Friday, September 29, 2006

Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins

Okay, normally I like to do my own review of a book but I haven't finished this one yet! So I've included the post below from the Blog Alliance website to ensure I show that link love!

From September 27th thru the 29th, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance presents Violet Dawn by Brandilyn Collins.

Violet Dawn, which released in August of this year, is published by Zondervan and is part of Brandilyn's new Kanner Lake series. There are two other books to come...Coral Moon, releasing in March of '07, and Crimson Eve, releasing in September of '07.

You must also stop by and visit Scenes and Beans, the REAL blog for the fictional Java Joint coffehouse in Kanner Lake.

This is a unique marketing tool for the series, involving about 30 other
writers (including several of our CFBA members), and eventually involving readers of the series who want to audition posts.

Now, I've made you wait long enough. The book is classic Brandiln Collins Seatbelt Suspense. It grabs you from the very beginning...

Something sinuous brushed against Paige's knee. She jerked her leg away.

What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand.

Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers.


She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. something solid bumped her wrist. Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out.

I'm telling you that this is suspense at it's finest! Brandilyn has a group of friends that she affectionately calls the Big Honkin' Chickens Club, because the women in the group are unnerved by Brandilyn's writing. This new series is a prime example of that kind of work!

Back cover
Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night...and finds herself face to face with death.

Alone, terrified, fleeing a dark past, Paige must make an unthinkable choice.

In Violet Dawn, hurtling events and richly drawn characters collide in a breathless story of murder, the need to belong, and faith's first glimmer. One woman's secrets unleash an entire town's pursuit, and the truth proves as elusive as the killer in their midst.

You can go HERE to read a first chapter excerpt. But using Brandilyn's famous tagline....."Don't forget to breathe..."

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #3

Thirteen Things My Mother Taught Me

1. My mother taught me to APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE...

"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION...

" You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL...

"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week."

4. My mother taught me LOGIC...

"Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC...

"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT...

"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY...

"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS...

"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM...

"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA...

"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER...

"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY...

"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE...

"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

In Other Words

"It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else."
~ Erma Bombech ~

I think Erma is on to something with her quote here. Your dreams say a lot about you, about your innermost hopes and desires. They’re like little children, tender and vulnerable, facing a future as yet unfolded. Showing someone your dreams is like saying ‘This is who I am’, easy for some to do but harder for others. We want people to like us and accept us and I expect that noone wants to be the object of ridicule. Sometimes a dream can seem so out of reach that to share that with someone opens us up to that.

Joseph could tell us a lot about that. He had his dreams and shared them with his family only to be ridiculed and scorned. I imagine that this was hard because we share that secret part of us with those we love and trust. Having them throw it back in our faces with disdain would break that trust.

I think too you need not just courage but self-confidence to share your dreams. It’s easier to put yourself out there when you have accepted who you are and what you want. When I first started to write poetry I just wanted to express myself. I had just gotten saved and was growing in my relationship with God. The anointing was so strong upon me one day, I was at work at my desk and I had these indescribable feelings. I felt God speaking to me but as though the words were just beyond my hearing so I picked up pen and paper and began to write. It wasn’t terribly original, just bits and pieces of scriptures that the Lord was impressing upon my heart really but that’s where I started. It became my outlet to my experience with God and what I wanted to say to Him and vice versa. It was something I hid for long time because it was so personal. I felt like giving someone any to read was like handing my heart over on a silver platter. Not an easy thing to do. So I’d usually keep it to myself for a while and when I became comfortable with it myself, it was easier to share.

So I think self-confidence is important and not just confidence in ourselves but also confidence in God. The fact is that we 'can do all things through Christ' and 'with God all things are possible'. The question then is whether our dream is the will of God and ultimately if we will trust Him to accomplish it.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Days of the Week

I got this in an e-mail and I had to share.

Monday : Wash Day
Lord, help me wash away all my selfishness and vanity, so I may serve you with perfect humility through the week ahead.

Tuesday:Ironing Day
Dear Lord, help me iron out all the wrinkles of prejudice I have collected though the years so that I may see the beauty in others.

