Sunday, August 30, 2009

THE BLUE ENCHANTRESS--Guest Blogger, Marylu Tyndall

My guest today is Marylu Tyndall, a successfully published writer who is fast becoming one of North America's favorites. Marylu may be a highly successful writer, but I've come to know her as a very humble woman who strives to use her life and writing to tell others how wonderful a personal relationship with Jesus Christ can be.

Not only is she one of those writers I strive to emulate, but she is such a caring individual who has--like myself--been deeply scarred by her own past choices. Her novels, including her latest, 'The Blue Enchantress' are exciting stories set in the Caribbean in the yesteryear of tall ships and pirates. While Marylu makes this time period come alive with rich detail, she fills the pages with her believable characters that are experiencing the same longings, and struggle with life choices, that consume the hearts of people today. Her character of Hope Westcott in the Blue Enchantress could be speaking from the heart of any modern-day young woman who has made some terrible decisions as to her purity and who strives to change.

In the following interview Marylu shares some of her personal life struggles, including her heart's longings for her kids and the dilemma of unanswered prayer. I hope you are as encouraged by Marylu's story as much as I have been--not only as an aspiring writer, but as a woman going through this journey called 'life'.

Christine Lindsay: Marylu, Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, your family.

Marylu Tyndall: Hum, well, I live in one of the most liberal states in the Union in one of the most liberal parts of the state and probably one of the most innovative places as far as science and technology goes: The Bay Area in Northern California. It's a gorgeous place to live with a mild, Mediterranean climate. An hour west of me is the gorgeous Pacific coast, and 4 hours toward the east, we have the beautiful sierras. I've lived here for nearly 30 years, but my true love is the tropics of Florida where I grew up and where my entire family still lives and where I go and visit as often as I can! My husband and I have 6 children, most all grown up, and 3 cats currently, although we seem to attract strays! (cats, not kids)

CL: What do you like to do for fun?

MT: I love to go on hikes, go to the beach, oil paint, garden, go out to dinner (anywhere as long as I don't have to cook!) and I also enjoy a great book or movie. In fact I used to love to go to the movies. I loved the whole experience with the hot buttered popcorn and the big screen and surround sound, but these days I rarely find anything I want to see.

CL: How did you come to write novels, especially this series?

MT: I never planned on becoming an author. I always loved to write and wrote several stories for fun while I was growing up, but it never seemed a very feasible or practical occupation! About 6 years ago I got the strangest notion that I should write a story about a Christian Pirate. I thought I was crazy but the feeling wouldn't relent, so I finally obeyed and wrote my first novel, The Redemption. I had never tried to get anything published before so that journey was quite an adventure, but I can honestly say that God was the One who opened all the doors to make that possible. My current series, The Charles Towne Belles was an idea that God gave me during one of my prayer times. The theme of the series comes from Matthew 13, the parable of the Seed and the Sower. Each story represents one of the seeds Jesus describes in that parable. My current release, The Blue Enchantress, is the story of the seed that falls among the thorns, where the pleasures of this world and the cares of life strangle out the power of God's Word in a human heart. In this case, the heart of my heroine, Hope Westcott.

CL: This next question is dear to my heart; Did you ever doubt your calling; ever feel like giving up?

MT: At least once or twice a week! I know that may sound strange coming from someone who has 6 books published, but even after God preformed a miracle getting me published, even after receiving the Christy nomination, even after all the books I've written, in my darkest hour when I'm tired and I'm struggling with a scene or I've gotten a bad review, I wonder if I'm truly meant to do this. Surely someone with a better command of the language or a more vivid imagination, or a degree in creative writing should be doing this. Surely someone who's a better Christian or a more benevolent person should be writing these stories, not some overly-sensitive, stressed out, no English degree, worry-wort person like me. But, then God reassures me in some small way, a kind word from a friend, an encouragement from a fellow writer, a good review, and I keep on plugging on, until He tells me otherwise.

CL: Tell us about your awareness of the Lord in your normal writing day.

