Wednesday, December 26, 2018



By Ada Nicholson Brownell

Did you know the Apostle Paul was a mystery writer? He was among those who wrote about the return of Jesus Christ to earth.

One of his most famous passages begins, “51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”

What a wonderful passage of scripture from 1 Corinthians 15:51-57!

During Christmas I thought again of how wonderful it is that God became a human, lived among us, and gave his life to ransom our souls from sin. Then Jesus walked out of the tomb alive and later ascended into heaven.

The hope the angel gave when he said Jesus would come back means everything to me. I am excited to go to heaven and see Jesus, lots of people I know from the Bible, and also embrace my loved ones. First probably would be our daughter Carolyn, who has been with the Lord since 1990.

Then I’d find Mama, Daddy, and my siblings, Virgil, Marjorie, Clara, Erma, Joan, and a stepbrother Clarence, and aunts and uncles, nephews and nieces, cousins, and friends I expect to be there, and my two living brothers Everette and Joe, will be there too.

Today there’s sadness here on earth among friends where doctors have discovered a brain tumor, a damaged heart, kidney failure, and cancer among so many. We’ll never hear those diagnoses in heaven.

But we all live in hope because the Bible says Jesus will return!



  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”


Is there anything we can do to get ready for His coming?

ST. MATTHEW WROTE:  “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).

13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. Matthew 25:13


15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).


So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”



“…Scoffers will come in the last days walking according to their own lusts and saying, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation…  

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat, both the earth and the works that are in it will burned up.

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of the Lord, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire and the elements will melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to his promises, look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

People argue about when the end will come. All I say BY GOD’S GRACE I WILL TO BE READY!”

MORE SCRIPTURES ABOUT THE SECOND COMING, We've heard from the Apostle Paul, Matthew, and Peter.


Here's a scripture from Jesus, quoted from Mark, who precedes this with information about the tribulation.

"Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming--in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning--lest, coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all, 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:35-37).



“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon and in the stars; and in the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring, men’s hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of things that are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.

Then they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when you see these things begin to happen, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh.”


Watch therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).


“Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”


“And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according to his work. I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Rev. 22:12).

“Blessed are those who do his commandments, that they may have a right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city…” (Rev. 22:14).

“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ And whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely” Rev. 22:17).


Monday, December 17, 2018



By Ada Nicholson Brownell

The church today is accused of being irrelevant.

      Irrelevant?  What is more relevant than we’re all destined to die, but Jesus Christ came to get us off this planet alive?

What is more relevant than John 3:16? “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.”

      The relevance of the gospel of Jesus Christ is never more real than when death invades your life. When our oldest daughter died of cancer less than a month after her 31st birthday, I knew there was hope because of Jesus.

      Jesus did something about death, and since then people have been singing “Joy to the World! The Lord is come.” Not necessarily the words written by Isaac Watts. The song wasn’t written until 1719.

      But on that first Christmas, which became the dividing point of time—B.C. and A.D.— a choir of angels sang a joyful song about tidings of comfort and joy. The tidings were for all people, “for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

      Why did humankind need a Savior? Because sin brought death.

      God warned Adam and Eve that although they could eat everything else in the Garden of Eden, they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die.

 “You won’t die!” the Tempter told Eve.

So Eve ate, shared the fruit with her husband, and not long afterward they sat at the gravesite of a murdered son. Eventually, death claimed them.

      When Adam and Eve disobeyed, the Heavenly Father still loved them. He created them for fellowship. So He designed a “just” way to restore humans to righteousness and life forevermore.  He would bring a Redeemer to reverse the penalty of sin (Genesis 3:15). But blood would be required, because sin is so serious and always hurts someone, especially the sinner.[1]

      Yet, death became the enemy of every mortal person, despite a glimmer of hope with repentance and the sacrifice of bulls and goats. Bull and goat blood wasn’t enough to thwart the Tempter—the Enemy who is delighted when people fall into sin and are destined to eternal death away from God.

Then God-the-Son slipped into a baby’s skin, and He landed in a straw-filled manager surrounded by cattle, sheep and the smell of manure. A long, hard road stood between the Christ Child and victory. He grew and demonstrated His love, but people loved themselves more than God and killed Him. His blood trickled down a splintery cross and He died. Hope seemed lost.

