Saturday, June 29, 2024

Maxine by Carol D. Mitchell - Makes Readers Laugh, Cry, and Wanting More... Best of Mitchell's Best!

 How did I get so lucky to find my rib in you?

Find out who said this?

Chile, you ain't never gonna call Glenda a gossip evah again! Who're ya to speak nasty words just because I'm a hateful person... But have I hated on you, girl? No! I just hated on my daughter's choice of men... Can I be at fault when sayin' "I told ya so!" to her at least a hundred times a day since they been hitched? Ya know what, I just can't stand the man who lies about always working for the good of mankind? Yep, that's what I said, mankind! "Cause he never did care about women, even when my angel ran after him all those years ago, yappin' about marrying him someday... I tell you, I ain't no gossip just cause I repeat what that blond racist pig said about grabbin' women anywhichway he wants...Heck chile, my Angel hasn't been grabbed anywhere since that doctor started worrying about his patients and the poor and the corporation leaders who don't pay no taxes like we poor folk... No wonder she went out to become one of those "LA Women Married to Doctors," turnin' to clothes, jewels and all things costin' big bucks since he decided to spend all his time with those drunks brought in after knife 'n gun fights... Now that ain't gossip, chile, that's honest truth with a small "t" cause I save the big "T"when I yak about what that boss of mine says about anybody and everybody... He's the biggest liar of Truth I ever seen, ya betcha! 

And chile, don't pretend I ain't the narrator of your story, as well as a worried mother wantin' her chile to have her cake and eat it too, even if she chose not to get preggers as long as she wasn't gettin' much of anythin' except lots of money to soften her burden... Do you know anybody better to break in on a tender moment or a catfight with a little nonsense and gossip, oops...not gossip, but merely disinfo! as I've learned to say speaking of the orange man...

~~~

I have to add a note...I so enjoyed Carol's reference to "me" Glenda as someone Madea-like that I just had to share the above...of course talking about the book, but as Glenda the gossip... I have to admit, that I enjoyed getting into the character...LOL Have you every become a different character than the one you are? Hope you enjoyed my Madea...


(Fitting In Carol's, and a few of mine, playlist as breaks)



Some of you may remember the book/movie Love Story. If you do, you may feel that same emotional pull of the story as Maxine meets her soulmate... But that will not be the whole plot readers will find in Maxine by Carol D. Mitchell... I read this book in one sitting and quickly added it to my personal favorites for 2024--and it has little to do with the fact that my name was included in the book. LOL... Well, maybe it helped... I've been reading Mitchell's books since her first...do take the time to do a search for reviews on her other books...

For, you see, as you will learn from the beginning of this post, Glenda is describe as Madea-like and a gossip about anybody she dislikes... And that includes her daughter's husband...and anybody else that gets in her way... By the way, included in this book is a narrator who sets the upcoming scene for readers... It, too, is often humorous, so enjoy a sample below...


Okay, y’all fasten your seatbelts reason being it’s about to hit the fan with Doctor Brad Montgomery and his ride-or-die Angela. If dreams are made in heaven, this marriage was made in hell. Let me give you a jump start on their past, then, honey, we will be there for the landing! Check this out. 


She was the girl he grew up with in Hunters Point who was supposed to make a difference for a conservative good guy like Doctor Brad Montgomery, but after a decade of marriage, she turned out to be a bitch from hell. Angela’s mama did not like the idea of her marrying a medical doctor who spent hours upon hours in the hospital emergency room. When they were kids, Angela’s mother, Glenda, set the two of them up for marriage before they were in grammar school. “Angela, Richard’s fast. But Brad’s sneaky. He’s the quiet type, the worse kind you should set your sight on but he’s going to do something great one day, and raise you out this Hood” she said. Sure enough, from junior high to high school, Brad only dated Angela. From the time they were younguns holding hands at the shipyards, they were always cool until they married, and, honey, that’s when all hell broke loose. 
For two-decades, ole nosey Glenda held nothing back when Angela began having problems in her marriage with Board-certified Doctor Brad Montgomery. “I  told you before the wedding that man was too cerebral for you Angela, but your ass don’t listen to nobody,” her mother said. The former Hunter’s Point gossip made good when she traded one husband in for another, got a job with the state, and moved out of the Hood to a swank four-bedroom home in Concord, California. 
Now, Glenda, who ran two of her adult children out of state, sat out to ruin her daughter’s marriage. “Mama, we have known each other too long since grade school. I never knew if I married him he would close up on me like this and never be home,” Angela yelled to her mother. “Ten years is a long time to be married to somebody Angela. When he was in medical school, you stuck to that man like glue, only to realize that person wasn’t right for you. I have never seen you so unhappy. You planned your whole life around being with that one man. You know what you have to do. I have been hearing about how unhappy you are, and I am tired of hearing about it now. You flew to Clovis to live with him while he was in medical school, because all you wanted to be was a doctor’s wife. Now, you can’t stand him. I honestly believe you should leave this doctor and marry a regular person who has time to be there for you. Anyone who is smart and returns to medical school after fifteen years of schooling to do two more years for a specialty is crazy. Doctor Brad Montgomery has a few screws missing in the brain,” Angela’s mother said.
~~~
 
Chile, that session at Glenda’s house in Concord got so hot, Glenda called a divorce attorney. Now, Angela was going to take all this shit home to an  unsuspecting husband who despised her mama! You don’t want to miss this! Because honey, this is the last straw for Angela Montgomery. 
~~~

The Good doctor has had enough! “Mama, that’s not what you said in Hunter’s Point, when he saved Richard from being a drug addict like his mom. 
“Oohee. Ain’t we glad that boy was at the  Montgomery’s house when his mama died on them drugs,” you said. Brad was quiet then; he’s quiet now, and a lot of it has to do with how much his parents fought when he was a kid. Cops at his house every night? It ran that child crazy. I do believe Angela, one day all of that is going to take a dangerous toll on Brad,” said Glenda. “Mama that’s his personality. He keeps things inside. I love him, mama. Giving him divorce papers from your attorney is going to be so hard to do, considering he’s the man responsible for all my firsts in life. I thought he was the one. To have been friends all of our lives and then to be in this marriage feeling empty, I am afraid of what the future holds for me,” Angela ended. “Baby, I am more afraid of what the future holds for him,” ended Glenda...
~~~

Three children had grown up together. Two boys and Angela... The boys were Brad and Richard who were close friends even if they were almost the opposite in personalities... Brad and Angela had started dating and carried their relationship through to marriage...