MT: Each morning before I do anything else, I spend 45 minutes to an hour in prayer and reading my Bible. This is where God gives me my marching orders for the day and where I receive His peace and encouragement. This is the most important part of my day, of anyone's day. If you want to have success in your life, if you want to become a better person and impact the world for God's glory, then model what Jesus did when He was here on earth. He spent time in prayer every morning. Then during the course of my day I practice the awareness of His presence. He sits beside me at my desk and when I need help with anything, whether it be a word or a plot point or a character reaction, I sit back in my chair and ask Him for guidance. Without His help, I doubt I'd be able to write even one book, let alone six. I know to some this may sound crazy, but God's Word says the Lord delights in the details of our lives, that He sticks closer than a brother. So whatever your tasks are during the day, I challenge you to invite the Lord along, talk to Him often, lean on Him for strength, ask His advice. You'll be surprised at how your life will change for the better!

CL: How did you first come to believe in Christ and His promises for your future?

MT: Long story. But the short version is that I spent many years wandering away from God. Although I knew about Him and had learned all the Bible stories in Sunday school, I had a difficult childhood and decided I wanted to pursue my own happiness. I tried all the things this world has to offer in order to find fulfillment, but by the time I was 35, nothing had worked. I was miserable. My second marriage was falling apart, my teenage children were in rebellion, I had a drinking problem and I hated my job. One night in desperation, I dusted off my old Bible and began to read it from cover to cover. Somewhere in Ezekiel in the prophecies about Israel, I realized that what God had spoken of thousands of years ago was coming true in my time. As I sat alone in my bed in the middle of the night, I remember saying out loud "You're real" and instantly I was enveloped by this tingling warmth and a joy that bubbled up from within me. I fell to my knees and gave my life to God. Things didn't improve overnight. My husband and kids were non-believers, but now, 15 years later, my husband (a staunch atheist) and half our kids are committed Christians!

Just briefly (I realize I told you this was the short version) But I need to say that at one point shortly after this, God spoke to me and told me He had something for me to do that would blow my socks off. A year later I got my first book published. God delights in blessing His children!

CL: Would you be able to share with us your darkest hour, and how God brought you through it?

MT: Some of my darkest moments have been dealing with the pain of past regrets and guilt. Because I spent so many years away from God, I did many things--things that make me cringe now when I think of them, things that hurt others and caused pain to people around me, even my own children. My darkest hours have been when those memories resurrect and I fall flat on my face on the floor in utter agony, assailed with the weight of my own guilt. Sometimes I just want to die and I feel so worthless and ashamed. Oddly enough it has been during those dark times that I have felt the Lord's presence even more powerfully than at any other time. It is as if He gently lifts me up, wipes away my tears, shoves away the enemy who accuses me, removes the chains around my heart, and cleanses me utterly and perfectly with His sacrifice and His love. And I am reminded that no matter what we've done, no matter how horrible it may have been, if we turn to Jesus, we are forgiven and cleansed and justified (Just as if I never sinned)

CL: What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?

MT: My tag line is "Live in the awareness of your eternal destiny". All my novels are interwoven with a strong spiritual theme but if I had to pick an overall general theme that I hope my readers get, it would be that God loves you more than anything and He wants to be intimately involved in your life, that He is as powerful and miraculous as He has always been, and that the good news of the gospel is that this fallen world with all its suffering and pain and heartache is NOT the whole story. There is another world, more wonderful and real and incredible than this one where there will be no suffering and where you will live forever.

CL: Tell us what your most audacious prayer was.

MT: My most audacious prayer was and is that my eldest son will become a youth pastor and lead many people to Christ. At this time, this 28 year old boy is not a Christian and is involved with the things of this world and wants nothing to do with God. But you know what? I believe our God is a mighty God. His arm is not too short that it cannot save, and there is nothing impossible for Him.! I believe in praying HUGE prayers because we have a HUGE God.

CL: And now the toughie---did God answer it?

MT: Not yet. But I believe He will. My son may not become a youth pastor, but I believe he'll get saved and do something great for God with his life. God has confirmed this in my heart and through His Word, and He is faithful!

CL: Thank you so much, Marylu. This particular blog posting has encouraged me on such a personal level. Like you, I have memories that like to come by once in a while and haunt me. But like you, I too know the power of what Christ did on the cross. Like you, I am a FREE woman, and He has given me a purpose. Thank you again, for sharing your heart with my readers.

Thanks Christine for having me!!!! God Bless.

