Monday, April 28, 2014

MARY'S BLESSING - Lena Nelson Dooley

Here is a peek into book two of my McKenna's Daughters series.

Chapter 1
Outside Oregon City
April 1885
“Pa?” Mary Lenora Murray shouted back over her shoulder as she picked up the heavy picnic basket. “You ready to go?” Why does he always drag his feet when we’re going to church?

Her father came through the mud room into the kitchen, letting the screen door slam shut behind him. He smelled of heat, hay, and sunshine, with the strong tang of muck from the barn mingled in. By the looks of his clothes, attending church was the farthest thing from his mind. His ratty trousers held smudges of several dark colors. She didn’t even want to guess what they were. And the long sleeves of his undershirt, the only thing covering his torso, were shoved above his elbows. Grayed and dingy, the shirt would never be white again, no matter how hard she tried to get it clean.

Mary bit her tongue to keep from scolding him as she did her younger brothers and sister when they made such a racket entering the house. No doubt, he would give her some excuse about having too much work to go to church. Not a big surprise. She’d heard it all before too many times.

He set a bucket of fresh water beside the dry sink and gripped his fingers around the front straps of his suspenders. That always signaled he was about to tell her something she didn’t want to hear.

“I’m not going today.” This time, he didn’t really make any excuses. Just this bald-faced comment.

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, trying to calm her anger. She’d give him a sweet answer even if the words tasted bitter in her mouth. “The new pastor is coming today. We’re having dinner on the grounds after the service. Remember, I told you when we got home last Sunday.” She flashed what she hoped was a warm smile at him and prayed he couldn’t tell it was fake.

“What happened to the last one? He didn’t last very long, did he?” Pa started washing his hands with the bar of homemade soap she kept in a dish on the shelf. “Don’t understand why that church can’t keep a pastor. Someone musta run him off.”

Mary couldn’t keep from huffing out a breath this time. “I told you about that, too.” She clamped her lips closed before she asked the question that often bounced around her mind. Why don’t you ever listen to me? At seventeen, she was close enough to being an adult to be treated like one, and she’d carried the load of a woman in this household for years.

“His wife died, and his father-in-law begged him to bring the grandchildren closer to where they live, so he headed back to Ohio. Living in the same community as their grandparents, he’d have a lot of help with the younger ones.”

Mary had never known her own grandparents, none of them. Not her mother’s parents. Not her father’s parents. Not the parents of whoever gave birth to her. She didn’t wonder about any of them very often, but today, her heart longed for someone who really loved her.

With bright red curly hair and fair skin that freckled more every time she stepped into the sunlight, she didn’t resemble anyone in this family that had adopted her as an infant. Since they were black Irish, they all had dark hair and striking blue eyes, not like her murky green ones. And none of them had ever wanted to know what she thought about anything ... except her mother.

“Well, I’ve gotta lot to do today.” Her father reached for the towel she’d made out of feed sacks. “You and the others go ahead. I might come over that way at dinner time.”

No, you won’t. Mary had heard his statement often enough to know he was trying to placate her so she would leave him alone. So she would.

“Frances, George, Bobby, come on. We don’t want to be late.” She shifted the handle of the loaded basket to her other arm. “Frances, you grab the jug of spring water. We might get thirsty.”

Her father’s icy blue eyes pierced her. “Pretty warm out today. No sign of rain.”

“We’ll be picnicking in the field between the church and Willamette Falls. It’s cooler there, especially under the trees with the breeze blowing across the water.” She started toward the front door.

“Keep your eyes on the boys.” His harsh command followed her. “Don’t let either of them fall into the river. They could drown. Water’s fast right there.”

She nodded, but didn’t answer or look back at him. All he cared about were those boys and getting them raised old enough to really help with the farming. He already worked them harder than any of the neighbors did their sons who were the same ages.

Six long years ago her mother and older sisters contracted diphtheria when they went to help Aunt Miriam and Uncle Leland settle in their house on a farm about five miles from theirs. On the trip to Oregon, one of them had contracted the dread disease and didn’t know it until after they arrived. No one knew they were all dead until Pa went looking for Ma, Carrie, and Annette a couple of days later. He saw the quarantine sign someone nailed to a fencepost and didn’t go closer until he had help. When he came home, he told Mary she would have to take over the keeping of the house. Six long years ago.