Wednesday : Mending Day
O God, help me mend my ways so I will not set a bad example for others.

Thursday : Cleaning Day
Lord Jesus, help me to dust out all the many faults I have been hiding in the secret corners of my heart.

Friday : Shopping Day
O God, give me the grace to " shop " wisely so that what I "choose" will bring eternal happiness for myself and all others in need of love.

Saturday : Cooking Day
Help me, my Savior, to brew a big kettle of brotherly love and serve it with clean, sweet bread of human kindness.

Sunday : The Lord's Day
O! God, I have prepared my house for you. Please come into my heart so I may spend the day and the rest of my life in your presence.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Grande Riviere Trip

Since today was a holiday (Republic Day) some members of our church went to Grande Riviere. We normally go there for Independence Day (August 31) but this year we ended up going a little later. It’s a wonderful place, really. When you get there, to your left is a river and to your right is the ocean. What more could a person want? We’re thinking of camping out on the beach for Carnival next year. I think it will be so great especially since the beach has a public resort with bathroom facilities (I bet you can tell I’m not much of a nature girl, huh?). We had a brief service when we arrived and then enjoyed ourselves soaking in the sun, sea and sand.

I can’t swim but I did learn to float today. Yeah! It takes a lot of faith to do that, doesn’t it? Anyway, I had a great time. And to think I didn’t want to go. On the way back the maxi driver put on a Donnie McClurkin CD and it was really beautiful worshipping God and watching the sun set along the coast. I can’t wait for next year!

P.S. You ever notice how after a day at the beach you can almost feel the water lapping over you when you lie down to sleep? I always feel that way. I think it's so cool! :D

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fall Into Reading Challenge

I was scrolling through the Thursday Thirteen posts when I came upon the Fall into Reading Challenge on Blessed Beyond Measure. Being a reading addict/junkie/fanatic (take your pick) of course I decided to join. I mostly read fiction so for me the real challenge would be to finish the non-fiction books on my list.

The challenge originated from Callapidder Days and you can find out more about the challenge and how you can join here.

Below is my list

1. Cover to Cover (Through the Bible as it happened) – Selwyn Hughes and Trevor J. Partridge
2. My Spiritual Inheritance – Juanita Bynum
3. Experiencing the Presence of God – Charles Finney
4. Captivated - John & Stasi Eldredge
5. The Believer’s Handbook – Lester Sumrall
6. Blue Like Jazz – Donald Miller
7. Single, Sassy and Satisfied - Michelle McKinney Hammond


8. Return – Karen Kingsbury
9. Rejoice – Karen Kingsbury
10. Reunion – Karen Kingsbury
11. Violet Dawn – Brandilyn Collins
12. Violette Between – Alison Strobel
13. The Last Sin Eater – Francine Rivers
14. Unafraid – Francine Rivers
15. Dark Hour – Ginger Garrett
16. Coldwater Revival - Nancy Jo Jenkins
17. Fame - Karen Kingsbury

Friday, September 22, 2006

Something That Lasts

Everyone has been the victim of bad choices; our own and those of others. Some may barely cause a blip on our radar, but then again, some take on life-changing proportions we seem helpless to avoid. In Something that Lasts, Reverend David Parst is confronted with a decision and his choice is one that will influence his family for decades to come.

James David Jordan weaves a tale of love, betrayal and loss that will grip you from beginning to end. You will want to ask the question ‘What would Jesus do?’ but will find yourself wondering, ‘What would I have done?’

In this first offering by James David Jordan, you will journey with the Parst family as they strive to overcome the past and look into the future to find, Something that Lasts.

Thirteen Things to Smile About This Week

Thirteen Things to Smile About This Week

1. I’m alive – Reason enough for me
2. Celebrating the 8th year anniversary of my baptism on the 20th September.
3. Pay raise.
4. Tuesday night service was really awesome
5. I can’t remember the last time I had a really bad hair day
6. I bought myself a new Bible to celebrate #2.
7. One of my bosses complimented me on my good work.
8. Monday is a holiday! Can anyone say ‘long weekend’?
9. Season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy
10. I don’t have to work this weekend
11. Tuesday was the birthday of one of the leaders in church so this Friday we're having a Par-tay!
12. Did I mention Monday will be a holiday?
13. Did I also mention I’m going to the beach?