You you are interested in seeing a list of Marylu's books and her latest release, check out her website

Sunday, August 23, 2009

SUMMER OF MY CONTENT--Guest Blogger, Linore Rose Burkard

My guest this morning is a published author friend, Linore Rose Burkard. I am so very excited to tell you that she has just had her second novel released by Harvest House, The House in Grosvenor Square. It is another delightful romp into Regency England, the second story following the romance of Ariana and Philip Mornay. You can read my review of Linore's first novel, Before the Season Ends in an earlier post by clicking on my blog label at the far right, "My Book Reviews".

For anyone who loves Jane Austen, you will find your soul enriched by Linore's latest, a fresh new story written in that long-beloved style. It's a delight to read and wonder if the young Ariana will ever make it to the altar to marry her dear Philip, or will one of the numerous abduction attempts of her succeed? Like Jane Austen, Linore combines suspense, deft humor, and a thorough knowledge of the period to weave a story around the reader, whisking them away for a short time to Regency England.

But authors, especially Christian authors like Linore, write from the depth of their personal soul. What they learn about God is transported from their lives into their fictional stories. However, below is a true story of Linore's post partum depression, and of how the Lord met her and comforted her during that time. I hope her true-to-life story as well as her novels will encourage you in your faith in Christ.

THE SUMMER OF MY CONTENT: By Linore Rose Burkard

When our family moved from Nassau County, Long Island, out to eastern Suffolk in the early 90's, we were leaving a time of great difficulty for me. Following the birth of our second child, I descended into a nightmarish postpartum depression that was emotionally and physically depleting.

After an adolescence fraught with anxiety, loneliness, and panic attacks, this was the worst thing to hit me yet. Making matters worse, the depression had not been diagnosed properly, and lack of the right treatment meant I suffered far longer than I should have. It was during this time that we bought our new house, in which I hoped to have a new beginning--in more ways than one.

The older couple that had owned the home before, had, over time, transformed much of the single acre plot into a myriad of small patches of gardens. Their intentions were good, but the result was prickly rose bushes where room was needed to walk, random shrubs about the yard, and individual plantings of ground covers juxtaposed against each other in odd arrangements.

We had two small children when we moved in--an infant and a toddler--and two more were to come before we would outgrow that home and leave it, nearly nine years later. But back then, with my children nearby, I devoted my energies at first to transplanting and concentrating the existing flowers, shrubs and ground covers into a couple of well-defined plots. The multiple parcels that had been carefully weeded and cleared by my predecessors were just too much for me to keep up, and we wanted some large, open areas.

Over time, even the fewer areas that I had preserved became more than enough for me to maintain. I sometimes lamented to my family that the yard work was too demanding, and I chastised myself for weeds that had not been pulled, plants that needed pruning, or edging that was getting fuzzy with growth.

In addition, well meaning neighbors who were nature enthusiasts (to the point of never mowing, never pulling a weed, and, in short, having the worst looking plot of ground imaginable), shook their heads if I removed a bush or shrub, even to transplant it. And, no matter how hard I tried, my efforts never came close to producing the profusion of blooms or vegetables of their garden. I wasn't competing, but I had the feeling they were! I just wanted the simple pleasures of flowers--their beauty, their scents, their colorful presence.

Yearning for better results, I settled upon the front garden as the one area I would maintain meticulously. With the children, I started our own seedlings in long, green trays, and it was like having pets in the house. We placed the trays above the refrigerator for warmth, watched them lovingly until the sprouts appeared, and then removed the plastic with a sense of undeniable satisfaction--the wonder of creation, still at work, right before our eyes!

When the seedlings were ready, and the danger of frost past, the children joined me in transplanting them to our front, prize, garden bed.

I am not, and was not then, a green thumb. Visitors sometimes admired our flowers, but whenever I drove around the neighborhood, I marveled at the profusion of blooms other people seemed to achieve so easily. My flowers were pretty, but there never seemed to be enough of them for the effect I wanted, no matter how much I planted.

When I became pregnant with my third child, I felt a great deal of trepidation before the birth, fearing the onset of another depression. Many people prayed for me. Two special friends even agreed to pray for me every single day throughout the pregnancy. Of course, I also prayed long and hard myself--and Matthew, born at 9 lbs., was a glowing testimony to all that prayer.

He was what we called a "dream baby," sleeping through the night, seldom crying, and always easily contented. He happily sat in his baby seat while I planted yet another year's trays of seedlings into the chunky, brown earth in my garden. I had purchased an organic fertilizer and had prepared the soil with it before planting--but I wasn't expecting anything more than the usual mediocre results of my efforts.

At my doctor's instruction before Matt was born, I agreed to forgo breastfeeding in favor of uninterrupted sleep, in order to prevent another post-partum episode. Mercifully, my hormones did not rise up and engulf me in a wild, frightful darkness of anxiety and fear. But I missed nursing; there was always a special closeness that I relished while nursing a baby.

Meantime, my seedlings were growing at a delightful pace. We marveled at how they would change noticeably, overnight. By summer, I had a thriving, plush, flower bed, the bright yellows and oranges of marigolds lightening the appearance of the yard--and my days. The truly amazing thing, though, were the begonias. Their little clusters of blooms grew, and grew, and grew. No one could believe that these flowers were ordinary. When they just about reached my waist, they finally ceased expanding. Their blooms made a pillow-top canopy of pink, white and red, hiding the tall, leggy, unsightly stems underneath. To my surprise, none of our guests recognized what they were, despite the fact that the flowers were exactly the same, only higher.

A day of real triumph came when our neighbor, the undisputed green thumb, organic gardener and nature expert extraordinaire, came and admired my flowers. "What are these?" he asked, and my eyes lit up like a sparkler on the fourth of July.

"You can't tell?" I asked, relishing the fact that even HE was stumped. He looked again, and shook his head. "They're begonias!" I was smiling from ear to ear. "Really?!" he said. "I didn't know they could grow so big."

The amazing thing is, they don't. Not usually--and they never have, for me, again. But they were there, then, blooming determinedly, like my life. Pushing up their faces, covering over the leggy stems. Leaving the dark earth behind for the sun.

Somehow, the whole of that summer soothed my rough-edged past. I knew that the hard days, at least for now, were over. The Lord was granting me a time of rest and refreshment. And I drank it in like a dried up plot of soil, ready to bloom.

©2009 Linore Rose Burkard
Linore Rose Burkard now lives in Ohio with her husband and five children on 3 acres, part of which she struggles to keep in bloom! She is the author of “BEFORE THE SEASON ENDS,” and THE HOUSE IN GROSVENOR SQUARE, (“Inspirational Romance for the Jane Austen Soul”). If you’re ready to be transported to Regency England, hop on over to her website at:
If you would like to order one of her books, here are a number of online sites for you to do so.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

OKAY, LORD—WHAT NEXT?-Guest Blogger, Rosella Pettigrew

Last Sunday I introduced you to my good friend, Rosella. Today her story continues in what I call, "The Making of a Missionary."

Next week I will post a book review on an exciting book coming out, but Rosella's story will continue the Sunday after that. I hope her story encourages you in your walk of faith as much as it does me.

OKAY, LORD, WHAT NEXT? by Rosella Pettigrew

Our time on the Reserve was almost over but we had promised to return for a summer vacation Bible school. Esther decided to remain in Saskatoon a little longer until it was time for us to return to the reserves. Jeanne and I continued on to Regina to make preparations for VBS.

But the Nelsons who prayed for us faithfully got in touch with us with some disturbing news. Some of the summer students had attended the Regina Exhibition and given out some Christian literature. We could in those days. They met up with Eddy Windchild and his friends—who were drunk. Eddy recognized the students, but then to the student's shock, Eddy attacked them and broke their glasses. The police nabbed Eddy and charged him with assault, and he found himself back in prison. What a huge disappointment for all.

Many of our friends didn’t want us to return to the reserve, but Jeanne and I felt we needed to go, and the sooner the better. A ride was arranged to take us. We gathered our supplies and went out there, not knowing what to expect. Would the people on the reserve welcome us with what had just happened to Eddy? But we felt we were doing the right thing.

On arrival we found Eddy’s parents sitting on the front step of the Community Hall, looking absolutely dejected. We sat on the steps with them, loved them, comforted them, and prayed for them and Eddy. We tried to explain that God had not forsaken them or Eddy, that He would continue to work in their son’s life.