 Three days later, Jesus’ walked out of the tomb alive without even unwrapping the grave clothes. He told the Apostle John, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:17-19 ).

      Isaiah wrote in his prophesies about the Messiah, that “Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-4). But we’re like Adam and Eve. We decide whether to obey God. It’s up to us whether we accept the gift of salvation and the resulting joy.

      Joyful singing about Jesus has erupted from mortal lips since His birth and for good reason. And we’re still singing, “Joy to the World!  The Lord is come!”

      If you’re human, that’s relevant--and REAL!.

      © Copyright Ada Brownell

See Genesis 3:14-15

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Interview with NIke Chillemi about her new book, Courting Danger

Courting Danger, Ada Brownell, Spotlight-Interview


Newly installed Pelican Beach, Florida detective Katerina "Kat" Andruko fears the prime suspect will get off in the murder of a teen with the help of the department's forensics psychologist, a man she's just started to trust.

This case has national security implications that gives former US Army Ranger, Dr. Dimitri Garmonin a chance to work with the FBI. The case could give him the chance to obtain the funds needed to expand his small Behavior Analysis Unit. He's unmoved by the chic FBI agent sent to assist but is intrigued by Kat with whom he shares a Slavic heritage.

Kat and her partner detain two wrong suspects, giving the department negative press. The predator turns his anger on Kat, targeting her. Can Dimitri use his profiler skills to catch this killer before he hurts the woman he's growing to love?


Q: Give us an insight into your main character(s). What does he/she do and/or what attributes does she/he possess that are so special?

A:  In COURTING DANGER both Detective Katerina "Kat" Andruko and forensic psychologist Dimitri Garmonin share a Slavic heritage. They even share more than that. As children both spent years in a Slavic country. Dimitri was born in Russia and lived there at the fall of the Soviet Union. His father was murdered there, and his mother escaped with him to America. As an adult, he still speaks with a faint Russian accent. After her parents were killed by a drunk driver in northeastern Florida, Kat was shipped off to an aunt and uncle she didn't know in Ukraine. She spent two of her teenage years there. Yes, Kat and Dimitri share a Slavic heritage, but culturally and politically, the Ukrainians and Russians hate each other. So, Kat not only distrusts Dimitri, she actually has him as her number one suspect in the murder case of a teenage girl whose body is found on the beach.

Q:  What inspires you?

A:  The truth is its the little, many times off-hand things that inspire both my novel and blog writing. Several years ago, I was totally taken by a pair of cardinals who flew north for the summer and how they related to each other for the two days they came to my backyard. I put a red cardinal and his mate in two of my novels as a symbol of love between spouses. COURTING DANGER is the exception. My own Slavic/Baltic heritage is Ukrainian, Czechoslovakian, and Croatian. When Russia was invading Crimea, I saw photographs of unarmed Ukrainian Orthodox Priests, in their robes, standing in front of the invading Russian tanks. Some held a Bible, others a cross. It was sort of, "You have to get through us firsts before you can get to the people." Those photographs are seared into my consciousness. I knew I'd write a story about a Ukrainian American woman who doesn't trust Russians and yet she's falling in love with a Russian born man … as they try to stop a wanton killer.

Nike Chillemi


Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader's choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica "Ronnie" Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMRUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.

Twitter:  @NikeNChillemi



By Ada Brownell

Do you like who you are?

An old guy I knew well told me one day before he died he’d like to live his life over—as somebody else. I was astounded. I thought he had an inflated ego, and viewed himself as better than others. I was wrong.

While they were small children, our granddaughters used to play dress up. I don’t remember if they were pretending to be someone famous, or themselves as adults, but it somebody else. Yet they did grow up to be beautiful young ladies.

God, who designed us in the beginning, has a special feature he added to humans, that can only occur supernaturally. We can be changed into a new person!

People who repented and accepted Jesus as Savior after living a life of sin are most noticeable when the change occurs.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Jesus discussed supernatural changes when he talked to Nicodemus (John 3) who I’ll call Nick. Jesus told Nick, “Unless one is born again (changed), he cannot see the kingdom of God.

I imagine Nick’s eye’s bulged when he said, “How can a man be born when he is old?”

