Friday, June 28, 2013

I Need a Hero

by Niki Turner

I'd like to lay the blame for my current Avengers obsession on my grandson, but he IS only two. It's not his fault I've watched the Avengers movie three times in a month, and it's not his fault I went and saw Iron Man 3 in the theater twice. Once all by myself.

No, it's me. I'm craving heroes, and the Avengers seem to cover all the bases for four of the basic hero archetypes in literature. At least the ones I found in this amazing syllabus: The Four Types of Heroes/The Hero Archetype.

The Classical Hero (Of royal birth, or half mortal and half god; performs extraordinary feats; noble character; fights for honor and the greater good.)
Chris Hemsworth as Thor 
In the Avengers, this role is played by Thor. Thor's a demi-god, of course, and that kind of puts him on a different level than the others. I mean, who can compete with a demi-god with a really big hammer and great hair? Seriously, Thor is the unattainable hero, the guy you love but know you can never have, and that's always a bummer, especially in a romance novel. For me, that's a warning as a writer... don't make my heroes TOO perfect. I'd throw Superman in this category as well, but Gina may disagree with me. 

Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America 
The Medieval Hero (Of common birth, good moral character, obedient to authority, follows the rules, wages war on behalf of others, not himself.)

So this would be Captain America, the ultimate "good guy." I mean, he's so good that if he weren't ridiculously cute, he'd be boring. In fact, there's a big chunk of our American superhero culture clad in this particular cape and mask. They're the ones you forgot about while you were drooling over Batman or wishing you were Lois Lane. These guys are just too nice to be hero fare, in my opinion. The love interest for these nice guys is usually a very bad girl (i.e. The Black Widow, for the nice Cap'n). Gotta have some balance, you know. 

The Romantic Hero (Birth and class are unimportant, battle is internal/psychological, he makes his own rules, his passions are outside of individual control and he is often moody, isolated, and introspective, his loyalty is to a project or community of like-minded others.)

I think the Hulk/Dr. Bruce Banner belongs here. As would Wolverine and probably Spiderman. This is the the tortured, tormented hero seeking to come to terms with himself. He's a little hard to get to know, a little hard to read, and impossible to keep in shirts. He could actually be a threat, but the right heroine will see through the danger and offer him unconditional love.
Mark Ruffalo as Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk
The Modern Hero/Antihero (Seeks merely to survive in a dark world and find meaning; code of behavior, not a code of ethics; might be as "bad" as the villain; his internal struggle is often with addiction to something, external struggle is with corruption.)
Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man in Iron Man 3
Honestly, I didn't save this one for last on purpose, but this IS my hero of choice. This is the quintessential bad boy with a sordid past and a heart of... well, whatever Tony Stark's neon blue disk is made of. We see this hero show up in fiction as the thief or the gambler or the pirate or the rogue. He's bad, and he knows it, but it's really just a cover for all that depth of emotion. Batman probably fits in this category quite nicely, as well. This hero needs a woman who is extremely independent. He's got too many issues to deal with a needy chick. 

Who is your favorite superhero and why?
Does he match up with your favorite type of literary hero?


Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of two. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Inside, Outside, Upside Down Christianity


by Dina Sleiman

In college I remember writing a poem that began with those words from the famous children's book. “Inside, outside, the whole world is upside down.” At the time I was attending a Christian university in the middle of the Bible belt South, and more often than not, what I saw was Christianity focused on outward issues.

In a way it made sense, I guess. The Christian university would have had a hard time dictating that we all put others first, have loving, intimate relationships with Christ, hear his voice and walk according to the moment by moment leading of the Holy Spirit.

It was much easier to say you had to wear skirts everyday that came to the tops of your knees (that would be for the girls of course, and I must confess, I’m cool with guys not being allowed to wear skirts.) For the guys it was daily ties, short hair, and no earrings or beards. There were rules about swearing and alcohol and mandatory church attendance. We had a student honor code and dress code and dorm rules (if you were under 22 and unmarried you had to live in the dorms). The rules went on and on and they were all focused on who we were on the outside and the sort of impression we gave the community and the all important donors.

Now there’s not anything wrong with any of those rules in and of themselves, although few had anything to do with actual Biblical principles. I’m sure they were all designed to make us disciplined individuals and productive people, but rules were not going to lead us one iota closer to Christ. In fact, in a lot of cases, the severity of the rules caused people to rebel.

