Excerpt of “The Other Man” by Parker J. Cole

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Everyone loves to read an excerpt so enjoy this from my new book The Other Man, Book 2 of the Sins of the Flesh series. Available now!

The Other ManLeah Westwood loves her husband Jacob with all her heart, even as the smoldering glances of her ex-flame Vincent Miller continue to affect her. What she once shared with Vincent threatens to rip apart the bonds she is trying to build with her husband.

Jacob’s heart belongs to Leah, but his body refuses to accept that. Rachel is the one who has been his mainstay at the most difficult times in his life. How could he leave her alone?

Vincent wants Leah back and all he has to do is watch and wait as Jacob and Leah’s relationship unravels.

Ultimately, Leah must make a choice . . . between fantasy and fidelity.

________________________

Excerpt

Vincent Miller stared at the beaming bride, who stood at the altar as she married Jacob Westwood. He had never seen Leah Martin look so beautiful. She had always been a looker, but now at her wedding, she had a bridal glow about her. Her caramel skin radiated with a golden sheen, the thick riot of russet curls shimmered, and her ivory gown was the perfect complement to her curves.

She laughed as she gave her flowers to her maid of honor. A little boy came down the aisle with a broom decorated with pink ribbons and frills. When the little boy placed the broom at the bride and groom’s feet, she and Jacob jumped over it. The bridegroom tripped and his arms flailed to keep from falling. The church rang with laughter as he smiled and stole another kiss from his new bride.

Third in line, Vincent watched with hooded eyes as Leah hugged more guests while the photographer took pictures of the bride and groom with everyone in the receiving line. As his turn came up, he braced himself and allowed his face to show only happiness for her.

“Vincent!” she screamed in his ear as she hugged him. The world receded. The flash of the photographer’s camera faded as an onslaught of sensations cascaded over his mind and heated his surging blood. His nostrils flared as he greedily inhaled the cocoa butter–scented skin. The assault of that delicious aroma nearly made his eyes roll into the back of his head. All her round, soft curves melted into his solid frame like warmed syrup over pancakes. The gentle clasp of her arms around his middle effectively imprisoned him, but he was a willing captive. He gritted his teeth in an attempt to still his senses from saturating themselves in the presence of this woman. Yet, when she pulled back from him an instant later, his body ached to hold her again.

“Hey, Vincent.”

The sound of the husband’s voice was an ice cold bucket of distraction that disintegrated the hold Leah’s presence had on him. Vincent gave himself a mental shake as he tugged on the ends of his suit and smoothed his hair in a nonchalant way. He hoped as he reached out to shake the groom’s hand that the slight tremble of his own hand wasn’t visible.

“Congrats, you guys.” How words erupted from his mouth was a mystery. Before he could say more, the photographer gestured and Leah jumped between them with her arms around their necks. Vincent’s lips stretched and curved upward as a sardonic voice whispered in his mind. Smile for the camera.

___________

Me in a nutshell(literally):

Parker J. Cole

A recovering Mountain Dew and marshmallow addict, church girl, trekkie, radio host, bookaholic, and romantic who writes to fill the void the sugar left behind.

 

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The Jesus Seed by Staci Stallings

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Here is an interesting concept, but first, we’re going to look at a scenario you’re going to find humorous.

A farmer decides that he wants to grow corn. So he goes out into his field, and he makes all the furrows. He waters the field because he’s been told he must do so in order to yield a crop. He makes sure that he starts watering in the Spring because he’s heard that’s the best time to raise a crop. He fertilizes the soil because he’s heard you should do that if you want good corn. He waters it some more and puts on some bug killer because he doesn’t want the bugs to come and destroy his crop.

He waits, and soon something starts coming up–a bunch of weeds. Angry, he goes out and starts hoeing the weeds. He hoes from sun up to sun down, row after row after row. When he’s finished, he looks out over his field and is incredibly disappointed. He’s done everything right and still no corn!

So he increases the water and keeps chopping at the weeds. After all, that’s what the farmer down the road did and this worked great for him. He keeps this up all summer, and at the end, he is incredibly frustrated. Why didn’t his field produce any corn?

Go ahead. Answer the question.

Why did this farmer’s field not produce corn?

Right.

Because he didn’t plant any!

Now this is going to sound ridiculously simple, but if you don’t plant a seed, I don’t care how much you work and tend that field, you are not going to get a crop.

