click of the telegraph “bug” echoed into our living room carrying a message in dots and dashes. I knew trains probably approached from the East and West on the one set of tracks. Les quickly transcribed the Morse message, tied it in twine, attached it to a long Y stick, and ran outside.
A few minutes later, a massive monster clothed in the gold and black Rio Grande cape streaked toward the depot. Les stood beside the tracks, his clothes flapping in the breeze as he extended the Y stick.
The engineer leaned out, stuck his arm through the loop of twine, read the message and pulled the train into the next siding. 
Finally, we bought a beautiful mobile home. A 40-foot canvas awning covered our patio.
We were not far from the tracks and one day sparks from a “hot box”, a boxcar with a stuck wheel, ignited a nearby trestle bridge. Sparks from the fire burned a hole in our awning, but more serious, train traffic stopped until the trestle was rebuilt.
Our mobile house ended up in two-mile-high Leadville and winter snows showed no mercy. Before Les left for a temporary job in Texas creek, he said, “Leave the bathtub water running to prevent freezing.”
One frosty night, I took a relaxing bath. I was tucked in bed when my mother-in-law, who lived with us, flushed the toilet. I woke to a sucking sound and remembered I turned the water off.
Fearing broken pipes, I threw my fake-fur coat over my nightie, pulled on snow boots, grabbed a fusee-torch, matches, a broom and ventured into the darkness.
I swept a path, then a tunnel through the deep snow and crawled to the pipes.
Bummer! I got the matches wet!
I backed out and headed for the door. My bare hand stuck to the frosty knob. When I got my hand free, the door wouldn’t open. The deep snow on the roof was melting, dribbled down, and the door froze shut.
I rang the doorbell and prayed. My mother-in-law pushed and I pulled until with a crunch the door opened.
Next time, I dressed warmly, left the door open a crack, kept my matches dry and succeeded in my mission. The next day, I discovered the temperature dipped to 30 degrees below zero.
Soon Centralized Traffic Control closed many depots. Teletype and later, computers, nudged telegraph into history.

But still the monsters crawl over our nation, bringing food, fuel and merchandise. I hope the handsome monsters never become extinct.



Friday, December 26, 2014

WILL FAMILY WORSHIP AT YOUR HOUSE COUNTERACT PROPAGANDA AND WICKEDNESS OF TODAY?

By Ada Brownell

Family worship at home is difficult in this day when busyness steals time. Yet, it is more necessary than ever.

                Secularists, Progressives  and even Communists and other religions have made it their priority to grab the hearts and minds of youth in America, and they’d especially like to brainwash those raised in Christian homes.

Brainwashing usually involves propaganda and the most successful propaganda has some truth in it, according to Jacques Ellul, author of “Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes.”. If it were all lies, most people would resist it.

Where propaganda goes to work to change minds is in the “interpretation” of the truth, or the “slant” they place on the truth. It’s called “spin” today.

        Mao Tse-Tung said propaganda can “force” people to become Marxist. His first techniques failed, but then he went to public discussion, criticism, persuasion and Marxist education, especially for children and he turned China to his way of thinking. This is spite of Mao executing an estimated two to five million people and several million were sent to labor camps.

         To have the greatest effect, propaganda must base itself on existing tendencies, Ellul said,[1] and not go against ingrained attitudes. Instead of going against what you believe, it gives you something else to believe--using your own desires and needs as a basis--and without knowing it, your attitudes are replaced.

        Ellul said pre-existing attitudes fade quickly in real propaganda campaigns where it surrounds a person from morning to night, childhood to old age, in all he reads, hears, without giving him rest, a moment to pause, think or catch his breath.[2]
Webster’s New World Dictionary says brainwashing is “to indoctrinate so intensively and thoroughly as to effect a radical transformation of beliefs and mental attitudes.”
        In other words, to brainwash you is to not only change how you think, but also what you think. Furthermore, if you are brainwashed, it changes who you are.
        Armies who keep prisoners of war often brainwash one person at a time, but Communists and Nazis brainwashed entire societies. In America, we not only have brainwashing in institutions of learning, but it’s done by gangs, politicians and the media. Gangs and governments can brainwash you so thoroughly you’ll kill your brother, grandmother or mother.
 The media brainwashes you by portraying the majority of Christians as crooks and adulterers. A few high profile ministers have been great sinners, but if they break God’s laws, they are no longer Christians.