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We Ting Wednesday

Folklores and Fables

Our culture is filled with lots of superstitions, myths and fables. Growing up, one of the most frightening folklore for a child was the douens. A douen is thought to be the evil spirit of a child that has died before he/she has been christened (baptized). They have no faces and their feet are turned backwards. They walk around naked and have large straw hats that hide their faces. For the most part they are thought to be found playing in forests and near rivers. They approach children that are not baptized and try to lure them away with them. They can also be identified by the eerie ‘whoop whoop’ sound they make.

As a child I remember being very frightened for one of my cousins who had never been baptized as a baby. Living in a country area, especially with my house right next to a ‘bamboo patch’ the whoop whoop sound was no stranger to me. Especially late in the evening and into the night. So after a certain hour, baptism or no baptism, this little girl found herself inside out of harm’s way.

As an adult I wonder at the veracity of this tale. Being a Christian I do believe in evil spirits but if the accounts of those who’ve claimed to have encountered these beings are to be believed then I don’t think they are in fact the spirits of children who have died without the benefit of baptism they encountered but maybe just an evil spirit.

Sacred and Ordinary

One of the most important things I hold sacred is my relationship with God. On reading this week’s quote I tried to reconcile the statement of the writer. How can something be sacred and ordinary at the same time? This lead me into thinking about my present relationship with God and what I would really like it to be. In so doing the words ‘sacred’ and ‘ordinary’ capture the very essence of my desire.

I want the type of relationship where I am always in His presence. When I say in His presence I don’t mean the outer court or the inner court but the very Holiest of Holies. To me that’s sacred. And I don’t want to be in that place once a year like the High Priest of Old Testament times but I want this to be the norm in my life. My status quo so to speak; my ‘everyday’ experience with God. I think too that heaven will be like this. Imagine the reality of walking with God in His fullness everyday. I want my little piece of heaven down here though while I wait for the totality that is to come.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Squat by Taylor Field

Jesus said, “…the poor you have with you always…”. In Squat, the new release of Taylor Field and current feature of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, we are thrust into the lives of ‘the forgotten ones’, people that we walk pass and ignore daily or dismiss by the toss of a coin.

Back Cover
In the shadow of Wall Street’s wealth, homeless citizens with names like Squid, Saw, and Bonehead live in abandoned buildings known as "squats" where life is hand to mouth, where fear and violence fester. The light in lovable Squid’s obsessive-compulsive mind’s eye is Rachel, a loving soup kitchen missionary who tells him about faith and unfaith, hypocrisy and justice, the character of God and finding identity in Him.

But among the squats and so many other abandoned lives, will such talk be enough to make Squid believe that his life may actually amount to something?

Read the first chapter

Bonus: Read the second chapter

You know you want to so buy the book.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

We Ting Wednesday

A Taste of Trini Tongue

Like all people we have our own dialect or slang that is unique to our particular culture. Supposedly we're speaking the Queen’s English but really, we more often than not, write the Queen’s English and speak something else entirely. These are just some words we use that are not strictly 'English'.

Allyuh – what we really mean to say is all of you

Ent? – translated: isn’t that so? Or don’t you think so?

Harden – means willfully disobedient. Lots of little children and teenagers have heard this one. For example, a mother of rebellious children, at the end of her rope may exclaim, “Why allyuh children (pronounced chirren) harden so?”

fas – inquisitive, nosy, prying,. When someone calls you ‘fast’ it means it means you goin’ too far up in de people business.

frontish – always wanting to be the center of attention

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cell Phones vs Bible

I receceived this in an e-mail and just had to share.

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible the way we do our cell phones.

What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?

What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?

What if we flipped through it several times a day?

What if we used it to receive messages?

What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?