Back on the reserve, we found a lot of people had elevated Eddy and perhaps put more trust in him than in the Lord. As we approached one of the homes, the man of the house came out with a shotgun and ordered us off the property, claiming we had deceived them, and wanted nothing to do with us. A few families knew we weren’t to blame and they came for Bible studies. But the majority it seemed had turned against us. In spite of this major setback we decided to go ahead with Vacation Bible School. Nine young girls came out for it.

They were fabulous; very bright and learned so quickly. As the end of the week approached, we talked with the girls about a closing program. They were excited and said they would make invitations and deliver them to the community. Imagine our amazement when 75 people came for the closing program. Jeanne, Esther and I looked at each other in amazement. Our faith had been too small. That evening the three of us stepped back and watched the girls. They presented to the people what we had taught them that week from the Bible—that Jesus said, He is the Way of salvation. The girls did it so well and even asked and received audience participation.

In the end, the people didn’t want us to leave but thanked us for the time we spent with them to teach them God’s truth and love for them.

But what did God want us to do next? We had finished our assignments on the reserve, and since we weren’t going on tour we found ourselves at loose ends. But not for long.

One of our former teachers who had taught church history in Bible College asked us to go to Griffin, Saskatchewan—a small prairie town. She was to be the first speaker for 3 days at a week of meetings focused on Missions. Then Ernie Harrison, a missionary with Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) who had spent 4 years in Nigeria, W. Africa, would be participating. Was this trip part of God’s plan for each of us? Looking back all these decades, it’s clear to see. He was preparing us for a life changing experience.

The Lord used Ernie to cause us to be honest with ourselves. Did we really mean the words we were singing? “I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord?” for instance. And the challenge in Roman’s 10, “Anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”

But how shall they (Africans, etc.) ask Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? How can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? Who will go and tell them? Who will send him . . . or her?

What excuse did I have for not obeying this call and going? None. I had always been interested in missions. But when I thought of the overwhelming commitment involved, I became hesitant.

The prophet, Jeremiah, had excuses too. The Lord said to him, “I knew you before you were formed within your mother’s womb; before you were born I sanctified you and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.”

"O, Lord God,” Jeremiah said, “I can’t do that. I’m far too young . . .

“Don’t say that,” The Lord replied, “For you will go wherever I send you and speak whatever I tell you to. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I, the Lord, will be with you and see you through.”

It sounded like a command with a promise back then, and it still does. Jeremiah obeyed the Lord, and so did I. I wanted to do His will for my life. Now I needed to tell my parents about that commitment. How would they take this news?

When I telephone them, Mother answered the phone with the most amazing reaction to my news.

“I knew. I knew,” she said, “The Lord told me and also showed me where you would serve Him.”

Sunday, August 09, 2009

SASKATOON BERRIES & TRAIN TICKETS--Guest Blogger, Rosella Pettigrew

It was a sizzling hot July afternoon when I walked up to the door of a well-cared for, one-story bungalow. Perhaps it was the heat, the bees buzzing in the perfectly manicured front yard that was filled with trees and flowering shrubs, that I thought for a moment I was in a lush, tropical country. I wasn’t. I was only a couple of miles from home, and this was Canada, 200 miles north of Seattle for my American friends.

But my musings, that I was maybe in India or Singapore of an earlier era, were inspired by the people who lived in this house. This couple had left much of their hearts in places closer to the equator—places like Africa and South America. But this afternoon I was calling on one of my favourite people in the word, Rosella Pettigrew, and her husband, Ivan. They are retired missionaries these days, but whatever Ivan and Rosella touch, it seems to hold the lingering fragrance of the tropics.

People talk a lot of nonsense these days about a prosperity gospel. Some folks believe that if they give a lot to God, that God has promised to give them a lot of cash in return. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, God does bless us if we give all of ourselves to Him and obey His wishes and instructions. But those promises aren’t always wrapped up with cash. And I know that Ivan and Rosella, in their gorgeous little home, where they take care of house and garden themselves, and live on a modest income, are two of the richest people in the world. But it has nothing to do with their bank account.

I plan on sharing some of Rosella’s story in 4 installments over the next 2 months—what I call, "The making of a missionary". Interspersed will be a couple of reviews on new books coming out, but then it will continue with how this wonderful, spunky lady started out to become a missionary on three continents. This is Rosella's story in her words, only a few names have been changed to protect confidentiality of folks now passed on.

