CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Jenny LM who won Susanne Dietze's My Heart Belongs in Ruby City, Idaho Prize pack!


Congratulations to Elise Jehan who won a copy of The Secret Admirer Romance Collection!

Friday, August 29, 2014

CREIGHTON'S HIDEAWAY

Creighton's Hideaway by LoRee Peery

Blurb:
Needing to finish her thesis in order to keep her job working with youth in a residential treatment center, Shana Arnold sequesters herself on Creighton Rice’s Nebraska ranch. She expects the secluded hideaway to provide a peaceful environment. What she doesn't expect is to become the victim of identity theft and a crazed home invader.

Creighton Rice has been content to live alone with his God--until he meets Shana. He's drawn to her, but must fight the attraction. Getting close makes him face a lifetime's accumulation of scars. Plus, Shana doesn’t share his faith. But when Shana's life is threatened, Creighton must protect her--even if it means letting her in.

Will Shana discover that even when a woman loses everything, she can regain courage and strength through faith in God, and can Creighton allow God to heal scars and open the door to a lifetime with Shana?


Excerpt:
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.—Psalm 121:1-2

A lilting soprano voice jolted him back to his childhood, and drew him like the legendary Lorelei. Chill bumps rose on his arms. The sensation rendered him as speechless as Shana’s kiss had the day before.
Creighton wound his way through the trees into the open, and stood transfixed when he spied the subject of his thoughts. An open hymnal was balanced on her upraised knees. Notes soared pure and light as Shana sang the lyrics to his mother’s favorite song.
God was surely present in this place. He closed his eyes and listened to Shana continue all the way through to the fourth verse. Shana lifted her chin. Her face glowed.
His heart picked up its pace, and his cheeks grew warm. Were there tears clogging his throat? Something he was slow to name filled his soul.
Then it came to him as Shana rose to her feet. Humbled. She’d humbled him.
God had given him a gift in this dark haired sprite who offered her friendship. And he had been too obtuse to appreciate its magnitude. Creighton’s feet remained in place as though they were stuck in a mucky feedlot.
“Hi.” She closed the gap between. “Is something wrong?”
“That song,” his voice rasped like a cornhusk. Creighton cleared his throat and tried again, “It’s my mom’s favorite. I grew up with her singing, especially when she pinned the sheets out on the clothesline to dry in the wind.”
Shana hugged the hymnal close. With a comical scrunched up face, she asked, “Did I slaughter it? I sight read the notes.”
“Not at all. It was beautiful. Your voice is lovely.”
“Thanks. I don’t sing much anymore.”
“Well, here’s your chance to use it. Come to church with me in the morning?”
The sky glowed pink and purple. While orange streaks danced along the horizon, he waited for her answer.
“Creighton, I left my business clothes in Lincoln. I only brought country clothes back with me.”
“No problem. We’re casual. But Rita has things up at the house.”
Reflections of the sun turned her cheek golden. “You’re right! She offered them to me. Guess I forgot.”
“So, do you want to check them out now?”
“Why not? Don’t think I have a hot date or anything.”
Creighton didn’t want to think of Shana dating. Instead, he nodded at the hymnal. “That belonged to my mom. She had one in almost every room of the house.”
“Did she sing in the choir or something?”
“Actually, she played the church organ.” He reached out his hand. “Here, let me carry that.”
Creighton tucked the old volume underneath his arm and wrapped his fingers around Shana’s hand.
She gave a secretive woman’s smile that tugged deep at his midsection.
They strolled through the brush strokes of sunset. A burst of reflected gold painted the clouds rosy pink in the east. The majestic sky squelched any more words.
At the ranch house, he laid the hymnal on the counter and ran his hand up to the light switch in one smooth movement.
“Rita tell you which room was hers?”
“Second on the other side of the bathroom.”
“Help yourself.” He entered the living area and turned on two lamps. “Since I didn’t feed you yesterday, I’ll rustle up something to eat.”
She turned down the hall.
How long would he be able to keep his dark side from Shana?

Bio:
A Nebraska country girl, LoRee Peery attempts to see God’s presence every day. Often that gift comes from nature, and she is most relaxed in the outdoors. The call of a cardinal draws her to look for the distinctive flash of crimson. A meadowlark’s melody always transports her to the farm where she grew up. A rainbow holds special significance, since one appeared the day of her father’s funeral and means the promise of the Lord’s presence in her life. She clings to I John 5:4 and prays her family sees that faith. You can find her at www.loreepeery.com or the Pelican Book Group sitehttp://tinyurl.com/kwz9enk


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Chaos


By Lisa Karon Richardson

That pretty much sums up my life at the moment. Seems like everything is in flux.