What if we gave it to our kids as gifts?

What if we used it as we traveled?

What if we used it in case of emergency?

What if we upgraded it to the latest version?

Oh, and one more thing: Unlike our cell phones, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Fixed Heart

Rumours that there was a gas shortage drove many vehicle owners into panic-buying mode this weekend. Long lines formed at gas stations with some motorists waiting hours for fuel. I heard of this morning on a radio talk show while on my way to work. I spent a most relaxing day on Saturday, never leaving my house at all. Hearing the hosts debate the verity of these rumours I was reminded of Psalm 112:7 which says, “He shall not be afraid of evil tiding; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.” (KJV)

How many times when faced with situations do we panic instead of trusting in God. We rush out to try and fix the situation like those people hurrying to fill up their tanks, not stopping to ask God’s input in the situation. Or even just trusting him to make things right. The prophet Elijah when he heard Queen Jezebel wanted to kill him found his heart not fixed on God and he ran and hid, not trusting in the Lord that had just done great wonders for him.

What has God done for you in the past? What has He promised to do? Will you trust Him when there are rumours of employees being laid off on the job or the doctor think s there’s something serious wrong with you? Will you still trust Him if the rumours turn out to be true?

Personally, I’ve often wondered how I would deal with these types of situations. My only answer is to get closer to God. I figure if I get close enough to Him, in my times of trouble I’ll be sure that He’s there. With Him by my side I know I can get through anything.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Books, books and more books....

I had such a great day today. Finally, I made my way to Logos II which has been in Trinidad for the past couple of weeks. Books, books and more books! I was in heaven! In spite of the mad crush of people and lack of air-conditioning. I got three great books I can’t wait to get into: Experiencing the presence of God by Charles Finney, The Believer’s Handbook by Lester Sumrall and Captivating by John and Stasi Eldridge. This last book I’ve heard so much good things about, I can’t wait to read it.

You didn’t that was all I bought did you? I sort of went crazy in the ‘grab bag’ section which had most of the fiction books. Christian fiction! A rare commodity in this country let me tell you. Usually I buy books off eBay or and have them shipped here so this was a great treat for me. Authors like Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury and Randy Alcorn to name a few. I only ‘discovered’ Christian fiction last year (wonderful thing the internet!) and just in time too, so I knew what authors to look for there.

I don’t think I mentioned it before but Logos II is a ship and I took these pictures through and open space between two shelves (speaking of which I’m thinking I might need more of those).

All in all a wonderful day. Below are some pictures I took of the view from the boat.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thurday Thirteen

This is my first thirteen post and I decided to take up the challenge issued last week by Denise

Thirteen Things I Like About ME

1. I said yes to Jesus. The most important decision I've ever made and I'm glad I made it
2. I'm responsible
3. My hands - People always tell they're so small: makes me feel very female
4. Children like me - I hear they're good judge of characters
5. I'm really a very non-violent person
6. I'm smart. Honest.
7. Vivid imagination (can be trouble sometimes though :D)
8. Sense of humour
9. Humble
10. Good listener
11. Color - I'm comfortable in my skin (at least in this area)
12. Mole at the top right hand corner of lips

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. tracie
2. mommyba
3. francesca gray
4. barbara

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

'We Ting' Wednesday

Being a patriotic sort I wanted to take the opportunity to share a little about my country; our customs and practices and so forth. I had a light bulb moment and decided to blog once a week some interesting fact about the beautiful twin island republic I call home. Thus ‘We Ting’ Wednesdays was born.

It’s always best to start at the beginning, so let me first say that Trinidad and Tobago was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. Our name came about because of the three mountaintops Columbus first saw that he named La Trinity. As a matter of fact the highest award given out in the country is called the Trinity Cross. For now anyway. There have been a lot of arguments in recent times about the fact that this name has a Christian origin with moves being made to get the government to change it. Objectively, I can understand the need of other religious groups to feel represented but as a Christian I’m glad for this symbol of God and Christianity at the highest levels of the nation.