Jesus explained at first we are born “in the flesh,” but we can be changed when we are born again by the Holy Spirit. And a few moments later He said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Faith in Jesus changes everything about a person when he repents and accepts Him as Savior. I’ve seen the drunkard set free, the wicked changed in a moment, different inside out.  Those filled with hate, fear, bitterness and greed find it all washed away with the rivers of living water, joy unspeakable and full of glory. A black heart can be washed white by the blood Jesus shed on the cross. Then the love, joy, peace and other fruits of the Holy Spirit flow in.

When I was a child, my aunt screamed, “I’m lost!” in the middle of the pastor’s sermon and ran to the altar crying out for God’s mercy. She was changed from that day, dancing for joy—and loved on people until she died in her 90s.

I know she liked the new person she became.

Some people have said all they want for Christmas is their two front teeth, but God made it possible for us to become a totally new person because Jesus came to earth to be our Redeemer.

Forget sitting on Santa’s lap. Instead kneel at the feet of Jesus who made it possible for us to receive things we’ve never dreamed we could have, but would fill us with incredible joy. You’re promised in Psalm 37:4Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Perhaps it will be things you didn’t even know you needed!

Merry Christmas!                              

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A Tall Christmas Doll


By Ada Brownell

The Great Depression left tracks all over my family, so in the early 1940s with eight of us children and I the youngest, many Christmases we had no gifts. But one year, probably while I was 4 or 5, I received a doll almost as tall as I was. She obviously was used because she had little cracks all over her hard "skin," even up into her molded hair. Her clothing, however, clean and new, showed someone made it for her, probably Mama.

 I hated that doll. I wanted a soft baby doll like I saw another girl have, with a bottle that you could fill with water, and when you stuck the nipple into the hole in the doll's mouth, the bottle emptied and the baby doll wet its pants. That big doll I had did nothing but stand up.

 Just a little growing up, and every time I looked at that doll, I was ashamed of myself--a selfish, unthankful kid who hated a gift given in love. I didn't like the doll any more than I ever did, but I loved my parents more. I saw myself, probably as God saw me, and that did something in me.

I learned whether or not there are gifts under a tree, or who we share the holiday with, it's possible to have a merry Christmas. Jesus came, and I knew He loved me because I learned to sing Jesus Loves Me in Sunday school. He brought the gift of hope to anyone who will receive it, and that not only made the angels sing, humankind has been singing year 'round since that day.

©Ada Brownell

Friday, November 23, 2018

History, Mystery and Faith: MAGIC IN A BLOSSOM

By Ada Brownell

Ever thought about the DNA in a flower? Or the wonder of love?

In my new book, Love’s Delicate Blossom, being edited now after I was sidelined by the shingles—not those on my roof, but a disease that feels like you’ve had something nailed to your body—I discovered fruit blossoms are much more than pretty flowers. Maybe that’s why bouquets are part of weddings. Here’s what the leading man in the book has to say about blossoms and love.  Joe Nichols, explains it to the beautiful redhead, Ritah O’Casey, who has another fellow after her.

They were almost to Aunt Charlotte’s house, and Joe slowed the team to a crawl. He turned his dark-haired head toward Ritah. “The way I figger it…” He paused, looked away and then back to her. “Love is sort of like growing peaches in an orchard. Doesn’t your uncle have a peach ranch?”

She adjusted her pretty hat trimmed with white roses and moved the hat pin a little to hold it atop her head. “Yes. In Colorado. Uncle John inherited it.” Ritah wondered where Joe was going with his thought. “John grows wonderful tree-ripened peaches, and it’s the best fruit I’ve ever eaten. It’s so sweet, juicy and wonderful.”

Joe smiled at her, his white even teeth reflecting the evening sun. “That’s what I think love is like. Some of the girls I know are like a sour pie cherry. Others are like a plum, sweet but still a little sour. I’ve gone out with one or two who never laughed, smiled, and I felt after I got home like I’d been eating green apples. Yet peaches aren’t as easy to raise as many other fruits. The blossoms are so delicate it doesn’t take much cool weather to kill them. I think real love is like that, something special that must be cared for, like a peach.”

Ritah jerked her head up and blinked at him. “That’s awesome. I’ll have to think on that, and sometime maybe I can tell you why Edmund is in love.”


“That’s his name.”

He grinned. “Interesting.”

