Who is a Hero?  by Darlene Franklin

Hero

Who is a Hero?

Who is a hero? What makes a hero? I never saw myself in that light until I faced my own hero’s challenge. I had to battle back from a month-long hospitalization. I had never fully recovered from the crippling weakness and arthritis which had led to my moving to a nursing home.

On my first day of therapy, my physical therapist worked with my lower extremities and core strength. The occupational therapist focused on “activities of daily living.” Could I raise my arms enough to brush my hair? Dress myself? We had a hundred days (according to government mandated guidelines) to accomplish the task.

Weakness and pain nibbled at my motivation. In one of my first sessions, my physical therapist asked me to stand up.

I pushed myself to my feet and tottered there for a few seconds.

“Sit down. Don’t plop.”

I reached for the wheelchair arm and carefully lowered myself into the chair. I was spent.

“That was good.” She applauded “Do it four more times.”

Every muscle screamed with pain. I adapted the mantra of the winner of The Rock’s competition as my own: “I will not let pain or fear defeat me. I will stop only if I’m physically unable.”

I stood four more times. I learned an essential lesson in facing an overwhelming task: success has more to do with attitude than with ease.

My health continues to fluctuate. I’ve just completed another hundred days of therapy.

I will not let pain and fear defeat me. I began with enthusiasm, drive, and a definite goal: to walk around the nursing home.

More lessons headed my way.

  • Accept a different normal.

Another hospitalization reminded me congestive heart failure has created problems for my other organs. They pick and choose when to work. I decided to stop waiting for things to get better.

  • Do it anyway.

So what if I’m sore and tired? Go ahead and write. Sing. Attend church. Live life in the now, because that’s all I have.

And sometimes. . .

  • Miracles happen.

For four years, I’d worked to improve range of motion in my arms. We’d worked as hard on it as much as we’ve worked on everything else, but nothing had changed.

Until one day this session, my arms lifted a few inches higher. I can wash my hair and tie on a chin strap.

  • The miracle you receive may not be the one you wanted.

My arms can move farther but I can’t walk around the building. My legs will support me but my lungs won’t.

A hero is a person who is admired for. . .courage.

A lifetime has taught me courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of fear.

In that case, maybe I am a hero. Maybe you are too.

 Best-selling hybrid author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. Mermaid Song is her fiftieth unique title! She’s also contributed to more than twenty nonfiction titles. Her column, “The View Through my Door,” appears in five monthly venues. Other recent titles are Wilderness Weddings and Opposites Attract. You can find her online at: Website and blog, Facebook, Amazon author page

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Author Jane S. Daly

Author Jane S. Daly

Jane S Daly recently attended the Oregon Christian Writer’s (OCW) annual summer conference. Each year, OCW encourages writers to submit their work for the annual Cascade Awards. The submissions are narrowed down into three finalists in the twenty-two categories. She was honored to receive an award in unpublished contemporary fiction for The Girl in the Cardboard Box, and for published nonfiction, The Caregiving Season.

Congratulations, Jane!

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Linda Evans Shepherd

Linda Evans Shepherd * When You Don’t Know What to Pray * Pray into your Breakthrough * Faith Lift

Baker Revell author, Linda Evans Shepherd, was named Writer of the Year by the 34th annual Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s conference, not only for her many bestselling books, but because as Marlene Bagnull the conference director explained, “No other author has done more for ministering to and connecting Christian women authors as has Linda.  She brought the Christian women authors together through the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.”

Linda also receive an Excellence in Editing Award from the The Christian Editor Connection at the SoCal Christian Writer’s Conference for Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles, edited by Vicki Crumpton (in-house editor), published by Baker Revell.

Linda also recently appeared on the cover of Today’s Christian Living. Linda’s latest book is Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles.  You can read the article at:  GotToPray.com

Wonderful accomplishments, Linda!

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Check out this interview with Karen Whiting on the Homekeepers TV Show at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-2sKBvEjWs She talkes with host Arthalene Rippy about instilling faith in children and her book 52 Devotions for Families.

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A Heart’s Gift by our Can author, Lena Nelson Dooley, won the the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice (formerly the Inspirational Christian Reader’s Choice) Award for Long Historical.