So I’m going to ask you–have you ever worked to get a crop but forgotten to plant a Jesus Seed first?

In the book I’m reading, “How People Change” by Timothy S. Lane and Paul Tripp, the idea of Jesus as seed is touched upon. Strangely maybe, I have never had cause to think of Jesus this way, but if you start with that metaphor and look at the Bible stories and parables about seed, it will illuminate many new insights.

You see, I don’t care what “crop” you are wanting to grow, without Jesus at the center of it, you’re watering and weeding a crop that is never going to show up. And if it does, it will feel very empty and will almost certainly lead you to death rather than life.

Really. Look at some of the news stories of the past couple years. Bernie Madoff for example. He wanted money, and he scammed and lied and cheated. Clearly he forgot to plant the Jesus Seed first. Instead, he did what the world said would give him what he wanted, and he ended up with a field full of weeds.

Look at some of the stars that have gone off the deep-end. They wanted fame and fortune. They watered their talent and let the sun shine on their careers, but when the weeds showed up and took over, they had no defense against them. The crop of fame and fortune turned to bitterness and regret.

If you want change, if you want a great crop, you have to start with a Jesus Seed. You must plant HIM in the middle of your field. The dreams with Him in the center may not bring you where you thought you wanted to go, but they will always bring you where you were always meant to be.

To plant your Jesus Seed, seek His will for your life, put your desires in His hands and take the steps He’s asking you to take when He asks you to take them. Yes, there will still be watering and weeding, but the Seed of Goodness is the key to having an abundant crop that will lead to a life you cannot even imagine right now!

Copyright Staci Stallings, 2012

Now Available from Staci Stallings

More Than This

by Staci Stallings

More Than ThisAll Jake wanted was a cup of coffee and a quiet place to write. What he found was her and far more than he ever imagined could be possible…

Liz Savoy has no plans to date anyone — least of all the dark handsome mystery man who sometimes inhabits the corner table at the coffee shop where she’s working to get through school. But plans change, sometimes in ways no one expected.

Jake McCoy is the next mega-millionaire author, or at least he would be if he could get the stories in his head down on the ether. With no good place to write, he resorts to dark corners in Wi-Fi hotspots, knowing no one in the world cares about him or his comings and goings one way or the other. However, there is one waitress at The Grind coffee shop with a cute smile and kind eyes who doesn’t seem to think he is as invisible as he likes to think he is. Can reality with her ever hope to match the fantasy world where his imagination has him living?

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CrossReads BookBlast for Cathy Lynn Bryant and Jessica Dorman

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Sarah Anne’s Expedient Marriage
By Cathy Lynn Bryant & Jessica M. Dorman

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About the Book:

Knowing he was about to die, Sarah Anne’s beloved father had arranged for her to marry Alexander Swyndhurst II. Alexander, a recent widower, had no intention of taking another wife; but after learning the young woman’s situation—that she had been the object of at least one man’s unwanted attentions, and that she would soon be left alone and unprotected—he had agreed to the marriage. He had one stipulation, however: He and Sarah Anne would live separately—he in Bristol, England, and she in Amesbury, Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sarah Anne had agreed wholeheartedly with this arrangement.

Will Alexander have a change of heart? What of the dangerous man from her past? What will happen while her husband is away—leaving her alone with only the servants? Even though there are connections, each novel in the series may be read as a stand-alone.

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

cathyCathy Lynn Bryant & Jessica M. Dorman
Inspired by interesting characters and events uncovered while doing genealogical research,mother and daughter writing team, Cathy Lynn Bryant and Jessica Marie Dorman, who live in beautiful New England, have masterfully woven the stories of real people and fictional characters from the 17th and 18th centuries to develop inspirational, romantic, works of historical fiction. The Unshakable Faith series includes the following titles: Book 1 Lost Love and Shipwrecked–Madeline Pike Finds Hope in the New Land; Book 2 Grandmother’s Namesake; Book 3 Sarah Anne’s Expedient Marriage.

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Cocoon of Circumstance by Lynn Mosher

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“My troubles turned out all for the best…”

(Ps. 119:71 Msg)

Where can the most beautiful vistas be viewed? From atop the summit of the tallest mountain, after the most strenuous climb.

