Category: Books


[See part one, two, or three] “I was driving to Bossier City to do a little gambling. I knew it was, well, a gamble, but I was getting desperate and needed money. I wasn’t going to be stupid about it – I had a limit. But I was worried about losing, having nothing to show for it, and having it end up on the list of bad choices that for some reason I always had trouble avoiding. I was listening to the radio and trying not to think about it when the tire blew.

I replaced the blown tire with the factory “donut” in the trunk, knowing I was on borrowed time to get a replacement. My budget blew with the tire if I couldn’t get it fixed cheap. Putting the flat tire in the trunk, I got in and started the car. At the same time, the passenger door opened and a man fell into the seat with a pistol pointed at me.

He told me to drive and I drove. I’m already on probation for being stupid in public and I didn’t want to end up dead or in jail. He said he just broke out of jail. He rambled on about being set up for the charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Which I thought a little weird since he was doing just that with me. But I kept driving.

We were just coming around a curve when he hit my shoulder and told me to pull in to the gas station on the left. Which I did, barely avoiding a gray Prius pulling out of the station.

I managed to pull up to the pump without colliding with anything more important than the trash can. It did not fall over, but I knocked it into the other side of the pump. After which a car coming in from the other direction knocked it nearly back in place. As I shifted into park, he handed me a Visa credit card with a name I was pretty damn sure wasn’t his. But I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask him.

“Use it like a credit card and fill up the tank. The zip code is 75234. Then go inside and go to the blonde behind the food counter. Tell her you need two barbecue sandwiches with regular chips and waters on the fly. Say it just like that. She’ll know what to do.”

“I hate to bring this up, but I’m going to need to get my tire fixed. This donut isn’t going to last much longer.”

“Fill the tank up and I’ll let you know.” He turned to his phone and  began to send a text as I was getting the gas.

“Get in and back into the bay and the mechanic will fix the tire,” he said as I looked into the car after filling the gas tank.

Which I did and the mechanic did, putting the tire on the car and the donut in the trunk. All while my inconvenient passenger was sitting in the car, and I stood nervously by. I got in the car, started it, pulled out of the bay and stopped, putting the car in park. I turned and looked at the guy.

“Should I get the sandwiches now?”

“Of course, do you remember what to say”

“I’ve got it.”

And I did. I walked into the station and went straight to the food counter.

“May I help you?” the blonde asked.

“I need two barbecue sandwiches with regular chips and waters on the fly.” By now I was getting kinda hungry. I knew it must be some sort of code, but I hoped the sandwiches were real. I didn’t know what the hell was going to happen and it never hurts to have barbecue first. Fortunately, she handed me the food and waters. Unfortunately, things began to take a nasty turn.

When I got back to the car, my passenger was now the driver. He motioned for me to get in the back seat. As I was opening the door, I heard the shots. I was in the car and closing the door when the blonde came running out of the gas station with a gun in her left hand and a bag in the right.

“Let’s go, Pete,” she said to the driver as she jumped into the passenger seat.

“I thought we weren’t going to use names, Sharon.”

” Just drive.”

I’m thinking, well great, I just ran into a modern day Bonnie and freaking Clyde. Talk about bad choices and bad luck. I was better than fifty percent positive I wasn’t going to get to Bossier City. I was hoping I would get to keep the money I had on me.

I saw the speed trap coming. Pete didn’t. Apparently, neither did Sharon.

[Peace be with you.]

[Read part one and part two]

“Everyone be quiet and stay calm and no one will get hurt,” the gunman commanded. “The shot was an accident. No sudden noises.”

Antonio knew that if the police were not outside by now, they would be soon. He also knew the gunman was becoming more nervous by the minute and he did not want to get caught in the middle, which was now an increasingly likely situation.

“The police are going to be here soon, if they aren’t here now. I’d like to help you if I can,” Antonio said in the most calming voice he could muster with his nerves on overdrive.

“Why would you do that?

“Because I’m a preacher and it’s my job to help people with their problems.”

“So how can you help?”

“I have a cell phone with the number of the sheriff and he will listen to me.”

“Why would he do that?”

“I helped his family out. Like I said, it’s what I do.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“I’m a preacher, for God’s sake! I don’t have an ulterior motive.”

“A what?”

“A reason for lying to you. Just let me call him. If you don’t like what I say you can shoot me. And I wouldn’t give you a reason to do that. But I need to know why you’re doing this. Are you here to rob them?”

“I’m not here to rob the place. I’m not sure how things got this far. Make the call.”

Antonio could sense desperation in the man’s voice. He hadn’t always been a preacher and he knew the difference between an evil man and a desperate one. He pulled out his phone and called Sheriff Martinez.

“Hello, Antonio. I’m a little occupied at the moment.”

“No more than I, Oscar. I’m in the restaurant with the gunman’s arm around my chest.” He felt the gunman relax his hold a bit.

“Was anyone hurt by the shot?”

“No, someone dropped something in the kitchen which surprised him and he reacted. The bullet went into the counter after going through a chair.”

“What does he want?”

“That’s what we’re trying to ascertain. If you’ll let us get to the chapel, we’ll try to resolve the situation without involving the people in here. We’ll be coming out the main door.”

“You got a line on this nimrod?”

“So far anyway. But remember, he’s one of God’s people.”

“But not one of the chosen, Antonio. Call me when you’re in the chapel.”

“First chance I get.” Antonio hung up the phone and returned it to his pocket.

“What’s the chapel?” the gunman said in his ear, tightening the grip on his chest.

“The semitrailer in the parking lot. I’m surprised you missed it.”

“I wasn’t looking for a chapel.” He pushed Antonio toward the door between the two rooms.

“Point taken,” Antonio said as he reached out with his hand and unlocked the door.

The gunman put the pistol in his pocket and stayed behind Antonio. Antonio nodded slightly to Fred as they passed the cash register. The two men walked out the front door of the truck stop and headed for the trailer. Police cars were parked in front of the restaurant. A group of officers gathered behind the cars watching the two walk toward the chapel. .

As the two men walked up the steps of the trailer, Antonio glanced toward the restaurant. A couple of deputies were coming out of the door looking toward the chapel. The gunman  followed Antonio into the chapel and locked the door behind him. Antonio walked over to his desk, swiveled the chair around, and sat down facing the gunman.

“So now that we’re here alone, what do I call you?” Antonio asked him.

The gunman held the gun on Antonio and looked confused. He was trying to get straight in his head the significant turn his original, albeit on-the-fly, plan had taken.

“I’m Jason,” he said finally.

“Well, Jason, I’m Antonio. Brother Antonio. Sheriff Martinez is expecting me to call him shortly and have the answers to some questions. Why don’t you tell me your story and let’s figure out how to wrap this thing up, whatever it is. What brought you to the truck stop with a gun?”

“A flat tire, an escapee from jail, a woman, two barbeque sandwiches, and a few bad choices,” Jason said with a sigh and look of resignation.

[Peace be with you.]

[This is the Sunday post, but there was this game…] Read part one.

Immediately upon spotting the gun, Antonio felt the man’s left arm come around and clamp his chest under his chin, reclaiming his vise grip on Antonio’s right shoulder. Although he  had an urge to turn his head to see where the pistol was pointed, the preacher decided instantaneously that it would not be the wisest choice he could make. His heart was beating so fast that it seemed determined to fly out of his chest. At the same time his brain struggled between telling his eyes to close tightly to feel the barrel of the gun should it be pointed at his head, and telling them to remain open to eliminate the element of surprise.

Francis dropped the coffee pot, which shattered, sending hot coffee and shards of glass onto her shoes and legs. Her fear of the man holding Antonio and the gun offset the pain in her legs. That, and she was praying harder than she ever remembered praying. She wondered if it would matter to the gunman if he knew Antonio was a preacher.

The instant the coffee pot shattered, Fred Martinez, the owner of the truck stop who was still at the cash register, stepped on the floor alarm under the register that signaled the police. He always had unruly customers, but he had the alarm installed when a late night birthday party got  out of control. With the use of credit and debit cards, the truck stop never had enough cash that he thought someone would rob the place at gunpoint. Especially with all the glass and traffic.

“Pull down the shades, and turn the sign around!” the gunman demanded, pointing the gun at Francis – who fought hard against the fainting spell, which along with her fear, was turning her legs to jello.

Francis was not sure how her legs kept moving, but she moved toward the windows as quickly as she dared. As she reached up for the shade on the last window by the door, she spotted Steve Striden at the pump putting gas in his blue Ford F150. He looked around toward the restaurant. Francis tried to catch Steve’s eye as she pulled down the shade. She turned the open sign around in the window, glancing again toward the pump.

“Lock the door,” said the gunman, who had backed up against the wall dividing the restaurant from the store. “Now this one,” he said after she locked the front door, nodding to the door to his right.

The gunman still held Antonio in front of him. Antonio had said so many prayers they had turned into one long prayer. When the gunman had relocated – pulling Antonio with him – the preacher nearly lost his balance. He was sweating buckets and knew the gunman was, too.

Antonio was struggling to keep his bladder in check against the fear and coffee. But that did not keep him from noticing that the man with the gun and arm around his chest was getting nervous. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Which was when someone dropped something in the kitchen, Antonio felt the gunman twitch as he pointed the gun toward the kitchen, the gun fired, and Antonio’s ears rang.

Christ Alive Band with JR Byrd 2Christ UMC Farmers Branch hosted the conference-wide Children’s and Youth Volunteer Training Event on Saturday morning, August 13. Amy Ruppersberg, Children’s Director, and David Magallanes, Student Ministries Director, welcomed the volunteers at 8:30 a.m. Amy thanked everyone for volunteering and went over the positions and the schedule. David said a prayer before the group departed to the greeting stations or the narthex for registration and giving directions.

A breakfast table had a variety of pastry options, fruit, and even homemade sausage biscuits. People from churches around the conference arrived to check in or register at 9 a.m. Worship began in the sanctuary at 9:15 with the Christ Alive Band. The keynote speaker was Joe Stobaugh, Executive Minister of Worship and Arts at Grace Avenue UMC in Frisco.

Stobaugh began by playing a praise song on ukulele, then had the congregation to join Joe Stobaugh on ukulelehim in singing. He is the leader of the ukulele choir at Grace Avenue. Joe is also a very outgoing and affable man and a practiced speaker. He shared a nice – and personal – story of not being interested at all in singing when he was growing up. A mentor saw some potential in him and talked him into playing guitar in the band, even offering to give him a very nice guitar for one dollar. Stobaugh said he could not do that. To which his mentor said he would give it to him for free with two conditions. One, he would only play music for God on the guitar. Two, when the time came, he would pass it on to another youth. Joe still has the guitar and plays it. When the time comes he will pass it on as agreed. An excellent example of the effect a volunteer can have on children and youth.

Beth McClure

Beth McClure

Appreciating and Equipping Your Volunteers was facilitated by the Children’s Minister at Grace Avenue UMC, Kristen Lane. She discussed tools of the trade and giving volunteers what they need and more. Kristen was a lively and vibrant speaker, as was Beth McClure. Beth led the Your Classroom is God’s Classroom workshop. She is the Director of the Early Development Program at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton. McClure demonstrated the way she motivated the children to behave by using little “jingles” that let the children know was coming next.

Kelly Carpenter of the Children, Youth, and Young Adult Ministry of the North Texas

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Kelly Carpenter at left corner of table

Conference, led a roundtable for Children’s Ministry in the first session and Youth Ministry in the second session. The round tables were discussions about life, ministry, balance, programming, and anything needing to be discussed. Some good ideas were shared and a few people were able to get some things off their chest as to some effects of volunteering.

Morgan Stafford

Morgan Stafford

In the second session, which pertained to youth, Morgan Stafford led the workshop on The Adventure of Youth Mentoring. As Executive Director at Christ’s Foundry, Stafford discussed the joys and challenges of youth mentoring. Bill Mauldin, Director of Family Ministries at Holy Covenant UMC in Carrollton, talked to volunteers about applying principles from the book “Good to Great” to youth programs.

 

Working together to create a smooth handoff between Children’s and Youth Ministry was

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

Amy Ruppersberg on left, David Magallanes on right.

the subject of The Phases of Children’s and Youth Ministry. Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes are well positioned to tackle the subject. For one thing, they talk often and are working toward that smooth handoff with the children at Christ UMC. The transition from one phase of life to another can be a lot for some children to absorb all at once. Knowing the youth director personally while still in elementary school goes a long way toward easing the effect of growing up.

Kenny Dickson

Kenny Dickson

Pastor Kenny Dickson of Christ UMC, along with members Jerry Russell and Darren Gardner, presented the Taking It To the Streets session. Dickson explained how the title to a Doobie Brothers song became the church’s theme for the year. Which means intentionally going beyond the walls of the church into the community and actually becoming involved, not just simply being a presence. Going back to thinking of the church as the people, not just the physical building. Activities were planned with just that interaction with the community in mind. From the Easter egg hunt in a local park, to swim nights at the community pool, and delivering food to elementary children as part of Sack Summer Hunger. Mission, fellowship, and worship opportunities with the community are relatively endless. There is always a new need, a new soul to be saved, or new crises to help someone deal with. And all outside of the church building.