When Richard's mother died from an overdose, his uncle decided to bring him to live with him and, as that rich uncle in the family, had offered to include his friend Brad as well. Both boys were so excited. They had both decided that they wanted to become doctors and when the uncle learned this, he agreed to financially support both of them... Years passed both were now working at the same hospital, still close friends... Only one difference...


While Brad had always been a one-woman kind of man, Richard was a player, which was quite easy to be, of course. When a good-looking man also is a doctor, there were many ladies (and mothers) who thought marriage to him would be great... But there was only one thing that Richard looked for--hittin' that bod...and another one, and then one more... and even Maxine's girlfriend! Which is a no-no, right?!


But Richard held a secret deep within him, he was falling in love with Maxine. Richard and Maxine had become friends when his uncle helped Maxine get started in a cosmetics enterprise. She worked hard and made it big, making even more money than either Brad or Richard as doctors... The thing is that Maxine has been such a close friend while they were working to get her started, that she also quickly realized that Richard liked having many women and felt little need to settle down... So, whenever Richard had tried to make a play, she would laugh and let him know that she just would remain his best friend...

In the meantime, Brad's wife, Angela, had divorced him and was already remarried with two kids... So Brad and Richard got together after work since he was single now and enjoyed watching all the ladies who called out or walked by the most attractive and eligible doctors around... Until the time Richard decided he would be noble and see if Maxine might be interested in meeting Brad...


You know folks, every time that something becomes a problem, it seems that it is because there is such an inability for many of us to say exactly what needs to be said...until it is too late... And that is what happens in this extraordinary book that will both shock you as well as teach you so much about just how people don't really know how to say what they need to say...


On the other hand, Maxine has found her soulmate, but which one is it--Brad or Richard... because there's a lot more happening in this book and tragedy is a major part, along with an everlasting love story... and Maxine has fallen in love...forever... Wow! If you love to cry along with a fantastic love story, also enjoy situational humor, surprises and a narrator who won't stop till Madea holds her hand over her mouth... This is a very special and memorable book and I highly recommend you check it out!


GABixlerReviews


Friday, June 28, 2024

Ira Fistell's Mark Twain - A Lesson In Literary Analysis and Criticism - Higher Education Students, Especially, Check it Out!

All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.--Ira Fistell
~~~

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, then, belongs squarely in the mainstream of Mark Twain’s work, which is characterized by deflation of the pompous, compassion for the oppressed, and criticism of the unjust from his earliest writings onward.
~~~
 
Note on Criticism:  Since this portion of Encounters With Mark Twain consists of commentary on a number of his works, it seems relevant to begin with a statement of my views on the function of literary criticism. I do not believe that criticism should be limited to “I liked it” or “I hated it.” That sort of commentary does nobody any good and may do the author much harm. Neither do I believe in the sort of criticism which relies on the obfuscation of jargon to conceal the lack of any serious ideas. Criticism must, I think, seek to explore the work to elucidate the author’s meaning and to raise questions which may help the reader formulate his own conception of the work in question. In the case of much of Mark Twain’s work, this kind of analysis is sadly lacking. To my mind, few of the many writers on Twain’s work have really explored his structures, explained his many paradoxes, or made an honest effort to achieve a cogent synthesis of his output as a whole. Too much Twain criticism goes off on tangents; too little is based on what Twain actually wrote and published as compared with common misconceptions about his books. For example, it is generally accepted that Tom Sawyer is a boys’ adventure story, that Huckleberry Finn degenerates at the end, and that A Connecticut Yankee is a burlesque of Malory’s tales of King Arthur and represents Mark Twain’s favorable defense of nineteenth-century American institutions. None of these ideas can be supported on the internal evidence of the novels if they are read carefully and with intelligence. It is my hope that my comments will lead to critical reassessment of Mark Twain’s novels, giving them at last the great stature that they so richly merit. 
Defining Literary Terms:  In the course of my discussion of Mark Twain’s works, I will refer frequently to his use of irony and satire. These two literary tools, coupled with his use of humor, are at the core of his writing technique; his work simply cannot be understood without them. It is well, then, to define specifically the meaning of these tools, which are so important in Mark Twain’s writing. Unfortunately, I find that frequently they are used (even by scholars in English) too loosely or even incorrectly. Irony and satire are clearly defined terms which should be used carefully, not tossed haphazardly about as if they had no precise meanings. Irony is the technique of making a point by saying the exact opposite of what is really meant. One of Mark Twain’s most pointed ironies is found in the “Notice” at the beginning of Huckleberry Finn (which I will refer to at length later on). It says in part, “Persons attempting to find a plot in this book will be banished . . .” Twain’s real meaning is that the reader should be aware that there is a plot, and that he should look out for it. 
Satire should not be confused with irony. While they are frequently employed together, they are quite different. Satire is the technique of attacking or deflating a particular object through indirection. A substitute object is attacked, and the reader is left to draw the deadly parallel by inference. One of many examples of satire in Twain’s work can be found in Chapter 33 of A Connecticut Yankee titled “Sixth Century Political Economy.” The apparent object of attack is the economic situation in Arthurian England; the real object is the foes of free trade in Victorian America. In fact, the whole of the Yankee is a satire; an indirect and surprisingly bitter attack on the world of Samuel Clemens, the United States in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Arthurian England is the straw man, the object of apparent attack. America, with its similar problems and equally corrupt institutions, is the real (though indirect) object. Given these specific definitions of “irony” and “satire,” the reader will be more easily able to comprehend both Mark Twain’s work and my observations about it.

Thanks to this sample video, I have now heard the voice of my friend, Jack Savage, as well as Ira Fistell's program talking about books...

Twain themes; over-romanticism and its crippling effects; the motif of escape; the overwhelming attraction of “getting up a dramatic effect,” the torpedoing of pomposity and sentimentality; the cowardice of mobs; the duality of human nature and its capability to reach the highest level of conduct or the lowest; and the one theme which is explored most completely in Tom—the consequences of thoughtlessness. Every one of these ideas reappears and is treated in greater depth in Twain’s later writing, especially in the twin masterpieces of his maturity, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. Because they are eclipsed by the electrifying adventure stories, which dominate the novel, and because they are so often merely introduced rather than explored, the presence of these themes in Tom Sawyer is easily overlooked.
~~~

...mulling over ever since (Tom Sawyer)—the theme of conscience, its formation, and its reliability as a guide to behavior.
~~~

An avid readers often has no idea what they might find or get into when they look at a book cover and decide to buy it... In this case, I bought the book because of the cover... I had commented on the art work on Facebook by my friend Jack Savage, a very talented writer and artist... My comment was that I thought it looked like a woman praying... Jack sent me the cover of a book on which it was used... That's how I met Ira Fistell... And that's how I came to envision the writer, Mark Twain...