Then she realized she’d never said she was in love. Her smile flashed back at him and the connection they made with their eyes sent sparks through her.


Toward the end of the book Ritah discovers lots more about love and peach blossoms, and it has to do with the pesky seed.

Hopefully Love’s Delicate Blossom will be published by Dec. 1. The e-book should be out sooner.There have been many delays..

Here’s the summary for Love's Delicate Blossom and the link to Ada Brownell Amazon page, which has links to the other two books in the series, The Lady Fugitive and Peach Blossom Rancher.

Love’s Delicate Blossom, an historical suspense
By Ada Brownell
Sequel to The Lady Fugitive and Peach Blossom Rancher
Edmund Pritchett III wants to marry Ritah Irene O’Casey, but she says wait. The beautiful redhead is trying to rescue Tulip, a 14-year-old orphan kidnapped by Henry Hunter to work in his brothel, and Ritah doesn’t have much time. She has a train ticket to go to college and fulfill her dreams.
Ritah hopes to become a teacher who can help widows keep their children when tragedy strikes. She also wants to teach mothers how to prevent dangerous diseases and treat health problems, in an era when few have access to a doctor. Instead Ritah ends up fighting for the lives of injured soldiers in a World War I Army health clinic, and finds her own life threatened by illness as well as sorrow.
But Ritah finds a teaching job in Penokee, Kansas, and there Joe Nichols, a handsome farmer, edges his way into her heart. But Edmund Pritchett III isn’t giving up, and neither is Henry Hunter, who is about to open his brothel.
Will Rita be able to continue to fight for women and families, understand enduring love, decide on the man she loves, and defend herself and her students when Henry Hunter bursts into the school shooting a pistol?
COMMENT FROM A READER: Your book set a tone and world from your grandmother’s time, the historical elements are what readers read the genre for.
Amazon Ada Brownell author page:

Sunday, November 4, 2018


By Ada Brownell

Busyness filled my days when our five children came into the world and although I thought about how cute and wonderful each are, I didn’t grasp the whole picture about the wonder of a child.

My husband and I walk in the mall frequently. Lately I’m struck by the amazing little people everywhere. The mall has a play area and yesterday a little fellow, probably about 18 months old, climbed up and considered going down the slide head first.

A sister, about age 3 or 4, went around him and showed him how to go down on his bottom. He watched, sat his back side on the slide and slid down, delight all over him. He figured it out himself by watching.

One of our grandchildren had baby lingo no one could understand, but when our son told with a laugh about some of the child’s ornery antics, the child grinned. He understood every word.  That ended sharing the boy’s mischief, even if it was cute, when he was present.

What struck me recently is how wonderful God’s creation and design is, and it shows up most amazingly in children.

How they got here in the first place is more than our minds can fathom.

I’ve watched our grandchildren look their mommies and daddies over shortly after birth, and they’re not very old when they can recognize them across the room.

New brains are like a blank sheet of paper, although fantastic stored data governing our neurological systems and instincts operate even while we’re still in the womb. What God “programmed” into us commanded our arms, legs, fingers, toes to move even before birth. Instincts God installed in our DNA prompted us to suck, swallow, cry, and feel hunger, as well as caused the various inner parts of our body to function.

 Babies arrive with a brain download to literally cry for love, care, and being held, and they won’t thrive without these things.

When we were a few months of age, we learned to coordinate movements so we could reach for things because our muscles and brains developed that capacity. Nevertheless, we needed outside stimuli to use the potential from the brain. Children given no attention often don’t learn to sit, walk, or talk.

We learned language skills by imitating. If Mom kept saying “Mama” over and over to us, soon we worked our mouths and tongues around, using our vocal cords so we could come up with a fairly good imitation. Sometimes the child says “Dada” first, and “no” comes soon after.

If the parents speak Chinese, the child obviously learns Chinese instead of English, and children of Spanish-speaking parents communicate in Spanish or whatever language is spoken in the home.

All through childhood, children imitate what they see and hear. We imitate others all our lives. For instance, we imitate experts on everything from sports to dancing, to gardening, to playing or singing music, to doing tricks on a bicycle or skateboard.

But imitation isn’t all there is. At some point we think for ourselves. Nevertheless, the decisions we make are based on input we receive around us.

