FAITH. NOT FEAR.

Posted: March 31, 2020 in World On The Edge

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When we feel the world crashing down upon us, we are fearful and look for answers to our problems. We want to fix them, right here and now, but we may not be in control of the solution. What a relief it is to allow someone else to lead us, someone we TRUST; and then, with confidence, follow their lead.

The most secure place to put our trust is in God. And when we trust in Him, He will lead us. When we let go, like a frightened child standing on the pool’s edge, and jump into our Father’s arms with faith; he will not only catch us and keep us from drowning, he will teach us to swim.

Of course, it takes courage to overcome fear with faith. Will we jump anyway?

I have seen God’s work in my own life. I have experienced His loving leadership through events I thought I could not possibly survive, physically or emotionally.  When I tried to handle everything on my own, I was closing off God’s presence in my life, and couldn’t take advantage of the grace He offered me when I needed it most. And I surely needed that grace!

I found that trusting in God is a continuous mindset–always a first ‘go to’ — that brings a real peace.

God may teach us through another person, a person who in narrow-mindedness, we may have judged too severely by a first impression (how they dressed, how attractive they were, how they spoke, smelled, or walked). That person may be different from our image of who we think a person we could follow should be. Sometimes, we may even see that person as ‘in our way.’ And so, we circumvent them, and never get to discover the answer God had in mind to give us through them. Realize that every human being has something to offer, even a surprising answer to our suffering.

In our life journey, the innocence we were all born with will leave us. We will be broken in some way. There may have already been a time when everything changed for you, too, and your life seemed in ruins. Although, none of us wish for brokenness, all of us will face suffering. What sort of action do we take when that happens? Do we moan and groan about the trouble that has befallen us? Do we strike out at others? Do we wind ourselves up like a tight ball of yarn, wishing the world would go away and leave us wadded up in our misery. I did it all that—until I paid attention to God’s grace and allowed it to unwind inside me with surprising results.

If we give grace a chance. If we have faith, not fear, our inner sight will change. We will make an attempt to understand how much God loves us, and when we understand that, we will see things differently. We will no longer be broken, will be ‘put together,’ able to trust our lives to Him, and to follow Him.

And never should we forget that we may be the answer to what another human being needs. Seeing another’s divinity and honoring it is a sure way to express our own. We are, all of us, intended to be God’s expression of love in this world.

Our earthly life, like a beautiful piece of pottery, is fragile and easily shattered, not only by things outside of our control, but many times by our own sins. And of course, our life does not last forever. The genuine treasure of this life is that it continues beyond the container of our bodies. It is not temporary, but eternal. It is Faith, not fear, that will give us everlasting life.

For this momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.–Corinthians 4:17-18

Birds cover Am I shouting loud enough to be heard through my writing?

I often wonder–because it’s what I want to do.

I want to portray the world I see through a Christian lens, and the world I see is not a sweet and fluffy world. Not anymore, if it ever was. So don’t expect that in these stories.

Ours has become a raw world, on the edge of losing the reality of absolute Truth–which by the way is not defined as our opinion. And each of us is individually guilty of nudging society toward the Lie.

When our goal in life is only whatever makes US feel good. When it’s all about ME. When my ambitions always go ahead of others. My satisfactions. My addictions. My face, and only my face, in front of the crowd, or the camera, or the photographer. When YOUR face doesn’t matter because the goal of MY life is ME. When those we look up to–leaders from every facet of society–do the same; we promote the Lie that says, I am God. It is a Lie that will literally kill us, individually, and as a nation.

My stories reflect these deadly, human attitudes, but I hope they reflect something else, too. That we can re-discover the Truth about who we were created to be. Because we are meant to be more than examples of humanity’s flaws. We we are meant to be, and to live, as if we are children of a flawless God. Our attempt to do this–to allow God’s Grace to work within us–can re-spark us, until in Truth, we are alive again.

Everyone on the earth is born with two, innate possibilities for living out his or her time here. It’s our choice. Will we live out goodness, or evil? My NOVELS and stories are about the choice we all have, and how an individual character handles it. I hope you’ll read them. And if you like, critique them, too.

From the time a human being comes to the age of reason, he or she will be confronted with error and truth. Because we are human we have the ability to weight them both, and to choose between them; all this from a young age — which is why it is so important to teach a set of high values to children, because these choices are what will ultimately form individual character. If at sometime, we glance into the mirror and don’t like the person we see looking back at us, it is still possible to change. Our ability to decide never leaves us. We will live and die with the choices we make.