Here’s a review of the book: A Heart's Gift by Lena Nelson Dooley

Romance is the name of the game. This book delivers what we all want more romance and excitement in our life. I am very well pleased with this book. This book had me unwilling to put it down until I turned the last page as I was so enthralled with the plot. The author knows how to deliver the good in this romance novel. Would I recommend this book to other people? Yes I would. I absolutely think this is great book. All opinions are my own and they are not influenced by anyone. By Crowlady

(This review is the latest on Amazon.)

Congrats on your win, Lena!

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BOOK REVIEW: The Gift of Bread by Karen Whiting

There is so much I adored about this book and the author. This author has a passion for making and sharing bread that reflects her heart and faith. The author explains the threefold purpose of bread, “Sustenance that meets the need for nourishment, fellowship found in breaking bread together, and our covenant relationship with God.”

The author describes her feelings about bread, “…when the inviting aroma of bread fills the air, it beckons people to sit and enjoy a relaxing time at the table. Nothing seems to warm hearts and open conversation as well as fresh-baked bread…. “For me, faith and bread will always be linked together. Bread has always been a passion for my family and me. My grandmothers and mother taught me to bake bread, I, in turn, passed on my joy of bread making to my five children.”

Sprinkled throughout the book are Food for Thought segments that make the reader think. Each chapter has a “Lovin from the Lord” that talks about a Bible verse and story related to subject being discussed; followed by a bread recipe. At the end of every chapter is a “Leaves with a morsel of bread” like this one “Give Jesus, The Bread of Life, a Special Place in your Heart.” Again, this sentence/quote/verse reflects the chapter discussion.

There is so much I adored about this book and the author. This author has a passion for making and sharing bread that reflects her heart and faith. The author explains the threefold purpose of bread, “Sustenance that meets the need for nourishment, fellowship found in breaking bread together, and our covenant relationship with God.”

The author describes her feelings about bread, “…when the inviting aroma of bread fills the air, it beckons people to sit and enjoy a relaxing time at the table. Nothing seems to warm hearts and open conversation as well as fresh-baked bread…. “For me, faith and bread will always be linked together. Bread has always been a passion for my family and me. My grandmothers and mother taught me to bake bread, I, in turn, passed on my joy of bread making to my five children.”

Sprinkled throughout the book are Food for Thought segments that make the reader think. Each chapter has a “Lovin from the Lord” that talks about a Bible verse and story related to subject being discussed; followed by a bread recipe. At the end of every chapter is a “Leaves with a morsel of bread” like this one “Give Jesus, The Bread of Life, a Special Place in your Heart.” Again, this sentence/quote/verse reflects the chapter discussion.

This author encourages and feeds the readers body and soul. I liked that the author included semi-homemade recipes which gave ideas for entertaining unexpected guests. The four recipes I tried were easy to make, had easy to find ingredients, instructions and my family loved them. I was thrilled the bread recipes turned out to look lovely and taste great. It was a win win for me. The ones I tried are Honey-of-an-egg Whole Wheat Bread, Sally Lunn Bread, Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Judy’s Zucchini Bread. I can’t wait to try more. I was so surprised that every recipe worked without a bread machine and there was no long extensive kneading process required to make them.

I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to share the gift of bread and have the bread of life honored in your home, at the dinner table, and in your heart.

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A Small Town Kind of Love

A three book novella collection by Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin

Darlene Franklin

Review by Trixi Oberembt

Plainsong: While going to a baseball game with her friends, Michelle Morris meets Joe Knight on a chance encounter. Their whirl-wind romance is straight out of a fairy tale, but will it fizzle when reality invades?

He seems to hide behind his insecurities by his gregarious and outgoing personality. She thrives on order and her feet planted firmly under her. They both have a lot to learn if they’re going to make a go of the relationship. I really enjoyed knowing they both have a strong faith in God and rely on Him to make a way, and how they grew when they began to give full control to Him. A sweet romance featuring two people struggling with real life issues and finding their way with God’s help.

Hidden Dreams: Fleeing her hometown in NYC after learning the mob killed her father, Marabelle, aka Mary Anne, runs into Wallace Tuttle in Maple Notch,VA…literally! His family graciously takes her into their home and she quickly finds security & comfort under their roof. The longer she stays, the more she doesn’t want to leave. Can this be God’s plan for her life?

