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Showing posts from 2009

Looking Out the Window: So, When Is Chritmas?

Some say that Christ wasn’t born on December 25th. They claim that Christians took the date from a Roman holiday honoring the sun or a sun god. While modern historians disagree about this theory many agree that the Romans revered the sun. According to my Britannica Encyclopedia, Christians took the date to rival the pagan feasts that took place during the Winter Solstice, which honored a new age brought by the sun. Depending on location, the Winter Solstice occurs on or around December 25th. Even though it lasts only an instant in time, many cultures have held festivals marking it as midwinter. According to some, Christmas simply grew to be one of the most popular events. Nonetheless, every year by the time we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving festive decorations acknowledging the birth of Christ appear in overwhelming numbers across the American landscape. A majority of homes have wreaths on their doors, candles in their windows, lights in the yards and red bows on their mailboxes. Th

Looking Out the Window: Water Spray

Clear water bubbled from the fountain and shot heavenward like liquid crystals; then, spilled into the blue pool. Strolling up to it from a sea of cars in the parking lot was like trudging through a dark, dense thicket in the forest and emerging on the other side into a bright, sunny day. The presence of water spurting triggered thankfulness for prayers answered and delight renewed. Until several years ago I’d taken the fountain for granted. In the summers I had relaxed with my family on the patio of a restaurant at the mall that overlooked the dancing water in a city in Georgia. Even shoppers walking past it and diners chatting near me hadn’t drowned out its sweet babbling / splashing sounds that had sent soothing vibrations into the busy day. Erupting from the cement, sparkling underneath the sun, it had brought nature to life amid the asphalt and concrete buildings, until the drought. Since the dry spell had lasted for a couple of long years the fountain had sat quiet. Each time

Looking Out the Window: Memories on the Heart

Several weeks ago my husband, Rick, and I ate at a restaurant we frequent fairly regularly. The cute, young waitress who usually waits on us took our orders for burgers and fries. I’ll call her Mandy. As usual Mandy’s smile and bubbly personality brightened our day. We giggled and confessed to her that we shouldn’t eat the fries, but we were going to do it just this once. She joked. “Okay, you’re being bad today.” Not long after we got our food a couple came in and sat in the booth behind us. Mandy walked up to the table with her big grin. “Hi, how are you?” she asked. The man, who had salt and pepper colored hair and a pudgy face, spoke in a harsh tone, “I want the steak.” “Sure, which one would you like?” Mandy asked. “I don’t want you to put it in the microwave. That will make it tough. Do you understand?” Mandy’s lips turned down. “Yes sir, which one do you want to order?” “I want it medium rare. I don’t want blood oozing out of it. I want it cooked right.” “Yes sir, which st

Behind The Scenes With Guest Blogger Eva Marie Everson

THINGS LEFT UNSPOKEN I've been asked a lot lately what inspired my new novel, Things Left Unspoken. It’s a natural question; people often assume that novels are a look into the writer’s real life. Typically, for me, that’s not true. But in this case, it’s partly true. When my great-uncle died, he left my great-aunt (they had no children) in the house she’d grown up in. She was unable to live alone so she came to live with my mother. My mother sold the house — now in a dying town — to a land developer who was going to restore not only the house, but the town. (It didn’t happen … ) Anyway, it snowed the day we buried Uncle Jimmy. Fleeting snow. Years later (about 10 years!) I was sitting on my back porch, rocking in one of the front porch rockers given to me from my great-grandparent’s estate. It was cold. February. Very gray. And I thought, “It snowed the day we buried Uncle Jimmy.”I knew immediately I had written the first line of a novel. So, I ran inside and typed one sentenc

Looking Out the Window: Sometimes We Only Have the Faith of a Mustard Seed

No one likes to be deceived, especially by someone he or she loves. But that’s what happened to Cammie O’Shea, the main character in my recently released romance / mystery, LOVE TURNS THE TIDE. Her fiancĂ© not only dated other women during their engagement, but he also was apprehended for beating one of them nearly to death. Not long after Cammie learns of his crime she moves to Destin, Florida, to complete a job assignment with a new newspaper named The Sun Dial . Getting the paper off to a good start hinges largely on Cammie’s article about a new development, Pelican Point, owned by Vic Deleona. Still heartbroken over her failed romance, she intends to keep her relationship with Vic strictly business. Therefore she works hard to write a good story about his real estate venture and tries to complete it as soon as possible. But he keeps scheduling appointments with her to see a unit or to pick up pictures. Since she's spending so much time with him or at the office she meets n

Guest Blogger Cecil Murphey Talks About His New Book

When Someone You Love Has Cancer Author: Cecil Murphey Harvest House Publishers ISBN: 978-0-7369-2428-3 Retail $10.99 A Word from The Man Behind the Words When Shirley walked in from the garage, she didn't have to say a word: I read the diagnosis in her eyes. I grabbed her and held her tightly for several seconds. When I released her, she didn't cry. The unshed tears glistened, but that was all. I felt emotionally paralyzed and helpless, and I couldn't understand my reaction. After all, I was a professional. As a former pastor and volunteer hospital chaplain I had been around many cancer patients. I'd seen people at their lowest and most vulnerable. As a writing instructor, I helped one woman write her cancer-survival book. Shirley and I had been caregivers for Shirley's older sister for months before she died of colon cancer. All of that happened before cancer became personal to me--before my wife learned she needed a mastectomy. To make it worse, Shirley was i

