What I’ve Been Up To

For visitors who might have missed more current postings from me during my blogging hiatus, I wanted to write a note about what I’ve been up to lately. I’m glad to report to those who have expressed concern that everything is fine on this end. I’m healthy, happy, and hard at work!

In February I was offered a contract for a Christmas novella which will release later this year. So, despite some winter weariness after so many snowstorms and record-low temps, I was able to look out my window many times in March to see snow falling as I wrote the first draft of a Christmas story. :-)

I’m also busy at work with two new full length novels, one of which I’ve pledged to publish independently this summer. I’m so excited about this new opportunity! My friend Jane Steen has been a huge inspiration to me, who successfully published her debut novel House of Closed Doors and is well on her way to publishing the second book in the series.

While I do love writing for wonderful editors, it’s been a fun experience to tackle a new project directly with readers in mind. I’ve always thought of myself as a reader first, and every book I’ve written was a book I wanted to read. Because of that, writing on my own has rekindled a love for writing just for the pure joy of it—to be entertained by the story and characters and not worry about market trends or other demands.

Plus I’ve read some wonderful independently published books lately, starting with Jane’s. I also recently judged for a contest which included several books published this way, and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. Now is definitely the time to jump into these welcoming waters, and so far it’s been more than refreshing.

I plan to keep you posted on this new venture, so look for more information to come about this next new release!

I’ve also been doing quite a bit of reading, which helps so much to keep the creative juices flowing. Here are a few books I’ve been busy with lately:

Screenshot 2014-04-14 09.18.48

 

The Rosie Project is a fun book about a young man with Asperger’s who decides to go about the task of finding a wife in a rather systematic way! (Warning for gentle readers, however, the language isn’t exactly pure but it’s a fun read.)

 

Screenshot 2014-04-14 09.24.40

 

 

The Paid Companion is a secular romance about a woman hired to pose as the hero’s fiance. (Keep in mind that it’s a secular romance, which comes with the mandatory love scenes.) Amanda Quick is better known as Jayne Ann Krentz.

 

 

 

 

Screenshot 2014-04-14 09.27.36

 

 

Another secular romantic novel, The Firebird, is especially enjoyable as an audio book since the narrator’s performance is wonderful with a variety of colorful accents. Though this is a secular novel regarding a fantasy-type “second sight” gift, it’s a great example of fascinating research combined with stellar writing.

 

 

 

 

And up next on my To-Be-Read Pile from two of my favorite Inspirational authors, Tamera Alexander and Jill Eileen Smith:

A Beauty So Rare

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Rachel, from the Wives of the Patriarch Series

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m also listening to comedian Tim Conway’s autobiography which has been fun, as well as some great non-fiction from another favorite, Beth Moore. I’ll soon be starting a Young Adult novel titled Daughters of Smoke and Bones by Laini Taylor—something I likely wouldn’t have come across except for the book club I belong to. I’ve been introduced to some great surprises that way!

As you can see, there are countless and wonderful ways to fill up anyone’s day. I hope you might find something here that stirs your interest.

And speaking of filling up my day, I’d better get back to work. Blessings to you on this start of another new week!

New Fiction!

Greetings, Readers! This week I wanted to tell you about my friend Gail Gaymer Martin’s upcoming book:

Screen shot 2013-12-16 at 9.42.51 AMThe Firefighter’s New Family


Love Inspired, January 2014 release


Book #2 in the Sisters Series 

A tornado may have left Ashley Kern injured beneath a fallen tree, but it’s her rescuer who plays havoc with her emotions. Firefighter Devon Murphy is everything the single mom could wish for in a husband: handsome, a doting father and ready to join his family to hers. But how can the pretty war widow make a life once more with a man whose career is full of danger? Devon has fought some pretty big battles in his life, but can he help Ashley conquer her fears and show her the safest place of all is in his arms?
(Book #1 - Her Valentine Hero, Feb. 2013)

 

4 star RT review:  In the second book in the Sisters series, strong characters demonstrate how we should not let fear prevent us from living the life God has planned. Martin is inventive with her offbeat comparison of a family to a puzzle.