Which valleys have the richest green velvet pastures and the fullest spikes of wildflower colors? Those that have withstood the greatest drenching rains.

What forests produce the most prolific new growth? Those that have suffered the hot, searing flames of destruction.

Which diamonds sparkle the most brilliantly? Those that have felt the cleaving of the jeweler’s sharp chisel and the friction of the polishing wheel.

An old Chinese proverb says, “The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”

Just as all of nature suffers contrary conditions in order to be expanded, improved, or strengthened, so, too, do we. Difficulties and trials will always be a part of our lives. We cannot separate ourselves from them. And if we ponder it closely, we realize we will not grow as Christians if trials do not come to test and enlarge us.

If we try to wiggle out of these times, we force premature deliverance, frustrating God’s plan. It is like prying open a cocoon before the caterpillar has finished its metamorphosis into a butterfly. Forcing open the cocoon too soon will render the caterpillar deformed for the rest of its short lifespan.

When we manipulate the hands of the clock to align with our own agenda, we destroy the beauty that God desires to emerge from His timing. Through our own efforts to “help” God out with our deliverance, do we come out of our cocoon of circumstance too early and spiritually deformed in some way? Or do we wait for the revealed transformation by God’s hand?

Is our cocoon of circumstance not intended, as for the butterfly, to deepen our richest colors and give us wings of flight, beautifying our character, all which we may not have had before the trial? While in that cocoon of circumstance, we “are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.” (2 Cor. 3:18 NIV)

God knows the worth, the power, and the beauty hidden deep within our hearts and only that which is contrary to our comfort releases the precious qualities within us. As Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom 8:18 NKJV)

God will work out all our circumstances for our benefit when we fully commit them and ourselves to Him, His Word, and His timing.

After experiencing a cocoon of contrary circumstance, are you able to say, as David, that all your troubles turned out for the best?

“And we know that God causes everything to work together

for the good of those who love God and are called

according to His purpose for them.”

(Rom. 8:28 NLT)

 

About the Author:

Lynn Mosher

 

Bio:

At a time of physical upheaval in 2000, Lynn Mosher felt led of the Lord to take up her pen and write. With this new passion, she has embraced her mission to reach others through Christ-honoring literature, encouraging them in their walk and offering comfort through the written word. Lynn lives with her hubby (since 1966) in their Kentucky nest, emptied of three chicklets, and expanded by three giggly grand-chicklets, and an inherited dog. You can find out more about Lynn by visiting her website http://www.lynnmosher.com

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How I went from half empty to Whole over night? by Adrienne King

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I once lost focus. I felt like I was ready for a relationship. So, I prayed. I asked God to send me a man. I thought this is it. God will fill my heart desire as soon as I ask of him. Once I get a man God I won’t feel discontent (my desire will be met) I figured I am saved so when I ask him for something he will give it right away.

So often times we focus so much on the BIG picture until we miss the small details. God will never put us into something that we aren’t fully prepared for. God plans for our lives are always bigger and better than anything we can ever imagine. All along God was telling me that it is not about me. You see, I was the one who thought she had her whole life planned out as a teenager. You know how we get! You are a senior in high school and you’re in a circle discussing life after graduation. One of the things comes up is: What are your goals after graduation?

Everybody plans are slightly similar. Jane is going to the military, after a few years in the military she wants to meet… Yes! You guessed it! She wants to meet Mr. Right, get married and have kids. She even said the age range right? Your plans are slightly differently. You plan on going to college and then after graduation you want to start your career, meet Mr. Right and get married. Have we all TRIED to plan our own lives? Well, this was me! I took uttering that goal that I made to a group of young ladies that didn’t really have a clue about what was really in store very serious at one point. I tried to bring that vision to life. Have you ever focused on trying to accomplish a goal or tried to be patient and all you got was distractions?

NOTE: I didn’t start to feel discontentment until I started to focus and dwell on the fact that I was single for so long. And I felt that I was ready. So it began to play in my mind. I thought the people that wasn’t saved for real was getting into relationships and was getting married so why can’t I? So often time we focus on the things that we don’t have in our lives and began to become distracted.