As a parent I exposed our children to godly teaching, wonderful Christian people, and challenges of learning things that matter.

Too bad I wasn’t a perfect parent, but none of us are. Yet God gives wisdom if we ask, and ask I did. I’m so thankful all of our five children love God with all their hearts and live for Him. But the other wonderful people who invested their time and energy in our children deserve much of the credit and to God the glory.

©Copyright Ada Brownell

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Halloween: What scares you?


By Ada Brownell

How often were you paralyzed by fear in your youth?

The first time I remember a snake of worry wiggling into my brain I was about age 4 and my sister told me Indians used to live on the same ground where my family lived.

But that wasn’t nearly as scary as the realities I lived with growing up during World War II.  I remember one summer night when the town’s sirens interrupted our evening, screaming the warning.  We didn’t know whether enemy planes approached in the night sky, or if it was a blackout drill.

Our large family scurried to turn out lights. We felt our way to the back porch where moonlight illuminated things around us and gave us a view of the sky.

My heart pounded as we waited quietly, listening. Sometimes I did hear airplanes. Perhaps they checked to see whether people obeyed the warning, but I was sure they must be bombers.

We had numerous blackouts after that.

Then came the years when the Soviet Union threatened with atomic bombs. Many new homes came with bomb shelters. We read about how difficult it would be to survive a nuclear blast.

Fear came, too, to many who expected our nation to be taken by communists, and preachers asked, “Are you willing to die for your faith?”

I had moments of paralyzing fear. My family of ten, however, beginning with my oldest sister, Marjorie, began to dedicate their lives to God shortly after I was born. Each of the older siblings and mom and dad quickly followed. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at age 5 and grew up knowing God loved me and had a plan for my life. There is a peace that comes with that beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7) and that made a difference for me, even during the most frightening times.

I discovered as an adult that no matter what you go through, God can speak, “Peace. Be still,” just as he did to calm a storm when his disciples were in danger of shipwreck (Mark 4:39). Jesus gave peace when I lost my parents and our daughter became a cancer victim. I’ve found supernatural comfort in crises with my own health, in times of financial worries, and when facing a tremendous challenges as a parent and in my years as a newspaper reporter.   

In my book for teens, Joe the Dreamer: the Castle and the Catapult, when Joe’s parents disappear he has moments of paralyzing fear. A huge man breaks into his house while Joe and his sister hide in the crawl space. They have to live with an unbelieving uncle who thinks Joe is mentally ill because he slips into the skin of Bible characters during his dreams and shouts out in the night.

 Yet, Joe has experienced supernatural peace, and tries to stay in God’s Word so somehow he’ll have faith for his parents’ safe return. He hooks up with a gang dedicated to solving and preventing crime. The teens use harmless things like a pet skunk, water, noise, sand, rope, and they are determined to find Joe’s parents despite knowing the enemy uses real bullets and won’t hesitate to kill.

But Joe has become the target of a radical group that hopes to erase Christianity from America.

Joe’s uncle sends him to a psychiatrist. It delights the doctor to put Joe in the juvenile unit of a mental hospital because the man leads the radical organization uses threats again Joe and his sister trying to persuade Joe’s father to give them a software program that could stop difficult-to-control seizures. He wants to change it so it will cause seizures in influential Christians.

 The group snatched Joe’s parents and keeps them imprisoned at a nearby castle, building a wall.

As with any Christian, Joe’s faith is tested. The book is available at


Saturday, October 27, 2018

Mosquitoes and a Show Dog


By Ada Brownell

No matter how old I get, I still make new discoveries.

A few days ago our son’s dog, Latte, died. He was 15.

He was one of those dogs with their hair hanging down around them like a stage curtain. Latte was so beautiful people often wondered if he was real. He looked like a stuffed dog you’d put on your bed for decoration.

Latte was a gift to our son and his wife. They had tried and tried to have a child. She had two or three tubal pregnancies, and one miscarriage. Our son, who has allergies, studied breeds to see which were best for people with allergies and I forget the breed Latte was, but he was special. He filled the empty arms of two people who needed love—and Latte filled their hearts with affection and joy.

Our son trained him with hand commands and showed him in dog shows for a while. Then they adopted two amazing children at birth, three years apart. Our children’s arms were filled, but they still had room for Latte. Latte was special to their children as well.