The media rarely mentions powerful things accomplished by Christians and Jews. Christian charities housed and fed the homeless and hungry around the world for centuries. Missionaries often bring free health care and medicine when they go to tell the world about Jesus. Christians are there, too, when disaster strikes.
Christians started and still operate most of the hospitals in the world.
Religion was the reason people learned to read. Since the Middle Ages, there has been near universal literacy among Jewish men because they were required to read the Torah by age 13.
                Christians read the Jewish scrolls than read the letters of the Apostles to their congregations. The Reformation caused everyone to want to read Scripture and the first book published by Gutenberg was the Bible. Wycliff Translators are bringing literacy even to tribes with no written language because they’ll live with them and create their language.
In America, education began with families teaching their children so they could read God’s Word and eventually that evolved into schools. Most of the universities and colleges in the United States were started by Christians, and they often contained seminaries or Bible schools.
                Now you can’t even use the name of Jesus in a classroom in any of those universities unless it’s used as a swear word.
                I thought the active war against faith in God was bad enough when we were raising our family. There came a time when I knew I would need to counteract at home ungodly teachings my kids were forced to study in school.  That’s why I devoted time to studying sections of Josh McDowell’s book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” during our family worship time.
                Norman Lear, a writer and television executive started the “People for the American Way,” to erode the faith of youth with television programming in response to the Moral Majority in the 1980s, and PAW is still going strong. And the church wonders why it loses a large percentage of youth—even when they’ve been raised in Christian homes!
                Wise parents will guard their children’s hearts and minds, and inspire them to do the same thing by filling their minds with God’s Word, giving themselves completely to God, and by  shunning even the appearance of evil  (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
                I remember family worship when my mother had eight of us in the house, and when there were only two of us eight children left. Dad wasn’t the type to lead it, but always listened carefully. God’s Word left an imprint on my life. David hid God’s Word in his heart so he wouldn’t sin. If it worked for him, it will work for us.

Copyright Ada Brownell                

               



[1] Propaganda, page 279
[2] Ibid, page 280

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Most Amazing Truth: God With Us even in grieving!

Note: This post, written a few years ago, recalls some of the reasons I wrote SWALLOWED BY LIFE. https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell

    
By Ada Brownell

“I’m sleeping in the kitchen!”
Sure enough, we brought in a full-size mattress from the shed and our 5-year-old grandson, Justin, awakened on the kitchen floor, his blond hair tossled, eyes wide in amazement.

His parents arrived at our house late at night and Justin had been asleep. Now he looked into the living room at the folded out hide-a-bed and lumps of people still snoozing in sleeping bags on our mobile home floor. People still snored in our two bedrooms, too. But Justin and Granny wanted to be up and at it.

I hugged my grandson, and joy filled my heart. Like birds going south for the winter, all of our family came home for Christmas
.
All of us except Carolyn. This would be our first Christmas without her.  Losing her sucked so many things from our family. Her presence always added love, fun, joy and laughter.

Her step-son, Rob, and husband, Michael, lounged on the hide-a-bed, coming awake now. They flew in from California to where we lived in Colorado.

Gary and Janice drove from New Mexico. Jaron, Gwen and Jeanette came from Missouri and Oklahoma where they attended college.

Eyes popped open and soon the mobile home, our temporary residence while we built a new two-story house, rocked with conversation and activity. Extra beds disappeared, coffee and breakfast brought new life.

The smell of Christmas turkey soon filled the place.

The busy day ended with all of us in the living room, most on the floor, some with Bibles, discussing the past year.

Going on with life hadn’t been easy after Carolyn’s death. I didn’t have much time to grieve because I needed to go back to work as soon as I arrived home from San Jose after the funeral.

  When I’d made the plane reservations weeks before, I’d hoped to be with Carolyn while she recuperated from chemotherapy. Since it was December, I’d already used my vacation, but a kind boss allowed me to borrow vacation from the next year.

I didn’t tell the family about the hard times as we sat there nearly 12 months later, enjoying one another. Yet, I couldn’t forget the first day back at work when I met a friend and she asked me about Carolyn.

“She’s so talented,” she said. “Where does she live?  Is she married?”

Trying to keep control, I told her Carolyn passed away. I didn’t fall apart until on my way to my car. My breath came in gasps and the agony of my sorrow burst from me.

I didn’t share with our children that Christmas night how only a month or so previously my husband kept playing a recording of Sandi Patti singing the song, “It is Well with My Soul.” Carolyn shared with me how much that song meant to her after she had the awful diagnosis.  my husband played the recording, I started crying. I began weeping on Friday night and tears ran down my face all Saturday and continued on Sunday.