I’ve been there. At a certain age group, I was ready. After college, I was ready. People asked frequently questions like “Are you STILL single?” Yes! I got asked those type questions a lot. I know some of you can probably relate if you’ve been single for a while. So, I began questioning God, after a year of questioning God on/off negative emotions and throwing fits. I finally surrendered totally to him. All I needed was his love. He filled me up. I gave all my worries to him. I was then made whole in him. It feels so amazing. I am a living witness that God will complete you. God will give you the desires of your heart, just delight in him. I’ve seen so many people just “settle” because they don’t believe God will come through. We must understand that God do things in his timing not ours. He knows our life thoroughly. We can only imagine how our life turns out but he knows the beginning and the end.

It may not seems like it right now, Surrender to him and I guarantee he will start showing you piece by piece exactly what’s he calling you to do in your season. I believe he will come through, but only in his timing. Instead of constantly asking him for a MAN (like I once did); ask him to reveal to you what’s he’s calling you to do and ask him for strength and endurance. I really understand your struggle my single sisters. I hope that my testimony encouraged you ladies. I would also like to share with two keys point that I feel is essential to becoming whole in Christ.

• Surrender to God

I had to realize that regardless of the decisions I have made, the relationships I have built, and the accomplishments that I’ve made is meaningless if I don’t put God first in everything that I do. I had to completely let go of what I thought wanted and needed and I had to surrender completely to God. I am absolutely nothing without God. I had to trust God with all decisions including trusting him to send me a mate. I have now learned to be content in my season doesn’t matter the circumstance. Philippians 4:11 you must understand that God knows our every desire and he knows our destiny.

• Develop an Intimate relationship

Developing a relationship with Christ was the best decision that I ever could make. Since I surrendered completely to him; my relationship has increased with my daddy, now I have more clarity and understanding of the journey God has laid out for my life. I am able to hear his voice and his grace has given me the patience that I need to endure until due season. He is literally everything to me. I just love being in his presence. He has filled me with his Joy, his love, his peace, that no man could ever give me. He is so amazing. I trust him with my life, and if he did it for me he will do it for you. Hold on to his everlasting grace and promises. An intimate relationship with God will give you the grace you need to love yourself like never before.

Contact Adrienne:

Facebook: http://goo.gl/qc7GDK

eMail: IG@kingadrienne15

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Where Does Faith Come From? by Ada Brownell

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“Faith is trusting what the eye can’t see. Eyes see the prowling lion. Faith sees Daniel’s angel. Eyes see storms. Faith sees Noah’s rainbow. Your eyes see your faults. Your faith sees your Savior. Your eyes see your guilt. Your faith sees His blood.”i

The above is Max Lucado’s paraphrase of Hebrews 11:11(NIV): “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

But where does faith come from?

1. Our Creator wrapped faith in our DNA

In a CNN report by A. Chris Gajilan on April 4, 2007, Dr. Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist and author of “Why We Believe What We Believe,” reported working on ways to track how the human brain processes religion and spirituality. It’s all part of new field called neurotheology.

Newberg says the frontal lobe, the area right behind our foreheads, helps us focus our attention in prayer and meditation. The parietal lobe, located near the backs of our skulls, is the seat of our sensory information. Newberg says it’s involved in that feeling of becoming part of something greater than oneself. The limbic system, nestled deep in the center, regulates our emotions and is responsible for feelings of awe and joy.

Newberg says similar areas of the brain are affected during prayer and meditation. Newberg suggests that brain scans may provide proof that our brains are built to believe in God. He says there may be universal features of the human mind that actually make it easier for us to believe in a higher power.

I believe people search for God because of the “God-shaped void” within. If they haven’t heard the gospel or reject it, they worship the earth, an idol they know is nothing but a figure humans created, or devise their own religion—even making unbelief into doctrine.

2. Faith arises from the need to know our Heavenly Father. Since the Lord gave humankind a choice of whether to serve Him, God prevents us from “proving” He exists and leaves that and other vacancies for our faith to fill.

In my book, Swallowed by LIFE: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal, I tell how medical science shows we’re more than a body, yet there is room for doubt when it comes to proving we have a soul that lives forever. We have to believe the evidence.

3. God has given each person a measure of faith: “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith (Romans 12:2-4). Often people who don’t think they believe pray when they or a loved one is in danger. A cry for God’s help comes from us spontaneously sometimes in crisis.

4. Faith comes through hearing the Word—the gospel (Romans 10:17). Because faith is necessary to be redeemed from sin and to have our name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, God “breathed” truth into writers He chose to write His love message to humankind. It is through that love letter—the Bible—we gain knowledge of Him and why He allows us (anybody) to choose to accept it and love and obey Him.

