Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore has it right. It IS an inconvenient truth.

Right title. Wrong subject.

Global warming is a distraction. Not that we shouldn't care about our environment! We should. I was a great fan of the weeping Indian in the '70s commercial. Remember that one? He as standing by a stream littered with garbage.

Gore's movie, for whatever reason, has an agenda. He's not interested in presenting both sides of the Global Warming aisle. He wants us to believe it's happening, hands down, no doubt. But there is as much evidence that global warming is cyclical as whatever evidence Gore presents in his movie.

But I'm not really interested in discussing global warming here.

I want to discuss the REAL inconvenient truth.

And that's the God-Man, Jesus, the Christ.

What the world REALLY doesn't want to face and deal with is who this Man says He is - the Savior. He is Lord.

He's quoted saying the following things:

"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

" I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

"For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

So here's what we have to ask ourselves. Is He for real or not? Is the Jesus, a supposed great prophet, lying? Is He a lunatic?

Or, is He who He says He is? Is He the God who left the splendor of Heaven to take on the form of Man (for ALL eternity) and then give His life for our salvation. For our sins.

Did He really allow God the Father to put the sins of the world on Him?

History says He did.

The truth is, and it's inconvenient to atheists, agnostics, other religions, but Jesus is Lord. We all have to decide this. We have to face Him, look at His life and wonder, "Do I need to believe."

Look. Most religions are about mankind become like God. Mankind appeasing God. Or mankind making a way to God.

Belief in Jesus is the exact opposite. God becoming mankind (His creation), God appeasing Himself WITH Himself, and God making a way for mankind to come to Him.

All we have to do is believe an inconvenient truth - Jesus is Lord.

Al Gore's movie is asking us to believe an inconvenient truth that has less evidence than the life and sacrifice of Jesus.

It takes more faith to believe what Gore's put on celluloid than to pick up a Bible, ask for understand and read a couple of the Gospels.

Are you determined to believe an inconvenient truth?

Believe in Jesus.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The sound of my friend

A friend of mine plays bass. In fact, I have several friends who play bass. But on this one particular day, I was listening to a song called "Glorious Throne" by Alisha Powell from the International House of Prayer-KC.

The song is upbeat with a lot of funk. Pretty good for a white girl. There's a vamp bridge in the song with drums, congas and bass.

The bass is grooving and breaking it down. I'm dancing in my car when I suddenly recognize the technique and style of my friend, Stuart.

He's got to be playing the bass on this song. I watched and listened to Stu play bass for seven years. Has to be him. There's a certain pop he has....

I asked his brother-in-law the next day at church. Sure enough. Stu plays bass on the song.

We recognize people by their voice, handwriting, walk, gestures, even dress. But what other subtleties do we know of our friends and family that make us recognize them?

The sound of their footsteps. A sigh? A riff on a guitar or bass? Drumming. I bet I could pick out my boy Eric's drum playing.

One time in my corp job, there was a person sending anonymous emails about the good things people were doing on the job. Caught in the Act or something like that.

Of course, everyone wanted to know who was sending the emails. We whispered and guessed. Upper management knew, but never spilled the beans.

But, we all worked together. The tone of the email was the tone of our co-worker. And I figured it out.

So be careful. You may think you're sending an anonymous email, but if the receiving person knows you, they may just hear your voice in the words you write.

My friends and family tell me all the time, "When I read your books, I can see and hear you."

Anyway, my friend Stu has a bass sound distinctly his. Pretty cool.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Making a Case

Pardon me while I make a case, from the Word. Hang with me, this is interesting. Promise.

In Numbers 27, the daughters of Zelophehad went to Moses and said, "Hey, just because we're girls we don't think we should lose out on our fathers inheritance."

They made their case. Our dad died. He was a righteous man, and why should his name be cut off because he had no son?

Moses goes, "Hum, I'll talk to God."

Know what God said, "They are right. Give them their inheritance with all the others."

This is incredible at so many levels. First of all, the daughters showed wisdom. They knew their father's name did not deserve to be cut off, thus recognizing justice.

Unlike how many women would react today, the submitted to the proper authority and justice channels. They humbled themselves and went to Moses, and pleaded their cases.

They trusted God to look out for them when technically, maybe they didn't get an inheritance with their father's brothers.

And the thing is, no one was offering. Hey, want us to give you your Dad's land?

