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A1 Life

This site shares one definition of and paths to achieving a full, rich life.

Excerpt # 2 – Chapter 3 “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

I promised excerpts from my second novel which is soon to be published. Here is the second excerpt. The first was from Chapter 10. This one is from Chapter 3. Marcy James and Josh Crockett began a whirlwind romance in just a few days, then Josh had to leave, but promised to return. It has been weeks and Josh calls every day, yet Marcy is beginning to doubt their relationship.

From Chapter 3, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”

“Yes, your text has a ring of urgency in it,” Marcy admits. “Is everything alright?”

“I’m sorry, Marcy,” Josh apologizes, “I did not intend to stress you. Everything is great.”

“Great?” Marcy questions, “I sure misread that, then.”

“How about for you, Marcy?” Josh asks.

“I don’t feel so great,” Marcy confesses.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Josh responds to the discouragement he detects in Marcy’s voice.

“Maybe after you share your ‘great,’ I’ll share my ‘not-so-great,’” Marcy decides.

“Well, I’m getting things in order here and am leaving for Melo really soon, just weeks away, now” Josh declares.

“Oh,” Marcy realizes that is probably not the response Josh expects.

“Marcy,” Josh’s previously joyous tone devolves, “you seem disappointed.”

“I know and I’m sorry, Josh,” Marcy wishes she could take the few seconds back. “I have waited weeks to hear those words, but I guess I had prepared myself for never hearing them.”

Josh contemplates this over before responding. The silence is sickening to Marcy. She never intends to hurt Josh, but she always wants to be honest with him. Something about him and their brief relationship draws her to honesty with him.

“I should be there in a few days,” Josh states, “It sounds like we have something to talk about.”

“It’s just that you’ve been gone longer than we even knew each other,” Marcy acknowledges. “There is so little I know about you and you left so suddenly.”

“Is it alright that we talk when I arrive?” Josh grapples for understanding of what is happening.

“Yes, of course, Josh,” Marcy answers. “Don’t misunderstand. It will be wonderful to see you, again. Your news just came on one of those crazy days for me.”

“Tell me about it, then,” Josh requests hoping it will make some sense of this apparent change in their relationship.

“It can wait until you get here, I suppose,” Marcy delays.

Josh reacts, “Please, Marcy, I want to know. I need to know.”

“Josh,” Marcy asserts, “What happened today is only part of my confusion about our relationship.”

“So, you are having doubts about us,” Josh clarifies.

“I’m not sure I ever admitted it before until I just said it, now,” Marcy affirms.

“Wow,” Josh chokes on this before he can find strength to continue, “I am more curious to know what went down today that gave you such clarity.”

“Josh, please, it’s really not like that at all,” Marcy tries to help Josh understand, but struggles because of her own uncertainty.

“Whatever it was,” Josh pleads, “please share it. It might help me make sense of this.”

Marcy blurts it out, “Geoff is leaving his wife … for me.”

Josh thinks of a hundred things he wants to say, but none of them kind. He wants to warn, preach, curse and threaten. But somehow he doesn’t. He wants to retaliate by telling Marcy about the call from Denise. He believes he should have mentioned it, but now it seems to be the wrong time and the wrong motivation.

“Josh,” Marcy, not sure of what Josh’s thinking and wishes now she had lied to him, “are you going to be alright.”

“I don’t feel alright,” Josh musters these words. ”I love you, Marcy. I have no doubts about that, not even now.”

“How can you be that sure, Josh?” Marcy asks. “We spent only a few days together.”

“The best days of my life,” Josh says.

“How can that be, Josh. You’re not being honest with yourself,” Marcy scolds. “You were constantly under suspicion, whispered about, confronted and finally banned from doing what you came here to do.”

“But you were there, beside me,” Josh declares. “You believed me and trusted me.”

“I still do, Josh,” Marcy admits.

“Then, believe me when I say I love you, Marcy,” Josh persists.

“I believe you,” Marcy confesses, “I wish I could say the same.”

“Can we spend some time together when I return?” Josh asks.

“I think we should,” Marcy agrees, “if you decide to return.”

Excerpt From Upcoming New Novel

Through the Valley of the Shadow is now in editing stage and should be just weeks from publication. I thought I would take the opportunity to “tease” you with some excerpts from the book while the book is being edited.