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2Timothy 3:16).

5. Faith results from acting on what was heard. From Romans 10NIV: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

6. Faith comes through the will. We decide whether to believe God’s Word, a false religion, or atheism (everything about who we are, why we are here and where we are going takes faith.) Yet it takes a leap—a decision.

7. Faith is created by combining belief with common-sense actions. James calls it faith and works. (James 2:22).

8. Faith develops out of our hopes. We hope for something, but it takes faith to receive it.

9. Faith can come as a fruit and Gift of the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22, 1 Corinthians 12:9).

10. Faith comes from combination of our will to believe, and the Holy Spirit’s revelation. The Word must be planted, watered, and then our lives bear fruit.

© Ada Brownell i Excerpted from Everyday Blessings, Max Lucado, “What Faith Sees,” http://www.maxlucado.com/

About the Author:

Ada Brownell

 

ADA (NICHOLSON) BROWNELL’s prolific writing career began in her teens with writing for youth magazines. She taught youth much of her life. She and her husband had five children of their own.

Nearly 300 articles of her articles and stories have appeared in 45 Christian publications, and she spent 17 years as a journalist, mostly at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.

Brownell has a B.S. Degree in mass communications and a certificate of ministry from Berean School of the Bible, now Global University.

She continues to write books; articles for Christian publications, and occasional op-ed pieces for newspapers.

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Gems from Pastor Jim by Jim Hughes

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Jim Hughes

Ps. 32:6 Therefore, let all the godly confess their rebellion to you while there is time, that they may not drown in the floodwaters of judgment.

Here the godly are being singled out. Yes, the godly do sin. What happens when the godly do not confess their sins and die? They will face God with sin on their hearts. How will God handle that? Only God knows that for sure. He knows the heart motives of man and will judge fairly and rightly each of us. He knows whether or not we are truly righteous in heart. All I can tell you for sure is that no sin will be in heaven.

Today’s verse tells us that the godly will drown in the floodwaters of judgment if they don’t confess their sins. God’s judgments are like a floodwater. It sweeps away everything in its path. It is consuming power and no one can stop it. It cannot be contained and will keep flowing until it accomplishes its purpose. Anyone caught in floodwaters will more than likely drown.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way for the godly. If we will quit hiding behind our perceived righteousness and confess our sins, we will be saved. If we quit resisting God’s ways and live life by God’s Word, we will be saved. If we quit pretending that we are better than we are, we will be saved. If we are living in Christ’s righteousness and not our own, we will be saved.

In reality, the godly are not as godly as we might think we are. We are all guilty of sin, no matter how long we have been in the faith. We all have need of confession. We all need to carefully monitor our souls and submit to God’s rightful authority over us. We all need to acknowledge our need for Jesus to be our Savior and Lord.
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Let it go… by Sherry Chamblee

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(Ok, I’m sorry, I know now the song is stuck in your head.)

But seriously, let’s talk about how often we need to just ‘let it go.’

Someone offends you at church –

  • They don’t answer you when you say hello, just keep walking by, texting on their phone.
  • They didn’t shake your hand, didn’t seek you out when they knew you’d been sick the week before.
  • How about that one…you were sick the week before, and no one from church called to see where you’d been.
  • You weren’t asked to sing in the trio, or the quartet.
  • You can play the piano, but no one ever asks you to play at church, or for their special.
  • What if you teach school during the week, but they’ve never asked you to teach a Sunday school class.

These are just examples, ya know, there’s all sorts of ways and places we get offended. But in all honesty, these are minor things, not mountains, but molehills.

We’re hanging on for dear life to these offenses, knuckles turning white as we rage and scream at the offense itself. Yet, all we’d have to do to make it stop hurting us is ‘Let It Go.’ So why do we hold on to them? Why don’t we let them go?

That’s the real question. Why do we hold on to things that are hurting us? Why do we mentally rage at a person who has no idea they’ve done anything to slight us?

I know of a guy who sold a young couple a van – an old van – like 30-years-old old. This young couple wasn’t real savvy with the mechanics at the time; they were newlyweds, just starting out. So they took that old van, and they used it for their new little family. They moved with that van, they took it to work; they did what they could to keep it running. Well, after a couple years the van just decided it wasn’t going to cooperate anymore, and the young couple traded it in for something that ran a bit better.