You may have a hard time believing this from your friendly neighborhood free-spirited, heavy-metal-loving Inky, but I was raised to have great respect for rules and authority, and I do. There were basically three responses to these excessive rules in college: students who didn’t mind them and followed them, students who ignored them and didn’t care, and students who were in constant angst, feeling that the rules were ridiculous and unfair, but who wanted to honor God by following the rules. In other words students who wanted to live from the inside out. In other words, me.

Okay, I feel like I’m caught in the college years, kind of like when I have nightmares about wandering through campus without my schedule or being forced to live in the dorms with three kids. Let’s fast forward to today. Today, I’m raising my own teenagers. And I’m not raising them in dormitories or with upside-down Christianity that focuses on outward standards. I’m raising them to live as I long to live, from the inside out.

Outside-in Christianity is a result of focusing on law. In the Old Testament God gave us law because Christ had not yet died on the cross for us. The Ten Commandments are great and all, but did you ever stop to consider that there weren’t just ten, there were hundreds? If you want to live by the law, shouldn’t you follow them all? The law brings death. Jesus brings life. We are now living under a new covenant. A covenant with principles, not law. A covenant where God calls us to a higher standard and demands our very hearts.

Note: I wanted to insert a scripture here, but I pretty much needed to quote at least one gospel and most of Paul’s epistles. So, you know what, just re-read the whole New Testament. It certainly won’t hurt you.

Did you ever stop to consider that for several thousand years of mankind’s history there was no law? God judged by the heart for at least 2,500 years (let’s not get into a debate over the creation date here, cause I really don’t care). Only for the last 1500 or so years before Jesus did we have the law. The law was revealed so that man would understand how far we lived from God’s standard of holiness, and that we could never, ever, meet God’s expectations on our own. We needed a savior.

And he sent one, who died on the cross to redeem us from our sin and reconcile us to himself. He now wants us to live by basic principles. The law of love. The fruit of the spirit. We need to know his word, yes. Absolutely. Not because we need to reach our daily quota of Bible reading, but because God renews our mind through his word. Because God reveals his character in his word, and we need to know him as a best friend. We need to pray, yes. Because how can you be intimate with someone you don't communicate with? We need to be in church, yes. Because we need the fellowship of other believers to help us grow in our walk with the lord. Because we are one body in Christ, and we need to function together to reach out to a hurt and dying world. We need to live a holy life, yes. Because it pleases God and keeps Satan from getting entrance into our lives.

But living a holy life goes much further than keeping the Ten Commandments. (Read those epistles one more time please. Seriously, it will be good for you.) It involves dying to self, putting others first, extending love to the world around us. No more gossip or gluttony or lust. No more worry or condemnation, bitterness, despair, or low self-esteem. We are God’s children. His heirs. A royal priesthood. His ambassadors to the world.

But we’ll never get there on our own.

We’re going to fall short. God is well aware of that. That was his whole point in sending a savior. It’s almost as if the outside-in people act like Christ saved them once, and it’s been their job to save themselves everyday since.

This simply is not what the Bible says. Anywhere. God wants our hearts. A much higher standard than the law. He is not out to zap us. He has paid the price to secure our eternal destiny. He wants relationship with us that flows from the inside out.

Just think about it, Christianity that flows from the outside in (if such a thing can even truly exist) would get stuck there. On the inside. No wonder these upside-down outside-in Christians have such little impact on the world. Christianity from the inside out flows, well, outward. Like a river of living water to quench the needs of a hurt and dying generation. Christianity from the inside out releases God’s kingdom from deep within our hearts to everyone we encounter.

So no more upside down Christianity. Let’s all live from the inside out!

Have you been living from the outside in or from the inside out? Was there ever a time in your life when you lived from the outside in? What results have you seen from outside-in Christianity?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Returned by Jason Mott


by Anita Mae Draper

This past May 14th I saw this tweet go by from Love Inspired Assistant Editor Rachel Burkot:

Rachel Burkot @Rachel_Burkot
Trailer for RESURRECTION, the ABC show based on The Returned by Jason Mott, out in September from Harlequin MIRA! on.fb.me/16c5Y6y

What struck me was that another Harlequin author was hitting the big time and this time it was a male.  But since I consider the MIRA imprint to be mainstream Women's Fiction, I was curious so I clicked on the link which brought me to The Resurrection's Facebook page with the Official Trailer...



Well, that certainly caught my eye! Intrigued, I began to investigate.

