Out-Poured

 

When darkness claims the day,
And sadness won’t go away,
When God seems so far,
And clouds cover every star,
When doubt and fear close in,
And you feel you just can’t win,
When friends are lost,
And you don’t know the cost,

That’s when faith can grow,
And God’s light will show.
It’s sometimes the harder path,
Where we feel the world’s wrath,
So much suffering and pain,
Wondering what there is to gain,
That teaches us what matters,
Even when our spirit is in tatters.
There is no price for love,
Heaven-sent from above.
Keep your feet on the ground,
And strength will abound,
But hold fast to the Lord
And His mercy out-poured.

I wrote this for all those who are going through hard times, especially feeling alone and/or sad at Christmas. Remember Who loves you! I pray for you always. 

All These Things I Believe

 

God calls us Home,
Each in His own time,
And that is why life is precious.
Do not fill your days with worry and fear,
But rather, be grateful for the life given you.
Mourn lost loved ones,
But rest safely in the comfort of knowing they are with their Lord.
Do not bemoan getting older;
Each year is another gift from God.
It’s true that life is short,
So don’t waste time on anger, bitterness, and all forms of negativity.
Blessings surround you more than you know;
Embrace them.
The pain and suffering of this world cannot compare to the One who has overcome the world.
You are God’s precious child,
Deserving of love like everyone.
All these things I believe.

Review of Hope Dies Last: An Alaskan Adventure by Megan Webb

hopeWhen I started reading Megan Webb’s book, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The main character, Mekana, works in a pet store in New Mexico and lives in an apartment with her sister, Bird.  The sisters are obviously close and love quoting movies, being goofy, and having fun.  While Bird is outgoing and easily has fun with people, Mekana is full of doubt and quiet.  Her uneasiness around men has made is hard for her to have a boyfriend.

She has a sweet dog called Chili Dog and a mostly aloof cat named Snowbeast.  Her life seems pretty ordinary.  With the slow beginning to the book, I was wondering how Mekana would get wrapped up in the adventure the title promises.

A chatty friend named Chessie comes for a visit and insists on Mekana flying with her to Alaska for a funeral.  Bird and Chessie are both convinced that a trip to Alaska is just what shy Mekana needs–a chance to get out there and explore, maybe even have an adventure.

Things continue to be pretty mundane for Mekana as she and Chessie attend the funeral, but then Mekana meets a strange older lady and a handsome bodyguard-like man at the reception after the funeral.  Nothing comes of this, at least the reader thinks.

Mekana and Chessie decide to go on a small plane tour next, but Chessie gets sick from some bad cheese at the funeral.  Mekana boards the plane alone, joining a few others.  Just as the pilot gets on, two men and the old lady from the funeral suddenly show up–and the men have the old woman at gunpoint!  They seemingly hijack the plane, and things start to get interesting.

The heist turns out to be staged–a way for the older lady, Tabitha, to fake her death.  She is trying to escape from someone who works for her company.  She owns a company that makes cures, but sometimes things go wrong, and a stray ingredient renders a cure into a poison.  A man who works for her has died from an accidental poison he created, and another employee wishes to exploit Tabitha and wants to ingredient that make the lethal substance.  This is all backstory.

The small plane winds up crashing in a canyon, however–which wasn’t part of the plan.  This is where the adventure really starts, albeit a quarter of a way into the book.  Mekana is with strangers in a place where they can’t seem to find a way out.  The plane sinks to the bottom of a river, and the only way out is too narrow for passage on a raft on the turbulent waters.  

The group must learn to cooperate to survive in the wilderness as they wait for a rescue that may not ever come, since it isn’t clear if the black box in the plane sent a signal of their distress.  Tabitha turns out to be a grandmotherly type figure for Mekana, and they become friends.  Brody, the bodyguard-like man from the funeral, is gruff but gentle.  Mekana and he start to develop feelings for each other.

As the days pass and no rescue arrives, tension grows.  The real worry of survival increases.  Bears surround the small camp.

The author clearly knows a thing or two about surviving in the wilderness by the details she gives.  This is not only a nice touch but a vital one to make a story like this realistic and believable.

Also, Megan Webb’s faith plays an important role in her story.  Mekana, who admits to herself as not having prayed much lately, begins to talk with God more while they are stranded.  Her faith in God to protect them and deliver them through this tough time is what keeps her going when things get rough.

There are many lovely passages in Megan Webb’s writing in regards to faith and being outdoors.  Her story is an adventure with elements of Christian literature and romance.

You might be wondering if they are rescued or how this would even happen.  Even if there is a rescue, the book delivers a satisfying twist at the end that wasn’t expected.  In spite of that excitement, I would have liked to have seen more development after the climax in the resolution, as it felt rushed.  So much led up to the climax that there still seemed to be more to wrap up at the end, and I felt like I wanted or needed more.

Overall, this is a good story, and being Christian myself, I appreciate the faith elements.  

4 out of 5 stars

Buy Megan’s book here.

Like what you’ve read?  Please subscribe to my blog, where I post a new blog every Friday, including book reviews.

My new novel, Lorna versus Laura, is available for only $2.99 here.

My first novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful,  is available for $3.99 here.

Character Friday – Meet Hannah Rechthart Grunner

Hello there, I’m Hannah Rechthart Grunner.  Someone thought it would be a good idea for me to write down a bit about myself, so here it is.  I don’t know how exciting my life has been, but it’s been a good life, ups and downs and all.

I was born on April 12, 1912 to Gus and Lucy Rechthart in Cleveland, Ohio.  They already had three children — my older sister, Amy, and my brothers, Erik and Harry.  Growing up, even though Amy was ten years older than me, we banded together.  My brothers were always joking around, especially Harry, mostly driving me crazy.  When Ma became pregnant years later, we were all surprised, but I was overjoyed to have a younger sister, Irma.  I was ten years old when she made her debut into the world.