When I read Rosella’s experiences, I’m inspired to live harder, give more, give ALL, for the God I love. That’s the problem with so many of us these days, we think so small. We think of money and ease. But not Rosella . . .

Saskatoon Berries & Train Tickets—by Rosella Pettigrew

Spring 1946. We were going on a tour! Wow! Every year one of the professors of our Bible College asked some students to accompany him on a tour to promote our college as a school trio. Jeanne, Esther, and I, as well as a married couple had been chosen to go on this Eastern Canadian musical tour. We had just graduated—which our parents had attended—and we remained in Regina to practice and work part time for a couple of months.

We had no clue as to what our future would hold. Where do we go from here? This tour was the first step. After all, God had a plan for our lives. He’d said so in Jeremiah 29:11,’For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. He would guide us. And He did, in unexpected ways.

A request came from a church worker on a Saskatchewan Native reserve who wanted our church to send someone to help her share God’s word with the people. Would we go? Of course we would. Our tour didn’t take place for another 2 months. “Miss Brown” had worked on this particular native Indian reserve for a number of years; sadly, she didn’t know how to lead people to Christ. So this had been her motive to ask for help.

On the reserve we had meetings with music, singing songs, and a sharing of our faith in Christ every night for the week. While we were with Miss Brown, 15 people came forward to believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Many came during the day to ask questions and to gain an understanding of who Jesus is, and to learn of how much He loved them. We prayed, taught and rejoiced with them.

And Miss Brown? She was happy for the people, but she told us that there was something in her past that would ruin her reputation if she confessed it—which she would love to do if she committed her life to Christ. So why was she a ‘church worker’ on a reserve, we asked. Miss Brown had a great hunger to know God, but the price was too high, she claimed. Although it was obvious she wanted what we had—a vibrant personal relationship with God and His son. We three girls left the reserve with mixed feelings. We rejoiced with the new believers, but were sad for her. We heard later that Miss Brown resigned and left the reserve.

But something happened while we were there on the reserve. One day we received a phone call from Regina to say that the plans had changed and we would not be going on tour. The married couple scheduled for this tour weren’t able to go which meant we weren’t either. A different team had been chosen. Now what? We had no money. No jobs. But God hadn’t deserted us. We returned to Regina. Esther decided to go home to Saskatoon for a while until we knew what God wanted us to do next. I remember a friend coming to the college where we stayed to give us some money which met our immediate financial need.

It was only a week later that we were asked to go to another Native Indian reserve out in Saskatchewan. Bible school students had ministered there from time to time, sharing the message of Christ. Would we three girls be willing to spend the summer there? We took inventory of our situation—we had no income nor were we promised any. We didn’t have a car, besides being many miles from the nearest grocery store. How would we get there? And when we were on this large reserve, how would we get around? Good questions.

But we stepped out in faith, and said, “Yes, we’ll go.”

One evening two older ladies in the church offered to take the three of us out to the reserve. Church people donated canned and non-perishable food, dishes, and utensils, bedding for a double bed. And off we went, each of us with one suitcase of clothes. At the reserve we were told we’d be living in the room at the end of the Community Hall. We marched down the hall and discovered our room contained one double bed and a mattress, one small table, 3 chairs and a stove. The oven was wired shut, and a there was a cupboard of sorts to hold our supplies. That was it. There was no door between that room and the hall where meetings were held, so we requested a door. The room had been used as a chicken coop, and thankfully had been cleaned occasionally. We asked Bill, a member of the reserve, and his wife and 3 young daughters—who were believers in Christ—for a bucket and rags. In the meantime, our friends left for Regina, but said they would be back.

We scrubbed and cleaned and all three of us fell into the double bed about 2 am—two lying one way, one the other. Good thing none of us were overweight. We had read Psalm 91 and prayed together, for rest and protection. The hall missed some windows. We felt vulnerable but knew God would care for us.

About an hour later, Jeanne and Esther shook me awake. I was the one who laid the opposite way. “Rose, wake up, there is someone in the hall.”

I listened and then said, “shh, it’s only a mouse. Start breathing.”

They’d both been holding their breath and seemed to be more afraid when I said, it was a mouse. They were city born and bred, while I had lived part of my life on a farm. We were too tired to stay awake, but the next day I got rid of the mice while Jeanne and Esther stood on the table or benches yelling instructions.