The Resurrection is the ABC pilot show based on the MIRA novel, The Returned, the debut book of poet Jason Mott


Book Blurb: 
Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time…. Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human. 


Mr. Mott attributes the inspiration for this story to a vivid dream he had of talking with his deceased grandmother. From reading the comments on YouTube, some feel this story is similar to the film, Flight of the Navigator. And yet I seem to vaguely remember a recent TV series closely resembling this but the details elude me. Regardless of how familiar the story line sounds, I've seen enough to know this book and show are unique.

The Resurrection Facebook Page says, "What if someone you lost returned as if not a single day has gone by? Resurrection will make you question everything you believe."

Will it? I am uneasy with one aspect of this story. The excerpt mentions scripture about the earth giving up its dead, so I went looking and found this verse:

But your dead will live, Lord;
    their bodies will rise—
let those who dwell in the dust
    wake up and shout for joy—
your dew is like the dew of the morning;
    the earth will give birth to her dead.
Isaiah 26:19 New International Version (NIV)

As well, if you search the web and the YouTube site for The Resurrection, you'll find this title has been used several times - mostly with the horror tag attached to it. I don't watch horror. 

I congratulate Jason Mott on his debut novel as well as for making the giant leap to TV. I'll be watching the ABC pilot with interest.

What have you heard of this project? 

Has it piqued your interest? 

Have you watched the trailer?

Have you read the excerpt?

Please share your thoughts.



Remember, you have until 11:59 tonight to leave a comment including your email address on Monday's post to be entered to win a copy of Debra Clopton's Her Rodeo Man.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae's short story, "Riding on a Christmas Wish" will appear in A Christmas Cup of Cheer, Guideposts Books, October 2013. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at http://www.anitamaedraper.com/





Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Heiress on Auction



By Lisa Karon Richardson

In 1860 Prince Albert Edward, known as Bertie, made the first trip to America by an English royal since the revolutionary war. His visit sparked a sudden infatuation with all things English. By the same token, the notorious flirt became enamored of American girls.
Bertie

At the time, the social epicenter of the US was New York, but the hidebound Knickerbockers, under the ruthless direction of “The” Mrs. Astor was set on keeping out parvenus. What was the newly-minted-millionaire’s daughter to do? Go to Europe of course, and find the kind of mate that would make the pedigree of the Old New Yorkers look as impressive as a laundry list.

With Bertie’s appreciative social sponsorship, dozens and dozens American heiresses crossed the pond. The first wave were received with initial trepidation. The English weren’t entirely sure that they wouldn’t show up decked out in Indian war paint.

And of course, English gentlemen made out on the transaction as well. At the time land prices had dropped, agriculture was in a slump and keeping up with the Jones’s was a major drain on the family finances. Throw in the upkeep on a monstrous pile of an old manor and the landed gentry was left short on cash. An English girl of the same class likely had a family in the same position, so her dowry wasn’t going to be enough to save the family seat from rack and ruin.

Jennie Jerome Churchill
Enter the American heiress whose papa can afford all new ensembles from Maison Worth each season and who doesn’t blink when his little princess wants new baubles from Tiffany and Co. In today’s dollars, literally billions of dollars crossed the ocean with the new brides.

Some of the marriages were more successful than others. Mary Leiter, fell in love with Lord Curzon on first sight. She waited patiently for him. More patiently than most would have been, but they eventually married in 1895. Ultimately she became Vicereine of India–the highest social and political position in the British Empire behind the Queen. A less successful match was that of Consuelo Vanderbilt, who was forced by her social-climbing mama to marry the Duke of Marlborough. There was a notoriously unhappy marriage that ended in divorce a few years later. Most of the heiress brides found things they didn’t like about their new country and things they did like. An English wife had more freedom than an American wife. Jennie Jerome Churchill was the driving force behind husband, Randolph’s, political rise and often credited with his success. Of course, one had to survive the freezing old manors that hadn’t yet been updated with the luxuries of hot water taps and central heating in order to attain that partnership, but it was possible at least!
Consuelo Vanderbilt

Today the marriages have a faint whiff of the mercenary about them, but at the time they weren’t really so far out of the ordinary. Marrying for love was still a pretty novel concept, especially for the wealthy. And it must be said that there was a lot of attraction there for many of those who participated in this particular transatlantic trade. The Englishmen were often captivated by pretty and vivacious young American girls who managed to convey a combination of naivete and daring boldness. While the Americans were impressed by English manners and culture.

I have seen numbers that range from 1/4 to 1/3 of the modern English aristocracy have an American heiress in their family tree. Winston Churchill’s mother was the same Jennie Jerome Churchill mentioned above. Princess Di had an American in her lineage too.

Do you find any romance in the idea of these unions or do you think they were more like transactions than marriages? 

Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, LISA KARON RICHARDSON’S early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her published works include “Impressed by Love,” in the Colonial Courtships anthology. The Magistrate’s Folly was published by Heartsong Presents in February of 2013. Diamond in the Rough, (May, 2013) was co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, and is the first in the Charm and Deceit, series from Whitaker House. Finally she has another novella coming out September, 2013 from Barbour entitled “Midnight Clear,” part of the Mistletoe Memories collection.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Debra Clopton: An Ever After Summer


by Debra Clopton

I’m so glad to be here on Inkwell Inspirations today! Thank you ladies for having me here to talk a little about my June 18 release from Thomas Nelson Publishers A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS with the wonderful Margaret Brownley, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher. What a fun and wonderful experience it was to work with these authors and Thomas Nelson.  

Anita Mae invited me here to share an inspiration about my story in the book AN EVER AFTER SUMMER (my first historical). So, here goes...

One of my favorite quotes comes from the movie You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan. I loved the role of Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan) because she lived the quote. Kathleen was facing a life changing moment, the closing of the bookstore that had been her life and that of her mother's. Her longtime friend, Birdie, played by the fantastic Jean Stapleton, told her not to be afraid. “You are daring to imagine that you can have a different life…you are stepping out into the unknown.” (I’m not certain if that’s completely quoted correctly but its close) I LOVED that!

I’ve been in Kathleen’s shoes and stepped out with God at my side and dared to dream that I could become a writer. Life can be scary sometimes—much of the time actually—but I think that’s how we grow in our faith and in our personal lives by stretching ourselves. I’ve never been one who was afraid to fail, as the Bible says: If God is with us who can be against us! But still there is that worry: am I doing the right thing?

Ellie, my character, lived a life without love. Her story : A born killer, Melvina Eldora Smith killed 3 people by the age of one: her mother at birth, her father of a broken heart and poor uncle Mutt outside a bar with a runaway buggy! When this hook came to me I knew a cute story would follow. Melvina—Ellie for short—is sooo lacking in love that when she sees an ad from a widower looking for someone to love and raise his baby girl—whose mother died in childbirth like her own did, Ellie knows she’s stepping out and changing her life. Good, bad or ugly she’s hitting the road, stagecoach bound for Honey Springs Texas. Little does she know that she is not exactly what Mathew McConnell had in mind when he placed his ad!  

As you see Ellie is drawn to step out on faith and yes—to dare to imagine that she can have a different life…to step out into the unknown seeking that new life. And Ellie does it because if all else fails, there is an innocent baby girl on which she can lavish all the pent up love she has inside of her to give. Like Ellie, I believed in possibilities and years ago took that step and wrote my first book. Of course it took 13 years to finally sell my first story but God had put that desire in my heart and through rejection after rejection I pushed forward. One, for the joy writing brought me and two, I believed that God had a plan. And He did and it came in His timing…not mine. It taught me patience (Lots of patience!) and God’s wonderful, amazing faithfulness.

So, is there a character from a movie or a novel that inspires you or you would like to be? 

I’d love to hear about it. If you leave a comment with your email address I'll enter you in a drawing for a copy of Her Rodeo Cowboy, Book 1 of my Mule Hollow Homecoming series. The drawing will be held Wed, June 26th, at 11:59 pm.

Join me for a blog tour and Facebook week of fun with prizes July 12-23rd, then FB party on the evening of the 23rd.

Also, check out my contest page at http://debraclopton.com and FB http://www.facebook.com/debra.clopton.5

Thanks so much for having me here on the blog for Inkwell Inspirations. I hope you’ll check out A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS. 


Friday, June 21, 2013

Under the Dome


by
Jennifer AlLee

TV was a lot different when I was growing up. There were three network stations: ABC, CBS, and NBC. And there was a season that ran from September to June. That's when you saw new episodes of all your favorite shows. The summer was essentially filled with reruns and the occasional made-for-TV movie.My, how times have changed. FOX and CW have joined the network ranks, cable has given us more channel options than we know what to do with, and summer has transitioned into a time when short-season programs run brand new, fresh episodes.

One of the shows I'm looking forward to this summer is Under the Dome. Based on Stephen King's brick of a book, it's the story of a town that discovers it's been placed beneath a huge, see-through dome. I think the premise is fascinating. My son can't take it seriously. "It's the Simpson's Movie!" he insists. Which is partially true. But I still think it's cool.

Think about it... Where did the dome come from? Why is it there? How does a community respond when they are cut off from the rest of the world? Of course, the metaphor of the dome comes into play. The people inside can see people living normal lives on the other side of the dome, but they can't get to them. No matter how much they want to leave the dome, its restrictions, and its challenges, they are trapped inside.

Now, there may be some deep, philosophical thread running through the series. Or it may just be a nifty gimmick with a compelling plot. Either way, I'm watching the first episode, and hopefully all the episodes to follow.

How about you? What are you looking forward to this summer?


JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, 11/07), The Pastor’s Wife (Abingdon Press, 2/10), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, 4/12) and A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (Abingdon Press, 11/12). She's thrilled to be working on her first historical series with the amazing Lisa Karon Richardson. Diamond in the Rough (Whitaker House) is the first book in the Charm and Deceit series, available now. And... as if that's not enough, her novella Comfort and Joy will appear in the Christmas anthology, Mistletoe Memories (Barbour, 9/13) She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Visit Jennifer's website at www.jenniferallee.com/

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Welcome Guest Blogger Roseanna White. Roseanna is one of our favorite authors here at Inkwell, so make sure to note that she has a free novella available right now! Links are available at the bottom of the post. 


Allow me to draw your attention to Mark 4:37-41:

37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, 
so that it was already filling.  38 But He was in the stern, 
asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, 
“Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, 
“Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. 
  40 But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you 
have no faith?”  41 And they feared exceedingly, and said 
to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind 
and the sea obey Him!”

Now, I've read those words approximately a hundred times, and I'm guessing everyone else has too. And I've always gotten out of it what the disciples did--wow, did you see that? The wind and waves obey Him! This Man rules the weather!!

Which is awesome. Truly, amazingly awesome.

I've also been struck before by His rebuke of the disciples--they'd just witnessed an amazing miracle, when He fed the 5,000. But they still didn't quite get it . . . and Jesus calls them on that, on their lack of faith.

But as I was reading this section this time, something new hit me. 

He didn't have to do any of that. Ever pause to consider that? It wasn't His time to die. He still had a whole lot to do. There was no possible way that the storm was going to hurt that little boat with its most precious cargo, and Jesus surely knew it. He had no fear, and it wasn't just because He knew He could calm the storm--it was because He knew it wasn't a threat.

And yet.

When his friends, his disciples wake him in a panic, what's his first reaction? He calms the storm. He doesn't first try to explain it to them. He doesn't roll his eyes and go back to sleep. He calms the storm. He does that for them--not to prove He can, but because He loved them. Because He didn't want them to fear.

And, maybe, because He knows they wouldn't have heard him until that fear was gone. 

I don't know why I'm constantly amazed when I realize how far out of His way our Lord goes for us, but it hit me anew here. Jesus could have done any number of things in this situation, and no matter what He had chosen, we know the outcome would have been a safe arrival on the other side. He could have done any number of things that resulted in the disciples seeing His glory.

But He chose the one that calmed his friends. That soothed their fears. And then, then he reminded them to have faith.

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me so well. For knowing that when the storm's upon me, I can't remember the sunshine was ever there. For knowing that clutching for you is, sometimes, all I can do. Thank you, Lord, for making it all I need to do.

Because You calm the storm. And then You remind me that it was in Your hand all along.

~*~ 

Roseanna M. White pens her novels under the Betsy Ross flag hanging above her desk, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When she isn’t writing fiction, she’s editing it for WhiteFire Publishing or reviewing it for the Christian Review of Books, both of which she co-founded with her husband. 


The first novel in her Culper Ring Series from Harvest House, Ring of Secrets, released in March, and the sequel, Whispers from the Shadows, is coming in August. In the meantime, you can download a novella of the intervening years for free! Fairchild's Lady is set on the eve of revolution in France, following a British spy as he attempts to rescue two French ladies from the impending tide of terror. You can download it at Amazon, CBD, B&N, iTunes, and GooglePlay

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Strong Women in History: From Shampoo Girl to Record Setter

by Suzie Johnson
Have you ever been at an airshow and watched a plane fly across your field of vision as it breaks the sound barrier? It zips past the crowd in complete silence. Just as you realize there’s no noise from the jet engine it disappears from sight, followed by what can best be described as a roaring sonic boom.
 Exciting for those in attendance?
 There’s no doubt about it.