At work we just went through a major corporate merger and I’ve had 4 different supervisors in the last 14 months. Let’s just say there’s been some...
turnover.

At home, we just bought a new house 3 weeks ago. Which is great, don’t get me wrong. I’m very blessed, and I am conscious of that fact. More to come on all that for sure. But at this very moment, we’re in the renovation stage. All the ground floors have been ripped out and it’s going to be probably two more weeks before the new flooring is put in. All the kitchen cabinets have been pulled out and we’re redoing them. The appliances are out in the garage anyway. We’ve been eating out. A lot. No washer or dryer yet. We’ve been waiting for the Labor Day sales. And of course we’ve been painting. Lots and lots of painting. I’m ready to settle in and nest, and it seems like my instincts are being thwarted at every turn!
With the new house came a new school for the kids. They are settling in to a new routine and our rhythms are adjusting. Slowly.

Finally, my husband decided that it was time to act on his calling to start a church. It’s the right thing to do. I can feel God smiling. Doesn’t make it easy. We had to leave behind the security, familiarity, and to be frank, the minimal demands on our time of our old church.

In the midst of all this I’m supposed to be writing. It’s um… slow going, and I have this dreadful sense that I’m letting my agent and publisher down because I can even seem to get my three chapters for a proposal done.

I have moments when I just want to throw up my hands and scream. Or maybe bury my head under the pillow and scream.

Thankfully, God reminds me that there are seasons in life. The challenges I’m facing aren’t permanent. The renovation will come to an end eventually. The kids will be just as comfortable with their new school as they were with the old.

But what can I do in the meantime?

First, is an attitude check. Our very own Gina reminded me not long ago that I should try to enjoy the blossoming of my new home. And she was right. I have the choice to stress about what is yet to be done, or I can enjoy the process and potential that we have in our house right now. It’s sort of a blank canvas and I have an opportunity to really make it my own.

Sometimes just reframing the “problem” can make all the difference. None of these experiences are wasted if I simply learn something from each one. 

I find that I overlook sometimes the very best coping mechanism. I forget to take the time to steal away with God. Nothing is more re-energizing and centering than spending a few moments in listening to his whispers to my heart. His voice is just there if we seek him.

In the end I know two things: 1. All the craziness is necessary to get to where I want to be in the end. 2. Throughout it all, I’m never alone.


What suggestions do you have for making it through all of life’s craziness?

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 new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city while trying to raise a family. Curtain Call, the third in the Charm and Deceit, series co-authored with Jennifer AlLee, released in March, 2014. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Real ___

by C. J. Chase


Years ago, I had a coworker who didn’t like it when an actor would age out of a long-running movie/TV series and be replaced. “Sean Connery was The Real James Bond,” she would say. Or “Johnny Weissmuller was The Real Tarzan.”

Fortunately, I knew her weakness, so one day I called her on her “Real” claims. “And who was The Real Superman?” I asked. Despite the fact she was of an age to have seen the George Reeves Superman TV series, she flashed a sheepish grin and admitted to her well-known crush on the young version of Christopher Reeve.

Regina, wherever you are now, this is for you:


For most of us, our first visual exposure to a favorite character often becomes the yardstick by which we measure future portrayals. Not always, but it usually works that way. We even had a post right here at Inkwell on The Sherlock Holmes.

I thought about taking this in some deep, theological direction, but you know what? It’s Monday, and the calendar says August for one more week. The summer movies – including a few remakes and new installments to long-running series (Planet of the Apes? Really???) – are still in the theaters, so let’s just stick to light-hearted foolishness. Give us your list of The Real __. Who is The Real Scrooge? Mr. Knightly? Sabrina? Hawkeye? Grinch? Be prepared to back up your choices because you're almost certain to find someone who disagrees.

Here are some of mine:

The Real Fitzwilliam Darcy: Colin Firth (Go ahead. Try to argue that one.)
The Real Scarlet Pimpernel: Leslie Howard (But I still love you, Anthony Andrews.)
The Real Ivanhoe: Anthony Andrews. (See, I do love you!)
The Real Cruella de  Vil: Betty Lou Gerson
The Real Henry V: Kenneth Branagh
The Real James T. Kirk: Chris Pine (Yep, I'm going with the new-and-improved, not-as-campy Kirk. But I'll grant you Leonard Nimoy for Spock.)
The Real Horatio Hornblower: Ioan Gruffudd (Mr. Peck, you were 99 degrees of hawt-ness in your day, but…no.)