We decided to start out by visiting the people in their homes, and walked miles every day. Before long, residents of the reserve asked for Bible studies. Soon we had a study every night of the week with about 20 people present, not always the same ones. Those farther away came in a wagon drawn by horses. What a privilege it was to teach the Word of God and reach out to these people with the love of Christ.

Bill and his family were our only neighbours, and we loved and appreciated them. Their life was not easy either. We shared the outhouse with them and we spent a lot of time there because the well water was alkalized which gave us diarrhoea.

During Bible college, one of the student’s assignments included prison ministries. One of the prisoners who had put his faith in Christ was Eddy "Windchild", whose parents lived on the reserve and attended our Bible Studies. While we were on the reserve, Eddy and a few others came to some of the meetings. This made a big impact on all who heard Eddy when they saw what God had done in his life. He was so changed, and as a result quite a few decided to follow Jesus. His parents were so happy to see the change in Eddy’s life.

Eventually our food supplies began to dwindle and then all but disappeared no matter how carefully we planned our meals. We knew where Saskatoon berries grew and ate those. Sometimes we were invited out. And we prayed. I reminded the Lord of His promise of in Phil 4:19 ‘And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.’ After three days when we felt really hungry, friends from Regina came unexpectedly with a carload of food. And we praised God for answered prayer.

Earlier in the summer we had made a promise to participate in a camp in Northern Saskatchewan. In order to do this, we needed to go to Saskatoon where we’d meet a missionary friend, Ernie Harrison, to go on to Prince Albert. We were offered a car trip to Saskatoon, another one of God’s provisions, and stayed with Esther’s parents. We had very little money but we each needed to get a decent dress for camp services. So we shopped and found three dresses, the same in color and our sizes on sale which all but depleted our funds.

We thought we were going to Prince Albert by car, so when we learned we’d be going by train, our first reaction was panic. Then we reminded ourselves of all the times God had met our needs and surely He knew what we needed now. We were in another test, and all we could do was pray, and tell no one.

The day for departure came. Ernie arrived at Esther’s home ready to accompany us.Our suitcases were packed and waiting at the door. But we had no money. We had been on our knees before we left our room, and just committed our ways to Him. As we were saying goodbye to Esther’s parents, the doorbell rang.

And who was at the door, but the couple with whom we were originally supposed to go on tour with, representing our Bible College. Talk about a surprise. But we shouldn’t have been, because they were the answer to our prayers. The Lord had impressed on their hearts that they needed to give us a certain amount of money. Earlier, they had inquired in Regina as to our whereabouts and arrived in Saskatoon in God’s perfect timing. How about that encouragement in faith? God’s timing is always right. The money covered our train tickets and lunch, and a lot to spare.

Needless to say, family camp was a wonderful time of fellowship, in song, in the Word, in ministering to people and in spiritual uplifting. We were learning that no matter how much we gave to God, we could never outgive Him. We could trust Him to take care of every detail in our lives---direction, food, clothing . . . protection.

Were these learning experiences laying a path for our future?

Sunday, August 02, 2009

SURRENDER THE WIND--Book Review and Guest Blogger, Rita Gerlach

My guest this Sunday is Rita Gerlach who's second novel 'Surrender the Wind' is being released this week. To see a fun video preview of Rita's new book, click on this link and go to Rita's website "Up Till Dawn Fiction". Rita's interview is below where she tells us a little about herself and her writing. I just finished reading 'Surrender the Wind', and the story grabbed me within the first few pages.

It's a fast-paced Georgian romance, steeped in history, that had me comparing it to my old favorites by Jane Austen, but with a hint of gothic mystery reminding me of the old classics by Victoria Holt--creaky carriages rumbling along an English countryside dripping with fog, candlelight flickering against mullioned windows, the scratch of a quill pen against parchment.

Rita swept me away from US soil to the misty isle of England where her hero, the American Revolutionary patriot, Seth Braxton, seeks to reunite with his sister Caroline. But danger and betrayal await Seth there, but so does rescue, reunion, and most of all, love. But will the love of the beautiful Juleah and Seth's faith survive a sinister plot of murder and adbuction?