Our main concern in forming good character for ourselves and our children should first be recognizing the difference between error and Truth. I attempt to address this in my stories; stories that begin in the human heart when Truth is exchanged for the lies of the moment.

It is a human choice when hatred replaces love because my new enemy doesn’t look or think like me.
It is a choice when anger becomes a fist to the face of a wife, or child, or friend.
It is a choice when a hidden hand steals because what it has seems not enough.
It is a choice when every hunger–lust, greed, power–must be satisfied.
It is a choice when my place in the sun is secured by lies and dishonesty toward my fellow human beings.
It is a choice to destroy innocent human life.

It is also a choice to do nothing and allow recognized evil to continue.

As a human being we not only HAVE choices, we are RESPONSIBLE for the choices we make. The way of our created world is not toward an anything goes attitude, or a society without common decency.

Man is a being with free will; therefore, each man is potentially good or evil, and it’s up to him and only him (through his reasoning mind) to decide which he wants to be. — Ayn Rand

If our choices do not make us feel good about ourselves, then by the standard set in our hearts, they are failings. So, after our failings, what is possible? Contrition, forgiveness, and redemption–or a puffed-up pride that will not allow us to admit that we have failed, that we ought to forgive, or that we need to be redeemed?

My stories are Southern Gothic fiction containing those themes–stories about what it means to be an imperfect person living in an imperfect world.

There may be a time in life when one is tired of everything and feels as if all one does is wrong, and there maybe some truth in it- do you think this is a feeling one must try to forget and to banish, or is it ‘the longing for God,’ which one must not fear, but cherish to see if it may bring us some good? Is it ‘the longing for God’ which leads us to make a choice which we never regret? Let us keep courage and try to be patient and gentle. And not mind being eccentric, and make distinction between good and evil. –Vincent van Gogh

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The Corona virus has unnerved all of us, mainly because it shows the corruptible nature of our  human bodies. It is a distinct reminder that each of us, without exception, will die. Except, if we are intelligent enough to believe in God, it is also a reminder that we have a soul that will not die, but will have everlasting life.

With whom will we live this everlasting life?–with none other than the loving, immortal God who created each of us for the specific purpose of returning to him. Of course, we can choose NOT to believe in God, or that He created us. And even if we do believe, we can choose NOT to follow Him, which all of us do at one time or another.  Our individual human natures are forever in a constant battle between vice and virtue, evil and good, because we have Free Will.

We cannot blame anyone except ourselves for out choices. It is not someone else who messes up our paths–it is we who choose to mess up our paths through wrong-thinking promoted by our vices: Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy and Pride. Thankfully, we can also choose to ask forgiveness and change our direction.

Choice is a word thrown around a lot, without looking at the responsibilities that flow from the God-given gift of Free Will that we have. Responsibility is not a ‘happy’ thing to bring up to someone in the throws of corruption, selfishness, and a lack of goodness. When we are acting in this way, and unwilling to change, we do not want to look at ourselves in a truthful light, and so, many of us try to make the wrongs we do seem right. And there are plenty of  people who do this, covering over truth with lies for personal gain.

Corruption (evil) is, at first, a small thing. It may even have a hint of conscience, until it becomes habitual and infectious to everyone around it. Goodness also begins small, becomes habitual, and infectious as well. Except goodness is honorable in the human person, while evil degrades his or her soul.

Of course, corruption happens in politics since it is made up of many people with ambition, people who ignore goodness if it interferes with their political goals. A few examples of ignoring goodness are these: the taking of a human life in the womb, the mistaken confusion that we can change our own gender, or the misrepresentation of what marriage truthfully is. These acts demean us as human beings created by God. And yet, we can choose to do any of them.

This is why the truthful family, based upon the sacrament of marriage, is being negatively affected. This is why the deep responsibility to guide children who come from that marriage is being overlooked. This is why it is imperative to look upward to God for guidance, rather than looking around at the temporary world we live in. Except, goodness isn’t easy, has never been easy, and will never be easy.

So, can we actually do the things that are hard, the things that are truthfully good, and not take the easy way out with wrong behaviors that decay not only ourselves, but also, spreads like a virus to others? The truth is that without delving into the spiritual side of our human nature, we cannot. We will listen to false voices, swallow false precepts, and we will fall into corruption rather than goodness.