No, they had to SEEK it! They had to have vision and hope and dreams.

God honored them. He said, they are right.

Had they not been bold, yet humble, they would've never gotten an inheritance with their father's brothers. They would've been left out.

They didn't give into their "position" as woman or daughters, they sought justice.
They hoped in God.

My guess is they changed their lives and destiny. Instead of being poor and waiting on a husband, they had land, they hand an INHERITANCE.

What are you doing to lay hold of your inheritance? Are you waiting for someone to hand it to you? Waiting for someone to recognize injustice and go, "Oh, we're sorry, here."

I think God knew all along they deserved their father's inheritance, but he waited to see if they would come and ask.

Don't wait. Ask. Humbly. You also notice they didn't do a libber thing on Moses and God, spouting in justice to woman and unfairness and needing equal rights and compensation.

They didn't overplay their hand. Wisdom!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

John Elway Furniture

I'm driving home from an errand this morning and hear an ad on the radio for John Elway Furniture at SAMS Club.

Really? John Elway, the Hall of Fame quarterback? Has a furniture collection? Did he design it?

I thought it was a little hokey when Cindy Crawford teamed up with Rooms To Go with a signature line of furniture, but John Elway?

The parent company is Bassett. So, I picture myself sitting around the board room table at Bassett Corporate going, "Sales are down folks. What are we going to do to jump start our growth? We need a name, a gimmick..." Snap, snap, snap of fingers. "Think people, think."

"Hey, I know," says young, eager marketing exec. "Let's call a football player and design a signature line of furniture."

"Yeah, that's the ticket." More finger snapping. "Someone famous."

"John Elway."

Okay, maybe it didn't go down quite like that, or maybe John Elway was on the golf course one day and said, "Hum, I'd like to design furniture. Or at least have my name on a line of furniture."

Does it make me run out and buy furniture from Sam's? No! It feels insincere really. I'm curious, but not intrigued. Not motivated to buy.

Now, a line of sportswear or footballs for the kids, or even a BBQ grill or something, but inside the house furniture. Nope. Do not buy it.

Now, say, Nate Berkus comes along with a signature like of furniture for Sam's, I'm buying it. Interestingly enough, you don't see Nike signing up Nate to launch a signature sportswear line or footballs.

I thought the purpose of using a Celeb in marketing was to capitalize on their association with certain things - say sports, or decorating, or music.

It'd be like me asking John Elway or Nate Berkus to endorse one of my books. Cool, but really? No one is going to buy it cause what do they have to do with southern chick lit.

I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Failure is not falling short. Failure is not measuring up to how or who I want to me.

Failure is quitting because of those things. "If I can't be the best, I won't be at all."

So I press on.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weddings, Celebrations, Life

We went to a wedding tonight. It was lovely and sweet, but it was during the reception when people were talking and dancing that the celebration began.

Maybe because I'm in deep-dark-writing-mode and don't get out much, but it was fun to laugh and talk, dance a little, eat a little.

Have cake. I love cake.

On the way home, I told Tony, "We don't celebrate enough."

We being Tony and me, sure, but people, the church. Ancient cultures took days, even weeks to celebrate. Not just some, but all. Businesses closed, activity stopped.

To celebrate.

Even Biblically we see a call to celebrations.

If you don't have a wedding or party event coming up soon, plan one. Invite friends and family.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Not to be political, but...

This site isn't a political forum. It's about me, because well, it's all about mmeeee!

If you don't know me in person, that last line is not funny in blogosphere, but in real life? A hoot! I promise! Actually, it's all about Jesus. I'm NO fool.

Okay, back to the not-so-political post. I'm not going to draw lines and talk here about who you should vote for and why. But I have to address something I've seen over and over in recent months, especially concerning the charismatic Jr. Senator from Illinois, Obama.

People are saying things like, "I don't care what he believes. I don't care who raised him. I don't care about his religion. He's going to bring us all together."

To this I say, if you don't care about the core of man, then what are you voting for? In any candidate? With what values is he going to create and execute policy and decisions? You HAVE to care what he believes, his values, his core strengths. That is, in essence, Obama. Or Hilary, or George W.

How can a man be a man if his values and character don't matter? Especially in the areas of faith. That's what ultimately moves all of us! Our passions.

YOU have to care about a presidential candidate's faith, upbringing, values and character. It is those tools he will use, if President, to bring the country together. What will we look like at the end of the day?