We were on our way to church and I told my husband, “I can’t go in there.  I can’t stop crying.”
I cried most of the day on Sunday.  It had been nearly a year, and I couldn’t stop weeping.
Now as we sat dry eyed on the floor with family, Jaron told about God’s comfort. He never mentioned that he lost the last year of his four-year academic scholarship because when he studied, he’d find himself staring off in space thinking about Carolyn. He didn’t even realize he’d sat there an hour or two, supposed to be hitting the books. He missed the required grade-point average by just a few points, but it was too much. The scholarship was yanked.

All of us were affected by God’s faithfulness in our grief, but Carolyn’s stepson, Rob and our youngest daughter, Jeanette, had the greatest testimonies. God drew them close to Himself—and did the work almost simultaneously in them at the time of Carolyn’s death.

As we sat together, Carolyn’s husband, Michael, shared how God brought a number of people in California to salvation through Carolyn life, testimony and death.

Beyond that, Michael now was the youth pastor at his church, and the Lord walked beside him in his life as a single parent.

“God is really working in the lives of youth in our church,” Michael shared, his eyes sparkling with enthusiasm.

One by one, we talked about God’s faithfulness, even in our hours of sorrow.

We read the Christmas story.

“Away in a Manger,” we sang for our little Justin and his sister, Melissa. I think “Jingle Bells” slipped in somewhere.

Most of us shared a scripture, a tradition we started the night Carolyn died when Rob and Jeanette read us encouraging verses from God’s word from a list provided by my brother.

That year I began underlining every scripture in the New Testament about eternal life. I saw death is the reason for Christmas. God warned Adam and Eve if they disobeyed and ate from the forbidden tree, they would die.

“You won’t die,” Satan, who took on the body of a snake, said.

Soon Adam and Eve experienced the agony of losing a child when Cain killed Abel. But right after sin entered the world, God promised a Redeemer who will cleanse us and give us immortality—if we by faith accepted His Gift..

One scripture that means a lot to me is Matthew 4:11 where Matthew told how Jesus fulfilled the prophecy written centuries before Jesus came, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned….For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God Everlasting Father, Prince of peace” (Isaiah 9:2, 6).
Another special passage is Matthew 1:22-24: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

            God with us. That is what one by one we told one another in our family as we sat together that Christmas night. God---the creator of the universe always stuck near us.

I don’t know if our little Justin, now a man and a college graduate, remembers that night, but one day when he was still a little boy he noticed a verse written on brass, which decorated a table.
“I memorized that verse,” he said, and quoted John 14:1-3KJ, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare and place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am there ye may be also.”

We hadn’t received a miracle of healing we desired with Carolyn, but we experienced God never leaving or forsaking us, giving us peace when the storm of grief struck, challenging us to live closer to Him.

“Joy to the World,” says it all. Joy, joy, joy because there is hope beyond death. God gave a Gift I’d rather have than diamonds, gold, a beautiful home, or anything money can buy. I’d rather have God with us than anything.

©Ada Brownell

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Prayer: God Rewards Those Who Seek Him



THE REWARD
By Ada Brownell

God has a reward for those who climb over their doubts to leap into the supernatural realm of faith.
 God’s Word says: "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
  1. Believe He exists.
  2. Believe He loves you (He is pleased you seek Him, and He wants to reward you).
  3. Believe He answers the prayers of those who earnestly seek Him.
I remember many miracles in our lives like the time we moved to Thompson, Utah, population 100, three bars, no grocery store except a few items sold in the bars, and no church.
I thought we'd missed God's will for us. For a year I prayed, hoping to move. Then the Lord did a work in me and I told Him if He'd send a helper, I'd start a Sunday school there. Within a week, a lovely young Christian woman my age and her two little boys moved to town and we started a Sunday school in the schoolhouse.
One time when we moved from Arvada, Colorado, to Pueblo we'd prayed the Lord would help us sell our house. God waited until the last minute. The realtor brought us the contract when we were loading the last few things in a U-Haul truck. He helped us sell other homes also, mostly by owner.
He's done miracles of healing in our family. Gary, our oldest son, thought by one doctor to only have a percentage of his kidneys working, found to be whole.
Gwen, our middle daughter, had symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but tests proved otherwise and she's fine.
Doctors recently suspected our youngest son, Jaron, had leukemia because of consistently elevated white blood cell count. After prayer and retesting, he was negative for leukemia and the blood count was normal.
Years ago we had to travel in a snowstorm because my husband’s mother was dying. We had worn-out tires with little tread on the front of our car, making it difficult to control on icy highways. On one Colorado mountain pass we drifted into the left lane on the two-way highway. A truck roared toward us at a good speed. I screamed "Jesus, help us!" It was like the hand of God shoved us into the correct lane and we passed safely.
 God hasn't always answered the way we wished. We lost our oldest daughter to cancer when she was age 31. But God's comfort and peace was there. He doesn't leave or forsake. We sorrow not as those who have no hope.
Keep praying. God is there and He still works miracles.

