Category Archives: Challenges

Life with Sparky

Our son set the small purebred Siamese kitten into my husband’s arms. “You need something to keep you active,” he said, only a little in jest. “Besides, he is scratching the baby.”
Before Jack could do more than pet him twice, the cat leapt from his arms and raced to the back of the house.
“Sparky. His name is Sparky, like the sparks of fire. Look how fast he goes.”
With that, we inherited another animal from our sons.
We already have turtles, and their fish, (We gave them the fish to eat. They kept them as pets!) one son left home when he moved out.
We also had a love bird, left behind when he got married.
Now, we had a cat.
He’s a beautiful Siamese, but he is feisty!!!
When we pried him out from under the bed, he took an interest in the lovebird. He’d stand on his hind legs, trying to see what was in the cage.

Then, on the second or third day, he knocked the cage off the stool it had been perched on for nine years with no disasters.
The cage collapsed.
Eryl escaped.
We thought he was fine.
Wrong.
In less than a week, I found her with his wings splayed out like she was too hot.
We pulled him from his cage and loved on her for the hour we had left before she drew her last breath.
And then, we cried.
Apparently, her escape from the collapsed cage wasn’t without injury.
We are back to two kinds of pets. Turtles, and their fish, and the cat.

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A Conversation with Adam

We have another character from my books who stopped by for a short interview. Welcome to Adam, husband of Eve, our guest last week. As the first man on earth, and the first prophet of Jehovah, you must wonder about what has happened to the world you first settled.

ADAM: I am saddened by all the hatred and violence that pervades the earth. Father showed me what would happen to the earth and its peoples early in my life. I know how the world will end. Because of that, I can accept the challenges of today’s world. Jehovah will win the final battle against the Destroyer. Man will learn to trust and depend on God.

ME: We would love to hear your answers to the same questions we asked Eve last week. Are you ready?

ADAM: I have only a short time. I will do what I can. What is your first question?

ME: A reader asked what it was like to anger God.

ADAM: I thought I had angered him in the beginning. That is why we hid from Him in the garden. God was not angry with Eve and Me. He expected us to eat the fruit. However, not yet. The time was not right. The person who gave it to us was had no right to offer it to us. Father’s anger was for the Destroyer. For us, he felt sorrow and grief. We had to suffer, as do all of our children.
Even though Father knew this would happen, he had to allow us to make the choice on our own. He could not force it on us. It had to come from Eve and me.

ME: A connecting question, for you. What was it like to receive God’s forgiveness?

ADAM: We had to live a time in this world and prove we our obedience before Father forgave us. The day I knew I had received forgiveness came when the Spirit took me to our pond and baptized me. That was a special and sacred day. I still cannot share what happened, except to say that I received Father’s forgiveness on that day.

ME: A reader wants to know: Is God to be loved or feared?

ADAM: In the years since the words “fear God” were written, the meaning has changed. You think of fear as something painful, fearing punishment for sin. I think of fear as an awesome love. I am constantly awed by the love I receive from Father. For that reason, my answer is yes. God, my Father, is to be loved and feared as you would love and respect and hold in awe your earthly father.

ME: I know you must leave us soon. One last question before you go. Do you still like apples?

ADAM: Eve warned me that you would be asking this question. Yes. I still like apples. However, the fruit of good and evil was not an apple. Sometime in the future, when you are ready, you will know what that fruit was. Until then, enjoy your apples.

ME: Thank you for your time, Adam.

ADAM: You are welcome. Remember to obey Jehovah’s commands. I look forward to seeing you at the judgment bar. Farewell for now.

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What I Learned About Writing

Yesterday I was privileged to share my author journey with a group of home-schooled children who wanted to know how I started writing. We had a good time talking about what books they would write. Some of those will be authors to watch for in the near future.

I share some of our discussion with you today.

I am a reader. I have been all my life. I inhale books, often several at a time. In my early days as a reader, I learned to recognize a good book, although not how to write one.

I don’t remember having a drive to be an author. I wanted to write, but other things were more important then. I loved writing poetry. I tried to write a short story in high school. I failed. Later in college, I took a fiction class from an author and wrote the first chapter of a book. Between then and 2013, I wrote several first chapters, but never managed to get the second chapter written.

In all my years as a reader, I somehow missed the important elements of a good story. It wasn’t until I co-taught a kindergarten class in a private school that had every child write a book that I figured out why I couldn’t finish a story. I forgot the basic elements of story!

What are the elements? Character, setting, problem, and solution.

It seems easy. Now I know. Before I didn’t understand how to do it.