Is he easily swayed? Is he a people pleaser? Can he be trusted to carry the "football?" Can he deal with our terrorist enemies if he has close ties to the Muslim faith?

We cannot lose our heads over nice, extremely charismatic candidates. I see too many people blindly throwing their support. It's emotional. I know. I've felt it.

And we live in an extremely emotionally driven society. I feel, therefore, I am.

My challenge is to think a little, investigate. Read history. We have a world behind us who blindly followed charismatic leaders. Hitler in retrospect, was a tyrant, but he swayed the masses.

No, I'm not calling Obama, or any candidate, Hitler, not at all! But I'm calling attention to the fact that the German people never looked closely at the man they blindly followed. By the time they did, it was too late. To speak out cost them their lives.

Vote for whomever! But I challenge you to NOT dismiss a man's values and faith, his upbringing and culture. On surface issues, you may agree with a candidate on abortion, taxes, immigration, the war, or whatever.

But each Presidential adminstration does not effect just his years in office, but for generations to come. Will we remain the American you want your children to be raised in? Land of the FREE, home of the Brave?

We are in a war. Think about where this nation will be if we elect a leader sympathic to our enemies.

Ladies, how do you feel about wearing a black burka? In July. At the beach?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Two other Crosses

Two men were crucified with Jesus. Criminals condemned for their deeds and Scripture was fulfilled, "He was number among the transgressors."

One of the criminals hurled insults at Jesus. Condemned to the same death, his pride caused him to join the crowd in taunting Him.

The other criminal rebuked him, "Do you not fear God?" Then he cried out to Jesus, "Remember me when you come into Your kingdom."

How amazing. He showed both faith and humility.

Jesus' answer moves me. "Today, (today!) you will be with me in paradise."

This picture of the crucifixion is a powerful life picture. All of us will face the cross - believers and unbelievers alike.

For the one criminal, he chose pride and the cross of death. The second criminal chose the way of humility and the cross of life.

How many will come face-to-face with the Cross of Jesus and reject it? It's frightening.

Oh, to be like the second man and cry out, "Remember me Jesus."

Do we recognize the power of the cross? Are we angry at Jesus? Hurling insults out of hurt or pride? It only leads to death.

Whether we believe in Jesus or not, all of us go the way of the cross. It cannot be escaped.

Which criminal do you relate to?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Easy like Sunday morning

Great words from a great tune by the Commodors.

Cause I'm easy/easy like Sunday morning

I don't know about you guys, but Sunday mornings are anything but easy for me. Up at 7:00, off to church by 7:40, prep for worship, pray, practice worship, lead worship, listen to sermon, get back up for closing song, wait for Tony to do finances, go to lunch.

2:30, home.

Long day.

I try to take the afternoon/evening off and get rested for the rest of the week. I got a lot of writing done yesterday, but have a ways to go.

Tony and I had fun at lunch brainstorming the next book. Yeah, I know, I'm far from done with this one, but I wanted to toss out ideas so I could leave this book open for a sequel if I we want.

Caroline Sweeney is my new character and she's pretty cool. A mixture of Lost In NashVegas' Robin McAfee and Diva NashVegas' Aubrey James.

It takes me a long time to like my characters no matter how many times I "talk" to them or write bios and scenes with them. She's finally clicking with me.

I also was having a hard time bringing in the hero, but I managed to do that last week in a manner I like and feels smooth to the flow of the story.

Diva NashVegas has two points of view. Aubrey and the hero's, Scott's. I thought I'd include the hero's point of view in Sweet Caroline, but as I work through the story, it's not necessary.

In Diva, Scott is the interviewer and his POV adds a lot.

Writing is an awesome career and at times, I can't believe God has so blessed me. I love my job, my publisher and editor, and ultimately, I love my stories. There's something deeply satisfying to writing. It touches a part of me nothing else in this life touches.

Hope you all are having a wonderful Sunday.

(pic of one of my "sons" Eric Exley, 3, many years ago.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings

From the brain of Tony:

Proverbs 25:28 says, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls."

A city without walls can function as well as any other city - except when attacked. You could live in that city with an illusion of safety, never realizing you were completely defenseless until it was too late.

Works fine if you have no enemies, or for as long as you can pretend no one wants to harm you. Works fine if you live in the fantasy world that people are basically good.

But we all have an enemy, even God. And His enemy wants to take it out on us.