©Ada Brownell  2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER SHOWS WHO YOUTH ARE INSIDE--AND HOW THEY GOT THAT WAY

By Darcie J. Gudger

Author of Spin
  1. Nothing like rubbing shoulders with teens to create characters. When did your lead characters come to life for you?
Back in 2001 when I was a special education teacher at a local high school, I was on lunch room duty. All of a sudden, the name “Kisrie” popped into my head. At that time, a teacher in the building had been falsely accused of hitting a student in class. As I heard the kids spread rumors about what happened (a disgruntled student started the whole thing to get him fired), the plot for SPIN came to light. Then I started writing. As I wrote, Kisrie and Wendy revealed themselves to me. Then, over the course of the past 13 years, they evolved. Of course, being a color guard instructor for 15 years and spending countless hours with teens each week, year-round kind of helps.

  1. What is your leading lady’s main problem? How did that develop as the character came to life?
Kisrie’s main problem is that she bought into the victim mentality. Bullied all her life, she embraced the lies that defined her as weak, worthless and ugly. Her feelings drove her inactions when faced with a critical decision to stop vicious rumors about her uncle. Career and life destroying rumors. Through the lens of a victim, she chose self-preservation and hoped the situation would work itself out over time. All actions, or in her case, non-actions, have consequences. The pain of those repercussions drove the change in her character.

  1. How do teens evaluate the importance of fitting in with the crowd?
I don’t think they take the time to evaluate the importance of fitting in. The pressure to conform is intense. It becomes more or less a survival instinct. Kids who don’t comply from the beginning learn very fast that being different, or standing out in anyway results in isolation and bullying. Even in the earliest of grades, an onlooker can see the kids standing on the playground, backs against the school wall, tracing designs in the dirt with their toes while the others chase, laugh, climb and cartwheel around.

  1. Do Christian teens have more confidence in themselves and their future than other youths?
I wish I could say yes. But the reality is this. Christian kids in public schools feel like they have a target on their backs. Their entire belief system, world-view, and values are scorned and flat-out forbidden in the classroom and the hallway. The media attacks Christianity. The culture derides it. For a teen to self-identify as a Christian, or be pegged as a Christian by peers is a social death-sentence. They are called haters. They may even be forced into sensitivity trainings to wipe out their beliefs. They are told to distrust their parents and trust the system. And I am not sure the church understands this and gives the kids the kind of support they need to endure real persecution. Youth leaders had a different experience in school. Social media did not exist. And, they have been in “the bubble” of Christian college or seminary for a while.
The honest truth? Our teens are on the front lines of a culture war. Think about it.  Where does societal worldview come from? The education system.  K-12, and then college is even worse. I have seen way too many Christian teens cave to the pressure and conform, go undercover, or worse, give in to depression and suicide.

  1. Where does this confidence come from—the kind that endures and creates long-lasting friendships?
This confidence should come with a deep, trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. And maturity is a factor as well. Teens are still… teens. They are in a developmental stage where they are trying to figure things out. And who do they tend to turn to first? Peers. We adults would like them to turn to us, or their relationship with Christ. We want to blissfully assume they do this naturally. But again, what kind of pressure do they face day after day? It is not safe to be a Christian kid in a secular milieu. They live with that fear over what will happen if people find out? Sure, there are exceptions to this. There are vibrant, fearless confident Christian kids, but they are a minority. Most are undercover. Take the characters in my book. Kisrie, Jacque and even Tammie do what they can to remain undetected or unobtrusive.
Christ following adults need to come along side teens and show them how to endure a vicious environment. Model for them how to navigate and stand up for what they believe in when there is a hefty price to pay. We need to be with them as they face the forced brainwashing and ridicule by people in positions of authority, or even peers. Knowing WE know how hard it is for them every day will give them confidence they need to stay on course. Praying with them as well as for them, teaching them to study the Bible – really dig in, will build God-Warrior habits that will last a life time.

  1. You discovered you didn’t fit your first chosen career and it resulted in health problems. What do parents need to know about teen emotions to help them find their niche in life?
“You can be anything you dream!” is spewed at kids day in and day out. It’s a lie. Make sure the teens in your life know that. Teens know when adults are being honest and when we are trying to make them feel good. False hopes create false expectations which when dashed, are devastating. Get to know, really know not only what your kid is good at, but what they are passionate about. Now not all passionate pursuits are career-worthy. But, they can be hobbies. Real conversations about economy and future outlooks are critical. Many people try to hide the dismal economic realities from kids today and allow them to chase whims at great financial cost. And here’s a real unpopular opinion – don’t send them away to college right away after they graduate. Give them time to work, earn money and figure out what kind of viable job they are willing to do for years to come. Some kids need extra time to figure out their path in life. There is no rush. There is no hard and fast rule that college must happen at 18, a degree by 22. I learned the hard way that when I make plans and timelines, they blow up. And it’s ugly and costly.