Oh, and Deanna, I love you too (even more than Anthony Andrews – and not just because you’re more likely to read this than he is), but The Real Sherlock Holmes is Benedict Cumberbatch.


After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at www.cjchasebooks.com

Friday, August 22, 2014

Antique Cookbooks Part 3 1920 - 1928


by Anita Mae Draper


Welcome to Part 3 in my Antique Cookbooks series. You can read my story on how I came upon this treasure by checking out the previous posts:
Antique Cookbooks Part 1 1890 - 1906
Antique Cookbooks Part 2 1900 - 1916

Today's post covers the period of 1920-1928 and delves into the world of Household Science, or what we used to call Home Economics when I went to school fifty years later.

First up is the 1920 Household Science Circular No. 3 from my own province of Saskatchewan. I believe this 30-page 6" x 9" booklet would been distributed through the school system, not only because of the photographs, but also because of the simple recipes geared toward children's meals and lunch boxes.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes
 Household Science Circular No. 3

Here's the photograph from the front of the book, which is a far cry from the photograph of a real classroom at the back of the book which follows--especially in the length of the skirt. But although it may not be true to life, it reminds me of the little Robin Hood Flour outfits I used to dress my own little kitchen helpers in when they were small.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes Household Science Circular No. 3

Note the girl in the left forefront of this classroom photo as she shows that the Flapper fashion has already hit Saskatchewan by her headdress. I also found it interesting that the girls with white stockings wore white shoes, and those with black stockings wore black shoes. I'm curious if this was regulatory or a dictate of fashion.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes
 Household Science Circular No. 3

As an example of the recipes from this 1920 Household Science circular, I chose page 18 and 19 for 2 reasons. First, because they sometimes switch the word, cookies, for the word, cakes. Is there a reason for this due to different percentages of certain ingredients? And secondly, because they use the word, cassia, for cinnamon.

1920 Saskatchewan Dept of Education, Short Course Recipes
 Household Science Circular No. 3


1924 brings the 6" x 8.5" Apple Recipes, Bulletin No. 35 from the Fruit Branch, Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada. This is one of many booklets published over the years by governments who believe that educating the public on buying, storing and cooking produce will lead to more sales, better profits, and an improved and sustainable industry. If you have an abundance of fruit in your area, check your local Ag Extension Office, or local college or university, for a point in the right direction.


1924 Apple Recipes, Bulletin No. 35, Fruit Branch,
Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada

The value of these types of booklets are pages like the following which show the types of apples available by season, and what they are best used for. I remember how disappointed I was when I made an apple pie using our famous Canadian Macintosh apples. So mushy. And so different when I tried a pie using crisp Delicious apples instead. Now-a-days, we know that the best pies are made using a combination of apples for different tastes and textures. It must be remembered, however, that because this information was published in 1920, many of the apples listed are of the heirloom variety and not so readily available.

1924 Apple Recipes, Bulletin No. 35, Fruit Branch, 
Department of Agriculture, Ottawa, Canada


The Metropolitan Cook Book measures 5.5" x 7.5", is 64 pages long, and was published in 1928 by The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. The introductory page notes that there is a companion book entitled The Family Food Supply which explains marketing and meal economics and will be sent to you upon request. Pity the offer no longer applies for I am quite interested in what it would say.


1928 The Metropolitan Cook Book

I once entered a Heritage baking competition at the local fair with an entry from a recipe that used measurements in pounds instead of cups. In those pre-internet days, it took a lot of research to discover what the recipe needed. So for those of you who may run into recipes of this sort, I'm including that information from this Metropolitan Cook Book, as well as some recipes such as Iced Coffee and Cocoa Syrup. Yum.

1928 The Metropolitan Cook Book

I'd like to bring your attention to the recipe for Junket on the left side of the following page set. Am I correct in assuming that Junket is some sort of gelatine?

1928 The Metropolitan Cook Book


The page above on the right side caught my eye because of the use of cottage cheese as a sandwich filling--an ingredient I never considered tucking between two slices of bread although I have to admit the addition of walnuts sound good.

I have a couple cookbooks left which I want to show in more detail so I'll end this post here with this question for today...

Have you ever eaten junket or a cottage cheese sandwich?  Would you like to share your experience?