Purchase at Amazon: click here

Purchase at Christianbooks: click here

Gail+Gaymer+MartinBio: Multi-award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin is the author of Christian contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction with 52 contracted novels and over 3-1/2 million books in print. Her novels have received several national awards, including: the ACFW Carol Award and RT Reviewer’s Choice Award. CBS local news listed Gail as one of the four best writers in the Detroit area. She is the author of Writer Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance and a cofounder of American Christian Fiction Writers  (ACFW) where she serves on the Executive Board. Gail is a member of Advanced Speakers and Writers (ASAW) as well as Christian Authors Network (CAN) and is a keynote speaker at churches, civic and business organizations. In her earlier professional career, Gail was a teacher of English, literature and public speaking at the high school and university levels and still enjoys teaching workshop at conferences across the U.S. Gail lives in Michigan with her husband. Visit her website here.

 

 

Visit Gail at: www.gailgaymermartin.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gail.g.martin.3
Twitter: http://twitter.com/GailGMartin
GoodReads: http://bit.ly/1e8Gt6D

Christmas Season

My husband teases me about the “rules” I have for holiday decorating – everything from when to hang the Easter blessings signs to flags in the windows for Fourth of July. On the first of October Halloween decorations go up, until some of the pumpkins get blended in with Thanksgiving pilgrims and turkeys. That leads right into the Christmas season with the most extensive displays, at least in our own modest way. Of course the actual date to bring out holiday decorations are different for each family, but around here I call it a routine rather than a rule. I like putting up my tree the day after Thanksgiving so we can enjoy it all the way through New Year’s Day when I take it down.

IMG_0218But this year we’re a little late. The house has been in disarray since before Thanksgiving because we’re putting in new flooring in our living and dining room. The plan is to add hardwood throughout the first floor, but it’ll have to happen in stages. It would have been nice to do it all and limit the disorder to one big mess, but since “we’re” doing it ourselves (and by that royal we I mean my husband) it would have been more crazy than just trying to empty these two rooms at one time!

The project is nearly complete, though, as you can see from this picture I took a few days ago before he finished the trim on the baseboard. We can finally get our tree up! It’s a bit late, but maybe that means we’ll just enjoy it more with this shortened season. So tonight while we have Pandora tuned to classic Christmas songs, we’ll be decorating the tree.

I’ll leave you today with one of my all-time favorite Christmas tunes, as performed by the Piano Guys:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anyone who went through grade school in this country has probably heard about America’s first Thanksgiving: Pilgrims and Indians sharing a three day feast over the pilgrim’s first bountiful harvest.

George_Washington_by_Gilbert_Stuart,_1795-96What I didn’t know until hearing it on the radio was that George Washington was the first president to desire a national day of Thanksgiving. We’d just come through a fierce battle for independence. Washington knew this young country needed our own traditions. Something different from the ones formerly celebrated as subjects of the English crown, something uniquely our own.

So he dictated a Thanksgiving Proclamation, one filled with gratitude to the Almighty God. While it didn’t exactly join the country’s politics with religion, it did recognize the desire to give thanks to God for the many blessings bestowed on this country. To read the entire (but brief!) proclamation, click here.

Lincoln_O-60_by_Brady,_1862Amazingly enough, that proclamation was lost in the shuffle of paper when the capitol was moved from New York to Washington, D.C. While there may have been many harvest time feasts celebrated throughout the following years, it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln issued another Thanksgiving Proclamation that this holiday became official. He wanted to remind the nation that even in the midst of war we had much to be grateful for. Read Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation here.

So as you enjoy your bounty and your family this week, remember to thank God for your many blessings, even after or within the midst of any earthly trials. You’ll be in the company of two great presidents if you do!

Thank a Veteran today!

512px-Postcard_with_flag_of_the_United_StatesEver since my father died several years ago, national holidays reminding us to thank a vet come to mind with deeper poignancy to me. My dad was a Second World War veteran, and survived things I cannot imagine facing.