Monday, September 04, 2006


I started reading 1 John this morning and this verse jumped out at me

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (KJV)

Admitting to a wrong is never easy. It takes a lot of courage to admit you were wrong and in this case, not just wrong, but have sinned. Maybe that’s why it’s so important. It forces you to face what you’ve done and own up to it. Not always an easy task, facing the truth, ugly as it can sometimes be. If I remember correctly one of my lecturers said that confessing is saying about your sin what God says about it.

On second thought I think it takes more than courage sometimes to own up to your mistakes, it takes relationship. When you know God intimately you know He wants to forgive you. It’s hard, because you know you’ve disappointed Him but the desire to make things right overrides any other emotion.

The beauty about this is that it is cathartic. When we confess, God cleans and heals. He doesn’t leave us broken and wounded. He binds up our wounds and puts us back together, the way He would have us to be.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

No More Excuses

  • Jonah ran from God
  • Naomi was a widow
  • Job went bankrupt
  • John the Baptist ate bugs
  • Peter denied Christ
  • The Disciples fell asleep while praying
  • Martha worried about everything
  • Mary Magdalene was, well you know
  • The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once
  • Zaccheus was too small
  • Paul was too religious
  • Timothy had an ulcer...AND
  • Lazarus was dead! ...
no more excuses now. God can use you to your full potential.
Besides you aren't the message ... you are just the messenger.

Be encouraged.

Friday, September 01, 2006

FIRST Day Blog Tour

It is September 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our
alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an
author and their latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:
Taylor Field

"We live in a squat. We don’t know
squat. We don’t have squat. We don’t do squat. We don’t give a squat.
People say we’re not worth squat."

Taylor Field has worked since 1986 in the inner
city of New York where he is pastor of East Seventh Baptist
Church/Graffiti Community Ministries. He holds a M.Div. from Princeton
and Ph.D. from Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Among his
previous books is the award-winning Mercy Streets. Field and his family
live in New York, New York.

If you want to know more, please visit
The SQUAT Website!

To order Squat, click HERE.

Author interview contact is Andrea Irwin at Broadman &

Please Note:

All author proceeds from Squat will go to Graffiti Community
Ministries, Inc., a service arm of the East Seventh Street Baptist
Church on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where Field preaches.

Back Cover

In the shadow of Wall Street’s wealth, homeless
citizens with names like Squid, Saw, and Bonehead live in abandoned
buildings known as "squats" where life is hand to mouth, where fear and
violence fester. The light in lovable Squid’s obsessive-compulsive mind’s
eye is Rachel, a loving soup kitchen missionary who tells him about
faith and unfaith, hypocrisy and justice, the character of God and finding
identity in Him.

But among the squats and so many other abandoned lives, will such talk
be enough to make Squid believe that his life may actually amount to


CALMLY, THE GIRL on the sofa reached out and pulled up a flap of skin
on the little boy’s thin arm. It could have been a gesture of affection.
But then she pinched the skin and twisted it. Hard.

“Ouch!” He whipped his pencil in front of her face once, like a club,
and then cracked it on her forehead. He pulled the pencil back, ready to
strike her again, crouching against the back of the couch like a
cornered weasel.

The little girl wrinkled up her round freckled face but did not cry
out. She looked toward her mom, who was talking to the receptionist. The
boy’s mom, seated across the room, didn’t look up. She continued to look
through the pages of her magazine, snapping each page like a whip.

“You could have put my eye out!” the freckled girl hissed.

The boy rubbed the two blue marks on his arm. He looked her steadily in
the eyes and growled.

His mom called him over. “Come sit by me, honey, and stop making so
much noise.” She patted his hair down in the back and smiled at him. She
wore lots of eyeliner and widened her eyes to make even sitting in a
waiting room seem like an adventure. “You’re such a big man, now,” she had
said this morning as she combed his hair and helped him put on his best
shirt. She was humming “Getting to Know You” even though her voice
quivered just a little. She had put a lot of extra perfume and sprays on
this morning. She smelled like the women’s aisle in a drugstore.

Once the little girl’s mom finished with the receptionist and returned
to the sofa, the little girl started crying with one soft, unending

The boy rolled his eyes and looked for a book to bury his head in.

“What’s wrong, honey?” the mom asked as she swept her little girl up.

“That boy hit me.”

A stuffy silence reigned in the waiting room except for the
sound of the bubbles in the aquarium above the magazine table. The girl’s
mother glared at the boy and then at his mother. The boy picked up a
children’s book with some torn pages and began studying it seriously. His
mom hadn’t been listening to the girl. She was still snapping through
the magazine’s pages.

Finally, she threw it down with disgust and looked at her watch again.
“I’m going outside to smoke a cigarette, honey,” she said, oblivious to
the stares of the mother and daughter across the room. She stood up,
adjusted her dress with an efficient tug, and stepped outside the office.
They gaped at her departure with their mouths open, like two goldfish.

The aquarium continued to gurgle. In the following silence, the little
boy became dramatically interested in the book in front of him. It had
been pawed over by a lot of children waiting in this doctor’s office,
and the first few pages had been torn out. The pages that remained had
rounded corners and smudges along the edges. The little boy squinted his
eyes in exaggerated concentration. He preferred the smudged pictures to
the astonished fish eyes of the adult across the room.

He studied a picture of a man who wore a robe down to his ankles. He
had a beard and a sad look in his eyes. In front of him was a young man
with no beard, lying on a stone with his hands tied. The man with a
beard had a knife in his hand and had his hand raised high up as if he were
going to stab the boy. Out of a cloud an angel was reaching out to grab
the hand of the man. The angel hadn’t touched the man yet, but his hand
was getting close. The man didn’t yet know that the angel was there.

The boy forgot about the girl and her mother. The color of the man’s
robe was so deep and blue. The angel’s wings were more gold than his
mother’s best bracelet. The boy on the stone had a robe that was
silvery-white like clouds. The sun in the background was redder than any sun he
had ever seen. It was as red as a hot dog. The little boy felt he was
swimming in this world of rich colors and robes, a sleepy world tempered
by the sound of the bubbles in the doctor’s aquarium. The boy put his
finger above the picture book, to the right of the book, and then to the
left of the book. “One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three,”
he whispered to himself, touching each of the three points three times.

His mom opened the door and came back in. The summer heat from outside
reached in to bathe him in warmth. She shut the door with exasperation.
She sat down beside him, reeking of cigarette smoke and hair spray. She
adjusted his collar and gave him a nervous smile. “You’re such a big
man now,” she said and patted his hair again.

The boy pointed to the man in the robe in the picture. “Mom, is that
boy that man’s son?”

“I don’t know, honey.” She picked up the same magazine again and
started ripping through it at lightning speed.

“What’s he doing with the knife, Mom?”

His mom gave a half smile and looked at the picture absentmindedly.
“He’s protecting his boy from someone who might hurt him. Stay still,
honey. Why is the doctor making us wait so long? If he doesn’t see us by
twelve, we’ll have to leave. He ought to pay us for making us wait.”

The boy studied the picture again.

“That’s Abraham, stupid,” the little girl stage-whispered from across
the room.

The boy looked at her and scowled. “Yeah, like you know.”

She stuck her tongue out at him and turned it upside down.

His mom backhanded a few more pages, put the magazine down, and looked
him in the eyes. She beamed. “Honey, I have a surprise for you. I’ve
been waiting to tell you, and I’ve been looking for the right moment. I
guess no moment is really the right moment. At 12:15 today we are going
to see Sammy again. He’s come back. He’ll be waiting for us at our
place. Isn’t that exciting? Everything will be different. You’ll be nice to
him, won’t you? Honey, don’t bite your thumbs, you’ll make them bleed

The boy wouldn’t look at his mom. He stared down at the picture of the
man with the knife. Then he looked up at the clock above the
receptionist. The little hand was close to the twelve and the big hand was on the
eight. He turned the page of the book and another page was torn out.
The next page after the torn one had a picture of a man sleeping with his
head on a rock. He didn’t have a beard and he looked scared. His robe
was a dull gray and looked dirty, but in the background, angels were
coming up and down out of the sky on a shimmering stairway.