When did my life become such a drudgery? Had it ever been anything else? At least not since Ma died, which seemed like an eternity ago.


Daniel Winthrop whistled while he dressed for church. He looked forward with anticipation to the moment when he would lay eyes on Mary Murray. Even her name had a musical ring to it.

He’d been waiting and planning what to say when he approached her. Today he would start his subtle courting. With the situation at the Murray farm, he knew he would have his work cut out for him to convince her she could start a life of her own with him. After he achieved that, he’d ask her father for her hand.

Visions of coming home to her each night and building a family together moved through his head like the slides of photographs in the Holmes Stereopticon they had at home. He loved her already, but more than that, he wanted to get her out of that house where she was loaded down with so much work and responsibility.

Daniel had often gone with his mother when she bought fresh produce from the Murrays. So he knew what her life had been like since her mother died. Their families came to Oregon on the same wagon train so he’d known her all his life. He was only three years older than she was, and he had watched her over the last few years as she blossomed into a beautiful young woman.

Mary needed to be appreciated and cared for, and he was just the man to do it.

“Daniel, we’re leaving soon.” His father’s voice prodded him from his dreams.

With a final peek into the tall cheval glass, he straightened his necktie before he headed out the door of his room. “I’m on my way.”

He bounded down the stairs and took their picnic basket from his mother. “Something really smells good.” He gave a loud sniff. “Do you need me to test and make sure it’s all right?”

He welcomed her playful slap on his hand that crept toward the cover on the basket. Her laughter reminded him of the chimes he had heard in the larger church in Portland.

“Not a single bite until dinner.” Like a queen, she swept out the door Father held open for her.

Their familiar ritual warmed his heart. He looked forward to creating family rituals with Mary. Once more, he whistled as he headed toward the brougham. Nothing could cloud his day.

When they pulled up to the Methodist Church, his father guided the team toward the back where a large area paved with fine gravel gave plenty of space for those who arrived in horse-drawn vehicles. While Father helped Mother down from the open carriage, Daniel took the reins and tied them to one of the hitching rails that outlined the space. He chose the rail under a spreading black cottonwood tree, so the horses would be in the shade while the family worshiped.

He scanned the lot, looking for the Murray wagon. Not there. Disappointed, he stared at the ground. Please, God, let Mary come today.

Clopping hoofs and a jingling harness accompanied a wagon taking too fast of a turn into the parking area. Daniel cut his eyes toward the advancing disaster. Two of the wheels did indeed lift from the ground. Before he could get a shout out of his mouth, he heard Mary’s sweet voice.

“Lean to the right, boys!”

George and Bobby, Mary’s brothers, scrambled across the seat, followed by Frances. The wagon wheels settled into the gravel, and Mary pulled on the reins.

“Easy. Settle down.” Even though she spoke to the horses, he heard every word.

His heart that had almost leapt from his chest also settled down when he realized she was no longer in danger. Thank You, Lord.

The wagon came to a standstill, and Mary put her dainty hand to her chest and released a deep breath. The green cotton fabric, sprigged with white flowers, looked good on her, setting off her red hair, pulled up into a bunch on the top of her head. Without a hat or bonnet covering it, the sun danced across the curls. He loved seeing the wisps frame her face. That’s how he pictured her when he dreamed about their future.

Mary sat a moment without moving. She was probably scared out of her wits. Where was her father? He should have been driving the wagon, not her. How long had it been since the man had attended services? Daniel couldn’t remember the last time. It was not a good thing for a man to neglect his spiritual nature. He’d just have to pray harder for Mr. Murray.

Daniel hurried toward them. “Hi, Mary.”

She looked up, straight into his eyes, fear still flickering in the back of her gaze. “Daniel. Good morning.” Her words came out riding on short breaths.

He took hold of the bridle of the horse nearest him. “I can hitch your team under the trees for you.”
After releasing another deep breath, Mary nodded. “Thank you. I’d like that.” She turned toward her siblings. “Frances, you get the picnic basket, and George, you carry the jug of water. Go find us a pew, perhaps near the back of the sanctuary, and put the things under the bench. I’ll be right in.”

The younger children climbed out of the wagon and followed their sister’s instructions. Mary watched them until they’d gone around the side of the building toward the front. Then she stood up.