Some will say that you can never know more about Mark Twain than that he wrote Tom Sawyer (but do you know that a song was created based upon his story?) and Huckleberry Finn (which was made into a movie, starring Mickey Rooney) ...and then stop. But wait,  Then you learn, for instance, that he also wrote A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (also made into a movie with Bing Crosby...)

But, there is so much more to learn! Tom Sawyer, it is noted by Ira Fistell was really more of a memoir of his youth, intended to be read by adults, but the publisher overrode his opinion and published it as a children's story... Who was right? Probably both. As his first full-length book, Tom Sawyer, was somewhat like the cover used for the book, at least in my opinion. There is definitely a figure of an individual kneeling... But after reading this book, the many offshoots seem to represent all that was produced by this one man who was, actually, quite extraordinary, especially when, in real life, Samuel Clemens, actually was not a very good man with his money...and lost everything in a scam of those days, where Clemens was willing to continue to invest, even when another invention had already surpassed the model he was supporting...

Bottom line for me? You may learn much more about Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain than you ever wanted to know... On the other hand, this book may be just what you want to read if you enjoy reading and reviewing... and, sometimes, doing more of a critical analysis of a body of writing...

Fistell takes readers through Tom Sawyer, for what it was... An adventure story; however, if you "really" read it, you will discover that Sawyer was touching on many issues of the day that had began to bother him, including slavery... and the Society of those living then. The book moves deeply into the stories, pointing out how the writer would move back to those major issues that were given only minor attention in Tom Sawyer, but were covered in later stories and books.

Fistell breaks the book down into three parts:

  • Encounters of the First Kind: Mark and Me
  • Encounters of the First Kind: Reading Mark Twain's Major Novels
  • Encounters of the Second Kind: Following the Leader
I found I got a little confused until I honed in on these three sections more carefully. The process seems sound for presentation. But it does result in some repetition. However, considering what this writers was attempting to do, that can easily be understood. In fact, if I were younger, I think I might try to copy his entire process, although I in no way consider myself capable of a critical analysis as undertaken in this book. One of the reviewers on Amazon said it first: Read all of the works of Mark Twain before you read this book... I found not having done this was a problem in fully capturing the value of this comprehensive work. While I was able to grasp what was being said because of my knowledge from years past of the overall storylines, I know there is much more than I was able to grasp without a fresh read of at least the top three books mentioned.

On the other hand, I feel quite confident in pointing out that this book could very well be (1) the beginning thought process for students working on degrees in English Literature (2) any higher education students who need to develop critical thinking skills. And, possibly, also of benefit to (3) history students who are looking for works related to a certain period of time in America and writers who were presenting thoughts, satire, and the use of irony in talking about the social lives during the periods covered by Twain.

I think what I enjoyed most was the last part of the book as Fistell conducts onsite visits spotlighting this well-known early American author. The author wrote like he is talking about a friend of his, thinking about what he is feeling and what his friend might have seen. It was quite easy to see that Ira Fistell totally enjoyed the monumental time that must have been involved in submerging himself into the life of another, in order to comprehend and share his findings with others, even to include a historical perspective of the surrounding geographical areas...

Kudos to Fistell for this exceptional analysis...

GABixlerReviews


Former KABC Talk Radio Host Ira Fistell has died at the age of 81, his family said. Fistell was at KABC radio from 1977-95; KKGO/KNNS, 1996-98; KRLA, 1999-2000; KABC, 2000-06. He was at times, a newspaper editor, adult education educator, newswriter, radio and tv personality, lecturer and writer. Fistell grew up fascinated by the radio industry and as a child enjoyed pretending to be on the radio. Coupled with his affinity for reading, he found that in college he could combine his interests and hone them in the field of broadcasting. After earning an AB from the University of Chicago with honors in 1962, he earned a JD from the institution in 1964. Ira continued his journey with learning by earning a Master of Arts in the United States and American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967. Though he earned a law degree, his true passion aligned with broadcast, and in 1968, he joined WKOW-Madison, Wisconsin as a radio personality. He went on to be an on-air radio personality at WEMP-AM in Madison from 1971 to 1977 and then KABC. In addition to these roles, Ira was a national radio personality with the TalkAmerica Radio Network from 1998 to 2001 and an editor for the LA Jewish News from 1995 to 1996. He's been a faculty member at the University of Phoenix and as an English instructor for Concord Prep High School. Re-examining Twain's work, Clemens' life, Jonathan Kirsch wrote in July 2012. "Ira Fistell is a familiar and even beloved figure in the Los Angeles radio market, where he long served as an exceptionally amiable, thoughtful and well-informed talk-show host on subjects ranging from politics and religion to vintage trains and Mississippi steamboats. Along with Dennis Prager, he was a host of \"Religion on the Line,\" a Sunday evening colloquy that brought clergy of various faiths together and proved that theological shoptalk could be compelling to a general audience."

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Carolyn Arnold! Presents Murder at the Lake From the Detective Madison Knight Mystery Series

 



Madison Knight didn’t even recognize her own reflection in the mirror. She wore makeup, having been applied at the hands of a skilled cosmetician who did house calls. She was lucky any other day to slap on foundation. Her hair, that was usually tousled like the crown of a cockatoo, was professionally styled. Each strand lying in harmony with the others. A tiara sat on top of her head, the cubic zirconias winking in the light as if they were real diamonds and not imposters. More of these jewels nestled against her collarbone and dangled from her earlobes. It had been a surprise her piercings hadn’t closed up, as neglected as they were. The most shocking thing was her body draped in a white gown. She wasn’t a fan of formal, and she was far from a blushing virgin. If she’d had her way, she’d have walked down the aisle in a cream pantsuit. The only reason she conceded to the traditional garb was due to the petitioning from her mother, sister, and her best friend, Cynthia Baxter. Or one could call it a guilt trip. They had all said, “Can’t you be a girl for one day in your life?” So here she was all decked out, smelling of floral perfume, wearing jewelry and a gown, a garter belt, and lacy underthings. She had drawn the line at a thong, though, and went bikini. “Just when I thought this day would never come.” Her mother came up behind her and put an arm around her. Jeez, thanks! Mothers were expected to get sentimental on their daughter’s wedding day. Cheek to cheek, looking at their reflection in a mirror and tearing up. Not Donna Knight. She was checking marriage off the list she’d had in mind for Madison’s life from the time she was born. “Oh, Mom, be nice.” Chelsea, Madison’s younger sister by six years, stepped in to her defense. Chelsea was the “golden child,” wife for over eleven years and mother to three girls. If their mother was counting on grandchildren from Madison, she’d be disappointed. “I’m not being mean. I was just saying.” Her words said one thing, her tone another. Donna presumed to know what was best for everyone. She was right while everyone else was wrong. “Just let it go. Please,” Chelsea beseeched, adding a smile to her request, which had their mother holding up her hands. Madison faced those in the room. Present were her mother, sister, her six-year-old niece, who was the flower girl, and Cynthia. Her friend looked the least comfortable, as she was due to give birth to her first baby in a few weeks. She complained of being bloated and said her belly was the size of an inflated beachball. Those were her friend’s words, and Madison wouldn’t dare to agree. She’d faced off with Russian Mafia hit men, but she wasn’t prepared to face the wrath of her pregnant friend. 