Looking in the Window: Sharing from the Soul

When a new theater opened in Cobb County, Georgia, near us, we rushed to get tickets for a show, "Lord of the Dance." Since I'd wanted to see the performance for a long time and already had in mind how good it would be, I thought I possibly had set myself up for disappointment. But the international dance troop charmed me from the instant their nimble feet tapped the stage. Following the story about the Little Spirit that travels through time to help the Lord of the Dance protect his people from Don Dorcha, the Dark Lord, I glanced quickly at my bulletin between scenes. While the Irish background music, fiddlers and black and white costumes set the mood for different dances the entertainers' body movements depicted honor, impending danger, evil and finally the triumph of good. I sensed a desire from each of them to connect with the spectators to bring their message to us loud and clear. During some of the jigs the Warriors moved their tap shoes so fast I wondered if

Looking Out the Window: An Unexpected Kindness

Usually when I travel, I swim early in the morning before the pool opens, so I won’t be in the way of anyone else. But, this May, when I went on a Florida vacation with my family, I awakened each day to a temperature in the fifties and a north to northeast wind, gusting at thirty to forty miles per hour. By the afternoon when the sun had warmed the day to seventy something, the pool looked like a cross between an adult pool party and a kid’s birthday celebration. I didn ’t want to join the women and men sun bathing on the blue and white chaise lounges, and I felt I’d be out of place in the crystal, clear blue water with the kids diving for their swimming pool rings, floating on rafts and jumping from the sides of the pool, not to mention that they left no room for a lap swimmer. However, after four days my yearning for water exercise grew great, so I put on my suit, cap and goggles and headed to a place far different from Cobb Aquatic Center in Marietta, Georgia, the indoor pool where

Looking Out the Window: Leap of Faith

On Good Friday when our daughter, Laurie, called to tell us to look for shelter at a Cracker Barrel, the middle Tennessee sky looked overcast, but not threatening. Within minutes after we hung up large pellets of ice that sounded like rocks hitting a tin roof pounded our gray Avalon. But there was no Cracker Barrel in sight, so we stopped under a bridge behind several other cars and a van. My husband, Rick, got out his laptop and pulled up a map that showed massive splotches of red and yellow all around the area where we were parked. While I stared at the grass flattened by strong wind an eighteen wheeler with its trailer waving passed by; after it, an ambulance with its siren blaring. After the hail stopped I said, “Rick we have to move to a safer place.” “Where?” Staring at the computer, I noticed a tiny sliver of green, indicating rain between one of the storm markings. Almost simultaneously, the sky cleared to a drizzle and the grass returned to its normal position. “The Cracker

Looking in the Window: Life Skills

Today I got caught amid the big yellow buses caravanning toward the school near our house in Georgia. I usually time my journeys through the nicely landscaped homes to avoid them because they back up traffic. But today I watched them as though they were an educational parade. With equal distance between them they snaked up the road for one-half mile, turning ever so carefully into the parking lot in front of the sprawling brick building. Then it dawned on me. What a great country. All across America these giant-sized cumbersome vehicles drove children to their free educations, and not one single kid was left out. It had been that way for as long as I could remember. Watching the youngsters peer out the back window of the vehicle in front of me, I recalled my school days at the foothills of the North Carolina mountains in a two-story brick building with a pristine grassy yard, bright green shrubbery, flowers, a circular drive in front and a playground out back. In the first grade when

Looking in the Window: Finding Love

Years ago I attended a small college nestled in the towering, blue-tinted mountains of North Carolina. Every afternoon after class I joined my peers at a local hamburger joint in a modest brick building, where I forgot about such weighty matters as the American dream seen through the eyes of Clyde Griffiths in Theodore Dreiser’s AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY. But at the beginning of fall semester my senior year I met a guy. I’ll call him Joe. Each day when I let go of my books and settled into sipping my Coca-Cola, Joe sat down, put his elbows on the bright yellow table and made an off-the-wall statement, such as, “I bet you can’t prove to me that God exists.” My muscles would tense, but I’d set aside my soft drink, turn away from my friends who chatted about the next fraternity party and try to say something to convince him there was a God. A member of my philosophy class, he claimed everything could be explained by science and bombarded me with reasons why there could be no God. Looking back

Looking in the Window: Food for Thought

My dictionary defines a miracle as “an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws” and “a remarkable thing.” However, most people associate a miracle with an act of God, so I was surprised when I saw the words “Miracle On The Hudson” on television, describing the U.S. Airways jetliner that ditched this month in the New York river. Sadly, our country endured a spiritual drought about ten years ago, making it taboo to be a Christian. Even though Christians have reclaimed some of their right to say they believe in God without being chastised, other than evangelists and ministers the media who are under more scrutiny and more likely to be attacked for such professions of faith, lag behind the general public. This is the first time in recent years I can recall seeing the word “miracle” on the news, most likely because of its religious connotation. Some meanings of spiritual are “of the spirit or the soul,” “of religion,” and “not corporeal,” which draws one’s thought