Before she could try to climb over the side, Daniel hurried to help. He held out his hand to her. She stared at it, then looked at his face.

“I’ll help you down.” He gave her his most beguiling smile.

For the first time since she arrived, she smiled back, and pink bled up her neck into her cheeks. Her blush went straight to his heart. Oh, yes, he loved this woman.

Mary slipped her slim fingers into his hand. Even through the white cotton gloves, he felt the connection as warmth sparked up his arm like fireworks on Independence Day. She glanced down, so she could see the step. When she hesitated, he let go of her hand and both of his spanned her tiny waist. With a deft swing, he had her on the ground in seconds. He wished he had the right to pull her into an embrace. Wouldn’t that just set the tongues a-wagging? He couldn’t do that to her. Mary needed to be cherished for the treasure she was. And as far as Daniel could see, her father really didn’t treat her that way.

He watched her walk toward the front of the building, enjoying the way her skirt swayed with each step, barely brushing the tops of her black patent shoes. That is one beautiful woman. He turned back to her team. Walking beside the horses, he led them toward the hitching rail where his family’s brougham was parked. Her team would enjoy the shade just as much as his would. As he crossed the lot, several other conveyances entered, and he waved and exchanged greetings with each family.

The church was the first one established in Oregon City. At that time, it was the Methodist Mission but grew as the town did. Along the way, members of this body had a great influence on what happened in the burgeoning city. And that was still true today. His Winthrop ancestors, who settled nearby, had been instrumental in both the growth of the church and of the town. He felt a sense of pride at being a part of something that important, and he wanted to increase the town’s assets, because he planned to raise his own family here. Maybe establish a dynasty of his own, watching his sons and daughters, then his grandchildren, prosper.

His woolgathering slowed the progress of tying the horses to their spot. He needed to hurry so he wouldn’t miss the beginning of the service. As he opened the front door, Mrs. Slidell struck the first chord on the new Mason and Hamlin reed organ. The church had ordered the instrument from the manufacturing plant in Buffalo, New York. When it arrived only a couple of weeks before, the music added a special feeling to the worship and helped most people stay on the right tune better than the old piano did. He hummed along with the introduction to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” his favorite hymn.

Glancing around the room, Daniel finally spied Mary and her siblings sitting on the second pew from the back on the right side of the aisle. He squared his shoulders and confidently approached the wooden bench. He asked if he could sit with them, and she scooted over to make room. Just what he wanted. He would be sitting right beside her.

Throughout the service, Daniel had a hard time keeping his mind on the proceedings. Mary sat close enough for him to touch her if he leaned a little to his right. He was so tempted to bump against her arm, but he held back. He imagined clasping her hand in his and holding it for longer than just a few seconds while helping her down from a conveyance or through a doorway. Really wrapping his large fingers around hers and intertwining their fingers. Just thinking about it caught his breath.

He whooshed it out, and she turned toward him, her eyes widening with a question. After flashing a smile at her, he glanced up at Reverend Horton. The man’s delivery was smooth and his words made a lot of sense. He’d be a good pastor for them, but Daniel couldn’t keep a single word of his message in his mind. Not while he could feel Mary’s presence with every cell in his body.

Instead in his mind, he searched up and down the streets of Oregon City, seeking a place to turn into a home for him and his beloved. If the right house wasn’t for sale, he could build her one. She could help him choose the design. That’s what he’d do. Build her the home she’d always dreamed of. His heart squeezed with the knowledge of what he planned to do. He could hardly keep the idea to himself. He hoped it wouldn’t take too long for him to convince her that they should marry.

He’d even hire servants to help her manage their home. Whatever her heart desired, he’d do everything he could to present her with all she wanted. He only hoped it wouldn’t take too long. At twenty years old, he was ready to move on to the next phase of his life ... with Mary by his side.

“Now let us bow our heads in prayer.” Reverend Horton raised his hands to bless the whole congregation.

Daniel dropped his head toward his chest. How had the man finished his sermon without Daniel noticing? Next Sunday, he’d have to listen more closely. He really did want to get to know the new pastor and his family.

“Amen.” After the pastor pronounced the word, several other men echoed it.