I liked getting to know Wallace and his family. They are warm-hearted people who have a lot of love to give. Mary Anne is a quick learner and soon finds herself helping Wallace with the wildlife book he’s commissioned to write. They both have the shared pain of losing their parents and begin to help each other overcome grief. Finding comfort in God, His word and each other, they eventually fall in love as in any good romance book. I enjoyed the journey they took to get there. This one has a touch of suspense at the end when the mob catches up to Mary Anne. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what will happen! I enjoyed this story of faith, family, shared interests, and falling in love.

To Riches Again: Elyssa travels on the Orphan Train helping deliver the children to their adopted parents along the rail line. Farm owner and single man Bill Ward is one of those who wish to adopt a sister and brother, Ian and Bridget. Having nothing to go back to, Elyssa longs for something more and Bill has been praying for a wife and mother for his new children. Perhaps God has answered their prayers already!

This was my favorite story in the collection! I love reading about the Orphan trains and watching as new families unfolded and forged strong bonds. Ian and Bridget were a delight to get to know and added their own bubbly personality and charm. This was a quick short story but it didn’t lack depth to me. Watching as Elyssa and Bill fall in love in almost a marriage-of-convenience type theme satisfied my romantic heart. They find their strength in God and their faith sustains them in hard times. I really enjoyed watching this story unfold & family bonds form between strangers.

 

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by Judith Couchman

Recently I ate lunch with Heather, a former coaching client who became a friend. She talked about an app that helps her learn to write better, catching mistakes and suggesting ways to improve. I recognized Heather’s sincere desire to write well, and that impressed me. Many writers new to the craft want to skip over writing principles and dart straight to publishing and social networking.

Heather felt so excited about this method for improving her manuscript, I couldn’t help but absorb her enthusiasm. Later at home, online I researched writing apps. After typing “Writing Apps” into my browser, the results surprised me. Although apps exist for brainstorming, collaborating, planning, organizing, outlining, reading, and timing writing, not many help an aspiring author actually write well.

As a result, below I’ve listed some apps that help with writing and editing your work. Most likely, more apps exist because I didn’t research deeply. Consider this a “starter list” for apps that might meet your needs. I’ve provided website links so you can learn more. Most are free. Check whether an app operates on your phone, tablet, or desktop.

  • EditMinion. Edits a manuscript a few pages at a time, checking for mistakes, including clichés. Free. http://editminion.com
  • Grammarly. This app does what the name implies: it checks a manuscript for grammar, suggesting the correct wording. Free. grammarly.com
  • Hemingway App. Heather enthused about this app. It aims to simplify, tighten, and strengthen prose in the tradition of the famous writer. $19.99 hemingwayapp.com/desktop
  • Merriam-Webster. Every writer needs a dictionary. This one includes voice searches. Free. https://www.merriam-webster.com/apps
  • ProWriting Aid. ProWriting Aid not only identifies and corrects problems, but it also explains, in detail, why you need to change something. And how to do it. Free for basic; $40 for premium. prowritingaid.com
  • Scrivener. A versatile writing app that helps with many formats: articles, books, blogs, podcasts, speeches and more. $40-45. writersstore.com/scrivener

If you’ve found another app that improves writing, please inform us in the comments section below. Thanks!

Judith Couchman is an author, speaker, university professor, and occasional writing coach. Learn more about her at www.judithcouchman.com

 

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Plot Twists and Adventures

Plot Twists and Adventures by Mary L. Hamilton

When the unexpected happens in a story, we call it a plot twist. In life, it’s

Plot Twists and Adventures

Plot Twists and Adventures

sometimes called an adventure.

My husband’s retirement meant a chance to move from the big city to a smaller town, with a lake to satisfy me, and a university to satisfy him. But initially, our move wasn’t the sort of adventure I’d envisioned.

Thinking it wise to rent until we decided what part of town we wanted to buy into, we arrived at our temporary quarters on a cold January day. Mind you, this was Texas, not North Dakota, but it was still cold to us! And there was no heat in the house, thanks to a mix-up with the utility company. Thankfully, we found a hotel for the night that accepted us, and our 80-lb. dog.