They were all gathered in the primary bedroom of Madison’s new home, which was acting as a bridal suite today. She and her fiancĂ©, Troy Matthews, were already living together and had been for over a year. But this house was new to them. Though it wasn’t to Madison. In fact, she had a history with the home, and it held special meaning for her. It had belonged to her mother’s parents, and Madison always had a special bond with her grandma Rose. Their relationship wasn’t formal, didn’t stand on pomp and ceremony. Her grandmother welcomed Madison to call her by her first name, and their bond was tight. It was why Madison put in an offer without a second thought when the house hit the market a few months ago. From her first walk-through, the feeling of her grandmother’s presence cemented the deal. Madison was meant to share her life with Troy in this house. She imagined Grandma Rose was smiling down at her from heaven today. Cynthia sucked in a deep breath through her teeth and grinned. “Well, are you ready? You do look incredible.” Not that looking good was the barometer for determining readiness, but Madison graciously accepted the compliment and kissed her friend’s cheek. “Just one toast, and we’ll head down.” Chelsea poured champagne into three flutes and filled two with sparkling nonalcoholic cider. One of these was for Cynthia, the other for Madison’s niece. After everyone had their drinks in hand, they raised their glasses following Chelsea’s lead. She toasted, “To Madison and Troy finding a life of happiness and love.” Everyone echoed the sentiment and added, “Here, here.” Glasses were clinked and generous sips taken. Madison lowered her glass, and with the motion, it was as if the import of today was finally sinking in. This was actually happening. She was getting married. While she’d been engaged in the past, she never got this close to going through with it. Her previous fiancĂ© had been a cheat, and it took Madison a solid decade to give love another chance. But that heartache had brought her to where she was now. With Troy. And the universe had blessed her.

 Troy was so much more than Toby Sovereign had ever been. Troy understood her and held to the same values. He appreciated that honesty, loyalty, and integrity were the foundations of any lasting relationship and a code to live by. But he’d experienced Madison’s pain for himself when his first wife and supposed best friend betrayed him by having an affair. Instead of letting it ruin his view on love, though, it gave him the understanding and patience Madison required from him. He offered a supportive shoulder, despite her inclination to handle everything on her own. Chelsea gathered Madison’s glass and set it down with hers. She tapped a finger to Madison’s tiara. “All right, are you ready to roll?” Madison’s heart picked up speed. Her impulse was to run and hide. And she hated running. The thought of Troy waiting for her had her nodding. She tapped her clammy palms against her gown and took some calm, even breaths. “Okay, let’s do this.” 

Her sister smiled at her, her eyes disclosing she had read Madison’s fears. But she wasn’t good at hiding her feelings, which was both a blessing and a curse. The group made their way to the main level with Madison’s mother leading the way. The ceremony was being held in the living room. Her mother would go in first, and Troy would walk her to her seat at the front. The bridal party stopped midway down the steps, and her mother continued. Oh, this is getting real! When Madison and the rest of them landed in the entry, the French doors were once again closed, and the curtains they had installed would keep Troy from seeing Madison too early. This was just one change that was made to facilitate the wedding. Their regular furniture was stored in the basement, and a rental company had brought in chairs and handled the setup of those. Another business took care of the decorating. Madison’s and Troy’s jobs with the Stiles Police Department didn’t leave them much spare time, so they delegated what they could. It hadn’t been a small feat to convince her to book two weeks off from work for their honeymoon. He sold her on a week at a five-star resort in Cancun, Mexico, followed by a week of nesting at home to celebrate a quiet Christmas. It would be them and Hershey, her chocolate Lab. Speaking of… Hershey wagged his tail at the sight of Madison and wriggled his body toward her, but Terry, her job partner, had him on a leash and gently encouraged him to stay back. But what she would give for just a brush of his velvet ears. “It’s okay,” she told Terry. “Maddy, your dress,” Chelsea cautioned. Hershey was so excited that he was starting to whimper. Between that and the bow tie he had around his neck for his upcoming performance as ring bearer, Madison smiled. “Hey ya, fella.” She reached out, keeping some distance between herself and the dog, but she would have loved to inundate the guy with cuddles. A pantsuit would have been more conducive to that, which she’d point out, but why waste her breath? His ears were so soft, and they chipped away at her stress. Terry wasn’t the only one in the entry. There were four other men. One of whom was Madison’s father. He did a double take when he saw her. His eyes watered, and it had her tearing up. “You are beautiful, sweetheart.” He braced his hands on her upper arms and leaned in and kissed her cheek. When her father pulled back, Terry stepped up in his place. They were more than work friends. He was like the brother she never had, but she was likely to lose him soon. He’d passed the sergeant’s exam and desired to settle behind a desk, where there was less risk of some psycho killing him. For the wedding, his role was master of ceremonies. He was also responsible for cuing up the music and opening the doors along with Lou Stanford, Cynthia’s husband. “You, wearing a dress?” Terry teased with a wink. “You actually look like a—” “If you say girl, I might…” Madison narrowed her eyes and formed a fist. She drew her arm back as if she were going to hit his shoulder. He juked out of the way. It was a long-running schtick between them. Though she usually made contact, and he’d make a show of pretending to be wounded. Just further proof they were more like brother and sister than simply colleagues and friends. The two of them started laughing, but it rang somewhat hollow. It wasn’t far from mind that everything between them was about to change. Terry hugged her, firm yet not too tightly, to not crush her dress. Lou was the next to step up. He smiled and dipped his head. It was Madison who opened her arms for a hug. He was her best friend’s husband, and a good friend and family by extension. Marc Copeland and Nick Benson, who were standing up for Troy, waited there in their tuxedos, hands clasped together in front of them like they were bouncers at a bar. They had known Troy for over a decade and reported to him in the Special Weapons and Tactics division. Like him, both were muscular and over six feet. Marc was especially built like a tank, and his primary task on the SWAT force was breacher. Nick was a shield operator. They hugged her and kissed a cheek, having grown close to her over the time she’d been with Troy. “You ready?” Terry asked her. She eyed the front door, then looked at him. “If I wait any longer, I might take my cold feet and run out of here.” An empty threat. As nervous as she was to take the step of marriage, she hadn’t been this sure about anything in her life. “You? Run? By choice? That would be a first.” This time she did hit Terry’s shoulder. He pretended it hurt. But he deserved the potshot. Terry showed her up by running miles on his treadmill every morning. What sick bastard chose to do that? Meanwhile, she found ways to avoid the activity. If a suspect ran, she set Terry free. Thinking of that, her new partner better be a runner too because she wasn’t taking it up anytime soon. 