But, with courage and faith, we can also do the opposite. We can commit ourselves to the responsibility we have as human beings who actually share in the divinity of God. By looking inward and upward, even those in politics can understand that only our likeness to God (our Spirituality) reveals our true value as people, and that it is He who gives us the final victory, which is everlasting life. We only have to realize that we are His and act upon that.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. — John 3:16-17

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I loved the world I grew up in. It wasn’t perfect, but there were anchors when needed: American values and Christian values. A child was held to those values. They were safety nets for anyone who knew herself to be an American or a Christian. Today, those safety nets could vanish right before our eyes, exchanged for an hypocrisy that defies belief.

TODAY in our beloved USA:

Hate is called love by twisting the meanings of both

Killing another human being is called a “right.”

Without shame, lies are spread as truth.

Science and human biology are explicitly denied.

Whiners massage and manipulate the ‘mob’ and somehow win over those who are afraid to stand on courage.

Our American cities are being demolished.

Our American History is being defamed.

Every other country seems to be labeled as more important than America.

“A free lunch” is a political goal, no matter the cost to those who’ll be forced to pay for it.

Out of jealousy, greed, and selfishness, our duly elected, and very successful President, was dragged through a counterfeit impeachment.

Churches are being warned by law to “get in line” with new policy, even if it’s against church teaching.

Christianity, which is totally against Socialism, is framed as undesirable.

What was formerly evil is being touted as good. What is good is being touted as evil.

WHAT CAN WE DO?

Number One: PAY ATTENTION.

Don’t get pulled into the double-speak rhetoric by listening to fools pushing deadly political systems such as Socialism who promise you anything free. NOTHING is free. If you want to eat, be prepared to WORK.

Every political office, big or small, makes a difference.  Vote to express American and Christian values.

American values were dearly paid for with the lives of many, and are expressed in The United States Constitution.  Read them again for yourselves and for your children.

Christian values were dearly paid for by the God who created each of us. It is important to remember the seven deadly sins: lust, greed, gluttony, envy, anger, pride, and sloth. Most other sins begin with one or two of the seven deadly sins. And once we let one of these sins take over our lives, the other six are only too happy to creep into our lives as well.

Try to concentrate on the seven virtues; the four cardinal virtues and the three theological virtues. Human beings achieve the four cardinal virtues, prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, through intellect and free will, gifts from God. When human beings freely choose to act morally, the three theological virtues serve as the foundation and source of the cardinal virtues; faith, hope, and charity or love.

So, if you have begun to say good bye to the American world we loved–DON’T! Instead, fight for it!

Keeping America great begins with us. Each one of us has a role to play. And we need to begin TODAY.  Every wonderfully courageous American is being called. There’s no need to say goodbye.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

KAYE PARK HINCKLEY receives national recognition through the NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD®!​

The NEW YORK CITY BIG BOOK AWARD recognized THE GHOSTS OF FAITHFUL BY KAYE PARK HINCKLEY in the category of RELIGION FICTION as the 2019 WINNER.

The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.​

THE GHOSTS OF FAITHFUL by KAYE PARK HINCKLEY is sometimes deadly serious, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. The layered novel exposes a a family’s clash with betrayal, forgiveness, mercy–and actual ghosts. Izzy Collier runs the Food Bank in a town called Faithful, on the banks of the Suwannee River, and is the least amicable of two daughters in a frustrating family; all, keeping secrets of betrayal. Her parents are at odds with both daughters, and with each other. Her sister, always Izzy’s competition, is an unstable former beauty queen, the wife of a philanderer, and the mother of four. Their ninety-four year-old grandmother believes her dead husband’s ghost has returned, accompanied by a little girl—just as Izzy’s husband, a defense lawyer, is being mysteriously forced by his boss to effect the acquittal of a teenager accused of the murder of a child. Now, Izzy starts to see her deceased grandfather and the little girl, too. Are the ghosts after revenge, justice, or something greater?​​

Once again, in 2019, the New York City Big Book Award achieved worldwide participation.  Entries remained impressive, book submissions streamed in from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.  Cities across the globe such as Bangkok, Cape Town, London, Los Angeles, Nagaski and New York were amongst the entries.  Winners were recognized globally from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, England and the United States of America.​

We are proud to announce the diversity of Winners and Distinguished Favorites in the annual New York City Big Book Award.  Included are New York Times bestseller author Lev Grossman’s “The Magicians,” a graphic novel, to the independent publisher Fig Tree Book’s “A River Could be a Tree,” a memoir by Angela Himsel.  Categories featured a wide variety of subjects.  “Ephphatha,” a nonfiction account of a deaf boy’s rise to Ivy League basketball; to “The Adventures of Jules Khan,” a fiction about Muslim superheros were a New York City Big Book Award Winner and Distinguished Favorite respectively.  Excellent books exist globally, regardless of where the author resides or the culture.  