The next day, the movers unloaded all our furniture and boxes, the heat came on, and that night we climbed into bed—only to hear the storm siren go off. Did they really use the storm sirens for a hard freeze? It turned out to be a malfunction.

Apparently, the house hadn’t been occupied for a year or more. Built in the 1960’s, it also hadn’t seen any updates, recent or otherwise. The single pane windows leaked cold air in drafty waves, and rattled whenever the jet propulsion company, located over ten miles away, tested their rocket engines. The dining room floor sloped toward the back yard, thanks to a cracked foundation. One of the toilets leaked. And there were no three-prong outlets in the house, forcing us to go out and buy adapters for all our electronics. We also couldn’t figure out why we had hot showers, but no hot water in the kitchen—until we discovered a second water heater, which soon needed to be replaced.

With no gas hookup for our clothes dryer, we had to buy an electric model. It was delivered a week after we moved in, and I could finally wash our clothes. But of course, the drain was plugged, resulting in flooded floors in three rooms.

Then the furnace quit…twice. My husband and I still laugh about crawling into bed under four layers of blankets wearing long underwear, wool socks and ski hats. The electric heating pad helped, too.

Since we weren’t planning to stay in the house for long, we unpacked only the things we used on a daily basis. But when my daughter visited and asked me to help her sew up a hem, I couldn’t even find my needle and thread!

More than once in the seven months we lived in that house, I became overwhelmed and frustrated. But most of the time, I laughed it off and reminded myself this was an adventure.

I wish I could say I always keep that kind of attitude when things go wrong. Too often, I develop a short fuse and vent my anger and frustration. But I think I’ve found a way to hold onto that perspective. In John 9, when asked about the cause of a man’s blindness (surely a reason for frustration and despair), Jesus answered, “…this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

What if I look at the things that go wrong in life and see them as an opportunity for the work of God to be displayed in my life? Now that sounds like an adventure!

Mary Hamilton

Mary Hamilton

Bio: Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in Wisconsin, much

See No Evil

See No Evil

like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Her experiences during twenty years of living at the camp, as well as people she knew there, inspired many of the events and situations in her novels. Mary is currently working on a women’s mystery/suspense. When not writing, she enjoys a little amateur photography, knitting, reading, and spending time with her family. Mary and her husband live in Texas.

www.maryhamiltonbooks.com

www.facebook.com/maryhamiltonbooks

 

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The Naked-Fear Dream By Sydney Avey

Dreams come out our deepest anxieties. In a classic fear dream, you stand naked in a public place and no one hands you a cover-up. Often this dream calls you to face the unknown with a sense of confidence.

It was not my dream to sing on a praise team. I’ve been hiding in the church choir for years, but our choir aged and our numbers shrank. When the choir disbanded, I found myself on a small worship team…behind a microphone…in front of guitars and drums. Now I could really be heard!

Praise music and hymns have different rhythms. Contemporary worship songs go places I can’t always predict. It’s a challenge to invite our congregation into an experience I’m unsure about. Like a job retraining program, it requires new ways of thinking.

One Sunday after I’d missed rehearsal, a string of unfamiliar words appeared on the screen. I had no idea how to sing them. A still, small voice whispered, “Give yourself to the music. It’s a conversation. Sing it that way.”

In business, we refer to that sudden clarity as a paradigm shift. A song vocalized in a conversational tone instead of poetic meter becomes an informal prayer. One musical expression isn’t inherently better than the other. They are different worship experiences.

Singers unsure of their voices often step back from the microphone. “Lean into the mic,” our worship leader says. “The farther away you get, the more the sound distorts.”

As a writer I’ve learned when I step back in fear, my writing loses power. But I can lean in with confidence,  “…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very time what you should say” (Luke 12:12 NIV). The Naked-Fear Dream no longer has the power, I do.

Sydney Avey

Sydney Avey

Sydney Avey is the author of three historical fiction novels that explore the passions that drive women to live unconventional lives. She enjoys theater, travel, and choral singing. She and her husband divide their time between the Sierra foothills near Yosemite, California, and the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

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