Twenty years later, the now not-so-young couple was going to be back in the same town with that guy who sold them the van, heading for the same church for a visit, only he sends on a warning that he doesn’t want to have anything to do with them. He was angry with that young couple for getting rid of the van. He had held that grudge against them, silently, for two decades. Never did the young couple know this…they were only loosely acquainted with the guy in the first place. But somehow, this man held on to his anger so doggedly that he still was upset to the point of refusing to be in the same room with them 20 years later.

So did his offense help him? No.

Since he was offended, did that mean the young couple had done something wrong? No.

Did it mean the young couple needed to change the way they were acting? No, actually. They’d done nothing to him that was offensive.

See, sometimes we think that if we’re offended, that automatically means the other party has done something wrong to us. No. It means you’re offended. This doesn’t always mean the other person is wrong.

You might have good reason for it, but then again, you might not. Even if you do have good reason for the offense, if it’s minor, why hold on to it?

All I’m trying to say is, let the small stuff go so you can concentrate on the big stuff.

That’s what we’re here for as Christians…the big stuff.

So when you have that temptation to get offended over some thing that really doesn’t matter, remember the song, and Let It Go.

(disclaimer…offenses can and do happen everywhere, not only at church. So while it’s hard to think of it this way perhaps, remember that church families are just made up of people. They’re not perfect people, just regular people.)

Sherry Chamblee can be found online at http://www.sherrychamblee.weebly.com And on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/authorsherrychamblee

About the Author:

Sherry Chamblee

Sherry grew up in various cities around northern and central California. This gave her all sorts of stories that sat and festered in her brain, waiting to be let loose. She eventually went to college in Wisconsin, where she met her equally frenetic husband, Rich. They have six (yes, count them) children, two dogs and a cat, and currently reside in a madhouse in the southern California area. As a family, they enjoy being active in their local church. Sherry spends her time writing when not caring for Granny, the kids, the dogs, the cat and any number of strays in the neighborhood.

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Great Thirst by Mary C. Findley

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Great thirst 1 prepared final 25

This story began life in 2013 as a NaNoWriMo project. Someone challenged me to put together some of the issues we cover in our nonfiction works — History, Science, and Secular Humanism, into a contemporary fiction work. I wanted to make it an archaeological mystery. I also wanted to include public school education, but in a small town where people think they are “safe” from government control. The book will be released serially in about 100-page segments. Here’s Chapter One:

Chapter One – “Mr. Safety”