Tears stung her eyes as she nodded to everyone, and the wedding party got into position. Chelsea and Marc stood side by side in front of the doors. Cynthia and Nick were behind them. Terry hit the music, and he and Lou each got a door. As Madison watched the couples disappear, her nerves had her heart pounding. Not long from now, she’d be saying “I do.” A cold sweat blanketed her arms. Her father smiled at her as he held out his arm, and she slipped hers through. Brie, her niece, was in front of them and turned around. “Now?” “Yes.” Madison smiled at her. They’d had a rehearsal last night, but Brie’s nerves must have been getting to her too. “Okay.” Brie grinned and disappeared through the French doors into the living room. 

Seconds later, the music was changed to the “Bridal Chorus,” and Madison’s mouth went dry, her head faint. “You’re up,” Terry whispered to her. No turning back, Knight. Deep, slow, steady breaths… Deliberate, conscious breathing, just like her therapist would recommend. Madison and her father paused in the doorway. Brie had done a great job of sprinkling rose petals onto the long runner ahead of them. The room also looked incredible, with ribbons and bows on the chairs and the large urns full of flowers. She made these observations quickly before her gaze went to Troy at the other end of the room. Locked on him, her chest heaved, her lungs froze mid-inhale, and her legs weakened as if made of jelly. Maybe if she focused on the sea of familiar friendly faces of those nearest and dearest to her and Troy, she’d regain her strength. They were standing with their eyes on Madison. Terry’s wife, Annabelle, and their infant daughter, Danny; Chelsea’s husband and her two other daughters; Officer Higgins aka Chief, Madison’s training officer and someone she highly respected; Joni Weir and her girls, Troy’s goddaughters; Cole Richards, the area’s medical examiner, and his wife; Jennifer Adams, Samantha Reid, and Mark Andrews from the crime lab, who worked with and reported to Cynthia; Andrea Fletcher, who was Troy’s sister and the Stiles PD police chief, and her husband, Robert. Absent from Troy’s side were his parents, who had died years before he and Madison had started dating. As Madison approached the front of the room, she couldn’t avoid Troy any longer. 

Seeing him made her breath catch again. His broad shoulders filled out a tux to perfection. His blond hair was trimmed short, and his green eyes were electric and piercing. Her father put her hand in Troy’s and kissed her cheek before taking a seat by her mother. Troy was smiling, an expression he rarely showcased, and her heart was at risk of beating out of her chest. He was so much more than the spectacle before her. His character and personality completed the package, and he was all hers. This man wants to marry me, accepting all my strengths and faults. How did I get so lucky? She smiled at him as they turned to face David Murphy, who was acting as their wedding officiant. He also worked with Troy in SWAT. His specialty was explosives. David offered her an encouraging smile and said, “Troy and Madison want to welcome you to their home and their wed—” 

A commotion of raised voices from the entry interrupted David. One man distinctly called out, “Braybury PD!” Madison spun around as two police officers crashed into the living room and headed right toward her. Terry and Lou were standing there, arms raised in frustration and surrender. Her father stepped into the aisle to play interference and block them from reaching the front of the room. “You need to leave now. You have no business being here.” “You need to get out of our way, sir, or I will be forced to arrest you,” one of the officers said as he and a colleague skirted past her father. 

