Archive for July, 2018

THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE CORN: Memoirs of a Scots Irish Woman

The 2018 Independent Press Award Winner in Religion Fiction

Beginning in eighteenth century Ireland and then set against the background of a burgeoning America, The Wind That Shakes the Corn tells the story of the feistiness of Scots Irish immigrants, and the heart-held faith and courage that led their struggle toward individualism in America. Nell Dugan’s hatred, but also her love and determination, spotlights the Irish, both Protestant and Catholic, who bring to Revolutionary America age-old grudges against longtime English rule.

On Nell’s wedding night in Ireland, English soldiers abduct her from the arms of her Scottish Lord and throw her on a ship, slave-fodder for a West Indies sugar plantation. But Nell uses her beauty and cunning to seduce the plantation owner’s son who sneaks her away to pre-revolutionary Philadelphia where she agrees to marry him, keeping secret her marriage to the Scottish lord she truly loves, and swearing to pay back the English not only for her own kidnapping but also for her mother’s hanging two decades earlier.

A story of love, hate, revenge, and the ever-hovering choice to forgive.

A HUNGER IN THE HEART

Set in 1955, a young boy comes to terms with the consequences World War II has had on his family. His beloved, shell-shocked, father is a decorated hero who stages continual games of war to train his son; his bigoted, alcoholic mother blames the misfortune in her marriage on the soldier whose life her husband saved; and his manipulative grandfather stirs up trouble between mother and son, until the boy must fight a personal war just to survive. When the boy’s father is suspiciously shot and killed, his grandfather accuses his daughter-in-law, and a bitter estrangement between the boy and his mother is set in motion, tempered only by the family gardener and a neighbor girl with family problems of her own.

A story of hope and love. How we find it and thrive in even the darkest circumstances.

BRIDGE-MAN BURNING: The Sins of a Southern Man

Sequel to A Hunger in the Heart

As a boy Coleman Putttman Bridgeman III was hurt by the love he hungered for. Now as a young man, leaving his hometown behind, he carries with him the family blood that runs through his veins and voices of the past that run through his head. In marriage and business, Coleman faces love’s most powerful battles where he must confront the weakest and deepest, parts of himself. Honesty versus dishonesty, faithfulness versus betrayal, and courage versus cowardice, are all in play while the question remains: Will Coleman Puttman Bridgeman III win his war, or will he lose love forever?

SHE WHO SEES BEYOND

A New Orleans hurricane takes the life of artist Audrey Bliss’s husband, swallows any trace of their four year-old son, and dramatically changes Audrey when she suffers a head wound. She’s always been perceptive, but now she sees and hears the voices of missing people calling to be found. Soon, asked by local law enforcement to solve crimes in The Big Easy, she finds many missing people, including a girl from Birmingham, Alabama found murdered in New Orleans. Yet, she never finds her own son, and accepts he died in the hurricane. After inheriting a tiny island in the Tennessee River near Red Clay Springs, Alabama, Audrey attempts to discard her life as a seer and takes up residence in the old house to concentrate on her art. But when an unidentified boy is found dead on a pyre, her gift of seeing will not let go.

A love story …. but of a mother for her lost son, of a father for his daughter, and of a sheriff for two  young men he thinks of as his own.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER

In the past few years Kaye Park Hinckley has emerged as a major talent in what Paul Elie calls “the literature of belief.” Hinckley translates grace in a world on edge, sees a double beginning and ending in everything, literally everything, including the unspeakably awful. Like her novel A Hunger in the Heart, the stories in Birds of a Feather—several of which have won substantive awards—take us to the heart of the matter.

“The short stories in Birds of a Feather are richly imagined tales full of finely drawn characters who demonstrate how people estranged from faith can bumble through life so distracted by worldly horrors and delights, so full of themselves, that they don’t even notice faint nudges of grace that stir in their souls or recognize subtle emanations of the holy that abound in the world around them.”–The Catholic World Report

MARY’S MOUNTAIN

The story of Paul Dunaway’s struggle to re-shape his affluent but joyless life, while opposing forces in the out-of-control, politically correct America he helped to create, threaten to take him down. A tale of Tolerance taken to the extreme, as patriotism and religion are deplored by those in command.