After the final sessions, everyone gathered in the gym for lunch. Which consisted of box Lunch 2lunches from Jason’s Deli provided by the North Texas Conference. Dot Stewart of CUMC helped set up the tables for lunch, as well as the breakfast table, and served drinks at both. Attendees and presenters alike gathered to go over what they had learned, new ideas they came up with, and general church and conference news.

Amy Ruppersberg and David Magallanes should be commended for planning the training event. The presenters should be commended for passing along the knowledge they have acquired through practical application. Amy and David thanked the volunteers from Christ UMC who helped the morning move along smoothly. The attendees should be appreciated for taking time out of their weekend to learn how to more effectively serve the children and youth. And all volunteers everywhere need to be thanked and appreciated. Since biblical times, when faithful volunteers kept house churches alive, volunteers are still keeping churches alive through ministry and mission – inside and outside of the church building.

Peace be with you.

20131103_132007 I hope I’m not the only writer with this problem, but I find it difficult to switch from writing prose to writing poetry or to songwriting. Not that I can’t, I just find it difficult at times. In younger days, when I was writing songs and playing music all the time, the ideas came continuously from everywhere, whether it be a verse a line or two, or a chorus. It’s a mindset. I looked at everything in hooks, lines, rhymes – or not – and musical themes

Writing prose is another mindset altogether. I think in terms of paragraphs, short stories, ideas that can be stretched into posts, articles, essays, or books. There is not the “instant” (in comparison) gratification as in a song that you have just written. The song will go through changes, but having the framework is the hardest part.

So, having written books, articles, and so on for the past twelve years, and having written few songs, getting back into the rhythm – as it were – of writing songs as well as other writing has been a little tough. One idea would be to write prose works on alternate days from songwriting. Or spend a half of each day on each. Which would be good ideas if I didn’t have a myriad of family obligations.

I watch re-runs on tv when I’m writing because it’s background garbage. If I listen to music while I’m writing prose, I quit writing and get into the music and begin to switch to the songwriting mindset. If I listen to music while I’m writing songs, I end up with pieces of songs that sound like everyone but me. And not necessarily in a good way.

How do you juggle writing duties – whatever that may entail?

Peace be with you.

[Note: Follow the links for part one and part two.]

“Everyone be quiet and stay calm and no one will get hurt,” the gunman commanded. “The shot was an accident. No sudden noises.”

Antonio knew that if the police were not outside by now, they would be soon. He also knew the gunman was becoming more nervous by the minute and he did not want to get caught in the middle, which was now an increasingly likely situation.

“The police are going to be here soon, if they aren’t here now. I’d like to help you if I can,” Antonio said in the most calming voice he could muster with his nerves on overdrive.

“Why would you do that?

“Because I’m a preacher and it’s my job to help people with their problems.”

“So how can you help?”

“I have a cell phone with the number of the sheriff and he will listen to me.”

“Why would he do that?”

“I helped his family out. Like I said, it’s what I do.”

“Why should I trust you?”

“I’m a preacher, for God’s sake! I don’t have an ulterior motive.”

“A what?”

“A reason for lying to you. Just let me call him. If you don’t like what I say you can shoot me. And I wouldn’t give you a reason to do that. But I need to know why you’re doing this. Are you here to rob them?”

“I’m not here to rob the place. I’m not sure how things got this far. Make the call.”

Antonio could sense desperation in the man’s voice. He hadn’t always been a preacher and he knew the difference between an evil man and a desperate one. He pulled out his phone and called Sheriff Martinez.

“Hello, Antonio. I’m a little occupied at the moment.”

“No more than I, Oscar. I’m in the restaurant with the gunman’s arm around my chest.” He felt the gunman relax his hold a bit.

“Was anyone hurt by the shot?”

“No, someone dropped something in the kitchen which surprised him and he reacted. The bullet went into the counter after going through a chair.”

“What does he want?”

“That’s what we’re trying to ascertain. If you’ll let us get to the chapel, we’ll try to resolve the situation without involving the people in here. We’ll be coming out the main door.”

“You got a line on this nimrod?”

“So far anyway. But remember, he’s one of God’s people.”

“But not one of the chosen, Antonio. Call me when you’re in the chapel.”

“First chance I get.” Antonio hung up the phone and returned it to his pocket.

“What’s the chapel?” the gunman said in his ear, tightening the grip on his chest.

“The semitrailer in the parking lot. I’m surprised you missed it.”