He joined the Navy at just seventeen years old, a couple of years before the outbreak of war. After training at Great Lakes he was sent to California and assigned to the USS Oklahoma. Thankfully, he soon volunteered for duty in Asia and transferred to a small gunboat on the Yangtze River. That certainly spared his life when the Oklahoma was later sunk at Pearl Harbor. He worked in the boiler room, the bowels of the ship, and because it capsized he likely would have drowned along with so many others who were trapped below.

But while his life was spared, a fact to which I obviously owe my own life, he didn’t escape the horrors of war. My father had been sent to the Philippines just before Pearl Harbor was bombed. Although the Navy and the Marines put on the best fight they could, the area was overwhelmed by the Japanese military. My father was taken captive in the second wave of the Death March, sent to such infamously horrible prison camps as Bilibid and Cabanatuan. Ultimately he was taken to Mukden, Manchuria, where he spent the longest time of his three and a half years of captivity. He weighed around 100 pounds when they were finally liberated, having suffered disease, near starvation, slave labor, mysterious medical experiment injections, and even a friendly-fire bombing for which he carried a facial scar on his handsome face for the rest of his life.

To the day he died, my father had a remarkably soft spot in his heart for the Philippines. He fought alongside the Filipino fighters, who battled desperately to keep the Japanese at bay. In his last years here on earth, my father had a Filipino caregiver and they had long talks about the islands and how this man’s countrymen were brothers in arms to my dad and other Americans during that time. If he’s allowed to look down from heaven to see the devastation caused from the recent typhoon, and if tears were allowed in heaven, I think my dad would be greatly moved by yet another tragedy visiting that nation.

Please join me in prayer and support for our veterans, and for those suffering right now in the Philippines. And don’t forget to thank a Vet today for the freedom we enjoy!

The Best Two Questions

72px-Vraagteken.svgOver the weekend my Pastor wove into his sermon two questions Christians need to ask themselves and other Christians in their life. These two questions are familiar in our church, but they’re so foundational to a Christian’s life I’m all for repeating the idea.

So what should we be asking ourselves, and other Christ-followers around us?

  • What’s God doing in your life?
  • How can I help?

The idea behind this is that God is already involved in our lives. We don’t have to sit down and make a list of our goals and ask God to bless our plans. He already has a plan and wants what’s best for us—what we need to do is become more aware of where He’s leading us.

How do we gain that awareness? By seeing the opportunities around us that point to God’s glory. So often I forget that God didn’t create me just so I can have a fun and happy life. He created me to get to know Him, to be loved by Him and to let others know He loves them, too. So when I read the Bible I need to see if God is trying to tell me something for today, rather than just studying the text to gain knowledge about Christian history. I need to ask God outright to guide the moments in my day and ask Him to be my eyes, looking for His perspective instead of my own.

Ready to join me?

God’s Love & Jupiter

My husband and I belong to a small group of fellow Christians where we explore various Bible studies and discuss topics relevant to our faith—all the while enjoying friendships and community with people we’ve grown to love over the years. Recently someone asked what makes us feel loved by God. My first thought, after having lived with my Physics-teaching husband for so many years, was Jupiter.

Jupitersatelliteimpact

The red spot on Jupiter reveals a comet’s impact in 1993, saving planet earth.

While there are many reasons to think the Creator of this earth wants us to know Him through His creation, to delight in the many gifts of color and beauty and nearly endless variety, it’s the fine tuning of the Universe that impresses me most. Without planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune to act as shields for us against meteors and comets, earth would suffer life-ending impacts on a fairly regular basis. It’s just one of the many miracles that sustain us, like the Moon regulating our tides, or the size of our sun and our placement in the solar system, the right amount of solar wind, earth’s exact tilt and orbit around the parent star (our sun), the right thickness of the earth’s crust, the right amount of oxygen/nitrogen, the right amount of oceans and continents for advance life to develop, and on and on too many things to list here (not to mention well beyond my comprehension!).

It’s enough for me to know that Jupiter, at just the right distance because of its size and gravitational pull, acts as a shield for us here on earth. Just one more lovely example of how God placed us here to enjoy the gift of life, to discover His love on this testing ground before joining Him in eternity.

Next time you look up at a starry sky, thank God for His love. Jupiter is just one huge gift from our Creator to us.

Icebreakers, anyone?