Our family life kept me on my toes.  There was rarely a dull moment in the Rechthart household.  With five children, we were a noisy, rowdy bunch.  We weren’t rich, but we didn’t lack for anything.  Ma baked bread every Saturday and was the queen of her kitchen (and made sure we all knew it).  Pa was the old softie, especially toward his daughters.  He worked long, hard hours at his trucking and delivery business.

When I wasn’t being kept busy picking berries, feeding the hens, or doing some sort of chore, I was with my friends in the neighborhood.  There was a group of girls who I was the ringleader of, but sisters Louisa and Rosemary were my closest friends.  While Rosemary was a couple of years younger than us and rather shy, Louisa was my age and outspoken.  We argued often, but we had each other’s backs.  I’ll never forget all the times we girls spied on the boys as they skinny-dipped!  I also pulled the fire alarm in the school when I was in eighth grade — something I would never dreamed of doing if it hadn’t been for Louisa!

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Hannah Rechthart Grunner – main character

I guess you could say that I was the “good girl.”  I worked hard, got good grades, and rarely got into trouble.  My dark blonde hair and hazel eyes may have matched Amy’s, but I never had her confidence around boys.  When I was out of high school, that was the first time I began dating seriously.  I worked as a secretary and met a young woman named Kat.  Kat was a few years older than me and introduced me to her brother, Will.  Harry and I had actually grown quite close in the past few years leading up to the end of high school for me, and I told Kat about my crazy brother.  We were double dating for several months, but those times were short-lived.  Harry, who always knew how to have a good time, had too much of a good time and developed an alcohol problem.  

Worse than that, his alcoholism landed him in jail because something really, really terrible happened.  I hate to even mention it, but years later, he was out of prison and came back to the family.  

I have since married a wonderful man who I met at work — Edward Grunner.  We have a family of our own with three children, but I’ll never forget where I came from.  My parents and siblings are always in my heart.

And how could I forget to mention what else is part of me?  Music — or, more specifically, playing the piano and organ.  I began piano at age seven and haven’t stopped.  I played the organ at church for years until my children were born.  Maybe one of my kids will inherit my love of music.

As for now, I can rest happy in knowing that my family, my faith, and my music will keep me going until God deems it time for my earthly life to end.

Hannah is the protagonist in my novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful. 

Like what you’ve read?  Please subscribe to my blog, where I will post a new character bio every Friday!

Also, check out my novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, now available for only $2.99 on Amazon: Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful

Character Friday: Meet Lorna Ashford

Every Friday, I will feature a character from one of my books, both published and unpublished.  The character will be presented as if he/she is writing about themselves in a journal entry.

If you looked at my birth certificate, you’d read that my name is Laura Elaine Ashford and that I was born on February 29, 1916 to Elaine Miller Ashford and Charles Ashford. So, why do I go by Lorna? Few people know that my name is actually Laura. Only my best friend since I was a child, Macy Grace Wells, knows my real name. Well, that’s not entirely true now. My parents died in a car accident on June 21, 1937 as they were going out to celebrate their 25th anniversary. I was left to raise my younger brother, Chucky. He was only 13. Chucky knew my real name, but he’s gone now, too, so I guess I don’t really count him anymore. You see, he was drafted in 1942 to serve in the war.

1943 was a crazy year in my life. I’d finally sold my childhood home after Chucky was drafted, getting rid of most of the furniture and other possessions inside it. I burned all the old photographs except the one from my parents’ wedding. I remember looking at that picture, seeing how happy my mom and dad were, as I was helping Mom get ready for her special date with Dad on the night they died. I told myself I was starting over and moved into a new house.

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I’d been so used to having only myself as company for years that I was in serious denial about the depth of my grief. I’m not unattractive with my heart-shaped face, dark eyes, and brown, wavy hair, even though I’m not that tall at only 5 feet, 4 inches. But personality-wise, I was ugly. I still don’t know how Macy didn’t give up on me. Thank God she didn’t. Speaking of God, I was angry at him for a long time, blaming him for my parents’ death, thinking he could’ve stopped it if he wanted to.
I had a decent job as a first grade teacher. I had a new house. Surely I could move on and put the past behind me.

I immediately was drawn to my strange neighbor because he had only rocks in his yard and seemed a hermit who was crazy (he talked to himself outside). With Macy’s help, I managed to pull myself out of my depression some after my move. I started painting, although it looked more like splatters of paint on a canvas than anything. I have no artistic ability. I do love to read, however. My favorite books are by B.R. Stevenson. I made a new friend at work, Angela Sunshine. Yes, that really was her name.
All this new positivity gave me the courage to confront my neighbor, Tristan Blake. He was so confusing. He didn’t talk much at first and seemed to have a short temper. He was no doubt hiding more than just his face behind his beard, long hair, and large glasses, but what stood out to me the most was his sadness. He was a widower. His house was stuck in time from when his wife died, like his own tomb.  It was like he was the only living thing among death, including his rocks. But before I knew it, I was falling for him.  He helped me in many ways, yet he denied his kindness and generosity.  He was an enigma.

So, how does our story end?  Well, that would be spoiling it.  Tristan and I are two of a kind in many ways, both struggling with our grief and afraid to let it go and embrace a new life of love.

Lorna is the protagonist of my unpublished story, Lorna versus Laura.  Look for it later this year.

Like what you’ve read?  Please subscribe to my blog, where I will post a new character bio every Friday!

Also, check out my novel, Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful, now available for only $2.99 on Amazon: Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful