Who Says You Can’t Go Home Again?

WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN?

I recently had the pleasure of visiting central (rural) Idaho, the setting for The Imperfect Series. We drove down through Montana to Salmon, Idaho, on to Challis, and past the fictional location of Hastings Bluff.

{Hastings Bluff is named not for a water feature, but for a savvy card shark😊)

Route 93 followed the Salmon River, sometimes a burbling brook, while other times it broached a Class III rapids river. Whatever form it took. The River was stunning as it wound through the wide valleys and canyons in sweeping “S” curves.

The pictures I took garnered tons of comments from my readers: “Wow, it looks exactly like I pictured it,” and “You nailed the description. I recognized the landscape right away!”

Words an author never tires of hearing.

As we drove through the Lost River Mountain Range, I relived scene after scene from each of my books. Even my honey got into the zone with questions and 

comments like, “Is this where Cassie hog tied Derek by the

side of the road?” and “This looks like it might be the entrance to the ranch, where Lucy had to make the crazy turn to escape the stalker shooting at her,” and “I can picture the little town square, the diner, and the sheriff’s office right there.”

Writers are the luckiest people in the world. We have extended families and can visit with them anytime, anywhere.

I thoroughly enjoyed my “family reunion.”

Get IMPERFECT WINGS here:

 

The Last Bastion of Unity

The people of America have always been opinionated and divided on issues.

We have liberals, conservatives, and an unknown number of other political attitudes. We have  Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Islamists, Wiccans, Satanists, and a wide variety of professed religions. There are Irish living in our land, English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Mexicans, Italians, Asian Indians, American Indians, Russians, Africans, South Americans, and every culture you can name.

We have entrepreneurs and minimum wage-earners, self-employed workers and government-funded jobs, employed and those on welfare, homeowners and the homeless. And let’s not forget the straights, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, etc. But through all the years of disagreements, we’ve always had one unifying symbol – the American flag.

Now, for the first time in our history and thanks to a ridiculously tiny percentage of overindulged, self-entitled, arrogant athletes, our flag and the anthem that honors our heritage is under attack.

The flag did not fall in the heat of battle two centuries ago. Instead it provided a beacon of hope and courage to those who fought for freedom.

The flag did not fall in any of the wars that touched us, not even the World Wars when the whole world looked to the United States to save them. It provided a reminder of loved ones left behind and the reason men and women chose to stand in the way of death and danger.

The flag did not fail us in our time of shock and grief after September 11, 2001. On the contrary, it provided a rallying point for all Americans and America’s friends and neighbors. Flag sales rose more than 1,000% during that dark time, and people flew them on their homes, their cars, their bicycles. They carried them when walking, wore them on shirts, pins, scarves, and hats. We waved them proudly and with conviction.

Recently, volunteers from all over our great country hurried forth at their own expense to help the hurricane victims in Texas and Florida. The Cajun Navy, the Texas Armada, hunters from Arkansas, fishermen from the coastal states, business owners from New Mexico, churches in Georgia, communities in Alabama, firemen from Tennessee, policemen from Florida, EMTS, veterinarians, teachers, preachers – all pitched in to save lives, to help those in need. Interesting to note, a large majority of these volunteer rescue workers flew the American flag on their boats and vehicles. Because that’s who we are, Americans who help those in need.

So how did we get to today where a few spoiled athletes can stir up such a controversy? These ingrates contribute nothing of value to the country. They’re entertainers, for Pete’s sake. They perform for our pleasure, just like the actors and self-professed elites of Hollywood. Like the politicians who’ve made a career of serving themselves. And like the media whose news coverage has sunk to tabloid reporting.

Let me repeat – These are athletes (actors, politicians, media) performing for our pleasure.

If we don’t like what they do, we stop supporting them. And soon they don’t get paid! It’s as simple as the law of supply and demand.

The good news is that Americans have stepped up in mass. This past Sunday Night Football game (9/24) garnered the lowest television viewership since 2001! The proverbial line in the sand has been drawn.

Enough is enough.

Love Thy Neighbor

I was deeply touched by this story of an older white woman at Walmart who got dizzy and fell. When the store’s staff came to her aid, they insisted she remain seated on the floor until the paramedics arrived. One of the store employees, a young, black man, took it upon himself to sit on the floor with her. He offered his body for her to lean against as a simple back support.

Georgia Walmart Employee Helps Elderly Lady

There are so many lessons to be learned from his one small action, both Christian and humanitarian:

– The young man recognized a need.
– He acted immediately, without being told.
– He met the woman where she was, on the floor, when and where she needed help.
– He showed compassion.
– He made a connection.
– He did what he could.

Despite the difference of their skin color, there are no racial undertones here. This was love shown in the truest Biblical sense – not the emotional kind that’s gone amok in our country, mind you. This was the actionable kind rising from a compassionate heart. We need more of this type of love.