Image courtesy of Bing Free Images

Image courtesy of Bing Free Images

Over the weekend I attended an event that included an icebreaker game. We were to introduce ourselves not just with our name, but with an interesting fact no one would ever guess about us.

I may not have mentioned this before, but I dislike icebreakers. Intensely. I suppose that’s because I’m an introvert, and such things force me to step outside my shell—that’s the point, right? So I’m sitting there trying to think of something about myself that another person might find remotely engaging.

All I come up with are things about my family. How my grandmother’s hair reportedly turned white overnight, after the sudden death of her young and only daughter. How she survived the deaths of three of her four children, lived through two world wars, went through a nasty divorce and eventually married again, a man who worked on the Panama Canal and fought in World War One. How my father persuaded her to sign a permission form for him to join the Navy when he was just 17 years old (I cannot imagine doing that for my son).

Then there’s my dad himself, who started his Navy ship experience on the USS Oklahoma which was doomed to sink at Pearl Harbor. But he was no longer on that ship then, although it turned out to be a delay and not an exemption from war tragedy. He’d volunteered for Asiatic duty and worked in the engine room on a gun boat on the Yangtze River—until his boat was sent to help defend the Philippines, where he was taken prisoner by the Japanese and spent the next three and a half years in various Japanese prison camps.

You know what I’ve noticed about interesting lives? They certainly fit the old Chinese curse about living in interesting times. There is obviously a direct correlation between tragedy and interesting, even if one of the positive results can be evidence of being a survivor.

Of course none of those interesting facts were about me, so I couldn’t use any of this. Since it was a group of parents whose kids have one kind of disability or another, I didn’t want to share our diagnosis story because presumably every other parent there had one as well—it wasn’t something we wouldn’t be able to guess about one another. As tragic as it was to learn I was the carrier for a genetic disease and that for a time we feared my daughter could be a carrier too, while I was pregnant with another child who could have been affected as well, (neither of which turned out to be true) I avoided that interesting phase of my life.

All I could come up with is that I’m an author. Even today in this age of widespread publishing made easier and more affordable by online publishing, people still seem to find this interesting. But I felt as if I’d cheated a little, since writing is something God wired me to do. It’s a job, and I firmly believe whenever we find the job God wired us to do it’s the most natural thing for us to do. I guess that’s why I don’t feel like taking credit for it, it’s too much a part of me and my everyday life.

Perhaps you like icebreakers better than I do. This may be one you either want to play, suggest, or at least be prepared for!

New Fiction: Margaret Daley’s Latest!

This week I’m pleased to introduce Margaret Daley’s newest book, Severed Trust – the 4th book in her Men of the Texas Rangers series. But don’t worry about which to read first because each story stands on its own. :-)

Make sure you scroll down to read a sample of the story! Margaret has included the Prologue and First Chapter for you to enjoy!

 

Severed+Trust.+jpgSevered Trust, 4th book in Men of the Texas Rangers

 

By Margaret Daley

 

October 2013

 

Abingdon Press

 

 

About Severed Trust:

 

The day Sadie Thompson finds her high school student, Lexie, asleep in class and can’t wake her is the day she realizes how entrenched a prescription drug ring is in her school. As Sadie is pulled into doing something about the growing problem, she becomes involved with Ethan Stone—a Texas Ranger who suspects the drug ring reaches far beyond the high school. Helping Lexie recover from the overdose, Sadie feels she is making a difference—until the 16-year-old’s best friend dies from the apparent mixing of various prescription drugs. Lexie doesn’t think her friend took her own life, but her relationship with her Uncle Ethan is precarious and she doesn’t know if either he or Sadie will help her discover the truth.

 

 

RT Book Review Magazine:

 

“Daley addresses the growing trend and popular misconception that prescription medications are not dangerous — which couldn’t be further from the truth — and does not sugarcoat the stark reality that no one is invincible in book four of the Men of the Texas Rangers series. Chapters ending in cliffhangers leave readers thinking “just one more!” This thoroughly engaging novel is filled with fast-paced suspense and a touch of romance.” 4 ½ stars, Top Pick by Leslie McKee

 

 

 

Buy at Amazon

 

Buy at Barnes and Noble

 

Buy at Christianbooks.com

 

Prologue

 

 

 

Standing at the gravesite, I stare at the coffin, my mom inside. Dead. I don’t understand. Why did she do it? Leave me and Dad?

 

           

 

I glance at my father next to me, tears running down his face, and my own stay clumped in my throat. An ache spreads through my whole body.

 

           

 

Memories of a few days before trying to wake up Mom send the terror through me all over again. I close my eyes, not wanting to remember, only to picture her sprawled on her bed, an empty bottle of pills next to her.

 

           

 

I rub my hands across my face, trying to scrub the image from my mind.

 

           

 

As the crowd thins, my aunt approaches Dad. “I have some ladies from the church lined up to bring food over. Are you sure you don’t want Bob and me at your house today? As they bring it, I can take care of it for you. You won’t have to worry about anything.”

 

           

 

“No. I want to be left alone. Cancel them.”

 

           

 

“I know you’re hurting. You shouldn’t be alone at this time.”

 

           

 

My dad leans forward, his face inches from my aunt’s. “Don’t tell me what I need. I need her.”

 

           

 

My aunt pulls my father away a few steps and lowers her voice, but not enough that I don’t hear what she says. “Paige was sick. She didn’t mean to kill herself.”

 

           

 

Dad jerks away from my aunt, grabs my hand and tugs me toward the car. People try to stop him, but he ignores them.

 

           

 

“Mom killed herself?” I ask as he drives toward our home.

 

           

 

He doesn’t say anything.

 

           

 

“How?”

 

           

 

Still silent.

 

           

 

“Dad?”

 

           

 

He pulls into the driveway and twists toward me. “She didn’t want to be with us. She took sleeping pills so she never had to wake up.”

 

           

 

Mom? Leave us on purpose? No, she loved me.

 

           

 

“Go to Tommy’s house and play with him.” He pushes open his door and stomps to the house.

 

           

 

I don’t know what to do. Tears finally flood my eyes. I blink and climb from the car. Instead of going to Tommy’s across the street, I trudge toward the porch. I need Dad. I need to understand.

 

           

 

When I put my hand on the doorknob and turn it, a loud blast coming from inside, like a car backfiring, echoes through the air.

 

 

 

1

 

 

Fingering the necklace Jared had given her for her seventeenth birthday, Kelly Winston cracked her bedroom door open. When she peeked out, her mother strode toward the staircase. Releasing a swoosh of air, Kelly snuck down the hall to her mom’s bathroom and pulled out the middle drawer where she kept her supply of medicine.

 

 

Kelly picked up the first bottle of a painkiller her mother had started taking last winter after her car wreck. Kelly shook one into her palm. She grabbed the next bottle, not sure what these pills were, but she pocketed several of them anyway, then moved on to the next medication, an old one for anxiety her mom had taken when Dad divorced her and moved away. She took three of them.

 

 

“Kelly,” her mother yelled from the foyer downstairs.

 

 

She shot straight up, her heart pounding, but she didn’t hear any footsteps approaching.

 

 

“Your date is here.”

 

 

She drew in a deep breath to calm her rapid heartbeat and quickly closed the drawer. “Coming, Mom.”

 

 

She stuffed the pills she’d taken into her jean pocket and hurried from her mother’s bathroom before she came looking for her. When Kelly saw Jared standing next to her mom in the foyer, she smiled and nodded once.

 

 

His mouth curving up, a dimple appearing in his left cheek, he winked at her.

 

 

“When are you going to be home?” her mother asked as she walked toward the kitchen.

 

 

“The party lasts until midnight so after that.”

 

 

“Don’t wake me when you come in. I’m exhausted and hope to go to bed early.”

 

 

“I won’t,” Kelly said, right before closing the front door. It was so easy to stay out when her mother took a sleeping pill. Mom would be out until tomorrow.

 

 

“What did you get?” Jared rounded the front of his Porsche.

 

 

After sliding into the front seat, she dug the dozen pills out of her pocket and laid her palm out flat to show him. “Painkillers, sleeping pills, and an assortment of others. Is that what you wanted?”