When we came to visit, he’d bark and make a pest himself until we stopped and said, “Hello Latte,” and gave him a few affectionate rubs.

After I heard the dog died, I shed the first tears I’ve shed for an animal and emailed our grandson. I told him some of the things I’ve learned lately.

 “We know you’ll hurt and you’ll miss Latte, but he gave you many wonderful memories. We still talk about our Macho once in a while. It’s amazing how God put the capacity to love into dogs, as well as cuteness. The Lord must have had lots of fun creating them and all the different breeds.”

I went on to say, “God’s creation is so amazing. I hate mosquitoes and the other day I was trying to kill one and it made me chase him down. If he hadn’t been in the house he’d have gotten away. But I thought about how tiny mosquito brains are and how they can see, know how to fly, buzz, eat, multiply, know they need blood in order to have healthy eggs, so they bite people. I don’t know why God made them except perhaps to be food for frogs.

“We think computers are amazing, but I wonder how they would compare to a tiny mosquito brain. Flies are even trickier than mosquitoes. They seem to know when I get the swatter out and they hide!

“For my next book I wrote about how amazing a peach blossom is. That little flower has life in it that not only will create a peach, if fertilized by bees, that peach will have a seed, and that seed could create a tree with several bushels of peaches—all with enough seed to plant a small orchard.

“The same God who made all those amazing things loves you and made you so you need Him. Jesus will help take the sorrow you have for Latte, and fill you with peace and joy once again. I don’t know if there are dogs in heaven, but animals are, because He’s coming back on a white horse. The Lord is amazing!”

Love you,


Thursday, October 11, 2018


B Ada Brownell

Christian writers wary of preachiness often avoid a gospel message in their writing. Many, however, don’t know what “preachy” is. When I first noticed editors’ guidelines advising against it, I feared they didn’t even want to publish anything with a scripture in it.

Then a secular writer, Frank Luntz, author of Words that Work, explained how to avoid being preachy: “Tell the truth,” he said, “but don’t do it in a condescending manner.”[i]

How important is truth? Should we “spin” it so it will be accepted? “Spin,” used so often these days by politicians and others is actually “twisting the truth” or walking around it, “avoiding the bullseye.”

 Sometimes telling the truth is difficult, in our writing and in life. We need to be dedicated to truth, even in the family.

I can’t imagine how Mary felt when she had to tell Joseph she was pregnant with the Messiah. She excitedly told her aunt Elizabeth, and rejoiced so much her words became the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). But Joseph considered breaking their engagement privately. Nice the angel also visited Joseph with the news of the Messiah, so he believed his virgin and quickly married her (Matthew 1:18-25).

The Apostle Paul usually offset hard truths with an opposite revelation: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

John, the disciple, who spoke continuously about love and penned John 3:16, didn’t hesitate to write hard truths: “If we say we have fellowship with him (Jesus), and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1John 1:6). But he adds, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41). But went on to add the contrast of hope, “And these shall go away to everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal (Matthew 25:46).

It might sound preachy, but it’s really not condescending. Truth is a light that can save a sinner from falling into the dark chasm of sin and eternal death.

Truth is water to the soul wandering in a dry desert of wickedness and unbelief.

The belt of truth is part of the armor God provides if we ask (Ephesians 6).

What is truth? Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

The scriptures were “God breathed” and are the only effective pattern for living. The Word also is an example for our witness.

Yet for me, as an objective reporter (just the facts, ma'am), instead of the subjective journalist of today who puts the story through his mind and tells the reader or viewer what the news means, Truth is "just the facts, Ma'am," a quote from an old police show, and that's the way to objectively report..

 So for me, I’ll write the truth and hope I don’t do it in a condescending manner.

--©Ada Brownell

[i] Hyperion, New York, 2007

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Little Boy Inside: Creating a Hero--Guest post from Regina Rudd Merrick

By Regina Rudd Merrick

Respectful ~ Sensitive ~ Loyal ~ Confident ~ Tenacious

Tender ~ Handsome ~ Strong ~ Human ~ Focused on Jesus ~ Honesty.

These are a few traits that you think of when creating a hero, no matter what genre of Christian Fiction you’re reading or writing.

I agree with all of them. I can usually come up with an example of them.