-----------------------------


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 the youngest of their 4 kids. She writes cowboy stories set in the Old West, and Edwardian stories set in the East.  Anita Mae's short story, Riding on a Christmas Wish is published in A Christmas Cup of Cheer, Guideposts Books, October 2013. She is honored that Guideposts Books has chosen a second short story, Here We Go A-wassailing,  for inclusion in the 2014 Christmas Cheer II book set.   Anita Mae is represented by Mary Keeley of Books & Such Literary Agency. You can find Anita at   http://www.anitamaedraper.com/



Monday, August 18, 2014

Depressed? Get Help. Don't Wait.

By Niki Turner

The death of comedian Robin Williams came as a shock to us all. How could the man who made everyone laugh be so depressed, so tormented, that suicide seemed the only plausible option? 

Depression doesn't always show up on the outside. And if we aren't asking questions and talking about it with our friends and family members, depression will continue to destroy lives. Denying its existence, calling it a "character flaw," or attributing depression to a lack of faith or sin in someone's life is ignorant, and harmful.

I used to be one of those naysayers, even while I battled depression and anxiety myself. I was convinced that if I just had more faith, if I just prayed harder, if I just wasn't so weak, the panic attacks and debilitating depression would go away. But they didn't. 

Oh, it's not like I wasn't "fighting" and "resisting the enemy." I confessed scriptures, prayed, repented, cried, took herbal supplements, started exercising, meditated, received communion. I tried every method in—and out—of the book to get my wayward self under control. And all the while a still, small voice kept whispering in my ear, "Go to the doctor." 

But I didn't want to go to the doctor. I didn't want to admit my failure to overcome, to be victorious in this quest for mental and emotional stability. Even though I firmly believe God gives man knowledge and wisdom to find and create medical treatments so His children can have health. Even though I'm the first one to say "do everything you can in the spiritual realm, and everything you can in the natural realm to achieve and maintain health." Sure, I'll say it to someone else, but not to myself.


There's nothing like pride to trap you in a pit. [Tweet this!]


Eventually, I cracked (the genteel Southern term is "dropped my basket") one day on the way to the ski area in nasty weather. My husband was driving, the kids were all in the car, on the way to an activity I don't particularly enjoy. I'd made myself go anyway because the LAST time I didn't go, my oldest son severely dislocated his elbow and required an ambulance, emergency surgery, and physical therapy. Was I thinking my presence would somehow prevent another traumatic experience? Possibly. (That's another side of pride, but we won't examine that one today.)

I started crying and could not stop. I couldn't breathe. Couldn't see. Couldn't think clearly. For a few terrifying moments I felt certain I was going to self-destruct right there in the car, like those people who spontaneously combust in the middle of a crowded sidewalk. By the time the attack finally ended, thanks to a praying husband, I was exhausted. I spent the day in the lodge at the ski area, too physically and emotionally drained to even think about hitting the slopes.

A few days later, teary-eyed and humbled, I described my litany of symptoms to my doctor. She asked me a few pointed questions about how I was sleeping (um...people sleep?), did I feel angry all the time (you mean it's not normal to always be ready to fly into a rage?), etc. And then she told me I had something akin to a repetitive-motion injury in my brain. Too much stress for too long = body chemicals all out of whack. I was existing in a perpetual state of fight-or-flight response. 

The medications she prescribed had some side effects, but the side effects were nothing compared to the wonderful realization that I was reacting and responding to things like a regular person. Things that previously threw me off-kilter for days were still upsetting, but only briefly. I could move forward. My children (who did not know I had started taking 'happy pills') asked me what was up ... I was so relaxed, they said. Wow. Had I been that crazy?
Son of Groucho via Flickr
I took those prescriptions for five years. Today I no longer need them, but I'm constantly aware that I may need them again someday, and I'm no longer too proud to admit it.  

Maybe you have some prideful attitude about something or someone, even though you secretly (or not so secretly) struggle with the same issue. Shakespeare put it this way, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." The Apostle Paul put it like this: "Let him who thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall." 

Robin Williams' tragic death brought a lot of these topics up in conversation this week. I share my story because perhaps someone else out there is buckling under the pressure and stress and needs to know God has a precise and individualized plan for your good. If that's you, my prayer is that you will heed His still, small voice, and obey His leading. And for all of us, that instead of judging, we'll love one another. Instead of shaming, we'll offer a shoulder to lean on. And instead of assuming, we'll listen.


Niki Turner is a novelist, journalist, and blogger. She blogs at www.nikiturner.net and is a co-blogger at www.inkwellinspirations.com. Niki is an active member and volunteer for American Christian Fiction Writers and is involved in establishing an ACFW chapter on Colorado's Western Slope, where she resides. Her fiction blends the good news of God's love with come-as-you-are characters in stories that encourage and inspire. Her debut novelette, Santiago Sol, will be released through Pelican Book Group. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robert Morrison: Missionary to China

by C.J. Chase

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post referencing a Christianity Today article about the correlation between 19th century missionary activity and the development of modern democracy across the world. (I hope you read the article back in January because CT has put it behind a paywall.)