“Excuse me, but what the hell is happening here?” Andrea Fletcher closed the distance to the officers. “I’m Police Chief Fletcher, and I demand an answer.” A man in a suit stepped through the opening of the French doors. He sauntered toward Andrea and stopped mere inches in front of her. He was looking past her to Troy when he said, “Troy Matthews, you’re going to go with these fine officers.” “Who are you?” Andrea spat. The man held up a gold badge. “Detective Snow, Braybury PD.” Braybury was a large city a couple of hours away from Stiles. Madison turned to Troy when he put a hand on her lower back. “What’s going on?” she asked him...

~~~

When you are dedicated to your job, fighting crime, you often get in trouble with the wrong people... Both Madison and her fiance were not only dedicated, but good at their jobs! It had happened often...But surely, they could have at least waited until after the wedding was over and Madison was finally married to the man with whom she hoped to spend the rest of her life.

But, you know folks, what we often want and need is just not strong enough to prevent the evil people of the world from acting... This time, everybody there was fairly certain that somebody within their police unit had purposely allowed police from a different area to interrupt a wedding ceremony, knowing the upheaval that it would lead to... But that was to be dealt with later. In the meantime, the groom was handcuffed and led away from the bride as she and the entire wedding party stared in horror! 

Now here's the thrust of the plot... Madison knows nothing, but is fairly certain that Troy, her lover, is at least aware of what had occurred within the past 24 hours... However, Madison is a tenacious investigator, aside from her deep love for Troy, and she would be sure to start that investigation just as soon as she can get out of her wedding gown!

But she was stopped just as quickly by her boss, who had just as much reason to be concerned with clearing Troy... Andrea Fletcher was Police Chief, their boss...but also sister of Troy... Carolyn Arnold is known for her police procedure expertise in writing her books, but, of the books I've read, so far, this novel is the best of the best in exploiting the police theme: Two different cities, two different chiefs, and jurisdiction becomes so entangled, some readers, including Madison and me, want to scream! LOL Seriously, This story, leading with love and romance, then led to secrets for both of the wedding couple, which led to a murder mystery x 2 which led to a cold case decades ago... get the idea? I loved this one and am happy to suggest that, for Arnold's fans, this is a must-read... And if you haven't read her before, this is a perfect book to begin! Check her name in the search location to the right to find a number of her other books for your consideration...

But let's get back to the story... A young girl was  raped and murdered during a senior graduation party 24 years ago. A boy was found guilty and had served his sentence... It is likely that his return has initiated the actions of the individuals from both police units. But Troy had been involved peripherally in the first murder and is now being seemingly railroaded for both the cold and new murders... But, if that is the case, why won't Troy share what he knows with Madison, especially when they have been betrothed for quite some time... And why are those involved beginning to question who exactly is making the decisions about jurisdiction and access to evidence...

This one has to be read to be believed... It will be worth it to mystery/thriller fans!

GABixlerReviews

Monday, June 24, 2024

Stand Together: A Collection of Poems and Short Stories for Ukraine

 

An eclectic collection of poetry and short prose for Ukraine. Poetry about war, warriors, hope, and sunflowers; multi-genre stories, featuring work from: 
A. L. Butcher, Roman Nyle, Charles Yallowitz
Vickie Johnstone, Andrew P. Weston,
Rebecca Miller, Michael H. Hanson, Victoria Zigler, Joe Bonadonna, Richard Groller
Rhavensfyre, Anthea Sharp, Marta Moran Bishop, Colene Allen, J.C. Fields, Diana. L. Wicker, Inge - Lise Goss, Sean Poage
and Rebecca Lacy (multiple contributions by several)

The Stories and poetry are in a mix of US and UK English. The authors, editor, and cover designer have given their work and time for free to support those people fleeing war in Ukraine and its terrible consequences.

All royalties raised will go to humanitarian charities.

Stand Together is an important Anthology on its own... Even more so because all proceeds will go together humanitarian charities supporting the Ukraine War and its terrible consequences... My first post announcing the book can be found by checking the top location in the right column...

Reviewing an anthology is not the easiest thing to do... Simply because there are so many different stories, some of which a reader may not enjoy as much as others. Of course, I found this to be true. However, there were many poems and short stories that clearly warrant a "recommended" notice from me... 

More importantly, I hope that each reader who sees this review will realize that the most important aspect of buying this book is to help those in Ukraine who continue to suffer under an autocrat who leads the country and has chosen to bring war for no other reason than his own quest for power...


Michael H. Hanson, speaks eloquently in just a few words in his "Wounds in Ukraine": The deepest wounds are in Ukraine, raw ruptures in both flesh and earth wrought by this age’s darkest bane granting young souls a dire breech birth...

Yet all of the mext words spoke to me, "Those Who Divide" by Charles E. Yallowitz, seemed more about here in America, and yet, it seems also, everywhere...

Those Who Divide 

Charles E. Yallowitz 

They are the ones with voice

 Born with a power

 To influence and talk

 Expected to lead us

 Into the better world 

But they always fall

 Swallowed by the sins

 Pride and greed 

Vanity and wrath 

They are twisted

 By society’s pull

 Their voices turn to evil

 Spouting hate and fear

 Causing friends to fight

 And families to splinter

 Neighbors become enemies

 They ignore their damage

 Seeing only the faithful 

The ones bowing at their feet

 This praise is tainted

 Grown from ignorance and terror

 Yet it is not enough

 Drunk of power

 from their voice

 They become the great dividers

 Crying for action

 And hurling childish insults

 At those who don’t agree

 Blindly building a void

 A pit of animosity

 Between our fellow man

 Until the pit is all we see

 And their putrid voices

 Are all we hear.

***

Then Andrew Weston, worried as to whether we will reach the point of Indifference, in his poem Lodestone... while Vickie Johnstone cries out her words about Rape in Ukraine, the words so horrific yet we know they represent the truth of war...

And I begin to realize that this is not the kind of book that you would want to recommend as a must-read. And yet, it is that, just because it is so horrific in Truth... Surely we want to seek God... But God is not in War... God is Not in Hate and Violence... Yet the words continue... And we find God is with each who mourn of war...

Anthea Sharp moves to write a short story, entitling it The Tree of Fate and Wishes and begins with a young child waking from a dream of blood and ashes, only to learn that it had been decided...War...

Tell me, readers, how do you proceed to talk about children who face being in the midst of war? Then another starts talking about the smells of the results of war brought by one to another...knowing that smoke, blood and more will stay for days, for weeks and longer...

But not all stories are sad, a number look to older days of another time, a distant past, while another will find that there was once two brave girls who decided they were going to do something to stop the war...and of course, the happiness and joy that followed... But also...


Is War really just a part of normal living? I don't think so...and neither do the writers who have donated their words, their writing endeavors, to help those who are living within Ukraine under such dire circumstances... All of us must work together...Stand Together, to try to get past this chaotic period of hate and destruction...All we would need to do is Love Our Neighbors... Is that so hard to do? For surely there is something less than war, hatred and violence in our future... For this we cry out...



God Bring Us Through...

Gabby

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Heading Down Under with Hero Worship: Love and Terror in the Outback by Pam Farley



Dusk brought a noisy kookaburra to the tree above Damien. He sat straddling a huge gum trunk that bridged the creek, throwing stones into the shallow water below. The bird stopped every now and then and cocked its head as if listening for a reply, but all around was silence. After two more bouts of cackling din, it flew off, and peace descended once more. The air was becoming chilly as the sky darkened, but he didn’t want to go back to the cabin just yet. It was beautiful here. He’d first heard of this place from his mum. She travelled a lot before she married. And he could imagine her here as a younger woman in her flowing hippy skirts and singlets. She loved being outdoors. He swallowed hard and remembered her funeral. Damien had been Lily Schwartz’s favourite child. He was the youngest of six and born just before his father left them to return to America. Damien could feel the resentment of his siblings as he stood by her coffin, except his sister April. She gave him a pat on the shoulder, a sad smile, and walked away. He leaned close to his mother and sniffed. There was nothing. She’d always smelled like Brazil nuts, not that she ever ate them. There was something in the oil of her skin or something that gave her that unique odour. It wasn’t an unpleasant scent. When he was little, he’d loved it. But now, like her, it was gone. 

The pastor had hardly finished talking when arguments broke out about who was taking what from the estate. The quarrels carried on during the small wake held at Lily’s Oakley home. He’d looked out the window as the first car pulled away. It was April. She wouldn’t be able to put up with their sxxx. Damien was staying in what was once the bedroom that he’d shared with Troy, his brother. It was the only room that had remained untouched. All the other areas of the house were being evacuated of furniture and possessions. Out on the street, car boots and back seats were laden with stuff. There was even a ute with a trailer, piled high with Lily’s things. Damien took a long drink of his mum’s Bacardi and sighed. 

Lily would have been hurt and angry to see these avaricious arseholes she’d raised. She wasn’t even in her grave yet. ‘Hey, bro, you’re quiet.’ ‘G’day Troy. It’s a sad day.’ ‘Well yeah, but she’d been sick for a long time. It wasn’t some big surprise.’ Troy might have been trying to guilt-trip him, but Damien wasn’t falling for it. ‘That’s not what I mean. It’s a sad day when you lot have all turned into a bunch of vultures.’ ‘Well, it’s hardly me causing problems! If Evie thinks she’s going to get the house just because she nursed mum at the end, she’s got another think coming.’ Troy sneered in the direction of the kitchen where voices were still raised. ‘Why not? She did all the work. She cared for mum when you were all too busy. If you’d had to pay a nursing home to do it, there’d be nothing left.’ Troy glared at Damien. 

‘And why should you even have an opinion? You’ve never been around for any of us. Half the time you aren’t even in the country. Remind me again what it is you do exactly? Last I heard you got chucked out of the army, and not even the Aussie army. No, you had to be just like Dad, didn’t you, a Navy bloody SEAL. Well whoopty-doo! My...hero. But you are just like Dad. You run off and don’t give a sxxx about anyone else. I’m surprised the old man isn’t here with his hand held out.’ Damien didn’t move fast, but he used his bulk to pin Troy against the wall. Then he grasped both of his brother’s wrists and began to twist them. Troy tolerated it for a second or two, but they both heard the bones creak. ‘Stop it. Let me go!’ But Damien didn’t let go. ‘You talk about the old man like that again and you’ll be joining Mum. You don’t know him. You never bothered to meet him as an adult. So, don’t go spouting crap. Next time it will be your little neck, and I will break it.’ Troy ran to the door clutching his arms, his face red and snotty. ‘You’re a fxxxing madman! I hate you.’ 

Damien finished his drink and poured another. From the kitchen Troy’s high-pitched whining had halted the bickering, but Damien knew it would start again. He took his drink and a handful of sandwiches to his room. He found an old Pantera CD and played it at full volume, wondering if any of his siblings would have the guts to tell him to turn it down. No one did. The next morning the sounds of the suburbs had started early. It was Monday morning, and the traffic rose to a loud hum by seven. Damien was making a coffee when the garbage truck chugged up the street, stopping and starting with the grind of the engine, the hiss of the brakes, the thud of the bins. His siblings had left by around ten the previous night, and it was good to see them go. 

His phone chirped, and a text message came through from April. Are you all right? Damien smiled. She was the only one who cared. He replied that he was fine and was going on a holiday for a couple of weeks. Lily had kept her car keys hanging inside a kitchen cupboard for as long as he remembered. Things could have changed while Evie was in charge. He swallowed the last of his brew and opened the door. They were hanging where they had always been. He took a last look around. Next time he came back to Melbourne, if he ever did, this place would be sold. With a shrug of his shoulders he left. The care home was only one block back from the beach. That time of day it was busy. Cleaners and carers disposing of linen and cleaning rooms, nurses following around medication trolleys, and the smells of cooking as breakfast was prepared was just part of the morning routine. No one had noticed Damien as he ducked into George’s room. Inside it was dark and quiet. The last time Damien visited, George was still hooked up to beeping monitors, but this time only an IV line pump, making a tiny clicking sound as the fluid was pushed through, was the only noise. Damien thought about opening the blind, but instead turned on the overhead reading light. The bed by the door was empty. George had been shifted to the one by the window. ‘Jesus, mate, you look like shit.’ George’s skin looked maggoty white. It clung to his thin face, which was little more than a skull. There was a feeding tube in situ. Damien wasn’t sure if that stayed in all the time or if someone was coming to give his friend breakfast. ‘Can’t stay, mate. I just came to say, “See ya.” I’m off on a bit of break. I think I need it.’ He looked down at his hands, aware that he was probably talking to himself. ‘Mum died. We buried her yesterday.’ He gazed at the chink of light beaming from the window. ‘I guess everyone is dying.’ George was so still Damien had to watch his chest to see if he still breathed. ‘Not much of a life for you like this, is it, old buddy?’ He slapped his knees and stood. ‘Well, I better get going. Not sure where I’m headed, but I won’t get there if I stand around all day talking to you.’ He laughed weakly at his own joke and flicked off the light. ‘Bye, mate.’ 

As he opened the door to leave, a doctor and two nurses were about to come in. The doctor looked taken aback. ‘Can I help you?’ he asked. ‘Do you know this patient?’ ‘Yeah,’ Damien mumbled. ‘He’s my mate...