Imagine then, how Jacqueline Cochran likely felt as she became the first woman to break the sound barrier in her F-86 Sabre in 1953; and then again in 1962 when she became the first woman to fly at MACH Two – twice the speed of sound. It must have been an amazing feeling for someone who was so ashamed of her beginnings that she legally changed her name, and then supposedly made up a story about being an orphan.

For the adult Jacqueline, there were a lot of firsts. But this fast-paced, successful lifestyle was far removed from the young “Bessie Pittman’s” childhood.

Jackie Cochran and Chuck Yeager
There are as many conflicting reports on Jackie’s background as you have time to read, making it difficult to know the truth. Was she an orphan? Kidnapped? Raised in foster care? Or was she a girl whose family was so poor, she had to steal chickens so they could eat?

I suspect only Jackie and her family knew the real truth. Some of her family members publicly disputed her claims of being an orphan. It’s even said that her sister was so traumatized by an interview Jackie gave to Life Magazine, that the sister had a nervous breakdown and never really recovered.

Though the truth of her childhood may be in dispute along with her year of birth – anywhere between 1906 and 1910 - her desire to fly, along with the future the young pilot carved for herself, is not.

Jackie was working in a beauty shop, sweeping floors and learning how to give permanents when a customer supposedly inspired her to become whatever she wanted. She is said to have attended nursing school, met her future husband either in New York or Miami, and somewhere in-between earned her pilot’s license.

Once she had that license she never looked back, and from here on out her history cannot be disputed.

Distinguished Service
Medal
She won air races, flew with Amelia Earhart, served in the British Auxiliary Transport Service, was instrumental in FDR’s formation of the Women’s Air Force Service Pilots (WASPs), became the first woman to win the Distinguished Service Medal, and even convinced her good friend Dwight Eisenhower to run for president. She also convinced Walt Disney to create a cartoon as part of Eisenhower’s presidential campaign.

And while she was at it, Jackie found time to set air speed records and start a cosmetics company. When she could no longer fly, she bought an RV and was said to have driven it all over the country. After her husband died, she rode her bicycle in her garden.

Jackie was driven, and the stories about her are varied but exciting. They’re also sad. In all my reading about this remarkable woman, I found no mention of faith or spirituality. It makes me sad to think of someone living their life with such eagerness and zest but not having a heart for God. I don’t know that she didn’t. I’m not stating she didn’t. I just know if she did, I can find no documentation of it.


The optimistic part of me wants to hope she did have a spiritual life and that this woman with such desire for a high-octane life is flying somewhere in Heaven.  

True North is Suzie Johnson’s second novel. Her first novel, No Substitute, a contemporary inspirational novel, is out now from White Rose Press of The Pelican Book Group. She is a regular contributor to the Inkwell Inspirations blog, a member of ACFW, RWA, and is the cancer registrar at her local hospital. Suzie and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest with their naughty little cat on an island that is definitely not tropical. Together, they are the parents of a wonderful grown son who makes them proud every day – even though he lives way too far away. You can visit Suzie at the following places:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Slideshow Attempt

by Anita Mae Draper

I've often thought of creating a slideshow, but never had the urge to put in the effort until this past weekend. Working with the genealogy, experiencing 2 graduations, and having lots of family stuff going on, I've spent a lot of time in our photo boxes and albums. We're also in the process of digitizing our photos which floods us with memories. And to top it off, hubby's mom has given us a box of old negatives to process and digitize. Negatives remind me of the 1994 Forrest Gump movie where he says, "...life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Well, negatives are the same way.

Negative as you get back with film after developing.

Negative after home processing on computer.

Nelson processed the above negative at home using light and our computer. It's not professional in anyway. Use of a professional photo processor would probably bring out more color, a sharper image, etc, but it's good enough for our purposes as we go through the negatives trying to identify people.

But back to the slideshow... I had been searching through my photos for a photo of Nelson with the kids that I could use as a Father's Day scripture pic on the church website when I had a brainstorm. I had photos of Nelson spending time with the kids collectively, and with each by themselves. Why not combine some in a side-by-side fashion and photocopy them in a small booklet?