“I want to camp out on my own like this guy does, away from everybody,
away from the house,” he told his mom.

“That’s sweet, honey,” she said as she finished the magazine again and
looked at her watch.

The little boy’s lips moved as he carefully scrutinized the words
beneath the picture of the man camping out. His eyes got wider. He traced a
word with his finger. He almost forgot where he was. “I want to be like
this guy,” he whispered.

A man in a suit breezed in and talked to the receptionist. Immediately
his mom sat up straighter. The man finished with the receptionist and
turned around and looked for a seat. His mom widened her eyes and smiled
at the man. He smiled back.

The next page of the book was also torn out. On the following page was
the best picture of all. A youth was wearing a beautiful robe with many
different stripes of colors. He seemed so happy and looked as though
nothing bad would ever happen to him. A man with a white beard was
smiling next to him in the picture. The boy stared at the colors in the book
for a long time. If he focused his eyes beyond the page, the colors
blurred together like rainbow ice cream. Somehow looking at it kept his
stomach from hurting so badly.

“Mom, I want a coat like this one.”

His mom looked at the picture for a moment. Her tone sounded much more
patient with him now that the new man was in the waiting room.
“Everybody wants a coat like that, honey. You’ll get yours one day.”

The little girl stretched her freckled face up as high as she could so
she could see the picture. “That’s Joseph, you toad,” she said hoarsely
from across the room. “Don’t you ever go to church?”

Her mother pulled her back close to her lap and said, “Hush.”

The boy looked at the clock. The big hand was on the nine. “Mom,
let’s just stay here. It’s nice and cool and our air conditioner
doesn’t work at home. I like looking at the books here. I like the fish.
Let’s just stay here and not go back home. It’s too hot there.”

His mom looked at her watch again. “Why are your hands so clammy,
sweetie? You’re making the book wet. What’s wrong with you? Stop biting your
thumb or you’ll make it bleed right before we see the doctor. Do you
want to get me into even more trouble?” She smiled at the man as she got
up and walked past him to the receptionist. “Could you tell me how much
longer it will be until we can see the doctor? I have another urgent
appointment.” She conferred with the receptionist for a few minutes in
hushed tones.

The boy found an envelope in the back of the book with all the colorful
pictures. It had bright green writing on it and a red border. The
envelope said you could send off for more books with other stories. The boy
looked up at the little girl across the room. She was yanking on her
mother’s sleeve and whispering something in her ear. She was probably
talking about the boy’s mom. While making sure the girl was still looking
at her own mom, he carefully folded the envelope once and put it in his
jean pocket.

The girl was staring insolently at him again. He wanted to do something
to the book. He wanted to add a character to protect the boy from the
father with the knife. He reached in his other pocket and pulled out
half a red crayon. He wanted to draw a picture in the book. He wanted to
put someone in there to help that angel keep that boy from getting cut,
but he knew that the girl on the opposite couch would never let him get
away with drawing in the book. He pulled out his stack of baseball
cards as she continued to stare. He carried only Yankees. He pulled his
prize Reggie Jackson card from the stack and began to place it in the book
but decided against it. He pulled out a relief pitcher, Dick Tidrow. He
would be a good enough guard to help the angel. Then he put the card
carefully in the page where the sad man was dressed in the long robe and
holding the knife. He made sure that the edge of the card was exactly
parallel to the edge of the book. He knew the girl was watching him. He
closed the book very slowly and with great respect. Very quietly, with
just one finger, he touched three sides of the book again, three times.
“One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three,” he said under his
breath. He put the book down gently on the table and then put both
hands on his stomach and doubled over until his head touched his knees. A
groan came out of him before he knew it.

The little girl sneered at him, “You’re nuts!” Her mom held her closer
and made a shushing sound.

The boy looked at the clock again as his mom plopped down on the sofa
with a snort. The big hand was already past the eleven. “Mom, let’s stay
here. We’ve already waited a long time. Let’s stay.”