  1. Are young people today concerned about finding and being in God’s will and plan for their lives?
 Kids are focused on one thing – which path will lead to a job? They are concerned with how they will survive in the world once all the schooling is over. Finding God’s will would be nice, but practicality takes priority with many teens today. Funding for college is harder to get than in generations past. Once it is obtained, the loans… oh the loans… they never seem to go away. And then, there is the question I have been wrestling with myself… even now as a published author… what exactly is God’s will? Is there ONE THING out there for me? Or, does God give me choices and let me figure things out?
Here’s what I think about God’s will in the present after much prayer and study. God gives us free will. He gives us gifts and talents. We are supposed to develop those and use them to His Glory. If we do that, no matter the circumstances (good or bad), we are in His will. If we use them for hurting others, or getting in the way of another person’s faith journey, we are not in His will. Or, if those things are contrary to His Word, well… not His will.
I have spent a lot of time breaking this apart – especially since I have “failed” at almost all of my pursuits, there were a LOT of them. I have spent a lot of time beating myself up for “being out of God’s will.” Why? Was I? Why did I think that? Why did I spend so many years in deep depression thinking I missed the God’s Will Express? Americanized theology tends to teach us that financial success and a life of ease means we are in God’s will. If life is hard, and poverty has us in a choke-hold, we must be out of God’s will. The Bible speaks to the contrary. Financial blessing was what God used in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament things were different. Blessings came in persecution. Blessings came through hardship. Blessings were NOT material! The focus is on the eternal. The rewards are in heaven. God’s will for us all is this. Conform to His image. Become Christ-like. Period. What that looks like is different for each person. Doctor, lawyer, road sweeper, nurse, social worker, stay at home mom… but it will involve refinement. And that hurts. Let’s be honest with kids about that and prepare them so it is not such a shock to the point they throw faith away.

  1. Do most have goals connected with their faith?
It depends on the teen and where they are. I would guess most teens in public schools are trying to survive until that one day they graduate. Their goal is survival. Teens out of high school, teens who are in private school, homeschool and youth group may have goals connected with faith.

  1. How are teachers, even youth leaders and Sunday school teachers, equipped to help youth in their emotional journeys?
I can’t say for sure they are.

  1. What part does God’s Word play to give them hope and peace?
God’s Word should play a part to give teens peace. But many are not going to just go and seek it on their own. Remember, they are trying to survive a nasty social ecology. Teens need adults mature in faith, to come along side them and guide them. Every teen wants a Yoda. A Gandalf. A Haymitch Abernathy. The Bible tells older believers to come along side younger ones and mentor them. That cannot be done in large groups. It needs to be 1:1. Taking solace in God’s Word is a discipline. Disciplines take time to become habit. And habits can fail if there is no accountability system. With a mentor framework in place, God’s Word does have everything all teenagers need to find REAL hope and peace.
  1. How do the characters in your book find joy and peace?
The characters in my book are on a journey. A long one. Kisrie starts to find it when she seeks God for answers. She also has the wisdom of her father and the modeling of Christ-like behavior from her aunt. Then the support of her friends.  Her faith is quite shallow in this book. But as the series progresses, it will deepen. And who knows? Maybe Kisrie’s faith may become a change agent for Wendy.
  1. Does the humor in your writing stem from your experiences in the classroom?
School is a funny place. Teens are funny people. I was telling one of my guard kids the other days that they are my favorite because they love to be goofy and laugh. Some of the material does come from things I’ve seen in the classroom, on my guard teams, and in the hallways. But I do have quite the imagination.