~~~

Damien and George had been mates, fighting and killing along side each other until they...were... not... Now, the doctors were talking about how long his mate might live, but they were happy to have learned, at least, who he was... Damien? He couldn't or just didn't want to hang around to see somebody else close to him die--the death of his Mum had been enough for bringing back bad family memories that still haunted, even while his siblings loaded up her possessions, hurriedly, wanting to get as much as possible before the other one got more than they did... Typical family death for many across the world... 

But Damien and George had at one time been Seals. A name that garnered respect for their training and skills that few matched... But, now? Damien just wanted to get to some place isolated, quiet... Did he guess, though, that somebody was following him? Had he killed one too many men who really weren't the enemy? Where could he go to find just a little peace?

Sienna Nilson was in the midst of a major storm brewing, possibly a tornado, but she really didn't have time to stop and evaluate what to do about a storm. She had to get back to her farm, to her sheep who would be frightened by the thunder and lightning... Soon she was regretting her decision...her cruiser was being thrown across the road side to side by the wind...and up ahead power lines could go any minute! Her car was being thrown around as if a giant was using her vehicle to practice pitching... Until... suddenly...

It was calm again. The tornado had gone through, but there were still power lines dangerously down on the road... She sat, calming, when suddenly she could see lights! A another car was coming straight for the downed lines! She started blowing her horn and flicking her lights off and on, and finally seeing the driver realized what could happen...and started braking, finally, just inches before the car and trailer with an entire family... The story was soon all over the area. Sienna was now a hero as the father told how he could have lost his entire family, if Sienna hadn't acted as she had... 

And all Sienna wanted to do was to get back home and see what kind of damage had been done there. While at the same time somewhere nearby, Damien had met a beautiful woman at a bar and both had decided to spend some private time alone...both parting happily with a morning kiss... Thing is, they found that lovely lady dead the next morning...