tesla 25ding

“Hey!” Keith Bradley shouted. “No cars in the bus lot, and what kind of car is that, anyway?”
Keith waved off an incredibly red and shiny thing that didn’t seem to make any noise at all as it tried to slide past him into the bus lot at Bradley Central School on Tuesday morning, the first day of the new school year.
“Oh, no! The bus lot? I feel like such a doofus.” The driver pulled over to the curb and rolled down her passenger window. “It’s a Tesla.”
She was even more incredible than the car. Her highlighted brown hair framed a face that looked about sixteen and she pulled off some designer sunglasses that didn’t look like knockoffs.
“A whatsla?” An eighth-grader, Jermaine Tufo, gawked around Keith’s shoulder.
“A Tesla?” Keith repeated. “You’re kidding me, right? As in, the most awesome electric car ever made? Are you a new student?”
“Student? Are you hitting on me, kid? I’m the new English Lit teacher. Ms. Ramin to you.”
“You? A teacher?” Jermaine asked.
Keith pushed him toward the building and pointed him in the direction of the side doors. “Cafeteria, Jermaine, until 07:50. You know the rules.”
Jermaine ambled off.
“I’m a teacher, too,” Keith said. “Keith Bradley, science. The car parking is up at the other end of the building.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry. Thanks.” Ms. Ramin pulled a tight U-turn right in front of the last arriving bus. The car buzzed away.
Yeah, buzzed, Keith repeated to himself for emphasis. A Tesla? That’s like a $100,000 car, minimum!
Keith had somehow been pegged as “Mr. Safety” since junior high, when he’d made the mistake of thinking it was a big honor to be appointed to the “Junior Safety Patrol.” Twelve years later he was the science teacher at Bradley Central. The building had been renamed in honor of his late principal grandfather. Keith still stood out in the parking lot, breathing diesel, shouting at kids to get on the right bus or get out of the way of –
“Who was that crazy woman and what was that crazy car?” Veronica James, the driver of the bus the Tesla had almost pasted itself to, hollered out to Keith.
“New teacher, Mrs. James.” Keith spread his hands out helplessly. “Ms. Ramin, English lit. The car is called a Tesla.”
“Some new Japanese thing, huh? Anyway, she ain’t settin’ a very good example for the children, drivin’ like that. And you’re the Safety Director. I hope you’re going to speak to her.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Keith saluted and Mrs. James pulled her bus into the offload circle, much to Keith’s relief. Yeah, like I’m ever going to talk to … to … that! He glanced toward the student entrance to make sure all the kids got into the building as the warning bell rang.
A squeal of tires sent Keith sprinting back toward the street. Up at the car parking lot entrance he saw a tall black van with dark windows narrowly miss the Tesla as it turned in at the upper lot. The Sprinter spurted past the school, ignoring the reduced speed limit.
What just happened? Keith stared at the vanishing tail of the Tesla. That Ramin woman might be kind of a crazy driver, but Keith could have sworn the Sprinter was trying to hit her, not avoid her. He shook his head and headed inside.
fingers dust ding
Fourth period, Keith led his ninth grade earth science class into the auditorium for the annual “Welcome to Bradley” assembly. He cringed when he saw Ms. Ramin and her class already seated in the section where his bunch was supposed to sit.
“Mr. Bradley, tenth grade is in our seats!” hissed Sonja Gray.
“I see. I see. Hush, Sonja.” Keith counted rapidly. “Just go in here.” He waved them down another row of seats, the ones the tenth grade should have taken. A dozen students felt compelled to make comments about these being the wrong rows, as hard as he tried to hush them up.
“The sign’s right there by her elbow,” grumbled Tim deLuca. “Man, I thought English teachers could read.”
He said this as he plopped down beside Keith, right in front of Ms. Ramin. She appeared to come out of a trance and looked over at the sign next to her that said, “grade nine.”
“Oh,” she exclaimed, jumping up and windmilling her arms. “Class! Everybody! We’re in the wrong seats. Get up! Get up! We need to move to – ” Her eyes flicked over to the “grade ten” sign at Keith’s elbow. “Up there. Come on!”
“Ms. Ramin, it’s okay,” Keith said. “It’s fine. Look.” He reached out with his long legs, hooked the signs with his ankles, and shuffled them until the “grade nine” one stood next to him. “Sit back down. It’s fine.”
She collapsed back into her chair, red-faced. “I lost a contact,” she confessed. “I have no idea where – ”
Keith risked a look into that little almond-shaped, almond-colored face and found some big brown eyes staring back at him from under her soft gold and chestnut bangs.
“Oh, I see it,” Keith almost shouted, forcing himself back out of the depths of those eyes and taking a breath. “It’s the right one, right? It’s back up in the top corner there.”
“Really? I can’t feel it!” She whipped out a lighted, magnifying compact and peeled back her eyelid.
Keith heard and felt rather than saw the reaction of the tenth graders. He gave them the Eyeball, a look perfected and passed down through three generations of Bradley educators, and they subsided into relative silence and motionlessness.
“Yeah, no, it’s right there – You got it!” Keith crowed. Ms. Ramin nipped the contact out of her eye, pasted it to her tongue, and popped it back in.
Every kid for six rows said, in unison, “Eeewww!” But not very loudly, and shut up instantly with the application of another “Eyeball” treatment.
“Thank you so much, Mr. Brady,” she said. “I have been trying all morning to find it. All my classes tried to help, didn’t you?”
How can that many kids all roll their eyes at the same time? Keith somehow managed to keep his expression bland.
“It’s Bradley!” muttered someone.
“What was that?” Ms. Ramin asked.
“It’s not Mr. Brady, it’s Mr. Bradley. The school is – y’know – like, named after him or somethin’,” a voice supplied.
“Oh, you’re Mr. Bradley? Everybody said at the in-service that you’re the go-to guy if anybody needs help, and they were so right!” Ms. Ramin stuck out a hand, rattling metallic bangles and displaying multiple rings –
Keith stopped looking at her arm, her fingers, her perfect little hand, and shook it. He turned back around as a voice boomed over the feedback shriek that always signaled an assembly getting underway.
“Welcome to Bradley Central!” Keith’s father, the principal, called out. “Returning students and teachers, no falling asleep. Don’t care how many times you’ve heard me give you ‘Bradley’s Best’. You still might miss something, especially this year, because we have something brand new and very special for our high school students. If you miss that very special announcement, you will miss out on an opportunity to make history.”
Make history? How’s Bradley Central ever gonna make history? Keith couldn’t help it. This tiny town, and this tiny school, would never matter to anybody. But as he looked around the auditorium, he sat up a little straighter.
A stranger prowled along the side wall. It was a blonde in a fedora, tinted glasses, and one of those “business-sexy” outfits he never expected to see in real life.
Who is she? An extra microphone had been attached to his father’s podium and a cameraman flanked her. The blonde looked bored but perked up whenever the camera angled her way.
A reporter? For the first day of school at Bradley Central? Keith realized he had better try to pay special attention to a speech he had been hearing since Kindergarten, because between Ms. Ramin and this “making history” stuff, something was definitely up.