Then I received a challenge to participate in National Novel Writing Month in November of 2013. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month. To do that, you have to write like mad without editing.

I took a story I’d tried to put down before, changed the point of view, and remembered the basic elements. I’d think, “What problems would she face?” Then I’d try to come up with a solution to the problem.

I may write differently from many other authors. I don’t outline my books. I’ve never been able to do that even for big research projects in school. Instead, I write into the dark. I decide who my characters will be, where and when they are living, then think of problems they may face. As they try to solve the problems, the characters have other challenges to solve, until they finally solve the major problems of the story.

I write to discover what happened to the people I learn to care about as I write about them. I started Lost Children of the Prophet because children went missing and I needed to know where they went and why. I know now what my end story will be in that series, though I haven’t determined how many more books it will take me to get there.

After that? I have no idea. I’m sure some other character will want me to learn about her and want me to tell her story.

I write books about women because they have been forgotten through time and their stories need to be shared. If you have a suggestion of women whose story has been forgotten, I’d love to hear it.

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How Will You Change the Country?

“What are you going to do to change the country?” my friend asked me the other day.

This has had me thinking for several days. “What can I do? I’m a lonely author, who has little impact on politicians and others who make laws for our land. I can vote, complain to others, respond to social media, and write letters to my Congresspeople. It has little impact on the country or the world.

My response to my friend was, “Nothing. Except live the best life I can, obeying God’s laws and the country’s laws to the best of my ability.”

Later consideration brought a few more ideas. I can be a friend to others, and do all I can to make my part of the country, and thus the world, better. I can offer assistance to others. I can do my best to be kind. And, I can write more books.

I’m an author. I try to change the world with my books. My imagination takes me to places I can never go. I share things I’ve learned as I tell my stories. I learn more things in the things I write. A long time ago, as a teacher, I discovered you don’t know what you know until you write it down. Writing my books helps me understand what I know about a few things, as I explore a time no one knows about.

The human experience doesn’t change, only the leaders and the things people gather around them. They walked, rode horses, or rode in carriages. We walk, ride in cars, airplanes, and soon spaceships. We all eat, dress, have children, or die. We love, hate, argue, solve problems, and search for happiness. It has been so from the beginning.

I’ve considered challenges in my life in my books. Some of the results I don’t like and hope my children never suffer the consequences I write about. Others of my stories I love. I hope more of my family receive these results in their lives.

So, I finished the editing of my next book, Betrayed Trust. I will release it in about a month. I still need a cover and a description for the back. More to come when it is closer. It, too, explores a different part of the human condition.

What will you do to change the world or the bit of the world in which you live? How will you make the lives of those around you better? (I’m hoping you will choose to read more of my books and review them.)

What would you suggest I write about in my next book? The one I’m working on now was recommended by a reader, one of you. I do listen.

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I’ll tell you mine, please tell me yours

Today is Have a Bad Day.

This is a picture of my last bad day.

This is a picture of my last bad day after the nurses wiped some of the blood away. Yep. Broken nose, split lip, bruised elbow, sprained wrist, banged up knees, and a bruised heel. Not fun.
How did this happen, you ask? Easy if you’ve been diagnosed as a Klutz.
As I hurried back across our apartment parking lot, thinking of five things I needed to do, and trying not to bump into the pyracantha bush on one side and the car parked on the other, I slipped off the curb and fell. I landed so fast I smacked my face on the curb. I heard a crunch and knew I had broken the nose. I jumped up, holding the blood and rushed home. My husband took one look at me and went for his shoes. I grabbed a towel (it happened to be red and didn’t show all the blood) and put it to my face. My husband drove me to a local hospital.
I spent five hours in the Emergency Room. They x-rayed my knee and wrist, not broken, and did a ct scan on my head and neck, no concussion. Eventually, the nurse put a stitch in my lip and glue on my nose to hold it together and sent me home.
I’m healing quickly, thank you. The scabs on my face are gone, though I still hurt.
I’d love to hear about your last bad day. Share in the comments below here.

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Everyone Talks about the Weather, But …

Weather.

Amazing how it affects us. Too much sun, or not enough. Rain pours down, drowning us. Or snow buries us. Never the right amount, always overdone. Or, the wind blows, hard. Blowing trees from their foundational roots. Darkening the sky with the dust and dirt picked up as it whooshes past.