 

 

“You did great. This will be fun.”

 

 

“Are you sure your friends will be okay with me coming?”

 

 

“You’re my girlfriend. We’ve been dating for over two months.” At the stoplight, Jared looked at her, his blue eyes gleaming with male appreciation. “You’re the most beautiful girl at Summerton High School. I’ll be the envy of every guy at the party.”

 

 

Though his words flattered her, Kelly’s nerves tensed throughout her body. This was her first pill party. She’d heard of them from some of the other girls. She’d always wanted to be a part of the in crowd. Tonight she would be. Finally. All because Jared Montgomery, a hottie and a senior, had started dating her when she became one of the junior cheerleaders— after years of honing her skills and dieting constantly.

 

 

When Jared parked behind a warehouse, Kelly glanced at some of the other expensive cars. A few she recognized. “The party is here?”

 

 

“Yeah. This place isn’t in use right now. Perfect for what we want to do. Ready?”

 

 

She nodded, laying her quivering fingers on the door handle.

 

 

He clasped her shoulder, stopping her from leaving the car. “Just do what the others do. It’s a small group of my closest friends. You’ll be fine. This is such a rush. You’ll see what I mean tonight.”

 

 

Peering at him, she fortified herself with the knowledge he told her he loved her last week. All the kids were doing this. What harm could a few prescription drugs really do? They were all prescribed for someone to take. Her mom took several every day. It wasn’t the same as taking illegal drugs like meth or crack. Those could seriously mess with her mind.

 

 

As they walked toward the back entrance to the warehouse, hidden from the street, Jared grasped her hand, brought it to his lips, and kissed her knuckles. “Stay close and I’ll take care of you.”

 

 

His gaze connected with hers. Her stomach flip-flopped. He could always do that—make her feel so special. She certainly didn’t get any affirmation from her mother or her father who lived in Chicago and couldn’t be bothered with her.

 

 

Before going in, Jared tipped her face up and kissed her, then pushed the door open.

 

 

The beat of the music pulsated in the air. Four teens sat or stood around the huge cavernous warehouse—bare of any items as far as Kelly could see, except for a few crates used for the party. Beyond the pool of light, darkness lingered as though a black curtain encircled a small part of the building, cordoned off for the pill party.

 

 

Jared retrieved two beers from a cooler and passed one to Kelly. She hated the taste but noticed all the other kids had one. She’d pretend she liked it.

 

 

“Let’s put our drugs in the bowl. When everyone arrives, we’ll grab a handful and take them with the beer.” Jared pulled a wad of pills from his pocket.

 

 

“Then what?”

 

 

“We drink, dance, and wait. For some nothing much happens. Dud pills. Others get a rush, feel euphoric. Either way, we forget our problems and have fun.” He released his pills to fall into a large plastic bowl where there were a lot of drugs in various colors and sizes.

 

 

Kelly uncurled her hand, and the ones she brought tumbled on top of the others, then she took a swig of beer, suppressing her gag reflex.

 

 

Jared tapped his can against hers and then lifted his drink, downing probably half of it. “C’mon. We need to catch up with everyone. We’ll be floating in no time. Not a care in the world, especially the English test you have on Monday.”

 

 

While she tilted the can to her lips, he slung his arm over her shoulder and cradled her against him. His sweet action reinforced why she was here in the first place.

 

 

Jared loves me and won’t let anything bad happen to me.

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

Her throat parched, Kelly swayed in the middle of the lit area with several teens slumped on the concrete floor. The light and dark swirled before her. She searched for Jared and found him where he’d been before she’d gone to see if there was something to drink. The coolers had been empty. To ease her dryness, she’d considered cupping her hands into the melted ice, but she didn’t.

 

 

Kalvin Majors stumbled and fell into a stand with a light. It crashed to the floor and shattered. He continued wandering around in a circle, shouting every once in a while, “Go Eagles.”

 

 

Kelly returned to the darker area because the room didn’t seem to spin as much. She plopped down and crumpled back against a post. Jared lay not far away, and no matter how much she’d tried earlier to get him up, she couldn’t. He’d just batted at her as if she were an annoying fly pestering him.