“LOVE MORE. HATE LESS.” You’ve heard the chants being thrown out from both sides of what I’ve dubbed The Great American Divide. Well, here’s how you do it. This young man’s one simple act shows us how. It starts inside each one of us.

At my church, Sunrise Baptist Church, we like to say, “It’s #CoolToBeKind. Try it. It’s easier than you think, and carries everlasting repercussions and rewards.

Autoimmune Disease – It’s Forever!

Do you or a loved one suffer from an autoimmune disease? Do you even know what autoimmune disease is?

Just to be clear, an autoimmune disorder is not a cold or the flu. It’s not “all in your head,” and It never goes away. You never get better. Drugs, diet, and exercise may help, but there is no cure.

Autoimmune disease is a disorder that occurs when our body’s immune response acts against healthy tissues by mistake. This response can take many forms, and today there are more than 80 identified autoimmune disorders that adversely affect more than 23 million Americans.

I don’t test my friends, so I’m not asking you to “like” or even “share” this, but I do feel it is important to help spread awareness for those who suffer daily (and quietly) with a chronic illness.

Some identified autoimmune disorders include: Sarcoidosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Graves Disease, Cushing’s, Addison’s, Hepatitis, Hashimoto’s, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac, Crohns, IBD, MS, PBC,CIDP, Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Vasculitis, Ulcerative colitis, Fibromyalgia, MCTD, and many others not named here.

The next time you ask a friend or co-worker how they are, and they answer, “I’m fine,” take a closer look. Are there pain lines etched around their eyes? Chances are, they’re one of those 23 million Americans suffering in silence.

💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚

A Hint of Our Origins

Life was sweet. Until it wasn’t.

I used this melodramatic statement on the jacket of my recently released book, Imperfect Lies.  For several of the characters in the story, life went from everything they wanted to nothing they wanted or could have imagined. All in the blink of an eye.

I’ve thought about this statement a lot since penning it—Life was sweet. Until it wasn’t—and came to the realization that this has been the theme down through the ages. Just as we get our life right where we want it—boom! Life happens. Plans go awry and once again we’re reminded  we aren’t in control. Even so, we pick up the pieces, put them back together best we can, and try again to put everything in order … until it happens again.

Why does this happen over and over?

Let’s travel back through the ages, to the very beginning of time. According to the first words in the Bible (Genesis 1:1 NKJV), In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Read on and you learn that God created light to illumine the darkness, and it was good. He created day and night, the seas and land. He covered the dry land with vegetation and created animals. He added creatures to the sea, and fowl to fly through the air. He made the sun and moon and stars. 

And then God created man in His own image. And indeed, it was very good (Genesis 1:31).

Until it wasn’t.

Satan set the course for all mankind the day he came into the garden. He added wrong to right, evil to goodness, and ugliness to the beauty God had created. And yes, God loved his creation, mankind, enough that he allowed them to make choices. They chose wrong, and devastating as the consequences were, He allowed man (us) to err, to suffer, and hopefully learn from the consequences.

My old grandmother used to say, “Some lessons are harder learned than others.” I believe the lesson from the Garden of Eden is the ultimate lesson: to obey God’s commands. It’s one we continue to struggle with today.

God still gives us hints of the life he meant for us, though; reminders of how sweet life with Him can be. Think about the peace and serenity of a quiet lake. The soft colors of sunrise and a majestic fiery sunset. A baby’s coo. A snow-covered mountain. A child’s laughter. The clean, fresh scent of the earth after a cleansing rain. The kiss of a loved one. Skin warmed by bright sunshine. White sand. A blue-green ocean. Insects chirping at nightfall. Birds singing with joy. The smile of an aged grandmother. Clouds. Rainbows. And the vast magnificence of the heavens.

Yes, the heavens. All we have to do is look up with open eyes to see the splendor of creation. The stars, sun and moon, the comets and eclipses—all signs to draw our eyes, minds, and hearts to Jesus.

Time and again through scripture, whenever the people looked up, the Lord God Almighty answered, because life is sweet … when we keep our eyes on the Lord.

 

 

On Suspense with Marji Laine Clubhine and Elizabeth Noyes

Along Came a Writer – Down Publisning Laine

I had a blast with Marji Laine Clubhine on her blog/talk/radio show, Down Publishing Laine, August 1st. Not only did we talk about my latest book, Imperfect Lies, we spent a great deal of time talking about writing in general and the genre of suspense in particular.

If you’re an aspiring writer or an already established writer, I think you’ll find this interview to be interesting, enlightening, and thought-provoking. You can listen to it here:

Publishing Laine: On Suspense with Guest Elizabeth Noyes