We’re “enjoying” monsoon season here in Las Vegas, which means clouds blow up every day, promising rain and bringing lots of humidity. For a desert, 40% humidity is lots! (I know, I know. I’ve lived in Virginia Beach where the humidity was closer to 90%, but this is a desert!) And when the rain finally comes, it floods the valley, or a section of it. Our little section usually gets missed. But other sections get flooded, people are hurt, trees are felled in the wind, water gushes through the streets, and all that beautiful rock people have trucked in to create a “desert landscape” gets washed down the road. Now, if it was grass, it wouldn’t wash away, but … No. I won’t go there today.

Mark Twain said, “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.” I suspect we’d do something more than react to it if we could figure out how. I think we could, but that’s an op ed for a newspaper.

Hope you aren’t suffering from the recent tornadoes. How is your weather? Drop me a line and share. Maybe we have a poem we could write.

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What Price Happiness?

We watched “Unsinkable Molly Brown” yesterday. John Brown was a genius in the west, with the ability to find gold or silver any time he needed more money. Molly grew up poverty stricken with a desire for more. No matter how much John gave her, she couldn’t find happiness, until after surviving the sinking of the Titanic.

I have friends and family who struggle with happiness and joy. Some cannot be happy with a million dollars and a fancy car. They are always, like Molly, searching for something more. Other friends have little, they live in small houses or apartments on tight budgets and find joy in their families and their friends and their God.

Which are you? Do you always need more or can you find joy in the life you have?

I don’t mean to suggest that because we are happy we don’t want or need to make our lives better. I’m happy with what we have, and it isn’t a mansion or a million dollars. But I’d love for my book business to grow much more rapidly. I wouldn’t turn down additional sales. We all want to make our lives better.

In my next book, Abandoned Hope — that is still awaiting a cover, Daphne is happy to be with her papa as a trader, until he is abducted in Nod. Daphne had to find a way to find her own joy. Not with money, not with things, but inside her.

From Abandoned Hope:

Daphne sorted through the bundles of goods her papa had already prepared to take with them on their return journey to Bashan. The silk fabrics and copper bowls and pans would be welcomed in the small villages and larger towns they passed through on their journey home. However, they were common here in Nod. Certainly not worth a gold.
What was she going to do to rescue Papa? How would she ever come up with fifty golds?
The door to the small barn stood open, allowing warm sunlight to fill the small space. As long as the breeze did not become a wind, she would leave it open. She returned to her sorting, submerged in her fears for her papa.
A shadow blocked the sun, chilling her. Daphne turned expecting to see Joyanna. Instead David entered. His hair stood out across his head and his rumpled clothing looked like he had slept in it.
“Do you have news for me?” she asked.
David crossed the space between them. “No, and yes. Kenji will not take trade goods in exchange for the fifty golds. He is determined to take the coin or the important thing, nothing else.”
“Then Papa is without hope, for we have not fifty coins in our pockets or in our baggage and he cannot have my book.” Daphne glanced at the stack of bundles she had not yet searched through. “Most of what is here will be welcomed in small towns on the way home. But of no use to acquire gold coins.”
“Can you sell it all back in the market? Surely, it will bring you some coins.” David turned to look at the items in the open bundle.
“Perhaps a few. Nothing is so rare or unusual that people here will want it back. They will not give me the fifty gold coins I need to save Papa.” Her hands flew out to flutter toward all the bundles. “And if I could sell them all to set Papa free, how would we get home with nothing to trade along the way? There are still bundles I have not gone through. Perhaps …”
“Let me help. Perhaps I can find something you would otherwise overlook.”
Daphne sighed. “If you wish. I fear for Papa.”
“And you should.” The frown on David’s face sent a chill down her spine.
(Abandoned Hope, to be published soon)

What about you? Where do you find your happiness? What are you working on now to improve your life?

A Short Questionnaire:

1. Are you a reader who loves my books?
2. Are you also a writer, or someone who has thought about writing?
3. Would you be interested in support or help from a published author?

I would love to hear from you.

Happy Reading,

Angelique

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Do You See the Beauty?

Today has been a day filled with many emotions.

I learned that a loved brother-in-law returned home to his Heavenly Father this morning. He discovered only three weeks ago that he had a type of cancer. Not feeling ill, he and his wife went with a daughter to New York state, the other side of the country from him, to settle business for his brother. He returned home in time to feel sick. The hospital sent him home to hospice care about three days ago. The family was told he would not recover. This morning, he moved from this life to the next, leaving the rest of us behind.

We live about five hours away and knew his life was near to ending. We planned to head up to visit him one last time after church on Sunday. I had purposely left the Internet closed on my computer this morning to get some editing done on my next book. When I opened it, I discovered this good man had lost the battle.