But when I opened PhotoShop, I'm such a dunce at it that I couldn't position 2 images beside each other. After 15 mins, I was ready to give up when I saw a Create button on the top right of my screen. When I clicked it, a list of possibilities dropped down and the word, Slideshow drew my gaze like a beacon.

There are probably oodles of other software programs to create a slideshow, but I have to say, PhotoShop Elements 8 version is easy peasy. (unlike editing the images themsleves) And although I couldn't figure out how to display images side-by-side, the option of adding text balanced it out.

Yesterday was Father's Day and the slideshow below was shown in church as a tribute for all fathers, which is why no names are mentioned. And although it's told from the kids' perspective, neither of the boys saw the complete version until they watched in church. And the girls will see it here, or on Facebook.

We hadn't told Nelson about it, either, so it was a complete surprise when he saw himself up on the screen. He couldn't talk for a few minutes after, but when he could, he said he, "really, really enjoyed it." And then he asked for a copy for his Facebook page.

I can imagine you're thinking, "Oh, no, family movies!" right about now, but here is my first slideshow attempt. Let me know if it doesn't show for you. Oh, and there's no sound as I couldn't think of any music that wasn't copyrighted to use for this one.


BTW - the picture where it says, "You feed us" shows Nelson with his mouth open and is where he was pretending to eat a daddy-long-legs on the window screen. For whatever reason, you can barely see the spider in the slideshow. (Yes, I know - not technically a spider.) Now that I've created my first slideshow, my mind is boggling with possibilities for my writing projects. And I really must check into music. I know many of you have created videos for your books and family. I'm brimming with ideas for those, too. But for my question today is... Have you ever created a slideshow? For what event? And who did you share it?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Anita Mae Draper is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and lives on the prairie of southeast Saskatchewan, Canada with her hubby of 30 plus years and 2 of their 4 kids. She writes stories set on the prairies of Saskatchewan, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Anita Mae has semi-finaled in the Historical Romance category of the ACFW's 2011 Genesis contest and finaled in the Inspirational category of the 2011 Daphne du Maurier, the 2011 Fool for Love, the 2011 Duel on the Delta and 2009 Linda Howard Award of Excellence contests. Anita Mae's short story, "Riding on a Christmas Wish" will appear in A Christmas Cup of Cheer, Guideposts Books, 2013. Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books and Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at http://www.anitamaedraper.com/

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sherlocked


By Lisa Karon Richardson

Anyone who has hung around the Inkwell for long, knows that I have an abiding passion for a man not my husband (gasp!) Luckily the man is fictional. He is in fact, the inimitable Sherlock Holmes. I’m quite certain that the good Mr. Doyle had no idea what he was doing when he created his sleuth, I’m just glad he did it anyway.

There aren’t nearly enough “real” Sherlock stories and so, over time, hungry fans have set up such a ruckus that new authors have created a smorgasbord of pastiches. One of the very best that I’ve seen is a reimagining of Sherlock as a modern day consulting detective. The episodes to date have been updates of the original stories. Some of them looser interpretations than others.

I was skeptical to begin, but the show hooked me within a few minutes. Our John Watson, played by Martin Freeman, is British army doctor returning from Afghanistan, which doesn’t sound nearly as outlandish as it would have done a dozen years ago. In fact it’s made me wonder if that was the seed idea for someone when it came to the idea of the whole series. Watson is a great blend in the series, he’s not portrayed as a dimwitted acolyte, but a smart, devoted friend, who doesn’t mind handing back some of what Sherlock dishes out.

Sherlock is played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who manages to balance his character’s insufferableness with moments of humor and even quietly repressed warmth. He might not show his friends that he cares by saying a kind word, but touch Mrs. Hudson and you might find yourself suffering a terrible “fall.”

Created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss (who also plays Mycroft Holmes) this show is smart and witty. Mr. Moffat is also the brilliant evil genius behind the twists and turns of the last several seasons of Dr. Who. (Why Rose?! How could you do that to her and the Dr!! You’re tearing my heart out!) Sorry. Back to Sherlock, the casting as you may have gathered from the above is spot on, and the only problem I have with it is that I can’t get any more!

Only six episodes have been released to date. A new set of three is in production, but for Sherlock fans it has been an interminable and unkind wait. The last episode was “The Reichenbach Fall.” And you know what that means, right?! It means speculation, darn it! How can it be resolved? I have my ideas, but it just can’t be right, Sherlock is smarter than me, so what did he come up with?