Author bio:
YA author Darcie J. Gudger loves teenagers. Aside from making up stories, she is the director of the award-winning color guard program at Evergreen High School where she teaches students to throw things, catch things, and dance with them. To music. Wearing costumes. She holds a masters degree in education from the University of Colorado. Whenever she gets the chance, Darcie escapes the city with her husband and son into the pine-scented Colorado Rockies.
Website: http://www.darciejgudger.com


SPIN summary:

Sophomore Kisrie Kelley longs to fit in. Instead, she’s always been a misfit, a fact her nemesis Wendy won’t let her forget. At least she’s got color guard and photography, right? She almost feels normal when she’s out on the field performing or behind the lens. Truth be told, they’re the only reasons she even shows up at school, though her professor mom thinks they’re both a waste of Kisrie’s time. Add a serious affinity to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that has her battling the bulge and a pestering “prodigy” little sister who thinks she’s a bush baby, and Kisrie’s contemplating moving to a different planet. The stakes are raised even higher when she overhears Wendy plotting against Kisrie’s English-teacher uncle all over a stupid grade! Should Kisrie snitch and risk Wendy’s wrath? Ever since elementary school the young beauty queen has bullied Kisrie as if it were an Olympic sport. Who’s going to believe Wendy’s story anyway? Everything spins out of control as vicious rumors fly and lives are on the line. Only the truth can set them all free, but will it be too late?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grief Turned to Joy--SNOW ON EAGLE MOUNTAIN

By Linda Wood Rondeau
Every Christmas Helen tries to hide at home and wish the season away or the painful past still pierces the heart each time the mistletoe is hung.  Her friends make Herculean efforts to draw her out of this seasonal agoraphobia. She acquiesces out of loyalty, but secretly aches for the occasion to end.
Helen’s fiancĂ© was killed during the Christmas holiday just days before their wedding. Christmas, to her, only serves to remind her of the happiness so cruelly yanked away.  Though Helen gives much to her community and is one who would never be characterized as embittered. Yet every year at Christmas, the unwanted memories are revisited.

There are many like Helen, shunning the season, fearful they will be inflicted with recollection. Though we try to be compassionate, few truly understand the depth of sorrow the season emotes for those who grieve.
Yet, our Savior was the first to be acquainted with grief. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3a). Because Christ suffered, we too are healed. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
I believe God knew that first Christmas what the future held for his own son. Angels trumpeted the long awaited arrival of the Messiah, and shepherds knelt before a holy infant as a virgin mother cradled her first-born. While the world rejoiced, perhaps the Father mourned.  For the birth of his only Son would culminate in sacrifice.
When the Father viewed the rustic cradle, did He see the Cross? When Mary wrapped Jesus in the swaddling clothes, did God see the crown of thorns? When shepherds worshipped, did He see His one and only Son ridiculed, scorned, stripped of dignity, beaten and scourged? When Mary twirled the babe’s fingers within her own, did the Father see the nails that would pierce them?
That first Christmas night, only the Father knew the events that someday would unfold.  The world celebrated the promise of salvation not knowing the price that would yet be paid, yet planned from the beginning of time. Only God knew of Heaven’s loss. And I wonder if His grief is renewed each yuletide as men continue to scorn the gift He gave.  
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).



 Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness, LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes blended contemporary fiction that speaks to the heart and offers hope to those with damaged lives. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.  Her most recent release, A Christmas Prayer, (aka A Father’s Prayer) was a finalist for both the 2014 Selah and Carol Awards. 

Other books include: , It Really IS a Wonderful Life, Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street, Days of Vines and Roses and her non-fiction book, I Prayed for Patience God Gave Me Children, also part of a compilation (Uplifting Devotionals).A sequel Joy Comes to Dinsmore Street, (Snow on Eagle Mountain) is expected to be released soon.

Rondeau’s, Jolly Angel, is also part of a compilation, Blue Heaven Romances.
Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com, her blog, This Daily Grind, or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, Google Plus and Goodreads.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's Christmas! Can we open our presents now?




 
Ada Brownell Writing Ministries December 2014 Newsletter
 

 

 
Dear Reader Friend:

“It’s Christmas! Can we open our presents now?”

The enthusiastic shout came from our oldest son, Gary, then about 10, and our other children gathered at our bedroom door.  Sleepy eyed, I glanced at the clock. The hands pointed at 12:01 a.m.

Such enthusiasm! Although we didn’t give permission for them to start unwrapping their Christmas gifts in the middle of the night, it was a great example of the joy, expectation, and wonder of celebrating the birth of the Christ Child.  

Does enthusiasm flow through your heart as you choose and purchase gifts? Have you found presents that make you feel good about giving?

I’ve always been somewhat shy about marketing my books, but recently author/marketing expert Shelley Hitz said, “Selling your books is a way to help someone else.”

Yes, I wrote the books to bless others. My brand is “Stick to Your Soul Encouragement.”  Since you might have already purchased or downloaded my five books, now you can be a blessing to your friends and relatives by giving them a book or two as gifts.

The Lady Fugitive is written for those who love historical fiction with an inspiring theme, suspense, humor and romance.

 

Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, an Amazon best seller, draws on the author’s experience as a medical reporter and years of biblical study. It is 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.