“I wasn’t looking for a chapel.” He pushed Antonio toward the door between the two rooms.

“Point taken,” Antonio said as he reached out with his hand and unlocked the door.

The gunman put the pistol in his pocket and stayed behind Antonio. Antonio nodded slightly to Fred as they passed the cash register. The two men walked out the front door of the truck stop and headed for the trailer. Police cars were parked in front of the restaurant. A group of officers gathered behind the cars watching the two walk toward the chapel. .

As the two men walked up the steps of the trailer, Antonio glanced toward the restaurant. A couple of deputies were coming out of the door looking toward the chapel. The gunman,  followed Antonio into the chapel and locked the door behind him. Antonio walked over to his desk, swiveled the chair around, and sat down facing the gunman.

“So now that we’re here alone, what do I call you?” Antonio asked him.

The gunman held the gun on Antonio and looked confused. He was trying to get straight in his head the significant turn his original, albeit on-the-fly, plan had taken.

“I’m Jason,” he said finally.

“Well, Jason, I’m Antonio. Brother Antonio. Sheriff Martinez is expecting me to call him shortly and have the answers to some questions. Why don’t you tell me your story and let’s figure out how to wrap this thing up, whatever it is. What brought you to the truck stop with a gun?”

“A flat tire, an escapee from jail, a woman, two barbeque sandwiches, and a few bad choices.”

Hotel Room 1bIn the previous post, I was talking about my sabbatical to Marshall that ended up being unlike what I had previously imagined. I checked in to the hotel late Monday night. When I entered the hotel room after checking in at the front desk, I did what I have always done since taking vacations with my parents and my younger brother. Check out every nook and cranny of the room, beginning with the desk and all drawers.

The dresser drawers never had anything in them and they still don’t. Some hotels used to put extra pillows in the bottom drawers of the dresser, but that was years ago. When the desk drawer had hotel stationary. Now the desk does not even have a drawer.

Some things are the same. The book of information about the hotel and surrounding restaurants, shops, etc. A pen, a notepad, survey card, and the usual bathroom items. And the Gideon Bible in the bedside drawer. But when I opened the drawer this time – and found the Bible – the Mormon Bible was next to it. Which was comforting to me – like I said, I was there to quit a bad habit – simply because there is strength in numbers.

But it was also intriguing, because it was a hotel in Marshall, Texas – a town of 24,000 people. As best I could ascertain, there are two Mormon churches in Marshall. I don’t think two churches could afford to supply Bibles to all of the numerous hotels in Marshall. Which raises the question of which hotels and why? But that is a question for another time.

What matters is that the hotel having both a Bible and a Mormon Bible is a step toward understanding our neighbors and living with our differences. Perhaps there will come a day when you check into a hotel and there will be several Bibles or holy books of other religions. More for people of the different faiths who may stay at the hotel than for the proselytization of those faiths. The different holy books would also be available for anyone wanting to learn about other faith traditions.

Which will be a subject we will return to in this blog. One of the main purposes of Chasing After Wind is to write about those times – simple or complicated – in which life and theology intersect. And since I am a member of a few interfaith organizations, another purpose of the blog is to promote dialogue between all religions and faith-based organizations. Join me as we look for God in everyday life, and learn about other faith traditions.

Peace be with you.

Rose Parade 1Cyndy and I were watching the Rose Parade this morning, as we do pretty much every New Year’s Day. The tv hosts are tolerable – more so, say, than those of the Macy’s Parade – and there is little more to watch on over 300 channels than marathons of shows we never wanted to see again. Not to mention the movies that we have already seen ad infinitum or do not want to watch anyway. Be that as it may, we usually end up watching the parade, which was themed Oh, The Places You Will Go this year, in honor of Dr. Seuss.

It is fascinating to see the huge creations painstakingly fashioned from plants with such vibrant colors. On the winning float an oversized Cat in the Hat was reading Oh, The Places You Will Go to Sally and her older brother while Thing 1 and Thing 2 looked on. Thing 1’s purple-colored hair was applied with tweezers. My patience has increased over the years, but is nowhere near the level it would take to complete that task.

While I was in the backyard getting some fresh air, my mind wandered and ended up in my childhood. My first books were the Dr. Seuss books. My parents signed up for the book club and each month we would receive a new Dr. Seuss book hot off the press. Since I was two years older than my brother, Dennis, I was always the first one to read them. There were days when I sat on the front porch, waiting for the mailman.