This is a great book to wile away a summer day under a shady tree, or on a wintry day with the rain slashing against your windows as you curl up on the couch to read. You can order the book through Amazon

And now to my interview of Rita Gerlach:

Christine: Rita, Tell us a little about yourself, where you live, your family.

Rita: Well, I was born in Washington D.C., raised in the suburbs, and went to a parochial school that taught me everything about English, from the parts of speech to composition. I remember the textbooks had the title 'Voyages in English'. Little did I know that one day, I'd literally be on a voyage through the world of writing and publishing.

I met my husband when I was fifteen, and we married in 1978. We've been together through thick and thin for 31 years, and raised two wonderful sons. We live in central Maryland in a historical town nestled along the Catoctin Mountains, amid Civil War battlefields and Revolutionary War outposts.

CL: What kind of things do you write?

Rita: Inspirational historical romances. I also write two blogs --- InSpire and Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers and Readers.

CL: Do you believe you have a calling to write?

Rita: I believe God has called me to to be His, to walk with Him, love Him, love His Word, and to love my neighbor. I believe He blesses each person with a talent. When we discover and cultivate that talent, then we can do so much to bless others, as long as our hearts are never lifted up with pride.

CL: Tell us about your first awareness of God in your life (not your salvation experience).

Rita: It is hard for me to separate the two. When I was nine, I was sitting in church looking up at the cross. I suddenly was flooded with the awareness that Christ had suffered and died for me. That was perhaps the most vivid moment of the awareness of God. But if I think farther back, as a preschooler I had a love for the flowers in my mother's garden, the outdoors, and the sky. Sounds a bit melodramatic, but that's how I was. My mother taught me that God created the flowers and the clouds, and I recall pondering over the beauty of those things. I would say those were the times I became aware of my heavenly Father.

CL: Now tell us how you came to believe in Christ and His promises for your future.

Rita: That day, when I was only nine, sitting in church and realizing what Jesus had done for me was the day I was born again. It was in my teens that I began to read the Bible and saw all the promises God gave to us.

CL: What was the darkest hour of your life, and how did God bring you through it?

Rita: My father died. We were very close. He was a wonderful father and I miss him so much. God is still bringing me through the grief. I take one day at a time, think about the good times, and that we will see each other again. God gave me two opportunities that would help bring me though this dark hour. I was present when a priest came to visit him in the nursing home and prayed over him, anointed his palms and head with oil. He gripped my Dad's hand and told him God loves him, then asked if he believed it. My father weakly replied yes he did. This gave me so much comfort. A few days before his passing, I visited him and we sat together talking and singing. I talked to him about the days in my childhood that were precious memories to me, and he reached over slowly and touched my cheek with his hand. So, God was bringing me through this even before my Dad went home to be with him.

CL: What inspires you to write?

Rita: Classical music and period movies do inspire me. I listen to music when I write. I love Jane Austen’s characters in the recent films that have been produced, as well as Jane Eyre. Dear Jane, she has always been an inspiration to me. But I'd have to say that inspiration really comes from deep within. It's not something I can fully explain. Let's just say it is a passion, a desire to tell a story.

CL: What message do you hope your readers will come away with after reading your novels?

Rita: That greater than faith, greater than hope, is love. And that in the midst of troubling times love overcomes evil.

CL: What is your writing schedule like?

Rita: Pretty flexible really. I like to write mostly in the morning when the house is quiet and there are fewer interruptions. The weekends are too hectic, so I work on things like interviews, my website and blog, and marketing.

CL: What do you like to do for fun?

Rita: I enjoy gardening. This year I have a huge veggie garden. I like going on hikes in the mountains or along the Potomac River path. Getting away from my desk and getting out in nature is rejuvenating.

CL: What would you like to say to my readers today?

Rita: I'm sure most of your readers are writers. To them I'd like to say learn everything you can about the craft, from character development to plotting, to how to write tight. Study how to edit your work. Study the industry and get an understanding of how publishing works. Read best selling books within your genre. Above all do not let discouragement get the best of you, and do not write for fame or fortune. If that is your goal, you are starting out for all the wrong reasons. Write because you love it.

For those who are not writers, I hope you will read Surrender the Wind. My goal is to take you out of a harried world for a while and transport you back to a time of raw courage and ideal love.

Finally, thanks to your readers for taking the time to read this interview, and to you, Christine, for conducting it.