Daniel watched his father rise from the second pew near the front on the left side of the aisle and take his place beside the new preacher. He placed his arm across the man’s shoulders. “Dear friends, on your behalf, I welcome our new pastor. Now let’s all meet his lovely family.” He waved toward a woman sitting on the front pew. “Mrs. Horton?”

The woman stood and turned toward the congregation. She was pretty, but not as young or as pretty as Mary.

“And,” Father’s voice boomed, “these are their children.”

Four stair-step youngsters stood beside their mother. The tallest a boy, the next a girl, then another boy, and the shortest a cute little girl. As if they had rehearsed it, they bowed toward the people in unison.

Several women across the sanctuary oooed or aahed before a loud round of applause broke out. The three oldest children gave shy smiles, and the youngest tugged at her mother’s skirts. When Mrs. Horton picked her up, the girl waved to the people, clearly enjoying the attention.

“I hope you all brought your blanket and picnic baskets.” Father beamed at the crowd.

   “We’re going to spread our food together. I believe there are plenty of sawhorse tables set up near the building. And you can pick a spot under the trees to settle for your meal. Just don’t forget to take the time to greet our new ministerial family while you’re here.” Father led the Horton family down the aisle and out the front door.

Daniel turned back toward Mary. “Perhaps you and your brothers and sister could spread your blanket beside my family’s.”

A tiny smile graced Mary’s sweet mouth. “If you’re sure your mother wouldn’t mind, I’d like that.”
“Oh, yes. I’m sure.” He stepped into the nearly empty aisle and moved back to let Mary and her family precede him, and he quickly followed behind.

His heartbeat accelerated just thinking about spending special time with the object of his affections. Without thinking, he started whistling a happy tune.

Mary glanced back at him. “I didn’t know you whistled.”

“Oh, yes. I’m a man of many talents.” His heart leapt at the interest he read in her gaze. Thing were well on their way to working out just the way he wanted them to.

Readers, here are links to the book. 
Mary's Blessing -
Mary's Blessing (McKenna's Daughters) - Amazon
Mary's Blessing (McKenna's Daughters) - Kindle

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Editing: A Pain or a Blessing?

by Martha Rogers
For some reason I've been finding more errors in published manuscripts. Makes me scratch my head and wonder where the line editors or copy editors were when they read it. Being a retired English teacher as well as a writer makes those errors even more difficult to ignore.

If the story is really good, I can overlook those things for a while, but when they keep happening, I begin to wonder where the editor's mind was when proofing and editing.

All that to say is that I've had the best editing experiences with Charisma. Lori, you rock, and you make my manuscripts so much better and stronger. The first time or two I got back the edits, I was shocked and dismayed. Why did they even buy my writing if I had to make this many changes? Then I waited a day or so, came back and read the letter again, looked at my time line, scrolled down through some of the edits and begin to see where she was right and things needed to be moved around, changed, or even deleted.

Once I got into the edits, I've discovered that's my favorite part of writing now. I love going through and making changes, finding new words, and rearranging sections. I enjoy going back through some of my older manuscripts that haven't been submitted and seeing where changes can be made and the writing made stronger.

Editing is what it is, and with the proper attitude, it can be interesting and even fun. Ack! Don't throw that shoe at me.

I want to say I also love my Charisma covers. Here's the latest one that will come out in the fall. Perfect for my red-headed Molly who is modeled after my great-aunt Alice Whiteman DeAhna.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Along with Easter yesterday, it was also the 15th anniversary of the Columbine shooting.

Just take a minute to think about the lives lost.

My children were five and seven at the time, we lived a mile down the street, and we safely brought them home.  
Now think about Easter yesterday and how good God is, above all the evil that humans do. I'm sure God grieves over these events, but also has a reason, as he does for everything. It's times like these I am so much more aware of  lending a helping hand for the elderly lady with her groceries, or watch a neighbor's child when she's sick, and grateful I'm able to make a call to family to celebrate the risen Christ. And yesterday's Ester service at my friend's church, watching her as the lead of the play, I felt peace. Not my sense of peace but God's. As we left the church I realized once again, what Christ did for me, and everyone on that day so long ago.
I don't mean to dampen spirits, just never forget Columbine. 

Quotes About Writers and Writing

I've always enjoyed reading quotes – the quirkier the better. Since writers like to string words together, they're some of the best sources for sayings that make you think, make you laugh, and maybe even make you cringe. 