Marcy James and Geoff Westin leave a restaurant where they had a chance meeting. While walking to their cars to leave separately for home, they are accosted by four strangers including a broad shouldered man (Shoulders) and a hooded man (Hoodie) Marcy and Geoff are drug into the shadows of the restaurant at knife point by the four attackers. The following is from Chapter 10, “Help.”

It’s late and Marcy and Geoff were one of the last patrons to leave the restaurant. The staff begins to turn out the outside lights of the building making it even darker and the parking lot is empty of all cars but Marcy’s, Geoff’s and the staffs’ who are pulling away one by one. Hope of salvation is now almost completely lost.

Geoff is pleading, trying to make Shoulders understand there was nothing more anyone could have done to help his brother. This only makes Shoulders more determined and angry. He strikes Geoff in the face with the full force of his fist. Geoff tries to free himself, but his attackers are too strong and too determined.  Marcy cannot struggle. She is frozen with fear, so frozen with fear she no longer feels anything else.

Hoodie wraps a huge, gloved hand around Marcy’s neck and slowly slides his knife blade under the snap to Marcy’s pants forcing the snap to open. The blade moves against her belly and as it slides downward the zipper slides open as well.

Hoodie drops the blade down against the crotch of Marcy’s pants and then stops and looks up at Shoulders. Shoulders’ ears perk up and his cohorts’ bodies stiffen in anticipation.

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Source: A New Design for Sharing and Reblogging

So What Do I Do About It?

A granddaughter posted to Facebook in all sincerity and with a good heart, a video which challenged an audience of white folks with this: If you would like to be treated like blacks in America are treated, please stand. Since no one stood, she reminded them that they obviously know what is going on and wouldn’t like it for themselves. Then she challenged them to this question which is the point of the post. “What are you going to do about it?”
Unfortunately, the post did not continue with her suggestions.
So, what do we do about it? In the 60’s, I could march, but that only affects change in so few and for only a short time. I, personally try to treat everyone the way I want to be treated but that doesn’t seem to do much to stop others’ hate.
 
It seems to me, we’re talking about a change of heart for the masses. From experience, I have learned man cannot change his heart. We can alter our actions, make better decisions, but it doesn’t change my heart or the heart of my neighbor.
 
The only way to change a heart is with the help of the Creator. Unfortunately, too many of believe that’s not the truth, only my truth. Some believe it isn’t true at all for anyone. Others believe it isn’t enough for them, although they feel that’s nice that it is enough for me. There are some who believe it, but then don’t let God change them, because they don’t like what he wants them to do or be.
 
That’s why I feel urged to write. I want to share what God has revealed to me are my fallacies and just maybe it will help the reader, somehow. Instead of pointing a finger and saying this is what you should do or what you should be, I prefer to point to the One who created things perfect and give us the choice to go for it with Him or try to go it on our own. Adam and Eve tried to go on their own and I have followed their example too many times. That’s what needs to change. I need to continue to trust God and allow him to work with me and through me with my writing and through my life and to encourage others to try it, too.

Campaign Slogan

“Make America great, again,” “Better together,” – These are the two current slogans of the 2016 Presidential race of the Republican and Democratic Parties, respectfully. I still haven’t decided which way to vote and the slogans aren’t helping. I usually avoid discussing politics in my blog, because I am no expert. Although, I do talk about God a lot in my blog and I am constantly finding out that I am no expert there, either. Today, though, I would like to react to these slogans without endorsing either party. My thesis is basically that I am offended by both.

To me, a battle cry of “Make America great, again” implies that America is not great, now or hasn’t been for awhile. I take exception to that. Granted, we still have lots of problems we need to work through. We have enemies around us and within our borders. Actually, we have always had problems and enemies. We also have strengths and we still have friends and as always, we have admirers.

I was watching a television show last night, Americas Got Talent. If you are not familiar with it, you need to know that amateurs and professionals perform before a panel of judges who determine who has performed well enough to continue to compete until all but one performer is left and awarded 1 million dollars and a show in Las Vegas. There is a lot of talent from pro and amateur, young and old alike. But what impressed me last night was not just the amount of talent. I was impressed by the number of people who are from outside the U.S. desiring to make it in America, proud to have become American citizens and feeling great about it and working hard to take advantage of this opportunity. The panel of judges this year are mostly American citizens, if I’m not mistaken – one from Canada, one from Germany and two from England.  I think most of those folks think America is still great. Politics and Presidents are important, but have only a small part in that. I think a better slogan would have been “Keep America great” or “make America even greater.”

“Better together” is offensive because it leaves too many unanswered questions. It’s too vague. Because it’s too vague, I feel the slogan writer thinks I won’t recognize that fact and support the cause because I agree that often we accomplish more when we work together. “Make America great again” does the same thing. It’s slick advertising. They play on the emotions. Republicans and Democrats are trying to blame the other for what problems we do have. I wish they would work together to keep America great.

The problem I have with both slogans is that they point to government as the solution. That has never been the case. One might argue that “Better together” implies that government and the people working together will accomplish greatness, but that isn’t true, either.  Another could challenge me that “Make America great, again” means that voting for Republicans who support less government is not pointing to government as the solution at all. When I listen more carefully, I hear “vote for me and I can make America great, again” as the slogan.

America is great. I got a little concerned about that in the last few weeks with police shootings and a sniper killing several. I know there are vast neighborhoods and the number is growing that are not safe and good people live in fear. I know the number of homeless is outgrowing the number of shelter spaces. I know there are still unwanted pregnancies and starvation in America. I know there are problems. I also see teachers, school systems, pastors, churches, concerned citizens, private agencies and even politicians who work to calm the fears, redirect the hate to positive energy and fight prejudice, poverty, disease.

These slogans are the wrong words and they place the power in the wrong hands. Take the millions to build a wall of isolationism and spend it on communities and community programs and education. Let the local village decide what the children need to learn. Less government, not necessarily – I would like to see less government arguing and more government listening. I would advocate for less government telling us what America needs and more government asking us what we need. I think we stay great when governments’ hearts are with the people – all people and not so much with one party over another.

It seems like every time I’ve voted in any election, federal, state or local, someone always cries that it’s time for a change. They usually mean a change of parties, a change from partisan to bi-partisan, a change from corrupt to honesty or political to public. I think they miss the real change needed. I believe we need a change of heart and government is not in that business, nor do we want it to be. The needed change must come from the citizenry if we are to keep America great.

No matter what the slogan, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is going to keep America great, together or not. Each of us, doing our part with the talents we’ve been given and developed ourselves and with the help of others can keep America great. That could mean a change of heart. Less time finding the best entertainment and more time supporting our community and helping our neighbor. It means a change of heart. Instead of hoping the other side is going to change, take the first step toward changing your own heart or habit or attitude.

I’m not preaching. I know many of you are doing what I propose. I know thousands volunteer. I know from experience that helping others, using my talents working beside other volunteers, I’ve changed for the better. If you volunteer or work for an agency, organization, church, school that helps to improve our communities or keep them safe. I thank you. I wish to thank the police, fire, rescue, hospital staff, teachers, youth workers, pastors, social workers – all of you who have made it your life’s work to serve and protect us. Thank you for doing your part to keep America great.

Ms. Clinton and Mr. Trump, please join us, because together we can keep America great.

 

 

Coffee Shop Conversation

“I suppose everyone heard about the latest shootings,” Cole introduces.

“If you’re talking about the police officer who shot a black man in Minnesota,” Monica adds, “I think it’s terrible.”

“That’s yesterday’s news, Monica,” Bill proclaims, “Just as terrible is the black sniper who shot police in Texas.”

Cole declares, “I think the sniper fired on police patrolling a protest because a police officer shot a black man in Louisiana.”

“A cop shooting a black in Louisiana is not news. I think it’s an ordinary occurrence down there,” Bill chuckles.

“I don’t think that’s funny,” Monica points out.

The threesome and two other acquaintances sip their evening coffee outside their favorite coffee shop. Cole, Monica and Bill relax around a small round metal outdoor table while Shanda and Samara sit peacefully on a wooden bench beside them.

It is a warm, but comfortable summer evening. A soft breeze stirs through occasionally to add to the relaxation and cool the hot rich coffee served at the small, but popular city shop. There are few patrons tonight as many of them grabbed coffee-to-go. There’s some talk that it might storm as a cool front pushes out and a warm humid front invades the area.

This group of customers defies the weather warnings to meet as they do most week day evenings between work day’s end and dinner at home. Each come from separate downtown offices and leave to various different neighborhoods in the city. The coffee shop is the only place they ever meet to socialize, discuss what’s on their mind and seldom resolve any issues.

“You’re right, Monica,” Shanda, who very seldom comments, shares, “It’s not funny.”

Monica puffs out her chest and glares at Bill as she responds to Shanda, “Thank you, Shanda.”

“You’re also correct, Bill, when you call it an ordinary occurrence and not just in Louisiana. That’s why it’s not funny,” Shanda acknowledges.

Bill feels some shame and thinks it would be good to apologize for offending.  But he doesn’t want to show weakness, so his pride keeps him silent.

“I’m going to refill my cup,” Bill ekes out, “Anyone else need anything while I’m up?”

Every head shakes followed by a palm raised, a “no thanks” or a “I’m good, thanks.”

“I think you put poor Bill in his place, Shanda,” Cole assesses when he believes Bill is out of earshot.

Shanda looks Cole in the eyes and clarifies, “That was not my intention, Cole. I just don’t want to make light of the racist issue here.”

“I agree,” Monica retorts. “We need to talk about racism.”

“I don’t think Bill’s remark was racist,” Cole defends. “I think he was just uneasy and tried, poorly I might add, to lighten the conversation.”

“Why was he uneasy?” Shanda asks.

“Haven’t you noticed? He’s always cracking jokes when the discussion gets real serious,” Cole submits.

Shanda ripostes, leaning forward towards the table, “I have noticed. Would he have been so uncomfortable if Samara and I were not here?”

“I think Cole’s right, Shanda,” Monica argues, “I really don’t think Bill is racist.”

Bill returns with his cup of coffee. Instead of sitting at his place at the round table, he stops.

“What’s this about me being racist?” Bill inquires sharply, “Are you all accusing me of being racist?”

“Your joke was in poor taste,” Cole answers. “I think it offended Shanda and Samara.”

“It did offend Shanda and Samara,” Monica points out, “It offended me. I think I was the first to declare it in poor taste.”

“But no one said the word ‘racist,’” Bill shouts. “OK, it was in poor taste. But because I was uncomfortable talking about this stuff that happened far away.”

“You think the issue of racism isn’t right here in our own community?” Shanda attacks. “The cops right here in this city treat African Americans different than their own.”

“Shanda, that’s a pretty broad generalization,” Bill claims. “I find that offensive and a little bit racist.”

“Please sit down, Bill,” Monica pleads. “There’s no need to attack each other over this.”

Bill sits down, “I won’t be called a racist and not feel the need to defend myself,” he declares.

“You can call me whatever you want to call me,” Shanda professes. “But because I speak the truth, I’m called a racist. Billy white makes a racist joke and you want to defend him.”

“I think what Shanda means is that…,” Cole tries to explain before he is interrupted.

“Don’t be explaining what I mean like I’m stupid or something,” Shanda demands. “I spoke the truth and I meant exactly what I said.”

“All officers in this city treat African Americans differently,” Monica clarifies, “That’s what you’re saying.”

“I’ll be as clear as I can be,” Shanda clarifies, “ALL cops, white, Hispanic or Negro, in this city treat African Americans more harshly, more disrespectfully than they do the Caucasians.”

“Samara,” Bill directs this question, “Do you feel the same as Shanda?”

“I do,” Samara answers. “I found the joke offensive and racist as well.”

The three at the table are in shock and even Monica, who always has something to say, is silent.

“But don’t misunderstand or get angry at us,” Samara requests. “This is not intended to shame you or shock you.”

“I am not a racist,” Bill continues to defend. “I’m sorry about the joke, OK? But I’m not racist.”

“It was a racist joke to me,” Shanda confesses. “But I would be willing to accept that it was carelessness, not racism that spawned it.”

“But Bill,” Samara cautions, “Maybe you need to examine closely what kind of heart caused you to tell that joke.”

Bill maintains, “I’m not a racist. I don’t believe any certain race is superior to another.”