After calling his sister, and sharing condolences and sorrow with her, my husband needed to do something, go somewhere, so we went for a ride to our local National Conservation Area, Red Rock Canyon. This is a beautiful loop drive, with stops for hikes and overlooks. Today, however, we just drove through, slowly, enjoying the beautiful mountains, rocks, trees, cactus, and plants. I even saw a rabbit run across the road. As we drove through this beautiful area, my phone played music praising God for his wonders through our radio. It filled us with joy.

God, in His majesty, filled us with joy and understanding of His plans for us. Each of us will leave this world at some point in our future. Some, like my brother-in-law, will find that his future no longer includes the pains and sorrows of this earth. Many more of us will continue through this life for many days and years.

Some of us will drive through the beauty of the earth and miss it, swallowed up in our own sorrows and griefs. Others, like my father, will look at the desolate desert and find a flower, the darkening sky and see hope for moisture, or the loss of loved ones and see blessings and hope for that person.

On days like today, when it would be easy to see only the clouds and the sorrows, I am grateful to hear beautiful music and see colorful mountains and growing plants, reminding me that life will continue. What is important is what I do with it.

What will you do with your life? Seek the shadows or look for the shining sun behind the clouds? What sorrows do you face today?

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Is the Problem Guns or God?

The world seems to be falling apart, a city at a time. This last few weeks, there has been hurricanes, fires, shooting in Las Vegas, shootings in other towns and cities, and this Sunday a shooting that killed 1/10 of the population the small town, mostly children.
What is going on?
The pastor from the church shot up on Sunday and a fellow pastor from down the road suggest the problem is a turning away from God. God is not invited into our universities and schools or our courts, and is driven from many of our families.
Governments pray at the beginning of a session, then turn their backs on God while they “grind on the faces of the poor” and take bribes from big corporations. How is God welcome in halls of government? The hypocrisy of these so-called leaders is disgusting.
Once again, the call for increased and tougher gun laws is heard from men and women of government who would not leave their homes without armed guards. The purchase of weapons by some is a problem. Men and women who have violent mental illnesses and those who have violent crimes in their past should not have access to fire arms of any kind. Further, no one needs automatic weapons, or the “bump stock” that turns a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.
It is common knowledge that criminals don’t go through legal channels to purchase their guns. Most home invasion robbers are seeking legally purchased guns. They don’t go down to the local gun store and have their backgrounds checked, like legal purchasers.
Guns are not the problem. If someone wants to create havoc, they can. Remember Timothy McVea? The problem, as the preachers from the small town in Texas said, is our distance from God.

Eve, First Matriarch is currently available for $0.99. Now would be a good time to check it out. Additionally, I am participating in two book promotions.
The first available for FREE, and you can find other great books about gods and goddesses (my Avenging Angel is one of these). Of course, Avenging Angel includes our God, Jehovah. Other books are mythological or science-fantasy. I know of at least one on that list that is a fun book to read—Redemption by Tora Moon.
These books are available until November 12th and can be found at http://goo.gl/pb8Rnk

Instafreebie Fall Gods Big Square

The second book promotion I am participating in is the Freedom to Read Promotion. All these books are written by women and are about women. Most genres are represented. All these are clean, meaning you won’t be surprised by language. Eve, First Matriarch is among these books. All are available for $0.99. These books are also available until November 12. You can find them at https://rachellechristensen.com/freedomtoreadbooksale/

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In Like a Lamb, Out Like a Lamb?

 

Do you remember the old saw: If March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. Or: If March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.

When I taught kindergarten, many years ago, we created lions and lambs on the first of March and talked about the old saying. We decided if the weather was acting like a lamb or a lion. Often, in the Rockies, that weather was snowy and miserable. The children, rightly, determining that the weather was lion-like. It was amazing how many times the saying was right.

At the beginning of the month, it was beautiful and warm here in southern Nevada. The weather was on its way toward 90, much too hot for this time of year. I looked at my husband and asked if he thought the old saw would follow for this year.

Here it is, the end of March and oh, how the lion roars!

The weather forecaster on our local channel warned of overturned semi-trailers, huge dust storms, and uprooted trees last night. We hoped he was wrong, but usually he isn’t.

Around noon, my husband returned to the living room from the end of our apartment facing the west, telling me, “It feels like we are back on Adak.” Adak, Alaska, is a place we lived twice during our sojourn in the U. S. Navy known as the “Birthplace of the Winds”, and well named.

This evening I went outside for something. A gale of cold wind about blew me over! He was right. I love clouds and sunsets, so of course, I had to stop to take a picture. I was nearly blown over!

My kindergartners would have loved it if they had predicted lion weather.

How is it for you? Lion or Lamb?

Windy Day

 

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