 

 

Another girl, Zoe, was stretched out on the floor moaning, while Luke, who was in several of her classes, vomited. The stench assailed her nostrils, and she almost hurled. She cupped her hand over her mouth and closed her eyes.

 

 

This isn’t fun. I want to go home.

 

 

She crawled toward Jared, afraid to try standing. When she reached him, she shook his shoulder hard. Nothing. At least before, he would mumble or groan, but this time he didn’t do anything. Cradling his face between her hands, she intended to yell at him until he woke up.

 

 

His skin felt cold, but it was hot in here. How could he be so cold? Her mind fumbled around trying to grasp onto something she should realize. Did she stick her hands into the ice water after all?

 

 

“Jared! Wake up!”

 

 

Someone—Brendan maybe—said, “Pipe down.”

 

 

She didn’t care. Increasing her volume, she shouted his name over and over.

 

 

Kelly lifted his arm to pull him up and get him outside into the fresh air. His limp arm was dead weight, making it hard to budge him at all. Finally, the effort zapped all her energy, her world spinning faster than before. She collapsed on top of Jared. A black veil descended . . .

 

 

 

Someone jostled Kelly, pushing her off her comfortable pillow. She blinked, a harsh light glaring in her eyes.

 

 

“He’s dead,” a frantic female voice shrieked, piercing through Kelly’s dazed mind.

 

 

Dead? Kelly struggled to focus on the two blurs standing over another blur.

 

 

“We’ve got to get him out of here. This is my dad’s warehouse.”

 

 

“And do what?” the girl screamed.

 

 

“Don’t know. Can’t leave him in here.”

 

 

Kelly curled up into a ball, the cold concrete against her cheek. She wanted to open her eyes again. To see what was happening but the darkness beckoned. If she slept a little longer, she would be okay.

 

 

A scraping sound penetrated the haze in her mind, but she kept moving toward the black.

 

 

Slam.

 

 

She jerked, then folded in on herself even more. Now running toward the dark void where she could escape . . .

 

 

Kelly rolled unto her back, the cold hardness beneath her demanding she wake up. She tried forcing her eyelids up but only managed to open them a slit. Through her narrow vision a face loomed close. The darkness surrounding her made it hard to see who it was. Blue eyes? Jared?

 

 

But no matter how much she tried, she couldn’t keep her eyes from shutting again. Her mind in a fog, she allowed it to swallow her up.

 

Beautiful Destruction?

Over the weekend my husband and I were talking about how there are at least two kinds of destruction. One is by man and the other by God.

Scottobear_-_051231_sun_(by-sa)Although the result of destruction from either source can be devastating, we were observing that when God destroys something there is often beauty in it. Consider a wildfire, set off by lightning. First the lightning is beautiful in its way, and fire is mesmerizing. After these fires do their worst, the land is rejuvenated for new growth strengthened by the nutrients in the soil left behind after the fire.256px-08_tree

On the opposite end of devastation from fire is devastation from floods. Water in a house can leave us with all kinds of problems, including mold. But in nature, if there aren’t any homes in the way of the flood, this kind of destruction benefits the land because of sediment deposits left behind when the waters recede.

Earthquakes, volcanoes, rock/mudslides, tornadoes — they all reveal an awesome power, and if societies didn’t live in the wake of these disasters we would stand back and be impressed by the powers of nature that sustain our planet and keep it viable for us to inhabit.

Each one of those little black dots is debris orbiting our earth . . . space junk we left up there.

Each one of those little black dots is debris orbiting our earth . . . space junk we left up there.

Man’s destruction, on the other hand, is often not nearly as impressive. Take for example all of the debris floating up in space. Go and see the movie Gravity for a picture of just how ugly that destruction is (which is what inspired this conversation to begin with).

 

Or the destruction left behind by war, or economic ruin.

Ruins of Chateau Thierry, France, WWI

Ruins of Chateau Thierry, France, WWI

 

 

 

 

 

1024px-Grand_Army_of_the_Republic_building_2010

Abandoned building in economically devastated Detroit.

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the week: Examples of man’s version of destruction (ugly, without benefit) and God’s (often beautiful but always with a purpose).