“Straighten up, sweetie. Why are you bent over? Everything is going to
be fine. Soon we will see Sammy and everything will be different. It
won’t be like last time. You’ll see. Everything will be fine.” She looked
at her watch again then got up to talk to the receptionist. She seemed
to be talking faster and faster. Finally she marched back to her son
and said firmly, “We’re going now. We’ll have to come back another day.
Let’s go, honey. Straighten up and stop frowning.”

She grabbed his hand, but he grabbed the arm of the sofa with his other
hand. The arm of the sofa had padding on the top, but a metal support
on the side. It was just right for grabbing. She pulled and his knuckles
whitened. “Come on, sweetie, don’t be silly.” She smiled at the man and
the other mother. She was petite and could not get her son to loosen
his grip. He was small for an eleven-year-old, but his grasp was almost
as strong as his mother’s. She reached to loosen his grip with her hand,
but he simply grabbed the arm of the sofa with his other hand.

She smiled sweetly to the man and said, “Would you mind helping me,

He hesitated, got up awkwardly, and began to loosen the grip of the
other hand. The aquarium began to rumble like a volcano, and both the
receptionist and the other mother stood up. The boy was stretched out like
a cartoon as the mother pulled and the man pried his fingers from the
sofa. In the middle of the hubbub, the little girl came up to hold his
torso, as if to protect him from falling. Where her mother couldn’t see,
she grabbed the sensitive skin next to his ribs and pulled and twisted
at the same time as hard as she could.

In the tussle, the book with the men in robes fell to the floor and the
little girl slipped on it. The baseball card slid underneath the sofa.
The receptionist picked up the phone to call someone. The other mother
grabbed for her daughter. The little boy squealed a high squeal; he was
a desperate guinea pig grabbed by many hands.

Finally, the man got both hands loose, and his mom dragged him by the
torso and opened the door. He clutched at the frame of the door but
couldn’t hold on. By that time, some people in white coats came out with
the receptionist and shouted as his mom dragged him out to the steaming
parking lot. His mother roared back at them with a curse. He cried and
whimpered for help as he got one last glimpse of the girl looking out at
him from the waiting room window. She stood with her hands on her hips
and her tongue sticking out.

Until he ran away from home, a number of years later, the little boy
never went back to a doctor.

Deja Vu

I lead the worship in last Tuesday night’s service. While I was at the front of the church singing, I noticed a young lady standing in the congregation and I had such a feeling of déjà vu. As she stood there looking all belligerent and resentful it took right back to that first cell meeting I had gone to where God impacted my life so deeply. I had been spending a few days with my aunt and she had insisted that I go. I was not pleased. One of my favorite shows ‘The Nanny’ with Fran Drescher was on that night and I didn’t want to miss it.

When we arrived at the cell meeting the group was already on their knees, repenting before God, as was their practice before beginning the deliverance service. I slipped in the back of the room and tried to blend into the background, as was my practice. The leader, a prophetess, was praying out loud when suddenly she was saying, ‘The Lord is saying to someone here, I didn’t ask you to be here and no-one is forcing you to stay here. If you don’t want to be here you can leave.’ The words hit me like a sledgehammer to my chest. Fear and awe formed a tight ball in my chest and I found myself on my knees along with everyone else. By the end of the service when she prayed for me and ministered the words of God into my heart, I would never be the same again. Noone knew that it was me that the Lord had spoken to BUT I KNEW. Being the object of God’s attention was addictive and I wanted to be closer to this God that would speak so plainly to His people.

Reflecting on this moment I realized something very important. Some may look at these words as a harsh correction, even rejection but looking back I was able to see the hurt. It may be hard to accept that we have the ability to hurt God’s feelings but we do. As humans we would also be hurt if someone we loved felt forced or resentful being in our presence. How much more could our heavenly Father feel? He who sent His only Son to die for our sins? To think He loved me so much even then!

We didn’t have an altar call after the service but I hope I’ll get to church one day and see that young lady, happy and smiling to be in the presence of the Lord.