The day the book(s) came, I would rip open the package, remove the books, and head for my favorite bush in front of the left corner of the house. The bush was big enough to hide under and read. My memory is a little fuzzy on the bush – it could have been a weeping willow, which would make more sense. My mother later passed along the books to other parents with small children. I’ve often wondered while watching Antiques Roadshow how much that original set would be worth. As well as the Hot Wheels set that Dennis and I had running throughout the house that Mom also passed along when we no longer used them.

Needless to say – but I’ll say it anyway – this year’s Rose Parade held a little more interest for me than in other years. It also caused me to take a journey into the past and beckoned me to consider the new year and the places I will go. Not just to physical locations, but also in my personal and spiritual journeys.

Happy New Year everyone! May you all be blessed throughout the year and may your joys and successes outnumber the disappointments and shortcomings.

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions, written by James A. Beverley and published by Thomas Nelson is the ultimate comprehensive guide on religions of the world. It is the most thorough book on the numerous religions I have encountered. When I received the book at one o’clock in the afternoon, I spent the rest of the afternoon skimming  through the 740 page volume, reading much of it. I returned to other projects, but I kept picking Beverley’s book back up for another look. It is a book I will keep close at hand for future reference and referral.

It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to name a religion or cult that Beverley does not identify. The author is commendably objective in his reporting on the many religions and cults of the world, past and present. Other than the most common religions of Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy, Judaism, Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Baha’i, as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Scientology, Unification Church, and Sikhism, Beverley also includes chapters on groups of the New Age movement, Christian Sectarian groups, Satanism, and Witchcraft.

The Illustrated Guide to Religions includes a chapter on the Branch Davidians, their timeline, and the tenuous connection with the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Davidian Seventh Day Adventists (included in the section on Christian sectarian groups). Each section contains a history of the religion, movement, or cult, a timeline(s), chart of facts, and list of resources for those who wish to inquire further. A list of frequently asked questions follows many sections, particularly where misconceptions abound and are common.

In sections on religions not having a Christian worldview, Beverley provides ways for  Christians to respond to those religions. As Professor of Christian Thought and Ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario and Associate Director at the Institute for the Study of American Religion in Santa Barbara, California, Beverley is extremely knowledgeable on the subject and presents a thorough, in depth overview of religions of the world. The author’s research was extensive and thorough, even listing the top subgroups, histories, and myths/facts pertaining to each religion.

Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions should be on the shelf of anyone desiring a knowledge of world religions, and Christians seeking  to know more about other religions in  order to dialogue with people of other faiths. The overall quality of the book itself is superior, with beautiful photographs and illustrations – combined with the text in an eye-catching layout. It is the most comprehensive guide for a Christian on the subject of other religions. It is, without a doubt, the book to suggest to anyone who only wants to buy or read one book on the subject of religions.

Peace be with you.

[Note: I was given the book for review by Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated in any way.]

Author Spotlight

I would like to introduce two more authors I met at the author signing at Manske Library a couple of weeks ago. Becky Wade, in her words, is “an author of inspirational Christian contemporary romance novels.” She was signing copies of her newest novel, “My Stubborn Heart,” published by Bethany House Publishers this year. I bought a copy and asked her to sign it to  Cyndy. Cyndy reads romance novels, among other types of fiction.

Becky is a personable and friendly person with a bright personality. I enjoyed talking to her. She was as eager to listen to other’s stories as she was to share her own. What I’ve read of her book I’ve enjoyed. Since it is not my favorite genre I skip around. After Cyndy reads the book, I’ll post a review.

I also had an extended conversation with Rita Dear, who was sitting at the next table. Rita has written ten books so far in the Eutopian Destiny series. The series follows the journey of INS agent Joseph Morris that begins when he infiltrates the small town of Eutopian Springs, New Mexico as the new Baptist preacher, Joseph Marsh. Dear has also written a novel entitled “Roxann – A Lady in A Chair.”

Rita Dear is a retired public accountant who has also dealt with breast cancer. She has written a booklet called  “A Smart Ass Guide to Breast Cancer.”  An avid reader, when she found current novels too graphic for her tastes, she decided to write a novel without digressing to the details currently being published. She is the “first to admit that she found it difficult to circumvent the situations she’d found offensive in other books,” but she did.

“In my novels, bedroom doors close and foul words are restricted. That may make my books too tame for the average reader, but it’s a pride point with me. My books have to stand or fall based on the story line.”

Check out Becky Wade’s and Rita Dear’s books and websites. They are interesting, dedicated women with intriguing stories to tell.

Peace be with you.

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