The drought should end before the end of the year. In the meantime, at least there’s Netflix which has the first two seasons available. They’re also available as DVDs.  One word of caution, not all the episodes are kid friendly-particularly A Scandal in Belgravia, which introduces The Woman.

Have you seen Sherlock? What did you think? Does anyone want to offer their theory about Reichenbach?
 Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, LISA KARON RICHARDSON’S early stories were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now, even though she’s (mostly) grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her most recent novel, Diamond in the Rough, (May, 2013) was co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, and is the first in the Charm and Deceit, series from Whitaker House. Book two, Vanishing Act, is coming in September as is a novella from Barbour entitled “Midnight Clear,” part of the Mistletoe Memories collection.



Thursday, June 13, 2013

Giving Up Resentment


by Niki Turner

For if you forgive people their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 
Matt 6:14 AMP
Giving up resentment. That was my assignment this week, my heavenly "prescription" for some things that have been ailing me. Excuse the cliche, please, but I'm finding it a surprisingly difficult pill to swallow.
And even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and turns to you seven times and says, I repent [I am sorry], you must forgive him (give up resentment and consider the offense as recalled and annulled). 
Luke 17:4 AMP
Immediately after these instructions, Christ's disciples requested more faith.

Why is it so hard? Because resentment — like a colorless, odorless, deadly gas — permeates human nature to the point we fail to acknowledge it as a toxin, as something contrary to the kind of life Jesus came to give us. We're so accustomed to it we no longer resist it. 

Here's the definition of resentment from Webster's Dictionary, circa 1828:
1. The excitement of passion which proceeds from a sense of wrong offered to ourselves, or to those who are connected with us; anger. This word usually expresses less excitement than anger, though it is often synonymous with it. It expresses much less than wrath, exasperation, and indignation. In this use, resentment is not the sense or perception of injury, but the excitement which is the effect of it.
In case you're still contemplating Webster's definition (like I was) here are some synonyms for resentment (from Roget's Thesaurus): acerbity, animosity, annoyance, antagonism, bitterness, cynicism, displeasure, exasperation, fury, grudge, huff, ill feeling, ill will, ire, irritation, malice, malignity, outrage, perturbation, pique, rage, rancor, spite, vexation, wrath. 

Now, check your Facebook page and your email and your Twitter feed and the evening news... how much "excitement which is the effect of a sense of wrong on behalf of yourself or others" do you see? We've got liberals outraged by conservatives, Republicans irritated with Democrats, wives exasperated with husbands (ever been there?), children antagonizing parents and parents annoying children, employees showing up at work every day full of malice toward their bosses, bosses full of ire and indignation toward their employees, rich folks who hate poor folks, poor folks bitter about rich folks... the list goes on, and on, and on, until Jesus comes back, probably.

Daily, we mask the resentment we carry under humor or irony or sarcasm. Worse, we bury it deep down on the inside, in our soul, and hide all those feelings under a blanket of religious niceties until we can't stand it anymore, or some negative thing erupts in our body or mind and we have to deal with it in the form of some physical ailment or mental/emotional breakdown. The human body was not designed to harbor such things. It's like Kryptonite to the God-birthed spirit.

Kryptonite 

Resentment is like a weed. Or a virus. It's sneaky. It creeps in and hitches on to spiritual scar tissue from our past, and then grows like a wild thing, choking out the very fruit of the spirit God designed us to produce naturally.

I'm guilty.

I resent people in my house who sleep when I have to be awake. People who make bacon and/or waffles in the kitchen while I'm exercising my guts out in the other room. I resent people who leave messes behind and expect someone else to clean them up. I resent people who seem to have more money than brains. People who show up unannounced and expect me to entertain and feed them. I resent people who don't accept responsibility and do the things that need to be done without being told (Can you tell I live with teenage boys?). And so on.

And that's how I got in trouble with Abba Father this week, because I've let myself slip back into some old habits of irritation, aggravation, frustration, and offense. It has caused irritation and inflammation in my physical body and had a negative effect on my mind and emotions.

And the Holy Spirit speaks up on the inside and says, "Let it go, it's not worth it."

Because even if I'm right (and don't we always believe we're right?), becoming resentful and offended will put me in the wrong, outside of God's will, beyond His grace and blessing.

Like He said... it's not worth it.






Niki Turner is a writer, former pastor's wife, mother of four, and grandmother of two. She has thus far been unsuccessful at coming up with catchy taglines for her writing, her purpose in life, or what she hopes to achieve in the future. Suggestions are welcome.