 

Imagine the Future You  is a Bible study to help youth discover evidences for faith; how to look and be their best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into the  brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity. All this is mingled with true stories that can make readers smile.

Imagine the Future You  also is available in audio and is free with an www.audible.com trial membership.

 

Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion!

 

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult is a teen novel also enjoyed by adults. Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. Joe Baker’s parents also disappeared and he finds himself with someone after him. No fantasy. No wizard, but suspense. Christian payload.

Reviewer: “A.B. Brownell weaves a tale of intrigue and faith which captures the reader from the opening page.”

Confessions of a Pentecostal is a glimpse inside another person’s faith as the author tells about her family’s conversions one by one and her own spiritual journey. This book is especially enjoyed by older Pentecostal Christians. It was listed many years on The Library Thing among most popular books on Pentecostalism. Because it is out of print, Confessions of a Pentecostal in paperback is only available from the author, but e-books are sold on Amazon.

 

 The Kindle version of Confessions of a Pentecostal  is only 99 cents; Swallowed by Life, Joe the Dreamer and Imagine the Future You are only $2.99. The Lady Fugitive is just under $10, but readers say it’s worth the price. The e-books can be read on Kindle, smart phones, I-pads and computers.

 

All the books are also available in paperback on Amazon and some bookstores.  Four are under $10 and The Lady Fugitive in paper is less than $15 and is easy-to-read print. Scripture Supply in Pueblo, CO has all the books but Confessions and The Lady Fugitive, and Christian Publishers Outlet in Springfield, MO, has all but Confessions.



Some titles in paperback are available at BarnesandNoble.com and probably could be ordered from the stores. My publisher tells me The Lady Fugitive should be in bookstores everywhere soon and should be available at Barnes and Noble now.

 

Ada Brownell’s Amazon author page is here.

Ada Brownell is the author of five books, about 300 stories and articles in Christian publications, and she spent a large chunk of her life as a reporter, mostly for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.

 Thanks for your support of my ministry in the past. I pray you have a wonderful Christmas! Jesus came that we might have life--abundantly  (John 10:10).
RECIPE

 Aunt Daisy’s Christmas pudding

Sift together: 2 teaspoons soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 cups flour

Cream: 2 tablespoons margarine, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 cup milk

Add:  Milk mixture, 1 cup nuts, 1 cup raisins and stir.

Put batter in well-greased pan. Then mix 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons butter.  Pour over above mixture. Cook until nice and brown, about ½  hour at 375 degrees F.

 

NOTE: If you don’t want to receive these newsletters, please let me know.

 

 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

COMMON SENSE, PROPAGANDA AND FAITH

By Ada Brownell
WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THE EVIDENCE

Everything about who we are, why we are here, and where we are going is settled by faith.
 It might surprise you, but evolution still is a theory. If you pin an evolutionist down, which I was able to do numerous times as a journalist, he'll admit there is no proof and no solid science behind it, but the theory is treated as fact because it is so widely accepted. The lack of real evidence s why Darwin’s theory has been changed and evolution is many different theories.
I asked the anthropologist at my college why monkeys aren't turning into humans now. He said our life spans are too short to see evolution at work. Then he used a fruit fly, which has a life span of only a few days, and mentioned the changes (or mutations) he'd seen.
"What kind of creature did you have then?" I asked.
The answer: A fruit fly.
Being a journalist, Bible student and teacher, I've studied the Bible and science off and on most of my adult life and interviewed experts on both sides. As a reporter you can ask any question you want to. I share some of those interviews in this book. The secularist’s goal is to destroy faith in a Supreme Being—God, but they can’t prove God isn’t there.

Yet, I admit, Christians can't prove God exists, either.  But there is a very good reason for that: Faith is necessary for salvation (See John 3: 16).
In my book Imagine the Future You, I supply plenty of evidence for faith—and reveal forgeries such as the Piltdown man, missing links that DNA proved aren’t links, and a new theory, punctuated equilibrium, unbelievers designed for pseudo-evidence to support their theories that God isn’t there. Punctuated equilibrium assumes species jumped from one to another in evolution.
In my book I also discuss how the secular world attempts to destroy faith with propaganda (spinning the truth) and brainwashing.
But building faith isn’t the only object of Imagine the Future You. This Bible study will help you discover evidence for faith; how to look and be your best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into your brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity, all mingled with true stories that can make you smile. 
You can test what you've learned through the questions and answers provided.
Just one other note.  You'll notice the book has a youth flavor. Imagine the Future You also targets faith in yourself and how to grow your abilities.
 That shouldn't keep you from enjoying the message, increasing your faith, teaching your children and grandchildren, and then motivating you to increase your faith and be wise about decisions and what you do every day.
Do everything you can to make sure your friends and family are with God and you for eternity. It comes in paperback, for Kindle, and audio. It's a great gift!