Cuneiform_Gold_Plate_Perspolis 25

Image credits:

Cover credits: Book One: Professional man and woman images (Keith Bradley and Natalia Ramin) from iStock
“Couple-waiting” (teens in “have faith” shirts) image from Kozzi.com uploaded by Wright Artistry www.wrightartistry.com

Artifact image from http://www.fouman.com/ Iranian Historical Photo Gallery source for Darius I Persepolis Gold Plates
These plates were found by archeologists in 1938, in Persepolis, near modern day Shiraz, Iran. There were two gold plates and two silver plates in a stone box, written on in cuneiform script. The plates date to 518 – 515 BC.
Tesla Roadster (chapter header image) 13 April 2010 Author Thomas Doerfer Wikimedia Commons
Fingers with dust (section divider image) from pixabay.com user Unsplash

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When the Supernatural Invades by Tina Webb

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I wonder what the average Christian thinks of the word “supernatural”?

Student fellowship meetings at my alma mater introduced me to the word. Guest speakers took me beyond the limits of my childhood Sunday morning sermons. Experiencing the power of God daily became a worthy goal. After all, Jesus told us that we would do greater works that he did!

Salvation is the most important supernatural work. Divine healing of soul and body are wondrous supernatural works that I’ve experienced. Through them, I encountered the heart and will of God. He is for us, not against us.

In 2008, for two seconds, the supernatural invaded my life again. I was surrounded by hundreds of Christians at a Fredericksburg, Virginia conference called Awaken The Dawn. A worship leader was gently playing the piano while he shared about God’s love and faithfulness. I bowed my head and enjoyed the atmosphere of expectancy and gentle devotion to God.

All of a sudden, I looked up but I didn’t see the row in front of me. Instead I saw a human womb with two embryos in it. Then I heard a still, small voice say, “I want you to have two more children…”

I heard the rest of God’s message while in a dull stupor. My stupor was not the result of the message itself, although I would have glared at anyone that would have suggested such a ridiculous idea to me. No, my shock-filled mind sat still because I realized that in my heart, I felt complete peace and agreement.

Supernatural

You see, I had four children already and the youngest was ten. I was 38 on that day in Fredericksburg when God gave me this addendum to my already satisfied family life.

While “hearing” God’s voice may freak out some of you, I can say it was not an audible voice, but a distinct, out of the blue, invasion into my human mind and reasoning. And I repeat, the bigger miracle to me was the fact that my heart was not in protest, but in peace.

That was 2008.

Whistling Through the Graveyard

If you are a mother, be at peace! Please don’t project yourself into my story. LOL This experience was God’s plan for my family. Be at peace with the call on your family and life. Having an age range of twenty years between my oldest and youngest is a remarkable personal growth opportunity for me. Someday you will read about how parenting grew me up in my upcoming book, Ages and Stages: The Book.

Ages and Stages

God wants to invade the life of every human being on earth with his saving grace. He knocks on hearts every day. However, God doesn’t want to stop at salvation. In order for life to be on earth as it is in heaven, our lives must be invaded by the unexplainable, the wondrous, the unimaginable, the jaw-dropping display of God’s love that comes through His power and might.

Do you want it?

John 5;20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel.

 

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