Here are some that I wanted to share:

"I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose."
~Stephen King
(Still having nightmares after the last Stephen King book I read – at least 10 years ago.)

"It ain't whatcha write, it's the way atcha write it."
~Jack Kerouac
(Back atcha, Jack!)

"There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. The only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick."
~Robert A. Heinlein
(Sounds like a dream vacation to me.)

"It's none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way."
~Ernest Hemingway
(So now ya tell me.)

"Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals."
~John Steinbeck
(Or maybe it's the other way around.)

"Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works."
~Virginia Woolf
(Yikes! Not so sure this is a good thing in my case.)

"Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use."
~Mark Twain
(And that's why I enjoy writing fiction where people expect economy of truth.)

"Writers mean more than they say and say more than they mean."
~Mason Cooley
(Hmm. I'll have to think about this one and get back to you later.)

"Writers are completely out of touch with reality."
~Joss Whedon
(That's why I love writing so much. Reality is overrated.)

"I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide."
~Harper Lee
(Oh yeah. I can see a lot of heads nodding.)

"I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it."
~William Carlos Williams
(So true. I've probably "quit" writing at least a dozen times during my career, and look at what I'm doing now.)

Do you have any favorite quotes about writers or writing? What are your thoughts about them?

By the way, Missing Dixie, the first book in my Uptown Belles series with Charisma House is releasing very soon! Join Alabama girl Cissy Hillwood as she finds her way in New York City. Yeah, she stumbles a lot, but she has a great attitude. After all, the bumps and bruises are nothing like what she would have to endure if were to return home.

Here are some links for anyone who is interested in preordering it:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Captain's Orders!

“Captain’s orders!”

That one line uttered near the end of the movie, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” elicited applause and cheers from the audience. I don’t want to spoil the movie but I cheered just as loudly as everyone else.

Reviewers across the spectrum have been universally positive about the movie calling it a “1970s style spy thriller”. I just finished watching “Three Days of the Condor” starring Robert Redford who plays a major role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I was surprised at the set pieces in both movies that paralleled each other. I wonder if the writers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier intended these parallels as an homage to a “1970s spy thriller”. Give the 1975 movie a chance and pay close attention to the elevator scene. It is every bit as chilling as the similar scene with Captain America.

One thing has amazed me, and yes, encouraged me. Many of the younger movie critics commented on their expectation that in Captain America’s third movie (the second being Avengers) he would have to become cynical and dark in our modern times. These critics were surprised that the movie preserves Captain America’s basic belief in good and manages to “sell it” outright. One reviewer even commented that maybe there is “absolute good and evil after all” and found that prospect “encouraging in our dark, disillusioned times”.

I find this fascinating for our postmodern culture when we are led to believe that all truth is relative and situational. Of course, we don’t function that way in our personal beliefs. If I were to take your money because I thought it was right for me to do so, you would immediately proclaim that I was wrong. When it is inconvenient, we fall back to the default reality that our world is one of absolutes. Choosing not to believe in the law of gravity will not allow you to jump out of an elevator fifteen stories high and survive the fall with only a pulled muscle (even if you had a shield!).

Sunday before last, I was in Orlando with my former pastor, Mark Sutton. Mark and I are best friends and we have a new book coming out in September, “Hope Again: A 30 Day Plan for Conquering Depression”. It is an update of our previous book, “Conquering Depression” released in 2001 before 9/11 forever changed our world. Mark and I had gone to his office at First Baptist Orlando to see if we could find our former depression seminar workbook in preparation of updating our new, improved seminar to match our upcoming book.

What is interesting about our new update is the attention we have had to pay to our current social situation. Depression is almost epidemic particularly among our twenty to thirty year olds. This is not something I have made up. It is widely discussed among this age group. I attended an artistic gathering known as Hutchmoot in 2012. Two musical artists led a session on “Recovery Through Song” about their battle with depression. The room was filled with about 80 young adults all under the age of 30. When asked who among them was depressed, almost everyone raised their hands!

Why? Could it be that our cynical and dark times have taken a toll on the hope for our younger generation? Could it be that our postmodern, relativistic society had stressed out our younger generation with this “compartmentalization” spoken of in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”? This extremely important concept plagued Cap. He quickly saw that you could not compartmentalize your morality without deadly consequences. Values and virtues should seep into and permeate all of our conscious decisions. This, if anything, is the ultimate message of that movie.

Mark and I walked down to the auditorium of his church, a huge sprawling room that could easily hold 3000 to 4000 people. He wanted to show me the messages scrawled on every wall. The church was planning on renovating the auditorium and it asked its members to write testimonials of what the church family has meant to them. The walls were covered with quiet, reflective, moving and deeply personal testimonials. As we entered the auditorium, we were surrounded by music. A song boomed over the speakers and I spied two people dressed in shorts and tee shirts standing on the stage. A dozen or so people sat in the front pews. Mark had no idea what was happening but as I watched the people move with the song I realized they were practicing a drama probably for the Palm Sunday service.

Mark took me along the pews toward the opposite side of the room to show me a portrait of
Christ someone had freehand drawn on the wall. Suddenly, the music was interrupted by screams and shouts. We whirled and a crowd of people hurried onto the stage shouting “Crucify him!”

The shock paralyzed me and I watched in utter horror as a young man in shorts and tee short was shoved and kicked and banged across the stage. As the song progressed, the man was thrown to the ground. Two men made motions as if to drive nails through the man’s hands and feet. And then, the man was raised stiffly to his feet and there before us was an image of the crucified Christ. The song grew quiet and reflective and the air filled with electricity and gravitas. I felt tears pouring from my eyes, dripping from my chin. I gasped for air.

This is just a drama, I tried to reassure myself. But, in that moment, the shock of the crowd screaming; the power of the words of that song; the site of a man hanging as if from a cross hair draped across a face etched in pain was more than I could handle. Here before me was truth, killed, nailed, crucified. Is it any wonder we live in an age of relativism? We killed Truth on that day and our world; our hearts; our minds; our future is the worse for it. I felt Mark’s hand on my shoulder. He was just as moved as I was as we watched the crowd freeze and the song drew to a climax.

Like the cracking of ice under great stress, the crowd broke and relaxed. The drama director waved his hands and began giving some last minute advice and the air returned to normal. I was stunned at what had just happened and it reminded me once again of the power of drama to bring stories to life! I wiped the tears from my face and frankly felt somewhat embarrassed that a drama rehearsal would be so moving. I followed Mark out of the auditorium. He informed me that the actor who played Jesus was on the church staff and his passion was ministering to the homeless and the addicts and the broken people on the streets.

There are times as a published Christian author when the ups and downs of this industry get to me. There are times I want to throw in the towel and never put another thought on the page. There are times when a simple business decision to end a contract becomes very personal and painful. There are times when failure is all you can see in the dark shadowy confines of your “creative cocoon” and you wonder why God put this burning desire in your heart to pour out your creative thoughts onto a blank piece of paper. There are times creativity becomes a curse! And then, you see a movie like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” or you witness a moving dramatic recreation of Christ’s final act as a man on earth. And then you pause and you realize that being created in the image of God means that you must honor God’s call to be creative. No matter how that may be received. For story will always move the world when it reflects the Story that God is telling all around us. I chose to pause and ponder that in His infinite wisdom God chose this weak vessel to share bits and pieces of the grand Story that is unfolding all around us. I chose to put aside the cynicism and the sarcasm and the disillusionment that typifies our culture; to push it away and embrace the positive. To press on for the great prize that is before us!

What does this have to do with Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Steve Rogers is far from a Christ figure. But, Captain America does retain a belief in the best that we have ever been. He believes that we are whole and even the smallest lie taints our whole self. We are not the sum of our parts. We are whole, unique, entire souls who must answer for each thought and each discretion no matter how meaningless we may think it to be.

Jesus Christ died on the cross because the world around Him could not stand to look at the awful truth of our broken condition. When we are confronted with truth; perfection; ultimate good we cannot stand in its light without getting burned. So, we snuff it out and choose to live in the shadows. This Easter, take a moment and think on truth and goodness and the wholeness of your being. Dare to hope that maybe, just maybe Truth does exist in this universe and Truth can be known. And, once you know the Truth, it will set you free! When we look into the eyes of Truth, we will see our whole self in a new light. Look upon the crucified and risen Savior and your life will be changed forever.

Captain’s Orders!