“We are happy to highlight these books, recognize their excellence, and share their achievements.” said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak.

Before I wrote fiction, for nearly twenty years of my life I ran an advertising agency pushing all sorts of products, from-geographical areas wanting more business, to car dealers, to political movements. I had to know the product and analyze who needed it in order to advertise it.

Now, I’m a writer of fiction and want to sell my books, but even with my experience in marketing for other people, it is hard to do. I’m so grateful to my small Catholic publishers, so happy to have some books in print. But there’s much more to it than just the satisfaction of holding a book in one’s hand.

Unless your piece of writing is a secret diary, the very point in creating it is to have somebody read it, and hopefully be affected by it. To get an audience, you must market your book. If you’re a Catholic fiction writer, to whom do you market?

If your audience is strictly Catholic, my humble opinion is that there are two different Catholic fiction audiences: One is concerned only with ‘all things Catholic,’ and the other, with sort of an elevated intellectualism. Neither market compliments the other because neither wants to truly understand the other. Market One will not accept reading about the up-close and personal particulars of sin. Market Two sometimes gives sin “a break” in that it doesn’t clarify, but only intellectualizes Catholicism.

Both markets are valid. People will read what they want to read. And there are good Catholic fiction authors for both.

But shouldn’t we address a third, larger market? An audience ‘in-between’ black and white Catholicism and intellectualized Catholicism? I believe that audience is out there, and I believe we can access it.

There are some best-selling authors who write from what we call “a catholic world view—Catholic with a small ‘c,’ meaning universal. And some of those authors are not even Catholic. So what does this say to a Catholic writer of fiction?

In advertising, if you have a product to sell, you discover the need for it and look for the most universal market for that need. The easiest product to market is one that appeals to a particular need in everyone. Bottled water, for example, is universal. Everyone needs water. As far as marketing Catholic fiction—the universal need is God. Everyone needs God, whether they actually use the word God, or not. Or whether they even believe in God, or not.

Our Catholic faith basically tells us that we are all created by God, in his image, to live on earth, and eventually return to Him. Of course, many do not share our beliefs. However, every human being, religious or not, innately knows that he/she has some specific things in common. These are intangible things, such as individual memories, particular imaginings, and the choices we make, which come from our free will.

As human beings, in one way or another, all of us love, and will sometimes suffer for that love—whether or not we see ourselves on a personal road to Calvary. And every person realizes that he/she can choose how he reacts to love or suffering in relationships and everyday problems. When we look for the need in the larger, ‘in-between’ market for Catholic fiction, we will surely see these common attributes as human striving, and that, in very human terms, is a theme for a story that is trying to shine out God’s presence in a sinful world.

Except then, we come upon an even bigger problem. If we want to be published by a publishing house with the means to market, we will soon realize that today’s environment leans toward political correctness–and writers of Catholic fiction are often not politically correct. In order to overcome this, we must strive to be as good as the best writers we know. We cannot expect a big publishing house to produce something less than the best. Naturally, like any other business, they are after a profit.

Sadly, Christians are not held in high esteem today. There is much hatred toward us because we challenge certain behaviors that are the opposite of our beliefs about what is sinful. And there are voices on our opposite side who are no longer fearful about putting out fiction without regard to any moral standard. Many publishing houses tend toward these voices as trendy, and profitable.

But this, too, can be utilized in our fiction, despite today’s disappointing upheaval in our church. In our Catholic belief, no matter a person’s behavior, he/she is still madly loved by God. This does not mean that we go along with wrong behavior in our writing. Instead, we must be fearless, too, and point higher, to God’s infinite love. Maybe this is done through a loving character set against one filled with hate, or maybe in an overall theme of conflict between a character and himself, between what he is pulled toward; good or evil. Our characters should be human beings just like we are, each with a significant life story, of sorrows, struggles and joys, as we have. And each shown as related to us, our brothers and sisters, created by the same Father. We only have to look around us to see them, to see their common needs, and then write about them in beautiful and empathetic ways. The individual ways in which we do that depends on our own experiences and our interests. But we all shine  on a flawed humanity the steady light of God’s love, just as it was in the beginning, is now, and always will be. Catholic writers, this battle has already been won for us, we only need to step out in courage using the talent God has given us. I pray that each of us will do that.