“Mary’s Mountain” follows the conversion of everyman through the character of Paul Dunaway, who is born into the Faith but loses it shamelessly through the enticements of the world: money, lust, power. Then he eventually finds his way back to God through Mary’s Mountain, his former home.

 

How does corruption SMELL? Rotten to the core.

Have you ever smelled something rotting in your own house? Don’t you search all over to find out what it is so that you can get rid of it? Perhaps you have discovered a rotting piece of fruit among others in a bowl: Surely you will discard that piece because, left on its own, it will contaminate all the other fruit and SMELL up your entire house.

Yesterday’s televised testimony of Peter Strzok reaked of rottenness! Strzok is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, and the Chief of the Counterespionage Section leading the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server. An agent who admits to ‘despising’ the elected president of the United States.

As an FBI agent, Strzok has sworn this oath:
I, Peter Strzok, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

In fact, it was apparent to me that Strzok and other top people in the FBI are betraying their oath to the Constitution by covertly threatening the elected president of the United States.

The investigation is not over. Lisa Page, the married FBI lawyer who exchanged 10,000 extremely biased texts with her anti-Trump agent lover, Strzok, should testify today.

Here are a few things among many I learned from watching Strzok’s Thursday testimony:

…Strzok, who was a key player in Mueller’s Russia probe, helped clear Hillary Clinton. As a part of former FBI Director James Comey’s Hillary Clinton email probe, Strzok changed the wording in Comey’s assessment from ‘grossly negligent to ‘extremely careless,’ which kept her from prosecution.

…Strzok was also involved in questioning Michael Flynn before he was prosecuted for lying to the Bureau.

…Strzok has been dismissed from Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and relocated within the FBI over the summer. Page, a lawyer, was also involved in Mueller’s investigation but left the probe before the messages were discovered.

The SMELL of Corruption in the FBI is more than rotten. It is just plain sad.

The FBI comes under our Department of Justice. Thomas Jefferson wrote, The most sacred of the duties of government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.

My questions are: Is this sacred duty still the guiding principle for the women and men of the U.S. Department of Justice? Can we trust them? Or are they presently betraying the American people?

First, we need to get it through our heads that hatred degrades us as human beings, that hatred is not strength but cowardice, that its cause is the fear of not having things the way we want them?

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.
― Booker T. Washington

Hatred is the coward’s revenge for being intimidated.
― George Bernard Shaw

In time we hate that which we often fear.
― William Shakespeare

Why can’t we get it through our heads that we ought to treat others with dignity?

Why can’t we get it through our heads who we really are?

Each one of us is a child of God, who created us for a purpose, and we are meant to be Christ-like. We are not here to manipulate others, or puff ourselves up, or to grab all we can before someone else does.

We are here for such a short time, but in that time we can make a real difference by how we live our lives. That difference can be a benefit or a hindrance to our fellow human beings. Why would we choose to be a hindrance? Yet many of us do.

When we interact with another person, and actually see him or her as they are–made in the image and likeness of God, the same God who created us–how can we cheat them? How can we manipulate them? How can we physically abuse them, or even kill them? For heaven sake–and I mean that literally–our purpose is to love them!

Secondly, loving is never easy. Loving someone presents many hurdles. One of the biggest is that even if we love a person, we don’t always love what they do. This is going to be true with parents and children, with spouses, with friends and co-workers, and with political opponents. There will be times when we know they’re going in a wrong direction. There will be times when we recognize that they are actually sinning, or proposing sin–a word that our society often choses to overlook. Are we to simply ignore this?

It would be foolish for us to ignore or tolerate sin, especially in someone we truly love and care for, because doing so puts them in danger. Sincere loving requires action, and that action is not to bury our heads in the sand. Would we allow our toddler to continue peddling down a busy highway on a tricycle, or would we run out to snatch them back before they are literally killed? Would we watch our ten year old put a loaded gun in his or her pocket, and then smile as they go out of the door? Would we allow our teenager to pump himself or herself full of drugs just because he or she thinks it’s fun? Would we allow our spouse to jump into bed with a co-worker without a word from us?

Confronting sin in those we love (and in ourselves) is an action that requires courage, a compassionate courage that at the very least cautions  our loved ones. If we do not care enough to attempt to unravel risky behavior in those we love, then we do not truthfully love them at all.

We must have the courage. We cannot be afraid to open our mouths. We are called to love. We are created to love. If we are children of God ourselves–and we are–then we must see that others are our brothers and sisters, and reach out to them in loving ways, without pomposity, self-righteousness, or manipulation. We must see Christ in others, and in turn we act as Christ would act.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.–Matthew 9: 9-13

Each of us is a sinner. Can’t we try not to be?

Masking Motives???

Posted: July 2, 2018 in World On The Edge

No one disagrees that there are both good and evil in the world.

But if there are both good and evil in the world, where does it come from? Does it come from physically earth-bound human beings? Or does it emanate from entities far beyond us in a never-ending battle for our very souls?  Yes, a human being is not only a physical being, but a spiritual being as well.

We human beings are at once loveable, and yet, at the same time, capable of being despicable. We have helped our fellowman, and yet, by  wars, crimes, false faces, and self-serving motives, we have intentionally hurt and even destroyed our fellowman. All historical writings show this, especially the Bible which shows it in the context of adherence or non-adherence to absolute truth, found in a higher power called God.

So today, do we as individuals adhere to a higher power, or only our own power? Have human beings forgotten there is indeed a higher power who has set within us not only the intangibility of our intellect (Memory, Imagination, and Free Will, the ability to make right or wrong decisions) but also decisive standards for goodness?

Throughout history many human beings have taken on the role of God, seeing themselves as beings in charge of all standards, standards they–not God–have created. And that is because adherence to a higher power is not always comfortable or convenient. In fact, more often than not, it is a struggle we don’t want to endure, and yet, in that difficult struggle is the path to our eternal happiness.

In today’s world, we have so much more materially than those who have gone before us–but there is much confusion about who a human being is, and what his purpose is meant to be. Some people, especially those grasping for political office, appear to see themselves as set upon the earth distinctly for their own purposes, using others to get there. They want to change our way of thinking. They want to control us, and our vote. The political and moral climate of our present America has spawned many people like this who want to change the moral and political mores of our country, and they are “not nice” in their attempt to do it.  Much of their playbook is from Saul Alinsky’s, Rules for Radicals–straight from the 1960’s. Alinsky was a communist and community activist who wrote about how to successfully run a movement of social change. His goal for the Rules for Radicals was to create a guide for future community organizers to use in uniting low-income communities.

To mask their real motives, and to confuse Americans, the people following this playbook spout ‘nice-sounding’ but self-serving phrases such as “Love conquers Hate, etc. without applying the phrase to themselves. But what they are really after are hateful things, such as abortion on demand, gay rights and all it entails, the dissipation of traditional marriage, the “give-away” of America through illegal immigration, and even the outrageous idea that a person can choose his or her sex. The confusion is being assisted by an undisciplined media, including most of Hollywood and some of the music industry, and even misguided theologians who we might expect to know better, yet they don’t appear to.

We should not be lead astray.

Daily, everyone chooses between good and evil. It is our human nature. A mature person recognizes the signs of evil within himself, and attempts to re-attach to the good by seeking forgiveness and moving forward. Catholics call it the sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. But when someone cannot/will not admit wrong-doing out of selfishness, a big problem exists for him or her. Instead of admitting they are doing wrong, and trying to fix it, they go overboard to make their wrong SEEM right.  Exactly what is happening in our present America through the playbook of the left.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.—Isaiah 5:20

It is important to realize that trickery is being used today by some people with intentionally selfish motives. It is important to remember that wolves have been known to wear sheep’s clothing. Let’s think for ourselves, not jump on a very wrong bandwagon that will not only take us down individually, but our country as well. We must use our common sense.

Most of all, we should realize that ‘LOVE” is not a word to throw around when it’s convenient to our own end result, but it is a word to live up to. Love is a an action that comes from our spirituality, not our physicality. Love is the all-encompassing standard created within us by God.

Don’t be fooled into becoming a simple sheep following the wolves in false sheep clothing. We are not part of a mind-less herd, and not just  faces in the crowd to be used for convenience, or votes. We are divinely created originals, with a spiritual purpose set into us by God.