“Shanda’s and my claims,” Samara shares, “were not to guilt you.”

“Why does everybody think they can speak for me?” Shanda protests.

For me, then,  I hope you see it as a request to be understood – an act of awareness to the struggle with racism we have to deal with every day right here in our city.”

“You can’t be healed,” Cole inserts, “until you admit you’re sick.”

“I believe that’s how we need to respond to incidents like these that occurred this week,” Samara adds. “Not with anger or pride or defensiveness, but make an honest look inside our own hearts and ask the tough questions instead of pointing the finger at others.”

“I’m sorry I offended you, Shanda, Samara,” Bill apologizes. “It, rather, I was insensitive.”

“I think maybe I was too harsh to judge you as racist,” Shanda admits. “But the joke sounded racist to me.”

Cole stands and grabs a chair from another table and places it beside the other empty chair at the table where he sits.

“Would you two be more comfortable joining us at this table?” Cole asks.

“it might help us to hear each other better,” Monica adds.

Romans 12: 9-21,New International Version (NIV)

Love in Action

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Prayers for the family and friends of Alton Sterling, Philando Castille and the deceased police officers killed in Dallas.  Also prayers and support go out for those wounded in Dallas and their friends and family. 

Also, I pray and ask God to search my own heart and see if there be any undesirables in me.

 

More About What Makes People Happy

I found this on Facebook. I think this is what makes this “home builder” happy.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FUpworthy%2Fvideos%2Fvb.354522044588660%2F1302061489834706%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

Please tell me what you think about what this man is doing for the homeless by commenting to this post.

Why I Am Happy 2

I shared several others’ reasons for why they were happy in an early post, “Why I Am Happy.” Actually, the whole reason for this website was to share how we can all know life to the fullest (John 10:10).

“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10 The Message

But in this blog post, I would like to be more specific by sharing what makes me happy and more importantly, what provides me with real joy even when I’m not happy.

Life has not always seemed fair to me. I’ve shared in other posts some of the circumstances of life that still doesn’t make sense. Most of those events individually are not good. Death of a friend or loved one is never good, even when it ends a life of suffering. Complete healing would be the preferred over death in those cases. The reality is that each of us are destined to die, physically. Death always comes too soon.

Hebrews 9:27
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” King James
“Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences” The Message
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” New International Version

I know this sounds very morbid and bleak so far, especially for a post entitled, “Why I Am Happy 2.” I’m trying to lay some ground work here, so bear with me. In the previous post of mine mentioned above, I claimed to have every right to be mad, sad, angry. After the death of my first wife, I was angry. To be perfectly honest, I probably remained angry for about 15 or 16 more years. There are still times when that anger rises to the surface. Sometimes, it manifests as anger at someone (the driver that just cut me off) or at an object (the jar that won’t open or the computer that’s too slow). Sometimes the anger turns inward and for no apparent reason, I’m sad.

Did I say sad? You may still be wondering when we get to the “happy” part. I assure you, we will get there. For awhile, I was angry at God. I didn’t stay angry at him, though. My religious self wouldn’t allow it. Besides, I was teaching in a Christian school. I would like to boast that my faith wouldn’t let me and my self-righteous self wants to believe that. Truthfully, my self-righteousness did believe that my faith got me through that ordeal. Actually, my faith is what made me angry at God in the first place.

I believed in God. I believed Jesus is His Son and suffered in human form just as we suffer. I believed Jesus Christ’s death was a substitution for my death and if I just believed, I would have eternal life. If I believed, I would now be able to enjoy a relationship with God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. I still believe that and teach that today.

But I added religious “truth” to it. I believed also that if I do what a good Christian is supposed to do and stay away from the things a good Christian isn’t supposed to do, then God will love me and protect me and answer all my prayers. One of my prayers was for the protection of my family’s health which included my wife, the mother of my children who also loved God and did the things she should do and didn’t do the things she shouldn’t. But God didn’t answer that prayer as far as I was concerned. God was unfair.

And I refuse to give those bad circumstances a hurtful response like, “It must have been God’s will” or “all things work together for good.” Those kind of responses, whether true or not, appear to be blaming God for the bad thing. I will entertain the thought that there may be some good come from those bad things. It’s like Yoko Ono said she is happy that sometimes she is sad. It’s part of life.

What I do know because I’ve experienced it. God is too easily blamed when things go wrong. I blamed him. Why does God allow bad things to happen? My answer: He allows life to continue. We don’t want him to be in control until something bad happens. As long as there are people on the Earth living life as if they were the God of their own life, bad is going to happen. Not everything bad that happens, happens to them. Their actions affect others. Sometimes what we thought we wanted or needed, turns out to be bad for us. So, the good and the bad in life happen to all – the righteous and the unrighteous.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”                John 4:23-24 New International Version

I believed in God, but I didn’t really know him. I worshiped God as Santa Clause. If I’m a good little boy, he brings me presents – the perfect, untouched by worldly troubled life. I thought God’s definition of the full life was in line with my and the world’s definition. My definition did not include the rain, only sunshine. My definition meant I would grow old with the mother of my kids and she’d be there to help raise them, etc. I believed in God, but I didn’t worship him. In some respects, I used Him for my pleasure.

But it does rain on the good. Those who deny the existence of God enjoy sunshine. The good know disease and death too soon. The wicked experience good health and longevity.

 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:45 New International Version

That seems so unfair to those of us who are working so hard to be righteous. Maybe that’s the point. When it comes to righteousness, the just and the unjust are equal. I believed in God, but I was not grateful. I loved God, but not for what he did for me, but for what he could do for me. I thought he loved me, because I was a good catch. He loved me in spite of my imperfections.

Shortly, after my wife’s death, God spoke these words to my heart. But like a teen, mad at my Father for not giving what I wanted, I really didn’t heed it. Thankfully, He stayed faithful. Finally, I am happy to share this thought that brings me comfort even when this sinful man finds himself in unexpected and unexplained unhappy circumstances.

We plan the way we want to live,but only God makes us able to live it.” Proverbs 16:9 The Message

Why does this bring me comfort? Because it doesn’t matter what degree of spirituality I am in or how important I have become. It doesn’t matter what others think of me or how unsuccessful I am. It doesn’t matter how terrible my plans were or how badly I’ve botched His plan for me. My life is in his hands and he can take it wherever God pleases. Wherever that is, I am content.

“I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” Philippians 4: 11-13 The Message

I am no better than you. You can know this kind of peace.I may not know what’s around the bend in the river. But I know who I am. I am His.

Inspiration Behind Novel

A River Bend is patterned after the Gospel of John. Many of the characters are likened to characters in that Gospel. Samara Sychar, for example, is like the Samaritan woman. Josh Crockett has some similarities to Jesus Christ. In chapter four of A River Bend, Josh talks about worship with Samara and in chapter 4 of the Gospel of John, Jesus talks with the Samaritan woman about worship.

My dad asked me once if some of the episodes were episodes in my life. I am not sure which ones he was referring to, but there are episodes which I have experienced. The struggle Josh faces with whether his attraction to Marcy is love or just physical is an experience many of us have had, I’m sure. The being judged by your past is another. Most of the episodes are compilations of real life experiences.

There are more than one underlying theme in A River Bend. But the one that really inspired me to write A River Bend, is actually found in Proverbs 16:9. I first read it in the King James Version, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.”  It became clearer as time trudged along, especially after the loss of my first wife, that life can alter ones plans in a moment. That event made me question God’s wisdom in directing the steps because it so drastically changed my life so very differently from my grand plans.I mistakenly interpreted the verse to me God directed the death.

Later, after trial and error, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps”(New International Version). I realized that God had directed my steps to prepare me for the loss.by trusting in Him to direct me through the grieving process.  When I doubted His wisdom and tried to find reasons, I was confused and numb and lifeless. When I accepted that even Jesus Christ suffered while on Earth, I finally learned to trust Him to understand and direct my steps to get me through it. Faith in God prepared me better for some other life-altering struggles and loss. Until today, when I understand that “We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it”(The Message) is really what that verse means.

 

The characters struggle in the novel A River Bend and there are and will be in your life and mine. But instead of blaming God for the bad that happens, turn to God for direction for the steps you need to make to overcome them. Trust his direction, now, to prepare you for the struggles to come.

 

 

A River Bend can be purchased through Westbow Press, Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble.

 

 

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