So what does ruling our own spirit have to do with it? Understand that in our battle against Satan, truth is our greatest weapon, and the realm of emotions is his home field.

Continuing with the sports metaphor, athletes often try to manipulate their opponents emotions. It's a way to gain control over them, get them out of their game, cause them to fall for your fakes.

Think about it. If I can make you angry, you've just given me control of your emotions. This verse is saying that whoever cannot control their emotions is defenseless, easily controlled and manipulated by others.

I'm not saying we shouldn't have feelings. God has emotions, and He's made us in His image with the capacity to feel deeply. But emotions are tricky things. What we feel may not be truth. And we get in trouble when we let our emotions triumph over character and reason.

I'm very concerned that our culture has become more emotional than rational, where how someone feels about a situation is more important than reasoning out a solution.

I see the hand of God's enemy in it, obscuring truth and drawing our nation toward lawlessness. But I'm not falling for it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Reclaiming Nick, by Susan May Warren

It's my privilege to host Susan May Warren on my blog as part of her Reclaiming Nick blog tour! I've known Susie for a couple of years, and have become good friends.

Susie is an extroverts of extroverts. She is lively and full of energy. Always smiling. She loves to help and mentor authors, and has been an anchor on the other side of the phone when I doubted my stories.

Reclaiming Nick is the first in her Noble Legacy series by Tyndale Publishers. I have a special interest in this story because in September of '05, Susie and I sat outside at the Frothy Monkey in Nashville, a few days before the start of the ACFW conference, and brainstormed Reclaiming Nick. Had a blast. And, unlike me, Susie actually sticks with what she brainstorms.

Besides being a great author, Susie is a true lover of Jesus. I'm always challenged by her heart to weave spiritual depth in her books. Her eyes are full of passion when she talks about spiritual truths, and what she sees in Scripture. Susie desperately wants the Lord to be the center of her life and work.

What I love about Reclaiming Nick is the way Susie puts the reader "in the moment." She expertly weaves the five senses into her stories - sight, sound, smell, taste and touch - so the reader can believe they are on a Montana ranch.

She also uses great pacing and phrasing in her work.

Run, don't walk to your nearest bookstore and buy "Reclaiming Nick." Support the ARTS!

Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of seventeen novels and novellas with Tyndale, Steeple Hill and Barbour Publishing. Her first book, Happily Ever After won the American Fiction Christian Writers Book of the Year in 2003, and was a 2003 Christy Award finalist. In Sheep's Clothing, a thriller set in Russia , was a 2006 Christy Award finalist and won the 2006 Inspirational Reader's Choice award. A former missionary to Russia, Susan May Warren now writes Suspense/Romance and Chick Lit full time from her home in northern Minnesota.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

We took down the beast

All right, I've had enough. The beast, er, the Christmas tree must come down. I woke up with writing on my mind, took Pal for a walk, (man it's hot for January) and came home ready to fritter away some time until I could get up the courage to write.

Tony and I started talking about going for some lunch, running some errands, and I tossed out, taking down the faux tree.

Then, we had a good idea. (Bling!) Just move the tree, ornaments and all into the guest bedroom, stick it in the corner and ta-da, we're practically set for next year.

Here we go.

I hold the top while Tony picks up the bottom part of the tree. We have to be careful or it will come apart. The tree is at a thirty degree angle as we inch our way across the living room.

Ornaments are falling all over the place.

We pass the couch and more ornaments crash to the carpet.

As we shove the tree down the hallway, ornaments litter the floor and we haven't even gotten to the narrow bedroom door.

"Abort mission. It's not working."

While I pack up ornaments, a chore I was somehow hoping to avoid, Tony mushed and smashed the tree into the tree bag - the thing is a beast - and lugged it down the hall to the bedroom.

There it sits in the corner, just like we planned. Only not so much.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Sassin, Frassin, Rassin

I just spent over an hour working on MySpace. Oops. I mean frittered away valuable… No, I just invested time in… marketing and networking! Yeah, that's it. Marketing.

Shew, for a minute there I thought I wasted sixty minutes of valuable writing time.

But, no I'm good.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ah, ha!

I asked God to connect with our local friends again. Tonight, Tony called around 4:30 and though I still had some writing to do, he said our friend Ted invited us over for dinner with several other folks.


We had a great time. As always when with Ted and Linda, the night was encouraging. Ted's son Josh broke out the guitar and an hour later, we're all warm and fuzzy with His grace.

Also called a friend to run my new story ending past her. She approved. Then she ran a story idea past me. Nothing like calling a writer friend last minute, out of the blue and go, "Hey, what do you think about this?"

And it was good to give back. Brainstorming is so fun.

Well, off to bed so I can get up and work.

Peace out.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Welcome back, routine

I love holiday. I love vacation and Christmas break, but oh, I so welcome back the routine.

We woke up this morning, went to prayer. I came home and got to thinking/writing, moving my work into the living room and building a fire. It's not that cold here. Okay, it's not cold at all, but the day was grey and called for a fire.

I love routine, though I'm not a freak about it, nor am I anal. But, I love getting up, going to work, or whatever. I have no problem breaking a routine, but I do feel like the world is in balance we we all "go back to work."

Wrote 3000 words today. One scene brought tears to my eyes. There's always one of those scenes, when whoosh, God shows up and I know this is His heart of the story.

Movie Reviews

We caught up on movies over the Christmas season. Here's my review.

Mission Impossible 2 - Tony liked, I got bored. Yeah, there was a lot of action, but the story never captured me.

Firewall - Okay for a rental, but irritating story because the criminals never stated their crime outright. We just figured it out as the movie rolled on.

Glory Road - I love sports movies. I loved the story behind Glory Road, but did not like the moive. We never got to know the characters enough to care.

Invinsible - Story of a Philadelpia Eagles walk on in the '70s. Great movie. Loved it.

Holiday - A chick flick, but Tony enjoyed it. Wonderful, feel good movie with shallow moral values. Good rental.

We Are Marshall - Third and the best of the sports movies. We really felt the pain of the town when the players were lost in a crash. Matthew McConaughey did a fab job of playing the new head coach after the crash. Highly recommend.

Dreamgirls - Beyonce is beautiful. Jennifer Hudson had a fine acting debut even if her character was annoyingly stubborn. Great job by Jamie Fox and Eddie Murphy. But the moive was so tedious with all the songs. Seems all they did was just put the Broadway play on film. At the end, I was bored and ready to leave. Did not care about the characters that much and was happy to say good-bye to them. Good rental if you can fast forward.

Eragon - Tony saw this while I watched Dreamgirls with my friend Sheree. He said it was fun, worth seeing, but wished he hadn't read the book first. I heard that from several people. Might be a good rental.

Okay, and that's all from Hauck & Hauck at the movies. :) We won't see this many movies the rest of the year, probably.

Peace out.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Moral Excellence

Tony taught out of 2 Peter 1: 3 - 12 yesterday. He did what he does so well, open up the scripture so we see there's more to this life.

What stood out to Tony was diligence. How we need to be diligent to pursue Him.

What stood out to me was moral excellence. We are called to moral excellence. We are called to tap into the divine.

So, why do we spend so much time identifying with moral mediocrity. Is there a gene that makes us behave subpar? I don't think so. We've gotten lazy. We like excuses.

Do you struggle with sin? Stop looking for an excuse. Press into the One who overcame sin and strive for moral excellence.

Think about it, can we really be conformed to the image of Christ and still identify with sin?

For example, perhaps you struggle with sexual sin. And let me say, all sex outside of marriage is Biblically classified as sin. I don't care if you've lusted for the same-sex persons or opposite-sex persons your whole life.

It's still sin if you act on it. And guess what, it's sin if you identify with it. The struggle isn't sin, the agreement is.

If you struggle with lying, the struggle can be won by identifying with Jesus, and pressing into Him and agreeing with what He says about you. But if you agree with lying, then it's sin.

If you go around knocking yourself down, wallowing in self-pity, "No body likes me, every body hates me," you're agreeing with a lie. Thus lying to yourself.

We are called to so much more IN this life. We can tap into the divine and see it manifest in our lives.

We can be morally excellent. Not proud. Not judgemental. But excellent.

Listen, I have compassion for anyone struggling with sin or battling negative emotions. I do not judge.

What I don't like is the answers to these struggles. "It's just the way I am." Or, "This is all God has for me, ho-hum."

No! He has more. In this life. Read 2 Peter 1:3-12. Ask God to open it to you.

Make 2007 a year of identifying with moral excellence, believing with a little diligence and getting to know Him more, your life, even your emotions will be changed!