And Lisa was a friend of Sienna, who had just met Damien and was now thinking he might have killed her friend... Damien? He was beginning to think he knew exactly what was going on...and it might get worse... And the problem was that Damien needed Sienna's help because of her knowledge of the area and possible places somebody might be hiding/ living...


Way back when I getting ready to graduate high school, I thought about traveling away from home... I picked Australia--it was English-speaking (mostly) and I knew my secretarial skills would land me a job most anywhere... Well, that was a pipedream that flew right out of mind, as I actually did graduate and got a job that same July at West Virginia University near my home... 

So, even if I never made it there, I've enjoyed stories set in the country down under, like Crocodile Dundee's two movies and this story.  It is uniquely well written, keeping readers guessing exactly what is happening...and who is involved! Well done, Pam Farley. This one is highly recommended just for the fun of the storyline! Right, Mates? 

GABixlerReviews

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Dr. Jerry W. Hulse Presents The Sleeping Church - Studying the Parable... The Ten Virgins - Open Memoir

 



It's Fascinating How His Spirit Can be Found Just About Anywhere when His love is there... I got chills from what happened, did you?

Beloved, God’s Holy Spirit is the one who will help us be prepared and remember, "He is the best man that is left behind to help us be prepared to serve."
 
 Note: "We must realize that the bottom line in this parable is that some people are not what they appear to be." 
 
Note: " These foolish people were not willing to help serve and make a sacrifice for the Kingdom of God." 

Beloved reader, these young bridesmaids were friends of the bride but chose to take a chance on her wedding by taking shortcuts thinking they could do it their way and hope all would turn out right in the end but they soon found themselves an embarrassment to themselves and to the bride who had placed her trust in them. 
 
Dear reader, there are some in the church today who appear to be ready to meet the Lord but have never surrendered their life to Christ. 
 
Beloved, they go through all the patterns of being right and being a good church member but they have never surrendered to be a servant and serve. 
 Saints and fellow peers, some people have gone forth attempting to build their Kingdom instead of following the command of our Lord to be a light that others may see. 
 
Beloved, because of these five foolish young maidens choosing to do it their way, the wedding party would be made to walk in less light on a dark path. 

Saints, the church body as a whole today seems to be on rocky ground with more and more pastors resigning because of the stress they face every day taking its toll on their life and family. Pastors today cannot trust anybody to help them because somebody will expose them to better themselves at their expense and that is why God placed it on my heart to build a Pastor's Oasis where they can spend a few days alone with God and get recharged. 
 
Beloved, some pastors today make statements that their life feels like a person who has found themselves in a powerful earthquake, the buildings around them are falling, concrete and steel is being twisted to pieces and they are losing their balance. Beloved, these pastors make statements like they feel as if they are reeling back and forth as they try to make sense of what is taking place, and their ability to make sound decisions is limited because of all the shock and destruction that is going on around them. 
 
My question to us dear reader is, "How did we get in this lukewarm condition and what are we going to do to try and make ourselves ready to meet our Lord when he calls?"
 
Beloved, God’s Holy Spirit is the one who will help us be prepared, and we need to bear in mind that the blessed Holy Spirit is the best man that is left behind to help us be prepared to serve and complete the wedding, and He is the one when things are not going well that will flood us with his divine presence assuring us that our groom loves us with a pure intimate providing love that he alone can give to satisfy a lonely heart.          

~~~

Years ago, I had read a study book by John R. Tucker (look to the right) which included an indepth look at the book of Matthew which included the Parable of the 10 Virgins... In this version which is intended for young Christians, beginning at age 9, Dr. Jerry Hulse, also separates out exactly who is prepared for the upcoming visit from the groom...


I remember really loving the song which dwells on the parable... however, yet it really doesn't reflect what Jesus' message was to me... It's that first line of the song, "Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning..." You see, there were many virgins who had been told of the coming of Christ, the Bridegroom. The book talks about those who fell asleep, tired of waiting, or, perhaps, as some would say these days, they were bored. They had nothing to do and were tired of waiting. Or, maybe they played a favorite video game to fill the time, while wondering--Where Is He? Why do I have to wait, surely He knew we would be waiting for Him...

But, really, in Truth, We do not know when He will come to us...to each of us... Of course, this is not really about having oil--or having prepared a large meal assuming it would be on this day or that--but rather that each of us must choose each day who we will follow...

The book is fairly short and has only three chapters. The first dealing with the parable. The second was, for me, somewhat surprising. I don't think I've ever heard a sermon about these people. Yet, in our hearts, we may sometimes find ourselves using the word. Me? I have, especially in the last decade more than any other time... It is about Hypocrites in Church...


I thought it was interesting that the author chose to use the dictionary to define who are hypocrites (I thought that was a wise decision):
Dear reader, the Webster's dictionary defines a hypocrite as a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion, and it also defines a hypocrite as a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.  
 Saints, when someone makes a remark that they are better off where they are than attending your church because there are too many hypocrites in your church are making a statement before all creation that they are spiritual enough to judge the people in that church and without realizing what they are doing, they are bringing a searchlight on their own soul.

Going back to the parable, then, we can easily see that most of us have, at one time or another, chosen "not to be ready" when Christ might come... I have, and have talked about it, and will probably do so again as I write my memoir(s). How often, even as we know that God is a God of Love, who only asks us to love one another, do we find ourselves using hurtful words...

But I must say, however, that we have all seen that Christianity is being used in so many different and offensive ways that we are caught, yes, caught, off guard, not being able to know exactly who are those who claim to be Christians... I think that we must, perhaps for the first time ever, begin to challenge actions by those who claim God is behind what they are doing, especially in America... or in Russia as the leader chose to attack another country for no other reason other than power and a desire for more...

I woke up this morning realizing that I had once again acted on my own emotions rather than placing my faith in Him... He had earlier promised that He was in control of all that could happen... Reminding me, this morning, that he is laughing at us for such fear, because of a lack of, or better said, a desire to help in bringing us back from the brink of chaos here in America. Even while knowing that He has seen this all before, referencing as far back as the day He was crucified, that God's Love is Stronger and Eternal and will Never be Lost to Those who hide behind religions of any kind in order to hate and bring violence upon others of His children...

How soon we forget...

I had a friend send me this pic recently... I think he found it offensive... I found it heartwarming...


Choose this day whom you shall be... God is a God of Truth--of Love... I choose Jesus... Each day... I choose again... Sometimes, stopping and forcing myself to know He is above All... I need not fear...



God Bless,

Gabby