 

Looking for answers to your problems? Well guess What? We don’t always have to be in control. We don’t always have to know the answer to every problem. We don’t always have to be the leader. What a relief it is to allow someone else to lead–someone we TRUST– and then, with confidence, follow them to the greatest surprises.

The most secure place to put our trust is in God. And when we trust in Him, He will surprise us. When we let go, like a small child standing on the pool’s edge, and jump into our Father’s arms; he will not only catch us, he will teach us to swim.

God’s surprises may come as answers to a worry we have, and given to us through another person. The person may be someone, who in our narrow-mindedness, we may have judged too severely by our first impression (how they dress, how attractive they are, how they speak, smell, or walk.) We see only someone who is different from our image of what we think a person should be. And sometimes, we pompously see someone who’s ‘in our way.’ And so, we circumvent them, and never get to know the answer or surprise God had in mind to give us through them.

If we see only ourselves as worthy enough to be in control. If we try to do everything on our own. If we don’t accept God’s presence in people at all, then how can we take advantage of the grace He offers when we need it most? And we will surely need it!

In our life journey, the innocence we were born with will leave us. We will be broken in some way. There may have already been a time in your life when everything changed and life seemed in ruins. Of course, none of us wish for brokenness, but all of us will face suffering. What sort of action will we take when that happens? We might moan and groan about the trouble that has befallen us. We might strike out at others. We might wound ourselves up, like a tight ball of yarn, wishing the world would go away and leave us wadded up in our misery.

But if we recognize God’s grace and allow it to unwind inside us, our inner sight will change. We will make an attempt to understand how much God loves us, and when we understand that, we will see things differently. We will no longer be broken. We will be ‘put together’ and able to surrender our lives to Him. And follow Him.

And never should we forget that we may be the answer to what another human being needs. Seeing another’s divinity and honoring it is a sure way to express our own. We are, all of us, intended to be God’s expression of love in this world.

Our earthly lives are like jars of clay. They can be beautiful but they are fragile and easily shattered, many times by our own sins. And of course, our lives do not last forever. The genuine treasure of this life is that it continues beyond the container of our bodies. It is not temporary, but eternal.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.–Corinthians 4:17-18

Why Was I Chosen?

Posted: October 23, 2019 in World On The Edge

In fairytales, each character is usually either good or evil. A dark, menacing character or a bright hero. We usually chose the good character.

But we don’t live in a fairytale. We live in a real world with real people. And real people are not completely good, or completely evil. People are more complicated, with many hues that come genetically or from our environments. But each hue does bend us toward either what is good or what is not good. Each of us has the ability to decide between the two. And we do it numerous times in any given day.

But do we realize that each time we decide on one way or the other, we are putting our personal humanity in that decision? We are either lifting ourselves higher, or lowering ourselves. We are becoming closer to attaining our highest purpose, or further away from it. Life does not make our choices easy. Many not-so-good situations reach out to pull us toward evil. And every day of our lives we will battle them.

We can be heroes in the battle by utilizing the good gifts we have been given to fight with. And what are those good gifts? Well, they are God-given and we all have them within us, but the choice to use them is ours. They are prudence, justice, temperance, courage, faith, hope, and charity. When we choose any one of them, we are being faithful to the God who loves us.

However, we often selfishly give in to the opposite of those gifts: greed, envy, anger, lust, gluttony, or sloth. We forget who made us and why we were made. We were CHOSEN by God. He did not have to create a particular you and me. Because He did create us, we have a purpose in being here on earth.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.–Jeremiah 1:5

Take a look at the first four questions from the Baltimore Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is an old catechism, but many churches have brought it back, searching for clearer answers.

1. Who made us?

God made us.

In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. (Genesis 1:1)

2. Who is God?

God is the Supreme Being, infinitely perfect, who made all things and keeps them in existence.

In him we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)

3. Why did God make us?

God made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His everlasting happiness in heaven.

Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)

4. What must we do to gain the happiness of heaven?

To gain the happiness of heaven we must know, love, and serve God in this world.

Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth; where the rust and moth consume and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven; where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. (Matthew 6:19-20)

It is by holding to, and using, the weapons of virtue that we can become the person our Father God meant us to be when He chose to create us.