But I’d like to add one more.

What is it about a literary hero that makes me turn to mush inside, that makes me want throw myself in his arms, and ultimately makes me laugh out loud with joy?


When a big, strong man starts to act like a little boy, it tickles me. I don’t mean when he is behaving in an immature fashion, but rather when those things above—respect, sensitivity, loyalty, confidence, tenacity, tenderness, good-looks, humanity, focus on Jesus, and honesty—all come together in an irresistible package that includes a dash of humility, a smidgen of insecurity, and just a little bit of selfishness.

These are the characters that are strong, but there is a chink in their armor. There is some area that hurts to talk about, and those they don’t want to be faced with, so they avoid it too long, and it turns into a bigger problem than it should have.

When we write about them, their eyes might dim with pain, or a crease appears between their brows that they didn’t realize was there. The women in their lives who love them are aware of this, and while they may momentarily regret bringing up the topic, sometimes they use it to jolt their hero into submission or admission.

This man is going to be loyal to their friend or to their lover come heck or high water. They have this little boy inside of them who not only rails at the unfairness of it all but also rails at any suggestion that they might not succeed. They will go above and beyond what is expected to ensure success in almost any area—including love.

So yes, I love a man who can be all the things listed above, and mix in a healthy dose of boyish good humor and unrealistic expectations that somehow turn into reality, and you’ve got a fan in me.

When I created Tom Livingston, the “best friend” character in Carolina Dream, I knew he had his own story, so in Carolina Mercy, Tom is the hero of the story.

He’s a law enforcement officer, a good son, an amazing friend, and takes care of everyone around him. But he’s not perfect. A little cowed, a little out of his element. The confident sheriff’s deputy is suddenly a little boy who doesn’t know what to do.

Here’s an example from Chapter 1 of Carolina Mercy:

“How’s Lucy?” Tom didn’t want to revisit the previous line of discussion if he didn’t have to.

“Wondering when you’re going to address the issue of not calling her since she’s been home. Eight months, I believe?” Sarah straightened and put her hands on her hips as she gave him a pointed look.
Jared arched a brow toward his friend. “Straight for the jugular. You can get away with a lot, but not if you’re messing with a girl’s best friend. Fair warning.” He reached for Sarah’s hand and kissed it. “I think I’m going to see if there’s any more of your mom’s potato salad.”

“Do you have to?” Tom blanched a little at the idea of being left alone with Sarah.
“You’re a big boy. She doesn’t bite too hard.” Jared’s wink through the screen didn’t make Tom feel any better. The slap of the wooden door was like a nail on his coffin. Which was a very bad analogy, considering the circumstances.

“Tom, I don’t want to butt in, but…”

He held his hands up. “Let me start over. Sarah, I didn’t want to lead her on.”

“What do you mean? She liked you, Tom. She really did. Probably still ds.”

“I liked her, too. Still do. But you know about my family. They need me. Mom . . .”

“Your mother, who I love dearly, would be furious at you for even thinking that her needs would keep you from finding the one God has for you. Isn’t that a little short-sighted?”

“But look at this place. I can’t compete with this.”

“Who’s asking you to?”

His thumb pointed to the doorway. “All those people in there.”
*Parts of this post originally appeared on

Book Blurb:

She’s always gotten everything she’s wanted. He thinks he has to give up everything.

Her best friend’s wedding is foremost on Lucy Dixon’s radar. Her biggest concern is once again meeting Tom Livingston, who has ignored her since an idyllic date on the boardwalk of Myrtle Beach the previous summer.

At least, it is her biggest concern until tragedy strikes. Where is her loving, merciful God, now?

When Tom Livingston meets Lucy, the attraction is instant. Soon after, his mother is diagnosed with an untreatable illness and his personal life is pushed aside. His work with the sheriff’s department, his family – they are more important. He knows about the love of God, but circumstances make him feel as if God’s mercy is for everyone else, not him.

Can a wedding and a hurricane – blessing and tragedy – bring them together?



Regina Rudd Merrick is a writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. Having lived most of her life in Western Kentucky, she dreams of the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. Married to her husband of 35 years, she is the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where she lives in the small town of Marion, KY. She is the author of three books. Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), and Carolina Grace (2019), in the Southern Breeze Series, and Carolina Grace.

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