Review:  How I would have loved  to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion!



In His love,

Ada Brownell

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE GIFT YOU'RE GIVING?


To help you with your Christmas shopping I'm sharing my December 2014 newsletter here. --Ada


 
Ada Brownell Writing Ministries December 2014 Newsletter
 

 

 
Dear Reader Friend:

“It’s Christmas! Can we open our presents now?”

The enthusiastic shout came from our oldest son, Gary, then about 10, and our other children gathered at our bedroom door.  Sleepy eyed, I glanced at the clock. The hands pointed at 12:01 a.m.


Such enthusiasm! Although we didn’t give permission for them to start unwrapping their Christmas gifts in the middle of the night, it was a great example of the joy, expectation, and wonder of celebrating the birth of the Christ Child.  
Does enthusiasm flow through your heart as you choose and purchase gifts? Have you found presents that make you feel good about giving?
I’ve always been somewhat shy about marketing my books, but recently author/marketing expert Shelley Hitz said, “Selling your books is a way to help someone else.”

Yes, I wrote the books to bless others. My brand is “Stick to Your Soul Encouragement.”  Since you might have already purchased or downloaded my five books, now you can be a blessing to your friends and relatives by giving them a book or two as gifts.

The Lady Fugitive is written for those who love historical fiction with an inspiring theme, suspense, humor and romance.

 

Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, an Amazon best seller, draws on the author’s experience as a medical reporter and years of biblical study. It is 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.

 

Imagine the Future You  is a Bible study to help youth discover evidences for faith; how to look and be their best; who can help; interesting information about dating, love and marriage; choosing a career; how to deposit good things into the  brain you can spend; and how to avoid hazards that jeopardize a successful life on earth and for eternity. All this is mingled with true stories that can make readers smile.

Imagine the Future You  also is available in audio and is free with an www.audible.com trial membership.

 

Review:  How I would have loved to sit at Mrs. Brownell's knee when I was a teen. This wholesome book resounds with sage, godly advice and could be picked up again and again as needs arise. Worthwhile for parents too. Much fodder for family discussion!

 

Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult is a teen novel also enjoyed by adults. Enter an area where people are missing and radicals want to obliterate Christianity from the earth. Joe Baker’s parents also disappeared and he finds himself with someone after him. No fantasy. No wizard, but suspense. Christian payload.

Reviewer: “A.B. Brownell weaves a tale of intrigue and faith which captures the reader from the opening page.”

Confessions of a Pentecostal is a glimpse inside another person’s faith as the author tells about her family’s conversions one by one and her own spiritual journey. This book is especially enjoyed by older Pentecostal Christians. It was listed many years on The Library Thing among most popular books on Pentecostalism. Because it is out of print, Confessions of a Pentecostal in paperback is only available from the author, but e-books are sold on Amazon.

 
 The Kindle version of Confessions of a Pentecostal  is only 99 cents; Swallowed by Life, Joe the Dreamer and Imagine the Future You are only $2.99. The Lady Fugitive is just under $10, but readers say it’s worth the price. The e-books can be read on Kindle, smart phones, I-pads and computers.

 All the books are also available in paperback on Amazon and some bookstores.  Four are under $10 and The Lady Fugitive in paper is less than $15 and is easy-to-read print. Scripture Supply in Pueblo, CO has all the books but Confessions and The Lady Fugitive, and Christian Publishers Outlet in Springfield, MO, has all but Confessions.


Some titles in paperback are available at BarnesandNoble.com and probably could be ordered from the stores. My publisher tells me The Lady Fugitive should be in bookstores everywhere soon and should be available at Barnes and Noble now.

Ada Brownell’s Amazon author page is here.

Ada Brownell is the author of five books, about 300 stories and articles in Christian publications, and she spent a large chunk of her life as a reporter, mostly for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.
 Thanks for your support of my ministry in the past. I pray you have a wonderful Christmas! Jesus came that we might have life--abundantly  (John 10:10).
                                                       RECIPE

                                                                Aunt Daisy’s Christmas pudding

Sift together: 2 teaspoons soda, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 cups flour

Cream: 2 tablespoons margarine, 1 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 cup milk

Add:  Milk mixture, 1 cup nuts, 1 cup raisins and stir.

Put batter in well-greased pan. Then mix 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups water, 2 tablespoons butter.  Pour over above mixture. Cook until nice and brown, about ½  hour at 375 degrees F.