Then in April, The Telegraph (UK) printed another of those China-is-becoming-increasingly-Christian articles that seem to appear every few years. Alas, the news for Christians in China is not all good, as demonstrated by these two articles about the Communist Party’s attempts to control the churches. Evidently, the Communists are also aware of a link between Christianity and the development of democracy and freedom, and they aren't excited about a future filled with hundreds of millions of Chinese Christians. 

The number of Christians in China is pretty staggering, especially when one considers there were almost no Christians at all in the country just 200 years ago. How did such a dramatic change occur?

Portrait of Robert Morrison by
John Richard Wildman (1785-1839)
The first modern missionary to China was Robert Morrison. Born in Northumberland, England in 1782 to devout members of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterians), Morrison rejected his Christian upbringing for a while as a teen (how often do we read that!) before returning to the faith in 1798. Despite his 12-14 hour days spent in manual labor as a shoemaker, he still found time for 1-2 hours of daily reading and meditation. (Yeah, that’s convicting!) He also began witnessing to friends and acquaintances.

While reading about missionaries, Morrison felt God’s call and trained as a minister at the Hoxton Academy in London and at the Missionary Academy at Gosport. In 1804, he applied with the London Missionary Society, which had been founded ten years earlier through the work of several ministers, including Dr. David Bogue, the principal of the Missionary Academy at Gosport. Morrison was accepted as the LMS’s first missionary to China. (Another student of Bogue’s, Samuel Dyer also became a missionary to the Chinese in modern Malaysia. Dyer’s daughter Maria married another missionary to China, Hudson Taylor.)

Morrison spent the next couple years learning Chinese with the help of Yong Sam-tak, a Chinese man in London. He left for America in January of 1807. America? Yes, the East India Company prohibited missionaries in China and refused to carry them on their ships, so Morrison traveled westward, eventually arriving in China in September. It was in America that Morrison was asked if he really expected to “make an impression on the idolatry of the Great Chinese Empire.” “No sir, I expect God will.”

Painting of Morrison and Chinese helpers
translating the Bible by George Chinnery
(1774-1852)
But the discouragements mounted once he reached China. It was illegal for the Chinese to teach non-Chinese their language (under penalty of death!), and the only non-Chinese allowed in the country were traders. Morrison lived at the American Factory and his local teachers would bring shoes with them for their language tutoring sessions so that if caught, they could claim Morrison was repairing their shoes.

However, Morrison persevered  and because of his faculty with the Chinese language, the East India Company (yes, the same East India Company that wouldn’t take him to China) hired him as a translator in 1809. This gave him a legal reason for remaining in China. He spent a total of 27 years in China, much of it alone.

Morrison married Mary Morton, daughter of an army surgeon, in 1809. They had two surviving children, but poor health forced Mary and the children to travel to England in 1815. She returned to China in 1820, only to die (with their newborn) a year later. Now a single father, Morrison sent his children back to England. He did not see them again for nine years when he returned to England on his one-and-only furlough in 1824. While home, he married his second wife Eliza Armstrong, with whom he eventually had five additional children. He died in China in 1834 and is buried there next to Mary.

Morrison gained few converts (it was seven years before he baptized the first one), but he opened the door for other missionaries to follow him to China. He created an English-Chinese dictionary and translated the Bible into Chinese. According to Yung Wing, the first Chinese graduate of an American university, “The importance and bearing of his dictionary and the translation of the Bible into Chinese, on subsequent missionary work in China, were fundamental and paramount.” For an incredibly long list of known missionaries who followed Morrison to China, see this Wikipedia entry

I didn’t expect to be as moved by this post as I was, but there is great comfort in the reminder that God doesn’t call us to do great things. He calls us to be faithful and let Him do the great things. Today China is poised to become the nation with the greatest number of Christians – probably sometime within the next decade or two, so most of us here may live to see it happen. And it all started just 200 years ago with one faithful man.


After leaving the corporate world to stay home with her children, C.J. Chase quickly learned she did not possess the housekeeping gene. She decided writing might provide the perfect excuse for letting the dust bunnies accumulate under the furniture. Her procrastination, er, hard work paid off in 2010 when she won the Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Manuscript and sold the novel to Love Inspired Historicals. You can visit C.J.'s cyber-home (where the floors are always clean) at www.cjchasebooks.com